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

BA SCORE
84
good
722 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States
anchorbrewing.com

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by beertunes on 10-22-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Ratings:
722
Reviews:
197
Avg:
3.7
pDev:
14.32%
 
 
Wants:
17
Gots:
72
For Trade:
1
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 722 |  Reviews: 197
Photo of Beginner2
3.81/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had again 2012 (good, but undistinguished) in a 2016 side-by-side comparison with 2016 vintage (great, particularly in its softness.)
My 2012 rating compensates upwards using my theory: Special Ale starts deteriorating after 2 or 3 years. (My sub-theory is there is not enough malt backbone and alcohol to preserve it for several years.)
Anyhow, 2012 was a better ale than it is now.
But, 2016 probably will be even better in a year.

 435 characters

Photo of stakem
3.82/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Standard anchor stubby brown bottle into a tulip shaped pint glass. The brew appears a dark mahogany with a tan cap less than a finger strong. A light swirl revives less than a finger that produces some spotty lacing effect on the glass. When held to the light, the brew shows some lighter brown clarity and ruby coloration through the body.

The nose is quite pleasant with a mixture of holiday spicing. A bit of pine, anise and cinnamon work together quite well with a dark sweetness of caramel or toffee maltiness. Some dark fruity alcohol emerges as the brew warms up.

The taste is dark burnt sugary caramel/toffee and molasses. Some cinnamon flavors are quite natural almost like bark mixed with earthy nutmeg. Enough hops are present providing some herbal to pine bitterness backing that gets slightly medicinal at times. But overall it is balanced quite nicely.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. It is quite a nice holiday brew that is not over the top with spicing to really drive home that holiday feel. This is worth trying even if not for the holidays.

 1,097 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.83/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge bottle served repeatedly in a .2L Peroni glass.
Pours clear dark brown with a towering, dense tan head. Excellent patterns of sticky lacing are left on the glass.
"Holiday spicing" favors nutmeg, with some cinnamon, with the latter being more obviou in the taste than th nose. Solid malt backbone but not as rich as I would like. As is, the spicing is a tad high. Still, a very drinkable and enjoyable winter holiday ale.

 427 characters

Photo of RonaldTheriot
3.83/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Anchor Christmas Ale (2012) has a very thick, creamy, beige head, a dark, reddish-brown appearance, and lots of thick lacing left down the glass. The aroma is very fruity, spicy, and those the predominate odors. Taste is of fruit (maybe, juniper?), brown bread, a touch of hop bitterness, spice, and sweetness. The mouthfeel is medium and sort of slick, and Anchor Christmas Ale (2012) finishes wet, pleasant, and drinkable. Overall, this is very good.

RJT

 457 characters

Photo of M_C_Hampton
3.83/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

A: poured from a 12 oz bottle into a nonic pint glass, pours a dark red brown almost black with a huge tan head that dissipates slowly leaving good lacing, clear

S: vanilla, pine, mulled wine spices, cinnamon, nutmeg,

T: vanilla, chocolate, raisins, cranberry, cherry, cola, some malt sweetness, a little hop bitterness at the end

M: surprisingly thin feeling

O: this beer has a wonderful smell that screams holiday season, the flavors ate subtle but complex, it feels like drinking a soda much more than a beer though

 523 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.83/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear dark copper with a foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, citrus zest, herbs, and some mild spice aromas. Taste is much the same with a slight medicinal flavor on the finish. There is a mild roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that has a different set of aromas and flavors than other OSA beers from the recent past.

 566 characters

Photo of arizcards
3.83/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a sixer at Total Wine in early November for $11.99.

Beer poured brown with a nice off white head that is leaving lacing behind.

Nose has hints of allspice and nutmeg.

Taste has a molasses malt backbone with nutmeg to lend some bittering and allspice for the Christmas cookie effect.

Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied and pretty smooth.

Overall this is a pretty decent rendition of this annual treat. Fun to try as always.

 438 characters

Photo of vette2006c5r
3.83/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Our Special Ale pours pours a dark brown color, with a nice size lacing head. There are some nutmeg notes on a malty backbone. The taste has a nice burnt sweet malty backbone, with some cinnamon and nutmeg spices. The taste is slightly watery, but still drinkable. Overall this beer is enjoyable, has a unique taste so worth a try.

