La Binchoise Spéciale Noël (Reserve Special - USA) | Brasserie La Binchoise (Malterie des Remparts)

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La Binchoise Spéciale Noël (Reserve Special - USA)La Binchoise Spéciale Noël (Reserve Special - USA)
153 Ratings
La Binchoise Spéciale Noël (Reserve Special - USA)La Binchoise Spéciale Noël (Reserve Special - USA)

Brewed by:
Brasserie La Binchoise (Malterie des Remparts)

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Jason on 02-08-2003

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 153 |  Reviews: 119
Reviews by mickeymac:
Photo of mickeymac
4.62/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I picked up a 750 of this despite my strong aversion to the angel painting that adorns the label and used to hang from the wall of a crazy ex-girlfriend's bedroom. Fortunately, my search for good beer prevailed over memories of a bad relationship. This stuff is a winner. It's a somewhat hazy amber with a smallish head that leaves little trace after a few minutes in the glass. The smell is apricot, yeast, and a subtle trace of alcohol. The taste is perplexingly complex but surprisingly subtle. The first glass went down without any food and seemed very refined and a bit subdued. The second glass was matched up with some Point Reyes Blue Cheese and more than held its own. Backing the semi-sweet fruit flavors is a bit of peppery spice and a small dose of hops on the back end. If anything can be criticized, it seems a bit thin. However, it's dangerously drinkable at 9%. Angels, indeed.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of RoyalT
4.62/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – This one poured a light, orangy brown that let some nice lighting through but still had a thick, hazy appearance. The head came up beautifully, showed retention, and left some nice Belgian lacing on the inside of my Chimay glass.

Smell – Wow, is this a wonderful smell. The thick, buttered malts almost gave me a high. They are so luscious and filled with an incredible, raw caramel sweetness.

Taste – The powerful, complex malts come to the taste with a nice yeasty backbone and some good, peppery spicing. This ale is just dripping with rich malts. It is so rich and so complex. There’s just so much going on in here. Nicely done!

Mouthfeel – This is shy of full-bodied with some great, fluffy carbonation. It even manages to refresh. It is the smooth and seamless mixing of flavors and texture though that makes this Belgian Ale a real standout.

Drinkability – This is my idea of a BSDA. I much prefer this to their Brune.

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Photo of bjezierski
2.73/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Have to say I was a bit disappointed in this. At first taste, it stopped just short of being sour. It slammed me with a wall of grapefruit-like hoppy bitterness. As it started to open up, the essence became more balanced, but the taste began to fade. Eventually, it faded all together into a slightly citric aftertaste, with slight notes of tangy bitterness.

The nose is hot, with a dry, mildly acidic tinge, expressing hints of carmel.

This is a very delicate beer, and not for those who prefer a heartier fare.

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Photo of Jason
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml brown magnum with a consume before date on the back label. The sediment stays as long as you leave the last inch or so of beer in the bottle.

Appearance: Orange tainted dark amber with a tiny bubbled off white lace, good retention and clarity as well.

Smell: Mixed berries and ripe peaches show its fruity aroma, hints of bubble gum and faint phenols, citrus and coriander in the nose also.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Rich body with a thick rolling crispness, strong malt back bone with unwavering caramel undertones. Big, almost pungent, bite of hops, herbal phenols and spicy alcohol. Coriander and orange peel are neck and neck getting to the taste buds. Ripe supple fruitiness that borders on peach and some vague mixed berries. Alcohol goes ester with a slow warming effect, slight buttery diacetyl, faded acidity. Rounded and smooth toasted maltiness in the end, some sweetness is leftover showing the beers never ending girth.

Drinkability & Notes: Just saying this beer is complex is not giving it enough credit, beautiful craftsmanship but something I’d sip and would want to share to bottle as well as pair it up somewhere within a meal.

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Photo of Kraken
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes.

Poured from a corked 750ml bottle into a Fin Du Monde tulip glass. Gentle pour yields a scant head that barely makes an effort to rise. No lacing. Color is an orange amber.

Nose- Candied fruits, peaches and oranges. No hop profile. Some light caramel.

Palate- Candied fruits, peaches, pears, oranges. Moderate sweetness. Extraordinarily carbonated. Slight yeastiness, and an underlying tartness. Very light, and crisp. Notes of vanilla in the finish, booze is well hidden.

