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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)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
82
good

664 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 664
Reviews: 192
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 14.29%
Wants: 13
Gots: 43 | 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)
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Ratings: 664 | Reviews: 192 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Billolick
Billolick

New York

3.58/5  rDev -1.6%
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

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2012 23:41:02 | More by Billolick
Photo of oriolesfan4
oriolesfan4

Maryland

3.75/5  rDev +3%

12-11-2012 01:47:05 | More by oriolesfan4
Photo of stakem
stakem

Pennsylvania

3.78/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Standard anchor stubby brown bottle into a tulip shaped pint glass. The brew appears a dark mahogany with a tan cap less than a finger strong. A light swirl revives less than a finger that produces some spotty lacing effect on the glass. When held to the light, the brew shows some lighter brown clarity and ruby coloration through the body.

The nose is quite pleasant with a mixture of holiday spicing. A bit of pine, anise and cinnamon work together quite well with a dark sweetness of caramel or toffee maltiness. Some dark fruity alcohol emerges as the brew warms up.

The taste is dark burnt sugary caramel/toffee and molasses. Some cinnamon flavors are quite natural almost like bark mixed with earthy nutmeg. Enough hops are present providing some herbal to pine bitterness backing that gets slightly medicinal at times. But overall it is balanced quite nicely.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. It is quite a nice holiday brew that is not over the top with spicing to really drive home that holiday feel. This is worth trying even if not for the holidays.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2012 19:59:34 | More by stakem
Photo of jdhilt
jdhilt

New Hampshire

3.53/5  rDev -3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2012 00:41:43 | More by jdhilt
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 duceswild
duceswild

Maryland

3.75/5  rDev +3%

01-09-2013 01:03:50 | More by duceswild
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 brandoman63
brandoman63

Illinois

4.25/5  rDev +16.8%

01-16-2013 04:03:37 | More by brandoman63
Photo of drewone
drewone

California

3.25/5  rDev -10.7%

12-05-2012 09:03:15 | More by drewone
Photo of rab53
rab53

Washington

3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

01-13-2013 02:41:22 | More by rab53
Photo of Gonzoillini
Gonzoillini

Illinois

3.75/5  rDev +3%

01-29-2014 01:29:47 | More by Gonzoillini
Photo of Latarnik
Latarnik

New Jersey

3.75/5  rDev +3%

05-26-2014 21:47:17 | More by Latarnik
Photo of JohnGalt1
JohnGalt1

Idaho

3.3/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Christ... Warm weather in Boise is making it difficult to wrap my mind around Christmas brews already... Poured into my slim tulip.. good tannish head.. nice lacing... the brew is deeep amber.

Nose is mainly nutmeg... maybe some juniper berry.. ???

Typical year to year malt profile with the abundant spice.. definitely nutmeg this year.. a bit of ginger? ... Asian cinnamon?

Body and carbonation are the same as last year's...

I am mind numbingly tired of trying to figure out the spices from year to year.... Spices do not belong in beer!! IMO ;-)

3.5/3/3.5/3.5/3

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2012 05:29:40 | More by JohnGalt1
Photo of sendbeer
sendbeer

Georgia

4/5  rDev +9.9%

12-10-2012 14:42:07 | More by sendbeer
Photo of beertunes
beertunes

Washington

3.18/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into 10oz goblet. Poured a very dark brown, almost light black, color with less than 1/4 inch of tan head that had low retention and no lacing.

The aroma had a nice little roast scent at the front and just some soft malts in the background. The flavors followed along nicely, the bit of roast lingered at the back, there just a hint of yeast spice and maybe some liquorice?

The body was good, smooth, even and well-rounded, but a bit thinner than I look for in the style. Drinkability was good, the went smooth and easy and I'll be drinking a couple more of these while they're around. Overall, a nice brew, as the OSA generally is.

Serving type: bottle

10-22-2012 21:11:57 | More by beertunes
Photo of PEIhop
PEIhop

Massachusetts

3.75/5  rDev +3%

11-13-2012 21:48:18 | More by PEIhop
Photo of THECPJ
THECPJ

Delaware

3/5  rDev -17.6%

09-03-2013 20:57:20 | More by THECPJ
Photo of afsdan
afsdan

Colorado

4/5  rDev +9.9%

04-21-2014 06:45:40 | More by afsdan
Photo of chinchill
chinchill

South Carolina

3.83/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge bottle served repeatedly in a .2L Peroni glass.
Pours clear dark brown with a towering, dense tan head. Excellent patterns of sticky lacing are left on the glass.
"Holiday spicing" favors nutmeg, with some cinnamon, with the latter being more obviou in the taste than th nose. Solid malt backbone but not as rich as I would like. As is, the spicing is a tad high. Still, a very drinkable and enjoyable winter holiday ale.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2013 22:35:45 | More by chinchill
Photo of xnicknj
xnicknj

Pennsylvania

3.18/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

on tap at bainbridge barrel house - served in pint

Pours a hazy toasted caramel color with a beige head resting on top. Decent retention, sticky webbed lacing on the glass.

