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

very good
287 Ratings
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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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Ratings: 287 |  Reviews: 246
Photo of DavidPerry8218
5/5  rDev +27.9%

Photo of hockeydude
4.94/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

came across a bottle of this tucked away in my fridge the other day and decided to try it. I wish i could come up with a better word to describe it except for incredible. after one year of consistent temperature in the fridge all the flavors just melded together for what could only be described by my friends who i tried it with and i as christmas in a bottle pine needles, mistletoe and the rest of the winter/ christmas ale flavors. Now it is time to go to my local store that keeps telling me that they have a sixtel still left from last year and through it on tap.

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Photo of ellisdee97
4.92/5  rDev +25.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Pours dark purple/black like fresh grape juice with a light bubbly beige head. Head dissipates quickly leaving a light ring with some sticky lacing.

S: Initial breath is of juniper, deep musky chocolate and toasted malt, also some biscuit. Allspice, vanilla bean, toffee and some caramel. Wonderful crisp hops hidden beneath the spices.

T: As with the smell juniper is throughout, biscuit malt, toast and some chocolate. Vanilla, nutmeg. Bitter hops show but disappear quickly.

M: Light yet with a nice body. Chewy at first then a dry juniper finish. Nice carbonation.

D: Easy drinker, great next to the fire. Can't wait to see what some age will bring out.

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Photo of gmcfarre
4.89/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

1.5L Magnum bottle with foil wrapped top
I've been waiting for a special occasion to open this massive bottle, and I figured my first stab at homebrewing was a proper occasion (Sopris Sledgehammer Stout is in the primary!).

A - Pours a dark chestnut brown with a moderate 1/2 inch tan, dense head. Fades to a solid yet thin layer which leaves sheets of lacing. Opaque.

S - Spicy and sweet with great balance. Nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and all other sorts of "winter" spices. Creamy and delicious. Chocolate and roasted malt. A bit of citrus appears as it warms. Complex.

T - Sweet and super smooth oatmeal-tasting malt with chocolate flavor and lots of holiday spice. Clove, nutmeg, dark fruits and a touch of orange citrus. Super well-balanced. Smooth and creamy. Delicious.

M - It really has the mouthfeel of a nitro as it is overwhelmingly smooth and creamy. Nice drying bitterness at finish.

D - The best aged beer I've had to date, and one of the best all-around beers I've ever had. Delicious and utterly drinkable with well hidden alcohol, I could've had the whole magnum by myself. A must buy every winter, too bad I missed the 2007 edition!

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Photo of woodychandler
4.82/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was served with a huge, deep-brown head with a good bit of CO2 action visible and good retention as far as the head was concerned. The nose was redolent with nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and pine. The color was an extremely deep, dark bron with garnet highlights. The mouthfeel was thick and full with an amalgam of spices on the palate. The dominant flavors were anise, pine, bittersweet chocolate, and dried fruit, like prunes or raisins. Oh my, was this good! The finish had the same complexity, plus it just seemed to coat the interior of my mouth so that the flavors lingered on, seemingly endlessly. A wonderful holiday beer!

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Photo of GaryMarkle84
4.75/5  rDev +21.5%

Photo of AaronRed
4.65/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Had this on draft at Croxley's Ales in Long Island NY. When the glass was brought to me, I could see the creamy tan head, bubbling slighty. Not overly carbonated, which makes this beer really nice. It looked more like a cask drawn pint than a regular tap. Dark as can be, with the aroma's of pine/spruce. Very malty, a little sweeter then I remember, but not overly sweet- balanced by slight bitterness and some nice spice. This may be the smoothest of AS Christmas beers I have had in a while. It could be because I had it on tap and it was so fresh. So good.

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Photo of jp32
4.62/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I cellared this one for a few months before changing my mind on waiting to develop this one and tore it open.

The appearance is a dark chocolate brown with a small khaki head.

The nose is of nutmeg, cloves, spices, and extremely floral hops. This really smells like a fresh boquet of flowers. And a bit candy-ish.

This beer is cocked and loaded. Crammed with malts, hops, figs, dark fruits, and TONS of spices. So many its hard to distinguish one from the next. Very, very tasty, and even more unique.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and a bit slick. This one is a smack on the palate, and I sure wish I had bought more of it when it was available. Its fun to try to sepparate the different flavors in this one. Almost every sip is unique. Absolutely a top-tier brew.

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Photo of robbyc1
4.57/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Tasting notes I have are from December 2006 and more recently from a saved bottle vertical tasting in January 2008.

Look is roasty black with no head (in 2008) to speak of.

Malty nose with cinnamon, allspice, and intriguing chocolateness.

