Our Special Ale 2021 (Anchor Christmas Ale)
Anchor Brewing Company

Our Special Ale 2021 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2021 (Anchor Christmas Ale)
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Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States
Winter Warmer
3.92 | pDev: 10.2%
Jan 14, 2024
Oct 31, 2021
This is the forty-seventh Our Special Ale from the brewers at Anchor. This ale, made with natural flavors, features a new recipe & tree every year, but the intent with which we offer it is the same:joy & celebration of the newness of life. Trees symbolize the winter solstice when the earth, with its seasons, appears born anew, the natural beauty of the California high desert is epitomized by the western Joshua tree. Threatened primarily by climate change, it is a candidate for the protection under the California Endangered Species Act.
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Rated: 3.75 by smithj4 from New York

Jan 14, 2024
Rated: 4 by GClarkage from California

Aug 19, 2023
Rated: 4 by Cuervo_PCB from Florida

Dec 26, 2022
Rated: 3.96 by zotzot from Vermont

Dec 24, 2022
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Reviewed by noyoucmon from Illinois

3.22/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5
12-oz. bottle, poured in pint glass.

Appearance: Sparse, incomplete tan head. Fades quickly. Black opaque. I see a bit of carbonation on the top, but hard to see much due to color.

Aroma: Malty. Maybe a touch of baking chocolate.

Flavor: Bitter cocoa and anise, but pleasant. More like a black ale than a Christmas beer. Kind of like a spiced Kostritzer Schwarzbier. Quite complex, though.

Alcoholic/Solvent: 4/5
Dark Fruit: 4/5
Citrus: 4/5
Hoppy: 2/5
Floral: 3/5
Spicy: 5/5
Herbal: 5/5
Malty: 5/5
Toffee: 1/5
Burnt: 4/5
Sweet: 1/5
Sour: 2/5
Bitter: 4/5
Dry: 5/5
Body: 5/5
Linger: 5/5

My personal final rating: 3.5
Dec 07, 2022
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Rated by Sammy from Canada (ON)

3.96/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
coniferous, dark, syrupy, fruity. Very good. Drying after taste.
Oct 16, 2022
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Reviewed by NeroFiddled from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
Anchor Brewing Co. "Our Special Ale 2021"
12 fl. oz. brown glass bottle "PKG110921" and sampled on 070822
$2 @ Acme #2762, Phila., PA

Notes via stream of consciousness: It's Christmas in July! Of course the beer is 8 months old but whatever. This one is darker than the previous versions I've tasted. It's a very dark brown that appears black in the full glass. Ruby and mahogany brown highlights can be seen at the base of the glass if you hold it to the light, and you can also see that it's clear. The head is a short cap of tan foam that unfortunately doesn't hold up that well. It's only been a minute or so since I poured it and looked at it under the light and now the head is gone. The aroma initially reminded me of an Indian grocery store; that's probably ginger coming through. A swirl of the glass, however, brought out the maltiness which has some molasses to it, and a bit of cinnamon and pine. I should note at this point that this is made with "natural flavors" so there's no actual pine or spices being added. On to the taste, it's richer than the aroma suggests, as usual. The malt is like dark bread that's caramelish and molasses-like - German black bread, perhaps? There's a fruitiness to it that I can't quite pinpoint but it's at least a little like juicy apple and orange. On the spice side I'm getting ginger, clove, nutmeg, and cinnamon. It finishes dry, a touch spicy, and fruity with plum and a hint of pine lingering. The mouthfeel is medium on the fuller side with a gentle carbonation that leaves it smooth and creamy across the palate. This was first brewed in 1975 so there have been a lot of versions of this, however, they haven't all been that good. This one is one of the better ones that I've tried. It's a nice, relaxing sipper that's not overdone with spice while still remaining spicy.
Review #8,130
Jul 08, 2022
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Reviewed by JokersAce

