Special Pale Ale - Wellington County Brewery

Not Rated.
Special Pale AleSpecial Pale Ale

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119 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 119
Reviews: 67
rAvg: 3.42
pDev: 11.7%
Wants: 2
Gots: 6 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Wellington County Brewery visit their website
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
English Pale Ale |  4.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-16-2002

No notes at this time.
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Ratings: 119 | Reviews: 67
Reviews by BeerClubNiagara:
More User Reviews:
Photo of Popsinc
3.45/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice deep amber. small head. the nose is mild with light malts and some caramel sweetness. taste was mild. again, light malty sweetness, minimal hops, some caramel sweetness as well follwed up with a lemony twang on the finish. very light bodied, smooth and creamy texture. a little light all the way around for my liking but has good drinkability. probably best enjoyed on a warm summer's day when the goal is sit down and enjoy several. not a favorite of mine.

Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.68/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewery. I've had this brew many times before, but this is the first occasion I've had to put thoughts to paper.

Pours a crisp, dark amber. About an inch of creamy head, loads of lacing.

Nose is malt, bread, a bit of fruit. Typical pale ale fare.

The taste isn't complex, but man does this stuff go down easy. Light malts, a bit of biscuit and bread, dark fruits and bitterness to the finish. More fruit flavours here than in their Best Bitter, which makes for a smoother quaff. Very enjoyable.

Mouthfeel is medium thin, average carbonation.

The definition of a great session beer. I can drink this stuff all night, and I certainly have. A great introduction to the pale ale style, and a solid Ontario offering.

Photo of Swedes21
2.98/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

473 ml served in a chilled glass..

Appearance - Beer pours with as a clear auburn colour and a slightly brown based head. Head is foamy while having a thick appearance. The carbonation levels almost not present and minimal lacing.

Smell - I would say almost too simple. Nice balance of caramel with roasted nuts in the taste. Nothing that blows me away, i was hoping for more...

Taste - I can taste the caramel but not much of a punch. The beer is actually a little bland to my taste buds. There is no aftertaste either, i found it to go down easy.

Mouthfeel - not a lot of carbonation is offered to this beer, it does not come alive and offers the same amount of taste in the mouthfeel.

Drinkability - Its almost light beer with a hint of caramel. There isn't much offered overall, but its not a bad beer. Just need to manage expectation when trying it.

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.17/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Amber body cream colored head, minimal lacing. Aroma: Nice caramel toasted malts apparent with a kiss of hops there floating in the background. Taste: Grainy off note is apparent but the upside is there is a detectable succulent caramel tone to the malts with fair bitterness. Mouthfeel: Light to medium in body definitely meant to be a session ale. Drinkability: Not bad a tasty pale ale, however I desire more hops. After asking for a hoppy ale this is what they gave me, it's okay I enjoyed it.

Photo of biboergosum
3.43/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

473ml can. The eponymous commander's campaign to Ind-ja is summed up pithily on the label.

This beer pours a clear medium golden amber colour, with two fat fingers of thin foamy, frizzy off-white head, which leaves some inconsistent arched lace around the glass in its wake. It smells of bready pale malt, and zingy, sharp floral, weedy hops. The taste is mildly toffee and caramel tinged bready malt, some faint nutty esters, and somewhat fruity floral hops. The carbonation is average, the body on the lee side of medium, and roughly smooth (I know), as a bit of what I'm guessing is a hop-oriented edge permeates. It finishes off-dry, the extended malt and hops making no unexpected u-turns.

A pretty faithful ode to the British style - yet a bit too mild, and not very challenging, or by non-condemning extension - rousing.

Photo of mdaschaf
3.52/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to korguy123 for this one

A: Pours a Clear copper color, small head that dissipates quickly, not real lacing.

S: Very nutty, lots of malts. I also get a good amount of caramel and toffee.

T: Dominated by malt. The nutty aroma comes through and is very strong. A slight hop flavor in the middle as well, but very brief.

