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

very good
246 Reviews
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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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Reviews: 246 | Ratings: 287
Photo of mfnmbvp
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle, with a more than obvious vintage date, and a code printed on the back label 6SG. My second of these annual winter warmer releases from Anchor Brewing Co., and I'm excited to have it, based on my experience with Anchor Our Special Ale 2005. A seven year old beer, making this the second oldest beer I've ever drank.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter.

A - Pours a thick muddy caramel colored body with only a faint conjuration of some khaki bubbles. About a finger of khaki head when given a swirl in the glass. Some thin lacing. Looks good.

S - Smell is of sweet caramel malt, earthy tea leaf, vanilla, wood, cream, faint cocoa, some yeast must, faded herbal spice rack notes, and some vinous cherry / grape presence.

T - Taste is of watery caramel malt, faded cinnamon / ginger spiciness, a bit of tart vinous cherry / grape, mild toffee, and a hint of bitter cocoa on the finish.

M - Feel is noticeably more full-bodied, with more spritzy carbonation than the 2005 was. Still, it is light enough with good healthy carbonation still present. Slightly on the thin & watery side of things.

Overall, I didn't think it was as great as the 2005 version, but this still held up well. I would be interested to see how this one would develop with another year or so on it.

Anchor Brewing Our Special Ale 2006 ---3.5/5

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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 seanyfo
4.29/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

355ml bottle poured into standard UK pint sleeve

A- jet black body with no light perception. 3 finger tan head that reduces fairly quickly leaving a fair amount of lacing.

S- gingerbread, jamaica ginger cake, some dark fruit(cherries- reminding me of black forest gateau)

T- ginger and cinnamon spice with dark fruits coming through balanced with a nice hit of toasted malts in the finish

M- medium carbonation and body

D- mostly same flavour profiles the 2004 I had a few days ago. Perhaps more complexity with the dark fruit. Mouthfeel is better with a higher carbonation and fuller mouthfeel. Enjoyed it.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

The Eighth Day of Beermas... It pours a murky dark sienna topped by a half-finger of light ecru foam. The nose comprises raisins, figs, honey, light cocoa, cinnamon, nutmeg, and black pepper. The taste holds notes of graham crackers, brown sugar, cinnamon, milk chocolate, light roasted malts, and clove. The body is a strong medium, with a light carbonation and a generally smooth feel. Overall, another step forward in this vertical, though the spices continue to miss the mark, just so this time.

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Photo of deapokid
4.29/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark, mysterious burnt red in color. Very murky with a light, swampy white head on top. Carbonation is still pretty good after 4 years.

Aroma is basically a liquid representation of Christmas. Think pine needles, peeled white grapes, dry liqueur, cinnamon, chestnuts, some plum and candy sugar. From the scent, this is definitely a Belgian take on the Winter Warmer.

I didn't think it would hold up so well, but time has been good to this bad boy. Flavor is smoky (like cigar smoky) with a hint of mint, pine, spruce, and cardamom. The sweetness is nice and subtle and the age has given the beer a certain floral aspect that mingles nicely with the nutmeg.

Mouth is smooth upfront with a nice dry ending that lingers on the tongue for quite some time.

This has really balanced itself out nicely. I thought the low ABV would diminish some of the flavor profile, but it's all there in spades. Now I might have to go back and check out the '07.

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Photo of FunkyMacGroovin
3.17/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. I can't vouch for how the bottle was cellared, though I did find it on a low shelf out of direct light at the store.

A - The pour is deep amber that nearly turns to black as the glass fills up. A half finger of mocha head forms at first, but falls quickly to a small ring. A modest amount of lacing remains.

S - Smells intensely of dark fruits like cherries and raisins, as well as spices - I can pick out cinnamon and nutmeg specifically. Also smells slightly of soy, but just barely. There's almost a brandy character to the smell (minus the wood). Four years doesn't seem to have diminished the beer much in this respect.

