Reserve Special Black Ale | Dark Horse Brewing Company

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Reserve Special Black AleReserve Special Black Ale
BA SCORE
3.93/5
Very Good
1,272 Ratings
Reserve Special Black AleReserve Special Black Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
darkhorsebrewery.com

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Conceived in a dimly lit room on a blistery cold night in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, but born and raised here in Marshall Michigan. The Reserve Special is the oldest of all beers in the Dark Horse family. It has an incredibly “thick” presence and when poured into a glass its color is so dark it’s eerie. The flavors explode onto your taste buds with heavy malt, roast, and chocolate, but stay very balanced. The Reserve Special Black Ale has a hard time being called a stout or porter but it fits nicely into the category of a delicious strong black ale.

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#12,224
Reviews:
601
Ratings:
1,272
pDev:
10.43%
 
 
Wants:
66
Gots:
139
Trade:
2
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,272 |  Reviews: 601
Photo of NCSapiens
3.71/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of flgimp
4.14/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured dark and thick. Slight head and lacing. Color is a total chocolate brown eclipse. Smell is cocoa. Taste is silky smooth, chocolate nibs and slight coffee comes through first. Finish is a complex blend roasted, smoky and malty. Gotta love it as an after dinner beer. Feel is on the heavy side. Really flavorful black ale.

 327 characters

Photo of user785335
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of alexsergio
3.96/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Dentist666
4.19/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of robotnewyork
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had at Cider Dayze 2018. It is probably better on a cold day than on a warm one, but it was a decent dark ale with some complexity.

132 characters

Photo of DavidRandall
3.94/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of dd53grif
3.79/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Mindcrime1000
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Shorter review on this one

Pours a spectacular opaque black with a fine two-finger brown/mottled head and lacing that endures. Aromas are evocative of a stout, a baltic porter, and a typical black ale. The mouthfeel is decent, although a little flat and sticky compared to what was expected. The flavor is decent with elements of chocolate, coffee, and char, but the char taste is a little too overpowering. A unique and decent brew from the masters of the off-beat.

 471 characters

Photo of 94rocker1
4.49/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Fading2black
3.57/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Very nice black color with one finger tan head. Strong bitter chocolate flavor. Mouthfeel is interesting, but not in a good way. It feels like it is congealing in my mouth. It goes in normal but then seems to thicken (is this what people mean when they say "chewy"? I'm a newbie so not exactly sure.) Very nice, prominent smell of chocolate and coffee. The beer is great until the finish. Lingering dry and bitter after-taste. I find myself taking the next drink quicker than normal to get rid of the taste lingering in my mouth. At the end of the glass I find myself wanting something to wash away the taste. If it weren't for that darn finish this might be my favorite beer.

 678 characters

Photo of blissfulNemo
3.79/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Rostie
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of MeIquiades
4.27/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Buck1
4.04/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Smell - malt, coffee some chocolate
Look- dark
taste-some sweet grain malt up front then , middle some carmel and dark chocolate , finish dry and bitter expresso coffee
I thought it was a black IPA when i first ordered it at the Dark Horse taproom but though there are some hops up front it is really more like a very roasty robust porter that is coffee / dark bitter bakers chocolate on the back end . Long dry finish. I really liked it. If you like roasted malt in a dark beer give it a dry. I always try to have some in my fridge in the winter when a stout is too heavy. Great with smoked ribs.
If you

 610 characters

Photo of Treyliff
4.24/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a snifter

A- pours black in color with some light creeping through, one-finger khaki head with good retention

S- smells of roasted malt, chocolate, piney hops, some earthy notes and a bit of citrus

T- dark roasted malt gives some chocolate notes, along with a hint of coffee. Piney and citrus hops pop through mid-palate, the finish gives more roast and chocolate with a linger of piney hops

M- medium-light body and medium carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel and a crisp finish

O- solid black ale that is well balanced between chocolaty malt and hops

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Photo of caahare
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A 12oz bottle with a date of Feb 2015 - bottling date? I'm not entirely sure, but at any rate I've had this beer for quite a while. Originally purchased from the Brewdog webshop. Here's hoping it has held up....

A: Poured into a tulip. Bottle conditioned. A very dark brown hue that appears ultra black in the glass. Produces a decent head of creamy brown foam that lasts for a minute or two before subsiding to a patchy surface layer.

S: Aroma of rich dark malt with hints of roasted grain, molasses, dried fruit, prunes, subtle chocolate, ale yeast, faint vanilla, vague stewed leaves and a twinge of smokiness. Nicely rounded but perhaps slightly lacking in definition. Still good though.

T: Tastes of roasted malt with notes of burnt grain, molasses, dried fruit, mild coffee, subtle chocolate, ale yeast, faint stewed leaves and a touch of smokiness. Slightly sweet, followed by a robust malt-driven bitterness upon swallowing.

M: Mouthfeel is smooth and tingly, with soft carbonation and decent body. Could be a tad thicker for the style and strength. Aftertaste of bitter roasted malt, coffee, molasses, ale yeast and stewed leaves.

O: Pretty good; at any rate age doesn't seem to have diminished it excessively. Looks the part, while the aroma and flavour are full-on roasted malt with notes of coffee, dried fruit, molasses and yeast. Body is OK but a shade too thin. Rounded and drinkable - worth sampling if you have the chance.

 1,444 characters

Photo of Rilesmiles
3.92/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of metacog42
4.57/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of BradtheGreat7
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of BeerWithMike
3.96/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Blackop555
3.92/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours black. Foamy, short tan head that lasts a short while.

Smells roasted malts, light char, light earthy and chocolate hints.

Tastes roasted malts, earthy bitterness, light smokey char, chocolate and coffee hints. Finish is dry with roasty linger. Medium body and smooth lower medium carbonation.

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Photo of petrusek23
3.81/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of mwvman
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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Reserve Special Black Ale from Dark Horse Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.93 out of 5 with 1,272 ratings