Special Brew
Carlsberg Danmark A/S

Special BrewSpecial Brew
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Lager - European Strong
Ranked #107
Ranked #50,930
2.48 | pDev: 28.63%
Carlsberg Danmark A/S
Special BrewSpecial Brew
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Reviews: 25 | Ratings: 47 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by ElCommodoro:
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ElCommodoro from Texas

3.94/5  rDev +58.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is exceptional compared to its American counterparts. I consider this to be the European version of American malt liquor and high gravity lagers, which is the preferred fare of the indigent stateside. If that is so, then the hobos in London are really living it up. They're a bit more posh than American hobos as you might expect. The smell of this was classic bad beer taste and alcohol. The taste was more of the same. Grainy and alcohol, but in addition, it had just enough astringency to accompany the alcohol burn. It was perfect. And the hops were very basic, they didn't add any undesirable flavours to the beer, just a basic astringency. It was the perfect mix of grains, astringency, and alcohol. And it wasn't overly sweet either like the American counterparts often are. It tasted like there may have been some corn syrup adjunct, but it was hard to tell. It certainly wasn't overdone to the same extent as American malt liquors. This is a prize gem in hobo beer. I'm bringing back a pack to the states.

Aug 07, 2011
More User Reviews:
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TheHangover4 from Scotland

1.99/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 1.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

I awoke face down, somewhere. Struggling to breathe and feeling uncomfortably restricted by my own mass pressing down on my lungs, I panicked and started wriggling around trying to turn around but the movement was making me feel quite ill. Eventually I managed to flip on to my back.

I attempted to open my eyes but the blazing afternoon sun bored in to them like a terrible laser. They'd have to stay closed for now.

I panicked once again as I suddenly realised that I couldn't feel my face. In fact, I couldn't feel anything at all. I would have laughed when I noticed that this was due to the fact that my hands were stuck in my trouser pockets but was too ill to fully appreciate the humour.

I had no idea where I was or what was happening. My tongue felt like a sanding block in my mouth. A sanding block which had been sanding dried sewage off of the inside of an old metal pipe, perhaps; the taste was absolutely foul.

My racing heart was working double time as my body tried to come to terms with whatever had happened to me.

At last I managed to tilt my head to the side and, as my eyelids unstuck, my pupils slowly came to life. I caught a glimpse of several empty cans.

As the blurred image started to come in to focus I made out the words "Carlsberg : Special Brew".

"Ahhhh, that explains it", I thought to myself. At that moment I knew everything would be okay and I started to slowly drift back off to sleep.

"I must remember to pick up more later" was my final thought before full unconsciousness took hold.

I still hadn't worked out where I was.

May 29, 2015
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mickcov1 from England

1.43/5  rDev -42.3%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

inspire beer tasting night coventry u.k
park bench rating 5 stars
taste----like licking a balloon
smell----rafa nadels jockstrap
look---shelley winters in a bikini

please try if recently divored/seperated the world will look a better place!!!
please try any chimay trappist beer or any thing not based on euro strong beer

Sep 02, 2009
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BeerSingh from India

1.78/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Carlsberg Special Brew...what was I expecting ? Let me be concise - this was shit smelling cabbage water carbonated with farts, aged in camel balls and coloured with fly squash. This vile liquid exists in its Asian avatar mostly in Malaysia, so unless you are on your death bed because of dehydration and have nothing else around - stay away !

Nov 22, 2011
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rastaman from England

2.3/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Horribly sweet and boring, i can't dig this at all, nothing that special about it really, too much alcohol for the beer, give this a miss.

Jun 15, 2002
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GreenCard from Maryland

2.6/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance: deep gold, great clarity, thinnish layer of off-white foam that quickly flattens and eventually fades out

Aroma: whiff of alcohol, euro hops, pineapple, honey

Flavor: flat initial sweetness gripped firmly by a strong alcohol zest and grassy bitterness; dusty lageryness; finishes semi-dry with a lingering alcoholic pepperiness

Mouthfeel: medium-full body, terse carbonation, alcohol warmth

Other comments: The bottle advises that it be served "extra chilled". Gee, can't imagine why. There's even a color-changing thermometer on the label to be doubly sure that you get it cold enough. So, that's what I did. Not sure I would want to try it at the warmer temps that I usually prefer when reviewing a beer.

May 01, 2006
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joecast from Australia

1.51/5  rDev -39.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

uh, wish i had read rastamans' review before picking this one up, and taken his advice. but, this is a bargain when comparing $/abv. at $5.50 for 500ml, is this the beer for when a malt liquor just wont do?
pours very light in color with a huge foamy white head.
sickly sweet aroma, and the taste is just about the same. the alcohol is really overpowering and doesnt leave much room for anything else. almost like someone slipped a shot of whiskey in the can when packaged.
seems to have a similair philosophy on delivering that alcoholic kick in the teeth as rogue i2pa or old crustacean (though not in the same league as those beers have more to offer). straight and brutal.
after about half a can, this really warms the mouth and dizzys the head.
honestly, the alcohol makes it difficult for me to judge this on any other criteria, but you see the numbers.

