Petrus Speciale
De Brabandere

Petrus SpecialePetrus Speciale
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Brown Ale - Belgian Dark
Ranked #123
3.28 | pDev: 15.55%
De Brabandere
Petrus SpecialePetrus Speciale
Notes: Petrus Speciale is an amber coloured high fermentation beer with a typical dry aftertaste. Brewed according an ancient recipe with special malts, this beer gives an mild scent derived from aroma hops.
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Reviews: 105 | Ratings: 180 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Yoann
Yoann from France

3.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle to a tulip
A - Clear dark Amber with a thin white head
S - Smoky malts and leafy hops
T - A slight acidity, lets a bad bitter aftertaste
M - Classic carbonation
O - This ale is not very well balanced

Jun 04, 2017
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hoptheology from South Dakota

3.86/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The pour is deep copper-amber colored, with a thin milky ring on top. It's making my glass look like a snow globe, or OJ with large pulp, with tons of HUGE, flaky sediment floating everywhere. I literally have never seen so much sediment, nor larger flakes, in any beer, ever. It's like a Belgian Monk scratched all his dry scalp into the beer. Kinda grossed out but more impressed than anything.

Aromas of baked grains, deep caramel and toffee, and molasses.

Flavors are more of the same, with some bread, fig, molasses, caramel, baked grain, and a touch of witty citrus.

Feel is sticky from the start, with plenty of carbonation, with a smooth, semi-dry finish.

Overall, this isn't bad at all. Again, the spectacle of the body made me shoot video of it. Insane. The aromas and flavors are there, I don't understand the low ratings.

Nov 02, 2016
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Brutaltruth from Ohio

3.78/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Enjoyed from the 11.2 oz bottle in a snifter via a Christmas gift from my working partner---THANKS TONY!

This nice BPA pours a medium clear amber with a modest head of white dissipating foam that forms a thin ring, light lacing, and a subtle layer. Nose of mild candy malts, hay, apples, and subtle herbal notes. Flavors follow the nose with crisp apple and candy sugars on the front and sides that melds into a light herbal hops note on the back of the taste with mild grain notes. Smooth and refreshing with crisp carbonation finishing clean and lively. A nice ale indeed.


Dec 28, 2015
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PlutonowyManiek from Belgium

2.6/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Color: amber, clear. Foam white, fine bubble very quickly melts to a thin ring, slightly adorned with glass.
The aroma is not madness, slightly fruity, white grapes.
Taste: Very similar to the aroma, delicately, in the foreground and white grapes, it is slightly sour and seasoned.
Gentian short, low, grassy. Saturation high, a little bothered.

Dec 07, 2015
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Bitterbill from Wyoming

2.28/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a hazy gold with a huge amount of floaties. Head of foam and lacing are admirable.

The smell is of sweet grain and caramel. ..bordering on a vegetal smell.

The taste is overly grainy, overly sweet, and has an annoying vegetal taste. To be fair, this was bottled the 15 1st day of 2014. Maybe this would be good fresh?

Nov 10, 2015
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

3.56/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

surprised to see this one rated so low here. do folks have a problem getting this fresh in the united states i wonder? perhaps that is contributing it its poor scores here, but i am really enjoying a bottle of this right now. its got a low of fish food looking yeast sediment swirling around in an otherwise clear very light amber colored brew. the head is a little less than in inch tall and very airy, but it doesnt hold at all. just a thin film is left in the surface after a few moments. the nose on this is cool, a hint of red apple juice and belgian yeast, but an mostly simple grain base with just a touch of sweetness and mild grassy european hop complexion. its delicate stuff really in the smell, but it also smells unique, not overly belgian in the yeast sense. the flavor is quite as nice as the nose, its got a hint of staleness to it, and the apple character is a lot more developed. its not bad, just a strange intentional feature if it is in fact intentional. the hops balance the sweetness of the grain pretty well, but this has a long long finish on it. im not all the way pleased with the mouthfeel. the carbonation is weak for a belgian, but the lighter body makes it pretty easy going still. not a trace of alcohol to it, which i usually like in these too. overall interesting beer, if not the most compelling thing these guys produce. you dont see it around much, and its a fun one to try.

May 26, 2015
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cjgiant from District of Columbia

3.53/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The bottle says this is an "amber colored top-fermenting beer", so I was looking at it tasting more like a lager, perhaps. With the low rating I wasn't expecting much. I was nicely surprised, but that doesn't mean I was impressed.

A: I get a dark golden beer, not an amber, but it is quite clear and produces nice carbonation.
S: malty nose, some hay, apple
T/M: similar to the nose, light bitterness, but refreshing. While it's far from a heavy beer, there is a little more body to it than I expected.
O: I think this beer would be a good replacement for any time you might otherwise consider a pilsner, say a cookout on a warm summer night. However, even saying that, there are likely better and cheaper options for that too.

