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

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Our Special Ale 2007 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2007 (Anchor Christmas Ale)
Very Good
395 Ratings
Our Special Ale 2007 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2007 (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 beerluvr on 11-03-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 395 |  Reviews: 350
Photo of Sammy
3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark like cola, and has a cola-licorice scent. Excellent roast-like dryness, with a bit of licorice. Tasty and drinkable. Good ABV for a drinkable winter warmer. Balanced, certainly not sweet, only a drop of cinammon in this one. Medium mouthfeel.

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Photo of jaydoc
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of spycow
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of Knapp85
3.55/5  rDev -10.6%
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.

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Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I first tried this on tap at Toronado a little while back. It poured a nice dark brown/red, or as everyone else has chosen, "dark ruby". It made considerably more foam than last years did. The foam was almost a light brown color. It even laced the glass a little. Very nice.

The first thing I noticed about the beer was how strong it smelled. I remember the smell very vividly but until I read some of these other reviews I couldn't figure out what it was. Some of the flavors that make sense to me are Vanilla, Ginger, and Cinnamon. The first two are what I noticed in the aroma and all three seemed prevalent in the flavor. There was a little hop bitterness and a little spicyness from the extra added flavors. Much less "tree" flavor in this years beer. Very nice balance right now, very in your face.

The body was medium/heavy and it went down real smooth. We'll see what happens to this with time.

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Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.25/5  rDev -18.1%

Photo of BEERchitect
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

...same as it ever was... All sarcasm aside, the beer is a fine Winter Warmer, although the fresh spices on these fresh beers come across highly agressive and bite-ey. The base beer seems to be a solid Brown Ale base -- showing some rich maltiness, dough, chocolate, mild-roast flavors. There are some Amber-ale toastiness, caramels, esters. Throw in the hopping rates of a solid Pale Ale, giving bold pine, resin, citrus flavors and bittering. Lastly, a hit of allspice, nutmeg, cinamon, and a moderate anise / dark-fruit estery spice rounds out the plethera of flavors. These beers are complex, rich, and enjoyable fresh, but meld together much better, given a year or two.

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Photo of oline73
3.62/5  rDev -8.8%
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.

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Photo of zeff80
3.7/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a nice mahogany color with a bubbly, tan, two-finger head. A couple nice rings of lace.

S - It smelled of spices, including cinamon and nutmeg. There was also a nice malty nose.

T - It tasted of cinamon, nutmeg, and some vanilla. It had some nice maltiness.

M - It was crisp and sharp. A medium-bodied beer.

D - It like this year's version better than the '06. It just seemed blended better.

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Photo of LXIXME
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of largadeer
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark opaque brown, fairly turbid, with two fingers of tan-colored head that retains fairly well.

Smell: Toasted malt and molasses, fruit cake, nutmeg. At almost a year old, this is just starting to show signs of age with a faint sherry-like aroma.

Taste & mouthfeel: A nice mix of molasses and nutmeg open this one up, followed by a fruity and nutty undercurrent. The body is impressively full and rich for being a mere 5.5% ABV. The finish is fairly dry with a lingering spiciness, though any hop bite this may have had when fresh is now gone. This is aging very nicely - I can see this doing well for another couple of years.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep brown color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of vanilla, spices, caramelized malts and some dark fruit, but it’s a little toned down compared to previous releases of this beer.

T: The taste is smoky and malty, with flavors of vanilla, caramel, some spices and a little bit of dark fruit. It seems smokier and less sweet than the other two versions I’ve had. The hops presence is mild but strong enough to provide a decent balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium-to-heavy body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style, it’s a beer worth drinking a few of, but I think I’ll put a couple away to see if they age as well as the 2005 release that I drank just before this one.

