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Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale) - Anchor Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

694 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 694
Reviews: 192
rAvg: 3.65
pDev: 14.25%
Wants: 15
Gots: 53 | FT: 2
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: beertunes on 10-22-2012)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 694 | Reviews: 192 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bsp77
3.9/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Ruby black with nice brown head that retains well.

Smell: Uh, smells like a pumpkin beer. Haven't really thought that in previous years. Still that stale Porter smell underneath.

Taste: Stale, dry chocolate Porter upfront, which is overtaken by spices that once again seem very pumpkin like. I am even getting that nutty and sweet mixture I get from pumpkin. Finishes with dry chocolate.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, with a body that is slightly thinner than I would like. But the very dry finish improves the feel a lot.

Overall: Not up to par with recent releases, but still very tasty and easy to drink.

bsp77, Nov 15, 2012
Photo of KickbacksSteve
3.9/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Kickbacks in Jax. Poured into a snifter. Khaki head with moderate retention on a deep colored tudor brown body. Aroma includes caramel malts, slight roast and clove. Taste has a nice caramel sweetness, touch of brown sugar and clove, maybe even cinnamon. Pretty tasty and kinda puts me in the Christmas spirit for some reason. (Celebration does the same thing).

KickbacksSteve, Dec 04, 2012
Photo of AndyAvalanche
3.9/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into my personalized New England Patriots Mug. Mahogany brown with slightly lighter brown highlights . Tan head with mostly small bubbles, but they vary a little bit. I'd say above average to decent lacing.

Smell is good. I love how it changes every year. Plenty of winter spices, figs, other dark fruits, roasted malts and a slight touch of hops at the end. The blend is very nice, sort of subtle.

Taste is good, on par, but not quite as good as the smell. The winter spices and dark fruits are the dominant feature again, but there is sort of an earthy, bitter aftertaste that is a little close to the unpleasant end of bitter.

Mouthfeel is pretty good, medium bodied, good carbonation and pretty well balanced. Earthy bitter finish that is slightly dry. Overall a nice beer, I was glad to get a six pack this season and finally sit down to review it. Not the best year I've had, but certainly worth getting.

AndyAvalanche, Jan 14, 2013
Photo of Suds
3.9/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This year's ale is a dark brown color with a tan, large-bubbled head. The aroma is of Christmas spices and malt. It's a bit of a muted smell, but mulling spice is evident, backed by a brown malt and moderately roasty scent. The taste is pleasant...brown sugar, malt, orange peel and clove. It has a tongue numbing sensation that's somehow appropriate. Firm and full in body. This is a very enjoyable holiday ale.

Suds, Dec 24, 2012
Photo of sevenarts
3.9/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown, with a slightly ruddy character in the light, and a good sized tan head. Some lacing.

S: Crisp and clean and malty, some vegetal spice notes, maybe some caramel and brown sugar for sweetness.

T/M: Very sweet and creamy and malty. Nice layered flavors with sweet malts up front, spices and leafy, piney notes at the edges, gradually giving way to a roasted character at the end.

O: A very good winter ale, much better than I remember last year's being, with less big spice flavor and more creamy malt texture.

sevenarts, Jan 17, 2013
Photo of Stinkypuss
3.93/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Anchor Brewing Company
Our Special Ale
2012 edition

LOOK: Pours a clear dark brown color with a solid topping of off white foam leaving plenty of lace. A very good looking brew.

SMELL: Molasses, brown sugar, roast, and the signature evergreen/spruce note.

TASTE: Roasted malts upfront along with an herbal spruce flavor, along with pine and measurable bitterness. Molasses and chocolate from the malts provide a hearty base for the beer. Light spices round out the flavor with some clove and dusty cinnamon.

FEEL: Full bodied and well carbonated. Clean crisp finish with just a small lingering sappy pine note.

OVERALL: As enjoyable as some of my favorite vintages. This is a classic holiday beer.

Stinkypuss, Dec 06, 2012
Photo of jondeelee
3.95/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Our Special Ale 2012 opens to a spicy, fruity, sweet nose that is instantly reminiscent of fruitcake and mulled wine. Nutmeg, clove, allspice, candied ginger, and pepper are immediately noticeable, as well as slight hints of coriander. The fruits are, on the one hand, dark and complex, with dates, green maraschino cherries, and figs, and on the other, bring nice orange peel, lemon zest, and pink grapefruit overtones. All of these rest atop thick brown breads, vanilla, molasses, wildflower honey, and a lovely Christmas layer of fresh pine needles. Add to this a slightly alcoholic touch, as of mulled wine or white port, and the result is a tantalizing aroma that would make for a world-class candle scent, and in a beer, is exactly the sort of aroma one would want while opening presents. The aromas do seem to be somewhat lighter than those in previous years’ editions, but here that’s a good thing, since at least one of the previous bottles smelled so strongly of pine needles as to be overwhelming.

