Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...

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
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 TheLongBeachBum
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2005 OSA - Sampled Fresh

Presentation: Oh so familiar short fat squat clean lined 12 fluid ounce heavily seamed Anchor bottle. The OSA format is, as always, maintained to perfection. The cream colored label has red writing and a green picture of a "Quercus Agrifolia" (Coast Live Oak) as the chosen foliage for the 2005 label.

Appearance: Served, for once, in the right glassware (I happened to snap up a 2005 straight sided gold rimmed Pint Glass) the body has a glazed but clear dark mahogany with ruby flashes. Thick and creamy tan colored head seems to have excellent retention in the Anchor OSA2005 Pint Glass for some reason, does it know it’s in the proper glass maybe!? Average carbonation, but a generally a very good presentation.

Nose: Spicy as always but a heady gingery tingle fingers the testicles of the malty middle and Brandy Snap ending. Thermal gradients reveal chocolate, oak and warm freshly baked Gingerbread soaked and covered in a melting home made Vanilla Ice-Cream. Damn good.

Taste: Hints of currants and warm Parkin (a Yorkshire delicacy made with Oatmeal and Treacle) fill the mouth. The middle has a feel so reminiscent of Lyles Golden Syrup, which adds a rich depth to this years treat. Dark malts are nicely hidden. Feels so English at times,

Mouthfeel: The head never disappeared, neither did the carbonation. Aerated like a freshly baked soft Gingerbread Man, yet as soft as melting Vanilla Ice Cream it has it all. Spicy and enthralling.

Drinkability: Almost cracked another one straight from my Six-Pack, I loved it.

Overall: My favorite, at least of the OSA’s that I have tried whilst residing in the USA since 2001, has always remained the 2002. Yet, unlike others, I actually took to the OSA2005 quickly and enjoyed the 2005 straight off the bat….

…you know I always tried to explain to myself why I love OSA so much, and strangely enough, for a brew from one of, if not the, first American Craft Brewers, I think it is because it has a very English Dickensian Christmas feel to it; my fellow Limeys that love Lyle’s Black Treacle and Golden Syrup, McVitie’s Jamaica Ginger Cake and English Brandy Snaps will know exactly what I mean. This is a winner, not as good as the 2002 but a close second; I will not be missing the opportunity to get a Magnum of this one if I can. (2,343 characters)

Photo of brentk56
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a dark dark brown body with a tan head that leaves splasy lacing all over the place

Smell: Gingerbread, dark chocolate, prunes and nutmeg

Taste: Starts out with a dark fruity, spicy (ginger and nutmeg) compote; mid-palate, some bitterness kicks in along with a molasses bent; the overall effect is a subtle blend of dark chocolate and licorice

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: This is a great vintage year for Anchor; it really comes together for me (511 characters)

Photo of edchef1850
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I thouroughly enjoyed this years offering from Anchor, a wonderful aroma waftsd up to my nose as i stare into the glass , a guy sitting next to me comparing it to used motor oil, a pretty accurate parallel but oh so misleading. Nice spice in the mouth subtle but real, i dont get a lot of hop in this brew but its not a malt bomb either. its a really drinkable beer, i could drink it all night long no problem. A great beer for a cold december night sitting in a bar with friends enjoying the holidays. (502 characters)

Photo of kosmoraios
4.32/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Grabbed a 6 of this at World Market. Pours a deep, opaque brown with bright ruby highlights when held up to the light. Head is tan in color, and dissipates quickly but rings the glass to the end of the ale.

Aroma is of spices - cinnamon, anise, ginger, tamarind - some pineyness on top of caramelized sugar. Malt is prevalent in the nose. Taste is excellent - dark fruit and spices. Figs, plums, some malty sweetness along with the anise and cinnamon. There is a bit of a flavor that I can't quite pin down .. just barely on the edge of my brain. I almost want to say lightly smoky, but that isn't quite it. I saw that another reviewer noticed the same thing. The hint of pine and dark, warm flavor is just superb for a winter warmer.

The mouthfeel is smooth and a bit oily, with very fine carbonation. Very well done. Very drinkable, not overpowering. You could easily enjoy a 6-pack of these in front of the fire over the course of cold winter's evening. A very well-done winter ale from Anchor. I love this time of year! (1,031 characters)

Photo of champ103
4.32/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark ruby brown color. A two finger beige head forms and leaves some sticky lace.
S: Of rich, dark roasted malt. A dark roasted coffee flavor and chocolate. Some dark fruits. A hint of spices and peppermint. Three years has been great to this beer.
T: This has a wonderful roasted malt, chocolate and coffee flavor. A light twang of hops. Spice, peppermint, and pine flavors are very light. Very porter like IMO.
M/D A medium to full body. A light crisp snap of carbonation, and a good creaminess follows. This is easy and smooth to put away.

