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Black Sheep Ale (Special) - Black Sheep Brewery PLC

Not Rated.
Black Sheep Ale (Special)Black Sheep Ale (Special)

Educational use only; do not reuse.

350 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 350
Hads: 532
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 12.37%
Wants: 21
Gots: 40 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Black Sheep Brewery PLC visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
English Pale Ale |  4.40% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: purplehops on 07-13-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 350 | Hads: 532
Photo of GerryPendry
4.12/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Nice looking beer, clear amber with a bone-white head that shrunk to a persistent foamy layer and a lot of Belgian lace. I got a weird aroma at first, kind of vegetal. Once it opened up I got English hops, a little malt, sweet citrus, tea maybe...? Interesting. Malty flavor, a little thin, nicely balanced floral hops. This was the second beer I've tried from a brewery that uses Yorkshire stones, the other being Sam Smith's. For that reason I was expecting some of that trademark Sam Smith's diacetyl flavor, but it couldn't detect it. Nice hoppy finish without being very bitter. A little thin bodied but perfectly carbonated, making it very drinkable. Nothing earth-shattering here, but a nice solid English ale. (717 characters)

Photo of Malt_Man
3.46/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Served cool from 500ml bottle into straight pint glass.

L) Deep amber colour, slight haze, a few big bubbles rising. Thin white bubbly film.

S) Liquorice-tinged malt and English hops.

T) Warmish malt flavours and slightly astringent hop bitterness.

F) Light body with a good fizz. The hop bitterness dries the mouth at the end of the gulp, which I don't like.

O) Middle-of-the-road English ale. (404 characters)

Photo of Andrewharemza
3.08/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

pours gold amber with a small white head. Aroma is caramel, light toffee, orange peel, fruity. Body is light medium, texture is creamy. Finish is long and bitter. (162 characters)

Photo of ordybill
4.31/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 500 ML bottle into a pint glass at the World of Beer in Pooler, GA.
This beer has a nice golden bronze color with a large white head. This ale has a smell and flavor of bread, malt and some fruit. The beer is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. I thought this beer was much better than what I anticipated. (327 characters)

Photo of BeerWithMike
3.46/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampling right now on 5/5/15. Comes in a 1 pint, 0.9 ounce (350ml) single bottle. Bottle chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and poured in to a handled-glass stein.

Brew pours a hazy amber in color with about a half-finger+ foamy off-white head that settles down to a thin layer on top and sides. Sheets of sticky lacing is seen when sipped. The aroma is mostly of malts with a slight hint of fruit. The taste is that and more with a crisp 'hoppy' dry finish. Tasted better when warmed up some.Medium-bodied with perfect carbonation. Overall, it was OK as I am not a big fan of 'Pale Ales' for the most part. (620 characters)

Photo of CStang67
3.67/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

500ml bottle pours nice deep bronze color with bright white head that slowly settled to a lasting thin 1/2 pencil head. The aroma was malty with a hint of fruit hut all in all the aroma is low with a very little citrusy hop presence. Taste is malt forward rich bread and caramel notes throughout the palate. Bitterness is strong which leaves a nice dry finish. A very refreshing sessionable beer that is one on my favorite English bitters I had while in the UK. (461 characters)

Photo of Brabander
3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Not really my beer but drinkable. I expected a black beer but this one is goldenyellow with a fairly decent head. Nice lacing in the glass. Bitter taste and the funny part is that you do not really notice that this beer is low on alcohol. (238 characters)

Photo of Bunman3
3.8/5  rDev +2.2%

This pours beautifully, as an English Ale should. Nice foamy head that gradually dissipates. Black Sheep leaves some faint lacing and has minimal carbonation- again, true to the style. The flavors are excellent - caramel, nuts and overall earthiness with a minimal hop profile. This is a wonderful beer - a nice treat when I feel a longing for a plough man's lunch at the local. (379 characters)

Photo of Mintling
3/5  rDev -19.4%

Appearance: Nice amber. Clear. No head retention.
Smell: Faintly earthy and grassy.
Taste: Sour, bitter and metallic. Quite roasty. Very faint hint of caramel.
Mouthfeel: Watery, dry and chalky later on.
Overall: A strident, roasty and bitter brew. Not bad but a tad underwhelming. (283 characters)

Photo of BeerDrinkersWorldTour
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Heavy amber colour with a finger of rocky head that died off rather quickly and left light cover and minimal lace. There is ample CO2 streaming in the glass.

