Stille Nacht Special Reserva 2005
Brouwerij De Dolle Brouwers

Stille Nacht Special Reserva 2005Stille Nacht Special Reserva 2005
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Belgian Strong Dark Ale
4.16 | pDev: 14.18%
Brouwerij De Dolle Brouwers
Retired (no longer brewed)
Stille Nacht Special Reserva 2005Stille Nacht Special Reserva 2005
Reviews: 55 | Ratings: 84 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of REVZEB
4.19/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Cellared bottle for years. Still has a huge boozy bite! Wow, thought that might fade more with so many years of aging. The booze is sweeter, like cognac or brandy, goes well with the golden raisin malts, pineapple, biscuit, and complex yeasts. Smell is more full and rich than taste. Really warm and sneaky bright for the style. Enjoyable sipper

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Photo of mothman
3.48/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Bottle from Kulminator

Off white head. Clear copper color.

This is a very interesting beer. Honey, grapes, white wine, basement and dust flavors, wet oak, raisins, figs, brown sugar. Some sourness. Green apple skins. Very odd in general. Some caramel and bready malt flavors. Strong. Whiskey shows as it warms. Kind of tough to drink. Was not overly impressed with this one. Maybe past its prime.

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Photo of amano_h
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle poured into a De Dolle Balloon at Cafe Kulminator.

I'm not quite sure what was done to Stille Nacht to turn it into the Special Reserva and under what conditions the aging took place, but I'm pretty sure 99 out of 100 people that take a whiff of the beer in front of me right now will describe it first and foremost as "fresh baked bread." Slight hints of balsamic sourness follow, along with hints of fermented grape (cognac?). There's also hints of honey, wet wood, caramel and even more toast toward the end; hinting what kind of barrel / yeast might be in play within the brew.

Honey on toasted bread served on slate of varnished oak is probably the best way I can describe what I'm tasting right now. I'm picking up a hint of dark grapes on the tongue that wasn't as prevalent before on the nose; the caramel and candi sugar that is overwhelming in the regular Stille Nacht also manifest themselves as a kind after thought in the Reserva. Slight biscuit and toffee comprise the final afterthoughts on the palate. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Medium-light bodied, gentle, flat soda-like carbonation. The creaminess that the regular Stille Nacht sports is lost with this one, but I guess that's what 11 years of aging does to a complex BSDA like Stille Nacht. The sweetness and the spice that usually accompanies Stille Nacht has definitely simmered down to a point where you probably couldn't classify this as a "Christmas Beer" anymore.

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Photo of BMMillsy
3.69/5  rDev -11.3%

Stille Nacht Special Reserva 2005 - Bottle from Kulminator in Antwerp. Deep orange golden pour with small white head ring. Aroma of huge booze, wood, musty basement, cognac, phenols. Flavor is woody, musty, some fruits, drinks like an after dinner cognac or brandy. Pretty boozy but also very smooth on the tongue with delicate carbonation and a strangely light mouthfeel. Tastes like grandma's basement. Seriously this was a bit weird, and a bit like sipping on a super smooth aged scotch like lagavulin. But I have to say that overall this was a pretty huge disappointment. Maybe it was a bad bottle. Bound to happen when stored for 9+ years.

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Photo of Sammy
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Enjoyed bottle at Torst. The secret to its preservation is the honey, and that was big in the taste. Orange and golden bodied. Not boozy but its a big beer. With the honey is cloves, champagne yeast, other spice and a hint of vin tannin. Smooth, A little bitterness in the finish. Not as interesting or different as marketed and pricey, still a nice one.

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Photo of claaark13
4.34/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

33cl bottle, originally from Kulminator. I've had about a 50/50 spilt on either wonderful or terrible of this one. Either moldy, wet wood or happiness. Cellar temp and poured into a HF tulip.

A - Deep orange with a good white head that give great retention.

S - Musty wood, tart red wine, cherries, faint caramel sweetness.

