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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)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

193 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 193
Hads: 714
rAvg: 3.71
pDev: 10.51%
Wants: 16
Gots: 68 | 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:
Beer added by: beertunes on 10-22-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (26) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 193 | Hads: 714
Photo of NiceTaps
3.48/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a magnum bottle into a pint glass.

A- Pours a dark brown with slight reddish highlights. A mocha tan 1-finger head leaves some nice lacing as it gently fades.

S- dark fruits and spices, plums and sugars abound. Some notes of roasty malts, maybe a bit of toffee, coffee, or similar.

T- Cola beer or Dr. Pepper beer, hard to tell. Dark fruits and cola are what I take from this drink. There's some dark bread in there, too.

M- Nice body and carbonation but finishes so bready dry, that despite the flavors, I was looking for a kick.

O-This is a good brew that I believe would benefit from some kind of hoppiness. (627 characters)

Photo of tkelley
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a large tulip glass.

A -- Pours really dark with a tan head. Way darker than most warmers I've seen. Okay lacing. Thin layer of foam retained well.

N -- Cloves and hops. Also, this beer's smell reminded me of my favorite farm stand... so I guess it smells kind of like potpourri? Sure. It's kind of neat and weird, but after I took a big sip, I got the scent in the back of my nasal cavity. Im not sure that's supposed to happen.

T -- Cloves again, but with a good malt roast backup. Sweet, nut not that sweet. Not too boozy.

M -- Slightly above-average heft. Swished it around a bit in my mouth and it got bubbly and tingly.

O -- Pretty good. Different from a lot of warmers I've had in that it was a little more hop forward and relied a lot on cloves instead of ginger, orange, and nutmeg. At least to me. I liked it and would drink it again gladly.

Cheers! (890 characters)

Photo of goblue3509
3.52/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a coppery color with a ruby twinge when held to the light. There is a half to one finger head which leaves some lacing on the glass. The aroma is big and bold. Caramel, winter spices, and floral aromas leave you wanting to dive into this beer. Very inviting. The taste follows suit with a nice sweet flavor up front, caramel, holiday spices, and floral flavors play beginning to middle. The end has a slight weird bitterness to it, like a wet hop almost. The mouthfeel is low to moderatly carbonated with a hint of dryness. Overall the look and aroma leave you wanting more but the flavor although good doesn't quiet deliver. (631 characters)

Photo of ianjsullivan
3.53/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

ST: 12oz poured into a pint glass.

A: a Very red brown; the head is slightly brown. The head sits on top like a marshmallow.

S: Sweet malt, caramel, fruit cake, dark fruit. It is a bit subdued.

T: Lots of sweet malt and spices upfront, and a lot of a dark fruit, bread, wood, and a hint of coco in the finish.

M: Medium

O: I love the finish: wood, chocolate nubs, and a bit of bitter coffee bean. Overall it is another solid winter beer. It seems to have a lot more of a cake taste in the finish than the year before. (525 characters)

Photo of Bung
3.53/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Filled up at Grapevine in Fort Mill.
Extremely dark cola brown. Frothy off white head that disappears pretty quickly.

Aroma, a little bit of christmas spices, but even more juniper berry. Maybe a little anise.

Taste, Some near burnt graham cracker up front. Juniper berry again, very woody. Some molasses and cocoa later. These sweeter notes seem to increase as it warms. Still pretty "barky" or burnt.

Heavy side of light body, good carb. A little watery feeling however. Drinks pretty easy, maybe just a few too many forest ingredients.
I actually like it for a pretty easy drinker, but it is far from my favorite in the series. (633 characters)

Photo of cyclonece09
3.53/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a 14 oz "pint" glass. Pours a dark brown/black with a small brown head with nice lacing. Smells of chocolate and roasted grain. Tastes of some chocolate but with a little bit of hoppy bite, but it is still a bit bland. Beer is carbonated nicely and it is light/medium bodied. Overall, a slightly above average beer. (347 characters)

Photo of jdhilt
3.53/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2012 version - 1.5L green bottle, gift, good carbonation and light-medium bodied. Spices are not as prominent otherwise similar to 2007 version: pours with a three fingered, light brown head that goes slowly and leaves a good lace. Nearly black hints of mahogany color. Flavor is spicy all the way, hops stay in the background. Nose is winter spices. Light carbonation and medium bodied. $1.50 for a 12oz bottle from Capitol Convenience. (437 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
3.53/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer shared by Thorpe429, thanks. I usually love these beers but this one is just a miss for me. It is too piny with a bitter aftertaste of roast and grain. Not a repeat for me.

