La Binchoise Spéciale Noël (Reserve Special - USA) - Brasserie La Binchoise (Malterie des Remparts)
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Ratings: 147 | Reviews: 118 | Display Reviews Only:
3.88/5 rDev -3.7%
Stored in my cellar awhile, perhaps contributing to, initially, some woody mustiness,some charred, and then orange and corriander. Creamy toffee mouthfeel, some raspberry and bannana. Sweet nose, a bit of yeast. Not a pale.Nice soapy head.Interesting.
10-16-2008 04:54:30 | More by Sammy
4.05/5 rDev +0.5%
A: The beer is hazy amber orange in color and has some fine yeast particles visible near the bottom of the glass along with a light amount of carbonation. It poured with a thin off white head that left large wispy patterns of bubbles on the surface and a thick collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderately strong aromas of fruits are present in the nose—apples and pears seem to stand out in particular.
T: Like the smell, the taste has complex flavors of fruits and also has some hints of malty sweetness and yeast.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a little smooth on the palate with a low to moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The complex fruity flavors in this beer make it seem quite unlike any others in the style and more like a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, except that the overall beer is lighter-bodied in nature and doesn't have any cloying sweetness. It is quite drinkable because no traces of alcohol are present in the taste.
02-16-2013 04:32:59 | More by metter98
4.33/5 rDev +7.4%
Particulate-laden dark apricot topped by a massive, heavily creamy, toasted ecru crown. It's a wonder the fine bubbles jumping off the bottom of the glass are able to navigate through the thick cloud of yeast that lies between them and their ultimate destination. Large bubbles pop in slow motion, leading to large, soft craters. Scant lace is the only (minor) negative.
Reserve Special doesn't look like a BSDA, nor does it smell like one. I'm pretty sure it won't taste like one either. The label calls it an 'artisanal amber ale', which usually means a BPA or a BSPA (depending on the ABV). It smells most like a BSPA or even an especially fruity tripel. I get fruit and spice with a hint of welcome alcohol. Note: the style has since been changed to BSPA.
This is damn good beer. The sturdy pale malt backbone has almost no toasted qualities and absolutely no dark fruit. There's a pleasant sweetness at play that doesn't come anywhere close to cloying. Again, I'm reminded of an especially peachy, appley tripel... a worthwhile flavor profile if there ever was one.
What spices are present (clove and cardamom) are subtle, while still providing a competent counterpoint to the sweetened fruit. Although it's far from a gung-ho yeast strain, it gets the job done. Very little of the 9.0% ABV is noticed. I'd have guessed a few percentage points lower. This is a well-constructed, tightly knit beer that is an absolute cinch to drink.
There's a lot to like about the mouthfeel. I might have given it slightly more heft, but it's perfectly in keeping with the rest of the beer's attributes. One thing is certain, the lightly creamy, almost fluffy mouthfeel contributes to the insane drinkability; as does the barely noticed carbonation. Like I said, there's a lot to like.
La Binchoise Reserve Special is a lovely beer. At its current age (a mere one month shy of the 'best by' date) it has attained a cohesiveness, a depth of flavor and a mellowness that it may not have had when fresh. I'd love to test that theory by obtaining a few more of these corked-and-caged 750s. Simply angelic.
05-09-2006 15:15:23 | More by BuckeyeNation
4.08/5 rDev +1.2%
I was impressed with this one. It borrows great qualities from Belgian Trippels and Flanders Reds. A murky brown-amber color forms a tanish peppered loosely laced head. Aromas are abundant with sweet spiciness, belgian candy, and mild tartness. A heavy dosage of fermented barley, candy, and spices create great fruits of grapes, red apples, ripe berries, plumbs, and a creamy nuttiness. A mild vinegar or wine flavor decorates the finish. I never tasted the heavy alcohols--they were woven into the fruits nicely. This is a good beer; I highly recomend.
09-08-2005 17:53:39 | More by BEERchitect
3.9/5 rDev -3.2%
Bottle courtesy of mgermani: Poured a deep clear amber color ale with a big foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma if totally dominated by ginger with some caramel malt also discernable. Taste is quite heavy on the ginger with some light medium-sweet caramel malt notes. Body is thinner then expected with some great carbonation and alcohol is really well hidden. Definitely not what I was expected but very interesting nonetheless.
01-02-2008 19:59:40 | More by Phyl21ca
3.75/5 rDev -6.9%
This beer poured out with a big foamy off white head. The color of the beer was a reddish brown color with some sediment floating around in it. The smell of the beer has plenty of Belgian yeast aromas comin off of it, there is also a spicy note as well as a subtle sweetness on the nose. The taste was pretty good, there was a semi-sweet caramel flavor to this one. There was also some mild spice in the aftertaste along with some fermented fruit. The mouthfeel of the beer was pretty nice, it was well carbonated and had a typical Belgian softness to it. Overall it was a pretty good holiday brew.
