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

very good
286 Reviews
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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 muletrane
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Bruery tulip.

A: Pours a clear deep ruby colour. 2 fingers of thick creamy tan head with a little bit of lace.

S: Sweet malty notes. Some nice spiciness going on here. Cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar and some yeasty notes. This smells real nice.

T: Not as sweet as the nose. Very spicy with cinnamon, nutmeg and a slightly sweet malt flavor up front. Crisp, dry and spicy finish. Lingering spiciness and slightly bitter.

M: Moderate carbonation, slightly creamy. Moderate/thin body.

This is my first year trying this beer and I'm glad I finally did. This a beer I will revisit every holiday season for sure. Just a pleasantly spiced beer that tastes like the holiday season.

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Photo of nandemo1
3.46/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A unique looking beer. pours a deep dark red, similar color to rosewood. There's a thin tan head and a little bit of carbonation coming up from below.

A very mild nose on this one, smelling slightly of sweet malt and cinnamon. Tastes of semi-sweet toasted malts but I'm not picking up any ofthe spiciness that others mention. There is a slight piney bitterness in there, but overall I find it a bit boring.

Mouthfeel is light and crisp, drinkable if this flavor is what you're into.

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Photo of Nachojon
3.87/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Dark, woody brown, red under light. 1/4 inch malty head. Sticks to sides of glass. Nice looking beer.

S- Spice. Pine, brown sugar and a bit of coffee. This thing really smells like Christmas.

T- Ginger, cinnamon, spiced wine, this thing is spiced like crazy, that being said it tastes very well blended and is smooth and enjoyable. Not sweet at all it is a crisp spicy flavor bomb.

M- Crisp, not overly carbonated but has some bubbles.Dry herb aftertaste.

O- It's weird to review a Christmas seasonal. Am I reviewing it against just other Christmas seasonals or others in it's category, they can vary so widely. This is a solid, good delicious beer regardless.

 668 characters

Photo of champ103
3.93/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I always look forward to OSA. This is the first beer I opened in my new condo.

A: Pours a dark ruby/brown color. A massive tan head rises with excellent retention. Sticky spider web looking lace is left all the way down the glass. This is a looker.
S: A bit muddled at first, though as this warms and breaths cinnamon, nutmeg, sweet vanilla come out. Toasted malts, bread and biscuit. Very nice.
T: Follows the nose with all the spices intermingling. Fairly sweet, and some bitter bakers chocolate. Lightly soapy and piny as well. Toasted malts, baked pie crust. Yep, I like it.
M/D: A little disappointed in the mouth. Kind of week, lackluster, and a bit on the watery side. Usually this has a much fuller body. Very easy to drink though. I am sure this won't be my last six pack for the year.

I think a bigger body would make this special. As is, still good like every other year. Something I would recommend as always.

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Photo of ozzyCobblepot
3.4/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Sample bottle from beer distributor, NYC

A: Pours a deep ruby body with strawberry bubble head, little retention, small bubble action
S: Nutmeg, allspice, clove, cinnamon on the nose, lightly toasted malt seeps through, but not much discernable hops bitterness.
T: Lightly toasted, almost almond malt, spiced & with a touch of bitterness. A dry, halting finish, though, that cuts the development of the flavors. A little something lacking but the notes are tried & true.
M: Moderate-bodied, good carbonation. Rolls well while the body progresses, with a mouthdrying finish
O: Not a fan of the style, but pretty well done for what it is. Doesn't tend towards the heavy, filling renditions & at 5.5% very sessionable. Then again, some of its heavier brethren seemed a little more developed, & don't leave you hanging.

 818 characters

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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