Allagash Speciale Reserve | Allagash Brewing Company

very good
62 Reviews
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.

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Reviews: 62 | Ratings: 68
Photo of jackndan
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
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 putnam
3.71/5  rDev -5.4%
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 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 Quaffer
3.55/5  rDev -9.4%
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 SheepNutz
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL bottle poured into a tulip-style glass. It pours a medium orange color with two fingers of head that die down to a small collar quickly. There is just a touch of lacing on the sides of the glass. The smell is fairly malty, with some fruity and spicy aromas. Just a hint of hops in there as well. The taste is nice and malty at first, and has some sweetness. Hops and another unknown weird flavor linger on the finish. The mouthfeel is pretty good for the style, and the drinkability is fair as well. A fairly solid special from Allagash.

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Photo of cbl2
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Note: Batch #8 2003


Crystal bronze that is very effervescent. Extremely huge white head.


Hints of nutmeg, coriander and perhaps some ginger are present.

Unbelievably smooth, with some nice malty character coupled with a hoppy finish that also reveals the blend of spices present in the aroma. This is labeled as a spring beer, that I've aged for fall, but it was well worth the wait!

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Photo of ark57
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch 7 - It pours a copper gold with a slight haze and a creamy head that lasts. The aroma is fruity, yeasty, and malty with some biscuit and herbal spice notes. The taste is lightly toasted malts with a slight fruitiness and some yeast. There is a slight tartness as well. It could use a little more carbonation, but it is a smooth drinker and it quite tasty.

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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 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 jahred
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Decided to mix things up this winter and try what's suggested as a summer beer on the bottle while the wind chill is 20 below.

Apparently this bottle is from batch #6. OK ... Open it goes. The beer is a very pretty deep yellow color, with a thick head that sticks around for quite awhile due to the carbonation. The strong scent is lemony and yeasty - smells quite appetizing.

The taste varies as I drink it. At first it's a deep malt taste, but only at first. Then there's sweet orange (mandarin?), a hint of ginger, lemon notes, and a very yeasty aftertaste.

As I continue to drink, I realize how easy this is to put down. Quite tasty for a Belgian style pale ale at only 5%, and very refreshing. At $4.99/bottle at the local liquor store, I'll be buying more of these during the summer to keep me cool and happy.

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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 crookedhalo
4.23/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Batch #4. Poured a hazy orangish gold with a thick greyish tan head that rested to a thin layer of floating foaminess. Smells musty and of subtle spice. Yeast character and a bit of malty sweetness really comes through it the aroma. When I first tasted this, I thought it tasted like Corsendonk Pale only stepped down a notch in body. Has a nice blend of malty sweetness mixed with the spicing of a witbier and finishes with it going towards the drier and mustier side of things. Spritzy and well-carbonated. Wickedly drinkable. Enjoyable.

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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 rkhaze
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch # 8. Poured a light copper color with a huge dense creamy white head. It almost looked like a cloud. Lots of carbonation. Great lace. Sweet, spicy aromas of malt and mild tropical fruits. There were some herbal notes and a slight lemony yeastiness.
The flavor was complex yet subtle. Lots of stuff here, but nothing too huge. Sweet earthy and herbal. Malt, light fruitiness and a hint of hay/grass. Finishes dry with a tart yeast flavor. Nicely done.
Medium bodied but with a light mouthfeel due to the carbonation.
This would be a wonderful drinking beer in the summer and not too shaby in December for that matter. I really liked the interplay of complexity and subtlety.

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Photo of ElGuapo
3.41/5  rDev -13%
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 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. It’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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Photo of NickLovesBeer
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
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 RockyTopHeel
4/5  rDev +2%
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 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 ManekiNeko
4.18/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch #8, 750 mL corked and caged bottle. Served chilled in a Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Nice gunsmoke when the cork was popped, letting me know that this sucker was gonna give head like a metaphor I shouldn't complete on this family site. Explosive and generous head (about 2 inches worth, potentially caused by a bad pour). Made of itty-bitty bubbles and cream-colored, the head stuck around for a good amount of time, it being replenished by a steady stream of bubbles in middle of the glass. Excellent lacing, probably the best I've seen in a Belgian style in a long time. The liquid was a light copper color, very similar to a Märzen.

Smell: Spicy phenols of pepper and clove and fruity orange lying over a nice malty smell.

Taste: Great initial splash of orange, pepper, and clove shortly followed by pale and caramel malt flavors. Slightly herby hop finish. I'm reminded of a Märzen again, but only in the malt profile.

Mouthfeel: Just shy of medium bodied. Very light on the palate and in aftertaste.

Drinkability: Quite potable, and not über-high in the booze like a lot of Belgian styles. Definitely a great beer for summer eatin' and sippin', just like the bottle says. I'll be snagging a few of these when the come out next.

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Photo of taez555
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml cork bottle with no batch number.

This beer poured a foamy white head with a slightly clear translucent orange/brown body. There were huge amounts of bubbles rising in the beer.

The nose was very light and fruity. A light alcohol punch. phenols. pears, apples, some pear peel smell. A very very light touch of spice.

The taste was very interesting. What seemed to jump out the most was the very light toasted malt flavor. Very highly carbonated. Raisons, pears some other soft fruits. A very nice light to medium bitterness with a faint earthy hop flavor. But still what stood out the most was a slightly more intense malt flavor than I'm used to with this style. But it all balanced perfectly against this lovely fruity pear and earthy pear peel hop flavor. Very light and easy drinking.

It ended with a nice roof of the mouth earthy bitterness mixed with the fruit that lingered for a little while.

Light, fruity, malty and so easy to drink, it's a dangerous beer. Overall just another great beer from allagash.

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Photo of fattychubs
4.01/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Large 750 ML bottle with a Champaign style cork that almost put someone’s eye out as it exploded from the bottle and beer went onto the floor. Batch #7.

Pours a golden yellow orange, with large bubbles feeding a good sized fluffy white head. Nose is grainy, with ripe citrus and yeast. On top a of a solid malt base, is a good spicy herbal hops, that give some roundness to the orange rind, and biscuit flavors. Taste has a very smooth mouthfeel and texture, with a medium body and fine carbonation.

I really enjoyed this beer, it went great with our summer day and our meal.

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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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Photo of WaltTrombone
4.23/5  rDev +7.9%
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 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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Allagash Speciale Reserve from Allagash Brewing Company
3.92 out of 5 based on 68 ratings.
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