08-30-2011 13:42:38 | More by Knapp85
4.2/5 rDev +4.2%
Pours a clouded amber. Light tan head. Nose is fruity with some kriek and raspberry lambic kind of tones. Flavor is a slight fruit with a sourness on the same level. This is like a lambic, a flanders red, and a Belgian ale mixed into one. But more so leaning towards the flanders. Feel is smooth on the liquid, but a bit thin. Nice carbonation to it. Overall very drinkable. Smooth and well defined. Worth trying.
01-01-2008 12:08:36 | More by RblWthACoz
3.83/5 rDev -5%
On-tap 1/7/07 at Track 84 in Warwick, RI, served in a tulip glass.
A: The beer is a light brown color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.
S: The aroma is of dark fruits, mild yeast and caramelized malt.
T: The yeast is a little stronger in the taste. There are also heavy flavors of raisin & berries with a light malt character and a touch of hops. ABV is well-hidden. After-taste is sweet.
M: Crisp & very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, slightly sticky finish.
D: Kind of tasty, goes down OK, not too filling, overall its a good beer and a good representation of style, but it wouldnt be my first choice.
01-08-2007 16:25:54 | More by TheManiacalOne
4.13/5 rDev +2.5%
750ml brown magnum with a consume before date on the back label. The sediment stays as long as you leave the last inch or so of beer in the bottle.
Appearance: Orange tainted dark amber with a tiny bubbled off white lace, good retention and clarity as well.
Smell: Mixed berries and ripe peaches show its fruity aroma, hints of bubble gum and faint phenols, citrus and coriander in the nose also.
Taste & Mouthfeel: Rich body with a thick rolling crispness, strong malt back bone with unwavering caramel undertones. Big, almost pungent, bite of hops, herbal phenols and spicy alcohol. Coriander and orange peel are neck and neck getting to the taste buds. Ripe supple fruitiness that borders on peach and some vague mixed berries. Alcohol goes ester with a slow warming effect, slight buttery diacetyl, faded acidity. Rounded and smooth toasted maltiness in the end, some sweetness is leftover showing the beers never ending girth.
Drinkability & Notes: Just saying this beer is complex is not giving it enough credit, beautiful craftsmanship but something I’d sip and would want to share to bottle as well as pair it up somewhere within a meal.
02-08-2003 20:32:10 | More by Jason
4.38/5 rDev +8.7%
Very hazed crimson coloration, hugeous off-whitish head...
Nose is lovely and sweet, floral, lightly spicy, really intriguing, utterly delightlful, cinnamon, and sugar, with a twist of citrus...very nice...orange and lemon, and more...
Taste: delicious, full fruit on the palate, juicy grape and cherry and melon and more...bright, tasty fruit, and truly unique...I like this, and, in fact, I like it a lot.
Called an "artisanal amber ale" on the label, with musing cherubs mulling it over,...so where does it fall? in the realm of the Tasty, says me...
I will continue to sip on this delight, as long as the bottle allows, and just give a big thumbs-up ....
gonna have to grab me some more....
04-26-2005 07:24:55 | More by feloniousmonk
3.4/5 rDev -15.6%
The beer pours a nice amber color with a 1/2" offwhite head that fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It boasts of pale and crystal malts along with a slightly tart and fruity Belgian yeast finish. The taste is average. It has a slight watery feel. It has a light crystal malt flavor with a very dry finish. It goes down slow and dry and finishes with an earthy aftertaste. The mouthfeel is decent. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a decent drinking Belgian. I don't think I'll have this one again.
12-19-2004 22:22:42 | More by WesWes
4.55/5 rDev +12.9%
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.
09-06-2007 02:01:25 | More by jwc215
3.65/5 rDev -9.4%
Pours with a frothy, four-finger thick, tan colored head. The beer sits in my glass a darkish, amber colored, red tinted color and shows a brilliantly clear, deep reddish copper color when held up to the light. An interesting mix of spice and malt meets my nose upon the first smell. Fruit aromatics are also noticed and lean towards notes of aromatic, tart apples, touches of plum, pear and even some wine grape like notes (mostly white varietals, but also a touch of berry like red varietals). The aroma is lightly woody, but sharply aromatic with various esters and phenols; spice notes of ginger, white pepper, clove and that previously mentioned wood like note are all noticeable among the melange of aromatics. Malt aromatics of toasted grain, lightly browned soda crackers, dusty malt and a substantial fresh, whole grain bread note really perk up towards the middle and finish. This really has quite an interesting note, the yeast character really shines here, but has a nice backdrop of supporting malt character to hold it up.
