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

Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale)
BA SCORE
3.65/5
722 Ratings
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
Ranking:
-
Reviews:
197
Ratings:
722
pDev:
14.25%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
17
Gots:
72
Trade:
1
HISTOGRAM
 
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Ratings: 722 |  Reviews: 197
Photo of Texasfan549
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of jaydoc
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.83/5  rDev +4.9%
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 StonedTrippin
4.3/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

come on BA people! this beer is so much better than an 84 overall. way better than last year i think, this pours a rich bred/brown with a small but easily excitable tan head. the nose is very complex, alcohol (5.5% ? no way!), brown sugar, spruce tips, caramel and amber malts, some smoke. is this an old ale? is it a belgian dubbel? i taste the candy sugar first, and some bright yeast. hard to classify this really, as there is an english and distinctly american malt vibe. the smoke is light, but reminds me of the ithaca cold front i had recently. so much going on here. more brown sugar and pine and plum notes as it warms. the feel is also right on, a little fuller in body than i remember last years being, and carbonated delicately, which is just about right. i could do a 6er of this no worries at all. also probably the best anchor beer going, dont know if these ratings will vindicate that or not, but im really enjoying this tonight. just loaded with class, this baby is elegant and proper, while being bold and daring at the same time. thats hard to get in a beer if you think about it, especially one you want to drink until your saturation point. this is phenominal, and i think its grossly underrated on here. this is the winter beer for people who dont normally like winter beers. minimal sweet, almost no spice, maybe just a slight hint of clove, or maybe its just rye malt at the end. really hard to tell. check it out before i buy it all up!

 1,461 characters

Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of kjkinsey
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of metter98
3.95/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is very dark red in color and is close to appearing black when viewed from afar. It poured with a finger and a half high beige head that died down but left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface and lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Aromas of ginger snap cookies and nutmeg are present in the nose.
T: For the most part, the taste resembles the smell and is dominated by Christmas spices and some very subtle hints of sweetness.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is dominated by flavors of spices, but I really enjoyed the combination of flavors and could sip this beer all night long.

 669 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
3.74/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

As I consider Anchor's "Our Special Ale" the godfather of American Winter Warmers, its the same irrational love and hate I have with this beer as I do that family member that I miss throughout the year, but once they're with me I see all of their warts.

True to form, the ale pours a deep "bark" brown color with tawny and russet brown low-lights about its edges. As the ale builds a tarnish brown but light and fluffy head, it recedes into a dense and fluid blanket within a minute or so. Its lace is scattered and random as artistic patterns emerge on the glass.

Charred toast, campfire wood and dry cocoa pangs on the olfactory senses with a spicy twinge of burnt caramel, molasses and ground coffee. Its earthy scent is tangy with elements of chicory, pine needles, roasted grapes, and pine cones as the first drink draws near.

Its flavor starts of quite robust with the taste of burnt sugars- molasses, toffee and honey leading the way. Its charred edges side with burnt toast, smoldering embers and root-like spices: chicory, fennel, aniseed and licorice all fade into the taste of red grapes, grape skin and grape seed. Couple that with common allspice, nutmeg, snappy ginger and cinnamon, and the ale sings a Christmasy tone. Somewhat tangy in its dry taste, its obvious that its charred astringency is as prevalent in taste as it is in mouthfeel- its tannin-rich character makes it seem like dry, oak-aged merlot in its finish.

With a year on this ale, it seems that the wine-like and spicy elements of the beer are joined with savory, almost-salty flavors that are common in more melanoidin-rich lagers and ales. There's a certain hard-to-describe "meatiness" to the beer that makes it even more memorable.

Its medium-light body, the beer is given a lift with its abundance of carbonation that creamies things up considerably. But once the carbonation wisps away, it leaves behind the spicy tannin from spices and grain char to clean the palate with spices that close powdery and malty-dry.

What's incredibly about the beer is how robust, woody and toasted that the beer starts out, but then how if finishes so dry and drinkable. It almost makes me want to ignore the powerful astringent properties that leave the palate unsettled. Just like that uncle that irritated you all weekend but you'll miss the heck out of him til next year.

 2,351 characters

Photo of biboergosum
3.8/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 20oz pint at the Underground in YEGDT.

This beer appears a clear, very dark ruby amber hue, with two fingers of dense foamy chocolate milk head, which leaves some pleasant Swiss cheese walls of lace around the glass as it slowly ebbs away.

It smells very much like those semi-hard caramel toffee candies universally available in convenience and drug stores, with some mild clove and nutmeg spicing, citrus cream, and soft pine resin. The taste is more musty caramel candy, a slight oily nuttiness, muddled nutmeg, ginger, and cloves, tame orange citrus flesh notes, and fresh-hewn pine tree trunk. Maybe that last one is just the tap handle sitting right in front of me, but I did saw off the base of a real fir tree not that long ago.

The carbonation is quite sedate, providing lowkey support, the body a strong medium weight, smooth, a little slick, and a bit creamy. It finishes off-dry, the caramel gaining a bread pudding character, the spices on the wane, and the bitterness of the citrus and pine coalescing into an aura of, well, Christmases past, present, and hopefully future.

