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La Binchoise Spéciale Noël (Reserve Special - USA) - Brasserie La Binchoise (Malterie des Remparts)

Not Rated.
La Binchoise Spéciale Noël (Reserve Special - USA)La Binchoise Spéciale Noël (Reserve Special - USA)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

148 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 148
Reviews: 118
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 12.41%
Wants: 7
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brasserie La Binchoise (Malterie des Remparts) visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Pale Ale |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Jason on 02-08-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 148 | Reviews: 118 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of kayrex
5/5  rDev +24.1%

Photo of Maracuja
4.95/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Glowing, yet dark amber-peach color with mountains of off-white foam. Damp aromatics of dewy fruits, primarily apricots and peaches, wet wood, and basements. Cushioned passion fruit sweetness initially, the first of many fruity masks it dons. Switches to pineapple, then to apricots, where it seems to linger for a moment and let the yeast catch up. A mildewed concrete sensation seeps in, as does some rotted wood, and a general sense of humidity. The fruity hues are pushed aside, momentarily, for a organic cycle of decay and rebirth. Fruitiness resumes with mushy pears, green apples, cinnamon, and diluted peach schnapps filtered through cedarwood. A herbal, spicy hopping closes things and provides immaculate dryness and palatal cleansing. Just touches of lingering sour fruit and leafy plants afterward. Akin to apple sauce in the mouth. Lightly mushy, flavorful and ever-so-delicate. No rough edges, and no alcohol noted whatsoever. Perilous in its drinkability.
This is an absolute jewel. Absoultely beautiful!

Photo of 2Cents
4.93/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This bottle has been aged for a long time, according to the bottle date, over 5 years.

LOOK: Pinkish amber with lot's of yeast swimmers, a thin, off white,
head and lacing that really sticks around.

SMELL: Sour Cherries, caramel, bread dough, yeasty esters and some phenols.

TASTE: The sour cherry taste really stands out. There is a, non cloying, candied malt flavor that comes through along with a slight hop bite; it's very nicely balanced. The Alcohol is present but not over powering.

FEEL: Kind of chewy with a medium mouth feel. There just enough carbonation and alcohol to give this a pleasant crispness.

OVERALL: This really tastes more like a strong dark then a strong pale ale, maybe the aging has something to do with that. Either way, This is an outstanding beer.

Photo of Zorro
4.9/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I love how the Belgians get REALLY serious about beer.

Color is a cloudy brown, but an inviting shade. It is cloudy enough that you can't see through it.

This smells sweet, like a nice fresh apple cider. There is a malty smell in there and some brown sugar. I can smell very fresh apples in this too.

I tastes a bit sweet, but not too sweet. Very fine carbonation, tiny bubbles. At first I didn't think that there was any hops in this, but they come out later on. A bit spicy, the alcohol is very well hidden.

Mouthfeel is nice, not chewing thick or water either.

Drinkability is about as good as it gets. I could drink this every night for a year and be satisfied.

VERY RECOMENDED!

Photo of hero27
4.83/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap @ the Lava Lounge in Waterloo, Iowa..

Was lucky enough to have this brew on-draft all winter at my local bar.

The flavors are incredible and complex. I had to make sure I was reading the posted ABV on the site correctly...9% in this one? It slides down as easy as anything, with no alcohol present in the taste. Apple cider, fresh peaches, orange, cinnamon, apricots, and bubblegum mix together in this syrupy nectar.. one of the most unique beers I've ever had, and one I keep coming back to. I did notice that after a keg has been tapped upwards of a month, the flavors flatten out significantly..but when fresh, this is definitely one of my favorite Belgians.

Photo of hobbes2150
4.65/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is a beer that changes remarkably with age. I tried 2 versions, one that "expired" in 2004 and one that will go out of date in 2007.
The color is a nice caramel, noticeably darker in the older version, with a good head.
The nose is incredible, lots of plum in the younger version and very floral in both.
The flavor is mild in the younger one, but the older bottle exploded with taste in my mouth. Floral notes, lots of spice, absolutely incredible.
This is a beer that is meant to be cellared. Forget about the date on the bottle, because this beer is at it's best about 2 years after it's suggested "best before" date.

