Spécial De Ryck
Brouwerij De Ryck

Spécial De RyckSpécial De Ryck
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Pale Ale - Belgian
Ranked #453
Ranked #48,763
3.17 | pDev: 19.56%
Brouwerij De Ryck
Spécial De RyckSpécial De Ryck
View: Beers
Reviews: 27 | Ratings: 54 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of flyingpig
flyingpig from Scotland

3.12/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

330ml Bottle from Beers of Europe (£2.29):
Bright, orange tinged amber with a 1cm head that's foamy & white, holding well & covering the surface. Pale malts, grain & spicy notes open the nose with more earthy bitterness than expected & a faintly floral smell with light fruits & yeasty notes at the end. The taste opens with earthy grain & malts but it seems stronger & more boozy than a 5.5% beer. There's orange zest & spice with floral flavours & a peppery taste around the middle. It's a little harsh & unbalanced but strongly carbonated with a medium body & a dry, sharp finish; it's okay but relatively poor for a Belgian pale ale.

Dec 04, 2020
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JonnoWillsteed from England

2.15/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

L- Darker amber, pours with slight haze and a 1Cm+ tan head that is holding well.
S- Mild, just some bready notes for me.
T- It's milder than anticipated and comes over as 'bright', I think high carbonation is giving it a dry note on the palate, the CO2 is prominent.The hopping seems very modest to me and hard to ID it's presence. [My Taste rating of 2 equates to 'It's really blah, it has very little flavour, as opposed to less than 2 which would be caused by aspects that are overtly unpleasant or simply misplaced/wrong].
F- It comes over as really light, rather thin, even 'rather watery'. There is a thin dry facet that perhaps comes from the CO2 as I wouldn't expect any type of hop to result in a dry facet that's so mono-dimensional.
O- Really underwhelming. Nothing stands out with this beer, it has the mildest smell, the CO2 (and hence it's carbonic edge) is the most prominent aspect of the taste, more so than any typical beer-like aspects - I'm really unsure what to make of this, but it's notably disappointing and I wouldn't drink it again.
I wanted to try and elaborate further to be clear why I've given this a low rating. I'll just say this, my wife doesn't drink much beer, the occasional quality Bavarian beer (Krombacher, Augustiner etc) but she has a super-acute palate, more-so than mine. So when I have a 'what is this facet/impression' moment with a new beer I ask her to sample it, and give her *zero* clues re: what I am thinking, and remind here 'there is no wrong impression' that she might find. This might be for lacking character, curious facets, as well as suuuperb beers, it can be most interesting to hear her impression. With this she began by saying 'It really doesn't have much flavour does it?...'. I'll leave it at that I think.
330ml bottle BBE: Sep-2020. Bought from BeerOfEurope/UK for home delivery.

Jul 30, 2020
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Beginner2 from Illinois

3.39/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Had this 30 months past its "Best By" date, so I can't review it fairly.
But, MJ reviews it in his "Great Beers of Belgium." Read that... or at lest this excerpt: "a soft, notably clean, lightly sweet, malt accent; and a delicate hop character."
Special also is listed and reviewed in the "1001 Beers To Drink before you Die."
I will say this: this Special went great with a sandwich at picnic overlooking where the Russian River enters the Pacific. And that view will make 99% of beers taste great.

Oct 09, 2016
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StJamesGate from New York

3.79/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Brussels Beer Weekend.
Lion blonde with speckles. 4
Dough and flowers on the nose. 3.75
Slight crackery sweetness, some pale malt, a lean bite, and noble grass to end. 4
Almost medium, round, clean. 4

This is supposed to be something of a cult beer, but I’m having trouble seeing what’s special. It’s chalky, grainy, and not especially quenching - though the hops are there. Then again, I didn’t have much of a palate at this point in the afternoon. A distinctive and dry pale ale, if nothing else. 3.75

Oct 05, 2015
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Fatehunter from Oregon

3.19/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.25

Pours a finger and half of head on a hazy straw body.
The aroma is grain and sour smell. Okay.
The taste is mild grain sweetness and some lemon bitterness.
The texture is crisp but too fizzy.
It's okay.

May 31, 2015
Photo of russpowell
russpowell from Arkansas

3.36/5  rDev +6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Already feeling burned BBD of May of 13 & this beer has spent time in Oklahoma storage conditions, the horror!