T - The flavors have started to fade, but I can definitely taste dark-roasted malts, some orange peel, and a few spices - clove, cardamom(?), and cinnamon. Aside from a slight lingering sweetness there's almost no finish to this beer, and the mid-palate doesn't have much going on either. Either through improper cellaring or just the passage of time, I fear this beer is a ways past its prime.

M - Medium-full in body, with more carbonation than I expected (but still not a lot). There's a light coating left in my mouth after each swallow that quickly fades - very nice.

D - It's easy enough to quaff, but I doubt I'd want more than one.

This falls into the category of "beers that have faded, but it's still apparent they used to be excellent." I can only wonder how much improved it would be if cellared ideally.

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Photo of rtepiak
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

in vertical tasting. This was my favorite year despict aging. This had a more balanced malt quality of dessert and earth tones. Pour is porter brown with a finger of mocha head. A nose of christmas herbs and malt candy. A light body that seems to give the malt a rich but not syrupy quality. Molassess, coriander and orangepeel. The palate was that but smoothed over with a light chocolate and brown sugar. Licorice and heather. Great drinkablity. Not over powering. Delicately creamy.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Opened around Christmas 2009. Reviewed from notes.

Pours a garnet color with a modest off white head and a bit of lacing. Nose brings forward black licorice, nutmeg, other spices, and hints of citrus. Taste brings things together and this certainly has not become a mess. Well integrated and spicy without anything standing out too much. Some modicum of hops leftover. Feel is a bit thin but nice. Drinks fairly well, but wasn't the best in the mini vertical that we did.

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

Tasted 02/2010

A - Nearly black with some brown, with a khaki head.

S - Somewhat less oxidized than the 2005, some ginger.

T - Bakers chocolate, anise, some ghosts of hops.

M - Fuller bodied with nicer carbonation than the '05, but not quite there yet.

D - Drinks well enough, but not great.

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Photo of msimmons32
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Picked this bottle up from Lucky Baldwins in Sierre Madrea CA. It was stored in a cooler since the location has had it.

I was very happy to find this bottle and several others at this location. I bought 3 of these and this is the first one I have had.

Surprisingly this beer is very good and has not turned to soy sauce at all. ok here we go.

The pour was great with adequate bruising, as I poured, which led to a large head. It was comparable to the may Xmas ales that I have had. It was a light brown leaning more towards a cream color.

The nose was mellow with spices and hints of pine and cinammon. There seemed to be a very minute hint of soy sauce though.

The taste and mouthfeel was amazing. The massive creaminess coated my tounge after each and every sip. The beer seemed to go on for miles. The hints of cinammon, pine, and chocolate have mellowed over the years but are still very present.

After 4 years of aging this beer is still very good and seems like it may go on for several more years. The carbonation was still there but disapated after the beer warmed. If you are a fan of the Anchor Steam Xmas Ale then this a must try.

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Photo of bigreduw64
4.21/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep chocolate brown with no head, just a slight lacing on top. I don't get a whole lot on the nose, but I have been stuffed up lately so I will give that a pass. I get just a slight maltiness in the nose. The flavor hits with a rich chocolate malt and slight bitterness. I pick up a little cinnamon/nutmeg/juniper in the spicing of this beer. It finishes with a dry biscuity malt. This is a wonderful beer and I can see how it has aged well and will continue to develop over time. Thanks to my secret santa for this one, it is a great beer.

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Photo of gordavidson
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- A deep, dark murky brown with a creamy mocha head that settles to a thin covering.

S- Caramel, brown sugar, and raspberries. Smells like it definitely has some age on it. Very nice.

T- Brown sugar and berries. Kind of reminds me of a mild quad. The flavors have really blended over the years.

M- Creamy and smooth.

D- A smooth, well aged beer that gives no indication of alcohol. Very nice. It may not be better than it was fresh, but it is nice.

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Photo of JTahoe
3.97/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured into snifter. Dark reddish-brown, cream colored head recedes quickly.

S - Rich fruity with dark molasses, lightly spicy.

T - Dark molasses, cocoa, dried fruit, spruce, licorice, dark malt, orange peel, slight smokiness, spice and herbal notes. Lots of layers and flavor here.

