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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)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

271 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 271
Reviews: 239
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 12.69%
Wants: 1
Gots: 5 | 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:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: maxpower on 11-04-2005)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 271 | Reviews: 239 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mynie
mynie

Indiana

4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

There is something that sets this warmer above the rest, something that will make it forever popular in certain groups, will have others refer to is a "holiday classic," while still others will claim it indispensable, the greatest of its style. That something is price, and it's what Anchor's annual holiday ale has in spades. I've never reviewed it before because of its price, because I'm not "beer enough" to spend twelve big ones on a six pack, but I was fortunate enough to find a store that sold it by the single bottle and so doled out nearly three dollars for the privilege of supping 12 ounces of this storied concoction.

The verdict? Good, not great.

Pours very dark, about as nice a pour as this style is capable of. Nice foamy brown head that stays for a little while.

Dark brown malt dominates the nose. Hollyspice, almost synthetic like a green and red aerosol can. Ginger, gingerbread men molasses cookies.

Very spicy and sweet flavor. Ginger and black licorice against a sweet malt. A very strange chemical finish leaves the taste of scented candle wax in my mouth (yes, I have tasted scented candle wax), and serves to knock the whole beer down a peg.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2005 02:36:08 | More by mynie
Photo of alexgash
alexgash

Connecticut

3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Chestnut brown to dark brown/black with a dense frosting of creamy tan head. Eggnog, nutmeg, cinnamon, sweet figs, vanilla. Very spice-laden, but not phony. Smells like xmas to me. There’s a faint reminder of shoe polish though, which is weird. Starts off with roasted caramel and singed brown sugar. Maybe a bit of chocolate graham cracker and hazelnut. Spices follow, with cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, and cloves there. Slightly astringent herbal bitterness that adequately balances the fruitcake sweetness. A bit like a spiced porter if you ask me. Good, if a bit spicy. Medium-bodied, with a syrupy feel. Not bad for a very spiced beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2006 18:04:24 | More by alexgash
Photo of KarlHungus
KarlHungus

Minnesota

4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This brew pours a solid opaque black color. The head is two-fingers high, creamy, tan and has good aretention. The aroma is of malt, ginger and other spices, and is rather strong. The taste is identical to the aroma. The mouthfeel is creamy and medium-full bodied with nice carbonation. Overall, this is a superb winter warmer.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2005 22:51:46 | More by KarlHungus
Photo of Brent
Brent

Kentucky

4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've been following this interesting annual offering since 1999, and I think this year's edition is probably the most drinkable fresh that I've tried. Largely foregoes the sprucy resin that has dominated some of the editions, focusing this year on a bigger spiced malt character. Fruitcake spices with notes of buckwheat and a touch of dark roast coffee. A bit of the spruce resin is there, but a mere shadow of the past. More like an OSA with a year or two under its belt, and some similarity to Rogue's Morimoto Black Obi Soba Ale. Curious as to where this one will go in a year or two.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2006 19:59:34 | More by Brent
Photo of Suds
Suds

Pennsylvania

4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful, deep, dark brown color with a touch of red. The head is small, but thick and creamy. Nice aroma: sugar, spice, a little fruit. Molasses and sugar. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. Orange zest and ginger. There’s a lot of spice flavor, but it’s well-layered on top of a distinct malt aroma. There’s not much in the way of hops in the smell. The taste not very sweet, but the flavor of malt and spice come out strong. Nice dryness contributes to the mouthfeel, which is full and satisfying. Very good winter ale.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2006 11:01:12 | More by Suds
Photo of Vancer
Vancer

Illinois

4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

First winter warmer from Anchor, man, have I been missing out !!! Very impressive pour; dark brown, almost black with a foamy, sticky brown head. Chocolate and spices in the aroma. Complex taste; spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, spruce) blend with the malty start, then finishes hoppy – hint of anise in there.

Rich & tangy, this bad boy has to be around 7-8%, after one the face was flushing and reddening. Just one drawback, a bit harsh on the aftertaste. Still ready for another.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2005 15:37:19 | More by Vancer
Photo of Reidrover
Reidrover

Oregon

4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wonderful looking ale here..dark brown with crimson and ruby accents and a totally gorgeous creamy "coffee n’ creme" coloured head..beautiful. Aroma is slightly fruity, hints of spice and treacle, slightest hint of hop. Thate taste is of dark maltiness, prunes come most to mind, then "mincemeat pies and orange peel, then a very dark roasted coffee, prune juice finishes off the mouthful..slight peppery aftertaste. Very good on the palate..quite invigorating. I really liked this and think it might age even better..truelly a Christmas Pudding in a beer glass!

