Our Special Ale 2007 (Anchor Christmas Ale)
Anchor Brewing Company

Our Special Ale 2007 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2007 (Anchor Christmas Ale)
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Winter Warmer
4 | pDev: 10.75%
Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Our Special Ale 2007 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2007 (Anchor Christmas Ale)
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Reviews: 350 | Ratings: 398 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of KensWorld
KensWorld from Florida

4.02/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow, looks smells and tastes solid, even after 9 years. Has held up very well. Extreamly smooth and mellow. Sweat spicy notes that seem to have merged well over the years.

Dec 25, 2016
Photo of MattyG85
MattyG85 from Minnesota

4.26/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tall pint glass. Purchased a year ago from a store’s cellar.

Appearance: Pours a dark brownish amber with a moderate amount of bubbles. Big two finger tan head with decent retention. Lots of creamy lacing.

Smell: A spicy, roasty, and toasty malt forward aroma with hints of chocolate, spices, and dark fruit. Roasted malt with hints of biscuit, chocolate, toasted bread, grains, cracker, and yeast. Big mix of winter spices with hints of cinnamon, clove, allspice, cardamom, and ginger. Dark fruit hints of plum, raisin, fig, and dates. Sweet brown sugar hints. Light earthy hop hints. A pretty good aroma at this age.

Taste: Like it smells, a spicy and toasty malt forward taste with good notes of chocolate, spices, and dark fruit. Roasted malt with notes of biscuit, toast, chocolate, grains, cracker, and yeast. Sharp mix of winter spices with some cinnamon, clove, ginger, cardamom, and allspice. Big presence of dark fruit with notes of raisin, fig, plum, cherry ,and dates. Sweet taste of brown sugar along with some light earthy hops. A really nice taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy and pretty smooth with a very drying finish.

Overall: A very good aged brew. The dark roast flavors have fallen off a bit but the dark fruit has really emerged.

Dec 26, 2014
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Beerzebub from California

4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25


Deep dark red color. Thick layer of creamy tan head. Nice lace.

Smells strange and wonderful. Something much like root beer, with a vaguely minty aspect, bordering on Jagermeister. A touch of solvent. Spicy and herbal notes like pine; cassia or cinnamon; perhaps some cardamom; and others, blending together seemlessly and elusively.

Tastes drier than it smells, almost completely dry. Dark toasty malt, with savory dry spices, a refreshing quasi-minty herbal note, some grassy/herbal hops, fruit like white grape and plum, and some acidity. Long complex finish: herbs, spices, dark toast.

Smooth creamy texture, even suggestive of oatmeal. Certainly drinkable.

Great beer, with character.

6/1/2014 (cellared for 6 and a half years at 55 degrees F):

Red-brown color with some beige froth.

Smells like pine tree, spices, caramel, malt. Surprisingly fresh with 6 1/2 years on it.

Tastes delicious. Malt, pine, spices - cinnamon, allspice, cardamom - and finishes cool, fresh and herbaceous.

This has aged shockingly well; nice surprise that it wasn't silly to cellar a few of these.

Jun 01, 2014
Photo of mfnmbvp
mfnmbvp from Illinois

3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, with a more than obvious vintage date. Code on the back label reads 703. Vintage 2007, making this the third oldest beer I've ever drank, behind the 2006 and 2005 vintages of this beer.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter.

A - Pours a half finger of chocolate tan head on top of an extremely dark mahogany colored body with some ruby highlights. Almost opaque in the glass. Nice frothy head when given a good swirl, with some nice thin tan lacing. Looks pretty nice.

S - Smell is of creamy caramel, woody earthiness, cloves, chocolate malt, maybe a hint of zesty ginger, cherry-vanilla, some light herbal spice rack notes, and some dark fruit like dates, figs, and raisins.

T - Taste is of chocolate malt / amber malt / red malt, tea leaves, caramel sweetness, dried earthiness, some herbal / woody tree bark type taste, cola, dried grass, some cocoa / pine bitterness, and some lightly vinous cherry / raisin. Chocolate malt seems to take the lead here, this type around.

