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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

650 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 650
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)
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Ratings: 650 | Reviews: 194 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of adamette
adamette

Ohio

3.98/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Live Review. Poured from the 12 oz. bottle that I bought as part of a 6 pack from Heinen's in Mentor for $11.99 the other day into a clean, clear glass. No observed "best by" date but really, it is before Christmas so I am quite sure that it is fine.

A Nice light brown creamy head stays around for several minutes, leaving a nice lacing on the inside of the glass upon repeated sips. That sits atop a dark brown body that glows a mahogany partially translucent body in front of direct light. Very good look and I really like the quantity and quality of the head. 4.5

S Grainy sweet malt with very little hops to the smell. Warm and welcoming. 4.0

T Warmth of grainy sweet malt taste as it is far more barley malt rather than anything overly sweet. The taste succeeds as a Winter Warmer without going for the sweet malt that I find in others in this style. Challenging and interesting. 4.0

M Smooth feel as it goes down so easily. 3.5

D/O Drinkability quite good with manageable ABV and smooth, approachable feel and almost gentle tastes. Overall this is a fine Winter Warmer. I have enjoyed all of the Anchor Beers that I have tasted. 4.0

Notes: Another class addition to the lengthy series of Anchor "Our Special Ale."

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2012 02:55:47 | More by adamette
Photo of mnrider
mnrider

Connecticut

3.98/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. Brown Bottle.

A: Pours a smooth dark brown with a tan two finger head. This turns to
a slick thin layer withing a few seconds. Leaves a little watery lacing.

S: Sweet malts and some toasted notes. Filled with various spices. Nutmeg
is significantly strong. Other holiday spices including cinnamon.

T/M: Not unlike the smell it is filled with the tastes of the holidays. Candy,
nutmeg...Roasted malts with a slight hop presence. Smooth throughout
with a spicy finish.

O: The pros to this Winter Warmer is the holiday spices and the smoothness.
The spices can be a bit much, which makes this brew a sipper for me. Definitely
different and worth a try if you can get it before it goes away.

Cheers!!

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2012 21:24:00 | More by mnrider
Photo of LiquidAmber
LiquidAmber

Washington

3.96/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Review from 1/2013 notes. Poured into a Seattle Beer Week pint glass. Pours a dark mahogany brown with a fine quarter finger of tan head with good retention and lacing. Aroma of sweet bock malt, light pine, cinnamon and nutmeg. Flavor follows, with sweet malt, holiday spicing heavy on cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg, thins out out to a lighter, slightly tart and piney character. Lingering flavor of woody pine. Medium bodied with a mild creaminess. This year's version leans more toward piney spicing, but there is a nice background flavor leaning towards gingerbread that balances out the other spicy flavors. Lighter finish than I remember from last year, but as usual, interesting and very winter holiday oriented. A great annual tradition.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2014 01:58:02 | More by LiquidAmber
Photo of raynmoon
raynmoon

California

3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I'd consider this one of my favorite beers. I look forward to almost as much as Celebration ale. The perfect sessionable winter warmer. Time for a overall score.

It's a sexy beer. The head says it's a stout, but when held to the light, it has a super deep ruby color to it; awesome.

Tons of ginger and cinnamon, slight breadiness. It just came out of the refrigerator, so it will take some time to really become aromatic.

That ginger and cinnamon comes through right away, then it rolls over the tongue kind of watery/ lack-in-flavor, and then finishes dry and cocoa-like.

This beer uses it's spices better than I've seen any pumpkin ale. Those tend to taste like brown sugar and weird out of place spices. This one screams Holidays. I don't know how they do it.

Overall, it could use a little bit more character and body, but still a good beer to enjoy and will always recommend.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2012 04:59:12 | More by raynmoon
Photo of mttaylor1066
mttaylor1066

Connecticut

3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2012 22:03:36 | More by mttaylor1066
Photo of metter98
metter98

New York

3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is very dark red in color and is close to appearing black when viewed from afar. It poured with a finger and a half high beige head that died down but left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface and lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Aromas of ginger snap cookies and nutmeg are present in the nose.
T: For the most part, the taste resembles the smell and is dominated by Christmas spices and some very subtle hints of sweetness.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is dominated by flavors of spices, but I really enjoyed the combination of flavors and could sip this beer all night long.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2012 04:57:01 | More by metter98
Photo of bmwats
bmwats

Louisiana

3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a standard pint.

