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Saint Arnold Divine Reserve #8 | Saint Arnold Brewing Company

very good
91 Reviews
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Saint Arnold Divine Reserve #8Saint Arnold Divine Reserve #8

Brewed by:
Saint Arnold Brewing Company
Texas, United States | website

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.30%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by champ103 on 09-10-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 91 | Ratings: 138
Photo of rsawyer
2.78/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 Oz. Bottle - picked up a 6 pack at a local Krogers on my way home from work. While the Divine Reserve series hype was certainly warranted for Divine Reserve 5 and Divine Reserve 6, I am of the personal opinion that 7 was certainly a let down, and 8 is as well.

A- The beer pours a very plain amber / brown with almost no carbonation and no head after a strong pour. While the beer's appearance wasn't so bad that I would consider it horrible, it was quite plain and in my opinion below average for the style.

S- What smell? Smells like the Saint Arnold house yeast to me. I was expecting to pick up slight hints of peat, tobacco, carmel, or sweet tea... but I got nothing. The smell is missing!

T- Well... it tast like a full bodied brown ale with some very slight hints of chocolate or tea... and maybe a slight hint of vanilla and tobacco. What I would consider average for the style.

M- Average for the style - not earth shattering. Full as I expected.

D- I may give the rest of the 6 pack away and just go buy some Old Chub if I want a solid Scotch / Wee Heavy this fall / winter.

Overall - SA did a great job getting their "Army" moving. The hype was created. The masses bought it up. Good for them. Nice to see local breweries making it. However, this beer is all hype and nothing that I would go out of my way to try again or trade for.

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Photo of StArnoldFan
3.02/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2008 bottle consumed may 2015. Low carb, no head or lacing. Heavy alcohol on the nose. Boozy and not really enjoyable. Not sure if time did this one in or if it was bad from the start.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.23/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The last of the (new to me, anyway) DR series beers.

A: The pour is a dark orange color with a thin off-white head.

S: Sweet malts, vanilla, caramel, raisins, oranges, and peat on the nose. A fairly standard nose for the style; good but not overwhelming.

T: The peat character is much more dominant on the flavor than I would have expected from the nose. A moderate level of sweetness in the form of caramel malts and citrus fruits. Some light fruitiness, in addition to the citrus notes.

M: The body is medium with a fairly lively, but medium, carbonation.

D: Not quite as good as the previous Wee Heavy in the series, unfortunately. Actually, toward the bottom in terms of my enjoyment of the DR beers.

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Photo of BgThang
3.23/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Received this bottle froma friend last night.

The nose had something interesting./ Could not pinpoint it. Did not know if I was turned off or if I like the smell. Gave it middle of the road since I was as well.

The colors were a deepcaramel brownish color.

The taste- I could definitely taste the smokey peat that was in the beer. I can say with confidence I am not a fan of the smokey peat. I know its part of the style and this beer seems to be dead on.

The mouthfeel. Creamy slow sipper of a beer. Carbonation was good

I am glad I tried this. It has put me on the fence though of buying a sixer or not. I would like to revist this one in about a year and in about 2 years to compare the differences. A solid brew that does not have any difficulties being a scotch ale. If you like this style jump on it.

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Photo of corby112
3.23/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I received this as an extra in a recent trade with BelgianBeerGal. Thanks a lot Amy!

Pours a dark amber/chestnut color with dark golden orange hues when held to a light source and a thin foamy yellowish beige head that immediately fades into a thin lasting ring. Minimal spots of lacing left behind.

Sweet malt aroma with hints of caramel, toffee, biscuit, alcohol and dark fruit. I'm picking up raisin, fig and plum in the nose as well as a very faint smokey character and subtle spice. Smells more like a barleywine.

