Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale) - Anchor Brewing Company
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Ratings: 679 | Reviews: 192 | Display Reviews Only:
3.55/5 rDev -2.7%
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.
02-09-2013 00:33:47 | More by farrago
3.88/5 rDev +6.3%
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.
12-15-2012 21:21:33 | More by garuda
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
3.73/5 rDev +2.2%
12 oz. bottle, with a more than obvious vintage date. Code on the back label appears to read PSY. My eighth of these yearly winter releases from Anchor. Expectations are decent based on my experience with the others.
Poured into a clear balloon snifter.
A - Pours a dark ruddy caramel colored body; opaque in the glass. One finger of creamy tan head that thins to a ring quickly. Some thin spotty lacing. Looks alright.
S - The spice rack notes seem to take center stage of this years' vintage. Allspice, basil, nutmeg, cloves, & some licorice / anise. Chocolate malt. Cream. Some vanilla. Caramel. Toffee. Wood. And some earthy yeast.
T - Taste follows the nose. Caramel malt. Chocolate malt. Toffee. Cola. Wood. Candied raisins / dates / figs. Some earthy / bubblegum yeast. And lots of herbal spice rack notes - allspice, cloves, licorice, oregano, nutmeg. Sprucey, vinous, dirty, and herbal.
M - Feel is crisp and medium bodied with good carbonation that has held up well.
Overall, not my favorite vintage, but this is undeniably a must have winter beer each and every year. This years' vintage takes the more spice forward approach, which I am less fond of, but I would be very interested to see how this beer holds up in the years to come.
Anchor Brewing Our Special Ale 2012 ---3.5/5
01-01-2014 02:41:38 | More by mfnmbvp
4.55/5 rDev +24.7%
from belgium to san francisco . . . .
pours a very dar, slightly able to see thorugh at the edges, mahogany brown with small head on top.
smells AWESOME! malty with some bitter chocolate and hops....
tastes . . . . . almost like a porter (?), no? some dark chocolate, espresso(?), heavy malt, light hop finish.
heavy finish. overall, a nice brew which could have used a higher abv, but i suppose that would have added to the bitterness. never much a fan of anchor brewing (yes, i know they're a fan favorite) but i like this one a lot. i like the heavy, but smooth taste. just wish it were a little higher value abv . . . . .
12-22-2012 01:41:07 | More by pkalix
3.58/5 rDev -1.9%
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.
12-03-2012 01:33:54 | More by rangerred
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
4.4/5 rDev +20.5%
Anchor Our Special Ale - 2012
12 oz brown bottle
Freshness date - 2SY
Served in a Smuttynose Big Beer tulip glass
Anchor Our Special Ale is one of the most anticipated winter craft beers for me. I picked up a 6 pack last night, stored a couple for a later date and decided to review one this evening.
Pours a deep chestnut brown with excellent highlights. A fluffy, khaki colored head forms, leaving trails of sticky lacings that decorate the glassware.
The nose is inviting with whiffs of roasted malts, ginger, nutmeg and various spices.
A creamy and chewy malt backbone with distinct flavors of milk chocolate, cinnamon cookies, allspice and fresh pine. A remarkably smooth and complex winter warmer that captures all of the flavors of the season.
This seasonal should never be underestimated, a true legend in the ever growing market of seasonal beers.
12-14-2012 00:48:22 | More by Hibernator
3.85/5 rDev +5.5%
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.
12-22-2012 00:57:16 | More by vette2006c5r
3.73/5 rDev +2.2%
A-very dark brown with a nice thick tan head
S-nutmeg, brown sugar, cinnamon, with an odd scent of curry. very bold and to the point. strong scent.
T-comes in with an okay flavor of slightly soured dark grains and coconut curry and white peppercorn. continues with after-taste mostly of peppery bread. good flavor, though not as strong as the scent.
M-really heavy carbonation with a slightly watery finish. the carbonation alone reminds me of a belgian.
O-this might always be one of my favorite winter warmers. I'm not particularly found of this year's as opposed to other years though. It has a certain spoiled flavor to it that does not belong. it gets stronger as i drink it. starting not to enjoy this actually.
12-16-2012 22:40:50 | More by AdamBear
4.09/5 rDev +12.1%
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.
01-11-2013 03:29:12 | More by RickS95
3.1/5 rDev -15.1%
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.
12-20-2012 03:44:10 | More by BucannonXC5
3.63/5 rDev -0.5%
This is one of the few beers that I buy every year so I was pretty excited when this was out on the store shelves a few weeks back. Like so many others on here, I was a bit disappointed in this, as it did not seem as full or spicy as others in years past. It was unmemorable and went down easily, and even though I don't regret getting this, it was not as good as other Winter Warmers that I've enjoyed.
The pour to this was darker and less red than I remembered it being in years past, with some head and nearly no lacing to be seen. Just a bit of carbonation too but this still had the feeling of flat root beer. Some booze, caramel, and earthy spice in the nose but all of them fell flat when I tasted this. A molasses-like stickiness was here but not in body as the aftertaste felt like tree roots. Only a hint of raisin and other dark fruits without the accompanying spice and sourness. I actually had to pace myself during my review of this, as it was the fastest that I'd ever downed this beer. That's how weak it was.
Even the alcohol could have been upped by a bit, to compensate for the lack of bite and depth to this. While it's not a drain pour, buying six of these might not be a good idea. I do appreciate the subtle changes in this beer from year to year but this time around, it just didn't click. Maybe the Mayans were right about the end of the World after all...
12-21-2012 08:44:04 | More by JerzDevl2000
Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 679 ratings.