English Style Special Ale - Sand Creek Brewing Company

Not Rated.
English Style Special AleEnglish Style Special Ale

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54 Reviews
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Reviews: 54
Hads: 90
rAvg: 3.52
pDev: 8.24%
Wants: 1
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Sand Creek Brewing Company visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
English Brown Ale |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 05-18-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 54 | Hads: 90
Photo of pat61
3.84/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Hazy amber under a 1” cream colored foam collar that quicky fades leaving splotchy lace.
S: Not a big nose – some graham cracker, nuits, grain spice.
T: Light fruit, traces of cola, treacle, grain, nuts, biscuit.
F: Creamy, medium body and carbonation.
O: there is no bottle date so I can’t tell how old it is but itt tastes a little oxidized. (356 characters)

Photo of pweis909
3.99/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A=Darker side of copper, with tawny head. Could probably be described as a brown ale, which I see is how BA describes it. I was expecting it to be an ESB. If there is a tweener category from an appearance perspective only, this would be it.

S=Caramel, caramel, caramel. The smell is one dimensional. It is great that it has some caramel notes, but... overpowering.

Taste= Consistant with the smell, I get a lot of sweet caramel up front. It sticks around almost long enough to be cloying, but gets rescued by a dry finish that might be attributed to the use of roasted grains. My very first swallow, and that swallow only, I was able to detect what I thought was a citrusy, tangerine-like hop.When I looked for it in the second swallow, all I could find was a metallic taste. However, by the third swallow, I wasn't perceiving that anymore, either.

M& Overall Drinkability= It seemed like it had less carbonation than an American ale. This added to drinkabilty. Body seemed slightly thin, but this enhanced drinkability. (1,023 characters)

Photo of Gavage
3.57/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours a reddish brown color with a 1" head that falls quickly.

Smell: light caramel and toffee aromas are all you can detect.

Taste: caramel, ripe fruit sweetness, mild hop bitterness, and a hint of nuttiness create a mild flavored ale.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Lightly crisp to start, less crisp and a bit smooth at the finish. Short lasting aftertaste.

Overall: very easy to drink this beer, and despite the milder profile it is nicely satisfying if you are looking on a less hoppy beer. (511 characters)

Photo of WastingFreetime
3.47/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from tasting notes.

A. Pours out a very reddish brown color with a thin cap of off-white foam for a head and minimal lacing.

S,T. Some toasty caramel aroma and flavor with a hint of buttered bread, good smooth even earthy hopping and a faint garnish of herbals when warmed up.

M. Medium body and carbonation levels...smooth with a short yet semi-dry finish.

Yet another nice all-rounder from Sand Creek. (416 characters)

Photo of facundoCNB
3.89/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured a nice opaque color with about a half inch of creamy off white head. smells of toffee, caramel, chocolate, cedar wood with a citrus hint (grapefruit/orange). instant bubbling fizz releases a sweet caramel taste up front, followed up by a wooden bitterness. easy going down, making this a nice session ale. feels like a very classic recipe, much like climax brewery's ESB. (378 characters)

Photo of DabblinWiscCraft
3.84/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, cloudy amber with about a half inch of off-white head that sticks around for a bit and leaves minimal cling. It has a nice nose, with roasted malts up front and less pronounced caramel sweetness and some hop zest following. The taste is much more hop-centric than I was expecting: There is some roasted malt flavor at the fore, but this is immediately superseded by herbal and pine hop flavor. The hop bitterness lingers for just a little while on the tongue, but this one finishes fairly clean. There's a little more effervescence than I'd like to this one, but the feel is pretty adequate overall.

I've enjoyed the last couple Sand Creek beers I've tried. While this one doesn't blow my mind, it has an interesting and enjoyable hop quality that I'm not accustomed to in this style. This beer goes down quite easily, and I could see it pairing well with a lot of foods. I'll come back to this one again. (920 characters)

Photo of richkrull
2.78/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Picked this up in a mixed 12-pack because my wife is a big fan of Sand Creek Brewing.

Poured a brownish amber color with some beige head on it. Smell is caramel malt with some bread notes coming through. Taste is sweet caramel malt. Decent tasting beer, but not great. I wasn't a big fan of it. Tasted a bit off to me. Didn't go down very smooth, especially for a light bodied beer. It was OK but I wouldn't try it again. (423 characters)

Photo of Duff27
3.11/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Big two fingered head atop a dark amber beer with fine floating sediment. Above average lacing and head retention.

S- Grassy. Licorice.

T- Caramel malts. Easy drinking as the flavor is mostly muted sans a quick sweetness at the tail end of the taste. Bready.

M- On the watery side of things.

