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

Our Special Ale 2008 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2008 (Anchor Christmas Ale)
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 weisserj
3.84/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed Christmas night (12/25/2011). 3 year vintage.

Pours dark brown, almost black, into Chimay chalice. 2 finger off-white (beige?) head that does not last too long but instead descends into a small halo of foam. Shocking how little aromas I am able to detect but I’m getting a tiny amount of pine and maybe a bit of cinnamon or nutmeg? Again, it’s very hard to tell and perhaps I’m a bit congested from allergies but it seems extremely mild even when I put a nostril right up to the bottle. Taste is milder than I was expecting after reading all about the Anchor Christmas beers through the years (this is the 34th edition). Malts are in the front and a bit of piney aftertaste in the back. Goes down extremely smooth with no bitter or biting aftertaste. The cinnamon is present but thankfully not overdone-just right. Not boozy-tasting in the slightest but this truly is a winter warmer and can get you feeling very nice after just a few sips. I drank the first half fresh out of the fridge and let the second half mellow a bit in the glass to see if I could get more smells or flavors to stick out. A bit more aroma emerges and now it kind of reminds me of Goose Island Bourbon County Stout.

Is this a go-to ale? Well, not really since it’s now 2011 and the 2008 vintage is probably almost all consumed by now. I like it quite a bit and would definitely pick up another bottle if the opportunity arose.

I had found and purchased two bottles and even though I really like it I’m sticking to my plans to gift the second one to a friend. After all, it is the season of giving!

 1,593 characters

Photo of korguy123
3.43/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2008 vintage opened 12/17/2011

A- Super dark brown/black pour with three fingers of light tan head. Slowly the soapy mass deflates leaving a thin ring and bunches of lacing.

S- Nutmeg and ginger, cinnamon with a slight buttery presence. Black coffee and figs with slight rum soaked raisin.

T- Brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and raisins. Slight cardboard tastes.

M- Light to medium bodied, light carbonation, sticky on the lips.

O- Not bad. Definitely Christmas in a bottle.

 478 characters

Photo of trojankeg
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of THECPJ
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of taitlifto
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of LSUPT
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of PhatAtUT
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of pperez38
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of brandoman63
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of rab53
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of Amyliz4
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of jmdrpi
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of waiting4lunch
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of ROGUE16
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of fmccormi
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of AlexM
5/5  rDev +29.5%

Photo of bpfrush
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of nickd717
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle at The Bruery, 2008 vintage, vertical with 2001 and 2002 vintages. Review dated 2/4/2009.

Dark amber color with an off-white head. Aroma of roasted malt, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon. Flavor is the same, malty with spices, not quite as mellow as the oldies but good. Medium-full body.

 300 characters

Photo of jondeelee
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The 2008-2009 release has a pleasant aroma, with notes of nutmeg, cinnamon, light cloves, and pine.

These flavors continue into the beer, though nutmeg and pine dominate the palate, along with a sugary current reminiscent of the candied fruits that often accompany Christmas stockings: specifically banana and mango. Hops are kept to a modest level, mostly providing a stabilizing effect to keep the sugars from becoming overwhelming.

Overall, quite a delicious beer; especially considering I'm not overly fond of beers that have added "natural flavors" and "spices," as per the label.

 589 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.14/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2008 vintage which makes this approximately 2.5 years old at this time.

Pours a semi-clear crimson red color with a 2 inch light beige head that settles to a small cap. There is a complex lattice work of lacing on the glass on the drink down. The smell on this beer is very complex. Overall, it smells like an arts and crafts store around Christmas time. There is an earthy smell, with notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, allspice. Very much like mulling spices used to make apple cider. Absolutely fantastic. Unfortunately the taste is not as great as the smell. The same tastes as present as what I get from the aroma but in a watered down way. Almost as if a bag of mulling spices was left to steep in a generic ale. Carbonation levels are somewhat low which could be a factor due to the age of this beer. The mouthfeel is slightly flat and watery but it's not too far gone to be unenjoyable. Overall, this is a good beer still with perhaps slight signs of aging. I really liked the 2009 version of this beer and I know that each year the recipe changes. I bet the 2008 version fresh was pretty awesome. I have one more of these in my cellar so I am curious as to how further aging will affect this beer.

 1,207 characters

Photo of dragonWhale
2.72/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

a little foam over from this cute little bottle. rich dark amber with a khaki head, sexy lace.

smells of thick sweetness, like a batch of my buddy's homebrew that i wanna really like but have to tell him its got promise but its way too sweet.
it's decent, but hardly very drinkable. were this a bomber, half would've likely gone to waste just so we could get on to drink something better. thick dextrinous malt, spruce and pine, not much else spice. too much sweetness.

 470 characters

Photo of gford217
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 bottle.

Pours reddish brown out of the bottle and settles in an opaque mahogany that only has ruby hints around the edges. There is a healthy beige head that recedes to a hefty cap with good lacing.

Aroma is sweet and malty but with lots of subtle spices mixed in, including cinnamon and nutmeg. There is also an interesting juniper berry and evergreen character. Almost a minty type aroma.

The taste has an initial juniper kick alongside the sweet caramel malts. The spices become much more evident in the finish where I'm left with a cinnamon and herbal zing on the palate.

The mouthfeel is creamy and smooth with lots of spices popping on the tongue.

This a really well crafted and very drinkable winter warmer. After 2 years, the spices have settled down a bit and let the sweetness of the malts come out.

 819 characters

Photo of BB1313
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass. I was fan of this one in '08, so I ended up saving a bottle to have for the future. Pours a deep burgundy, slight haze, w/ white fluffy head and decent lacing. Very good looking beer. This one has some woodsy aromas going on w/ some berries; bittersweet. Very interesting and unique flavors going on here. Mouthfeel is nice, but pretty slick. Drinkability isn't bad, but the flavors will take it's toll on you. Low abv helps for good drinkability though.

Very interesting and unique beer, glad I saved one. If you ever come across this vintage, enjoy!

 599 characters

Photo of deapokid
4.16/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Liquid is a dark amber topped with a thick finger of brown foam and dense and substantial lacing. Carbonation is also very prevalent, making this model stand out much more than previous years. Visually stunning.

Scents of cinnamon, nutmeg, gingerbread, cayenne pepper and grandma's fruit cake are all on hand, as is a blunt dryness brought on by the sugar and yeast.

Flavor profile packs in a ton of plum, which is followed by subtle maple notes and a dry conclusion. Spicing seems to be the usual; think nutmeg, cinnamon and pine needles. Beer is smooth, but not rich, allowing some nice roasted aspects to linger on the tongue.

This model has a bigger aroma and flavor profile than the previous year and that's certainly reflected in the amount of time it took to drink the 12oz bottle (you could count the minutes on one hand). Another great version of America's best Christmas ale.

 888 characters

Photo of Jimmys
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep walnut colored brown, nearly opaque. Light leathery brown dense two-finger head.

S: Syrup & cookie dough. Cinnamon on the tail-end.

T: Sweet molasses. Mild sour, vinegar-like cloy. A big bunch of clove towards the end and finishes with a delicious linger of french roast coffee. The vinegar aspect almost made it out to be spoiled at first, but after a few more tastes definitely added more complexity to the body.

M: Medium to full body with a mellow smooth carbonation.

D: Got several of these in the cellar. Gonna have to crack another one around this time next year and revisit my review.

 604 characters

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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