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Our Special Ale 2005 (Anchor Christmas Ale) - Anchor Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Our Special Ale 2005 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2005 (Anchor Christmas Ale)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

239 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 239
Hads: 273
Avg: 3.85
pDev: 12.47%
Wants: 1
Gots: 7 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  5.80% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: maxpower on 11-04-2005

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (28) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Our Special Ale 2005 (Anchor Christmas Ale) Alström Bros
Reviews: 239 | Hads: 273
Photo of arizcards
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle from AJ's on Central right before Christmas for $1.99. Figured a 110 degree day was as good as any to enjoy one.

Poured a deep reddish brown with a beautiful initial tan head. Nose is reminiscent of gingerbread which is perfect for the holiday season. Taste is slanted towards chocolate malts, a hint of ginger, with a subtle dry hop finish. Mouthfeel is a bit thinner than what I hoped for but is OK nonetheless. Drinkability is good. This is a beer to try if you are not looking for an over the top holiday special.

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Photo of WanderingFool
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I look forward to this beer every year and always anticipate that first sip. This year's Our Special Ale seems to come alive as it warms in the glass.

The beer pours a very dark brown, almost black, into the glass with some ruby hues around the edges. A thick creamy tan head sits on top before it slowly dissolves to a thick ring around the surface. A good amount of lace displayed in netting patterns clings to the sides as the beer empties.

An spicy aroma of ginger with hints of roasted malt greets you before each sip. This smooth, dry, medium bodied beer is packed with flavor. The flavor begins with some roasted malt before the spices quickly take over. It's mainly ginger, but there's some pine, nutmeg and cinnamon mixed in. It finishes slightly tart with a mild fruity (cherry?) flavor. It leaves a mildly spicy flavor behind.

Like I mentioned before, as the beer warms in the glass the flavors really begin to come out. At first I didn't think this beer had much of an aroma or flavor. It seemed like mostly malt, but as it warmed I was pleased with the complexity I found in this brew.

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Photo of Floydster
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle from the Stuffed Sandwich in San Gabriel

Pour was a real dark brown with not much carbonation or head

Tasted like there was hints of tobacco and sugar cane, very dry for a winter beer of this nature, but the taste stuck with me for a long time

Could drink a good amount of these compared to other winter beers

All of these Anchor XMas brews have been pretty good

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Photo of kmpitz2
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep rubyied color, bordering on brown, with a finger of head that falls to a very light full coat over top. The nose is apparent without really sticking my nose in it. There are big gingerbread notes. Good thick molasses with a piney undertone that really smells nice. I also get nutmeg and allspice. Flavor is more caramel sweet and chocolatey and less thick than the nose would imply. Spices are also more subdued. The most subdued version of this beer that I can recall. Feel is a very full moderate with a moderate carbonation as well. Drinkability is good here. The caramel and chocolate are nice and full with the other flavors playing in the background. I dig it.

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Photo of ADR
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A "user-friendly" white oak tree on the label for 2005. Deep rich black-brown color, essentially opaque with a nice medium tan head and leaving nice clusters of lace on the glass. Chocolate, anise, and light spice aromas, some lime aftershave. Body may be slightly lighter than some years, mouthfeel is never-the-less pleasant, smooth, and creamy. Tasty flavor profile, familiar spice components come through, but is slightly muted and shares the stage with a semi-sweet dark chocolate backbone with some traction. Light finish, touch of acid late. Easy drinking, seems less rich in some aspects than some versions but an approachable brew for many drinkers.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, with a more than obvious vintage date, and a code on the label 5OU. I'm cracking open a little piece of history here today, in the spirit of the Christmas season. Anchor Brewing Co.'s Christmas ale, vintage 2005. This bottle is eight years old this year, making this the oldest beer I've ever drank. I have no idea what to expect.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter.

A - Pours a thick viscous ruddy caramel color; nearly opaque in the glass with some caramel coloring around the edges when held to the light. Conjures about a quarter finger of light brown foam. Forms a ring of bubbles around the glass. Produces a nice thick finger of mocha foam when given a good swirl. Looks excellent.

