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

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Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale)
727 Ratings
Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2012 (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 beertunes on 10-22-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Ratings: 727 |  Reviews: 197
Photo of lakeylake
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of jdb288
3.21/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Draft at Beer Exchange.

Pours muddy brown with minimal head. Aroma is chocolate, burnt hay. Taste is spicy - clove, coriander, grape must. Too spicy for my personal tastes.

The "bouquet" of spices was not my favorite combination and ultimately led to me ditching the bottle altogether. Too much flavor going on for and not enough balance.

 342 characters

Photo of jferrara35
4/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of flyingpig
3.46/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

355ml Bottle from Utobeer, London (£3.50):
Dark brown colour and opaque with a thumb sized, beige brown head on top that holds very well at about the same height.

Sweet malts and caramel with a helping pine as well as some further subtle hops. There is also a warming combination of spices to put you in the Christmas mood. The finish is a very sweet one with some fruits too.

Dark & sweet with plenty of malts and caramel coming through along side more than its fair share of spices. There is a few darker fruits in the mix as well and the hops from the nose make an appearance with maple too.

Spicy & warming, almost boozy feel to this one and the body is medium with carbonation about the same. The finish is again sweet and overall the beer is incredibly smooth on the palate.

Warming and spicy but with plenty of hops coming through as well, although they are quite subtle and not anything in your face. Very sweet and malty with a very smooth mouthfeel, pretty good in the cold weather.

 997 characters

Photo of alex_hart
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of vhmf1978
4/5  rDev +9.6%

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.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
3.7/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle, with a more than obvious vintage date. Code on the back label appears to read PSY. My eighth of these yearly winter releases from Anchor. Expectations are decent based on my experience with the others.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter.

A - Pours a dark ruddy caramel colored body; opaque in the glass. One finger of creamy tan head that thins to a ring quickly. Some thin spotty lacing. Looks alright.

S - The spice rack notes seem to take center stage of this years' vintage. Allspice, basil, nutmeg, cloves, & some licorice / anise. Chocolate malt. Cream. Some vanilla. Caramel. Toffee. Wood. And some earthy yeast.

T - Taste follows the nose. Caramel malt. Chocolate malt. Toffee. Cola. Wood. Candied raisins / dates / figs. Some earthy / bubblegum yeast. And lots of herbal spice rack notes - allspice, cloves, licorice, oregano, nutmeg. Sprucey, vinous, dirty, and herbal.

M - Feel is crisp and medium bodied with good carbonation that has held up well.

Overall, not my favorite vintage, but this is undeniably a must have winter beer each and every year. This years' vintage takes the more spice forward approach, which I am less fond of, but I would be very interested to see how this beer holds up in the years to come.

Anchor Brewing Our Special Ale 2012 ---3.5/5

 1,298 characters

Photo of mgernert
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of Eisen
3.56/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

After one year aging: poured a dark brown/light black with thin white/tan head that faded rather quickly and left some light lacing. Smells of chocolate and spice and everything nice. Tastes like cardamon, allspice, nutmeg, clove, a touch of ginger, and some trees with a bit of burnt toast, maybe molasses. Overall, not sure how aging effected the beverage, but it can be aged particularly if stored cold. Tried it side by side with 2013, and thought the 2012 was better. However, regardless of how it is, a must beer to try every winter.

 539 characters

Photo of Boone757
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of paulgarrison
3.25/5  rDev -11%

Photo of einman
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of lordberon
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of JaimeLondon
5/5  rDev +37%

Photo of cburns48
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of StubFaceJoe
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of clemson14
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of jmccraney
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of Guitars_and_beer
2.75/5  rDev -24.7%

Photo of Alex5
1.5/5  rDev -58.9%

Photo of Beer4Baltimore
4/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of RochefortChris
2.25/5  rDev -38.4%

Photo of khargro2
4.52/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of CCInCharge
4/5  rDev +9.6%

Our Special Ale 2012 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.65 out of 5 with 727 ratings