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Our Special Ale 2000 (Anchor Christmas Ale) - Anchor Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Our Special Ale 2000 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2000 (Anchor Christmas Ale)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

44 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 44
Reviews: 36
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 14.95%
Wants: 5
Gots: 2 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  ABV ?

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: xlperro on 12-04-2000

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (25) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 44 | Reviews: 36
Reviews by SheepNutz:
Photo of SheepNutz
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1.5L magnum bottle poured into a snifter. It pours a deep black color with two fingers of medium tan head. There is a little bit of lacing. The smell is very sprucy, much like other Anchor OSAs (even though the recipes differ). Some caramel and burnt malt as well. The taste is also full of sprucy goodness. Lots of fresh pine under deep roasted malt. Some toffee sweetness. The mouthfeel is fairly thick and heavy. The drinkability is nice. Another good Anchor OSA.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Jason
4.53/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12oz brown fatty bottle with a freshness code of 0NB2 meaning November, 2 2000 I guess.

Appearance: Dark brown near black with a beige coloured lace that has great retetion.

Smell: Fresh baked gingered apple pie with caramel topping. Sweet to the nose ...

Taste: Smooth creamy mouthfeel, good flowing carbonation. Semi chewy mouth feel with quite a malty palate of sweet grain and chocolate undertones. Right away the mild evergreen like flavour kicks in and lingers wide and far with a sweet oily taste. The chocolate malt flavour punches though and flexes a bit to show this is still a beer. Alcohol is noticeable and warms the body. Residual chocolate / roasted malt flavours wrap up the finish.

Notes: This is Anchor's 26th Special Ale that is spiced with Torreya californica, more commonly know as California Nutmeg or the stinking cedar. Not a brew I would want to quaff down though it is a beer I would love to end the night with. Roughly $10 a six pack, savour this brew all winter long.

Photo of beerluvr
4.32/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This long-aged beauty pours with a long lasting tan head. Settles into a slightly murky brown, with red hightlights. Nose is musty, spicy. Gently carbonated mouthfeel, with diminished spiciness...maltiness is more emphasized, hoppiness is still present, slightly dry on the finish. Still a pleasure to drink!

Photo of DrunkMcDermott
3.56/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sample taste at Chicago Beer Society vertical tasting, Dec. 1, 2005. That makes this sample six years old. A nice, darker color than the 2001 Brown in color, with maltiness that tends to the Pale Ale category. Has the complimenting fruitiness of an English pale ale.

Photo of bditty187
4.16/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown hue, influences of crimson and hints of copper, the beige head reached a glorious two fingers in height. The retention was excellent, it slowly faded, and the subsequent lacing was fantastic. As I expected, OSA ’00 is a damn fine looking beer! The nose is lovely, pine needles, ginger, coriander, spruce, candy sweetness, and nutmeg. Underneath is a noticeable maltiness, I haven’t noticed the malt this well in any of the other vintages I’ve tried, it is very nice. The palate has the standard pine influences, nutmeg, and ginger. Add in notes of melon, fig, wood, and chocolate. On the back of the tongue was a vague slick fruitiness like a Jolly Rancher. How cool is that? The complexities are great, I am guessing it has mellowed a bit but the flavors have blended wonderfully. I can’t say any of flavors stand out or steals the show; there is some alcohol warmth in the belly. It is very relaxing. The carbonation is rather low but the bulk in the body is present, medium/medium-full in size, the mouthfeel is still respectable, if not a touch slick. California torreya is the tree of choice; also know as “stinking nutmeg,” hell yeah! I am very pleased with this offering. It is plenty drinkable and I’d love to quaff it again. I am very grateful to Jables for hooking me up! Find some. Drink some. Cellar some. If you own some, you’re a lucky bastard. This is yet another OSA masterpiece by Anchor.

