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

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

650 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 650
Reviews: 194
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 14.29%


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)
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Ratings: 650 | Reviews: 194 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Jeffwildcat
Jeffwildcat

Arizona

3.99/5  rDev +9.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2013 04:52:29 | More by Jeffwildcat
Photo of CraftBeerTastic
CraftBeerTastic

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ba Review #256
Served On: 2/20/2013
Glassware: DFH Chalice
Labeled ABV: 5.5%
Date/ Code: 2012 Release

This was a 12oz bottle from a sixer from Ye Old Spirit Shop in Frederick.

Look: The pour rendered a pitch-black color with a thin light-tan head. Lacing started almost immediately. It could have passed for a stout.

Smell: Strong notes of mint and pine made up the aroma. Also a bubblegum quality that seemed almost uncalled for.

Taste: Super smooth mouth feel. The pine notes came through first. Then a roasted note that was completely unexpected. A spicy mint made up the finish. Aftertaste was more roasted notes mixed with pine.

This was a very unique beer; A fine representation of the Christmas season.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2013 17:25:20 | More by CraftBeerTastic
Photo of matjack85
matjack85

Illinois

3.46/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I picked this up at Trader Joe's because they allow you to buy just one bottle at a time there if you want. Come back for more later if you like it. $2.37 for a 12oz squatty brown bottle with no freshness date on it, but these Christmas ales usually hold up for years, so that is no concern. They change the tree on the label and the recipe of the beer each year to keep it interesting. This year's tree is the Norfolk Island pine for those who are curious.

The beer poured a dark burgundy color, almost wine looking except for the 1-finger creamy tan head on top. The head lasted a little over a minute before settling to a thin rim. Not much lacing, but what there was clung nicely to the glass.

Not as spicy smelling as most of the other Christmas ales. What I am getting is some chocolate, vanilla, and caramel aroma, but very faint smelling overall.

I think for the first time in years (or maybe for the first time ever) the brewers at Anchor Steam decided to brew a Christmas ale without any of the traditional Christmas spices. I can't detect any cinnamon or nutmeg this year. Instead, what I get is a bit of chocolate, some toffee sweetness, plums, and a bit of black licorice anise in the finish. It's not bad but it lacks oomph. There's just not a lot of anything that grabs your attention.

Medium body with medium carbonation.

It will be interesting to see if this one improves with age, but as of now I don't find it one of the better Christmas ales.

.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2013 07:30:45 | More by matjack85
Photo of farrago
farrago

New Jersey

3.55/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2013 00:33:47 | More by farrago
Photo of sammygt
sammygt

Georgia

4.2/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

picked up a six pack of this beer and a 1.5L bottle. this review is based on the 12 oz bottles. this beer has a great brown caramel color and produced decent head. it was very aromatic, and was a definite reminder that this is a Christmas beer. I really like Christmas beers and this is one of my favorites (as a series). the 2012 felt a little thin while drinking it, but the flavor, color, and overall drinkability make it a great choice still.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2013 17:02:55 | More by sammygt
Photo of buschbeer
buschbeer

Ohio

3.79/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 ounce bottle
Bottled October 11, 2012
Served in a perfect pint glass

A - It is dark brown with dark amber highlights. Two inches of tan head cap it.

S - Clove is the most noticeable aroma. It smells like hard tack candy. I also get nutmeg and cinnamon.

T - The first thing that I notice is some chocolate in the taste. That kind of surprised me. I was expecting a spicy beer. Don't get me wrong. The Christmas spices are present, but I didn't notice them at first because of my surprise. The cocoa taste comes through more as it warms.

M - Moderate with a slight chalky sensation on my tongue.

O - I've enjoyed the last four renditions of this beer. I always think I find some new twist on each year's version, but once I go back and read the previous reviews they are quite similar.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2013 01:29:28 | More by buschbeer
Photo of Utica_Brew_Review
Utica_Brew_Review

New York

3.09/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Awesome caramel amber appearance with great head. Sweet earthy pine aroma. Smells almost like a porter / ale. Roasted chocolaty creaminess with a hint of hops. We feel like it's a bit confused. It takes elements of a porter and marries them with a spicy earthy ale. Finishes with a roasted nutty flavor.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2013 09:59:51 | More by Utica_Brew_Review
Photo of NuclearDolphin
NuclearDolphin

Minnesota

4.4/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Pint Glass

Appearance - Dark Brown with a Ruby Tinge when held up to light. Head is about 2 fingers in width and there is a decent amount of lacing on the sides.