M/D: Light to Medium bodied, but very little carbonation. Overall, not bad, but not special. Again, props for the tall boy can. Love those no matter what.

Photo of Sammy
3.82/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A fine golden colour, some hoppy aroma, some flavour and cream, carbonation, altogether average however. In sip nuttiness, some bitter aftertaste. Not so pale, maybe name owes itself to cross-style with the cream, which is sugar biscuit in the dough, Bitter over sweet.

Photo of joemcgrath27
3.41/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - a clear copper, decent off white head but it did not retain well
S - sweet molasses malty smell, floral and citrus hop notes, and a slight yeast scent
T - sweet and nutty flavours, the hop taste is more earthy and subtle that I expected, and I found mild tobacco hints
M - slightly thin but some richness of flavour, very little carbonation, in fact almost flat, a little dry bitter hoppiness
D - generally average, drinks fairly easily and flavours are decent, but to call it a pale ale was a bit of a stretch for me

Photo of DaveBar
3.29/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Purchased at the LCBO for $2.85 473ml can. Served at 6deg C in a draught glass

A- Very good. Opens well and pours amber dark. Not much head though

S- Ok. Basic British malt caramel and hops but none in anything to call anything special.... Ok I guess

T- Ok. Nothing special for me. Basic IPA

M- Ok. Nice and creamy, LOL

O- Your ok basic rendition of a British IPA.

Food Pairing

This ok IPA goes well with... Steak and kidney pie... I made it to try believe it or not!


Photo of Stocean1
3.45/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - poured a one finger lacy head with some retention onto an amber hued body - somewhat clear

S - light malt and floral hops and light fruit

T - light malt up front with the floral hops, biscuit, pepper, a little medicinal, apple and pear notes

M - light body with little carbonation, bitter and dry

O - a drinkable pale ale but nothing to blow you away - grabbed it because the pub had nothing else

Photo of emerge077
3.04/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks Jay for sharing this beer. Served from a yellow can with a boot on it, into a tulip glass. Reviewed from quick notes.

Dark amber orange body, sharp clarity, ample foam on the surface that has an off white cream color to it. Retention is adequate, the foam leaves some spotty lacing around the edges here and there.

Smells a little off, funky yeast and musty wet grains. Some bready malt underneath, but overall not too appealing.

Flavor is better, malt dominant, toasted grain and multigrain bread. Light to medium bodied, slightly low carbonation. It's ok, but the smell is just odd. Not one i'd seek out when in Ontario.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.15/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Can: Poured a slightly hazy amber color ale with a medium size foamy head with average retention and some light lacing. Aroma consists of somewhat dry English style malt with light floral notes. Taste is also a mix between some floral notes with light dry malt notes. Body is about average with good carbonation. Not complex and easily drinkabale.

Photo of ZorPrime
3.5/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Another beer from liamt07, sent to me in a recent trade.

Copper color beer, clear with a tiny foamy head (big bubbles) on top. I get some malts notes and earthy/woody hops in the nose. Not very tasty, I would have expected it to be a little bit more upfront on the taste side. Not bad. Light bitterness at the end. Woody in the taste with some malts too. So easy to drink and refreshing. This beer does the job. Not a tasty beer but a good damn refreshing beer.

Photo of IronDjinn
2.75/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

From a 473 ml can, part of a sampler 4-pack. Pours out a hazed amber hue, loose foamy off-white head that retains to a thick cap.

Dry toasty malt on the nose, a brief spike of sour veg, some leafy and grassy hops.

Toasty and sweetish malt up front in the flavour, mild notes of caramel, finishing with mild leafy hops.

Medium-bodied mouthfeel, although with a watery texture, but a moderate carbonation tends to save it.

Either I got some old product schlebbed off in a variety pack (although it's not showing serious signs of age), or Wellington is just phoning it in with this special pale ale, as for the most part it comes across as a sub-par offering.

