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

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Our Special Ale 2008 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2008 (Anchor Christmas Ale)
Very Good
456 Ratings
Our Special Ale 2008 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2008 (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 t0rin0 on 10-23-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 456 |  Reviews: 399
Photo of mnj21655
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.

 684 characters

Photo of Stevedore
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.

 529 characters

Photo of Beginner2
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.

 1,290 characters

Photo of DucksFan16
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of stakem
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.

 898 characters

Photo of Nbdreher
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%

Photo of _morandi_
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of Sparky44
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of afsdan
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of SkinniePost
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of LXIXME
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of Gonzoillini
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of mfnmbvp
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.

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Photo of WanderingFool
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of chippo33
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of ToasterChef
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of djgustafson
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of AnchorsAndAxes
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of Doomcifer
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of birchstick
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of jaydoc
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of Pegasus
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.

 772 characters

Photo of jimmah120
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.

 321 characters

4/5  rDev +3.6%

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Our Special Ale 2008 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.86 out of 5 with 456 ratings
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