On the tongue, the beer begins with a spicy kick, the cloves, nutmeg, candied ginger, allspice, and pepper instantly blasting away at the tastebuds, joined by molasses and thick brown breads, as well as deeply roasted pecans and pine needles. The fruits come in a somewhat distant second, the green maraschino cherries and dates primarily, with touches of raisin next, and the orange and lemon zest second. The effect is less fruitcake here than spicecake, and the spices do unfortunately rather overwhelm everything else, and are even more potent in subsequent mouthfuls. The aftertaste is similarly dominated by spice, with remnants of brown breads, molasses, and lemon zest, and lingers on the tongue for a very long time. Mouthfeel is medium, and carbonation is medium to medium-high, fizzing on the tongue and burning the soft tissues.

Overall, this is good Christmas beer, it’s just unfortunate that the spices were so dominant, as they detracted from what was a very nice fruit and dark bread belly. The beer is by no means unpalatable, but it is strongly spiced enough that it would be difficult to drink too many in a row.

jondeelee, Mar 27, 2013
Photo of metter98
3.95/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is very dark red in color and is close to appearing black when viewed from afar. It poured with a finger and a half high beige head that died down but left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface and lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Aromas of ginger snap cookies and nutmeg are present in the nose.
T: For the most part, the taste resembles the smell and is dominated by Christmas spices and some very subtle hints of sweetness.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is dominated by flavors of spices, but I really enjoyed the combination of flavors and could sip this beer all night long.

metter98, Dec 15, 2012
Photo of bmwats
3.95/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a standard pint.

A: Very dark brown, or black. Pours about a 1 finger, foamy, whit-ish head. Craters unevenly, and fairly quickly, leaving a bit of a foamy blanket and a ring. Sporadic lacing.

S: Roasted espresso malt, nuts, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

T: Hearty roasted coffee. Nutty, with a little fall spice.

M: Full and robust. Lightly bitter finish.

D: Sip and enjoy.

Atmosphere is pretty good. Great hue, really nice head, and fair lacing. Nose is roasted nuts and coffee with plenty of cinnamon and nutmeg. Tastes like it smells...only not sweet (which is a good thing). Char roasted malt, nuts, and fall spice. Overall, this is a really good quaff.

bmwats, Dec 30, 2012
Photo of mttaylor1066
3.95/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This year's "Special Ale" certainly brings the spice...but the thin mouthfeel leaves me wanting more than what's in the glass.

Appears as a very dark blackish red with a colored, persistent foamy head. Ruby shines through when held to the light in my Belgian goblet.

Smells of piney resin with a date-like aroma. Another sniff reminds me of dark cherries and roasted black malt. I'm guessing that there are juniper berries in this year's boil.

Tastes like dark cherries and resinous hops. This brew is better than last year's recipe... but:

The mouthfeel is thin. There's a lot of spice that could benefit from a heavier body to carry it through on the palate. It's what's missing in this ale.

Overall, a better effort than 2011. Enjoyable but certainly less than great. I'd buy another six if I thought some of my friends would like an introduction to holiday ales.

mttaylor1066, Nov 24, 2012
Photo of raynmoon
3.95/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I'd consider this one of my favorite beers. I look forward to almost as much as Celebration ale. The perfect sessionable winter warmer. Time for a overall score.

It's a sexy beer. The head says it's a stout, but when held to the light, it has a super deep ruby color to it; awesome.

Tons of ginger and cinnamon, slight breadiness. It just came out of the refrigerator, so it will take some time to really become aromatic.

That ginger and cinnamon comes through right away, then it rolls over the tongue kind of watery/ lack-in-flavor, and then finishes dry and cocoa-like.

This beer uses it's spices better than I've seen any pumpkin ale. Those tend to taste like brown sugar and weird out of place spices. This one screams Holidays. I don't know how they do it.

Overall, it could use a little bit more character and body, but still a good beer to enjoy and will always recommend.

raynmoon, Nov 12, 2012
Photo of LiquidAmber
3.96/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Review from 1/2013 notes. Poured into a Seattle Beer Week pint glass. Pours a dark mahogany brown with a fine quarter finger of tan head with good retention and lacing. Aroma of sweet bock malt, light pine, cinnamon and nutmeg. Flavor follows, with sweet malt, holiday spicing heavy on cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg, thins out out to a lighter, slightly tart and piney character. Lingering flavor of woody pine. Medium bodied with a mild creaminess. This year's version leans more toward piney spicing, but there is a nice background flavor leaning towards gingerbread that balances out the other spicy flavors. Lighter finish than I remember from last year, but as usual, interesting and very winter holiday oriented. A great annual tradition.

