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)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

714 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 714
Reviews: 196
rAvg: 3.65
pDev: 14.52%
Wants: 16
Gots: 62 | 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:
Beer added by: beertunes on 10-22-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 714 | Reviews: 196
Photo of RickS95
4.11/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Extremely dark compared to a lot of the seasonals I've been seeing lately. Brownish, ruby, burgundy color. It's fairly clear, despite the darkness. The head is stellar. As large as you want it to be, looks like the head of A&W Root Beer, kind of IPA like.

Spice fest in the nose. Cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg all dazzle. There's some malt in there, but hops take a backseat.

Tastes follows the nose in that spices are front and center with malt , and almost no hop presence.

Feel is a bit lacking compared to the other components because it's got a loose, watery feel. Obviously, it's spicy and the malt gives it some body, but it's just a bit watered down. Spices from beginning to end with a faint bitterness in the swallow.

Overall, another good winter beer from Anchor. Really tastes like the winter.

Photo of Arborescence
3.9/5  rDev +6.8%
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.

Photo of TheSixthRing
3.4/5  rDev -6.8%
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.

Photo of xnicknj
3.2/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

on tap at bainbridge barrel house - served in pint

Pours a hazy toasted caramel color with a beige head resting on top. Decent retention, sticky webbed lacing on the glass.

Very spicy in the nose with touches of pine. Gingerbread, caramel, bread crust, toasted grain and a little sweet.

Bready and spicy up front with pine and nutmeg. Cinnamon, gingerbread and caramel sweetness. Light toasted malt body, a little thin with holiday spice in the finish.

Lighter medium body, decent carbonation, chewy and sticky on the tongue. I continue to try this every year, although it's still a fairly average holiday beer.

Photo of pchang90
3.2/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The color and smell was appealing and the unique juniper aromatics which makes it the perfect winter seasonal beer. Unfortunately, this did not appeal to me, so I did not enjoy it so much. If you don't like potpourri, then you won't like this beer.

Photo of Huffs
4.11/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Sam Adams glass, developed a rich frothy head which lasted and laced well. Aroma was malty but faint and the appearance was dark brown. Taste was highly spiced with strong malty notes and hints of caramel and citrus. Mouthfeel was a medium somewhat airy consistency and the aftertaste was dry and hoppy.

Photo of silverking
4.03/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours a very dark crimson brown with a beautiful tan head. the head has excellent retention, but the lacing was just ok. It smells of oranges, chocolate and pine. cinnamon and clove are also detectable. Flavors of chocolate and orange transfer well to the palate. The taste slowly turns delicately bitter and then proceeds to a sweet molasses like malty finish. If you have a chance to purchase this, do it. It's different every year. This is my first purchase of anchor's "our special ale" and I look forward to purchasing it again next year.

Photo of Ryanm1
4.23/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This might have been my first anchor Christmas on record, dispite hearing how awesome it was in years prior.

I was taken aback when I visited the Anchor Brewery in San Francsico when my tour guide told me each year Anchor Christmas is a different recipe each year along with a different local tree on the bottle each year by the same artist. I knew I had to jump at the chance when I saw this on Tap at the Penn Valley Pub.

This poured crayola black from the tap into a 20oz pint. Not much head aka lacing at all. This was an amazing brew though. Absolutely loved it. Sweet, malty, thick not excessively bitter. Great winter warmer to go along with my Chipoltle chicken cheesesteak. Worth the $6.50.

Photo of Moose90
3.08/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle into a shaker pint
Bottled - Fresh enough
Tasted 12/24/12

A - This is dark. I don't know what I was expecting, but its darker than I anticipated. Has a nice head that stayed around and left some lacing.

S - Complex, almost too much so. Lots of pine, pepper, cinnamon, and some chocolate malt underneath it all.

T - A lot going on here as well. Good christmas spice and nutmeg, but had a little too much pine and some gingerbread for me.

M - Drinkable, a little thick. Smooth beer, don't detect any alcohol.

O - It was okay, I wouldn't seek out this years batch again. Glad I got to try it though, had been searching for a while. I'm still a fan of Anchor.

Photo of jaasen64
3.43/5  rDev -6%
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.

Photo of alexgash
3.56/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle with a nice Araucaria heterophylla on the label.

Clear, dark maple syrup amber-brown body with ruby highlights. Thick finger of dense, firm, light peanut brown head. Great lacing. Fruity, bready malt base on the nose with familiar OSA accents of spices. I'm getting clove, vanilla, cardamom, and maybe black pepper.

Toasted malts up front. Slightly grainy. Some muddled fruit sweetness reminiscent of Tootsie pops (grape flavored?). Sweet bread adds to the malt near the finish. Accents of orange peel (citrus zest), clove, vanilla, and maybe coriander. Slight woody bitterness in the finish. Medium body with a slightly slick feel. Not bad, but not the best OSA I can remember.

Photo of atigerlife
3.86/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

Photo of teromous
3.39/5  rDev -7.1%
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.

Photo of bmwats
3.95/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

Photo of rlee1390
3.7/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Deep brown in the glass, amber when pouring, one finger tan head.

S-Candied sugar, pine, caramel with some burnt notes.

