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

Our Special Ale 2008 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2008 (Anchor Christmas Ale)
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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
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Ratings by WOLFGANG:
Rated by WOLFGANG from South Carolina

4/5  rDev +3.6%

Jul 08, 2013
More User Ratings:
Rated: 3.97 by DOCRW from Washington

Jul 04, 2020
Rated: 3.75 by smithj4 from New York

Apr 07, 2018
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Reviewed by KensWorld from Florida

4.27/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
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
Rated: 4 by Beerbuddha from Florida

Jan 20, 2018
Rated: 3.88 by Piglet_rulz_da_yard from California

Dec 26, 2017
Rated: 3.69 by deereless from Colorado

Dec 24, 2017
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Reviewed by mnj21655 from Massachusetts

3.76/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
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
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Reviewed by Stevedore from Oregon

3.32/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25
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
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Reviewed by Beginner2 from Illinois

3.97/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4
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
Rated: 3.88 by DucksFan16 from Tennessee

Jun 07, 2015
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Reviewed by stakem from Pennsylvania

2.41/5  rDev -37.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.25
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
Rated: 3.85 by Nbdreher

Aug 19, 2014
Rated: 3.75 by _morandi_ from California

Jul 14, 2014
Rated: 4 by Sparky44 from Illinois

Jul 05, 2014
Rated: 4 by senselessinsanity from Illinois

Jun 20, 2014
Rated: 4 by afsdan from Colorado

Apr 21, 2014
Rated: 4 by SkinniePost from Wisconsin

Apr 18, 2014
Rated: 4 by LXIXME from New Mexico

Feb 25, 2014
Rated: 4.25 by Gonzoillini from Illinois

Jan 29, 2014
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Reviewed by mfnmbvp from Illinois

3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
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
Rated: 3.5 by WanderingFool from Massachusetts

Dec 25, 2013
Rated: 3.5 by chippo33 from Vermont

Dec 10, 2013
Rated: 4.25 by ToasterChef from Maine

Dec 10, 2013
Rated: 3.5 by djgustafson from North Carolina

Dec 09, 2013
Rated: 3.5 by AnchorsAndAxes from Oregon

Dec 01, 2013
Rated: 4 by Doomcifer from Rhode Island

Nov 15, 2013
Rated: 4 by birchstick from Colorado

Nov 06, 2013
Rated: 3.5 by jaydoc from Kansas

Oct 20, 2013
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Reviewed by Pegasus from Texas

4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
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
Reviewed by jimmah120 from Minnesota

4.24/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
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
Rated: 3.75 by GABrew from Georgia

Jul 07, 2013
Rated: 3.75 by JamLand from District of Columbia

Jul 01, 2013
Rated: 4.5 by wrightst from Maryland

Jun 23, 2013
Rated: 3.5 by RogerTheShrubber from Georgia

May 18, 2013
Rated: 3.75 by bigred89 from Maryland

Feb 25, 2013
Rated: 2.5 by TastyIsBeer from Illinois

Feb 24, 2013
Rated: 4 by BrianCramer from Illinois

Feb 17, 2013
Rated: 3.25 by matjack85 from Illinois

Feb 12, 2013
Rated: 4.5 by Thunder from Georgia

Feb 08, 2013
Our Special Ale 2008 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 462 ratings