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

BA SCORE
86
very good
277 Ratings
Our Special Ale 2005 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2005 (Anchor Christmas Ale)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States
anchorbrewing.com

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.

BEER STATS
Ratings:
277
Reviews:
240
Avg:
3.84
pDev:
12.5%
 
 
Wants:
1
Gots:
8
For Trade:
0
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 277 |  Reviews: 240
Photo of beertunes
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip glass. Poured a bright deep amber color with a light tan head that left more sticky lacing than expected for a 3 year old. A lovely aroma that has a solid but not sweet malt foundation topped with just enough spice and hops. The taste is just wonderful. The time has let all the flavors meld together, while keeping their personalities visible. Nicely drinkable, I could have 3 or 4 of these in a row. I feel this beer is probably at or near peak. Much more time and the flavors may start to lose their independence. Highly recommended.

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Photo of champ103
4.32/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark ruby brown color. A two finger beige head forms and leaves some sticky lace.
S: Of rich, dark roasted malt. A dark roasted coffee flavor and chocolate. Some dark fruits. A hint of spices and peppermint. Three years has been great to this beer.
T: This has a wonderful roasted malt, chocolate and coffee flavor. A light twang of hops. Spice, peppermint, and pine flavors are very light. Very porter like IMO.
M/D A medium to full body. A light crisp snap of carbonation, and a good creaminess follows. This is easy and smooth to put away.

I had this recently at the Gingerman in Houston. They had a vertical of the 05, 07, and 08 Our Special Ale's. This is without a bought the best of the three. The spicy peppermint flavor has really taken a back seat here. Instead of being up front and center, it is a nice compliment to the other roasted malt flavors.

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Photo of tmoneyba
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a black color with a huge frothy light brown head that lasted with excellent lacing. Good complex sweet spicy aroma. Medium body with a sticky texture. Good bittersweet spicy flavor with a medium commplex bittersweet finish of average duration.

Complex good brew.

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Photo of nick76
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was looking forward to this one and I was not disappointed. The aroma has spruce, lemon, rosemary, nutmeg, licorice, and toasted malt. The appearance is dark red brown (almost black) with a small foamy head. The flavor is as complex as the aroma. The caramel malt is mixed well with fruit, licorice, pine, spices, and a pepper like finish with a hint of coffee. A great beer.

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Photo of jujubeast6000
3.28/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed 12/19/2005 (12oz bottle):

Pours a very dark black-brown color, large head, tan in color, good lacing around the edges. Roasted aroma with malts, chocolate, flowers, slight hops. Flavor of malts, sweet, light alcohol, spices, slight bitterness, good carbonation, slightly tannic. Cellaring might do this one good.

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Photo of gkatsoris
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Very, very black; no light shines thru. The head is beautiful. Thick, very light tan head. The head lasted for about 3 - 4 minutes.

S: Delicious. Cherries, cinnamon, allspice, clove. Fresh bread. And raisins. This smells so yummy.

D: Very malty. Lots of bread. And it finishes with spices (clove, cinnamon) and coffee. This is pretty complex comparing it to the aroma. I tasted the cherries and raisins way way after.

M: Very thick and chewy. Little carbonation. Very nice.

D: Very nice.

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Photo of rye726
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice rich chocolate color with a tan head. The nose has some bready candy malts with a collection of christmas spices. Taste was a little bland for the style and compared to other vintages. The body is smooth and a little fizzy, but drinks well. A good beer but this year was more similar to a dark english mild in my opinion.

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Photo of mnapier
4.32/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed, 01132008. Service Temperature 40 degrees. Service Glassware, 12 ounce Tulip.

Appearance is on the level of dark and with little or no light throughout. The foamy head is salt and pepper with a modest fine hair of lace left behind. The aroma, a little bit of oak with some brown sugar, mild cinnamon, and mild cloves, waft across my nose. As I sip the dark fluid across my tongue, I detect mild spices; such as cinnamon, all spice; along with some biscuit & a medium hop back end.
Overall mouthfeel still remains heavy, and my feeling is that this has at least another year in it. Cheers

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.47/5  rDev +16.4%
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 tpd975
1.84/5  rDev -52.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a nice dark cola color with very little head.

S: Very pungent aromas. Smoke and pine right out front. A touch of vanilla along with cherry and apple. Over ripe raisons really linger with touches of rum. Unique aromas but a little too much for me.

T: Pretty complex. Dark fruits kissed with brandy and gin. Vanilla and a very deep dark malty taste.

M: Medium bodied and smooth.

D: Not really. Not a favorite of mine

Just too much going on here. I can't get past the aroma on this one. It is not pleasing as I raise it to the mouth. The taste is just a mix of several things that don't really mesh together. Not one I will revisit.

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Photo of Gehrig
4.53/5  rDev +18%
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 pmcadamis
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

This is my first review under the new scoring system (which I don't like), and I'm curious to see what letter grade this gets when I finish my review.

A - A massive three finger head of milk-chocolate colored foam rises above a black brew that shows some dark brown highlights. The creamy, dense head shows outstanding retention, and leaves a copious amount of lace on the glass.

S - From far away, I smell bourbon and oak. Putting my nose to the glass, I pick up more chocolate and thick honey, but the bourbon is still there too. I also smell some cedar chip woodiness and some dark bakery stuff....like dark bran muffins. There are some marshmallow notes there too. Outstandingly complex.

