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.
very good

35 Reviews

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Reviews: 35
Hads: 44
Avg: 3.88
pDev: 14.95%
Wants: 5
Gots: 3 | 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.
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Reviews: 35 | Hads: 44
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.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Muddy, ruddy, dark chocolate brown with orangish brown accents. The small, dark gold cap is thick, hearty and creamy, but enters the atmosphere more quickly than I had hoped. I see no lace at present; perhaps it'll make an appearance when more of the glass is available. Ultimately there's a thick cap and a short collar.

I've tasted the various OSAs far enough apart that aroma and flavor memories are sketchy at best. This nose smells a little better than the others for some reason. It certainly has plenty of power, a characteristic that I noted (with pleasure) when I cracked the cap. I can appreciate roasted malt, cocoa powder and indeterminate spice. Even though it's almost 5 years old, this one doesn't smell as stale as the '98 and '99, if memory serves.

I do believe that the '00 is spicier than previous iterations, but that isn't to say that it's better. No matter how many variations on this theme I drink, something about this recipe fails to grab me. The flavor profile consists of powdered dark chocolate, creme de cocoa (mild ethanol note), pine boughs and spices that were added with too heavy a hand.

Pine needles and spices last the longest, although the finish can't be said to be lingering. While the mouthfeel isn't bad, it's a little too thin for a Christmas Ale/Winter Warmer, at least as I think of those styles. Perky carbonation helps to provide some measure of mouth interest.

The 26th Christmas Ale (so sayeth the cap) isn't a whole lot different than the 24th, the 25th or the 29th. It does seem to have a greater spice load, although the mists of time may be obscuring things more than a little. Unless Anchor Brewing decides to break the mold and do something drastically different, the OSAs, at least as far as I'm concerned, will continue to be drinkable, but rather underwhelming.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.83/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared with friends the other day. Beer served in a snifter of some sort. Beer is dark brown but mostly clear at the corner, thin head, beer is carbonated still but barely.

Aroma is sweet, a little oxidized but not badly.

Beer is a little papery but the flavors are strong, I don't know the ABV on this but I think there is some alcohol in the palate, the beer is good with a nice finish. I liked it.

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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.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.97/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2000 Vintage: Tried Aug, 03
Dark opaque brown color. Lots of protein/ particulates had settled to the bottom of the bottle. Smells of burnt caramel, molasses, bitter herbs, slightly woody and a hint of smokiness too. Tastes lightly sweet, with a hint of oxidation, but this mixes quite well with the burnt caramel notes of the beer. Not as sharply spicy tasting as when I last tried this beer about 6 months ago (or when it was young). Very good still, in fact better than when it was fresh. Quite smooth with a brown malt taste. Tastes more like molasses than anything. Overall this is not nearly as sharp and objectionable as when it was new, the sharp bitter herbal taste is now in balance with the rest of the beer.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.86/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From a 1500 mL magnum,

A: Pours a somewhat ruddy red-brown with a considerable off-white head for how old it is. Still looking good.

S: Large amount of direct cinnamon, nutmeg, wood, smells a bit like poutpourri, but in a good way.

T: Cinnamon dominates with a nice malt play. Fairly complex, no hop character to be found.

M: Medium-bodied, a tad chalky at times. Soft carbonation, pretty smooth overall.

O: By far the oldest OSA I've ever had, so I was really happy to try this and see that it held up so well.

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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.

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Photo of scruffwhor
3.86/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- Color is a very dark, rusty brown/black. The head was a lovely two and a half finger head with great retention. Maintains a good, thick filmy head throughout the entire beer.

Smell- Nutmeg mixed with chestnuts and roasted malts. Some tart wood notes noticed as well.

Taste- Starts out woody and tart but then hints at some coffee and deep dark roasted malts. The finish is a bit gritty with a few sweet flavors.

Mouthfeel- A little cloying as far as the tartness factor goes. Plus the oaken wood seems to stick out a bit too.

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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

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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Photo of kmpitz2
4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of aaronh
4.42/5  rDev +13.9%
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.

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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!

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Our Special Ale 2000 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 35 ratings.