T - Musty wood, lots of tart oak with some great wine notes. The dry, fruity wine notes really come through in the middle and back favors, quite dominating. The dusty flavor in the front makes e feel that I'm actually drinking this in Kulminator's cellar.

M - Full medium feel. Just right.

O - I struggle with this one because it is so fantastic when it's on but can taste so very poorly if it is a bad bottle.

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Photo of aasher
4.51/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by claaark13. Thanks Sean!

This one pours a light bodied rich polished bronze with a one finger, soft white head with good retention around the glass. The nose is rustic. There is a good amount of old, musty oak with moderate earthy Cab notes. It smells the way I imagine the attic at Cantillon to smell. The flavors too are super earthy. It's dusty, super musty and dry with a moderate amount of slightly sweet red wine character. I can't stop thinking of cobwebs and a dry musty cave. It is REALLY good. I didn't know what to expect but this one is pretty spectacular. The old world Bordeaux barrels really showed well on this one. This was a very interesting beer and well worth your while.

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Photo of Sean9689
2.78/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a burnt orange color, off-white head, thin collar. Nose is yeast funk, some floral notes, oak, musty, some dark fruit. Flavor is similar, not all that much to my liking. Funky yeast, cherries, oak, citrus, hay...not what I was expecting after the 2000. Lots of booze, which is off-putting as well. Body is medium, good carbonation.

Overall, my least favorite of the 2000/2005/2008 trifecta and not something I'd want again. This one was a let-down, IMO.

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to ericandersnavy for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a golden color with a white head. The aroma is heavy on the candy sugar, as well as some wheat, toffee and alcohol. The flavor is very similar. There is a ton of sugary sweetness, as well as some biscuit and toffee malt, as well as a good dose of alcohol. There is a little bit of yeast and some light fruit notes also in the flavor. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.68/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle purchased at the Kulminator bar in Antwerp, Belgium for 12 euro in June 2011. Served into an Oerbier tulip. Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours a one finger head of slight pink colour, slight cream, good thickness, and decent retention for the high ABV (~1.5 minutes). Colour is a dark nontransparent copper. Appealing.

Sm: Alcohol, pleasant fully fermented fruit esters, and other more subtle hop notes me broken nose can't quite pick up (all apologies, lads). It's a touch vinegary - in a good way. A mild strength aroma.

T: Brilliant fruit ester hop notes, amber hops, and a full layered malt foundation which perfectly supports the fruity character. Bright brewing sugars come through, but no yeast does. Very flavourful. Some slight sourness comes on the climax, which is a nice touch. Very rich, with a sour finish. Quite complex, well balanced, and very nicely built. There's impressive layering of notes with different qualities here, yet they coalesce nicely.

Mf: Complements the flavours well. Near perfectly coarse and wet.

Dr: She's a sipper, alright. 12% ABV is rather hefty and negatively impacts the drinkability. When I first sipped it, it was good but not excellent. It grew on me over time, and builds into a very complex flavourful beer. Gets better as it warms. Pretty pricey. Age has done it well. High quality. I don't know that it's worth the price, but it's a nice beer in the style. I wouldn't pay this much for it again, but I'd split it with three or four friends (I should be so lucky).


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Photo of Fux
4.58/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottle at the Kulminator, gracefully poured by Leen!

A: Hazy golden color, small head with quite a good retention. Leaves some lacings in the glass.

S: Strong, consuming, almost obtrusive. Dusty, fruity, tons of yellow fruits and citruses, lemon zest, orange peel, peach, apricot, tangerine, yeasts and wood.

T: The taste follows the nose with tons of yellow fruits plus lactic, acidic notes. Woody, quite sweet. Finishes dry.

M: Nice body with a good carbonation. The mouthfeel makes it easily drinkable.

O: Not the everyday beer, but what a wonderful experience! This beer is a fruity explosion, wrapped into a dusty, woody lactiness. So expressively, intoxicating-ly heady!

