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Our Special Ale 2008 (Anchor Christmas Ale) - Anchor Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Our Special Ale 2008 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2008 (Anchor Christmas Ale)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

452 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 452
Reviews: 396
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 10.88%
Wants: 3
Gots: 30 | 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:
Beer added by: t0rin0 on 10-23-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 452 | Reviews: 396
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4/5  rDev +3.6%

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4/5  rDev +3.6%

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4/5  rDev +3.6%

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4/5  rDev +3.6%

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4/5  rDev +3.6%

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4/5  rDev +3.6%

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5/5  rDev +29.5%

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4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of nickd717
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle at The Bruery, 2008 vintage, vertical with 2001 and 2002 vintages. Review dated 2/4/2009.

Dark amber color with an off-white head. Aroma of roasted malt, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon. Flavor is the same, malty with spices, not quite as mellow as the oldies but good. Medium-full body.

Photo of jondeelee
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The 2008-2009 release has a pleasant aroma, with notes of nutmeg, cinnamon, light cloves, and pine.

These flavors continue into the beer, though nutmeg and pine dominate the palate, along with a sugary current reminiscent of the candied fruits that often accompany Christmas stockings: specifically banana and mango. Hops are kept to a modest level, mostly providing a stabilizing effect to keep the sugars from becoming overwhelming.

Overall, quite a delicious beer; especially considering I'm not overly fond of beers that have added "natural flavors" and "spices," as per the label.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.14/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2008 vintage which makes this approximately 2.5 years old at this time.

Pours a semi-clear crimson red color with a 2 inch light beige head that settles to a small cap. There is a complex lattice work of lacing on the glass on the drink down. The smell on this beer is very complex. Overall, it smells like an arts and crafts store around Christmas time. There is an earthy smell, with notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, allspice. Very much like mulling spices used to make apple cider. Absolutely fantastic. Unfortunately the taste is not as great as the smell. The same tastes as present as what I get from the aroma but in a watered down way. Almost as if a bag of mulling spices was left to steep in a generic ale. Carbonation levels are somewhat low which could be a factor due to the age of this beer. The mouthfeel is slightly flat and watery but it's not too far gone to be unenjoyable. Overall, this is a good beer still with perhaps slight signs of aging. I really liked the 2009 version of this beer and I know that each year the recipe changes. I bet the 2008 version fresh was pretty awesome. I have one more of these in my cellar so I am curious as to how further aging will affect this beer.

Photo of dragonWhale
2.72/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

a little foam over from this cute little bottle. rich dark amber with a khaki head, sexy lace.

smells of thick sweetness, like a batch of my buddy's homebrew that i wanna really like but have to tell him its got promise but its way too sweet.
it's decent, but hardly very drinkable. were this a bomber, half would've likely gone to waste just so we could get on to drink something better. thick dextrinous malt, spruce and pine, not much else spice. too much sweetness.

Photo of gford217
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 bottle.

Pours reddish brown out of the bottle and settles in an opaque mahogany that only has ruby hints around the edges. There is a healthy beige head that recedes to a hefty cap with good lacing.

Aroma is sweet and malty but with lots of subtle spices mixed in, including cinnamon and nutmeg. There is also an interesting juniper berry and evergreen character. Almost a minty type aroma.

The taste has an initial juniper kick alongside the sweet caramel malts. The spices become much more evident in the finish where I'm left with a cinnamon and herbal zing on the palate.

The mouthfeel is creamy and smooth with lots of spices popping on the tongue.

This a really well crafted and very drinkable winter warmer. After 2 years, the spices have settled down a bit and let the sweetness of the malts come out.

Photo of BB1313
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass. I was fan of this one in '08, so I ended up saving a bottle to have for the future. Pours a deep burgundy, slight haze, w/ white fluffy head and decent lacing. Very good looking beer. This one has some woodsy aromas going on w/ some berries; bittersweet. Very interesting and unique flavors going on here. Mouthfeel is nice, but pretty slick. Drinkability isn't bad, but the flavors will take it's toll on you. Low abv helps for good drinkability though.

Very interesting and unique beer, glad I saved one. If you ever come across this vintage, enjoy!

Photo of deapokid
4.16/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Liquid is a dark amber topped with a thick finger of brown foam and dense and substantial lacing. Carbonation is also very prevalent, making this model stand out much more than previous years. Visually stunning.

