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 cichief
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a keg at Friscoe's Grille, Columbia, MD, as part of their Christmas in July celebration.

A- Nice deep brown, with a nice tan head.

S- Lots of sweetness and spice, nutmeg (?)

T- Lots of licorice and a hint of cinammon. Sweet, but not overly so. Decent dry finish.

M- Nice and smooth, almost creamy, lots of small bubbles.

D- Very good, gets me in the mood for Christmas.

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Photo of Padron4KM
3.33/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

2006 version.

Dark brown with a tan head. clumps of lace.

Aroma is interesting and complex, roasty, chocolate, liquorice, prune, spice.

Flavor is along the same lines, but the liquorice stands out more, with a little vanilla in the finish.

Interesting beer, but the heavy liquorice makes it hard for me to drink more than one.

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Photo of zeff80
3.24/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a brown color with hints of burgandy and a foamy, caramel-colored, two finger head. Left small traces of lace.

S - It smelled of straw and grass. It also smelled a little like potpourri.

T - It tasted of nutmeg and cinamon. Also, maybe a little pine. The malt flavor is understated.

M - It was fairly crisp and warm on the tongue. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This was interesting. It was a little too much nutmeg/cinamon flavor.

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Photo of neenerzig
4.28/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Found a 12 oz. bottle of this at a wine and beer store/bar I saw at on my recent Florida vacation. I thought it would be interesting to drink this beer in mid June after it had been sitting in the cooler for a few months. Poured into a pint glass/tumbler. This beer pours a very dark red amber color with ruby highlights. Mine had a huge tan head at least 2 inches thick when poured. I couldn't even pur it all at once. I had to let the head settle before I could pour the rest of it. Excellent head retention here and some damn fine lacing too. Spicy aromas were certainly present with nutmeg, clove, and some floral hops present. Maybe some dark fruit as well. Tastes malty sweet upfront with the aforementioned spices coming through nicely along with some tart fruityness. Rounded out by a bit of floral hops. Very good! Something about the taste did remind me a bit of a red wine or a barley wine. Has a bit of a sour and bitter aftertaste. Has a crisp smooth and quite frothy full bodied mouthfeel with moderate to heavy carbonation. Very easy to drink, especially considering the fact that I was drinking a Christmas Ale in Florida in the middle of June. I wonder how this would have tasted fresh. I would drink this again for sure.


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

Purchased from Wayne's Package Store, Near Warrior, AL.

A: Dark brown, almost black body with thick tan, almost brown head. Slightly tannish tinge at bottom of glass. Great appearance.

S: Sweet, spicy, notes of chestnut and licorice. Perhaps... nutmeg?

T: Richly tart spiciness up front, crisp and clean, with a sort of "homey" aftertaste. It's a shame I finally got around to drinking this in May -- this is perfect for cold weather, or with Christmas dinner. Also slightly hoppy, somewhat bitter, and with a nice warming quality.

M: Tartly drying on the tongue, slightly chewy. Otherwise smooth, clean.

D: Not sure how many of these I'd want at a sitting, but this is a really nice Winter Warmer, one of the best I've had. Love the color, love the flavor. I'll definitely be trying the 2007 in a few months.

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Photo of wspscott
3.86/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle in pint glass

Pours with a nice 2-finger creamy head, leaves thick lines of lace on the glass. It is dark, impossible to see through. Not a lot comes through in the nose, just a hint of malts. The taste at first makes me think of a porter, there is no hint of spice or hops. As it warms up, I start to get hints of alcohol and leather, with a hint of fruitiness, maybe a little bourbon in the background. It is obvious that there is a ton of malts in here, but it does not come across as sweet at all. This seems to dry the tongue, if it was a wine I would describe it as astringent. The mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, but the dryness dominates. I don't usually reach for a winter warmer, so I can't say how faithful it is to the style. I suspect that this compares favorably to an English/traditional winter warmer. All in all, a good but not great beer. I will try next years version, but I probably won't buy a whole case.

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Photo of cbn
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Absolutely beautiful deep mahogany, burgundy color. Thick mocha head dissipates slowly leaving heavy rings of lacing.

Roasted malt and dark fruit sweetness along with spicy and floral aromas. Complex and intriguing, never smelled a beer quite like this before.

Very complex flavors, leathery malt yeilds to a sweet fruity wine-like flavor into a mild spicy finish.

Smooth, fairly creamy slightly thin with a mild tannic pucker.

