English Style Special Ale - Sand Creek Brewing Company

Not Rated.
English Style Special AleEnglish Style Special Ale

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90 Ratings
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Ratings: 90
Reviews: 54
rAvg: 3.5
pDev: 10.86%
Wants: 0
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 90 | Reviews: 54
Reviews by marc77:
Photo of marc77
3.18/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Lightly hazed copper. Lean, light tan collar yields sparse lace. Woody hop along with hints of sweet biscuit upfront in aroma. Bubblegum ester and phenol hints. Tame, yet slightly rough aromawise. In flavor, incipient is a burnt caramel sweetness, which yields to mellower notes of toffee and butterscotch. Moderate bitterness and a spicy, almost sandalwood like hop presence arises mid palate. Seems thin at first, but becomes appreciably more viscous as it warms. Suitably low in carbonation. Hints of roasted praline surface late. Finishes lightly buttery, also with lingering woody, barky hop hints. A unique brew intermediate in character between an ESB and brown. A touch rough, but not glaringly so. Respectable.

More User Reviews:
Photo of pat61
3.84/5  rDev +9.7%
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.

Photo of richkrull
2.78/5  rDev -20.6%
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.

Photo of cokes
3.9/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Copper with beige foam.
The nose is of dry toffee and damp dead flowers.
Earthy beginning, touched with burnt caramel. It progresses towards peanut brittle, all full of nuts and toffee. Vacates towards the close, with only a nod of floral-tilted bitterness. Lingering vanilla-infuse tea afterwards.
Light-to-medium bodied, low carbonation. This seems a solid session ale at the intersection of a Brown Ale and Best Bitter. I like it. Subdued and attractive.

Photo of dirtylou
3.67/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz single, Steve's-University...probably filler to get that 10% discount

appearance: pours a clear burnt copper, slight beige foam that dissipates and leaves some slight lacing - mostly around the rim

smell: pretty potent nuttiness, well toasted malts, sweet caramel, grassy english hops, sweet toffee, roasted peanut, apple, bready

taste: gently toasted malt, traced with sweet caramel covered apple...biscuit-esque, peanut, grassy english hops balance this one out nicely, slightly buttery, nutty. For an english brown, i'd venture to say this is pretty tasty

mouthfeel: low point, finishes a little dry, a little on the thin side

drinkability: pretty drinkable

Photo of tempest
3.67/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up in a sampler 6-pack in Hudson, WI.

Pours a nice, deep orange with white head that fades to nothing and doesn't leave lacing. The aroma is a very smooth caramel which is matched in the flavor by a roasted cocoa edge, sweet cream, and a touch of grassy hops. A nice and very sessionable beer, just make sure to let it warm up.

Photo of bashiba
3.57/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a hazy dark red color with amber highlights. Had a nice light tan head that quickly disappaited into a thin soap ring.

Smell had a nice bit of nuts, buiscuity malt, and sweet grain.

Flavor was sweet and malty with a bit of nuttiness, toasted malts and grains coming through nicely. Very light in the hops department.

Mouthfeel has a light body with a decent bit of carbonation, a bit thin.

An easy to drink light malty beer, I could see this being a good starter beer with its sweet nutty flavor.

Photo of GeoffRizzo
3.28/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pure amber, retaining tan head; bready and toasted malt aroma. Sweet, astringent hops coupled with a more sweet malty based overtone. Medium bodied, yet a bit young in flavorings; sweet nuts and toffee, some caramel to be noted. Somewhat thin and lacking in body, ehhh.

Photo of morimech
3.8/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber with two inches of tan head that has good retention. The head eventually settles to a thick cap. Moderate amount of lacing is left on the glass surface.

Has a roasted malt aroma with some grassy hops in the background.

Rather non complex flavor. Roasted malt flavor is about all I get. Bitterness is low and it comes from the malt.

Light body with low carbonation. Has a nice creamy texture that I like in darker beers.

