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Special Ale - Lake Superior Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Special AleSpecial Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

76 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 76
Reviews: 54
rAvg: 3.71
pDev: 14.29%
Wants: 0
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Lake Superior Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  ABV ?

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: taez555 on 08-25-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 76 | Reviews: 54 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by taylorhamrick:
Photo of taylorhamrick
2.9/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours out with very little head, and I poured it as vigorously as I could. The color is kind of copper, but pretty hazy, and there is not lacing, no bubbles, no nothing. At least you can feel the carbonation, of this one would've been very disappointing. The smell contains some normal, slightly floral hops, and a decent dose of bready malts. I get whiffs of lemon, lime, orange, earth, leaves, and spice in turns, but none of it really stands out, none of it really impresses me. There's also a kind of watery graininess, a bit powdery. The taste comes out with a light lemon or orange cake taste. And that is about all you get. It's actually not bad, and I like it better than some APAs but it could definitely get a boost. There's also a bit of an herbal taste, leafy and kind of crisp, mixed in with a nice dense biscuity taste. The body is nice, medium, maybe it's because there wasn't a lot of bubbles, but I can really feel the carbonation, it's kind of prickly, and provides a nice rush as I drink. I like it. The drinkability is average. With more of a head, maybe I could've gotten into it from the start, and I bet it would put this kind of at a B or B-, better than average, but not quite standing out in it's class. As it is, it's right around average. The flavors in here are nice and pleasant, it doesn't stray too far from what I want, but it just lacks in certain areas.

taylorhamrick, Aug 14, 2009
More User Reviews:
Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.65/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: slightly brownish, medium golden

Smell: mild ester and juniper, some floral notes from the Cascade hops. Mellow and very nicely balanced.

Taste: medium hoppiness, slightly bitter, a touch of grapefruit and maybe some apple in the finish. I would like a little more hops but this is close.

Mouthfeel: light and crisp, slightly dry finish but could be more dry, slightly bitter

Drinkability: Very easy to drink.

DaPeculierDane, Oct 03, 2005
Photo of ADR
3.23/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Slightly cloudy light amber color, head is nice with 1/4 inch of stiff bubbles. Vague orange aromas. Quite citrusy sweet flavor, but surprisingly little bittering bite. A sense of malt in the background. A little strange in that the hops set up like an American Pale but don't impart the characteristic zazz. Orangey backbone throughout. The label says British-style Pale, but this beer isn't really even a good example of an American-style. Mediocre, to me.

ADR, Sep 24, 2002
Photo of sgttibbs
3.25/5  rDev -12.4%

sgttibbs, Dec 05, 2013
Photo of rhoadsrage
4.35/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in an American pint glass)

Appearance: slightly hazy warm golden color with a nice off-white head that hands on the beer. Strong carbonation, with great lacing on the glass.

Smell: good floral hop aroma with just a little crisp citrus smell but very faint.

Taste: good light maltyness that blends with a good crisp hop taste. Just a hint of grassiness with that great hop taste. Citricy hop taste gets stronger in aftertaste but just a slight astringent note hidden in there. Just nice chewy hops overall.

Mouthfeel- medium body with a carbonation kick at the end.

Drinkability: This beer has a very light maltyness that really makes the hops jump out. Very crisp and refreshing beer

Thanks to TavernJ for picking this brew, I’m sure it wasn’t by accident

rhoadsrage, Feb 20, 2005
Photo of LXIXME
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%

LXIXME, Jul 25, 2013
Photo of Metalmonk
3.9/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Head almost reaches two-fingers before mellowing, although it never really dies out. Color is shiny copper, typical of the style, with lots of bubbles feeding the foam. Whole lotta lace goin' on.

Very fruity hop aroma here, spiked by just a smidgen of yeast and a subtle bit of malt.

Flavor brings in fruity hops front and center, with a curious nutty yeast and bready/wheaty graininess adding depth. Nice grapefruit lingering in the finish. I can't help but think of some of Magic Hat's various pales and IPAs...if you like their beers, you'll like this too.

Mouthfeel achives balance between smooth & creamy and crisp & fizzy.

A very easy-to-like, easy-to-drink beer. I like that the hops works some real magic without being a total hop-bomb...just seems to give new impressions with each sip. Thanks to mnwags for turning me onto this cool Minnesota brewery.