A: Very dark brown, or black. Pours about a 1 finger, foamy, whit-ish head. Craters unevenly, and fairly quickly, leaving a bit of a foamy blanket and a ring. Sporadic lacing.

S: Roasted espresso malt, nuts, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

T: Hearty roasted coffee. Nutty, with a little fall spice.

M: Full and robust. Lightly bitter finish.

D: Sip and enjoy.

Atmosphere is pretty good. Great hue, really nice head, and fair lacing. Nose is roasted nuts and coffee with plenty of cinnamon and nutmeg. Tastes like it smells...only not sweet (which is a good thing). Char roasted malt, nuts, and fall spice. Overall, this is a really good quaff.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2012 04:47:50 | More by bmwats
Photo of jondeelee
jondeelee

Massachusetts

3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Our Special Ale 2012 opens to a spicy, fruity, sweet nose that is instantly reminiscent of fruitcake and mulled wine. Nutmeg, clove, allspice, candied ginger, and pepper are immediately noticeable, as well as slight hints of coriander. The fruits are, on the one hand, dark and complex, with dates, green maraschino cherries, and figs, and on the other, bring nice orange peel, lemon zest, and pink grapefruit overtones. All of these rest atop thick brown breads, vanilla, molasses, wildflower honey, and a lovely Christmas layer of fresh pine needles. Add to this a slightly alcoholic touch, as of mulled wine or white port, and the result is a tantalizing aroma that would make for a world-class candle scent, and in a beer, is exactly the sort of aroma one would want while opening presents. The aromas do seem to be somewhat lighter than those in previous years’ editions, but here that’s a good thing, since at least one of the previous bottles smelled so strongly of pine needles as to be overwhelming.

On the tongue, the beer begins with a spicy kick, the cloves, nutmeg, candied ginger, allspice, and pepper instantly blasting away at the tastebuds, joined by molasses and thick brown breads, as well as deeply roasted pecans and pine needles. The fruits come in a somewhat distant second, the green maraschino cherries and dates primarily, with touches of raisin next, and the orange and lemon zest second. The effect is less fruitcake here than spicecake, and the spices do unfortunately rather overwhelm everything else, and are even more potent in subsequent mouthfuls. The aftertaste is similarly dominated by spice, with remnants of brown breads, molasses, and lemon zest, and lingers on the tongue for a very long time. Mouthfeel is medium, and carbonation is medium to medium-high, fizzing on the tongue and burning the soft tissues.

Overall, this is good Christmas beer, it’s just unfortunate that the spices were so dominant, as they detracted from what was a very nice fruit and dark bread belly. The beer is by no means unpalatable, but it is strongly spiced enough that it would be difficult to drink too many in a row.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2013 20:05:00 | More by jondeelee
Photo of Stinkypuss
Stinkypuss

Pennsylvania

3.93/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Anchor Brewing Company
Our Special Ale
2012 edition

LOOK: Pours a clear dark brown color with a solid topping of off white foam leaving plenty of lace. A very good looking brew.

SMELL: Molasses, brown sugar, roast, and the signature evergreen/spruce note.

TASTE: Roasted malts upfront along with an herbal spruce flavor, along with pine and measurable bitterness. Molasses and chocolate from the malts provide a hearty base for the beer. Light spices round out the flavor with some clove and dusty cinnamon.

FEEL: Full bodied and well carbonated. Clean crisp finish with just a small lingering sappy pine note.

OVERALL: As enjoyable as some of my favorite vintages. This is a classic holiday beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2012 20:39:18 | More by Stinkypuss
Photo of bsp77
bsp77

Minnesota

3.9/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Ruby black with nice brown head that retains well.

