Black Sheep Ale (Special) | Black Sheep Brewery PLC

362 Reviews
Black Sheep Ale (Special)Black Sheep Ale (Special)

Brewed by:
Black Sheep Brewery PLC
England, United Kingdom

Style: English Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.40%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by purplehops on 07-13-2002

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 362 | Ratings: 568
Photo of Fredex8
1.78/5  rDev -51.9%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

I don't know if I just got a bad batch or something but this beer actually smells of sick. Taste is not much better. In order to finish the bottle I actually had to hold my nose and just down it. Genuinely dreadful.

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Photo of Naerhu
2.1/5  rDev -43.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Opaque orange body with a head so low, it is submarine.
Whisky malt and peet aroma.
One dimensional maltiness followed by leather and huge, just huge tobacco. Big bitterness, followed by burnt cigarettes and more tobacco. Burnt sugar and more bitterness.
The harsh bitterness detracts from any body the ale may have.
Is this a bad bottle or bad beer, I do not know, but it does not taste like what any of the other reviewers describe.

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Photo of DoctorDog
2.31/5  rDev -37.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Presentation: 1 pt. 0.9 oz bottle into a nonic. No freshness/best by date indicated.

A- Copper and clear. Pours with ~2 fingers of light tan head, which fade slowly.

S- Moderate bready/yeasty/butter odor. Some floral hopiness. Slightly metallic twinges.

T- Mild malty breadiness. Bitterness on the finish has an almost metallic quality, and little in the way of redeeming hop flavors. Mineral bite is extremely dry/borderline astringent. Not a pleasing symphony here.

M- Moderate carbonation, and somewhat thin/light.

D- Not good. The extreme, biting dryness gets bothersome rather quickly IMO.

Future outlook: Old bottle? Hard to say. Without any notation on the bottle from which to deduce freshness, I can't really see any reason to give this one another shot.

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Photo of PerzentRizen
2.32/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I was not impressed with this pale ale. I like english pale ales but this is way too dry.

Poured into a Duvel glass at 46 degrees F this beer has a hazey burnt umber to dark copper look with an off white head. Head retention is fair to medium. Color is a touch dark for the style.

The aroma is malty, sweet, and dry. No hops detected.

The taste is very dry with kent goldlings, bitter bakers chocolate, extremely dry caramel without the sweetness, and roasted pecans.

Mouthfeel is extremely dry, almost a baked feeling. I feel like I need a beer just to drink this beer. It's like eating a mouthful of MRE crakers.

Drinkability is low because this beer is so dry. There needs to be more unattenuated sweetness to be palatable. I don't think I'll ever seek this beer out. I am not impressed.

I hardly ever slam a beer - and this is about as close as I come, but this is horrible. I can't say I would ever want to purposefully try this beer again. It's dry and rather stale - much like eating week old french bread. Stay away!

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Photo of rarbring
2.33/5  rDev -37%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A clear straw colored beer with a white head leaving some lacing.

Oops, this ale smells of pure sugar, some acidity (citric) and banana candy. Not expected from an ale (and not nice).

The taste is even more off-putting, much sharp sweetness, rather sour, and some bitterness. Very chemical.

Much carbonation, a fizzy and watery feeling.

I might be too nice, this was really unbalanced, and I wont go for another one.

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Photo of afordney
2.39/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thin head, light lacing, a golden straw color looked pretty attractive.

Smelled very sour, papery kind of like a macro-lager almost

tasted overly sour, slightly hoppy and bitter

mouthfeel was full, but very sour, slightly bitter but not very balanced

This beer was not very fun to drink, overly sour and not very inviting for another sip.

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Photo of Bung
2.46/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Oversized pint bottle. Amber pour, kind of creamish head. Kind of malt in the nose. Really not much going on here. Some earthiness with slight malt and nearly no hop prescense. Maybe just a hint of fruit, not sure what though. Slightly sour. Would drink for free, that's about it. EXTREAMLY basic English ale.
I think there was a possibility this one was in the sun.

 366 characters

Photo of jneiswender
2.5/5  rDev -32.4%
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.

 262 characters

Photo of kojevergas
2.5/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A: Poured from a bottle into a Hoegaarden pint glass in low altitude Galway, Ireland, on December 8th, 2010. Pours a clear dark gold with a thin head that does not retain well. Moderately appealing.