S - Smell is of sweet caramel malt, earthy tea leaves, toffee, molasses, brown sugar, dark fruits - raisins, black cherries, currants, figs, hint of faded herbal spice, vanilla, and some woody earth character.

T - Taste follows the nose: smooth creamy caramel, toffee, notes of chocolate / cocoa, earthy tea leaves, wood, twigs, some vanilla, some vinous grape / cherry / berry notes, and some raisin / fig presence.

M - Feel is smooth and creamy, but still retains a bit of crisp carbonation to it, even after all this time. Light-bodied, and slightly watery. Some dark chocolatey roast notes lingering on the palate.

Overall, I'd say this was an excellent winter warmer that has thoroughly stood the test of time well. Definitely excites me to try out the other vintages to see what they hold. Definitely worth seeking out.

Anchor Brewing Our Special Ale 2005 ---4/5.

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Photo of PorterLambic
3.87/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A very dark brown with a rust orange at the edges. Nice medium tan head. Drops to 1/2" layer within 3 minutes leaving some light lace.
Smell is roasted/toasted malt, smoke, peat with just a whiff of alcohol.
Taste is the same with a touch of slightly burnt malt in the aftertaste.
Medium body, light effervescence. Slightly watery finish, smooth.
A very good beer overall.

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Photo of bditty187
3.33/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

As a “massive” snow storm slows down in Omaha it is time I finally review OSA 2005…

Ruby brown in hue, fairly dark but not close to black; I can tell the liquid is clear. Beige foam, at the apex the head was over two fingers tall. Head retention was good, the bubbles slowly faded to a thin cap. Lacing started before I took a sip. Lovely. The subsequent lacing was very widespread, it looked like worn wallpaper! Yet again OSA is a gem to look at!

I’ve had this beer about five times previously, mostly on-tap. I was not too impressed but this is the first time I have actually sat down to think about this beer. The nose is too soft spoken for me; ginger snaps upfront, pine infused molasses, spiced orange peel and sweet orange candy, hints of chocolate, vanilla, and some tea leaves. The ginger is the loudest aroma and I like that tremendously but the supporting cast is average, at best… for OSA. I wanted more "Quercus Agrifolia." Okay, I am sold on the bouquet, it is agreeable and inviting.

The palate doesn’t match the nose. I thought maybe it was an “on-tap” issue. Apparently it is not. Thin maltiness; where is the chocolate or kisses of roast? Juicy throughout, which is odd, IMO. Hints of spiced pine soaked molasses, I need more. At no point do I consider this beer rich. Clean oak notes, boring. Hints of ginger and orange peel, yawn. Come on! What is the point of dancing around all the good stuff? Give more of everything. Turn up the intensity. Every OSA before this scored a “4” for taste, no matter the year or age. Every OSA before this had depth and it matured with age. I don’t think this batch will hold up until next Christmas. As is, it tastes okay; there is nothing wrong with it. It is very safe. This should not be a safe beer, it should be special. OSA 2005 is not.

Medium in body, on the thin side though, low carbonation only hurts the mouthfeel. Spiced aftertaste numbs the tongue, sweet residue lingers too long as well; I figure a more aggressive carbonation would help this aspect. Tolerable mouthfeel.

Drinkable? Shit this beer is poundable as there is so little too it. This is the most sissified OSA I have had. It has training wheels. I don’t know why I tried so hard to find a six-pack. I didn’t care for it on-tap yet I kept the faith. I will be leery next year. I hope this was a one-time hiccup. Sigh. My bottles came from Lincoln, NE. Moving on…

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Photo of lackenhauser
3.89/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very nice, mahogany colored beer. Good tan head that quickly is gone but leaves some nice lacing. Low aroma-some hints of spice and maybe vanilla. Malt dominates the flavor. The spiciness of this years beer is very subdued but definately there-some cloves, all spice and a touch of vanilla. The major "spruceness" of previous years isnt here. Good level of hop bitterness to round it all out. Overall the flavor is somewhat complex but well balanced and certainly isnt the pot-pourri of years past. Good mouthfeel. A very drinkable beer this time round. One of the best in a while from Anchor.

