Ah, Saint Arnold... it's nice to have this Houston brewery in the Baton Rouge market these days, even if our selections are limited. Currently we get the Lawnmower year-round, and then the various seasonal offerings such as the Summer Pils (current), Oktoberfest, Christmas Ale, and Winter Ale. Fortunately though, thanks to the guys at Mockler, we also got a few cases of the Saint Arnold Divine Reserve #11. As soon as I heard this, it was off to Calandro's to pick up a few and enjoy. And then, a friend of Jay's hooked him up with some of the Divine Reserve #10, and he was nice enough to share! You won't be able to find any of these in stores anymore, but if anyone wants a bottle of the #11, let me know and I'll trade for some other good beer!
First, since I tried this one earlier, the Divine Reserve #11, a double IPA. I first had a few of these with Mandi, then tried it on my own to give it a proper review. I poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Saint Arnold pint glass... it's a clear amber color with a large bubbly white head. Great retention but not a lot of lacing.
It has an extremely hop-forward aroma, with a nice blend of grapefruit and pine smells. There's not much else there, but it's still pretty appetizing.
The taste is more of the same... not much malt but a lot of hop deliciousness. A hophead would love this one, someone that's not big hop fan would probably be a little put off, but hopefully someone that's not a hop lover would not be buying double IPAs! Or if you just want to jump into the deep end, go for it!
It's a little thin in the mouth, and the hops produce a pretty strong bitter aftertaste. I like it, but it doesn't quite live up to the incredible hype/demand that these Divine Reserve releases receive.
My Rating: B+
A couple of weeks later I had the opportunity to try the Divine Reserve #10, an English-style Barleywine. This was a real treat as I totally missed out when it was released in 2010.
I poured this one into a goblet, it's a murky copper color with not much head. Decent retention though and nice swirls on the surface.
It has a strongly boozy aroma, with a malt dominance. Spicy but not a lot of hops.
Now as for the taste, better! There are definitely some hops here and a real booze kick at the end. I wish I could compare to a fresh bottle but I enjoyed it regardless.
Pretty decent mouthfeel, the most overwhelming thing about this one is the alcohol presence. It feels almost as boozy as some higher gravity beers I've tried. Good beer, but I've had better barleywines recently.
My Rating: B+
Unfortunately I don't think these beers quite live up to the hype placed upon them. They were both very good beers, as B+ ratings are nothing to scoff at, but they weren't outstanding either. That being said, I'll be all over the #12 when it comes out next year!