Smell: Uh, smells like a pumpkin beer. Haven't really thought that in previous years. Still that stale Porter smell underneath.

Taste: Stale, dry chocolate Porter upfront, which is overtaken by spices that once again seem very pumpkin like. I am even getting that nutty and sweet mixture I get from pumpkin. Finishes with dry chocolate.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, with a body that is slightly thinner than I would like. But the very dry finish improves the feel a lot.

Overall: Not up to par with recent releases, but still very tasty and easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2012 23:09:37 | More by bsp77
Photo of KickbacksSteve
KickbacksSteve

Florida

3.9/5  rDev +7.1%
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).

Serving type: on-tap

12-04-2012 06:11:20 | More by KickbacksSteve
Photo of Suds
Suds

Pennsylvania

3.9/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2012 01:50:39 | More by Suds
Photo of AndyAvalanche
AndyAvalanche

Massachusetts

3.9/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into my personalized New England Patriots Mug. Mahogany brown with slightly lighter brown highlights . Tan head with mostly small bubbles, but they vary a little bit. I'd say above average to decent lacing.

Smell is good. I love how it changes every year. Plenty of winter spices, figs, other dark fruits, roasted malts and a slight touch of hops at the end. The blend is very nice, sort of subtle.

Taste is good, on par, but not quite as good as the smell. The winter spices and dark fruits are the dominant feature again, but there is sort of an earthy, bitter aftertaste that is a little close to the unpleasant end of bitter.

Mouthfeel is pretty good, medium bodied, good carbonation and pretty well balanced. Earthy bitter finish that is slightly dry. Overall a nice beer, I was glad to get a six pack this season and finally sit down to review it. Not the best year I've had, but certainly worth getting.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2013 03:13:03 | More by AndyAvalanche
Photo of sevenarts
sevenarts

New York

3.9/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown, with a slightly ruddy character in the light, and a good sized tan head. Some lacing.

S: Crisp and clean and malty, some vegetal spice notes, maybe some caramel and brown sugar for sweetness.

T/M: Very sweet and creamy and malty. Nice layered flavors with sweet malts up front, spices and leafy, piney notes at the edges, gradually giving way to a roasted character at the end.

O: A very good winter ale, much better than I remember last year's being, with less big spice flavor and more creamy malt texture.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2013 23:20:23 | More by sevenarts
Photo of BEERMILER12
BEERMILER12

Maine

3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Date code of 2OC, so bottled on October 3, 2012

A: Pours a dark ruby red color with a massive tan head that leaves some nice lacing and retains well

S: Get a bunch of spices along with the typical Anchor yeast. Get some cinnamon and nutmeg, with some other spices. Slightly woody

T: Follows the nose. Starts off with with a nice earthiness and goes into the spices. Finishes with a grainy breadiness and lingering spice notes

M: Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation

O: Smells like most of the other years I've had, but the taste is definitely earthier and less spiced. Enjoyable as always. Worthy of a purchase

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2012 06:26:08 | More by BEERMILER12
Photo of garuda
garuda

Pennsylvania

3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Deep ruby, lighter highlights, tan head has little retention, but laces well.

S/T - Bready malts, creamed coffee, dark fruit, chocolate, finishes with spiciness.

M - Medium body, medium carbonation, smooth consistency, finishes mostly clean.

O - Pretty drinkable, a nice winter warmer. I'd get it again.

Serving type: on-tap

12-15-2012 21:21:33 | More by garuda
Photo of atigerlife
atigerlife

Hawaii

3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown with light brown highlights. Creamy brown head that has good lasting power.

Aroma is of spices, malts. Having a hard time picking up what is going on here.

Taste is malty, hops bitterness that is not overpowering, vanilla, clove, fig newtons.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, cleansing, lively.

Overall, it is quite drinkable but I don't see this as sessionable. A couple is fine.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2012 18:52:47 | More by atigerlife
Photo of Arborescence
Arborescence

Finland

3.86/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Served in room temperature.

Appearance: Virtually black. Pours a massive foamy head with a brown tint.

Aroma: Sweet and floral, but not overly sweet by any means. Herbs and medicinal characteristics. A hint of peat?

