1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Our Special Ale 2006 (Anchor Christmas Ale) - Anchor Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Our Special Ale 2006 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2006 (Anchor Christmas Ale)

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

278 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 278
Reviews: 247
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 10.74%
Wants: 1
Gots: 8 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: TastyTaste on 10-28-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Our Special Ale 2006 (Anchor Christmas Ale) Alström Bros
Ratings: 278 | Reviews: 247 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of cbl2
3.48/5  rDev -11%

11/23/2006 $9.99 6 pack 5.50% No best by date. Coded 6SG.


Pours almost pitch black, with just a tinge of ruby red apparent when exposed to direct light. Topped with a half inch of tan soda-like foam that settles slowly.


Raisins, dark brown sugar, molasses a touch of nutmeg and perhaps some ginger.


Much less piney than in years past, this is dominated by raisins and molasses with notes of brown sugar and nutmeg/ginger as the nose indicated. Mouthfeel is a little thin.

cbl2, Nov 23, 2006
Photo of EStreet20
3.3/5  rDev -15.6%

12 ounce bottle poured into a 20 ounce nonic pint glass.

A - Pours out a deep brown with a beautiful reddish tint that really shows through when held up to light. A large head of tan bubbles sits atop. The brew really looks nice, with the appearance of a Pepsi/Coke other than the chunky, lasting head.

S - Has a spicy aroma along with some fruits.

T - Lots of spices up front along with an odd fruit flavor (Juicy fruit gum???) that I can't identify. A bit of an herbal taste as well.

M - A light body overall, decent carbonation.

D - This one is fairly light bodied but the flavors don't balance out well for me.

Notes: I definitely enjoyed last year's more. Still a decent spiced winter warmer.

EStreet20, Nov 23, 2006
Photo of tavernjef
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%

This years batch is made with Fagus sylvatica or commonly know as European Beech, which is a graceful, slow growing species with varying foilage colors and textures due its 5 main varieties found throughout Europe and the Eastern US and is widely planted for ornamental reasons.

Color is that of dark reddish brown with a shimmer clearing at the edges with a small, densely compacted and smoothed over sandy brown cap. Keeps a solid ring present once the cap goes away and very minimal lacing in a few spots and globs.

Aroma is of chocolate milk and ginger waffer cookies with a small hint of vanilla and some molasses. Smells like many other OSA's from past years with perhaps a bit less woody in spice. A bit more subdued here, much like last years batch, again, a none pine/spruce type tree being used is lessening the aroma to a much milder, yet chocolatey tone with a good amount of holiday cookie spice being brought forward. Nice. But damn if I don't miss those pine and spruce added years.

Flavors are mild yet fulfillingly nice and rounded. Great silky smooth texture makes way for a great milky chocolate gathering on the buds pulling in smoothed over additions of ginger, vanilla, nutmeg, licorice, and plum. Nice light drying floats off the finish with a touch of chocolate and little pinches of spices mingling in as is soothes over the palate very softly yet firmly.

A very fitting, smooth, and soft mouthfeel to this years' edition. Very supple, silky, and well-mannered in a delicately broadened medium to fullish boby. Again, it has a wonderfully placed and longing of chocolate all throughout its character. And that light drying finish carries off in a well-executed touch of chocolate and little smidgeons of the spices mingle. Very porter-esk, minus the robustness of roasted malt tones. This is all yummy chocolate.

Another edition, the 32nd to be exact, of the OSA has been accomplished by Anchor here in 2006. Another very easy going treat for this year. Smooth, chocolatey, and quite drinkable as the holiday season will surely be enjoyable with a few of these to be had.

tavernjef, Nov 23, 2006
Photo of Hibernator
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

Anchor Our Special Ale (2006)
12 oz brown bottle
Brewed on date for 6 O C [October 03, 2006]
Served in an Allagash tulip glass

Pours a deep & dark brown with ruby highlights on the bottom of the glass. A marvelous tan colored forms on the top of the beer and leaves stellar trails of lacings all over the glassware.

