Our Special Ale 2009 (Anchor Christmas Ale) | Anchor Brewing Company

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Our Special Ale 2009 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2009 (Anchor Christmas Ale)

Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by blackie on 11-02-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 341 | Ratings: 418
Photo of Tdizzle
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on 10/20/09. Poured into a Bruery tulip glass.

A- This beer pours a dark, dark brown with ruby-red hues when held up to light. A tan colored head of foam settles to a thin film atop the beer. Not much lacing to be found.

S- Bold notes of molasses, rich dark fruits and anise. An herbal spiciness meets a slightly creamy citrus note too.

T- The flavor is full of darkish characteristics such as molasses, fruity dark malts, mild dark chocolate, and black licorice. Some of the citrusy notes of the aroma come through towards a slightly dry finish that leaves a mildly bitter taste of burnt malts on the back of the tongue.

M- A lush, smooth, medium-bodied texture with soft carbonation bubbles that nicely balance the feel and the flavor of this beer.

D- This is one of my favorite beers of the season, and drinking the first OSA of each November. And exploring the slight variations in the recipe (if there are any), is always a fun drinking experience. However, I wouldn't be able to consume more than one of these in a sitting due to it's richly spicy and herbal characteristics.

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Photo of bsp77
4.42/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Dark brownish-ruby with creamy tan head that mostly recedes with slight lacing lines.

Smell: Faintly sweet spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, orange and gingerbread. Nice chocolate and caramel undertones.

Taste: Bittersweet roasted malts with light notes of coffee, chocolate and caramel. The spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger) are subdued overall, especially compared to the smell, but provide a nice counterbalance. Slight bitter finish from the roasting. Almost seems a little stale, akin to an English Old Ale.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, medium body, somewhat dry finish.

Drinkability: This appears to be a Robust Porter with a fairly subdued holiday spice profile. This is a must purchase every year.

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Photo of Hornet2003
3.7/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was a neely brewed bottle purchased just after Halloween in B.C.

This year's version of OSA is very similar to last year's. Dark dark red in colour and slow to dissipate head. I sensed a lot of licorice in the aroma and also in the taste. Definitely moreso than years past. There are also the standard pine needle and cola flavours. I couldn't drink more than one at a sitting due to the aggressive licorice overtones. A little too much for me. But as a nice slow sipper, it is quite a festive brew!

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Photo of AimToCheat
4.52/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Brewed On October 8th 2009
Poured: November 8th 2009

Appearance: Poured into a sam adams glass. Medium sized thick caramel colored head. Some Lacing.

Smell: cinnamon, pine, cloves, nutmeg, peppercorn, cocoa, malt, spice

Taste: Malty, with a nice balance of hops, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Almost clove-like in taste. Something about this beer just reminds me of christmas. It could be called summer ale and it would still remind me of the winter.

Mouth-feel: malty and sweet

Drinkability: Could really drink this a lot during the winter months. It is a bit complex and heavy, but a few of these hit the spot.

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Photo of champ103
4.18/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a dark ruby brown color. A large tan head rises to over two finger with great retention. Sticky lace is left behind.
S: Apple pie, cinnamon spice, and bread/biscuit aromas. Very mellow, soft, and subtle.
T: Follows the nose. Plenty of cinnamon. A nice toasted malt flavor. Nutty with some bread and biscuit. I love the rich apple pie flavor. Some chocolate flavor lingers after this warms up a bit.
M/D: A full body with medium carbonation. Very creamy and rich. Very easy and smooth to drink. I can quaff these all day.

I think I like this one better than 08 initially. Less overwhelming peppermint and spicy flavors here. It still has some spice to it, just not up front and center. This is very mellow and subtle. Something I really enjoy and would recommend. I can't wait to see how this ages.

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Photo of Brad007
4.35/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice burgundy color with a two-finger head that fades down, leaving lacing on the edge of the glass.

Aroma is sweet with a good hint of nutmeg (?) in the nose that seems quite strong. A decent way to start thi soff.

