Our Special Ale 2004 (Anchor Christmas Ale) | Anchor Brewing Company

Our Special Ale 2004 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2004 (Anchor Christmas Ale)
214 Ratings
Our Special Ale 2004 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2004 (Anchor Christmas Ale)

Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.25%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by lou91 on 11-03-2004

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 214 |  Reviews: 193
Photo of hxdiaz
2/5  rDev -50.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Stored in bedroom closet for 12 years and never cold cellared. Heavy layer of sediment on bottom. I thought I could cellar for many many years, but I guess not as this is pretty flavorless and lifeless. There was a slight pfft when the cap popped but poured with zero head or carbonation. The initial smell was spicy and Christmas like, but this one's all around goner. Nonetheless, it must be drunk.

 400 characters

Photo of shirfan
2.13/5  rDev -47%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Dark, slightly cloudy garnet with a decent tan head.

Aroma of anise, cinnamon, cola, fruit coctail.

Taste: An odd one. Prunes, medicinal. Very little of what I first smelled is tasted, and this horrifically moves to a dry, haunting spectre of cherry Robitussin upon a 2nd and 3rd sip. The resemblence is more than passing.

I will normally at least finish a beer I don't like; not so here. So vile I'm not even subjecting the dog to it. To date this is the only beer I've reviewed that I can honestly say disgusted me.

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Photo of MuddyFeet
2.23/5  rDev -44.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Sorry folks, going against the grain on this one. I drank a couple of these over the last week to see if my opinion changed. Nope. Still pureed Christmas tree. All I taste is pine. I know there is hops in there, I can feel them on my tongue, but that pine is so overwhelming. If I cold give a score for "Uniqueness", this brew rates a 5. At least in the finish I can notice some spices, but it still feels like I've been drinking pine sap. It poured the same color as a brown ale and retained a filmy head throughout. My score probably reflects my personal preference, but I offered to give it a 5 for uniqueness.

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Photo of olradetbalder
2.5/5  rDev -37.8%

Photo of Thunder
2.75/5  rDev -31.6%

Photo of santoslhalper
2.83/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Appearence: Pours a dark amber hue with an appropriate tan head. Head has great retention, but leaves little lacing.

Smell: Smells spicy and fruity. Very big smelling, even though it's only 5.25%.

Taste and Mouthfeel: The taste is crazy. Simply nuts. That's not necessarily a good thing though. Very spicy, it almost tastes like incense. I can't say I really enjoy it too much. The mouthfeel isn't bad, but a little thin.

Drinkability and Overall: Sad to say, I was really looking forward to this beer and now I'm dissapointed. The flavor is just not tasty. I'm really sad now... Oh well.

Thanks to Bashiba for shipping me this one.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.06/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

(Served in a snifter)

A- This beer pours a dark opaque brown body with a little tan head. I can only see an occasional tiny bubble rise up the side of the glass.

S- The smell is a slightly sweet cider hint with some dark malt balancing it. The finish has a faint chocolate malt note.

T- This beer has a smooth soft taste of dark malt in the beginning and a hint of sour oatmeal in the finish. The finish has a faint hop bitterness to it also.

M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with some lots of fizz that makes it seem more full.

D- The flavors are very subtle but not really interesting. The fizz is big but it really is missing any character.

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Photo of Vdubb86
3.08/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Served in a pint glass

Thanks to TMoney2591 for this beermas gift.

This beer pours a deep dark brown with mahogany shades and a nice beige foam. The smell is of brown sugar, caramel, butterscotch and a little bit of older oxidized whiskey. The taste is a bit like old cold coffee with a tint of whiskey in it. It's not really all that good and I'm sure that is due to the fact that it is past it's prime. This starts out ok and fades to a dryer acidic mouth feel that is pretty nasty on the palate. It's not that pleasant to drink, I'm happy this was a split bottle.

 568 characters

Photo of CRJMellor
3.21/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours dark mahogany with red tints. tan head leaves an amazing spider web of lace.
Aroma of cedar, mint, pine conesand some faint dark malts. Is this a beer or an air freshener.
Flavor has vague hints of roasted barley, cinnamon, nutmeg, pine cones and a slightly burnt caramel. Somehat harsh palate coating effect.
Mouthfeel is almost sour followed by a dry, resiny earth and pine cone hit with a vaguely tea-like hop bittering.
Drinkability is average. I've missed about 5-6 years of this brwe after religiously sampling for years. This one is a weak cousin of the great beers of late 80's and early 90's that I remember.

