Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale) - Anchor Brewing Company
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Ratings: 677 | Reviews: 192 | Display Reviews Only:
3.46/5 rDev -5.2%
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.
02-19-2013 07:30:45 | More by matjack85
3.86/5 rDev +5.8%
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.
01-14-2013 23:32:49 | More by DIM
3.73/5 rDev +2.2%
A-Deep brown in the glass, amber when pouring, one finger tan head.
S-Candied sugar, pine, caramel with some burnt notes.
T-Starts with some candied sugar, tad bit of caramel, not much spices.
M-Light and a tad watery not much carbonation.
O-Anchor dropped the ball on this Christmas, Usually I look forward to this brew but this year it was a let down.
12-30-2012 00:11:42 | More by rlee1390
3.65/5 rDev 0%
I picked up a bottle of Anchor's Our Special Ale, a couple weeks ago for $1.99 at The Lager Mill. I wanted to get a few different Christmas beers that I haven't had before and this one caught my eye so I thought I would give it a try, so lets see how it goes. 2012 Vintage. Poured from a shorter brown bottle into a tulip.
A- I like the label on this beer it's pretty simple, but it looks nice and isn't overdone and I like the extra info about the beer. It poured a dark brown color that took on some ruby hues when held to the light with three and a half fingers worth of fluffy dark tan head that died down to a thick ring that stayed till the end and left lots of nice lacing. This was a very good looking beer, the color and head were very nice.
S- The aroma starts off with starts off with loads of spices that are pretty strong and very unique, it's got the typical Winter Warmer spices with nutmeg sticking out, but there's also a heavy ginger aroma and combined with other spices make an almost spiced perfume like aroma that's pretty unique. After that comes some brown sugar and a slight bit of dark fruits followed by the malts which impart a pretty sweet roasted aroma. I liked the aroma of this beer, it's not the best I have ever encountered but it's so unique that I just can't stop smelling it and I think it's good.
T- The taste seems to be pretty similar to the aroma, it starts off with this unique burnt sugar flavor followed by a good amount of roasted malts that had a medium amount of sweetness to it and imparted some roasted and grainy flavors follows by a noticeable molasses flavor. After that comes the spices which mix with the unique burnt sugar flavor to make and even more unique flavor with ginger coming through. On the finish there's a slight earthy hop flavor followed by a slightly lighter amount of medium bitterness and some roasted, slightly charred and spiced flavors in the aftertaste. This beer tasted nice, I didn't love the taste of this beer, but it wasn't bad and it was pretty different.
M- Fairly smooth, creamy, a little sticky, medium bodied with a nice slightly higher amount of medium carbonation. The mouthfeel was nice and it worked well with this beer.
Overall I thought that was a nice beer and a slightly above average Winter Warmer, there's no confusing this beer with any other Winter Warmer the flavor and aroma were very distinctive. This beer didn't have the greatest drinkability, it went down fairly smooth, but the flavor was a little too much for me to want to have another one in a row, one is just enough for me. What I liked the most about this beer was the appearance, it was very good with nice color, great head, and good lacing. What I liked the least about this beer was the drinkability, the mouthfeel should help the drinkability, but the flavor really doesn't make me want to come back for more. I would buy this beer again for Christmas next year but I won't be getting any more of this years batch. I would recommend giving this a try, it a very unique Winter Warmer. All in all i was happy with this beer, I liked how different it was and that it just wasn't a heavily spiced brown ale, it was much more than that. Anchor made a pretty solid beer for this years Our Special Ale, and I am down to see how next years release is. I need to get around to trying more Anchor beers, their a pretty solid brewery.
12-25-2012 04:44:26 | More by StoutHunter
3.63/5 rDev -0.5%
A: Pours a deep brown with some ruby tinges. A thin light brown head disappears kind of quickly, leaving a thin ring of head around the rim.
S: Gingerbread, nutmeg, burnt brown sugar, vanilla and some fresh baked bread. Maybe the strongest part of this beer.
T: A quick hit of holiday spice upfront followed by a faint, weak sourness and some light medicinal hop notes. Finish leaves a lingering sour/bitterness. Mouthfeel is definitely on the light side. I think I liked last year's a lot better.
11-30-2012 22:55:00 | More by notchucknorris
3.85/5 rDev +5.5%
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.
12-08-2012 01:21:38 | More by arizcards
United Kingdom (England)
3.44/5 rDev -5.8%
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.
01-14-2013 00:54:00 | More by jazzyjeff13
3.8/5 rDev +4.1%
Aged for a year.
Dark brown ruby color with a thick caramel head with great retention and leaving some laces.
Delicious aroma with notes of prunes, mint leaves, chocolate and caramel malt, molasses, nutmeg and tangerines.
Flavor of chocolate malt, pepper, dark fruits, earth, lemon, herbal and citrus hops and Port Wine. Hints of smoke, ginger, cinnamon, oregano and licorice. Dry aftertaste with medium bitterness.
Light, though smooth body with low carbonation of tiny bubbles.
Original flavor and aroma, this would be a great Winter Warmer if it had more body and higher alcohol content. Damn! Another annual slavering beer.
01-23-2014 00:02:56 | More by FLima
3.79/5 rDev +3.8%
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.
02-04-2013 01:29:28 | More by buschbeer
3.18/5 rDev -12.9%
Pours an opaque brown with strong garnet highlights and a solid half inch toffee head that leaves sheets of lacing.
Ginger, clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg dominate the initial aroma, giving a cola impression. Smells fairly sweet.
Cola follows in the flavor, with ginger, clove, and cinnamon accompanying caramel malt, leading to a slightly roasted, almost acrid, bitter finish. Dark fruits and pine emerge as it warms.
Body is a touch syrupy, with carbonation on the high side of moderate.
Definitely a spicy winter warmer. The finish cleanses the palate nicely, but the initial flavor is overwhelmingly spicy. It's just not my favorite style.
12-14-2012 06:56:57 | More by barczar
3.55/5 rDev -2.7%
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...
12-07-2012 03:21:48 | More by philbe311
Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 677 ratings.