Pours an effervescent amber with a sliver of cream colored head. A little sediment, average head retention & lacing

S: Sourness, tartness, a little funk, pears

T: Slight astringency, some cardboard, pears, peaches, a little grapefruit up front, leafy hops as well. Orange peel, a little dryness, still a little cardboard & leafy hops hanging around, more peach as well, little sourness. Finishes a little sour, a little oxidized, some aged hops, some orange peel & grapefruit

MF: Light/medium bodied, fairly lively carbonation, alright balance

Drinks alright, I feel I didn't get this beer at its peak, but maybe I did based on other BAs ratings...

I know Belgium makes good stuff, just got used to drinking it way cheaper & better when I was stationed in Europe, this depresses me...

Feb 12, 2015
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mhaugo from California

3.61/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.16 ounce bottle decanted into a tulip. 5.5% ABV. Best before May of 2014.
Appearance: Murky, light cinnamon color with a thin, but persistent, white head. Nice lacing. A few small chunks of stuff eventually drifted to the bottom of my glass (3.25/5).
Aroma: Oranges, but not like American hops. More like the pulp. Also easy to pick up spicy Saaz and a little apple. I also detect a touch of tobacco smoke (4/5).
Taste: Baked apples with burnt edges. Orange pulp and a thin layer of marmalade. Not overly complicated (3.5/5).
Mouthfeel: Medium body, medium carbonation (3.5/5).
Overall: Nice example of a traditional Belgian Pale Ale, but with an interesting burnt quality to it. Many other traditional examples I’ve had have a “fresh” quality to them, but this one almost tastes cooked. This bottle is slightly oxidized, but I don’t think that’s what I taste. Overall it’s a nice beer, but I probably wouldn’t pick up a second bottle any time soon (3.5/5).

Nov 27, 2013
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Luiz0930 from California

4.25/5  rDev +34.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Oh Belgium. Some times people just get beer that are sitting there for long periods of time. I was fortunate enough to get a fresh bottle. Well lets just say this beer doesn't last that long. Taste is crisp (something a good tripel has) ABV is low for a tripel yet harmonious. smells like coriander orange and citrus fruits. taste is rich and mouth watering carbonation of citrus ale. Most guys got older bottles. if you find yourself a resent bottled De Ryck Ale, defiantly pick it up

Aug 18, 2013
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UCLABrewN84 from California

2.99/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Best before 5/2013.

Pours a murky orange-brown with a foamy tan head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Tiny chunks of sediment are seen floating around the glass after the pour. Smell is of malt, grain, and slight fruit aromas. Taste is much the same with earthy grain and slight sour fruit flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty poor beer that smells decent but the flavors are not too pleasant.

May 30, 2013
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kristenspaintings from California

4.18/5  rDev +31.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This beer is an excellent example of an ale from Belgium. If you wanted to highlight what you should be looking for, this is it. The head is typical of a beer in Flanders, as is the taste, aroma, color and quality.

Simple put this beer is a very good choice.

The only unfortunate circumstance with this beer is the price. As of the date of writing this (4-3-13), a 11.16fl. oz bottle costs almost 4USD. Due to the European high taxation laws, I bet this beer costs more here than the same product in its native Belgium.

Apr 04, 2013
Photo of halfP1NT
halfP1NT from Pennsylvania

3.92/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a murky, dark honey color with a decent sized, fizzy of head that quickly recedes. Fizzy carbonation.

First aromas are yeast, bread and Belgian spice. Slight caramel sweetness.

First taste impressions are light fruit, sweet caramel and Belgian spices. Distinct Belgian yeast aroma and estery flavors that become more prominent as the beer warms. Hops not really present. Sweetness lingers after each sip.

Medium bodied, low to medium carbonation. The sweetness becomes slightly cloying but overall an enjoyable beer.

Feb 29, 2012
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Brabander from Netherlands

2.18/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 2.5

This was a beer for the gutter and i am not a person who pours his beers in the gutter. I bought tis beer last week in Belgium and i wished i didn't.

OPening the bottle it started with a gusher which cost me a third of the contents. The beer is darkyellow with no carbonation and the head disappears fast.

Smell of vomit with sourness. After a few sips we trew this one in the sink. Not worthy.

Nov 06, 2011
Photo of 4000qtrap
4000qtrap from Missouri

2.28/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Source/Serving: 11.2oz bottle

S: Cinnamon apple sauce. Peppery soap perfume.

