Our Special Ale 2007 (Anchor Christmas Ale) - Anchor Brewing Company
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Ratings: 390 | Reviews: 348 | Display Reviews Only:
3.6/5 rDev -9.3%
I had this at the Christmas in July event at Max's. Poured from a large bottle into a 4 oz. tasting glass.
Appearance: Pours a cloudy dark amber color with some red at the edge where light comes through. There is very little off white head.
Smell: Malty with molasses, brown sugar, dark fruit, and spice notes.
Taste: Malty but not too sweet. Spices and dark fruit notes. Some molasses with a mildly bitter finish.
Mouthfeel: Medium body with mild carbonation and a dry finish.
Overall: Flavors go together well. I might have liked this better fresh, but still quite good. Enjoyed it more than the 2004.
07-15-2011 21:08:38 | More by oline73
3.5/5 rDev -11.8%
2007, This was above average I really enjoyed the flavor of this dark ale. The taste actually reminded me of something from around the holidays. It had a sweet taste with a spice that danced on my tounge. I would love to drink this one at christmas time with family and friends. The color is a deep ruby red that looks very appealing. This brew is really nice.
04-10-2011 01:00:17 | More by Knapp85
4.1/5 rDev +3.3%
I'm doing a side-by-side with an '07 and an '09.
A dark ale, nearly opaque, but more of a raisin color rather than black. Purplish at the edges and semi-transparent with extra light. The head also reflects the purple hues. Not huge and doesn't retain endlessly, but leaves a sufficient ring. No visible carbonation. Honestly no difference between this and the other.
Citric notes that I haven't found in other years of this beer. Brighter aroma. Orange or lemon peel could be in here. A little bit of bubblegum, like in Anchor Porter. Apple, plum, prune. Even though the notes are pretty different on paper, it has more in common with the other than not, but it's clear the recipes for these change.
I would guess that this was hoppy when fresh. Light roasty notes (hint of cocoa; unique for these beers) on the back end that follow a malt profile that is more on the bready side. A bit of acidity (grape, apple) and maybe a little oxidation, leading to a bit of sourness. The flavor is sort of on the flat side. There is still some lingering citrus, but bitterness is not present. Spicy notes are pretty well hidden by now too. Malt is not as bold either, but still features dark fruit typically expected in this series. Not lacking in complexity.
Seems lighter in body than other editions. More on the fizzy side. Still apt for the style, and feels large enough for a beer that isn't particularly strong.
Well, I wouldn't wait any longer to drink these if you wanted to do so as a standalone. But I guess you can gamble on another year for verticals and comparisons. And it's interesting. Your palate will go on a journey. By no means will you feel like you're drinking a fresh beer, but it's clear why this has a reputation for being aged.
01-21-2011 07:17:23 | More by ommegoose
4.33/5 rDev +9.1%
APPEARANCE: Nice, medium head on top of a deep, dark bodied, almost black beer. A very pretty and festive sight.
SMELL: Chocolate is the dominant aroma with a whiff of brown sugar and spices.
TASTE: Not as sweet as the nose would have suggested. The first thing that stands out is a mild note of sourness that accompanies a fairly bitter beer that balances itself out nicely in the end with spicy, brown sugar notes that make it taste like Christmas. Delicious beer.
MOUTHFEEL: For such a rich, thick and dark beer, this is very sparkly. It has a great bite and an excellent mouthfeel.
OVERALL: This is an outstanding beer. I feel privileged to get my hands on a bottle of 2007 at this point, just wish I had taken a picture. It aged very well and I look forward to getting around to trying the 2010 and other years when I get the chance.
01-11-2011 07:12:07 | More by StoneTSR
4.4/5 rDev +10.8%
I found this 2007 version of the Christmas Ale at Sal's Liquors in Addison, IL where they have 6-packs of all the Christmas Ales dating back to 1998. $11.99 for six 12oz squatty brown bottles.
The beer poured a dark plum color with 3½ fingers of pinkish head. Retention is good, so you might have to wait a few minutes to take the first sip. A decent amount of lacing coats the glass as you drink it.
The beer smells like the inside of a candy store. Sweet bread, toffee, and some holiday spices are also present.
The taste is not as sweet as the smell, but delicious nonetheless. The beer is malty sweet, bready, fruiry, and spicy all at once. I picked up flavors of cranberry, holiday bread, nutmeg, plums, red grapes, figs, and cloves. Not overly sweet with even a touch of hop bitterness and alcohol for balance.
Medium body with a wine-like mouthfeel with only moderate carbonation.
I've tried all the Christmas Ales since the 1998 batch, and this one is one of my favorites. Very drinkable and enjoyable.
01-09-2011 08:58:44 | More by matjack85
3.68/5 rDev -7.3%
Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.
