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)

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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Reviews: 286 | Ratings: 705
Photo of indesertum
3.81/5  rDev -1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

gorgeous dark dark ruby red. black unless held against a light. great foam. nice lacing

i smell christmas desserts. cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg

spices come through on the taste. fruity. sweet. like punch. average carbonation. something about it lacks body. no piney hops to speak of although there is a nice balanced bitterness towards the finish. average malt body dominated by spices. it's really quite sweet.

would be great for christmas or even thanksgiving. i think a little overhyped. good beer. i'm not sure i would have more than a glass at a party. it is possible i poured a little too warm

 599 characters

Photo of suspect
4.18/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Samuel Adams Perfect Pint glass.

A: Deep amber color with a 1 finger off-white head that disappears quickly after an aggressive pour. Lacing is relatively consistent, yet thin.

S: Nice bouquet of cinnamon, toasted malts, amber malts and some slight hop bitterness.

T: Nice spiced flavor with some nutmeg, cinnamon, fruit cake, malt sweetness, caramel and a touch of licorice.

M: Perfectly carbonated, if not on the side of having a touch too many bubbles. The malt really leaves a nice sticky coating that leaves my wanting to drink more. This is one I want to be drinking by a yule log while I wrap Christmas presents.

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Photo of bsp77
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
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 Hojaminbag
3.55/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Anchor Our Special 2011 is clear and brown with ruby highlights. The head is about a finger tall and light brown in color. The retention is OK, but there isn't any lacing at all.

A little bit of dark fruit with spices; maybe some cinnamon. Lots of dark malt with caramel and dark bread scents.

The flavor profile in this yearly beer always have a lot going on, and 2011 is no exception. Fruity and spices are the first things I taste, but I have a lot of trouble distinguishing individual flavors. Maybe some figs, cinnamon, and juniper. A lot of floral characteristics also, but that could be from the spices. Next comes a fruity bitterness that reminds of citrus fruit; it could either be hops, juniper, or both, I'm really not sure. Either way, there is a good bit of bitterness. The malt profile comes through after, with caramel, toffee, bread and a good bit of sweetness. There is also toasted malt flavors in there somewhere. Also, as this one warms, I start to notice a moderately potent anise flavor throughout.

Medium to full bodied with very smooth carbonation; nice mouthfeel.

This is one of the worst reviews that I've written, I think my palate failed me tonight. One thing I can say is that I liked the last couple years of Our Special Ale better than this one. It's still worth a try, I'm sure others will disagree with me.

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Photo of cmq103
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 1/6 keg into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: A darker caramel color comes to mind with this pour, almost a dark lager in appearance. A decent 1/2" creamy head grabbed my attention right away. This head was resilient for sure. Decent lacing was equally as resilient, leaving its mark as my glass emptied.

Smell: Clearly prominent malt and Christmas spices. Not overwhelming like some seasonal beers can be. Nutmeg, cloves, allspice come to mind right away. Just a hint of caramel and cinnamon too.

Taste: Malt, malt, malt up front. Like the nose, your Christmas spices are prevalent but certainly not overwhelming. A get a mild caramel bitterness in the finish, but I'm not sure it's hop related. Either way, it's a pretty darn tasty beer.

Mouthfeel: A medium to light body is present with decent carbonation, which contributes to the healthy head. Very easy drinking and the lower ABV makes it that much better.

Overall: An enjoyable seasonal offering from Anchor Steam. I could see this beer making my kegerator happy each year. I would like to try this offering in a bottle after it's aged a bit. I really enjoyed this beer. It's certainly not as strong as your typical Winter Warmer, but very drinkable nonetheless. Enjoy!!

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Photo of Daniellobo
4.27/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Iconic and reliable seasonal offering from Anchor. This year showcasing the Great Basin Bristlecone Pine...

Presentation: 12 oz brown capped bottle. Oval label design in light yellow and green and red content around the central image of the tree used in the celebratory release: Pinus Longaeva. Neck label offers a narrative highlighting style and history and a description of the brew. Shows bottling code (1SI, which stands for September 9th 2011 under Anchor coding? Please, make these codes more self-evident...) Notes 5.5% Alc. by Vol. (5.5%) Served in a tulip glass.

A - Dark brown pour with dark ruby edges, good 1/2" off-white frothy head, ,moderate retention with a faint surface memory and minimal lacing.

S - Rich nose, a touch tamed initially but soon enough dark notes emerge, fruity, chocolate, quite a bit of liquorice... and pushing it up that nice resinous/herbal touch...

T - Taste follows with dexterity, malty notes laden with dark fruits... The herbal/resinous complexity is there albeit rather shy on this serving and ends translating to a nice complex liquorice sense with touches of chocolate and a hint of nuttiness.

M - Medium body... Medium-light. Again the lighter sense works well with the flavor, which although not as complex as before is still quite assertive. Medium-soft carbonation with soft tingly bitter touch in the finish.

O - Classic OSA drinkability, nice flow hinting at the herbal and dark complexities of the brew with a nicely accompanying mouthfeel.

Notes: Not the looker of preceding years, or with a similar complexity, but it retains an intriguing profile and feels rather drinkable, maybe more approachable to the uninitiated than other releases?

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Our Special Ale 2011 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
3.85 out of 5 based on 705 ratings.
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