1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale) - Anchor Brewing Company

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

649 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 649
Reviews: 194
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 14.29%


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)
View: Beers (21) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers
Ratings: 649 | Reviews: 194 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of bump8628
bump8628

Oklahoma

3.44/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

St. Patrick's Day, what better day to break out a magnum of this? I guess Christmas Day might be better, but whatever. 50 ounce green bottle. Deep brown, thick meringue-like khaki foam - looks great. When fresh this beer had a pronounced spiciness, but with a few months of age things have mellowed considerably into a beer that basically resembles a decent English-style brown. Sourdough base malt with some chicory, toffee, and graham cracker thrown in. Mild earthy hops, bitterness runs about even with the malt. Spices are all but gone - faint juniper, tobacco, and an astringent tea-like flavor are all that remain. Eh, these Anchor Christmas beers never do much for me and a little age doesn't really improve things. A 12oz bottle is normally plenty for me each year, but when the magnums went on clearance I couldn't pass it up, mostly since the bottle will be awesome for homebrew purposes.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2012 03:25:19 | More by bump8628
Photo of jazzyjeff13
jazzyjeff13

United Kingdom (England)

3.44/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A 355ml bottle with a BB of July 2014. Picked up recently from Trembling Madness in York. As always with the Anchor Xmas brew, I love the label art.

Poured into a Duvel tulip. A dark reddish-brown hue with medium carbonation (darker than previous incarnations IIRC). Produces a huge head of creamy beige foam with good retention; this slowly reduces to a surface layer. Aroma of caramel malt with hints of brown sugar, dried fruit, cinnamon, clove, spice, mild pine and stewed hops. Herbal and earthy; the spice is a touch overdone and lends it a bitter background note. But it's certainly seasonal!

Tastes of caramel malt with a distinctly spicy character and a dry, bitter finish. Notes of brown sugar, dried fruit, mild roasted malt, cinnamon, clove, spice, herbs, mild pine and stewed leaves. The spice comes on a bit strong and dominates the flavour, while also giving it a harsh, herbal quality. A dry bitterness upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is smooth, tingly and dry, but rather thin and watery. The spices also result in an unusually astringent sensation on the palate. An aftertaste of spice, bitter herbs and caramel malt.

An OK brew but not great, and not as good as in previous years. The spice is just a bit too strong, as if someone went overboard with the exotic ingredients. The aroma is quite nice, but the flavour is unbalanced and has an acrid herbal quality to it. The body also leaves something to be desired - it's too thin for the strength and flavour. I'm glad I tried this but I wouldn't have it again. No need to seek it out.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2013 00:54:00 | More by jazzyjeff13
Photo of jaasen64
jaasen64

Massachusetts

3.43/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into Lawsons glass.

A- Pours a darker brown that appears an opaque pretty much jet black in the glass with a thin beige head that recedes at a decent pace leaving thin layered lacing. About average carbonation of fast rising bubbles.

S- Lots of spices, nutmeg, cinnamon, some malts. About average aroma strength, spices definitely dominate a lot.

T- Follows suit of nose- very spicy. Lots of cinnamon, nutmeg, and other spices with a fairly malty backbone. Not much complexity, just lots of spices and malts.

M- Medium bodied, easy drinking, a slight bit watery, lots of carbonation.

O- I wasn't a huge fan of this beer. It was dominated way too much by the spices and very little of anything else. Since this came in a 6-pack I'll put a few of these in the cellar and see how it tastes once the spices mellow out a bit, but I have a feeling it's still not going to be that great. An interesting try, but definitely not something I would stock up on.

Serving type: on-tap

01-01-2013 02:54:39 | More by jaasen64
Photo of MaximalC
MaximalC

Illinois

3.43/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours an opaque cola color with a moderate amount of tan froth on top. Aroma smells sweet and fruity, almost like bubblegum or some other candy. The taste is very difficult to describe, and I think it's fair to say I've not had a beer that tastes similar to this. It tastes akin to what I imagine potpourri would taste like if I was ever inclined to try it. There's a prominent but indefinable spiciness to it, along with the bubblegum detected in the nose. Cinnamon may be the most recognizable spice here. The finish has a clean, sharp bitterness to it, but it's neither citric nor piney; chemical may be a more apt descriptor. There is something vaguely familiar here, but I can't put my finger on it, possibly because I'm not used to encountering it in beer. This is a peculiar animal indeed, and I'm eager to see what more experienced imbibers have to say, because my vocabulary is sorely lacking in this case. At least I can say the mouthfeel is smooth and velvety thanks to the just-right carbonation.

