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Allagash Speciale Reserve | Allagash Brewing Company

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Allagash Speciale ReserveAllagash Speciale Reserve
Very Good
68 Ratings
Allagash Speciale ReserveAllagash Speciale 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
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 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 Jarod
3.12/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It poured into the glass a gold color with a slight haze to it. The head was a white-ish color that was thick and it left a nice lace behind. The aroma is fairly mild with a soft fruity tones (apples, pears, etc), light wheat and malt, and some hops and light spice. The flavor is fruity, somewhat sweet (hints of the apples), and caramel maltiness with some spiciness at the end. Drier then I would have thought from this style. It was quite carbonated as well.

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Photo of blakesell
3.2/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Batch #9 I can only assume bottled into the 750ml caged and corked bottle in 2001. Poured into a standard pint glass.

Appearance- Beer pours amber yellow orange with a two finger head of eggshell white foam that quickly dissipates into a fingernail thin foam head. There appears to be yeasty dregs swimming around in the bottle as it settles.

Smell- Very Belgian, yeasty and estery and not the slightest trace of hops (no surprises there). Light perry smells, no citrus, trace amounts of base malts.

Taste- Past it's prime for certain, yeasty esters attempt to distract the palate with light cotton candy flavors and sherry oxidation, should have aged something with a little more alcohol to hone the backbone of this beer but it does hold its own OK.

Mouthfeel- Thin, watery, extremely yeasty, not warming, not alcoholic, medium high in carbonation, lightly drinkable.

Drinkability- good for once, no way I will ever find a nine year old bottle again, so a good thing that I can't find it again for a 2nd try.

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Photo of ElGuapo
3.41/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch #6
A light red golden colored brew topped in a big white head that has some longevity to it. The aroma is really lacking. Faint fruitiness of apples and oranges with an overall citrus nose. There are little zings of spice, but they could've made a real nice whiffer out of this one.

Fruity with loads of carbonation. There is a big bready flavor that balances pretty well with the fruit flavors. Nice touches of yeast add a bit more character to this one. It is crisp, and would probably make a good warm weather drinker. Very drinkable, and if you are not a bit bored by the first one, you could have some more.

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Photo of Bierman9
3.46/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Batch #4 had a very pleasing medium-golden color, with a bit of cloudiness, and a huge(!) frothy, fine white head. Head stuck around all day, and created some nice lacing in the glass. Lots of little yeasty chunks added to the mix near the end of the quaffing session. Picked up a grainy, biscuity malt aroma, with some yeasty hints, though all on the mild side. Body was well-presented, but a bit too carbonated (for me). The carbonation diminished as the bier warmed somewhat. Detected some mild, pale malty flavors as well as some fruity touches. Flavors, in general, were on the light side, and the bier finished a bit bitter and dry. Not a bad brew, but I'd not go out of my way for it.

overall: 3.65
appearance: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | mouthfeel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3


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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 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 rab53
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.54/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer poured into the chalice crystal clear amber golden with a white tall frothy head which fell slowly to lace the glass.

The aroma was fruity and estery with a distinct Belgian yeast character and slight spiciness.

The flavor was light caramel but extremely dry. The sweet impression was noticeable on the palate as the beer first made contact, but immediately transformed leaving low dry bittering and a slight fruitiness.

The finish was dry, bone dry. The body was medium light.

750 ml corked and bailed bottle. Batch 6 on the label. I might have had this one forever and a day, but it was kept cellared. It was a royal pain to get the cork out of the bottle. Next time I will try to get to the beer a few years earlier.

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Photo of Quaffer
3.55/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

25.4 oz. bottle, caged and corked. Picked this up in Connecticut. Not availalbe here in Wichita.

Batch #7

Appearance: Poured a golden-orange color and was lightly hazy. A nice light bead gave it a bit of a sparkle. The off-white head was coarse and rose up to about a finger with some coaxing. A few nice rings of lace were left on the side of the glass.

Smell: A little sulphery at first, but that was quick to dissipate. A warm, roasted cracker smell made a solid foundation. On top of that floated light spices and the unmistakeable aroma of mandarin oranges. A little bit of alcohol spice was present as well.

Mouthfeel: Heavy carbonation caused the beer to practically foam up in the foam. I didn't care for that. Funny that I didn't get more head on the pour. Light-bodied.