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Photo of cpetrone84
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pour is a clear golden orange with a fair bit of caramel color towards the edge and a slightly off white head with tight bubbles. The nose is incredibly complex, borwn sugar, caramel, sweet honey, a malty sweetness that is very enjoyable with a balance of toasted grains, alocol and notes of wood behind. The taste is sweet brown sugar, slightly burnt caramel with a light yeast note. the wood note is still present but light with toasted grains and some alcohol heat/note of dark spirit in the finish. The body is close to full with a syrupy texture and soft on the palate. There is a moderate carbonation and a semi dry finish. Gets a touch sweet but so well blanaced and integrated with a vast depth of flavor.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.52/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

33cl bottle served in an Oerbier Stem. Pours a pale orange-gold with clusters of bubbles around the edges. Nose expresses candied apricots and booze. Taste is but a shadow of the nose with some residual ethanol that lingers between quaffs and a slightly bitter flavor at the back. Mouthfeel is medium-light in body with a mild carbonation. Overall, not bad but somewhat dull and lackluster. Not really worth seeking out in my opinion.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by ygtbsm94. Thanks Brad.

The beer is light orange and mostly clear. A quarter inch of off white head sits on top, leaving some decent lacing on the tulip. The aroma brings some citrus, alcohol, butterscotch, perhaps slightly caramelized. The flavor is rain water, damp basement (not sour or funky, per se), caramels, Belgian yeast, and a bit of toffee. Thin to medium bodied. Overall, really interesting. Not what I expected at all from a beer of this ilk. That said, I found this intriguing, though perhaps a bit past its prime.

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Photo of Crittervision
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

33cl bottle. Split three ways. A perfect serving size. At Kulminator on 11 August 2011. For reference, this bottle was €12. 

Translucent golden with a healthy, creamy head. 

Explosive nose. Vanilla, tropical fruit, artificial watermelon Jolly Rancher candy, yeasty, fruity and tripely. 

Tart and ambiguously boozy, citric acid, orange. Tripel-ish.

Feel is soft with light carbonation.

Very expressive, and I think best in small doses.

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Photo of jbeatty
4.51/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tasted 7/22/2011

A: Pours a dark, hazy gold, like burnished copper, with minimal head but ample signs of carbonation, champagne-like bubbles pooling around my glass.

S: Incredible aroma- strong red wine/vinous character leads- rich grapes, slight vinegar character, but not unwelcome. The barrel notes are the real star here and blend seamlessly with rest, into the more familiar elements of the base beer, with spicy yeast, honey, apples and pears.

T: Taste begins with apples, caramel honey, pears, blending into some spiciness on the mid-palate, finishing with dry grapes, barrel notes. Some alcohol warmth, though not overdone.

M: Full in the mouth, just short of creamy, carbonation tickling the tongue. Smooth, it's hard not to gulp this down.

O: This bottle was a real treat and shows how great this beer still is. I had another bottle months earlier which had not held up well, perhaps because of bad storage conditions. So, given the right treatment, this is still really fantastic.

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Photo of JAXSON
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2008 RATE:
I was thrilled to be able to obtain some of this, as I am pretty fascinated with De Dolle in general. When I held the bottle, I noticed the liquid held within looked crystal clear, so I tipped it over (still closed), to find strange spider-webs of slimy trails cascading down. Upon pouring, a huge, pillowy white head refused to dissipate. Almost opaque peachy orange. The aroma was marvelous - winey, sour, peach, and oak, with just alot going on. The flavour was an extension upon the aroma - peach, dough, pineapple, oak, yeast, apples, and...rhubarb! There was a very pleasant sourness, and a long, haunting aftertaste that expressed a deeper sweetness. Mouthfeel was thick. The only reservation I had was that, near the end of the glass, I wanted more carbonation. This was superb; I hope to get ahold of some of the 2000 someday.

