Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale) - Anchor Brewing Company
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Ratings: 677 | Reviews: 192 | Display Reviews Only:
4.48/5 rDev +22.7%
12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass at cellar temperature.
L – Brown color with a 3-finger frothy tan head. Fantastic retention and lacing. Clear with a good amount of bubbles.
S – Lots of malts with toasted bread, caramel, and nutty aromas along with nutmeg and cinnamon. There’s also a scent of something like evergreen. It must be some piney hops.
T – Starts off sweet with caramel and nutty malts, followed by toasted malts and spicy cinnamon and nutmeg. Bitterness builds toward the finish with piney, resinous hops.
F – Medium-bodied with good carbonation, a sticky sweet mouthfeel, and a sweet, slightly bitter, and slightly dry finish. Toasted and caramel malt flavors linger.
O – I don’t know how the other OSAs have been, so I don’t really have a frame of reference, but I don’t see why this isn’t a plus-4 rating. It has everything I look for in a winter warmer – rich and hearty malts, seasonal spices, and something different to make it stand out. In this case, that something is also very seasonal – piney hops that are reminiscent of evergreen. I think this beer is terrific and I’m looking forward to trying next year’s OSA when it comes around.
12-20-2012 20:02:03 | More by BlackBelt5112203
3.1/5 rDev -15.1%
Type: 12-oz. bottle
Glass: Regular Firestone pint glass
From: BevMo in La Mesa (San Diego, Calif.)
Price: $9.99 for a 6-pack
Misc.: 38th “Special Ale”; 20H on the back of the bottle, which apparently means it was bottled on Oct. 8, 2012
Poured a brownish black color with about a finger of khaki tan head that dissipated in just under five minutes. About no lacing and no retention.
Smelled grape juice, pine tree, grape bubble gum, juniper berries (thank you recent Sam Adams Norse Legend Sahti!), apple cider, light nutmeg, light cinnamon and some other spices that I couldn’t put my finger on.
Tasted grape soda, grape bubble gum, juniper berries, cough syrup, nutmeg and some cinnamon. Not really what I was expecting coming into this beer.
Medium body. Oily texture. Fizzy (high)-to-lively (above average) carbonation. Abrupt bitter finish.
Pretty disappointed in this beer overall. Was expecting something a bit better. Not looking forward to the other five beers in this 6-pack.
12-20-2012 03:44:10 | More by BucannonXC5
3.98/5 rDev +9%
Live Review. Poured from the 12 oz. bottle that I bought as part of a 6 pack from Heinen's in Mentor for $11.99 the other day into a clean, clear glass. No observed "best by" date but really, it is before Christmas so I am quite sure that it is fine.
A Nice light brown creamy head stays around for several minutes, leaving a nice lacing on the inside of the glass upon repeated sips. That sits atop a dark brown body that glows a mahogany partially translucent body in front of direct light. Very good look and I really like the quantity and quality of the head. 4.5
S Grainy sweet malt with very little hops to the smell. Warm and welcoming. 4.0
T Warmth of grainy sweet malt taste as it is far more barley malt rather than anything overly sweet. The taste succeeds as a Winter Warmer without going for the sweet malt that I find in others in this style. Challenging and interesting. 4.0
M Smooth feel as it goes down so easily. 3.5
D/O Drinkability quite good with manageable ABV and smooth, approachable feel and almost gentle tastes. Overall this is a fine Winter Warmer. I have enjoyed all of the Anchor Beers that I have tasted. 4.0
Notes: Another class addition to the lengthy series of Anchor "Our Special Ale."
12-20-2012 02:55:47 | More by adamette
4/5 rDev +9.6%
Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.
A: The beer is a bright reddish brown color, with a short dense off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.
S: The aroma contains roasted malts, vanilla, spices, some coffee and a touch of hops.
T: The taste starts out with a strong burst of vanilla and minty spices followed by a hearty roasted malt character and background flavors of coffee and chocolate. The hops presence is mild but complementary and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.
M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.
O: Tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, mild kick, good representation of style, it seems as though the spiciness has increased gradually each year for the past few years.
