Saint Arnold Divine Reserve #9 | Saint Arnold Brewing Company

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Saint Arnold Divine Reserve #9Saint Arnold Divine Reserve #9

Brewed by:
Saint Arnold Brewing Company
Texas, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Note from the brewery "Important: let this beer warm to at least 50° before enjoying".

Added by armock on 12-01-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Ratings: 192 |  Reviews: 118
Photo of JohnGalt1
3.48/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Buckeyeboy provided this one over the weekend... Thanks Jeremy.

Pours black with a thick dark tan head... good retention and pretty lacing.

Nose is a blast of pumpkin pie spices... nutmeg.. cinnamon.. ginger.. cardamom maybe.. roasty elements only show with alot of warmth...

Flavor mirrors the nose and that is a detriment for me.. again, the expected stout qualities are but are an afterthought... hints of dry cocoa on the finish.

Pretty big boned on the body... lighter carbonation accentuates the mouthfeel.

Eh.... Definitely not for me though I "appreciate" it I guess. My main peeve is that I don't believe that pumpkin pie spices belong (for the most part) in pumpkin beers... or at least in the levels that most breweries do. The perceived sweetness and frequently "hot" nature of the spices distract and don't allow the base beers to show. I loved DR #5, but could not even remotely pick out that world class beer in this mess. These spices belong in pies... cakes ... soups.. and chai.... not in beer... end of rant.

Thanks again Jeremy... I know that you guys were making fun, but oh well... I just don't get it.


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Photo of emmasdad
3.81/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep, rich black color, topped off with about a finger of creamy tan foam. Aromas of Thanksgiving pumpkin pie (or at least that canned pumpkin filling), brown spices and maybe just a hint of the anticipated roasted malt. On the palate, more of the same, although the pumpkin pie flavors work really well with the dark chocolate, dark fruit and espresso. A very nice and unique imperial stout.

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Photo of brentk56
3.55/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a pitch black color with ruby highlights and a rocky tan head that fritters away to a ringlet; fairly good lacing, however

Smell: The booziness of the aroma burns my nostrils if I sniff too deeply, but the pumpkin pie spice is clearly discernable, along with molasses, chocolate and grape soda

Taste: Chocolate, molasses and pumpkin pie, up front, with the high abv adding fusel alcohol by mid-palate; after the swallow, the flavors add a phenolic fruity dimension which tastes a bit like grape soda; plenty of char in the aftertaste, as well

Mouthfeel: Thick and viscous, with relatively low carbonation; plenty of heat and warmth in the gullet

Drinkability: The imperial pumpkin stout concept sounds fascinating, but I am not sure that this one pulls it off very well as the flavors really clash

Thanks, ericandersnavy, for the opportunity

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Photo of Fnord
3.82/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance - Black with a thin wispy head.

Smell - Alcohol, pumpkin, oak, vanilla, maple, and nutmeg.

Taste - It starts out with all the elements of the smell, then goes into bitter chocolate, malted milk shake, and a bit of prune. Alcohol is very prominent.

Mouthfeel - Average body and low carbonation.

Drinkability - The alcohol bite hinders the drinkability quite a bit.

Notes - It tastes a lot like DR5 did, plus pumpkin of course. I would love to try them side-by-side.

Regarding the beer itself, it's a bit too harsh for my tastes. I can't help but think it would have been better if they'd brewed it to "only" 8 or 9% instead. On the other hand, the pumpkin adds an interesting dimension to it. So overall: good, but not worth the hype.

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Photo of AdamGarcia
4.02/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another beer from JJFoodie. Thanks Justin!

12oz btl poured into Chimay chalice.

A: Pours fairly black, but a little light seeps in around the edges. 2cm head from a strong pours, but it disappears very quickly.

S: Does NOT smell like your typical Imp Stout. Ginger, molasses, some anise. A gingersnap/pitzel hybrid in beer form.

T: Missing a little toastiness, but that is clearly intentional. This is a dessert beer. Sweet & spicy. Like a dark fruit cobbler with a crispy gingerbread crust, topped with a sugarcane rum reduction sauce. Hints of chocolate syrup. Just enough hop presence to prevent a ligering overly sweet finish.

M: I would like a little more viscosity. Low carbonation is well suited to the flavors of this beer.

D: I like this a lot, but wouldn't want to drink more than one in a sitting. The alcohol isn't apparent.

