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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
83
good

700 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 700
Reviews: 192
rAvg: 3.65
pDev: 14.52%
Wants: 16
Gots: 54 | 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: 700 | Reviews: 192 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ObeMaltKinobee
3.25/5  rDev -11%

Photo of mactrail
3.2/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a nice big head in the Saxo tall glass. Sort of a red-brown-golden hue with plenty of lacing. Quite light bodied and sudsy in the mouth. A pleasant pumpkin pie nose.

The spice is assertive but not overwhelming. The usual cloves seem to dominate. It gives a sense of sweetness without much actual sweetness. The malt seems rather thin and the aftertaste a bit harsh with that spice-driven finish. Not much actual hop flavor, but seems quite bitter in the aftertaste along with a dirty note with a hint of butter. I liked these Christmas beer a lot in decades long gone by, but not much in recent years.

It's interesting that Anchor has stayed with the modest alcohol content over the years when we get used to such high-octance winter brews. It's a nice reminder that less can be plenty.

From the 12 oz bottle bought at Bine & Vine in San Diego.

Photo of crownrl28
3/5  rDev -17.8%

Photo of KickbacksSteve
3.9/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Kickbacks in Jax. Poured into a snifter. Khaki head with moderate retention on a deep colored tudor brown body. Aroma includes caramel malts, slight roast and clove. Taste has a nice caramel sweetness, touch of brown sugar and clove, maybe even cinnamon. Pretty tasty and kinda puts me in the Christmas spirit for some reason. (Celebration does the same thing).

Photo of DougRFlowers
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of Salacioussiren
3.25/5  rDev -11%

Photo of RhodyNative
4/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of drtth
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of damndirtyape
4.05/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle (date stamp 2OP - 2012 October 16th) poured into a Shaker pint glass.

Appearance: Dark mahogany brown - clear but only when held up to the light. Thin persistent tan head upon pouring. Some strands and islands of lacing, but over time they slid back down the glass.

Smell: Mild. Roasted malt, hint of something spicy + spruce, some char/burnt smell. I found I had to let it warm up a bit to get all the aroma out. Despite being mild in aroma intensity, what I got was appealing.

Taste: Roasted malt up front, moving into a middle which was a combination of spice, pine, and char/leafy tobacco. The finish is surprisingly sweet, but balanced with some roasted bitterness and a bit of char.

Mouthfeel: Good carbonation, a little bit sticky on the teeth and slick at the same time. Thickness underneath though is just a hair thicker than water.

Overall / Drinkability: Went great with food (Burgers and roasted root vegetables) but after the meal I'm finding this quite enjoyable as it warms up. A very good and flavorful version of their beer this year. I find it complex in all the flavors I'm getting. I also find it to be very drinkable. I could easily see myself having another 1 or 2 in a sitting over food and conversation. It's a wrap up with and savor beer, but not a sipping beer. Funny how the individual components are either just good or above average, but combined are quite impressive. I think this may be one of their better vintages, but I'll have to go back and read my other reviews to confirm this.

Photo of acp21178
4.5/5  rDev +23.3%

Photo of RobertColianni
4.1/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Fresh 12oz. 2012 bottle held vertically and dumped straight into 36oz. Cognac Snifter for maximum agitated aeration

A: Smokey quartzite brew with a constant desert-khaki head. Thin with islands of bubbles that just don't go away. Spotty lacing. Literally speckled up the side wall. Brick red tones when backed by direct light.

S: Dried cranberries, raisins, nutmeg baked with honey, charred sugars, and figs.

T: Everything that comes through in the nose is there on the tongue. A surprising, heavy sour cherry comes forward.

M: Light, but rich. Bubbly, but smooth. Hops really make the tongue tingle. It's artfully perfect.

OVERALL: Anchor's "Our Special Ale" has become tradition in my holiday season over the past three years. It's everything a Christmas Ale/Winter Warmer should be and everything a connoisseur of beer should look for. It's the gold standard for late bloomers that just can't get into the season and a good friend on those cold, snowy nights late in December. To me, there is nothing like Anchor's Special.

NOTE: Live review.

Photo of ryser2k
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of IPAFrankieH
4/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of Gehrig13
3.25/5  rDev -11%

Photo of rangerred
3.58/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a pint glass

An aggressive pour yields a deep clear ruby body with a nearly two finger tan head. Really good head retention and lacing.

The aroma is one of the thinks I love most about this beer. It is a like Christmas in a glass. Lots and lots of spices ranging from orange, to lemon, to pine along with nutmeg and cinnamon. It really is wonderful.

The flavor conveys what is found in the aroma although to a lesser degree. Orange along with liquorice seem to be prominent along with lots of spruce/pine. There are caramel and chocolate undertones. The spice is a little over the top compared to the malt, though, and I feel is is lacking a solid malt backbone. The mouthfeel is quite thin and even a bit chalky.

Overall, I don't feel like this stacks up to previous year. All the right components are there but malty body is seriously lacking. It is just ok.

Photo of ShemRahBoo
4/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of DannyHartman
3.4/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

As I pour a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass a nice 1-2" tan head appears atop a dark brown beer that has a beautiful red tint to it under light.... This brew has decent retention with little to OK lacing.

I take a whiff and get toasty malts upfront.... Following that, there's wood (bark), pine, spiciness like that of nutmeg and cinnamon, and a hint of dark cherry.

The taste is also that of mostly toasty malts.... There's a bunch of dark fruit like that of tart cherry, raisin, and plum.... Definitely spicy with some mintiness and a bit of ginger, as well.

I'd say this is a medium-bodied brew with low-to-medium carbonation.... A nice, crisp, easy drink.

Overall, I'd say Anchor did a good job with this seasonal.... Well balanced, easy drinking, and delicious.... It a refreshing holiday brew that represents everything it's supposed to.

Photo of DrIPA
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of JoeD15
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of rcjennings
4/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of CaptDavyJones
4/5  rDev +9.6%

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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip/pint glass, 2012 edition. This pours a dark mahogany brown with a two finger tan head which has decent retention and leaves a lacing. The smells are full of spices, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, some bread malts. The feel is medium, a little tingly. The taste is good, you get a load of spices, the bitter cinnamon, some hazelnut, the bread malts, plenty of sweetness, nice winter drink.

Photo of KAP1356
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of ale207
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of Chas58
3.55/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from my Growler filled at Joe Canal's Iselin into my Firestone Walker Nonic Pint Glass

Appearance: Dark mahogany with a moderate but tight inch high head with a brownish tint. The head leaves a nice persistent lacing and persists.

Smell: An initial pleasant but subdued aroma of spices, but with nothing overwhelming. A slight hint of malt and a subtle sweetness. A very well balanced beer likely awaits.

Taste: This is not an in your face spiced beer but a well balanced and well crafted beer. The beer has a nice balance of "winter" spices, but none are prominent in any way. There is a very complex mix of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg, but so well mixed as to make them very hard to single out.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and clean feel with a limited amount of residual stickiness

Drinkability: This is so wonderfully drinkable, and bucking the trend of high alcohol winter beers. This is truly session able, and with the really nice balance you will certainly think about another. This is not as "spice" or "hopped" as in past years, but it is something I will seek out again.

Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 700 ratings.