Our Special Ale 2002 (Anchor Christmas Ale) - Anchor Brewing Company
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Ratings: 135 | Reviews: 126 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Zraly:
4.13/5 rDev +2.7%
Personally, I love this drink. I think that this is the most sophisticated brew I've tasted to date. It's of uncompromising quality and really is the beat of a different drum. However, I think it is most appropriate for me to rate this beer for the general audience, per usual.
The smell is that of eggnog. It reminded me of Christmas eve and spiking some dairy-fresh nog with a shot of rum. What a wonderful memory to conjure through a bottle of beer. It's big, red-brown color head was a nice compliment to its super-dark brown.
The flavor of this is that of a rich, malty, floral perfume...with a creamy mouthfill. There are also notes of orange and cinnamon, with an undertone of vanilla bean. I am daring to go out on a ledge and say that this is the beer equivalent to Pinot Noir in the wine world. It is complex, sensual, and...sexy. Yeah, I said it. Sexy.
This is a particular drink. It is specific to those who wish to delve outside the realm of your standard brew. And for those who venture down this path, you will be pleasantly surprised. However, as a drinkability issue, this brew is not for the masses, not for your everyday tastebuds, not even for folks who like flavor. It's for those of us who wish to experience and use more than one sense when drinking a beer. So, I cannot give it a high rating for drinkability because many outside of the realm of appreciation for food and drink might take this ale the wrong way.
That's fine. It means more for me.
12-07-2002 20:57:30 | More by Zraly
More User Reviews:
3.53/5 rDev -12.2%
Looks like something you could pour out of a Quacker State bottle,seemed really thick coming out but when drinking didnt seem quite as heavy.Smelled like I was walking through the woods with pine trees everywhere,picked up the nutmeg as well in the smell.Very christmasy in flavor nutmeg cinnamon,and fruitcake flavors are almost overwhelming.Was pretty good but couldnt handle more than say 2 or 3.
02-04-2003 07:49:19 | More by oberon
3.53/5 rDev -12.2%
Review from Inaugural Issue of Beeradvocate Magazine.
An oddity, Anchor Christmas Ale is a beer that tries to defy time. Who would have thought you could cellar a beer that is less than 6 percent? It is simply amazing that most of the vintages have held up well over the years. Sure, you get a bit of oxidation and the hops fade too, but all in all the age does this beer good. When we tried it back in 2002 we noticed this version was not has hoppy as previous years.
Beer offers an amazing lace from a good two ﬁngers of tan froth, a few shades lighter than black. The deep brown tone doesn't let much light in. Spicy, sweet aroma. Smells of hermit cookies, a fresh slice of fruitcake and faint spearmint. Very smooth, with a lush medium body. Baker's chocolate and toasted bread crust come to mind. Spicy, mildly minty, with a toasty ﬂavor throughout. Twang of citrus with a dark, roasty, sweet maltiness, reminiscent of orange peels and burnt sugar. Very little hop character, but the slight vinous and fruity undertones keep things balanced. Four years of cellaring have certainly not harmed this beer at all.
07-23-2008 16:48:59 | More by BeerAdvocate
4.3/5 rDev +7%
Presentation: 12 oz short brown bottle with a freshness code on the back label and the year 2002 on the front. Populus fremontii or Cottonwood is on the label.
Appearance: Dense two fingers of tan foam cling to the glass like a champ, mahogany brown with ruby highlights.
Smell: Suggestions of soft resin of tree sap, fruity with a twang in the back and a silky malt lines the nose. Pleasing and very aromatic.
Taste: Creamy in the mouth, very smooth with a level carbonation and full body. Malt is packed in pretty good with quick toasted grain and light roasted flavours abound. Flowery, soft at first but then it seems more of a robe around the taste buds. Not overwhelming but more comforting. A sweet brew that is for sure as the maltiness draws in closer middle to end with a faint roasted character tagging along.
Notes: An impressive ale every year and a must for me, give it a try if you are looking for a winter ale.
11-20-2002 18:13:48 | More by Jason
3.65/5 rDev -9.2%
thick, dark and rich with spices, this is not my favorite style, but over the holidays, after a big holidaze meal, this one would foot the bill. Nicely balanced for this style, anchor allways puts out a nice product. Got this one in late 2003, (at a reduced price at my local beer dealer)must have been left over from last years batch. So this one came "pre-aged"
01-24-2004 14:53:50 | More by Billolick
3.6/5 rDev -10.4%
Thanks to Truh for this unexpected goodie.
Dark brown in color with a full finger of light beige head...all but a fine layer fades rapidly and some thin lacing forms.
