1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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
82
good

669 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 669
Reviews: 192
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 14.29%
Wants: 13
Gots: 44 | 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)
View: Beers (24) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 669 | Reviews: 192 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of arizcards
arizcards

Arizona

3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a sixer at Total Wine in early November for $11.99.

Beer poured brown with a nice off white head that is leaving lacing behind.

Nose has hints of allspice and nutmeg.

Taste has a molasses malt backbone with nutmeg to lend some bittering and allspice for the Christmas cookie effect.

Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied and pretty smooth.

Overall this is a pretty decent rendition of this annual treat. Fun to try as always.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2012 01:21:38 | More by arizcards
Photo of ridgeline23
ridgeline23

Pennsylvania

3.75/5  rDev +3%

12-08-2012 00:47:50 | More by ridgeline23
Photo of rderedin
rderedin

Maine

3.25/5  rDev -10.7%

12-08-2012 00:45:23 | More by rderedin
Photo of MadScientist
MadScientist

New York

3.7/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: A very dark brown with excellent clarity and a deep garnet hue. The persistent, medium-tan head is velvety and rocky at the same time leaving sticky lacing on the glass

S: The aroma is like spiced fruit with a fair amount of spice and pine dominating; a ginger note and cloves being the strongest smells. There is some allspice and a caramel malt a medium level. Some esters of prunes come through.

T: Malty but not sweet with the spice and citrus hops being about on par. The spice has some ginger and clove to it like in the aroma with an allspice flavor coming though towards the end. The balance is somewhat bitter and spicy. The finish is off-dry with a spice aftertaste.

M: A surprisingly medium-light body with moderately-low carbonation. There is a slight astringency from the spice addition but not unpleasant.

O: If you want to enjoy a spiced beer pick up an "Our Special Ale" The spice dominates but toes over power. I look forward to a couple of these every holiday season. Pairs wile with a fruit or pumpkin pie.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2012 00:05:18 | More by MadScientist
Photo of ng85
ng85

California

3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

12-07-2012 20:01:29 | More by ng85
Photo of keenanite21
keenanite21

Colorado

3.75/5  rDev +3%

12-07-2012 08:01:22 | More by keenanite21
Photo of tobelerone
tobelerone

Connecticut

3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

12-07-2012 04:56:19 | More by tobelerone
Photo of philbe311
philbe311

Pennsylvania

3.55/5  rDev -2.5%
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...

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2012 03:21:48 | More by philbe311
Photo of avisong
avisong

Virginia

3.75/5  rDev +3%

12-07-2012 00:30:57 | More by avisong
Photo of GarthDanielson
GarthDanielson

North Carolina

3.65/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a tumbler pint, the beer is very dark and smooth in appearance, with ruby highlights amidst the dark brown. No head whatsoever on this brew. Aromas of pine tassles, fig and date sweetness, bubblegum, licorice, and oak. Smells aged and rich, with some meaty qualities sprinkled throughout, as well. Flavors are rich, like port wine rich, but with a more earthy and oaky tone. Some charcoal character throughout the roasted flavors, too. Very warm and dark flavors, with the old world fruit blending with molasses to provide a solid backbone to envelope and enrich the green and woodsy spicing. Rich, slightly tangy aftertaste that has a touch of bitterness at the end of it, possibly coffee and dark chocolate. Smooth and full in mouth, with a rich, clean finish.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2012 23:14:55 | More by GarthDanielson
Photo of Stinkypuss
Stinkypuss

Pennsylvania

3.93/5  rDev +8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2012 20:39:18 | More by Stinkypuss
Photo of circus_cat
circus_cat

Virginia

3/5  rDev -17.6%

12-06-2012 03:57:01 | More by circus_cat
Photo of bbadger
bbadger

Texas

3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

12-06-2012 03:34:09 | More by bbadger
Photo of tkelley
tkelley

Massachusetts

3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
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!

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2012 01:49:27 | More by tkelley
Photo of woodychandler
woodychandler

Pennsylvania

4.1/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brewed on September 13, 2012 according to the cryptic markings on the bottle's back label. Yes, I am still stuck in bottle mode, but I could not resist this one as I (generally) try to make a practice to review it every year.