Jun 14, 2014
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spoony from Colorado

3.26/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

From a 330 ml bottle (dated December 6, 2015) into a tulip. Reviewed from notes date March 26, 2014.

A-A normal pour produces about one and one-half fingers of off-white head. The beer is burnished copper in color and clear with a few bubbles floating up through the liquid. I do not get any lacing as I drink.

S-The aroma is sweet with an apple cider-like flavor and a touch of malted barley. I also get some toast and a bit of grain. Not terribly complex or impressive.

T-The taste is on the crisp side with grain flavors, some malted barley, and a sweet alcohol that suggest pears. The finish dries out a bit. Meh.

M-The feel is on the thin side with a crisp carbonation that is above-average in volume.

O-This was the last beer in my Petrus mixer-sixer...and it is not anything worth waiting for. The aroma, taste, and feel are thin and grainy, and the higher levels of sweetness make the beer taste a bit artificial. This reminds me of bad American amber style beers, not a Belgian. To be fair, however, there are not many Belgians with this type of flavor and I guess it is unique.

May 04, 2014
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Badger6 from Virginia

3.27/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 355 mL bottle into a tulip. I cannot tell what the beer's age is, but based on my experience, perhaps its past its prime? No idea.

A: Hazy brown body, some carbonation is visible but it's not really visible, and a lot of suspended 'stuff.'

S: Has a sweet but clean smell, like drying apples and caramel.

T: Slightly sweet flavor, dry caramel malts, hints of apples. The carbonation is gentle, but it seems to interfere with the base malt flavors, never letting them fully expand on the palate. There is a hint of something metallic or sulfurous, not strong or distinct, but it is in the taste. Clean finish.

M: Medium to heavy moth feel, gently carbonated, no distinct alcoholic feel on the tongue.

O: The carbonation interferes with the flavors of the malt in the front. Then there is a metallic or sulfurous flavor note that comes in and begins to mess with the middle and finish. As the beer warms a bit things get better, but not by much. This is drinkable, but not awesome.

Feb 21, 2014
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MrBoz21 from Colorado

3.81/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Yellow copper, pours with soupy white head that settles into thick ring. Thick lace slides down glass. Very bubbly.

Noble hops aroma, slight floral, spice and biscuit.

Dry and mildly acidic with a smooth hop bitterness.

Medium bodied with carbonation tingle.

Overall: I really like this beer. Has lager like smoothness and is well balanced.

Dec 14, 2013
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feloniousmonk from Minnesota

3.18/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Petrus Speciale Ale, Alc. by Vol. 5.5%. Product of Belgium, Brewed and bottled by Brewery Bavik.

Clear amber color, small white head.

Aroma: clean, crisp, and grainy. a very lager-like aroma, not many fruity esters in this. Spicy hops, but still giving me more a pilsner feel than an ale of any kind.

Taste: More crisp, more clean. Light bodied, lean, easy-breezy and worry-free. Light, little hop tingle, cracker-y malt flavor, ending is dry. It is a tasty thing, but doesn't deliver quite what I'm looking for. If you're just looking for a classy, light drinker, this is your "key to heaven." Not so much mine.

Let's look at the label band: "Petrus Special is an amber-coloured top fermented ale This ale's characteristic aroma is a result of the specially selected malt and hop varieties. Petrus Special is brewed according to an age-old recipe. Serve cool."

May 13, 2013
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JEdmund from Kansas

3.57/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Looks identical to the Petrus Blond with its hazy orange/copper color.

It even smells similar with the floral hops and bready sweet malts.

Flavor is where they split off, as Speciale Ale is more bitter than the Blond. The finish is noticeably drier, nor is it as creamy in body and malt flavor. Still enjoyable, but having this right after the blond makes it feel like a wimpy little brother.

An enjoyable, easy to drink beer. Will have to give it another shot to see if it impresses me any further.

Apr 10, 2013
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korguy123 from Canada

3.5/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into tulip.

Crystal clear orange pour with some sediment suspended. Half finger white ring around glass and minimal lacing.

Sweet malts, slight pilsener aroma with fresh cut grass and sweet dough.

Juicy grapes, sweet malts, candied sugar, pepper spice, fresh baked bread and pilsener malts.

Light body, heavy carbonation.

Not bad... I've enjoyed the Petrus beers; the Oud Bruin being my favorite of the bunch. This one was slightly lackluster.

Mar 14, 2013
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Douberd from Netherlands

2.8/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Brown botle of 30 ml, part of a six pack of Petrus beers. Poured into a tulip glass at home.
One finger of white head, average retention. Light lacing around the glass. Colour of the beer is a deep orange copper one. No activity in the glass.
Aroma is malts, yeast, some fruits like apricots and peach. Not too strong of an aroma, but a pleasant one.
Hmm, taste is weak. Sweet/sour, quite metallic and just some caramelized malts. Slighty bitter aftertaste, with a short finish.
Thin on the body, average carbonation. Only a bt dry on the palate.
Overall, not the best of the Petrus beers I have tasted so far, and certainly the weakest and most forgetable one as it lacks lots of character.

