1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Our Special Ale 2010 (Anchor Christmas Ale) - Anchor Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Our Special Ale 2010 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2010 (Anchor Christmas Ale)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

501 Ratings
THE BROS
88
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 501
Reviews: 353
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 13.04%
Wants: 7
Gots: 58 | FT: 1
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: EgadBananas on 10-31-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 501 | Reviews: 353 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Mancer:
Photo of Mancer
3.78/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a hazy dark brown color with a two finger high light brown head. The initial smell of the beer was all out spices, predominantly nutmeg. Additionally, the beer smelt of roasted malts. The taste of the beer was a bit more mellow than I would have hoped for. The taste started with an interesting mix of spices, not much nutmeg presence as I wanted, as well as a roasted malt finish. The brew had a light to medium body with light to medium carbonation.

Overall, this was a good beer. I was let down a little bit by the flavor being mellow. Granted it was still complex, I wanted it to be more in your face with the spices. I'd recommend others to try this, this is the closest I have gotten so far to what Christmas tastes like.

Mancer, Dec 05, 2010
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I always anticipate this annual wintertime brew.Poured into a standard pint glass a deep chesnut brown with a thinner but well sustained toasted almond colored head.Spice aromas are pretty thin compared to some years,there is a toasted sweet dough element to it as well.Like many others have noted the feel seems a little thinner and not as creamy-like as in many years past,nice mix of light winter spice,caramel malt,and bitter chocolate on the palate,a drying earthiness comes in the finish.Very drinkable and another top notch OSA from Anchor.

oberon, Dec 30, 2010
Photo of mojohawk21
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

mojohawk21, Nov 09, 2014
Photo of SmellsofMahagony
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

SmellsofMahagony, May 04, 2013
Photo of Doomcifer
4.16/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark ruby brown color with a tremendous frothy/creamy head that retains very well. Great lacing. Smells delicious...like spruce, pine trees, milk chocolate, cinnamon, them chocolate orange candies, dark fruits. Fantastic aroma. Tastes of light chocolate, spices, xmas trees, herbal hop spice. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, semi dry finish. Quite drinkable and highly enjoyable year in and year out.

Doomcifer, Nov 29, 2010
Photo of iemailjack
4/5  rDev +2.3%

iemailjack, Dec 04, 2011
Photo of Jason
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz brown bottle with a vintage date and bottle code on the label.

36th edition, a classic. Brown web-like lacing with a liquid that is nearly black with mahogany highlights. Spicy, piney, fruity, hop resin, cake batter nose ... very Christmas pudding in the nose. Some smoothness within the medium body, snap of crispness in the end. This brew even tastes like Christmas, toasted bread and roasted nuts, spice, candied fruit and a big kiss of hop bitterness. Roasty flavor leaves a mind char note on the taste buds with still more fruit, spice and hoppiness chiming in. Nice ale twang in the roasty finish. This beer is a must year to year, it might not be the ideal winter session beer it does pack some cheer.

Jason, Dec 06, 2010
Photo of Billolick
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ouncer...an old friend....allways happy to see it on the shelves...allways deserving of a try initially, then a sixer or two more as the season gets going. Pours dark mahogony, mocha head, respectable bits and blobs of lace.

Maple, caramel and dark grains in the nose.

Nice roasty brew, more caramel, molassas, sweet malts, smokey undertones, dry lingering finish.

Great holiday brew or on any cool winter's night...

Billolick, Dec 01, 2010
Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am excited to try the new version of this holiday classic.

The beer pours a dark brown color with red highlights and a tan head. The aroma is very heavy on the cinnamon with some cloves mixed in. This is the spice bomb that I remembered it being.

The flavor is mainly cinnamon and some toffee, but there are also some other spices mixed in. I think I get some nutmeg and allspice in there. There is also some caramel malt. Very spicy.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Mora2000, Dec 03, 2010
Photo of bsp77
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Dark brownish-ruby with creamy tan head that mostly recedes with slight lacing lines.

Smell: Faintly sweet spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, orange and gingerbread. Nice chocolate and caramel undertones. Smells similar to 09 to me, but more subdued.

Taste: Bittersweet roasted malts with light notes of chocolate and caramel. The spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger) are subdued at first, but provide a nice counterbalance. The spices become a little more noticeable on the finish.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, creamy body, somewhat dry finish.

Drinkability: Do not detect as much coffee and roasting as last year, with maybe a tinge more sweetness and spice, but not sure how the spice profile is truly different. Almost the same beer in my book, as it is still a Christmas-spiced Porter. Great as always.

bsp77, Nov 12, 2010
Photo of kingcrowing
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

Pours a nice very dark brown with a small brown head with some light lacing. Nose is molasses and cinnamon, very nice!