Beer is brown and clear with a tan head of small bubbles, minimal lacing, looks good.

Aroma is mildly holiday spicy with hints of nutmeg and cinnamon and a little sweetness, pine is present as well.

Beer is a little thin and very piny up front, minimal spice contributions in the late palate and then there's an aftertaste of roasted grain that gives the beer this unpleasant out of place lingering bitterness. An odd beer for sure, not a repeat for me. (634 characters)

Photo of Chas58
3.55/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from my Growler filled at Joe Canal's Iselin into my Firestone Walker Nonic Pint Glass

Appearance: Dark mahogany with a moderate but tight inch high head with a brownish tint. The head leaves a nice persistent lacing and persists.

Smell: An initial pleasant but subdued aroma of spices, but with nothing overwhelming. A slight hint of malt and a subtle sweetness. A very well balanced beer likely awaits.

Taste: This is not an in your face spiced beer but a well balanced and well crafted beer. The beer has a nice balance of "winter" spices, but none are prominent in any way. There is a very complex mix of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg, but so well mixed as to make them very hard to single out.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and clean feel with a limited amount of residual stickiness

Drinkability: This is so wonderfully drinkable, and bucking the trend of high alcohol winter beers. This is truly session able, and with the really nice balance you will certainly think about another. This is not as "spice" or "hopped" as in past years, but it is something I will seek out again. (1,082 characters)

Photo of axeman9182
3.55/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle, poured into my NEBCO tulip.

Our Special Ale 2012 pours not quite entirely black, with a decent amount of ruby highlights. Somewhere between one and two fingers of khaki colored foam crowns the beer. Head retention and lacing are both solid, yet unspectacular. The nose is nice, with roasty and caramel aromas providing a base for the cinnamon and ginger to featured over. There's some more caramel, plus a light dusting of chocolate at the front end of each sip. Bitterness is minimal, and the spicing provides the close. Here it's more cinnamon dominant, with ginger coming across in clearly a supporting role. It's also a little bit more muted than in the aroma. The body is way too light. The way it's almost watery is especially noticeable when the spices come in at the end. The carbonation is alright given the body, but if the beer had a more substantial body it probably wouldn't be adequate. I'm a bit let down by the 2012 vintage of OSA from Anchor. It's just not a particularly impressive winter warmer. (1,030 characters)

Photo of magictacosinus
3.55/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Giving this a go, despite my usual hate towards winter warmers. I do love Anchor Steam though. Poured out of a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Wow, fascinating presentation... The color is sort of a plumb, brownish dark tint that I can't quite describe. It looks a lot like a combination of molasses and pumpernickel. Enormous 2.5 finger head at first, but it sadly dies down to pretty much nothing over time. I can see some carbonation within the dark, murky color, but overall it's really festive and seasonal in appearance and looks ready for any merry occasion.

Okay, the smell is pretty intense though... Lots of spices going on here, but just as I had guessed by looking at it, this has a really strong molasses smell, combined with soured cranberries, clove, rosemary, raisins, roasted rich bread, and a phenolic aroma resembling bark (ranging from birch to oak). Caramelized dark cherries abound as well. Seriously, this is one of the most fascinating spiced beer aromas I've ever come across, but that molasses/medicated finish is rather brutal. There's so many spices I'm wondering if any hops were even *necessary* to add to the wort during the brewing process. Nevertheless, while a mixed bag of aromas, this still scores high for me in terms of creativity.