Photo of mickeymac
4.65/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I picked up a 750 of this despite my strong aversion to the angel painting that adorns the label and used to hang from the wall of a crazy ex-girlfriend's bedroom. Fortunately, my search for good beer prevailed over memories of a bad relationship. This stuff is a winner. It's a somewhat hazy amber with a smallish head that leaves little trace after a few minutes in the glass. The smell is apricot, yeast, and a subtle trace of alcohol. The taste is perplexingly complex but surprisingly subtle. The first glass went down without any food and seemed very refined and a bit subdued. The second glass was matched up with some Point Reyes Blue Cheese and more than held its own. Backing the semi-sweet fruit flavors is a bit of peppery spice and a small dose of hops on the back end. If anything can be criticized, it seems a bit thin. However, it's dangerously drinkable at 9%. Angels, indeed.

Photo of RoyalT
4.6/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – This one poured a light, orangy brown that let some nice lighting through but still had a thick, hazy appearance. The head came up beautifully, showed retention, and left some nice Belgian lacing on the inside of my Chimay glass.

Smell – Wow, is this a wonderful smell. The thick, buttered malts almost gave me a high. They are so luscious and filled with an incredible, raw caramel sweetness.

Taste – The powerful, complex malts come to the taste with a nice yeasty backbone and some good, peppery spicing. This ale is just dripping with rich malts. It is so rich and so complex. There’s just so much going on in here. Nicely done!

Mouthfeel – This is shy of full-bodied with some great, fluffy carbonation. It even manages to refresh. It is the smooth and seamless mixing of flavors and texture though that makes this Belgian Ale a real standout.

Drinkability – This is my idea of a BSDA. I much prefer this to their Brune.

Photo of BDTyre
4.6/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy burnt-orange colour with a fuzzy white head that clings to the side of the glass. Smells like christmas spices with a hint of orange peel.

Taste: spicy, malts and hops, with a fruity undertone. Very festive and refreshing.

A bit fizzy, but this is part of the fun. Not overly carbonated.

A strong taste, with a bit of a punch. A small bottle, but high ABV limits the number one can have.

Photo of cokes
4.58/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

"Reserve Speciale" (I am assuming this is the same thing as the "Reserve")
750mL, dated 06/04.

Glowing, yet dark amber-peach color with mountains of off-white foam.
Damp aromatics of dewy fruits, primarily apricots and peaches, wet wood, and basements.

How can this be so soft?

Cushioned passion fruit sweetness initially, the first of many fruity masks it dons. Switches to pineapple, then to apricots, where it seems to linger for a moment and let the yeast catch up. A mildewed concrete sensation seeps in, as does some rotted wood, and a general sense of humidity. The fruity hues are pushed aside, momentarily, for a organic cycle of decay and rebirth. Fruitiness resumes with mushy pears, green apples, cinnamon, and diluted peach schnapps filtered through cedarwood. A herbal, spicy hopping closes things and provides immaculate dryness and palatal cleansing. Just touches of lingering sour fruit and leafy plants afterward.
Akin to apple sauce in the mouth. Lightly mushy, flavorful and ever-so-delicate. No rough edges, and no alcohol noted whatsoever.
Perilous in its drinkability.
This is an absolute jewel.

Photo of drperm
4.58/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle, purchased June 2008, opened 22 Feb 2009.

Divine. These artisanal Belgian brewers continue to impress -- nay, wow -- me. Just when I think I've got the corner on the style potential and profile, I unturn another stone and discover another winner with something new to say.

Appearance: Unassumingly beautiful -- like a shimmering pumpkin in an evening glow. The color of Earl Gray tea, with lots of unflitered goodness swimming through the glass.

Aroma: Rich, mellow malt up front, with generous doses of wildflower honey, bergamot, and a faint twist of piquant hops. Smells like it might be overly sweet.

Taste: A joyride of rich malty warmth, with a twist of apricot, nectarine, and bergamot. Not too sweet at all, it is a garden of malted delights laced with a hint of well-placed subtle hops on the edge.

Palate: A tad bit sticky on the way down, but it tastes so damn delicious that I never want the bottle to end (which, at 9%, is a dangerous proposition!). It warms as it traverses the gullet.