T: Semi-sweet apple/pear fruits up front. Fairly sharp acidity and intense carbonation blunts the flavors. Not much hop flavor or grain flavor. Middle is continued fruits along with an iron/metallic twang and earthy phenols that are not terribly enjoyable. Thin body. Finish dries out sharply with a peppery bite and continued metallic unpleasantness.

Oct 02, 2011
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Jason from Massachusetts

3.08/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

11.6oz brown bottle with freshness date.

A: Shiny copper color, decent lacing.

S: Slightly musty and buttery, vague fruit and spice with some rustic graininess.

T&M: Nice snap from the crispness, thin maltiness that expresses a very dry grainy tone. Some fruit and spice, all subtle for the most part. Hint of chalky yeast in the middle, finishes very dry.

O: The more I sip this beer the more I think "table beer" though for it to be that I would assume the abv would be lower. Not a very memorable brew but still pretty easy to drink.

Sep 06, 2011
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Halcyondays from California

2.89/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

33 cL bottle,

A: Pours a nice burnt orange with a fizzy white head, limited retention, no lace.

S: Spiced orange, cardamom, gingerbread.

T: Lemon zest with a lot of bluestone and minerals. Light notes of orange, thin somewhat acidic flavour.

M: Quite thin, spritzy fizzy carbonation dies quickly. Structure is off.

O: Not terrible, but there are tons of better BPAs, this one is just average at best.

Aug 10, 2011
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impending from California

2.64/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

33cl into a tulip. Pours a dull dirty orange, minor dense head subsided fairly quick, large bubbled carbonation.

Mild yeasty fruity aroma.

Nearly devoid of flavor, not worth of trying to describe.

In the realm of pale ales they all tend to be staggeringly unexceptional . . . and this is no exception.

Apr 24, 2011
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DefenCorps from Oregon

3.38/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle from State Line, best by August 2012. The front label indicates the ABV is 5.5%, the blurb on the back label mentions 5%

Pouring a clear copper with a dense, off-white head with excellent retention that leaves a little lacing, this is a fairly attractive beer. The nose is surprisingly decent given the scores here. Yes, there's a little bit of Splenda-like sweetness, but there's a delicate spice character, mildly peppery and clove-like, with a bit of green hop character as well. It's hard to describe, as there isn't much going on here.

The palate opens with a blend of honey, bread and spices. What dominates, though, is the flavor of bread, rich and grainy with a mild nutty and toffee character. Light in body, this highly carbonated beer is drying on the finish with a slightly watery character. A little spicy and a little hoppy, there's a mild bitterness that lingers. This is neither offensive nor particularly exciting, and for the price, I'd rather drink a Duvel.

Apr 03, 2011
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largadeer from California

3.5/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Brownish-copper body topped by an off-white cap. Retention of said cap is fairly good.

Smell: Crusty whole grain bread. Some plum-like fruitiness from the yeast. A little coriander and sulfur. Not terribly aromatic, the toasted malt scent is most prevalent.

Taste & mouthfeel: Like the nose, there's a ton of freshly baked whole grain bread flavor going on here. Grainy, toasty, somewhat yeasty. It's thin, mild, extremely easy to drink but not particularly characterful. The finish is mild and dry, barely exhibiting any bitterness. There's a slight sulfuric quality buried beneath the malt, and a little spiciness. A decent beer, but I feel it would benefit from a more characterful yeast strain. Then again, as a quaffing beer it's rather nice. Sort of reminds me of an English dark mild ale, only with a Belgian yeast strain.

Mar 04, 2011
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lionchow from California

2.46/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Aroma is slightly metallic and cheesy. Pours quite foamy and effervescent, which increases the not too pleasing aroma.

Flavor is bland. Slight bread, malt, caramel. There is a vague bright yeast note. No bitterness at all.

Overall a fairly bland beer, over carbonated, and what flavors and aroma there were, were not particularly pleasant.

Feb 19, 2011
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DaveHS from California

2.45/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

A-Pours light amber with almost no head, just a thin ring of soapy, bubbly head.

S-Ugh. Smells like stomach acid. Or like vomit after you've drank a carton of orange juice.

T/M-Not much happening here, except for the light bready notes mid-palate. Tastes like bready malts/carbonated water. Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.


Feb 05, 2011
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benfons from Belgium

2.7/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Hazy sunset colour, small but stable head.

