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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

674 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 674
Reviews: 192
rAvg: 3.65
pDev: 14.25%
Wants: 14
Gots: 46 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 674 | Reviews: 192 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of teromous
teromous

Virginia

3.4/5  rDev -6.8%

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.

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


3.4/5  rDev -6.8%

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.

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

Maine

3.4/5  rDev -6.8%

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.

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

Illinois

3.43/5  rDev -6%

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.

01-22-2013 03:22:36 | More by MaximalC
Photo of jaasen64
jaasen64

Massachusetts

3.43/5  rDev -6%

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.

01-01-2013 02:54:39 | More by jaasen64
Photo of jazzyjeff13
jazzyjeff13

United Kingdom (England)

3.44/5  rDev -5.8%

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.

01-14-2013 00:54:00 | More by jazzyjeff13
Photo of bump8628
bump8628

Oklahoma

3.44/5  rDev -5.8%

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.

11-29-2012 03:25:19 | More by bump8628
Photo of ocelot2500
ocelot2500

Arizona

3.45/5  rDev -5.5%

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.

11-25-2012 01:14:42 | More by ocelot2500
Photo of goblue3509
goblue3509

Pennsylvania

3.45/5  rDev -5.5%

Pours a coppery color with a ruby twinge when held to the light. There is a half to one finger head which leaves some lacing on the glass. The aroma is big and bold. Caramel, winter spices, and floral aromas leave you wanting to dive into this beer. Very inviting. The taste follows suit with a nice sweet flavor up front, caramel, holiday spices, and floral flavors play beginning to middle. The end has a slight weird bitterness to it, like a wet hop almost. The mouthfeel is low to moderatly carbonated with a hint of dryness. Overall the look and aroma leave you wanting more but the flavor although good doesn't quiet deliver.

11-26-2012 20:17:38 | More by goblue3509
Photo of flyingpig
flyingpig

United Kingdom (Scotland)

3.45/5  rDev -5.5%

355ml Bottle from Utobeer, London (£3.50):
Dark brown colour and opaque with a thumb sized, beige brown head on top that holds very well at about the same height.

Sweet malts and caramel with a helping pine as well as some further subtle hops. There is also a warming combination of spices to put you in the Christmas mood. The finish is a very sweet one with some fruits too.

Dark & sweet with plenty of malts and caramel coming through along side more than its fair share of spices. There is a few darker fruits in the mix as well and the hops from the nose make an appearance with maple too.

Spicy & warming, almost boozy feel to this one and the body is medium with carbonation about the same. The finish is again sweet and overall the beer is incredibly smooth on the palate.

Warming and spicy but with plenty of hops coming through as well, although they are quite subtle and not anything in your face. Very sweet and malty with a very smooth mouthfeel, pretty good in the cold weather.

01-11-2014 17:49:54 | More by flyingpig
Photo of matjack85
matjack85

Illinois

3.46/5  rDev -5.2%

I picked this up at Trader Joe's because they allow you to buy just one bottle at a time there if you want. Come back for more later if you like it. $2.37 for a 12oz squatty brown bottle with no freshness date on it, but these Christmas ales usually hold up for years, so that is no concern. They change the tree on the label and the recipe of the beer each year to keep it interesting. This year's tree is the Norfolk Island pine for those who are curious.

The beer poured a dark burgundy color, almost wine looking except for the 1-finger creamy tan head on top. The head lasted a little over a minute before settling to a thin rim. Not much lacing, but what there was clung nicely to the glass.

Not as spicy smelling as most of the other Christmas ales. What I am getting is some chocolate, vanilla, and caramel aroma, but very faint smelling overall.

I think for the first time in years (or maybe for the first time ever) the brewers at Anchor Steam decided to brew a Christmas ale without any of the traditional Christmas spices. I can't detect any cinnamon or nutmeg this year. Instead, what I get is a bit of chocolate, some toffee sweetness, plums, and a bit of black licorice anise in the finish. It's not bad but it lacks oomph. There's just not a lot of anything that grabs your attention.

Medium body with medium carbonation.

It will be interesting to see if this one improves with age, but as of now I don't find it one of the better Christmas ales.

.

02-19-2013 07:30:45 | More by matjack85
Photo of oberon
oberon

North Carolina

3.48/5  rDev -4.7%

Nice to have this annual again today.Poured a deep roasted chesnut brown with a tinge of ruby,very little head to speak of.Some graham cracker and ginger notes in the nose along with some woodiness and roast,pretty light.The feel was pretty sharp and fizzy,a little rough in the mouth.Flavors of vanilla and brown sugar mainly with a drying woodiness in the finish.It's not bad but for me a notch down from past OSA's,I will keep buying them every year though.

11-29-2012 22:15:29 | More by oberon
Photo of NiceTaps
NiceTaps

New Jersey

3.48/5  rDev -4.7%

Poured from a magnum bottle into a pint glass.

A- Pours a dark brown with slight reddish highlights. A mocha tan 1-finger head leaves some nice lacing as it gently fades.

