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

119 Reviews
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

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Reviews: 119 | Ratings: 152
Photo of jdhilt
3.86/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a five-finger cream head that fades quickly leaving some lace. Cloudy amber with a ton of yeast in bottom of bottle. Slight hoppy nose. Light carbonation and medium bodied. Flavor is sweet like a creamsicle - smooth, hint of hops at finish. $3.80 for a 330ml bottle from Tully's Beer & Wine Wells, Me.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.13/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Very hazy orange brew with a large frothy head and a decent number of lacing flecks.

S - Sour tangerine and faint lemon pith.

T - Sour, faint smoke, tart cherries. The aftertaste has a tangerine character and very faint light smoky malt.

M - Thin, smooth in spite of the carbonation. Moderately refreshing, but a bit gummy in the throat.

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Photo of guinnessfan
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bought at State Line, poured into oversized wine glass.

A: Nice hazy, orange/copper color, with a two finger off-white head.

S: Soft, supple candies, sugary fruit with a slight yeastiness.

T: Mild dark candied fruit, some yeast. ABV is not as apparent as expected.

M: Slick, smooth, somewhat crisp also. Good constant flow of carbonation bubbles.

D: Not bad, slightly less spice than other Belgians. Drinkability is higher because of this.

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Photo of number1bum
3.97/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle pours a dark amber/light brown with a nice light beige head, sticky lacing and decent retention. Lots of bubbles and some sediment too. Smell is sweet, candi sugar, spicy, dark fruits, caramel malts. Taste is yeasty, fruity up front - orange and coriander, maybe some plum - lots of sweet caramel malts and a bit of spice through the finish. For as creamy and slick on the palate as this beer is it finishes dry. I don't notice the 9% abv at all in this one, nicely drinkable.

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Photo of Absumaster
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had the 'normal' Speciale Reserve, not the USA version.

This beer is amber colored and has a small head and lots of carbonation. A beautiful site.

Smell is caramel and fudge, toffee with a robust malt backbone and some fruity notes of ripe apples.

Taste is toffee with caramel, supported by a strong maltiness. It appears to be slightly smokey and fruity, in general pretty complex and rich. The alcohol is not very apparent. Mouthfeel is very silky and smooth with a prickly feeling on the tongue. A very nice strong ale from one of the best breweries in Belgium.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.82/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap 1/7/07 at Track 84 in Warwick, RI, served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a light brown color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of dark fruits, mild yeast and caramelized malt.

T: The yeast is a little stronger in the taste. There are also heavy flavors of raisin & berries with a light malt character and a touch of hops. ABV is well-hidden. After-taste is sweet.

M: Crisp & very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, slightly sticky finish.

D: Kind of tasty, goes down OK, not too filling, overall it’s a good beer and a good representation of style, but it wouldn’t be my first choice.

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

BINCHOISE RESERVE SPECIALE 750ML $7.99 @ Stateline Liquors.

Presentation: A corked 750 with a classic cherubs picture on the label. I do not know the origin of this picture but I have seen it other places. My Mother in-law (who does not drink beer) has the same picture on a couch pillow. If anyone knows the origin feel free to Beermail me as I am curios.
[EDIT - a little research and I discoverd that Raphael's Two Cherubs is a detail of the larger painting the Sistine Madonna ~ by Raffaello Sanzio Raphael. - cool now I know.]

Appearance: Pours a dark amber copperish color with a large off white head.

Smell: Fruits and berries and caramel malts, browned buttered and sugar galore create a magnificent plethora of enticing aromas.

Taste: Sweet crystal malt flavors support a solid Belgian yeast character thats displays both fruity and spicy flavors. Buttery caramel and apricot precede orange peel and coriander flavors with a dash of cinnamon and pepper near the end, with a dry finish and and earthy aftertaste.

Mouthfeel & Drinkability: This beer is full of flavors and the feel follows suit but just as it starts to feel big it seems to have a light spot in the center keeping it not quite intense but possibly adding to the drinkability. Very Nice.

Hope this is helpful.

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Photo of GooberMcNutly
2.87/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750 ml. Cork was impossible to remove. Took vice grips. When it finally came out the carbonation was so high it gushed for 5 minutes. That stirred up the sediment so badly that every sip was full of floaties. So I gave it a low appearance rating. The head was large, with big bubbles that fell slowly. Initial aroma was very subtle with the smells of grass, earth, burning leaves and rasberry. Palate was thin, with mild sourness and a clean, sweet finish. A good Belgium-lite, but too many floaties in my bottle to get higher marks.

