Black Sheep Ale (Special) - Black Sheep Brewery PLC

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

524 Ratings
THE BROS
92
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 524
Reviews: 348
rAvg: 3.71
pDev: 12.94%
Wants: 19
Gots: 38 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Black Sheep Ale (Special) Alström Bros
Ratings: 524 | Reviews: 348
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.

Photo of killianf
4.27/5  rDev +15.1%
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.

Photo of CwrwAmByth
3.91/5  rDev +5.4%
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.

Photo of fx20736
4.12/5  rDev +11.1%
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!

Photo of wordemupg
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

Photo of dbrauneis
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.

Photo of evlu1441
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.

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.

Photo of angusdegraosta
4.32/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In a blind taste test, even I could pick out the country: England. Far more than some other Pale Ales, Black Sheep has the aroma and flavor profile of a bitter or an ESB. That esthery smell, with yeast and caramel malt, is one of a kind. Complex flavor. You'd think this is a dark, almost black beer from the name, but no, just the classic copper look with a fine head, classic being the key term. The dark brown bottle simply preserves the freshness better. A solid recommendation here.

Photo of Dhoff1109
4.47/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Amber colored with a big head.

S: Caramel, malt, fruity esthers.

T: Lots of malt and yeast - very good. Slight hop taste, but it is subdued

M: Very nice finish. Medium body and very smooth

Although I would not rate this beer as perfect, it is one of my favorites. Its a go to beer for me, and would recommend that you give it a try if you havent yet.

Serving type: bottle

Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.43/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A 500ml bottle with a BB of March 2012. I can't believe this is the first Black Sheep beer I'm reviewing - the brewery is a classic.

Poured into a straight pint glass. A faintly hazy orange-amber colour with low carbonation. Forms a decent head of frothy white foam that lasts for a minute or so before dissipating. Aroma of slightly sweet caramel malt with hints of yeast esters, toffee, stewed hops and butter.

Tastes of caramel malt with a mild bitter finish. Notes of fruity yeast esters, caramel/toffee, stewed hops and a hint of diacetyl in the background. Quite dry, with a subtle sweetness. Mouthfeel is smooth and tingly with some astringency. Aftertaste of fruity yeast and caramel malt.

A decent ale. A restrained flavour and good body make for easy drinking. Dry but fruity. Well-crafted and worth sampling.

Photo of leokbelo
3.68/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear copper on a Pint glass. 2 inch head that dissipates quickly into a 1/2 inch lacing.
Hint of sweet malts on the nose, with some grainy yeast in the backround.
Like the label said, bittersweet on the tongue, hints of caramel and some minor hops to finish.
Overall a decent English Pale Ale. With the low ABV (4.4%) a nice session brew.

Photo of atis
3.68/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours copper with one finger head, patchy lacing. Aroma is malty, hints of vegetables.

Taste starts malty and is balanced by delicate bitterness, hints of sour and slowly drying finish with aftertaste dominated by light hops.

Overall, decent and widely distributed, but when there are decent pale ales from other breweries available, I would certainly skip this one.

Photo of BeerLover99
3.68/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: tan/amber body, finger head, fine lacing

S: light yeast, grain, malt, hint of sugar

T: sweet caramel/toffee, malt, grain, light bitter mild
crisp finish

M: light/med body, semi-dry crisp mouth

O: Nice English pale ale. Not my top choice,
but you could do a lot worse. Would get
again and recommend.

NICE, NOT A MUST HAVE!

Photo of keethrax
4.47/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Orangish amber colored with a big head.

S: Caramel, malt, fruity esthers.

T: Lots of malt and yeasty goodness. Pear? Diacetyl butterry flavor. Hops are there, but buried.

M: Medium bodied and smooth. Finishes nicely.

This is really good, I may need to stock it in the cellar if I can find it again.

Photo of wvsabbath
3.83/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Serving Type 16.9 0z bottle

Appearance - Dark tan/brown, copper, with a nice 1 inch creamy head, plenty of lacing.

Smell - Malty, breash-like aroma. Some pale yeast, hops, and a little sugars, nothing special, a little weak.

Taste - Crisp hops, carmal malt backbone, and some yeast mixed in. Alot of flavor for such low alcohol. Has a bready, grassy feel to it. Sugars add slight sweetness and add to drinkibilty.

MOuthfeel - Light, smooth and refreshing. Doesnt do alot to mouth. Tounge gets the malts, palette gets the hops, and thats about all. Aftertaste is really light and gone quick.

Overall - Not bad at all, easy drinker. Has nice amount of hop and malt flavor. Slighty too bitter and overpowers the overall sweetness but other then that a decent english pale ale.

Photo of Georgiabeer
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A solid English Pale Ale, in fact better than I thought it would be. I've ignored this beer for years, and I'm not sure why, so I'm glad I decided to pick up a bottle on a whim. Pours a nice amber, not copper colored, but not as pale as some pale ales from England either. A medium head that eventually fades away away to nothing. Very little of the often present metallic aroma in present, but there is a bit of a buttery note that is not out of place in the style, as well as some earthiness, some clean graininess, and a decent bitterness, particularly on the finish. A light biscuity sweetness on the palate as well, but that plays well with the hops. The more I drink of this, the more I like it- always a good sign.