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A bottle from the cellar. Uncapped and poured into my nonic Imperial pint glass. OSA appears a deep chestnut brown color , almost opaque, with about a finger of light ecru foam. Flavors and aromas consist of birch syrup, root beer, molasses, bitter cocoa powder, mocha, some coffee, raisins, medium roasted grains, dark bread, slightly sour. Body is a bit thin at this point, but the carbonation has held up very well. Not sure if this would benefit with any more time in the cellar.

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Photo of TastyTaste
4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Very dark maroon body, big fluffy tan head, which fades slowly to a 1/3" creamy foam.

Smell: Smell is heavy with nutmeg and ginger, cinnamon and roasted malts, sweet with like fresh baked gingersnaps.

Taste: Robust yet sweet. Taste is very well spiced with more nutmeg and ginger. A good winter beer, as usual with OSA. Slght alcohol tingle, cream and vanilla bean in the finish. Moderate hop finish.

Mouthfeel: Full enough to carry the beer, nothing spectacular, but fitting.

Drinkability: OSA is good every year, but never my favorite Winter Warmer, I do recommend enjoying this at least once a hoiday season.

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Photo of rye726
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice rich chocolate color with a tan head. The nose has some bready candy malts with a collection of christmas spices. Taste was a little bland for the style and compared to other vintages. The body is smooth and a little fizzy, but drinks well. A good beer but this year was more similar to a dark english mild in my opinion.

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Photo of clvand0
3.6/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a brown color with some red around the edges with a moderate head that falls slowly and leaves some lacing on the glass. The aroma has a lot of dark malt character with spice and has a big bunch of ginger that smacks you across the nose. The flavor is comprised of dark fruit, ginger, dark malts. Interesting. Mouthfeel is on the heavy end of medium and the drinkability is just ok ... these spiced beers aren't really my forte.

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Photo of Bierguy5
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown, nearly black. No highlights around the edges at all. Thick creamy tan head. Good retention. Aroma of spruce, black licorice, and cocoa powder. Floral hop aroma. Dark malt, roasty but not overly robust. Bittersweet chocolate flavor, spices, maybe ginger. Spices seem very restrained this year. Citrusy hop flaovr, some bitterness. Medium body. Overall, different than usual. Still good, but not as impressive as before.

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Photo of brewandbbq
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark, opaque mahogany, with chestnut edging.
Thick, rocky, tan head left behind some nice lacework.
Roasted malts, coffee dusted chocolate up front in the nose.
Spices step forward with warming alcohol.
Nutmeg, clove, peppercorns, with an underlying citrus essence and mint.
Nose finishes spicey, mildly bitter, with hints of coriander and ginger skin.
Body medium, slightly chewy, and smooth.
Pallet starts off with bitter chocolates, coffee grounds, and a bit of smoke.
Follows through with a substantial bitterness and mild grapefruit, then a blend of orange peel, nutmeg, cardamon, and spruce.
Finishes fairly long, bitter, roasty, warming, with lingering spice.

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Photo of woemad
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes made on Memorial Day Weekend.

Typical Anchor 12oz bottle purchased at Huckleberry’s in Spokane for $1.49. No obvious freshness date, but the back label has been stamped “5NI”, or something to that affect.

Poured what looked to be black until held up to light, at which it took on a deep, dark ruby color. BIG, tan head that took it’s time dropping, leaving lots of lace behind.

The smells are spicy and doughy, like a pumpkin pie. There’s also a piney hoppiness, but it’s very mellow.

This tastes very similar to the smell, with the spiciness standing out the most. Very malty, with the piney hops hanging back to give the malts room to breathe. There’s a modest dryness at the swallow.

