Our Special Ale 2005 (Anchor Christmas Ale) | Anchor Brewing Company

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Our Special Ale 2005 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2005 (Anchor Christmas Ale)
Very Good
277 Ratings
Our Special Ale 2005 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2005 (Anchor Christmas Ale)

Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by maxpower on 11-04-2005

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 277 |  Reviews: 240
Photo of neonbrown82
4.72/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm a virgin of the Anchor OSA this year. Just purchased a magnum, however. I'm quite enjoying it, but it's not something I would drink often were it always available.

Pours to a dark brown with ruby highlights and a nice creamy off-white head. Can't see any carbonation through the dark liquid. Leaves a spotty lacing.

The smell is great. If the sensation of an orgasm could be translated into an aroma, this would be it. Smells like pine, bubblegum, and cotton candy, along with a bit of cinamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, and molasses. I could bury my nose in this all night, but I've got some drinking to do if I'm going to finish this magnum.

The taste is quite good as well. Has a sweet grainy flavor up front that flows seamlessly into a brown sugar and piney bubblegum flavor. The spices hit in the finish. Only a little bit of molasses in the flavor. I'm loving this beer so far.

The mouthfeel is a bit on the thin side, but I can't complain. Doesn't leave much of an aftertaste other than the pine and spices, but I still can't complain. I love this beer, and I will drink more of it during the season. I'll probably have to buy a case before long.

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Photo of lehows
4.65/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a near opaque amber color with a thin tan head that rises near the end of the pour. Wonderful and complex nose of roasted malt, chocolate, and fruit. Wow...big flavors of roasted malt, chocolate powder, raisins, alcohol soaked fruit, and spice. Just an awesome mouthfeel with a fine carbonation. Drinkabiltity is incredibly high considering all the flavors here. This is my new favorite brew for Christmas time, hands down. I wonder what this tasted like last year when it was fresh because it seems to have aged incredibly well. I also have some 2006 that I can't wait to compare to. Try this if you find it!

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Photo of DogFood11
4.6/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter it forms a reddish/tan head that is silky smooth and leaves sporadic lacing on the way down. dark dark brown/black mix of color. Looks like a meal in a bottle.

smell is spicey and floral with some dark fruity backbone. truly a spectacle and one of the most complex smelling beers I've ever sampled.

Super fine carbonation hits the palate then the explosion hits. All the dark goodness of mollasses, chocolate, raisin, hit you up front then the spices take charge, I mostly get cinnamon, ginger and cloves but its beautifully balanced angainst this dark winter warmer. A bit of citrus at the end cleans things up and the mouthfeel is light for such a dark beer. Truly a spectacle that must be sampled at the very least.

This is nightcapper material. I can't think of too many beers that I would be able to give a fair shake after consuming this. Its pallate friendly but its so complex that anything after this would be a challenge.

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Photo of Drew966
4.6/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a deep, dark brown with a thick fluffy tan head from a twelve ounce brown bottle. I dig the tree labels (I might even have to get me a copy of the poster they sell that pictures all of them over the years). Aroma is of malt and spice. I really like the 2005 version, it's quite tasty. Nice, creamy mouthfeel. I had to search out a case of this, it's not too easy to find where I'm at, it was well worth it, and I imagine I'll do the same come next year. Highly recommended.

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Photo of scruffwhor
4.57/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- excellent dark red cabbage tint. A slight blood red color that makes me think of Irish red ales.

Smell- Unexpected bouquet of creamy malt, vanilla and cookis and cream aromas.

Taste- Very unexpected flavor from this beer. Heavy on the vanilla, but I loved it. Vanilla backbone is well fused with malt and milky essence in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel- A little sour at the end but as a whole, perfect for a darker ale.

Drinkability- I coud drink a sixer of thiese if the family wasn't over right now. Very easy to enjoy and not feel boged down for desert after a big Thanksgiving meal.

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Photo of Gehrig
4.53/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Yet another tasty version of Anchor's OSA, 2005 does not disappoint. I've had this cellaring for a few weeks and decided to rest my sore back with a good Winter Warmer. This does not disappoint. The appearance is first-rate, with two fingers of dark mocha froth resting atop a black body with brownish tint. The smell is typically curious--some roasted caramel and honey, mixed with cedar and a good deal of fruit. I detect grape, orange, and cherry. The taste is no less impressive, with the fruit most pronounced, but the roasted bite isn't far behind.

This is eminently drinkable, and should serve me well as I finish it by the fireplace taking about animals with my son. Cheers!

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.52/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Off comes the cap, and the brew starts bubbling up, but not out...better get into the glass (a St. Bernardus chalice seems best) and get it going!

