1. Introducing the Respect Beer® Society. Upgrading your account to a Society membership entitles you to more than a dozen awesome perks, from discounts, to add-free browsing, extended users stats, and much more. Join today.
  2. BEER FEST ALERT: Don't miss FUNK Boston: A Wild & Sour Beer Fest on June 14-15!

Peter Straub's Special Dark | Straub Brewery

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
67 Ratings

Brewed by:
Straub Brewery
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.10%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

View: Beers
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 67 |  Reviews: 46
Reviews by xenolithic:
Photo of xenolithic
3.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a caramel brown into my pint glass with a 1 finger rocky tan head which quickly dissipates to about 1/8th inch head.

The smell has a malty slightly grainy odor to it. The nose on this beer is very mild, but comes out to play as the beer warms.

Taste is much like the regular Straub Lager except for with more malt presence.

Mouthfeel is watery with a thirst quenching aftertaste. The aftertaste lingers but drops off sharply.

Very drinkable. This is my preferred Straub brew as I like a little something darker more often than not. In my opinion this will just barely edge out Straub Lager in my choice for what will be drank regularly from the fridge.

The big thing that Straub sells to the customer is that there is nothing added to their beers, no preservatives, just great beer. As a Pennsylvanian and as a beer drinker I'm on board with their style of brewing. I didn't give it the best ratings, because it's really not the best beer in the world, but it is a damn fine one.

 990 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of dogfishandi
3.31/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, bottled on 07 09 10.
thanks to my nieghbor phil for bringing this over.

pours a clear copper amber color, nice red hues in the light. about 2 fingers of white soapy head that faded to ring and then eventually nothing. no real lace.

not a huge aroma. slightly toasted grains, corn, and a little lager funk.

nice clean taste. nice doses of caramelized toasted grains, a slight herbal hop note, with a touch of bitterness and a little bit of a mineral taste.

very clean and smooth on the palate. crisp carbonation. light to medium in body.

very easy to drink, could session these easily.

 604 characters

Photo of Putter
4.5/5  rDev +39.8%

Photo of tdm168
3.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Aiello's in Ridgway, PA. If I had to be in Ridgway with family I should at least be drinking.

Pours a pale amber with a thin frothy lacing of head. There's noticeable carbonation rising to the top throughout. The nose is grainy with a note of sugary sweetness. The taste is grainy and straw-like up front with a sweet, syrupy, almost candy-like, chewy caramel finish. The mouthfeel is well-carbonated, clean, and light.

This is another easy drinking beer from Straub. The only real difference between this and their regular offering is the sugary, caramel finish, but it's enough of a difference to make me prefer this over the original.

 649 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.6/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Clear. Deep amber with a crimson cast and deep gold and orange highlights. Creamy off-white head. Average head retention. Little lacing.
S: There's a hint of dark malts in the nose. It's nutty, and perhaps a bit toasty. No hops.
T: Average maltiness. Nice bit of toastiness. Balanced. No hop flavors present.
M: Light/medium in body and crisp.
D: Nothing detracts, but nothing inspires. Easy to drink, but not compelling.

 424 characters

Photo of tempest
3.25/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at tap at the Grey Lounge Pub.

Looks a dark brown with almost no head. Immediately I'm struck that while this is a very drinkable beer, it's far too clean, with just some sweet dark malts and no hops, like there isn't enough flavor and there's zero aftertaste. I guess I'd make up a style and call it an American dark macro lager for an easy way to describe it..

 370 characters

Photo of slaman992003
2.81/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

The beer came from a tap. Smelled, tasted and thought not great, but not bad. The thing that concerned me was whether the beer was carbonated or not. Asked the server if this was normal. They replied that this was normal, it was supposed to enhance the smooth feel. This reminded me of my homebrews that I was too impatient to wait for my forced carbonation. You get the head, but no bubbles are coming up from the glass.

Assuming this is more of a "bitter" style of carbonation/session beer, here are my comments :

Aroma - malty and I picked up something that was like plum or grape or ? No hop aroma that I could pick up.

Appearance - beer was clear, color was right for an amber, started with a slight head that went to just a thin white ring around the glass.

Taste -- I thought the taste was not bad, but it was the mouthfeel that seemed watery and this was hard to separate.

drinkability - I finished the pint, but would not have ordered it again. Needs more carbonation - even to get to what I would think was 1.5 volumes....

Nice diversion, wish it was better...

