1. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Dark Horse Reserve Special Black Ale - Dark Horse Brewing Company

Dark Horse Reserve Special Black AleDark Horse Reserve Special Black Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

915 Ratings
THE BROS
86
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 915
Reviews: 553
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 10.35%


Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  7.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: xlperro on 05-28-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Dark Horse Reserve Special Black Ale Alström Bros
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 915 | Reviews: 553 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by the Alström Bros:
Photo of BeerAdvocate
BeerAdvocate

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From BeerAdvocate Magazine Volume II, Issue II:

Here we have a great example of originality in American craft brewing. Put a donkey on the label and say that it is somewhere between a Stout and Porter, and it is a Strong Ale as well. Odd label, not an exact style, we love the concept. Dense tiny bubbly brown lace forms off of a hard pour. Is there anything darker than black because this is one sooty beer. Aromatic with molasses, dark chocolate, dark roasted ice coffee, black currants and a mild ester alcohol. Super smooth with a feigned semi-syrupy body, light on the carbonation. Charred wood, molasses and intense dark cocoa flavors lock down the taste buds for a good while. Some sweetness breaks out in the middle with a juicy nugget of burnt black berries. Hops are mild with a slightly balancing bitterness and vague herbal flavor. Ends with a bitter burnt flavor that never seems to go over the top.

The darker the better and one hell of a kick to the taste buds. Big, bold, complex and in-your-face. No need to debate on whether it is a Stout or Porter or even a double of the style, its good drinking. Enough said.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2009 19:12:40 | More by BeerAdvocate
Photo of Todd
Todd

Colorado

3.65/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle with a very amateur drawing of a donkey (?) on the label. Noted as a "Black Bier Ale" but there's no denying that this is an Stout.

Pours thick, ultra-black, topped with a 3-fingered creamy coffee coloured head containing signs of cascading and holds amazing powers of retention and climbing stickiness. Unfiltered.

Lovely aroma. Robust. Full of roasted black malts with notes of grain husk, astringency, wood and chicory.

Smooth, rich, solid medium-bodied and extremely robust. Astringency is dominant and assertive. Flavours of dark ripe fruits, wood, earth, sherry, nuts, black-strap molasses and a twang blends with a limey citrus hop character (what one might find in a Schwarzbier). Notes of aging (oxidation) are also present within the wood and wet paper flavours. Finish dry with lingering lime and molasses flavours.

Quite the brew ... would have sat better with me if the brew hadn't shown so many signs of oxidation, and without a freshness stamp there's no real way of telling how old my sample is. Still, very worthy of a try ...

Thanks to trbeer.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2003 12:38:10 | More by Todd
More User Reviews:
Photo of cjgiant
cjgiant

District of Columbia

3.75/5  rDev -5.3%

04-15-2014 21:37:17 | More by cjgiant
Photo of aklude
aklude

Indiana

3.25/5  rDev -17.9%

04-12-2014 04:56:25 | More by aklude
Photo of MacStinson
MacStinson

Michigan

4/5  rDev +1%

04-02-2014 21:09:40 | More by MacStinson
Photo of donbet69
donbet69

New York

3.75/5  rDev -5.3%

03-30-2014 00:05:46 | More by donbet69
Photo of Mxsluis
Mxsluis

Michigan

4.25/5  rDev +7.3%

03-25-2014 23:10:15 | More by Mxsluis
Photo of keithmurray
keithmurray

New York

4.65/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance - dark brown nearly black color with mocha head

Smell - black licorice, dark chocolate, roasted malts, expresso

Taste - much like the smell - dark chocolate, roasted malts, expresso, black licorice, vanilla

Mouthfeel - full bodied, viscous, medium carbonation, slight sweetness in the front, bitterness lingers in the back, the mouthfeel has the thickness of an imperial stout, which I like

Overall - impressive beer that drinks like an imperial stout, I will be seeking out more of this

Price Point - $2.09/12 oz bottle

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2014 21:29:50 | More by keithmurray
Photo of RyanCFriedrich
RyanCFriedrich

