Our Special Ale 2008 (Anchor Christmas Ale)
Anchor Brewing Company

Our Special Ale 2008 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2008 (Anchor Christmas Ale)
Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States
Winter Warmer
3.86 | pDev: 10.62%
Jul 04, 2020
Oct 23, 2008
Very Good
Our Special Ale 2008 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2008 (Anchor Christmas Ale)
Notes: None
View: More Beers
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
3.97 by DOCRW from Washington on Jul 04, 2020
3.75 by smithj4 from New York on Apr 07, 2018
Photo of KensWorld
4.27/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by KensWorld from Florida

This baby has 9 years of age on it yet it still pours like it was new. Plenty of carbonation and 2 finger brown head. Looks almost ruby red. Smell is the classic Anchor Christmas, no off smells at all. Taste is quite different then the other vintage years I’ve had. Lots of herbs, semi sweet mellow malty aftertaste. The feel is extreamly smooth as expected for its age. Somewhat watery and lacking a bite. Overall I lucked out on this one, it has aged perfectly.

Jan 20, 2018
4 by Beerbuddha from Florida on Jan 20, 2018
3.88 by Piglet_rulz_da_yard from California on Dec 26, 2017
3.69 by deereless from Colorado on Dec 24, 2017
Photo of mnj21655
3.76/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
by mnj21655 from Massachusetts

Pours very dark brown with ruby accents when held to the light, there is a bit over a finger of light brown head that settles to a thin head but hangs around forever. Aroma is lots of dark fruits (think raisins, dates, prunes) and some dark malt. Taste tempers those dark fruit notes a bit and presents a more rounded flavor profile. Mouthfeel starts medium on body with moderate carbonation but then falls off and turns very thin and aqueous in the finish. Overall this beer held up quite well over the past 8 years. I wouldn't advocate saving these quite that long but this beer is proof that a well brewed beer can evolve over time and still give an enjoyable drinking experience.

Dec 21, 2016
Photo of Stevedore
3.32/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25
by Stevedore from Oregon

2008 vintage. Served in a snifter glass 8 years later in 2016.

Pours a dark cola brown body, minimal half finger white head, short retention time, no lacing. Smells of dark fruit, a bit of soy sauce, pine, raisin. Nothing special. Flavour is similarly heavy on the raisin, dark fruit, dates, soy sauce, and a touch of pine bitterness. It's definitely malty and didn't do all that well with time. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, a tough one to get down. Overall... not terrible, but I can't imagine it's any better than it was fresh.

Jun 06, 2016
Photo of Beginner2
3.97/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4
by Beginner2 from Illinois

I found this copy in July 2016 at The Beer Temple.
Ritualistic about buying a six pack and saving three and having one each successive December to compare recent vintages, my hypothesis has been: Our Special Ale can be kept for 3 years.
The reviews just below me provide some confirmation that 3 years is enough. Except for a few outliers (BA is famous for its outliers), the average review/rating is much closer in the first three years, but deteriorates thereafter.
For the qualitative test, I opened this 2008. The aromatics of the season are familiar to my run of fourteen successive vintages. The taste is punctuated by the same, but amazingly the bubbles prickle my tongue and I notice less the seasonal spices and the signature malt in the mouth.

So... does age matter ?

Unfortunately, YES!

Always eager to prove my hypothesis wrong, I go get a 2014 copy from the cellar. Same color, same aromatics that remind me faintly of a sack of spices for mulling apple cider. But, 2014 is not prickly on the tongue!

Conclusion: two years old will always better than 8.
After all, "The Terrible Twos" will always beat 8 years old when adults expect you to be good and you prefer not to.... but let's not take the analogy too far.
Our Special Ale, to me, is at its best in its second year.

May 15, 2016
3.88 by DucksFan16 from Tennessee on Jun 07, 2015
Photo of stakem
2.41/5  rDev -37.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.25
by stakem from Pennsylvania

A magnum bottle (because Anchor knows that bad decisions are best served in a 1.5 liter format) poured into a 20oz thistle. The beer is dark chestnut to mahogany in color with a khaki cap. Ok, at least it looks good.

The aroma consists of soy sauce, pine needles and some mild fruity tinges like raison. The more I think about, this smells of christmas wreath and crushed dreams. Hey, there is some chocolate too.

The taste also includes soy sauce, chocolate, roasty almost smoked molasses and fruity hints of raison rubbed against a green air freshener and lost in your couch cushions. Some minerals and meaty dog food make for an earthy aftertaste.

