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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
82
good

669 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 669
Reviews: 192
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 14.29%
Wants: 13
Gots: 44 | 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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Ratings: 669 | Reviews: 192 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TMoney2591
TMoney2591

Illinois

3.3/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in an imperial pint glass.

Since I was planning to share this on Friendsgiving last night, I went with the magnum. Hell yes, I did. Anyway, this stuff pours a clear ruby-garnet-sienna topped by over a finger of dusty khaki foam. The nose comprises rye bread, brown sugar, light fig, light caramel, light graham cracker, and a kiss of dark fruits. The taste brings in more of the same, though it's mostly just rye bread with a coating of brown sugar and clove, though the fig and other dark fruits come through a bit more powerfully now. Just like most other years, this one just comes across overly spiced, with almost nothing of value beneath. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a limply fluid feel. Overall, a decent little winter warmer, but one that suffers from the same over-spicing that has become a trademark of this annual release. For some reason, it's still nice to try it and drink it every year, but enjoyment is never maximized.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2012 18:58:13 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of blmar311
blmar311

Connecticut

3.75/5  rDev +3%

11-10-2012 04:49:39 | More by blmar311
Photo of robertaddis
robertaddis

Georgia

1.5/5  rDev -58.8%

11-10-2012 03:30:33 | More by robertaddis
Photo of Scottyboy
Scottyboy

Pennsylvania

4.23/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A Pours a deep mahogany red w/ one and a half finger tan head. Nice lacing remains 3/4 through the tulip glass then fades to nothing.

S Spicy, nutmeg, allspice and kind of woodyl

T Smoky, spicy, peppery, licorice, malty backbone and a touch of piney hops. Seems appropriately balanced. Wonderful finish and aftertaste. The spice retains its presence far behind the initial swallow.

Mf Bity and thick not too carbonated. Great substance.

O I love this ale thus far - far better than prior years effort.

A-

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2012 21:22:16 | More by Scottyboy
Photo of Kopfschuss
Kopfschuss

Oregon

3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

11-08-2012 18:11:19 | More by Kopfschuss
Photo of Halcyondays
Halcyondays

California

3.58/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a deep red brown with a small off-white head. Solid spotty lace and head retention.

S: Herbal, lavender-like, with a hint of cocoa, malt and grass.

T: Lots of dark malt and clove, very spicy. Herbal grassiness, twigs, juniper like flavours throughout. Solid herb undercurrent.

M: Medium-bodied, frothy soft carbonation, an easy going beer.

O: A solid effort, though certainly not the best OSA I've ever had. Still one of the most reliable winter beers out there.

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2012 06:52:33 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of kojevergas
kojevergas

Texas

3.18/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

5.50% ABV. 12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap (conveniently labelled "use opener" for the thick) acquired at Trader Joe's in Culver City for $1.34 (plus.05 CRV) and served into a .47l New Belgium stemgoblet in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, California. Consumed on the same night it was acquired. Labelled "20R" on the back label if that means something to anyone. I don't see a best before date; I'll check under the cap.

Served straight from the refrigerator. I'm excited; this is one of my favourite styles. Reviewed live. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Points on presentation for the bottle itself; I've always loved Anchor's bottle design.

Yields a satisfying "ksh" upon opening. No beer upsurging or other issues are noted.

A: Pours a 1.5 finger khaki colour smooth frothy head of good cream, thickness, and retention. Colour is a solid nontransparent opaque black. I wouldn't call it jet black. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Lacing is decent but unimpressive. Looks a bit darker than most beers I've had in the style. Head texture is favorable.

Sm: Spice hits me - quite powerfully. I'm not great with spices, but I'd guess nutmeg, cilantro, rosemary, and..I don't know. It's brilliantly spicy though. One of the better Christmasy spice aromas I've experienced. Quite impressive. Biscuit malt aplenty, a bit of a woody tone (yuletide-esque, if you will), and a sort of vegetal plant note. Some bready and vinous notes. Wow, that spice is dominant. A strong, assertive aroma. I dig it.

T: It delivers on its spicy promise, incorporating all of its spices and ending on a raisin-y vinous note. Bready biscuity malt forms the simple foundation. Herbal even almost phenol notes throughout the second act. Some wood/tree character rides under the surface; I cna't quite place it. The vinous note is too powerful and kind of kills the finish for me. The raisin clashes with the spice. Imbalanced. Still, it's interesting. I think it'll grow on me as it warms and I acclimate to the spices. Too medicinal on the climax. Those phenols do punch through after all - and to ill effect.

Mf: Nicely coarse and wet. Even a bit chewy. Good thickness and carbonation. Suits the flavours generally. The finish is nicely chewy and smack-your-lips pleasant.

Dr: An interesting experiment with Christmasy spices, but ultimately a failure. That said, it remains enjoyable. I'm glad I tried it. A good effort from Anchor, and well priced at that. I'd recommend this as a budget beer. $7.99 for a six pack is probably worth it if you're in the mood for this style. It's certainly drinkable; I'll enjoy finishing this glass.