Michigan

4/5  rDev +1%

03-20-2014 22:13:07 | More by RyanCFriedrich
Photo of brutusmuktuk
brutusmuktuk

Michigan

4.28/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle with a dark brown color with a foamy tan head. Has a coffee and chocolate aroma, and taste is also coffee and chocolate, though with a bitter finish. Has a nice medium body feel. This has a stout feel and flavor, but without the roasted malts. Probably one of my favorite porters.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2014 21:13:00 | More by brutusmuktuk
Photo of oso
oso

Illinois

3.5/5  rDev -11.6%

03-18-2014 04:09:38 | More by oso
Photo of emwild12
emwild12

Illinois

4/5  rDev +1%

03-17-2014 15:04:50 | More by emwild12
Photo of SLeffler27
SLeffler27

New York

3.71/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

SRM 35, like dark chocolate syrup with dark amber highlights when put to the light, otherwise, black in a Dogfish Head snifter. The thin, creamy chestnut head is quick to dissipate, leaving fine lace and a clinging viscosity.

The aroma is syrupy sweet with raisins and dates. A faint aroma of roasted chocolate and coffee resides in the background. Warmth brings out hints of vanilla and molasses.

No surprise, strong roasted malt punches through up front to the middle. A long, roasted bitterness fills the finish. Any sweetness upon entry quickly yields. There is no real presence from hops. This beer is all roasted malt and builds on that as it warms.

A full, almost syrupy body with ample fine carbonation. Alcohol is warming and far more present than anticipated. A dry finish leaves light astringency and plenty of residual sugar on the lips.

This was enjoyable, though far from what I would consider an American Strong Ale. I think this one is more suited to a dry Stout. Sit back and enjoy it with conversation and hors d’ouvres.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2014 22:40:09 | More by SLeffler27
Photo of sjones5045
sjones5045

New Jersey

4/5  rDev +1%

03-15-2014 18:44:03 | More by sjones5045
Photo of clayrock81
clayrock81

Virginia

3.89/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a black body with one finger head on top of an aroma that is definitely roasted and coffee like along with hints of chocolate. The taste is one of strong roasted malts, again malts are similiar to coffee (maybe java is better word), a chewey, almost bready beer that is dry but mixed with some bitter chocolate and I swear I get hints of both vanilla and dark fruits like figs. Simple but enjoyable sipper.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2014 11:14:11 | More by clayrock81
Photo of marcb105
marcb105

Michigan

3.5/5  rDev -11.6%

03-14-2014 02:14:30 | More by marcb105
Photo of jemarent
jemarent

Michigan

4/5  rDev +1%

03-13-2014 03:53:19 | More by jemarent
Photo of andrewjraab
andrewjraab

Michigan

3.86/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black with a caramel mocha brown head that quickly dissipates to a fine ring around the glass. Smells of caramel, malts, brown sugar, syrup. Tastes follows the nose - nice balance of malts, warming alcohol, acidic, drying mouthfeeel.

Overall, this is a solid brew that just misses on the finer points of drinkability. This is a one and done type of brew, but I'd come back.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2014 03:47:34 | More by andrewjraab
Photo of skinnycox
skinnycox

Indiana

3.5/5  rDev -11.6%

03-09-2014 02:51:57 | More by skinnycox
Photo of Dasein11
Dasein11

Massachusetts

3.5/5  rDev -11.6%

03-08-2014 23:56:47 | More by Dasein11
Photo of RMelyon
RMelyon

Illinois

3.75/5  rDev -5.3%

03-02-2014 20:26:17 | More by RMelyon
Photo of BeerOps
BeerOps

Illinois

4/5  rDev +1%

03-01-2014 13:14:35 | More by BeerOps
Photo of beerrat
beerrat

Virginia

4.3/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I sat here in the tap room reviewing a beer on the phone.This beer is very dark brown with light brown head.Smooth feel in mouth and taste not to strong.Not real bitter with a hint of nut taste.Now the glass is almost gone I want another so it is pretty dam good.

Serving type: on-tap

02-28-2014 20:28:21 | More by beerrat
Photo of mcrawford
mcrawford

Michigan

3.75/5  rDev -5.3%

02-26-2014 00:35:38 | More by mcrawford
Photo of djchrismac
djchrismac

Ohio

3.75/5  rDev -5.3%

02-25-2014 22:44:59 | More by djchrismac
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Dark Horse Reserve Special Black Ale from Dark Horse Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 915 ratings.