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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 153 |  Reviews: 119
Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.42/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured into the chalice clear medium amber golden with a slightly off white head which rose tall and fell slowly to lace the glass.

The aroma was fruity with slight citrus and light caramel entwined with a slight spice.

The flavor was interesting with a citrusy flavor muted and melded with light caramel and other fruits (pineapple). All those flavor were blended with a nice malt backbone and a light spiciness that never let on the alcohol percentage of the beer.

The finish was just dry with light citrus flavor lasting into the aftertaste and slight spice along for the ride. The body was medium to medium full but seemed less due to the carbonation level. Very nice beer that does not quite fall into the style of a Strong Dark, but what Belgian brewery every follows the rules...

750 ml bottle. Date on bottle 10 and between 04 and 05. Cork says Lot number 020924.

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

Pours a cloudy burnt-orange colour with a fuzzy white head that clings to the side of the glass. Smells like christmas spices with a hint of orange peel.

Taste: spicy, malts and hops, with a fruity undertone. Very festive and refreshing.

A bit fizzy, but this is part of the fun. Not overly carbonated.

A strong taste, with a bit of a punch. A small bottle, but high ABV limits the number one can have.

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Photo of WesWes
3.45/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a nice amber color with a 1/2" offwhite head that fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It boasts of pale and crystal malts along with a slightly tart and fruity Belgian yeast finish. The taste is average. It has a slight watery feel. It has a light crystal malt flavor with a very dry finish. It goes down slow and dry and finishes with an earthy aftertaste. The mouthfeel is decent. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a decent drinking Belgian. I don't think I'll have this one again.

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Photo of BeerBuilder
3.68/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy copper-orange color with a creamy tan head that leave a good amount of lacing. The aroma is fresh and yeasty, with a peppery spicy characteristic. Light fruitiness and a malty backbone are also present. The flavor has a fruitiness and a semi-sweet maltiness. It has a yeasty, mildly spicy flavor in the finish. It it medium in the body and finishes dry. A pretty decent Belgian.

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Photo of SilentSabre
3.97/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I'm not really a huge fan of Belgians to begin with, but this one was quite good. It poured, as most of these do, with an absolutley monstrous head, no matter how delicately you try to pour it. The head was quite foamy and stuck nicely to sides of the glass. The colour was a quite cloudy deep amber / orange. The smell was quite lovely. Tart, among other things, as well as fresh sliced apples and yeast. It also reminded me of that "dank basement" smell a lambic or gueuze has.
The taste, too, reminded me of a lambic or gueuze as well, although there was a quite prominent bitterness to this beer that definately set it apart from the afore mentioned style. Quite tasty, though, nevertheless.
I saw where a few other people said that for the style, this was a bit too thin. I'd say I would have to agree with them. I don't think it detracts from the overall "likeability" of this brew, but I did give it only a 3.0 for this reason. Overall, not a bad Belgian.

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Photo of ngandhi
4.07/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ambrosia. Floral, rosey nose with a hint of coriander accentuated on the palate. Fruity caramel malt. Controlled hints of alcohol poking through. Increasingly dry finish from the spice and latent graininess. A wonderfully complex, lively beer comparable to American pale ales in its nose, Belgian saisons in its palate, and a multitude of other styles overall.

Relax, relax.

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Photo of Rastacouere
4.52/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Deep clear amber body, rather fast diminishing off-white head recedes to a film. Complex christmas ale aroma. Tons of fruity overtones (pears, mango, peaches) are literally enjoying the company of plenty of genuine spice flavors (cloves, ginger, pepper, coriander) to form a bready/yeasty liquid christmas cake in which the tricky uncle poured a tear of his favorite alcohol. Also very yeasty on the tongue, cake reminiscent. I love how the malt appears cookie-ish and toasty. Sweet, floral, spicy and fruity. Dry mineral finish with a mild appropriate alcohol warmth. Fitting high carbonation over a well-rounded medium body. Superb christmas belgian ale.

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Photo of John
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Inviting amber color. Monster tan head that will not cease, fitting of a fine brew. Complex aroma consisting of rose petals, pears, peaches, apple blossom, sour cherry. Flavor is a direct translation of the aroma with the addition of a subtle alcohol essence and a slight hop flavor to balance out the complex equation. A very floral bouquet sums up the aroma and flavor experience. Carbonation is spot on, not too high and not too low. Fruity aftertastes linger well after the introductory swallow. A swirl regenerates the tight head and produces a pleasant aroma release. An incredible beer that I would seriously recommend. This outstanding beer paired well with beef, and is one that would surely fare well on it's own.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 750ml, purchased at the Wine Country, Long Beach for just $6.99. This is quite odd, because only a week earlier I was actually stood outside the Brewery in Binche, Hainaut, Belgium trying to get into the on-site Brewery Café that seemed close. Oh well. The old cage and cork has been replaced with a very distinctive and unusual modern day ‘strap’ and cork assembly. A couple of cherubs on the label seem to be contemplating something, not sure what though, but they are both looking towards the heavens. Listed as 9% Alcohol and recommended to be served between 50-54°F (thanks for the conversion from metric chaps!) with a Best Before Date of October 2005.

