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Black Sheep Ale (Special) - Black Sheep Brewery PLC

Black Sheep Ale (Special)Black Sheep Ale (Special)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

454 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 454
Reviews: 338
rAvg: 3.71
pDev: 12.67%

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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: purplehops on 07-13-2002)
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Ratings: 454 | Reviews: 338 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of cichief


3.18/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on cask at the Wellington Arms near Paddington Station, London.

A- Pours a hazy gold with a snow-white head.

S- Some hint of malt, but very little hop aroma.

T- Malty with a somewhat dry finish, bready.

M- Thin to medum in body, not a lot of carbonation.

D- Nothing special about this pint, average at best.

Serving type: cask

03-06-2011 20:47:36 | More by cichief
Photo of francisweizen


3.98/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice amber brew, with a fluffy white cap of foam. The aromas lean more towards the biscuity, bready malt side of things, but there are some nice floral hops in there as well. The taste is very bready and malty, but the hops do shine through in the finish. The mouthfeel is creamy and smooth and the drinkability is very good as well. I sampled this at the Harp in Picadilly, London.

Serving type: cask

04-01-2004 00:36:15 | More by francisweizen
Photo of chogm54


3/5  rDev -19.1%
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...

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2014 16:57:17 | More by chogm54
Photo of dacrza1

New Jersey

4.05/5  rDev +9.2%
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 ....

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2014 03:07:54 | More by dacrza1
Photo of mralphabet


3.53/5  rDev -4.9%
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)

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2014 01:27:27 | More by mralphabet
Photo of Brenden


4.19/5  rDev +12.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2014 19:32:44 | More by Brenden
Photo of zlel


3.68/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2013 16:33:54 | More by zlel
Photo of BlackHaddock

United Kingdom (England)

3.41/5  rDev -8.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-19-2013 18:29:07 | More by BlackHaddock
Photo of TMoney2591


3.76/5  rDev +1.3%
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...

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2013 00:59:37 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of IchLiebeBier


3.5/5  rDev -5.7%
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

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2013 02:18:49 | More by IchLiebeBier
Photo of soju6


3.69/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2013 03:59:55 | More by soju6
Photo of doktorhops


3.33/5  rDev -10.2%
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).

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2013 11:55:19 | More by doktorhops
Photo of jtierney89

New Jersey

4.5/5  rDev +21.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2013 03:17:38 | More by jtierney89
Photo of BeerKangaroo


3.23/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Into a nonic:

A: slightly red yet clear body with a two finger white foamy head that dies pretty much immediately, foamy cling lacing is left in the wake

S: slightly soapy, English pale malts, light hops come out as the beer warms

T: sweet becomes balanced as hops come out slightly

M: light, very sessionable, carbonation barely felt

O: decent for an English pale ale, uh ... but I`m unsure if I`ll come back to this

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2013 16:53:47 | More by BeerKangaroo
Photo of Pegasus


4/5  rDev +7.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2012 01:14:43 | More by Pegasus
Photo of Murrhey


3.25/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 1pt .9oz bottle into a pint glass. Reviewed live.

A- Two finger off-white head. Fluffy and thick, middling retention. Clingy lacing. Cloudy auburn color, low clarity.

S- Pears, apples, light English hops and sweet malts. Very light and fruity smell. Smells like an autumn festival.

T- Tastes very different from the smell. The sweetness largely subsides. Apples and pears are still there with the caramel, but the presiding smell and taste is a biscuity, golden hop flavor. Quite an odd beer.

M- Light bodied, thick carbonation and relatively wet finish.

O- Odd beer with a nice appearance.

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2012 01:30:39 | More by Murrhey
Photo of Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

3.2/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer is transparent and amber hued with a soft white head. Biscuit and bread aroma. A simple beer with a touch of bitterness in the finish. Notes of toasted grains and a subtle earthy quality, perhaps mushrooms. Light bodied and while unexciting, certainly drinkable. Worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2012 03:47:58 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of Eramen


4.35/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Copper with a large tan head.

S - Biscuit, toffee, caramel, brown sugar - plenty from the malts indeed!

T - Freshly baked bread, toffee, biscuit and caramel malts, citrus tang.

MF - Medium body with ample carbonation.

O - Fantastic English pale, one of the best I've had recently.