Mouthfeel- Very active. Slightly syrupy.

Drinkablility- Good

A little sweet for me but very drinkable.

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Photo of chickenm
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of cokes
4.56/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

"Reserve Speciale" (I am assuming this is the same thing as the "Reserve")
750mL, dated 06/04.

Glowing, yet dark amber-peach color with mountains of off-white foam.
Damp aromatics of dewy fruits, primarily apricots and peaches, wet wood, and basements.

How can this be so soft?

Cushioned passion fruit sweetness initially, the first of many fruity masks it dons. Switches to pineapple, then to apricots, where it seems to linger for a moment and let the yeast catch up. A mildewed concrete sensation seeps in, as does some rotted wood, and a general sense of humidity. The fruity hues are pushed aside, momentarily, for a organic cycle of decay and rebirth. Fruitiness resumes with mushy pears, green apples, cinnamon, and diluted peach schnapps filtered through cedarwood. A herbal, spicy hopping closes things and provides immaculate dryness and palatal cleansing. Just touches of lingering sour fruit and leafy plants afterward.
Akin to apple sauce in the mouth. Lightly mushy, flavorful and ever-so-delicate. No rough edges, and no alcohol noted whatsoever.
Perilous in its drinkability.
This is an absolute jewel.

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Photo of Sammy
3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stored in my cellar awhile, perhaps contributing to, initially, some woody mustiness,some charred, and then orange and corriander. Creamy toffee mouthfeel, some raspberry and bannana. Sweet nose, a bit of yeast. Not a pale.Nice soapy head.Interesting.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.67/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly orangish amber color with white lacing that does a decent job of lacing. Aroma is actually quite pleasant. Nose is sweet, floral and fruity. Malt is present in the taste along with an array of fruits and a spicey hop finish. Overall, I find this an average Belgian. It certainly is not bad, there are just many that I would take in a heartbeat over this.

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Photo of tempest
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle for about $3 from Abe's. Poured a hazy dark amber with an off-white head. The aroma has a rich, spiced plum element to it, while the flavor has a fruity apple-caramel melt profile with a hint of dry, minerals (sort of like a German pils). Digging a little deeper I get slight cranberry and raspberry notes in the taste and smooth candi sugar caramel in the aroma. The beer is a bit sweet, and too much so for some people, but I'm a fan and would drink this again. Reminds me of a little of St. Bernardus. Tasty.

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Photo of mikey711
2.61/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

poured a bottle into an oversized wine glass. think lacey white head that disappeared after a few minutes. a copper color with some sediment that sifted down to the bottom of the glass.

Not as strong an aroma as i would have liked, got a bit of fruitiness and some biscuit but not as much sweetness as i would have liked.

To be honest i wonder if i had a bad bottle because this beer tasted like i was drinking bread. I was really did not enjoy the taste. all the flavors were just a bit dull and most of it was bready. I expected more sweetness and i would probably not have another.

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Photo of DrunkMcDermott
3.46/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dang, I was cellaring a bottle of Speciale Noel, then someone brings the bottle labeled as Rserve Speciale, and I thought the overused angels on the label was just a coincidence. Well, this pours out a cloudy brown under a thin head. No bubbles visible, but taste is bery fizzy, like champagne laced with whiskey. On a warm September instead of Christmas, it still makes one feel good as it slides down.

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Photo of Backer2004
3.62/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A nice little early Valentine's gift from my wife, she must have liked the label (did they need copyright permission)? Said amber ale but the style says belgian strong dark ale, I guess it's more the latter than former. Very nice head retention, carbonation, but too much unfiltration makes it a little shaky in my opinion. Fruitynotes with a bit of medicinal quality to it. Not one of my favorites but okay nonetheless. Didn't have the desire to finish the whole 750 mL bottle in an evening.

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Photo of Imbiber
4.47/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mid-brown with a red tinge, slightly hazy. Boisterous white head, quite highly carbonated. Aroma is floral with a sweetish backbone, very assertive and which adds to the pleasure of the taste with every sip. Flavour is a good mix of malt, candi sugar sweetness, and subtle hops and spices; very satisfying. A slight butteryness shows in the aftertaste.

Basically, another great Belgian brew.