D/O- Pretty quaffable beer overall. I'm not so sure I wouldn't reach for something with a little more flavor though. No bottle date so who knows how old it is. (458 characters)

Photo of Contagion
3.38/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The beer itself is a rich dark amber color with bronze highlights. There appears to be no haziness to it. Light passes through easily, however it is dark enough that you can't see clearly through to the other side. When poured into the glass, an inch thick tan foamy head formed. It faded slowly and a good film and ring on the top of the beer was present until I finished what was in my glass.

The smell starts with a nice roasted malt scent. Caramel and Toffee is the most prominent malt scent that comes out. There is just a hint of nuttiness to it that should be present in an English Style ale, not as much as I would have expected, but it was still there. The taste was rather mild and unassuming. Mostly of caramel malts, a mild nuttiness, a faint hint of cocoa is what you notice at first. There is a slight hop backbone to it that rounds the flavor out.

This is a medium bodied beer; there is a good level of carbonation to it that is standard with the style.

Over all for an English Style ale, I was little disappointed. The flavor wasn't as prominent as one would expect. It's very unassuming. It is very easy to drink, and is something that I could see drinking on a hot summer night, Possibly while sitting around a campfire with some friends or even while playing a game at the local bar. I could also see someone sitting down and enjoying a nice platter of fish and chips while sipping on one. Overall I found it a decent beer to drink. (1,457 characters)

Photo of scruffwhor
3.57/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a muddy ruby andcopper mix. Only a so so head, but very good bubbling for this style. Lots of suspended yeast in this brew. Pretty sweet malt aromas of dark white bread and some marmalade with a little hops adding just a touch of citrus to this snack. The taste is super malty and bready. Myabe even a few hints of brown sugar and maple yrup. But the hops give just a soft dash of citrus marmalade to this sweet brown ale. Swet start, but a slowly bittering finish. Pretty good drinking with this brew. (508 characters)

Photo of SykDoc
3.65/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. It pours a minimally hazy copper/red color. A 1/4 inch tan head forms and quickly reduces to a lacing around the edges. Carbonation is visible.

The aroma is that of caramel malty sweetness. There are some bready notes, as well as a nicely placed pine hops component.

The taste again reveals a caramel malt sweetness. The citrus/pine hops is present but minimally compared to the malts. Fairly sweet and just a mild amount of bitterness.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a reasonable amount of carbonation for the flavor. A pleasant dryness is left at the finish. It is a little thin.

Overall, this is a good beer and worth enjoying. There are definite areas for improvement but decent and something worth trying. (760 characters)

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.28/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into an Imperial Pint. No date.

A - Candy-apple caramel red color that's dulled a bit by both chill haze (very possible) and teeny bits of sediment. The head retention is low. After a mere moments the creamy tan head went down to a rind. Acceptable due to low carbonation.

S - A rambunctious pour releases toasty bread aromas with toffee and caramel followed by dry wheat and wet grass. Rich malty caramel backbone with a moderate hop presence in the end. The light pine and grassy hop aroma fades with the dead and is overshadowed by malt.

T - Grassy and light pine from the hops flood the mouth instantly followed by a caramel and toasted malts that round out the body. The problem with the beer I see is a slight astringency on the finish that's a bit mouth-puckering.

M - Medium-bodied and smooth, it has a light bitter after taste from the hops but a bit more so from the astringency.

D - I'm not sure if it's just a bad bottle, but I see real potential in this beer. I'd love to get another fresh bottle from a different location and see how it is. It has the possibility of greatness. (1,116 characters)

Photo of smibroncos
3.95/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A. Poured a nice clear brown, with a one finger frothy creamy tan head. Not much lacing on the glass.

S. Chocolate malt, caramel, nutty, butter

T. Sweet carmel, slightly bitter, butter toffee, wearthers original candy. A little too sweet for me.

M. Medium bodied a little thin. Good carbonation.

D. Pretty good brown ale a little on the sweet side but appropriate for the style. (382 characters)

Photo of birchstick
3.02/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - a very dark amber, almost chocolate brown appearance with a small head the quickly disappeared

S - biscuity, caramel malt with a hint of brown sugar

T - This was pretty malty and that's about it. Caramel and a bit of nuttiness to it. Tasted kind of watery to me and I didn't get much of the bitterness that is associated with this style.

M - a little thin and watery, but good carbonation

D - I don't know if I would want to have more than one of these in a sitting. If offered, I would drink it, but given other alternatives I would probably choose something else. (574 characters)

Photo of Tone
4.02/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours cloudy, amber/copper color with a lighter orange along the bottom of the glass. 3/4 inch head of a pale tan color. Good retention and decent lacing. Smells of strong hops, sweet malt, brown sugar, slight alcohol, and some fruity tartness. Fits the style of an English Brown Ale. Mouth feel is smooth and slightly thick with an average carbonation level. Tastes of hops, sweet malt, slight alcohol, and some fruit (raisin). Overall, a really great tasting beer with full body and good mouth feel. Doesn't resemble other EBA's that I've had, but it fits into the category regulations. (588 characters)

Photo of brdc
3.47/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Small capped bottle poured into a pint glass.