 1,076 characters

Photo of tone77
3.53/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a brownish color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is on the malty side. Taste is of malts, a bit nutty, just a touch of hops is present at the finish. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a pretty good beer.

 252 characters

Photo of akorsak
3.8/5  rDev +18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A 12 oz bottle purchased at Al's of Hampden.

A: The lagerbier is a darker color, relatively speaking. It looks like a copper penny, or the bottle it came in. The beer remains translucent though. A finger of head from the first pour disappeared without lacing.

S: The lager has a sweet caramel aroma mixed with a mild nut/toffee combination. Not much hop-wise.

T: Much like the regular Straub varietal, the beer delivers a solid, no-frills punch. Caramel malts aren't as forward as in the nose. Instead, the lighter bready flavors come through much stronger. The syrupy caramel flavors wait for the end of each sip. A mild hoppy flavor runs through just before the caramel, adding a nice touch.

M: The mouthfeel is lighter, as I'd expect from Straub's, but it isn't lifeless by any stretch. The caramel is solid and the hops running through the beer stand out.

D: It's nothing special, but I like it. My first beer of the weekend and it gets things off to a good start. Sigh, I'd take cans of this for a tailgate any day.

 1,025 characters

Photo of CraftBeerTastic
2.97/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ba Review #168
Served On: 05/27/2012
Glassware: Pint Glass
Labeled ABV: -
Date/ Code: -

This was from a case I bought at Self Serve Beverage in York, PA.

Look: Poured from the 12oz. bottle (screw top). Color was a fairly clear copper. Some sparse carbonation bubbles were floating upward. The head was virtually nonexistent.

Smell: Aroma consisted of a roasty sweetness. Some standard ‘beer’ notes were detected. Maybe some adjunct also came through.

Taste: Upfront slightly roasted note with a touch of sweetness. Then a dry corn or rice adjunct character seemed to dominate the middle. The finish was rather clean with the roasted note retuning for a few moments.

Overall this is a basic beer. I would certainly take this over a BMC offering any day. Plus Straub’s is a brewery near my hometown in Western, PA – so that should warrant a point or two. I mean - this isn't quite your dad's beer, but it's close.

 925 characters

Photo of k75
2.63/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

on tap at Zeno's in state college - thanks Wyatt Earp

well, It is a Straub...! no doubt about that.

Dark? well, it is barely light amber.
It has the same aroma and flavor profile as regular Straub.

thin body
corn husk aroma
vegetable finish

choose only for the sake of the family run business or when you are pinching pennies.


 348 characters

Photo of CLAZZ51
3.75/5  rDev +16.5%

Photo of plaid75
3.21/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On draft at Six Penn in Pittsburgh.

Poured a medium amber hue with a one finger frothy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a light grainy malt with a touch of caramel.

The taste was rather neutral with some sweet malts and a balancing grassy hop. A touch of doughiness at the finish.

The mouthfeel was typical of the style.

Overall a decent and easy enough to drink lager.

 414 characters

Photo of supercolter
1.5/5  rDev -53.4%

Photo of MKrauss
3/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of Adastra
5/5  rDev +55.3%

Photo of bob3701
3.82/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a shaker pint. I like Straub lager but it is hard for me to get. I was extemly pleased to see Special Dark and a bit surprised when I poured it and it was not dark at all; yes it is much darker than their flagship beer. My disappointment ended with my first sip. A little bit of malty sweetness and citrusy undertones. Very clean and crisp like the lager. Head disappears into nothing and no lacing. I always think of Straub as the little engine that could.

 469 characters

Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.18/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle

Pours a clear amber color with a small white head that maintains. Decent lacing on the glass.

Light, fresh caramel malt aroma.

Light caramel malt flavor. Faintest hint of hops, very light bitterness. Finishes clean and dry.

Thin body, decent carbonation.

Decent summer quencher, similar flavor to the original Straub beer with a little more pronounced malt.

 375 characters

Photo of MikeAmelsgone
2.81/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- poured a caramel color with about a half inch to 3/4 inch of head. Lacing dissipates quickly. Initially I was thrown off by the coloring; however I was deceived by the title "special dark" which made me forget that it was an amber lager.

S- Smelled as if someone threw up on a spice rack. No distinct scents arise; this beer is somewhat complex in scent, but not in an enjoyable way. Hard to pick our the exact scent that you're smelling. Hard to even relate it to any specific foods.