From the bottle: "This is the thirty-eighth 'Our Special Ale' from the brewers at Anchor. It is sold only from early November to mid-January. The Ale's recipe is different every year, as is the tree on the label, but the intent with which we offer it remains the same: joy and celebration of the newness of life. Since ancient times, trees have symbolized the winter solstice when the earth, with its seasons, appears born anew."

I went with my usual aggro pour, netting me several fingers of dense, deep-brown head with excellent retention. For a short period there, I was getting what looked like a cascading action before things settled down. Color was a deep brown with garnet highlights and NE-quality clarity. Nose had a molasses-like sweetness, actually not entirely sweet, but with a tar-like bitterness. I also thought that I could discern clove (or cinnamon), nutmeg and perhaps allspice, but I would hate to be challenged on that. Mouthfeel was medium-to-full, approaching creaminess, but not quite achieving it. Lots of spices were discernible in the mouth, but I think that I now want to claim cinnamon, rather than clove. I will stand by the others, however. Finish was pretty doggone dry as a result of all of the spices. This is not a sweet beer by a long stretch.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2012 21:41:06 | More by woodychandler
Photo of BenjaminBlondbeard
BenjaminBlondbeard

New York

3.38/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Anchor Christmas pours a deep brown with ruby highlights, but the deep red is accentuated when held up to the light, and it is crimson with amber highlights. In the light is is one of the most beautiful colors I have seen in a beer. Atop there is under an inch of light tan foam that doesn't stick around long. There is little lacing, and sparse carbonation that rises slow, but steady.

There is sweet maple syrup, and coffee / toffee malts, with plumb / berry fruit on the nose.

Those flavors come about with the first taste, followed by a resiny hop spice that also imparts subtle bitters. On the back end the fruit rises, but maintains balance with the other lingering flavors. This medium bodied ale leaves a clean finish with brown sugar malt, and slight citrus bitters leftover.

The berry flavors were a bit much for my personal taste, so not my favorite winter warmer this year, but definitely an inventive, and enjoyable ale to have this season.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2012 20:20:56 | More by BenjaminBlondbeard
Photo of drewone
drewone

California

3.25/5  rDev -10.7%

12-05-2012 09:03:15 | More by drewone
Photo of solarbeers
solarbeers

California

3/5  rDev -17.6%

12-05-2012 03:39:35 | More by solarbeers
Photo of baconman91
baconman91

Ohio

4.75/5  rDev +30.5%

12-04-2012 18:37:09 | More by baconman91
Photo of ObeMaltKinobee
ObeMaltKinobee

Illinois

3.25/5  rDev -10.7%

12-04-2012 07:25:40 | More by ObeMaltKinobee
Photo of mactrail
mactrail

Washington

3.2/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a nice big head in the Saxo tall glass. Sort of a red-brown-golden hue with plenty of lacing. Quite light bodied and sudsy in the mouth. A pleasant pumpkin pie nose.

The spice is assertive but not overwhelming. The usual cloves seem to dominate. It gives a sense of sweetness without much actual sweetness. The malt seems rather thin and the aftertaste a bit harsh with that spice-driven finish. Not much actual hop flavor, but seems quite bitter in the aftertaste along with a dirty note with a hint of butter. I liked these Christmas beer a lot in decades long gone by, but not much in recent years.

It's interesting that Anchor has stayed with the modest alcohol content over the years when we get used to such high-octance winter brews. It's a nice reminder that less can be plenty.

From the 12 oz bottle bought at Bine & Vine in San Diego.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2012 07:23:04 | More by mactrail
Photo of crownrl28
crownrl28

Georgia

3/5  rDev -17.6%

12-04-2012 06:14:25 | More by crownrl28
Photo of KickbacksSteve
KickbacksSteve

Florida

3.9/5  rDev +7.1%
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).

Serving type: on-tap

12-04-2012 06:11:20 | More by KickbacksSteve
Photo of DougRFlowers
DougRFlowers

Ohio

3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

12-04-2012 03:33:05 | More by DougRFlowers
Photo of Salacioussiren
Salacioussiren

Michigan

3.25/5  rDev -10.7%

12-04-2012 03:31:06 | More by Salacioussiren
Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 669 ratings.