Taste has all the nose flavors, plus a good hop fix, and finishes quite dry with a chalky mouthfeel that all these seem to have. Really full but not heavy in the mouth, exceptionally drinkable as the dryness at the end tells you to drink more now! Very smooth and a great beer for the ages.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.57/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark mahogany. Head is airy and puffy and brown. It recedes quickly and leaves a thick collar. Lace is moderate in amount and patchy in nature. The aroma is very similar to its past counterparts, except this year, along with the Christmas tree vibe, I get some really vibrant Christmas spicing on the nose. The pine sap comes with some great nutmeg, cinamon and ginger. Really nice aroma. Really sets the tone for the season. Everything parlays nicely onto the palate, with some added chocolate as well, though the spicing isn't quite as prominent. This is really the ultimate Christmas Beer. Not one I'd want to drink a lot of, but definitely one I'd enjoy sipping on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, the day after Christmas day, etc...

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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 hanlonrn
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

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

Thanks to a split-case with mughugger bitterbeerface and woodychandler I was fortunate enough to end up with a 6pack of OSA and wow! It is not enough. I am going back to Westy's for my own case.

Appearance: Pours dark almost black looking but party translucent with ruby hues showing through when backlit. Creamy tan head fades. The lacing is not very sticky but a swirl or two can generate some for an instant.

Smell: Oh the beautiful smell of black licorice, molasses and a hint of mint and cinnamon. Pine sap?... sure but it takes a back seat to the black licorice and birch.

Taste: Santa came early this year. I LOVE THIS BEER! Wow. Now this is what a Winter Warmer should be. Like the nose I get a big black licorice and earthy birch bark flavor with ginger, and plum and spruce. It is also spiced with a bit of vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg and again that hint of mint in the finish. Terrific!

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Exceptionally smooth despite the fact that it may run a tad thin across the tongue but seriously there is so much flavor and spicy hop prickles that I hardly noticed.

Drinkability: This has officially become my go to Winter Warmer. mmm. I am hurrying out to buy another case. If I had a kegorator I'd put this on it. Maybe I'll buy a keg just so I have it =) Wow! Knock my freaking socks off I'm going to go crack the third.

Hope this is helpful.

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Photo of brandoman63
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

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

Pours dark brown with just a slight reddish hue and a thick brown head that recedes into a single finger. Appetizing lacing after the head finally recedes to a thin crown on top of this magnificent beer.

Nose is predominately cinnamon/clove-type spice. Lightly roasted/chocolate malts with just a hint of pine or spruce.

A ton of spices covering up a tasty layer of bread dough. Light cocoa and lightly roasted malts with an even thinner hint of piney hops in the background and a nice warming presence.

Chewy and creamy medium-full mouthfeel and decent carbonation. Far from a session beer, but very drinkable nonetheless. The first swallows of this thing had me tempted to run into the living room and start up the fireplace. I'd definitely recommend this to anyone.

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

Anchor Our Special Ale (2006)
12 oz brown bottle
Brewed on date for 6 O C [October 03, 2006]
Served in an Allagash tulip glass

Pours a deep & dark brown with ruby highlights on the bottom of the glass. A marvelous tan colored forms on the top of the beer and leaves stellar trails of lacings all over the glassware.

Potent nose with whiffs of freshly baked gingerbread cookies, cinnamon gum, milk chocolate and spices.

Creamy, smooth body and mouthfeel with a doughy bread quality. Flavors of dark roasted malts, baker’s chocolate, ginger, vanilla extract, spices, pine and brown sugar sweetness. Super complex and incredibly drinkable. The finish provides a lasting hop snap that I don’t remember being as prominent in previous years.

Hands down, one of my favorite wintertime releases. I was really excited when I spotted this on the shelves. I had been waiting patiently the past few weeks, but was glad because I can enjoy this beauty tomorrow on Thanksgiving. As usual, this special offering is certainly recommended.

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Photo of jasonjlewis
4.49/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Decent head with decent retention

On the nose and palate are some orange peel, mint, and licorice. Nice low hop bitterness to balance.

Mouthfeel is crisp and refreshing. Not thick, but pleasant.

This beer is easy to drink and highly sessionable. I will try it again next year.

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Photo of hero27
4.44/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle.

Easily one of the most anticipated seasonals for me. Anchor OSA gets me in the ("Christmas spirit" if you will) more than any other beer. Maybe it's the spices, maybe it's the aroma of gingerbread when you crack open that first one every year..heck, maybe it's the tree on the label...I'm not sure. But I've yet to be dissapointed by it, and this year was certainly no exception.

Very dark brown..some ruby hue in there, but not much. Tan head sticks around for a while, but isn't enormous like some previous years. Still that unique flavor of gingerbread, cinnamon/spices, roasted malt, and brown sugar. Many stouts taste the same, many IPAs taste similar...but Anchor OSA always stands out with it's unique character. Liked this a bit better than the 2005..and it's right on-par with the 2004 if you ask me. I will be having several sixers of this over the holidays.

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Photo of slyke
4.42/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006 Our Special Ale pours a dark ruby color (you need hold it to the light to differenciate from dark brown/black) with a tan rocky head. The head recedes to a cap that laces a little over the course of the beer.

The aroma is nutmeg, cinnamon, and pine. The beer smells like Christmas!