I had this recently at the Gingerman in Houston. They had a vertical of the 05, 07, and 08 Our Special Ale's. This is without a bought the best of the three. The spicy peppermint flavor has really taken a back seat here. Instead of being up front and center, it is a nice compliment to the other roasted malt flavors. (872 characters)

Photo of mnapier
4.32/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed, 01132008. Service Temperature 40 degrees. Service Glassware, 12 ounce Tulip.

Appearance is on the level of dark and with little or no light throughout. The foamy head is salt and pepper with a modest fine hair of lace left behind. The aroma, a little bit of oak with some brown sugar, mild cinnamon, and mild cloves, waft across my nose. As I sip the dark fluid across my tongue, I detect mild spices; such as cinnamon, all spice; along with some biscuit & a medium hop back end.
Overall mouthfeel still remains heavy, and my feeling is that this has at least another year in it. Cheers (599 characters)

Photo of MUSHROOMCLOUD
4.32/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - 1/4" tan, creamy head. Hangs around nicely until it finally falls to a spotted cap. Dark brown - porter like in appearance. Great sheet of lace.

S - Spice cake. Cinamon. Orange. Ginger. Nutmeg. Clove. Rich.

T - Malt. Sweet. Spices. Ginger. Clove. Molasses cookie.

M - Full, creamy mouthfeel.

D - Very, very nice. (328 characters)

Photo of murrayswine
4.32/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is some damn fine beer!

Poured a lot darker than I thought it would, a blood ruby with brown murk. Very good head retention.
The smell is subtle candy sweetness, light, airy malts, and a slight English style hop sense, I smell Fuggle, though I have no idea what the hops really are.
The taste is slightly tart at first, like a dubbel. Sweet with yeast. low dark fruits and a slight nutty toffee finish round this beer out.
Damn fine brew! (449 characters)

Photo of hero27
4.32/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz stubby bottle. I always look forward to the Christmas Ale from Anchor..

Pours a very dark auburn. Tan head that holds quite well but a little too oily too leave much for lacing. Smell is always heavenly...big chocolate aroma with a piney hop presence that smells just like Christmas tree needles. Taste seems more "piney" than last year..less gingerbread noticed..also seems less bready in general..more astringent. Some spices mixed in also, leaving a cinnamon & ginger aftertaste mixed with the dark chocolate flavors. You really do need to let this baby warm up to you to let the flavor come out. I pour this and let it sit for 10 minutes before taking the first sip. It's very complex for a beer only a tad over 5% alcohol, but the flavors are masked under 45-50 degrees. Overall, not quite as good as last years (in my opinion), but I'll sit a few bottles down for a year or two to compare. Still a great, highly unique seasonal from Anchor. (954 characters)

Photo of EPseja
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this one from both a 12oz bottle as well as a magnum (which I prefer), so this review is a concatenation of both experiences.

Served in a pint glass at just below cellar temperature.

A - Pours a clear, deep chestnut color, spawning a creamy medium tan head that rises to a respectable two fingers. The head remains for quite some time, setting its hooks into the side of the glass as a base for some beautiful lacing. A fine looking brew indeed.

S - Ah, there's that good old OSA smell... for some reason, even though each year's batch is different, there is still that common Anchor smell -- clean, crisp, and wintery. Warm, roasted malts with notes of cinnamon and nutmeg, offset by a blanket of piney hoppiness. Hints of vinous alcohol are also present, but in amounts small enough to keep it from being a detractor. This beer smells delicious and inviting like a warm fire on a chilly night.

T - The first thing in the mouth is a fire-ember smokiness that belies a rauchbier tone. This is quickly supplanted by a full-bodied but clean maltiness. The swallow brings out notes of dark, dried fruit and finishes up with a great hoppy dryness that rounds out the flavors. This is one tasty brew.

M - Fairly active carbonation that leads to a tinge of over-sudsing in the mouth. However, this beer remains creamy and smooth despite that one shortcoming.