C+

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2012 05:28:27 | More by kojevergas
Photo of kbrown
kbrown

Ohio

2.75/5  rDev -24.5%

11-08-2012 00:16:55 | More by kbrown
Photo of GuyIncognito
GuyIncognito

Maine

4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a good beer made with a lot of care. It is heavier than the regular Anchor Steam, but not a stout. Subtly spiced, a solid ale. I like that the recipe is different every year, but this is my first year trying it, so I couldn't tell. The egg nog of beer, if egg nog was classy, drinkable, and made with skill.

Serving type: bottle

11-07-2012 03:01:59 | More by GuyIncognito
Photo of mscudder
mscudder

Georgia

3.3/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a globe.

A - Deep chocolate brown, one may say black hue with a finger of amber-infused ivory head. Lace and retention were good.

S - Sweet Christmas spices, gingerbread and a touch of warmth. Almost smells like a cold Starbucks Gingerbread Latte.

T - Really nothing amazing here. I must say I was really sad when I dove in. Soft spices, cinnamon and a bit of caramel malts. Nothing is bold about this beer, just underwhelming.

M - Medium body with high carbonation to compliment the spices. Finishes quite dry.

O - I absolutely love the past few installments in this series and frankly, this is just a bust. I will not return to this for the remainder of the season. Tis a sad day.

Serving type: bottle

11-07-2012 00:56:18 | More by mscudder
Photo of Falcone
Falcone

North Carolina

3.75/5  rDev +3%

11-05-2012 22:38:23 | More by Falcone
Photo of BumpinFuzzys
BumpinFuzzys


2.93/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Let me preface this review by saying that I think Anchor is one of the great breweries of the World. Steam Beer is my go-to beer of choice.

That being said, I think that for 38 years Fritz and company have been putting one over on us. That is, beer snobs have waxed poetically about a product that would be better suited for cleaning hubcaps (I'm speaking of the old school chrome variety)

Since the 70's, I've made my annual Monday-After-Thanksgiving pilgrimage to the brewery to purchase my 24 bottle case of this stuff. My beer-drinking friends and I were always convinced that the brewers threw every last bit of malt and hops they had in their warehouse into the kettle and topped it off with some spices. Quite the joke!

Now, Anchor has new owners. They seem to look at the bottom line a little differently. While the color and aroma are still there, the alcohol content and the aftertaste are less pronounced because of, I suspect, a reduction in ingredients.

Anchor Christmas Ale has always been a rite of passage. I've tried to pass this rite onto my sons. It was never about enjoyment.If you want enjoyment, hunt down some Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale. It was more about persevering. Starting that case and finishing it.

So for that "Life's Lesson" , Anchor, I give you a 4.0

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2012 19:13:25 | More by BumpinFuzzys
Photo of BeerNW
BeerNW

Washington

2.25/5  rDev -38.2%

11-05-2012 04:24:20 | More by BeerNW
Photo of bigbeers84
bigbeers84

Minnesota

3/5  rDev -17.6%

11-05-2012 02:50:45 | More by bigbeers84
Photo of acevenom
acevenom

Louisiana

3.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a glass mug. Pours dark brown with a thick, light tan head. The beer is transluscent when held up to the light, revealing a nice reddish brown color. There are some tiny bubbles visible in the beer, but not many. The head recedes quickly, leaving some lacing on the side of the glass. There's some faint spice on the nose. I get cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. The malt is also there along with some molasses. The bready malt backbone is there, but the spices from the nose arrive pretty quickly in the taste. There's some roastiness also present from the malt and some molasses type sweetness. The flavors are more on the subtle side. The body is light with moderate carbonation. It's a smooth and drinkable beer. This is a good beer. It doesn't quite measure up to expectations of this style, but it is definitely worth a visit.

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2012 01:42:45 | More by acevenom
Photo of avalon07
avalon07

South Carolina

3.58/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a dark brown color and a somewhat cloudy texture. There was an inch and a half of foamy, off white, fairly long-lasting head. Pretty good lacing.

S: A slightly muted aroma of spices and malt. Decent, but not forward enough.

T: Tasted of malt, something sugary (caramel?), and some spices (cinnamon, e.g.). A decent enough flavor, but not overly spectacular. Like the aroma, the flavor could have used a little push.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a super dry finish. Medium-bodied.

O: Not a bad beer, and drinkable, but a bit on the forgettable side.

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2012 00:18:37 | More by avalon07
Photo of bh123
bh123

California

3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

11-03-2012 02:06:59 | More by bh123
Photo of Navalartichoke
Navalartichoke

Virginia

3.75/5  rDev +3%

10-25-2012 12:31:01 | More by Navalartichoke
Photo of beertunes
beertunes

Washington

3.18/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into 10oz goblet. Poured a very dark brown, almost light black, color with less than 1/4 inch of tan head that had low retention and no lacing.

The aroma had a nice little roast scent at the front and just some soft malts in the background. The flavors followed along nicely, the bit of roast lingered at the back, there just a hint of yeast spice and maybe some liquorice?

The body was good, smooth, even and well-rounded, but a bit thinner than I look for in the style. Drinkability was good, the went smooth and easy and I'll be drinking a couple more of these while they're around. Overall, a nice brew, as the OSA generally is.

Serving type: bottle

10-22-2012 21:11:57 | More by beertunes
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Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 669 ratings.