Allagash Speciale Reserve | Allagash Brewing Company

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.

For Trade:
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Ratings: 68 |  Reviews: 62
Photo of oberon
3.64/5  rDev -7.1%
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 NeroFiddled
4.18/5  rDev +6.6%
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 Jason
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
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 rab53
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of GClarkage
4.36/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

01/15/06- Purchased at Sun Devil Liquors in Mesa, AZ.

Presentation- 750ml bottle from batch #7. At least two full years aged. Poured into my St. Bernardus chalice.

Appearance- Kind of a blood orange colored pour. Full inch plus head which a full 1/4 inch remains until the finish. Nice patchy and streaky lace everywhere.

Smell- Mostky peppery spices and maybe a touch of hops in the nose. Maybe a bit bready as well.

Taste- This one has a really good flavor for a 5.5abv belgian. Loads of white pepper, a touch or corriander. Maybe a bit of a rotted banana flavor also. Sweeter and kind of tangy at the same time.

Mouthfeel- Higher carbonation level. A tad creamy as well. Fuller mouthfeel which is odd for a lower abv brew.

Drinkability- Flavorful and tasty Belgian. One of the better ones I have had for sure. Recommended.

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Photo of Gavage
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle labelled Batch #6. Pours a copper color with a medium head. The aroma was pleasant, as malt, yeast, and grassy tones were present. The flavor was well balanced. Yeast, malt and peaches were the dominant flavors, with a tinge of bitterness and citrus zest.

Smooth mouthfeel, medium body, and very drinkable. The malt and a slight tingling sensation lasts on the tongue for a bit after swallowing. Carbonation level was good. Overall a nice beer.

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Photo of afsdan
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of WesWes
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours an amber color with a 1/4" white head that fades to lacing. The aroma is great. It has a fine pale and light crystal malt scent with a dry, yeasty aroma. The taste is decent. It has a dry and weak pale malt flavor that goes down easy and finishes tart and musty. It has a full, robust, musty aroma, but the flavor doesn't add up. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good seasonal, but it could be much better. I like a light flavor, but this one needs more malts.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.79/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

If you like your Belgians high in alcohol with lots of oomph, don't try this beer, the beauty and complexity of this beer is there precisely because this beer is not a super charged 'American' Belgian ale.

This beer was batch #7. This beer pours a hazy orangish gold to copper color, it has a lively carbonation and a dense cream colored head. The aroma is fruity but grassy, with a floral hop note, there is a yeasty-musty-herbal note to it as well, basically it has a pretty complex aroma. This is a light refreshing brew, a style that so many breweries do not pay attention to or just do plain poorly. It is slightly sweet, but mostly dry, and the carbonation just dances on my tongue. There is a hint of banana in the finish, a bit of sharp biting carbonic acidity (from the carbonation obviously). At only 5% alcohol by volume this is a wonderfully complex Belgian ale. This beer is lightly bittered in the finish and it seems to have some woodiness to it as well. This would pair really well with a light nutty creamy cheese. As it warms up the malt brings a certain softness to this beer. There is still a bit of barely perceptible acidity and a fruitiness that, in combination, remind me a bit of cider. This beer has a definite malt backbone to it and though light and refreshing it has a wonderful mouth coating feel to it as it flows down my throat.

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Photo of jdhilt
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very smooth ale - abv 5%

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Photo of RBorsato
4.47/5  rDev +14%
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 Bighuge
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
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 Gusler
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
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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4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of francisweizen
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
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 Bierman9
3.46/5  rDev -11.7%
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 WanderingFool
3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
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 merlin48
4/5  rDev +2%
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 brewdlyhooked13
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - light cloudy orange, like a mixture of orange juice and pineapple juice. Off white head, some light sediment in the bottom.

Aroma - raisiny, prunes, a sugary sweetness typical of a Belgian.

Taste - mellow malts up front, a very soft start. Some yeasty flavors are obvious, getting past that I can taste some earthy flavors, some light mustiness which I don't mind. No hop presence at all. Great mix of sweetness and some light carbonated saltiness. Slight alcohol feel but very low key.

Mouthfeel - very smooth but with good carbonation.

Drinkability - a deliciously drinkable beer, a few of which I'll need to get for myself. Thanks for sharing, bro.

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Photo of Mitchster
4.65/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

$5.79 for a 750ml bottle. 5.0% ABV. Batch #10. I have no idea of the ingrediants as it's not on the website.

This one was a bugger to open, the cork was cemented to the bottle. I had to get out a corkscrew to open it. Pours to a hazy light amber, forming a tall whipped slightly off-white head with very good retention and a solid sheet of no doubt helped by it's firm carbonation. The aroma is nutty and full of ripe melon, candi sugar, toast, and kiwi. The mouthfeel is less spritzy than I would imagine and has a nice initial sheen and basement-y finish. Medium-light body. The taste was a recap of the aroma..there is a ton of melon, leather and some dark fruits reminding me of Fantome yeast. As it warms, Brettanomyces and basement character comes out in the nose, but it really isn't until you taste it that you can pick up on it. Delicate candi sugar taste but not very sweet..Lightly toasty but thankfully not bready. Interesting semi-sour gym shoes funky finish that blossoms as it warms... This beer gets better as it warms and sits oh so comfortably in the gut.

A very interesting brew...this is as authentically Belgian as you can get in the states. I could see this made with dark candi sugar and more amber malts and it would be an amazing brew comparable to fantomes offerings. As a brewer, I can appreciate the skill involved in creating a beer as authentic, complex and balanced as this. Kudos to Allagash and Rob.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.54/5  rDev -9.7%
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 CRJMellor
3.63/5  rDev -7.4%
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 kmpitz2
4.18/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 10. This beer comes compliments of my best friend from high school, Dwight. It pours very nice hazy orange color with a 2 finger head that falls only slightly. The nose is spicey, almost woody, with little malty sweetness, slighly lemony. When the beer first crosses my tongue, I get a sour/tart slightly lemony flavor that moves to peppery and woody, with some toasted nutty tones in there. The finish is definately roasty. The feel is thick, slightly creamy texture. This is a nice beer. One of the only Belgian style beers I recall with this pronounced roasted character. Well worth a try.

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Photo of brewandbbq
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle, batch #4.

The cork head broke when trying to disgorge, followed by a corkscrew to finish the job. An incredibly stubbord cork.

Pours clear copper with particulates in suspension and a one inch head of stark white.

Candied pears, tangerine pulp, and melons lead off the nose. Red apples, hard candies, and a hint of mango follow through.

Medium bodied with a crisp, juicy mouthfeel.

Ripe fruit, cotton candy, and biscuity malt start the palate. Apples, pears, and cantalope. A honey-like rounded sweetness follows through.

Finishes with lingering residuals, light spice, and candied apples.

Given the age of this beer, I'm really surprised that it hasn't dried up more. Minimal oxidation with plenty of fruit and liveliness.

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Photo of beerguy101
3.88/5  rDev -1%
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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Allagash Speciale Reserve from Allagash Brewing Company
3.92 out of 5 based on 68 ratings.
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