 627 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
3.23/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a Half Acre shaker pint glass.

Big thanks to whartontallboy for helping me finish my vertical!

The Sixth Day of Beermas... It pours a murkily opaque black-brown topped by a healthy tan foam. Best-looking offering thus far. The nose comprises light mint, chocolate, cardboard (corrugated, o' course), nutmeg, brown sugar, light molasses, ginger, and stale Rice Krispies. The taste comprises fishy cocoa, fig, light green apple, ginger, nutmeg, and some more o' that cardboard. The body is a Stimpy medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a grainy feel. Overall, another step in the right direction, but there's still a good amount of ground to be made yet.

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Photo of doubleipa
3.3/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Been in the cellar for about a year. Aroma is toasted with some mild coffee. Almost all hoppiness has vanished. Additional smells of allspice and nutmeg. Head is creamy, light-brown with excellent lacing. Body is clear/flat and black in color. Initial flavor is lightly sweet with a short fonish. Taste is watery/flat with a moderate alcohol finish. I don't think this stood up as well as some people think it does. I can't see holding any of this for another year. Didn't progress well, at all.

 495 characters

Photo of HappyHourHero
3.31/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dense light brown colored head holds steady nice lace. Dark brown colored beer with a molasses hue. Yeasty, spicy (nutmeg) aroma with a bit of roasted malt. Soft, fluffy mouthfeel. Spicy nutmeg flavor with some lightly sweet malt. Not a big fan of the spice, an ok beer as far as I'm concerned.

 294 characters

Photo of KoG
3.36/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Dark brown body with a very generous tan head that leaves lacing galore around the glass. Head fades as you drink but still layers the top.

Smell was full of malt with spruce and spices coming through with a bit of astringency. No trace of alcohol but an interesting aroma with a slight "apple" hint(uh oh).

Taste is rich and thick. Very complex flavors of spice with a strong malty base. A bit carmelly with a fruit and chocolate profile that pairs nicely with the hop presence. A bit harsher than expected, but cellaring may cure that.

Mouth is full but leaves the palate a bit soured and dry, strange.

The dry finish of this years version lowers my drinkability rating a bit but I hop a bit of time in the bottle will round it out and cure what "ales" it (yes it is a stupid pun, persecute if you must).

 818 characters

Photo of MPLS
3.36/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nabbed a few random "Christmas beers" of older vintages a while back and this one seemed to be calling me before I went to bed. This bottle has 5 years on it and honestly have not tried any of the other vintages of this beer.

A: Pours a dark cocoa with a head that almost edges out of the 12 oz snifter glass. Carbonation still in tact just from visual inspection. Some rainy day lacing, nice ring atop the glass, opaque color.

S: Raisin, caramel, cardboard, but mostly a lot of spicy juicy fruit/warped citrus.

T: Mellow natured beer @5.25 ABV this may be pushing the boundaries of cellaring for this one. Up front the beer has cocoa + juicy fruit that is followed by some spiced cinnamon cardboard. There is something about the finish of this beer that doesn't sit well with my palate.

M: Medium-bodies and it certainly can't be the alcohol level that makes it spicey, Lower carbonation, more so from extended aging.

D: Above average offering here. A great looking beer that has some promise in the nose, but the finisih didn't quite seal the deal for me. Alcohol is masked completely and a mellow beer with a spicy earthy juicy fruit element to it.

 1,157 characters

Photo of oline73
3.4/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a large bottle into a 4 oz. tasting glass at Max's Christmas in July event.

Appearance: Pours a murky brown with a some red coming through when the light hits. There is a layer of light tan head that leaves a ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell: Malty with notes of caramel and brown sugar and some mild spice.

Taste: Very malty with lots of molasses and brown sugar flavor but not too sweet overall. Some holiday spices with a bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with very mild carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: Perhaps a bit past its prime. The spice has faded, mostly malt. I'm glad I got to try this.

 633 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
3.4/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle at Naja's Place,

A: Pours a murky very dark brown, almost black, with a light cap of tan foam, very much a mysterious look.

S: Notes of dark malt, light fruit - fig, cola, and some winter spices.