Photo of Antilochus
3.12/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Grabbed a sixer of this at a London ON LCBO. 341mL twist bottle, 4.50% abv. Fridge temp.

Even brownish amber body with a respectable cloudy white top.

Notes of metal, noble hop spice (!), lager yeast (!). Weird.

Aggresively carbonated mouthfeel stings... a bit foamy as well but it's still okay. Sweetness, metal on the palate, tastes like a decent lager with the noble hop spice. Finish is much better, caramel maltiness, a touch of hop astringency, less lagerness but noble hop + lager yeast combo is still perceptible.

Definitely easy drinking though.

Photo of baiser
3.38/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a golden brown colour with yellow highlights. Minimal lacing. Some hop aromas.

Taste is alright, nothing special. Some sweetness to start. Some nuts. Middle is slightly metallic, and end is moderately bitter. It's a light and crisp beer, with lager like qualities. A bit doughy and biscuity.

This pale ale isn't really anything special. Lady at the brewery told me it was their best seller in and around Guelph. However, it's not one of their better beers.

Photo of Roke87
3.41/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

341 mL bottle from the OCB spring discovery pack, chilled and poured into my trusty Ironspike pilsner glass.

Appearance- Pours a dark amber colour with two fingers of thick off white head that takes a little while to dissipate down to a nice bubbly top leaving average lacing throughout till finish.

Smell- Very heavy on the bready malts, and other than that not too much else going on in the smells for me.

Taste- It picks it up a little better in the tastes, although you do get that huge taste of bready malt in there right away, a mild sweet taste supplied by an almost caramel flavour on the palate.

Mouthfeel- Light to medium bodied, with an above average carbonation to the mouth feel although you can’t really see it at.

Overall- This one really reminds me a lot of Rogue’s dead guy ale, like it literally almost tastes the exact same, an overabundance of bready malts that is like eating a bowl of cambells chicken noodle soup, and some mild caramel flavours in there as well, that are all so reminiscent of a typical British pale ale. Not a huge fan of this one although it did not strike me in a bad note at all, probably would not pick it up had it not been in a taster pack, and definitely not the best offering from Wellington.

Photo of spinrsx
3.48/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

341ml Bottle

Appearance – Clear copper colour with an above average size frothy and fizzy beige coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some good lacing. The head lasted for 5 minutes or so before it was gone.

Smell – Malts, caramel, toffee

Taste & Mouth - There is an above average amount of carbonation and I can taste lots of malts and caramel. There is also quite a bit of a metallic taste and a bit of a tea flavour. the beer finishes with a malty and caramel sweet aftertaste.

Overall – At first the metallic taste really bothered me but it seemed to wear off as I progressed through the beer. The beer is very drinkable it just doesn't really have anything exciting going on taste wise. I'm happy I gave it a shot but I wouldn't buy it again.

Photo of StarshipPoopers
3.43/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a deep ruby red. Nothing to note in terms of lacing and head retention, was non-existant when it arrived.
S - The smell was pretty average. Faint floral notes masked by a sort of biscuity and sweet caramel/toffee smell. Smells slightly more complex than a macro but it smells like it could very well taste like one.
T - Not much complexity or differentiation in the flavours. The hops are quite subtle and the taste is mainly of a sweet caramel/toffee and biscuit flavours (basically identical to the smell). By no means a bad beer to drink, but very average and nothing in the taste is noteworthy.
M/D - Decent mouthfeel, the lack of complexity in the taste coupled with the complete absense of head and sweetness/breadiness of the beer diminished the overall mouthfeel. Drinkability is good.

If this was offered to me again I would have one, but it's not memorable and I won't be seeking out another.

Photo of liamt07
3.57/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Can from the LCBO, 473ml into a pint glass. Best before June 15, 2012.