Spices in the nose...cinnamon, mild allspice, chocolate malt sweetness.
Taste is more of the same...has soured just a bit, but by no means distracting. Dry and quite clean in the finish...that sweetness in the nose is not present as I consume the pint.
Mouthfeel is a bit thinner than I was expecting...the carbonation could be less for me.
Either way, this one has held up pretty well after a few years, but I prefer it at no more than a year.
04-10-2006 00:56:51 | More by warriorsoul
4.3/5 rDev +7%
Man did I luck in to this. I walked in to the store last week and they had a whole case of 02 just hanging out on the shelf. I love it when they do the cellaring for me!
Pours a dark brown with a very foamy espresso colored head, which lasts a while. The smell is just heavenly; nutmeg, cinnamon , and a wee bit of toffee.
The taste is somehthing akin to drinking a spice cake. Lots of ginger and spice mixed in to the malt. Very smooth and creamy with just the right amount of hoppiness at the end. i could see downing a whole lot of this on Christmas. Good stuff.
12-02-2003 00:38:58 | More by yankeeheel
4.28/5 rDev +6.5%
Attractive deep ruby-brown, nice 1/2 inch head of a dark reddish tan foam. Reserved aroma, malty and dense with a sense of white pepper and pine. Lots of flavors, leaning to the ginger and molasses sides, but with notes of nutmeg and allspice. Pleasant medium body with a creamy mouthfeel. Finishes raisiny with a bit of lime and enough bittering to keep the beer refreshing. Pretty flavorful, some things in common with RCH Ale Mary. I'm definitely on board this Anchor offering.
11-26-2002 06:17:58 | More by ADR
United Kingdom (England)
3.9/5 rDev -3%
Very christmasy, but nice and restrained. Gingerbread biscuits, with some cakey, chocolatey flavours, spicy, with some late bitterness and a long finish, very nice. I had it on a warm London night, but could imagine drinking it in the colder months, beautifully warm and inviting mouthfeel.
09-08-2003 03:42:18 | More by rastaman
4.25/5 rDev +5.7%
This was advertised as Anchor Christmas Ale on the draught list.
It poured deep chestnut with some ruby highlights and a tan, creamy head. Plenty of roasted malt and spices in the nose. My first impression was this was a medium bodied hybrid porter brewed with seasonal spices. Dark fruits, coffee, chocolate, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger came to mind. Anchor threw some West Coast hops into the mix to balance out the sweetness and makes this a very drinkable brew. This was almost like a Christmas session brew when your ready for more than one or two holiday beers.
11-27-2002 12:22:00 | More by QXSTER1
4.33/5 rDev +7.7%
Pours a light brown foamy head that floats majestically above deep scarlet colored liquid. Nose is a flowery mix of spruciness, nutmeg, and other spices, and maltiness in back of it all. Taste is roasty malts, dry and quite hoppy this year. Notes of allspice, chocolate, leather, woodiness all intermingle, very complex in it's flavor profile. Finishes up spicy and dry/tangy, another great edition.
A big thanks to Beer Angel for the trade!
01-04-2003 21:13:48 | More by beerluvr
4.58/5 rDev +13.9%
Complexity is the key word with this beer. Pours a deep mahogany color with a fairly durable head which leaves nice lace down the glass. Aroma is diverse with notes of maple syrup, spruce, hops, spices. Taste is exceptional -- so many different flavors going on here. Big notes of pine, chocolate, spice (notably ginger), etc. Almost too much for my palate, but in a good way. Mouthfeel is quite creamy and pleasant. An all around excellent brew.
11-30-2002 09:24:50 | More by Jon
3.7/5 rDev -8%
Sample taste at Chicago Beer Society vertical tasting, Dec. 1, 2005. The 2002 vintage, at age 3, is another beer with a nice fruity smell. A bit of alcohol volatility, and this ones a bit light on the Christmas spices. Some of the other tasters remark on a tobacco smell.
12-13-2005 14:42:42 | More by DrunkMcDermott
4/5 rDev -0.5%
Review dated 2/4/2009.
Bottle at The Bruery, 2002 vintage, drank it December 2008, vertical with 2001 and 2008 vintages. Dark amber color with an off-white head. Aroma of roasted malt, nutmeg, ginger, and brown sugar. Taste is the same, malty and spicy, not quite as mellow as the 2001. Medium-full body.