12-20-2012 02:13:59 | More by TheManiacalOne
2.6/5 rDev -28.8%
Not very good this year. Taste is pine, citrus, twigs, roots and dirt. A poor job trying to make this beer "earthy" in any way. Pricky soapy hops. Juniper flavor only worsens it. Thin. Astringent throughout and gets even more astringent at the end. Some malt complexity saves this beer. If you could look past the astringency, its drinkable.
12-19-2012 17:43:48 | More by palma
3.63/5 rDev -0.5%
Batch 20 K pours chestnut with 4 fingers of caramel colored head. Amazing lacing & head retention
S: Sasparilla & juniper notes
T: Ligt juniper & pine notes, faint figgyness up front, along with slight leafy hopness. Some astringency & juniper as this warms, slight smokey notes that become a bit too much, plus dryness & stale jagermeister lurking in the background. Finishes slightly bitter & leafy wth horehound cough drops & pine needles
MF: Light, medium bodied with slight carbonation, balance is alright, starts to become watery as this warms, bummer
Hits above its abv weight, however, no one of the better versions. Interesting at times, but doesn't quite hold together
12-19-2012 04:22:29 | More by russpowell
3.05/5 rDev -16.4%
Appearance: Dark red color with a huge, tan head that fades slowly with thick chunks of lace.
Aroma: Grainy malt with some nutmeg and molasses and faint hints of grapefruit.
Taste: Starts off pretty thin with some astringent, grainy malt before becoming very festive with lots of spiced notes. The spices carry on right through the finish, where some hints of peppery bitterness show up. The finish is otherwise fast and clean.
The Rest: Quite a difference between this and the '07 I had along side of it. Granted, five years makes a big difference, but the '07 has a much fuller body with less spice. The '12 is pretty bleh and I don't see it getting better with age - the body just isn't there. The '12 to me is just a mediocre winter warmer.
12-19-2012 01:21:14 | More by curasowa
3.78/5 rDev +3.6%
A 20oz pint at the Underground in YEGDT.
This beer appears a clear, very dark ruby amber hue, with two fingers of dense foamy chocolate milk head, which leaves some pleasant Swiss cheese walls of lace around the glass as it slowly ebbs away.
It smells very much like those semi-hard caramel toffee candies universally available in convenience and drug stores, with some mild clove and nutmeg spicing, citrus cream, and soft pine resin. The taste is more musty caramel candy, a slight oily nuttiness, muddled nutmeg, ginger, and cloves, tame orange citrus flesh notes, and fresh-hewn pine tree trunk. Maybe that last one is just the tap handle sitting right in front of me, but I did saw off the base of a real fir tree not that long ago.
The carbonation is quite sedate, providing lowkey support, the body a strong medium weight, smooth, a little slick, and a bit creamy. It finishes off-dry, the caramel gaining a bread pudding character, the spices on the wane, and the bitterness of the citrus and pine coalescing into an aura of, well, Christmases past, present, and hopefully future.
A tasty enough offering, once again from Anchor for the holiday season, and of the holiday season. Maybe a tad sweet, but my palate is well-accomodating of that at the present time.
12-17-2012 22:53:55 | More by biboergosum
2.6/5 rDev -28.8%
I really enjoyed this last year, but something does not seem right with this year's edition.
I love the bottle and label Anchor uses for this beer.
And it sure looks nice when poured in a glass.
After that, the experience is bit of a let down.
Christmas spices are what dominate the smell. I am guessing cinnamon and nutmeg. I am not very good at identifying the spices used, but the spice presence is strong in the smell.
The taste is malty and of dark fruit like raisins. And like the smell, spices are strongly present but hard to identify. I would say Cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and maybe vanilla?
It is not terrible. It is actually an interesting beer to drink, I will give it that much.
All the different spices they throw in just don't work well together. Or maybe it is a little over spiced.
Overall, it is bit of a let down
12-17-2012 04:38:45 | More by JohnFatAss
3.68/5 rDev +0.8%
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
12-17-2012 01:07:13 | More by dfillius
Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 677 ratings.