Sm: A light fresh scent of malt, barley, maybe a hint of roast? Difficult to discern individual notes with my broken nose. What I can detect is nice.

Taste: A flat open to a one note body with an off finish. Not well balanced nor well built for a pale ale. I do like the main note of the body, but the rest needs work.

Mf: Too wet until the finish, which dries it up nicely. But the texture of the finish contrasts sharply with the smoothness of what precedes it. Unpleasant.

Dr: Won't buy it again, especially at this price.

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Photo of ReDave
2.57/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Interesting very heavy bottle 1 pt .9 oz bottle. Very heavy! Seems darker than usual, but i suppose if it's thicker, then it would be darker....

Cloudy orangish amber. Very thick head creamy off white. Thick lacing with a extra strip of lace at the top.

Strange very dry grain smell NOT sweet. Cant' quite pinpoint the smell, [spice of some sort] not unpleasant, but not like any pale ale I've had before.

Mouth-feel is somewhat thin and light, with some hoppy back bitterness. That smell is present at the back flavors but still unidentifiable.

Since I haven't had much [recently anyways] exposure to an *English* pale ale, this might be more *spot* on, but at the moment, its a little different.
Drinkable, ale that I'll have to try again.

[ as is usual with most liquor stores i go to, this one might be old, and been overly warmed up]

 856 characters

Photo of shererjt
2.61/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured a clear, slightly reddish copper with a large, pillowy, off-white head. Aroma was damaged by oxidation. Some malt and some caramel present. Medium body. Lots of oxidation here, too. Hops were predominant in the flavor and had a lingering bitterness, too. Not a taste that I found enjoyable. Mouthfeel was average, as it was medium-bodied with a little creaminess. Drinkability was so-so.

I was originally under the impression that this was intended to be an old ale rather than a pale ale. Now it looks like I probably just had a bad bottle. Will review again someday.

 576 characters

Photo of AlesRTasty
2.64/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Once poured from the bottle I felt a little dissapointed. I expected it to be black, hence the name, but it was brown. It was a nice brown with a white head on it that dissapeared quickly. The nose was sweet and malty and typical of an english ale. Taste was kind of weak. Light malt taste was about all I could pick up. I'm not too impressed with this brew. I've had worse so it's drinkable, but I probably will not buy this one again.

 436 characters

Photo of WhiteOak
2.64/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Black Sheep Riggwelter

G- INAO Tasting Glass

A- Bright, clear amber-brown. Heavy persistent lace.

S- Inviting aroma of malt. Hint of metallic minerals, stone.

T- Thin malty flavor with dominant hoppiness. Touch of apricot, peach. Bitterness too far forward of maltiness. Thin, empty, watery finish. Fails to entice.

M- Insufficient viscosity/gravity to hold interest for long. Thin on substance.

Serving- 12oz bottle.

 423 characters

Photo of SolomonGrundy
2.68/5  rDev -27.6%
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.

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Photo of Drew966
2.71/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Purchased a 1 pint .9 oz bottle from Sunseed Co-op in Cape Canaveral. Poured a cloudy orange with nice head. It seems to me that I taste alcohol fairly strongly at first, but not as much as I finish the drink. I'm a bit disappointed, I think it could use more hop character, it seems a bit understated. Not bad, but I don't think I would buy it again.

 351 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
2.78/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pourred a very nice copper brew with a with a thick foamy head that disapear a bit quickly. Good malt nose and taste until I feel the sharp sour and metallic aftertaste. Wow, such a great start but a very disapointing ending. Below average for this one but I would still be curious to try other product from this brewery.

 321 characters

Photo of rec
2.79/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Black Sheep Ale pours a clear copper with great head which laces supurbly.

The aroma carries distinct earthy hops and malt, however after taste a bitter caffeen flavour comes through. The aftertaste is full of bitterness with strong malt.

It's something to try but hardly something I'd recommend - due to its low carbonation it would make a good session beer if the flavour is something you like.

 402 characters

Photo of AltBock
2.82/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

1 pint 0.9 fl oz. bottle that has a beige label with a picture of a sheep surrounded by two big brown lines. Off to the left is a brief paragraph about the brewery itself. The back of the label has all the usual US information. No date anywhere on the bottle or label.

