Our Special Ale 2015 (Anchor Christmas Ale)
Anchor Brewing Company

Our Special Ale 2015 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2015 (Anchor Christmas Ale)
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Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
Winter Warmer
ABV:
5.5%
Score:
85
Avg:
3.79 | pDev: 10.29%
Reviews:
128
Ratings:
425
From:
Anchor Brewing Company
 
California, United States
Avail:
Retired (no longer brewed)
Wants
  8
Gots
  119
SCORE
85
Very Good
Our Special Ale 2015 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2015 (Anchor Christmas Ale)
Notes:
View: Beers
Reviews: 128 | Ratings: 425 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by Billolick:
Photo of Billolick
4.02/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The classic (41st year they have created it for our benefit!) I must enjoy this one every year, as far back in my beer enjoying days as I can remember...

Pours dark, dark brown, near black! and I can't see through it...long lasting dark khaki head, leaves quality strands of bits is lace all up and down the glass.

Sniff reveals dark malts, dark chocolate, coffee grinds

Tasty as ever, with more of the notes above also on the palate, with some burnt sugar, pumbernikel bready notes...simply delicious...a welcome old friend

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More User Reviews:
Photo of biboergosum
3.61/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle, with this year's label-adorning pine tree being of the Cedrus deodora species. It snowed here this morning, so I guess it's time for my first holiday brew of the imminent season.

This beer pours a clear, very dark ruddy brown colour, with three fingers of puffy, loosely foamy, and well-bubbly tan head, which leaves some decent horizontal lightning bolt lace around the glass as it slowly seeps away.

It smells of gritty, grainy caramel malt, more bitter than sweet chocolate, a weird sour black orchard fruitiness, brown sugar, muddled seasonal spices (maybe a hint of nutmeg struggles to stand out), metallic anise root, and a faint earthy and weedy hoppiness. The taste is bready and lightly doughy caramel malt, dry cocoa powder, a more tactile cinnamon, nutmeg, and neutered ginger spiciness, reduced, and not so testy dark orchard fruit, an ethereal fleshy nuttiness, and more well under the radar earthy and leafy hop bitters.

The carbonation is fairly low-key in its plain and hard to really notice frothiness, the body a decent medium weight, and mostly smooth, the aforementioned astringencies apparently taking a breather of sorts. It finishes off-dry, the spice, caramel, and black licorice holding on for dear life.

Once again, Anchor turns out an easy enough to drink, if not particularly challenging seasonal 'warmer'. Muted spice, and not so muted licorice, are what I'm taking away from this, other than the fact that the Canadian dollar's current performance vis-a-vis the US greenback makes this one pricey fireside sessional sipper this time around.

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

Poured into an English pint glass, the appearance was a sturdy dark brown close to black color with a finger's worth of eggshell white foamy head that slid off at a mild pace. Some light lace ran here and there, somewhat messy.
The aroma had a superb blend of allspice, ginger, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, caramel/toffee malts, some cocoa powder, vanilla extract, fruitcake, dates, pecans, brown sugar and some light pine.
The flavor was moderately sweet but pulling in those spices for a spectacular blend. Sly amount of spices hit in the aftertaste.
The mouthfeel was about medium bodied with a fair sessionability about it - spices aren't too distracting, light harshness. Carbonation felt fine. ABV felt appropriate.
Overall, always love getting this winter warmer every holiday season.

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Photo of dacrza1
3.74/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

DATE TASTED: December 20, 2015... GLASSWARE: Barley Creek pint...OCCASION: watching Star Wars: Episode I, starting a six-film march to the theater and The Force Awakens... APPEARANCE: nearly midnight, purple-black body that is opaque throughout; a brown, creamy head sits a near finger in depth, with sporadic pockets of bubbles--great retention...lacing holds as a labyrinthine shade... AROMA: at first, a cinnamon, pepper, and some spruce... malts are blanketing and pronounced, doughy and toasted, with a slight hint of porterish peat... PALATE: solid, medium-bodied, approximating a porter's brackish texture and a brown ale's flatness and smoothness...TASTE: malts, both toasted and doughy, mix with chocolate, cinnamon, licorice, and plum--a cake-like quality, with a dense musk that pervades the experience, with the hops hinting ever-so-slightly at the teeth... OVERALL: a pleasant, formidable partner to the day's 30s temperatures and the anticipation of Christmas; more malt and cinnamon than I expected from an ale, but befitting the season...

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Photo of barczar
3.67/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Ginger, cinnamon, apple and molasses dominate the aroma.

Flavor is similar, but with cinnamon dominance and a toasted malt backbone. Finish is very dry.

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Photo of Skabiski
3.67/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of BEER88
3.77/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of rlee1390
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Better than previous years, mild spice, a decent brown ale base.

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Photo of josanguapo
2.16/5  rDev -43%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

From cervezasespeciales. In Teku glass. Watching Sons of Anarchy 3x03. Odd taste and smell, like some kind of tree. Cant say that I liked it.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.35/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Bottled 10/23/15.

Pours an opaque super dark brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of gingerbread, dark fruit, molasses, earth, and spice aromas. Taste is much the same with cherry cola, molasses, earth, and spice flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of earth and spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is an above average beer that smells solid, but there is a watery cherry cola flavor that diminishes the drinkability for me.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of frasergrove
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Deep amber brown, light fizzy head that dissipates quickly. Notes of sweet cherry, toffee, cacao on the nose, mostly sweet but very rich. Very carbonated tasting, sharp biting carbonic acid. Finishes medium dry with notes of coco powder. Some hints of spruce tips and wild earthiness. An enjoyable winter warmer, always fun to try the new rendition of this beer.

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Photo of emerge077
4.02/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of PSU79
3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of JamesLeung
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of dertyd
3.77/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Steve_Studnuts
3.55/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

Photo of JohnDon
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Howlader
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of beerserk
3.55/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Photo of a77cj7
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of entenduintransit
3.69/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of kjkinsey
3.91/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of manfromanotherplace
3.47/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of JackieTH
4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Review from notes. Consumed at Old Chicago as part of the Winter mini tour

A dark brown, opaque pour with a nice head and some lace. Attractive. Smells quite malty, a bit of spice as well hinting at what's coming. Taste is pleasant caramelly, dark fruit and dry semi-sweet chocolate, a light hint of ginger and cinnamon, pine and faint candy. Not too sweet though, dry finish. Smooth body is creamy. Enjoyable beer, will certainly come back for the Our Special Ale 2016!

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Our Special Ale 2015 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 425 ratings