Starts out pretty smooth, combining roasted caramel malts with medicated spices. However, things turn a little bizarre, when, as I initially feared, the molasses and cherry aroma viciously attacks the back of the tongue, as well as slightly burn the throat in the process. This is like a peppermint-ginger-cranberry mayhem overall! The finish is sadly excessively malty (especially as it warms up), but it is drinkable as the aftertaste quickly subsides and leaves the good tasting spices behind - especially the cranberry and clove, if you're into that sort of thing. I think it's pretty easy to drink, save for the extremely bitter malt finish, but it's definitely not your typical spiced holiday beer. This is pretty crazy stuff.

I can drink strong ales no problem, but why I am having a lot of trouble here? If it weren't for those excessive molasses overpowering the other spices, I probably wouldn't have as much trouble drinking one of these. I think Anchor Steam has delivered the most fascinating and insane spiced beer I've had to date, but it is pretty intense, so I'm probably going to pair this with food to lower the astringency. It should go good with steak or roasted ribs, and it would be pretty fantastic to cook with dark meat or bean stews. Approach with caution - these spices will kick your ass! (2,590 characters)

Photo of philbe311
3.56/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It truly isn't the holiday season until I pop my first one of these...

A - A finger plus some of crisp perfectly level slightly creamy medium khaki colored head comprised of medium sized bubbles... Impressive retention... The color is a translucent medium brown... A limited bit of micro bubbled rapid paced carbonation streaks within...

S - The aroma is fairly muted... The first distinct scents detected are holiday spice in the form of nutmeg and ginger... There are some warm bready toasted malts... Perhaps some light dark fruit notes... A layer of a caramel sweetness lies beneath the surface a bit... Very pleasant, but I wish it were a bit more pronounced...

T - The flavors mimic the nose identically... Ginger and nutmeg... Bread crust... Raisins... Some light tannin like notes as well... The sweetness is very muted... A greater than expected hop bitterness on the finish...

M - Starts medium bodied and quite smooth... Creamy and lush... The finish is a bit disappointing and turns thin and under carbonated...

D - Not my favorite Anchor holiday offering of recent years, but still a tasty brew and required right of passage to the holiday season... I will have no trouble finishing the six pack that I invested in, but will eagerly await next year's offering while dreaming of previous year incarnations... (1,329 characters)

Photo of Eisen
3.56/5  rDev -4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

After one year aging: poured a dark brown/light black with thin white/tan head that faded rather quickly and left some light lacing. Smells of chocolate and spice and everything nice. Tastes like cardamon, allspice, nutmeg, clove, a touch of ginger, and some trees with a bit of burnt toast, maybe molasses. Overall, not sure how aging effected the beverage, but it can be aged particularly if stored cold. Tried it side by side with 2013, and thought the 2012 was better. However, regardless of how it is, a must beer to try every winter. (539 characters)

Photo of alexgash
3.56/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle with a nice Araucaria heterophylla on the label.

Clear, dark maple syrup amber-brown body with ruby highlights. Thick finger of dense, firm, light peanut brown head. Great lacing. Fruity, bready malt base on the nose with familiar OSA accents of spices. I'm getting clove, vanilla, cardamom, and maybe black pepper.

Toasted malts up front. Slightly grainy. Some muddled fruit sweetness reminiscent of Tootsie pops (grape flavored?). Sweet bread adds to the malt near the finish. Accents of orange peel (citrus zest), clove, vanilla, and maybe coriander. Slight woody bitterness in the finish. Medium body with a slightly slick feel. Not bad, but not the best OSA I can remember. (695 characters)

Photo of zac16125
3.57/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Vintager 2012

A: Appears black until held to light, when real pretty, dark ruby hues emerge. Just over 2 fingers width of light mocha colored head had good retention before dissipating down to a bubbly film with thick outer ring. Leaves lots of really cool cobweb lacing.

S: Spicy with tons of nutmeg and cinnamon, orange rind, sweetness in the form of brown sugar and molasses. Smells like my grandma's Christmas cookies. Love it.