M - Feel is fairly smooth & creamy. Finish is mostly clean and dry, with a bit of stickiness, some powdery cocoa bitterness, and some bitter herbal earthiness on the palate. Feel is more full and not as watery as past vintages that I've tried.

Overall, another different and unique holiday vintage from Anchor. Much more noticeable chocolate malt presence this time around which I found delightful. I look forward to more as these continue to impress me. In all, I'd say this vintage has held up well, and will continue to enjoy the ride for many more years to come.

Anchor Brewing Our Special Ale 2007 ---4/5.

Dec 25, 2013
Photo of lnashsig
lnashsig from Texas

2.27/5  rDev -43.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Many thanks to DING for the chance to taste this one- the first in a vertical that he kindly sent me last week. As I write this, I think about how ironic it is to be posting a review within a site that treated him very poorly and unfairly. Sorry Ding, this is where I review for now until I figure out something better or get off my ass and make a blog or something. Here we go:

Poured into brooklyn tulip from bottle. Pours a very thick and terrifically dark red/brown color. I noted the viscosity of this pour as it came out of the bottle. Great looking beer, and I'm ashamed to say that this may be the first time to ever have this one. Smell- so complex. I get port wine, chocolate dark fruits, some oxidation, and a weird beef jerky funky aroma. There is some sort of salty aroma. Some of this may sound bad, but its very complex and interesting. I'm thinking the port wine aroma is the dominant one. Taste- utterly bizarre. I get a watery backbone, some of that port/cognac flavor I detected on the aroma, but then it gets bizarre and a little unpleasant. That metallic/oxidized flavor hits me, as does the smoky/salty/beef like flavor. This is an interesting example of what happens to some beers over time (one would assume, because I have not had it fresh yet), but its a cautionary tale. I'll report back the next time I try another vintage for comparison notes.

Oct 23, 2012
Photo of Sean9689
Sean9689 from Illinois

3.65/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared at Alex's Birthday Bash!

A - Pours dark brown, off-white head, thin collar.

S - Light chocolate sweetness, dark fruit, caramel, burnt sugars.

T - Gingerbread, molasses, dark fruit, oak, caramel. No spices but a good amount of sweetness, which I like.

M - Light body, good carbonation, clean finish.

O - A nice vintage, better then 2004 and 2001, IMO.

Jun 27, 2012
Photo of Mora2000
Mora2000 from Texas

3.68/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark brown color with a large tan head. The aroma is full of caramel and chocolate, with some spices thrown in. I also get a little dose of raisins and licorice in the aroma. The flavor is similar. There is a lot of toffee malt and Christmas spices, but the spices seemed to have faded in the five years since the beer was brewed. I also get a little bit of coffee. Thin to medium, slightly watery mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

May 28, 2012
Photo of scottfrie
scottfrie from California

3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Magnum split several ways. Poured into large snifter.

A: Pours a dark mahogany red with two fingers of dark tan head that faded into a long lasting fuzzy film with great retention.
S: Creamy and sweet notes of fruit, caramel, vanilla, orange rind, and candied fruits.
T: Light notes of chocolate, cinnamon, pine, and dark fruits with a sweet finish and hints of tobacco in the aftertaste.
M: Thinnish-medium body with a smooth mouthfeel and fizzy tingly carbonation.
O: This beer so far has aged very well. The flavors are definitely less vibrant than I image they were fresh, but I would have no problem aging this for another couple years.

Dec 21, 2011
Photo of FosterJM
FosterJM from California

3.53/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

970th Review on BA
Bottle to Goblet
12 oz stubby bottle

Purchased at Walnut Liquorette
2.99 per single

App- A good coloring runs throughout this beer. A dark vibrant brown with some very dark crimson running down the center as a pillar. A good white capped two finger head that falls to a good pond layer. A nice wall of webbing as this one falls.

Smell- A light dusting of cinnamon coats the aromatics when you take a first smell after the head falls. When you take another whiff you get some cocoa powder and a little bit of malted milk balls. A little note of bitter lingers when you take the beer to mouth for a new sip.