A tasty enough offering, once again from Anchor for the holiday season, and of the holiday season. Maybe a tad sweet, but my palate is well-accomodating of that at the present time.

 1,274 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.22/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

5.50% ABV. 12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap (conveniently labelled "use opener" for the thick) acquired at Trader Joe's in Culver City for $1.34 (plus.05 CRV) and served into a .47l New Belgium stemgoblet in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, California. Consumed on the same night it was acquired. Labelled "20R" on the back label if that means something to anyone. I don't see a best before date; I'll check under the cap.

Served straight from the refrigerator. I'm excited; this is one of my favourite styles. Reviewed live. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Points on presentation for the bottle itself; I've always loved Anchor's bottle design.

Yields a satisfying "ksh" upon opening. No beer upsurging or other issues are noted.

A: Pours a 1.5 finger khaki colour smooth frothy head of good cream, thickness, and retention. Colour is a solid nontransparent opaque black. I wouldn't call it jet black. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Lacing is decent but unimpressive. Looks a bit darker than most beers I've had in the style. Head texture is favorable.

Sm: Spice hits me - quite powerfully. I'm not great with spices, but I'd guess nutmeg, cilantro, rosemary, and..I don't know. It's brilliantly spicy though. One of the better Christmasy spice aromas I've experienced. Quite impressive. Biscuit malt aplenty, a bit of a woody tone (yuletide-esque, if you will), and a sort of vegetal plant note. Some bready and vinous notes. Wow, that spice is dominant. A strong, assertive aroma. I dig it.

T: It delivers on its spicy promise, incorporating all of its spices and ending on a raisin-y vinous note. Bready biscuity malt forms the simple foundation. Herbal even almost phenol notes throughout the second act. Some wood/tree character rides under the surface; I cna't quite place it. The vinous note is too powerful and kind of kills the finish for me. The raisin clashes with the spice. Imbalanced. Still, it's interesting. I think it'll grow on me as it warms and I acclimate to the spices. Too medicinal on the climax. Those phenols do punch through after all - and to ill effect.

Mf: Nicely coarse and wet. Even a bit chewy. Good thickness and carbonation. Suits the flavours generally. The finish is nicely chewy and smack-your-lips pleasant.

Dr: An interesting experiment with Christmasy spices, but ultimately a failure. That said, it remains enjoyable. I'm glad I tried it. A good effort from Anchor, and well priced at that. I'd recommend this as a budget beer. $7.99 for a six pack is probably worth it if you're in the mood for this style. It's certainly drinkable; I'll enjoy finishing this glass.

C+

 2,713 characters

Photo of SocalKicks
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of zeff80
3.71/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Poured a dark burgundy color with a two-finger, light brown head of foam. Thin rings of lace.

S - It smelled of spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, nutmeg and spruce.

T - Good toffee flavor with lots of traditional Christmas spices.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A light to medium bodied ale.

O - This is an annual tradition. Haven't missed it since 2005.

 364 characters

Photo of Boone757
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of DrBier
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of chinchill
3.83/5  rDev +4.9%
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 olradetbalder
2/5  rDev -45.2%

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a bright reddish brown color, with a short dense off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains roasted malts, vanilla, spices, some coffee and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with a strong burst of vanilla and minty spices followed by a hearty roasted malt character and background flavors of coffee and chocolate. The hops presence is mild but complementary and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, mild kick, good representation of style, it seems as though the spiciness has increased gradually each year for the past few years.

 815 characters

Photo of oberon
3.48/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Nice to have this annual again today.Poured a deep roasted chesnut brown with a tinge of ruby,very little head to speak of.Some graham cracker and ginger notes in the nose along with some woodiness and roast,pretty light.The feel was pretty sharp and fizzy,a little rough in the mouth.Flavors of vanilla and brown sugar mainly with a drying woodiness in the finish.It's not bad but for me a notch down from past OSA's,I will keep buying them every year though.

 460 characters

Photo of mactrail
3.23/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a nice big head in the Saxo tall glass. Sort of a red-brown-golden hue with plenty of lacing. Quite light bodied and sudsy in the mouth. A pleasant pumpkin pie nose.

The spice is assertive but not overwhelming. The usual cloves seem to dominate. It gives a sense of sweetness without much actual sweetness. The malt seems rather thin and the aftertaste a bit harsh with that spice-driven finish. Not much actual hop flavor, but seems quite bitter in the aftertaste along with a dirty note with a hint of butter. I liked these Christmas beer a lot in decades long gone by, but not much in recent years.

It's interesting that Anchor has stayed with the modest alcohol content over the years when we get used to such high-octance winter brews. It's a nice reminder that less can be plenty.

From the 12 oz bottle bought at Bine & Vine in San Diego.

 853 characters

Photo of Gagnonsux
4.25/5  rDev +16.4%

Photo of Ciocanelu
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of wethorseblanket
3.52/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of smithj4
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of vfgccp
2.5/5  rDev -31.5%

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Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.65 out of 5 with 722 ratings
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