Feb 20, 2013
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rhoadsrage from Illinois

3.83/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(Served in a tulip glass)

A- The clear deep caramel body has a lumpy beige head with some micocarbonation racing around like cross town traffic.

S- The dry spice and mineral notes have a dry caramel malt hint to the finish but it stays pretty clean.

T- The dry carbonic acid note gives way to dry caramel malt and a flint hint in the finish. Some sulfur taste comes through in the finish aswell.

M- The medium-light mouthfeel has a gentle fizz but no alcohol heat.

O- The dry caramel malt flavor is overpowered by the fizz taste and the spice might be a big coriander flavor but it almost taste a little metallic. As it opens the caramel flavor grows and the spice gets softer which makes it taste better.

Jan 03, 2013
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KTCamm from New Jersey

3.75/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

Pours dark amber, black thrown through, with very fizzy white foam. Lacing all over. Apple cider nose - tart. Taste is a mellow ale, some latent tart/souring. Fast finish - off a cliff buzzy carbonation. If you really look for it there is some hop bite at the end. But otherwise an even keeled ale with some creativity mixed in.

Dec 16, 2012
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markovlad from Italy

3.41/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

brown belgium ale

I've drank it cold at arround suggested temperature (4˙C)

strong yeast taste, not too bitter, but bitterish

no distinctive aftertaste

distinctive apple taste in the middle

the bottle maybe suggested somewhat more complex taste

Oct 13, 2012
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lacqueredmouse from Australia

3.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle purchased for me by @epiclurk.

Pours a mild, clear amber hue, with a fizzling, large-bubbled but relatively persistent head of off-white. Lacing is pretty good, sitting in sticky rings as the beer goes down. Body is pretty light, and only provides the merest of impediments for the racing carbonation. Overall, not a bad look though...

Nose is mildly sweet, with a relatively thick malt character providing the brunt of the aroma. There's a hint of something a little acidic, perhaps a touch of oak or funk, or maybe just the complexities of the yeast, but it lends a little edge to an otherwise pretty dull aroma.

Taste, however, doesn't deliver on this complexity. In fact, here we get nothing more than that malty sweetness, with no real body or weight to back it up: it feels as though the malt appears in a honeyed flash, and then disappears, leaving a watery, unsatisfying afterimage. Slight prickle of carbonation, come residual copper characters and a hint of bitey tannins on the finish to clear up—this means it's not cloying, and it has a touch of refreshment about it, but it's still not exemplary.

Feel is too light, and the tingle on the back palate leaves something to be desired.

It's drinkable enough in its way, but it's below many, many other Belgian beers in this style. It lacks complexity, balance and overall, it just lacks interest. This is not Speciale in my books.

Sep 22, 2012
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falloutsnow from Illinois

3.01/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

From: Friar Tuck's in Savoy, IL (part of a Petrus boxed set)
Date: Best by 7/15/2012
Glass: New Belgium globe glass

Petrus' Speciale is a mildly dark (brown?) Belgian ale with straightforward malt and yeast aromas and flavors. The ale is by no means offensive, but beer enthusiasts expecting more complicated and unique sensory stimulation from a Belgian brewery are likely to be disappointed by the lack of complexity featured in this well-crafted beer.

Pours a solid 2cm head of fairly clean, white foam, composed of small, dense bubbles. Head retreats over a minute to a thin cap atop the body, with thicker foam around the edges. Head leaves very little lacing along sides of glass. Body is a transparent golden brown color, apparently filtered, with fairly vigorous carbonation streaming up from the bottom of the glass.

Aroma has a slight sharpness and tartness, perhaps from yeast or hop usage. This is followed by a fairly tranquil and sweet Belgian brown and pale malts. Nothing offensive, but fairly mediocre, compared to the amazement found in other Belgian ales.

Beer is characterized by brown malts that impart a dry, cereal-like and slightly bread-like flavor to the beer, all mixed with a slight spiciness. In detail, the beer opens with grainy and cereal-like flavors on the forefront of the palate; transitioning to sweetness, mild yeastiness, subtle spiciness, and continued cereal flavor in the mid-palate; and closes the palate with cereal flavors, malt sweetness, and a bit of spiciness. Aftertaste of mild sweetness and cereal characters.

The beer is medium to medium-light in body, with mid-level carbonation, creating a soft foaming effect on the palate. Finish is dry, with a refreshing amount of crispness.

Jul 22, 2012
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beergoot from Colorado

3.02/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Nice dark golden body with a rich, sticky head. Excellent lacing down the glass. Carbonation from bottom of the glass is pretty weak (surprising because of the head).