This is medium bodied, modestly carbonated and overall a train wreck. I know "its a thing" to cellar and drink this beer with age but holy hell you wont catch me drinking this beer ever again unless its a freshy...and even then ill be hesitant.

Jan 23, 2015
3.75 by _morandi_ from California on Jul 14, 2014
4 by Sparky44 from Illinois on Jul 05, 2014
4 by senselessinsanity from Illinois on Jun 20, 2014
4 by afsdan from Colorado on Apr 21, 2014
4 by SkinniePost from Wisconsin on Apr 18, 2014
4 by LXIXME from New Mexico on Feb 25, 2014
4.25 by Gonzoillini from Illinois on Jan 29, 2014
Photo of mfnmbvp
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
by mfnmbvp from Illinois

12 oz. bottle, with a more than obvious vintage date. Code on the back label reads 80U. Vintage 2008. My fourth beer from the annual Anchor winter releases.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter.

A - Pours a deep dark mahogany colored body; opaque in the glass with just the tiniest bit of ruby showing around the edges when held to the light. One finger of creamy tan foam that thins to a bubbly ring quickly. Some nice thin tan lacing. Looks good.

S - Smell is of amber / red malt, tea leaf sweetness, brown bread, yeast must, herbal spice rack notes, faint licorice / anise, and some jammy berry scents.

T - Taste is of oak wood, dark chocolate malt roast, caramel, cream, dirty herbal earthiness, mineral water, and piney hoppiness. Roasty chocolate malt seems to dominate this year's vintage.

M - Smooth and creamy. Thin and light-bodied with good carbonation. Finish is mostly clean with some mild stick.

Overall, not the best of the vintages I've had so far, but it was still a worthy addition to the line-up. I would be interested to see where this one goes with another few years of age on it, but alas I may never know. Definitely worth the try.

Anchor Brewing Our Special Ale 2008 ---4/5.

Dec 25, 2013
3.5 by WanderingFool from Massachusetts on Dec 25, 2013
3.5 by chippo33 from Vermont on Dec 10, 2013
4.25 by ToasterChef from Maine on Dec 10, 2013
3.5 by djgustafson from North Carolina on Dec 09, 2013
3.5 by AnchorsAndAxes from Oregon on Dec 01, 2013
4 by Doomcifer from Rhode Island on Nov 15, 2013
4 by birchstick from Colorado on Nov 06, 2013
3.5 by jaydoc from Kansas on Oct 20, 2013
Photo of Pegasus
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by Pegasus from Texas

Appearance: Deep mahogony in color, with a massive dark tan head with incredible persistence. The lacing rings the glass wall with exquisite tide marks.

Aroma: Massive dark malt and massive spruce notes. Bitter chocolate and earth are prominent in the aroma as well.

Taste: Opens with dark, earthy malts, and spruce. Dark, roasted malt notes dominate the taste, wit the spruce tips and hops in a supporting role. Finishes with lingering dark malt notes, and a persistent, mild earthy bitterness.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft, velvety, and very pleasant.

Drinkability/notes: A superb example, which did not suffer from cellaring.

Presentation: Packaged in the ubiquitous Anchor twelve-ounce brown glass bottle with a pry-off crown, served in a New Belgium Brewing chalice.

Aug 15, 2013
Photo of jimmah120
4.24/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by jimmah120 from Minnesota

12oz with no date (hehe...)

dark look with a suprising amount of fluffy head. smell is heavy on the gingerbread with holiday spice and Christmas spruce tree. taste is similar, with the malt and hops being swallowed up by figs and holiday spices, with a gingerbread finish.

held up very well, now I need to try the rest.

Jul 16, 2013
4 by WOLFGANG from South Carolina on Jul 08, 2013
3.75 by GABrew from Georgia on Jul 07, 2013
3.75 by JamLand from District of Columbia on Jul 01, 2013
4.5 by wrightst from Maryland on Jun 23, 2013
3.5 by RogerTheShrubber from Georgia on May 18, 2013
3.75 by bigred89 from Maryland on Feb 25, 2013
2.5 by TastyIsBeer from Illinois on Feb 24, 2013
4 by BrianCramer from Illinois on Feb 17, 2013
3.25 by matjack85 from Illinois on Feb 12, 2013
4.5 by Thunder from Georgia on Feb 08, 2013
Our Special Ale 2008 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 462 ratings