Saint Arnold Divine Reserve #8 | Saint Arnold Brewing Company

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Saint Arnold Divine Reserve #8Saint Arnold Divine Reserve #8

Brewed by:
Saint Arnold Brewing Company
Texas, United States

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:
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Reviews: 92 | Ratings: 139
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 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 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 mikesgroove
4.38/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another new one in the line, glad I can say I have actually had all of these, now we get to number 8 and one of my favorite styles. Served chilled and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 12/09/2009.
The pour was near perfect with a deep, dark brown that had loads of ruby highlights on the bottom of the glass. Nice two inch head of tan that capped it off nearly perfectly, leaving behind tons of lacing all over the sides of the glass. Rich aroma, earthy malts, touches of grain and floral notes. Warming brings out caramel, lots of sweet notes. Really nicely done here, as I take the first sip I remark as to how thick the feel is on this one, very full and rich, really let the flavor sit on the tongue. Hints of heather overlap a rich malty sweetness. Light touch of hops at the end, but quickly erased by another bout of rich sweet caramel flavor as well as a nice touch of bready flavor. Smooth, even finish and well hidden ABV profile made this one go down much easier then I would have thought.
Overall this was very solid. Great representation of the style and really just finely crafted ale all around. One of the better versions of the style and would be glad to have this one again any day.

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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 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 woodychandler
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was an extra (gift) in a CANQuest trade and since I now have off until Tuesday (this is Thursday night), I figured that I would sit down and enjoy some of the beer hanging out in my refrigerator awaiting just such an opportunity.

The pour gave me two thick fingers of medium-tan head with good retention. Man, I could smell this one right away! Color was a hazy deep-amber, possibly due to some lees at the bottom of the bottle that I inadvertently poured into the glass. I have long said that clarity is over-rated, plus the lees do not bother me, so I am down with all of it. Nose was, to this self-avowed hophead, super sweet. It smelled like caramel or toffee along with some chocolatiness. Is a Heath bar a bad analogy? Mouthfeel was full and creamy, in fact, it felt like having a scoop of ice cream in my mouth - thick, creamy, sweet, even buttery. No, it was not diacetyl. Instead, it reminded me of Butter Brickle ice cream, which uses chunks of toffee, IIRC. Finish was smoooth, but at 9.30%, it went down mighty easily. Scarily so. After the first couple of hits on this, I began to feel its intensity creeping over me. One bottle was nice, but it would satiate me for a while afterward.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.12/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received in trade from TexIndy, thanks for the opportunity.

Pours a solid dark brown with beautiful ruby highlights when held to light. One finger off white head dissipates quickly to a cap. Smells of smoke, toffee and burnt sugar. Slightly fruity on the nose with a touch of alcohol in there as well. Taste is toffee and caramel infused with some light fruits a touch of alcohol in the middle with a lingering smokey peat in the finish. Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, carbonation is moderate, and the body is full. This a great brew that continues to grown on me with every sip.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.82/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to BgThang for this extra. Served in a Bruery tulip.

A - Pours with a yellowish foam that settles to a thick collar and wispy haze on top, but with minimal lace. Hazy reddish orange body.

S - Smoke, peat, ham, earth, and some surprisingly restrained malt sweetness for this style. I think this has been erroneously listed as a Scotch Ale instead of a Scottish Ale. A bit of alcohol peaks through, but that's not inappropriate, regardless of which it is.

T - Taste has a bit more sweetness, but it's in a honey-glazed ham sort of way. The earthy, meaty character is actually a welcome change of pace from some cloying examples of this style.

M - Surprisingly harsh carbonation, some stickiness, and a lightly burnt finish. Medium-full body.

D - Not the most drinkable of beers, but better than many of its brethren. If you like smoke you'll really dig this one. I'd consider having it again.

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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 Mora2000
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is my 300th Texas rate. Shared by someone at the most recent Freetail bottle release party. The beer pours a copper color with a white head. The aroma is very malty. I get a lot of very sweet toffee as well as a little bit of alcohol. The flavor is more of the same. The alcohol and sweet, sugary malt really stand out. There is also some nice dark fruit notes with some figs and cherries. Smooth and easy to drink. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. This beer is about two years old but has held up very nicely.

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Photo of John_M
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to Twiggamortis420 for the opportunity to sample this great beer.

Divine 8 puors a slight hazy, mahogany amber color with very good head retention and considerable sticky lacing. The nose in this beer is terrific, showing caramel, brown sugar, toffee, milk chocolate and orange citrus. Flavors replicate the nose pretty closely in this fairly sweet ale, but this beer is so well balanced, the sweetness never seems overdone or heavy on the palate. Mouthfeel is rich and full,with a long finish. Drinkability is amazing for a beer with this abv., as despite the sweetness and noticeable alcohol, each sips makes you want to take another. Interestingly, although I thought this beer well balanced and oh so very light on its feet, there's not even a hint of bitterness. That's how well the hops are integrated into the recipe.

Really liked this one... excellent stuff.

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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 ppoitras
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle obtained via Local BIF from twiggamortis420. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into an imperial pint, formed a 1" orangey tan head above the cloudy orangey copper brew. Head lasts well, with coating lacing that falls ever so slowly. Aroma is leathery and fruity. Taste starts with tannins, dried fruits in the middle, with a melding of flavors at the close, and light warming. Mouthfeel is smooth, and drinkability is quite good. Excellent.

