Our Special Ale 2011 (Anchor Christmas Ale) | Anchor Brewing Company

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Our Special Ale 2011 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2011 (Anchor Christmas Ale)
Very Good
708 Ratings
Our Special Ale 2011 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2011 (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 Daniellobo on 10-19-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 708 |  Reviews: 286
Reviews by JohnnyChicago:
Photo of JohnnyChicago
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A: Pours dark, woody brown with an off-white head.

S: Smell is CHISTMAS!!! Seriously though, carmelized sugar and cider. Spices are pretty strong and this has a big pine aroma as well.

T: Smooth caramel and sharp spices along with that evergreen element make this a tasty and original brew.

D: Mouthfeel is about right; the spice element is good, but a little overbearing and hurts the drinkability a bit.

Overall: This is a brew I look forward to every year. If I was pressed to decide, I think I may have liked last years a bit better, but this is still a very tasty beer. Keep up the good work, Anchor.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard pint glass a deep roasted chesnut brown with nicely formed 1/2 finger tan head atop.Roasted in the nose with some chocolate malt and christmas spice,pretty well rounded.Dryer this year than in the past in my opinion,roasted and somewhat earthy with mild sweetness and mild spiced notes.This beer each year is just tweeked a little,this year being dryer and more roasted in my opinion.Another fine OSA.

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Photo of mojohawk21
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of DanGeo
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of ArrogantDeadGuy
4.45/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful deep brown pour capped with a sturdy head. The two finger head is tall with a ruddy tan hue. I like very much the deep reddish color to the foam and lace.

Sweet & spicey, maybe nutmeg, nose, just like any good Christmas themed beverage should be.

Wonderful flavors of holiday spice, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, sweet malt, with a mildly piney finish.

Great medium body and carbonation on this ale. My favorite seasonal effort by Anchor Brewing for sure. Really nice brew for the holidays.

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Photo of BenTherHppedThat
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of Bitzer
3/5  rDev -21.7%

Photo of EastBay_Nick
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of danthehopslamman
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of DaftPatrick
3/5  rDev -21.7%

Photo of warnerry
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a clear garnet color with over a finger of ran head. Decent retention but only small spots of lacing.

S -- Very unique. Pine, a bit of anise and root beer candy. Also a mix of other spices and quite floral. There's a lot going on, but if works well together.

T - A big mix of spices up front. Gives a bit of a drying jolt to the tongue. Then a big rush of pine and malt. Finishes very dry, with spices lingering.

M - Medium mouthfeel with a very dry finish.

O - Truly a unique winter warmer. This is the first vintage I have had, but I am definitely intrigued. 12 oz is also too much with all that is going on, but this is an enjoyable brew.

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Photo of DWolf
2/5  rDev -47.8%

Photo of TimoP
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of Doomcifer
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of Billolick
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An old friend that returns to delight every year.

12 ounce bottle.

Pours cola in color with ruby hues, darker tan head that stays long enough, before turning into a thicker film and leaving ample splashes of fine lacing on the glass.

Herbal and winter spiced nose.

Tasty brew, with more winter spice, some chocolate, earthyness, some light cola, and a dry and long lasting finish. Flavorful and enjoyable year after year

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Photo of nomoon
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of olradetbalder
2/5  rDev -47.8%

Photo of GarrettB714
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of bsp77
4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | 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, vanilla and juniper. Nice chocolate and caramel undertones with a mild roastiness. Almost a touch of mead-like qualities.

Taste: Bittersweet roasted malts with light notes of chocolate and caramel. The spices counterbalance the Porter-like base nicely. Slight bitter finish, with pine, juniper and a light roasted bite. A little more tart and stale than I remember from recent years - I like that.

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

Drinkability: Another winner. Hard to know how much I am making up the differences. They are probably fairly similar each year - Porter base with a slightly different spice profile. This year may be slightly more tart with a touch of juniper. I think '07 (pre-review days) and '09 were my favorites, but this may be a touch better than the '10. But I really may be making this all up.