The taste is kind of sweet and the nutmeg actually fades away to reveal a layer of chewy malt that also has a bit of smokey/nutty texture to it. It fits the fall/winter theme.

Mouthfeel is full of lingering sweet/nutty malt. Very nice. Still quite chewy. No harsh flavors.

This may be a lot better than last year's release. Certainly more drinkable in my opinion.

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Photo of aubuc1
4.07/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle in to a pint glass.

Aggressive pour reults in a big tan frothy head on top of a clear dark body.
Smell is a huge spicy delight. Nutmeg and cinnamon are the most prevalent spices. After that it is hard to tell.
Taste is a very nice sweet spicy brown ale. Maybe a hint of hops in the back.

Slightly thin mouthfeel but a very drinkable beer considering the spices.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
3.48/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a dark reddish brown with a light tan foamy head that dissipated quickly. No true lacing.

Smells of toasted malt and burnt sugar. Some bready element in there, but tough to find. Some light spice.

A bit disappointed in the complexity. Browned, toasted grain husk, somee burnt sugar (more bitter than sweet), some spice, just can't tell what, and overall toasted maltiness. Decent but if I bought a six of this it would take me a while to finish them.

These are sippers. Flavors are complex, alcohol is in check, but it is a tad bit harsh. Decent body and carbonation help, but I think I pass on this one again.

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Photo of jeffjeff1
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked this up in Walnut Creek at Whole Foods after dinner.

Appearance- dark brown color, thin head

Smell- pine, spices

Taste- nice winter spices

Mouthfeel- lighter side of medium bodied

Drinkability- very nice, really enjoyed it, would and will definitely drink it again

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Photo of advill88
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark with a reddish tinge and a two finger off-white head.

S - Smells mainly of cinnamon, nutmeg, with some pine.

T - Taste is very reminiscent of Christmas spices, with cinnamon and nutmeg. It leans more heavily on the malt, but has just enough hops to balance it out nicely.

M - Medium carbonation, with a medium-heavy mouthfeel.

D - Probably couldn't drink too many of these in one sitting, but a couple of these would really hit the spot, especially on a cold winter evening. I'll be sure to pick up another sixer as it gets closer to Christmas.

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Photo of Augustiner719
3.97/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a taster glass:

Appearance: Nice mocha/tan colored head yielded from a orangish, copperish brown that is slighly clear. Nice thick head.

Smell: very aromatic. great wintery spices like cloves, nutmeg, rosemary, mint followed by nice malty aromas. Little bit of caramel comes through as well.

Taste: Good spices come through. Ginger snaps meets cinnimon and brown sugar. Pretty good and nice long finish.

Mouthfeel: A little bit thin but its saved by its ability to coat the palate. Solid carbonation.

Drinkability: Perfect winter session beer. I would drink this all day long on christmas and any snowy day for that matter. Great example of the style.

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Photo of magine
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

Pours a dark brown (root beer) with the ruby tint color. Has a thick frothy tan head. Some lacing.

Smells malty, piney (earthy) peppermint, nutmeg and full of spice.

Has a peppery initial mouthfeel which becomes mire subtle as you drink. Can taste the hops in there, has a light mouthfeel. Can fell the "warming effect" of the spice and alcohol blends. Has a nice almost cinnamon hops flavor. The spice flavor is not over done in any way.

This brew is great, very drinkable and very much hits the spot for this season. Very impressive brew - very sessionable.

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Photo of JBogan
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Fills the glass with a dark brown joined by a slight ruby highlight. a think but creamy off white head caps it off and leaves excellent sticky lacing behind. A nice looking beer.

The aroma has a nice juniper presence with a cola edge. I swear there was even a hint of pot in the background. A bit of peppermint rounds things out. Interesting to say the least.

The taste wasn't quite as interesting as the smell, but fairly pleasing nonetheless. Everything seemed a bit tamed down when compared to the aroma, but blended together nicely. There also seemed to be some spice in there, perhaps cinnamon.

