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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 BlurryVisi0n
BlurryVisi0n

New York

3.86/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass.

Appearance: Super dark brown, with medium bubbles on the body. Tan head roughly 1/3" with a vigorous pour.

Smell: Light nutty smell, like I'm sniffing almonds and pecans with a mix of sweet hops.

Taste: Honestly I can indulge into how smooth this brew is. Bitter with pieces of spice like a small light dose of nutmeg to it plus a hit of pine.

Mouth: Medium carbonation, not exactly what I expected as far as how sticky I would like.

Overall: After sitting on the shelf for all these months it's an honor and a pleasure to finally have this. All you need is a glass...Salud!

Serving type: bottle

06-04-2013 01:09:01 | More by BlurryVisi0n
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 Greywulfken
Greywulfken

New York

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

Had the 2010 or 2011? but didn't review it. I don't recall it being very much like this, but my memory could be faulty...

2012 bottling:

A: stout porter black body with ahalf-glass of dark tan head that left laces and motes behind

S: dark and roasted malts and espresso, some fennel, some smoke

T: almost like an american black ale - I've never had a "winter warmer" before - I actually didn't even know that was a style - this had a roasted, dry bittersweet character with notes of carob and some deep, dark fruit

M: very medium bodied and moderately carbonated, smooth, crisp, nice dry roast aftertaste; creamy but with some fizz

O: Super beer - a great holiday offering, something I will try every year - but not knowing what a typical winter warmwer is supposed to be like, maybe this interpreatation will leave something to be desired among devotees of the style. I was just delighted with its porter-like presentation and flavor/feel profile. Very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2012 04:36:40 | More by Greywulfken
Photo of jondeelee
jondeelee

Massachusetts

3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2013 20:05:00 | More by jondeelee
Photo of GRPunk
GRPunk

Michigan

3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a Duvel tulip

A- A normal pour created a 1-finger brown head that drops to a thin foam quite quickly. Mahogany body when the light gets through, away from the light it's near pitch through the middle. Light stick. Body's great, but head retention and stick are big in my book and lacked a little in this pour.

S- The crack of the cap releases lots of baking spice and orange zest. It opens up to something of pumpkin pie spices. I'm terrible at picking out the details, but get something like cinnamon, clove, and allspice.

T- More bready malts than I would have expected given the scent. Somewhere between a rye or pumpernickel and a holiday loaf based on the spices, maybe without the fruit (though I pick up a little of that later on). Hints of citrus at the finish (orange/lemon). Hopping's there too and approximates pine.

M- Full bodied, especially at 5.5%. Moderate carbonation. More dry than chalky, which I can get from highly spiced beers.

O- Met expectations based on previous experiences. Definitely a favorite winter warmer/holiday ale. I always look forward to its availability.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2012 01:25:08 | More by GRPunk
Photo of ONUMello
ONUMello

Ohio

3.63/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass
A: Pours an opaque brown with a lingering 1/2 finger head
T: Warming aromas of toasted malt, brown sugar and spice
T: Matches the nose with brown sugar, malt & a bit of toasted marshmallow towards the finish. A bit sweeter & thinner than I would like
M: Medium-bodied, this feels toasted if that makes sense, which I like, but again a bit thin in texture
O: Tasty but I would prefer a bit more structure

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2012 00:20:42 | More by ONUMello
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 magictacosinus
magictacosinus

California

3.48/5  rDev -4.4%
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!

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2012 04:34:04 | More by magictacosinus
Photo of damndirtyape
damndirtyape

Ohio

4.05/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle (date stamp 2OP - 2012 October 16th) poured into a Shaker pint glass.

Appearance: Dark mahogany brown - clear but only when held up to the light. Thin persistent tan head upon pouring. Some strands and islands of lacing, but over time they slid back down the glass.

Smell: Mild. Roasted malt, hint of something spicy + spruce, some char/burnt smell. I found I had to let it warm up a bit to get all the aroma out. Despite being mild in aroma intensity, what I got was appealing.

Taste: Roasted malt up front, moving into a middle which was a combination of spice, pine, and char/leafy tobacco. The finish is surprisingly sweet, but balanced with some roasted bitterness and a bit of char.

Mouthfeel: Good carbonation, a little bit sticky on the teeth and slick at the same time. Thickness underneath though is just a hair thicker than water.

