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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

704 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 704
Reviews: 193
rAvg: 3.65
pDev: 14.52%
Wants: 16
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: 704 | Reviews: 193 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TheCondor
3.23/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I picked this brew up at a new liquor store not too far from my house. Relatively impressed. I will review that store later. But for now, I must review this beer, fr I have heard so much and wanted to try it.

Appearance - Pours the color of Coca-Cola, but when the light is put to it it is almost a deep red color. It could be like a black cherry style. No head, no lacing. A little carbonation can be seen at the edges of the glass. About the only thing that saves this is the packaging.

Smell - I did not get quite the nasal cornucopia that it seems some of the other readers did. While I did pick up on hints of dates, dark fruits, and a little pine, that was about it. Nothing special at all.

Taste - The dark fruits are again present, but not towards the end of the drink. A little candy, a little sugar, then the dark fruits (namely black cherries and plums) take over the palate. Not too bad.

Mouthfeel - Smooth, finishes with a dark fruit zip. But kind of watery and thin. It has a little creaminess to it, but I would like to see a little more robust quality.

Overall - Pretty unimpressive, if you ask me. I certainly would not buy it again, and I like winter warmers. Nothing about the brew really caught my attention at all. Had I not drank it 10 minutes ago, I wold have likely forgotten it by tomorrow. Not recommended for the money.

Photo of redleg64
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of ocelot2500
3.45/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cola color with a big, tan head that leaves little bits of lacing.

Smells of spices, brown sugar, and a some herbal notes.

Tastes of a good amount of roasted malts with some spices. Roasted malts lead off with cocoa, brown sugar, and toasted bread. A small amount of dark fruits come in and add a slight sweetness. Spice notes come on the end and add a little clove and cinnamon. Finishes fairly dry.

Mouthfeel is medium-light with an underwhelming amount of carbonation.

Overall, this fits in with the other beers in this series, and isn't anything different from years past.

Photo of mttaylor1066
3.95/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This year's "Special Ale" certainly brings the spice...but the thin mouthfeel leaves me wanting more than what's in the glass.

Appears as a very dark blackish red with a colored, persistent foamy head. Ruby shines through when held to the light in my Belgian goblet.

Smells of piney resin with a date-like aroma. Another sniff reminds me of dark cherries and roasted black malt. I'm guessing that there are juniper berries in this year's boil.

Tastes like dark cherries and resinous hops. This brew is better than last year's recipe... but:

The mouthfeel is thin. There's a lot of spice that could benefit from a heavier body to carry it through on the palate. It's what's missing in this ale.

Overall, a better effort than 2011. Enjoyable but certainly less than great. I'd buy another six if I thought some of my friends would like an introduction to holiday ales.

Photo of abex44
4/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of mkeene78
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of psuKinger
4.15/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First Christmas beer of the Holiday season, and I start with this season's rendition of Anchor Christmas. Bottle poured into one of my Bruery tulips.

A: Pours a deep deep dark shade of ruby red. At first glance it's very much "black". Only on closer inspection can you see hints of that ruby-red glistening around the edges. A big thick frothy off-white head sits on top. The pour looks the part.

S: Pine. Licorice. Candied Sugar. Dates. This promises to be a spicy concoction.

T: Dry resiny pine with notes of cinnamon and black cherry cordials. The spices tingle and dance on the tongue. A good deal of malt sweetness, but it arrives in reverse order of what I typically expect. Here, the roasted malts make the presence felt late in the experience.

M: A bit thin for my tastes, but good carbonation and a nice creaminess in the mouth keep it from slipping below a 4.

D/O: An enjoyable seasonal offering. The only thing standing between this beer and holiday greatness was that it was just a little bit too light/thin in the body.

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

Loved the 2011. Let's see what this year has brought us.

A: Aggressive pour leads to two fingers mocha head. Moderate carbonation. Beer itself is a very dark garnet/ruby color. Looks like a porter, honestly. Retention is solid, with a nice pillow of foam gently receding.

S: Holiday spices. All spice, nutmeg, cinnamon and clove. Caramel, toffee, raisined fruit and a bit of licorice. Has a bit of a candied smell. This sucker smells like Christmas.

