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 geexploitation
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown with little in the way of clarity or highlights, with a modest walnut colored head that fades to a collar pretty quickly. Highly spicy nose, with lots of cinnamon and nutmeg, seemingly much sharper in nature than last year's version (if my memory serves). Underneath the spices is a fruity English ale malt backing. On the palate, those malts come out first, with dark, porterish fruits showing, before shifting into spice mode toward the finish. Some bitterness from hops and a bit of alcohol burn. Mouthfeel is pretty smooth, with medium carbonation and slick malts. Overall, this is a fine winter warmer with forward spices that can be a bit much... it will be interesting to see how the spices behave with some age.

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Photo of Riggo
4.04/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

appearance: dark, dark brown with some light showing through, like cola or black tea. beige head drops to thin collar rather quickly.

smell: dark fruit--tamarind, dates. burnt sugar and some bubblegum notes. perhaps some nutmeg.

taste: follows the smell with dark fruits, caramel and some piney hop laid over the top. very nicely balanced.

mouthfeel: not overly carbonated, which i consider a good thing, but a little thin for me.

drinkability: pretty drinkable. a nice mellow beer. drinks like a porter.

overall: a nice christmas beer that's mellow and has a certain seasonal appeal without being overly spiced or cloying. beautiful label.

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Photo of Foxman
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It pours a rich, clear brown, deep and with a garnet halo at the margins. Two fingers of chocolate mousse beige head settle slowly to a pithy foam pad. Scallops of lacing shell the inside of the glass.

The aroma brings a roasted malt earthy sweet note, with a hint of baked crust. A spicy swirl of spruce, pepper, anise, and cinnamon merge with a port-like alcohol breeze.

Upon tasting, there's a cut from a dark, woodsy roasted malt edge, with mild char and dried sloe fruit. Flows of pepper, evergreen, cinnamon, nutmeg, and floral hops slide through, and the merest touch fo alcohol joins the spices to enhance the drying sensation. Baked dough and biscuit join a crisp lingering finish. It's a warm, comfy edition of a long-running series.

Light to medium bodied, it seems to drop away a bit sooner than the meat might indicate.

It's not a departure, or unexpected, but it's a satisfying step in an ongoing progression. What're the holidays without an earthy, tree-dipped, spiced ale from Anchor? The alcohol was surprisingly bright, and certainly more so than anticipated considering the ABV, but it's in no way distracting. It may be new, but it's not really, and it fits like an old shoe, and that's okay.

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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 WeisGuy
3.87/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

a - pours a deep brown, half-inch tan head with retention mostly around the edges, modest lacing

s - great aroma dominated by lots and lots of spice, hard to distinguish them, but I pick up some ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, roasted malt in there with the spices, fairly sweet smelling, there is a distinct pine smell as well

t - sweet maltiness and piney up front mixed with the spices, finish is dominated by the spice with a moderate sweetness

m - moderate carbonation, medium-bodied, dry finish

d - not an overly drinkable beer due to all the spices, but great to have one or two of

I haven't tried too many winter warmers, but this is a great example of the style for me. The spices remind me of the holidays. Great beer to sip on a cold night.

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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 sabrills70
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz stubby brown bottle with code of 6SG on back label. Pours a deep mahogony brown with a 2 finger tan head, OK longevity and good lace. The spices are the first thing in the smell - lots of ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon & molasses. Also noted are the chocolate, coffee and pine like aromas. Roasted malts are present in the tatse as well as the formentioned spices, especially the molasses, pine, and a bit of black licorice. Chocolate and coffee are also present. This beer is a must for any one who enjoys winter/holiday beers. A fine beer that says Christmas just by smelling it. Another winner this year by Anchor.

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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 plaid75
3.63/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a doubly deep murky amber hue with a one finger creamy tan head. There was decent retention and lacing.

The smell featured an a solid chocolate malt aroma with hints of cinammon and allspice.

The taste was upfront chocolate malt with touches of spicy cinammon and pine needles.

The mouthfeel was of average fullness but a bit chalky.

Overall a nice winter warmer. Not my first choice though.

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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 cbl2
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

11/23/2006 $9.99 6 pack 5.50% No best by date. Coded 6SG.


Pours almost pitch black, with just a tinge of ruby red apparent when exposed to direct light. Topped with a half inch of tan soda-like foam that settles slowly.


Raisins, dark brown sugar, molasses a touch of nutmeg and perhaps some ginger.


Much less piney than in years past, this is dominated by raisins and molasses with notes of brown sugar and nutmeg/ginger as the nose indicated. Mouthfeel is a little thin.

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Photo of EStreet20
3.33/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a 20 ounce nonic pint glass.

A - Pours out a deep brown with a beautiful reddish tint that really shows through when held up to light. A large head of tan bubbles sits atop. The brew really looks nice, with the appearance of a Pepsi/Coke other than the chunky, lasting head.

S - Has a spicy aroma along with some fruits.

T - Lots of spices up front along with an odd fruit flavor (Juicy fruit gum???) that I can't identify. A bit of an herbal taste as well.

M - A light body overall, decent carbonation.

D - This one is fairly light bodied but the flavors don't balance out well for me.

Notes: I definitely enjoyed last year's more. Still a decent spiced winter warmer.

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

This years batch is made with Fagus sylvatica or commonly know as European Beech, which is a graceful, slow growing species with varying foilage colors and textures due its 5 main varieties found throughout Europe and the Eastern US and is widely planted for ornamental reasons.

