Dark Horse Reserve Special Black Ale - Dark Horse Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Dark Horse Reserve Special Black AleDark Horse Reserve Special Black Ale

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BA SCORE
88
very good

1,082 Ratings
THE BROS
86
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,082
Reviews: 565
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 10.66%
Wants: 54
Gots: 66 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Black 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
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Ratings: 1,082 | Reviews: 565 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of kirkse
5/5  rDev +26.9%

Photo of RandyJ
5/5  rDev +26.9%

Photo of Pellinore1
5/5  rDev +26.9%

Photo of thebouch01
5/5  rDev +26.9%

Photo of huysmans
5/5  rDev +26.9%

Photo of wingedeel
5/5  rDev +26.9%

Photo of ShaKeyJ
5/5  rDev +26.9%

Photo of lsrose
4.97/5  rDev +26.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Beer poured a tall dark tan head with a very aggressive pour into a Sam Adams perfect pint. Was dark black even at the thinnest parts of the glass. Head did diminish rather quickly to leave a coating.

S - Beer had an exceptional chocolate mocha smell. Very much like many chocolate stouts.

T - Doesn't take long to get a feel for the taste of this beer. It just smacks you with a heavy coffee flavor. With the smell I expected more chocolate but there is just a bit of dark chocolate taste with the coffees.

M - Take one little drink of this beer and the tastes will linger for several minutes. The taste can be so strong that it is hard to distinguish a mouthfeel.

I had expected a Belgian Dark Ale or some other weaker style from this but was pleasantly surprised. This is a super thick and flavorful beer. I was stunned with the smell, and then again with the flavor and loved both. One of the best beers I have discovered in a long time and very pleasant to drink.

Photo of RedSpecial1
4.97/5  rDev +26.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer pours a thick, dark, black with a thin bit of brown head. The smell is robust and roasty with hints of dark chocolate, reminds me of a campfire. The main flavors are dark roasted barley and a nice dark chocolate flavor. This beer is thin enough to sip easily, but robust enough to coat the mouth with a pleasant flavor that lingers nicely. This is a great beer, lots of strong flavor, but smooth as well.

Photo of britzdog
4.88/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

EXCELLENT BEER FROM AN OUTSTANDING BREWERY. POURS A VERY DARK COLOR WITH NICE HEAD. STRONG ROAST MALT AROMA. EXCELLENT DRINKABILITY WITH A NICE KICK AFTERWARDS. ONE OF THESE AND YOU ARE SET FOR THE EVENING. ONE OF THE BEST STRONG ALES/ BLACK BEERS I'VE HAD THE PLEASURE TO DRINK. CHEERS

Photo of paxtonthegreat
4.85/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours super black in color with a very unique creamy head. Aromas of dark chocolate, leather, and tobacco in the nose. Flavor mostly consisting of dark chocolate, dark malt, and slight leather and roasty and smokiness. A great strong ale that I convinced my local pub to get on draft because I love it so much.

Photo of Realale
4.83/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Opaque black, with an extremely fine medium mocha head that sticks around and leaves nice lacing.

Nose is a touch of roast malt over brown bread, with an excellent hint of candied fruit. Excellent broad spectrum of malt flavors. Manages to be both subtle and complex. Bit of leafy hop as it warms. Great stuff!

Complexity carries through to the palate, where the dark, bready malt leads the way, but is well-supported by yeasty, chocolately, and coffee notes. Medium-full in the mouth, but there is excellent acidity to keep it balanced. Very long.

This batch is well-carbonated, and the beer is incredibly drinkable for its strength. A fine beer for a session or a meal.

Photo of belzo35
4.8/5  rDev +21.8%

Photo of BeerCon5
4.75/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours black in color with two fingers of coffee colored foamy head, very good retention.

The scent is of chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, and notes of wood.

The taste was of dominant sweet dark chocolate, notes of fruit, roasted malts, molasses, coffee, surprisingly not much of an alcohol presence.

Full bodied, very smooth, a bit of a chalky feel, low carbonation.