The Ninth Day of Beermas... It pours a murky black-brown topped by a finger of light ecru foam. The nose comprises raisins, figs, brown sugar, nutmeg, red apples, red grapes, cinnamon, and rye bread. A slight pall of musk hangs over the proceedings. The taste leans heavily on the fruits, mainly the apple, grape, and fig, while the spices malinger about shabbily. It doesn't seems to work as well as we'd all hoped. The body is a nice medium, with a light carbonation and a slightly grainy feel. Overall, not bad this year, but still not quite to where it ought to be, methinks.
12-26-2010 01:19:19 | More by TMoney2591
3.9/5 rDev -1.8%
Won this in a secret santa. Glad to get to try it. Opened on Christmas Eve 2010. 12oz bottle...
A: Super dark with slight deep ruby highlights around the edges. A thick 1 inch tan head that fades at a decent pace. Very good.
S: I get some heavy nutmeg and cinnamon upfront with some bready spices quickly followed in the middle. Some slight vanilla and cranberry on the backend. Good.
T: A nutmeg / cranberry upfront with some breadiness quickly followed. Finishes with some spices and pine on the backend. Decent.
M: Medium body with a good carbonation. Very clean finish. Good.
D: This goes down very easy.
All in all, this is a good brew. Glad I got to try to see how this develops over time. Definitely ages better than I would have expected. Mellows out a lot. Try it if you like the style and get the chance.
12-25-2010 04:00:39 | More by steve8robin
District of Columbia
3.7/5 rDev -6.8%
I went to a friend's house for dinner back a few months ago and he just had one of these lying around his house. He told me that he didn't want it any more because it was "old." I tried to explain to him the virtues of aging Winter Warmers to no avail. He told me to take it.... lucky me!
A: Very dark, almost stout-like, with about a one finger off-white head. When I inspected the glass under a substantial light source, I got a small sliver of ruby, but nothing notable.
S: I actually got a floral smell of rose petals upfront, slightly muted and cottony, malty, and a good bit of dark fruit.
T: Subdued dark fruit with licorice. Plum for sure, frankinsence, and dark and/or chocolate malts. This was definitely a dark fruit beer as opposed to a "spice bomb."
M: Somewhat creamy, fairly thick, with a small amount of prickly carbonation. I got a fair amount of bitterness on the back end.
D: Like all of the brews in the Anchor series, this was pretty drinkable. However, there was still something missing. I never tried the 2007 when it was fresh, so I didn't have a point of reference. Eh.... I probably wouldn't have remembered it anyway.
12-25-2010 03:03:54 | More by Chaney
3.65/5 rDev -8.1%
A dark, plum color, with very light carbonation and a thin ring of brown foam around the rim. Lacing may have gone with the passage of time, but the look is still Christmasy.
Scent contains cinnamon, spruce, nutmeg, pine needles and a medicinal, floral quality. Aroma is very strong and woodsy, as opposed to the candied sweetness of the 2006 edition.
Taste focuses mostly on the plum/dark fruit notes, putting seasonal spicing and pine on the back-burner. Alcohol presence is nearly non-existent and there may even be a slight tangerine tartness floating beneath the surface.
Liquid is extremely smooth and gentle on the palate, which may be due to aging. Overall, this is a subtle experience, but it's still a solid entry in the Holiday beer category.
12-19-2010 03:29:05 | More by deapokid
4/5 rDev +0.8%
First had: on tap at Washington House, Sellersville, PA
A: Dark, semi-opaque brown, with a small, tan head that leaves a bit of lacing.
S: Spiced and fruity, with tones of caramel sugars and cherries.
T: Tasted about how it smelled. Very similar to Troeg's Mad Elf I though.
M: Smooth, a little bit syrupy, pleasant.
D: Easily drinkable.
12-10-2010 20:03:22 | More by Rifugium
3.78/5 rDev -4.8%
The beer is hazy dark brown, nearly black, a tan small head, some lacing and curtains.
The smell has dark roasted coffee beans, figs, dates, Madiera and some yeast.
The taste is upfront sweet dark Christmas bread, bitter oranges and licorice, and a dash of cold coffee.
A very small carbonation, soft but a rather thin body, an oily surface but a dry ending ...
A bit old and slightly off at least on the feeling.
12-05-2010 18:40:31 | More by rarbring
4.1/5 rDev +3.3%
Opened around Christmas 2009. Reviewed from notes.
Pours a reddish brown. Slight head. Nose brings forward some chocolate, anise, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a touch of pine/spruce. Taste brings forward some more of the pine notes with a bit of bitterness. The spices play a nice role here. Medium mouthfeel with good carbonation and some nice zest from the spices. Drinking quite well, and was my favorite of our mini vertical.
10-07-2010 11:55:02 | More by Thorpe429
3.78/5 rDev -4.8%
Bottle 2007 version.
Pours a very dark reddish brown color with a very nice looking 2 finger slightly tan head that doesn't seem to want to go down!