Mouthfeel was soft and velvety. The body of this beer would best be described as medium.

Not a bad Christmas beer at all, even if I’m drinking it on Memorial Day. The wet three-day-weekend is helping this beer feel at home.

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Photo of DogFood11
4.6/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter it forms a reddish/tan head that is silky smooth and leaves sporadic lacing on the way down. dark dark brown/black mix of color. Looks like a meal in a bottle.

smell is spicey and floral with some dark fruity backbone. truly a spectacle and one of the most complex smelling beers I've ever sampled.

Super fine carbonation hits the palate then the explosion hits. All the dark goodness of mollasses, chocolate, raisin, hit you up front then the spices take charge, I mostly get cinnamon, ginger and cloves but its beautifully balanced angainst this dark winter warmer. A bit of citrus at the end cleans things up and the mouthfeel is light for such a dark beer. Truly a spectacle that must be sampled at the very least.

This is nightcapper material. I can't think of too many beers that I would be able to give a fair shake after consuming this. Its pallate friendly but its so complex that anything after this would be a challenge.

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Photo of JISurfer
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is one good beer. Why? Well, it's got a good WW taste/smell, something that most WW's try to strive for. The head on this bad boy was crazy! Very frothy and soild all the way through. Very dark amber body, almost black. The smell was nice and spicey, with hints of pine, as well as a very strong malt scent. The taste was just as good. Just a little more taste in the spicey/malty area. Overall a great Christmas beer. This is one that I'll keep going back for every year. It's neat to see what it'll taste like from year to year.

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Photo of joe1510
4.02/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz. Bottle 2005
$10.99 6-pack
Binny's Orland

Our Special Ale poured an extremely dark mahogany that is only transparent along the edges of my pilsner glass when held to the light. A creamy 2 finger mocha head sits on top and fades a a 1 finger dense craggy head. Sticky webbed brown lacing trails down the glass.

The smell makes me think of Christmas with all the smells coming from the kitchen. There are a lot of spices in the nose including nutmeg and maybe a touch of cinnamon. The others are hard to pick apart. Theres even some bing cherry and plum. Also, reminiscent of warm bread pudding. A slight roasted malt in the background but the fruits and spices take over. I think this is what a winter warmer should smell like. It has it all crammed in there.

The roasted malts serve as the backbone and don't really show themselves until a minor bitterness in the finish. The spices come through up front with the nutmeg taking the front. The dark fruit come through mid-palate and dance around on your tongue in holiday cheer. Very nicely done.

The mouthfeel is the only thing holding this beer back. It's average but if it was a little heavier in body it would be great. The mouthfeel is on the thin side and feels a little dead in my mouth. Don't get me wrong it's not bad just nothing to get excited about.

The weaker mouthfeel actually helps the drinkability a little bit. If it were creamier it would make a better beer but it would be too filling to get high marks for drinkability. I could definately sit around and drink a couple of these on a cold winter night.

I really like Our Special Ale and would recommend it to anyone to try at least once. The spices really add a nice touch. Great cold weather beer. One to share with friends and family.


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Photo of budgood1
3.87/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours out a nearly opaque dark brown colour with ruby and crimson hues. short lived tan head. touches of lace. big ole pine and spruce aroma....lots of rich maltiness. smells like OSA. upon tasting...oh, this is gonna be hard to describe...a definite spicy, minty flavour envelops my tastebuds followed by a definite hoppiness that is welcome. choco and caramel maltiness hold up the foundation well. anise, black licorice, nutmeg, prunes...maybe you could say this is liquid puree of gingerbread and oatmeal raisin cookies. yeasty and velvety with a smooth mouthfeel and ample body are nice. preliminary thoughts are that i much prefer this to last years rendition but probably not as good as two years ago...this being only the third i've had the pleasure of consuming this winter seasonal. i believe i have some cellaring so i might have to do some comparisons. finishes feverishly festive. warms and satisfies. i like it...i'm gonna drink a few more tonite and see where it goes as my six pack warms a bit.