LiquidAmber, Mar 28, 2014
Photo of mnrider
3.98/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. Brown Bottle.

A: Pours a smooth dark brown with a tan two finger head. This turns to
a slick thin layer withing a few seconds. Leaves a little watery lacing.

S: Sweet malts and some toasted notes. Filled with various spices. Nutmeg
is significantly strong. Other holiday spices including cinnamon.

T/M: Not unlike the smell it is filled with the tastes of the holidays. Candy,
nutmeg...Roasted malts with a slight hop presence. Smooth throughout
with a spicy finish.

O: The pros to this Winter Warmer is the holiday spices and the smoothness.
The spices can be a bit much, which makes this brew a sipper for me. Definitely
different and worth a try if you can get it before it goes away.

Cheers!!

mnrider, Dec 28, 2012
Photo of wordemupg
3.98/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

355ml bottle poured into tulip 30/11/12

A dark brown liquid and you can nearly see the other side of the glass under the foam, a thumbs width of dark tan head sits for a few sips leaving no lace

S root beer, Christmas cake, cinnamon, nutmeg, anise and a little coco mix with some hazelnut and toffee, just a little earthy wood notes as it warms

T slightly more anise notes and coco with a little ginger, the flavor mimics the smell fairly well other then that, the nutty and earthy notes come out a little more as it warms

M medium bodied and any more bubbles it would be a little airy but it stops short, nice spiced finish lingers faintly for a while

O I like it and it's good beer but from memory the last few versions have been world class, I'm still pleased and look forward to the rest of the 6er but I'm not completely blown away

I think I was looking for big piney or spruce notes and its not really there this year, please don't get me wrong this is a very nice brew but perhaps I'm just trying to re-live old memories

wordemupg, Dec 01, 2012
Photo of adamette
3.98/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Live Review. Poured from the 12 oz. bottle that I bought as part of a 6 pack from Heinen's in Mentor for $11.99 the other day into a clean, clear glass. No observed "best by" date but really, it is before Christmas so I am quite sure that it is fine.

A Nice light brown creamy head stays around for several minutes, leaving a nice lacing on the inside of the glass upon repeated sips. That sits atop a dark brown body that glows a mahogany partially translucent body in front of direct light. Very good look and I really like the quantity and quality of the head. 4.5

S Grainy sweet malt with very little hops to the smell. Warm and welcoming. 4.0

T Warmth of grainy sweet malt taste as it is far more barley malt rather than anything overly sweet. The taste succeeds as a Winter Warmer without going for the sweet malt that I find in others in this style. Challenging and interesting. 4.0

M Smooth feel as it goes down so easily. 3.5

D/O Drinkability quite good with manageable ABV and smooth, approachable feel and almost gentle tastes. Overall this is a fine Winter Warmer. I have enjoyed all of the Anchor Beers that I have tasted. 4.0

Notes: Another class addition to the lengthy series of Anchor "Our Special Ale."

adamette, Dec 20, 2012
Photo of Jeffwildcat
3.99/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown. Foam head sticks till the end. Christmas spicy notes like plums and brown sugar. Nutty notes and roasted carmem malts. Nice carbination. Light to.medium body . This one was certainly different compared to the 2011 version. A solid good beer.

Jeffwildcat, Feb 25, 2013
Photo of Doomcifer
4/5  rDev +9.6%

Doomcifer, Nov 15, 2013
Photo of clark25
4/5  rDev +9.6%

clark25, Jan 08, 2013
Photo of Hairrrrrrrr
4/5  rDev +9.6%

Hairrrrrrrr, Jul 18, 2013
Photo of jferrara35
4/5  rDev +9.6%

jferrara35, Jan 13, 2014
Photo of Mtooman
4/5  rDev +9.6%

Mtooman, Dec 16, 2012
Photo of troegaarden
4/5  rDev +9.6%

troegaarden, Jun 18, 2013
Photo of CCInCharge
4/5  rDev +9.6%

CCInCharge, Dec 02, 2013
Photo of Dwtucker90
4/5  rDev +9.6%

Dwtucker90, Jan 28, 2013
Photo of GuyIncognito
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a good beer made with a lot of care. It is heavier than the regular Anchor Steam, but not a stout. Subtly spiced, a solid ale. I like that the recipe is different every year, but this is my first year trying it, so I couldn't tell. The egg nog of beer, if egg nog was classy, drinkable, and made with skill.

GuyIncognito, Nov 07, 2012
Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 694 ratings.