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

very good
350 Reviews
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.

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Reviews: 350 | Ratings: 395
Photo of champ103
3.48/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark brown with some ruby highlights around the edges. A two finger beige head forms and leaves sticky lace.
S: Roasted malt with some chocolate. Lots of spices and peppermint.
T: Again roasted malt and some spices. Peppermint and pine flavors that are still plenty strong after a year of aging.
M/D: A medium to full body, but just a bit over carbonated for my tastes. This is very easy to drink. Something I could session.

The peppermint spice flavor is toned down a bit from the 08. Though it is still really strong. I would have liked a bit more roasted flavor to come out. Still, a very nice Our Special Ale.

Edit on 12/31/09: I had another one a few days ago, and this is not aging as well as I would like. After two years, a prominent sour flavor prevails and not much else. Maybe light roasted flavors, but that is it.

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

Poured into the good ol' pint glass.

A: Deep dark chocolate brown with a ruby tint. Opaque. Light carbonation. Medium light brown foamy head. Settles slowly, leaving a light foamy surface. Carbonation leaves a coating resembling a horizon with little mountains in the distance on the sides of the glass from the dissipating head. Leaves decent lacing.

S: Roasted malt, chocolate, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Very complex.

T: Dark roasted chocolaty malt, a little hops, mocha, just a hint of sweet, and a hint of spice.

M: Subtle sweetness explodes into the mouth at first, then the chocolate takes over, then the spice. The chocolate and spice continue to hang around throughout the entire experience.

D: Great quaff. Nice to sip. A lot of flavor, but not overwhelming.

Complex aroma and palette, great combination of flavors. Has a robustness, but not a heavy drink. Very refreshing. A true pleasure to experience this quaff.

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Photo of MisterClean
4.6/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Actually had a bottle of 1996 last night. Getting reviewed under this label since I am not allowed to review a 1996 anymore.

A - Mahogany pour, with a 1 fingered head, and dissipates fast.

S - Figs, raisin, and soy.

T - Figs, raisin, and a buttload of spices. Mostly dominated by coriander and ginger.

M - Wow 12 years and still drinkable. Real thick, very nice.

D - So smooth, and so good.

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Photo of wescj
4.07/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours almost completely black, with a half inch of off-white head. Not a whole lot of lace or retention, but impressive appearance in the nice color nonetheless.

Aroma is very spicy, particularly cloves. Also some molases and lots of sweetness from the malt character.

Taste is also spicy, with cinamon and cloves. Roasted malts, tastes toasty. Crisp and clean.

Full bodied, maybe a bit too carbonated for my taste.

Decent beer, all around.

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Photo of Bagman007
4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap in a pint glass.

A- Very dark with a very thin light brown head.

S- Very sweet scent to it. Can smell the spices and a hint of hops.

T- Taste as sweet as it smells. Tastes different from most Winter Warmer's. Has a tad kick to it from the hops in the aftertaste, but definitely not bitter.

M- Tingly feel going down from the sweetness of the beer. Not too hoppy so it's easy to down.

D- Very drinkable. It's a sweet beer, but not too sweet. Definitely a beer you can have a few of.

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Photo of R0man
4.49/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A sentimental selection for me being one of the first brews that exposed me to the posibilities of beer. I was never a macro man but this strange winter seasonal ignited my passion for beer exploration as much as anything. A divisive ale and one that varies by degrees from year to year. For me however few things signify the winter holidays as forcefully as this inimitable libation. In regards to this specific example: the year has softened the pine and spice interplay however cocoa, coffee, leather, and smoke have taken their place. Though still delightful and bizzare the age has made the beer a bit more traditional. All in all a pleasure for those lucky personages who understand its time and place.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
3.4/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Large, thick, tan head that settles down for some good retention and decent lace. Dark brown/ruby color. Smells of christmas spice, pear and raisiny sweet malt.

Tastes faintly of christmas spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, etc.) up front followed by a warm, malt chestnut body. Large pine and cola finish. Decent body and proper carbonation. As xmas 07 warms up, however, it aquires yucky analgesic taste. Boo, hiss.

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Photo of SurlyDuff
3.73/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a huge magnum wine/champagne bottle. Did a side by side with this years (2008) reserve.

Don't remember the last time ive had an Anchor Steam or porter or whatever... usually a brewery i overlook. this one pours a rich woody brown and a thick craggly head.