2011 RATE:
Pours a clear dark gold/orange with a soapy head. Nose is stewed peaches, baked apple cobbler, a kiss of rich wine, oddly but signature De Dolle funk. Really wild and complex. A lot of really rich stewed apples and peaches in the mouth, with brown sugar, quite pie-like. Wine element is gracefully subdued and expresses with dry oak, lush fruit bouquets. Orange liquor and rum sugar come out as it warms. Each sip an adventure. This beer has gone through peaks and valleys over the years, and is really nice right now at 5+ years.

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Photo of tmoneyba
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured cloudy dark orange color with an average white frothy head that lasted with good lacing. Complex tart citrus, sweet malt and alcohol aroma. Medium to full body with a smooth texture and flat carbonation. Medium to full sweet flavor with solid sweet finish and a small bite of alcohol of moderate to long duration. Good brew.

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Photo of beerpirates
4.7/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

33 cl bottel at Kulminator
Whoa. Pours a clear blonde (unclear with the yeast) with a fluffy white head that leaves outstanding lace.
Aroma is funky, a bit sour, some prominent orange peel, tamarind, vanilla extract, orange liquor/Grand Marnier. Very different.
Taste is unreal: rich, buttery, refined rum warming alcohol with tamarind candies,lot's of unfiltered honey, rum raisin gelato.
Very sweet but complex. I’ve never tried anything like this ,
VERY good !!!!

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Photo of kbutler1
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of Maltzilla. Poured into a DFH tulip glass a slightly hazed orange tan with a touch of rose. The head is 1 finger of antique white. Head slowly settles to collar around the glass. Fruity, caramel notes in the nose. Fruit flavors include orange, peach, and banana. Ever so slight alcohol notes. Medium mouthfeel. Upfront this has a nice full fruity taste of both peach and apple mixed with the caramel. After that some of the heat from the booze makes itself known but I’d never guess it was 13%. Very tasty!

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Photo of glid02
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of Lee - thanks!

Pours a hazy and bright golden color with a half-finger cream-colored head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of sweet caramel malts with large amounts of red and white grapes, sugar-coated pears, and oak. Also present are hints of bready aromas.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Moderately sweet medium malt flavors kick things off and are joined almost immediately by equal amounts of bread-like and ripe pear flavors. Midway through the sip mild amounts of oak smooth things out further. Near the end of the sip mashed grape flavors with a decidedly vinous quality work their way into things, carrying through to a mildly sweet ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with smooth carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my glass quickly and could easily have a few more.

Overall I'd been wanting to try this beer for a while and was happy with the result. However, I think De Dolle has better beers out there. Very much worth a shot but only go looking for this one after you've tried other, more easily accessible, offerings from this brewery.

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Photo of mmmbeer
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was starting to think that I would never give a beer all fives. I didn't even realize that I had one worthy of such in my glass until I started rating each facet of the brew. How quickly I then realized that I was sampling, essentially, a flawless beer. The slender 33 cL Belgian bottle is crowed with a yellow cap inked with "bottled AP 2006," and the website declares it is brewed with pale malt and white candi sugar to the highest density of any Belgian beer (27°P). It is boiled for "many hours," with Nugget taking care of the bittering, and they indicate that "some acidity" develops during fermentation. This elixir pours golden amber, perfectly clear (if decanted properly), with loads of carbonation and a thin white cap. There is a light lemony funk to the nose, almost vinous, backed by floral and fruity notes that contribute peaches, apricots, golden raisins and oranges. There might even be some hops in there. Insanely aromatic - I have never had a beer contribute this strong of a bouquet. Even at the end, when there is barely a mouthful left, it is as punchy and wonderful as it was at the start. The flavor is likewise incredibly dense - almost as if it were distilled from a tripel. I find lots of yeasty flavors, mostly orange and spice, but also a light sweetness, a bit of acidity and a light, but distinctive hop flavor. And even though it is pushing five years old, it somehow manages to tastes fresh. All of this sits on top of a light, but ever-increasing body that contributes tingly carbonation and a fruity/spicy finish. Warming, but only mildly so, and the high alcohol in no way hampers its drinkability - one tiny bottle is nowhere near enough for one sitting. Wow. Very well-crafted - a masterpiece is a glass. How they managed to cram this much flavor and aroma into this fluid is beyond me, but I hope they never stop making this beer. I don't know if every vintage is as remarkable as the 2005, but if this bottle is any indication, then everyone needs to hunt down Stille Nacht and revel in all its glory. I have always enjoyed The Mad Brewers offerings, but enjoying this beer is an experience I will never forget.