Medium bodied with some soft carbonation up front that lingers over the sweet, leathery malt body into a sweet, slightly warm finish. Very sweet with earthy, leathery malts that give off hints of toffee, biscuit, caramel and rye. Lots of alcohol sweetness but not to hot with a prominent dark fruit flavor. Hints of raisin, fig, grape, plum and dark berries. As in the aroma, there is a slight spice character with a decent amount of pepper.

Overall, this looks and tastes like a tamed down, overly spicy barleywine. There's a prominent dark fruit presence that balances things a bit but this beer is a bit harsh despite it's sweetness.

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Photo of jasonjlewis
3.25/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer pours very little head with almost zero retention and an amber color.

Smell is of some dark raisins and a slight bit of pale chocolate. However, a distinctive solventy smell starts to linger and messes everything up. As the beer warms up, a dinstinctive smokiness comes through

Taste is a little bit hot from the alcohol, but the dark crystal and bit of dark fruits with a slight hint of pale chocolate malt really meld nicely. Also a good bit of smokiness comes through as the beer warms.

Mouthfeel is somewhat dry, but the beer is very malty.

My biggest issue with this beer is the solventy nose and the fusel alcohols. I think that this could be a much better beer if it was aged longer. My suggestion to anyone who has this beer is to age it for at least 2 years.

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Photo of nickd717
3.28/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle via trade.

Pours a clear medium reddish-amber color with a small off-white head that fades before too long.

Aroma is smoky and a little rubbery with some sweet malt.

Flavor is smoky and peaty with caramel malt and toffee. A little sweet but not terribly so.

Smooth on the palate with medium-full body.

About average for the style, maybe a little better.

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Photo of rudylaw
3.38/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Received as an extra from pswoldier! Poured into my Shoreline pint glass on this chilly day.

Pours a brownish/orangey color with a fluffy head. That turns into a small rim.

Smells like Brach's caramel, toasted bread and a dash of vanilla.

Tastes the same but not as good as I hoped. I get a dash of sponge during the finish. There is some stickiness to this, and it has nice carbonation, but this misses the mark compared to some of the other wee heavies out there. Still, St. Arnold's is a brewery worth investigating and I look forward to trying more from them.

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Photo of Ineedabeerhere
3.4/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to Mhewes for this extra. Had it on 11/19, from notes.

Pours between brown and dark ruby into my tulip. Orangey and red around the edges, a nice color. Spotty lacing after a good sized light tan head.

Smells of lightly toasted malts, werther's caramel candies. Hearty biscuits fresh out of the oven. Light campfire smoke and some alcohol as it warmed. Rich toffee and marzipan. A dash of vanilla extract.

Tastes of rich caramel, moderate complexity - overall considerably sweet. Alcohol is apparent as well as rich malts described in the aroma. Good, bordering creamy mouthfeel which is nice and expected for style. Very rich and gets to be a bit cloying after a while. One and done, but a nice effort overall.

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Photo of brentk56
3.45/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Starts out as one of those beers that is all head but as I gauge the pour, the beer delivers a murky amber color with a creamy beige head that leaves a nice pattern

Smell: Caramel, hints of smoke and a bit of fusel alcohol

Taste: Toffee and multi-grain bread flavors, up front, with a bit of citrus fruit and fusel alcohol developing by mid-palate; after the swallow, the smokey peat flavors join in, though the beer finishes rather sweet

Mouthfeel: Thick body with prickly carbonation

Drinkability: A pretty decent wee heavy, though it may take some time to come together; still it has some flaws that may also hinder it over time

Thanks, MiguelMandingo, for the opportunity

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a deep copper color ale with a large foamy head with OK retention and minimal lacing. Aroma of sweet caramelized malt is dominating with light toffee notes and some lingering smoke. Taste is sweeter then expected with loads of caramelized malt and sweet toffee with a light smoky finish. Body is quite full with limited filtration and good carbonation with no signs of alcohol. Well done though a bit sweet for my taste - bonus point for the smoke notes thought.