Photo of BKotch
4.84/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I laid down a six-pack of this in December 2000 and my only regret is that I didn't lay down more. A year's ageing has really mellowed and smoothed out the originally sharp flavors of pine/spruce, nutmeg and bitter chocolate. Still looks great, but the head has lost a little fluffiness and retention. Effervescence is also down, but, ohhh, the nose and palate . . . This beer demands a cold night and a fireplace. I hope the 2001 version lays down as well.

Photo of Brent
4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Very nicely done. Spicy hops was well balanced.

Photo of beerceller99
3.68/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2000 bottling from the cellar.
Mahogany hue with a decent tan head. Strong smell of burnt caramel, orange peel, cloves. Medium bodied with light carbonation. A slight oxidized smell does not detract. Earthy, woody, lightly toasted malt taste with spice flavors that echo the smell.
A smooth, subtle malt beverage here.

Photo of Thorpe429
3.25/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to drabmuh for sharing this bottle. Served in a SAVOR wine glass.

Pours a dark cola color with a whispy light tan head and not much in the way of lacing. A few bubbles on top and a half-collar. Not bad for a brew this old. The nose brings a bit of pine and light wintry spices. Some dark malt there as well. Flavor has a touch of malt and spice, but is fairly tame. The mouthfeel is slightly-watery, which pulls back from the flavors. A great beer to try, though past its prime at this point.

Photo of RBorsato
4.08/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark dark brown -- almost black with a nice creamy brown head and good carbonation. Primarily a black licorice aroma with Sprucey notes. NIce balanced licorice-spruce flavor. Medium-full bodied (leans full) with a sweetish licorice finish.

Label states: "26th Christmas Ale" & "Torreya Californica"

Code: ON94
Tasted: 12/29/03

Photo of hopdog
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I tried 5 vintages on tap at the Stuffed Sandwich ('00, '01, '02, '03 & '04). The '01 was my favorite with the '00 a close 2nd. Nice subtle, malty, caramel aromas and tastes. Molasses. Light spices. I'm glad I had the chance to compare the 4 vintages on tap.

NOTE: did a tasting on 1/15/05 that included years '87, '90, '94, '97, '98, '00, '01, '02, & '03. The '02, '01 & '94 stood out as the best of the bunch. The '94 had a nice whiskey taste to it that the others did not. I thought the older vintages held up well over the years.

Photo of TMoney2591
2.95/5  rDev -24%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

The Second Day of Beermas... It pours a murky burnt sienna topped by a minor half-finger of dirty ecru foam. The nose comprises caramel, buttery biscuits, tobacco, cedar, light dark chocolate, and a touch of roasted malts. The taste shows its age with a swampy muddling of chocolate, light coffee, musty greens, and light char. I'm thinking oxidation has done a small number on this here brew. The body is a lazy medium, with a light carbonation and a smoothly gloopy feel. Overall, it looks as though Father Time has smacked this brew around a bit over the past decade.

Photo of Gavage
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a deep dark brown color with a 1/2" tan head. Some light lacing developed. The aroma was bold as evergreen and spice jumped out of the glass. The flavor was more spicey than more recent years. The roasted malt, evergreen tones, allpsice, nutmeg, and other spices created a bold flavor for a beer that should have mellowed after four years. The alcohol is noticeable and produces a warming effect that other higher alcohol beers don't do for me.
The mouthfeel is smooth and the aftertaste is dominated by the evergreen and spice. The drinkability is down a notch as this is a wonderful brew, but this is a slow sipping brew.

Photo of John_M
4.69/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Amazing what a little bottle age can do for a great beer. Available at Max's, where I'm at right this minute. They currently have both magnums and 12 ounce bottles of this beer. My review is from a 12 ounce bottle.

The beer pours an amber brown color with red highlights. Head retention and lacing is minimal, and carbonation is light and soft. On the nose one gets a smorgosbord of chocolate, brown sugar and dark fruits. There's something of a pudding like aroma to this beer. On the palate... this beer has now reached beer perfection. I'm almost thinking I should bow down before it. So rich, soft and long. The finish is endless. Flavors include blueberry, plum, chocolate, molassess... and flavors I can't even beging to describe. There's some sugardaddy and soy sauce flavors as well in this one. The mouthfeel is what I envision all great beers having. It's light and soft, almost cotton candy like... but so long, creamy and plush. After 8 years a drop off in flavor and intensity would be understandable, but this beer has not reached that point yet. Abv. is but an after thought.... drinkable? Yes, I rather think so.

