Dark Horse Reserve Special Black Ale | Dark Horse Brewing Company

BA SCORE
89
very good
1,244 Ratings
Dark Horse Reserve Special Black AleDark Horse Reserve 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:
No notes at this time.

Added by xlperro on 05-28-2002

BEER STATS
Ratings:
1,244
Reviews:
594
Avg:
3.97
pDev:
10.33%
 
 
Wants:
62
Gots:
132
For Trade:
2
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,244 |  Reviews: 594
Photo of Sammy
4.21/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A supreme stout. Exceeding the lineup of Rogues. Looks like yummy chocolate drink. Stout roasted, with chocolate aroma. Creamy mouthfeel with roast. More so than coffee, which works for me. Enough of a drink experience, that you don't know the alcohol until..klunk. Glad I bought a six-pack. Dry mouth aftertaste.

 313 characters

Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%

Photo of GRG1313
3.25/5  rDev -18.1%

Photo of Texasfan549
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.97/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to drewone for sharing this one at jmgrub's tasting.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Tiny dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, and coffee. Taste is much the same with a medium amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is tasty but pretty roasty.

 492 characters

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%

Photo of Knapp85
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew poured out much thicker than I expected. The head was tan and creamy looking. This beer could be a stout I think. The smell of the beer was had some big roasted aromas to it along with some earthy lager notes too. The taste of the beer was pretty good. I liked the rich roasted flavors that this had. The mouthfeel was heavy and thick. Overall this was a realli interesting brew. I would probably drink it again if I came across it.

 442 characters

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of metter98
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is absolutely jet black in color. It poured with a quarter finger high dense tan head that gradually died down, leaving a large patch of bubbles in the center of the glass and a collar around the edge.
S: There are moderate aromas of coffee beans and roasted malts in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell, but is much stronger and also has some hints of smoke and chocolate along with a light amount of coffee bitterness in the finish.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. The roasted malts leave a bit of dryness in the finish.
O: I enjoyed drinking this beer because it delivered a lot of flavors of coffee beans and roasted malts without the heavier body of a Russian Imperial Stout. Any traces of alcohol are very well hidden from the taste. There is also a good balance between the malts and hops.

 878 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Expecting a Schwarzbier going in, needless to say that first sip was a stunner.

Pouring a coal-black color and a thicker-than-expected viscocity, the beer begins to look like an American Stout. Modest carbonation struggles to form any meaningful head. Reducing to a lace, the foam clings shyly to the sides of the glass. A nice looking beer that may need more CO2.

Deeply toasted and caramelized malts give a definate Stout-like nose. High hopping rates give a mix of grasses, pine, citrus, and earthiness. Coffee and bitter cocoa also help to spice the beer up a lot. Definately not a Schwarz, that Stout descriptor is smelling more accurate.

Very roasty, toasty, and charred in taste, the heavily roasted malts give a sharp and acidic coffee-cocoa taste. A far second follows and then the toffee, caramel, and bready malts come into play. Hop flavor is at bay but do portray the same grassy-pine-citrus character found in the nose. This beer relies heavily on those roasted barley kernels.

Quite sharp, bitter, and astringent with those burnt grains. Hop bitterness and hard water definatly accentuate the bitterness. As sweet as the caramels are to taste, the texture is very dry from mid-palate on. A hoppy and chalky bitterness ride deep into the finish.

A bit of a different animal here. I'm still not convinced that a Schwarzbier proportion isn't at work here- just at the scale, gravity, and hopping rates of an American Stout.

 1,440 characters

Photo of SocalKicks
3.59/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of brentk56
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pitch black color with a big tan head that laces the glass when agitated

Smell: Licorice, over-roasted coffee, dark unsweetened chocolate

Taste: Starts out with a dark fruit and licorice flavor that is joined, mid-palate, by the coffee tones; after the swallow the roasty bitterness lingers forever, bringing with it a rich dark chocolate flavor

Mouthfeel: Medium to ful body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A really special beer that I have enjoyed again and again

 489 characters

Photo of oline73
3.25/5  rDev -18.1%
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.

 757 characters

Photo of emerge077
4.23/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black, oily pour into a 3F imperial pint glass. Immediate head of mocha foam builds itself, and with the unfiltered dregs, it rises to over 3 fingers in size.
Tan webs of lace network themselves around the inside of the glass.

Chocolate malt and some minor dark fruit define the aroma. At first there was a hint of a banana-like ester, but it faded fast.

Taste is huge, big bittersweet chocolate with an underlying hoppy edge. An earthy tobacco char in the aftertaste that is excellent. Maybe some mild coffee, but not too defined. It's very integrated, but still has a good degree of complexity.

Smooth and creamy, this is some delectable stuff. The abv is never harsh, but a buzz is felt by the end of the glass. Don't let this donkey kick your ass...

 766 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Moejuck: Poured a pitch-black color beer with a medium foamy head with good retention and good lacing. Aroma of medium coffee with light roasted malt. Taste is dominated by some medium dry coffee with some light roasted malt and some nice oatmeal notes. Body is quite creamy which I always enjoy as well as being full with some medium to low carbonation. Well done and something I wouldnÂ’t mind having again.

 428 characters

Photo of zeff80
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a jet black color with a small, tan head. There were some traces of lace.

S - It smelled of roasted malt. Also, some good notes of chocolate.

T - It tasted very bittersweet. It had a nice burnt toast flavor. There was also an good bit of dark chocolate flavor. There was a warmth from the alcohol, too.

M - It was crisp and smooth. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a pretty good stout. It is my first Dark Horse beer and I would love to find more.

 468 characters

Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%

Photo of WillieThreebiers
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%

Photo of LXIXME
3.69/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of dmorgan310
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of olradetbalder
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 6/11/2013. Pours pitch black color with a 1-2 finger dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big dark chocolate, roasted malt, cocoa, coffee, light char, toast, toffee, floral, and roasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of roasted/dark malts; with good strength. Taste of big dark chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, cocoa, char, toast, toffee, floral, and roasted earthiness. Moderate roasted bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, char, cocoa, toast, toffee, and roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Awesome complexity and balance of dark/roasted malt flavors; with a great bitterness/sweetness balance and no cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a very creamy, slick, and moderately chalky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a highly excellent robust porter style. All around great balance and complexity of roasted/dark malt flavors with big robustness; and very smooth to sip on. A highly enjoyable offering.

 1,258 characters

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Dark Horse Reserve Special Black Ale from Dark Horse Brewing Company
3.97 out of 5 based on 1,244 ratings.
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