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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
82
good

669 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 669
Reviews: 192
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 14.29%
Wants: 13
Gots: 44 | 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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Ratings: 669 | Reviews: 192 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BeerFMAndy
BeerFMAndy

Wisconsin

3.7/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.
5.5% ABV, 2OC punched in back label.

A - Clear and nutty brown pouring, Our Special Ale becomes nearly opaque black in the snifter and is crowned by a tightly packed tan head. The foam seems to disappear rapidly but specks of lace are left around the glass.

S - Each year a new tree is featured on the label of the ever-changing Anchor Our Special Ale and it's a primer for what follows as this winter warmer introduces itself with a pine and bold woodsy aroma. Toast and dry chocolate malt combine for a dusty nose that has nuances of baker's chocolate and spent coffee grounds with a hint of nuttiness. I imagine enjoying this in a log cabin with a wood fire roaring as gentle snow falls.

T - Dry pinecone, moisture-starved firewood, and toasted whole wheat bread encompass much of the beer's flavor with nutty undertones and suggestions of cocoa or mocha on the finish with a subtle nod to pine needle. Hints of dry spice are suggested as well, but certainly no particular flavors come to mind, rather a muddled sprinkle, possibly attributed to the other ingredients' blend.

M - Malt forward, the deprivation of hops doesn't quite mean a lack of balance as this beer is not sweet at all, nor is it bitter. Instead, it's bone dry with a hard water and somewhat gritty feel, further reflecting it's outdoorsy, earthiness.

O - While Anchor's recipe for their annual Our Special Ale changes from year to year, this beer is incredibly reminiscent of how I remember last year's batch being with a big push towards rustic, woodsy notes of, well, wood, pine, and nuttiness. I can imagine a glass of this in my hand on a cold Christmas day, but outside of the immediate holiday time, it's too strange a flavor for me to get into on a regular basis.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2012 00:32:22 | More by BeerFMAndy
Photo of bark
bark

Sweden

2.95/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

The colour is deep warm brown, the liquid is clear. The pale brown three finger head is compact, it sinks slowly leaving almost no lacing.

The smell is spicy with some clean bitter notes and a powerful sweetness. Cloves. Ginger? Paradise grains? Nutmeg? Lemon peels? Some roasted malts and quite a lot of toffee. Liquid Christmas...

The taste is quite dry and very spicy, not in a harsh way although they got some fat phenolic notes. Some toffee and caramel. The body is light, it doesn’t really measure up with the spices. The aftertaste is dry, almost astringent with Christmas spices, some butterscotch and a touch of alcohol. The finish is astringent, phenolic and not very pleasant.

The carbonation is medium strong, the mid-sized bubbles fresh. The liquid is quite dry.

Too much spices and an overall harsh feel makes this beer very unbalanced. One of the less impressive vintages of Our Special Ale I have had.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2012 20:29:18 | More by bark
Photo of avalon07
avalon07

South Carolina

3.58/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a dark brown color and a somewhat cloudy texture. There was an inch and a half of foamy, off white, fairly long-lasting head. Pretty good lacing.

S: A slightly muted aroma of spices and malt. Decent, but not forward enough.

T: Tasted of malt, something sugary (caramel?), and some spices (cinnamon, e.g.). A decent enough flavor, but not overly spectacular. Like the aroma, the flavor could have used a little push.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a super dry finish. Medium-bodied.

O: Not a bad beer, and drinkable, but a bit on the forgettable side.

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2012 00:18:37 | More by avalon07
Photo of LiquidAmber
LiquidAmber

Washington

3.96/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Review from 1/2013 notes. Poured into a Seattle Beer Week pint glass. Pours a dark mahogany brown with a fine quarter finger of tan head with good retention and lacing. Aroma of sweet bock malt, light pine, cinnamon and nutmeg. Flavor follows, with sweet malt, holiday spicing heavy on cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg, thins out out to a lighter, slightly tart and piney character. Lingering flavor of woody pine. Medium bodied with a mild creaminess. This year's version leans more toward piney spicing, but there is a nice background flavor leaning towards gingerbread that balances out the other spicy flavors. Lighter finish than I remember from last year, but as usual, interesting and very winter holiday oriented. A great annual tradition.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2014 01:58:02 | More by LiquidAmber
Photo of OWSLEY069
OWSLEY069

Pennsylvania

3.28/5  rDev -9.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2012 18:21:54 | More by OWSLEY069
Photo of Cyberkedi
Cyberkedi

Georgia

4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Comes out of the tap a luscious sable with a thick, fine-bubbled and persistent tan head. Roast malt aroma has a strong woody overtone with a hint of cloves. Flavor has a roast malt core with firm spicy notes, cloves, a little cinnamon, horehound, a hint or more of caramel, a hint of licorice, a bit of a varnishy note. Smooth, firm mouthfeel has plenty of fizz. Once again, a good holiday brew from Anchor.

Serving type: on-tap

11-23-2012 20:13:44 | More by Cyberkedi
Photo of WOLFGANG
WOLFGANG

South Carolina

4/5  rDev +9.9%

07-08-2013 03:54:20 | More by WOLFGANG
Photo of claspada
claspada

New Jersey

3.75/5  rDev +3%

11-06-2013 19:23:03 | More by claspada
Photo of wrightst
wrightst

Maryland

4.25/5  rDev +16.8%

06-02-2014 01:23:22 | More by wrightst
Photo of Evil_Pidde
Evil_Pidde

Sweden

4.13/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours the darkest, warmest amber I've ever seen. The compact thick head is beige and I could put a quarter dollar on it and it wouldm't sink - it looks fantastic. Slow dissipation leaves decent lacings.

