Our Special Ale 2002 (Anchor Christmas Ale) | Anchor Brewing Company

Our Special Ale 2002 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2002 (Anchor Christmas Ale)
Liked This Beer
4.02 w/ 136 ratings
Our Special Ale 2002 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2002 (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 kbub6f on 11-07-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Ratings: 136 |  Reviews: 126
Photo of Bighuge
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep dark burgandy color. Clarity is apparant. A one finger creamy brown head recedes to a nice collaring within a minute. Shades of olive green can be seen on the head. Maltiness is evident on the nose as well as slight spruce and some spicing (ginger, nutmeg??). First sip is full of substance and spice. Complex to say the least. There's a nice little bitterness coming from either the hops or spices or both. Probably both. I'm not sure how they incorportate the cottonwood into the mix, but it seems to add a twist. Maybe a resiny sap-like presence. Cinamon and ginger seem to be the main spices. Dry woody character present. Figs, plums, raisin-like. Chocolate truffels. Man this has a lot of flavors if you look hard enough. Suprisingly, this brew's body is about light-medium. Another X-mas winner from Anchor.

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Photo of aracauna
3.34/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Nice big khaki wet foamy head. Body is blackened ruby. Aroma is candy-like, life fruit hard candy. Surprisingly low in malt aromas considering the color. The flavor has a sprucey smell, but lacks the harshness that's usually associated with it. That blends with a candied lemon flavor, minus the tartness. The flavor is also candy-like but not really sweet. I had expected a higher malt profile. Very low bitterness and flavor is a bit thin underneath the spices.

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Photo of Brent
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I always look forward to the release of this seasonal, just to see what Anchor does to tweak with the recipe. This year it seems to be a little darker in color, but lighter in flavor. Aroma is a pleasant spice - nutmeg and cinnamon, with a light spruce aroma that blossoms as the beer warms. Almost like a holiday potporri. The sprucy flavor is there, along with the unique malt profile of past years, but much more subdued, and perhaps a little more drinkable for that reason. Reminds me of a magnum of the 1999 release I opened at New Year's last year - the spruce had mellowed and beter integrated with the malt. The same seems true of this year's.

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Photo of DerKaiser
3.73/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Wow, what a complex beer. Super dark color, almost like a ripe plum, under a thick reddish brown head.

The aroma is heavy with ginger and sugar. The taste is also heavy with ginger and maple sugar. But added to this is nutmeg, hints of orange zest, cinnamon, and even notes of pine sap, as well. This is a heavy duty beer with overwhelming flavor. Enjoy one or two with a snack and then move on. Any more than that and the palate just gets overwhelmed. I'm saving a few of these for holiday seasons to come. I'll be anxious to see how time alters their already amazingly complex character.

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Photo of purplehops
4.28/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A very good year. This ale pours a rich mahogany-chestnut brown With a deep tan head that leaves little lace on the glass. The aroma is of mace and ginger with hints of nutmeg. The taste is spicy and malty as a x-mas ale should be. It starts with a rush of crystal malt, ginger, coriander, and mace. It finishes with flavors of orange peel, nutmeg, and hints of alcohol and mace and hops. The body is warm and inviting with some weight to it. I'll be waiting with one of these for St. Nick by the fire this season.

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Photo of doho95fu
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Honestly, this is a beer that would have been reviewed very differently if I had not waited until I finshed the beer to base my opinions. The first taste is really kind of shocking, maybe more so for me because I never had this style before. The strength and originality of the flavors is completely unsuspected - kind of like sucking on a Christmas tree. But after a few sips and the requisite adjustment of the taste buds I began to notice the hints of ginger and spice. The color is a deep brown, the smell is of pine and there is a thin head. The taste, like I said, takes time to enjoy - but I did.

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Photo of jackndan
2.26/5  rDev -43.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Anchor Brewing Christmas Beer 2002: Why does this beer taste and smell like the strongest ginger snaps I ever saw? It is clearly a heavily spiced herbal beer, which is not at all bad looking. Jagermeister! That’s it; it tastes a lot like Jagermeister. It’s got a long lasting aftertaste, which is no bargain. Upon further review, its worse than I thought. I cannot get over the turpentine taste, and I could still taste it several hours later. I woke up at 2:00 a.m., and could still taste it. Sorry, but I’ll pass.

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Photo of Jason
4.28/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz short brown bottle with a freshness code on the back label and the year 2002 on the front. Ā“Populus fremontiiĀ” or Cottonwood is on the label.

Appearance: Dense two fingers of tan foam cling to the glass like a champ, mahogany brown with ruby highlights.

Smell: Suggestions of soft resin of tree sap, fruity with a twang in the back and a silky malt lines the nose. Pleasing and very aromatic.

Taste: Creamy in the mouth, very smooth with a level carbonation and full body. Malt is packed in pretty good with quick toasted grain and light roasted flavours abound. Flowery, soft at first but then it seems more of a robe around the taste buds. Not overwhelming but more comforting. A sweet brew that is for sure as the maltiness draws in closer middle to end with a faint roasted character tagging along.

Notes: An impressive ale every year and a must for me, give it a try if you are looking for a winter ale.

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Photo of marc77
3.97/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beige, initially thick head settles into a thin, but tight layer that manages loose lace. Clear, deep garnet hue when held to light. The aroma is a pungent combination of cinnamon and spruce like pine w/ a mellow bittersweet chocolate undertone. Dark caramel and trace buttery malt surface in aroma as the beer breathes. Assertive, slightly sharp pine laced bitterness upfront in flavor gives way to mild molasses like sweetness and roasted malt. Notes of cinnamon and sweet candied ginger are layered on top of a foundation of chocolate malt and biscuity malt, lending an impression of bourbon laced gingerbread. Somewhat light in body, but if heavier, this would be a cloying spiced porter. Dextrinous mouthfeel. Finishes w/ a lingering bittersweet roasted grain and malt sweetness combination. Alhough OSA 2002 doesn't seem quite as well rounded as previous years, it is flavorful and assertively spiced in its current state. This could be laid down to mellow a tad. It's truly unique and enjoyable, nonetheless.

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Photo of hobbes2112
4.06/5  rDev +1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First I have had of this series, so I can't think back to years past for reference. This beer is a deep red, almost mahogany. Nice tall tan head that thins as you drink, leaving levels of lace, almost as a hint as to how much fits in your mouth at a time. This is a nice warm beer, perfect for the season. I can't put my finger on the spices in this brew, I would have to guess nutmeg and ginger. Either way, this certainly reminds me of warm nights by the fire waiting for Christmas cookies. A lasting pleasant after-taste stays thick in your mouth. This one certainly makes it into my "A" list.

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Photo of mophie
4.53/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have heard that Fritz has lost his passion for brewing and is pursuing other interests, and as a result the quality of his beer is in decline. Maybe so, though I hope not. In any event, "Our Special Ale" is still special, and it still evokes an immense amount of holiday spirit, at least with me. Deep, dark brown with ruby, and a full rich, tan head. Lovely. Roasted malt aromas, rich and warm, gently spiced. Juniper? Taste is slightly sweet, roasty-toasty malt, with a mild tang, gently spicy and medicinal. Mild carbonation. Easy bitterness like a warm blanket lingers on the tongue. Perhaps not as full as in years past, and certainly not as hoppy, but this is still a very nice way to welcome the season.

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Our Special Ale 2002 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 77.9% out of 100 with 136 ratings
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