Speciale Reserve | Allagash Brewing Company

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Speciale ReserveSpeciale Reserve
Very Good
68 Ratings
Speciale ReserveSpeciale Reserve

Brewed by:
Allagash Brewing Company
Maine, United States

Style: Belgian Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Summer

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 07-25-2001

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 68 |  Reviews: 62
Reviews by beerguy101:
Photo of beerguy101
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Orange gold color. Large foamy head. Aroma is fruity. A medium to lighter bodied Belgian Ale. Malts are fruity and spicy. Very fine lively carbonation. A little cider like. ItÂ’s very fruity and yeasty, and surprisingly dry. This would make a very good session beer. Alcohol is only 5%, but it has a lots of some of the complex flavors that I would expect in a much higher alcohol ale. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is dry. Aftertaste is slightly sweet.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.64/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch # 7,pours a hazy orange/copper color with a huge pillowey,sticky head.Aroma is very light somewhat musty and a little earthy not that great,taste is very subtle some light citruis tones and some biscuit malt in the finish but very subtle.seems to be pretty food friendly because it does not over power good with some grilled chicken a nice beer for summer but it wont overpower you in flavor thats for sure.

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Photo of Jason
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 750ml brown magnum bottle corked and caged. Batch #1. No freshness date on the bottle. This beer is not meant for extended cellaring as you would for their other Reserve ales.

Appearance: Slightly hazed sunny copper hue, medium sized bubbles rush to the top and help keep the frothy off white lace. Quite appealing to the eye.

Smell: A touch earthy yeast with a light level of medicinal phenols in the nose, herbal and mild exotic / citric rind fruity aromas come forth also.

Taste: Moderate body with an incredibly smooth mouth feel that still retains a crisp carbonation. Crisp and spicy with complex flares of flavour. Dryish malt palate with a distinguished toasted biscuit flavour that holds dominance. A little medicinal from the phenols, a little herbal and peppery also. Fruity with suggestions of red delicious apples and pears, mild on the alcoholic esters but still apparent. Hops are delicate with just enough bitterness to balance and not be out of place. The well footed texture and an even keeled balance add to the drinkablity. Toasted malt flavour flows far into the after taste.

Notes: This is a great lazy summer time lunch time beer, a crisp spicy Belgian style ale with spicy tang bbq would make a perfect lunch. Forget all of those wine writing fools that think wine can beer paired with anything, they are dead wrong beer is better and this one proves it with its pair ability with virtually anything.

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Photo of merlin48
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I read somewhere that this was identical to the summer seasonal, so rushed home from work to sample it. Corked and caged, 750 ml bottle, pours a clear, orange/copper body with a small offwhite head. Moderate sheet lacing.
Aroma is bigtime fruity, with peaches, orange, grapes, melon, mild musty yeast, and a hint of coriander.
Mouthfeel has explosive, Belgian type effervescent carbonation and a light medium body.
Taste is fruity, but well balanced with clean, floral hops. A hint of yeastiness adds some complexity. Very smooth, and highly drinkable with the low abv. Clean finish and aftertaste. Hard to believe this is an Allagash Reserve, but this was Batch No. 9. Another fine release from my favorite, Maine brewery.

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Photo of RockyTopHeel
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch #8 (750 mL corked and caged bottle)

This brew is an almost suprising dark shade of golden, with a thin, fluffy white head and a slight haze amidst the bubbles. Fruit notes dominate the scent, and the flavor is very similar to the Tripel--without the "kick your ass" alcohol finish--and a nice, somewhat dry finish. Detected notes of apricot (maybe?).

Part #4 (and final) of the Z-Test Adventure. Now, it's time for bed. Cheers, Joj...

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch #4. The name "Speciale Reserve Ale" had me expecting something much bigger, but once I realized it was a Belgian-style pale ale I was pleasantly surprised. It's slightly hazy (bottle conditioned), and golden-orange in color, topped by a large, frothy, off-white head that holds well and leaves some nice lace in the glass. The aroma is fairly mild with a softly fruity, lightly biscuity malt, and some lightly spicy yeastiness. The body is medium with a very fine and somewhat effervescent carbonation that gives it a pillowy softness in the mouth. The flavor is of a softly fruity, lightly sweet, and gently caramel maltiness with some very nice peppery spiciness in the finish. There's a gently earthy and lightly musty character that gives it an authenticity normally not matched by American breweries. Very nice. A wonderful, lighter style beer to enjoy during the summer. It pairs well with quite a range of lighter flavored foods including grilled chicken, mussels and barbequed shrimp. A beer that's probably misunderstood, and underappreciated, by many American drinkers. Well done.

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Photo of jackndan
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Allagash Speciale Reserve, A Belgian Pale Ale, from batch number 8. Poured out of a 750 ml bottle, with a cork cap and a wire closure. Poured into a wide mouthed glass as per the suggestion on the bottle. Hazy golden color, the first glass was in fact fairly clear. Not much head, large bubbles help it to dissipate very quickly. The aroma is sweet and somewhat citrus. Nice taste, extremely easy to drink and light bodied. The most significant flavors are fruity, with more than a little orange and lemon. Not a bit of hops are noted, but again, this beer would make a terrific summer refresher. The only problem is that it is a little gassy and over carbonated. Very nice.