Very spicy in the nose with touches of pine. Gingerbread, caramel, bread crust, toasted grain and a little sweet.

Bready and spicy up front with pine and nutmeg. Cinnamon, gingerbread and caramel sweetness. Light toasted malt body, a little thin with holiday spice in the finish.

Lighter medium body, decent carbonation, chewy and sticky on the tongue. I continue to try this every year, although it's still a fairly average holiday beer.

Serving type: on-tap

01-07-2013 13:12:52 | More by xnicknj
Photo of scruffwhor
scruffwhor

Illinois

3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

08-30-2013 15:50:48 | More by scruffwhor
Photo of wordemupg
wordemupg

Alberta (Canada)

3.98/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

355ml bottle poured into tulip 30/11/12

A dark brown liquid and you can nearly see the other side of the glass under the foam, a thumbs width of dark tan head sits for a few sips leaving no lace

S root beer, Christmas cake, cinnamon, nutmeg, anise and a little coco mix with some hazelnut and toffee, just a little earthy wood notes as it warms

T slightly more anise notes and coco with a little ginger, the flavor mimics the smell fairly well other then that, the nutty and earthy notes come out a little more as it warms

M medium bodied and any more bubbles it would be a little airy but it stops short, nice spiced finish lingers faintly for a while

O I like it and it's good beer but from memory the last few versions have been world class, I'm still pleased and look forward to the rest of the 6er but I'm not completely blown away

I think I was looking for big piney or spruce notes and its not really there this year, please don't get me wrong this is a very nice brew but perhaps I'm just trying to re-live old memories

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2012 06:32:11 | More by wordemupg
Photo of GraduatedCashew
GraduatedCashew

California

3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

08-28-2013 17:13:06 | More by GraduatedCashew
Photo of BeerFMAndy
BeerFMAndy

Wisconsin

3.7/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.
5.5% ABV, 2OC punched in back label.

A - Clear and nutty brown pouring, Our Special Ale becomes nearly opaque black in the snifter and is crowned by a tightly packed tan head. The foam seems to disappear rapidly but specks of lace are left around the glass.

S - Each year a new tree is featured on the label of the ever-changing Anchor Our Special Ale and it's a primer for what follows as this winter warmer introduces itself with a pine and bold woodsy aroma. Toast and dry chocolate malt combine for a dusty nose that has nuances of baker's chocolate and spent coffee grounds with a hint of nuttiness. I imagine enjoying this in a log cabin with a wood fire roaring as gentle snow falls.

T - Dry pinecone, moisture-starved firewood, and toasted whole wheat bread encompass much of the beer's flavor with nutty undertones and suggestions of cocoa or mocha on the finish with a subtle nod to pine needle. Hints of dry spice are suggested as well, but certainly no particular flavors come to mind, rather a muddled sprinkle, possibly attributed to the other ingredients' blend.

M - Malt forward, the deprivation of hops doesn't quite mean a lack of balance as this beer is not sweet at all, nor is it bitter. Instead, it's bone dry with a hard water and somewhat gritty feel, further reflecting it's outdoorsy, earthiness.

O - While Anchor's recipe for their annual Our Special Ale changes from year to year, this beer is incredibly reminiscent of how I remember last year's batch being with a big push towards rustic, woodsy notes of, well, wood, pine, and nuttiness. I can imagine a glass of this in my hand on a cold Christmas day, but outside of the immediate holiday time, it's too strange a flavor for me to get into on a regular basis.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2012 00:32:22 | More by BeerFMAndy
Photo of bark
bark

Sweden

2.95/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

The colour is deep warm brown, the liquid is clear. The pale brown three finger head is compact, it sinks slowly leaving almost no lacing.

The smell is spicy with some clean bitter notes and a powerful sweetness. Cloves. Ginger? Paradise grains? Nutmeg? Lemon peels? Some roasted malts and quite a lot of toffee. Liquid Christmas...

The taste is quite dry and very spicy, not in a harsh way although they got some fat phenolic notes. Some toffee and caramel. The body is light, it doesn’t really measure up with the spices. The aftertaste is dry, almost astringent with Christmas spices, some butterscotch and a touch of alcohol. The finish is astringent, phenolic and not very pleasant.

The carbonation is medium strong, the mid-sized bubbles fresh. The liquid is quite dry.

Too much spices and an overall harsh feel makes this beer very unbalanced. One of the less impressive vintages of Our Special Ale I have had.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2012 20:29:18 | More by bark
Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 664 ratings.