Went into this w/o knowing much about this beer and I was plesantly surprised. I saw that it was listed as an American Imperial Stout, but I didn't realize it was of the spiced variety. I wish I had a few more bottles to tuck away in my cellar.

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Photo of WorldWideStout
4.54/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to JJFoodie for this bottle as an extra!

Consumed at room temperature, as all my beers are. :)

A: Dark brown body with small, dirty white head that leaves fairly quickly.

S: Wonderful! As soon as I started pouring the beer I could smell it. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread. A decent amount of sweetness, as well as nutmeg, clove, and other spices. I think I can detect a little chocolate as well.

T: Like pumpkin bread studded with chocolate chips. The pumpkin pie spices hit first and are present throughout, but this is joined by some dark, but not too bitter chocolate. There is some malty sweetness as well. The spices may be a little too strong for some, but I think the balance is great right now. It's not quite complex enough for me to give it a 5, but there's plenty going on.

M: Good carbonation that doesn't take away from the flavors. Body is slightly thinner than you might expect for all the intense flavors, but this keeps the beer from becoming too intense.

D: There's no way this is 11%. If I concentrated, I could taste a bit of alcohol, but not much. I would've loved to have another.

This is terrific! I'm not a huge fan of regular pumpkin stouts, but the marriage of the chocolate and sweet backbone of this beer with the spices is just fantastic. I sure hope I can get a few more of these!

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Photo of ShogoKawada
4.4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz into tulip.

A- Dark, obsidian, with a nice sandstone head that diminishes quickly but leaves some pretty lacing. A film of bubbles lingers on the surface.

S- Spiced! Smells like Christmas. Pine, cinnamon, gingerbread, dark fruit.

T- I think the best way to describe this is as a gingerbread stout. Because that's exactly what it tastes like. I have been hit-or-miss with spices in beer, but this one, while heavy, is fantastic. Really something different here. Gingerbread with a dash of cinnamon and some chocolate malt. Mild roastiness and nutmeg as well.

M- Spices leave a great lingering taste, good carbonation and a creamy, full body.

D- Moderate, but oh-so-good. I was unsure going into this beer what I'd think. I'm glad I got to try it and glad I have another one to sit on. This is a very good and very unique beer.

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Photo of gford217
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to Wasatch for this one.

Pours almost completely opaque black with only a bit of mahogany coming through the edges. There's a big creamy tan head that leaves a solid cap but little lacing.

The aroma is dominated by the pumpkin spices, especially the caraway. There is also nutmeg, chocolate malts and pumpkin, but that takes a bit of a back seat to the spices.

The taste ramps the spices up to a different level, as the initial sip is a flood of caraway and nutmeg. The underlying chocolate malts are present but they are definitely in the background, along with the pumpkin. The finish is dry and very spicy with an alcohol burn that lingers after each sip.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied for an impy stout and very creamy, though the most prevalent characteristics are the spices and alcohol.

This is a good impy stout (or a very good spiced beer) that is unabashedly spicy. I've tasted by few beers that had such a dominant spiciness, with the caraway bringing the heat on the palate. Interesting and tasty.

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Photo of elniko
3.52/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into snifter, wanted to wait to review so it could mellow out a little.

A: Pitch black with very little head despite rigorous pour. Decent lacing.

S: Super strong nose. Cinnamon, almost some slightly cola like notes, don't really get much pumpkin. I remember enjoying the nose more when it first came out.

T & M: Taste is quite interesting. A little thin up front with the spices coming through in the middle with a really strange almost unpleasant aftertaste. Finish almost has rough medicinal quality that really took away from the experience for me. Mouthfeel a little rough too with the finish.

D: Time has not done this brew good as I remember enjoying it much more when it first came out. I still give Saint Arnold credit for brewing outside the box. I think whatever was used to add the spice notes is not aging well at all.

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Photo of caresville
3.19/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

received this beer from twiggamortis420 in a black booty BIF, really excited to try this one!!

a- black as night, poured a beautiful thick tan head that subsided rather quick, no carbonation and some lacing.

s- very candied sugar, peppermints, cinnamon, and some chocolate. rather strange for a stout... or any beer in general.

t&m- bitter with a toned down menthol taste. caramel, brown sugar, chocolate and licorice. very strange taste to say the least but not bad by a long shot.

d- over the top weird for me. this beer was all over the place from sip to sip. one sip i loved it and the next i wanted to throw it out the window. theres nowhere to place this brew but the middle of the road.