Appearance: A lovely dark amber colored body, pellucid with dark orange and copper hints at times when backlit. Smooth off-white head that rises quickly when the beer is poured to form a solid bit compact collar like head. Not much conditioning, but enough to continually support the head for sometime, laces well.

Nose: MMmmmm, a very spicy nose mixed with sweet malts, Apricot flavored Baby Food, Peaches and some light Lemons with a fruity Yeast tang.

Taste: The Reserve Speciale has quite the “simple-complex” make-up. Simple tastes put together in a complex format. Lots of sweet malts, candy sugar traits and fruity flicks. Cinnamon in the middle and black-pepper comes through in the end, but in turn they are all killed stone dead by a sweet Apricot slushy that fills the mouth. Some hops may well be hiding in here; this is quite the onion to unravel. This is most certainly an Amber on some serious Steroids!

Mouthfeel: This has a very confident taste and it also has a very confident mouthfeel to support it. Thick and sweet at times, the 9% alcohol also plays a part but the malts are still dominant. Smooth.

Drinkability: I had a 750ml all to myself, and it disappeared in no time – where’d it go??? 9%, and its time for Bed or a late movie I think.

Overall: Binchoise make some great beers, and this surely is one of them, but I’m damned if I can adequately describe it properly - I feel that this Review is an injustice to the greatness of this beer. Superb, but definitely not mainstream!

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Photo of CBFanWish
3.35/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a hazy orange amber colour with a thick head that had very good retention. This was a beautiful beer with tons of visual character. The smell wasn't too pleasing to me. It had the musty odor of an attic that hadn't been opened for years. There was a strong whiff of apricots, but the musty smell was overbearing for me. The taste was nice. Fruity. Of citrus. If it wasn't so yeasty, it would have recieved a higher rating from me. But, overall a good beer. I haven't had too much of this particular style, but I have had other beers from La Binchoise Reserve and was pretty impressed. I would drink this again, but not in very big quantities.

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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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Photo of GreatPondBrewer
3.41/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a beautiful chilled orange like a sunset on a city sky with a firm eggshell head and some lacing. Smell was something akin to pure pineapple concentrate. Tons of sweet fruity flavors both in the smell and taste, however there was not too much in variation. The complexity that abounds in many of the top-shelf belgians just didn't seem to be here. The mouthfeel was nice and creamy and went down nice and easy. All in all it was a decent beer and much more reminicant of fruit juice than anything else. I would probably try it again, but not for the price I paid at the old toad.

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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 halfpgl
3.35/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

First impressions of this beer didn't overwhelm me. The bottle seemed to have an overwhelming amount of sediment in it. The cork was difficult to extract. This beer unlike many other corked Belgium beers didn't show high amounts of carbonation. You will not get a head when you pour this brew. The first thing that strikes you is the color is an opaque amber hue. Aroma is very nice and it tastes much as it smells. Too much candy taste for my tastes. The 9% alcohol is very light and doesn’t overpower the beer. A smooth clean mouthfeel that doesn’t overwhelm the senses.
-after having another bottle it turns out that the original review beer was too old and lost it carbonation. The new good beer improved the scores.

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Photo of dmarch
3.29/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The cork was a pain in the butt to get out of this one. Didn't have much carbonation to help me. Pours with a murkey amber color with no head and nearly no carbonation. The aroma is sugary and slightly woody. The taste is very sugary and raisiny with that same woody taste, not exactley what I desired from this beer. I just didn't find anything special about this.

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Photo of Zorro
4.89/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I love how the Belgians get REALLY serious about beer.

Color is a cloudy brown, but an inviting shade. It is cloudy enough that you can't see through it.

This smells sweet, like a nice fresh apple cider. There is a malty smell in there and some brown sugar. I can smell very fresh apples in this too.

I tastes a bit sweet, but not too sweet. Very fine carbonation, tiny bubbles. At first I didn't think that there was any hops in this, but they come out later on. A bit spicy, the alcohol is very well hidden.

Mouthfeel is nice, not chewing thick or water either.

Drinkability is about as good as it gets. I could drink this every night for a year and be satisfied.


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Photo of daledeee
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours beautifully. A nice dark clear brown and a nice head and lace thereafter. The nose is a combination I have never had. Spicy and a blend of fruit. Nice blend of apples and grapes and a hint of malt that really balances the brew. A little sour but a nice sour. Rather dry on the palate. Some malt and a different fruit taste in the finish.

This is a fine, distinctive Belgian beer. I even have the glass to match which can serve as a wine glass as well.

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

My friend and I shared a bottle of La Binchois Reserve (AKA Artisanal Amber), and it turned out to be a satisfying little mystery case. OK, granted, to a more experienced sleuth it wouldn't have been much of an accomplishment. But anyway, here's the story.