Smell - Cinnamon, Spices, Licorice, Figs and Malts. Smells reminds me of Snickerdoodle Cookies and Christmas. Very rich and vibrant smell!

Taste - Spruce, Cinnamon, Licorice, Spices and Malts. Aftertaste is surprisingly resiny too. Flavor is quite nice and warms you up very fast.

Mouthfeel - Light Bodied and Mildly carbonated. Very easy to drink as well.

Overall - Flavor is nice and rich & it's easy on the palete. This is probably one of the best Winter Warmers I've had thus far and I would check it out if you still can manage to find it.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2013 07:11:34 | More by NuclearDolphin
Photo of M_C_Hampton
M_C_Hampton

Georgia

3.8/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

A: poured from a 12 oz bottle into a nonic pint glass, pours a dark red brown almost black with a huge tan head that dissipates slowly leaving good lacing, clear

S: vanilla, pine, mulled wine spices, cinnamon, nutmeg,

T: vanilla, chocolate, raisins, cranberry, cherry, cola, some malt sweetness, a little hop bitterness at the end

M: surprisingly thin feeling

O: this beer has a wonderful smell that screams holiday season, the flavors ate subtle but complex, it feels like drinking a soda much more than a beer though

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2013 04:08:12 | More by M_C_Hampton
Photo of ummswimmin
ummswimmin

New Jersey

3.36/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

I poured this bottle into a snifter style glass. I was a little aggressive with my pour, which created over three fingers in my glass. It died down to about a finger and held that may for awhile. The nice result is that I had rings of lacing on my glass (really pretty). The coloring is very dark. I get some red at the edges.

The smell is very different. Off the top I get fruit (not sure what kind), spice, and sweetness akin to brown sugar. It comes together nicely with some pretty good balance.

The flavor is surprisingly thin. I get some woodiness at this point. I'm surprised that the body fell off this much. The flavor really doesn't match the nose.

This was really disappointing for me. I'm going to age a few bottles and see if this improves at all.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2013 02:57:56 | More by ummswimmin
Photo of olfolxholme
olfolxholme

California

3.08/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

35

12 oz bottle in Delirium Noel tulip snifter

A - Beautiful dark cherry brown that glows when held up to the light. Attractive deep khaki head. Decent lacing. Ok head retention.

S - Smells like candy from the health food store, to me. Licorice is the flavor that comes to mind, but that's not quite it. Some spice. Some yeast esters. Not a particularly strong aroma, and not particularly inviting for me. Maybe even a hint of that band-aid smell mixed in.

T - A rather one dimensional flavor at first, mostly malt. A little bit of spice as the aftertaste settles. Nothing that offensive, except I don't like a lot of graininess in the flavor. Some do.

M - Decent smoothness. Nothing to write home about. No astringency, though.

O - It's fine. I bet it would be great with a hearty meal, especially at the holidays. This beer is different every year, of course, so it's always worth trying. If I see a giant bottle of this on a bottle list in a few years, I will be tempted to see how it has aged and/or how it tastes from the big bottle. If you can find it, you should give it a shot and support Anchor Brewing. But, for me, this wasn't that amazing. Also - drink it on the colder side, IMO.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2013 17:18:48 | More by olfolxholme
Photo of MaximalC
MaximalC

Illinois

3.43/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours an opaque cola color with a moderate amount of tan froth on top. Aroma smells sweet and fruity, almost like bubblegum or some other candy. The taste is very difficult to describe, and I think it's fair to say I've not had a beer that tastes similar to this. It tastes akin to what I imagine potpourri would taste like if I was ever inclined to try it. There's a prominent but indefinable spiciness to it, along with the bubblegum detected in the nose. Cinnamon may be the most recognizable spice here. The finish has a clean, sharp bitterness to it, but it's neither citric nor piney; chemical may be a more apt descriptor. There is something vaguely familiar here, but I can't put my finger on it, possibly because I'm not used to encountering it in beer. This is a peculiar animal indeed, and I'm eager to see what more experienced imbibers have to say, because my vocabulary is sorely lacking in this case. At least I can say the mouthfeel is smooth and velvety thanks to the just-right carbonation.