I've had several recent prior iterations of this brew from Anchor, and this is quite different than those, and not in a positive way, unfortunately. Whereas previous versions have had tastes in the arena of brown sugar and nutmeg, this is more akin to flowers, candy, and chemicals. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't at least a little disappointed.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2013 03:22:36 | More by MaximalC
Photo of DannyHartman
DannyHartman


3.4/5  rDev -6.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2012 23:19:20 | More by DannyHartman
Photo of Goatshaver
Goatshaver

Maine

3.4/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very very dark red color with a nice light-reddish tan hued head to it. I smell dark fruit, slight malt with a little spice note. Taste is great with the dark fruits, ginger and juniper. Easily drinkable and appropriate for the season and a very good well balanced winter seasonal brew.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2012 02:37:47 | More by Goatshaver
Photo of teromous
teromous

Virginia

3.4/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark brown color, very hard to see through. A lush tan head that is thick and stands well. Pretty good lacing, leaving some lines and spots.

S: Huge malty sweetness and some alcohol burn in the nose. A hint of butter in the background. Not extremely complex but I would say it smells alright...pretty average. It smells like it should have a much higher ABV.

T: Lots of caramel flavor. There's some mellow coffee as well. It has a tea quality to it, where it's slightly bitter but like a tea leaf bitterness.

M: It has a pretty full mouthfeel. Sweet but not slick. The caramel and light buttery flavor start to wear on me while I drink it.

O: If you drink enough of this, it will fill you up pretty fast. The beer could really be a meal by itself. It's easy to drink because of its mellow blend of flavors and light bitterness, but I wouldn't be able to drink more than one because of its filling nature and sweetness. I would drink it again but it's not at the top of my to-buy list. Easily forgettable, but not a bad beer at all.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2012 05:47:14 | More by teromous
Photo of gillagorilla
gillagorilla

Maryland

3.39/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle into a pint glass

A: Deep red if held up to the light. It has a strong head on the pour that diminishes quite rapidly.

S: Sweet, malty roast with a cherry rye.

T: Kind of like an old ale that seems like a cheap, old stale wine.

M: Crisply smooth with a few bubbles.

O: Not a fan. I couldn't finish it, but it might just not be my style.

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2013 13:51:45 | More by gillagorilla
Photo of BenjaminBlondbeard
BenjaminBlondbeard

New York

3.38/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Anchor Christmas pours a deep brown with ruby highlights, but the deep red is accentuated when held up to the light, and it is crimson with amber highlights. In the light is is one of the most beautiful colors I have seen in a beer. Atop there is under an inch of light tan foam that doesn't stick around long. There is little lacing, and sparse carbonation that rises slow, but steady.

There is sweet maple syrup, and coffee / toffee malts, with plumb / berry fruit on the nose.

Those flavors come about with the first taste, followed by a resiny hop spice that also imparts subtle bitters. On the back end the fruit rises, but maintains balance with the other lingering flavors. This medium bodied ale leaves a clean finish with brown sugar malt, and slight citrus bitters leftover.

The berry flavors were a bit much for my personal taste, so not my favorite winter warmer this year, but definitely an inventive, and enjoyable ale to have this season.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2012 20:20:56 | More by BenjaminBlondbeard
Photo of TheSixthRing
TheSixthRing

California

3.38/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Appearance - Pours a near black, dark cordovan brown. The head is a ight tan color, about a pinkie width thick, and with sub-par retention. Spotty lacing with fair stick.

Smell - Aroma hits on plenty of holiday notes: gingerbread, clove, cinnamon, molasses, and clove spice.

Taste - Woah, geez! Full on, in your face holiday spice attack. Malt forward gingerbread and molasses character with strong notes of clove, nutmeg, cinnamon. Finishes with an earthy, slightly grassy bitterness.

Mouthfeel - Light and fluffy in the mouth. Tingly carbonation.

