Divine Reserve #18
Saint Arnold Brewing Company

Divine Reserve #18Divine Reserve #18
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Style:
Stout - American Imperial
ABV:
13.4%
Score:
92
Avg:
4.15 | pDev: 10.36%
Reviews:
16
Ratings:
63
From:
Saint Arnold Brewing Company
 
Texas, United States
Avail:
Retired (no longer brewed)
Wants
  3
Gots
  17
SCORE
92
Outstanding
Divine Reserve #18Divine Reserve #18
Notes: Diving into darkness, you can gain insight into your potential. Allow the absence of light, and truly find what it means to have it. This approach was taken when designing Divine Reserve No. 18.

How can we push the limits of our brewhouse? Our house Saint Arnold yeast? Ourselves? After many, many test brews of Imperial Stouts, we found the processes needed to create a beer with massive amounts of flavor and aromatic qualities.

For DR18, we used a grain bill that required four times the amount of grain as Fancy Lawnmower, dosed in two additions of Belgian candi syrup during fermentation to provide an adrenaline shot to the yeast, and let the beer rest for three months before adding a small amount of Madagascar vanilla beans as an added layer of complexity.

The beer pours a rich darkness - no light passes through - topped with a mocha colored head. The aroma is filled with molasses, vanilla, baker's chocolate, and rich dark fruit from our house yeast. The flavor profile starts with rich chocolate and raspberries that are dipped in honey, then builds on dried dark cherry notes, and finishes with wine like silkiness.

Please enjoy Divine Reserve No. 18 at 60° and in the safety of your own home.
Reviews: 16 | Ratings: 63 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of HardTarget
HardTarget from Texas

3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle opened May 31, 2020

Appearance: Black glass, no head, thin brown edges, no real legs.

Aroma: Malt, burnt grain, cherry, heady alcohol.

Taste: Sweet malt goes burnt grain by the swallow, there is a hint of hops in there but I don't get much. Alcohol is noticeable, hot, and slightly medicinal. There is a bit of vanilla bean with what seems like cherry, but they are mild.

Mouthfeel: Flat, medium body, hot, slick, dry.

Overall: Not sure this benefited from the time in the cellar, but given how hot and brash it is, I could see setting one back to see. An enjoyable beer, but nothing that really made me crave another.

May 31, 2020
Photo of Dope
Dope from Massachusetts

4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

1/31/18 bottling

A: Pours black with a small light brown head. Head retention is minimal with almost no lacing either.

S: Tons of dark fruits with syrupy sugary sweetness. Hints of vanilla.

T: Loads of vanilla up front. A hilarious amount, mixed with some molasses and tons of booziness. Dark fruits in there too, lasting into the finish. Huge boozy finish. Cannot be overstated, it's a boozy one despite all the sweetness.

M: Heavy, ultra boozy.

O: Huge boozy and sweet stout. It barely even tastes like a stout honestly. Not a ton of char, smoke, roasted malt characteristics or chocolate or anything of the sort. It's big, sweet, sugary, vanilla-y and enormously boozy. It almost comes off as like a stout-aged barleywine or something along those lines. Super interesting.

Mar 18, 2019
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jngrizzaffi from Texas

3.97/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a pitch black color with a thin, brown, foamy head. Head retention is very mild. Lacing is decent. Aroma of vanilla, slight roastiness, molasses and dark fruit. There is definitely some booziness. I don't really get any chocolate in the aroma. Taste of roasted vanilla, molasses and candied sugar with some dark fruit at the end. The chocolate really just isn't there for me. Big time booziness and alcohol burn. Not a stout I am used to, but it is a very well done beer. Heavy bodied with moderate carbonation.

Dec 16, 2018
Photo of Rimbimhoot
Rimbimhoot from Illinois

4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Very dark brown with light ruby around edge
S: Dark cherry, sweet black grape, roasty, licorice, raspberry, bitter cacao, honey, raisin
T: Bitter dark malt, sweet dark grape and cherry, earthy licorice, molasses, medium alcohol, chocolate liqueur
M: Medium heavy
O: A nice change of pace from other stouts I've had lately. Big dark fruit notes from the yeast and maybe candi syrup. Complex

Sep 05, 2018
Photo of darktronica
darktronica from Indiana

4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12-ounce bottle poured to a wine glass. Black, moderately thick, with a thin layer of cocoa head. Candi sugar, grape, vanilla on the nose. Blackstrap molasses and anise show up in the flavor profile to complement the vinous notes. Dry finish. Very distinctive.