T-Starts with some candied sugar, tad bit of caramel, not much spices.

M-Light and a tad watery not much carbonation.

O-Anchor dropped the ball on this Christmas, Usually I look forward to this brew but this year it was a let down.

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

bought a comically large bottle. pours a deep reddish black with lots of fluffy off white almost tan head. smells of spruce, nutmeg, ginger, a hint of gin (without the alcohol). the flavor is pretty much a blend of all of these.. which unfortunately do not blend well at all. it is quite a distinguished flavor, but definitely not something i believe i can drink the entire giant bottle of. definitely get a cinnamon taste, along with maybe nutmeg.. ginger is there, as is the spruce, chocolate notes, bitter with a really strange off putting aftertaste. watery porter-like mouthfeel.. medium body on the lighter side, moderate carbonation.

this was really not my type of thing this year. way different than what i remember from last year.. here's hoping for a better one in 2013

Photo of OWSLEY069
3.26/5  rDev -10.7%
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.

Photo of sweemzander
4.14/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

(A)- Pours an extremely dark brown color. Some good tan froth and lacing.

(S)- A festive spice of cranberry, juniper and a pinch of what seems like mulberry and nutmeg too. A nice combination.

(T)- Similar to the smell. Amidst a nicely balanced subtle juniper and mulberry-like fruits is a harmonious nutmeg and nutty cocoa-like profile.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. Dark fruit and spice is well balanced between the two. Rich but smooth too.

(O)- This might be my favorite vintage I have had so far. Always like to try this each year and am pleasantly surprised how much I liked this one.

Photo of mnrider
3.99/5  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!!

Photo of Brenden
3.61/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The looks is thick, about a medium-fairly dark brown with a bit of a red hue and barely opaque if even that. The head is as thick as the body and heavy, rising higher than two fingers and showing good, if not very good, retention. It leaves some excellent lacing as it drops, even after fading to a fairly thick foam.
This beer offers a bit of caramel and toffee, but almost with less sweetness, as though the elements of the flavors are there but most of the sugars have been cooked out. it's still got a touch of sweetness, though. In equal effect are also less sweet, kitchen-type spices (nutmeg comes to mind, and a mustiness like certain poultry rubs (it sounds bad, but i don't mean it to). A touch of ginger and some evident clove notes are also present in the spicing. Some piney Northwest hops sit in there, and it's fairly strong, but even stronger is an extremely roasty malt backbone setting it all down. Ultimately, I think a touch more sweetness would do it good. As is, it's definitely a solid beer.
The feel is good, thick and creamy with a nice body, weighty enough to carry the load but without being overly heavy. There's also enough crispness to give it some life without being too crisp for a malt-forward beer, and a nice complement to the smoothness. If anything takes away, it's a bit of a sticky/slick mixture flashing in and out, first at the beginning then coming in at the finish.

Photo of Hopswagger
3.7/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

P: Deep dark mahogany body topped with a thin short lived later of micro bubble tan head.

S: Smells like christmas. Burnt toffee, nutmeg, butterscotch, spruce tree, hints of vanilla bean, cinnamon and sweet molasses.

T/M: Taste follows the nose with loads of spices, brown sugar and sweet malt. Stingy carbonation in a medium body. Darks fruits and tart apple peels come out toward the end. Finish is semi dry and finishes with bitter-sweet prunes coated in brown sugar.

O: A great warmer for Christmas time. Robust flavors and complexity blended into a great beer. I read a review that mentioned Dr. Pepper flavor and I can totally get that in this. Anxious for next year.

Photo of micromaniac129
4.3/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drink this on Christmas eve, after mass.
Pours a deep brown color with some ruby high lights. A ta;;ish tan head sits on top, dense and mousse like it coats the glass with lacing.

Aroma is piney with cinnamon nutmeg and ginger.
Taste is similar with piney notes. not really all that spice and lingers just below the pine tree.
Malty but not very balanced.
Feels almost thick on the palette and finishes semi dry and semi bitter with a very light amount of cloying,
As with pass years, very good. Ill put the remaing in my cellar for good keeping

Photo of Treyliff
3.85/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

A- pours a dark cola-like brown with a huge frothy dark tan head with good retention and lacing.

S- sweet toasty malts with some winter spices, cinnamon, nutmeg, old fashioned hard candy, and just a bit of hope, very nice.

T- earthy piney hops with some roasted malt character. Sweet toffee, coffee, nutty, yeasty, dark fruits. Finishes bitter and dry with a roasted linger. Lots of flavors can be picked out of this one.

M- light-med body with medium carbonation and a bit creamy on the finish. Would like a little more body as the finish is a little slick.

O- this one had more complexity in flavor than many of the style, quite unique and enjoyable.

Photo of NiceTaps
3.48/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

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

2012 version - 1.5L green bottle, gift, good carbonation and light-medium bodied. Spices are not as prominent otherwise similar to 2007 version: pours with a three fingered, light brown head that goes slowly and leaves a good lace. Nearly black hints of mahogany color. Flavor is spicy all the way, hops stay in the background. Nose is winter spices. Light carbonation and medium bodied. $1.50 for a 12oz bottle from Capitol Convenience.

Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 714 ratings.