Smell - I sorry to say this but there was an odd smell of sheep urine from this one on the first whiff. There is reasonable bread and earth tones with some mild nut and leafy grassy aromas.

Taste - Slightly sweet like a mild caramel in the malt department. Light hop flavour of earthy nutty elements with some light fruit such as lemon and apple with light pear. there is some flavour in here but it is all rather light and mild. It is all decent enough but for me to score it higher than the 3.75 mark I would want the flavour to be more pronounced.

Mouthfeel - Light body but really rather creamy however it does have a slightly cloying finish and only moderate linger that leaves you wanting more somehow.

Overall - Mild but it does have flavour and is not a bad beer overall. (954 characters)

Photo of Hoppsbabo
4.25/5  rDev +14.2%

A: Amber with a nice chunky off-white head.
S: Metallic.
T: Assertively bitter and pleasing, despite there not being much in the way of descriptive flavour. A hint of ginger beer and citrus in the finish. No immediate aftertaste though. Not flavourless but very, very plain. After a while I start to get some nice woody spice, liquorice and citrus on the breath, but it's still a very clean finish.
M: Medium bodied with a somewhat snappy fizz.
O: If you're looking for a bold hoppy beer this isn't for you. It's beer that just tastes like beer. Would be great with a ploughman’s. (582 characters)

Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500 ml bottle into pint glass, L31 bottle code. Pours slightly hazy deep orange/copper color with a 1-2 finger dense and fluffy off white head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of caramel, toast, brown bread, light nuttiness, herbal, grass, light pepper, light pear/apple, and yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with well balanced dark/bready malt, earthy hop, and yeast ester notes; with good strength. Taste of caramel, toast, brown bread, nuttiness, herbal, grass, light pepper, light pear/apple, and yeast earthiness. Light earthy herbal bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toast, brown bread, nuttiness, herbal, grass, light pepper, light pear/apple, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice robustness and balance of dark/bready malt, earthy hops, and yeast ester notes; with a good malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Quite restrained on yeast fruitiness which was surprising. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth, crisp, and lightly creamy/bready mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish as expected of 4.4%. Overall this is an excellent English bitter style. All around great robustness and balance of dark/bready malt, earthy hops, and yeast ester flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink. A very enjoyable offering. (1,488 characters)

Photo of puboflyons
3.67/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From the 25 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on June 24, 2014.

The pour is a handsome looking medium amber bronze color with a big, silky off-white head.

The aroma is incredibly sweet with caramel and toffee malts galore and little to no hop bitterness. It also smells like a spent cigarette!

The body is creamy and probably in the medium range.

The taste is super caramel sweet with next to no bitterness. Easy to pound down in a pub. This is one of those beers that I would have drunk a lot of regularly 1+ years ago but my palate has changed. Still, a good beer to drink in a UK pub. Worth a higher rating. (605 characters)

Photo of chogm54
3.04/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Somehow keep missing the black sheep ale, maybe its the low key labeling on the bottle. Finally, it has been bought.

A - a shade more brown than amber, pours a 2cm thick frothy head than lingers a while. Nice

S - Very faint malty caramel. If I breathe in deep I can detect a very very slight florally hop aroma.

T - One word - malt! low sweetness, medium bitterness, nutty with a strong yeasty aftertaste (very much like marmite or vegemite).

M - Low carbonation, moderate body with a slightly oily texture and metallic finish.