May 28, 2018
Photo of depechemode1983
depechemode1983 from Texas

3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour pitch black. Tan head with very little retention and lacing.
Smell is of sweet plums, cherries, raisins and a touch of alcohol.
Taste is alcoholic and warm. The dark sweet fruits come through with some toasty bitterness.
Feel is full bodied and silky smooth with mild carbonation.

May 09, 2018
Photo of beergoot
beergoot from Colorado

3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Dark as night body; one-finger thick light tan head. Dark roasted malt grain; sweet spiciness to the nose. Dark chocolate flavors; cocoa; a tad sweet and fruity; figs and raisins; some bourbon. Heavy body; boozy heat

A big warm and cocao-fueled beer, bringing some alcohol heat and roasted grain and dark, pitted fruit qualities to the experience.

Apr 25, 2018
Photo of brentk56
brentk56 from North Carolina

3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours pitch black with a one finger head that fades while leaving a few shards behind

Smell: Chocolate, molasses and espresso, with dark fruit tones of port wine soaked raisins; somewhat burnt

Taste: Burnt chocolate malt and more dark chocolate, with molasses and espresso tones building; through the middle, there is a dark fruit development, with raisin tone dominant; a lot of warmth builds, after the swallow; the finish is a combination of the various flavors

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation; much warmth in the gullet

Overall: I like my high ABV stouts with some age on them so I would imagine my scores would go up if I tried this beer a year from now; right now it is too hot and charred for my palate

Mar 30, 2018
Photo of donspublic
donspublic from Texas

4.55/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into a tulip, 1 finger dark tan head, last a few minutes then recedes, so so lacing. Jet black in the glass, no light gets thru. Bakers chocolate on the nose, some vanilla peaks out that makes you think hey is there barrel here, there is also some dark fruit on the nose, cherry, raspberry no sure how the hell they pulled off that. Very little roasted grain on the nose, this is full blown chocolate, vanilla and dark fruit. Ok as with the nose this beer is not following traditional rules, there is no in your face malt bill going on here, there is a level of complexity that was tweaked on this and I am truly impressed. The chocolate is up front, as with the nose and the vanilla is right there with it. Instead of a heavy roast, it is a more muted, the fruit is right there with it, similar to chocolate covered fruit. The alcohol on this finish is there, and somewhat present, but it isn't hot by any means, it has a finish almost like a tawny port, which is what I am thinking of as I drink this. Man I would take this over most barrel aged beers I have had in the past few years. I pulled this out of the beer fridge, poured it, smelled it and walked away for 30 minutes. I highly recommend you let this beer warm up before drinking, there is a log going on here

Mar 25, 2018
Photo of Joshpital
Joshpital from Texas

4.67/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

One bomber does the job. Feeling good. It’s like I just indulged in my favorite bowl of ice cream, and I’m drunk. Sure, I’ll run extra hard tomorrow to burn it off. But right now I have no regrets. Further still, I’m glad I drank it. Enjoyed every sip. Only real snobs think they can determine an alcohol’s worthiness. There’s nothing pragmatic about it. You either enjoyed it or you didn’t. We’re all drunk when we write these. Don’t be a dick. Develop a drunken scientific method, then we’ll talk. That last sip was just glorious.

Mar 24, 2018
Photo of RonaldTheriot
RonaldTheriot from Louisiana

4.71/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Divine Reserve 18 has a thin, beige head, a very dark brown appearance, and no glass lacing, aside from a few small splotches. Aroma is of strong, heavy malt hits, sugar, and vanilla. Flavor is of those elements, with powdered, dark, bakers' chocolate, vanilla, sugar, deep malt flavor, and black bread crust. The bitterness is nicely balanced against the strong, sweet malts. Mouthfeel is heavy, and D.R. 18 finishes sweet.