Pours a chestnut brown, with an offwhite head that almost immediately subsides to virtually nothing. A pencil thin collar and thin film persists. Nose has some whole grain breads, caramel, some earthy notes and a bit of diacetyl. Taste is about the same, moderately sweet malts, grainy and bready with some light hopping. A relatively 'signature' Wellington feel to the malt profile. Slightly bitter finish. Carbonation is quite high and almost fizzles. An OK English Pale, but I think this would be better on cask.

Photo of FRANKIE65
3.43/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A bit too much caramel for my liking, but, still a decent brew.

Photo of Shiloh
3.28/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The characteristics of this brew are such that I do believe will command some respect in the brewing industry...unfortunately this style of beer eludes me as to consumer enjoyment...
However it pours a dark amber with no cloudy residue, and limited carbonation...well balanced in taste and full bodied...I personally find this beer a little heavy which for me limits drinkability,,,

Photo of ludachris
3.61/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes. On tap @ The Phoenix. One of my staples here when I'm getting shittered after exams. Also one of the first craft brews I introduced to my girlfriend, which went over pretty well.

Pours a clear, medium hue of amber with a one and a half finger cream coloured head. Decent retention and leaves some great tightly knit, patchy lace.

Light smell of toasted malts, grain, fruity esters, a light sour charachter and subtle floral hops. Could be more pronounced, but still a tasty smelling beer.

Toasted malts up front right away paired with some biscuit, sweet notes of caramel and light fruity esters. All followed by sour grain and a subtle floral hop finish.

Light body, smooth and watery throughout. Quaffability is excellent.

Overall, not the best brew from Wellington's I've head, but good nonetheless. I can see myself buying many more pitchers of this in my last two years of school, in between sampling the beers on their rotating tap of course. Maybe I'll even buy a 6er of this one day, but compared to the top APA's I've head, this one sits on the average level at best.

Photo of SebD
3.3/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: It has a nice golden/copper colour to it. It has a nice white head that dies down fast and has no lacing.

Smell: The aromas give out hints of bready malts and a bit of caramel but not much else.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a very malty taste with some caramel and very light hops.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium carbonation with an uneven balance and slightly light feel. Too much malts, not enough hops.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with bland flavours and aromas. Not at all what I expected from the style. No hop aromas or bitterness like you would usually see in a English Pale Ale.

Photo of thehyperduck
3.43/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

I've been on a bit of a pale ale binge recently; had an excellent American-style one earlier and I've got pretty high hopes for this English-style pale ale as well.

Poured from a tallboy can, this brew is a deep, clear copper colour. I was pretty aggressive with the pour but the head is still thin and short-lived, soon dying off to a thin rim around the edge of the glass. Decent lacing. The smell is heavy on the malts, biscuity and a little sweet like toffee. Not much going on in the odour department.

Lightly roasted malts, biscuity and nutty, provide the dominant flavour. Faint toffee sweetness. English-style hops provide an earthy backbone that mostly yields to the more-dominant sweet malts. Aftertaste is a little dry but it doesn't linger. Pretty light-bodied, maybe pushing medium-light, with low-ish carbonation.

It's hard to get excited about this stuff. Enjoyable, but a little watery and light on flavour for an EPA, which is a shame because this brewery's English Bitter managed to pack plenty of flavour in with an even lower ABV. With some work this could be a solid pale ale. I doubt I'll pick this one up again, but I don't regret getting it.

[Updated Nov. 17 2013]

I picked up a six-pack from The Beer Store, largely because it's one of like 3 or 4 craft options available in my small (2,000-person) town. I was much too hard on this last time around - it's not an interesting beer, but it's extremely drinkable, with a balanced (albeit pedestrian) flavour profile. I could easily plow through the entire pack in a night, and suffer no ill effects. I'll admit I wasn't a big fan of this at first, but like most of Wellington's offerings it's brewed properly and accomplishes what it sets out to do - it's a fine, if unspectacular session ale.

Final Grade: 3.43, a B-.

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Special Pale Ale from Wellington County Brewery
78 out of 100 based on 119 ratings.