Malt nose with hints of hazel nuts and slight alcohol presence. Rye bread.

Mouthfeel is medium and smooth, a bit of sugary stickiness.

Taste is a funky combination of lightly roasted grains and a medicinal-like bitterness. Almost intriguing, but weak and scattered as far as focus in styling goes. I'd give this one another shot in case I got a bad bottle, but it will probably be a while...

May 19, 2012
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woodychandler from Pennsylvania

2.51/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

I kind of blew it this past winter - The Fridge was selling Petrus gift packs that included five different beers and I dragged my feet until it was too late. Since then, I have managed to find four different ones, of which this will be my first.

From the bottle: "The Key to Heaven"; "Petrus Special is an amber-coloured top fermented ale. This ale's characteristic aroma is a result of the specially selected malt and hop varieties. Petrus Special is brewed according to an age-old recipe. Serve cool (6 - 10 C)."

My pour produced a finger of tawny head with limited retention. Color was a coppery amber with NE-quality clarity. Nose had a caramel malt sweetness accompanied by an odd lemony citrusiness. Mouthfeel was on the thin side and the taste was equally muted, kind of sweet like caramel, but with a slight bitterness on the tongue. Overall, though, there was nothing terribly special about it. Finish left a watery taste in my mouth, like I had been drinking colored water. Man, I hope that the rest of my inventory is better than this. Yawn!

Mar 10, 2012
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cavedave from New York

2.81/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

From a mix pack. Recommended by Vinnie. Thanks Vinnie! Live review.

A four finger head of thick foam comes to rest as a soapy topper leaving some righteous lace. It's a cloudy beer of dark honey color.

Light vinegar and unripe pear and apple fill out light/med. strength aroma. There's a sourdough bread note here as well, some other more rounded tart yeast smells.

Quite a strange flavor at first sip. Can't really get a handle on it. Seems to be some familiar caramel notes, but they seem, well, Seems to be some familiar yeastiness, but here also unfamiliar "off" notes keep the light tart and even lighter fruit from being tasty. There are some herbal notes, almost like a medicinal root thing going at the end of the sip. It is interesting and has moments of being enjoyable due to its singularity, but it is not delicious, nor bracing, nor memorable.

Somewhat heavy for a BPA, I would score it higher as a BDA, but even there it would not be to style. Med. carb. and fair to middling finish.

What a difference from the quality of the Petrus Aged Pale! Will not revisit this.

Feb 22, 2012
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Mar02x from Netherlands

2.91/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - A nice light brown beer with a tiny carbonation bubble in the fluid, the head is white and fluffy. Overall; it is nice to watch.

S - A prickly Pilsener scent.

T - Carbonated water with a slight Pilsener taste! IN the depth there is some malt syrup leftover, but really nothing more.

M - The carbonation is good and the bitterness OK, but overall nothing special.

O - Maybe a nice thirst quencher on a sunny day!?

Feb 10, 2012
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ahq514 from Illinois

2.91/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from 11.2 oz bottle into tulip.

Pours a deep amber color with a light white head. Seems to have light to medium carbonation. Good lacing.

Heavy on the malt. Strong and sweet malt. Heavy on the spice as well. Has a fruitiness to it, maybe apples. There is also a familar hop aroma, that I can't put my finger on.

Tastes very similar to how it smells. The first couple sips contain an off putting metallic flavor. After getting through that, there is a sweet malt with a nice dose of fruit from the yeast. There is a slight tartness that goes along with it. Light hop presence, not much bitterness. Can't get past the nasty metallic flavor.

Mouthfeel is decent. Medium body and lower carbonation. Drinkability is ok.

Probably on the lower end of any belgian beers I've had. Metallic and not put together very well. Things just don't come together well at all.

Jan 18, 2012
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Smakawhat from Maryland

3.2/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass.

An extremely weak and soapy shampoo like white head that falls fairly quickly onto a crystal clear bronze body. Glass has lots of large cola like bubbles stuck to it, and there is a good amount of fast rising carbonation coming from the body. Some slight lacing on the glass as well.

Mild grainy malts, and sweet green apple smelling. Kind of a sense of wet and slight syrup coming.

Taste brings some light sugar and honey, but a simple malt bit of crispness. Finish comes of sweet, but even a little crisp, some airy malts. Taste on the palate is a bit fleeting and just doesn't really stick around much. Mouthfeel is not too bad, slight gaseous and carbonated a bit, fleeting bitter hop with no distinction.

Overall pretty easy drinking if kind of pedestrian and sort of boring. At least it's not awful, but doesn't really do so much for me. Meh... pass.

Dec 15, 2011
Petrus Speciale from De Brabandere
Beer rating: 76 out of 100 with 180 ratings