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Photo of CRJMellor
3.63/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch #9
Poured a hazy copper orange color wit a big head that dissipated quickly. Nothing truly stands out in the aroma besides faint whiff of green apples and ornage rinds. Fairly faint aroma, somehwat surprising from this great brewer. Very fruity (more on the darker side of the fruits) with decent carbonation. Mouthfeel starts great then peters out a bit. Little bit of bready/yeasty hint but nothing dominat. Finsihes with a slight dry and spciy bitter taste but agan nothing really predominant. Struck me as a mildly succesful imitation of Orval but that's not entirely fair as this beer as some outstanding qualities. In the end I realized I'm probably drinking at th wrong time of the year. Have to try another one in the summer.

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Photo of MJR
3.05/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Batch #6
750ml bottle

Appearance: Pours a glowing amber with copper edges. Lots of carbonation bubbles fight their way to the surface, which is covered by a thin, off-white cap.

Smell: The strongest smell is the cork... After that, I pick up on an earthy yeast aroma and a touch of fruit. Fairly weak in the nose...

Taste: The taste is an odd balance between the musty yeast flavor and a somewhat harsh, bitter orange peel flavor. There's a touch of a bready character, but it's in the background. Not much of a malt base or a hop bitterness to speak of. I can taste the cork though... This brew is completely lacking in complexity...it's thin and lifeless.

Mouthfeel: Highly carbonated with a light, watery mouthfeel. Finishes dry and crisp.

Drinkability: Below average...to be honest, this brew is downright boring. It's weak in flavor and watery in body, and I'm having trouble finishing the bottle.

Gentle and subtle? No...the word is bland. This is a disappointing brew from a usually outstanding brewery.

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Photo of hyuga
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of Bierguy5
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml. bottle, corked and caged. 5% ABV, Batch 9. Hazy orange/golden color. Thick white fluffy head. A bit of sediment floating in the glass. Great head retention.

Big fruity aroma, lots of green apples, pears and peaches. A bit of spicy, yeasty notes follow in the background. Very nice.

Bready, slightly toasty malt character. Some spices, and yeasty flavors. A bit of apple and peach, but not as much fruit as the aroma would lead onto. Crisp, with some earthy, floral hop notes in the finish.

Light body, good carbonation. Very easy to enjoy on a warm day. Refreshing.

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Photo of Gusler
3.8/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch #7
The beer pours a translucent deep gold to amber color, the head Brobdingnagian in size, spumescent in texture and a winsome light tan in color, as the head evanesces the lace left behind forms a concealing sheet upon the glass. Nose is dominated by the malt, crisp and fresh, lightly sweet, as is the malt-laden start with the top middling in feel to the palate. Finish is stinging in its acidity, the hops robust in their spiciness, quite dry and long lasting aftertaste, another great beer from a great brewery.

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Photo of marc77
3.47/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Turbid orange hue, topped by an ivory white persistent head. Decent lace is left. Pungently ripe citrus and musty yeast hit the nose at first, then are ensued by mellow clove and notes of grainy wheat tartness. Moderate hop and perhaps dried orange peel bitterness upfront followed by slightly cidery sweetness, pronounced yeast derived nuttiness and clove. Moderate in body, with a light, yet silky mouthfeel. Hints of bread crust and chalk emerge late. Finishes dry, w/ light mineral notes briefly lingering. Speciale Reserve is quite refreshing and relatively light on the palate, but lacked overall balance. Yeastiness was a touch too pronounced. An enjoyable brew, nonetheless. "Batch #6"

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Photo of geexploitation
3.79/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Allagash keeps cranking out quality brews, let's see what this one is like. Pours a light caramelized brown, with a huge white head that fades pretty quickly to a light dusting on top of the liquid. Aroma-wise, this beer is pretty lackluster, not too interesting. There's some light phenols, herbs and yeast, but the overall effect is a bit like soap (and yes, my glass is thoroughly clean and rinsed). The taste is a bit more expressive, with lots of candi sugar sweetness right up front, followed by a light pear flavor and some crisp bitterness. The mouthfeel is on the light side for a Belgian-style beer, but full of crisp carbonation.

Allagash Speciale Reserve isn't a party in your mouth, but it's interesting enough, and I imagine it would pair quite well with lighter foods, given its pale malts, light sugar flavors and herbal crispness.

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Photo of WaltTrombone
4.23/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch #6

It pours a golden amber, with a big sticky tan head. The aroma was malt, mild hops, and clove. Lots of flavors in the taste, with toasted malt, mild grapefruit, mild hops, leather, wintergreen, thyme, clove. The mouthfeel was smooth with light carbonation, and the finish was nicely balanced between malt and hops.

A yummy beer with complex flavors, very versatile.