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Photo of TexIndy
3.53/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. No dating but limited release that I got on release date on 9/11/09 so just over 3 months of aging. I tried a couple right around the release date and it needed some aging. Got some more cellared so may re-review later. Was a mostly clear amber brown color with plenty of carb streams. It had an average size beige head that quickly settled into a thick collar and some wisps. No lacing.

The aroma was a bit weak and took constant swirling to get it to rise up. Caramel and toffee malt aromas with a slight hint of smoke and some alcohol. I much preferred the aroma on DR4 - the other scotch/wee in the series. This one is really missing the smoke and peat that made #4 so great. Without the comparisons, it's still a bit weak. Aromas not bad but too subtle. The taste follows the aroma. By itself, it's OK but lacking a real standout characteristic. Starts out with the caramel/toffee and then the sweet kicks in and finishes with an alcohol after-taste. Curious to see how this develops as it ages. Compared to the DR4, it's way off and a bit of a mess. The mouthfeel was medium with really good carb levels. The finishing texture is a bit creamy but the alcohol taste distracts.

Overall, it's a good but not great outing. In the bottom third of the Divine Reserves for me. At 3 months, it's still lacking in aroma and flavor. Got several that I'm cellaring so will update over the years. Rotation - one-time release. Have several so wouldn't seek any more.

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Photo of roblowther
3.53/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Courtesy of my beer mentor, Bill.

Pours cloudy gold brown with a persistent wafer-thin (Monty Python accent implied here) head. Smells smoky and oaky. And other stuff that rhymes. Tastes rich and chocolate up front, then a strong peat finish. Very nice maltiness that makes you feel like you just ate a muffin. Makes me burp smoke and a hint of something sharp. Drinkable but the strong flavors make this an occasional treat, not a beer for the evening.

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Photo of Wasatch
3.53/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks goes out to JJFoodie for this brew.

Pours a cloudy brown color, nice carbonation, nice one-finger fizzy tan head, with some nice sticky lacing to follow. The nose is malty, with some slight bourbon notes, caramel. The taste is sweet, malty, slightly bourbon, with some caramel. Medium body. Drinkable, not a bad brew, but a slight twist on the style.

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Photo of Sammy
3.58/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A nice drinker for the style.A good change of pace, early in a tasting. Some decent yeast, nice malt job. Still I could not not drink pint after pint. Thanks to the legend, bullseye11. Big head, decent carbonation complementing abve averaeg mouthfeel. A bit of tabacco, finishes on the slightly sweet side of sweet spice.

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Photo of prototypic
3.58/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Many thanks to JosephLondon for the bottle.

This 8th installment of the Divine Reserve series is a copper color that leans red. It's much hazier than I would've expected. Light gives it a really nice scarlet tint. A vanilla colored head stands on top and rises to just over a finger. It dissipates to a surface covering quickly, but held firm there for a while. Lacing was stick and moderate.

The nose is good, but is a little lacking in strength. It's very sweet and malty smelling. Caramel and toffee scents are very strong throughout. Brown sugar is definitely noted. Yeast is fairly strong in the mix. It has a subtle, fruity scent. Plum is noted. But, there's some evidence of dark grapes, as well. Nevertheless, it's far from vinous. Alcohol is buried. I'm not getting anything at all there.

The flavor is a step below the nose in terms of quality. Not by much, but it's true. This is pretty good beer. But, it is very sweet. The centerpiece is obviously caramel malts. It has such a strong, sweet caramel/toffee flavor that it's not far from overbearing. Brown sugar is prevalent. Fruit flavors add some depth, but do little to counter the strong sweet flavor. Plum and dark grape flavors are flavorful and work well with the malts. Maybe it just needs a little less malt. I don't know. It's a little yeasty on the tail. Alcohol is blended very well. I would've never guessed it's over 9% abv. It finishes sweet. Surprise!