Ebon hued, with a crown of toasted tan, a creamy espresso-tinted 1/4" ring.

Sweet nose, vanilla and oak, white chocolate, nuts, maple, pepper, and more...probably...gets deeper as we go in...and I rather like it.

Creamy mouthfeel, soft, yet spicy. Warm, easy on the palate, and luxurious. Taste is a mix of vanilla and tree bark, with special secret spices. Syrupy feel kicks in and dominates. Feels breadier, heartier the more we sip. Spice and syrup, vanilla and oak, oh, my...or as we say in Minnesota, "that's different."

Might be one of the tamer OSA's of my recent memory, but I still like it lots. They've yet to disappoint me, year after year. Once again, a unique and highly satisfying winter warmer. Thanks again, Anchor!

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Photo of ThinkRedEsq
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%

Photo of mbs11
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%

Photo of Gusler
4.48/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Release 2005
Upon its extraction from the 12-ounce stubby brown bottle, the beer sets in the glass jet-black with a creamy tan head that is mountainous in size as it’s slowly fades to nothingness, the lace forms a thick blanket to obscure the glass. Nose is sweet with hints of Oak, Cherries, maple syrup, quite a treat for the old schnozzle, start is lightly sweet, the grain presence delightful, top is light to medium in its feel. Finish is delectable in its acidity, the hops pleasingly spicy, the aftertaste dry and long lasting, a fine drinking beer that does improve with a little age.

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Photo of arguemaniac
4.47/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque black though I can see a deep copper color in the highlights. The rocky, creamy head has a light brown color and leaves a sprawling lace. The aroma is very appetizing and is mostly composed of gingerbread but also includes caramel and some roastiness. The wonderfully complex palate features gingerbread, molasses, cinnamon (along with various other similar spices that I can’t specifically pick out), vanilla, chocolate and a bitter, coffee roastiness, especially in the finish. The medium-bodied mouthfeel is complemented by mild carbonation.

Great gingerbread flavor, roastiness, and a variety of spices make this THE perfect Holiday brew. But that aside, it’s really just a delicious beer. All the BA’s seem unusually critical of this year’s version and I can’t see why; admittedly, this is only the second year I’ve had the pleasure of sampling this holiday treat, but even I feel confident saying this beer is nothing short of excellent. Anyway, make sure to put this one under the tree for someone special! In other words, highly recommended.

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Photo of putnam
4.47/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown. Aromas of chicory and Postum lead to strawberry, baked raspberry jam and grapey, dark red wine. Gingerbread underlies hand picked, juicy sweet strawberries. Angry, charred bitterness snaps at the delicate fruitiness. Purple grapes upon grapes: Black Muscat, Pineau d'Aunis, Gamay, Concord, etc. Irrationally scented. Deeply sour, like burnt, freshly milled pine timbers. Ripe, sweet perfumes of stones, marsh and moss. Unyielding, dry and shriveled, sour finish beckons renewal. Drink this beer warm, like red wine! Grape jam flavors. Grapey. Irresistible.

I went crazy for the 2004 edition because it combined two familiar forms: west coast rusticity and abbey dubbel fruitiness. This beer is great because it is *unlike* anything anywhere. It is the essence of beer that should not be judged too quickly. It was a battle at first (because of its uniqeness), then the light shone. Then I drank it with ham stew. Amazing!

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.47/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this beer twice over the last couple of months. The first time in Chicago, the second time in Atlanta compliments of Ding- thanks so much for the opportunity! In a vertical tasting of the 2003-2007, I thought the 2004 was the best,but in a different tasting of the 2004-2007 I liked the 2005 best. Oh well,cellaring can be fickle.In any case this review is based on my first tasting in Chicago, where this year was the winner.

Pours dark brown with a nice caramel tinged head that settles to a thin cap. Aromas of spice and caramel, gingerbread, and that beautiful spruce note that I love so much. Tastes nicely of spruce as well as mint, Moravian spice cookies, and orange peel. Mouthfeel is soft and a little sweet, with a slight bite of tannins on the finish. What a great beer!

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Photo of timtheenchanta
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Half a shade from black. Very very dark brown with slim edges of red shining through. Aggressive pour leaves a slightly disappointing one finger head but the thick sticky lacing makes up for it. Huge spicy nose! Freshly baked gingerbread cookies and cinnamon. Slight chocolatey malt smell in the back. The first thing I notice is how smooth and creamy this brew is. Wow. This feels heavenly on the mouth. Little bit of a chocolate malt taste to this one with faint hidden spices. This has to be one of the sweetest alcohol tastes I've ever experienced. It's almost fruity. The palate is mostly spice. Thirty-one thanks go out to hero27 for this wonderful brew.