T: Intersting mix of malt and berry flavour. Definite pine needle character. Sugary element in the end with some cinnamon.

M: Light carbonation, nice spicy feel overall, oily.

D: This is a good beer though I think it has already peaked. Nice one to drink and the oldest OSA I've had, if you see a bottle check it out.

 532 characters

Photo of skybluewater
3.41/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark reddish-brown color. Fairly nice head, some lace. Smell's of caramel and spice. In all honesty, I'm not fond of the taste. It's a bit spicy, and there are hints of Anchor Porter (another Anchor brew I don't care for).

Call me a cretin, but I just don't like this beer. While I love Anchor's Steam and Liberty, this one just doesn't do anything for me. Sorry Anchor.

 387 characters

Photo of Sean9689
3.41/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared at Alex's Birthday Bash.

A - Looks like all the other Our Special Ale's.

S - Light spice, dark fruits, figs, oak, caramel. A little more spice then previous years, which helps create a bit more complexity. Not quite as smooth with the sweetness though.

T - Similar to the nose. Spices, sweetness, dark fruits. Tastes like a spicy brown ale to me. Finish is sweet brown sugar.

M - Light body, good carbonation, dry finish.

O - I preferred the 2001 version to this beer, but still decent. I like the addition of the spice to this one but would rather have the smoothness of the 2001.

 600 characters

Photo of Gagnonsux
3.44/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The appearance of 2004 is almost perfect. The color is dark brown, almost black, with a creamy head. A layer of leftover foam rests on top throughout the beer. The only aroma I get off this is a spice, I think it is nutmeg. It smells alright, but isn't what I usually want from a beer. Taste is sweet and spiced. Nutmeg is the spice of choice here. Not bad at all, but not something I crave or go nuts over. As for drinkability, I could chill with this all-night, but I think I'd rather not. This is my first OSA, and I'm interested to see what they do next year, however for this year I guess I'll be the dissenting reviewer. For me this is very good, not great

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Photo of t0rin0
3.48/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I think I'm going to have to go against the grain and say that this wasn't nearly as good as the other years that I've had. Granted this is now 3 years old and the others that I've tried the past few months have all been aged different amounts, but it had a stragne funk to it that I didnt care for. That was of course offset by the good qualities.

The beer looks like every anchor christmas beer does, that is it pours a black/brown color with a good amount of clarity to it. This one was still fresh enough to produce a nice fluffy 2 inch head that dissipated fairly quickly and didn't lace the glass. The foam, while it lasted, was a nice tan color.

The smell was partially of dark malts and fruits (prune/raisin) and some strange spicess that I've detected in the other years of this beer. Theres a subtle hint of lavander that was real strong in the 07 version. Not sure what else is in this beer. The taste was strange and kinda harsh, not sure what this tasted like new but if its this noticeable at this age I can only imagine how strong that weird taste was when it was new. Its got a bit of a piny taste of hops or possibly some clippings from an actual tree, who knows. There was a nice sweet raisiny flavor possibly from some dark malts, but not quite roasted malts (no coffee flavor present). I know this beer is already 3 years old but I think its still aging and would like to try it again in another 3 or 4 years.

The body was medium/light with a good amount of CO2 to help it out. Definitely drinkable just strange.

 1,535 characters

Photo of Gonzoillini
3.5/5  rDev -12.9%

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of Unclemattie: Poured a deep dark brown color ale with a nice light brown foamy head with good retention but no lacing. Aroma of big caramel and toffee malt with light spices, which may include spruce. Taste is also dominated by some spices with huge caramel and toffee malt with some moderate sweetness. Full body with average carbonation and no apparent alcohol.

 381 characters

Photo of shippos
3.5/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

poured with a fluffy coffee colored head and a medium dark brown color that still lets the light in. comlex set of aromas here, always get cardamon (cola) in these, at least over the past couple years. a bit of candied ginger and some spruce, everything blends fairly well it's hard to distinguish.
thin mouthfeel with bit of a weak body as well. has a herbally, chicory/coffee bitterness and is a bit drying. would have liked some more body to it.
This is I have to say the most "drinkable" so far but I think last years was a little better, gotta do a small vertical though.

 579 characters

Photo of jrob21
3.5/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of imperialking
3.5/5  rDev -12.9%

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Our Special Ale 2004 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.02 out of 5 with 214 ratings
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