Cinnamon spice type aromas in the nose and sweet smelling. Interesting flavors here...definite cinnamon and then bitter almost clove like taste.
Lighter mouthfeel than I would have expected from the look. Fairly carbonated. Bitter after taste, almost medicinal.
08-24-2010 00:03:40 | More by kbutler1
4.28/5 rDev +7.8%
Decided to crack open a bottle for Christmas Eve in July (7/24/10). Poured into a tulip.
A-Pours a muddy burnt brown with only a little tan head.
S-Incredible aroma dominated by fig, but also hints of caramel, clove and chocolate. This nose has held up well!
T-This has mellowed well. Super smooth blend of caramel, dark cherry and spice. Just loved it.
M-Pretty thick and slick, and a bit light on the carbonation.
O-This beer has held up well for three years and I can see why people love this with more age. Went down super easily and I'll for sure be putting more of this away long term.
07-26-2010 03:38:39 | More by ChrisPro
Nova Scotia (Canada)
3.88/5 rDev -2.3%
Had a bottle tucked away in my beer fridge. Decided to finally drink it 06/07/10... odd timing being summer at the moment but oh well.
Appearance: Poured out almost black with some reddish highlights. Frothy tanned head lasted a while and left a bit of lacing.
Aroma: Caramelized sugar, molasses and fruit cake! Good smells for a christmas beer. Not too bad in July either!
Taste: Slight slight sourness, with a bit of sweet up front. Molasses comes through in the middle and finishes rather dry.
Mouthfeel: Medium light carbonation, thick and puckering.
Final Statement: This beer aged very well for being a lower percentage. I didn't mean to leave it this long to be honest, but it was very decent. Wouldn't mind picking a couple of these up every year.
07-07-2010 01:14:21 | More by MMansfield
3.6/5 rDev -9.3%
12 oz. bottle tried 16 Dec 2007.
Large brown head. Very dark brown with red highlights. Smells like cloves, cinnamon, ginger and chocolate. Starts spicy, clovey, some green banana. Burnt sugar and coffee in the finish, slightly astringent. Medium body.
Spiced beers not a particular favorite but always good to try the OSA.
07-02-2010 01:30:41 | More by htomsirveaux
3.58/5 rDev -9.8%
A - Nearly black, brown with 1 finger khaki head.
S - Quite spiced, anise, molasses, unsweetened chocolate.
T - Semisweet chocolate, much sweeter than the '06.
M - Nice creaminess, medium bodied, decent carbonation.
D - Almost cloyingly sweet, half decent besides.
04-08-2010 01:23:46 | More by fropones
3.55/5 rDev -10.6%
12oz bottle obtained via SS09 from vasdef42. Label is stamped "701" on back. Thanks for the opportunity.
Poured into a Harpoon tulip, formed a 1" mocha head above the cloudy burgundy brown brew. Dense head recedes slowly, with heavy coating lace. Aroma is sweetness, with spices and tannins. Taste starts with earthy maltiness, spices in the middle, and a lightly piney but totally earthy close. Mouthfeel is soft but a bit gassy, and drinkability is alright. Seems that this one has lost a bit with age, but then again, I'm not the world's biggest spiced beer fan either.
01-11-2010 02:09:56 | More by ppoitras
3.2/5 rDev -19.4%
served in a 12 oz bottle and poured in to a tulip at Durty Nellies.
A: pours a dark murky brown with very little head and a lot of lacing
S: huge notes of spruce, cinnamon, all spice and nutmeg, some unpleasant diacetyl on the nose
T: as the nose suggests, this is a spice bomb... it tastes like chewing on a cinnamon stick, there is an astringency the goes along with the spice that is not very appetizing. Perhaps this bottle is past its prime. Some notes of diacetyl.
MF: somewhat thin, light carbonation
D: too spicy to be considered for good drinkability, needs more balance from the malts, this is my least favorite Christmas beer. again, this could be due to the 2 years of age on the bottle
12-19-2009 03:02:38 | More by homebrew311
4.5/5 rDev +13.4%
Tasted 2007 vintage 12-15-2009 in a Bruery tulip glass at about 45 degrees.
Pours a very dark brown with an extremely thick & creamy tan froth with excellent retention and good lacing. Pronounced & complex aromas of dark fruit (blackberries, blueberries, dried cranberries, black raspberries, & black cherries), chocolate, rosemary, fresh thyme, sage, pine, roasted nuts, caramel malts, a light "woodsy" character, cereal grains (Cheerios), molasses, gala apple, pear, & a light orange/citrus hops. The nose is very complex, well balanced, and very inviting! The spices are a little bit more pronounced on the palate, but not overpowering and are balanced with all of characters found on the nose...especially the chocolate and roasted nut aspect. The beer isn't necessarily bitter as it dries the palate evenly over a creamy texture. Overall a sensational beer & highly recommended.