Metalmonk, Sep 12, 2007
Photo of cokes
3.55/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Fairly foggy honey colored with a skimming of beige lace.
It noses of caramel apples and heathery, faintly citric hops.
Enters the mouth with some husky graininess smoothed by a honey note. The middle is yeasty in the lightly musty, concrete basement sense, and lightly Granny Smith sour. Ends with some herbaceous notes and and zippy conclusion of lime peels.
Medium bodied with a low level of CO2. Quirky, possibly a tad old, but still alright.

cokes, Sep 26, 2008
Photo of tempest
4.33/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My local go-to pale ale in MN. Pours a nice golden amber with nice head and retention. Very hoppy nose, spice and grapefruit. Taste is hoppy but not overly bitter. Great for a mellow hop-head drink. Dry buscuity malts with citrus and grapefruit hops. Amarillo and cascade for sure. Feels just right on the palate, give me another.

tempest, Jul 06, 2006
Photo of CharlesDarwin
3.43/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Originally reviewed April 10, 2005. 12 Oz Bottle. Golden pale, with a touch of orange color. Raging, frothing off-white creamy head, which lasts and lasts. The carbonation in this beer is fuming. Finely flecked with yeast. The lacing is ridiculous, leaving sheets of broken lace, everywhere it goes. This beer pours beautifully. Aroma is a light tangy sting of citrusy hops, but it’s not too strong. Flavor is pretty deep. Starts off with a good burst of slightly floral hops and strong orange flavor, then finishes with a good dose of malt and a strong kick of wheaty yeast. Palate is crisp, yet with a lingering hoppy coating, with a touch of malted sugar. A very well rounded beer, with a fantastic balance of hops, malt, and yeast.

CharlesDarwin, Aug 07, 2006
Photo of GeoffRizzo
4.35/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear orange with a very thick clinging head. Smell of citrus dominated by banana, quite pleasant. The taste is of citrus and hops, and a nice texture. The mouthfeel is of the same - - citrus with just a hint of orange peel left on the palate, the hops are also there. Again, a nice blend, a nice beer, could get used to these. Very well crafted, I'll be in search of more Lake Superior Brew Co beers!

GeoffRizzo, Mar 06, 2003
Photo of TooGood
3/5  rDev -19.1%

TooGood, Jun 12, 2014
Photo of Brent
4.53/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

According to the label a "North American British Style Pale Ale." A contradiction in terms, given that the American pale ale goes long on citric Cascades hops, whereas the British style usually has a bit more emphasis on the malt, and is less concerned about aromatics in the hops bittering. Here, the balance is just fine. Nice whack of Cascades hops up front, but the hops pulls back and the malt shines through. This is a bit more hopped-up than the average pale ale, but not as over the top as a hop-monster. Very nice and magnificently quaffable. If this was available to me on a regular basis, it would be a beer fridge staple. Thanks to tavernjef for a winner!

Brent, Dec 13, 2003
Photo of tvv375ia
3.38/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured from 12oz bottle into pint glass

A-pored a nice ochre color in the glass with about a finger of head that faded wuickly without much lacing

S-a litlle carmel and nutty malt with some citrus hops

T-much like the smell some carmel and nuts with a touch of some lemon on the finish

M-nice carbonation and good clean finish

O-nice well balanced eay to drink beer

tvv375ia, Dec 09, 2011
Photo of Gusler
3.93/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a vaporous yellow-orange color with the head cyclopean in size, frothy in texture and the color a very light tan with the lace a satin sheet to drape the glass. Sweet malt dominates the nose with a slight hint of hops, also a bit of tartness noticed, start is sweet and has a nice malt profile, top is fair to middling in its feel. Finish is brisk in its carbonation, but the hops power through to give a crisp and flavorful spicy bite, aftertaste desert dry and a very nice beer that hit’s the spot after a “Shite” day at work.

Gusler, Dec 18, 2003
Photo of MN_Beerticker
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%

MN_Beerticker, Sep 02, 2012
Photo of umustdrink
2.6/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Hazy opaque orange, interesting. Head is offwhite, fades to a film. Lacing is good.

S - Sweet citrusy hops.

T - Smooth hop taste with a cereal-like aftertaste. A little watery and bland.

M - The watery element carries through to the mouthfeel.

D - I've had this before and it wasn't nearly this bad. I'll try it in a month or so and hopefully its better.

umustdrink, Feb 11, 2007
Photo of PartyHatjo
3.93/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

thanks again to jeffboo for another tasty brew...