Sep 03, 2004
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warmstorage from California

2.16/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

~320ml can at a Singapore gas station, and similar at numerous supermarkets in Singapore and Malaysia, SGD$2.90 (approx USD$1.92.) Can states 8.8% ABV.

Pours a light gold with a big white head that dissipates rapidly, leaving light lacing. Noticeable carbonation (both visibly and in the mouth.)

Much like Maximator, it's basically somewhat quality strong malt liquor. It has a strong adjunct twang, strong alcohol nose, is somewhat sour, and has a distinct bready finish. It's honestly difficult to take this beer seriously enough to take serious notes.

It's much better than Maximator and many other "Euro strong lagers," but still really a beer best suited to soccer hooligans, and frat boys working on majors in alcohol poisoning. Most self-respecting winos I've talked to are smarter about bang for their buck and go straight for vodka or other grain liquor.

I'm actually slightly torn about this beer, since it often provided a respite in 95*F heat and 95% humidity in Singapore and Malaysia from the solid but thick Guinness Export (8%) and the less thick and less solid Danish Royal Stout (8%.) In Malaysia, on duty-free Langkawi island, it's a mere USD$0.50 per can, and the standard swill in these countries truly isn't worth paying for, including normal Carlsberg; Tiger isn't fit to wash sidewalks with.

Feb 27, 2007
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diablo14 from Illinois

1.53/5  rDev -38.3%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

just cant understand why any brewer would bother with strong lagers. or why people would bother drinking them. they taste like even crappier versions of already average standard lagers.

admittedly this doesnt hit quite as hard as say tennents, but its still lacking anything in smell or taste except skunk and overpowering alcohol sweetness. theres a little more malt than most, but not by much. generally pretty awful. id sooner have a nip of single malt whiskey if i want that burning feeling down the back of my throat.

strong lagers have long been on my list of beers to avoid, and this beer merely helped me make that decision. if you want something strong, these types are not the way to go at all, ever!

Dec 16, 2003
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cypressbob from Northern Ireland

1.77/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

440ml gold can

This is the bums brew in my opinion, pours with a very light body with head but a fair bit of carbonation

Smell is just of strong dry malt, very strong alcohol aroma

Taste is very rough, very hard to stomach. Burns like a ring of fire and tastes just of strong alcohol and malt

Theres nothing really here that should warrant you buying this beer, if you want to get drunk buy a bottle of bourbon or some strong belgian ale, but not this

Mar 22, 2004
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wjimson from Antarctica

3.35/5  rDev +35.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A friend of my brought this beer back to Canada from Hong Kong. The can says 8.6% ABV. A few of us split this into our whiskey tumblers. The appear is flat and unflattering.

The taste is initially clean. A corn syrup like taste is evident, but hides the alcohol quite well. Not much else to speak of, but its quite drinkable.

I will drink the "special" beer again if I ever do get a chance. Its not bad, but not that "special" really. There are much better beers in Hong Kong than this though, so I would call this a "gimmick" beer.

Jan 02, 2009
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likeemdark from California

2.5/5  rDev +0.8%

Jun 01, 2012
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misteil from Ireland

2.35/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Aug 12, 2021
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hunteraw from China

1.75/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Purchased at Taste in Kowloon Tong. Quite possibly the worst beer I've ever had.

Appearance is just as you'd expect: pale, clear, and yellow. Some head, not much retention though thanks to an 8.6% alcohol content. Aroma is surprisingly light, considering the assault on the senses that follows: light alcohol, malt. Tastes like someone took Bud Light and dropped in a shot of 151: horrible boozy aftertaste and finish. I found myself wincing after every sip. Mouthfeel is more or less what you'd expect in the style: light and fizzy. Really horrible, will actively avoid. Surprised it's not worse-reviewed on BA.

Jul 02, 2007
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soulgrowl from England

2.02/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance: Actually really sexy, strawberry blonde wtih a big, bodacious plaster-white head. Good retention, espceically for the style, the ABV, and the glass I poured it into.

Smell: Ah, the sweet stank of adjuncts. Corn, honey, apple juice. Not too bad, though, almost biscuity in a way, without any skunky or sulfuric notes. And the alcohol is surprisingly subdued.

Taste: Light, mild, and beery with a grimace-inducing undertow of rough fusel alcohol. Special indeed.

Mouthfeel: Somehow manages to be clean and almost refreshing despite the burden of its heavy alcohol. Not bad.

Drinkability: For all its faults, this beer is not all that difficult to drink. Salty snacks make it all the more palatable. If you're just looking to get drunk quickly, this is a fairly safe and inexpensive avenue to do so.

Jan 25, 2007
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harpus from Alabama

2.25/5  rDev -9.3%

Mar 28, 2013
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BlackHaddock from England

3.26/5  rDev +31.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This much maligned beer is being reviewed from a brown 275ml bottle which should have been drunk before mid August, it was drunk three months too late, 1st Nov 2007.