Side note: In drinking this beer, I can see that is being able to cellar for a few more years, but it's tasting good now.
12-15-2009 20:12:47 | More by BevMoAndrew
4.13/5 rDev +4%
Poured into my nonic Imperial pint glass. Appears the color of strong brewed tea with two fingers of light ecru colored foam. Nose and flavors consist of spruce needles and sap, medium roasted grains, spices such as nutmeg, bittersweet chocolate, a bit fruity, nice amount of malt. Maybe a few notches better than a medium body with ample carbonation. Quite smooth and holding up nicely.
12-07-2009 05:29:20 | More by ClockworkOrange
3.75/5 rDev -5.5%
I've had this bottle in the cellar for quite some time. I have a nice little vertical going but happen to have 2 of the 2007's. No idea where I picked this up at but I'm thinking Dobby's in Palatine. Drank from my Surly nonic pint glass.
Appearance- Pours a really dark brownish crimson with a super soft and ridiculously creamy light tan/off-white head. A perfect quarter inch head remains the entire beer as does a ton of thick sticky lacing.
Smell- Lightly spicy with a huge gingerbread like smell. Perhaps the most gingerbread like nose I've smelled since Highlands Christmas brew. Obviously some ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg are all pretty strong. Loads of brown sugar sneaks in as well as some lightly smoky molasses. Almost cola or Mr. Pibb like especially cold. I swear that there's some spruce used as well... Aspects remind me of Alaskans winter ale.
Taste- Wow, very interesting stuff. Starts with a big earthy hit of tobacco and leather before the smoky molasses I got in the nose sneaks in. Maybe some juniper berries? I definitely get some spruce though as it sort of lingers through the aftertaste. A underlying bitterness really accents the entire brew as this earthy root dirtiness really takes over. The finish is dry and cola like with a good portion of the taste being black licorice.
Mouthfeel- Fairly heavy feel that is thick and rich and extremely creamy. The carbonation is light and the mouthfeel is easily the best part of the brew.
Drinkability- Not the greatest brew I've had for sure but it's interesting. This is the first Our Special Ales I've had and honestly this is a real surprise. I know they are different every year and this one has really peaked my interest in the others. Okay brew I suppose but I guarantee there are other years out there that are much tastier.
11-21-2009 14:55:58 | More by younger35
4.03/5 rDev +1.5%
Poured a dusty brown hue with a two finger tan head. There was good retention and lacing.
The smell featured Ginger and cinammon with some sweet malts.
The taste was upfront spicy and dry Sweet malts and some dark fruits appeared toward the finish.
The mouthfeel was typical of the style.
Overall a very nice vintage. Spicier than the 2008 despite being a year older. A nice year to age.
11-19-2009 18:28:48 | More by plaid75
4.15/5 rDev +4.5%
A-Pours a crystal clear almost black color with a hint of deep maroon. And a huge brown thick and creamy head that has excellent retention and lacing all the way down the glass.
S-The aroma first is of sweet caramel and chocolate with a hint of spice, like ginger and I also get some floral notes, but not as hoppy floral notes, as like malty floral notes... I've never gotten that before. That is very nice. I suppose it's esthers from the yeast used in this wonderful beer. Also some roasted barley as well. And coffee notes too, this is a very complex aroma. Very nice.
T-The flavor is a lot like the aroma as far as the spicy notes and roasted/burned caramel goes, but adds a more interesting clean bitterness and lingering sweet caramel notes that lingers forever. Very sweet indeed. But it has just enough bitterness to keep it from being cloying. Well done imo.
M-Has a big body for the abv. And is very creamy and sticky with a full creamy carbonation. And a slight dryness in the finish. Although it does has a slight astringencyto it which really brings the score down, but if it was a little smoother, I might have given it a 5. This is 2 years old though so...
D-If it wasn't for the astringency, the score would be higher. And I'm very glad to have tried this wonderful beer. It was the last one from that year at my beer shop. Very cool.
11-19-2009 01:53:51 | More by hoplover82
3.18/5 rDev -19.9%
12oz bottle in Nov '09. Pours very dark brown with ruby tinges and a light beige head that dies quickly. A bit of lacing. Smells strongly spiced--mostly hard to place, except for cinnamon. Lots of dark malt as well. No signs of oxidation. Tastes as if it's spiced with cinnamon, juniper, and...cough syrup. This strange, artificial-fruitiness lingers behind what would otherwise be very pleasant chocolate malts. Pleasant medium body with good carbonation. Not a huge fan of this one; I think I prefer the '08 I'm drinking with it side-by-side. Along with over-the-top spice, this one has a lingering sweetness that's a bit unpleasant.
11-18-2009 03:12:23 | More by philipquarles
Our Special Ale 2007 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 390 ratings.