08-26-2011 20:40:19 | More by nickd717
2.23/5 rDev -44.5%
Anchor Brewing Christmas Beer 2002: Why does this beer taste and smell like the strongest ginger snaps I ever saw? It is clearly a heavily spiced herbal beer, which is not at all bad looking. Jagermeister! That’s it; it tastes a lot like Jagermeister. It’s got a long lasting aftertaste, which is no bargain. Upon further review, its worse than I thought. I cannot get over the turpentine taste, and I could still taste it several hours later. I woke up at 2:00 a.m., and could still taste it. Sorry, but I’ll pass.
11-20-2002 19:32:54 | More by jackndan
4.35/5 rDev +8.2%
Served with a smallish brown head resting on a rich, dark mahogany body. The daft-version laced exceptionally well. The nose was attractive, but a little more mild, the spice, tree sap/molasses, and malt were still present but more rounded. The flavors on the palate are similar to the nose; sap/molasses, spice, etc the complexity was present but, again, more smoothed. Mouthfeel: silky as can be. The drinkability of this winter beer is increased exponentially on-tap. Seek it out.
11-27-2002 11:35:22 | More by bditty187
3.68/5 rDev -8.5%
Dark brown in color with a brown head.
Aroma is hard to describe: spices and roasted malt with a floral, fruity addition. Somewhat medicinal: menthol and camphor.
Taste is also complex and hard to describe. Very unique. Roasted malts, spices, and fruit flavors. Hint of sourness that detracts from the overall flavor. Well balanced.
Good mouthfeel. Medium body.
Drinkability takes a hit due to the sour notes.
Overall a solid, very unique brew.
01-27-2003 19:13:09 | More by PhantomVodoo
4.13/5 rDev +2.7%
Pours thick and dark with a nice one inch brown head that stuck around a bit longer than most. The smell was surprising and very good. Smelled like a good chocolate stout with a bit of coffee, malt, and hops.
The taste had an initial hint of the chocolate, but then it quickly changed to significant spiciness followed up with a hoppy bitterness. Mouthfeel was nice and thick and then finished up with a nice aftertaste, but a little too dry.
This is a really good beer that definitely surprised me. I was expecting something more along the lines of a Sam Adams Winter, but this one went above and beyond my expectations. I am glad I got a six-pack of this one.
04-15-2003 18:59:24 | More by kwill
4.58/5 rDev +13.9%
Pours a dark amber, borderline black. Initial smell is of pleasant pine and sap, the smell of walking through the woods on a mild fall day. The same pine is in the initial taste combined with a creamy, light spicy, feel. A slight creamy milk/eggnog aftertaste is brilliant. Very complex and interesting, this is clearly the best winter brew I've ever had.
03-13-2003 19:01:36 | More by GeoffRizzo
3.45/5 rDev -14.2%
This beer had a small sized tan head that consisted of fine sized bubbles.The body was carbonated and the hue was dark brown.The nose was spicy and also of gingerbread.It had a malty, spicy and chocolate flavor to it and the mouthfeel was very smooth and it was medium bodied.There was excellent lacing with this beer.
09-09-2003 15:11:33 | More by hotstuff
3.78/5 rDev -6%
Big thanks to Beersignal for poping this baby out of the cellar for our pre-Canada Day weekend tasting.
Appearance: Dark crimson with a creamy cranium.
Smell: Merry f'n'x-mas indeed! Ginger, mint, cinnamon, cloves, sugarplums, candycane. Add a turkey and you've got the whole holiday wrapped up in a bottle!
Taste: A little madeirized, it tasted like a melted gingerbread man (Not my gumdrop buttons!) and felt sherry sweet and glowing with alcohol. I'm no expert on cellaring and wasn't able to do a vertical on this Beer, but I think we got this one open just in time.
07-03-2005 22:58:52 | More by Goldorak
3.1/5 rDev -22.9%
This beer pours a clear very dark ruby brown with a medium clingy dark tan head. The mouthfeel is clingy dark tan head. The smell is anise, strong cedar, slightly malty and cloves. The taste is spruce, peppery alcohol middle and pumpkin spice(?). A fairly decent Christmas ale that probably has a little too much going on. Maybe the flavors will settle down a bit after a year of aging but for now are a little much.
05-01-2003 19:38:12 | More by fattyre
4.03/5 rDev +0.2%
This is a tasty, spicy Christmas Ale that deserves to be tried. It pours a dark brown with a strong head that lasts through the end of the glass. It has a great taste of mulling spices that are not too strong to overpower a soft malty flavor. It's does have a slight bitter finish that decreases it's drinkability, but certainly worth a couple glasses. Try it with a good heavy meat or dark bread this season.
12-14-2002 12:12:31 | More by TAMU99
Our Special Ale 2002 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 135 ratings.