Peter Straub's Special Dark - Straub Brewery

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Peter Straub's Special Dark
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67 Ratings
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Ratings: 67
Reviews: 46
rAvg: 3.21
pDev: 17.45%
Wants: 0
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Straub Brewery visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Lager |  4.10% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: k75 on 10-28-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 67 | Reviews: 46
Reviews by MaltyGoodness:
Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.18/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle

Pours a clear amber color with a small white head that maintains. Decent lacing on the glass.

Light, fresh caramel malt aroma.

Light caramel malt flavor. Faintest hint of hops, very light bitterness. Finishes clean and dry.

Thin body, decent carbonation.

Decent summer quencher, similar flavor to the original Straub beer with a little more pronounced malt.

More User Reviews:
Photo of dogfishandi
3.31/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, bottled on 07 09 10.
thanks to my nieghbor phil for bringing this over.

pours a clear copper amber color, nice red hues in the light. about 2 fingers of white soapy head that faded to ring and then eventually nothing. no real lace.

not a huge aroma. slightly toasted grains, corn, and a little lager funk.

nice clean taste. nice doses of caramelized toasted grains, a slight herbal hop note, with a touch of bitterness and a little bit of a mineral taste.

very clean and smooth on the palate. crisp carbonation. light to medium in body.

very easy to drink, could session these easily.

Photo of tdm168
3.43/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Aiello's in Ridgway, PA. If I had to be in Ridgway with family I should at least be drinking.

Pours a pale amber with a thin frothy lacing of head. There's noticeable carbonation rising to the top throughout. The nose is grainy with a note of sugary sweetness. The taste is grainy and straw-like up front with a sweet, syrupy, almost candy-like, chewy caramel finish. The mouthfeel is well-carbonated, clean, and light.

This is another easy drinking beer from Straub. The only real difference between this and their regular offering is the sugary, caramel finish, but it's enough of a difference to make me prefer this over the original.

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.6/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Clear. Deep amber with a crimson cast and deep gold and orange highlights. Creamy off-white head. Average head retention. Little lacing.
S: There's a hint of dark malts in the nose. It's nutty, and perhaps a bit toasty. No hops.
T: Average maltiness. Nice bit of toastiness. Balanced. No hop flavors present.
M: Light/medium in body and crisp.
D: Nothing detracts, but nothing inspires. Easy to drink, but not compelling.

Photo of tempest
3.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at tap at the Grey Lounge Pub.

Looks a dark brown with almost no head. Immediately I'm struck that while this is a very drinkable beer, it's far too clean, with just some sweet dark malts and no hops, like there isn't enough flavor and there's zero aftertaste. I guess I'd make up a style and call it an American dark macro lager for an easy way to describe it..

Photo of slaman992003
2.81/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

The beer came from a tap. Smelled, tasted and thought not great, but not bad. The thing that concerned me was whether the beer was carbonated or not. Asked the server if this was normal. They replied that this was normal, it was supposed to enhance the smooth feel. This reminded me of my homebrews that I was too impatient to wait for my forced carbonation. You get the head, but no bubbles are coming up from the glass.

Assuming this is more of a "bitter" style of carbonation/session beer, here are my comments :

Aroma - malty and I picked up something that was like plum or grape or ? No hop aroma that I could pick up.

Appearance - beer was clear, color was right for an amber, started with a slight head that went to just a thin white ring around the glass.

Taste -- I thought the taste was not bad, but it was the mouthfeel that seemed watery and this was hard to separate.

drinkability - I finished the pint, but would not have ordered it again. Needs more carbonation - even to get to what I would think was 1.5 volumes....

Nice diversion, wish it was better...

Photo of tone77
3.53/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a brownish color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is on the malty side. Taste is of malts, a bit nutty, just a touch of hops is present at the finish. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a pretty good beer.

Photo of akorsak
3.8/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A 12 oz bottle purchased at Al's of Hampden.