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Photo of JeffreyJDavis
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of mgermani: Poured a deep clear amber color ale with a big foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma if totally dominated by ginger with some caramel malt also discernable. Taste is quite heavy on the ginger with some light medium-sweet caramel malt notes. Body is thinner then expected with some great carbonation and alcohol is really well hidden. Definitely not what I was expected but very interesting nonetheless.

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Photo of k75
4.57/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

on tap

pours a slightly hazy burnt orange with a big smooth head

huge aromas of apricot nectar, peaches and some hints of banana bread spice

big, complex palate of fruit, spice, biscuit and malt

incredibly tasty ! soup course, salads, desserts.

the most impressive amber in a long time


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Photo of edbeered
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap in a tulip glass, this is an opaque orange-red hue, with a small white head that dissipates quickly and little or no lacing. The smell contains hints of orange peel and spice. This was served a bit too cold, and initially I could taste mint and little else. As it warmed, a host of complex flavors emerged, including orange peel, tangarine, butterscotch, and a warming alcohol presence, as well as a hint of the aforementioned mint. The flavors blend beautifully and feel rich and tasty on the tongue. Although I would not have more than one in a session, I would thoroughly enjoy that one. A fine beer!

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

Poured into an Ommegang flute glass. Pour a clear orange amber with a half finger off white head that dissipated quickly to a thick ring around the glass and patches of foam. Interesting aroma of fruit; apple, pear, grape and orange, estery with light sweet malt. Flavor starts out with similar sweet ester fruit, apple, pear, apricot and orange, supported with sweet malt with a hint of toasted malt. Finishes with drier, spicy flavors, slightly bitter. Some holiday spicing here, cloves and cinnamon, but well integrated and no spice stands out. The flavor is complex and hard to parse into flavors. bit fruit and spices dominate. Medium bodied. A very flavorful and interesting Belgian with a unique and pleasant taste. I hope to find this again.

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Photo of Stofko1992
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of rallison
4.32/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly cloudy darker amber with a 2 finger white head that settles to a nice lacing.

Smells of Belgian Candi sugar and sweet caramel. Yummy.

Taste is good, especially after warming a bit. Caramel, apricot, Candi sugar and a touch of earthiness. Make sure this one warms up enough! Colder, it just doesn't impress. At slightly under cellar temp, everything balances and comes together.

Mouthfeel is relatively rich but utterly drinkable.

Recommended. I was initially skeptical, but once this warmed up, everything came together. Tasty beer for sure.

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Photo of VoodooBear
4.17/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 11.2 oz. stubby brown bottle, served in a 5 Rabbit tulip glass.

Appearance: Frothy one finger head that goes down a bit but then stays there. It's a deep amber color and leaves some great lacing.

Smell: Very complex, with some fruit sweetness, spicy coriander and some citrus hop notes.

Taste: Just like the smell, a great, complex combination of flavors can be sensed. Nothing is really dominant or overpowering, everything is balanced and the end result is fantastic. There's some citrus fruit notes, complemented by warming spice and a hint bitter hop notes. An herbal taste with an alcoholic finish wrap everything up.

Mouthfeel: It feels full bodied and strong with some good carbonation. Goes down smooth.

Overall: This is a very well made and complex beer. Despite the wide variety of scents and flavors, everything is balanced really well, so it doesn't feel messy or like it's trying to hard. It's a spicy and alcoholic beer (9% ABV), so it goes better with cold weather, but a great beer like this can be enjoyed at any time.

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Photo of Blanco
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%

Photo of metter98
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is hazy amber orange in color and has some fine yeast particles visible near the bottom of the glass along with a light amount of carbonation. It poured with a thin off white head that left large wispy patterns of bubbles on the surface and a thick collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderately strong aromas of fruits are present in the nose—apples and pears seem to stand out in particular.
T: Like the smell, the taste has complex flavors of fruits and also has some hints of malty sweetness and yeast.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a little smooth on the palate with a low to moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The complex fruity flavors in this beer make it seem quite unlike any others in the style and more like a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, except that the overall beer is lighter-bodied in nature and doesn't have any cloying sweetness. It is quite drinkable because no traces of alcohol are present in the taste.

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Photo of bismarksays
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

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La Binchoise Spéciale Noël (Reserve Special - USA) from Brasserie La Binchoise (Malterie des Remparts)
Beer rating: 4.03 out of 5 with 153 ratings