Our Special Ale 2006 (Anchor Christmas Ale) | Anchor Brewing Company

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Our Special Ale 2006 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2006 (Anchor Christmas Ale)
Very Good
288 Ratings
Our Special Ale 2006 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2006 (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 TastyTaste on 10-28-2006

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 288 |  Reviews: 246
Reviews by CharlieMopps:
Photo of CharlieMopps
3.63/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Ruby mahogany or garnet color with a near 3 fingers of light, foamy head.

S: Sweet malt scent, reminiscent of a Belgian. Fruit and a detection of light hoppiness, as well as cinnamon and other spices.

T: Interesting combinations here, an initial malt taste of a stout with a slightly sugary introduction, blended into a gently hoppy finish that's sort of bitter, but not too much.

M: Very appropriate carbonation for the taste. Straddles the line between watery and thick, but still quite smooth.

D: Despite the complexity, there seems to be something lacking... maybe it all comes out too middle-of-the-road? Still, a decent offering. It can be enjoyed back to back as an drink that's easy on the palate and flavored differently, just don't expect anything stellar.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap last night on tap at Mammoser's in Hamburg,poured from the tap a deep dark brown with a thinner but well formed beige colored head.Alot of different subtle aromas going on I picked up some candied orange and definent brown sugar notes maybe a hint of winter spice (nutmeg,mace,clove) but it is rather light.Candied orange again came thru for me on the palate along a touch of roasted nuts and brown sugar as well with a lingering note of vanilla in the finish.Another solid OSA not a world beater but solid quaffable holiday season beer.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.55/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Review from Inaugural Issue of Beeradvocate Magazine.

Anchor Brewing Company's 32nd installment of their Christmas Ale is more than enough proof that even back in the '70s people were interested in drinking something different. This brand has been kicking around since before many of you were legal (that includes us), or even born. Every year there's a different tree on the label, and this year it's a European beech tree. The neck label gets all crunchy with copy about winter solstice and the earth.

Brew boasts a black, leather, stain color, with a reddish tint at the edges of the glass. Quite the foamer, it rises quick with an active carbonation, and leaves a decent lace in its wake. Superb ripe fi g, plump raisins, burnt sugar, spruce and mulled orange peel aroma. Smooth semi-full body, with a rolling crispness. Pungent mulling spices, spruce and herbal hops. The slight, burnt grain and mild molasses in the middle is covered with a juicy, fruity twang. Hermit cookies and candied fruit come to mind. Finishes slightly dry, with burnt sugar and orange peel fl avors. We're really interested to see how this one cellars, as many of the other vintages have lasted several years, if not decades, with good results.

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Photo of Doomcifer
3.99/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber color with a decent head that retains extremely well.

Smells very spicy, pumpkins, brown sugar, and other stuff I cant quite put my finger on. Smells like a bakery in December.

Tastes of biscuity malts but then is overrun by the spices. Cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, etc. Not my cup of tea but it is definitely good for what it is.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and perfect carbonation.

Drinkability is high. I'm actually not a fan of very spicy beers, pumpkin beers, etc but this is actually growing on me by the end of the pint. Not bad at all.

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Photo of Jason
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of Billolick
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I've enjoyed this since I was a teenager...I'm 46 years old...Pours the familiar dark, dark shade of burnt amber, great dark tan, long lasting head and copious lacing, herbal nose, loads of holiday spice, ginger, spruce, smoke and holiday cheer, seems a wee bit thin in the body department. Still tasty, robust flavor wise, the annual return of an old friend. Always to be tried, savored and enjoyed. A yearly must for any beer enjoyer from coast to coast.

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Photo of Byeast
4.54/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: poured very very dark brown , almost black and fairly opaque but with some nice ruby edges , an inch of lasting tan foam sits atop , lots of sliding lace.

Smell: The aroma on this beer is so inviting and sooo Christmas-y. Rich , gingerbread / spiced cake maltiness , some chocolate , hint of nutmeg , cinnamon, and allspice , and some evergreen/pine like scent.

Taste: Rich and rounded malt flavors of gingerbread , bit of cocoa / chocolate , allspice and cinnamon , some slight berry in a juniper / plum like way, roasty quality , a hint of nutmeg that reminds me of eggnog , lots of evergreen tree character throughout , some more spices and a resinous pine in the finish that bites a bit in the back.

Mouthfeel: the natural carbonation is moderate and soft , with a slightly prickly end.

Drinkability and notes: Anchor OSA is a must have in my book during the wonderful Christmas season. The flavors in this beer capture my idea of a holiday offering more completly than any other iv'e tried. Its so great that this beer is born anew each year , and the 32nd has not dissapointed.

Fagus Sylvatica or the European Beech ( pictured on this years label ) :

*Capable of reaching heights of up to 48 m tall and 3m trunk diameter
*Typical lifespan of 150 to 200 years, though sometimes up to 300 years
*Very popular ornamental tree in parks and large gardens, not only in Europe, but also in North America and New Zealand.

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Photo of jcdiflorio
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

served into a snifter from a 12oz. brown bottle with a twist-off cap.