T: Spices are more subtle in taste. Starts off with a huge bang of roastiness. Mid palate of darkened fruit and a candied taste reminiscent of a Belgian Quad. Subtle, but there. Fairly robust flavor of burnt toffee, coffee and a touch of smokiness. Noticeable amount of hop bitterness on the end, as well.

M: While I wouldn't call this a light beer by an stretch, the moderate carbonation and ABV are more than enough to carry the flavors across the palate. Neither watery nor unctuous, this beer has struck a nice balance of flavor and drinkability.

O: Went great with Thanksgiving dinner. Now to try it with the Christmas ham. Nice to get the smells of a Midwest Christmas in Southern California.

Photo of kayrex
3.25/5  rDev -11%

Photo of BeerManDan
3.15/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

In the last four years, this has to be the biggest disappointment for Anchor Steam Christmas Ale. The smell was of spices as usual, but not over powering. When tasted, the flavor was lacking spices that I've come to expect for this ale. Not a lot of flavor, but passable. Just a big disappointment for not exciding or matching the last couple of years! Shame on you!

Photo of hickmancase
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 Yesdog
4/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of CraftBeerGuild
4.5/5  rDev +23.3%

Photo of Bung
3.53/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Filled up at Grapevine in Fort Mill.
Extremely dark cola brown. Frothy off white head that disappears pretty quickly.

Aroma, a little bit of christmas spices, but even more juniper berry. Maybe a little anise.

Taste, Some near burnt graham cracker up front. Juniper berry again, very woody. Some molasses and cocoa later. These sweeter notes seem to increase as it warms. Still pretty "barky" or burnt.

Heavy side of light body, good carb. A little watery feeling however. Drinks pretty easy, maybe just a few too many forest ingredients.
I actually like it for a pretty easy drinker, but it is far from my favorite in the series.

Photo of smcolw
3.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Decent head but it leaves a minimum of lace. Deep brown but light does shine through.

Relatively mild aroma for this annual Xmas ale. Some biscuit and pine to the nose.

Darker malts and slightly sweet. Typical evergreen in the background. For the first, I think I detect a bit of hop in the swallow. Rich body with ample carbonation.

Overall, this not as nice as their typical offerings. It seems weaker than past years.

Photo of MammothTarantula
3/5  rDev -17.8%

Photo of ChaseTheAce
4/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.85/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear dark copper with a foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, citrus zest, herbs, and some mild spice aromas. Taste is much the same with a slight medicinal flavor on the finish. There is a mild roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that has a different set of aromas and flavors than other OSA beers from the recent past.

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

A: Pours a nice dark black cherry body with a thick tan head that slowly fades and leaves a nice amount of lacing on the glass.

S: I am getting a nice amount of spice smell, some black licorice, sweet malt and sort of pine type smell.

T: Pretty faint compared to the previous years, but it is still pretty nice. I am picking up some strong malt and some spice and just a nice sweetness.

M: The beer is nice and creamy and leaves a dry feeling in my mouth. It has a full body and a tiny bit of crispness on the back of the throat.

O: This a solid beer and I will be throwing a few in the cellar to continue my Vintage. Not too bad, but not great either.

Photo of JSchock7
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

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

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. 20K on the label of this 2012 batch.

A: Pours a dark brown with a hint of ruby on the sides of the glass. A 1.5 finger lightly tanned head. Leaves some good lacing on the sides of the glass.

S: First time I've actually been reminded of wet dog. Not sure if its the chocolate malts or one of the spices.

T: Licorice and malt seem to dominate this beer. Some dark fruits get through and there is also a hint of hop at the end. Takes a few minutes to get adjusted to.

M: Feels good on the mouth, creamy with just the right carbonation.

Overall an interesting winter blend. Happy I picked up just one but still happy I tried. Give it a go for an interesting take on a winter warmer.

Photo of Zach136
4/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of shick1
4.25/5  rDev +16.4%

Photo of Chris_Cali_2o9
4.33/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Sam Adams cup

A- Deep mahogany body with an 1 1/2" dark khaki head

S- Ginger, nutmeg, juniper berries, nutty malts, citrus hops

T- Follows the nose, spicey nutty malts balanced with citrusy hops that coat the tongue, and leave the sides tingling.

M- Medium bodied, good carbonation

O- Very nice brew and well balanced, never too spicey, sweet, or bitter. They roll in waves, separately. When i think of what a christmass beer should taste like, this is it.

Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 704 ratings.