Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale) - Anchor Brewing Company
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Ratings: 678 | Reviews: 192 | Display Reviews Only:
4.1/5 rDev +12.3%
Brewed on September 13, 2012 according to the cryptic markings on the bottle's back label. Yes, I am still stuck in bottle mode, but I could not resist this one as I (generally) try to make a practice to review it every year.
From the bottle: "This is the thirty-eighth 'Our Special Ale' from the brewers at Anchor. It is sold only from early November to mid-January. The Ale's recipe is different every year, as is the tree on the label, but the intent with which we offer it remains the same: joy and celebration of the newness of life. Since ancient times, trees have symbolized the winter solstice when the earth, with its seasons, appears born anew."
I went with my usual aggro pour, netting me several fingers of dense, deep-brown head with excellent retention. For a short period there, I was getting what looked like a cascading action before things settled down. Color was a deep brown with garnet highlights and NE-quality clarity. Nose had a molasses-like sweetness, actually not entirely sweet, but with a tar-like bitterness. I also thought that I could discern clove (or cinnamon), nutmeg and perhaps allspice, but I would hate to be challenged on that. Mouthfeel was medium-to-full, approaching creaminess, but not quite achieving it. Lots of spices were discernible in the mouth, but I think that I now want to claim cinnamon, rather than clove. I will stand by the others, however. Finish was pretty doggone dry as a result of all of the spices. This is not a sweet beer by a long stretch.
12-05-2012 21:41:06 | More by woodychandler
United Kingdom (England)
3.65/5 rDev 0%
Purchased at a “city’super” supermarket in Taipei City, Taiwan; BB 30/10/2014, served cool in a straight imperial pint glass.
A: pours a very dark brown to ebony colour, coming with very light carbonation and a creamy light tan frothy head to last.
S: longan-fruit, thick black sugar, jammy or caramelised chestnut, aromatic powdered herbs (nutmeg, licorice, cinnamon, etc.), black prunes, black dates and light fragrance from dried bamboo leaves are all mixed together; very sweet, syrupy even, although the aroma benefits from more fruity acidity as it warms up. Given a very good swirl, the piney hop fragrance emerges briefly but soon gets suppressed by the other fruity-malty elements. Unbalanced overall, and a tad too sweet for me.
T: the lightly effervescent foretaste is interestingly black prune-dominated laced by a tinge of smokiness as of the shells of dried longan-fruit, followed by lightly chewy root-herbs like nutmeg plus licorice, as well as roast malts, not at all sweet as the nose suggests; the herbal bitter-sweetness and bitter nuttiness linger in the finish, where the bitter hops also makes a belated entry.
M&O: semi-smooth on the palate, lightly-carbonated, medium-bodied, flavoursome, aromatic but not at all heavy. If only the aroma was not overwhelmed by the dark malts and syrupy sweetness, the overall enjoyment of this ale could’ve been fuller. Not bad.
07-15-2013 18:01:33 | More by wl0307
3.78/5 rDev +3.6%
Standard anchor stubby brown bottle into a tulip shaped pint glass. The brew appears a dark mahogany with a tan cap less than a finger strong. A light swirl revives less than a finger that produces some spotty lacing effect on the glass. When held to the light, the brew shows some lighter brown clarity and ruby coloration through the body.
The nose is quite pleasant with a mixture of holiday spicing. A bit of pine, anise and cinnamon work together quite well with a dark sweetness of caramel or toffee maltiness. Some dark fruity alcohol emerges as the brew warms up.
The taste is dark burnt sugary caramel/toffee and molasses. Some cinnamon flavors are quite natural almost like bark mixed with earthy nutmeg. Enough hops are present providing some herbal to pine bitterness backing that gets slightly medicinal at times. But overall it is balanced quite nicely.
This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. It is quite a nice holiday brew that is not over the top with spicing to really drive home that holiday feel. This is worth trying even if not for the holidays.
12-23-2012 19:59:34 | More by stakem
3.58/5 rDev -1.9%
An old friend, alright, a really old friend....12 ounce bottle
Pours dark brown, dark tan head, leaves decent strips and blobs of lacing.