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2006 19:55:00 | More by Reidrover
Photo of jfcaa193
jfcaa193

Connecticut

4/5  rDev +3.6%

02-19-2012 01:27:16 | More by jfcaa193
Photo of Gagnonsux
Gagnonsux

Texas

3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2005 is a deep, dark brown with a large beige head. The aroma has a rich sweetness with smells reminiscent of molasses and toffee. A cinnamon spice smell also has a strong presence. The taste consists of dark malt flavor infused with cinnamon. Molasses and chocolate flavors are most prevalent. A coffee-like roastiness comes in towards the middle and provides an enjoyable, roasty finish. A touch of piney hop flavor also pops up near the end of a sip. Overall, this is a great spiced beer with only one big downside: a thin mouthfeel. One of the better winter seasonals I've sampled this year.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2005 19:02:01 | More by Gagnonsux
Photo of Mitchster
Mitchster

Michigan

1.88/5  rDev -51.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Pours out to a clear very dark ruby, forming a meringue-like dark khaki head with very good retention and lacing. The aroma is hideous...absolutely tons of soap, nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon, overpowering any aroma of what might be beer. There is a touch of smoke in there as well, which is the only appealing thing about the aroma. As it warms, vanilla becomes apparent. This reminds me of a Xmas beer I brewed (which I hated and all my friends loved), and since then I've never been fond of heavily spiced ales. Carbonation is moderate. Mouthfeel is oily and medium bodied. Surprisingly, the beer actually tastes less like spices and more like leather and tobacco. The bitterness level accents the leather, and detracts from the spices which is nice. There is a sharply pungent fusel-like bitterness, like unflavored snuff mixed with burning tires. Very odd. The finish is chemical, acrid spice. Fermented too warm, as there are abundant higher-alcohols which actually add a chemical bitterness that probably wasn't, nor should have been, intended. Perhaps not quite the sink-dumper as last years was, but still a sink-dumper. A really awful beer. Pass on it...it sucks.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2005 22:25:54 | More by Mitchster
Photo of birchstick
birchstick

Colorado

4/5  rDev +3.6%

11-06-2013 05:34:00 | More by birchstick
Photo of Floydster
Floydster

California

3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
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

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2007 02:26:22 | More by Floydster
Photo of kmpitz2
kmpitz2

Tennessee

4.28/5  rDev +10.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2006 02:00:45 | More by kmpitz2
Photo of garymuchow
garymuchow

Minnesota

4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The aroma carried a strong quality of some cookies my grandmother used to make. Not sure if it's the currants or the allspice, but it was notable. In addition, there is a sweet malt with other spices (possibly clove, cinimmon) and a touch of alcohol.
Rich deep dark red, especially as held in light. Dark head that recedes to a ring and a thin layer.
I haven't had an OSA in a couple of years and it's nice to return to this beer. Rich without being sweet. Sweet yet still bitter and dry. Less spiciness in flavor as compared to the aroma.
Moderately thick. Carbonation is a bit excessive for me, otherwise the feel is nice.
A seasonal that's always worth waiting for.

Serving type: bottle

04-30-2006 02:16:31 | More by garymuchow
Photo of ADR
ADR

Pennsylvania

4.13/5  rDev +7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2005 23:31:09 | More by ADR
Photo of allengarvin
allengarvin

Texas

3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Oops, I forgot to review this at Christmas. Fortunately, I saved several. 12-oz bottle, poured into a 2003 Anchor OSA glass. Dark black color, ruby-tinted on the edges, with a small head the color of a lightly poured creme brule. Roasty malt nose, maybe with vanilla beans? Flavor is roasted--perhaps slightly burnt--malt, generally sweet with few spices. The usual pine-resin/juniper/evergreen flavor is missing this year. There might be just a touch of ginger in here. Body is moderate to thin.

The weakest OSA since the 1999 batch, in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2006 02:01:21 | More by allengarvin
Photo of stereosforgeeks
stereosforgeeks

Virginia

3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

12-17-2012 16:00:31 | More by stereosforgeeks
Photo of matjack85
matjack85

Illinois

2.75/5  rDev -28.8%

02-12-2013 01:20:23 | More by matjack85
Photo of bditty187
bditty187

Nebraska

3.28/5  rDev -15%
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…

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2006 16:08:53 | More by bditty187
Photo of ClockworkOrange
ClockworkOrange

Pennsylvania

3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2010 05:11:33 | More by ClockworkOrange
Photo of lackenhauser
lackenhauser

Maryland

3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2005 02:34:24 | More by lackenhauser
Photo of TastyTaste
TastyTaste

Minnesota

4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2005 04:38:02 | More by TastyTaste
Photo of rye726
rye726

Colorado

4/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-19-2008 04:23:03 | More by rye726
Photo of JamLand
JamLand

Texas

3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

07-01-2013 22:51:01 | More by JamLand
Photo of arizcards
arizcards

Arizona

3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2006 23:56:17 | More by arizcards
Our Special Ale 2005 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 271 ratings.