 331 characters

Photo of jcubz
3.84/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of CJNAPS
3.84/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Treyliff
3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

A- pours a dark cola-like brown with a huge frothy dark tan head with good retention and lacing.

S- sweet toasty malts with some winter spices, cinnamon, nutmeg, old fashioned hard candy, and just a bit of hope, very nice.

T- earthy piney hops with some roasted malt character. Sweet toffee, coffee, nutty, yeasty, dark fruits. Finishes bitter and dry with a roasted linger. Lots of flavors can be picked out of this one.

M- light-med body with medium carbonation and a bit creamy on the finish. Would like a little more body as the finish is a little slick.

O- this one had more complexity in flavor than many of the style, quite unique and enjoyable.

 657 characters

Photo of garuda
3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Deep ruby, lighter highlights, tan head has little retention, but laces well.

S/T - Bready malts, creamed coffee, dark fruit, chocolate, finishes with spiciness.

M - Medium body, medium carbonation, smooth consistency, finishes mostly clean.

O - Pretty drinkable, a nice winter warmer. I'd get it again.

 310 characters

Photo of atigerlife
3.86/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown with light brown highlights. Creamy brown head that has good lasting power.

Aroma is of spices, malts. Having a hard time picking up what is going on here.

Taste is malty, hops bitterness that is not overpowering, vanilla, clove, fig newtons.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, cleansing, lively.

Overall, it is quite drinkable but I don't see this as sessionable. A couple is fine.

 398 characters

Photo of BEERMILER12
3.86/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Date code of 2OC, so bottled on October 3, 2012

A: Pours a dark ruby red color with a massive tan head that leaves some nice lacing and retains well

S: Get a bunch of spices along with the typical Anchor yeast. Get some cinnamon and nutmeg, with some other spices. Slightly woody

T: Follows the nose. Starts off with with a nice earthiness and goes into the spices. Finishes with a grainy breadiness and lingering spice notes

M: Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation

O: Smells like most of the other years I've had, but the taste is definitely earthier and less spiced. Enjoyable as always. Worthy of a purchase

 623 characters

Photo of KickbacksSteve
3.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Kickbacks in Jax. Poured into a snifter. Khaki head with moderate retention on a deep colored tudor brown body. Aroma includes caramel malts, slight roast and clove. Taste has a nice caramel sweetness, touch of brown sugar and clove, maybe even cinnamon. Pretty tasty and kinda puts me in the Christmas spirit for some reason. (Celebration does the same thing).

 371 characters

Photo of Suds
3.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This year's ale is a dark brown color with a tan, large-bubbled head. The aroma is of Christmas spices and malt. It's a bit of a muted smell, but mulling spice is evident, backed by a brown malt and moderately roasty scent. The taste is pleasant...brown sugar, malt, orange peel and clove. It has a tongue numbing sensation that's somehow appropriate. Firm and full in body. This is a very enjoyable holiday ale.

 412 characters

Photo of sevenarts
3.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown, with a slightly ruddy character in the light, and a good sized tan head. Some lacing.

S: Crisp and clean and malty, some vegetal spice notes, maybe some caramel and brown sugar for sweetness.

T/M: Very sweet and creamy and malty. Nice layered flavors with sweet malts up front, spices and leafy, piney notes at the edges, gradually giving way to a roasted character at the end.

O: A very good winter ale, much better than I remember last year's being, with less big spice flavor and more creamy malt texture.

 526 characters

Photo of DIM
3.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

a: This was a clear, dark mahogany color. It poured with a smallish, fizzy cap.

s: Gentle, potpourri like spices, apple cider, plus some other dark fruits.

m: Nice balance between the lightly sweet figs/spicy apple cider and cinnamon/nutmeg spiciness.

m: Light body and gentle fizziness.

o: While I don't generally go for spiced beers, I have a weakness for this one.

 371 characters

Photo of Gavilan
3.89/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of TheQuietMan22
3.89/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving type: 12-ounce bottle. The bottling code printed on the label is “2OH,” which is deciphered to mean October 8, 2012. (It may also be “2OM,” which would be October 13, 2012.)

Appearance: Poured into a pint glass. The color is brown with ruby tones. Two fingers of dense, cappuccino-colored head left a lacing, ring around the edge, and trails of foam along the glass.