I get some Christmas cookie notes on the nose, and some bread.
More bready malts with some muted spicing. Not much of a finish and kind of light on the interest and intrigue. Decent winter brew, but really nothing special and kind off a disappointment this year
12-13-2012 23:41:02 | More by Billolick
3.53/5 rDev -3.3%
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.
12-26-2012 00:41:43 | More by jdhilt
3.93/5 rDev +7.7%
Anchor Brewing Company
Our Special Ale
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.
12-06-2012 20:39:18 | More by Stinkypuss
3.83/5 rDev +4.9%
Huge bottle served repeatedly in a .2L Peroni glass.
Pours clear dark brown with a towering, dense tan head. Excellent patterns of sticky lacing are left on the glass.
"Holiday spicing" favors nutmeg, with some cinnamon, with the latter being more obviou in the taste than th nose. Solid malt backbone but not as rich as I would like. As is, the spicing is a tad high. Still, a very drinkable and enjoyable winter holiday ale.
11-30-2013 22:35:45 | More by chinchill
3.3/5 rDev -9.6%
Christ... Warm weather in Boise is making it difficult to wrap my mind around Christmas brews already... Poured into my slim tulip.. good tannish head.. nice lacing... the brew is deeep amber.
Nose is mainly nutmeg... maybe some juniper berry.. ???
Typical year to year malt profile with the abundant spice.. definitely nutmeg this year.. a bit of ginger? ... Asian cinnamon?
Body and carbonation are the same as last year's...
I am mind numbingly tired of trying to figure out the spices from year to year.... Spices do not belong in beer!! IMO ;-)
11-25-2012 05:29:40 | More by JohnGalt1
3.18/5 rDev -12.9%
Poured into 10oz goblet. Poured a very dark brown, almost light black, color with less than 1/4 inch of tan head that had low retention and no lacing.
The aroma had a nice little roast scent at the front and just some soft malts in the background. The flavors followed along nicely, the bit of roast lingered at the back, there just a hint of yeast spice and maybe some liquorice?
The body was good, smooth, even and well-rounded, but a bit thinner than I look for in the style. Drinkability was good, the went smooth and easy and I'll be drinking a couple more of these while they're around. Overall, a nice brew, as the OSA generally is.
10-22-2012 21:11:57 | More by beertunes
3.65/5 rDev 0%
Poured from a bottle into a tumbler pint, the beer is very dark and smooth in appearance, with ruby highlights amidst the dark brown. No head whatsoever on this brew. Aromas of pine tassles, fig and date sweetness, bubblegum, licorice, and oak. Smells aged and rich, with some meaty qualities sprinkled throughout, as well. Flavors are rich, like port wine rich, but with a more earthy and oaky tone. Some charcoal character throughout the roasted flavors, too. Very warm and dark flavors, with the old world fruit blending with molasses to provide a solid backbone to envelope and enrich the green and woodsy spicing. Rich, slightly tangy aftertaste that has a touch of bitterness at the end of it, possibly coffee and dark chocolate. Smooth and full in mouth, with a rich, clean finish.
12-06-2012 23:14:55 | More by GarthDanielson
3.98/5 rDev +9%
355ml bottle poured into tulip 30/11/12
A dark brown liquid and you can nearly see the other side of the glass under the foam, a thumbs width of dark tan head sits for a few sips leaving no lace
S root beer, Christmas cake, cinnamon, nutmeg, anise and a little coco mix with some hazelnut and toffee, just a little earthy wood notes as it warms
T slightly more anise notes and coco with a little ginger, the flavor mimics the smell fairly well other then that, the nutty and earthy notes come out a little more as it warms
M medium bodied and any more bubbles it would be a little airy but it stops short, nice spiced finish lingers faintly for a while
O I like it and it's good beer but from memory the last few versions have been world class, I'm still pleased and look forward to the rest of the 6er but I'm not completely blown away
I think I was looking for big piney or spruce notes and its not really there this year, please don't get me wrong this is a very nice brew but perhaps I'm just trying to re-live old memories
12-01-2012 06:32:11 | More by wordemupg
Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 678 ratings.