Spicy earthy hops, pine being prevailant. Reminds me of cedar wood a bit. It's below spec for abv, perhaps I'd call this an amber/brown ale. Pretty thin mouthfeel, a bit underwhelming, especially for a supposedly rich winter warmer. A tad of cinnamon/clove/pumpkin spice in there to add the christmas cheer.

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Photo of aerozeppl
4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A dark brown with some hints of copper. 2 fingers of white head with good lacing.

S: Christmas tree. A nice mix of pine tree and spices. Some sweetness.

T: Really nice christmas beer. Pine tree. totally powerful but somehow good. Some spices as well. The hops are very muted but provide some balance.

M: Very thick mouthfeel. Feels thicker than it is.

D: Can't have more than one but it is good. Look forward to this every year and it rarely disappoints.

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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 Vancer
4.18/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Cold winter evening with Thursday nite football, time to sample the 2007 batch.

Classic thick and rich mahogany black pour, topped with a sticky marshmallow head that laces the sides of the Corsendonk tulip in fine fashon.

Roasted dark fruit (if there such a thing?), with cinnamon and pumpkin spice in the aroma. Quaff has hoppy rootbeer, nutmeg and anise stirring about in some decadent medieval dance. A touch of cherry bourbon for good measure. Boozy hops jump in at the finish, but with the "low" alcohol this could be a fine all night sipper.

Full bodied, rich and loaded with goodness.

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Photo of magictrokini
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had very low expectations going into this beer, given the history I've had with Anchor. But, as Harry Dunn would say, this beer totally redeemed itself. Pours dark brown with a small tan head. Aroma is mulling spices, with light chocolate and coffee hints. The taste is nice. The spice and roasted malts are all up front, which fades into cocoa and the bite of clove. A really nice beer.

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Photo of gordavidson
4.28/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- An absolutely beautiful, creamy, thick light brown head sits atop a very deep reddish brown liquid. Wonderful.

S- Kind of minty, spicy, and herbal. Some brown sugar, vanilla, and something I can't place. Just very nice and refreshing and not too heavy at all.

T- Sweet and slightly spicy. Very mild, but tasty. A little earthy, minty, and herbal. Very unique and appealing. A year of age may have helped smooth this out a bit, but there is a lot of life left in here.

M- Wonderfully creamy. The aftertaste is great and the carbonation level is spot on.

D- A very tasty beer. This is the gold standard by which all winter warmers have to contend with, at least in my book.

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Photo of Lexluthor33
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

An excellent winter warmer that had a deep,dark brown color with a fluffy mocha head and a respectable lace.
I thought it smelled of grapes,malts and some dark fruits with a hint of spice.
The taste followed the aroma. Spices,dark fruits,mild malts,some alcohol tones and vanilla-toffee.
The feel was crisp,tingly with a medium body and well balanced carbonation.

Notes: Excellent holiday brew with a low ABV.

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Photo of hoppheadIPA
4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stumbled upon this beer in a sixer at a rinky dink liquor store. Not a place I thought I'd find this, since I was running for some cheap beer that night.

It pours a deep mohogany/amber. Very rish in color.

Aromoa is that of fruit, malt, molasas, and a hint of cocoa and spice.

Taste is malty rich and slightly fruity, with a thick bread backround with a hint of spice.

Healthy carbonation with outstanding smoothness

Drinkability is great, with a low alcohol content, these go down well.

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Photo of CoolJosh
3.42/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A. Pours a fast disolving foamy 1 finger beige head. Black cherry in color and semi hazy, but more dark than anything. Sheer through around the sides and bottom.

S. Tons of cinnamon and slight vinegar/cidered apple, really piney, and warm apples

T. Tons of malts, no hops or maybe they faded, grainy to finish, crisp but the vinegar doesn't sit well on the palate, green apples, ginger, pine

M leves a very warming feeling, a little too carbonated for my liking

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Photo of nick76
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The appearance is dark with a nice head. The aroma has mixed spices with caramel malt and fruit. The taste is complex with all the elements from the aroma. The palate is smooth and very good. Overall this is always a good beer and one I look forward to every Christmas.

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

One of my favorite local beer destinations, Toast Wine & Beverage in Martinez, GA, had some of this stashed in the back and brought it out upon request to another customer and me, and the two of us each bought three of the six bottles in the sixer.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle with the code "7NM" printed on the label into a tulip glass.

Pours a deep, deep, deep ruby-mahogany that appears nearly opaque until held to the light, at which point nice reddish-brown highlights appear. A nice, rich mocha head rises up and settles very slowly, sticking around throughout the remainder of the drink and leaving behind thick, creamy lace on the glass.