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Photo of corby112
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Broke this one out of the cellar tonight for a Xmas eve treat. Pours a cloudy dark orange/auburn color with dark golden burnt orange hues when held to a light source and a 1.5 finger frothy white head. Very good retention, only slowly fading into a lasting cap that leaves sporadic spots of lacing behind.

Wonderfully complex aroma. Slightly tart in the nose with hints of peppery spice, caramel apple, brandy and other light fruits. Along with the alcohol sweetness I'm picking up some pear, cherry and banana. There's also some caramel maltiness and a slight leathery presence. The aroma is incredible and I literally spent the first ten minutes just smelling this beer.

Slightly tart, puckering medium body with soft carbonation up front that mellows into a slightly slick, sweet estery flavor mid palate. Very complex with hints of caramel apple, pear and banana along with a sweet caramel malt backbone. The spice from the aroma is evident as well but has faded with time. Slight pepper and cinnamon notes. There is also a very subtle medicinal syrupy feel that is common in holiday beers. I usually hate this characteristic but here it is faint and adds balance and complexity. I'm also picking up some dark fruit especially grape, dark cherry and other berries. Very well balanced and very quaffable considering the ABV. There is still some nice alcohol warmth in the finish but age has done this beer wonders. The tartness becomes more prominet as it warms. Overall, I'm really excited that I got to try this beer. It's holding up very well and I can see it aging for some time still. Excellent and highly recommended!

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.37/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Azurelimits for having brought this to a tasting. I believe this might have been when he also brought a vintage Westy 8. Sick, Pete.

Pours a moderately dark brown with a nice creamy head. Leaves behind a pretty decent amount of lacing. Nose is booze, caramel, and dark fruits. Really complex. A bit of oxidation has treated this bottle well. The taste has a bit of port and some caramelized dark fruits as well as a nice warmth from the booze. Medium body with low carbonation. Quite creamy. Drinks quite well.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.36/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to Aaron for bringing this over to Matt's backyard on Saturday afternoon. Served in a wine glass.

A - Pours with a finger of off-white foam that dissipates to a thin ring and leaves a few specks of lace. Not bad for a 12% brew. The body is a hazy golden apricot color with lots of obvious sediment.

S - This is still pretty boozy. Alcohol, medicinal flavors (Flintstone's vitamins!), tannic oak, and some honey malt sweetness. Between the oak and the fusel alcohol this is quite harsh.

T - The taste is better, with more of the honey and malt character mingling with some sherry-like oxidation. Flavor is slightly muted, with some tart apple and tannic oakiness in the finish.

M - Medium bodied, with low carbonation, some heat, and a lightly tannic finish with some residual stickiness. Pretty nice for the style.

D - As Overlord has said about other beers, this is "at the ass-end of the drinkable spectrum." I wouldn't cellar these any longer. If you want to enjoy this beer, buy the upcoming release. Between that and the harsh booze I found my 4oz or so to be quite sufficient.

I debated not posting this review, but since I doubt I'll ever encounter this again I figured it was best to post my thoughts. This will also help people who are seeking to trade for this beer decide whether it is worth the effort.

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Stille Nacht Special Reserva 2005 from Brouwerij De Dolle Brouwers
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 84 ratings