Very tasty, good mouthfeel and moderate abv make this an easy drinker.

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Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- dark red/brown body with tan head that has good retention.
S- chocolate, coffee. and malt
T- very similar to the smell with subtle hints of vanilla and other spices too.
M- heavy body with medium carbonation. Goes down fairly smooth.
D- This was a good, drinkable, brew and it was not really what I was expecting. I was prepared for a winter warmer with tons of cinnamon, ginger, and other winter warmer spices.

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Photo of mountdew1
3.82/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass. A nice dark reddish brown with a thin layer of foamy red head. The head didn't last long, and only a little hint was left in the middle of the top of the beer. Aroma was wonderful. At time had hints of yeast and milk, and other times smelt like molasses and gingerbread. Flavor was slighty sweet, and slighty spicey, but was well balanced. Unfortunately the flavor didn't hold up nearly as well as the aroma did. It felt good in the mouth. Stuck just a little bit to make it feel like the beer had heft to it. It is fairly easy to drink, but the mix of spices makes it a little hard to session.

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

12oz bottle received from a friend.

Pours with a well carbonated fluffy dark tan head that crowns quickly, almost over the lip of my glass. Dark brown body, clearish, yet so dark its almost opaque. Ruby red shines through when held to the light. Fine lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell is full of molasses, sweet and spicy herbs and some dark fruitiness. Whiffs of vanilla, nutmeg and evergreen.

Taste is earthy and rich, a lively fusion of spice and malts. Its very well blended, the spices do not overpower, however they don't really stand out either. I taste a fair amount of woodiness and spruce in the finish, it really washes in as you swallow. The malts here are dark and roasty, sweet like a graham cracker. Tasty.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, the spices add heat to the beer and some pep to the body.

Drinkability is pretty good, however the spices could become overwhelming after more than one or two. Definitely a great holiday beer.

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

A favorite that I make sure to get several of every year. this is my last, although I noticed more on the shelves still.

There's not a lot I can say that hasn't been said. This has been a fantastic beer for years and this (well, last) year's vintage is a worthy successor to all the delicious OSA's I've enjoyed over the years.

The taste and smell are the perfect holiday beer. Too bad April 10th isn't a holiday, but oh well. It is the usual dark brown with brown head. It has the usual piney, spicy aroma. Toasty flavors mix with some bitterness. Fruit, and holiday baked goods make an appearance, with starring roles by ginger and nutmeg.

Carbonation is on the low side, but there is no need for more. Full flavors and a bit of bitterness - this feels great in the mouth without any more fizz.

Can't wait for next year.

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

Pours a barely translucent but clear dark brown color with ruby hue. The stiff light tan head is quite a show. Quite a bit of lacing on this pour.

The smell is quite festive; spicy, gingerbread cookie, molasses and cinnamon and maybe pumpkin.

The mouth feel is busy from the hops and carbonation. Medium body with a tart finish and slightly lingering gritty texture.

The flavor reminds me of pumpkin and gingerbread. I like that it's not smoky. It may be Easter weekend, but this is taking me back to Christmas. I wasn't too sure about it at first, but i do like the second half of this serving. I purchased a single, but i'll snag a few if i see it again.

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Photo of drumrboy22
3.45/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into a Belgian chalice.

Head is lasting with an off-white color. Moderate lacing around the glass.

Aroma is of clove, nutmeg, pine and molasses. The best way I can describe the armoa is a pumpkin ale mixed with a Harpoon Winter Warmer. Kind of odd, but still nice.

Flavors of brown sugar and cloves. Moderate alcohol taste present. Hard to believe it's only a 5.5% beer. Seems like it should be higher.

Not overly impressed by this one. Nothing really stands out. It's ok, but not great. I have 5 more in the cellar. I'll pull another out next fall and see how it's going.

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

Thanks to my room mate for sharing some of this with me. Served straight from the holiday magnum at room temp. into a nonic. Head rose and fell fast lingers only on the edges a tannish kaki color. The body is a deep mahogany with rudy high lights almost opaque, but not quite. Smells of spice right up front of cinnamon, nutmeg, there is some caramel malts, and minimal hop character. The taste is not predominately spicy by any means. Bitterness is very light, balances the malt well enough, but all happens on a rather even (meaning not bad and not exciting) level. Alcohol is low enough to make this a session-able beer, but a half a glass is enough for me, I'll switch back to something more hearty. I apologize for the briefness of this review, I was with company. Interesting brew, not my favorite winter warmer, but thats the great thing about them there will always be a new one to try next year.