Beautiful,deep clear mahogany,a tan head dissapating to a collar around the glass,a few tiny bubbles rising to the top.

Piney aroma seems a bit faint compaired to years past,carmelly/sprucy/hints of vanallia and butterscotch,complex and very inviting.

Earthyness to the taste also caramelly/spicy,hints of vanallia' a nice butterscotch flavor thruout A bit syrupy, a pleasing bittersweet finish,very enjoyable.

A medium body,very creamy,a bit more drinkable to me than years past. A holiday classic,must try holiday offering.

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Photo of BadBadger
3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This winter warmer from Anchor Brewing pours a deep dark color, with a nice cascading foamy tan head (the head does not last long). The smell is floral aroma bomb, with reminescent thoughts of evergreens coming to mind. The taste is nicely spiced, although I am at a loss to identify the spices. The mouthfeel is wet (this being the weak-point of this brew). This is certainly worthy of experimenting with if the opportunity presents, but not something I would recommend actively seeking out.

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Photo of kingjames1
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one has one year under its belt. The spices have dulled a bit, it seems, but it has also blended and become a bit more interesting. Chocolate, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper and cloves. Goes great with the filet mignon I'm enjoying right now :). The only issue I have with it is that it seems just a tad watery. I can't remember if it had this character before. Otherwise, great beer! A Christmas classic

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Photo of kpantz
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Executive Summary: A real nice, earthy ale that's accessible enough to break out for friends and family.

Appearance: Nearly opaque - ruby tones appear when held up to light. Coffee ice cream colored head, about a finger thick, hangs around tenaciously with a pretty good lacing to it.

Smell: Nutmeg, clove, ginger, molasses. A faint sweetness to it as well.

Taste: A brief onset of earthy, malty sweetness quickly backs down in deference to the spices in this brew. So many spices, actually, that it almost seems that a layer of grit or dust is left on your tongue. There is a lingering hop flavor/bitterness here as well, and that serves nicely to shut off the spice element.

Mouthfeel: A bit lighter and thinner than I would have expected for a winter warmer, really. Carbonation level is real nice and appropriate. See the note above about the perceived grimy feel on the tongue due to the spice presence.

Drinkability: Pretty damn drinkable for the holiday months (or if you're pining for Christmas while sitting in your air conditioning in the middle of the summer.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.72/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appears a deep ruddy mahogany tone and it forms a large tan head leave light layers of lacing around my snifter. Aroma contains a mild piney scent compared to last years...to me it comes of floral and slightly perfumey with sharp sweet fruit notes and mild caramel softness. Flavor has a weird mix of alcohol and tree bark that some how end's up just working more mild pine a bit unrefined but damn we know how this one ages...nice bitter finish definitely a flavor that sticks around on the palate with some evident alcohol coming through and a ripe fruit profile as well blended in with a beer that truly screams Xmas. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied even smooth carbonation coats the palate with a bit of lacquered bitterness. Drinkability is classic for sipping and celebrating with family and friends one of the most notable seasonals around.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.34/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

(Served in a tulip glass)

A- This beer has a dark opaque brown body with a mousey thick creamy head that last and lat. There are lots of tiny bubbles that only appear when they run into the side of the glass. The head last as it pulls away from the glass a bit.

S- This beer has a very clean smell with a faint hint of dark roasted malt or prunes and as it warms quite a bit the notes of brown sugar and alcohol come through.

T- This beer has a smooth soft dark malt flavor with some pot caramel notes. There is also a nougat taste with some dried fruit followed by a faint almost oatmeal and coffee hint. The slight tartness at the end of the malt flavors switches to a slight sweetness with a faint green herbal hop hint.

M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with a bit of alcohol heat at the finish.

D- This beer is pretty subtle in flavor with no real yeast characteristics or strong malt flavors to give any support. The alcohol was a bit strong but I don't think aging would help this beer any.

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Photo of Hammarby
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours with a fizz, almost soda like, which produces a kind of bubbly crown - as opposed to creamy - that dissapeares almost immediately. Dark brown color with a hint of ruby. Smell is, in my opinion, christmas like, with flavors of dried fruit alcohol and - tar. Swedes could possibly detect a bit of julmust. Taste a bit of supprise, but good. Again some wine-ish flavors (dried fruit and alcohol), which reminds me of my first encounter with an imperial stout, but not as rich. Some tar/smoke flavors, bitter and roasted. After taste dry with overtones of port and caramel. A very good beer, but not quite what I expected.

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Photo of skillerified
3.45/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Still settles with a fizz after a year of storage. Nearly black with hints of chocolatey brown around the edges. Head lifts to a half finger or so with a nice dark tan color. Fades fast though. Lacing is generous with a little agitation.

Milk chocolate with dark fruits and berries. Rum. Spices - clover with a splash of mint. Raisins. Seems to have held up well. Lots of scents, but a little one dimensional still. Not a complaint, just an observation.