The mouthfeel was thinner than I would have wished for in a beer of this style. It did have an excellent smoothness, especially as it warmed, but the very minimal amount of carbonation left it feeling just a bit flat.

Another fine seasonal offering from anchor. I feel it's a step up from last year's version, but not up there with the '07 batch.

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Photo of jooshnookbrewery
3.83/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Not a bad holiday beer, by any means - quite enjoyable actually, but not without a few things to consider.

A: Dark beautiful red with a thin layer of medium-brown head that dissipates rather quickly. Nice to look at.

S: Has a scent of very slight fruitiness in the background, coupled with an almost chocolately, old country-ish aroma that is reminiscent of rustic settings. Good job in that department, although the smell isn't quite as strong as it could be, which would definitely contribute to its overall score. Still, not bad. Barely any spice notes, surprisingly.

T: A latent bit of spice coupled with a perfect amount of bitterness from the hops. Not overwhelming at all, but present - the way it should be. A miniscule lacing of caramel sweetness rounds it out. The spice and hops, however, seems to be this beer's strong point because other than that it seems a bit unremarkable in this category.

M: The mouthfeel for this, as a near session beer despite its ABV, is surprisingly good. Maybe the tiniest bit on the light side for my own tastes, as well as for what I know this style is capable of, but altogether very well done.

D: It's definitely not the type of beer you're going to consistently pound back all night long, but having a few of these on a good occasion with friends and family wouldn't be out of the question. One or two would suffice for most, but I could see going through the whole six pack in a night, if one were so inclined.

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Photo of mikey711
4.02/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Ahhh the right of passage into winter, the Anchor Christmas Ale.

A: Dark brown to an almost ruby/mahagoney color in the light. Lots of carbonation rushes up from the glass and the head is tan and a inch thick. Excellent head retention and webbed lace all around.

S: Great holiday smells that always remind me of christmas. Pettermint, ginger, cloves. Sweet brown sugar and molasses are present as well.

T: Minty, earthy, woody. Some cinnamon spice and sweetness can be found, but the woody and minty/pinecomby taste are the most dominant and provide a bit of bitterness. Also a little bit of roasemay. Very unique tasting

M: On the lighter side with the carbonation being easily felt

D: I dont think I would want more than one in a sitting but it is definitely worth the experience

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Photo of blackie
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

always one of my favorite presentations with the squat bottle and unfinished paper label featuring a new tree with each vintage, this year we have Cupressus macrocarpa (aka Monterey Cypress), native to the central Californian coast

a: snifter serving, rough pour produces an attractive mocha brown head, good retention - easily roused with a swirl of the glass, and the beer itself a dark chestnut in color

s: structure of dry, well toasted toffee and heavily toasted dark, sweet breads, the unique aroma falls in line with those of years past - big woody nose with loads of nuts and cedar, quick but clear glimpses of anise, spicy arboreal roots - definite sassafras, spiced plum cake, dark molasses-ginger cake, perhaps some cinnamon bark, earthy evergreen hops contribute to the rustic feel of this ale, the spicing here is my favorite in memory

m: body on the lighter end of medium with a low, delicate but lively carbonation

t: the dry, dark toasted body immediately opens up to rich, spicy woods - cedar most prominent, sassafras and cinnamon spice, the finish goes completely dry with flavors of powdered evergreen bark, earth, and a moderate bitterness, moving further into the long finish glimpses of what may be green coffee and cocoa bean pull through, always a challenge to nail this one down

d: no problems here - not something you'd want more than one or two of but always a pleasure to enjoy, really happy with this particular vintage

while there's a ton going on in this beer, what I was unable to find that the majority after me did is nutmeg - some components similar but not the same, and don't think it'd be a good match here either

requisite sixer purchase from P Street Whole Foods, DC

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Our Special Ale 2009 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
4.01 out of 5 based on 418 ratings.
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