T: Taste doesn't really follow the nose, unfortunately. Theres a prominent roasty malt flavor thats reminiscent of a porter. I also get some bakers chocolate, citrus zest, a generic spice component and a touch of hop bitterness. There is a somewhat astringent component as well. Big disappointment after the stellar aroma.

M/D: A touch thin, but not terribly so. Carbonation of the heavier side of the spectrum, but plays well with the lighter body. Drinkability is good.

O: Starts off strong, looking good in the glass and having a wonderful aroma, but the taste just isn't there. Certainly worth trying, but no where near one of my favorite Christmas beers. (1,100 characters)

Photo of Optifron
3.57/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had 11/25/2012 from the bottle

A: Pours dark brown (but not quite porter dark). Thick cream colored head. Decent lacing. Thin foam sticks around to the end.

A: smells like Christmas beer! very sweet aroma, seems like lots of caramel malt. Few gentle spices. Can’t pinpoint them.

T: Nicely balanced sweet and bitter. Not as sweet as I would guess from aroma. Interesting bitter, unfamiliar to me. Not a typical cascade, etc. American hop bitter. The spices come through in the middle

M: Pretty middle between dry and sweet. Maybe a touch drier than I’m used to.

O: Very drinkable. Nice beer, but I was hoping for more flavor for a christmas beer. EDIT: So I had this again, and wow, did the christmas spices come through this time. Maybe I ate something to mask my palette the first time, I don't know how, but the holiday spice is quite forward. (855 characters)

Photo of farrago
3.57/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a solid froth of smaller bubbles with a couple of islands of larger bubbles, crests at less than a finger, decent enough retention, the lacing comes in random streaks and fares better in terms of sticking around. The dark brown hued liquid shows its transparency up close, pure and clean, fades to a yellowish orange at the rims and glass bottom. The nose is based in caramel, cola, chocolate, cinnamon stick and orange spice, there’s a presence of plum and candied cherry scents, it’s not over-spiced and displays a natural restraint, no real hoppiness but perhaps a metallic note before it all dissolves. Medium-bodied, there’s a steady carbonated fizz through the mouth entry which lessens the overall sweetness. More emphasis here on milk chocolate, cola and vanilla, the spices come across as caraway or anise more than holiday dessert baking spices. Light orange citrus, here the black fruits take a step back. In its place are some soda bread and scone nuances. Turns very dry through the finish, losing a good bit of its flavor. Overall, seems regal like fallen nobility, wants more to command than ingratiate. (1,130 characters)

Photo of Billolick
3.58/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

An old friend, alright, a really old friend....12 ounce bottle

Pours dark brown, dark tan head, leaves decent strips and blobs of lacing.

I get some Christmas cookie notes on the nose, and some bread.

More bready malts with some muted spicing. Not much of a finish and kind of light on the interest and intrigue. Decent winter brew, but really nothing special and kind off a disappointment this year (402 characters)

Photo of dogfishandi
3.58/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle at fridge temp poured into a snifter. bottling code "2OM" translates to Oct. 14, 2012.

pours out nearly black, but is actually a really dark ruby brown color. about one fingers worth of tannish colored head off the pour that eventually settles to a ring and some patchy foam, decent head retention. tiny bits of lace.

not too big of an aroma, but whats there is pretty interesting. a nice cherry aroma seems to be at the forefront with slightly muted holiday spices such as nutmeg, cardamom and cinnamon following. pine as well with slight hints of anise.

again, not too big of a taste. i feel like past years were slightly more flavorful. holiday spices all around with sweet toasted malt, a bit of pine and bitterness (hops?), and cherry in the finish.

the mouthfeel may have been the biggest letdown of this years vintage. it seems lighter than i remember and the carbonation is just a touch high. also just a hint of tartness is apparent every other sip.

i remember past years being better, and never seemed to notice cherry flavors in any of them, but some nice flavors come together and make for a drinkable, enjoyable beer that ill continue to buy every year to drink and to keep the vertical going. (1,226 characters)

Photo of CloudStrife
3.58/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. 20K on the label of this 2012 batch.