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Photo of jaluria
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nearly black in color with a thick, light brown-colored head that stands the test of time. The viscosity of this beer seems to be considerable higher than most winter warmers. Aromas of ginger, maple syrup, candy, and various spices come out very nicely. The taste is just incredible with an enormous amount of sweetness that incredibly does not overpower the palate. The various spices blend seamlessly as the beer warms generating little perturbations in taste. This is definitely a rich and complex beer with great flavors and character. The aftertaste consists of a lingering sweetness that tends towards dryness. The drinkability is good, but not great because this beer is so intense in flavor and rich I wouldn't be able to handle more than 2 of these, but how enjoyable those 2 would be!

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Photo of BigRedN
4.43/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pours from the 12 oz stubby bottle (I have always liked Anchor's bottles) into my pint glass a dark brown, near black color. Dark ruby can be seen when the glass is held directly in front of the light. My pour yielded a light brown head, not quite 1/2 inch (I poured hard to try to really induce the aromas). Head settled to a nice covering on top of the liquid with a ring around the glass. Lacing is somewhat disappointing, just some clining patches and stringers, no sheeting.

Smell: This one seems more malty that the previous two years that I have had. Robust roasted malt, scent of burnt chocolat and coffee, a little nutty, also something sweet there as well. Piney hops are absent, any hop aromas would be described as floral and a little spicy.

Taste: Again, to me this is angled more to the malt than hops, which I like. Roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, nuts. Hop bitterness shows up at the end, a little weaker than I was expecting. IMO this is like a good stout or porter.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, crisp clean finish, flavors do not linger. This also seems to be somewhat low in alcohol content as well, or else it is well hidden because I am not detecting a "burn" or warming sensation.

Drinkability: For me this one is very drinkable beer, but then again it is in a style I like, malty, (esp. roasted malts). I could definitely sit back and consume a few of these by the fire, as it snows outside, knowing I had nowhere to go and nothing to do and slowly drift away.

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Photo of cracgor
4.43/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A nice looking beer. Very dark brown with a flimsy tan head. Little bits of head stick to the glass. Smells really great. Strong chocolatey malts and a touch of sourness but a surprising spice in it. Sort of reminds me of Gingerbread cookies. I only wish I could taste it more in the flavor. The flavor is more straightforward, a nice chocolatey malt. The gingerbread flavor comes out in the back and as it warms up. Medium body. A little astringent. And just enough warmth to feel it in my stomach. This is very good. I enjoy drinking it very much. Hope to save a couple to try it out with age:-D

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Photo of ggaughan
4.42/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this bottle of 2005 OSA as Cooper's in Scranton the day after thanksgiving. What a treat with lunch. The OSA pours a nice dark brown color with no real head. It has nice spice notes, nutmeg and/or cinnamon. The taste is nice and malty taste yet sweet. This is definitely a beer that you can drink a few of as the dark taste is deceiving. Based on all the positive reviews of prior vintages of OSA, I play on buying more of this to cellar and enjoy in the future as well.

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Photo of dblinkhorn
4.42/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Drank this beer the same night of review, so it's nearly one year aged (in dark refrigeration the whole time).

Appearance - Has a three finger dark tan head that is very creamy. . It has supremely good lacing all the way down. The beer is a reddish brown color that is very clear, with only slight haze.

Smell - Smells like the Christmas season. There are notes of clove, nutmeg, and pine (juniper ?) on the nose. Molasses and some caramel also play a small role in the aroma. The malt character is rich and toasted, very doughy. Some semi-crisp hops character that has a hint of citrus to it. Little alcohol presence in the smell.

Taste - Rich, toasted, bready malt mixed with some wet and oily bitterness from the hops. Again some juniper flavor is there, along with clove, but it is more in the background than it was in the smell. A nice mix of sweet and sourness is also present. A strong influx of pine comes in just before the finish. It has a slightly earthy and oily hops finish to it, and becomes a bit bitter in the aftertaste. What an excellent and unique taste.

Mouthfeel - Medium- to full-bodied with a very smooth texture. Medium and refreshing carbonation. There is no bite at all, but the carbonation is still of decent intensity.

Drinkability - Has a very winter season feel to this brew. Probably the best winter brew I've had, since it truly tastes like the season. Nothing is overpowering or undesirable about this beer. Good drinkability.

What a wondeful winter ale. This thing really tastes like a Christmas beer. I love the piney/juniper taste and smell to this beer. Also, the toasted malt character reminds you of Christmas dinner. Highly recommended!

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.42/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle, 2005 edition,

A: Dark brown, with a thick, white head.

S: Lots of fragrant pine and spruce.