Smell: I got a whiff of the spice the moment I popped the cap. Loads of festive cinnamon, pine, brown sugar, and ginger. Underneath is a solid foundation of toasted malts, caramel, toffee, dark fruit (I get plum and fig), and molasses. It is pretty solid — exactly what I want from an Anchor Christmas Ale — though I get the impression it is very familiar.

Taste: At first it is not as spicy as the smell led me to believe; the cinnamon, pine, and ginger are relegated to the background and hints in the aftertaste. The brown sugar, though, remains prominent. However, the spices slowly emerge as the beer warms. It is maltier than I was expecting, too; lots of toasted, and even roasted, malts. Caramel, molasses, cocoa, and burnt syrup. I also get a hint of flat Coke. A roasted aftertaste lingers after each sip.

Drinkability: Much better than the 2011 edition. The flavor lacks the punch of the aroma but it is still a good brew.

 1,324 characters

Photo of GRPunk
3.89/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a Duvel tulip

A- A normal pour created a 1-finger brown head that drops to a thin foam quite quickly. Mahogany body when the light gets through, away from the light it's near pitch through the middle. Light stick. Body's great, but head retention and stick are big in my book and lacked a little in this pour.

S- The crack of the cap releases lots of baking spice and orange zest. It opens up to something of pumpkin pie spices. I'm terrible at picking out the details, but get something like cinnamon, clove, and allspice.

T- More bready malts than I would have expected given the scent. Somewhere between a rye or pumpernickel and a holiday loaf based on the spices, maybe without the fruit (though I pick up a little of that later on). Hints of citrus at the finish (orange/lemon). Hopping's there too and approximates pine.

M- Full bodied, especially at 5.5%. Moderate carbonation. More dry than chalky, which I can get from highly spiced beers.

O- Met expectations based on previous experiences. Definitely a favorite winter warmer/holiday ale. I always look forward to its availability.

 1,116 characters

Photo of bsp77
3.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Ruby black with nice brown head that retains well.

Smell: Uh, smells like a pumpkin beer. Haven't really thought that in previous years. Still that stale Porter smell underneath.

Taste: Stale, dry chocolate Porter upfront, which is overtaken by spices that once again seem very pumpkin like. I am even getting that nutty and sweet mixture I get from pumpkin. Finishes with dry chocolate.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, with a body that is slightly thinner than I would like. But the very dry finish improves the feel a lot.

Overall: Not up to par with recent releases, but still very tasty and easy to drink.

 676 characters

Photo of Arborescence
3.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Served in room temperature.

Appearance: Virtually black. Pours a massive foamy head with a brown tint.

Aroma: Sweet and floral, but not overly sweet by any means. Herbs and medicinal characteristics. A hint of peat?

Taste: Quite light, but very robust medicinal flavour, with herbs and aromatic hops.

Mouthfeel: Average; smooth but uninteresting. Light to medium bodied.

Overall: Not as tasty as last year's, as I recall. Very strong medicinal and herb aromas and flavours, but leaves something out on the malt side.

 521 characters

Photo of leokbelo
3.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark cherry wood into a pint glass.
2 inch creamy head fades into a1/2 inch lacing.
Gingerbread on the nose with hints of nutmeg, cinnamon, brown sugar and figs.
Alive with carbonation on the palate, with a subtle tone of roasted coffee. Light bitterness kept at bay by the malts.
Very well balanced.
Highly drinkable.
Would recommend.

 348 characters

Photo of Stinkypuss
3.91/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Anchor Brewing Company
Our Special Ale
2012 edition

LOOK: Pours a clear dark brown color with a solid topping of off white foam leaving plenty of lace. A very good looking brew.

SMELL: Molasses, brown sugar, roast, and the signature evergreen/spruce note.

TASTE: Roasted malts upfront along with an herbal spruce flavor, along with pine and measurable bitterness. Molasses and chocolate from the malts provide a hearty base for the beer. Light spices round out the flavor with some clove and dusty cinnamon.

FEEL: Full bodied and well carbonated. Clean crisp finish with just a small lingering sappy pine note.

OVERALL: As enjoyable as some of my favorite vintages. This is a classic holiday beer.

 702 characters

Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
3.7 out of 5 based on 722 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.