Appearance: Pours a copper color, bordering more towards yellow than the typical brownish-red. Some chill haze is present. The head is substantial, initially, but doesn't last that long.

Aroma: Citrus-hop character. A bit of bubble gum, too. Biscuit and toasted appear as a background to the hop.

Taste: Refreshing citrus hop tones, followed by biscuity goodness. Could go for a bit more in the hop flavor department. Minimal sweetness doesn't balance as well as I would like with a lingering bitterness; but caramel-type flavors do come through a bit.

Mouthfeel: A bit light in body for my liking given the amount of bitterness. Carbonation amount was exceptional.

Overall a pretty good brew. Could do to have a bit more crystal malt, and a bit more flavor hops.

PartyHatjo, May 14, 2004
Photo of MNAle
4.5/5  rDev +21.3%

MNAle, Jun 12, 2014
Photo of marc77
4.05/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark golden hue with a slight murk. Thick, dense, cream white persistent head leaves loose lace. The aroma is a melange of juicy grapefruit laden Cascades complemented by mellow berryish fruity esters and stately light caramel malt. Subtle bready undertones add a dryish contrast. Pleasant and well rounded aromawise. Citrus laced sweetness upfront in flavor is ensued and offset by mild biscuit then moderate, well calculated hop bitterness. Slightly tart, pearish esters emerge mid palate along with mineral notes, signifying the use of a British yeast strain. Lightly bodied, but sufficiently dextrinous to be light on the palate, but not thin. Finishes with notes of ripe orange yielding to fleeting hints of bready pale malt. A very well balanced pale in terms of American hop character and its mellow ester profile. Light, quaffable and tasty. Spot on. Thank you, Feloniousmonk for sending this well crafted brew.

marc77, Apr 25, 2003
Photo of beachscrat
3.9/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz brown bottle twist off cap (use to be pop tops). Simple blue and black graphics. Beer's title "Special Ale". No explanation of beer style, ingredients, etc.

appearance: Tight, pure white clingy foam persists from start to finish. Bright gold orange color, with slight cloudy-ness.
(I've had this beer in the past and it has been undercarbonated. Seems like they fixed the problem. Also, this beer use to always have a bit of yeast left over in the bottom of the bottle. I miss that aspect with the new twist top bottling line.)

smell: Slight citrus with a small amount of alcohol heat.

taste: Bitter citrus hops upfront that fade quick with a bit of a toasty malt backbone. Little to no lingering bitterness.

mouthfeel: light, smooth and thin.

drinkability: Very well balanced citrus bitterness upfront that fades fast into slight biscuit toast. Very easy drinking without being boring, yet not overwhelming. Sophisticated.

music: "Shame" from Long Division by Low. Fantastically minimalist band from Duluth, MN.

beachscrat, Feb 09, 2007
Photo of gatornation
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

came in pint glass a copper color with almost no head and tan ring..smell was musty malts and hops and a peat earthy smell..taste was the same it was malt forward with same hops and a peat earthy taste that was good ..the mouth feel was medium and this was pretty drinkable..would not ever buy a sixer of this but would have it om tap again

gatornation, May 15, 2010
Photo of nrmiller
3.73/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured into a pilsner glass. An amber colored body. Somewhat small white head.

S: Smells of malts and cirtus hops.

T: Malts up front that stay fairly bold until a moderate grapefruit bitterness kicks in to keep things in check and even goes into the aftertaste.

M: Light to medium bodied, with just right carbonation.

D: Nicely drinkable, an APA that has some interesting malts. I really enjoyed this one. Another solid offering from a solid brewery.

nrmiller, Nov 21, 2010
Photo of Doyle
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%

Doyle, Aug 05, 2012
Photo of RushLimbmalt
4.93/5  rDev +32.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a very cloudy orange/copper color. There was little head and it disappeared quickly. The citrus and sweet malty aroma is very inviting. The taste is every bit as good as the smell... citrus hoppiness and heavy malt character balance out very good for this style of beer. Maybe I am biased, but I think 2 of the best APAs are brewed here in Minnesota. This is my favorite so far and I will be looking forward to the next time I can enjoy it.

RushLimbmalt, Sep 04, 2004
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Special Ale from Lake Superior Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 76 ratings.