Rather simple beer but it tastes good and has a low ABV of 5.5%. I could see myself drinking a few of these.

Photo of Jredner
3.28/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Sweet marzipan-like smell reminds me of candied cake bread. No head at all atob the dark amber body. No lacing either. Sweet, malty, nutty taste in the fore. Strangely there is more alcohol in the tatse than I would have anticipated, but it doesn’t detract from the flavor (which is good because it isn't that flavorful) because sweet malts seem to handle that just fine I just didn't expect to taste much alcohol fromt his style.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.28/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

Photo of FLBeerGuy
3.36/5  rDev -4%
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.

Photo of mooseisloose
3.3/5  rDev -5.7%
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.

Photo of TastyTaste
3.91/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy murky light brown color, not much head, other than a film. Nice chocolate malt in the nose, sweet smelling. The chocolate pretty much dominates the nose, but shares some of the top billing with hops in the flavor, makes for a vvery well rounded beer. Well carbonated, good for the style. Impressive compared to their golden ale.

Photo of pweis909
3.99/5  rDev +14%
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.

Photo of jdhilt
3.06/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a three finger light tan head that fades quickly to thin layer leaving some lace. Cloudy amber color. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Hoppy nose. Woody/hoppy flavor, balanced but hoppy finish. 12 oz bottle part of mixed 6-pak for $7.99 from Friar Tuck's Peoria, Il.

Photo of billybob
3.9/5  rDev +11.4%
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.

Photo of Gavage
3.57/5  rDev +2%
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.

Photo of DabblinWiscCraft
3.84/5  rDev +9.7%
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.

Photo of Tone
4.02/5  rDev +14.9%
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.

Photo of Wisconsin
3.65/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

Photo of KarlHungus
3.27/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer pours a clear reddish-brown color. The head is one finger in height, and recedes quite quickly into thin lacing. The aroma is of caramel, nuts, and has a hint of milk chocolate. The taste is a bit more faint than the aroma, and only the caramel mskes itself apparent. The mouthfeel is on the lighter side of medium bodied with a high level of carbonation. Overall, this is a decent beer, but there are at least a half dozen brown ales which are always available to my local store that I would rather drink.

Photo of demcorhip
2.42/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a dark amber with reddish brown hues. Slim light tan coloured head formed on the pour. Finely carbonated.

Theres a strange plastic type aroma coming off here. I think theres scents of biscuit and nuts, and some leafy hops under there but its hard to tell.

Strange, at least the dominant aroma of plastic didnt come through as strongly in the taste. Decent biscuity and nutty malts intially, but then the strangeness takes over. Dont know if this is a bad one or not, just bought it as a single. Not quite sure what the source of the off aromas and flavours are in this one. May be a combination in slightly off flavours from hops and yeast. After making myself finish most of this one (i let the dog have a taste) i think it was just a combo of astringent tea like flavour, some citrus hops, and a soapiness that just made this an unimpressive experience.

Probably an off bottle, as this is a style i usually enjoy. If i get around to trying this again i'll edit this review accordingly.

Photo of Grinder
3.95/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this beer on 12/19/07. Aroma is a mild roasted malt scent. Color is a deep amber with nice carbonation and head. Taste is rich and caramely. Starting with a medium body it goes down crisp. Finish is a caramely roasted malt flavor with a nice bitterness on the end. After a few sips there seems to be a very mild sour feel in the very end. Overall I rate it as a GOOD, nice drinking beer that seems well rounded.

Photo of beveragecaptain
3.36/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle. Pours out a brownish red color with very little head. The aroma is a little musty with not much maltiness. Some caramel in the aroma too. Toasted malt flavor. An apple fruitiness comes in at the middle. Finishes metallic with a slight hop flavor. The mouthfeel is between light and medium. Very easy to drink, if you don't mind the strange aroma. This is one of the better beers from Sand Creek.

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English Style Special Ale from Sand Creek Brewing Company
80 out of 100 based on 90 ratings.