S: Roasted sweet malt, very bready. This is very X-masy; cinnamon, cardamum, nutmeg some chocolate, some dark dried fruits as well as rich raspberries.

T: Nice; sour cherries up front along with loads of spices; cardamum and cinnamon. Licorice, chocolate and dark dried fruits along side with rich raspberries. Surprisingly enough, not that sweet.

M: Atftertaste is long and sour as well as bitter. Body is medium while carbonation is low, rather smooth though.

O: Nice Christmasy Winter Warmer; with lots of spices of the season along with nice maltyness.

Serving type: bottle

05-10-2013 18:00:44 | More by Evil_Pidde
Photo of vfgccp
vfgccp

New York

2.5/5  rDev -31.3%

09-26-2013 22:41:18 | More by vfgccp
Photo of champ103
champ103

Texas

4.45/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is probably my favorite seasonal release. I Always look forward to my first six pack.

A: Pours a beautiful mahogany/ruby red color. A two finger Khaki head forms, and gently recedes. Rings of sticky lace is left behind. A looker.
S: Very reserved in the nose, but I still really enjoy it. Nutmeg with toasted malts. A light buttery aroma, quickly covered up by almonds, warm fresh backed bread. A deceivingly complex aroma emerges.
T: Like the nose, very reserved at first, but much more comes out as I work my way down. Toasted malts, baked bread , nutmeg and an almond nutty flavor. A light sweetness comes out toward the end, then a dry almost bitter coco. It is amazing how much delicate complexities emerge from this.
M/D: A medium body and carbonation. Very soft and velvety. So easy and enjoyable to drink. The bottle is gone in no time, and I am sure the rest of the six pack is not far behind.

Seems like the piney, almost allspice flavor is not there. Which has been a recurring theme. This release is more warm toasted and malty goodness. Again, a seasonal I look forward to every year, and for good reason. No doubt I will be getting more six packs again this year.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2012 23:43:52 | More by champ103
Photo of barnzy78
barnzy78

Illinois

3.48/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

Connecticut

4.25/5  rDev +16.8%

02-17-2013 06:34:42 | More by Durge
Photo of popery
popery

California

3.68/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is one of my favorite winter spiced beers. This year's entry is an interesting take, though not particularly strong compared to recent years, in my opinion. It pours a dark, rich brown color, sort of a reddish wood shade. Outside of direct light, it looks nearly black. Good tan head. The aroma is a pleasant mix of dark malt and restrained spicing. It's woodier than most spiced beers, though it still tends toward the normal nutmeg, coriander, cinnamon range. There's some nice cocoa and caramel flavors. It smells a bit like a spiced Christmas pastry. Taste is similar. It's not too terribly sweet. There's a very light woody sour note. More caramel is noticeable and a bit less spice. It's almost porter-ish. Light band-aid note in the finish. Mouthfeel is good. A bit sticky but pleasantly so. I mostly just wish that the flavors were stronger. I would love to try a bigger version of this beer, particularly if they could brew it without increasing the sweetness too much.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2012 08:03:02 | More by popery
Photo of DmanGTR
DmanGTR

Florida

4.5/5  rDev +23.6%

01-28-2013 17:03:21 | More by DmanGTR
Photo of Brenden
Brenden

Ohio

3.6/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2012 06:20:41 | More by Brenden
Photo of pathman
pathman

Ohio

4.25/5  rDev +16.8%

07-16-2013 02:38:00 | More by pathman
Photo of Boone757
Boone757

Maryland

3.75/5  rDev +3%

12-30-2013 01:06:28 | More by Boone757
Photo of sweemzander
sweemzander

Illinois

4.13/5  rDev +13.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2012 02:35:28 | More by sweemzander
Photo of Lare453
Lare453

Florida

4/5  rDev +9.9%

12-18-2012 15:16:42 | More by Lare453
Photo of alexgash
alexgash

Connecticut

3.55/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2012 22:23:19 | More by alexgash
Photo of DrBier
DrBier

Pennsylvania

3.75/5  rDev +3%

07-14-2014 14:57:17 | More by DrBier
Photo of Gmann
Gmann

New York

3.78/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky dark chocolate brown color with a short yet dense khaki head that settled into a light ring.

The aroma is of a brown bread malt with a caramel and buttery toffee note. Ginger spice with a candied orange scent. A hint of pine to complete the festive aroma. Not super strong.

The taste is pretty big on the spice notes. Ginger and candied fruit, along with the malt, give the beer a fruit cake type flavor. Some juniper and light anise notes give the beer some bitterness. Hint of light roast in the end. Not very hop flavorful, perhaps some pine notes to go along with the juniper flavor.

The feel is moderate to full with surprisingly spritzy carbonation. The carbonation helps break up the body a bit. Good balance between sweet, spice, and bitterness on the palate. Finishes slightly dry, bitter, and a touch sticky.

Another good version of the OSA. Spice dominate which seems to be the trend over the past few years. Nothing says "Christmas Ale" like OSA.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2012 18:47:46 | More by Gmann
Photo of mhaugo
mhaugo

California

3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

08-16-2013 16:05:21 | More by mhaugo
Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 669 ratings.