A: The lagerbier is a darker color, relatively speaking. It looks like a copper penny, or the bottle it came in. The beer remains translucent though. A finger of head from the first pour disappeared without lacing.

S: The lager has a sweet caramel aroma mixed with a mild nut/toffee combination. Not much hop-wise.

T: Much like the regular Straub varietal, the beer delivers a solid, no-frills punch. Caramel malts aren't as forward as in the nose. Instead, the lighter bready flavors come through much stronger. The syrupy caramel flavors wait for the end of each sip. A mild hoppy flavor runs through just before the caramel, adding a nice touch.

M: The mouthfeel is lighter, as I'd expect from Straub's, but it isn't lifeless by any stretch. The caramel is solid and the hops running through the beer stand out.

D: It's nothing special, but I like it. My first beer of the weekend and it gets things off to a good start. Sigh, I'd take cans of this for a tailgate any day.

Photo of CraftBeerTastic
2.97/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ba Review #168
Served On: 05/27/2012
Glassware: Pint Glass
Labeled ABV: -
Date/ Code: -

This was from a case I bought at Self Serve Beverage in York, PA.

Look: Poured from the 12oz. bottle (screw top). Color was a fairly clear copper. Some sparse carbonation bubbles were floating upward. The head was virtually nonexistent.

Smell: Aroma consisted of a roasty sweetness. Some standard ‘beer’ notes were detected. Maybe some adjunct also came through.

Taste: Upfront slightly roasted note with a touch of sweetness. Then a dry corn or rice adjunct character seemed to dominate the middle. The finish was rather clean with the roasted note retuning for a few moments.

Overall this is a basic beer. I would certainly take this over a BMC offering any day. Plus Straub’s is a brewery near my hometown in Western, PA – so that should warrant a point or two. I mean - this isn't quite your dad's beer, but it's close.

Photo of k75
2.63/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

on tap at Zeno's in state college - thanks Wyatt Earp

well, It is a Straub...! no doubt about that.

Dark? well, it is barely light amber.
It has the same aroma and flavor profile as regular Straub.

thin body
corn husk aroma
vegetable finish

choose only for the sake of the family run business or when you are pinching pennies.


Photo of plaid75
3.21/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On draft at Six Penn in Pittsburgh.

Poured a medium amber hue with a one finger frothy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a light grainy malt with a touch of caramel.

The taste was rather neutral with some sweet malts and a balancing grassy hop. A touch of doughiness at the finish.

The mouthfeel was typical of the style.

Overall a decent and easy enough to drink lager.

Photo of bob3701
3.82/5  rDev +19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a shaker pint. I like Straub lager but it is hard for me to get. I was extemly pleased to see Special Dark and a bit surprised when I poured it and it was not dark at all; yes it is much darker than their flagship beer. My disappointment ended with my first sip. A little bit of malty sweetness and citrusy undertones. Very clean and crisp like the lager. Head disappears into nothing and no lacing. I always think of Straub as the little engine that could.

Photo of MikeAmelsgone
2.81/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- poured a caramel color with about a half inch to 3/4 inch of head. Lacing dissipates quickly. Initially I was thrown off by the coloring; however I was deceived by the title "special dark" which made me forget that it was an amber lager.

S- Smelled as if someone threw up on a spice rack. No distinct scents arise; this beer is somewhat complex in scent, but not in an enjoyable way. Hard to pick our the exact scent that you're smelling. Hard to even relate it to any specific foods.

T- Caramel and butterscotch. Very grainy with no real malt coming through. Very light hop flavor that disappears almost immediately. Actually tastes somewhat like a medium-dry red table wine. Not a simple beer, but the complexity is not desirable. There is also a chocolaty flavor that contradicts the caramel and butterscotch. It tastes as if too much is going on in your mouth at once: a genuine fiesta with terrible music and people you don't really like.

D- Very watery. I expected it to be heavier. Carbonation was close to what I expected, light to moderate. Goes down easily and isn't a complete disappointment. Drinkability increases after about 1 or 2. This is not due to the effects of alcohol, but it is because the flavor needs some time to grow on you.