T- Caramel and butterscotch. Very grainy with no real malt coming through. Very light hop flavor that disappears almost immediately. Actually tastes somewhat like a medium-dry red table wine. Not a simple beer, but the complexity is not desirable. There is also a chocolaty flavor that contradicts the caramel and butterscotch. It tastes as if too much is going on in your mouth at once: a genuine fiesta with terrible music and people you don't really like.

D- Very watery. I expected it to be heavier. Carbonation was close to what I expected, light to moderate. Goes down easily and isn't a complete disappointment. Drinkability increases after about 1 or 2. This is not due to the effects of alcohol, but it is because the flavor needs some time to grow on you.

 1,257 characters

Photo of pogoowner
3.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of ItsBeer4Me
3.05/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Photo of BeerCon5
2.94/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a dark amber color with very little head.

S: The scent is mostly some sweet grain and some yeast.

T: The taste consists of toasty biscuit and a bitter finish.

M: Pretty thin mouthfeel with lots of carbonation.

D: Average drinker. Wasn't really too impressed with this.

 281 characters

Photo of jlindros
2.74/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Another Penn local beer thanks to Noslenwerd.

A: Semi large frothy head fades very quickly as all the big and little bubbles pop. Its a very clear toasty amber semi dark brownish orange color with lots of bubbles rising from the etch at the bottom of my SA Perfect Pint glass.

N: A definite lager aroma, but cheaper lager. Lots of sweet malts, slightly toasty, a strange funky sock aroma, (oh shit, I better put my sneakers back on). Oh wait, that didn't change it, still has that used gym sock aroma. Lots of sweet and mellow malts with that at least.

T: Ummm, here goes... well, not too bad at first. A definite lager taste, somewhat cheaply done lager, or extract lager. A slight toasty malt flavor, lots of sweet malts, and even pretty sweet taste. Some darker malts that are really light. A little watery even with all that.

M: Light and watery, almost no carbonation for how many bubbles are there.

F: Semi crisp, little lingering malt... wait, no, theres really nothing. It just ends, like a story that your dog at the last 20 pages and you don't really get the finish. WTF! My mouth is like "I swear I just had some beer but I don't detect any. I'm not lying brain or stomach... nose, you remember it right? Am i going crazy?" No, I did have a couple sips, but the finish is nowhere to be found. They should call this Peter Straub's special bland cause it's so bland... get it? Eh, never mind, but really this beer was wicked bland and unappealing. Plus the dirty gym sock aroma.

Sorry drew, not the best beer you've sent, in fact I think the worst (although that's saying a lot as you sent a ton of great beers). I'm sure you know the feeling though.

 1,666 characters

Photo of woodychandler
3.51/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Man, my local trader, tone77 laid a buncha bottles on me on our last trade and now he is coming by on Monday with more! I gotta get caught up or I will be drowning in beer!

Here we go! I am sure that you have heard the adage "Once you've had [dark], you'll never go [bark]" and I am on a sudden Dark kick, thanks to both tone77 and this honey honey across the bar from me on Sunday. I would have loved to buy her a drink, but I was in the minority among the clientele and I have learned that lesson previously. Maybe a return visit ...

From the bottle: " A unique Amber Lager perfected through generations of family brewing"; "Brewed with Pennsylvania mountain spring water".

I went with another aggro pour, resulting in a finger-and-a-half of dense tawny head with good retention. Color was a deep coppery color that on a natural redhead makes me crazy. I was in love! Nose had the characteristic lager sweetness, but without the nasty adjuncts that often get in the its way. A redheaded fellow Pennsylvanian from our Northern Tier?!? I was ready to elope! I would gladly relocate, but southcentral PA may be more compelling to many. The beer simply danced across my tongue, perhaps a bit thinly/lightly than I may have desired, but the taste was clean, unadulterated lager with just a hint of roastiness. Finish was semi-dry with a light cocoa-like sweetness that lingered. Come back, baby! I promise to go slower the next time.

 1,433 characters

Photo of OWSLEY069
2.34/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

POurs a amber-ish color with a small white head. In the aroma, small caramel and a small roastiness. In the taste, a small roasty malt, with a caramel presence, somewhat watery. A smooth and light mouthfeel, with a semi dry roasty aftertaste. Quite light and watery for a dark lager.

 283 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Peter Straub's Special Dark from Straub Brewery
Beer rating: 3.22 out of 5 with 67 ratings