Divine Reserve #8 has a medium-full body that feels thicker with each passing sip. It's nice and smooth, but not quite creamy. Carbonation seems light and just about right. Drinkability is above average. This really isn't bad beer at all, but it's very sweet. I think one bottle will be plenty for me tonight. It's also rather strong at 9.3%.

Saint Arnold has a track record of releasing great beer in the Divine Reserve series. The 8th release is good, but doesn't quite stack up to some of the best in the series. Its biggest fault is that it's too sweet, at least for me. It's still pretty good beer, but would be better with a little less of a sugar blast. Since it probably won't be brewed again, my constructive commentary is probably useless. It's worth a try if you have the opportunity, but the Divine Reserve series has seen far better releases.

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Photo of JamnesCameron
3.58/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Another bottle traded with jasonlewis. Thanks Jason for the brew!

Don't get St. Arnold in Chi-town, so this is a treat.

Poured in a tulip glass.

A - Hazy deep coppper, cannot see through it, not much light gets through. light head that does not last, slight white foam ring on top after sitting for a few minutes.

S - malt dominates aroma, some chemical aromas of calcium carbonate -chalky, flinty aroma. Some alcohol present in aroma as well. After first taste, still canno detect smoke in aromas.

T - first sip - peaty, smoky malt. A little astrigent. aftertaste is sweet smoke.

M - full, malty, smoky

D - I like peaty Scotch Ales, but this is a little more smoke than I care for. Would be great with a pulled pork sandwich, though. or some labor day ribs on the grill.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.62/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Blue Point snifter.

A: Vigorous pour yields a 1.25 finger coarse, light cream colored head that evaporates into a thin layer quickly. Beer is a cloudy reddish-clay. Lacing is near non-existent.

S: Boozy, caramel, brown sugar, slight maple syrup. Nose is thin but robust at the same time. It's very filling if you can describe a smell like that.

T: Sweet maple syrup and caramel upfront. A clearly spicy transition into more booziness. Malt profile is very strong here. A slight bit of grapes or prunes or some sort of fresh ripe fruit is detectable. No hop flavor to be found.

M: Medium bodied, coarse and carbonated. Wet in the mouth and very watery at the finish. Aftertaste is messy and sweet, slightly sticky.

D: An enjoyable beer but for once, the malt profile is a bit strong for me even for the style. A syrupy aftertaste doesn't help either. Body is good though and fits the flavors that the beer is trying to express. I'd have this again but personally, I'd like something a little heavier on the booze and bit lighter on the malts.

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Photo of pwoods
3.63/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz. brown bottle poured into an imperial pint.

A: Pours a deep amber brown, murky with lots of sediment. Big 2 finger head with good retention and some lacing.

S: Rich malts with only a touch of sweetness. Plenty of woody and smoky aromas, maybe some peat behind it all.

T/M: More of the rich malts. Lots of wood and smoke and peat. No hops to speak of. Body is medium full with nice carbonation.

D: ABV is pretty well hidden but definitely there. The big smoke and peat get to ya toward the end. Interesting but not something I'll return to.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.63/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This Wee Heavy sets a sturdy tone with big malt sweetness and pungent smoke character. Malts are huge with caramels, toffees, and a savory kettle caramelization affect. Brown sugars and molassas also decorate the peripheries of the malts. Rising quickly are the peaty, smokey, phenolic character that provides more than enough earthiness, and maybe too much smoke at times. Though dwarfed by the malt sweetness and smokey notes, the fruity esters take a back seat with plumbs, grapes, and other stone fruits. The mouthfeel brings a sugary sweetness that buffers the alcohols nicely, but in the end are ultimately too sweet and not bready-starchy enough. The malts are rounded but classic Scottish ales have a much more complex maltiness than this. Also the smoke character is almost obviously derived from smoked malt and not from the phenolic yeastiness. Even with these inconsistencies, this beer does some wonderful things and is a pleasure to drink.

Thanks Exiled!!