Serving type: bottle

07-17-2012 18:39:31 | More by Eramen
Photo of killianf

4.28/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle into pint glass

A: Pours a nice copper/bronzed amber colour. Decent carbonation and a 2 finger off-white head. Medium lacing.

S: Very sweet smells, chocolate and toffee or caramel, with a definite hint of bubblegum or candy. Also some nice biscuity bready notes, quite malty, and a slight fruitiness. Overall complex and inviting.

T: Sweet at first, toffee and malty tastes, slightly hoppy in the middle, a long bready or nutty aftertaste. Maybe not matching the complexity of the aroma but nonetheless very tasty.

M: The lowest point of this (or any beer) is a slightly watery texture. Light bodied with a bit of fizz. Still though, very smooth and drinkable.

Overall: This would have scored even higher if it was full bodied, but that's just my personal opinion. I appreciate that others might prefer this type of mouthfeel. Either way it's a great beer and one I would certainly recommend. I'll probably try one again in the near future and see if I like the feel better.

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2012 11:33:24 | More by killianf
Photo of CwrwAmByth

United Kingdom (Wales)

3.93/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a deep amber colour with a good long lasting head and some nice lacing as well.

Smells very fresh and slightly yeasty.

Tastes well balanced between light sweet malts and bitter sweet hops. Quite a wholesome mouthfeel as well.

Overall a solid bitter.

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2012 19:25:30 | More by CwrwAmByth
Photo of fx20736

New York

4.1/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle poured into nonic, served cool.

reddish amber, visibly carbonated. thick meringue of light khaki head.

Aroma of sweet caramel malt with a hint of vanilla ice cream.

mouthfeel: good, lively.

Taste: malt bomb with spicy herbal hops with a walnut like bitterness at the end.

Notes: This is what a good beer is; hits all 4 aspects well. Great!

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2012 18:53:50 | More by fx20736
Photo of wordemupg

Alberta (Canada)

3.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle poured into pint glass 27/3/12

A clear light copper with just a few small slow bubbles feeding a thumbs width of cream colored foam that hangs around long enough to leave a few thin rings of lace,

S sweet malty caramels and a little bready with some spicy hops and just a little fruity

T a little nutty and the spicy hops balance well with the sweet malts, for style its pretty good

M a little thin but bubbles give it some life and body, metallic aftertaste lingers faintly

O for an English Pale it gets pretty good marks, something you could drink a few of without falling over

for style its good, not my favorite style of beer but I'm learning to appreciate low booze, mellow, balanced English brews

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2012 04:49:17 | More by wordemupg
Photo of dbrauneis

North Carolina

3.53/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours crystal clear somewhere between a golden yellow and an amber. Finger tall off white head that dissipates quickly leaving only the thinnest ring of bubbles at the edge of the glass. Very light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Aromas are primarily of sweet malts with hints of caramel and toffee.

T: Upfront the flavors are sweet caramel/toffee malts followed by some graininess and then finishes with a peppery bitterness. There are some hints of earthiness to the hops as well.

M: Light to medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Crisp.

O: Good beer for the style which is not one of my favorites. The beer is very drinkable but personally I would not go back for another in a single sitting, on the other hand I would not refuse this beer if I came across it again.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2012 23:35:30 | More by dbrauneis
Photo of evlu1441

Alberta (Canada)

3.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a lovely medium copper colour and is exceptionally clear. The head sits at about a centimeter and remains quite fluffy. There are lots of medium sized bubbles floating up to the top. Quite a nice looking ale.

The aroma is VERY malty, with hints of caramel and a nice earthy background note.

The taste quite hoppy to start, with some earthy/faintly spicy notes coming through strongest. It quickly becomes a nice cascade of biscuity malt and finished on a rather dry note. It's got a light body, making it quite sessionable.

Overall, this is a nice ale, and I'd definitely recommend it. I'd even think about getting a few of these to enjoy over an evening sometime in the future.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2012 07:55:24 | More by evlu1441
Photo of jneiswender


2.5/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured a amber body with and off white head. Smell is sour and not pleasing at all. Taste is sugary sweet and also not pleasing. Medium mouthfeel. Overall I didn't like this beer at all. I would avoid this next time. Too many off smells and tastes for my liking.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2012 03:23:02 | More by jneiswender
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Black Sheep Ale (Special) from Black Sheep Brewery PLC
84 out of 100 based on 454 ratings.