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Photo of alcstradamus
3.52/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes

Near black pour with a finger of head and some lacing. Aroma is one of the most unique I have come across in the style, it really smells nothing like an Imperial Stout...more like a mix of rock candy and Red Hots. Is there cayenne pepper here? The spiciness is really unique and is quite nice.

The taste is not quite as nice as I was hoping. The candy-like aromas did carry over to the flavor, but they don't project themselves very well. It does not become sweet or cloying or anything like that, it just seems a tad dull and messy. There seems to be some sort of flavor muddling it up that almost comes off like peanut butter. Still, it is quite unique and not bad.

The body is on the higher end of medium and the carbonation is a bit sharp. Overall I thought this beer was more interesting than likable, but it was so unique that I could very well see someone falling in love with it.

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Photo of gnemesis
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was an extra from JJFoodie! Poured from 12oz bottle into snifter- I see the note now about letting it warm a bit and it is true- got better as the beer warmed in my hands. Dark brown to black beer left a thin brown head- didn't stick around for me to consume. Smell of chocolate, licorice, and fig. The chocolate remained in the taste joined by amazing ginger bread flavors. I have never tasted anything like it in a beer. Thick and full-bodied. I could see drinking a few of these at christmas or thanksgiving given the ginger bread flavors.

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Photo of DrDoitchbig
3.97/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured a fairly deep, dark black with some prominent brown edging. The pour was fairly aggressive, but still only yielded about one finger's worth of tan head that dissipated into a very thin collar. Not even a speck of lacing on this one.

Smell: This is certainly not your typical Imperial Stout. The nose is filled with a unique spiciness. Nutmeg, cinnamon and pumpkin immediately come to mind. There are also hints of gingerbread and not surprisingly some roasted malts.

Taste: All of the off the wall spice is present from the smell. It all comes together to form a flavor that is ridiculously reminiscent of pumpkin pie. Beneath that some usual stout suspects show themselves. Tinges of roasted malts and dark chocolate are present and accounted for. The alcohol is fairly well masked by all the spices floating around, but it's still here, far in the background.

Mouthfeel: The body is definitely full with carbonation levels that are higher than usual, especially with this high of an alcohol content. Fairly smooth and creamy, but it's not the pinnacle of the style.

Drinkability: With such a high alcohol content I expected this to me more of a sipper than it is. The bizarre flavor combination here is not going to be for everyone. I'm not sure I could have more than one in a session. But overall I found it to be interesting and enjoyable.

I think Saint Arnold definitely succeeded in creating a Pumpkin Imperial Stout. Sometimes these strange creations can be pretty awful, but thankfully this one was not.

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Photo of jwc215
3.57/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to Mora2000!

Pours black with the smallest amount of light penetrating through the edges when held up. A thin tan head becomes a wisp.

The smell is of heavy spicing - pumpkin spicing with gingerbread. Licoric, molasses and something akin to grape soda mix in. Pretty robust - interesting.

The taste is of heavy spicing - too heavy, really. It does have a licorice and molasses dark malt character that does not clash with pumpkin spicing and gingerbread. There is something in the back, that was noticeable in the nose, that reminds me of something close to a thick grape soda - that's not quite it, but as close as I can think of. Sweet, balanced by spicing.

The alcohol does show strength, though not too "boozy" for the high abv. There is a spritz to it. It does hit "full-bodied", though.

More "interesting" than enjoyable, to me. A dark pumpkin pie with an alcohol punch. Something like that grape-soda-ish character in the back, the heavy spicing that doesn't clash with dark malt, but seems to turn it licorice-ish-like... something a bit odd. Something "rough" about it -other than high abv that I've noticed in at least some of the other beers from this brewery -(though, admittedly, I haven't had too many - I believe this is my third of this series, and have had a few out of this series). Still-in-all it is unique. Imperial Stout pumpkin pie - booze and all... Interesting.

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Photo of John_M
4.49/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Not sure why this is listed as an imperial stout. It neither looks, smells or tastes like any RIS I've ever tried. The website describes it as an imperial pumpkin stout, which seems a bit more like it. No matter.

Sampled a bottle a couple weeks back during the epic snow we were having here on the East Coast. Many thanks to the JosephLondon for the opportunity to try this one.