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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 hobbes2150
4.67/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is a beer that changes remarkably with age. I tried 2 versions, one that "expired" in 2004 and one that will go out of date in 2007.
The color is a nice caramel, noticeably darker in the older version, with a good head.
The nose is incredible, lots of plum in the younger version and very floral in both.
The flavor is mild in the younger one, but the older bottle exploded with taste in my mouth. Floral notes, lots of spice, absolutely incredible.
This is a beer that is meant to be cellared. Forget about the date on the bottle, because this beer is at it's best about 2 years after it's suggested "best before" date.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - pours an orange amber with a thin off-white creamy head. The bubbles don't last long and fade to an impartial covering pretty quick.

Aroma - a soft nose of candi sugar and yeast, understated and delicate but persistant.

Taste - a fairly hearty malt base gives a bready first impression. The sweetness is kept in check and the yeast is certainly there, but on the whole I'm not all that impressed. It's tasty but at $18 for the growler, it's not blowing my socks off. There is some tasty spiciness on the swallow, I compare it to Duvel with a little less kick and a little more floral aspect. The finish has a smooth warm alcohol effect, a rather nice ending.

Mouthfeel - very zippy with carbonation, not bad for a 3-day old growler. Solid feel to it without being overly heavy.

Drinkability - a fine Belgian beer, but doesn't stand out enough to warrant paying that much as a steady pick.

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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 scoobybrew
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I poured this beer into a tulip glass. It has a wonderful frothy head that has excellent retention. It is a clear amber color. The aroma is very malty with hints of fruit, particularily an apricot-like scent. The flavor is mostly malty with a subdued hop bitterness, very well balanced. There are notes of apricot and ginger and some mild hop spice. The body is light to medium and is highly carbonated.

Overall, I find this beer very enjoyable. It goes very well with cheese and summer sausage.

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Photo of carln26
3.82/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark copper to amber in color, very hazy with a bit of sediment. It’s topped by a thick effervescent head. The smell has spice up front with white pepper, coriander, some mandarin citrus. There is just a bit of yeasty dough and a little figgy malt. The flavor has more of the coriander and mandarin spice, but is sweeter with more depth from the malt. The fig character is accompanied by light toffee and a mild citrus bitterness. Nice carbonation, and a light hand with the alcohol gives it a good mouth feel and a nice drinkability.

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Photo of TheBungyo
2.87/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

The pour was amber as promised, and the nose was very interesting. The floral notes were immense, and very pleasing. I could also smell a mixture of cedar and perfume. Bleh! Tastes just like it smells. It tastes like I'm a kid and drinking my sister's perfume. Mouthfeel is good, but who cares when it tastes this bad! La Binchoise, meet my drain!

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Particulate-laden dark apricot topped by a massive, heavily creamy, toasted ecru crown. It's a wonder the fine bubbles jumping off the bottom of the glass are able to navigate through the thick cloud of yeast that lies between them and their ultimate destination. Large bubbles pop in slow motion, leading to large, soft craters. Scant lace is the only (minor) negative.

Reserve Special doesn't look like a BSDA, nor does it smell like one. I'm pretty sure it won't taste like one either. The label calls it an 'artisanal amber ale', which usually means a BPA or a BSPA (depending on the ABV). It smells most like a BSPA or even an especially fruity tripel. I get fruit and spice with a hint of welcome alcohol. Note: the style has since been changed to BSPA.

This is damn good beer. The sturdy pale malt backbone has almost no toasted qualities and absolutely no dark fruit. There's a pleasant sweetness at play that doesn't come anywhere close to cloying. Again, I'm reminded of an especially peachy, appley tripel... a worthwhile flavor profile if there ever was one.

What spices are present (clove and cardamom) are subtle, while still providing a competent counterpoint to the sweetened fruit. Although it's far from a gung-ho yeast strain, it gets the job done. Very little of the 9.0% ABV is noticed. I'd have guessed a few percentage points lower. This is a well-constructed, tightly knit beer that is an absolute cinch to drink.

There's a lot to like about the mouthfeel. I might have given it slightly more heft, but it's perfectly in keeping with the rest of the beer's attributes. One thing is certain, the lightly creamy, almost fluffy mouthfeel contributes to the insane drinkability; as does the barely noticed carbonation. Like I said, there's a lot to like.

La Binchoise Reserve Special is a lovely beer. At its current age (a mere one month shy of the 'best by' date) it has attained a cohesiveness, a depth of flavor and a mellowness that it may not have had when fresh. I'd love to test that theory by obtaining a few more of these corked-and-caged 750s. Simply angelic.