We poured out two glasses and the ale rewarded us with some sweet eye candy. Holding the glass up to the light made the irridescent, coppery ruby color especially pleasing. The medium-sized head was also distinctive in that it contained foam and a few large bubbles - nothing in between. Then, as we sniffed it, the mystery began. At that point I was unable to parse the strong scent, which seemed to evoke a slightly syrupy mix of fruits. I believe I detected a hint of banana and perhaps some plums and hops, but was sure of nothing at that point.

The first few sips told us that the taste was at least as heady, complex, and mysterious as the smell. That strong fruit flavor... what was it? We threw a few ideas back and forth, and then I hit on it: apricots! The taste was heavy with the concentrated, tangy sweetness of dried apricots! Upon making that satisfying little discovery we sat back and enjoyed the way the lacing expired on the glass after each swallow. It was not persistent at all, but satisfying to watch as it collapsed from arches to crags to a jumble of spots.

Before long our glasses started nagging us again. That taste wasn't just apricot by a long shot. As with the scent I think I caught some hoppiness in the taste, but there was something else... something spicy? Again we started tossing ideas back and forth. Cloves? Maybe, but it doesn't seem quite right... could it be cinnamon? Mmmm... don't think so. Nutmeg? I actually walked over to my spice rack to get some ideas.



ANISE! That's it!

Once I identified it, it became obvious that the anise was present throughout the whole process. It was in the smell, and it presided over the entire set of tastes from the richly powerful initial wave of apricots, through the slightly hoppy middle and into the pleasantly reserved astringency of the finish.

This is one beautiful drink, although the flavor is just a bit too heavy and cloying for me to want to drink very much of it at once. I should note, though, that I'm not a big fan of apricots. Since I liked it so much, I imagine that it would be absolutely stunning for one who's fond of them.

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Photo of philipt
4.54/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is one awesome beer. I took the advice of the retailer and I'm glad I did.

Pours orange-amber in color. Very little as far as a head is concerned. Maybe my fault for pouring extra slow and careful. The aroma is just outstanding. Both sweet and tart sensations come through in this beer. Sour apple, cinnamon, and wet leaves can be smelled. The taste is nearly as complex. Again, swet and tart are the dominating sensations. Apple, caramel and a slight hint of orange round out the major tastes. This beer is not very hoppy and the alcohol is no where to be found. On the downside, the beer is a little thin in the mouth.

Excellent beer that will be purchased again.

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

This "Artisanal Amber Ale" pours a nice orange-tinted amber with a billowy beige head and minimal lacing. The modest aroma of cut hay, damp basement, fruit, malt and mild alcohol fades, so just keep applying a hard pour from the 25.4 oz bottle to get the effect. Full malt, caramel apples, pineapples, candy sugar and hint of bananas are quite upfront. A mild lemon citrus bitterness lingers, while a light clove taste - just the right amount for my liking - plays a nice supporting role. A warming alcohol, while always present, becomes more noticeable (in taste and in the head) as you approach the halfway mark. This is a flavorful, yet subdued Belgian. Nice!

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Photo of aracauna
2.83/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

There are things about the beer I really loved and things I hated. It started with the appearance. It had a nice gold and apple juice slightly cloudy body that really set off the gold leaf on the glass. The head, on the other hand, was loose, dry looking and small and short-lived for the style. The aroma was very fruity, roses but also a bit medicinal. The flavor had a nice complex fruitiness with pineapple, grapes and a little melon, but als had that slight medicinal flavor and an aching thin metallic bitterness that cut right through the good qualities. The flavor itself was a bit thin. The beer had potential, but just too many flaws.

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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 faernt
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This 750ml bottled version pours into a chalice with a fine small bubbled head about 1/2" tall. It stays for a while and then drops to about 1/4" and stays. Irregular lace clings to the side of the glass. The reddish amber color of the beer is slightly hazy.
There is very little aroma. What smell there is is a little spicy. The initial taste is sweet and spicy. The mouthfeel is smooth, almost silky. I've heard people call some beers "juicy". I think this one is that. It makes the sides of my tongue slippery. The alcohol isn't overpowering for a 9% ABV. This is an easy beer to drink. It's almost quiet. It doesn't have a big attitude. I'll try it again with food. Turkey comes to mind.

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Photo of euskera
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ML bottle..

Poured out a slightly reddish brown with a small head. Smell was spicy sweet, with hints of pears and cinnamon. Taste is smooth, with a little grassy/herby feel from the coriander. A little hoppy spicyness was there through the malt and yeast overtones. Very solid ale, one that I'd be happy to quaff at any time..

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

Poured an nice amber colour almost ice tea colour with a small head that stayed solid through out the session.

Smells very sweet and a nice cinnamon sent?

Starts off with a sweet metalic flavour and finished a nice strong warming feeling - a nice winter beer. The taste was very sweat and there is a nutmeg, cinnamon or maple syrup flavour. Very smooth and got better through out the session.

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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