Beer Revisited: Anchor Christmas Ale 2015

Instead of trying a new beer this weekend, I am revisiting the 2015 edition of Anchor’s Christmas Ale series.

(Shit! I just realized I don’t have a photo to share. I thought I took one, but guess it did not save on my phone. Weird. Anyway, the beer does not look too differently than any other Anchor Christmas Ale tasting.)

The color looks black, much like a stout or porter. Light passing through the glass highlights tones of deep red, but the beer looks too dark to be mahogany. A finger of tan, buttery head leaves a skim with spots of thicker foam and bubbles. The aroma is spicy and festive — surprise, surprise! Red cinnamon spice, ginger, nutmeg, and peppermint are most noticeable. It has malty scents of toasted malt, caramel, and cocoa, but they take a backseat to the spice. Unlike the 2014 edition, it is not arboreal. The flavor is dominated by the spice. Red cinnamon is dominant, but it is not super spicy or off-putting. There are also flavors of nutmeg, caramel, toasted malt, and cocoa. The beer becomes maltier as it warms, and the cinnamon spice works in tandem with the malt flavors to provide a very balanced and delicious experience. A flavor of cherry licorice also emerges. Each sip leaves a lasting spiciness coating the taste buds.

Comparison to 2015 tasting: This beer has not changed much. Again, it may be because I age them in my fridge and the aging process is much slower. I mentioned “candy cane”-like peppermint in the previous tasting, but peppermint it still present. I called the beer a “spicy, festive brown ale,” but that description did not cross my mind this time. I could not help thinking that this is just like the 2014 version, minus the arboreal ingredients. That’s the main reason why I do not think it is worthwhile to age these bottles anymore — they are just not very different. However, I’ve been doing it for so long that the urge to do it is now too powerful to overcome. Though they have not changed drastically — which could be a bad thing — the last two editions have aged well.

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