The beer pours a dark as molasses brown color with good head retention and lacing. The nose is hugely spice laden, with a boatload of brown sugar, clove, cinnamon, cherry and baked apple. The flavor profile is every bit as intense and in your face, and replicates the nose pretty closely. The beer is fairly sweet, but the boatload of spice keeps it from coming across as overly so. The amount of spice in this beer is almost over the top, but it also tends to give the beer almost a dry finish, which I liked. Mouthfeel is very full and rich, and the spicey flavors go on nearly forever. Drinkability is OK, though the noticeable alcohol, coupled with the sweet, spice filled flavor profile, make drinking this impressive beer very slow going. Regardless, I thought this a very interesting and impressive effort from Saint Arnold Brewing. This well made, full flavored beer reminds me very much of what I might expect of a mythical imperial Anchor X-mas ale. It's got that kind of richness, intensity, alcohol and spice. Very nicely done. Will wait till next winter I think to drink my last bottle to see what a year's aging does.

Edit from 11/15. Recently sampled this beer at the Draughthouse in Austin. At least for my money, this is easily the best pumpkin beer on the market today, with the beer displaying just the right amount of spice (a lot, but not over the top) and sweetness (again, not too sweet, with the beer drying out nicely on the finish). My current rating/score is almost identical to the one I made back in 2/10, though I thought the appearance on tap was a bit superior, and of course I had to up the overall score (previously, the drinkability score). Really a great beer from the folks at St. Arnold, and a treat to finally sample on the brewery's "home turf."

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Photo of JMC_TM
4.42/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This Imperial Stout pours a deep black with some ruby highlights as the sunlight tries to penetrate it. The nose is full of pumpkin pie spices, the alluring aroma of alcohol, and some faint notes of nutmeg, caraway and vanilla. The taste starts with chocolate malt with a hint of spice and rolls into a warm spicy alcohol taste which seems to have the same effect as the balance that usually comes from the hop bittering. Overall, this beer finishes relatively dry for such a big beer. The pumpkin provides a pleasant undertone and a nice mouthfeel.

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Photo of EPICAC
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Divine Reserve #9 pours an opaque black. The carbonation sounds oda-like upon pouring. The head is light brown, retains well, and is fed by a nice stream of bubbles. Pumpkin pie spice aromas are immediately noticeable with notes of cinnamon and nutmeg. The effect of the malts and spices give an impression of ginger bread. There are mild, roasty undertones.

A mild roastiness opens up into a spicy center with notes of cinnamon and ginger. The roasty flavors come back in the finish, along with a warming, alcoholic spice. The sweetness is strong, so there's only a hint of lingering bitterness. This stout is full-bodied, with moderate carbonation

This beer is a sipper. It's alcoholic and spicy.

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Photo of Parrotbeak
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Almost jet black. When held to direct light, a tiny amount of light passes through, making it a deep mahogany. Very thin, tan head that recedes almost immediately, leaving a ring around the perimeter.
Smell is of pumpkin pie, gingerbread, and dark coffee roasts. Some milk and dark chocolate as well. This one is promising so far...
Taste is definitely pumpkin up front. Pumpkin pie, and a little gingerbread, with roasted pumpkin seeds on the finish.
Mouthfeel is smooth and fairly crisp.
Drinkability is pretty good on this one--no alcohol presence and quite tasty.
While I'm not a huge fan of pumpkin ales, this twist of the style (an imperial pumpkin stout) is much to my liking.
This brewery is a relatively unknown gem in my opinion, the likes of which I was lucky enough to discover, as my employer's headquarter is in Alvin, Texas.
Fancy Lawnmower is the best summer beer I've had to date, and Divine Reserve 9 is the best pumpkin ale I've had to date as well.

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Photo of tattooedtolley
3.37/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Jet black, very little head and I poured vigorously. This is probably the strangest smelling impy stout I've ever had. I get cinnamon, coffee, roasted malt, maybe some potpourri, gingerbread, nutmeg, who the hell knows what. Its spice all up in the nose with roasted malt. I got to be honest, that scares me as I like 2 "spices" in my beer, malt and hops. Diving in, I get a big punch of lightly carbed impy stout roasted malt, then a light finish of these gingerbread holiday spices. As it warms, its evolving into a much better beer, I'm going to let the next one sit out a while longer.