Overall: I must replace this bottle twelvefold. I don't know what the 9 months in the cellar did for this one, not having tried it fresh, but my God this is an amazing beer. A keeper for sure!
Oddly, I'm thinking good, rich Mexican/Latino cuisine with this one -- not your generic bean burrito, mind you, but the real authentic stuff, like homemade Mole sauce over wood-baked chicken, or those fried-and-baked taquitos that my Costa Rican nanny used to make. (Drooling on keyboard....)
An artisanal cheese plate would be splendid here as well -- or baked brie.

Photo of Patrick999
4.58/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

My dad actually bought this. Certainly wasn't expecting him to buy something I hadn't reviewed!

Poured into a Chimay chalice. Cloudy gold-orange. Excellent head persistence. Adds up to a very nice-looking goblet of beer!

Aroma is pretty standard per style. Some light pepper, honey, clove.

On the palate, I get a lot of the typical BSPA flavors. Pear, honey, a little pepper, a little hop, little candi sugar. Pound cake malt. Even more than a little coconut. As it warms, There's nothing oddball about this brew. What it is, however, is extremely well-done. The above flavors meld together very well, and come to a dry finish. As per the very best of this style, the 9% alcohol is nowhere to be found, buried well underneath the various flavors. Extremely well-done, I'd have to say. I really like it.

The mouthfeel is right up there with tbe best Belgian artisanal breweries, even the Trappists...well carbonated, but smooth and soft. Wow. I'm really impressed.

Like the very best examples of this style, this is quite drinkable, and would pair well with many foods. I'm convinced that this is *among* the best examples of this style. And my dad picked this out? Becoming a regular Beer Advocate, he is.

Photo of k75
4.55/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

on tap

pours a slightly hazy burnt orange with a big smooth head

huge aromas of apricot nectar, peaches and some hints of banana bread spice

big, complex palate of fruit, spice, biscuit and malt

incredibly tasty ! soup course, salads, desserts.

the most impressive amber in a long time

wow.

Photo of jwc215
4.55/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cage-corked bottle, poured into a tulip glass:

Pours orange/amber with a two-finger head that fairly quickly descends to a thin covering. Not much lacing sticks.

The smell is of spiced bread - floral - slightly grassy with a hint of caramel.

The taste is of caramel and bread. Plenty of spicing adorns this treat, esp. clove, coriander, orange peel and black pepper. Somewhat herbal, slightly medicinal and floral features weave in and out of caramel maltiness. As it warms. earthy, slightly grassy, notes come through. As it continues even more, fruitiness comes through - strawberry and tropical fruits - banana, kiwi, etc. Spiciness is assertive in the finish, but not overwhelming. The taste is a work of art, as the malt, yeast, and hops interact very well and change (and linger) as it progresses.

Light-to-medium bodied - the flavor lingers, along with a peppery edge. The alcohol, hidden in the peppery taste, creeps up.

This is a complex, delicious sipping treat that almost borders overwhelming at times, but is so much a work of art that invites the drinker to continue. A must-try! Like the label, it is angelic.

Photo of tavernjef
4.55/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Happy Gnome: Clouded peachy orange color with a super quick thin cap of foam that leaves the thinnest of thin collar around the edge and the lacing is minimal to none in some spotting.

Aroma is divinely tropical! Woaw, such a thivk soup of fruits here its hard to distinquish the actuals but I tend to get a ton of pineapple with great juicy, full scoops of peach, apricot, and pear. Mushy, malty, and very big on the nose. Lovingly tropical fullness!

Taste doesn't disappoint, mush like the aroma it bleeds out tropical fruity goodness. Mucho pineapple with a great fruity, mushy meld of peach, apricot, lemon meringue, and silky malted sweetness that lasts well from front to back. Quite a nice taster.

Feel is quite full, thick, and rounded in tropical malty goodness. Yum, yum, in the tum! Downable and dangerously so. A fantastic beer!

Photo of ggroller
4.55/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured carefully from the bottle so as to not disturb the yeast.

Clear, rust colored liquid with plenty of carbonation. A tightly knit, tiny bubbled head comes raging up in the glass. The huge head settles down to a thin, finger's width in a short amount of time.

The nose is very subtle. It is very wine like with notes of apples while some biscuity yeast lingers in the background.

Tastes very delicate. Given the fact this beer is classified as a strong dark ale, I was expecting a stronger alchohol presence and more pronounced flavors. I taste apples and pears at first followed by slight maltiness.