Overall - This is a strange one. Somebody got spice rack happy. Unfortunately, it's just too abrasive, too muddled, and the result is a beer that pulls the tongue in too many different directions at once. It's a decent beer, but not one I'd necessarily recommend, nor try again.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2013 05:02:44 | More by TheSixthRing
Photo of ummswimmin
ummswimmin

New Jersey

3.36/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

I poured this bottle into a snifter style glass. I was a little aggressive with my pour, which created over three fingers in my glass. It died down to about a finger and held that may for awhile. The nice result is that I had rings of lacing on my glass (really pretty). The coloring is very dark. I get some red at the edges.

The smell is very different. Off the top I get fruit (not sure what kind), spice, and sweetness akin to brown sugar. It comes together nicely with some pretty good balance.

The flavor is surprisingly thin. I get some woodiness at this point. I'm surprised that the body fell off this much. The flavor really doesn't match the nose.

This was really disappointing for me. I'm going to age a few bottles and see if this improves at all.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2013 02:57:56 | More by ummswimmin
Photo of artoolemomo
artoolemomo

Oregon

3.36/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- Pours up two fingers' worth of head which seems, at the moment, to have pretty good retention. The head is a medium beige while the body is chocolate brown with hints of maroon and garnet which appears maroon with hints of dark amber when held up to the light. A bit of lacing with sheeting emerging from the surface.

Nose- Still smells like Christmas. Juniper is the the primary aroma at first but other evergreens take over (pine, cedar, etc.). This is followed by deep red fruits- berries, plums, and cherry. Some raisin to the point of fruitcake from the bottle after the pour. Some medicinal notes from the botanicals that are still fresh and inviting. Light caramel in the background.

Taste- Sweetness from the red fruits begins the flavor profile with woodiness barging in almost immediately afterward. There's a distinct bitterness to it that hints at both oak and coffee. The red fruits seem candied but are quickly canceled out by the wood. As I drink more, the sweetness comes out more and balances out the wood. Some prunes (not really my thing), a little bit of raisin, but mostly prunes. A bit thin (it is almost a year old, though) but still has plenty of presence. It's not an amazing beer by any stretch of the imagination but I am impressed by how well it's held up over the course of a year. Slightly medicinal on the finish. Too much prune flavor for me but it's still an above average beer. Lots of pine and cedar. No real juniper in the flavor profile.

Mouthfeel- Close to medium bodied with loads of carbonation and some syrup to the texture. Maybe a little too much carbonation.

Drinkability- Pretty easygoing. Standard price of Anchor's products. Although, I can't understand why anyone buys magnums of this. To showoff?

Overall- Is it really fair to review a beer that is 11 months old? Given how well it's held up- I would have to say yes. Above average, but short of solid. Definitely worth a try and I will have to try it fresh. Great for someone who likes Christmas anytime of year. (Or someone who really likes prune juice.)

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2013 03:58:06 | More by artoolemomo
Photo of TheMultiYeast
TheMultiYeast

Pennsylvania

3.35/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I always look forward to this release. Dark reddish brown with two fingers of tan head.

Loads of spice notes in aroma, mainly nutmeg. Musty, dusty, dry, sweet smelling.

More nutmeg in taste with malty undertones, figs, light roasted character, plumbs, and distinct bitterness.

Light body on this one..semi dry finish with bitter aftertaste.

Pretty good but not a mind blower. Great session brew for the holidays.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2012 17:37:03 | More by TheMultiYeast
Photo of equinox
equinox

New York

3.33/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

This has been a personal tradition for me since many years. It is possibly due to my taste becoming more sophisticated, but I have to admit to being a tad disappointed. The mouthfeel was thin. This years version seemed to have little hop-presence. I did not get that Christmas tree pine note that has been present in prior years. It approaches a "sessionable" quality.
I still enjoyed this Ale, and I intend to purchase it again and maintain the tradition. But in the past where I've bought several six-packs, I might just buy one six-pack in the future. My feeling is that Anchor might need to acknowledge that its customers are becoming more sophisticated and "up-their-game" in the future. Perhaps offer an entirely different style as a change of pace; maybe a belgian or IPA.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2012 13:31:52 | More by equinox
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 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 JohnGalt1
JohnGalt1

Idaho

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

Christ... Warm weather in Boise is making it difficult to wrap my mind around Christmas brews already... Poured into my slim tulip.. good tannish head.. nice lacing... the brew is deeep amber.

Nose is mainly nutmeg... maybe some juniper berry.. ???

Typical year to year malt profile with the abundant spice.. definitely nutmeg this year.. a bit of ginger? ... Asian cinnamon?