RJT

Mar 17, 2018
Photo of Premo88
Premo88 from Texas

4.01/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into snifter
(1/31/18 bottling date printed on neck of bottle)

L: classic black and tan look, foam is almost beige, doesn't push up much of a head, maybe 1/4- to 1/3-inch tall; keeps a thin collar of beige/tan foam; pours clear but once it's in the glass it's hard to see through it, just dark brown highlights at the edge; no major sticking or lacing

S: raisin, licorice, dark bitter espresso, red wine; as it warms a little chocolate sweetness peeks in

T: bitter licorice, red wine, bitter coffee up front, almost burnt but as it warms there's a little layer of milk chocolate sweetness ... almost hot fudge or chocolate sauce; the lingering bitterness in the aftertaste is ever present, almost woody in flavor; some of the bitterness might actually be some "heat" from the alcohol ... it's not medicinal up front but there is a slight menthol note in the aftertaste

F: fantastic, plenty of carbonation and solid weight for a massive overall effect ... each sip is a mouthfull

O: one big brew ... at just three months in the bottle, it's still a little green for my taste buds, but experience with these kinds of beers suggest in a year or two it's going to be as good as it gets; definitely built for aging; the dark malt overpowers anything the vanilla beans might be contributing, though they might be contributing a bit of generic sweetness

Mar 11, 2018
Photo of Jugs_McGhee
Jugs_McGhee from Louisiana

3.49/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle ran me $5 at an Austin, TX beer store.

Opaque black body. Head is a rich dark tan. Gorgeous.

Aroma of baker's chocolate/specialty chocolate malt,, dark malt sweetness, and scintillae of dark fruit. No hoppy or yeasty aromatics. A hint of vanilla. Aromatic intensity is low for the style, actually, but it never betrays its ABV.

Dark fruit is more forward in the taste than it was in the aroma, and complements the baker's chocolate and (muted) vanilla nicely. It's sweet and soft on the palate without being cloying, and how it hides its ABV this well is beyond me...this stuff is dangerous.

Silky smooth, wet, and full-bodied but not too weighty or heavy on the palate. Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, rough, or scratchy, though some welcome alcohol warmth does keep one's stomach aglow.

Yeah, it's a dessert stout, and the vanilla could be more in the fore. Roasted barley/carafa would help bring needed bitterness into the mix to tend to this beer's minor balance issues. All in all, though, it's a tasty stab at an imperial stout - more Russian imperial than American imperial by my estimation.

High B- / WORTHY

***
12/05/18 2nd impression:

Too sweet.

B- / WORTHY

Mar 04, 2018
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brew-Ed from Texas

4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look
Pitch black. Thick head, about one finger, chocolate in appearance, and dissolved pretty quickly. No lacing left behind.

Smell
Chocolate, sweet candies, fruity, alcohol.

Taste
Dark chocolate, fruits, malt, vanilla.

Feel
Light carbonation, heavy,

Overall
Very well balanced beer. A beer you have for dessert after dinner.

Feb 25, 2018
Photo of ilikebeer03
ilikebeer03 from Texas

4.04/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottles 1/31. Drank /24
Pour us black with a cinnamon head that fades quickly. No lacing or retention. Expected for a beer of this abv.
Nose is coffee, vanilla bean, dark malt, dark fruit, some alcohol present.
Light coffee, dark fruit, malt sweetness, subtle vanilla bean- blends in nicely-, slight alcohol burn, dark fruit, a touch of dark chocolate on the finish.
Nice smooth body. Could be a little creamier.
Great beer. Can’t wait to see how it ages.

Revisiting 2/14/20
Nose is chocolate, light coffee, boozy vanilla/caramel malt sweetness.
Taste is coffee, chocolate, dark fruits, raisin, dark cherry. A touch of vanilla on the finish.

Feb 25, 2018
Photo of champ103
champ103 from Texas

4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours an opaque, pitch black color. A dense two finger tan head rises with good retention. As the foam gently recedes over a few minutes, some lace is left behind. Impressive looking.
S: Chocolate, molasses, vanilla all intermingle. Some dark fruits like figs and raisins are apparent. More bread like malts come in towards the end.
T: Like the nose, chocolate, molasses and vanilla are up front. All very well balanced. Dark fruits of figs, raisins, and chocolate covered cherries. Bread like flavors, and a lingering bitterness is light but apparent (maybe from some roasted malts, or even a bakers chocolate quality). Holy moly, there is a lot going on here, but it all seems to work.
M/O: A huge full body. Moderate carbonation, that is thick and chewy. Though not over done in anyway. At first, I really didn't notice the huge alcohol, but that does come into play as this warms. I would be surprised if it didn't. Though it all comes together really well and something I am really enjoying sipping on.

I would say Saint Arnold pulled this off, and I am not surprised by that at all. A big monster, but has a lot of nuances that are all really well balanced. I think the dark fruit character works well as it takes away from what could have been a sickly sweet mess. Instead, everything is in really good balance. Well done.

Feb 20, 2018
Divine Reserve #18 from Saint Arnold Brewing Company
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 63 ratings