M - Medium bodied, but the moderately high carbonation lightens this up adding some welcome crispness to counter all of the deep flavors. Finishes slightly dry.

D - A good sipping beer--one in a sitting is enough for me. Nice and wintery.

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

Vintage bottle (cellar stored) from a friend.

Snifter pour and met with a dark brown ale (burgandy highlights) with a surprising one finger laced cream colored head.

Maple, brown sugar, candy aroma. Has some Barley Wine characteristics.

For a three year old beer (at 5.5%) this is not bad at all! A tart taste with some maltiness on the swallow and a dry finish. Just caught a glimpse of a cinnamon kick on the aftertaste. Nice.

Very easy drink after a number of years. The complexity is somewhat subdued but this has held up VERY well throughout the years! Very happy to have one more in my man fridge.

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Photo of akorsak
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A 12 oz bottle that I've been sittin' on for a while.

A: The ale is a dark red color that easily pass for black or a really dark chocolate brown color. The depth renders the ale opaque. A finger of head is fast to dissolve.

S: The nose is rather spicy, with gingerbread, cinnamon and nutmeg are heavy, giving the ale the aroma of a Christmas gingerbread. Eventually all things merge, and a burnt molasses aroma runs through it.

T: The ale has a very dry taste, throwing spices at you before turning arid. The flavor has a cocoa powder and molasses taste, a study in contrasts between the sweet and burnt. Gingerbread and allspice are prominent behind the darker malts. A mild cranberry flavor is a tart contrast to the dark body. Hoppiness is evident but not overpowering. For having such a low abv, there is a lot going on.

M: The ale is festive, packing a lot of spice into a small package. The gingerbread, molasses, hops and spices will not, even three years into its life, disappoint on the palate.

D: The alcohol is low but the spice profile is strong, so I'm not sure that I could really dig into a few bottles. A nice Christmas al though.

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Photo of jim102864
3.38/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I just now realized (this review was written March 2009) this brew is over three years old and I'm not sure that's a good thing. Poured from a 12 oz bottle into me Sam Adams glass. No head. Black as night though it is carbonated. Not really sure it was intended to be aged. This was part of a trade. Anyway, though its over three years old, the cinammon spice, nutmeg and raisen nose hangs on. Taste reflects the nose. Cinnamon spice. Not an overwhelmmingly pleasant flavor. Seems like what's left of the flavor is fading. Mouthfeel is carbonated. Drinkability? Not a session brew. More like one and done.

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Photo of paco1029384756
3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a down murky brown color with a large off white head.

Scent of strong spiced, caramel, tobacco, yeast and earth.

Tate of spices, yeast, strong tobacco, earth, and grain. Maybe this has spent a bit too much time in the light, but it does not show any strong signs of being skunked.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with strong carbonation.

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Photo of Onenote81
4.02/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cellared bottle consumed on 1/28/09.

Pours a very deep dark brown, with no light coming through at all. Small inch-sized head, that falls to a thin sheet quickly. No lacing present. Smells much more roasty than the '07 and '08. Some cocoa hints, and some nuttiness. Still a little cinnamon and ginger are present.

The flavor on this one aged well! This is much more chocolatey with some roasted characteristics. Picked up some slight hazelnut flavor as well. The spiciness has dropped of considerably, which in my mind, is ok. Mouthfeel is crisp and bubbly, even after 2 years. I find that I am burping alot more with this one, as well. I'm really surprised. I dig this. My favorite of the three I've had ('06,'07,'08).

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Before I embark on a trip to Brazil tomorrow, I'm going to go back in time with this winter ale. It is also the year I met the person I'm visiting. How well will this do being over 2 years old? Well, on to the beer:

It's still alive down there. Deep ruby brown color, hues of red, the head is sticky and retains well. Smells like spiced wood. Gingerbread, pudding, fruity. My nose is dancing, and my mouth is excited.

The carbonation jumps out, and this bottle is very healthy. What's there to taste? Figs for starters. Pudding. Powdered cocoa. Fruit skins. Dry and powdery in the aftertaste. Yum, this is good.