3.99/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Dark brown mahogany with a coca cola like beige head. Looks like a stout but does not taste like one. It's heavy on the malt like a Bock.
This one is a bit tricky to pin down but it's crisp, dry, with some definite holiday spice. Ginger spice, molasses, nutmeg, allspice, some dark chocolatey notes (but not much), a bit if black coffee towards the end, and strangely a gin/pine like juniper is somewhat present in the bitter notes.
It tastes like a classic spiced gingerbread was made into a beer with some added liberties. The spice does add up considerably as the beer is consumed.
Jun 18, 2022
Rated: 4 by Velivolus1 from Vermont

Jun 14, 2022
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Reviewed by Ozzylizard from Pennsylvania

3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Our Special Ale 2021 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing. On room temperature “SALE” shelf at Franklin beer, Franklin, PA, 10/05/22. $ 8.00 (Including tax)/6 pack of 12 oz bottles ($ 0.111/oz). Stored at 40 degrees after receiving. Reviewed 08/06/22. Note that I use DD/MM/YY protocol.
On back label “PKG10012”. Served at 54.8 degrees in a hand washed and dried imperial pint. Final temperature 58.8 degrees.
Appearance – 3.5.
First pour – Amber Brown (SRM 18), translucent.
Body – Black (SRM 40), opaque. When rear-lite, light penetrates at the edges (amber brown) and shows lumps which have settled on the inside curvature of the glass.
Head – Large (Maximum 5.2 cm, aggressive center pour), initially chocolate but quickly fading to tan, high density, average retention, diminishing to a 0.3 to 0.6 cm crown and a rocky complete cap.
Lacing – None.
Aroma – 4 – Cinnamon and clove (?). No yeast, no hops.
Flavor – 4 – Weak taste of mulled spices. Some chocolate malt backbone. No yeast, no hops. No ethanol (7 % ABV as marked on label) taste or aroma. Immediate gastric warming occurs but remains low key throughout the glass. No dimethylsulfide or diacetyl. Ends with a light touch of bitter chocolate.
Palate – 4 – Medium, creamy, soft carbonation.
Final impression and summation: 4 I rarely see Anchor around here so when I do, I grab some. While this is well-made, the flavors are very weak and undifferentiated. No lacing. Six and done.
Jun 08, 2022
Rated: 3.87 by BlueSpader from Washington

Apr 30, 2022
Rated: 2.42 by stephenlee93 from England

Mar 19, 2022
Rated: 4.46 by tuowl74a from Pennsylvania

Mar 05, 2022
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Reviewed by scootny from New York

3.94/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
A delicious roasty holiday beer. Great in the winter. Dark fruits and sweet roasted grains. Burnt caramel. Great spice blend and hopping. Earthy hops with a gentle bit of noble bite. Dry, short finish with a clean swallow. Great full feel with a smoothly creamy carbonation. Medium weight with a bit of girth. Just a perfect holiday and winter brew.
Mar 02, 2022
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Reviewed by elNopalero from Michigan

4.36/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Pours the color of a nice roasty porter, with cocoa colored foam. Roasty seems appropriate, for the sip and on the nose both. Some light medicinal notes—eucalyptus and menthol, touch of mint. It’s a Fernet beer without saying as much. Velvety mouthfeel. I liked it!
Feb 09, 2022
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Reviewed by Dinglehacker from Wisconsin

4.44/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Poured into shaker pint. Khaki head-to-ring. Frosty lace. Brown-tinged black.

Light smoky nose with some cinnamon, faint clove.

Taste follows. Light roast, caramel sweetness balanced with the cinnamon, sweet finish with a roasted aftertaste.

Very smooth. Some might say watery but that's ok.

A bit dark for a winter warmer, verges on a spiced porter. I'm trending toward the more positive side. It hits the right notes for me for a darker beer in general. Some reports suggest some inconsistency in the batch, so watch out!
Feb 08, 2022
Rated: 3.35 by TMoney2591 from Illinois

Feb 07, 2022
Rated: 3.98 by gefinley from California

Feb 03, 2022
Rated: 3 by 1971bernat from Virginia

Feb 03, 2022
Rated: 4.13 by golf4collet from West Virginia

Jan 30, 2022
Our Special Ale 2021 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 168 ratings