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 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 Spike
3.24/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

From a 500ml bottle.
L: Dark amber with an orange hue when held to the light. Clear, with a few streams of bubbles. One-finger, off-white head leaves a wall of lace.
S: Sweet malt. Some treacle. Understated.
T: Malty, woody, some sweetness, a little spicy tang.
F: Medium/light body. Light carbonation. Subtle bitterness that becomes increasingly dry over time and eventually leaves a furry layer on the tongue and roof of mouth.
O: Very attractive beer with a distinct malt character. But taste and feel unfortunately nothing special. A run-of-the-mill English bitter.

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Photo of ArchimedesSox
3.11/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

A: Light copper color, pillowy off white head, dissipates rather quickly, really good lacing

S: Malty, yeast, get an alcohol fragrance, light hop

T: Malty sweetness, cracker, bitterness

M: Light to medium, a little watery

O: Good beer, I wanted to try some English brews and I picked this one up along with a few others. Not bad but definitely not setting any records.

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Photo of Beginner2
3.8/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This ale is near the top of its style. To be specific, probably in the top handful.
Not only does it look nice with a full head (despite its travels across the pond), but its aromas of yeastiness and maltiness only gets stronger as the ale warms.
Its Taste and after-taste are balanced, no effort from the hops trying to keep down the malts. Round and finishes smooth.
Overall... Is it those Yorkshire Squares (like the ones Samuel Smith uses) that meld all this together ?

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Photo of PlutonowyManiek
3.25/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

The color of tea, clear beer from the top is closed with a sizable, beige head.
Aroma: hoppy, with a hint of caramel crust of bread.
The taste of caramel maltiness, reflected light, peppery.
Gentian: dry, herbal, quite long.
Saturation average, adequate.

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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....

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Photo of DrMullet
3.59/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep amber. The smell is slightly sweet with faint caramel. Taste is a mixture of malt flavors and a bit metallic initially. Roasty, bitter, not bad.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.23/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

Superb beaming, crystal clear body. A dark chestnut amber with a bronze and shimmering gold like darkness. Head manages creamy faint tan, two fingers, and gives a good bowled lace and puck. Very nice looking brew particularly in this nonic here.

Classic biscuit and cookie notes, with just a touch of graham cracker like sweetness on the nose. Excellent floral hop angle that really manages to sneak in as well with a bit of dry tea, even some clove spice but much more muted. A bit of a nutty sense to this as well and a bit dry to match. Inviting aroma quite impressive and even slightly complex.

Palate manages to deliver just solidly. Tea like light bodied aromas but with a malt punch. Almost German altbier like dryness with earth and nutty tannic qualities. Interesting pepper and spice like finish in the aftertaste, lingers long and almost has an oily hot pepper quality. Muted caramel, sharp biscuit with this great spicy quality and flavors to match. Small sweetness, great spicy character, easy drinking.

A real solid fun pale drinker and session light to match. Does real nicely and is real memorable too.

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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 opalchemist
3.6/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

That is not a bad beer - though not necessary one for my top 10.

Glass: Craft Beer Flute
Color: dark amber - quite translucent though.
Look: created a beautiful off-white head!
Smell: lots of dark roasted malts, cocoa, a bit coffee...
Taste: The dark malt aromas are dominating the brew, with loads of cocoa and coffee bitterness, caramel, and loads of malt.
Strangely unbalance, but still more than drinkable.

Overall: I like it, even though I don't love it. It could have slightly more body, which would make it more enjoyable.

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Photo of Dentist666
3.43/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into pint.
Pours clear copper/amber beer with nice beige head, good retention.
Smell - a bit strange and unpleasant twang at first, biscuity and fruity then.
Taste - metallic, malts, caramel, good hops in the finish.
Light body, low carbonation.
Unbalanced bitter, especially concerning smell and flavour.

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Photo of GerryPendry
4.12/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Nice looking beer, clear amber with a bone-white head that shrunk to a persistent foamy layer and a lot of Belgian lace. I got a weird aroma at first, kind of vegetal. Once it opened up I got English hops, a little malt, sweet citrus, tea maybe...? Interesting. Malty flavor, a little thin, nicely balanced floral hops. This was the second beer I've tried from a brewery that uses Yorkshire stones, the other being Sam Smith's. For that reason I was expecting some of that trademark Sam Smith's diacetyl flavor, but I couldn't detect it. Nice hoppy finish without being very bitter. A little thin bodied but perfectly carbonated, making it very drinkable. Nothing earth-shattering here, but a nice solid English ale.

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Photo of Malt_Man
3.46/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Served cool from 500ml bottle into straight pint glass.

L) Deep amber colour, slight haze, a few big bubbles rising. Thin white bubbly film.

S) Liquorice-tinged malt and English hops.

T) Warmish malt flavours and slightly astringent hop bitterness.

F) Light body with a good fizz. The hop bitterness dries the mouth at the end of the gulp, which I don't like.

O) Middle-of-the-road English ale.

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Photo of Andrewharemza
3.08/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

pours gold amber with a small white head. Aroma is caramel, light toffee, orange peel, fruity. Body is light medium, texture is creamy. Finish is long and bitter.

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Photo of ordybill
4.31/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 500 ML bottle into a pint glass at the World of Beer in Pooler, GA.
This beer has a nice golden bronze color with a large white head. This ale has a smell and flavor of bread, malt and some fruit. The beer is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. I thought this beer was much better than what I anticipated.

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Photo of BeerWithMike
3.46/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampling right now on 5/5/15. Comes in a 1 pint, 0.9 ounce (350ml) single bottle. Bottle chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and poured in to a handled-glass stein.

