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

Our Special Ale 2011 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2011 (Anchor Christmas Ale)
Liked This Beer
3.83 w/ 706 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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Ratings: 706 |  Reviews: 286
Photo of nh2032
5/5  rDev +30.5%

Photo of BenTherHppedThat
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of kaelingirl
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of ocelot2500
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cola color with a fizzy, light brown that leaves little bits of lacing.

Smells of dry roasted notes and I pick up a little alcohol.

Tastes of the dry roasted notes with some herbal qualities. Notes of cocoa and coffee come through with a slight sweetness that dries out very quickly. Some herbal hops and light spruce comes through in the end.

Mouthfeel is medium with a slightly assertive amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is a good brew and does not deviate much from the 2010 version. I do however prefer the 2010 version because I like the spruce notes to be more pronounced.

 595 characters

Photo of inventsituations
5/5  rDev +30.5%

Photo of Thorpe429
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from a sixer that Amyliz4 picked up at Rick's in Alexandria. Served in a Anchor Our Special Ale 2010 pint glass.

Pours a dark cola color with a bit of a reddish hue. Quite clear for the color. Nice looking beer. Short tan head and a bit of lacing on the way down. The nose brings forward a medley of spices, with nothing really standing out. Good malt backing as well. Flavor has some clove and other spices with a light hop character and a semi-dry finish. Well done, as always. One of the very few winter seasonals that I like forward to.

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Photo of HopsYeast
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A-pours a very dark amber color that has a blood red hue to it with an almost 2 finger head that holds for some time then slowly fads leaving behind lacing around the glass.
S-a pleasant aroma of sweet cherries and a sugary spiceness blended with malt and a subtle pineyness. Also has an underlying hops aroma that is most even dent in the end.
T-pine and cinnamon with a sharp hop flavor that quickly transitions to a mealtimes that then fads to a wonderful warming flavor and sensation bought on by the alcohol. There is also a subtle note of orange peels that is more evident towards the end and sticks on your palate for some time. The pine can sometimes be a little much but the other characteristic do a great job of keeping your palate excited.
M-less body than what you'd expect given its winter ale genre, but does make it easy to drink. Has an acceptable level of carbonation That tingles the tongue but would like to see less of it. More body would also make it perfect.
O-a very good offering from anchor. Although the 2010 was a little better, this still takes higher rank on my list than other winter brews.

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Photo of claspada
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Aromas of molasses, cola, cloves, vanilla, dark chocolate, and a metallic crispness indicative of an Anchor beer rounds out this full and comforting array of smells.

The tastes begin sweet, with rich caramel, dark roasted malt, and moderate acidity that brings out qualities of estery dark citrus and figs. The middle begins to dry out somewhat, with flavors melding purposefully to taste like graham cracker and ripe banana. It finishes dry with cocoa, cinnamon, and a whiff of earthy, herbaceous and light piney hops.

The mouthfeel is thin to medium viscosity, briefly creamy on the palate in the middle, with moderate carbonation.

Overall this is a very good winter warmer/brown ale to enjoy during the holidays. It may be my favorite for it's consistent quality year to year and it's low ABV is awesome so you can have a few and not need a nap. Always worth seeking out and enjoying every year around this time of year.

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Photo of BeerBodisafa
5/5  rDev +30.5%

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Something I have tasted every year for at least the last ten years. Definitely less pine and more dark chocolate roasted malts with a hints of bready caramelized sugars. Finishes with bitter pine and dry roasty cocoa notes. Aroma has a big spiced christmas feel even though I'm sure there's not any actual spices added but there may be spruce tips or at least that kind of flavoring. This year's is enjoyable but extremely balanced not much sweetness at all, it almost seems like a ancient gruit ale spiced with pine. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with ample flowing carbonation going on, finishes bone dry with ample bitterness from the green pine needles. Overall an enjoyable experience, never tasted the Christmas tree water but it may have similar qualities to this. Deeply resinous with after thought hop/pine burps coming out after my first bottle finished.

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

Anchor's Our Special Ale 2011 is just a fantastic beer. Anchor continues to switch up the recipe each year, and I continue to look forward to what they have to offer.

This year's offering is a deep, dark caramel brown that shows off some beautiful ruby highlights. The froth that tops this beer is thick and pillowy, and just wants to stick around for a long time. The clarity in the beer is great too!

The smell is similar to year's past, with notes of chocolate, spearmint, almond, cinnamon, spruce tips, caramel, and allspice. Very complex aroma, and not in the least unpleasant or medicinal. The aroma is a great mix of various spices, hops and dark roasted malts.

The taste is obviously in line with the aroma, and I get a very herbal flavor up front followed by a lingering sweetness that really balances out the overall palette well. My initial impression is that this is somewhat reminiscent of a cola or root beer. Really great flavor this year. It definitely leans more towards sweet at the end, making this a perfect pairing for some holiday treats...

It's slick on the tongue, with a medium to light body that also helps draw home the association with cola in some ways. Soft carbonation and a rounded out body.

Overall, I find this to be a pleasant winter warmer, with enough complexity to keep me interested all winter long and yet it is drinkable enough that I would reach for this on any given occasion. Definitely would be interested in trying this with a food dish, possibly some pork tenderloin with honey glazed carrots, or more obviously, with some gingerbread and ice cream. Great beer as usual! Grab this while you can and age a few bottles too. I recently had a 1995 and it was still quite good!

