Dark Horse Reserve Special Black Ale - Dark Horse Brewing Company
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Ratings: 998 | Reviews: 559 | Display Reviews Only:
3.93/5 rDev -0.5%
Poured into a New Belgium goblet. No freshness date.
A- Pours a fully opaque black color with a 1/4 inch light brown head that retains decently before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a mostly full sheet of bubbly surface foam. Resilien lacing leaves a thick solid ring behind.
S- Roasty stout-like aroma with some notes of chocolate, coffee and caramel.
T- Flavor displays the hops more while still keeping that roasty quality. Rides a fine line between bitter and sweet. Roasty finish. Alcohol is hidden well.
M- Semi-creamy with medium-low carbonation and a full body.
O- While I agree that this can only be characterized as an American Strong, I feel it has a bit of an identity crisis and lacks focus. Has the flavor of a stout but lacks the body of a stout while having the sweetness of a barleywine and the hop character of an IPA. Color me confused. Still, it's drinkable although perplexing.
06-17-2014 22:41:12 | More by Immortale25
3.86/5 rDev -2.3%
12 oz bottle into a pint glass.
A: Pours a pitch black color. The head is a finger high, and light tan in shade. I'm not hugely impressed by the retention, but it's creamy looking, thick, and leaves a nice ring of lacing on the glass.
S: I'd reckon the aroma is closer to a hoppy stout than a proper black IPA like, say, Wookey Jack. Citrusy hops only augment the big roasted, chocolate, and licorice notes instead of competing with them. There are slight smoky hints as well. Could almost pass for an imperial stout at times.
T: I get a nice yet subtle bite of piny hops to start. The finish is loaded with chocolate, roast, and mild licorice. More piny flavors linger post-swallow. Both the hoppy and roasted components coexist with each other beautifully. I could use a touch more depth, but I don't care. This is a hoppy stout done properly.
M: The general feel is extremely soft and full. It could be a little drier, but I can't deny this is a shockingly rich stout. I almost said imperial stout, but I backed off considering it's only 7.5%. Carbonation is low, as expected. This one is easy to sip, with a finish that's 'dry enough', but only just.
O: What this does well is balance the roasted malts and the subtle hop notes like a boss. It's not much of a black IPA, though. But wow, this is another super solid stout from Dark Horse, just with a bit more hops than the norm.
EDIT: The other site which will remain nameless flat-out calls it a porter - and that's before I noticed this site calling it a STRONG ALE. I'm not going to raise scores, but it's still a damn good dark beer; I can still look at it in an even better light due to the fact it's not designed to be hoppy.
04-27-2014 21:52:15 | More by ThisWangsChung
Dark Horse Reserve Special Black Ale from Dark Horse Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 998 ratings.