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

Had this during my visit of Aberdeen.
Look: The beer pours an orange color with a nice head
Smell: Malts, fruits, butter and earthy hops
Taste: Firm malts, nuts, toffee, butter and yeast
Mouthfeel: Low carbonation, full bodied
Overall: Nice drink for pubquiz

Photo of juhl31
3.86/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

-the body is a good dark, golden color accompanied by a nice lookin white head. this a a straight up good lookin beer

-a malty, sweet smell to it. the malt has a sweet bread type of smell. really like a nice fresh baked loaf

-there is a good, developed malt taste from front to back. lightly sweet, accented with a honey type character. there is a subtle english hop flavor and bitterness in the background. of the meaty, earthy hop type

-very crisp and somewhat dry as advertised. makes my mouth happy on a summer day

-i enjoy this beer. it's a nice easy drinker, with a good english style balance. seems like it would be a very good cask beer

Photo of alpinebryant
3.21/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark copper with a white head and heavy lacing.

Aroma is of mixed English hops, a light malt presence and caramel crystal malt aromas.

Taste is very similar to aroma. Light English hop flavors, a mild base of caramel and pale malts, and a slightly sweet lemon like finish. To me, I get a similar taste from some Magic Hat offerings. I would not say that this is better or worse, just that it is trying to personify (and is) an English pale ale. Neither overly hopped or underhopped, but brewed to style.

Medium carbonation and a medium body. Overall not bad, nothing outstanding about this.

Photo of bamojr
3/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

pours golden with two finger white head. smells like a general ale with a good mix of hops and malt. sweetness from malts and a bit of bitter from hops. This is nothing special, it is just a standard ale. I feel that this is about as middle of the road as you can get.

Photo of andrenaline
3.63/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Cheers to the neighbor for hooking me up with a bottle of this stuff.

A - Pours a hazy copper colour with a brown hue, solid finger of beige head with solid retention and some nice sticky lacing.

S - Light citrus hop profile and some musty caramel. Reminiscent of an ESB with stronger caramel notes.

T - Much like the nose, though the citrus hops do come through nicely. A bready, musty caramel lingers on the tongue alongside a grassy wheat finish.

M - A lighter bodied ale that goes down smooth and is refreshing, though can come across as a tad thin.

O - Nothing overwhelming on the palette, but certainly poundable. Nice light, crisp, English Ale that is definitely worth a try.

Photo of DoubleJ
3.11/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

What is it with Yorkshire and sheep? C'mon, read all the football chants putting the two together (often in a vulgar way). Here's a less vulgar theme that puts the two together; a Yorkshire brewery named the Black Sheep Brewery. 500 ml of Yorkshire joy, and we all know what follows...not that! On to the beer!

Almost looking like a shade of lighter brown in poor lighting, this Halloween orange colored beer shows a foamy head an innch thick, holding itself well on top, kicking up some webs of white lace. Better make sure the environment around is free of odor, as this beer is very light in smell. I get a little bit of musty strawberry, a little toastiness, and caramel.

Not much of a surprise that it has a subtle flavor. Toasty is the dominant theme of the beer's overall flavor. Vague esters, bitter grain husk, and diacetyl are among those notes which remain, for the most part, background noise. The liquid has a buttery feel, though at times the carbonation gets a little too perky. More time is elapsed as the beer seems to get more astringent; especially at the aftertaste. What was a pretty good beer first off is now heading towards mediocrity.

Black Sheep is one ale that I put off trying for years, but I thought that I would like it. The reality is that this okay, but it looks like I'll be putting off a second helping for longer than I put off my first helping.

Photo of SolomonGrundy
2.68/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The basics: 4.4% ABV and $3.99/500ml bottle...Both ok...

The label really hits the mark on this: This beer is crisp, dry and bittersweet almost to a tee.

This is a very British ale. It falls under the Brit Pale Ale category...It's way better carbonated than most British ales I get in bottles 'round these parts. I like that. Good lookin' beer but nothing off the chain, so to speak.

Aromas are panfully subtle - so much so it's as thought there is no aroma. Booo....I THINK I smell fuggles in there...but I'm unsure...subpar in this category in my opinion.

The mouthfeel is a tad more spritzy that is usual for a UK style Pale, so that may turn some off who were lookin' for a quaffer. This is something that would pair well with spicy food. Flavors are muted like the aroma profile would suggest: some caramel malt amidst the spritz, and until the finish it's pretty muted. Finish is dry and bitter, nicely bitter. I would have loved to see a touch more malt in the profile, as that would have really helped this get to a higher level. As it is, it's simply beer and not much else.

What I like most: The nice bitterness in the finish.

What I like least: The definitive lack of robustness all the way around.

Verdict: You can find better British ales for around the same price point. Look elsewhere as this is undistinctive.

Photo of Knapp85
3/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The Black Sheep Ale is much like most of the ESB's on the market out there. The color is amber or copper. The head is white and soapy. The lacing isn't too bad here. The smell is mostly malts and a little bitterness going on. The flavors are of dry malts with a little sweetness in the background. The the mouthfeel is smooth and for the most part really drinkable.

Black Sheep Ale (Special) from Black Sheep Brewery PLC
84 out of 100 based on 524 ratings.