Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale) - Anchor Brewing Company
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Ratings: 674 | Reviews: 192 | Display Reviews Only:
3.61/5 rDev -1.1%
Pours a red muddy brown with dense mocha head, 1/2 finger, fading quickly.
Nose is pungent. Lots of bready, earthy, dense dark fruit. Sour cherry.
Taste is equally powerful. Lots of dark fruit: raisin, plum, cherry. Some subtle hint of spice at the end, but minimal. Mild roasty malt with some earthy components.
Feel is big and thick and full, but a little too sharp in the finish. Leaves a lingering acidity in your mouth.
A really unique beer. Happy I tried it, but will not get again. Just feels like the flavors are way to overdone and don't really marry into a balanced beer.
03-27-2013 22:18:14 | More by dheacck11
3.95/5 rDev +8.2%
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.
03-27-2013 20:05:00 | More by jondeelee
4.5/5 rDev +23.3%
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.
03-09-2013 08:11:29 | More by JMad
4/5 rDev +9.6%
This year's Our Special Ale gives off a huge spruce nose, along with cinnamon, chocolate, and the requisite spice rack. The taste is - go figure, heavy on spices. I could try to pick out all the individual spice notes, but that'd be an exercise in futility. If you've got a favorite winter spice, it's probably in here, hanging out with the vanilla and roast flavors. Mercifully, the spices don't linger too long, leaving a wholly pleasant roasted malt aftertaste with just a touch of cinnamon. Mouthfeel is spot-on, as Anchor tends to be, and the drinkability is great. Just like every year, Our Special Ale is a solid Winter Warmer. It's way past Christmas, but I'm glad I have this for the cold snap tonight.
03-04-2013 03:13:29 | More by shand
4/5 rDev +9.6%
Presentation: Really awesome bottle with a short fat appearance in the Anchor style. Front label has a very old school festive feel with an classy graphic of a pine tree also giving its scientific name. States 2012, Merry Christmas Happy New Year, a small description of the beer, ABV info. Also has the Anchor logo. Neck label gives an excellent back story of the beer and how they put a different tree on the bottle every year, also has a drawing of the cone for the particular tree on the bottle. Back label gives web info. Cap is beautiful as well.
Appearance: I poured this from its 12oz bottle into a 16oz English pint. Pours a cola brown with a 2 finger brown foam head of an airy light density. Head retention was 2min 45sec before fading to a frothy coating and thick ring. Good lacing.
Smell/Aroma: Smells of clove and oranges with hints of cinnamon. Scent is fairly sweet with a slight chocolate aroma and herbal notes.
Flavor/Taste: Taste is sweet and herbal with a spicy bite. Hints of vanilla on the start that turns to a roasted flavor and finishes with a herbal tone.
MouthFeel/Drinkability: Medium bodied and smooth with a medium carbonation. Very drinkable.
Overall/Comments: This was my first time having this and I thought it was very very good. Very nice nose and flavor that is very inviting. The flavors in this are a bit different than many other winter warmers that I have tried. Classified as a Winter Warmer at 5.5% ABV. Consumed 2-5-13.
02-26-2013 10:18:56 | More by thegodfather1076
3.99/5 rDev +9.3%
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.
02-25-2013 04:52:29 | More by Jeffwildcat
Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 674 ratings.