I've had several recent prior iterations of this brew from Anchor, and this is quite different than those, and not in a positive way, unfortunately. Whereas previous versions have had tastes in the arena of brown sugar and nutmeg, this is more akin to flowers, candy, and chemicals. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't at least a little disappointed.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2013 03:22:36 | More by MaximalC
Photo of stephenjmoore
stephenjmoore

Maryland

4.03/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A- Dark brown body that allows a little bit of light through. Bubbly tan head that leaves a lot of lacing on the glass.

S- Caramel malts, a hint of nutty brown malts, slight roasty aroma, a pinch of spices.

T- Tastes like a smooth brown ale with caramel malt and the spices coming through. I get a bit of piney hops at the end too. Pretty well rounded with good flavor.

M- Smooth, medium carbonation, medium bodied.

O- Exceeded my expectations. Not in your face flavors, but subtle flavors that work well together. Good as a session winter beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2013 02:45:17 | More by stephenjmoore
Photo of BigBry
BigBry

Alberta (Canada)

3.8/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I has been hit and miss whether we get the Anchor Christmas beers, luckily both 2011 and 2012 releases have made it here. Bought a 6 pack - a couple for now, a couple for aging and an eventual vertical tasting.
12 oz. bottle.
Deep dark, mahogany brown with lighter tan brown foam. Head of small bubbles, long lasting foam with thin sheet lacing. Smell has lots of spices, some dark fruit with nice roasted malt. Slight touch of hops at the end. Taste has all ther same components (though not as pronounced) as the smell. Dark fruit, almost dried fig or prune. A bit of smoky element as it warms. Earthy, slightly bitter finish and aftertaste. Mouthfeel and body are medium, would not have minded it a bit heavier or thicker. Good level of carbonation, slightly dry finish. Overall a well balanced and flavorful beer, already looking forward to next year's recipe.

Next up is a side by side with 2012 vs 2011.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2013 03:46:08 | More by BigBry
Photo of sevenarts
sevenarts

New York

3.9/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2013 23:20:23 | More by sevenarts
Photo of andys_war_hall
andys_war_hall

Texas

3.66/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Poured a nice dark brown, with a finger head, that had nice retention.

S: Had a slight carameltoffee sent, along with an earthy toasty malt smell.

T: Big cocoa and toffee flavor up front. Right away the chocolate is what I noticed. On the back end I was reminded of raisins and cherries. There was also just a hint of plum.

M: Mouthfeel was just where I thought it should be. It was not overly thick, and not too watery. It went down smoothly, leaving the palate ready for the next sip.

O: Overall, I thought this was a really decent holiday brew. It was exactly what I expected from it and nothing more. I enjoyed this years, and look forward to the next.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2013 22:10:55 | More by andys_war_hall
Photo of NovoAleMan
NovoAleMan

Nebraska

4.16/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Good head retention. 2 fingers of foam. Dark, black appearance, stout-like. 4.5/5

Smell: Rich smell, slightly sweet. Hoppy, and another smell I can't quite put my finger on. But I really like it. 5/5.

Taste: Interesting taste. Moderately bitter. Slight mint flavor, noticeable most of all in aftertaste. 3.75/5

Mouthfeel: Sits well in the mouth. A bit bubbly, but goes down smooth. 4/5.

Overall: Solid beer. 4.25/5

Serving type: on-tap

01-17-2013 20:42:25 | More by NovoAleMan
Photo of denver10
denver10

Colorado

2.49/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours brown with an amber hue to it, a dirty white head. Aroma is spicy and bready maybe a touch of some spruce there, but not much. Flavor started off with a wall of spices, it transitioned into a sweet, dark bread middle, and then closed with some of the spruce tips offering some slight bitterness in the finish. A medium body. Overall, not a fan of this one. The spices hit way too hard and I just couldn’t get beyond them even when the flavor transitioned elsewhere.

Serving type: on-tap

01-15-2013 16:48:32 | More by denver10
Photo of DIM
DIM

Pennsylvania

3.86/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

a: This was a clear, dark mahogany color. It poured with a smallish, fizzy cap.

s: Gentle, potpourri like spices, apple cider, plus some other dark fruits.

m: Nice balance between the lightly sweet figs/spicy apple cider and cinnamon/nutmeg spiciness.

m: Light body and gentle fizziness.

o: While I don't generally go for spiced beers, I have a weakness for this one.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2013 23:32:49 | More by DIM
Photo of AndyAvalanche
AndyAvalanche

Massachusetts

3.9/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2013 03:13:03 | More by AndyAvalanche
Photo of AgentMunky
AgentMunky

California

3.6/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a brandy snifter. Stamped 2OP.

