Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale)
Anchor Brewing Company

Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale)
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Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
Winter Warmer
ABV:
5.5%
Score:
83
Avg:
3.68 | pDev: 14.13%
Reviews:
198
Ratings:
727
From:
Anchor Brewing Company
 
California, United States
Avail:
Retired (no longer brewed)
Wants
  18
Gots
  74
SCORE
83
Good
Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale)
Notes:
View: Beers
Reviews: 198 | Ratings: 727 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by JohneHoodlum:
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JohneHoodlum from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +8.7%

Dec 23, 2012
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bcsbeer from Florida

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Nov 08, 2013
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DrBier from Pennsylvania

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Jul 14, 2014
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instinct2 from Indiana

3.79/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dec 26, 2014
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adamette from Ohio

3.98/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Live Review. Poured from the 12 oz. bottle that I bought as part of a 6 pack from Heinen's in Mentor for $11.99 the other day into a clean, clear glass. No observed "best by" date but really, it is before Christmas so I am quite sure that it is fine.

A Nice light brown creamy head stays around for several minutes, leaving a nice lacing on the inside of the glass upon repeated sips. That sits atop a dark brown body that glows a mahogany partially translucent body in front of direct light. Very good look and I really like the quantity and quality of the head. 4.5

S Grainy sweet malt with very little hops to the smell. Warm and welcoming. 4.0

T Warmth of grainy sweet malt taste as it is far more barley malt rather than anything overly sweet. The taste succeeds as a Winter Warmer without going for the sweet malt that I find in others in this style. Challenging and interesting. 4.0

M Smooth feel as it goes down so easily. 3.5

D/O Drinkability quite good with manageable ABV and smooth, approachable feel and almost gentle tastes. Overall this is a fine Winter Warmer. I have enjoyed all of the Anchor Beers that I have tasted. 4.0

Notes: Another class addition to the lengthy series of Anchor "Our Special Ale."

Dec 20, 2012
Photo of DavidST
DavidST from Texas

4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip/pint glass, 2012 edition. This pours a dark mahogany brown with a two finger tan head which has decent retention and leaves a lacing. The smells are full of spices, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, some bread malts. The feel is medium, a little tingly. The taste is good, you get a load of spices, the bitter cinnamon, some hazelnut, the bread malts, plenty of sweetness, nice winter drink.

Dec 02, 2012
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theaceofspaeder from Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev +15.5%

Jan 18, 2013
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Yesdog from Illinois

4/5  rDev +8.7%

Nov 23, 2012
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smellandsip37 from North Carolina

3.75/5  rDev +1.9%

Jul 04, 2013
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azconafr from Indiana

3/5  rDev -18.5%

Jan 20, 2013
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dalepryor from Kentucky

3.25/5  rDev -11.7%

May 07, 2013
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CraftBeerTastic from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ba Review #256
Served On: 2/20/2013
Glassware: DFH Chalice
Labeled ABV: 5.5%
Date/ Code: 2012 Release

This was a 12oz bottle from a sixer from Ye Old Spirit Shop in Frederick.

Look: The pour rendered a pitch-black color with a thin light-tan head. Lacing started almost immediately. It could have passed for a stout.

Smell: Strong notes of mint and pine made up the aroma. Also a bubblegum quality that seemed almost uncalled for.

Taste: Super smooth mouth feel. The pine notes came through first. Then a roasted note that was completely unexpected. A spicy mint made up the finish. Aftertaste was more roasted notes mixed with pine.

This was a very unique beer; A fine representation of the Christmas season.

Feb 20, 2013
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T-Leb from Missouri

4/5  rDev +8.7%

Jan 22, 2013
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birchstick from Colorado

4/5  rDev +8.7%

Nov 06, 2013
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HumanParaquat from Indiana

2.75/5  rDev -25.3%

Dec 25, 2012
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GRFounder from Michigan

3/5  rDev -18.5%

Feb 21, 2013
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champ103 from Texas

4.45/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is probably my favorite seasonal release. I Always look forward to my first six pack.

