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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)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

711 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 711
Reviews: 196
rAvg: 3.65
pDev: 14.52%
Wants: 17
Gots: 58 | 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:
Beer added by: beertunes on 10-22-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 711 | Reviews: 196 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ONUMello
3.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass
A: Pours an opaque brown with a lingering 1/2 finger head
T: Warming aromas of toasted malt, brown sugar and spice
T: Matches the nose with brown sugar, malt & a bit of toasted marshmallow towards the finish. A bit sweeter & thinner than I would like
M: Medium-bodied, this feels toasted if that makes sense, which I like, but again a bit thin in texture
O: Tasty but I would prefer a bit more structure

Photo of tjsdomer2
3.23/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Appearance: Extremely dark for a winter warmer. Basically a stout with excellent tan/white foam and lacing.

Smell: Sugar plums and nutmeg.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Tastes like coke and coffee. Really flat overall though, which ruins the flavor.

Overall: Very promising, but very disappointing.

Photo of Wally1912
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of Grant89
3/5  rDev -17.8%

Photo of Antnyd82
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of barnzy78
3.47/5  rDev -4.9%
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 fitz284
4/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of zornbeast
4/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of Suds
3.88/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This year's ale is a dark brown color with a tan, large-bubbled head. The aroma is of Christmas spices and malt. It's a bit of a muted smell, but mulling spice is evident, backed by a brown malt and moderately roasty scent. The taste is pleasant...brown sugar, malt, orange peel and clove. It has a tongue numbing sensation that's somehow appropriate. Firm and full in body. This is a very enjoyable holiday ale.

Photo of Dyerseve
4/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of JLapadura
3/5  rDev -17.8%

Photo of stakem
3.82/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

Photo of steveh
4.1/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The last in the series of OSAs of this brewing style -- so the brewery is saying. I'll miss it, it's been a nice tradition for me for almost 30 years.

A -- Clear, deep garnet with a dense, long-lasting tan head.

S -- Bold spices up front: nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, ginger, with some mild cocoa peeking through at the end.

T -- Same spice medley up front followed by roasted malt and some biscuit and breadiness back. The spices make an encore for the finish and aftertaste -- the roasted malt lending a licorice or anise character to the spices.

M -- Mouthfeel is soft and sticky with a heavy-medium body.

O -- I think I like this spiced ale better than others because the spice is balanced so well with the malts that it doesn't overpower the palate. It's also not so high in ABV to knock you around, so a couple go down very nicely on a cold December afternoon.

Photo of JohneHoodlum
4/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of mdcrouser
3.76/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Love this pour - the head is like the icing on a dark gingerbread house, building like snowfall on the roof. It's just a much darker version, nearly black, with a ginger-brown head, fluffy like a new drift.

If I remember, it's a similar smell to previous years - balanced between bready malts and a spicy, juniper-like hops. Very seasonally influenced, as always. It's relatively muted in this version though.

Like dark juniper-soaked gingerbread in the mouth - imagine that. The vegetation, spice and molasses each seem to come through.

Exceptionally creamy, much like you'd expect from a stout, allowing the carbonation to lay back and the rest of the beer to showcase.

As expected, a good beer. Always a good tradition for the season.

Photo of Houser
3.25/5  rDev -11%

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.73/5  rDev +2.2%
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 Zkman87
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of ThirdEyePA
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of SaCkErZ9
2.76/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I always enjoy drinking this new beer every year. Each year is different but they are all generally pretty similar. This is my 10th year in this series, so it is somewhat special to me. This one pours beautifully! Chocolate amber in color with a very nice, frothy, rather robust off white colored head. Nice lacing and even better retention.

The aromas was a bit lackluster. There are some seasonal spices but overall, there isnt really anything great. Plus, it smells like things are off just a bit. Kind of metallic, cloves, allspice, caramel and toasted bread.

Not a big fan of the flavor on this one. Quite bitter and astringent. Mouthfeel is a little thin and it finishes dry. I dont remember any of the others tasting this bad. Chalky with raw nutmeg, cinnamon bark, burnt grains. Kind of yeasty too. Its almost like they used cheaper ingredients or something. Something is definitely off and different. This one has to be the least attractive version of this beer I have had. I always cellar these as well, so hopefully it will improve; it cant get much worse.

Photo of OldTime
4/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of HumulusLupulus
3.63/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown liquid topped with frothy topping of head. Nose gives off scents of black licorice along with dashes of assorted spices. The drink is both funky and weird with flavors of different spices, black licorice and green herbs that I don’t particularly care for. However, the dark malt profile of this beer makes up for the dizzying addition of spices and will probably hold up nicely during a year or more of cellaring. Hopefully some of those strong spice flavors will fade out with time and make this a more drinkable beer.

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

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a cervoise glass

Pours a very dark brown topped with a fluffy, very light beige head. Excellent retention, large amounts of splotchy lacing. Malty nose with nutmeg perhaps some cinnamon, and toffee. Opens with toffee, joined by some nutty accents, cashew and almond, caramel maltiness, nutmeg, and a kiss of cinnamon. Light medium very smooth body, lively carbonation. I always look forward to each year's version of Our Special Ale. Definitely a solid brew this year.

Photo of jniagar1
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of pkalix
4.57/5  rDev +25.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

from belgium to san francisco . . . .
pours a very dar, slightly able to see thorugh at the edges, mahogany brown with small head on top.
smells AWESOME! malty with some bitter chocolate and hops....
tastes . . . . . almost like a porter (?), no? some dark chocolate, espresso(?), heavy malt, light hop finish.
heavy finish. overall, a nice brew which could have used a higher abv, but i suppose that would have added to the bitterness. never much a fan of anchor brewing (yes, i know they're a fan favorite) but i like this one a lot. i like the heavy, but smooth taste. just wish it were a little higher value abv . . . . .

Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 711 ratings.