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Photo of DogFood11
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Corked and Caged 750. A couple of kids with "angel" wings adorn the label. Pours lighter colored than one would presume from a belgian strong dark ale. Forms a tight head that laces with each pull, sliding. Copper to orange, slight chill haze. Nice looking brew.

An incredible poutpori of aroma and taste. Fruity, very hard to pinpoint a variety but my stab is rhubarb, strawberries, and blueberries. Not your typical taste for the style but if you throw out style guidlines and just taste it for what it is, it comes through nicely. Finishes clean and lingers on sour notes. Carbonation is about average strength, some of the sweeter malts, yeast tend to cling to your teeth a bit.

Notes: Although lacking, in my opinon, the typical belgian strong dark characteristics it is an outstanding beer. Apperance is outstanding, head never fluctuates, humungous fruity, floral profile. Just friggin awesome.

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Photo of Crosling
3.27/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Deep Amber. Solid aroma of tartness, green & red apples, cinnamon, dark fruits, caramel and peach. Less than inspiring flavor profile. Lemons, various fruits, mainly orange and honey. Finishes dry, sweet and yeasty. Body is a little too thin and this is a little too sweet for me.

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Photo of Erdinger2003
3.69/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is very nice and the lacing is just fine. It has a sweet soapy smell that I have never had before. It is dark brown to amber in color. The taste is very sweet, unlike most of the Belgians. The flowery hops are just great. The flight friuty taste is flowery and overwhelming. The mouthfeel is very smooth. Nice on the palate. Overall I will try this again in a few months, but nothing to go nuts about.

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Photo of hero27
4.82/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap @ the Lava Lounge in Waterloo, Iowa..

Was lucky enough to have this brew on-draft all winter at my local bar.

The flavors are incredible and complex. I had to make sure I was reading the posted ABV on the site correctly...9% in this one? It slides down as easy as anything, with no alcohol present in the taste. Apple cider, fresh peaches, orange, cinnamon, apricots, and bubblegum mix together in this syrupy nectar.. one of the most unique beers I've ever had, and one I keep coming back to. I did notice that after a keg has been tapped upwards of a month, the flavors flatten out significantly..but when fresh, this is definitely one of my favorite Belgians.

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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 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 thesilverhand
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another Christmas gift from my better half. I think she likes me!

Pour a deeply hazy orange-brown, with a thick layer of near-brown crema on top. Doesn't retain the head well, but leaves some lace on the glass. Nice.

Very malty and yeasty -- quite bready in the combination. Some light spiciness too, but which herbs in particular, I can't quite say.

In addition to the expected breadiness, I find quite a dose of nectarine sweetness. Almost too sweet for my liking.

Smooth and silky, very pleasant to drink.

Interesting. I really didn't expect the fruity sweetness -- at the least, I expected something darker. Nonetheless, it is a thoroughly enjoyable beer.

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Photo of Derek
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Definitely closer to a Belgian strong pale ale.

A: Copper-orange, fluffy off-white head, only a little retention, but some really nice lace.

S: An abundance of aroma, though it's not necessarily all good. Cloves, fresh hops, along with some solventy higher alcohol/phenol. Some other spicyness (perhaps corriander?) with a little apricot. More bready malt, once the tertiary alcohols diffuse.

T: Bready malt with a nice fruityness from the Belgian yeast. Well balanced, slightly to the bitter side. A little earthyness (not sure if it's from the hops or the yeast?). Some warming, sherry-like, alcohol finish.

M: Body is on the light side of moderate, it's well carbonated, has a dry finish.

D: It's a light-weight for its strength, but I don't find the earthy and clove flavours particulary appealing... and the bubbles give me gas. :D

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Photo of tavernjef
4.56/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Happy Gnome: Clouded peachy orange color with a super quick thin cap of foam that leaves the thinnest of thin collar around the edge and the lacing is minimal to none in some spotting.

Aroma is divinely tropical! Woaw, such a thivk soup of fruits here its hard to distinquish the actuals but I tend to get a ton of pineapple with great juicy, full scoops of peach, apricot, and pear. Mushy, malty, and very big on the nose. Lovingly tropical fullness!

Taste doesn't disappoint, mush like the aroma it bleeds out tropical fruity goodness. Mucho pineapple with a great fruity, mushy meld of peach, apricot, lemon meringue, and silky malted sweetness that lasts well from front to back. Quite a nice taster.

Feel is quite full, thick, and rounded in tropical malty goodness. Yum, yum, in the tum! Downable and dangerously so. A fantastic beer!

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La Binchoise Spéciale Noël (Reserve Special - USA) from Brasserie La Binchoise (Malterie des Remparts)
4.03 out of 5 based on 152 ratings.
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