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Photo of rebel1771
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark reddish color with a huge off-white head, very nice.

Aromas of candied fruits, cinnamon, and a hint of cloves are noted.

There is a sweet candied fruit flavor up front fading into a roasted malt flavor with hints of molasses.

This is a very nice brew, it lives up to its' reputation year after year.

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Photo of Redwood21
4.12/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle with date code for oct 25th 2006. enjoyed march 27th 2007, It seemed a bit more mellow than when i drank the forst 5 back in nov/dec.
When poured i got almost no head at all and what was there went away immediatly. very dark brew.
S: Definate spice not sure which not sure how best to describe.
T: Very nice, especially considering the style. There is a warming sensation, miced with coffee and spice. I agree that there is also some smoke in this beer, tastes good.
m: creamy without being heavy very very nice.
D: its a bit more robust than a normal session style beer. It is however a very drinkable winter warmer, i enjoyed it more than the 05 version.

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Photo of JohnnyM2002
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled from a 12 oz bottle, poured into a chalice at 45 degrees.

A - Pours a deep brown with ruby red highlights; caramel-brown, 2-inch head that leaves a small ring.

S - Smoky aroma with dark cherries and spices.

T - Unsweetened cherries and spices lead the pack, all with a certain smoked distinction. Vanilla flavors poke through. Despite the lower ABV, a warming sensation follows...a nice touch.

M - Creamy, medium body with a lingering warming sensation.

D - Pretty darned good...excellent winter/Christmas selection!

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter

Deep brown in color witha one finger head that faded pretty fast.

Smells sweet; hints of cinnamon and alcochol.

Has a nice taste, but a little light for a winter warmer. Its fairly malty with caramel and nutmeg present. I get a touch of hops and then a coffee like finish.

Another nice beer from Anchor, I would definitely try this again.

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Photo of ultralarry2006
3.66/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle. Leaves less than a one finger tan colored head that quickly recedes to a foam ring at the edges, and there is not much lacing. Body is the darkest brown, like a stout or porter.

Smell - apples, butterscotch, ginger, lavender, coriander, nutmeg, and a little bit of chocolate.

Taste - same as the nose. Spices washing through apples, chocolate, and butterscotch. A little bit of ginger ale, and cherry cola.

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, smooth, a little " fluffy " at times ( like eating puffed grain cereal ).

Drinkability - this is good ale, and it's sessionable.

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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 demcorhip
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A dark ale, looks much like a typical porter, essentially black, with garnet highleghts around the edges where light can pass through it. A decent one and a half finger tan coloured head formed on a somewhat vigourous pour, which settled to leave a thin ring around the glass.

Nuts, some treacle and chocolate, and spice, much like a norwegian christmas cookie whose name i know i cant smell, but contained coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg and some clove. The spice almost dominates the nose, but the spice bitterness gives way to hints of earthy, decaying leaf hop aromas.

The spice almost dominates, and is much like described above, coriander, clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg. The malts provide for a hint of nuts and cocao powder, but are almost buried under the spice. An earthy and decaying leaf hop bite has enough muscle to take the finish. Just wishing the malts were more apparent up front.

A medium bodied brew, the fine bubbles almost struggle as they rise and surface. Some sweetness from the spice, but most of the malt sugars have fermented, leaving a dry feel. Hops are able to assert themselves nicely, but the overall balance certainly favours the spice.

A fairly drinkable ale, but im hoping that the spices mellow with age, and allow the malts to reveal their true character. If you are a fan of egg nog you would enjoy this brew. Its a well crafted brew and one i am looking forward to revisiting.

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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 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 beertastegood
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a barely opaque dark ruby with a voluminous head that just won't quit.

Chocolate with clove, cinnamon, maybe nutmeg? Slight citrus hop aroma, vanilla notes come in as it warms, deep caramel undertones.Light roasted character. Very porter-like

Spicy to match the aroma at first, with chocolate/toffee and toasty flavors coming in afterward. Faintly fruity. Finishes dry and chocolatey with overtones of wassail spices. This is difficult to pin down...many interesting flavors at work at once, and I am not great at picking out added spices in beer.

Mouthfeel: medium body and low carbonation make this a very smooth creamy mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Moderate - the spices might get to me after a bit.

Overall, a nicely balanced winter beer from Anchor.

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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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