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Photo of oberon
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap last night at the Pizza Plant,poured from the tap a dep dark chesnut brown with tight formed 1/2 finger tannish colored head.Pleasant aromas and not as spiced as is years past in my opinion some noticable nutmeg and ginger spice but there was a nice earthy element to the nose along with a whiff of leafy hop.Again the winter spice mixture is lighter but noticeable with some nutmeg and orange cardamom(spelling?) notes with a racey ginger flavor hitting a little harder in the middle,slightly roasted with a drying earthiness in the finish.Anchor did well again with their annual holiday season brew,well done.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

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Photo of Rifugium
4/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

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Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of Kegatron
3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a goblet.

Pours a deep, dark red with initial large poof of tannish foam that quickly settled down into a medium creamy covering that left minimal lacing. Aroma is deep with cherries, spices, yeast, sweetness, and maybe just a smidge of alcohol.

Taste matches the flavor profile. Caramel malts up front blend into a nice festive mix of spices (that enhance but don't dominate) finishing with some strong sour cherry notes. Mouthfeel is a light medium body that slides down the throat rather easily. Just a tiny bit of heat adds a warm glow to each sip.

This perennial holiday favorite keep on trucking in 2007. A nice mix of festive flavors, warming nature, and good drinkability make this one you'll be coming back to well past Christmas.

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Photo of smcolw
4.47/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the one beer I look forward to every year.

Clear, reddish brown color. Wonderful three-finger head that leaves ring lace after every sip.

I always smell spruce trees with this annual offering. This one has more of a pine resin presence than some of the previous versions. Phenomenal.

Dry and creamy; lots of spicy chocolate. This is a rich beer with a reasonably low carbonation. The aftertaste most closely resembles a heavier brown ale.

I love this beer. It is perhaps the best winter beer available, at least this year, 2007.

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Photo of russpowell
4.73/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this at old chicago had to squeeze my glass for 5 minutes to warm it up!

Poured a black cherry-tinged chestnut with 2+ fingers of brown head. Great lacing & head retention

S: Juniper, pine, sarsaparillas & cake

T: Medicinal/jagermeister type notes up front. Herbal & piney hops break through as this warms along with brown sugar, cinnamon & dryness. Finished slight dryness, spruce & gingerbread notes, with some great pine & herbal hop kick

MF: Medium bodied, slick & oily with slight over carbonation

Drank pretty easy, this year's vintage is great. I couldn't session on this all night, but I will pick up another 6-12 of these when I get a chance!

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.68/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Coffee bean brown that becomes black cherry when backlit with the rising sun. The sandstone colored crown fills almost half the glass after a somewhat spirited pour. It's fluffy, creamy and sticky, which leads to quite an array of finely tattered lace. A splendid look.

The nose fails to distinguish itself... both from past versions of OSA (from what I remember) and from other winter warmers. As the beer warms, more spruce comes through, but it's too little, too late.

For whatever reason, this thirty-third iteration of Our Special Ale tastes less aggressive, more muted than usual. It can't be age because I've reviewed a few vintage versions as much as 7 years past the bottling date. They suffered a little in terms of mouthfeel, but appeared not to have taken a flavor hit.

Although the beer is still pretty good, Anchor could have left the 'Special' out of the name this year. As always, O*A (only kidding) tastes like a brown ale-porter hybrid with a pine needle and juniper berry infusion. If you're not keen on the added 'spices', this was the year to have loaded up. Warming helps enough that I feel pretty good about bumping the drinkabilty score.

The body/mouthfeel seems *slightly* more full (still no more than medium), but that's probably because drinking these at one year is much sooner than I have in the past. The carbonation is just... about... right.

It's hard to say whether Our Special Ale 2007 is more laid back than usual or if my palate just perceived it that way on this particular day. In the end, my feelings about this annual release are unchanged. Good for a single and a review, but that's where it ends.

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Photo of Jason
4.05/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Damn, I think I forgot about the rest of last years which probably tucked away somewhere deep in my cellar. I’m better off because I still have some 96’, 99’, 02’ & 04’. Lots of mid-sized brown bubbles show an active carbonation and a healthy head. Very dark with brownish garnet hues when put up to the light. Smells of molasses cookies and fruit cake. Very smooth with a spicy character from start to finish. A hint of char and deep caramel malt sweetness in the middle. Quick breath of alcohol and hop bitterness meld with the spicing well. Finishes spicy and a tad dry, I've had it on tap a few times this year and it seems to have more body than the bottle.

