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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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 277 |  Reviews: 240
Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of t0rin0
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of BEERchitect
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nutmeeeg! Here a nutmeg, there a nutmeg, everywhere a nutmeg, nutmeg. The aroma is all nutmeg. ...with a touch of ginger, cinnemon, alspice, bready, and maple syrup thrown in to lessen the nutmeg aroma. Looks brownish amber and mostly clear, except for chunks of nutmeg floating arround in it. Tasted...you got it, like nutmeg with just enough beer to keep the nutmeg dust down. Barley flavor reminescent of maple syrup without the cloying or thickening. Caramel and vanilla is amped up with nutmeg flavored nutmeg and ginger....see aroma. An overcarbonated body with an alcoholic gets a bit harsh. Alcohol with the spiciness makes for a dry beer. Good beer. I always look forward to the Christmas experiments from Anchor Steam.

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Photo of brentk56
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a dark dark brown body with a tan head that leaves splasy lacing all over the place

Smell: Gingerbread, dark chocolate, prunes and nutmeg

Taste: Starts out with a dark fruity, spicy (ginger and nutmeg) compote; mid-palate, some bitterness kicks in along with a molasses bent; the overall effect is a subtle blend of dark chocolate and licorice

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: This is a great vintage year for Anchor; it really comes together for me

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

Poured into Bruery snifter glass.

Pours 1/2 finger of light tan head. Fades down to a thin layer. Leaves slightly splattered lace. Color is a dark ruby hued dark chocolate.

Aroma: Lots of spice notes, caramel, malt, molasses, chocolate, nutmeg, and even some pumpkin.

Taste: More spices, big caramel and molasses flavors. This beer has a big malty taste to it; not a lot of hops. Lots of cocoa and raspberries. Pretty solid.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy, and legit. Medium bodied with a nice amount of carbonation. Ends slightly dry and spiced.

Overall, a pretty solid beer. It definitely help up for being over 4 years old. I am glad I got to try this one. Pretty drinkable as well.

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Photo of Gagnonsux
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2005 is a deep, dark brown with a large beige head. The aroma has a rich sweetness with smells reminiscent of molasses and toffee. A cinnamon spice smell also has a strong presence. The taste consists of dark malt flavor infused with cinnamon. Molasses and chocolate flavors are most prevalent. A coffee-like roastiness comes in towards the middle and provides an enjoyable, roasty finish. A touch of piney hop flavor also pops up near the end of a sip. Overall, this is a great spiced beer with only one big downside: a thin mouthfeel. One of the better winter seasonals I've sampled this year.

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Photo of oberon
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I always like many others look eagerly for this beer during the holiday season,poured a deep brown with e real deep red hue with a one finger almond colored head that settles nicely into a creamy top.Aromas of vanilla bean and molasses with an underlying roasted nut,wow the complexities and the boldness vanilla and roasted nuts up front with a touch of woodiness with a nice finish almost like gingerbread in the aftertaste wich is different but very nice.A nice smooth body feel but can get heavy after awhile,another winner this year Iam gonna hold one or two for awhile to see if they mello after a bit.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Acquired via trade from Solomon420, so a big “Thank you” goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep brown color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of vanilla, spices, caramelized malts and some dark fruit.

T: The taste is smoky and malty, with strong flavors of caramel, spices, vanilla and dark fruits. There’s a decent hops presence especially considering the style and the fact that this beer is 2 years old. The after-taste is sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium-to-heavy body, medium carbonation, finish is cleaner than I expected.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style, unfortunately I didn’t try this beer when it was released so I’m not able to draw a comparison, but it seems to me that aging has done this beer some good. Overall, I liked it a little better the 2006 release which I had fresh.

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Photo of smcolw
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very dark brown (nearly black) with a solid, thick three-finger. It leaves excellent lace.

Dark sweet malts in this aroma--less spruce as in other years. Some cream smells.

Thinner body than in past years, but the taste is still fulfilling. Lots of chocolate malt and surprisingly noticable hop, particularly in the aftertaste where a coffee taste also makes an appearance.

Here's a great beer that does not live up to past years greatness. Still it remains my favorite seasonal.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.29/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This poured with a huge, deep-tan/light-brown head above a very dark colored liquid that was deep-brown with garnet undertones. The nose was spicy, like a mix of pine and nutmeg. Yow! The mouthfeel was thick and full, with a cinnamon-like spiciness on the tongue. As it warmed, it took on a chocolaty-fudgy aspect both in taste and mouthfeel. It left behind one of the most really sticky Belgian laces that I have seen in a long time.

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Photo of russpowell
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a cinamon/red hue with great beading and vigorousoff white head that held up nicely with persistent lacing.

Smell: Cinamon and and ainiseed smeel realy pops out at you.

Taste: Edgy piney bitterness is subdued by molasses and cinamon flavors

MF: Felt a bit thin, bit carbonation level was good and fairly balanced

Another good companion to the gingerbread, but nut sure I could do more than 2 a session. Last years seemed like there was little bit more spectrum spread on flavor varieties. But I'd buy this again none the less

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

Roasted hazelnut, not quite opaque, with abundant black cherry highlights. The caramel nougat colored cap is the first clue that this is quality beer. Yeah, like I wasn't aware of that already. It's whipped cream sticky, looks gorgeous as it delflates and is beginning to deposit attactive sheets of lace-like lace.