Color is that of dark reddish brown with a shimmer clearing at the edges with a small, densely compacted and smoothed over sandy brown cap. Keeps a solid ring present once the cap goes away and very minimal lacing in a few spots and globs.

Aroma is of chocolate milk and ginger waffer cookies with a small hint of vanilla and some molasses. Smells like many other OSA's from past years with perhaps a bit less woody in spice. A bit more subdued here, much like last years batch, again, a none pine/spruce type tree being used is lessening the aroma to a much milder, yet chocolatey tone with a good amount of holiday cookie spice being brought forward. Nice. But damn if I don't miss those pine and spruce added years.

Flavors are mild yet fulfillingly nice and rounded. Great silky smooth texture makes way for a great milky chocolate gathering on the buds pulling in smoothed over additions of ginger, vanilla, nutmeg, licorice, and plum. Nice light drying floats off the finish with a touch of chocolate and little pinches of spices mingling in as is soothes over the palate very softly yet firmly.

A very fitting, smooth, and soft mouthfeel to this years' edition. Very supple, silky, and well-mannered in a delicately broadened medium to fullish boby. Again, it has a wonderfully placed and longing of chocolate all throughout its character. And that light drying finish carries off in a well-executed touch of chocolate and little smidgeons of the spices mingle. Very porter-esk, minus the robustness of roasted malt tones. This is all yummy chocolate.

Another edition, the 32nd to be exact, of the OSA has been accomplished by Anchor here in 2006. Another very easy going treat for this year. Smooth, chocolatey, and quite drinkable as the holiday season will surely be enjoyable with a few of these to be had.

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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 MaltyGoodness
4.07/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle

Pours a dark mahogany brown with mild ruby highlights. Has a creamy tan head that thins. Nice lacing on the glass.

Smells like gingerbread with a light toasted nuttiness and a hint of spruce.

Taste of nutmeg and ginger upfront followed by a light toasted nuttiness. A hint of hops appears along with a mild spruce flavor. Finishes rather clean and dry with a mild lingering gingerbread taste.

Light body, solid carbonation.

A very drinkable brew, and the best spiced winter brew available. Another good year for the OSA - and even better than last year's version.

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Photo of BeerRun13
4.06/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Awesome bottle. I'd love to use these for homebrewing, but they are twist off.

Pours a super dark burgundy color with more of a lighter cranberry color at the thinner spots of the glass. A nice light tan, creamy head fades a bit and leaves layers of thick lace.
Holliday spices with a sweet doughy aroma.
Nutmeg is the first noticeable flavor, and it is abundant but not cloying. Very nice and just right for the hollidays. A slight bitterness follows behind.
Medium to full bodied. Good carbonation. Spices almost leave a resiny/filmy feeling in the palate but only briefly.
Probably one of the better holliday beers that I've had.

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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 flexabull
4.27/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Our Special Ale... always a beer I look forward to... and a great nightcap.

Pours deep dark brown, with a big light tan colored head.

Aromas are wonderful (as usual) Smells almost like egg nog, nutmeg, allspice, and some dark roasted malts... I could just sit here and smell this beer all night.

Beer is very toasty with some nutmeg like spice flavors. This seems to be a bit more subtle than prior vintages, still nice, but a notch or two below where it has been before.

Mouthfeel is good, this beer really coats your mouth, and the flavors really linger.

Even though this isn't quite as good as past years, it is still a must have beer for the winter months.

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Photo of drinknewbelgium
3.67/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pures a very dark brown some reddish hues nice head but leaves quickly smells of sweet fruit and sugary malts some hints of hops tastes lcreamy sweet malts tart cherries then hit by a waves of hops feels good in the mouth but has creamy qualities that you can drink a few of these

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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 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 Westsidethreat
3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Head isn't nearly as pillowy as previous years, but it won't be a deal breaker. Has a medium smooth tope color which is falling fairly quickly. Body is a chocolate brown color, fairly clear for how dark it is.

S: Trademark pine, chocolate and hazelnut.

T: Begins malty with chocolate hints and nutmeg moments. Moves to a present but not overwhelming pine condition. Finishes bitter and roasted with earthy qualitities to it. Aftertaste is a bit overspiced and the nutmeg lingers too long on the palate.

M: Medium body, decent carbonation.

D: Not bad but certainly not one of my favorite vintages.

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

Pours a brown-near-black with a tall firm khaki head. Aroma is roasted malt with just a hint of mild spices, possibly a piney anise with a hop back.

Taste is dry and roasty malt, not nearly as spiced as the nose would suggest. Roasted barley and black patent, caramel cola notes, a very mild licorice flavor, some dull hop bitterness. I like the faint hoppiness, it's a welcome addition that I haven't noticed in years past.

Mouthfeel is medium with little carbonation, very drinkable, even sessionable. An improvement over last year, IMO.

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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 goochpunch
4.06/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep black with ruby hues and an average sized cafe au lait head that thins out quite a bit. Leaves minimal lacing. Smells like fresh gingerbread cookies hit with a little of cinnamon and nutmeg. Also present is raw sugar cookie dough. A bit of pine resin and bitter orange aromas round it off in the end. In the flavor, I get lots of bready caramel malt, with some of those cookie tones carried over from the aroma. There is some roasted and toasted grain in there as well that follow the spiced middle and the citrus and pine needle flavors. Finishes kind of lactic, which puts me off just a tad. Mouthfeel is light to moderate with a slightly prickly carbonation. Drinkability is solid.

If only this would have lived up the nose. Myself, I'd take one from a previous year over this. Still, it's enjoyable.

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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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