O - I really didn't enjoy the malty vegemite like flavours, maybe because I eat so much vegemite and marmite normally. The mouthfeel was also a bit inconsistent. I wish I left this beer on the shelf for a while longer... (754 characters)

Photo of dacrza1
4.06/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

DATE TASTED: February 1, 2014... GLASSWARE: Hobgoblin pint...OCCASION: prepping for the Super Bowl with Blades of Glory... APPEARANCE: orange-amber, semi-translucent body akin to tea; white, frothy, thin head; lacing twists and turns somewhat seductively... AROMA: luxuriant scotch-like notes; light, buttery English muffin; some malty elements too--attractive... PALATE: active, medium-bodied and drinkable; a pub compatriot for certain...TASTE: buttery, slightly doughy malts as an ESB would be; mellow with an unmistakable, oaky, highland fortitude; a dry, thin finish akin to sherry--though not nearly as powerful... OVERALL: A pleasant draught from a brewery I've had little else from, but in seeking to rate this beer (one I'd last drunk in 2005, if my records are accurate), I am pleased with the experience; it's no nonsense, light fragrance invites quick sips and rewards with thirst-quenching malts and enough hops to achieve a worthwhile balance .... (961 characters)

Photo of mralphabet
3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: Poured a slightly hazy burnt orange with a good finger and a half worth of head that settled to a ring with spotty lacing.

S: I'm getting a strong amount of toffee with a little touch of sweet fruit.

T: Much like the smell the toffee hits first, pretty strong, then I'm getting a little light fruit.... Kind of like a raspberry tea. Finish has very little bitterness to it with with more of a sweet malt.

M: Medium body with moderate carbonation, right on point for the style.

D: Pretty average, makes for a great session beer.

(From Notes) (597 characters)

Photo of Brenden
4.18/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This pale ale is on the darker side, a thick and murky orange that stops just short of edging into shades of brown. It has a nice crown of pale orange tinted foam, plenty thick and study. Its height is just more than one finger, retention is good, and it lacing is in patching and sticks well.
Bready in the malts with lots of fruits, there's a bread crust sort of dryness, some yeast, a little sweetness and a touch of spiciness with some leaf.
The taste has lots of ripe fruits, some paler as well as darker-skinned. Just a little earthy, the malts give off bread and just a hint of mineral along with the hops, which show a more herbal nature on the tongue. Underneath and running all through, it's lightly spicy and floral. Hops are firm, and it leaves no doubt this is a British variant as it seeks balance to keep a delicate complexity and depth, all while keeping the hops stronger.
It's plenty crisp in a sturdy medium body with a smooth flow, easing off into the finish but not thinning. There's a light earth and herbal dryness in the middle and beyond, ultimately making for a semi-dry feel. (1,102 characters)

Photo of zlel
3.63/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle 500 served in ikea glass (like those you use for Belgian blanche).
Despite of the name this beer is orange amber. It is indeed very pale.
Carbonated at first then still.
I don't feel a special smell, maybe tea and some candi sugar.
It is fizzy but dry, with less alcohol than I would expect.
It has an accentuated bitterness and a very light body. (354 characters)

Photo of BlackHaddock
3.4/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

500ml Bottle: BBD 28 Jun 2014, poured into a UK pint sleeve at home on 19 Oct 2013.

Good amber body with an off-white head that tried to stay around.

Which ingredient gives the aroma and taste lead? Malts, but only just, this is a good blend of flavours and smells.

Semi-sweet malty molasses actually rule the flock in this Black Sheep brew. Caramel and mild toffee notes come through with an undertone of hop bitterness asserting it'self towards the end of the nose and taste.

Mellow and soft body: very easy to drink. (523 characters)

Photo of TMoney2591
3.76/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Served in a tumbler.

Gotta love it when awesome customers travel to the UK and bring you back some tasty beverages. This stuff pours a clear brass topped by a finger of lightly off-white foam. The nose comprises lightly-toasted biscuit, mild grass, and sweet flowers. The taste brings in more of the same, with a stronger vein of sweetness stemming from the biscuit, though this serves only to perfectly balance the grassy and flowery hops. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a smooth feel. Overall, this stuff is not gonna set the world on fire, by any means, but it is a very tasty, very easy-to-drink little brew. Something tells me it would taste just grand (Wow, did I just say that? Who am I, a middle-aged upper-class Victorian woman?) from a hand engine... (796 characters)

Photo of IchLiebeBier
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Amber; huge head; good lacing

Aroma: Malty; sweet; alcohol; raisiny

Taste: Dry, slightly bitter start with slightly bitter mid and finish; nutty aftertaste

Remarks: Did not score A, T, S, M at that time; so please disregard those scores (251 characters)

Photo of soju6
3.67/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a deep copper color with a decent head that fades to some lacing.