Taste: Quite light, but very robust medicinal flavour, with herbs and aromatic hops.

Mouthfeel: Average; smooth but uninteresting. Light to medium bodied.

Overall: Not as tasty as last year's, as I recall. Very strong medicinal and herb aromas and flavours, but leaves something out on the malt side.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2013 16:52:56 | More by Arborescence
Photo of DIM
DIM

Pennsylvania

3.86/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

a: This was a clear, dark mahogany color. It poured with a smallish, fizzy cap.

s: Gentle, potpourri like spices, apple cider, plus some other dark fruits.

m: Nice balance between the lightly sweet figs/spicy apple cider and cinnamon/nutmeg spiciness.

m: Light body and gentle fizziness.

o: While I don't generally go for spiced beers, I have a weakness for this one.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2013 23:32:49 | More by DIM
Photo of BlurryVisi0n
BlurryVisi0n

New York

3.86/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass.

Appearance: Super dark brown, with medium bubbles on the body. Tan head roughly 1/3" with a vigorous pour.

Smell: Light nutty smell, like I'm sniffing almonds and pecans with a mix of sweet hops.

Taste: Honestly I can indulge into how smooth this brew is. Bitter with pieces of spice like a small light dose of nutmeg to it plus a hit of pine.

Mouth: Medium carbonation, not exactly what I expected as far as how sticky I would like.

Overall: After sitting on the shelf for all these months it's an honor and a pleasure to finally have this. All you need is a glass...Salud!

Serving type: bottle

06-04-2013 01:09:01 | More by BlurryVisi0n
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84

California

3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2012 09:05:02 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of GRPunk
GRPunk

Michigan

3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a Duvel tulip

A- A normal pour created a 1-finger brown head that drops to a thin foam quite quickly. Mahogany body when the light gets through, away from the light it's near pitch through the middle. Light stick. Body's great, but head retention and stick are big in my book and lacked a little in this pour.

S- The crack of the cap releases lots of baking spice and orange zest. It opens up to something of pumpkin pie spices. I'm terrible at picking out the details, but get something like cinnamon, clove, and allspice.

T- More bready malts than I would have expected given the scent. Somewhere between a rye or pumpernickel and a holiday loaf based on the spices, maybe without the fruit (though I pick up a little of that later on). Hints of citrus at the finish (orange/lemon). Hopping's there too and approximates pine.

M- Full bodied, especially at 5.5%. Moderate carbonation. More dry than chalky, which I can get from highly spiced beers.

O- Met expectations based on previous experiences. Definitely a favorite winter warmer/holiday ale. I always look forward to its availability.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2012 01:25:08 | More by GRPunk
Photo of arizcards
arizcards

Arizona

3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a sixer at Total Wine in early November for $11.99.

Beer poured brown with a nice off white head that is leaving lacing behind.

Nose has hints of allspice and nutmeg.

Taste has a molasses malt backbone with nutmeg to lend some bittering and allspice for the Christmas cookie effect.

Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied and pretty smooth.

Overall this is a pretty decent rendition of this annual treat. Fun to try as always.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2012 01:21:38 | More by arizcards
Photo of leokbelo
leokbelo

Florida

3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark cherry wood into a pint glass.
2 inch creamy head fades into a1/2 inch lacing.
Gingerbread on the nose with hints of nutmeg, cinnamon, brown sugar and figs.
Alive with carbonation on the palate, with a subtle tone of roasted coffee. Light bitterness kept at bay by the malts.
Very well balanced.
Highly drinkable.
Would recommend.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2012 17:16:02 | More by leokbelo
Photo of vette2006c5r
vette2006c5r

Minnesota

3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Our Special Ale pours pours a dark brown color, with a nice size lacing head. There are some nutmeg notes on a malty backbone. The taste has a nice burnt sweet malty backbone, with some cinnamon and nutmeg spices. The taste is slightly watery, but still drinkable. Overall this beer is enjoyable, has a unique taste so worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2012 00:57:16 | More by vette2006c5r
Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 650 ratings.