This was an excellent beer, though it seemed more along the lines of a Stout than an Strong Ale. The flavor was very good, well balanced and complex. This was a very easy drinker for being a little heavy, I would definitely look for this again.

Photo of lccrunchy
4.75/5  rDev +20.6%

Photo of mmcnaughton
4.75/5  rDev +20.6%

Photo of capuchinpilates
4.75/5  rDev +20.6%

Photo of SaxmanRick
4.75/5  rDev +20.6%

Photo of PatGreer
4.75/5  rDev +20.6%

Photo of elNopalero
4.73/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This certainly lives up to its name, pouring the color of used motor oil topped by a foamy layer of cocoa-colored clouds. Looks wonderful, in other words.

I get a rich aroma of dark roasted coffee beans, as well as some terrific espresso and bitter dark chocolates. There’s a faint worn leather hint to it and an almost earthy touch of mushrooms.
The flavor comes off with that heavy and intense roast profile, followed by a sharply pronounced bitterness upfront. It’s a strong beer with a great body and a wonderful finish. I could easily imagine this bourbon barrel aged… (mmm… I’m drooling here.) Sip it and enjoy. I loved it!

Photo of Bighuge
4.72/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Inky black appearance. Medium sized brown head. Good retention. Lacing comes in rings. Aroma is thick, milkshake like. Beer Stout milkshake that is. Burnt chocolate, char, cocoa and roasted malt. I like. This beer is like velvet on the tongue. Body reaches toward full. Flavors of burnt malt, charred wood, tobacco, bittersweet chocolate and PACNW hops meld together in perfection. Nice lingering roasted bitterness. They call this "Black Bier Ale" but I hear it's really an Imperial Stout. It tastes like one. My curiosity has got me though. What kind of A/V are we talking about, cuz I taste none.

Yet another beauty I can thank marburg for.

Photo of shapudding
4.7/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

No dating.
WOW! This is sooo not what I was expecting at all! I had no idea what I was in for. This one poured out like an imperial stout. Pitch brown with a thick caramelly creamy brown head that reduced quickly to a bit of a dusting and a thick ring. Huge aroma. Total shocker here too. Scents of lambic, rich imperial stout, alcohol, with tons of hoppiness. Merlot, chocolate, coffee, deep and roasty. Smooth and slightly creamy with a bitey carbination that snaps at you towards the end of the sip. Nice toasty dark hoppiness with a good bite. Blackened toast, dark bittersweet chocolate and espresso. This is damn luscious. Great flavors and feel. Nice one!

Photo of keithmurray
4.65/5  rDev +18%
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, espresso

Taste - much like the smell - dark chocolate, roasted malts, espresso, 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

Photo of McNealc31
4.63/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

So here is Dark Horse Brewing's Reserve Special Black Ale. It is indeed black with a creamy dark tan head. Lots of roast and toffee in the nose. Kind of smells like a Heath Bar. Wrapped in bacon.

Big, bold flavors in the first sip. Dark, bitter chocolate, smoked meat, roasted coffee. Late hop bite, too.

I really dig on this one! 7.5% ABV doesn't hurt, either. As they mention on the site, it's not quite a porter, not quite a stout, but golly is it good!

Photo of putnam
4.63/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

What a fantastic brew. One of the best drinking made-in-Michigan beers in a bottle.
It has a rich, moist, solid, eggy head of medium grey/brown color over a virtually opaque brown liquid.

The aromas suggest coffee. Burned to thickness, black coffee. But there is a gasp of spring rain as well. Mature marsh grasses, baked in the August sun...
The flavors are sternly bitter. Thick, concentrated, highly extracted, drip-brewed black coffee flavors. It's a darker roast so its hard to fix the coffee's origin. It has the body of a top notch aged Sumatra though...with the fruity spiciness of a Central American brew. Sweet, perfectly couched alcohol floats along on the raft of bitterness. A finish that won't quit. It's hijacking the back of my tongue.

Easy to indulge in this elixer.

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Dark Horse Reserve Special Black Ale from Dark Horse Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 1,082 ratings.