S: Aroma is fairly mild roasted malt with a bit of fruit.

T: Taste of roasted malt, bittersweet with a bit of spice. Mild bitterness and a dry finish.

F: Medium body, crisp and smooth with a nice balance.

O: Nice beer for the style. Has good flavor with character without being overpowering. (374 characters)

Photo of doktorhops
3.35/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Finally we have the normal cousin of Monty Python's Holy Grail Ale, the kind that is like a bespectacled man named "Simon" who wears a brown flannel suit with a pocket protector, hello Simon! Well I'm hoping this doesn't turn out to be as average (for an English ale) as Monty Python's Holy Grail Ale, which I gave a 3.05 out of 5.

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Simon has a light white dusting of a head (going bald I suspect), with a clear orange body (Carotenoderma methinks).

S: Toasted biscuit aromas dominate with a hint of buttery diacetyl, some light earthy hops and minimal yeast presence. Quite a typical English (ale) chap this Simon is.

T: The flavour is a very relaxed, almost sedate, mix of the above; toasted biscuit base, mid buttery diacetyl, and light earthy hops, but it comes with a more chunky bread yeast note and finishes slightly bitter. There is a mild caramel sweetness in the centre as well but this beer isn't slamming anyone over the taste buds and shouting "Ave it!", frankly wouldn't expect Simon to do such a thing anyhow.

M: Also a bit on the light side, well light for an EPA, and with that traditional borderline flat English carbonation.

D: Easy drinking fellow this Simon, a little too easy drinking perhaps. This is a PPSA (Pommy Pub Session Ale) if ever I saw, or tasted, one. I could down a dozen pints of this before I even thought about staggering home and microwaving a pizza pocket (only to bring it up later). Is it worth getting? At this price; no, at a more reasonable price; maybe - though stacked up against a brew like "Pride of Oxford" it doesn't stand a fighting chance.

Food match: PPF (Pommy Pub Food); pot pies, Guinness pie, stews of various flavours with unreliable meats in them, and fried battered fish with a wedge of lemon and chunky chips (or "fries" as Americans call them). Also if you're still peckish: crisps! (or "chips" as Americans call them). (1,937 characters)

Photo of jtierney89
4.5/5  rDev +21%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

having the word "black" in the name threw me off but it looks tasty. Gorgeous orange maber glow with a 2 finger sticky off white head and lots of active carbonation. Brilliant clarity. Toasted biscuits and flowery hops on the nose.

Talk about a morning beer. Body a little light then expected but with brisk carbonation. Thin malts on the tip of the tongue followed by rich toasted whole wheat breads that rolls into burnt toast crusts. Faint buttery notes reminds you of heavily toasted whole grain rolls on a sunday morning. Underling euro hop bitterness comes in to play on the bready flavors while the linger in your mouth.

A very bready and sessionable beer. This will be my new standard for breakfast drinking. (719 characters)

Photo of Pegasus
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep and clear golden orange, with a large white head of fine beads, which soon collapses t o scattered patches of foam on the surface, and circling the glass walls. Slight carbonation slowly rises to the surface.

Aroma: Herbal hop notes dominate the aroma, but there are notes of bitter apples and pears as well. There are slight hints of toasted malt and caramel as well.

Taste: Opens with strong medicinal and herbal hops. As the taste progresses, there are notes of caramel, toasted malts and a faint sweetness, but the hops take center stage throughout. Finishes with a long, lingering, mild medicinal note, and a tang of bitter apples.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft, and full, very pleasant.

Drinkability/notes: An excellent example of the style, perfect for a cool, dark autumn day.

Presentation: Packaged in a custom 500 ml brown glass bottle, served in a New Belgium Brewing chalice. (905 characters)

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Black Sheep Ale (Special) from Black Sheep Brewery PLC
84 out of 100 based on 350 ratings.