 1,725 characters

Photo of AlexM
5/5  rDev +30.5%

Photo of rwb
5/5  rDev +30.5%

Photo of TheMultiYeast
4.12/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown/ruby with a frothy head and a horizontal lacing pattern.

Honey sweetness and dark fruits dominate the nose with hints of wood smoke, floral hops, allspice, cloves, currants, toast and jam, and roasted mocha.

Very tasty with a smoky fruitiness coming on strong. Some warm boozyness transfers into a clean rush of herbal hops complemented by cloves and a touch of dry bitterness

Slightly undercarbonated and smooth.

Snowed in? Grab one of these little gems

 482 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear but dark iced tea color with a 2 inch foamy beige head that settles to a small cap. Thick chunks and streaks of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasty malt, dried fruits, earth, sugar, and spices. Taste is of toasted malt, dark fruit like figs, earth/dirt (not in a bad way), wood/bark, and spices. The bitterness on this one is from the spices and is pretty mild. This beer has a crisp carbonation with a bubbly yet smooth mouthfeel. Overall, this year's OSA is good but not as good as some other years I have had. I will still be drinking a lot of this Winter.

 598 characters

Photo of ROGUE16
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of BeerVikingSailor
4.7/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally picked up one of my all time fav holiday brews at the Mustard Seed Mkt in Montrose...same day they received it - 11/16

I love love this beer, never dissapoints; have several years past versions in the cellar, it always seems to improve well with age...

Great looking as usual, dark and delicious looking, small head and little lacing after the pour....

Smell is great, lots of bready dried figgy spiciness, some vanilla and mild sweetness coming through

Taste is great, as always, Anchor always does this one to my liking, and this year is no exception! Perfect as a Christmas beer should be, no complaints at all

Mouthfeel is where is should be for a beer in this style, not too thin or too heavy, nice carbonation

Overall, I cannot recommend this enough...I will be picking up several more 6 pks and a magnum or 2 for gift giving....a great holiday beer!

 870 characters

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

Poured near-black with a ruby tinge and two fingers of light khaki head. Aroma of sweet caramel, fig, nutmeg, and pine.

Moderate carbonation and a fairly light mouthfeel. Malty biscuit and caramel up front with light cocoa, dates, nutmeg, cinnamon, and some light pine bitterness on the finish.

Didn't care for last year's version but was pleasantly surprised this time around. Light and easy-drinking but packs a good amount of flavor.

 438 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Gale Sayers shaker pint glass.

I remember my 10+ year vertical of this last year. My, how time does fly... This year's mix pours a clear dark ruby topped by a finger of relatively short-lived sandy off-khaki foam. The nose comprises cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, toffee, graham cracker, toasted caramel, light cocoa, dusty wheat, and a pinch of black pepper. The spicing sure as hell ain't subtle, but it's also not really unpleasant. The taste brings in more of the same, along with powdered sugar, red apple skin, mint, very light balsa, and a twinge of vanilla bean. Once again, the spicing verges on too much, but stops just short thereof. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a lightly grainy feel. Overall, one of the better offerings in the series, but still something I wouldn't wanna have many times over the course of the year.

 877 characters

Photo of BeerRox
5/5  rDev +30.5%

Photo of jonandhisflask
4/5  rDev +4.4%

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

Reddish in the pour spout, but the result is inky black. Smells a little like menthol, maybe NyQuil. Tastes a little like it too, NyQuil, but the coffee flavors win out over the anise. Not too overpowering alcohol-wise, a little thin actually. Vinuous in texture. Crisp. I will try ageing one of these, and report back. Good Christmas Ale 2011 from Anchor. I've had better, but also worse.

 389 characters

Photo of IronCitySteve
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a reddish brown color with a small tan foam head with moderate retention. There is some nice patches of thick lacing.

S: Nice amounts of prunes/dates, toasted white bread and some light festive spices. Not overly sweet smelling but quite inviting.

T: Starts out with a nice amount of caramel and toasted bread malt. In the middle the spices come through along with some prunes and figs. On the back end there are more spices and dark fruit.

M: A nice light to medium bodied beer that leaves a slighty sweet fruit taste on the palate.

O: Definitely has the taste of Christmas. Nice amount of spices and dark fruit. Not my favorite vintage of the Anchor Christmas, but certainly one of my favorite Christmas brews. Would certainly have this again!

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Photo of jheezee
3/5  rDev -21.7%

Photo of rarbring
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A clear deep chestnut brew, small bubbles, a large head that settles slowly leaving loads of lacing. Some curtains.

Smell fruity and fresh, pears, ripe dates, some yeasty spiciness.

Starting with brown bread, dark fruits, ripe oranges, bitter orange peel and some licorice and soy.

Medium low carbonation, small soft bubbles, soft and smooth texture, rather refreshing, a small dry finish.

Not bad, but today the selection is so wide so it is not extraordinary. But it is a damned smooth winter warmer!

 506 characters

Our Special Ale 2011 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 67.8% out of 100 with 706 ratings
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