A: Pours a dark brown with a hint of ruby on the sides of the glass. A 1.5 finger lightly tanned head. Leaves some good lacing on the sides of the glass.

S: First time I've actually been reminded of wet dog. Not sure if its the chocolate malts or one of the spices.

T: Licorice and malt seem to dominate this beer. Some dark fruits get through and there is also a hint of hop at the end. Takes a few minutes to get adjusted to.

M: Feels good on the mouth, creamy with just the right carbonation.

Overall an interesting winter blend. Happy I picked up just one but still happy I tried. Give it a go for an interesting take on a winter warmer. (721 characters)

Photo of hooliganlife
3.58/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a seasonal favorite of mine

this years pours the similar cola black with about a half inch of creamy head

bright fresh dark fruit, light faint citrus hops on the nose.

similar bright ripe dark fruit, with an added roasted char. some light spice carries through the finish.

mild to moderate carbonation, smooth feel

good stuff, not my favorite year though (359 characters)

Photo of gtermi
3.58/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a nice dark black cherry body with a thick tan head that slowly fades and leaves a nice amount of lacing on the glass.

S: I am getting a nice amount of spice smell, some black licorice, sweet malt and sort of pine type smell.

T: Pretty faint compared to the previous years, but it is still pretty nice. I am picking up some strong malt and some spice and just a nice sweetness.

M: The beer is nice and creamy and leaves a dry feeling in my mouth. It has a full body and a tiny bit of crispness on the back of the throat.

O: This a solid beer and I will be throwing a few in the cellar to continue my Vintage. Not too bad, but not great either. (657 characters)

Photo of avalon07
3.58/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a dark brown color and a somewhat cloudy texture. There was an inch and a half of foamy, off white, fairly long-lasting head. Pretty good lacing.

S: A slightly muted aroma of spices and malt. Decent, but not forward enough.

T: Tasted of malt, something sugary (caramel?), and some spices (cinnamon, e.g.). A decent enough flavor, but not overly spectacular. Like the aroma, the flavor could have used a little push.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a super dry finish. Medium-bodied.

O: Not a bad beer, and drinkable, but a bit on the forgettable side. (605 characters)

Photo of Darkmagus82
3.58/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into pint glass

Appearance – The beer is poured a brown color with reddish hues shinning through. A huge tan head is present upon pouring. It has great retention, eventually fading to give a good level of lacing.

Smell – The aroma is sweet of cherry and some roasted brown bread aromas. Mixed with these aromas are spices of cinnamon and nutmeg with a god dose of pine hop. Rounding it all out is a light nut smell.

Taste –The taste begins with a roasted brown bread and light nut taste with a very small amount of toffee sweetness. A light dark fruit soon replaces the toffee. While the sweet taste changes, overall the sweet remains light throughout the taste. More roast flavors develop at the middle of the taste. These combined with an increasing spicy taste of cinnamon and nutmeg. At the end a good presence of pine and earthy hop come to the tongue. These create a green hop taste to linger on the tongue which mix with the spice and roast flavors to leave a slightly bitter roasted flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body is a on the slightly thicker side with a carbonation level that is on the lower side. They are rather good for the hop, roasted, and spice flavors of the brew and while only at 5.5 % make it more of a sipper then traditional brews of similar strength.

Overall – Not a bad more bitter and roasty winter ale. While I traditionally prefer something with a little more sweetness in a winter warmer, this beer has a nice blend of flavors and feel which are nice for the drier tastes. (1,556 characters)

Photo of Halcyondays
3.58/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a deep red brown with a small off-white head. Solid spotty lace and head retention.

S: Herbal, lavender-like, with a hint of cocoa, malt and grass.

T: Lots of dark malt and clove, very spicy. Herbal grassiness, twigs, juniper like flavours throughout. Solid herb undercurrent.

M: Medium-bodied, frothy soft carbonation, an easy going beer.

O: A solid effort, though certainly not the best OSA I've ever had. Still one of the most reliable winter beers out there. (491 characters)

Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 193 ratings.