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Photo of Drew966
4.6/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a deep, dark brown with a thick fluffy tan head from a twelve ounce brown bottle. I dig the tree labels (I might even have to get me a copy of the poster they sell that pictures all of them over the years). Aroma is of malt and spice. I really like the 2005 version, it's quite tasty. Nice, creamy mouthfeel. I had to search out a case of this, it's not too easy to find where I'm at, it was well worth it, and I imagine I'll do the same come next year. Highly recommended.

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Photo of bennetj17
3.96/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Has a nice thick tan head that sticks around. Nice lacing. Dark coffee color. Plenty of carbonation. Smells like coffee, with a hint of spiciness or fruitiness. Tastes of dry roasted coffee, the darker malts impart a nice a nice bitterness. The sweetness is rather low-key, however. Full mouthfeel, somewhat thick, but smooth and bubbly as it goes down easily. The alcohol is not very noticible. One of the better holiday selections I've tasted this winter...

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Photo of Damian
3.72/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Drank from a 12 fl. oz. bottle purchased at Kappy's Liquors, Cambridge, MA

Poured a dark, murky brown with small, fizzy, chestnut-colored head that quickly faded to a lasting ring of lace.

Smell was rich and spicy. Intense malts with a plethora of baking spices, including nutmeg and clove. A touch of nuttiness too. Some maple syrup and vanilla notes were also noticeable.

Taste was very malty as well. Rich and hearty. A mix of chocolate, caramel and roasted malts with some spices. The dark chocolate flavors came out strong in both taste and smell as the beer warmed. Licorice was also present. Up front this beer was rather good, but the flavors trailed off rather quickly. A pinch of hops was detectable on the back end. Aftertaste was moderately spicy with a touch of residual sweetness.

Mouthfeel was rich, full and very creamy. The beer turned into a rich froth soon after hitting the tongue.

This is a decent beer to sip and savor on a cold night but overall it was not very exciting. With a bit more complexity in the taste and a more flavorful finish it could vastly improve.

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Photo of granger10
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This years version pours a deep dark nearly black color with a larger sized tan head. Moderate lacing.

Aroma is chocolatey with ripe dark fruits. Some bready notes along with pine and spice contribute as well.

Taste has more of a molasses like sweetness to it. Ginger is prevalent but no spices are overbearing like last years. Almost a gingerbread taste in the body. Anise is there but in the background, where it should be. A bit of pine towards the finish but it ends with more of a fruity note.

Mouthfeel is nice and creamy, reminds me of some baltic porters. Much less acidic and harsh than what I thought it would be.

A very drinkable beer but one I would save for only the holidays to make it more special.

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Photo of pmcadamis
4.12/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

This is my first review under the new scoring system (which I don't like), and I'm curious to see what letter grade this gets when I finish my review.

A - A massive three finger head of milk-chocolate colored foam rises above a black brew that shows some dark brown highlights. The creamy, dense head shows outstanding retention, and leaves a copious amount of lace on the glass.

S - From far away, I smell bourbon and oak. Putting my nose to the glass, I pick up more chocolate and thick honey, but the bourbon is still there too. I also smell some cedar chip woodiness and some dark bakery stuff....like dark bran muffins. There are some marshmallow notes there too. Outstandingly complex.

T - Tangy mesquite smoke hits me right of the bat, and is surprising given the more sweet and rounded nose. The flavor is definitely rustic and woodsy with loads of cedar and oak in addition to some salty soy sauce and charred hot dog flavors. This is one complex brew indeed! I'm picking up a shitload of crazy flavors that just keep developing with each sip.

M - Full bodied and lushly carbonated with a very dry and woody finish that feels like putting wood chips in my mouth. Despite the dryness, there is a very oily texture to this beer...almost waxy.

D - While this is very complex and intriguing, I don't think this has any real session potential. This is a damn fine brew, but it's too odd to be very drinkable.

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Our Special Ale 2005 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 239 ratings.