D - Happy New Year! Now pick a good winter beer and stick with it for the rest of the evening. No problems. I've got my Anchor OSA right here and I intend to savor it all night long. Unless of course you'd like a sip... in which case I'd be glad to spread the word like a good BA. (1,655 characters)

Photo of jameaterblues
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was the first Anchor OSA that I have ever had. It was also the first spiced beer that did not overwhelm me. A friend's father sent it to me when they came to visit....I really wish I had a whole six pack.

The color of the beer was a dark brown/blackish tint...with a head that remained me of the anchor porter. This beer was much darker than I expected it to be, but that ended up being a good thing.

The smell was nice and roasty...the malt was very much prevalent, and the spicing really did remind me of the holidays....even though I was trying to be done with them.

Taste also remained me of a porter, but not quite as heavy. It had a nice cinnamon and spice flavor in the body and the finish. It was very nice medium to heavy body, and was slightly heavy on the stomach.

Drinkability: I really wished that I had more of this beer, especially to save for next year. If you can still find it I highly recommend giving it a try. (951 characters)

Photo of nvsblman
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed as part of vertical tasting including '03, '04, and '05 versions in Jan 2005.

Nearly opaque dark brown with about a finger of slightly brown head. Brown sugar, pine, coffee, and spices in the aroma. A little more aromatic than the older versions. The flavors already seem to be blending well with this one! Roasty malts, caramel, and spruce with some nice cinnamon and nutmeg notes. Meduim bodied and well carbonated. This is already drinking so well I'm not sure that there's much room to improve this with age. (524 characters)

Photo of woodychandler
4.29/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This poured with a huge, deep-tan/light-brown head above a very dark colored liquid that was deep-brown with garnet undertones. The nose was spicy, like a mix of pine and nutmeg. Yow! The mouthfeel was thick and full, with a cinnamon-like spiciness on the tongue. As it warmed, it took on a chocolaty-fudgy aspect both in taste and mouthfeel. It left behind one of the most really sticky Belgian laces that I have seen in a long time. (434 characters)

Photo of PatYoda
4.28/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with ruby highlights. This leaves a great 2 finger cream colored head that takes forever to go away and leaves some solid lacing. Smell is very unique - I get some spices, maybe some cinnamon, definitely some bready malt, and a toffee aroma.

The taste imparts a strong toffee flavor onto the palate which lingers for a loooong time in the finish. Along with that is the cinnamon and other spices also found in the smell, and a vinous, dark fruity flavor. I also get some herbal hops in the finish. I love it!

The mouthfeel is plenty full enough that it complements the brew nicely and adds some serious smoothness. The drinkability here is only hindered by the herbal flavor and the toffee which never seem to leave the palate. (751 characters)

Photo of loving44
4.27/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours creamy and inviting. Dark ruby almost black with an inch or so of bubbly tan head.

This brew smells absolutely delicious. The first thing that came to my mind was fresh gingerbread cookies… ginger, cinnamon, and sugary molasses sweetness. A very soothing aroma that just screams Christmas!

As I sipped this brew I again was bombarded by the gingerbread flavor. A nice balance of spice and sweetness with tight carbonation. It leaves your tongue feeling tingly from the spice and the hops are very well balanced with little bitterness. Although very tasty now, I think it would benefit from some aging to mellow the flavors a bit.

This beer has a very nice creamy syrupy thick mouth feel and is rather light on the tongue due to the tight but persistent carbonation.

I could probably drink these all night but this beer is such a special treat it really needs to be savored slowly and with care... I'm going to age a few bottles for sure!! (958 characters)

Photo of silver0rlead
4.27/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a viscous ink black with a nice tan head that recedes fairly quickly. The aroma starts off with gingerbread, followed by some molasses, nutmeg, cinammon, vanilla, oak, chocolate and christmas tree pine. The flavor doesnt stray much from past years, with big gingerbread notes, molasses, vanilla, oak nutmeg, cinammon, pine tree, dark fruits (plum, fig, grape), chocolate and some light floral and piney hop notes. Mouthfeel is rich and smooth with medium body and light carbonation and drinkability is quite good. Another nice edition of OSA, a favorite winter seasonal of mine, very christmas-ey and quite tasty (618 characters)

Photo of ProfessorHops
4.27/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- dark with a beige head. Nothing deceptive or over eccentric about the look.

Smell- sweet, sassy, with elements of cedar.

Taste- excellent. Most seasonal X-mas brews are just a cheesy version of their regular brew, with some cinnamon added. But this one is different. Anchor went out to achieve something new with this brew, and I commend them on it. Plus they added some of the cheesy spices as well.

Mouthfeel- moderately light.

