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.
BA SCORE
87
very good

239 Reviews
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 239
Hads: 273
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 11.11%
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 (26) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 239 | Hads: 273
Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.03/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle split and poured into a Corsendonk Christmas Ale stemmed glass. 2005 Vintage.

Thanks to Sweemzander for sharing this beer!

A - Dark ruby amber, mostly black looking, with a low tan head. Low retention to the loose bubbles but left a big ring and a thin blanket. Bits of lacing stuck to the glass.

S - Very potent aroma on the pour. A bit of soy sauce mixes in with a deep malty bread nose and a dark fruit blend of raising and plum with molasses. Very funky. Not too appetizing but definitely intriguing.

T - For as potent as the aroma is, the taste is very thin. A roasted raisin bread flavor that comes and goes pretty quickly. A sharp but short burst of soy sauce is there too. Its just too plain.

M - Smooth with a dry bitter finish. Low carbonation aids in its drinkability a bit. Thin feeling too.

D - Really not bad for a 2005 bottle, but it's definitely not a beer to be aged. The aroma is potent and funky while the flavor is just lacking. Just not good this far out. (995 characters)

Photo of Naes
3.03/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Almost black in color with a tall tan head.
The aroma is of malts and spice, mostly cinnamon.
The flavor has many unique tones. There is a malty base that gives way to the spices. Cinnamon, many other spices and a slight coffee flavor are the ones that jump out at me. The hops are not very intense, yet remain noticeable throughout.
Mouth feel is light bodied and generously carbonated. (391 characters)

Photo of nortmand
2.95/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pours brown with a hint of red. Huge, fluffy brown head.

Smell is chocolate, allspice, fennel. Very nice.

Very astringent flavor. Not infected sour, just harsh roasted barley sour. The spices are hidden beneath the astringency. Not my cup of tea. Leaves a harsh hop bitterness that has no malty back bone.

Thin, watery mouth, very little body. The appearance and smell of this beer scream "huge", but then there is nothing. A thin, lifeless beer, I'm not sure what to make of it. (488 characters)

Photo of Terp96
2.79/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Had this on my last trip to Max's in Fells Point. Usually, I get anxious to get this beer around this time of year as it has always been one of my favorites.

This year's version is a little darker than last year. A very deep reddish-brown with a slightly brownish head. The head stuck around until about mid-pint.

Smells okay. Somewhat roasted flavor. Minimal hop presence. Can definitely smell the usual holiday spices.

Taste was all malt. Not that this is bad but the complex and abundant flavors of roasted malt, hops, nutmeg, cinnamon, etc. don't come through as in year's past.

Mouthfeel was terrible. Was this watered down? I seriously asked myself. Very thin and unusually high in carbonation.

Not very drinkable for the simple fact that it didn't taste that good. I couldn't wait to get through this to move onto something else.

Anchor has failed me for the first time, and hopefully, the last. (924 characters)

Photo of sweemzander
2.78/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle poured into a stemmed glass. No bottled date, but its the '05 vintage.

(A)- Pours a thick dark brown color that is totally opaque. Produced a thick tan to brown head that dissipated quickly.

(S)- Potent burnt raisin bread & a slightly sour cherry/soy sauce; almost salty finish/ Fig-like, but in a funky way. Overly flat, sour cola like aromas. Bits of brown sugar.

(T)- Very thin; the age definitely has diminished the potency & richness of what this would be fresh. Very bread-like with roasted raisins that turn into a sour coffee thing. The taste definitely has diminished.

(M)- Good to see it still has good carbonation, but the feel of the beer just seems thin & watery at this stage.

(D)- Surprisingly kinda drinkable, but funky & watery. This much age definitely was too much, however, I am glad I was able to try it anyways. Not awful though. (874 characters)

Photo of chOAKbarrell
2.71/5  rDev -30%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I remember the first time I had Anchor's O.S.A., and a friend telling me how it tasted like they used Worcestershire sauce in it. I couldn't really tell then, and I still can't tell now.

I'm sure this is supposed to be a pretty solid winter brew. But after drinking most of a six pack on 5 different occassions, I just cant help thinking that there is this "soapy" flavor/texture to the beer. It really turns me off.

I'm not picking up much of anything in the smell. That's probably more my fault, as I'm not exactly sure of what to look (smell) for.

The taste... like I said, there's this wierd texture & flavor that makes me think of soap. There's somewhat of an unpleasant aftertaste to this beer as well. Kind of sour, and it lingers.