Overall / Drinkability: Went great with food (Burgers and roasted root vegetables) but after the meal I'm finding this quite enjoyable as it warms up. A very good and flavorful version of their beer this year. I find it complex in all the flavors I'm getting. I also find it to be very drinkable. I could easily see myself having another 1 or 2 in a sitting over food and conversation. It's a wrap up with and savor beer, but not a sipping beer. Funny how the individual components are either just good or above average, but combined are quite impressive. I think this may be one of their better vintages, but I'll have to go back and read my other reviews to confirm this.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2012 00:08:58 | More by damndirtyape
Photo of rawfish
rawfish

California

3.2/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Intense garnet and ruby hue, beautiful as it pours out of the bottle. Nets a tan two finger high head, rocky lacing and average retention. Very inviting.

Roast and toasted bread, rhubarb, figs, cherries perhaps a bit medicinal and dank. I get some Dr. Pepper and Children's Tylenol but not too bad.

Ugh, nice bready and heavy malt but that's all that's pleasant about it. Hits with red spices, artificial cherry, chicory and rhubarb and a very dank medicinal hop character. Ugh, Dr. Pepper and Robitussen, medicine to the max. I know it's flu season but I don't need beer to cure what ails me.

Flat with a medium body, drinks like water but the flavor makes it drink like flat soda. Abv well hidden.

Anchor has disappointed me with this one, medicine in a bottle. My pharmacist would perscribe this one.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2012 04:11:26 | More by rawfish
Photo of pkalix
pkalix

California

4.55/5  rDev +25%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

from belgium to san francisco . . . .
pours a very dar, slightly able to see thorugh at the edges, mahogany brown with small head on top.
smells AWESOME! malty with some bitter chocolate and hops....
tastes . . . . . almost like a porter (?), no? some dark chocolate, espresso(?), heavy malt, light hop finish.
heavy finish. overall, a nice brew which could have used a higher abv, but i suppose that would have added to the bitterness. never much a fan of anchor brewing (yes, i know they're a fan favorite) but i like this one a lot. i like the heavy, but smooth taste. just wish it were a little higher value abv . . . . .

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2012 01:41:07 | More by pkalix
Photo of DavidST
DavidST

Texas

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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip/pint glass, 2012 edition. This pours a dark mahogany brown with a two finger tan head which has decent retention and leaves a lacing. The smells are full of spices, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, some bread malts. The feel is medium, a little tingly. The taste is good, you get a load of spices, the bitter cinnamon, some hazelnut, the bread malts, plenty of sweetness, nice winter drink.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2012 05:45:13 | More by DavidST
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 JMad
JMad

Texas

4.5/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a very dark brown with a lofty soapy tan colored head. Man, the smell is amazing, it's like some type of Christmas desert. I could taste mostly cinnamon and raisin with a hint of maple syrup and nutmeg. The taste is almost as good, it's like a gingerbread-sugar cookie with a little spice. Feels medium bodied with low carbonation and a candy like finish. I really enjoyed this beer, honestly, it's one of the best beers I've had in a long time.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2013 08:11:29 | More by JMad
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 atigerlife
atigerlife

Hawaii

3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown with light brown highlights. Creamy brown head that has good lasting power.

Aroma is of spices, malts. Having a hard time picking up what is going on here.

Taste is malty, hops bitterness that is not overpowering, vanilla, clove, fig newtons.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, cleansing, lively.

Overall, it is quite drinkable but I don't see this as sessionable. A couple is fine.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2012 18:52:47 | More by atigerlife
Photo of zac16125
zac16125

South Carolina

3.5/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2012 00:23:24 | More by zac16125
Photo of dfillius
dfillius

Michigan

3.68/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass
A: Aggressive pour yields nearly 1 finger of brown head with good retention. Clear dark-brown liquid.
S: Nutmeg, cinnamon, clove heavy. Slight fennel seed, caramel, black pepper.
T: Malt forward, slightly peaty,slight dark chocolate, maybe chili powder. Winter warmer/spiced ale riffed on a brown ale I think. Maybe coconut added? Flavor is a tad artificial.
M: Round, chewy
O: Pleasant, but a tad spice/natural flavoring heavy. Maybe I'd have another, I won't buy 6

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2012 01:07:13 | More by dfillius
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 acevenom
acevenom

Louisiana

3.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a glass mug. Pours dark brown with a thick, light tan head. The beer is transluscent when held up to the light, revealing a nice reddish brown color. There are some tiny bubbles visible in the beer, but not many. The head recedes quickly, leaving some lacing on the side of the glass. There's some faint spice on the nose. I get cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. The malt is also there along with some molasses. The bready malt backbone is there, but the spices from the nose arrive pretty quickly in the taste. There's some roastiness also present from the malt and some molasses type sweetness. The flavors are more on the subtle side. The body is light with moderate carbonation. It's a smooth and drinkable beer. This is a good beer. It doesn't quite measure up to expectations of this style, but it is definitely worth a visit.

