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)

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BA SCORE
83
good

707 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 707
Reviews: 194
rAvg: 3.65
pDev: 14.52%
Wants: 17
Gots: 55 | 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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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 707 | Reviews: 194 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of LiquidAmber
3.96/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Review from 1/2013 notes. Poured into a Seattle Beer Week pint glass. Pours a dark mahogany brown with a fine quarter finger of tan head with good retention and lacing. Aroma of sweet bock malt, light pine, cinnamon and nutmeg. Flavor follows, with sweet malt, holiday spicing heavy on cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg, thins out out to a lighter, slightly tart and piney character. Lingering flavor of woody pine. Medium bodied with a mild creaminess. This year's version leans more toward piney spicing, but there is a nice background flavor leaning towards gingerbread that balances out the other spicy flavors. Lighter finish than I remember from last year, but as usual, interesting and very winter holiday oriented. A great annual tradition.

Photo of wordemupg
3.98/5  rDev +9%
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

Photo of THECPJ
3/5  rDev -17.8%

Photo of Evil_Pidde
4.13/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours the darkest, warmest amber I've ever seen. The compact thick head is beige and I could put a quarter dollar on it and it wouldm't sink - it looks fantastic. Slow dissipation leaves decent lacings.

S: Roasted sweet malt, very bready. This is very X-masy; cinnamon, cardamum, nutmeg some chocolate, some dark dried fruits as well as rich raspberries.

T: Nice; sour cherries up front along with loads of spices; cardamum and cinnamon. Licorice, chocolate and dark dried fruits along side with rich raspberries. Surprisingly enough, not that sweet.

M: Atftertaste is long and sour as well as bitter. Body is medium while carbonation is low, rather smooth though.

O: Nice Christmasy Winter Warmer; with lots of spices of the season along with nice maltyness.

Photo of bark
2.95/5  rDev -19.2%
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.

Photo of vfgccp
2.5/5  rDev -31.5%

Photo of scruffwhor
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of avalon07
3.58/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a dark brown color and a somewhat cloudy texture. There was an inch and a half of foamy, off white, fairly long-lasting head. Pretty good lacing.

S: A slightly muted aroma of spices and malt. Decent, but not forward enough.

T: Tasted of malt, something sugary (caramel?), and some spices (cinnamon, e.g.). A decent enough flavor, but not overly spectacular. Like the aroma, the flavor could have used a little push.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a super dry finish. Medium-bodied.

O: Not a bad beer, and drinkable, but a bit on the forgettable side.

Photo of Lare453
4/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of xnicknj
3.18/5  rDev -12.9%
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.

Photo of GraduatedCashew
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of claspada
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.7/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

Photo of OWSLEY069
3.28/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep amber to black in color with a tan head. In the aroma, light pine, a small roast, and a caramel like presence. In the taste, pine like, roasty caramel, and a touch sticky sweet. A spice like bite and a medium bodied mouthfeel, with a dry caramel and spice like aftertaste. Not as piney as years past, nice roast and average spices.

Photo of Durge
4.25/5  rDev +16.4%

Photo of Cyberkedi
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Comes out of the tap a luscious sable with a thick, fine-bubbled and persistent tan head. Roast malt aroma has a strong woody overtone with a hint of cloves. Flavor has a roast malt core with firm spicy notes, cloves, a little cinnamon, horehound, a hint or more of caramel, a hint of licorice, a bit of a varnishy note. Smooth, firm mouthfeel has plenty of fizz. Once again, a good holiday brew from Anchor.

Photo of WOLFGANG
4/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of KevinGordon
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of Dicers
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of barnzy78
3.48/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, pours dark brown with a thin, beige head that dissipates quickly leaving minimal lacing. Spicy aroma with molasses, brown sugar, anise. Tastes are complex with dark malt, smoky, burnt caramel, molasses, brown sugar, plum, clove, allspice, faint cinnamon, faint pine, roasted chestnut perhaps; Christmasy nonetheless. Thin-to-medium body, moderate carbonation, finishes clean. Overall, good winter warmer & is actually the first time I've tried this perennial Anchor offering.