Without a doubt a must have every year, it ages very well for the most part and is a great switch up beer during the winter months.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.93/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz Bottle poured served at cellar temperature into a Pint Glass

A – Poured a very hazy and cloudy deep brownish amber. The color was almost a nice caramel brown but still had a touch of a golden amber quality to it. A very nice three finger high head of off white foamy and sticky lace formed on the top and sloshed around for a good few minutes before it reluctantly faded down and left behind just a thin film across the top. This was a hardy little film though that just would not go away. Tons and tons of gooey side glass lace then ensued and coated up the glass like crazy leading to a very full appearance and really a nice welcome site.

S – The aroma was very highly spiced, one of the spiciest aromas I have come across in some time. The aroma just absolutely reeked of nutmeg and cinnamon, and to be honest almost overwhelmingly so for the first few whiffs. As it warmed it started to subtly mellow and out and a somewhat piney like blend started to push itself forward. Overall a very different and highly noticeable aroma for a winter ale. I really thought that this was about to become a very big session,

T – The flavor was following the aroma right down the pike. A full on walloping of cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, pumpkin, everything but the kitchen sink from the first sip. Almost sat me back a bit as I had not tasted anything like this one in a while. There was a very nice overall feeling with it though that is hard to describe but was very nice indeed. As it warmed up and mellowed out some it started to exhibit some other notes most notably piney like hops that started to come out as well as a nice balancing caramel sweetness. This was an excellent development and really started to push through a nice amount of the flavor onto the front while allowing for the dry hoppy finish to assert itself toward the end. A very well balanced brew for starting out as up front as it did.

M – A very nice medium bodied smooth creamy ale. That would be the best way to describe it. Very nice depth and profile to the flavor and the carbonation never really let up or quit on you, really letting you have a nice overall experience with it. The flavors rolled across your tongue with the smoothness of a fine porter and the adequate carbonation really allowed it to pop at the end.

D – This was an n excellent mix between a sessionable and a sipper. The profile and huge tastes here would lend themselves much more to something that should be savored and enjoyed over the long haul to really let all the subtle nuances settled in. However, the really nice carbonation and the low ABV really allow this one to be put down at the rate of a couple at a time.

Overall I have to say I was a bit surprised. I had actually never had an OSA before this evening and was shocked really that I had not. It is such a different style ale to what I was expecting that it kind of set me back but in a good way. I grabbed some more to put down to compare next year, but this was really fine now. I will defiantly put this in the rotation of what to pick up every year around this time. A really nice brew.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.05/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up @ Quick 6 in West York, Pa. Decanted at celler temp into my snifter.

A - Ruddy brown w/ ruby highlights w/ a band of 2 fingers. The cap is light tan w/ an ultra fine bead. The lace is moderate w/ a nice clinging.

S - subtle roasted malt combined w/ a spuce aroma that is prominent w/ a slightly boozy note.

M - Dry, yet full in feel w/ a slightly astringent tinge. Subtle sweetness, spiced texture and slight hint of warming alcohol and moderate effervescence.

T - A slight metallic flavor w/ a piney hop and spiced flavor. There is a spruce note w/ gin-like qualities backed by roasted barley flavor and light toasted note. Subtle pepper and currant notes w/ a sweet caramel flavor that acts as an anchor, no pun intended, to the woody and boozy taste that carries on as it warms. The sweetness and citrus in the hop flavor that broadens the complexity w/ a berry-like sweetness and full natural tastes.

D - A very drinkable beer, perhaps the most drinkable winter ale you will find for 33 recipes it has kept the tradition alive w/ it's quality and unmistakeable flavors. I found this to be something of a unique flavor in the realm of beer. A highly drinkable ale IMO never boring - a great quaff.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.68/5  rDev -7.3%
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.

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Photo of rab53
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%

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Our Special Ale 2007 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.97 out of 5 with 395 ratings
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