Taste is similar to the aroma. The aftertaste is chocolatey.

Mouthfeel is a little bready, about what I'd expect for this beer.

This is an easy drinking winter warmer. Not easy drinking in the way that I will pour it down my gullet; but in the way that an afternoon with a few OSAs within reach will be an afternoon well spent. Mr. Maytag does it again. Recommended.

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Photo of mattcrill
4.42/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aroma: Light spicy notes, ripe bananas, a definite Belgian yeast note that was understated but very interesting and enjoyable.

Appearance: Dark chocolate body with cabarnet edging. A batter-like pillowy dense tan head that collapses and rings the glass wonderfully.

Flavor: Ripe fruit, cocoa powder, a hint of carmelly sweetness, raisins, bread pudding...wow...multi-layered complexities that keep changing as it warms.

Mouthfeel: Medium and densely carbonated. A drying finish that balances out some of the sweetness.

Overall impression: My favorite of the series. Not over-spiced, very interesting, very well done. I think it's trying to be some kind of Belgian dark ale. I can't wait to see how this one ages. My favorite winter warm of 2006. Merry Christmas!

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Photo of GeoffRizzo
4.4/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Dark black in color, there are traces of red highlights when matched to the right light. Tiny bubbles poke through the tannish 1/2 inch head, and they aren't going anywhere. The aroma could not be better, off the charts--brings memories of walking through the woods in the midst of winter; evergreen, spruce and nutmeg, coupled with eggnog, cinammon and sugar cookies. Could the smell be any better? No. The body is huge, with a milk shake like texture. Doughy bread qualities are in the initial swirls. Gingerbread and winter spices slide across the palate, definitive full bodied ale. Flavorings emerge in the way of smoky malts, molasses and kisses of piney hops. The body becomes thin, but does not lack flavorings. The finish is reminiscent of a fine glass of red wine, and the palate is left cleansed with a grace of nutmeg and caramel. Simply incredible, year after year, something to look forward to. If you see it, do not pass it up, if you have it, enjoy. Happy Holidays!

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Photo of DogFood11
4.38/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the most unique brew I've had, it is a style all in its own. The spices are up front and there is depth to this offering I've yet to sample in another brew at this point. It pours a deep amber to red brew with tons of tan head and lace is ring style.

Lots of brown sugar and mollasses w/ spiced up cinnamon backside. Mouthfeel can get a bit foamy at times but that is being really petty with such an offering. Suggestions of coffee in the aftertaste. Without getting all technical, since I've reviewed previous years and this is almost a clone...This is simply outstanding. I did a 04-06 w/ some friends tonight and the recipe held true. Some variations due to aging or palate or recipe mutations but at the end of the day every version was awesome. Near Perfcet.

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Photo of JasonCoop
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

awesome brewery this must be decent.

pours a dark ruby/brown with nice off-white cap. looks full bodied and tastey.

smells very strongly of tons of spice. loads of cinnamon, brown sugar and ginger. a little intense. very heavy on the cinnamon.

taste is very intense. very sweet with loads of cinnamon and sugars. very cakey almost. leaves so much spice in the aftertaste too. tastey, but intense.

mouthfeel is pretty good but carbonation might be a bit high. it has a crisper bite to it than i would expect for a brew this dark an full.

all in all a very tastey and definitely drinkable beer, but as i've found with other examples of this style, the abundance of oddball holiday spices makes the flavor grow tiresome after a few.

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Photo of Beerzebub
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very dark reddish brown. Big tan head. Head goes down. Painted lace, like Havarti.

Smells malty and softly spiced. Vanilla, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, alpine herbs/ wintergreen, molasses, chocolate. Lush, appetizing.

Taste matches the smell. Rich roasted malt, a bit chocolatey. Herbs and spices, restrained. Gentle piney hops and spruce tips. Slightly sweet, very well balanced with the roastiness. Overall, an extremely balanced beer, and delicious.

Creamy, rich mouthfeel. Very drinkable.

Great winter warmer. Good match with a chewy mollases cookie.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of my favorite Christmas beers year after year. The last couple of years prior to this one were marked by more nutmeg and less spruce. This one returns more to the spruce direction, but remains balanced. Its not as piney tasting as earlier examples (which I miss), but better than the last couple of years running.
This beer pours very dark brown, almost black, with a short tan head that fades fairly quickly leaving little lacing.
The aroma is nice, but a little hard to place. There is pine and spice and hops, and although the malt is there, the other scents overwhelm it.
The delicious thing to me about this beer has always been its astringency. The nutmeg and cinnamon contribute, as do the hops, but the spruce really pulls it together. The bitterness on the finish gives way to a light spicecake flavor and gentle maltiness. Really unlike any other winter warmer. The astringency contributes a refreshing mouthfeel, making this a winter quencher and warmer at the same time for me. Very drinkable. My absolute favorite Anchor product, and a miracle that it has been produced for over 30 years.

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Our Special Ale 2006 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
3.91 out of 5 based on 287 ratings.
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