Smells of holiday spices, figs, and dark fruits; reminiscent of a nice, hearty holiday cake.

Body and mouthfeel are surprisingly medium rather than full--unexpected when judging the appearance and aroma, which seem to indicate a fuller body. No matter, though, as the flavor profile contains enough complexity to make up for the lighter body. Sweet malt flavors appear up front, filling into notes of chocolate, a tinge of maple, middling into an ornate combination of nutmeg, cinnamon, a hint of clove, and other spices, with an ever-so-faint hint of alcohol as the beer warms a bit, going down with more sweet chocolatey-spiciness and deep fruity notes. A strong sweetness lingers long into the finish.

While the complexity of flavors and aromas is top notch, and while the alcohol content is relatively low, drinkability is hindered by the long, sweet finish, which is somewhat cloying and wards off another brew.

Still, overall a wonderful sipper and a nice warmer, and one that certainly has not, at least discernibly, suffered through its year of aging.

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Photo of MerkinMan
4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It should be noted that I found this 2007 in November of 2008.

A: Rich mahogany / ruby color. Nice head even after settling down a little. Looks inviting.

S: Spicey hop aroma plus the presence of other spices, but none are immediately recognizable

T: Nice malt backbone with caramel notes, which is my favorite part of this one. Citrus-y hop flavors are nice and not at all overdone. Spices are a bit sprucey -- in a good way. As it warms, the spices come forward and a bit more spread out.

MF: Silky and rich -- a nice body like a special beer should have.

D: Many holiday beers are overdone on the spices, but not this one. I'll have another, ho ho ho.

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Photo of waltonc
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Cracked open the last 2007 I have had sitting in my fridge since last winter. Pours deep garnet color with thick tan head. Honestly, I can't discern any difference in taste between a young 2007 and a one-year-old 2007. Either way, it's one of my favorite Christmas ales. Molassessy, fruity, Christmas spicey in both smell and taste. More than any other Christmas ale I can think of, this one matches up well with the season. Mouthfeel is medium with pretty significant carbonation. Drinkability gets a ding for the same reasons it's such a good Christmas beer - the spices and fruits make this a great Christmas ale, but not one you can guzzle multiple rounds of in a single night. I look forward to trying 2008.

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Photo of BMoney575
3.26/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Sampled on 11-8-08

Pours a super cloudy and dark red color, with a nice off-white head that leaves slow-moving, glass-covering lacing.

Smell is tons of spices, cinnamon, clove, and an odd minty quality. Complex, but hard to get into.

Taste is much like the smell, rather light and spicy, with no real hop character. Sweet, and slightly bitter on the finish.

Mouthfeel is just a little too thin.

Drinkability is not very good, because the flavor is odd.

Overall, maybe I don't get it. Highly rated, but I just don't like it.

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Photo of kmeves
2.86/5  rDev -28%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear deep amber brown with a creamy tan head. Aroma is moderately sweet, nutmeg, juniper berries, chocolate and dark fruit. Flavor is nutmeg, cherry, grape, juniper and molasses. Medium bodied, stickyish texture. Very dry finish. This one just has too many contrasting flavors to be enjoyable.

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Photo of oneeye
4.23/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.
A. Pours a beautiful burgundy brown. A nice thick caramel tan head. A fluffy head with nice retension that leaves lots of lace. A nice little oil slick in the middle of the head. A velvety glow with plenty of carbonation.

S. The smell of roasted malts and spice with a hint of pine hops. The aroma of candied malts and dark fruit. A hint of chocolate and nutmeg with piney hops.

T. This beer is delicous. At first, fruit cake with dark fruits. Chocolate covered cheeries. It finishes with the taste of dry cocoa, nutmeg, and piney hops.

M. Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth. A medium bodied beer that finishes sweet and dry.

D. A unique beer with lots of great flavor. This beer is a well balance of spice, malts, and hops. Highly recommended and I will be looking forward to Anchor Christmas Ale 2008.

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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 nasty15108
3.91/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A - Poured dark brown, almost black with the exception of slight ruby hues around the edges. The pour produced a pillow of thick and creamy tan foam and scattered lacing throughout.

S - Malty and slightly sweet. Lots of herbal/spice notes detected.

T - more of the same. Slight chocolatiness with a dry bitter hop finish.

MF&D - Overall pretty tasty. I'm not a huge fan of spiced beer, so I'm not sure how many of these I could drink in a sitting. A nice treat.

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Our Special Ale 2007 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
3.97 out of 5 based on 395 ratings.
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