Some zippy carbonation provides a touch of fizz as this first hits my tongue. The beer is lightly sweet and fruity with notes of aromatic apple varieties, raisins, and a touch of tart / sweet plum. A back note of malt provides some structure with austere flavors of crushed pale malt, dried biscuit notes and a lingering, lightly astringent toasted grains husk note in the far finish. Pretty light bodied for a beer of this strength, but it does have a medium heft to it; at times (especially with the interaction of light tartness and light sweetness found in this beer) it can even be down right quaffable. The flavor is not as spicy as the flavor was, but there is still a solid yeast contribution here; flavors of clove, a touch of white pepper, some ginger and a hint of a spicy oak flavor. The finish has a certain astringency to it that seems contributed by a mix of alcohol flavors and perhaps some phenolics and additional esters. This provides a bit of sharpness and at times seems a bit like cardamom in the finish.
This is an interesting beer. I really like the nose on this one initially. Somehow the flavor did not quite deliver, though it is still pretty complex and flavorful. The relative light body was also quite welcome, but somehow I just feel that the beer taken as a whole is missing a little something that would make it quite good.
Purchased: Plaza Liquors, Tucson AZ
12-14-2007 02:16:10 | More by Gueuzedude
4.47/5 rDev +10.9%
Appearance: slighty hazy amber in color with a nioce 1" head. The head slowly falls to a thick surface foam. Mild lacing develops on the glass druing the drink.
Smell: the aroma is of spices, yeast, and caramel.
Taste: the tongue picks up loads of caramel, ripe fruits, pepper, yeast, bread, and mild bitterness.
Mouthfeel: lightly crisp at the start. The finish was smooth with the caramel and fruits lingering softly on the tastebuds.
Drinkability: great drinkability, and overall a very enjoyable winter brew.
12-22-2005 19:49:42 | More by Gavage
4.53/5 rDev +12.4%
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.
08-31-2005 19:41:35 | More by GClarkage
4.05/5 rDev +0.5%
Picked up a bottle for about $3 from Abe's. Poured a hazy dark amber with an off-white head. The aroma has a rich, spiced plum element to it, while the flavor has a fruity apple-caramel melt profile with a hint of dry, minerals (sort of like a German pils). Digging a little deeper I get slight cranberry and raspberry notes in the taste and smooth candi sugar caramel in the aroma. The beer is a bit sweet, and too much so for some people, but I'm a fan and would drink this again. Reminds me of a little of St. Bernardus. Tasty.
01-26-2009 22:41:24 | More by tempest
4.2/5 rDev +4.2%
On tap a little while ago at the Brick Store. Served, as usual, in branded glassware. Pours a hazy burnt orange with a dense head that settles to a ring. Smells just like apricot nectar with a faint almond/apricot kernel finish. Taste is similar, but not as laser bright- instead a bit muddier but there are also nice mineral flavors and a long finish. Medium bodied, not sticky, a bit creamy, comes off a bit light, fruity, and slightly dessert like overall, even though it is not overly sweet. I enjoyed it.
04-16-2008 23:16:08 | More by Georgiabeer
3.9/5 rDev -3.2%
Pours a five-finger cream head that fades quickly leaving some lace. Cloudy amber with a ton of yeast in bottom of bottle. Slight hoppy nose. Light carbonation and medium bodied. Flavor is sweet like a creamsicle - smooth, hint of hops at finish. $3.80 for a 330ml bottle from Tully's Beer & Wine Wells, Me.
05-06-2007 22:22:44 | More by jdhilt
4.9/5 rDev +21.6%
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.
12-28-2003 23:54:23 | More by Zorro
British Columbia (Canada)
4.03/5 rDev 0%
Definitely closer to a Belgian strong pale ale.
A: Copper-orange, fluffy off-white head, only a little retention, but some really nice lace.
S: An abundance of aroma, though it's not necessarily all good. Cloves, fresh hops, along with some solventy higher alcohol/phenol. Some other spicyness (perhaps corriander?) with a little apricot. More bready malt, once the tertiary alcohols diffuse.
T: Bready malt with a nice fruityness from the Belgian yeast. Well balanced, slightly to the bitter side. A little earthyness (not sure if it's from the hops or the yeast?). Some warming, sherry-like, alcohol finish.
M: Body is on the light side of moderate, it's well carbonated, has a dry finish.
D: It's a light-weight for its strength, but I don't find the earthy and clove flavours particulary appealing... and the bubbles give me gas. :D
01-05-2006 01:28:57 | More by Derek
4.15/5 rDev +3%
As it sets in its special glass, the color a beclouded orange color, the head whopping in size, creamy in texture and the lace a thick sheet that welds itself to the glass. Tons of dross just oozing down the sides of the glass, and floating around like it had nothing better to do. Sweet malt, a hint of yeast, quite a pleasant nose with the start sweet and thickly malt, top is middling in its feel to the palate. Finish has a specific acidic bite, the hops present but understated in their spiciness, high ABV gives a nice warming sensation to the tummy, very dry aftertaste that lingers on and on, a quite drinkable this beer, not the least intimidating, just a real keeper in my humble opinion.
05-13-2003 16:34:54 | More by Gusler
La Binchoise Spéciale Noël (Reserve Special - USA) from Brasserie La Binchoise (Malterie des Remparts)
90 out of 100 based on 147 ratings.