Dark Horse Reserve Special Black Ale - Dark Horse Brewing Company
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Ratings: 969 | Reviews: 556 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by trevorwideman:
3.83/5 rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
12oz bottle poured into a snifter.
Pours black as used motor oil with a big 3/4 inch frothy tan head. Bit of wet lacing, and what I imagine to be a medium carbonation. Intense and pungent aroma of bitter roasted coffee, semi-sweet chocolate, heavily roasted malt, anise, molasses, vanilla, dates, prunes, raisins...wow.
Taste is right smoky off the hop, as smoky as a Rauchbier almost. Earthy and scorched and peaty, like an Islay scotch. The sweeter notes are quite subdued, much more so than I thought they would be. There's hints of dark chocolate, molasses, and aniseed, but not much else. Surpsisingly one-dimensional, focusing almost solely on the bitter and ignoring any sweeter balancing notes. That said, it's still good, just lacking the complexity I was expecting in the nose. Mouthfeel is medium, not too heavy at all, but perhaps a bit overcarbonated. Drinkability is good, but hampered a bit by the booze.
Worth a try to be sure, but the one-dimensionality makes it a litle disappointing. There's one in the cellar though, and we'll see if a couple years can bring out something new in this beer. Stay tuned.
Update April 9th, 2008: Well I didn't wait 2 years, but this bottle is now about 1 year and 3 months old. Aroma is still amazing. There's a lactic sourness I didn't notice before, and the up-front bitterness has had it's edge taken off by a milk chocolate sweetness in the background. I'd bet that that sweetness would develop further if I'd let the bottle sit a little longer. I like the balance and the interplay here. Still smoky and very bitter and roasted, but just a hint of molasses and chocolate taking the edge off. Much less one dimensional than even 8 months ago. This is a tasty brew and balls out.
Serving type: bottle
08-08-2007 03:22:38 | More by trevorwideman
More User Reviews:
3.68/5 rDev -6.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
Pours a black color with a short dense khaki colored head that settles into a solid ring.
The aroma is of big caramel. Moderate cold coffee roast with some milk sugars. Not much hop aroma.
The taste is of big milk chocolate and cocoa. A dusty coffee. Some darker chocolate in the finish. There is a bit of a grassy hop bitterness in the finish as well.
The beer is full bodied with soft carbonation. Sweet and roasted bitterness on the palate. A bit powdery and slightly sticky in the finish. Perhaps some acidity from the hops.
A good roast forward beer. I don't pick up much from the hops but that is ok as I am not a huge fan of the style.
Serving type: bottle
07-12-2014 03:15:22 | More by Gmann
Dark Horse Reserve Special Black Ale from Dark Horse Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 969 ratings.