Potent nose with whiffs of freshly baked gingerbread cookies, cinnamon gum, milk chocolate and spices.

Creamy, smooth body and mouthfeel with a doughy bread quality. Flavors of dark roasted malts, baker’s chocolate, ginger, vanilla extract, spices, pine and brown sugar sweetness. Super complex and incredibly drinkable. The finish provides a lasting hop snap that I don’t remember being as prominent in previous years.

Hands down, one of my favorite wintertime releases. I was really excited when I spotted this on the shelves. I had been waiting patiently the past few weeks, but was glad because I can enjoy this beauty tomorrow on Thanksgiving. As usual, this special offering is certainly recommended.

Hibernator, Nov 22, 2006
Photo of MaltyGoodness
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%

12oz bottle

Pours a dark mahogany brown with mild ruby highlights. Has a creamy tan head that thins. Nice lacing on the glass.

Smells like gingerbread with a light toasted nuttiness and a hint of spruce.

Taste of nutmeg and ginger upfront followed by a light toasted nuttiness. A hint of hops appears along with a mild spruce flavor. Finishes rather clean and dry with a mild lingering gingerbread taste.

Light body, solid carbonation.

A very drinkable brew, and the best spiced winter brew available. Another good year for the OSA - and even better than last year's version.

MaltyGoodness, Nov 22, 2006
Photo of BeerRun13
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%

Awesome bottle. I'd love to use these for homebrewing, but they are twist off.

Pours a super dark burgundy color with more of a lighter cranberry color at the thinner spots of the glass. A nice light tan, creamy head fades a bit and leaves layers of thick lace.
Holliday spices with a sweet doughy aroma.
Nutmeg is the first noticeable flavor, and it is abundant but not cloying. Very nice and just right for the hollidays. A slight bitterness follows behind.
Medium to full bodied. Good carbonation. Spices almost leave a resiny/filmy feeling in the palate but only briefly.
Probably one of the better holliday beers that I've had.

BeerRun13, Nov 22, 2006
Photo of hero27
4.43/5  rDev +13.3%

12 oz bottle.

Easily one of the most anticipated seasonals for me. Anchor OSA gets me in the ("Christmas spirit" if you will) more than any other beer. Maybe it's the spices, maybe it's the aroma of gingerbread when you crack open that first one every year..heck, maybe it's the tree on the label...I'm not sure. But I've yet to be dissapointed by it, and this year was certainly no exception.

Very dark brown..some ruby hue in there, but not much. Tan head sticks around for a while, but isn't enormous like some previous years. Still that unique flavor of gingerbread, cinnamon/spices, roasted malt, and brown sugar. Many stouts taste the same, many IPAs taste similar...but Anchor OSA always stands out with it's unique character. Liked this a bit better than the 2005..and it's right on-par with the 2004 if you ask me. I will be having several sixers of this over the holidays.

hero27, Nov 21, 2006
Photo of flexabull
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%

Our Special Ale... always a beer I look forward to... and a great nightcap.

Pours deep dark brown, with a big light tan colored head.

Aromas are wonderful (as usual) Smells almost like egg nog, nutmeg, allspice, and some dark roasted malts... I could just sit here and smell this beer all night.

Beer is very toasty with some nutmeg like spice flavors. This seems to be a bit more subtle than prior vintages, still nice, but a notch or two below where it has been before.

Mouthfeel is good, this beer really coats your mouth, and the flavors really linger.