Taste- You can tell the profile is there with the flavors that develope and change with each sip. It starts a little one dimensional warmer, with spice, malt and a thin body. Each sip creates a little bit more depth with some chocolate, a little chalky flavor and a little darker fruits. I'd like to say dried cranberry.

Mouth- More than anything it's a medium body but highlighted throughout is a certain thin current running in it. Carbonation is a bit good and bubbly. Nice residual flavors of dark fruits and cocoa.

Drink- Well I can't believe its 2011 and my first Special Ale. I had to go back to a 2007 bottle. It was pretty good. A bit thin in parts and a nice chocolate malt flavor. I will say I will have to track down 08-11 now. Could be worse this to track down.

Dec 07, 2011
Photo of JAXSON
JAXSON from Pennsylvania

3.77/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 rate.

Several pours out of two big 1.5L magum 2007 bottles consumed in December 2008. Thanks to whomever brought these two large bottles of which I partook heavily. Still has a lot of hop presence. Some malt and slight chocolate took center stage with the bittering agents. Very dubbel-like, but more hop character. Second pour was better in its movement towards something sweet. Not epic but pretty good. I suppose a few more years could help?

Sep 13, 2011
Photo of oline73
oline73 from Maryland

3.62/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this at the Christmas in July event at Max's. Poured from a large bottle into a 4 oz. tasting glass.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy dark amber color with some red at the edge where light comes through. There is very little off white head.

Smell: Malty with molasses, brown sugar, dark fruit, and spice notes.

Taste: Malty but not too sweet. Spices and dark fruit notes. Some molasses with a mildly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with mild carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: Flavors go together well. I might have liked this better fresh, but still quite good. Enjoyed it more than the 2004.

Jul 15, 2011
Photo of Knapp85
Knapp85 from Pennsylvania

3.55/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2007, This was above average I really enjoyed the flavor of this dark ale. The taste actually reminded me of something from around the holidays. It had a sweet taste with a spice that danced on my tounge. I would love to drink this one at christmas time with family and friends. The color is a deep ruby red that looks very appealing. This brew is really nice.

Apr 10, 2011
Photo of ommegoose
ommegoose from Illinois

4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm doing a side-by-side with an '07 and an '09.

A dark ale, nearly opaque, but more of a raisin color rather than black. Purplish at the edges and semi-transparent with extra light. The head also reflects the purple hues. Not huge and doesn't retain endlessly, but leaves a sufficient ring. No visible carbonation. Honestly no difference between this and the other.

Citric notes that I haven't found in other years of this beer. Brighter aroma. Orange or lemon peel could be in here. A little bit of bubblegum, like in Anchor Porter. Apple, plum, prune. Even though the notes are pretty different on paper, it has more in common with the other than not, but it's clear the recipes for these change.

I would guess that this was hoppy when fresh. Light roasty notes (hint of cocoa; unique for these beers) on the back end that follow a malt profile that is more on the bready side. A bit of acidity (grape, apple) and maybe a little oxidation, leading to a bit of sourness. The flavor is sort of on the flat side. There is still some lingering citrus, but bitterness is not present. Spicy notes are pretty well hidden by now too. Malt is not as bold either, but still features dark fruit typically expected in this series. Not lacking in complexity.

Seems lighter in body than other editions. More on the fizzy side. Still apt for the style, and feels large enough for a beer that isn't particularly strong.

Well, I wouldn't wait any longer to drink these if you wanted to do so as a standalone. But I guess you can gamble on another year for verticals and comparisons. And it's interesting. Your palate will go on a journey. By no means will you feel like you're drinking a fresh beer, but it's clear why this has a reputation for being aged.

Jan 21, 2011
Photo of StoneTSR
StoneTSR from Colorado

4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

APPEARANCE: Nice, medium head on top of a deep, dark bodied, almost black beer. A very pretty and festive sight.

SMELL: Chocolate is the dominant aroma with a whiff of brown sugar and spices.

TASTE: Not as sweet as the nose would have suggested. The first thing that stands out is a mild note of sourness that accompanies a fairly bitter beer that balances itself out nicely in the end with spicy, brown sugar notes that make it taste like Christmas. Delicious beer.