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2012 01:42:45 | More by acevenom
Photo of garuda
garuda

Pennsylvania

3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Deep ruby, lighter highlights, tan head has little retention, but laces well.

S/T - Bready malts, creamed coffee, dark fruit, chocolate, finishes with spiciness.

M - Medium body, medium carbonation, smooth consistency, finishes mostly clean.

O - Pretty drinkable, a nice winter warmer. I'd get it again.

Serving type: on-tap

12-15-2012 21:21:33 | More by garuda
Photo of artoolemomo
artoolemomo

Oregon

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

Appearance- Pours up two fingers' worth of head which seems, at the moment, to have pretty good retention. The head is a medium beige while the body is chocolate brown with hints of maroon and garnet which appears maroon with hints of dark amber when held up to the light. A bit of lacing with sheeting emerging from the surface.

Nose- Still smells like Christmas. Juniper is the the primary aroma at first but other evergreens take over (pine, cedar, etc.). This is followed by deep red fruits- berries, plums, and cherry. Some raisin to the point of fruitcake from the bottle after the pour. Some medicinal notes from the botanicals that are still fresh and inviting. Light caramel in the background.

Taste- Sweetness from the red fruits begins the flavor profile with woodiness barging in almost immediately afterward. There's a distinct bitterness to it that hints at both oak and coffee. The red fruits seem candied but are quickly canceled out by the wood. As I drink more, the sweetness comes out more and balances out the wood. Some prunes (not really my thing), a little bit of raisin, but mostly prunes. A bit thin (it is almost a year old, though) but still has plenty of presence. It's not an amazing beer by any stretch of the imagination but I am impressed by how well it's held up over the course of a year. Slightly medicinal on the finish. Too much prune flavor for me but it's still an above average beer. Lots of pine and cedar. No real juniper in the flavor profile.

Mouthfeel- Close to medium bodied with loads of carbonation and some syrup to the texture. Maybe a little too much carbonation.

Drinkability- Pretty easygoing. Standard price of Anchor's products. Although, I can't understand why anyone buys magnums of this. To showoff?

Overall- Is it really fair to review a beer that is 11 months old? Given how well it's held up- I would have to say yes. Above average, but short of solid. Definitely worth a try and I will have to try it fresh. Great for someone who likes Christmas anytime of year. (Or someone who really likes prune juice.)

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2013 03:58:06 | More by artoolemomo
Photo of TheQuietMan22
TheQuietMan22

Iowa

3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving type: 12-ounce bottle. The bottling code printed on the label is “2OH,” which is deciphered to mean October 8, 2012. (It may also be “2OM,” which would be October 13, 2012.)

Appearance: Poured into a pint glass. The color is brown with ruby tones. Two fingers of dense, cappuccino-colored head left a lacing, ring around the edge, and trails of foam along the glass.

Smell: I got a whiff of the spice the moment I popped the cap. Loads of festive cinnamon, pine, brown sugar, and ginger. Underneath is a solid foundation of toasted malts, caramel, toffee, dark fruit (I get plum and fig), and molasses. It is pretty solid — exactly what I want from an Anchor Christmas Ale — though I get the impression it is very familiar.

Taste: At first it is not as spicy as the smell led me to believe; the cinnamon, pine, and ginger are relegated to the background and hints in the aftertaste. The brown sugar, though, remains prominent. However, the spices slowly emerge as the beer warms. It is maltier than I was expecting, too; lots of toasted, and even roasted, malts. Caramel, molasses, cocoa, and burnt syrup. I also get a hint of flat Coke. A roasted aftertaste lingers after each sip.

Drinkability: Much better than the 2011 edition. The flavor lacks the punch of the aroma but it is still a good brew.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2012 06:12:01 | More by TheQuietMan22
Photo of steveh
steveh

Illinois

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

The last in the series of OSAs of this brewing style -- so the brewery is saying. I'll miss it, it's been a nice tradition for me for almost 30 years.

A -- Clear, deep garnet with a dense, long-lasting tan head.

S -- Bold spices up front: nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, ginger, with some mild cocoa peeking through at the end.

T -- Same spice medley up front followed by roasted malt and some biscuit and breadiness back. The spices make an encore for the finish and aftertaste -- the roasted malt lending a licorice or anise character to the spices.

M -- Mouthfeel is soft and sticky with a heavy-medium body.

O -- I think I like this spiced ale better than others because the spice is balanced so well with the malts that it doesn't overpower the palate. It's also not so high in ABV to knock you around, so a couple go down very nicely on a cold December afternoon.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2012 19:07:01 | More by steveh
Photo of gtermi
gtermi

Texas

3.58/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2012 05:31:41 | More by gtermi
Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 650 ratings.