Taste: The flavor was all fruit (mainly a continuation of the mandarin orange that I detected on the nose, but a little peach as well), herbal hops, and a general herbal spiciness. There was a hint of sweetness on the finish, but the main components from start to finish were fruit and herbs.

Not a bad brew, but a little too much orange flavor for me.

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Photo of HogHill
3.55/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch # 4, from a 750 that was caged and corked.

Appearance: Poured a deep hazy golden orange, topped with an inch of white foam.

Aroma: Familiar yeast Belgian yeast smell, along with some

Taste:this one tasted bready and and had a significant cut grass flavor too. There was a little bit lemon on the finish which overall was very dry.

Mouthfeel: light bodied and dry.

Drinkability: I had no problem polishing off this 750, I really enjoy Belgian Pale ales that are under 7% ABV. This one was quaffable.

Overall: I was slightly dissappointed by this Allagash offering as I usually find their beers to be very good, this one was just a bit uninspiring.

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Photo of MuddyFeet
3.6/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A surprising find when I was in Fairfield, CT for my high school reunion a few weeks ago. Been wanting to try this for a while.

Pours a nice peachy orang-ish in color. Layer of scummy head on top. Somewhat cloudy. Nose is a bit more than slightly spicy. Malt's sugars are coming through just a bit.

Very nice all-around Belgian Pale Ale. Bits of sweetness wrapped around bits of spices and cloves. Even a bit of a honey flavor going on in the background. Little bits of clover. Slightly watery but I am attributing that to the style. Very smooth and easy drinking. could probably drink this beer for a while.

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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 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 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 Bighuge
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is on the verge of copper, but not quite there. A little haze is noted and a very thin white coating graces the surface of this beer. The aroma is hugely sweet. Cotton candy, bubblegum esters, rock candy and maltiness. A little mustiness as well. The sweetness is not as obtruse on the palete. Some dim shades of bubblegum are there, but not a lot of other sweet characteristics. There's more of an herbal presence to the taste. And musty as well. A bitterness exists that is subdued and fitting, but not all together necessary in this beer. The toasted malt lays a pretty nice foundation in this beer. Not my favorite Allagash beverage, but certainly decent.

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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 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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Photo of putnam
3.71/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It was an abused 750 ml of batch #8. In and out of the cooler several times. Driven from Poughkeepsie to Detroit.
The pour was very promising. It showed yellow and mud colors and erected a noisy, tall, baby swiss cheese-patterned head.
The aromas are alkaline, like pool water, only very natural. Images of rotting yellow apples occur as clearly as those of buttered wheat toast, long, shaded grasses, yolk and lemon basil.
On the palate it travels in neat, parallel lines of succulent, fresh orange peel and the sticky bitterness of chestnut husks. Beautifully fizzy, its fruits are poised on the edge of latency. As they arrive - in all their lemon, apple and pear-flavored glory - they brings sewery, gassy, deeply interior belches of sulphur - old onions, gym bags.
I think this beer could use more ACID or "lower PH" or something...

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Photo of session1979
3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml corked bottle - batch #7 - Sampled from a large snifter

Appearance - Poured a clear honey color with moderate head and carbonation bubbles racing throughout the glass.

Smell - Smelled of light fruit, fresh flowers and slight citrus.

Taste - Fresh palate with hints of fruit, understated yeast and bread. Very dry on the finish, almost like a brut champagne.

Mouth - Light body, very refreshing with high carbonation.

Drinkability - Very drinkable with very little to no alcohol presence.

Overall - A very light and refreshing beer, not surprising for a summer release such as this. I liken it to Orval yet not quite as sophisticated or enjoyable. Would pair very nicely with a plate full of barbecue or spicy carne asade.

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Photo of francisweizen
3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Tasted side by side with the Allagash summer beer. This is obviously the same beer, and both bottles, whilst a bit old held up well. However the bottle-conditioned 750ml bottle aged much better, even though these are not *really* intended for aging. This brew is a dark orange colour with a tight white head of fine-streamed little bubbles. The aroma is all wheat, yeast nuances, coriander, and other spices. Light, airy, and summery. The taste is one-dimensional but nice. Soft carbonation leads to a light mouthfeel and the drinkability is OK. Good, but I won't search it out (in either form) again.

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Photo of hyuga
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of NickLovesBeer
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From Batch 7...
Special Reserve pours a deep golden color with a medium size pale head that has great retention. The taste is dry and fruity with a crisp aftertaste. Fairly similar to belgian trippel but only 5% abv. All and all a great summer specialty.

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