Taste is equally as nice, it's like gingersnaps or gingerbread which I really like! Mouthfeel is creamy, bready and a bit sticky. Carbonation is light and smooth, making it vrry tssty and it almost has a Belgian taste to it.

kingcrowing, Jun 09, 2011
Photo of mjtiernan
3/5  rDev -23.3%

mjtiernan, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of jondeelee
4.43/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Anchor's 2010 Christmas Ale begins with the smell of pine forests, spiced mead, and nutmeg-laden Christmas cookies; taking a whiff is like riding on the fabled one-horse open sleigh, grandma's house in sight and the smell of an immaculate Christmas dessert wafting over the snow fields. Big, hoppy hop aromas dominate here, smelling intensely of pine needles, and festive spices--nutmeg, allspice, clove--join in. On the malty side, there are pleasant fig, orange, and apricot notes, as well as deep brown sugars.

On the tongue, the beer is just as spicy and fruity as the nose would suggest, with the nutmeg, allspice, clove, and pine flavors being especially prominent. A few more dark fruit esters--fig, date, black cherry (think Christmas cake fruits)--are present here than were in the nose, and the orange takes on stronger tones of orange peel than orange fruit. Brown sugars help counter the spiciness, though they do fade late in the mouthful and are overwhelmed by pine and spice. The aftertaste is mainly pine and spice, and lingers for quite a while, tingling the edges of the tongue. Mouthfeel is medium-light, and carbonation is medium to medium-high, aiding in the buzzing mouthfeel.

Overall, Anchor has made yet another quality Christmas beer, having once again captured many of the traditional Christmas flavors in a tasty brew. The 2010 edition also tames down the pine notes, which in earlier years were overwhelming and borderline tree sap. Highly recommended, especially for Christmas morning, served with a thick wedge of Christmas cake.

jondeelee, Jul 31, 2011
Photo of virinow
4/5  rDev +2.3%

virinow, Nov 16, 2011
Photo of dogfishandi
4.4/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle pulled from my fridge poured into an imperial pint glass. bottle code indicates it was bottled in october 2010.

pours out a dark ruby color with a big 3-4 fingers of fluffy light biege colored head. great retention, slowly faded to a thick retentive layer leaving some spotty lace. looks ideal.

big christmas spice in the aroma. lots of cinnamin, ginger bread, raisons and other dark fruits, anise, some roasted malt behind all that.

lots of delicious spice. ginger bread and cinamin at the forefront. anise, roasted malt, heavy raisons and other such dark dried fruits. finishes bitter.

medium bodied. the mouthfeel might have been my only gripe with this beer. maybe a touch weak and watery, and a tad astringent. carbonation is plentiful as well.

drinks too easy, i want to drink the whole six pack, but i plan on saving some as i bought a sixer late in the season, and im not sure if i can get more. overall, doesnt have that sprucy goodness i come to love in anchor xmas, but still one of the best winter warmers.

dogfishandi, Feb 23, 2011
Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.46/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A 355ml bottle with a BB of Sept 2012. Picked up ages ago from Trembling Madness in York (they were selling off old stock at the time and I noticed this among the selection). It's been stored in my garage ever since - I'm expecting it to be somewhat faded but we'll see. Season's greetings!

Poured into a Delirium chalice. A very dark ruby-brown hue with medium carbonation. Produces a large head of creamy light-brown foam that lasts for a few minutes before reducing to a patchy surface layer. Looks pretty good for its age. Aroma of sweet, fruity malt with notes of ginger, clove, mild cinnamon, spice, brown sugar, caramel, faint pine resin and yeast. Surprisingly well rounded.

Tastes of fruity roasted malt with a spicy character and a dry, bitter finish. Notes of ginger, cinnamon, mild clove, spice, pepper, subtle roasted grain, brown sugar/caramel, faint pine resin and earthy yeast. There is a pretty harsh cardboard flavour in the background - this has deteriorated somewhat over the course of time. A considerable and slightly herbal bitterness upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is smooth and spritzy, like soda, but rather thin and lacking in body. A dark, spicy beer such as this could do with being thicker. Quite astringent, with an aftertaste of cardboard, bitter stewed leaves, spice and a vague fruitiness.

Not a bad brew, even after the time that has passed. However, it's clear from the flavour that this is over the hill. It looks the part, and the aroma is a satisfying blend of malt and spice with a touch of resinous hops. The taste falls along the same lines but has wet cardboard notes that indicate a degree of oxidation. The body feels subpar - too thin to do the flavour justice. All in all a good effort and a decent brew, but not intended to be kept quite so long. A belated Merry Christmas...

jazzyjeff13, Mar 23, 2013
Photo of far333
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mahogany brown with ruddy highlights and a thick and tightly bubbled head of meringue that lingers long.

Aromas of clove and spruce, some plum.

Flavors of cocoa and fig, fresh cut spruce tips, ripe plum, clove and spice, a faint bit of smoke and an herbal hop finish. Well-balanced and tasty.