S- dark fruits and spices, plums and sugars abound. Some notes of roasty malts, maybe a bit of toffee, coffee, or similar.

T- Cola beer or Dr. Pepper beer, hard to tell. Dark fruits and cola are what I take from this drink. There's some dark bread in there, too.

M- Nice body and carbonation but finishes so bready dry, that despite the flavors, I was looking for a kick.

O-This is a good brew that I believe would benefit from some kind of hoppiness.

12-26-2012 00:56:37 | More by NiceTaps
Photo of magictacosinus
magictacosinus

California

3.48/5  rDev -4.7%

Giving this a go, despite my usual hate towards winter warmers. I do love Anchor Steam though. Poured out of a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Wow, fascinating presentation... The color is sort of a plumb, brownish dark tint that I can't quite describe. It looks a lot like a combination of molasses and pumpernickel. Enormous 2.5 finger head at first, but it sadly dies down to pretty much nothing over time. I can see some carbonation within the dark, murky color, but overall it's really festive and seasonal in appearance and looks ready for any merry occasion.

Okay, the smell is pretty intense though... Lots of spices going on here, but just as I had guessed by looking at it, this has a really strong molasses smell, combined with soured cranberries, clove, rosemary, raisins, roasted rich bread, and a phenolic aroma resembling bark (ranging from birch to oak). Caramelized dark cherries abound as well. Seriously, this is one of the most fascinating spiced beer aromas I've ever come across, but that molasses/medicated finish is rather brutal. There's so many spices I'm wondering if any hops were even *necessary* to add to the wort during the brewing process. Nevertheless, while a mixed bag of aromas, this still scores high for me in terms of creativity.

Starts out pretty smooth, combining roasted caramel malts with medicated spices. However, things turn a little bizarre, when, as I initially feared, the molasses and cherry aroma viciously attacks the back of the tongue, as well as slightly burn the throat in the process. This is like a peppermint-ginger-cranberry mayhem overall! The finish is sadly excessively malty (especially as it warms up), but it is drinkable as the aftertaste quickly subsides and leaves the good tasting spices behind - especially the cranberry and clove, if you're into that sort of thing. I think it's pretty easy to drink, save for the extremely bitter malt finish, but it's definitely not your typical spiced holiday beer. This is pretty crazy stuff.

I can drink strong ales no problem, but why I am having a lot of trouble here? If it weren't for those excessive molasses overpowering the other spices, I probably wouldn't have as much trouble drinking one of these. I think Anchor Steam has delivered the most fascinating and insane spiced beer I've had to date, but it is pretty intense, so I'm probably going to pair this with food to lower the astringency. It should go good with steak or roasted ribs, and it would be pretty fantastic to cook with dark meat or bean stews. Approach with caution - these spices will kick your ass!

11-29-2012 04:34:04 | More by magictacosinus
Photo of enfield249
enfield249

Michigan

3.48/5  rDev -4.7%

A - Pours a very clear brown, with a ever so slight reddish tint. No head to speak of, but an off-white ring of foam.

S - Sweet, with dark fruits, cookies, brown sugar.

T - Very tangy sweet up front, with some of the roast flavors in the middle. Leaves me with a sweet taste in my mouth

M - Cloying, but not out of the range for this style.

O - Not the best showing of the OSA, but very drinkable.

12-08-2012 18:56:11 | More by enfield249
Photo of barnzy78
barnzy78

Illinois

3.48/5  rDev -4.7%

12oz bottle, pours dark brown with a thin, beige head that dissipates quickly leaving minimal lacing. Spicy aroma with molasses, brown sugar, anise. Tastes are complex with dark malt, smoky, burnt caramel, molasses, brown sugar, plum, clove, allspice, faint cinnamon, faint pine, roasted chestnut perhaps; Christmasy nonetheless. Thin-to-medium body, moderate carbonation, finishes clean. Overall, good winter warmer & is actually the first time I've tried this perennial Anchor offering.

12-24-2012 04:54:57 | More by barnzy78
Photo of Kjanisch7
Kjanisch7

New Jersey

3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

07-15-2013 18:15:17 | More by Kjanisch7
Photo of iemailjack
iemailjack

Florida

3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

01-07-2013 22:34:52 | More by iemailjack
Photo of wattoclone
wattoclone

Pennsylvania

3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

12-25-2012 18:51:15 | More by wattoclone
Photo of Mantooth
Mantooth

North Carolina

3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

09-11-2013 15:57:15 | More by Mantooth
Photo of briandaube
briandaube

Delaware

3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

01-21-2013 14:17:56 | More by briandaube
Photo of ryser2k
ryser2k

Pennsylvania

3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

12-03-2012 17:21:30 | More by ryser2k
Photo of MtnBiker
MtnBiker

Oklahoma

3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

02-15-2013 03:11:06 | More by MtnBiker
Photo of jmccraney
jmccraney

Washington

3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

12-20-2013 04:27:04 | More by jmccraney
Photo of Chuck_25
Chuck_25

Kansas

3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

01-16-2013 05:15:22 | More by Chuck_25
Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 674 ratings.