Brew pours a hazy amber in color with about a half-finger+ foamy off-white head that settles down to a thin layer on top and sides. Sheets of sticky lacing is seen when sipped. The aroma is mostly of malts with a slight hint of fruit. The taste is that and more with a crisp 'hoppy' dry finish. Tasted better when warmed up some.Medium-bodied with perfect carbonation. Overall, it was OK as I am not a big fan of 'Pale Ales' for the most part.

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Photo of CStang67
3.67/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

500ml bottle pours nice deep bronze color with bright white head that slowly settled to a lasting thin 1/2 pencil head. The aroma was malty with a hint of fruit hut all in all the aroma is low with a very little citrusy hop presence. Taste is malt forward rich bread and caramel notes throughout the palate. Bitterness is strong which leaves a nice dry finish. A very refreshing sessionable beer that is one on my favorite English bitters I had while in the UK.

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Photo of Brabander
3.68/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Not really my beer but drinkable. I expected a black beer but this one is goldenyellow with a fairly decent head. Nice lacing in the glass. Bitter taste and the funny part is that you do not really notice that this beer is low on alcohol.

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Photo of Bunman3
3.8/5  rDev +2.7%

This pours beautifully, as an English Ale should. Nice foamy head that gradually dissipates. Black Sheep leaves some faint lacing and has minimal carbonation- again, true to the style. The flavors are excellent - caramel, nuts and overall earthiness with a minimal hop profile. This is a wonderful beer - a nice treat when I feel a longing for a plough man's lunch at the local.

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Photo of Mintling
3/5  rDev -18.9%

Appearance: Nice amber. Clear. No head retention.
Smell: Faintly earthy and grassy.
Taste: Sour, bitter and metallic. Quite roasty. Very faint hint of caramel.
Mouthfeel: Watery, dry and chalky later on.
Overall: A strident, roasty and bitter brew. Not bad but a tad underwhelming.

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Photo of BeerDrinkersWorldTour
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Heavy amber colour with a finger of rocky head that died off rather quickly and left light cover and minimal lace. There is ample CO2 streaming in the glass.

Smell - I sorry to say this but there was an odd smell of sheep urine from this one on the first whiff. There is reasonable bread and earth tones with some mild nut and leafy grassy aromas.

Taste - Slightly sweet like a mild caramel in the malt department. Light hop flavour of earthy nutty elements with some light fruit such as lemon and apple with light pear. there is some flavour in here but it is all rather light and mild. It is all decent enough but for me to score it higher than the 3.75 mark I would want the flavour to be more pronounced.

Mouthfeel - Light body but really rather creamy however it does have a slightly cloying finish and only moderate linger that leaves you wanting more somehow.

Overall - Mild but it does have flavour and is not a bad beer overall.

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Photo of Hoppsbabo
4.25/5  rDev +14.9%

A: Amber with a nice chunky off-white head.
S: Metallic.
T: Assertively bitter and pleasing, despite there not being much in the way of descriptive flavour. A hint of ginger beer and citrus in the finish. No immediate aftertaste though. Not flavourless but very, very plain. After a while I start to get some nice woody spice, liquorice and citrus on the breath, but it's still a very clean finish.
M: Medium bodied with a somewhat snappy fizz.
O: If you're looking for a bold hoppy beer this isn't for you. It's beer that just tastes like beer. Would be great with a ploughman’s.

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500 ml bottle into pint glass, L31 bottle code. Pours slightly hazy deep orange/copper color with a 1-2 finger dense and fluffy off white head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of caramel, toast, brown bread, light nuttiness, herbal, grass, light pepper, light pear/apple, and yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with well balanced dark/bready malt, earthy hop, and yeast ester notes; with good strength. Taste of caramel, toast, brown bread, nuttiness, herbal, grass, light pepper, light pear/apple, and yeast earthiness. Light earthy herbal bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toast, brown bread, nuttiness, herbal, grass, light pepper, light pear/apple, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice robustness and balance of dark/bready malt, earthy hops, and yeast ester notes; with a good malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Quite restrained on yeast fruitiness which was surprising. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth, crisp, and lightly creamy/bready mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish as expected of 4.4%. Overall this is an excellent English bitter style. All around great robustness and balance of dark/bready malt, earthy hops, and yeast ester flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.67/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From the 25 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on June 24, 2014.

The pour is a handsome looking medium amber bronze color with a big, silky off-white head.

The aroma is incredibly sweet with caramel and toffee malts galore and little to no hop bitterness. It also smells like a spent cigarette!

The body is creamy and probably in the medium range.

The taste is super caramel sweet with next to no bitterness. Easy to pound down in a pub. This is one of those beers that I would have drunk a lot of regularly 1+ years ago but my palate has changed. Still, a good beer to drink in a UK pub. Worth a higher rating.

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Photo of chogm54
3.04/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Somehow keep missing the black sheep ale, maybe its the low key labeling on the bottle. Finally, it has been bought.

A - a shade more brown than amber, pours a 2cm thick frothy head than lingers a while. Nice

S - Very faint malty caramel. If I breathe in deep I can detect a very very slight florally hop aroma.

T - One word - malt! low sweetness, medium bitterness, nutty with a strong yeasty aftertaste (very much like marmite or vegemite).

M - Low carbonation, moderate body with a slightly oily texture and metallic finish.

O - I really didn't enjoy the malty vegemite like flavours, maybe because I eat so much vegemite and marmite normally. The mouthfeel was also a bit inconsistent. I wish I left this beer on the shelf for a while longer...

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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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