11% abv. Not sessionable, but I'm having another, its really growing on me. Its certainly not something I want everyday but I have 3 feet of snow on the ground outside and if my xmas tree was still up this would be so welcomed. Again, I can't stand spiced beers but this one is pretty damn good. A spiced Impy Stout, I can dig it. Very warming, like a bourbon warming. Not hot on the taste but a little alcohol heat on the finish. I think thats fine for a big holiday sort of stout.

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Photo of hoplover82
1.87/5  rDev -52.4%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

This is the worst Imp Stout I've ever had. I am so dissapointed in Saint Arnold about this. :(

The appearance is the worst. Almost no carbonation. No head or lacing. Black.

The smell is just of hot alcohol dark fruits and too many spices.

The taste is the same with even more spices. Terrible indeed!

For the price of this beer, I couldn't bring myself to pour this beer out, but if it costed a lot less than I paid for it, it would be poured out for sure.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.28/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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

a - A dark brown, letting no light in. It poured about an inch of a lighter brown head with little retention and carbonation.

s - Smells strongly of spices, the major ones that stick out being cinnamon and pumpkin. Also smells of gingerbread, and maybe some mint/pine?

t - Taste is similiar to smell; lots of spices. Lots of pumpkin, gingerbread, and cinnamon. Also get tastes of alcohol.

m - Full bodied, little carbonation, a little bitterness due to the heavy spice.

d - I thought this was an ok stout, but nothing amazing. Personally I felt that you could tell it was 11% ABV, and I did not care for the spices taste as much as I have in other beers. A largely pumpking taste, yet I would rather have something like ST's Pumking or DFH's pumpkin. Not bad, but not something I would seek out again. Since I have one 12 oz. bottle left, I think I may sit on it for a year and see if the spices mellow out.

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Deuane for this one. Poured from a stubby 12 ounce bottle into my shaker glass. Appears the color of root beer with about an inch of creamy rust colored head to match. When I was given this, I was told it is a strong scotch ale. When I poured it into the glass I was greeted by a good dose of gingerbread cookies. Seemed kind of strange for a scotch ale. Log in here and read that it's listed as an impy stout. The aroma makes more sense now. They are going for a spiced holiday stout I suppose. Nose and flavors consist of the aforementioned gingerbread, nutmeg, cinnamon, pumpkin pie notes come through as it warms, some alcohol heat, bittersweet chocolate, graham crackers, clove, raisins. Somewhere between a medium and full body with decent carbonation and a good amount of alcohol warmth in the throat with each sip. Thanks again for the chance to try this one Deuane!

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Photo of projectflam86
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to natelocc787 for the trade. Cheers!

A- Pours a deep brown color with a thin head that leaves a bit of lace.

S- Huge aroma of gingerbread cookies and nutmeg with a bit of chocolate.

T- Warm boozy spice initially with flavors of bittersweet chocolate, vanilla bean and ginger. A nice pumpkin sweetness in the finish.

M- Medium/full bodied with ok carbonation.

D- One of the better tasting pumpkin beers that I've had. Very interesting to say the least.

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Photo of JAramini
3.23/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The brewery's suggestion of letting it warm to 50 degrees is a good one. Fresh out of the fridge the beer was kind of a mess.

It's pitch black with an 1/8" head that fades quickly. The nose was overpoweringly pumpkin and spices when cold, same goes for the taste.

Too cold and all you can taste is poorly-integrated spices.

Thankfully, as it warms it mellows out considerably. The flavors integrate and it smooths out. It tastes like a blend of a strong pumpkin beer (such as Pumking) with an imperial stout.

It hides its alcohol well. Even so, it's tough to get through 12 oz of this one.

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Photo of theboozecruise
3.82/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass, split with my brother. Thanks to a friend (don't think he posts here) for bringing one back from Texas!

The appearance is dark brown, no light getting through with a small tan head.

The smell carries a lot of spices, I can pick up the pumpkin for sure, some cinnamon, other spices and some bitter chocolate.

The bitter chocolate is more dominant on the tongue, the other spices are present but not as strong as the aroma. It's a good beer, for sure, but I wish the bitterness was more subdued and the other spices could come through more.

Feels good in the mouth, a little lingering bitterness, but it's still pretty good. And it's not a bad bitter, just a little unexpected.

All in all I enjoyed my first taste of the 'Divine Reserve' and I'll certainly seek it out in the future as well.

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Saint Arnold Divine Reserve #9 from Saint Arnold Brewing Company
3.93 out of 5 based on 192 ratings.
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