Body and carbonation are the same as last year's...

I am mind numbingly tired of trying to figure out the spices from year to year.... Spices do not belong in beer!! IMO ;-)

3.5/3/3.5/3.5/3

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2012 05:29:40 | More by JohnGalt1
Photo of OWSLEY069
OWSLEY069

Pennsylvania

3.28/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep amber to black in color with a tan head. In the aroma, light pine, a small roast, and a caramel like presence. In the taste, pine like, roasty caramel, and a touch sticky sweet. A spice like bite and a medium bodied mouthfeel, with a dry caramel and spice like aftertaste. Not as piney as years past, nice roast and average spices.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2012 18:21:54 | More by OWSLEY069
Photo of brihenry
brihenry

District of Columbia

3.25/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured in tulip. A deep dark brown to dark amber when tilted with a firm off white head that leaves lingering lace. A very faint sweet aroma with a trace of nutmeg. Toast and a cracker-like bread flavor with strong nutmeg spice. There's a slight tart sweetness following the spice, and some mild pine hop character. The body is a bit thin, there's not much a malt base to it, fairly dry at the end, with tight, but not much, carbonation.

Overall the spice and toasty dryness do make it a dark festive beer, great for this dark, wet afternoon.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2012 00:08:33 | More by brihenry
Photo of TheCondor
TheCondor

Missouri

3.23/5  rDev -11.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2012 01:28:15 | More by TheCondor
Photo of jdb288
jdb288

New Jersey

3.21/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Draft at Beer Exchange.

Pours muddy brown with minimal head. Aroma is chocolate, burnt hay. Taste is spicy - clove, coriander, grape must. Too spicy for my personal tastes.

The "bouquet" of spices was not my favorite combination and ultimately led to me ditching the bottle altogether. Too much flavor going on for and not enough balance.

Serving type: on-tap

01-17-2014 16:09:21 | More by jdb288
Photo of tony223366
tony223366

California

3.2/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Really dark brown, no light shines through this beer at all. It's not quite black, but a very rich brown. The head has a smooth frothiness to it. Tan in color with a dynamic mix of bubble sizes. Lacing is gorgeous and follows the receding head. That being said the retention is very good, but not quite perfect.

S: This smells like... Christmas, just like last years! Not quite as much as last year though. I primarily get nutmeg and some kind of citrus, like orange zest or something. Maybe even a little ginger on the finish? There's a very light amount of burnt sugary malt aroma in there too.

T: Whoa... actually... kind of a let down! The first thing I get tastes off, but that would really surprise me coming from them. There's way more phenols than I would expect from a Christmas beer like this. Maybe a little black licorice mixed with raisins too. There is your nutmeg and ginger though, so that's fitting. That leads to a more standard chocolate malt that turns to a brown sugar grainy flavor. The finish is surprisingly dry like an unsweetened chocolate.

M: Too thin and the carbonation is only ok. There is practically no richness to this beer, which is a huge disappointment.

O: For one of my favorite categories, this is one of my least favorite that I've had in a long time. It seems all over the place without really finding it's own character. It's a bit of the "little bit of this, little bit of that" mentality that keeps it from being cohesive. Certainly not bad, but the big bottle will certainly not make it to the table this year.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2012 06:10:03 | More by tony223366
Photo of rawfish
rawfish

California

3.2/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Intense garnet and ruby hue, beautiful as it pours out of the bottle. Nets a tan two finger high head, rocky lacing and average retention. Very inviting.

Roast and toasted bread, rhubarb, figs, cherries perhaps a bit medicinal and dank. I get some Dr. Pepper and Children's Tylenol but not too bad.

Ugh, nice bready and heavy malt but that's all that's pleasant about it. Hits with red spices, artificial cherry, chicory and rhubarb and a very dank medicinal hop character. Ugh, Dr. Pepper and Robitussen, medicine to the max. I know it's flu season but I don't need beer to cure what ails me.

Flat with a medium body, drinks like water but the flavor makes it drink like flat soda. Abv well hidden.

Anchor has disappointed me with this one, medicine in a bottle. My pharmacist would perscribe this one.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2012 04:11:26 | More by rawfish
Photo of mactrail
mactrail

California

3.2/5  rDev -12.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2012 07:23:04 | More by mactrail
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
Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 649 ratings.