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

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Our Special Ale 2015 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2015 (Anchor Christmas Ale)
Very Good
420 Ratings
Our Special Ale 2015 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2015 (Anchor Christmas Ale)

Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Erik-P on 10-30-2015

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 420 |  Reviews: 126
Reviews by spoony:
Photo of spoony
3.77/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

More User Reviews:
Photo of biboergosum
3.61/5  rDev -4.2%
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.

 1,591 characters

Photo of Billolick
4.02/5  rDev +6.6%
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

 530 characters

Photo of dacrza1
3.74/5  rDev -0.8%
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...

 1,054 characters

Photo of Lone_Freighter
4/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

 791 characters

Photo of barczar
3.67/5  rDev -2.7%
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.

 154 characters

Photo of oberon
3.56/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a nonic a deep walnut brown with a thinner light beige head atop.Big earth and roast in the nose with some gingerbread and buttery caramel,quite a hit of earthy dryness here.The palate was less sweet and spiced than in past years to me,earthy and woody with roasted tones,mild gingerbread and raw nuttiness as well.A different than in past years with a more earthy roasty beer this beer....at least to my taste buds.

 428 characters

Photo of DanGeo
3.58/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of googs509
2.89/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Photo of AlarmClock314
3.91/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Doomcifer
4.25/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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

Photo of BeernOnThe4thOfJuly
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Black, with light tan head. Sweet vanilla nose with cloves and dark fruits. Slightly reminiscent of pumpkin pie. Flavor is dark fruits and cloves. Sweet, but enough hops for a nice balance.

 189 characters

Photo of JC333
4.03/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of haightbeer
4.63/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Welcoming fluffy tan head and dark body, looks heavier than it is. Taste is mild, toasty, bit caramelly, a little spicy. I think it has great balance. A bit like a cross between a winter warmer and a porter, but with lighter mouthfeel. Really a nicely brewed offering

 267 characters

Photo of DJ-Hophead
3.9/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

355 ml bottle Brewers Droop, Bristol - Pours dark ruby red with a large foamy tanned head. Medium carbonation. Nice lacing. Smell - Spices, predominantly cloves to the fore, daek stone fruits. Taste - Similar as above with dry bitter finish. Nice different ale which will try again next year.

 292 characters

Photo of dankjohn
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of juicebox
4.22/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of butters_mcgee
3.67/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of moundbz
3.77/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of chinchill
3.84/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottles in a Belgian snifter in December 2016 and July 2018.
This 2015 version is a high quality Winter Warmer, with enough spicing to fit the winter holiday season but not so much as to overpower with grain bill or to leave an overly spicy aftertaste. The mix for 2015 is quite good too, although it tastes a bit better than it smells. Medium+ body and near medium carbonation.

 387 characters

Photo of valkyre65
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Beer21
4.1/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of CamuMahubah
4.08/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Delicious cocoa with a porter backbone of some sort. Smells malty with way too much carbonation. It's three years old or so and it has been stored in a 60 degree basement for a year. Before that my buddy snagged it for me in Cali and it flew here with him on the plane. I don't know where it was stored in California. Probably on the shelf at a liquor store. It's quite delicious and tastes more like a porter than a winter warmer. Not bad. Not bad at all. Aged well. Just a bit too much head.

 503 characters

Photo of JMS1512
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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Our Special Ale 2015 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.77 out of 5 with 420 ratings