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Photo of meathookjones
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this from a 750ml bottled labeled batch #10. Clear orange with pillowy white foam towering quite high. Scattered lace as the head died down. Great fruity notes in the nose with a light spiciness. A bit biscuity/yeasty as well. Flavor starts off with the light fruitiness of pears and apples before a kick of black pepper and coriander. Light grassy hop undertones. Finishes with a lingering spiciness. Solid flavor and aroma that were quite enjoyable. A bit light in the mouth and very crisp and refreshing. Bubbly on the tongue. Good drinking here, I could have had another bottle. Nice refreshing brew I will come back to again.

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Photo of connecticutpoet
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This poured into my pilsner glass with a 7 finger, pale tan head. I know it's the wrong glass, but that's what I had clean. Oh well.

The aroma was herbal, spicy, a little malty, with a bit of a floral scent.

The taste was mild, very dry, a bit peppery, with floral tones, and a slightly sweet finish. But it was gone almost immediately after swallowing.

Mouthfeel was disappointingly thin. I am only giving it average drinkability, because I got tired of it less than halfway in... there just didn't seem to be any oomph to it. I really don't think I would have this again... I am not sure I would consider this a good buy at $6.99 either.

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Photo of neonbrown82
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

This is quite an enjoyable brew for a late summer's night, after having worked all day in the heat. Thanks to GCBrewingCo for the bottle (batch #5, apparently).

The beer pours fairly average. It has a light pale golden color that appears amber in the shade. Has a light carbonation and a thin and fine white head. Looks pretty standard for a belgian pale.

The smell is of herbal, spicy noble hops, a yeasty clove scent, and a touch of sweet graininess and light candi sugar.

There is a nice herbal flavor to the hops throughout the taste, as well as a bit of the aforementioned yeast/clove flavor. Only the slightest bit sweet. Perfect, and not over the top on sweet candi sugars like some brewers. It all finishes quite wet with no hint of an aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is fairly light in body, but still nice and creamy. Drinkability is quite exceptional at 5% ABV. The 750 ml bottle is downed quite quickly with minimal buzz. This beer is very highly recommended for a good belgian style lawnmower ale.

It is not the most complex and interesting belgian style beer, but it has its time and place. I seem to have found a good time and place in our current nation-wide heat wave.

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Photo of LarryV
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very light aroma, almost non existent. This was from batch #4. Pours a light coppery color with a nice head. A rather tasty brew if I do say so myself. Yeasty with a lingering hop bitterness. Nothing particularly special, but a likable, drinkable brew.

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Photo of aracauna
2.84/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I was expecting something great from Allagash, they being one of the more highly respected brewers at Asheville's Brewgrass festival. Unfortunately, I found the beer to be more of a dark amber, light brown ale with little distinguishing character other than a slightly noticeable citric hoppiness.

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Photo of granger10
3.61/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch #10

Golden peach in color with a large foamy egg white head. Good amount of bubbles rising to the top, lots of lacing. Very floral aroma and somewhat herbal. I can't get much past that. Slightly acidic too. Flavor is also dominated by the floral notes I got in the aroma. Some clove spice is in there and a good amount of sweet breadiness. Quite dry. The herbal, floral flavors still really dominate this beer. It's almost a little overwhelming to me. It's good but I grew tiresome of it after about 12 oz. Still, quite good, esp. for the usually warm weather we're experiencing here in Michigan.

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Photo of RBorsato
4.47/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


Orange-ish with a moderate light tan head, decent carbonation, and almost no lace. Nice soft malt aroma with a light Belgian yeastiness and mild clove-like notes. Tastes much like it smells -- a light version of a tripel; fruity and lightly spicy. Medium bodied, soft and smooth.

Very nice Belgian Pale Ale !

Per Allagash website: (*Same as Summer Ale*)
Alcohol Content: 5% ABV
Original Gravity: 1047

Batch #6
Tasted: 05/04/04

(25.4 oz / 750 ml Brown Champagne Style Bottle - Corked and Caged)

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Photo of Realale
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 750 ml of Batch #6.

Slightly hazy orangish-tan color. Big, tight beige head slowly settles to a mostly complete rocky cap.

Nose is Granny Smith apple peel with a crisp underlying maltiness. Initially the palate is all malt, with both crackery and bready malt notes playing key roles. There is an excellent minerally quality, which gives good length. The mouthfeel is full and round. Spicy/slightly phenolic notes are apparent in both the nose and palate with time. Very lively carbonation. Really enjoyable session beer with excellent complexity.

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Photo of jdhilt
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very smooth ale - abv 5%

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Photo of WanderingFool
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch # 7

The beer pours a hazy golden yellow with light orange hues. A foamy white head develops and slowly fades to a sheet on the surface leaving a good amount of lace along the sides of the glass. Faint spicy oders (coriander?) and a hint of citrus hover over the beer. This medium bodied beer begins with a mild citrus flavor. Light malts move in which are followed by a slightly spicy finish. None of the flavors seem to dominate. A sticky palette with citrus flavors is left behind.

As the label says this beer would be good to enjoy in the summer. I enjoyed it with a pesto pasta, but I think it would go well with fish or chicken too. The closest thing I can compare this to is a Blue Moon, but the Speciale Reserve is what that beer should taste like!

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Speciale Reserve from Allagash Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.91 out of 5 with 68 ratings