Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Reserve Special Black Ale

Tasted last November, ironically. The draft of this post had been sitting for nearly a year un-posted. However, Thanks to Neil Vigars and Rich Nunez for bringing this over to Joe's house on Sunday. They let me take a bottle home to finally get this post done.

Appearance: The pour surmounted to a syrupy looking texture. The bottom of the bottle held a thick layer of dreggs/yeast. Within the glass, however, the beer remained coal black with a darkened tan/brown head. There isn't any clarity. The consistency is somewhat foamy. Lacing is dry and sticks to the side of the glass.
Aroma: Strong malt and spicy smell with a mellow woody sweetness. Chocolate and molasses. Similarly one can also perceive tones of biscuit malt, mocha and licorice.
Taste: Strong base malt character perhaps from caramel or Munich malts. This malt flavor is complemented with a very apparent Mocha chocolate character along with a licorice nose with a long roasted coffee and dark caramel finish. Very sweet maltiness from foretaste to after-taste. Complexity develops and changes as well by the finish of this beer, which helps because it starts burnt at the aftertaste but slowly develops into a unique bouquet of toasted flavors. I'd put this more on an imperial side of a stout, especially for the rich malt and even the prominent taste of alcohol under the layers of darkened chocolate and roasted malts.
Mouthfeel: Thick full bodied character yet smooth and fluid with micro bubble carbonation. Velvety and a soft textured. The beer definitely maintains a big body, perhaps larger than a year ago, judging from my notes. Attenuation left a lot of sweetness, so this beer must have started big and finished high, thus there resides a tackiness to the lips and a cloying feel at the roof of the mouth
Overall Impression: A very well made balanced beer, and I think this took the longest out of any beer I've tried to actually finish! Rich flavor to every sip to the point the palate has no time to adjust. Each sip explodes with everything chocolate, roasted and molasses. I'm unsure if I like the new label, but it's the beer that ultimately mattes. The dark beer of choice to sip at a bar!


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