I have no hope of remembering what the various OSAs smell like from year to year, but this one seems especially aromatic. Maybe that's because I'm drinking them fresher and fresher. If memory serves, this iteration is less evergreen and juniper-like, more dark malty and more brown sugary.

Those impressions hold on the palate, as I thought they might. I've always suspected that I'd like this winter warmer better if I drank it sooner after bottling. Since I didn't come across the versions from '98-02 until several years after their release, I had no choice but to drink them with a few Christmases under their belts. I'll be sure to remember not to age them from here on out.

The flavor profile consists of gently roasted malt, dark chocolate, brown sugar, sticky dates and a fir tree contribution (Quercus agrifolia is featured on the label) that, again, seems less aggressive than other years. I imagine there are only so many variations the brewers can use and keep the same basic theme, but it seems as though they've managed to distinguish this '05 from all the others.

There aren't too many good, sessionable winter warmers being brewed. By virtue of its relatively light, yet still incredibly smooth and acceptably expansive mouthfeel, this version qualifies without question. Having said that, I can't be the only one who would like to see an 8.5%, big-bodied version of Our Special Ale.

I will never be an adoring fan of this seasonal release, but I'm learning that younger is better. In spite of what just about everyone says, I don't think it holds up over time; especially the mouthfeel. I think I'll start picking up sixers instead of singles. Good job Anchor.

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Photo of Jason
4.17/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle with a coded freshness date.

A- Raw black leather color, entrenched tan lace leaves a trail all the way down the glass.

S- Chocolate covered blood orange wedges, candied fruit, X-mas pudding and molasses cookies all come to mind.

T&M- Smooth and crisp, slightly refreshing carbonation bounces off of the medium body. Layers of dry malt from bready to toasted grain to dark chocolate. Mild twang of fruitiness, balanced hop bitterness with a thin layer of spice in the dry finish.

D- Interesting enough to keep me around for a session and complex enough for me to pair with a nice cloved ham.

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Photo of rab53
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of TMoney2591
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

The Seventh Day of Beermas... It pours a murky black-brown topped by a half-finger of dirty ecru foam. The nose comprises raisins, red grapes, brown sugar, maple syrup, nutmeg, and slightly musty cocoa. The taste is dominated by a somewhat odd meatloaf sorta combination of gingerbread and pumpernickel, which is backed up by raisins, figs, red grapes, and the syrup from a can of mandarin oranges. As odd as it all sounds together, it wasn't quite as bad as the previous vintages have been. The body is a hefty-ish medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a kinda thick feel. Overall, another step in the right direction, though the spices come across a tad strangely. I'm now actually looking forward to the next few years.

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Photo of Billolick
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A sure sign that it's winter and the "Holidaze" are upon us is the first spotting and sampling of this fine brew. Twist off cap, is that a first for the OSA line? Pours dark slightly murky mahogony, tan head and leaves a bunch of sticky lacing. Nose is malty with some faint spruce. Malty, medium spiced brew. Chalky dryness late. Notes of caramel, vanilla, spruce, spice, nutmeg. Fine cold weather warmer, sipper.

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Photo of imperialking
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of JAHMUR
3/5  rDev -22.1%

Photo of GClarkage
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11/08/05- Purchased at Beverages and More in San Mateo, CA.

Presentation- 12oz bottles right off the truck. Can't get much fresher unless had at the brewery. Poured into my Pike Brewery pint glass.

Appearance- Porter-like dark color with some dark cherry highlights. 3/4 inch off white head with light lacing.

Smell- A bit more subdued scent than the 2003 or 2004. Lots of spices. Mainly some nutmeg and cinnimon. Some dark sweet malt as well.

Taste- Ahhh, this one is better than the '04 IMO. This one doesn't taste like you are bitting down on a spruce tree branch. There is a touch of spruce or tree like flavor though. Heavy on the sweet caramel and the cinnimon and nutmeg spices. Maple sryup sweetness as well.

Mouthfeel- Thicker and sweeter than expected. Pretty smooth and creamy.

Drinkability- This one is very drinkable. Maybe a tad too sweet, but overall worth the purchase to drink and age.

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Photo of Wasatch
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Anchor Steam glass. Black in color with a nice head, lots of lacing afterwards as well. Scents of sweet toffee/caramel, hops. The taste is sweet/malty with a nice touch/bite of toffee/caramel in the finish. Medium body with a great sweet after taste. Not much of a warmer, but very drinkable. Would make a very nice session drink around Christmas time.

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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 Gonzoillini
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of tempest
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep ruby red with tall tan head. Leaves some lacing and a little head all the way down.

Smells sweet and a little fruity. Taste is of rich esters with a little caramel. Some holiday spice in there and this makes a great winter beer. Unlike many of the previous Winter Warmer's I've had and also my favorite thus far.

Wow, very drinkable for such a dark, rich tasting beer. Give me another please and pass the turkey.

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Photo of brandoman63
4/5  rDev +3.9%

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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