Even though this isn't quite as good as past years, it is still a must have beer for the winter months.

flexabull, Nov 20, 2006
Photo of drinknewbelgium
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%

pures a very dark brown some reddish hues nice head but leaves quickly smells of sweet fruit and sugary malts some hints of hops tastes lcreamy sweet malts tart cherries then hit by a waves of hops feels good in the mouth but has creamy qualities that you can drink a few of these

drinknewbelgium, Nov 19, 2006
Photo of jmz62565
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%

Pours a deep dark mahogony with a huge tan foamy head. The head leaves great lacing and lasts forever. The smell is cinnamon, pine, nutmeg, dark fruit, and "bisquity". The taste is malty with pine, christmas spices, alcohol, and brown sugar. The m/f is light with the complex flavors mixing very well. As usual, Anchor produces a beer that really makes you wish for Christmas. Merry Christmas.

jmz62565, Nov 18, 2006
Photo of Hammarby
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%

Pours with a fizz, almost soda like, which produces a kind of bubbly crown - as opposed to creamy - that dissapeares almost immediately. Dark brown color with a hint of ruby. Smell is, in my opinion, christmas like, with flavors of dried fruit alcohol and - tar. Swedes could possibly detect a bit of julmust. Taste a bit of supprise, but good. Again some wine-ish flavors (dried fruit and alcohol), which reminds me of my first encounter with an imperial stout, but not as rich. Some tar/smoke flavors, bitter and roasted. After taste dry with overtones of port and caramel. A very good beer, but not quite what I expected.

Hammarby, Nov 17, 2006
Photo of Westsidethreat
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

A: Head isn't nearly as pillowy as previous years, but it won't be a deal breaker. Has a medium smooth tope color which is falling fairly quickly. Body is a chocolate brown color, fairly clear for how dark it is.

S: Trademark pine, chocolate and hazelnut.

T: Begins malty with chocolate hints and nutmeg moments. Moves to a present but not overwhelming pine condition. Finishes bitter and roasted with earthy qualitities to it. Aftertaste is a bit overspiced and the nutmeg lingers too long on the palate.

M: Medium body, decent carbonation.

D: Not bad but certainly not one of my favorite vintages.

Westsidethreat, Nov 17, 2006
Photo of assurbanipaul
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%

Pours a brown-near-black with a tall firm khaki head. Aroma is roasted malt with just a hint of mild spices, possibly a piney anise with a hop back.

Taste is dry and roasty malt, not nearly as spiced as the nose would suggest. Roasted barley and black patent, caramel cola notes, a very mild licorice flavor, some dull hop bitterness. I like the faint hoppiness, it's a welcome addition that I haven't noticed in years past.

Mouthfeel is medium with little carbonation, very drinkable, even sessionable. An improvement over last year, IMO.

assurbanipaul, Nov 17, 2006
Photo of Phocion
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

Pours dark brown with just a slight reddish hue and a thick brown head that recedes into a single finger. Appetizing lacing after the head finally recedes to a thin crown on top of this magnificent beer.

Nose is predominately cinnamon/clove-type spice. Lightly roasted/chocolate malts with just a hint of pine or spruce.

A ton of spices covering up a tasty layer of bread dough. Light cocoa and lightly roasted malts with an even thinner hint of piney hops in the background and a nice warming presence.

Chewy and creamy medium-full mouthfeel and decent carbonation. Far from a session beer, but very drinkable nonetheless. The first swallows of this thing had me tempted to run into the living room and start up the fireplace. I'd definitely recommend this to anyone.

Phocion, Nov 16, 2006
Photo of Matthew
3.95/5  rDev +1%

Poured into a pint glass a dark maple syrup type color with a medium sized thick tannish head.
Sweet bready malt with cakey spice throughout the nose. Hints of ginger, cake batter, and light citrus rind in the background.
Light sweetness at first that include lightly roasted malt, sugary spiced cake, vanilla extract, faint lemony type flavors, and a bit of a warming character.
Judging from my initial pour I expected the mouthfeel to be a little bit fuller, its not bad but would suggest a slicker mouthfeel would do this beer a little bit of good.
A nice winter warmer to enjoy on a cold night.

