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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.
very good

271 Ratings

(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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Ratings: 271 | Reviews: 239 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of woodychandler


4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2006 18:22:05 | More by woodychandler
Photo of carrollmel7

North Carolina

4.25/5  rDev +10.1%

09-01-2012 04:32:08 | More by carrollmel7
Photo of taez555


4.28/5  rDev +10.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2005 00:00:22 | More by taez555
Photo of kmpitz2


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 PatYoda


4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-25-2006 23:15:46 | More by PatYoda
Photo of EPseja

New Jersey

4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2006 01:46:18 | More by EPseja
Photo of champ103


4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

12-28-2008 03:42:49 | More by champ103
Photo of KarlHungus


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 ProfessorHops


4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2006 15:41:31 | More by ProfessorHops
Photo of jameaterblues

New York

4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2006 16:36:26 | More by jameaterblues
Photo of mnapier


4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
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

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2008 03:18:35 | More by mnapier


4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2006 02:57:05 | More by MUSHROOMCLOUD
Photo of murrayswine


4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
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!

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2006 06:46:35 | More by murrayswine
Photo of nvsblman


4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2006 20:04:38 | More by nvsblman
Photo of hero27


4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2005 00:01:20 | More by hero27
Photo of kosmoraios


4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
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!

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2005 03:58:20 | More by kosmoraios
Photo of TheLongBeachBum


4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2005 08:13:55 | More by TheLongBeachBum
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
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

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2006 01:06:15 | More by brentk56
Photo of edchef1850

New York

4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

12-31-2005 02:31:00 | More by edchef1850
Photo of GClarkage


4.38/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11/08/05- Purchased at Beverages and More in San Mateo, CA.

Presentation- 12oz bottles right off the truck. Can't get much fresher unless had at the brewery. Poured into my Pike Brewery pint glass.

Appearance- Porter-like dark color with some dark cherry highlights. 3/4 inch off white head with light lacing.

Smell- A bit more subdued scent than the 2003 or 2004. Lots of spices. Mainly some nutmeg and cinnimon. Some dark sweet malt as well.

Taste- Ahhh, this one is better than the '04 IMO. This one doesn't taste like you are bitting down on a spruce tree branch. There is a touch of spruce or tree like flavor though. Heavy on the sweet caramel and the cinnimon and nutmeg spices. Maple sryup sweetness as well.

Mouthfeel- Thicker and sweeter than expected. Pretty smooth and creamy.

Drinkability- This one is very drinkable. Maybe a tad too sweet, but overall worth the purchase to drink and age.

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2005 22:45:37 | More by GClarkage
Photo of czechsaaz


4.38/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very spicey aroma. Licorice maybe this year? Similar to past OSA in aroma. Not terribly hoppy, just a hint, some darker malt character and lots of spicey and yeasty esters. Very nice.

Dark brown, almost black, thick tan head. Does let some light through when held up and appears clear but it's dark enough to not really matter.

Rich and toasty, a generous amount of darker malts in there. Also has that slightly acidic flavor that comes from roast malts (think dry stout). I get licorice again in the spicing (Anchor never reveals the spicing from year to year). Fairly subdued spicing. Looking at my notes from the past few years, this was highly spiced (including huge spruce some years.) This is much more subtle. Sweet malty aftertaste, brown malt or mild malt flavor mostly.

A little light on the body but the rich flavor makes it seem pretty satisfying. Carbonation level is medium.

Very nice offering this year. It has enough of what I love about OSA but is a lot more tame than previous years. I could probably get the misses to drink this which I haven't been able to do before. (She comlains that it's too spicy) Probably not an ager like some other years versions but I'll try it anyway.

Serving type: on-tap

11-28-2005 22:41:03 | More by czechsaaz
Photo of PBRstreetgang


4.38/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark mahogany with clear ruby highlights. Brown sugar in color and extra creamy, the generous two finger head holds well and leaves spectacular lacing that coats the glass. Molasses and ginger root in the nose, with roasted barley, vanilla, and faint pine hops becoming more evident as it warms. Rich roasted coffee notes, with a hint of black patent. The malty flavor is matched by equally strong spices flavor like cinnamon and ginger. Dry american hop aftertaste with spices holding on and becoming very apparent in the finish. Medium-full body and lively carbonation give the mouthfeel a crisp character and break up the residual finish. No doubt the best winter seasonal on the market.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2005 10:32:55 | More by PBRstreetgang
Photo of timtheenchanta

South Carolina

4.4/5  rDev +14%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Half a shade from black. Very very dark brown with slim edges of red shining through. Aggressive pour leaves a slightly disappointing one finger head but the thick sticky lacing makes up for it. Huge spicy nose! Freshly baked gingerbread cookies and cinnamon. Slight chocolatey malt smell in the back. The first thing I notice is how smooth and creamy this brew is. Wow. This feels heavenly on the mouth. Little bit of a chocolate malt taste to this one with faint hidden spices. This has to be one of the sweetest alcohol tastes I've ever experienced. It's almost fruity. The palate is mostly spice. Thirty-one thanks go out to hero27 for this wonderful brew.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2006 00:33:08 | More by timtheenchanta
Photo of granger10


4.4/5  rDev +14%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2005 14:32:20 | More by granger10
Photo of cracgor


4.4/5  rDev +14%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A nice looking beer. Very dark brown with a flimsy tan head. Little bits of head stick to the glass. Smells really great. Strong chocolatey malts and a touch of sourness but a surprising spice in it. Sort of reminds me of Gingerbread cookies. I only wish I could taste it more in the flavor. The flavor is more straightforward, a nice chocolatey malt. The gingerbread flavor comes out in the back and as it warms up. Medium body. A little astringent. And just enough warmth to feel it in my stomach. This is very good. I enjoy drinking it very much. Hope to save a couple to try it out with age:-D

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2005 01:51:06 | More by cracgor
Our Special Ale 2005 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 271 ratings.