When poured into a Sly Fox Imperial pint glass, this black sheep is a tangerine orange with a small tint of amber. On top of this beer was a nice looking 1 to 1 1/2 fluffy head of white foam. This head of foam had great retention that left behind a small white film and spots of white lace around the glass.

The aroma was too strange for me. The aroma had the scent of malted tea leaves, a hint of buttered popcorn, and some burnt malts toward the end. Whatever the last aroma was, it was burnt. It was just one weird aroma after another.

The taste not too dry and crispy with toasted malts and some bitter floral hops. The taste was just plain and simple. That's it!

The mouthfeel was light with a faint aftertaste of dry toasted malts and dried floral hops. It was just like the taste, plain and simple.

It was nothing out of the ordinary. I guess it could have been worse. There could have been malted corn or rice in here. This one has session written all over it.

 1,242 characters

Photo of stevoj
2.85/5  rDev -23%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Amber color with thin beige head, taste initially is caramel and hops. Aroma is musty, leather, wet grass, some dried fruit. Finish is dry with some lingering bitterness on the palate. Slightly oily mouthfeel. I can’t place it, but something seems to be missing....

 267 characters

Photo of Ant777uk
2.88/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 3

Malty and choclatey...

Quite refreshing and light for a dark beer/ale, though does not really have a strong and deep depth of flavour...

Well balanced though

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Photo of zebedee
2.91/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I tried this out of a bottle, only because it was on offer, along with Adnams bitter and Fullers Discovery.

It poured a light mahogany hue. Not as dark as expected. A nice, two fingered head formed, which thinned out a wee bit, leaving some moderate lacing.

The aroma was fairly unspectacular. A treacle smell initially, with a bit of liquorice. Some malted goodness hovered in the background.

The bitterness in the taste kicks in instantly. The aftertaste was a liquorice/faint coffee combo.

I felt the mouth was a wee bit watery. It didn’t really stay on the palate long enough for me. As for drinkability, I find it neither offensive nor exciting. I could drink this all night in a nonchalant fashion, the beers just “alright”. An uneventful review for a particularly uneventful ale.

 803 characters

Photo of Brewbro000
2.91/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: pours an amber with a one finger head but only with a very strong pour, head recedes to a light layer of foam with some large bubbles and good lacing
S: sweet caramel and bread from the English malts comes through, some mild fruityness on the back end
T: not a lot of complexity with this for me. I didn't expect much considering the style but it's just bland and lacking more bready layers
M/D: more carbonated than I would have wanted. I would expect this to be much better on cask

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Photo of goochpunch
2.96/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours out a dark amber honey with some rather active carbonation and a thick, foamy head that leaves rings of lace on the pint glass. Nose is faint, pale malt, bread, honey, and some unidentifiable Euro-hop aroma. Flavor is sweet with a yeastiness in the background, some grain as well, and a finish that is slightly bitter and rather astringent. Mouthfeel is moderate in terms of body, but the carbonation is kind of foamy. I'll finish the 500 ml, but I surely won't buy this again. Not bad, just eh.

 501 characters

Photo of LordHammer
2.97/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into my Northern Brewer glass.

A: A slightly cloudy light brown or dark amber color, with about a inch of cream colored head. Not sure on the origins of the cloudiness.

S: Mostly roasted malts, some bready/cracker notes, and a bit of English hops at the back end.

T: Malt dominated the party here. Lots of bread and crackers, some roasted malts (Victory?). Some hops at the end, but really nothing significant. Disappointing, as I was expecting some bitterness.

M: Not highly carbonated, but the mouthfeel was adequate for the style. Really just average.

D: A beer I could have several of, if there was nothing else available. Perhaps this was an older bottle where the hops had faded, but this was very average. Certainly was not above average in any way.

 784 characters

Photo of meday
2.98/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle to pint glass.

Golden with a nice white head.

Very little aroma. I could not get much of anything in the nose.

I could taste just hop bitterness. I could not sense the hop flavor, which leads me to believe that this was just an old bottle, but I'm not sure. This would be balanced well as a bitter, which I thought it was before looking it up.

It had a good mouthfeel, but left a very bitter taste in the end.

I hope this was an old beer, or the taste was just too bitter to balance well.

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Black Sheep Ale (Special) from Black Sheep Brewery PLC
3.7 out of 5 based on 568 ratings.
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