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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

701 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 701
Reviews: 192
rAvg: 3.65
pDev: 14.52%
Wants: 16
Gots: 54 | 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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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 701 | Reviews: 192 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of shand
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This year's Our Special Ale gives off a huge spruce nose, along with cinnamon, chocolate, and the requisite spice rack. The taste is - go figure, heavy on spices. I could try to pick out all the individual spice notes, but that'd be an exercise in futility. If you've got a favorite winter spice, it's probably in here, hanging out with the vanilla and roast flavors. Mercifully, the spices don't linger too long, leaving a wholly pleasant roasted malt aftertaste with just a touch of cinnamon. Mouthfeel is spot-on, as Anchor tends to be, and the drinkability is great. Just like every year, Our Special Ale is a solid Winter Warmer. It's way past Christmas, but I'm glad I have this for the cold snap tonight.

Photo of stephenjmoore
4.03/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A- Dark brown body that allows a little bit of light through. Bubbly tan head that leaves a lot of lacing on the glass.

S- Caramel malts, a hint of nutty brown malts, slight roasty aroma, a pinch of spices.

T- Tastes like a smooth brown ale with caramel malt and the spices coming through. I get a bit of piney hops at the end too. Pretty well rounded with good flavor.

M- Smooth, medium carbonation, medium bodied.

O- Exceeded my expectations. Not in your face flavors, but subtle flavors that work well together. Good as a session winter beer.

Photo of SaCkErZ9
2.73/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I always enjoy drinking this new beer every year. Each year is different but they are all generally pretty similar. This is my 10th year in this series, so it is somewhat special to me. This one pours beautifully! Chocolate amber in color with a very nice, frothy, rather robust off white colored head. Nice lacing and even better retention.

The aromas was a bit lackluster. There are some seasonal spices but overall, there isnt really anything great. Plus, it smells like things are off just a bit. Kind of metallic, cloves, allspice, caramel and toasted bread.

Not a big fan of the flavor on this one. Quite bitter and astringent. Mouthfeel is a little thin and it finishes dry. I dont remember any of the others tasting this bad. Chalky with raw nutmeg, cinnamon bark, burnt grains. Kind of yeasty too. Its almost like they used cheaper ingredients or something. Something is definitely off and different. This one has to be the least attractive version of this beer I have had. I always cellar these as well, so hopefully it will improve; it cant get much worse.

Photo of bcsbeer
3/5  rDev -17.8%

Photo of facundoCNB
3.63/5  rDev -0.5%
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 bbadger
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of _morandi_
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of zekeman17
4/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of garuda
3.88/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

Photo of codynevels
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of PhatAtUT
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of WynnO
3/5  rDev -17.8%

Photo of Beerlover
3/5  rDev -17.8%

Photo of rudabegga9
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of pisano
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of bump8628
3.44/5  rDev -5.8%
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.

Photo of vette2006c5r
3.85/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

Photo of skaboom420
2.75/5  rDev -24.7%

Photo of BucannonXC5
3.1/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Type: 12-oz. bottle
Glass: Regular Firestone pint glass
From: BevMo in La Mesa (San Diego, Calif.)
Price: $9.99 for a 6-pack
Misc.: 38th “Special Ale”; 20H on the back of the bottle, which apparently means it was bottled on Oct. 8, 2012

Poured a brownish black color with about a finger of khaki tan head that dissipated in just under five minutes. About no lacing and no retention.

Smelled grape juice, pine tree, grape bubble gum, juniper berries (thank you recent Sam Adams Norse Legend Sahti!), apple cider, light nutmeg, light cinnamon and some other spices that I couldn’t put my finger on.

Tasted grape soda, grape bubble gum, juniper berries, cough syrup, nutmeg and some cinnamon. Not really what I was expecting coming into this beer.

Medium body. Oily texture. Fizzy (high)-to-lively (above average) carbonation. Abrupt bitter finish.

Pretty disappointed in this beer overall. Was expecting something a bit better. Not looking forward to the other five beers in this 6-pack.

Photo of flyingpig
3.45/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of Brams17
3/5  rDev -17.8%

Photo of farrago
3.55/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a solid froth of smaller bubbles with a couple of islands of larger bubbles, crests at less than a finger, decent enough retention, the lacing comes in random streaks and fares better in terms of sticking around. The dark brown hued liquid shows its transparency up close, pure and clean, fades to a yellowish orange at the rims and glass bottom. The nose is based in caramel, cola, chocolate, cinnamon stick and orange spice, there’s a presence of plum and candied cherry scents, it’s not over-spiced and displays a natural restraint, no real hoppiness but perhaps a metallic note before it all dissolves. Medium-bodied, there’s a steady carbonated fizz through the mouth entry which lessens the overall sweetness. More emphasis here on milk chocolate, cola and vanilla, the spices come across as caraway or anise more than holiday dessert baking spices. Light orange citrus, here the black fruits take a step back. In its place are some soda bread and scone nuances. Turns very dry through the finish, losing a good bit of its flavor. Overall, seems regal like fallen nobility, wants more to command than ingratiate.

Photo of rawfish
3.2/5  rDev -12.3%
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.

Photo of rangerred
3.58/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a pint glass

An aggressive pour yields a deep clear ruby body with a nearly two finger tan head. Really good head retention and lacing.

The aroma is one of the thinks I love most about this beer. It is a like Christmas in a glass. Lots and lots of spices ranging from orange, to lemon, to pine along with nutmeg and cinnamon. It really is wonderful.

The flavor conveys what is found in the aroma although to a lesser degree. Orange along with liquorice seem to be prominent along with lots of spruce/pine. There are caramel and chocolate undertones. The spice is a little over the top compared to the malt, though, and I feel is is lacking a solid malt backbone. The mouthfeel is quite thin and even a bit chalky.

Overall, I don't feel like this stacks up to previous year. All the right components are there but malty body is seriously lacking. It is just ok.

Photo of SkinniePost
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 701 ratings.