Mouthfeel is well carbonated with a very clean and crisp finish.

This is a highly drinkable beer and one that I will look forward to drinking again.

Photo of GClarkage
4.53/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

08/30/05- Purchased at Draegers Market in San Mateo, CA

Presentation- 750ml bottle, caged and corked. No dates on the bottle. Was purchased in winter '04.

Appearance- Orange-amber colored pour, large 3/4 to 1 inch head and decent lacing.

Smell- Big orange custard scent. The first beer I have ever smelled with this scent. Not really like orange soda, but like a custard filling inside a doughnut. Also some various other spices.

Taste- At first, an orange taste is very prevelant. Then it turns to a kind of apricot/peach flavor as it warms. Almost like and afterdinner like liquor taste. Maybe a Drambouie flavor. Many peppery spices as well. Hides it's abv extremely well.

Mouthfeel- Highly carbonated elixer. Almost champagne-esque.

Drinkability- Because of this very unusal flavor I could drink this all the time. Because it hides it's abv so well, this would even be a nice by the pool drink. Has that tropical kinda vibe.

Photo of becktone
4.53/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

From notes 12-26-08

Done horizontally with Great Divide Hades

Eye: All I have to say is that the color matches the aroma. Color is amber, exactly what the bottle says it is, no better way to describe it. It would be clear but for the sediment that was disturbed whilst opening the bottle. Head started out with a nice fluffy, rocky white head and stablizes at something more reasonable, about a finger's width. Lacing could use work.

Nose: There's a strong and very unique aroma in this beer, something that seems very distant yet so familiar. Aroma is very fruity, whatever this aroma is it is something that I can't quite put a finger on. Very appetizing though, smells great, can't wait to taste it. I almost want to say that it smells like the cherry pipe tobacco that my grandfather used to smoke with hints of vanilla, but I don't think that that is quite right....I've got to nail this down...anyway it smells great, big malt aroma, some oakiness, lots going on with the yeast, tons of fruitiness, caramel tones quietly find their way through that dominant aroma of familiarity.

Tongue: Alcohol is forward here too, but it plays with the fruitiness-cherry-and those seemingly vanilla tones. Alcohol taste is flat out alcohol, yet it is also spicy. And as I said it adds balance, it works with this beer, its forwardness gives depth and balance to this beer. As I dig deeper the more dark malt flavors I get...some hints at chocolate or cocoa. It has a flavor that really reminds me alot of the beer I had the other day, Insanely Bad Elf. What is that, aromatic malt? I'm not really sure, but I know that I like it. Again, similiarites between this and Insanely Bad Elf, the same fruitiness, the same "chocolate covered cherry, less chocolate more cherry" thing. Yet, its not really cherries, more of a hinting at them...real hard to explain. Awesome beer, not necessarily a BSPA, and not a BSDA, Its somewhere inbetween, an Amber...as it states. I mean it is a Belgian Ale, Belgians don't classify, well not really...besides abby single, dubbel, tripel, and quadrupel, there is just ale, be it light or dark or somewhere inbetween as this one is.

Feel and Drinkability: Medium body on the palate with a long lasting aftertaste. Carbonation is lower, very appropriate and delicate. I don't think that this one could be any better, it fits perfectly. This is very easy to drink, this is one that I've been immediately turned on to, and I will be turning people on to it, less I buy all that is left of it first. If you can find it drink it. I can easily see myself drinking this again. Now, this isn't what I quite had in mind when I picked it up, I wanted something "Duvel-esk", this is much better, it hits a totally different spot, a different satisfaction, a satisfaction of finding something new and wonderful, and something that I will compare other amber colored belgians to.

edit: Nose and Tongue-aroma and taste I can't identify is starting to highly resemble the aroma of that hookah that we smoked in clifton with Tony, Tirenan, Matt, Liz, and Kevin....Vanilla and coriander...?

Photo of philipt
4.53/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is one awesome beer. I took the advice of the retailer and I'm glad I did.

Pours orange-amber in color. Very little as far as a head is concerned. Maybe my fault for pouring extra slow and careful. The aroma is just outstanding. Both sweet and tart sensations come through in this beer. Sour apple, cinnamon, and wet leaves can be smelled. The taste is nearly as complex. Again, swet and tart are the dominating sensations. Apple, caramel and a slight hint of orange round out the major tastes. This beer is not very hoppy and the alcohol is no where to be found. On the downside, the beer is a little thin in the mouth.

