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 Caterwaul
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of stakem
3.45/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a snifter. The brew appears black in color with a quick dissolving thin tan cap. In no time at all, there is just a pen-line of bubbles around the rim of the glass. When held to the light, it shows some clarity around the edges with some lighter brown coloration. A few spots of lace cling to the glass.

The smell has a hint of dark fruity sweetness coupled with anise. A bit of roasty grain imparts a bit of chocolate feel to the aroma. There is some citrus aspects present along with a touch of alcohol which brings the focus back in line with the fruity quality somewhat like raisins and plums. A light amount of cardboard/oxidation is present as it warms up.

The taste is dry and roasty with almost a charcoal feel and semi-sweet chocolate. That dryness quickly blends into a black licorice flavor coupled with some raisins and dark fruity alcohol. A bit of citrus hops and then a blend of roasty grain and fruity esters collide into the finish. The aftertaste has an earthy feel about it that flirts with almost tasting mineral-filled.

This is a medium bodied brew with a very light level of carbonation. It is a decent arrangement of flavors but all together I just scratch my head and dont quite know what to make of it. To me, it sort of comes across like the makings of a black lager but without the crispness and it carries a bit more bold character across the board. It isn't bad, but then again it isn't something I would be terribly excited to have again either.

 1,495 characters

Photo of xnicknj
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of kevgod
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%

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

This is a stout...maybe and Imperial Stout...but a stout all the same. Pours a jet black color with absolutely no light getting through. A small dark tan head that fades to a ring around the glass.

Good smell of roasted malts. More complex taste. Roasted malts, chocolate, a little vinuous thing going on and a touch of coffee...all stout-like characteristics.

Mouthfeel is a little light (for an Imperial Stout) but not in the least watery or weak. Goes down smooth, no hint of high alcohol.

Overall a solid, very drinkable beer with a higher alcohol content but not an alcohol taste. American Strong Ale? Probably not.

 623 characters

Photo of steamwhistle123
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of gafferjohn
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%

Photo of whartontallboy
3/5  rDev -23.7%

Photo of johnhenryconway
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%

Photo of DocJ87
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of rprinz22
2.5/5  rDev -36.4%

Photo of Yesdog
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%

Photo of SalukiAlum
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of jeffoatess
4/5  rDev +1.8%

4.5/5  rDev +14.5%

Photo of jophish17
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%

Photo of cosmicevan
3.77/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

thanks to cam for hooking up a box of dark horse for me a while back. poured into my ccb snifter.

a - brew poured a deep black with a thin dark brown head. if i couldn't smell the dark fruits during the pour, i'd guess this was a stout. head doesn't last long but is easily rebuilt. lacing is slippery.

s - dark fruit...grapes, figs, raisins, etc and booze. smells great. i'm a big fan of this style and they can vary greatly...i dig the ones that are more on the grape side of the flavor spectrum, like this one.

t - the flavor is big and roasty unlike the nose. finishes a bit bitter. some nutmeg and fig like dark fruits, but mostly roasted malts. has a black ipa thing to it. not bad, but not my ideal.

m - full and rich. good carbonation. bitter dry finish. boozy tingle.

o - overall, kind of like an imperial black ipa or something like that. the smell was what i was hoping for in the taste. it was still good, just surprisingly roasty. i was hoping for something more like a batch 9000.

 999 characters

Photo of mhenson42
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%

Photo of NvMyBeer
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of jrohrbacher
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of oldvines
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of ahking
3.86/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours rich and black and very viscous. A shade of darkness sticks to the glass as you twirl it around.

Aromas of black licorice, molasses, brown sugar, and a touch of dark chocolate.

Malty upfront, dried currants and a little dark chocolate cherry flavor with a medium amount of hops + dark roasted malts adding bitterness.

Overall, one of my favorite dark beers. Not as hoppy as a "black IPA" but this beer has been around way before that style became popular.

 466 characters

Photo of Goldfoot
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of IrishColonial
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of kirkse
5/5  rDev +27.2%

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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