Bronze colored, thin tan head, no retention or lacing.
Caramel maltiness, some piney hops, in a pleasant balance present on both the aroma and flavor.
Light to medium bodied, this one is not complex by any standard, and the presentation is not very nice even though the color is; but it is well balanced and pleasant. (366 characters)

Photo of Opethsprite
3.18/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

From notes...also, it should be mentioned that the reviewer was under the influence of *other* intoxicants, though she had her wits about her. In a state of sobriety, she stands by her review.

A: "Rich mahogany" (at sunrise) Foam of...sand, disappates quickly.
S: Earthen, not "earthy," but earthen, deep and cool. Hint of sweet straw, toffee
T: Brusk, but alluring...mineral soda water, sweet, with kale at end.
M: Very carbonated, militant (in a marching way), sprightly
D: 2.5...or 3.0??? 2.5....3.0??? This was the hardest part. And....3.0!!!!

Will Fuckin' Farrell (574 characters)

Photo of mcowgill
3.18/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - pours a slightly hazy amber color with nice creamy head that dissipates quickly living little to no lacing on the glass.

S - Minimal earthy malty aroma here.

T - Strong malt flavor with slight hop balance. Not a bad brew but nothing amazing here.

M - creamy mouthfeel.

D - Relatively easy drinking English style brown. (327 characters)

Photo of FLBeerGuy
3.36/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I've updated my review because I had another one and I don't agree with my original review. Must have had a bad taste in my mouth or something...

Pours a reddish brown with a light tan head

I'm not smelling a whole lot here, just some faint malts.

Nice malts and some bitterness at the end.

A decent session Brown Ale. (322 characters)

Photo of xsists
2.81/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - Dark brown body with a reddish orangish tint. Creamy off white one finger head. Dissipates quickly.

S - Sweet roasty smell. Great nutty and bready notes come out with a hint of yeast.

T - Up front I am not getting much. Slight malty nut taste up front. Leaves off with a roasted almost coffee bean after taste.

M - A silky smooth medium body with quite a bit of carbonation.

D - Not a bad brew but I won't purchase again. I would drink it if someone offered but won't grab one next time. (495 characters)

Photo of imagineiii
3.21/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this in a beer of the month club. I love gift beer!

Poured into a pint tumbler, dark amber, great offwhite large bubbled head. great retention, decent lace.

some chocolate malts? definetely caramel. some pine.

Tastes like a light brown ale. some caramel. Absence of alot of flavors, like sweetness, leaves a vaccuum of flavors. Tastes adjuct-y.

Mouthfeel is light, well carbonated, slight caramel smoothness.

Very drinkable, it tastes like a brown that extra drinkable. (478 characters)

Photo of billybob
3.9/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

looks like a glass of cloudy ice tea. two finger head that held for a bit and a nice lingering lace that stuck to the glass. aromas of tea and toffee candy come to mind. very sweet taste with a nutty toffee and brwon sugar mix a little to sweet for my liking not as subtle as your english import. mouthfeel and carbonation is ok drinkability is ok just a tat sweet. (365 characters)

Photo of mooseisloose
3.3/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Smells sweet and malty, a bit of bitterscotch, some hallertau hops. Pours into a pint to a nice deep bronze with a thin tan head that soon departs. Taste is classic brown ale, sweet up front, with a bitter background off the bat, roasted malts with brown sugar and bitters coming in the end. Finish is surprisingly dry and a little thin. Not really pelted wih robust malt like I would expect. Mouthfeel is a little more fizzy than expected for a brew of this style, maybe a little too much carbonation. Tasty but I've had better macro browns. With the dryer and thinner finish, its highly drinkable. (599 characters)

Photo of Wisconsin
3.65/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a thin one finger head with a dark brown body. The beer has quite a bit of carbonation while the head comes to a nice lace around the glass.

S - Malts, and some sort of nut (hazelnut?) are present in the smell.

T - Malts, grains and some roasted nut undertones are present in this beer.

M - This beer is smooth and malty with a roasted nutty flavor towards the finish.

D - This beer is a pretty smooth drinker. I could have a few in a sitting. (459 characters)

Photo of mikereaser
3.52/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours a slightly murky chestnut brown with a bit of foam that left just a layer of fine bubbles on top of the glass

S - aroma of malted barley, toasted grains, and some earthiness to it

T - roasted malt flavor, with a bit of sweetness and dryness at the finish

M/D - The sweet and dry finish keep me from wanting to drink more than one or two. Overall not bad, but its a funky taste at the end (400 characters)

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English Style Special Ale from Sand Creek Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 54 ratings.