Photo of BeerCon5
2.94/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a dark amber color with very little head.

S: The scent is mostly some sweet grain and some yeast.

T: The taste consists of toasty biscuit and a bitter finish.

M: Pretty thin mouthfeel with lots of carbonation.

D: Average drinker. Wasn't really too impressed with this.

Photo of jlindros
2.74/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Another Penn local beer thanks to Noslenwerd.

A: Semi large frothy head fades very quickly as all the big and little bubbles pop. Its a very clear toasty amber semi dark brownish orange color with lots of bubbles rising from the etch at the bottom of my SA Perfect Pint glass.

N: A definite lager aroma, but cheaper lager. Lots of sweet malts, slightly toasty, a strange funky sock aroma, (oh shit, I better put my sneakers back on). Oh wait, that didn't change it, still has that used gym sock aroma. Lots of sweet and mellow malts with that at least.

T: Ummm, here goes... well, not too bad at first. A definite lager taste, somewhat cheaply done lager, or extract lager. A slight toasty malt flavor, lots of sweet malts, and even pretty sweet taste. Some darker malts that are really light. A little watery even with all that.

M: Light and watery, almost no carbonation for how many bubbles are there.

F: Semi crisp, little lingering malt... wait, no, theres really nothing. It just ends, like a story that your dog at the last 20 pages and you don't really get the finish. WTF! My mouth is like "I swear I just had some beer but I don't detect any. I'm not lying brain or stomach... nose, you remember it right? Am i going crazy?" No, I did have a couple sips, but the finish is nowhere to be found. They should call this Peter Straub's special bland cause it's so bland... get it? Eh, never mind, but really this beer was wicked bland and unappealing. Plus the dirty gym sock aroma.

Sorry drew, not the best beer you've sent, in fact I think the worst (although that's saying a lot as you sent a ton of great beers). I'm sure you know the feeling though.

Photo of woodychandler
3.51/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Man, my local trader, tone77 laid a buncha bottles on me on our last trade and now he is coming by on Monday with more! I gotta get caught up or I will be drowning in beer!

Here we go! I am sure that you have heard the adage "Once you've had [dark], you'll never go [bark]" and I am on a sudden Dark kick, thanks to both tone77 and this honey honey across the bar from me on Sunday. I would have loved to buy her a drink, but I was in the minority among the clientele and I have learned that lesson previously. Maybe a return visit ...

From the bottle: " A unique Amber Lager perfected through generations of family brewing"; "Brewed with Pennsylvania mountain spring water".

I went with another aggro pour, resulting in a finger-and-a-half of dense tawny head with good retention. Color was a deep coppery color that on a natural redhead makes me crazy. I was in love! Nose had the characteristic lager sweetness, but without the nasty adjuncts that often get in the its way. A redheaded fellow Pennsylvanian from our Northern Tier?!? I was ready to elope! I would gladly relocate, but southcentral PA may be more compelling to many. The beer simply danced across my tongue, perhaps a bit thinly/lightly than I may have desired, but the taste was clean, unadulterated lager with just a hint of roastiness. Finish was semi-dry with a light cocoa-like sweetness that lingered. Come back, baby! I promise to go slower the next time.

Photo of OWSLEY069
2.34/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

POurs a amber-ish color with a small white head. In the aroma, small caramel and a small roastiness. In the taste, a small roasty malt, with a caramel presence, somewhat watery. A smooth and light mouthfeel, with a semi dry roasty aftertaste. Quite light and watery for a dark lager.

Photo of Morey
3.28/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours reddish-brown in color with nice clarity. Head stood about one finger tall for a matter of a minute or so. Minimal amount of head retention.

Smell is very clean and mild. A touch of malty sweetness and toasted grain.

I'm getting the carbonation up front followed by a thin wave of roasted malts. Very smooth and mellow finish with a hint of bread and grain.