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Photo of jondeelee
4.42/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Anchor's 2011 Christmas Ale opens with a pleasant, herbal-spicy aroma that reminds me instantly of homemade gingerbread cookies and pine needles. The spicy winter aromas are upfront and immediate, with touches of ginger, anise, black pepper, allspice, and clove mingling with good citrus-and-pine-sap notes from the hops. A heavy molasses-based sugar undercurrent brings the beer a great earthiness, with dark fruit esters such as plum, fig, prune, and black cherry rounding out the sugars. Thick marble-rye breads and yeasty wheat breads nicely complement the sugars and spices. As a whole, the nose is enticing and invigorating, making this a shoe-in for a Christmas morning eye-opener.

On the tongue, the first notes are spices, with ginger, anise, clove and black pepper taking the stage first and foremost, joined in shortly after by fruit esters including orange peel, fig, plum, and black cherry. A heavy pine needle-like cloud floats over all of the spices, almost as if the beer had been aged on a bed of spruce tips, lending the beer a pleasant Christmas feel (though I should note that, unlike some of the previous incarnations of this beer, the pine needle notes are complementary here, and not at all overwhelming). Touches of vanilla and molasses add to the gingerbread cookie feel, and the marble-rye and yeasty wheat breads help the beer taste more like a beer and less like, well, a cookie. The aftertaste is a continuation of mainly the spicy and dark fruit ester portions of the main mouthful, heavy on black pepper, pine needle, ginger, and clove, and lingers for a long time. Mouthfeel is medium, and carbonation is medium-high.

Overall, this is one of the better of Anchor's Christmas ales that I've tried. Here the flavors mingle well and play off each other, as opposed to some previous versions where one flavor dominated so intensely that it reminded me of playground bullies. The beer is quite spicy, but the spices blend well, and the cookie-and-bread base is delicious. Highly recommended for fans of winter spiced beers, as well as Anchor's seasonal offerings.

 2,092 characters

Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +11%

Spicy nose with a little fruit cake.
Pours brilliant deep chestnut under a 1" tan head, clingy lace.
A very malty, spicy ad dried fruit palate with some astringency and dryness from the spice that lingers through the finish.
Medium body to a little above, medium carbonation.

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Photo of dogfishandi
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle just above fridge temp poured into a snifter. bottling code "1SV" translates to Sept. 22,2011.

pours out a very dark brownish color with some wonderful deep ruby colors when held up to the light. a big 3 fingers of a biege/ khaki head that slowly receded to some nice looking creamy, patchy retention and some very thick lace left on the glass.

aww.. that classic winter spice and raisony, dark fruity malt ive come to love over the years. anise as well as bits of a sweet toasty malt.

pine and a little spruce, raisony, figgy dark fruits, sweet toasted malt, a rounded flavor of cinnamin, nutmeg, anise, and other such winter spices. finishes with just a slight fruity ester and an even bitterness.

mouthfeel seems a little weak this year, more light bodied than i remember and perhaps even a slightly lighter color. i remember it a bit more black with maybe a little roasted malt in there.

overall, just the staple of the winter warmer style. i look forward to this every winter. this is also a great one to throw in the cellar, i look forward to my vertical, 3 years so far.

 1,095 characters

Photo of ehammond1
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On Tap

The Vine Cottage
La Mesa, CA

Dark brown and ruby with a thick, persistent light brown head that eventually leaves sheets of lace down the glass. Near perfect per the style.

A well balanced aroma consisting of fruitcake and Coca Cola, along with a mild roasted malt character, and a bit of cinnamon. Very nice.

The flavor follows the aroma, with the earthy spices being a bit more dominant than in the aroma. The sweet Coca Cola and fruitcake flavors emerge along with a low level of bitterness. Incredibly drinkable.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

A definitive version of the Winter warmer style. I like to have one every year.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.23/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown with some ruby red. Lots of rising bubbles and a big six finger tan head with good retention. Lots of lacing around the glass.

Smell: Very spicy. Dark roasted caramel and toffee malts form a bready base. Big aroma of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and other spices. Also some roasty nuts. Hints of earthy hops in the background. Winter spices stand out the most.

Taste: Starts out with the winter spices including cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Some hints of dark raisins, fig, and prunes follow along with some spicy herbal hops. The dark roasted elements take over midway with a good taste of dark roasted caramel and toffee along with a strong presence of nuts. Tastes both spicy and sweet.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Very creamy, nutty, and smooth. Nuts linger in the aftertaste.

Overall: A very good winter warmer. Probably the best spice forward brew I've tasted so far.

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Photo of Mantooth
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%

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Our Special Ale 2011 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.83 out of 5 with 708 ratings