A: Pours a beautiful mahogany/ruby red color. A two finger Khaki head forms, and gently recedes. Rings of sticky lace is left behind. A looker.
S: Very reserved in the nose, but I still really enjoy it. Nutmeg with toasted malts. A light buttery aroma, quickly covered up by almonds, warm fresh backed bread. A deceivingly complex aroma emerges.
T: Like the nose, very reserved at first, but much more comes out as I work my way down. Toasted malts, baked bread , nutmeg and an almond nutty flavor. A light sweetness comes out toward the end, then a dry almost bitter coco. It is amazing how much delicate complexities emerge from this.
M/D: A medium body and carbonation. Very soft and velvety. So easy and enjoyable to drink. The bottle is gone in no time, and I am sure the rest of the six pack is not far behind.

Seems like the piney, almost allspice flavor is not there. Which has been a recurring theme. This release is more warm toasted and malty goodness. Again, a seasonal I look forward to every year, and for good reason. No doubt I will be getting more six packs again this year.

Nov 12, 2012
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guldseth from Arizona

3.5/5  rDev -4.9%

Oct 28, 2013
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KillaB from Illinois

3.5/5  rDev -4.9%

Jan 29, 2013
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pisano from Massachusetts

3.5/5  rDev -4.9%

Jun 30, 2014
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MtnBiker from Oklahoma

3.5/5  rDev -4.9%

Feb 15, 2013
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Utica_Brew_Review from New York

3.11/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Awesome caramel amber appearance with great head. Sweet earthy pine aroma. Smells almost like a porter / ale. Roasted chocolaty creaminess with a hint of hops. We feel like it's a bit confused. It takes elements of a porter and marries them with a spicy earthy ale. Finishes with a roasted nutty flavor.

Feb 03, 2013
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armock from New York

4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jul 15, 2017
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magictacosinus from California

3.55/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Giving this a go, despite my usual hate towards winter warmers. I do love Anchor Steam though. Poured out of a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Wow, fascinating presentation... The color is sort of a plumb, brownish dark tint that I can't quite describe. It looks a lot like a combination of molasses and pumpernickel. Enormous 2.5 finger head at first, but it sadly dies down to pretty much nothing over time. I can see some carbonation within the dark, murky color, but overall it's really festive and seasonal in appearance and looks ready for any merry occasion.

Okay, the smell is pretty intense though... Lots of spices going on here, but just as I had guessed by looking at it, this has a really strong molasses smell, combined with soured cranberries, clove, rosemary, raisins, roasted rich bread, and a phenolic aroma resembling bark (ranging from birch to oak). Caramelized dark cherries abound as well. Seriously, this is one of the most fascinating spiced beer aromas I've ever come across, but that molasses/medicated finish is rather brutal. There's so many spices I'm wondering if any hops were even *necessary* to add to the wort during the brewing process. Nevertheless, while a mixed bag of aromas, this still scores high for me in terms of creativity.

Starts out pretty smooth, combining roasted caramel malts with medicated spices. However, things turn a little bizarre, when, as I initially feared, the molasses and cherry aroma viciously attacks the back of the tongue, as well as slightly burn the throat in the process. This is like a peppermint-ginger-cranberry mayhem overall! The finish is sadly excessively malty (especially as it warms up), but it is drinkable as the aftertaste quickly subsides and leaves the good tasting spices behind - especially the cranberry and clove, if you're into that sort of thing. I think it's pretty easy to drink, save for the extremely bitter malt finish, but it's definitely not your typical spiced holiday beer. This is pretty crazy stuff.

I can drink strong ales no problem, but why I am having a lot of trouble here? If it weren't for those excessive molasses overpowering the other spices, I probably wouldn't have as much trouble drinking one of these. I think Anchor Steam has delivered the most fascinating and insane spiced beer I've had to date, but it is pretty intense, so I'm probably going to pair this with food to lower the astringency. It should go good with steak or roasted ribs, and it would be pretty fantastic to cook with dark meat or bean stews. Approach with caution - these spices will kick your ass!

Nov 29, 2012
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Hairrrrrrrr from Illinois

4/5  rDev +8.7%

Jul 18, 2013
Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 83 out of 100 with 727 ratings