Scents of cinnamon, nutmeg, gingerbread, cayenne pepper and grandma's fruit cake are all on hand, as is a blunt dryness brought on by the sugar and yeast.

Flavor profile packs in a ton of plum, which is followed by subtle maple notes and a dry conclusion. Spicing seems to be the usual; think nutmeg, cinnamon and pine needles. Beer is smooth, but not rich, allowing some nice roasted aspects to linger on the tongue.

This model has a bigger aroma and flavor profile than the previous year and that's certainly reflected in the amount of time it took to drink the 12oz bottle (you could count the minutes on one hand). Another great version of America's best Christmas ale.

Photo of Jimmys
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep walnut colored brown, nearly opaque. Light leathery brown dense two-finger head.

S: Syrup & cookie dough. Cinnamon on the tail-end.

T: Sweet molasses. Mild sour, vinegar-like cloy. A big bunch of clove towards the end and finishes with a delicious linger of french roast coffee. The vinegar aspect almost made it out to be spoiled at first, but after a few more tastes definitely added more complexity to the body.

M: Medium to full body with a mellow smooth carbonation.

D: Got several of these in the cellar. Gonna have to crack another one around this time next year and revisit my review.

Photo of hooliganlife
4.19/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

vintage 2008 (obviously)

pours dark brown, almost black. hint of light breaks through here and there. light creamy head, nice light retention.

sweet candied fruit, spicy, light red licorice.

really starts out with the juicy dark fruit, cherry, candy and spice and then turns quite dry with a light roasted finish.

sweet and juicy, ends dry. mild carbonation

quite good. i do not remember this fresh, it's been 2 years. this has hung on well, flavors are still quite bold.

Photo of claspada
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The aromas is first and foremost dark caramel malts, not ropasted but brown sugary dark caramel matls. There are still some notes of clove, all spice and maybe ginger.

The taste is superb. You get a mouthfull of raisins and dark fruit with a subtle mix of cloves and cinnamon. Some vanilla been and subtle alcohol heat comes out as it warms. A slight bitterness and very dry finish.

Overall I was skeptical of this beer because it is only 5.5% ABV and I dont trust low ABV beers to age but I loved this beer when it came out and love it now, but for different reasons. Definitely one of the best if not the best Winter Warmers on the market.

Photo of bobhits
2.88/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark cherry amber body, almost opaque in the glass. An ok darker almost milk chocolate head that sticks, leaves lacing and is as creamy as it can be.

Fruity amber aroma. Cherries, dates, caramel, and some hits of Christmas spices.

I've been told these beers can age 20+ years. This one is making me suspect of that. There's some hops, spices, and it is mostly malt but nothing is jumping out at me what so ever. A bit of cherry and some maybe raisins. There's certainly a spice characteristic here as well. Add in an almost vanilla creamy flavor which seems out of place. That said I almost feel like I'm drinking a beer fresh after brushing my teeth.

This beer creates the illusion of a medium body with a nice creamy carbonation but it is definitely thin bodied. That all works well with this style I feel.

Very drinkable and very sippable. I love how Anchor has crafted this beer. It just works and there's nothing left to say.

Photo of Brewfanatic55
4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Decided to pick up this vintage at the Barley Pub in Dover, New Hampshire. Not going to lie; split it amongst two other fellow pub-goers. It was like a wine tasting, only I enjoyed it.

A: Appearance was quite dark, with a great looking smoky-tan head. Decent amount of lacing is left behind.

S: As the bottle clearly states, "Pinus Jeffreyi" the scent is a hint of pine. Jefferey Pine apparently (I'm no arborist). Immediately you can't help but smell fruit, ginger & other various seasonal spices.

T: Slightly sour, right off the bat. Molasses (almost like a cookie), spice, hint of pine. All in all, a great smooth holiday brew. Not overly hoppy, nor too malty whatsoever. The fact that this bottle was approaching 3 years old I think the aging aspect heavily influenced the smoothness. One of the others joining the tasting of this beer pointed out the taste of raisins which I then picked up.

D: This beer was all in all a terrific holiday beverage. The fact that it has a slight spiciness to it, along with that pine and caramel-esque flavor only makes me wish I had second one at hand.

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Our Special Ale 2008 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 452 ratings.