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Dark Horse Reserve Special Black Ale - Dark Horse Brewing Company

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,115 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,115
Reviews: 569
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 10.69%
Wants: 54
Gots: 77 | FT: 2
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:
Beer added by: xlperro on 05-28-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,115 | Reviews: 569
Photo of Jamesthebrit
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of ryan1788a5
3.96/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint.

A: Pours a deep shade of black. Beige head sticks around for a very long time. Broad rings of lacing coat the glass in a fine blanket.

S: Soft and chocolatey on the nose. Cocoa and dry chocolate cake. Nutty tastes in the background with hints of charcoal. Hazelnut. Earthy. Hops contribute a pine needle scent. Very subtle hints of berry and darkfruit in the background. A good but slightly understated nose.

T: Woody and chocolatey. Bakers chocolate, cocoa, hazelnut, charcoal and smoke. Plum and cherry fruit tastes come forward briefly in the mid-palate, but fade into the background shortly. Very faint touch of pine needle barely registers. The finish is dry but long, with lingering tastes of baker's chocolate and cocoa, a touch of bitter dark chocolate, and a slight woody flavor.

M: Thick and creamy, velvety and very smooth. Low carbonation.

O: Nothing revolutionary here, but I enjoyed it very much. Nice roasty tastes, well-rounded body. The brewers are hesitant to call this a stout or porter, but it's close enough that fans of those styles will find a lot of common ground. A solid buy, and it drinks very easily for a beer that is pushing 8% abv.

Photo of dancaplette
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%

Photo of MSandahl23
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of SalMineo
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%

Photo of TasteTester
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%

Photo of 2dogbrew
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%

Photo of oline73
3.25/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours black as night with a finger of tan head that fades to a ring around the edge of the glass and doesn't leave any real lacing.

Smell: Slightly sweet from the malt with roast and a ton of smoke. There are some mild dark fruit notes as well.

Taste: This beer is really bitter and smokey. The smoke combines with the malt sweetness, and I enjoy it enough, but the finish is quite bitter and that it rough to get over for me. Not a terrible beer, just not my thing.

Mouthfeel: The body is on the thick side with smooth carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: This is an intense beer. Lots of flavor, but it didn't all work for me. Tone down the bitterness or the smoke and we'd be talking.

Photo of sraimondi
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this one at The Lord Hobo in Cambridge last night (my first visit). Great stuff from a very good brewery. I really enjoyed this one. It's a very good representation of a Black Beer, not as sweet as many of the others I have made in the USA.


Photo of secondtooth
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep black, with a big tan head. The single-finger lace isn't beautiful, but it is thick and solid, for what it's worth.

Nose is very heavily malted -- I get cocoa, peat, and some alcohol vapors.

Taste is, up front, bittersweet chocolate, with a hint of roasted (almost burnt) coffee. Again, very malty. Surprisingly so.

This is a rich and flavorful brew, and not at all what I'd expected from the bottle and name.

Photo of polishkaz
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%

Photo of Infamous7100
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: black and thick..thin tan head. Looks delicious.
S: coffee and lots of it. Roasted malt and some bittersweet chocolate. Not shabby.
T: top notch. The coffee and roasted malt mix really well and bittersweet chocolate notes do well to quell the sweetness. A generous amount of bitter hops play well at the back. Great.
M: thick and full bodied. Coats the tongue and leaves a pleasant after taste that combines notes of chocolate, hops and roasted coffee notes.
O: an outstanding offering here. The flavor profile of a stout, but the body and drinkability of a black ale. At 7%my you would think more booze would be on the agenda, but its hidden well and easy to put a few back.

Photo of scott2269
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of Redstar137
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of SpartanHistory2013
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%

Photo of VelvetExtract
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours very thick and midnight black in color. This one looks like a stout. Head is almost nonexistent. Barely a ring of bubbles around the beer's outer edge.

S-Smells like a stout too. Coffee and chocolate. Burnt and smokey too. Quite a rich nose. Lightly bready and plenty of rich generic sweetness.

T-Rich molasses before anything. Coffee is strong as is the chocolate. Bitter mixture of hops and dark chocolate. Very full flavored. Booze masked quite well. Chocolate syrup and caramel with some vanilla too. A bit smokey and burnt.

F-Full bodied. Creamy and thick. Mild carbonation. Stout-like.

O/D-Not a bad brew. Unique enough to set itself a part from most. Maybe a bit too richly sweet for me. I did enjoy this but wouldn't but a whole 6-pack of it.

Photo of brutalist
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%

Photo of Rifugium
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at TJ's, Paoli, PA

Poured pitch black with a small creamy tan head that receded to a thin patchy layer. Aroma heavy with dark roasted malts and espresso; if this hadn't been listed as a strong ale, I would've assumed it was a stout from the smell of it. More roastiness in the taste, dark malts, ash, coffee, a touch of cocoa. Pretty one-dimensional, but still pretty good. The thinner body is the only indication really that this isn't a stout. Fairly smooth with a drying bitterness in the finish, pretty easily drinkable overall.

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of BugTownPub
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%

Photo of Dchandler422
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of TimP2115
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of Lynn
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of Pat316
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%

Photo of Tyrawlings
4/5  rDev +1.8%

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Dark Horse Reserve Special Black Ale from Dark Horse Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 1,115 ratings.