Full and rich mouthfeel, creamy, finishes a bit tingly, semi-dry. Pretty drinkable and tasty.

far333, Jan 08, 2011
Photo of chinchill
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle served in pint glass.

pours a very dark and somewhat hazy and nearly opaque mahogany with a decent cap creamy tan head. Head has good retention.

Enticing aroma of very appealing malts with slight amount of added spice (including, I believe, clove or allspice). Notes of burnt sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.

While the aroma is only moderately strong, this beer has a rich and moderately strong flavor. The flavor is an excellent balance of malt, spices (cinnamon & nutmeg? .. and?) and hops, with malt flavor I enjoyed as much or more than nearly any beer I've ever had. I bet other brewers would love to see the secret ingredients list for this beer! A bit (too?) sweet.

M - smooth with excellent carbonation. The body, while certainly not thin, should be a bit fuller IMO. Some grain/powder in the finish.

O - Unique yet exceptionally enjoyable. Only one disappointing thing about this superb beer: it is a one time brew and I probably will be unable to find more of it now that Spring is here.

chinchill, Mar 30, 2011
Photo of glid02
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Brick Store.

Pours a brownish-amber color with a one-finger off-white head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of caramel malts with hints of toastiness and large amounts of dark spices - nutmeg and brown sugar if I had to guess.

Tastes very similar to how it smells, at least up front. Deep caramel malt flavors with moderate amounts of toasted and roasted flavors kick things off. Nutmeg and maybe cardamom flavors come in shortly thereafter. Midway through the sip light chocolate flavors make a brief appearance. Finally, solid amounts of bubblegum yeast flavors come in near the end of the sip and carry through to a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with smooth carbonation.

Drinkability is also good. I finished my glass without a problem and could have another.

Overall I was a fan of this beer, a nice spice bomb up front with a very interesting yeast character near the end of the sip. Very much worth a shot.

glid02, Dec 12, 2010
Photo of dsauter
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

dsauter, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of ianjsullivan
3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

ST: 12oz poured into a Tulip glass

A: Dark brown with a fluffy finger nail length brown head, when held to the light the beer takes on a red hue. The head does not last long, though it does leave decent lacing.

S: Fruity, pine needles, toffee, slight coco, and cake.

T: It starts out with with bread and nuts, then moves to fruit and floral, a bit of hops comes with a crisper finish and a bit of roasted malts stays on the tongue.

M: Heavy, smooth, and creamy.

D: Smooth and moderate alcohol.

Overall: I just had the 2009 (aged for a year) and then had the 2010 to compare. At the moment, I like the 2009 better. The 2010 has less chocolate and floral aspects, and more hops characteristics. It is still a good beer, a must for the holiday season. I am curious to try it again in a year and to see if I think differently.

ianjsullivan, Dec 24, 2010
Photo of rhoadsrage
3.43/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

(Served in a tulip glass) This years tree is a gingo biloba.
A- The black thick body has a warm glow of garnet at the base with a light tan head that last a good bit. The beer is a bit too dense to see much carbonation.
S- There is an abbey yeast aroma with some slight spice hint and a cardboard malt aroma to follow. As the beer opens up there is a bit of a cream aroma in the finish.
T- The slight dry tartness leads to a melanoidin dark nougat flavor that turns more into cocoa nibs as the beer opens. There is a soft dry black malt astringency in the finish.
M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a slight watery texture and no alcohol heat noticed.
D- This beer has some odd flavors that don't work together and they are very soft and a bit dull. The abbey yeast character with the nougat flavors and the black malt only in the finish need a bigger flavor to anchor them. I was sadly underwhelmed with this years OSA.

rhoadsrage, Jan 04, 2011
Photo of LucienDeRubempre
5/5  rDev +27.9%

LucienDeRubempre, Dec 15, 2011
Photo of Trashcat
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Trashcat, Wednesday at 02:57 PM
Photo of caddybuyer
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ahhh...it is that time of the year again...the best season for the seasonals, and here is one of my favorites, back for the 2010 version.

A-Pours a deep dark cola blackness, with ruby highlights when held to light. I don't remember it being this dark before. Thick tan head that settles rapidly.

S-I never can quite place this one in either taste or smell. Pine, a slight camphor background, a hint of cherry, raisins, orange peel and caramel malts

T-Nose carries over to the palate, with orange and nutmeg dominating. Slightly bittersweet, somewhat roasted malts, and an astringent bittering slightly sour finish.

M-Medium and slightly creamy. The mouthfeel of a beer with a much higher abv.

D-Bring it on!!!!

I don't know why I love this so much...it surely is an oddball, but nothing says Christmas quite like Anchor OSA....I probably would not normally rate this beer this high, but I look forward to it and enjoy it immensely every year.

caddybuyer, Nov 13, 2010
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Our Special Ale 2010 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 501 ratings.