Poured into my one remaining Corsendonk tulip glass.

It looked fine, a bright golden yellow, very slight haze if you are being picky. Good solid white foaming head.

My normal lager score of 3 for aroma, can't find much as usual. At 9.0% I thought there may be some trace of alcohol, but there is very little for my nose to find.

The alcohol does come out in the taste, whatever else is in there gets overpowered by it though. It has that bitter-sweet feel that strong lagers often do. The sweetness hits you first, then a metalic bitterness stays in the mouthfeel, slowly the alcohol takes over again and the metalic flavours evaporate.

Difficult to score, it is not as bad as some claim, but it isn't a world beater either.

Nov 01, 2007
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Bouleboubier from New Jersey

2.47/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

This is a truly "special" brew. I don't think I will ever forget its taste and how it cleared my sinuses and opened my pores.

It almost resembles a spicy Belgian strong golden ale upon first glance - dull, street-light, off-yellowish glow with a misty haze that slowly rises up over a few minutes, absorbing into the rather pleasant-looking, cottony tuft of white foam perched tall above its decadent nether-nectar... Looks like a good time, that is, until you hoist the glass to your nose.... This is where the real fun begins...

A not entirely disenchanting industrial paint-stripper aroma... but I couldn't help dipping my snout again and again into the fumes resting atop the liquor... there is a certain intoxicating quality, like super-glue, and a hint of peligro.

I use the word "spicy" all too often to describe the hot, aromatic phenols in Belgians, but SB takes it to an all new level. They call this "pilsner - very strong" on the website. Not getting pils here. Closest thing is American malt liquor with the treble and mids jacked up, buzzing the speakers a little. Surprisingly, there is a honey-cookie-ish malt(?) undercurrent which enables at least that second sip.... I have to admit, there are plenty of other beers out there with a more off-putting flavor than this for different reasons entirely... I wouldn't call this sessionable.

The Carlsberg website claims this goes great with salty blue cheeses and "cleans the tongue with alcohol". I don't know about the first part. Eyes watering, face bright red, vision temporarily blurred with each sip - not out of the question.

I can't even remember if I finished it all. Started to feel dizzy.

Jun 08, 2013
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hoegaardenhero from Virginia

2.73/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

a: better than i thought it would be; fluffy white head on top of copper/straw body w. hints of red

s: sweet appley malts w/ just a hint of alcohol

t: a lot less flavorful than the smell would suggest; hints of dryer sweet malts at the beginning of the sip followed by pretty strong alcohol

m: not ridiculously carbonated like other carlsberg beers and pretty thick although a little on the syrupy side

d: overall not so good but still better than i thought it would be; the only upside is that it is a shitty beer that you would only need to chug a few of to be pretty far gone; i think that people slammed tis beer an inappropriate amount probably because it is from terrible carlsberg

Feb 12, 2008
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spycow from Illinois

2.43/5  rDev -2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Aug 23, 2015
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Tagger24 from Australia

2.95/5  rDev +19%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 4

Had this in a restaurant stall in Kuala Lumpur. Served cool (almost at a good tasting temperature) in an hourglass-shaped Carlsberg mug.

Appearance - Darkish yellow pushing on orange colour. Little head or lacing (no matter how much I agitated it) thanks to the ABV.

Smell - Err... not a lot. Sweetish malt in there along with a faint bit of alcohol. Nearly no hop fragrance.

Taste - I think having it warmer certaintly helped after reading some of these reviews. The alcohol was hardly noticeable and, when compared to what little else was in this beer, actually added to the flavour. That slightly sweet malt character was the dominant flavour though. I'm not sure what happened to the hops (perhaps a tad in the aftertaste).

Mouthfeel - Very low carbonation made this beer a similar consistency to water. Not enjoyable.

Drinkability - For a 8.8% ABV it was a bit bland. No real complexity that a beer of that strength can have. Didn't have that nice hoppy bite or crispness a good lager can have either. Not brilliant but when compared to other macrolagers, this isn't too bad and I found it easy to knock back.

Jul 28, 2008
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tone77 from Pennsylvania

2.9/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Back in my room in Hong Kong and enjoying some beer. Poured from an 11.2 oz. can. Has a dark golden color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is mild, some malts and grains. Taste is strong of alcohol, some malts, not particularly pleasant or enjoyable. Feels light in the mouth and overall there is nothing special about this beer.

Jun 16, 2013
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BigCheese from Massachusetts

3.5/5  rDev +41.1%

Jan 13, 2014
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Fieldzy27 from North Carolina

1.95/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.75

Pours ultra gold from a 16oz can little bits floating in it.... Looks concerning.

Smells of straw and alcohol very very subdued.

Tastes like faint malt and slightly bready. This beer is older but the alcohol is very very very aparent. Not enjiyable.

Mouth feel is ultra light, aggressively carbonated.


Oct 15, 2013
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Howlader from Canada (AB)

2/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Mar 10, 2018
Special Brew from Carlsberg Danmark A/S
Beer rating: 69 out of 100 with 47 ratings