MOUTHFEEL: For such a rich, thick and dark beer, this is very sparkly. It has a great bite and an excellent mouthfeel.

OVERALL: This is an outstanding beer. I feel privileged to get my hands on a bottle of 2007 at this point, just wish I had taken a picture. It aged very well and I look forward to getting around to trying the 2010 and other years when I get the chance.

Jan 11, 2011
Photo of matjack85
matjack85 from Illinois

4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I found this 2007 version of the Christmas Ale at Sal's Liquors in Addison, IL where they have 6-packs of all the Christmas Ales dating back to 1998. $11.99 for six 12oz squatty brown bottles.

The beer poured a dark plum color with 3½ fingers of pinkish head. Retention is good, so you might have to wait a few minutes to take the first sip. A decent amount of lacing coats the glass as you drink it.

The beer smells like the inside of a candy store. Sweet bread, toffee, and some holiday spices are also present.

The taste is not as sweet as the smell, but delicious nonetheless. The beer is malty sweet, bready, fruiry, and spicy all at once. I picked up flavors of cranberry, holiday bread, nutmeg, plums, red grapes, figs, and cloves. Not overly sweet with even a touch of hop bitterness and alcohol for balance.

Medium body with a wine-like mouthfeel with only moderate carbonation.

I've tried all the Christmas Ales since the 1998 batch, and this one is one of my favorites. Very drinkable and enjoyable.

Jan 09, 2011
Photo of TMoney2591
TMoney2591 from Illinois

3.68/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

The Ninth Day of Beermas... It pours a murky black-brown topped by a finger of light ecru foam. The nose comprises raisins, figs, brown sugar, nutmeg, red apples, red grapes, cinnamon, and rye bread. A slight pall of musk hangs over the proceedings. The taste leans heavily on the fruits, mainly the apple, grape, and fig, while the spices malinger about shabbily. It doesn't seems to work as well as we'd all hoped. The body is a nice medium, with a light carbonation and a slightly grainy feel. Overall, not bad this year, but still not quite to where it ought to be, methinks.

Dec 26, 2010
Photo of steve8robin
steve8robin from Massachusetts

3.93/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Won this in a secret santa. Glad to get to try it. Opened on Christmas Eve 2010. 12oz bottle...

A: Super dark with slight deep ruby highlights around the edges. A thick 1 inch tan head that fades at a decent pace. Very good.

S: I get some heavy nutmeg and cinnamon upfront with some bready spices quickly followed in the middle. Some slight vanilla and cranberry on the backend. Good.

T: A nutmeg / cranberry upfront with some breadiness quickly followed. Finishes with some spices and pine on the backend. Decent.

M: Medium body with a good carbonation. Very clean finish. Good.

D: This goes down very easy.

All in all, this is a good brew. Glad I got to try to see how this develops over time. Definitely ages better than I would have expected. Mellows out a lot. Try it if you like the style and get the chance.

Dec 25, 2010
Photo of Chaney
Chaney from District of Columbia

3.7/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I went to a friend's house for dinner back a few months ago and he just had one of these lying around his house. He told me that he didn't want it any more because it was "old." I tried to explain to him the virtues of aging Winter Warmers to no avail. He told me to take it.... lucky me!

A: Very dark, almost stout-like, with about a one finger off-white head. When I inspected the glass under a substantial light source, I got a small sliver of ruby, but nothing notable.

S: I actually got a floral smell of rose petals upfront, slightly muted and cottony, malty, and a good bit of dark fruit.

T: Subdued dark fruit with licorice. Plum for sure, frankinsence, and dark and/or chocolate malts. This was definitely a dark fruit beer as opposed to a "spice bomb."

M: Somewhat creamy, fairly thick, with a small amount of prickly carbonation. I got a fair amount of bitterness on the back end.

D: Like all of the brews in the Anchor series, this was pretty drinkable. However, there was still something missing. I never tried the 2007 when it was fresh, so I didn't have a point of reference. Eh.... I probably wouldn't have remembered it anyway.