A: Light head fades quickly atop a dark beer with ruby highlights.

S: Spicy, slightly sweet, and pleasant. This reminds me of Christmas...pine needles, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

T: Not my favourite...it's oddly-flavoured, with a slightly thin-sour taste that is not-quite metallic. The flavour is pervasive but brief, disappearing immediately when I swallow. The aftertaste is more pleasant, with the same herbal-earthy-spiciness noted in the nose.

M: Interesting, the mouthfeel is quite competent, offering a bold presence on the palate, a dry-spiciness that mitigates the lack of carbonation, and a silky texture at times.

O: Not a bad holiday ale, but nothing I'll rush back to. Not recommended; would have another.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2013 02:35:27 | More by AgentMunky
Photo of jazzyjeff13
jazzyjeff13

United Kingdom (England)

3.44/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A 355ml bottle with a BB of July 2014. Picked up recently from Trembling Madness in York. As always with the Anchor Xmas brew, I love the label art.

Poured into a Duvel tulip. A dark reddish-brown hue with medium carbonation (darker than previous incarnations IIRC). Produces a huge head of creamy beige foam with good retention; this slowly reduces to a surface layer. Aroma of caramel malt with hints of brown sugar, dried fruit, cinnamon, clove, spice, mild pine and stewed hops. Herbal and earthy; the spice is a touch overdone and lends it a bitter background note. But it's certainly seasonal!

Tastes of caramel malt with a distinctly spicy character and a dry, bitter finish. Notes of brown sugar, dried fruit, mild roasted malt, cinnamon, clove, spice, herbs, mild pine and stewed leaves. The spice comes on a bit strong and dominates the flavour, while also giving it a harsh, herbal quality. A dry bitterness upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is smooth, tingly and dry, but rather thin and watery. The spices also result in an unusually astringent sensation on the palate. An aftertaste of spice, bitter herbs and caramel malt.

An OK brew but not great, and not as good as in previous years. The spice is just a bit too strong, as if someone went overboard with the exotic ingredients. The aroma is quite nice, but the flavour is unbalanced and has an acrid herbal quality to it. The body also leaves something to be desired - it's too thin for the strength and flavour. I'm glad I tried this but I wouldn't have it again. No need to seek it out.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2013 00:54:00 | More by jazzyjeff13
Photo of zeff80
zeff80

Missouri

3.71/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Poured a dark burgundy color with a two-finger, light brown head of foam. Thin rings of lace.

S - It smelled of spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, nutmeg and spruce.

T - Good toffee flavor with lots of traditional Christmas spices.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A light to medium bodied ale.

O - This is an annual tradition. Haven't missed it since 2005.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2013 02:34:04 | More by zeff80
Photo of RickS95
RickS95

Indiana

4.09/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Extremely dark compared to a lot of the seasonals I've been seeing lately. Brownish, ruby, burgundy color. It's fairly clear, despite the darkness. The head is stellar. As large as you want it to be, looks like the head of A&W Root Beer, kind of IPA like.

Spice fest in the nose. Cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg all dazzle. There's some malt in there, but hops take a backseat.

Tastes follows the nose in that spices are front and center with malt , and almost no hop presence.

Feel is a bit lacking compared to the other components because it's got a loose, watery feel. Obviously, it's spicy and the malt gives it some body, but it's just a bit watered down. Spices from beginning to end with a faint bitterness in the swallow.

Overall, another good winter beer from Anchor. Really tastes like the winter.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2013 03:29:12 | More by RickS95
Photo of Arborescence
Arborescence

Finland

3.86/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Served in room temperature.

Appearance: Virtually black. Pours a massive foamy head with a brown tint.

Aroma: Sweet and floral, but not overly sweet by any means. Herbs and medicinal characteristics. A hint of peat?

Taste: Quite light, but very robust medicinal flavour, with herbs and aromatic hops.

Mouthfeel: Average; smooth but uninteresting. Light to medium bodied.

Overall: Not as tasty as last year's, as I recall. Very strong medicinal and herb aromas and flavours, but leaves something out on the malt side.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2013 16:52:56 | More by Arborescence
Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 650 ratings.