Dark Horse Reserve Special Black Ale | Dark Horse Brewing Company

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Dark Horse Reserve Special Black AleDark Horse Reserve Special Black Ale
Very Good
1,259 Ratings
Dark Horse Reserve Special Black AleDark Horse Reserve Special Black Ale

Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,259 |  Reviews: 598
Photo of 2dogbrew
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%

Photo of oline73
3.25/5  rDev -17.3%
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 sraimondi
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this one at The Lord Hobo in Cambridge last night (my first visit). Great stuff from a very good brewery. I really enjoyed this one. It's a very good representation of a Black Beer, not as sweet as many of the others I have made in the USA.


 251 characters

Photo of secondtooth
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep black, with a big tan head. The single-finger lace isn't beautiful, but it is thick and solid, for what it's worth.

Nose is very heavily malted -- I get cocoa, peat, and some alcohol vapors.

Taste is, up front, bittersweet chocolate, with a hint of roasted (almost burnt) coffee. Again, very malty. Surprisingly so.

This is a rich and flavorful brew, and not at all what I'd expected from the bottle and name.

 425 characters

Photo of polishkaz
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%

Photo of Infamous7100
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: black and thick..thin tan head. Looks delicious.
S: coffee and lots of it. Roasted malt and some bittersweet chocolate. Not shabby.
T: top notch. The coffee and roasted malt mix really well and bittersweet chocolate notes do well to quell the sweetness. A generous amount of bitter hops play well at the back. Great.
M: thick and full bodied. Coats the tongue and leaves a pleasant after taste that combines notes of chocolate, hops and roasted coffee notes.
O: an outstanding offering here. The flavor profile of a stout, but the body and drinkability of a black ale. At 7%my you would think more booze would be on the agenda, but its hidden well and easy to put a few back.

 678 characters

Photo of scott2269
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of Redstar137
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of SpartanHistory2013
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%

Photo of VelvetExtract
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours very thick and midnight black in color. This one looks like a stout. Head is almost nonexistent. Barely a ring of bubbles around the beer's outer edge.

S-Smells like a stout too. Coffee and chocolate. Burnt and smokey too. Quite a rich nose. Lightly bready and plenty of rich generic sweetness.

T-Rich molasses before anything. Coffee is strong as is the chocolate. Bitter mixture of hops and dark chocolate. Very full flavored. Booze masked quite well. Chocolate syrup and caramel with some vanilla too. A bit smokey and burnt.

F-Full bodied. Creamy and thick. Mild carbonation. Stout-like.

O/D-Not a bad brew. Unique enough to set itself a part from most. Maybe a bit too richly sweet for me. I did enjoy this but wouldn't but a whole 6-pack of it.

 764 characters

Photo of brutalist
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%

Photo of Rifugium
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at TJ's, Paoli, PA

Poured pitch black with a small creamy tan head that receded to a thin patchy layer. Aroma heavy with dark roasted malts and espresso; if this hadn't been listed as a strong ale, I would've assumed it was a stout from the smell of it. More roastiness in the taste, dark malts, ash, coffee, a touch of cocoa. Pretty one-dimensional, but still pretty good. The thinner body is the only indication really that this isn't a stout. Fairly smooth with a drying bitterness in the finish, pretty easily drinkable overall.

 551 characters

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of BugTownPub
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%

Photo of Dchandler422
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of TimP2115
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of Lynn
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of Pat316
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%

Photo of Tyrawlings
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of ChugginOil
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fresh bottle with new labeling. Thanks again to raymo55 for the extra!

I have had this awhile back on tap and now its time to try it out from the bottle.

Chug-a-lugs out of the bottle into a pitch black abyss that boasts a pillow of 3inches of light hazelnut colored head. There is some sticky tan lacing.

The nose has a decent amount of cocoa, tobacco, ash, roasted malt, and molasses. Pretty inviting but could use a little "boost".

The taste has some dark bitter chocolate with some leather, tobacco and bakers chocolate. The malts really go to work here but there is also a small amount of hops to add a nice bitterness to the brew.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a suiting amount of carbonation. Smooth and pretty damn drinkable.

Overall, this is a great brew that is put into a misleading category. This is labeled on the bottle as a black ale, on BA as an American Strong Ale, but it really tastes like an American stout! Tasty stuff. Once again, bravo Dark Horse.

 985 characters

Photo of EnJeiBee
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - It pours a thick, syrupy black with a thin tan head

S - The nose fits the profile of your typical stout. Dark roasted malt and burnt chocolate

T - The flavor profile starts off like a stout, filled with dark roasted malt, but finishes with a fairly hoppy bite. Overall, it reads more like a Black IPAs than the stout that it appears it to be.

M - Much lighter on the palate than I would've assumed it would be when I poured it.

O - This is an interesting brew that I fill fits the bill of what we're calling Black IPAs better than an American Strong Ale. The hoppy finish catches you off guard, but overall, the flavor profile is somewhat basic. I wish there were some more subtle flavors in there.

 707 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.04/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into an RR -tion glass. This one has been sitting a while, but I don't know how long. At least a year.

Appearance - Pours a nearly black body with a small mocha head. The head fades quickly, but some of it clings to the glass. It's not as black as it looks in the glass, as some light penetrates at the edges.

Smell - Smells like a stout, really. Roasted malts in the form of coffee mostly. But there's also a very nice fruit quality to it. Raisins and plums and all the other cliched fruits that we smell in beers. Nice complex aroma.

Taste - Taste is a bit more of a departure from the stout category, though. Starts off quite hoppy with an ample dose of the roasted malts. Coffee flavors, as well. The middle is where the stout drops off, though, and it becomes more of a Cascadian (or whatever you want to call it). The hop flavor becomes significantly more prominent and gives it a hefty bite in the finish.

Mouthfeel - A little on the thin side for what it is. It almost feels boozy as a result, even though I don't think it is. The lack of a body makes it drinkable, but it doesn't retain the malt flavors as well. Medium high carbonation.

Overall - A pleasant beer, for sure. I'm enjoying it as it keeps me guessing as to what I'm supposed to be tasting.

 1,288 characters

Photo of bringmetobelgium
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%

Photo of Jefe73
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of PhineasGage
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%

Dark Horse Reserve Special Black Ale from Dark Horse Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.93 out of 5 with 1,259 ratings
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