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Photo of Ryan011235
3.64/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter on 2/8/12

Many thanks to mhewes

Light caramel brown pour that results in a vibrant, clear copper hue. Foam is on the thin side, even initially, but it's smooth. Skimmed and patchy retention with a few drippy lace strands.

Layer after layer of malt aroma billows from the glass. Raisin, fig, plum, brown sugar, butter toffee, leather, smoke and baked bread. Subtle hints of peat, caramel, earth and perhaps a touch of cocoa. The sugars take on a pleasant toasted bent as it warms. Soft butterscotch overtones.

I'm kind of bummed to say, but the taste is a bit of a let down after spending several minutes with the aromatics. That isn't to say the beer tastes bad; it doesn't, though it's too sugary-sweet for my usual enjoyment. However, I will admit it has some really enjoyable things going on - raisins and dark fruits, toasted sugars and hints of dry bread, residual earthy hops. It has something of a musty finish. The flavors seem smooth, though.

The feel seems like an ample medium, working its way to the full side. Though the beer isn't incredibly hot, alcohol is certainly appreciable and there is some resulting slickness. Carbonation grabs upfront and tapers off to a gritty latter half.

I like this one pretty well, though I'm inclined to liken it more to an old ale or barleywine of some sort. Perhaps the old taste buds have become acclimated, but it doesn't strike me as being quite so sweet by the end. Worth a shot.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.64/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a - A murky orangish-brown color, with a lot of cabronation and about an inch of head with no retention.

s - Smells strongly of malts, mostly roasted, and some barely. Also smells somewhat sweet, like dark fruits.

t - The first thing that I got a taste of was creamy and roasted malts. It also tastes somewhat sweet, like dark fruits again, but not as sweet as I was expecting. Later on comes some alcohol taste as well as toffee or caramel.

m - Medium body with a lot of carbonation, this was very smooth and creamy.

d - Overall this was a nice ale. It smelled and tasted heavily of roasted and sweet malts, as well as some dark fruits. I thought the alcohol came through a little on the taste so I wouldn't drink more than one, but it was a very solid ale.

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Photo of Sean9689
3.65/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle from the cellar. No clue where this even came from but was mixed with a bunch of random 12oz bottles. Poured into Narke tulip.

A - Pours a reddish/orange copper color, off-white head, thin ring, some lacing, and wisps on top.

S - Lots of sweet malty notes, caramel, toffee, molasses. Very rich and sweet, nice level of malts work well here.

T - Again, big on the sweetness. Caramel, toffee, molasses, burnt sugars, slight medicinal/nutty finish.

M - Light body, perhaps a bit too thin for the style, light carbonation, creamy thin finish.

O - A nice Scotch Ale, but no where near the top for the style. I did think it was good, but not great. Would have again if offered, but would not seek out.

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Photo of allengarvin
3.7/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This pours out a somewhat murky honey-brown color with a slight head. Nice aroma of caramelized malt, very sweet. The flavor pretty much reflects the nose: rich, sweet caramel, with a bit of toffee. There's a faint smokiness that adds a nice touch at the finish. Fairly warming, but the alcohol isn't apparent in the taste. Big bodied, smooth and substantial.

Decent beer from SA's DR series, though neither best nor the worse. At the $17 price tag, I probably won't seek any more out.

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Photo of chicano4craft
3.7/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to klikger for the generous extra.

Porued into a snifter. A real cloudy brownish amber color. Small head head drops fast to thin, white bubbled halo.

Hugh caramel in the nose. Some dark fruit...cherry and red apple. There's also some sweet funk. The smoke I was expecting didn't show up until the beer warmed quite a bit. Even then it was hardly noticeable.

Taste is really smooth. Buttery,toffee,and caramel. More smoke than in the nose. Alcohal is very well hidden.

This may be the first time the taste of the beer was overwhelmingly bnetter than the smell and appearance. This one had me worried to start but really delivered in the end.

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Saint Arnold Divine Reserve #8 from Saint Arnold Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 91 ratings.
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