Dec 25, 2010
Photo of deapokid
deapokid from Pennsylvania

3.65/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark, plum color, with very light carbonation and a thin ring of brown foam around the rim. Lacing may have gone with the passage of time, but the look is still Christmasy.

Scent contains cinnamon, spruce, nutmeg, pine needles and a medicinal, floral quality. Aroma is very strong and woodsy, as opposed to the candied sweetness of the 2006 edition.

Taste focuses mostly on the plum/dark fruit notes, putting seasonal spicing and pine on the back-burner. Alcohol presence is nearly non-existent and there may even be a slight tangerine tartness floating beneath the surface.

Liquid is extremely smooth and gentle on the palate, which may be due to aging. Overall, this is a subtle experience, but it's still a solid entry in the Holiday beer category.

Dec 19, 2010
Photo of Rifugium
Rifugium from North Dakota

4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Washington House, Sellersville, PA

A: Dark, semi-opaque brown, with a small, tan head that leaves a bit of lacing.

S: Spiced and fruity, with tones of caramel sugars and cherries.

T: Tasted about how it smelled. Very similar to Troeg's Mad Elf I though.

M: Smooth, a little bit syrupy, pleasant.

D: Easily drinkable.

Dec 10, 2010
Photo of rarbring
rarbring from Sweden

3.82/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The beer is hazy dark brown, nearly black, a tan small head, some lacing and curtains.

The smell has dark roasted coffee beans, figs, dates, Madiera and some yeast.

The taste is upfront sweet dark Christmas bread, bitter oranges and licorice, and a dash of cold coffee.

A very small carbonation, soft but a rather thin body, an oily surface but a dry ending ...

A bit old and slightly off at least on the feeling.

Dec 05, 2010
Photo of Thorpe429
Thorpe429 from Illinois

4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opened around Christmas 2009. Reviewed from notes.

Pours a reddish brown. Slight head. Nose brings forward some chocolate, anise, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a touch of pine/spruce. Taste brings forward some more of the pine notes with a bit of bitterness. The spices play a nice role here. Medium mouthfeel with good carbonation and some nice zest from the spices. Drinking quite well, and was my favorite of our mini vertical.

Oct 07, 2010
Photo of kbutler1
kbutler1 from Minnesota

3.81/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle 2007 version.

Pours a very dark reddish brown color with a very nice looking 2 finger slightly tan head that doesn't seem to want to go down!

Cinnamon spice type aromas in the nose and sweet smelling. Interesting flavors here...definite cinnamon and then bitter almost clove like taste.

Lighter mouthfeel than I would have expected from the look. Fairly carbonated. Bitter after taste, almost medicinal.

Aug 24, 2010
Photo of ChrisPro
ChrisPro from Illinois

4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Decided to crack open a bottle for Christmas Eve in July (7/24/10). Poured into a tulip.

A-Pours a muddy burnt brown with only a little tan head.

S-Incredible aroma dominated by fig, but also hints of caramel, clove and chocolate. This nose has held up well!

T-This has mellowed well. Super smooth blend of caramel, dark cherry and spice. Just loved it.

M-Pretty thick and slick, and a bit light on the carbonation.

O-This beer has held up well for three years and I can see why people love this with more age. Went down super easily and I'll for sure be putting more of this away long term.

Jul 26, 2010
Photo of MMansfield
MMansfield from Canada (NS)

3.92/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a bottle tucked away in my beer fridge. Decided to finally drink it 06/07/10... odd timing being summer at the moment but oh well.

Appearance: Poured out almost black with some reddish highlights. Frothy tanned head lasted a while and left a bit of lacing.

Aroma: Caramelized sugar, molasses and fruit cake! Good smells for a christmas beer. Not too bad in July either!

Taste: Slight slight sourness, with a bit of sweet up front. Molasses comes through in the middle and finishes rather dry.

Mouthfeel: Medium light carbonation, thick and puckering.

Final Statement: This beer aged very well for being a lower percentage. I didn't mean to leave it this long to be honest, but it was very decent. Wouldn't mind picking a couple of these up every year.

Jul 07, 2010
Our Special Ale 2007 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 398 ratings