Drinkability- not as easy as it could be. But keep in mind it's a winter warmer, not a winter quencher.

One of the finniest X-mas beers I've ever had. The 31st Christmas recipe by Anchor, they change it every year. I hope next year's is as good as this one. (714 characters)

Photo of malty
4.27/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cola colored liquid with a healthy 1" beige head.

Lovely aroma of figs, coffee, licorice, lavender, pinesap, chocolate & mint. The dark roasted malts smell so very FRESH, almost as if they were right there damp in the palm of your hands.

The flavors are slight variations of the aroma, but still very similar. I definitely get the coffee & chocolate notes mixed with the piney hops flavors also. There's also a hint of jasmine hidden way in the back.

Mouthfeel is a little softer and lighter than previous years, but that's a good thing IMHO. Medium bodied with a velvety soft feel thanks to the ultra fine carbonation coming in at just the right level. A somewhat dry and chalky (long and flavorful) finish.

Drinkability is very nice. Again, since this year's version is a bit lighter in body and the flavor profile is 'simpler', I sure can see me putting a few of these babies to bed before putting myself to bed. An excellent choice on this Christmas morning. (983 characters)

Photo of goochpunch
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours an absolute pitch black with a mountainous cafe au lait head that forms peaks and valleys and leaves some strung out lacing. Nose is a mix of roasted malt, rye bread, star anise, cinnamon, ginger, dark chocolate, molasses and butter cookies. Taste is composed of dark roast malts, marbled rye, and cane syrup with an undiscernable and subdued spice presence than in the nose. Finishes with a slight lactic twang, hop bitterness, mild citrus hops, and lingering chocolate and coffee flavors. Mouthfeel is really to thin and a little too bubbly for this. Not watery, just not all I think it could or should be. Goes down really fast, but this would be a lot more drinkable if it were more substantial. Wish I would've gotten this fresh almost a year ago. (758 characters)

Photo of taez555
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a dark black body with a very small off-white head.

Taste was medium to full bodied. A very light carbonation. Tastes are an amazing mixture of licorice, soft cocoa powder, milk chocolate, coffee and very subtle spices. There's a nice even but not overpowering bitterness. It's almost reminisant of a dobel bock in the big malt character, but it's clearly an ale. Hops are present and give it a nice balance of earth to to the malt.

Wow!! This is one great beer. Not overly hoppy or bitter, with just enough malt to make it oh so tasty. The perfect beer to sit and drink while taking in the relatives over the holiday season. (649 characters)

Photo of orfeu
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle. Glowing transparent burgundy with a fluffy beige head. Aromas of cloves, cinnamon, and orange pulp, maybe allspice, too. Cloves predominate and lend this beer one of it's most unique and fascinating characteristics. The aforementioned "holiday" spices emerge in the taste (yet again, cloves are the strongest and most recognizable flavor), but an orange-lime juice acidity emerges as well. Initially airy and light, the mouthfeel follows through as primarily juicy. Medium-thin body. Not as roasty, malty, or heavy-bodied as other winter seasonals, but Anchor's offering is always interesting, and at best quite intriguing and tasty. I'm looking forward to next xmas already. (690 characters)

Photo of kmpitz2
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
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. (679 characters)

Photo of plaztikjezuz
4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours a deep dark brown with a little off white head.
the smell of an unidentifed spice is present, carmel, slight hopsack.
the flavor is very rich and malty the spice maybe nutmeg?? slight hop flavor.
the enjoyed this beer i have had itin the past and it seems not as spiced this year.
beer is very drinkable over a winter fire. (333 characters)

Photo of garymuchow
4.22/5  rDev +9%
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. (672 characters)

Photo of macpapi
4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

As Christmas is approaching and my semester of teaching is over, I thought it would be a good time to try a cult classic type of beer. This was my choice.

Anchor Christmas pours a unique black color, with a hint of purple tinge. Fascinating coloring. Nice, active tannish head with pretty decent lacing.

Smells very spicy, somewhat fruty and malty on the whole. Nutmeg and cinnamon are present. I also detect a combination of strong fruits like figs and raisins with spice. Very strong and unique.

The taste is malty and sweet. Chocolate is most obvious on the palate. Strong spice quality. The sharpness provided by the spice is very impressive

Full and spicy in the mouth. A very strong presence, with a crisp, spiced sharpness. Balanced, complex and weighty.

Overall this is a more than drinkable beer. Perfect for Christmas Eve or New Year's parties. (869 characters)

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