S: hops, coriander, malts, there is also something earthy, and some citrus

T: there is something off about his one, there are some hops and malts and a hint of citrus, but there is something unpleasant there that's quite noticeable

M/D: not the right kind of carbonation: too thin; light body ABV is fine

Jan 27, 2011
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rawthar from Pennsylvania

1.55/5  rDev -51.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

One of the only random bottles I picked up in Belgium aside from Christmas brews, I was immediately attracted to the label art, even if the last reviewer didn't like it. Bottle immediately spewed foam after opening, since I stupidly cracked the bottle open less than 24 hours after landing back in the states.

A- Nice thick fluffy white head, a lot of lively carbonation throughout the hazy burnt sunset body.

S- Sharp sour funky bread yeast is intense. Anyone who ever described a saison or a wild ale as smelling like a barn house floor would find that this one takes the cake in the funk category. Like sweat from a horse's taint or even a ripe gorgonzola. I'm not sure whether I find this very good or repugnant.

T- Man, I really wanted to like this...Is this infected, skunked, or just nasty? This is like when you have some nasty chunk of cheese that you forgot about.

M- I just cant go through with continuing to review this.

D- Drain pour.

Damn, this is such a let down, and really has me worried about the condition of all the other beers I brought back from the Bier Tempel. Apologies to De Ryck if this is simply a bad bottle, I'm not sure when/if I'll ever have a chance to try this again, but I would certainly be willing to give it another chance.

Aug 14, 2010
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jeranbrews from Oklahoma

2.77/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A - The bottle comes with a nice inviting picture of a castle drawn lovingly by a sixth grader. The bottle is that mixture of green and brown glass.
This beer is super fizzy. Carbonation with some to spare, handle gently before serving. After pour the color was golden wheat with copper tones and had a milky cloudiness along with a reasonable amount of yeast sediment at the bottom of the bottle.

S - The initial smells were malty, yeasty, and complex. I noticed coffee and sweet cake smells in there too. There was a mild hop aroma too. The pleasant malty smells died down after a few min and left the bitter hoppy smell of an IPA

T - Initial taste was sour and yeasty. No detectable malt. The aftertaste was just as strong. Like lemon rinds and used hop leaves. The balance of the beer is waaay off.

M - Little body, some continued burping, but you can't notice the mouth feel at all because of the overly dominate sour aftertaste.

D - The Sourness takes away any possibility of drinking more than 2 bottles of this in one day. This is another variation of the Belgian pale ale that leaves me wondering what the real nature of this style is. Despite the immense overly-sour aftertaste I'd still like to give this beer one more try on-tap.

Nov 02, 2009
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JeremyBrews from Japan

3.24/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Clear, copper color. Good initial head that receds too quickly. Very little lacing.

S- Hop aroma is strong. Sour yeast/sweet malt resembling apple juice.

T- Initial hop effect that dries to a sour, yeast aftertaste. Balance seems off: too much hop and yeast, not enough malt.

M- Medium-light body. Carbonation dies down a lot.

D- Goes down easy and light, with hop bittering not too overwhelming, and noticeable yeast flavor. Good BBQing beer.

Nov 01, 2009
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wl0307 from England

3.48/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle-conditioned, coming in a 330ml brown, slim Belgian beer bottle. The strength is at 5.5%abv., BB 19 Jan 2008, served slightly-chilled in a broad-rimmed goblet.

A: pours a bright tawny hue; an explosively-effervescent, thick and spongey off-white beer head sustains pretty well; the body is fiercely carbonated... Very lively it looks.
S: lemon-preserve, dried plums, dried mango's sticky fruity sweetness comes with a candyish+creamy maltiness upfront, slightly too sweet but still pleasant; on top of a noble-hop like aroma of dried grass along with a sour-sweet, yeast-drink (e.g. Yakult) like fruity-yeastiness in the background.
T: sharply-fizzy and fluffy-textured, dryish yeasty and softly spicy-hoppy upfront... leading fast to a flatly-textured brown-sugary maltiness with a lingering, residual Chinese herb-medicine-like dryish-sweet edge, like licorice+pine-sprigs but not exactly that.
M&D: the mouthfeel is lively throughout, yet also slightly thin-bodied and hyper-carbonated; besides, it fails to show a clearer structure, just like the same brewery's X'mas Pale Ale; the yeasty edge makes this beer drier and different, though, and does contribute to the overall complexity and drinkability, if not by a large margin. Not bad.

May 20, 2006
Spécial De Ryck from Brouwerij De Ryck
Beer rating: 76 out of 100 with 54 ratings