Photo of champ103
4.45/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is probably my favorite seasonal release. I Always look forward to my first six pack.

A: Pours a beautiful mahogany/ruby red color. A two finger Khaki head forms, and gently recedes. Rings of sticky lace is left behind. A looker.
S: Very reserved in the nose, but I still really enjoy it. Nutmeg with toasted malts. A light buttery aroma, quickly covered up by almonds, warm fresh backed bread. A deceivingly complex aroma emerges.
T: Like the nose, very reserved at first, but much more comes out as I work my way down. Toasted malts, baked bread , nutmeg and an almond nutty flavor. A light sweetness comes out toward the end, then a dry almost bitter coco. It is amazing how much delicate complexities emerge from this.
M/D: A medium body and carbonation. Very soft and velvety. So easy and enjoyable to drink. The bottle is gone in no time, and I am sure the rest of the six pack is not far behind.

Seems like the piney, almost allspice flavor is not there. Which has been a recurring theme. This release is more warm toasted and malty goodness. Again, a seasonal I look forward to every year, and for good reason. No doubt I will be getting more six packs again this year.

Photo of Brenden
3.6/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The looks is thick, about a medium-fairly dark brown with a bit of a red hue and barely opaque if even that. The head is as thick as the body and heavy, rising higher than two fingers and showing good, if not very good, retention. It leaves some excellent lacing as it drops, even after fading to a fairly thick foam.
This beer offers a bit of caramel and toffee, but almost with less sweetness, as though the elements of the flavors are there but most of the sugars have been cooked out. it's still got a touch of sweetness, though. In equal effect are also less sweet, kitchen-type spices (nutmeg comes to mind, and a mustiness like certain poultry rubs (it sounds bad, but i don't mean it to). A touch of ginger and some evident clove notes are also present in the spicing. Some piney Northwest hops sit in there, and it's fairly strong, but even stronger is an extremely roasty malt backbone setting it all down. Ultimately, I think a touch more sweetness would do it good. As is, it's definitely a solid beer.
The feel is good, thick and creamy with a nice body, weighty enough to carry the load but without being overly heavy. There's also enough crispness to give it some life without being too crisp for a malt-forward beer, and a nice complement to the smoothness. If anything takes away, it's a bit of a sticky/slick mixture flashing in and out, first at the beginning then coming in at the finish.

Photo of pathman
4.25/5  rDev +16.4%

Photo of sweemzander
4.13/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

(A)- Pours an extremely dark brown color. Some good tan froth and lacing.

(S)- A festive spice of cranberry, juniper and a pinch of what seems like mulberry and nutmeg too. A nice combination.

(T)- Similar to the smell. Amidst a nicely balanced subtle juniper and mulberry-like fruits is a harmonious nutmeg and nutty cocoa-like profile.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. Dark fruit and spice is well balanced between the two. Rich but smooth too.

(O)- This might be my favorite vintage I have had so far. Always like to try this each year and am pleasantly surprised how much I liked this one.

Photo of popery
3.68/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is one of my favorite winter spiced beers. This year's entry is an interesting take, though not particularly strong compared to recent years, in my opinion. It pours a dark, rich brown color, sort of a reddish wood shade. Outside of direct light, it looks nearly black. Good tan head. The aroma is a pleasant mix of dark malt and restrained spicing. It's woodier than most spiced beers, though it still tends toward the normal nutmeg, coriander, cinnamon range. There's some nice cocoa and caramel flavors. It smells a bit like a spiced Christmas pastry. Taste is similar. It's not too terribly sweet. There's a very light woody sour note. More caramel is noticeable and a bit less spice. It's almost porter-ish. Light band-aid note in the finish. Mouthfeel is good. A bit sticky but pleasantly so. I mostly just wish that the flavors were stronger. I would love to try a bigger version of this beer, particularly if they could brew it without increasing the sweetness too much.

Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 707 ratings.