| Booze |

Review: Saint Arnold Divine Reserve 15 Is a Stout Rich in Flavor

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

On Monday, Saint Arnold released Divine Reserve 15, the latest in the single-batch series. It's a Russian Imperial Stout, brewed using a recipe originally released as DR5 back in August of 2007. The beer checks in at 10.1 percent ABV; I was able to obtain a bottle to sample this week.

Saint Arnold's website says the beer can be served "at 45°F or warmer"; for a dark, heavy beer such as this, something closer to room temperature than refrigerator temperature is better for tasting the full range of flavor. I took mine out of the refrigerator and left it at room temperature for a little over an hour before serving.

My first impressions:

The nose is strongly boozy-- I was actually surprised this had not been aged in bourbon barrels -- with strong flavors of dark chocolate beneath that. Hints of spices underneath were detectable-- winter flavors like nutmeg and the like (to be clear, this doesn't taste like Saint Arnold's Christmas Ale or Winter Stout)-- but they were subtle and faint compared to the alcohol and dark chocolate flavors.

The body of the beer, on the other hand, had a strong maltiness, and the spice flavors were much more noticeable. The mouthfeel of a sip was not dominated by the booziness, but the maltiness. As the beer warmed up, the spices became more prevalent in the flavor profile, providing a better overall balance to the beer.

The booziness returns to prominence in the finish, but rather than a harsh, alcoholic aftertaste, the beer goes down surprisingly smoothly. The finish makes this beer relatively easy to drink despite its weight and strength.

All in all, I quite liked the DR15; this is no surprise, as Saint Arnold's Divine Reserve line regularly produces some of the best beers in town. I'd recommend serving the beer closer to room temperature to get the most flavor and enjoyment out of it. I'm quite curious to try the Bishops Barrel 8, the DR15 aged in bourbon barrels. I hope to find that and report back on it soon.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.