T: Old feel, with juniper and pine, sweet spruce, cherries, cranberries, and Christmas-style spices - cinnamon and nutmeg.

M: Smooth, oily, resiny, with a fair bit of oxidation.

D: A great aged beer, the 2005 OSA has held up well, a great treat for me.

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Photo of JudgeRoughneck
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

When reviewing and this beer, I think the label counts for something, as the brewery makes a fuss about changing it each year. This year's is an oak tree. Its very nice looking but not all that festive. The beer is pitch black in color. It gives maybe two fingers of rich tan head that quickly become a thin layer of foam with very generous lacing. The nose is chocolate all the way.

In contrast to last year's brew, which had quite the boquet of spices, this is a more stripped down beer. The label calls it "earthy", and I would have to agree. The beer is quite full-bodied but has a little carbination that cuts through. The mouthfeel is definately thick but I don't think thats a bad thing.

The base is definatley a generous chocolate with what I detect to be a strong licorice/ anise that blends beautifully with the citrusy hops in the finish. I catch the occasionaly berry note and the aftertase is a lovely dark chocolate.

This beer is a winner year after year. Drink and be merry.

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Photo of granger10
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This years version pours a deep dark nearly black color with a larger sized tan head. Moderate lacing.

Aroma is chocolatey with ripe dark fruits. Some bready notes along with pine and spice contribute as well.

Taste has more of a molasses like sweetness to it. Ginger is prevalent but no spices are overbearing like last years. Almost a gingerbread taste in the body. Anise is there but in the background, where it should be. A bit of pine towards the finish but it ends with more of a fruity note.

Mouthfeel is nice and creamy, reminds me of some baltic porters. Much less acidic and harsh than what I thought it would be.

A very drinkable beer but one I would save for only the holidays to make it more special.

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Photo of czechsaaz
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very spicey aroma. Licorice maybe this year? Similar to past OSA in aroma. Not terribly hoppy, just a hint, some darker malt character and lots of spicey and yeasty esters. Very nice.

Dark brown, almost black, thick tan head. Does let some light through when held up and appears clear but it's dark enough to not really matter.

Rich and toasty, a generous amount of darker malts in there. Also has that slightly acidic flavor that comes from roast malts (think dry stout). I get licorice again in the spicing (Anchor never reveals the spicing from year to year). Fairly subdued spicing. Looking at my notes from the past few years, this was highly spiced (including huge spruce some years.) This is much more subtle. Sweet malty aftertaste, brown malt or mild malt flavor mostly.

A little light on the body but the rich flavor makes it seem pretty satisfying. Carbonation level is medium.

Very nice offering this year. It has enough of what I love about OSA but is a lot more tame than previous years. I could probably get the misses to drink this which I haven't been able to do before. (She comlains that it's too spicy) Probably not an ager like some other years versions but I'll try it anyway.

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Photo of PBRstreetgang
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark mahogany with clear ruby highlights. Brown sugar in color and extra creamy, the generous two finger head holds well and leaves spectacular lacing that coats the glass. Molasses and ginger root in the nose, with roasted barley, vanilla, and faint pine hops becoming more evident as it warms. Rich roasted coffee notes, with a hint of black patent. The malty flavor is matched by equally strong spices flavor like cinnamon and ginger. Dry american hop aftertaste with spices holding on and becoming very apparent in the finish. Medium-full body and lively carbonation give the mouthfeel a crisp character and break up the residual finish. No doubt the best winter seasonal on the market.

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Photo of Hibernator
4.36/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Anchor Our Special Ale (2005)
5.8% ABV
12 oz brown bottle
Freshness date on the back label that reads 5OU
Served in a 16 oz Allagash chalice glass

Pours a dark brown color with light brown highlights. Beautiful fluffy khaki colored head on top. Patterns of lacings are scattered all over the sides of the glass.

Malty nose with obvious whiffs of spices and sugars.

Creamy mouthfeel with an earthy, malty backbone. Flavors of caramel, maple syrup, milk chocolate, nutmeg, spices, and cinnamon. Slight piney hop finish, but the sweetness of the malt and distinctiveness of the spices is what leaves your palate in pure enjoyment. This beer is so complex and flavorful. Every sip lends itself to new flavors. The drinkability level with this beer is off the charts. I didn't realize it until I was two deep in a short amount of time and ready for another. It's a very unique and tasty beer.

The Anchor Our Special Ale is one of those beers that I truly get excited about when I see on the shelves for the season. It's 11/04/05 and this beer is already out in stores..great news. Another extremely well crafted winter seasonal ale from Anchor.

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Our Special Ale 2005 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.85 out of 5 with 277 ratings
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