Just exceptional. Period.

Photo of Weissenheimer
3.68/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This pint comes with the medium-sized head that I'm coming to know well. It has that toasted, foamy, melted-marshmallowy look that says "Anchor OSA". The beer itself has a dark, brooding, not-quite-opaque ruby appearance which reminds me of Corsendonk Christmas Ale. My reaction to the smell is the same as it was when I sniffed the 2002: "Nice and spicy". It's mild and caramely.

The head lends this beer a lot of creaminess, and this leads into a strong coffee taste. I'm definitely tasting some of the molasses flavor of the 2002, but in this case it takes a back seat to the coffee. Also like the 2002, as I pay close attention to that coffee flavor I realize that it's actually halfway between coffee and raw black tea. The coffee is way too much for me, especially since it actually seems to get stronger as I drain the glass. I won't be having any more from 2000, although that reaction arises from my personal taste more than from the beer.

Photo of ChrisBowers
4.47/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2000 vintage reviewed August 2004 from Max's in Baltimore. I was quite pleased to find this on the bottle list at Max's, and at a relatively reasonable $6 for something that they've been holding on to for awhile. Pours a deep brown with a small fluffy head. Aroma is heavy on the "christmas spices". Taste... yum. As my girlfriend says "Like a fireplace at Christmas Time". That's exactly what it is. Warming, wonderfully spicy, with hints of ginger, allspice, plums, brown sugar, cinnamon with a smooth finish. Nice, full body. I'm glad I just scored two magnums of the 2003 for $10 a pop!

Photo of beerguy101
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown color, medium head. Spicy aroma (piney, touch of spruce??) Roasted malts, nutmeg-ish. Full flavor, very complex. Interesting taste. Need to taste again after some bottle aging. Finish is a little harsh. Aftertaste is malty, slightly burnt malts. As usual this beer mellows with age.

Photo of clvand0
3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to sheepnutz for sharing his magnum of this one. Pours a very dark color with a tall brown head that has nice retention and leaves lots of lacing. The aroma is mostly comprised of a pine thing and some dark malts. The flavor is an even mix of the pine spices and the dark malts. I like this one. The body is moderate, but I figure that it was much thicker when it was fresh. The drinkability is pretty good for a spiced beer. Enjoyable.

Photo of UnionMade
3.43/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark, murky brown, topped with a thin collar of tan head. A couple amoebas of lace cling to the glass here and there. The head drops out entirely about halfway through.

The aroma is mildly spiced, much of what I expect from Anchor's special ale has dropped out or at least receded. An odd wet wool smell seems to have entered the mix. Molasses and roasted malt is most prominent. Perhaps that, plus some oxidization, gives it that vaguely metallic woolly scent. Once it warms more of the spiced roastiness takes over, but I can't shake that wet dog smell from my brain.

The flavor is gentle and diminished. Seems a little feeble. The carbonation has gotten very soft on this one. I could compare it to cask ale. Lighter bodied than what I expect from this beer. Molasses, paper, brandy, carob, nutmeg, wood and very light pine needle. Light fruitiness, with a touch of dry sourness in the end. Finishes dry and a bit weak.

I think this one's getting a little past its prime. The aroma in particular gets unpleasant once I identified the smell, making it somewhat hard to finish.

Photo of jwinship83
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle i picked up at a store that has all of these from 2000 on. i paid $2.49 for this one. drank from my new belgium globe.

A- this one pours out a very deep and dark brown with some reddish highlights to it. the head on top is pretty small, but surprisingly still there. oh and its a khaki color. it fades pretty fast and leaves behind nothing as far as lacing goes.