If you have possession of this beer, don't worry, it should be in good condition. I'm glad I have a second bottle which I can open in the future to compare.

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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 yesyouam
4.14/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

[30 Jan 2007] This beer pours a deep brown with a red-orange hue. It has a small, off-white head of big thin bubbles. Great clarity. The aroma is that of a medium malt, redwood trees, and orange peel. There are spices present in the smell as well: Clove, cinnamon, nutmeg-- maybe even coriander seed. This beer is commandingly hopped; more so than Liberty Ale. The aftertaste is of bitter grass with a powdered cinnamon feel. This is the kind of beer that gets me excited about beer.

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Photo of wl0307
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased at the UTOBEER stall in the Borough Market, London. The bottle marks 5.5%abv., BB OCT 08, served cool in a large tulip-shaped wine glass.

A: pours a deeply dark brown hue, nearly black even, showing reddish glows when seen against light; the creamy dark-tan head sustains well with constant streams of tiny fizziness.
S: a thick aroma of US fragrant flowery and lychee-honey-ish hops comes on top of a slightly milder presence of toffee-ish, treacle-ish and chocolatey malts, while longan-fruit-jam, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground Chinese root-herbs and licorice stay loyally in the background.
T: the bitter-sour herbal and richly raisiny foretaste of fruitiness and malts is followed by lots of smoked black prunes and tea-smoked longan-fruits, roasted tea, roasted walnuts, while the mixed spiciness and bitter-sweet herbs at the back of palate make a soothing kickback to enrich the moderately-flavoured maltiness. Aromatic in the finish, with bits of almost every element in the taste lingering here.
M&D: the mouthfeel is really relaxing, benefiting from the micro-scopic fizziness throughout the drink and lifting the fulsome flavour and full body skilfully. The balance on the flavour profile retains beautifully, b/w the sour-sweet fruits, malts, hop fragrance and bitterness, and the soothing input of spiciness. Overall, I find this vintage an utterly enjoyable winter warmer, even more so than the previous two vintages I was lucky to have tried!

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Photo of nick76
3.8/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one was Less herbal than the 05 with an aroma of ginger, allspice, toasted malt, caramel, and citrus. The flavor is slightly sour but mostly like sweet coffee with spices and caramel. I always look forward to having this beer every Christmas but the 05 was better than the 06.

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Photo of kinger
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Spices and fruits and malts oh my! Lovely spiced winter brew here. Aroma is rich with ginger, clove, nutmeg, and a splash of pine. Dark burgundy pour, nice tan head and moderate lacing. A touch watery on the palate but smooth and easily drinkable. Flavor resembles the hearty aroma but some nice fruit flavors come through. This is a prime standard of what a well spiced ale ought to be. A richer maltiness and this one would be hard to beat. Went really well with my Bavarian chocolate cream stick.

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Photo of joshwlt
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed this 06 vintage next to an 06 vintage of SN Celebration:

Has a dark brown-red color with a light brown fluffy head. The head recedes much quicker than the SN Celebration and leaves a fewer lace rings. Smells a little boozy again like the celebration but has a stronger malt presence in the nose. Relatively no hop detected in the smell, dried dark fruits and roasted malt are present, and again a sugary sweetness, similar to a Belgian dark. A light hop spice hits the tongue, but a lasting and strong malt presence are dominating the flavors. A nice cocoa flavor exists -- great chocolate malt actually -- a split second of coffee bitterness, toasted bread, and a note of raisin. The mouthfeel is a bit thicker than the celebration and smoother, though without any significant balancing spiciness. The palate becomes a battle zone between drying roasted malt and juicier dark fruit sweetness. This is more of what I was expecting from an aged winter warmer, a complex yet strong malt profile.

Although it is hard to pick a favorite I would say the Anchor is certainly the more complex and flavorful of the two. The celebration was probably more heavily hopped as the spice seems to have still lasted after two years, but it is a simpler although a fun, zesty brew.

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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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