Excellent beer that will be purchased again.

Photo of neonbrown82
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I love this beer. Pours to a muddy golden amber color with a fine frothy off-white head that sticks around for a while, regenerated by a nice carbonation. Leaves a decent lacing.

Smells like coriander with a light refreshing malt and candi sugar aroma. The taste follows suit, but with a subtle spicey hop in the finish. Lots of flavors going on, including some berry esters.

The mouthfeel has some bite and finishes dry. Quite drinkable for such a heavy brew, and quite refreshing as well.

Photo of ckk527
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%

Photo of bigred89
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%

Photo of DogFood11
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Corked and Caged 750. A couple of kids with "angel" wings adorn the label. Pours lighter colored than one would presume from a belgian strong dark ale. Forms a tight head that laces with each pull, sliding. Copper to orange, slight chill haze. Nice looking brew.

An incredible poutpori of aroma and taste. Fruity, very hard to pinpoint a variety but my stab is rhubarb, strawberries, and blueberries. Not your typical taste for the style but if you throw out style guidlines and just taste it for what it is, it comes through nicely. Finishes clean and lingers on sour notes. Carbonation is about average strength, some of the sweeter malts, yeast tend to cling to your teeth a bit.

Notes: Although lacking, in my opinon, the typical belgian strong dark characteristics it is an outstanding beer. Apperance is outstanding, head never fluctuates, humungous fruity, floral profile. Just friggin awesome.

Photo of beveragecaptain
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml corked bottle. This beer pours out an amber color with loads of chunks floating around. Complex aroma of malt, yeast, grapes, orange, apricot, carib, and spice. The flavor is candy sugar, pineapple, pears, orange, caramel, pineapple, and cinnamon. Finishes with herbal hops. A little bit musty. More tangy than sweet. Full mouthfeel. High carbonation. No noticable alcohol. It's amazing that a beer this fruity and spicy never gets close to cloying. This is a beautiful, big flavored beer.

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 750ml, purchased at the Wine Country, Long Beach for just $6.99. This is quite odd, because only a week earlier I was actually stood outside the Brewery in Binche, Hainaut, Belgium trying to get into the on-site Brewery Café that seemed close. Oh well. The old cage and cork has been replaced with a very distinctive and unusual modern day ‘strap’ and cork assembly. A couple of cherubs on the label seem to be contemplating something, not sure what though, but they are both looking towards the heavens. Listed as 9% Alcohol and recommended to be served between 50-54°F (thanks for the conversion from metric chaps!) with a Best Before Date of October 2005.

Appearance: A lovely dark amber colored body, pellucid with dark orange and copper hints at times when backlit. Smooth off-white head that rises quickly when the beer is poured to form a solid bit compact collar like head. Not much conditioning, but enough to continually support the head for sometime, laces well.

Nose: MMmmmm, a very spicy nose mixed with sweet malts, Apricot flavored Baby Food, Peaches and some light Lemons with a fruity Yeast tang.

Taste: The Reserve Speciale has quite the “simple-complex” make-up. Simple tastes put together in a complex format. Lots of sweet malts, candy sugar traits and fruity flicks. Cinnamon in the middle and black-pepper comes through in the end, but in turn they are all killed stone dead by a sweet Apricot slushy that fills the mouth. Some hops may well be hiding in here; this is quite the onion to unravel. This is most certainly an Amber on some serious Steroids!

Mouthfeel: This has a very confident taste and it also has a very confident mouthfeel to support it. Thick and sweet at times, the 9% alcohol also plays a part but the malts are still dominant. Smooth.

Drinkability: I had a 750ml all to myself, and it disappeared in no time – where’d it go??? 9%, and its time for Bed or a late movie I think.

Overall: Binchoise make some great beers, and this surely is one of them, but I’m damned if I can adequately describe it properly - I feel that this Review is an injustice to the greatness of this beer. Superb, but definitely not mainstream!

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La Binchoise Spéciale Noël (Reserve Special - USA) from Brasserie La Binchoise (Malterie des Remparts)
90 out of 100 based on 148 ratings.