S- the initial whiff brings lots of christmas spices to my nose. nutmeg and cinnamon stand out the strongest. after that i pick up some roasted malts and dark chocolate. somewhat nutty smelling also.

T- the taste starts out with some dark chocolate and the roasted malts i could smell. it briefly becomes nutty before moving into spice country. cinnamon, nutmeg, and a little bit of clove. there is a slight coffee finish.

M- the body is a solid medium. the carbonation level is still there, but not lively either. very smooth.

O- im amazed how this isnt showing terrible signs of oxidation. very enjoyable. it seems it still has some time left on it, but im not sure its going to get much better with any additional age. ten and a half years is plenty.

Photo of palma
2.87/5  rDev -26%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Sampled 5-19-2005.
Dark brown almost black body. Basically no head develops.
Aroma consists of cinnamon, nutmeg, grapes, plums, licorice, and cloves.
Sharp sour/acidic flavor up front. Not very enticing. Then an immediate coffee flavor. Reminds me of day-old instant coffee.
It was a struggle to finish the 12 ounces.
I have a feeling this will probably be one of the last decent reviews you'll see for the 2000 vintage. It's on its last leg.

Photo of Vancer
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Eight year old beer, PARTY !

Cutting to the chase, this one has the classic Xmas ale aroma, deep pine with a nutty undertone. The quaff has mellowed too far at this point in the journey, a semi-flat woody and malty brew, but the hop seemed to have died off.

Still drinkable after all this time, and tons of yeasties coat the bottle bottom.

Thanks to timtheenchata for the brew!

Photo of tavernjef
4.17/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2000 vintage - I can't find much info on the tree used in this one other then it is something fairly common to California and is a type of cedar "Torreya californica", or the common name "California Nutmeg"

Color is dark brown ruby reddish, hint of a thin cap appears very briefly. A very small collar remains and minimal lacing sticks and is tan in nature.

Aroma is quite nice on this one, even after a bit of age, solid woodish pine needle with strong ginger notes, caramel candy sweetness, and touches of nutmeg.

Flavors don't bring out much of the woodyness flaunting about in the aroma but what there is a nice diplay of dark caramel candy sweetness and ginger-like spice. Nutmeg notes and cocoa dust the back end as it finishes warmer then the 2001, 2003, & 2004 which are all being enjoyed within a small vertical tasting. The pine wood is there in trace amount among some of the spice, but the sweetness of this one really keeps a nearly barleywine-like twist over a porter. Quite nice but not so to like any more then the other vintages.

Feel is amazingly smooth and slick, favorable medium body, with a light airyness about its finish. Spicy, warming, and delightful. A sipper with a sweeter edge then other OSA's I've encountered, aged or otherwise. Still damn good and very enjoyable. A for sure keeper to have around for the holidays and other wintery things.

Photo of Jables
4.6/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tasted on my birthday Dec. 5, 2003

Pours a cloudy deep mahogany. Nice creamy head.

Aroma is sweet piney malts with some nice caramel notes.

The taste is smooth, smooth, smooth. A perfect balance of caramel and hops with piney flavors present throughout. The piney flavors are nice and subdued unlike the current edition of this brew. Flavor is perfect for this night with the first snow of the season. Does finish up with a nice subtle warming by alcohol.

Not a session beer by any means but the balance is exceptional. I have 4 more bottles to save till my next birthday.

Photo of brewandbbq
3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured dark mahogany with translucent edging.
Ambitious, thick, tan head fell rather quick leaving almost no lace.
Bitter chocolate infused coffee grounds up front in the aromatics, followed through with spruce needles, treacle, molasses, and nutmeg.
Nose finishes warm and spicey, with a shadow of roast menthol.
Medium bodied, and a bit flatish, creamyness from other vintages seems astray.
Pallet starts out with bitter chocolate- covered coffee beans,
then warming spices.
Pine bark, anise, nutmeg, continue along with some underlying lemon zest and coriander.
Finishes slow, bitter, and warm, with a tart suggestion.

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Our Special Ale 2000 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 44 ratings.