Big and rich - dark roast coffee. Grapefruit at the back of the throat. (Which hop variety is it that does that again? Not really a fan of that one.) Cola. A little limp. Maybe I waited too long. Doesn't taste spoiled or skunked, just a touch weak and lacking of complexity. The spices seem to be trying to assert themselves, but just keep coming up short. Gets a little raisin-y as it warms. More flavors - dark berries in particular, but washed in stale coffee - are seeming to push through, but there's still a weak point in the middle.

A touch on the light bodied side. Could be a product of time. Not sure how that works. There's plenty of carbonation bite, so it's not spoiled. Might have just missed this brew's peak time. Long bitter finish.

I'm no expert, but I'd say if you've got a few of these lying around it might be time to finish them off. Closer to room temp is where this one seems to need to be too. I think I might have gotten more out of this if'd drank it a little warmer.

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Good job this year.
Pours almost black with a smallish tan head that melts to a ring of tan lacing.
Aromas are almost scotish with a hint of winter spices.
Mouthfeel is creamy and carbonation seems adequate.
Taste is still a little on the Scotish Ale side with toasted almost smokey amber malt sweetness and then lightly spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg following to citrus hops.
Aftertaste is nicely the citrus hop drying with just a memory of the smokey malt.
This is great for a winter's night.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Anchor- X-mas

Appearance- Dark reddish brown with little to no head.
Smell- Big licorice and molasses.
Taste- Molasses malt with a big licorice root backbone. Hints of ginger root and coke syrup.
Mouthfeel- Mild and warm up front with a nice dry finish.

Overall- A very good sipping beer. I could easily drink this all night!!

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Photo of Dewey0603
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark mahogony with a huge tan foamy head. The head leaves great lacing and lasts forever. The smell is cinnamon, pine, nutmeg, dark fruit, and "bisquity". The taste is malty with pine, christmas spices, alcohol, and brown sugar. The m/f is light with the complex flavors mixing very well. As usual, Anchor produces a beer that really makes you wish for Christmas. Merry Christmas.

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Photo of Sammy
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Fir 'n' spruce flavoured and aroma ale. Always somewhat different and interesting and carbonated. Pours darkish brown with off-white head. Full mouthfeel. Some ginger, nutmeg and other soup spices to fill you up. Carmel, raisin, vanilla on the lips ,much after.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The 2006 version of Anchor's Our Special Ale offers the typical dark mahogany body and creamy dark tan head that it's had in previous years past. The retention and lacing are just slightly better than average. The body remains very much the same: smooth, moderately carbonated, medium bodied. The flavor and aroma, however, seem a little more subdued than some previous years - which is, for the most part, a good thing. The nose is more delicately piney, softer, more woody, and even a touch cedar-like as it combines with the ginger. Beneath that, a touch of sweetish, darkly-caramelish, molasses-like, and bready malt also works with the ginger to give it a kind of ginger-snap cookie note. The flavor follows suit, and it's really quite accessible. The spruce/pine is soft, and it never becomes harsh in the finish as it sometimes has in the past. Nor do the spices linger or build. Yet they're there, dancing spritely across the middle of the palate: ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, perhaps a hint of orange peel - or is that yeasty fruitiness peeking it's head through. The malt is more cake-like, and soft, less cocoaish than some years, and perhaps lighter in general. But it's more balanced and drinkable! It doesn't loiter in the finish with bitter sap and raspy spicing as it has in the past, and instead offers a note of vanilla and some mild licorice. I could easily enjoy a pint of this, whereas I used to savor it sip by sip. Interesting! Enjoyable! I'm not sure that it would benefit from any aging at all. Well worth trying!

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Photo of zaphodchak
3.89/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Opened in 2012

Deep caramel color, not much head or lace.

Nose is like potpourri, nut, some sherry, and a trace of cherry.

Lots of spice, a bit of orange, and a wash of cherry. Aftertaste is more savory, but verges on tasting like carbonic acid. Kinda tart.

Nice and smooth. Otherwise unremarkable.

Nice, but probably on the long end of aging limits.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.53/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2006 edition.

Pours a very dark brown (almost black) in color with a small off white head that leaves as good amount of lacing around the sides of the glass. The aroma is malty with a lot of winter spices, nutmeg, cinnamon and a touch of licorice. The taste is much like the aroma in that it features a variety of winter spices and finishes dry and roasty. Even though I am not the hugest fan of the winter brews that rely heavily on the spices, I do look forward to finishing the rest of the sixer. Overall, this is a pretty decent seasonal that is interesting enough to enjoy again.

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Photo of cliff1066
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Gonzoillini
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of MiScusi
3.21/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is from a 6-pack purchased back at the beginning of December.

The appearance is very nice, with a large fluffy tan head and a body that looks very dark brown until held up to the light where it appears a clear dark ruby red. The smell is what I'd expect from a "christmas beer" although I'm not one to be able to pick out different spice smells... but spice in general is noticeable.

The taste starts really toasty and bitter up front. It becomes very sweet in the middle and finishes with like a sweet but almost astringent feeling finish. Maybe a little sour at the end.

The body feels a little off to me. It's medium, but on the thinner side, and it feels *too* smooth for the body, if that makes sense.

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Our Special Ale 2006 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.91 out of 5 with 288 ratings