Matthew, Nov 15, 2006
Photo of goochpunch
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%

Pours a deep black with ruby hues and an average sized cafe au lait head that thins out quite a bit. Leaves minimal lacing. Smells like fresh gingerbread cookies hit with a little of cinnamon and nutmeg. Also present is raw sugar cookie dough. A bit of pine resin and bitter orange aromas round it off in the end. In the flavor, I get lots of bready caramel malt, with some of those cookie tones carried over from the aroma. There is some roasted and toasted grain in there as well that follow the spiced middle and the citrus and pine needle flavors. Finishes kind of lactic, which puts me off just a tad. Mouthfeel is light to moderate with a slightly prickly carbonation. Drinkability is solid.

If only this would have lived up the nose. Myself, I'd take one from a previous year over this. Still, it's enjoyable.

goochpunch, Nov 14, 2006
Photo of edskirk3
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%

The 2006 Our Special Holiday Ale from Anchor pours what first appears to be a very dark brown, but when held up to the light it's actually a deep shade of ruby.

There's a lot going on in the aroma. Fruit, spices (nutmeg?), caramel, chocolate. No hops, but maybe a deciduous additive such as spruce or pine. I keep sniffing and sniffing to see what else I can pick up. It all melds together very well. Oh, and there's a creamy tan head; about a finger in depth.

The taste. I am first hit with the tartness of fruit. I want to say cranberry, but that seems unlikely to me. Perhaps it is a berry assortment. This is followed very closely by the spruce/pine. So closely that I wouldn't have noticed if I just gulped this stuff down. I am then treated to the smooth sensation of chocolate and caramel, a comfortable end to the sip. There's probably a lot of things I missed here but that's what I got out of it, and I am not complaining.

Merry Christmas. Yeah, that's right, Christmas.

edskirk3, Nov 14, 2006
Photo of acrawf6
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%

Pours out a very nice dark dark brown, pretty much black with a nice dark tan head.

Smell. Instant spices, very much a holiday beer. I get mostly cloves, but also cinnoman, nutmeg, and a touch of chocolate. Very nice.

Taste. A very flavorful, but mild beer. Spices are not as potent in the taste as the aroma, but still nice. Heavy roasted malts gives it a touch of smoke as well. Just enough of the hops to make it good and present, but certainly doesnt dominate- does it's job perfectly.

Mouthfeel. Body medium/full and fills my mouth very nicely. Great balance and good carbonation.

Overall a great christmas/holiday beer. I wish i could enjoy this one watching the snow fall, but that only happens down here about once every ten years. But a very enjoyable beer.

acrawf6, Nov 14, 2006
Photo of DogFood11
4.38/5  rDev +12%

This is the most unique brew I've had, it is a style all in its own. The spices are up front and there is depth to this offering I've yet to sample in another brew at this point. It pours a deep amber to red brew with tons of tan head and lace is ring style.

Lots of brown sugar and mollasses w/ spiced up cinnamon backside. Mouthfeel can get a bit foamy at times but that is being really petty with such an offering. Suggestions of coffee in the aftertaste. Without getting all technical, since I've reviewed previous years and this is almost a clone...This is simply outstanding. I did a 04-06 w/ some friends tonight and the recipe held true. Some variations due to aging or palate or recipe mutations but at the end of the day every version was awesome. Near Perfcet.

DogFood11, Nov 13, 2006
Photo of rajendra82
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%

The 2006 version of this Christmas season classic beer came in the signature stubby bottle from Anchor, and upon cracking open greeted me with a memorable smell of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. The beer looked gentle and inviting in the glass as a result of the translucent reddish brown body. Not a lot of head to speak of, and carbonation was low as well. The taste was spicy and malty, and a little difficult to pick apart at a young age. I prefer this beer with a year or so of age on it, as the flavors seem to open up a little more. This year's version seemed a little more approachable younger, with softer spicing and sweeter malts. Only downfall was thinner than ideal body. This is certainly a beer I look forward to each year. Each sip just makes me imagine that I am sitting by a crackling fire next to kindly Fritz and just at a loss for words for all the joy that he has given me with his products. May the Lord bless you Mr. Maytag.

rajendra82, Nov 13, 2006
Photo of BeerSox
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%

12oz bottle into mug.

