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 2000 (Anchor Christmas Ale) - Anchor Brewing Company

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

Displayed for 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: 15.21%
Wants: 4
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:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: xlperro on 12-04-2000)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Our Special Ale 2000 (Anchor Christmas Ale) Alström Bros
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | next › last »
Ratings: 44 | Reviews: 36 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BKotch
4.85/5  rDev +25%
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.

BKotch, Dec 19, 2001
Photo of John_M
4.72/5  rDev +21.6%
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.

John_M, Nov 01, 2008
Photo of Jables
4.63/5  rDev +19.3%
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.

Jables, Dec 06, 2003
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.

Jason, Dec 18, 2000
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!

ChrisBowers, Sep 08, 2004
Photo of allboutbierge
4.43/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

the first thing i did was smell this beer and feel immediately in love; the smell called to me to bring the beer to my lips similiar to a woman scented it an exsquisite perfume. The taste that i experienced from that first sip was similiar to a beautiful woman, full of many qualtities that came together in a exciting harmony. The smell is spicy, i noted some almost apple like scents. The taste is very complex but drinkable. No single taste property over powers the others. Again herbs and spices are notable in the base of what is almost like a heavy porter minus the chocolate and coffee properties. I can almost taste a feeling of winter with chestnuts, pine trees, and fallen oak leafs with each sip. Pours very little head but leaves a steady lace that is not all that thick. Very interesting beer, thoroughly enjoyable...I could see this paired very well with a shot of jagermeister for that extra kick of christmas cheer.
Will definetly try to get ahold of some 02's for this Christmas season.

allboutbierge, Oct 15, 2002
Photo of aaronh
4.43/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours with a robust, dense tan head that displays excellent retention for a 2 year old beer. Color appears to be a deep red chestnut hue. Almost stout-like in appearance, but presenting a hint of red color. The aroma is amazing. There is a noticable clove and nutmeg spiciness, paired with a raisin sweetness. Woody notes are also present, along with hints of chocolate and roasted malt. The taste is immediately nutty, bringing hazelnut and walnut to the foreground. Chocolate flavors are strong, as well a a great smokiness on the finish. The hops are are reserved but enjoyable. As I continue to sip, the flavor seems to change with the temperature, with hints of the following flavors appearing, then subsiding: black pepper, pine, alcohol, lightly sweet chocolate with a hint of plum, sweet cream (wow this was a nice taste that jumped in!), smoky cheddar?, and then the bitterness starts getting stronger, with more piney notes. This progression occurred over the period of about an hour. Once the bitterness started popping in, I finished it up quickly. Very minimal sweetness comes through on the flavor, much less than I anticipated. The mouthfeel is very solid, but has a definite astringency. While this beer is enjoyable, I would not drink a large number of them, nor could I drink it quickly due to the apparently high ABV. However, its unique charcteristics and wild array of flavors make this an enjoyable experience. Anchor Our Special Ale is becoming one of my favorite things about winter.

aaronh, Nov 14, 2002
Photo of beerluvr
4.33/5  rDev +11.6%
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!

beerluvr, May 18, 2002
Photo of matjack85
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%

matjack85, Feb 12, 2013
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.

Gavage, Mar 21, 2004
Photo of spycow
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%

spycow, Mar 11, 2013
Photo of bditty187
4.15/5  rDev +7%
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.

bditty187, Feb 16, 2004
Photo of tavernjef
4.15/5  rDev +7%
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.

tavernjef, Nov 23, 2004
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.

Brent, Apr 25, 2001
Photo of radshoesbro
4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I first got interested in aging these when I tried a 1992 and 1994 at Christmas in July.

Magnum, shared with friends.

The pour is absolutely GORGEOUS!!! This is one of the best looking beers I've seen in a while. Dark brown with massive head and tons of lace. The head recedes quickly enough that it's not annoying.

This smells so delicious! Mass spice and a beautiful christmas tree element round it out.

Tastes of good spiciness that has become slightly subdued over time, but it's still very prevalent.

At first I thought this was slightly weak in the mouth, but as I got used to it, I started liking it more.

radshoesbro, Dec 14, 2009
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

RBorsato, Jan 13, 2004
Photo of kmpitz2
4.08/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a magnum. Thanks Sheep.

The beer is a nice deep dark brown color with a 3 finger head that falls to a quarter inch over top. The nose is nice molassas and gingerbread. Pretty strong and in my face. I like it. The flavor is a little weak to me. The nice molasses and light soy flavors are there along with the ginger flavor as well. The feel is a light moderate with a light carbonation. Drinkability is very nice. Its smooth and very tasty. Good show.

kmpitz2, Jun 23, 2005
Photo of Vancer
4.05/5  rDev +4.4%
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!

Vancer, Jan 06, 2008
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.

SheepNutz, Jun 23, 2005
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.

jwinship83, May 02, 2011
Photo of pperez38
4/5  rDev +3.1%

pperez38, Dec 01, 2011
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.

hopdog, Nov 13, 2008
Photo of M27
4/5  rDev +3.1%

M27, Feb 19, 2012
Photo of francisweizen
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This stuff was much better than the 2002 version that I last tried. This is still a dark brown beer with a biege head and some nice aromas of spices, trees, and booze. This aged version is less tree-like in flavor and more barley-wine like. The mouthfeel seems thicker and the drinkability is definately better than the 2002 as well.

Nice stuff!

francisweizen, Sep 25, 2003
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.

clvand0, Jun 23, 2005
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | next › last »
Our Special Ale 2000 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 44 ratings.