T - Tangy mesquite smoke hits me right of the bat, and is surprising given the more sweet and rounded nose. The flavor is definitely rustic and woodsy with loads of cedar and oak in addition to some salty soy sauce and charred hot dog flavors. This is one complex brew indeed! I'm picking up a shitload of crazy flavors that just keep developing with each sip.

M - Full bodied and lushly carbonated with a very dry and woody finish that feels like putting wood chips in my mouth. Despite the dryness, there is a very oily texture to this beer...almost waxy.

D - While this is very complex and intriguing, I don't think this has any real session potential. This is a damn fine brew, but it's too odd to be very drinkable.

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Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A two year old sample...

An opaque brown with a creamy tan head. Sheeting lace on the glass. A quite piney smell under which is the aroma of rich roasty malt

The flavor is of roasty malt and lots of piney bitterness. Lightly sticky in the mouth with that piney taste all over the finish.
Lots more pine taste and a lot less spice than the 2006 recipe. Good stuff.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
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 PorterLambic
3.87/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A very dark brown with a rust orange at the edges. Nice medium tan head. Drops to 1/2" layer within 3 minutes leaving some light lace.
Smell is roasted/toasted malt, smoke, peat with just a whiff of alcohol.
Taste is the same with a touch of slightly burnt malt in the aftertaste.
Medium body, light effervescence. Slightly watery finish, smooth.
A very good beer overall.

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Photo of NClifestyle
4.01/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

decided to pop one of these tonight, it's pouring down rain, getting chilly, just felt right.
anyway, the cap seemed to come off waay too easily, but after a solid pour, all things looked wonderful. huge tan head of cream on top and medium bubbled below. drops to a dusting after a bit, but great spiderweb lace on the glass. color is cloudy and nearly black unless held to the light, which reveals purple highlights.
smell is just like i remember from two years ago, but maybe just a tad bit less. hints of tree bark, the outdoors in december, a little sweet smoked meat, great stuff.
taste seems less malty, but not really hoppy. spicy and herbal, very hard to place, if pine or spruce tastes like this, i'm all for it.
mouthfeel is medium with some carbonation, but a creamy glide as well. finish is sharp and biting. if it were colder, and i had a few cases, i'd have more of these.

cheers...

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Photo of Floydster
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle from the Stuffed Sandwich in San Gabriel

Pour was a real dark brown with not much carbonation or head

Tasted like there was hints of tobacco and sugar cane, very dry for a winter beer of this nature, but the taste stuck with me for a long time

Could drink a good amount of these compared to other winter beers

All of these Anchor XMas brews have been pretty good

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.42/5  rDev +15.1%
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 BuckeyeNation
4/5  rDev +4.2%
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 Hammarby
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown with a ruby edge, cloudy. One finger of tan, somewhat foamy head (with some big bubbles).
S. Fudge, caramel, dark berries, dried fruits, figs.
T: Bitterness, charcoal, figs, caramel. Aftertaste of bitterness and figs.
M: Below medium body, low carboration, almost no sweetness, as the sweet tones are balanced out by the strong presence of bitterness.
D: Good.

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Photo of objectivemonkey
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Into a pint glass, pours a dark black, a tan head with lasting power, some nice lacing. Aroma is a good dose of chocolate and espresso with warming alcohol and sugars and spices. Taste is delicious, a good and complex bunch of goodness, syrupy malts and spices and.. well, its just good. Mouth is creamy, but thinner than I'd have liked. I just had a four year old OSA a while ago, and I think perhaps this would have done a bit better with some age under it to develop more.

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Photo of Erdinger2003
3.31/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

The head is nice and big with thickness and a pretty hard to move lacing. The smell is perfume-like with flowery and sweet tones. It always reminds me of Christmas cookies. Taste is very dry and light with a little less flavor than when I had it over a year ago. Mouthfeel is very dry and a little harsh. Overall it was nice to try, but I wouldn't want to have it very much...occasionally.

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Photo of Cresant
3.66/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured this 12 oz. brown bottle into a nonic. I purchased this cellared bottle from The Keg Liquors in Clarksville, IN. Body was nearly opaque. When I sat my beer next to my friend's glass of Coke they looked nearly indentical in color and highlights. The head was two finger or more and was made of fine foam. A heavy ring of foam remained throughout the drink.

Smell was slightly metallic. Floral hops (noble-like pilsner quality). Pleasant.

Taste was tart and porter-like. Toasty malts and zingy hops. Spicy. Coffee-grounds hints. Interesting and subtle.

Mouthfeel was smooth and creamy yet medium to thin in body. I enjoyed this one. Thanks Todd.

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Photo of lehows
4.65/5  rDev +21.1%
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 jj21
2.68/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I was looking forward to this one since purchasing it last winter as a closeout. I drank one right away (I should have reviewed it looking back) and it was great. Nice and hoppy. Since this is supposed to age well, I thought, why not. Let me tell you why not.

Pours Dark brown with decent carbonation and a strange colored head- almost a hint of green(?) to it. Aroma was way too much juniper. I couldn't figure out what I hated about it until reading a few reviews after tasting and then it hit me. That's all I could smell and it was hard to get anything else but there were the usual dark fruits and other spices. The flavor didn't offer much more than the aroma. Too much juniper on the nose. The mouthfeel was nice though. Lighter than expected and lively carbonation. All-in-all, a dissapointment. Next time, I'll drink them fresh. Live and learn.

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Our Special Ale 2005 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
3.84 out of 5 based on 277 ratings.
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