Nearly opaque black with ruby red edges. Dark tan frothy head that lasts for a long time. Settles to a thick cap. The lacing is strong and layered along the glass.

Dark berry smell mixed with a little bit of molasses. Bits of spices mixed with nutmeg and a little bit of leafy hops.

Bittersweet malt flavors with a touch of dark berry. A touch of sweet creaminess mixes in along with the other bitter flavors. In the finish is some balancing hop bitterness. Thick feel with medium carbonation. Finishes with a light roasty bitterness.

The smell and taste of this one just seems special for the holiday season. A little heavier than other winter warmers, and this one has a fuller body. Recommended.

BeerSox, Nov 12, 2006
Photo of NEhophead
4/5  rDev +2.3%

2006 Edition.
12 fl oz brown bottle served in a snifter.

Mahogany/burgundy-tinted coal brown in color. Creamy, lightly tanned head that lingers as an intact sheet without receding. Dimpled and thin lacing that holds for a moment.

Dry, roasted maltiness; toffee and powdered milk chocolate. Intense fig, nutmeg, brown sugar, and date aromatics. Hints of dry allspice.

Dry and chewy roasted malts that give a bittered caramel, dark chocolate, and light toffee flavor. Dried, powdery spice profile: nutmeg and a touch of brown sugar. Big, earthen hop bite from beginning to end, that leaves a dry bitterness and a slight fig sweetness in the aftertaste.

Nearly full in body; gritty, earthen, yet dry and somewhat chewy. A nice balance of complex malts and hops, that is well received on the palate.

The 2006 OSA isn't my favorite OSA, but it's not a disappointment either. The OSAs are consistently some of the season's best U.S.-made Winter Warmers, and this year's offering is no different.

NEhophead, Nov 12, 2006
Photo of Mdog
3.43/5  rDev -12.3%

Appearance: Dark brown, but a unique reddish purple when held up to the light.

Smell: Sweetness, a little alcohol.

Taste: Toffee, sweet flavor with a strange candy-like aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Seems light to me.

Drinkability: Something about the spices and sweet flavors just doesn't do it for me.

Got a free bottle from the great guys at Dennis Brothers. I need some more practice on identifying spices compared to the other reviews. This is decent, but one a year is enough for me.

Mdog, Nov 12, 2006
Photo of slyke
4.43/5  rDev +13.3%

2006 Our Special Ale pours a dark ruby color (you need hold it to the light to differenciate from dark brown/black) with a tan rocky head. The head recedes to a cap that laces a little over the course of the beer.

The aroma is nutmeg, cinnamon, and pine. The beer smells like Christmas!

Taste is similar to the aroma. The aftertaste is chocolatey.

Mouthfeel is a little bready, about what I'd expect for this beer.

This is an easy drinking winter warmer. Not easy drinking in the way that I will pour it down my gullet; but in the way that an afternoon with a few OSAs within reach will be an afternoon well spent. Mr. Maytag does it again. Recommended.

slyke, Nov 12, 2006
Photo of KarlHungus
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%

This beer pours a solid semi-opaque black color faint reddish hues around the edges of the glass. The head is two fingers in height, rocky, and recedes slowly into a centimeter of lacing that lasts quite a while. The aroma is of nutmeg, cinnamon, and pepper. The taste is like the aroma, but with some chocolate in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is a bit fuller than medium bodied with nice carbonation. Overall, I have been craving this OSA since early July, and I am not disappointed. I think this vintage is a bit more complex than last years, but not quite as good as the 03 or 04 versions. That said I still plan on drinking a ton of it this holiday season.

KarlHungus, Nov 10, 2006
Our Special Ale 2006 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 278 ratings.