Mouthfeel is a bit on the thin side. Maybe a touch too thin. Moderate carbonation.

An average amber lager that would be an upgrade over BMC at a summer BBQ (or anytime of the year for that matter).

Morey's Bottom Line: An easy drinking lager, but it's a bit thin. Wouldn't spend $$$ on it, but I'd gladly drink one again if it was given to me.

Photo of johnnnniee
3.21/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes, beer sampled 8/12/2011
I had this in a bottle in a bar in the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania while visiting my wife's mom. I'd never heard of this brewery so now was the time to try it. Pours a deep copper reddish brown with a decent sized white creamy head. Smells of lightly toasted and bready malt with hints of caramel and very faint spicy hops. Taste is smooth lager like and easy to drink. Lightly bready toasty caramel malt with barely enough spicy hops to keep it from being cloying. Medium body and carbonation level with a smooth slick mouthfeel. Decent enough macro style lager, but certainly nothing to go out of your way for.

Photo of goblue3509
3.95/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an amber color with a slight off white head. The smell is of nuts, roasted malt, and caramel tones, the smell is bold and complex and very pleasing. The taste is much the same, there is a roasted malt backbone with hints of nuts and caramel to it. The mouthfeel is of moderate carbonation, and it is slightly slick in nature. A very drinkable beer, it has a deep rich flavor and is refreshing.

Photo of Deuane
3.01/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A-Dark reddish brown with a thin tan head that left no lacing.

S-A subtle hint of caramel malt.

T-Not much different than regular Straub...a of extra maltiness but little else to set it apart. Not bad....but so much like "Lager" it is crazy.

M-Medium light with lively carbonation.

D-This is is not going to rock your world....but I could put a few down at a backyeard picnic or hick bar and not be unhappy.

Photo of BEERchitect
2.68/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had the pleasure of drinking this beer tonight as part of a professional tasting panel.

The dark turns out not to be that dark, rather a clear amber color, light head formation and retention, and no lacing. Not what is expected from a Dark Beer at all. The beer exhibits little in the way of toasted malts or other roasted grains that are usually associated with dark beers.

But the Amber/Red beer style is represented a bit better here. The beer hosts a simple and standard caramel character that rides through the nose and taste. A butterscotch note shows in the aroma and taste that becomes quite distracting at times. Otherwise bland, the beer shows a blend of grain flavors with malt. Lightly herbal hops are buried deep in the caramel and grain taste. Textures also exhibit the grain-malt blend while the caramel sweetness keeps the beer from astringency or husk-like in the end.

Tough to get on board with a beer this lifeless and riddled with diacityl and cereal grain flavors.

Photo of claytri
3.18/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer poured an odd light copper sort of iced tea like with no head. The aroma was nice straight up malt with maybe a hint of caramel. The taste was a bit of a let down from the smell, but still a decent malty beer. The feel is light and wet. Not a great beer simply drinkable, and there's no sin in that. Just happened to see and had never had a Straub's. It was worth getting.

Photo of WesWes
3.87/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a dark amber/brown color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice pale malt scent along with just enough crystal malt to provide the proper color and maltiness. The taste is good as well. It has a slightly sweet crystal malt flavor that goes down too easy and finishes dry. It's not overly malty; just enough. The mouthfeel is good. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. These guys only brew good beer. It's fresh and local. The people of St. Mary's go nuts for this stuff and I do as well. Cheers!

Photo of beerwolf77
2.35/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A nice local extra from garbercury. Thanks Gar.

Poured into my pint glass the beer is clear amber gold. Not very "dark". About a finger of white head fades quick leaving spots of lace.

The aroma is mostly sweet caramel malt. A touch of skunky corn as well. Not much else.

The flavor is rather bland and bordering on gross. Watery malt and bit of tobacco. Not good.

Thin watery body. Very light carbonation.

Overall not impressed at all. This one is hard to drink for sure.

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Peter Straub's Special Dark from Straub Brewery
75 out of 100 based on 67 ratings.