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Photo of Viggo
4.32/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, huge thanks to GregMcQ for hooking me up once again.

Pours a cloudy very dark orange/amber, some brownish highlights, thin off white head forms, slowly settles settles to a thin ring around the glass, a few small spots stick.

Smell is very sweet and fruity, caramel, raisin puree, light peat and smokiness, very earthy, dates, touch of chocolate sweetness, woody, toffee pudding, brown sugar, a bit of alcohol, quite nice.

Taste is nice as well, biscuity, toffee, bread, brown sugar, wood, peat and smoke, lots of raisin, very fruity and caramelized, brown sugar, earth, honey dates, light chocolate wafer dryness in the finish, some alcohol, nice and malty.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with medium carbonation, maybe a little too lively for the style. Some warmth going down, real nice malt character and I really like the peat. Thanks Greg!!

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Photo of maximum12
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to TexasStout for shooting me a couple bottles of this brew. Cleaning out the dark corners of the beer fridge this weekend, not sure why I've let a scotch ale sit so long; they're one of my wife's favorite styles, & this has been a good series to date. Without further ado.

Pour is muddied liquid caramel, blending in like camo into the new leather couches in my man-cave. Sweet caramel also leaks into my nose, along with toffee, alcohol, & the barest beginnings of oxidation.

Divine Reserve #8 is a blast of flavor. The frequently mentioned caramel is coating every other taste, of which there are several. Toffee adds to the Candy Store circus, along with notes of dark, shrively fruits; figs, raisins, dried apples, prunes. Waiting behind the curtains patiently is a whiff of forest fire, too, a most unexpected taste that serves to parry the sweetness & keep is from cloying up the senses. A heavy, darkish brew that's appropriately somber & makes me want to drink it all night.

A worthy addition to the Reserve series, & an excellent beer overall. In the firmament of scotch ales, #8 can hold its head high in the most highly regarded company.

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Photo of champ103
4.28/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I just opened a bottle 06/08/10. I usually drink a special beer before I travel for work (not uncommonly around the world). I added this way back when, and enjoyed it on tap. Lets see how the bottle version has held up after about 9 months.

A: Pours a hazy orange/brown color. A two finger beige head forms with excellent retention. Rings of sticky lace are left behind.
S: Smoke, dry wood, and lots of dark fruits. Chocolate covered cherries and plums. A light oxidation. Oh ya, the aroma has developed nicely.
T: Lots of dry wood and peaty smoke flavors that I love. Dark fruits of cherries and plums that follow the nose. Light toffee flavors. I love it.
M/D: A full body that is incredibly creamy, smooth, and velvety. Very dry as well. Really easy to sip on. A great beer as a night cap.

I would say that I really enjoyed this on tap. Though this is exceptional out of the bottle. This has improved a ton over the last several months. If you still have some bottles, this is excellent right now. Well done Saint Arnold.

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Photo of AgentZero
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

MasterSki dropped by and brought this interesting offering.

A - Brownish red, off-white head, not a lot of stick on the side.

S - A lot of smoke going on here, bit of caramel malts, lot of peat smell there.

T - One of the more peaty beers I have ever tasted. Great smoke, something like a bit of ham there in the taste. This is very appropriate for the style, with the peaty taste reminding me a bit of scotch. This is a style of beer I usually don't care for, but this one is quite unique and pretty good.

M - Medium bodied with an appropriate amount of carbonation.

D - A pretty good beer, the alcohol is decently hidden, this is actually a really solid take on the style, and unique enough that I would recommend it.

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Photo of gford217
4.22/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle courtesy of EinWeizenbitte.

Pours a murky caramel brown with a healthy cream-colored head that recedes pretty quickly and leaves only spotty lacing.

The aroma is extremely sweet with a healthy dose of smoke. The caramel malts and dark fruits dominate with toffee as well. But lingering in the back is the smoked wood and peat that makes the nose more complex than most in the style.

The taste is just as complex with an initial blast of sweetness - molasses, caramel, toffee and raisins. The finish is much drier than I was expecting with some oak, smoked malts and peat.

The mouthfeel is extremely smooth overall but with a light dryness mentioned before. The carbonation is moderate but seems softer.

This is an excellent Scotch ale that has a very intriguing smokey element that adds some complexity that I don't normally get in the style. It's also very drinkable, as evidenced by the fact that the alcohol is non-existent to me. Another Divine Reserve, another winner.

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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 JoeyBeerBelly
4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this brew from whoneeds8 for winning SNF Squares Week 13. Thanks Maston!

12oz bottle served in a standard pint glass.

Murky red/amber color with a beige head that thinned out after a few minutes.
Aroma is sweet caramel malt.
Taste is very good, sweet and malty with some roasted malt flavor midway through until the lip smaking sweet finish.
Full bodied with a creamy feel.
It's drinkable but at over 9% abv, watch out.

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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 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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Saint Arnold Divine Reserve #8 from Saint Arnold Brewing Company
3.9 out of 5 based on 139 ratings.
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