After all is drank and done, I guess I have to say that there just doesnt seem like there's much depth to this beer. It reminds me of
Michelob Amber Bock in that it is dark, but dark without a whole lot of substance. The carbonation seems a bit high, and it is just not much of a pleasant drink. At $10 a six pack, I will not be having this again. (1,100 characters)

Photo of Frozensoul327
2.68/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

A unique winter warmer from the Anchor Brewing Co. Poured out to a dark cherry color with a lively head of foam that calmed to about 1/4 inch. Aroma is very spicy - ginger, nutmeg, some plumb. Taste was too, ah, I don't know how to put it. To me it tasted like what I would imagine a Holly Bush to taste like. Maybe that is what they were going for. Very strong elements of green trees, some over sour cherries, some hops. Mouthfeel had substance to it, but not enought to make up for the odd and unappealing flavor. I probably wouldn't into another anytime soon... (565 characters)

Photo of jj21
2.68/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I was looking forward to this one since purchasing it last winter as a closeout. I drank one right away (I should have reviewed it looking back) and it was great. Nice and hoppy. Since this is supposed to age well, I thought, why not. Let me tell you why not.

Pours Dark brown with decent carbonation and a strange colored head- almost a hint of green(?) to it. Aroma was way too much juniper. I couldn't figure out what I hated about it until reading a few reviews after tasting and then it hit me. That's all I could smell and it was hard to get anything else but there were the usual dark fruits and other spices. The flavor didn't offer much more than the aroma. Too much juniper on the nose. The mouthfeel was nice though. Lighter than expected and lively carbonation. All-in-all, a dissapointment. Next time, I'll drink them fresh. Live and learn. (856 characters)

Photo of jwff
2.61/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours ruby black with red and brown edges and a nice head that slowly works itself down. Smells like nutmeg, cinnamon, and something I can only describe as buttery sweetness. Wish I knew what to put my finger on because it appears in the taste as well as the predominant flavor. Possibly ginger? Taste is underwhelming because of this predominant flavor, but is eased a bit by some toffee and a hint of hops in the finish. Cinnamon and nutmeg are also noted. Mouthfeel has a slight grittiness, but a drying one as if to leave unsweetened cocoa powder on the tongue. I feel like I need to brush my teeth to get this flavor out of my mouth. Don't think I'll be gettin this one again. (681 characters)

Photo of cokes
2.59/5  rDev -33.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Muddied blackened orange floating a sticky ecru mushroom.
Gingerbread and bread pudding nose, laid with fig jam, root vegetables, and cocoa powder.
Begins with a gingersnap maltiness that flees disjointedly towards sweeter things. Molasses draped sassafras, brown-sugared carob, orange paste, and date-heavy fruit cake. An astringency washes through midway, and is somewhat welcome, as it rids the mouth of the beginnings of cloy. Winds down with an uptick of ginger, and especially allspice, along with a notion of burnt potatoes, and concludes with a lazy impression spruce. Mentholated cherry preserves and singed gingersnap goop cling past the swallow.
The puffy body apes airiness up front, but soon gels into a coalgulated syrup, yet still maintaining a thin indistictness of structure. By the end of the first glass, I was working on finishing it, not enjoying it. Everything here seems to compete against itself.
The result is atonal and abrasive.
It should be noted that I've never been a big fan, and this year's will keep me off the bandwagon for another calendar year. (1,087 characters)

Photo of ChiSox05
2.38/5  rDev -38.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured a viscous half-used motor oil shade of brown with a 1/2" head that dissipated into a ring around the surface of the beer.
Smells of ginger, pine, some other unknown spices and a bit chemical.

Tasted a lackluster slightly sweet malt and then a cloying rush of raw ginger took over. Couldn't help but to think of someone taking ginger slices often served with sushi and grinding them into my beer. Right afterwards there was an unappetizing astringency that I couldn't pin down.
Looks heavier than it actually feels, I'd say its medium in body with latent carbonation that smooths it out.

Man, what a let down this was. I won't buy this one again, suffered through most of the bottle. Can't believe this is from the usually reliable Anchor. (753 characters)

Photo of cameraman
2.18/5  rDev -43.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A dark brown color with hints of red, the head is a nice tan color and sustains very well. The first scent is of alot of spices from ginger and nutmeg, no hop or malt aromas are present. The taste the spices are pretty evident and then strangely enough some hop flavor comes in at the end. The taste is very unbalanced, the spices and the hops seem to counter one another. The mouthfeel is like a very thin syrup and a little oily, there is a tingle of carbonation at the end. This was very disappointing, the flavors just did not seem to fit together. (552 characters)

Photo of Mitchster
1.92/5  rDev -50.4%
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. (1,172 characters)

Photo of tpd975
1.84/5  rDev -52.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a nice dark cola color with very little head.

S: Very pungent aromas. Smoke and pine right out front. A touch of vanilla along with cherry and apple. Over ripe raisons really linger with touches of rum. Unique aromas but a little too much for me.

T: Pretty complex. Dark fruits kissed with brandy and gin. Vanilla and a very deep dark malty taste.

M: Medium bodied and smooth.

D: Not really. Not a favorite of mine

Just too much going on here. I can't get past the aroma on this one. It is not pleasing as I raise it to the mouth. The taste is just a mix of several things that don't really mesh together. Not one I will revisit. (643 characters)

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