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Black Sheep Ale (Special) | Black Sheep Brewery PLC

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Black Sheep Ale (Special)Black Sheep Ale (Special)
574 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 574 |  Reviews: 364
Photo of Sammy
3.45/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A standard English pale. Very decent hoppy and barley aroma. A bit light on taste but goes down well with food. Satisfying but nothing extraordinary. Understated bitterness and a great big head. Light body colour and mouthfeel. Dry and somewhat bitter aftertaste.

 263 characters

Photo of jaydoc
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of Knapp85
3/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The Black Sheep Ale is much like most of the ESB's on the market out there. The color is amber or copper. The head is white and soapy. The lacing isn't too bad here. The smell is mostly malts and a little bitterness going on. The flavors are of dry malts with a little sweetness in the background. The the mouthfeel is smooth and for the most part really drinkable.

 365 characters

Photo of metter98
3.87/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours clear amber with a two finger white head that dies down quickly and settles into a thin ring of bubbles around the surface. The level of carbonation is light to moderate.
S: There's a lot of malty sweetness in the aroma along with notes of hops. The sweetness in the smell is rather intriguing.
T: Dry and sweet malty flavors dominate the taste, and there are hints of hops and spices, particularly in the finish, which is a little bitter. The flavor is interesting because it starts out sweet yet finishes bitter.
M: The mouthfeel is medium bodied and it feels smooth and crisp on the palate.
D: Drinking this was a breeze - I would definitely have another one of these given the unique contrasting flavors.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.35/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An outstanding English pale Ale. Lots of bread, peaches, and pears in the nose and flavor. Hopped for balance, while adding a mellow spiciness over the firm malt base. Lightly grainy in flavor, but not to deter. Round, yet smooth feel. Thins a bit into the finish for easy drinking. A good beer for any occasion.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle. A whole lot of unstated English-ness just seems to wash over me when I look at this.

This beer pours a slightly hazy, medium orange-brick amber hue, with two fingers of tightly foamy, and somewhat chunky off-white head, which leaves some random, scattered streaky lace around the glass as it gently falls away.

It smells of toasted, kind of sweet biscuity, bready pale malt, a touch of hollow caramel, a thin raisin and muted orchard drupe fruitiness, black tea, and floral, earthy hops. The taste is lightly charred biscuity pale malt, bready, buttery caramel, apple skins, over-steeped tannic tea, and an herbal, wet grass, and weirdly tincture-like hoppiness.

The carbonation is moderately understated, the body an adequate medium weight, and duly smooth, with a lurking, abashed creaminess. It finishes off-dry, the sweetish biscuit malt waning in intensity, in the face of a growing herbal hoppiness.

A reserved, enjoyable enough, and still quite tasty, crisp British pale ale - more or less well balanced, and a candidate as a decent potential sessioner, were I ever in a joint that offered such an option.

 1,132 characters

Photo of kojevergas
2.5/5  rDev -32.2%
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 brentk56
4.2/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy burnt orange with a rocky head that leaves a few splotches of lace behind

Smell: Toffee and a stone fruit, tea-like aroma

Taste: The toffee arrives first, but by mid-palate, the fruity tea-like flavors arrive, accompanied by a mineral element, as well; after the swallow, the sweeter toffee and fruit elements balance out nicely with the bitter, earthy flavors; a bit of woody character in the finish, as well

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A fantastic session beer that ranks with the finest of what gets imported from the British Isles

 607 characters

Photo of WillieThreebiers
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of Phyl21ca
2.78/5  rDev -24.7%
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.

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Photo of zeff80
3.95/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured into a tall pilsner glass. It had a nice amber color with a huge foamy head. It left great lacing behind.

S - It smelled of yeast and fruit-like flavors.

T - Very good. Nice hoppy balance with some clove ot floral tastes.

M - It was nice and soft on the tongue.

D - It is a very drinkable ale. I wish it was more readily available where I live.

 367 characters

Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%
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.

 1,488 characters

Photo of Boone757
3.77/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of zestar
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of dbrauneis
3.53/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours crystal clear somewhere between a golden yellow and an amber. Finger tall off white head that dissipates quickly leaving only the thinnest ring of bubbles at the edge of the glass. Very light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Aromas are primarily of sweet malts with hints of caramel and toffee.

T: Upfront the flavors are sweet caramel/toffee malts followed by some graininess and then finishes with a peppery bitterness. There are some hints of earthiness to the hops as well.

M: Light to medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Crisp.

O: Good beer for the style which is not one of my favorites. The beer is very drinkable but personally I would not go back for another in a single sitting, on the other hand I would not refuse this beer if I came across it again.

 782 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.88/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16.9oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light copper color, with a short white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of honey, light malts, pale hops, some caramel and a touch of mint.

T: The taste is well balanced with lightly sweet flavors of honey, caramel and a little spice up front. Then a decent pale hops presence comes in to provide a little bitterness. The malt character is hearty but not heavy at all. The after-taste is slightly bready and slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and very crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean and dry.

D: Tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, mild kick, very good representation of style, this is a very nice session beer to drink several of throughout the entire evening.

 812 characters

Photo of oberon
4.12/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a nice deep golden color with a much larger head than was expected,very nice lacing.Great fruity aroma of oranges with a real light hop presence.Taste is a little subdued but nice,fruity from the yeast I presume with a light hop backbone I also get dry malt in the finish.Could this beer get easier to drink?hey I really like this beer and glad I have a case.

 365 characters

Photo of Gagnonsux
3.38/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The color is golden copper with very good carbonation. The thick, chucky head has excellent retention and leaves thick lacings. The aroma is of English malts with an almost honey-like sweetness in the mix. A touch of hops adds a little something to the malt smells. The first couple of sips seem overly bitter, but then as Black Sheep warms up, a nice fruity malt flavor comes to life. A decent English hop flavor comes in towards the finish. Still, I find this a little too bitter and hopped for the style. Which is strange, because I love an APA to be this hoppy. This isn't bad, but not an EPA I'd be too tempted to buy again.

 629 characters

Photo of Ciocanelu
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of dcmchew
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.25/5  rDev -11.9%

Photo of smcolw
4.18/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very impressive three-finger head that leaves a thin tight ring on the glass as I consume the beer. (The remained much like the remaining bubbles of a rootbeer float) Slightly cloudy, dark honey/amber in color.

More caramel malt aromas than anything else. Comes across as buttery and sweet. Very little hop in the smell.

The body is quite creamy. The hop is no longer missing--in fact, it defines the taste from sip to swallow and aftertaste. This is a very traditional English bitter, perhaps the very best I've ever had in a bottle.

 540 characters

Photo of russpowell
3.49/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours amber with a 3 fingers+ offwhite head. Head retention and lacing are good

Smell: Ever so slight malt sweetness

Taste: Some caramel, grainy bitterness, & some nutiness & fruitiness. Finishes dry with a hint of smokiness

MF: Slightlyl under carbonated, but otherwise blanced

Drinkable enough. Try this this I've had this on prior occasions & it had more malt character, rough crossing for this sheep?

 416 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.56/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16.9 oz. bottle for $3.79 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a clear, medium amber body with a frothy, inviting, off-white head. Thin traces of lacing.

Smell: Toasted grains with a bit of caramel alongside a spicy-scented, fragrant hop aroma.

Taste: Biscuity malts with a touch of graininess and caramel sweetness. Sip of black tea. Very, very faint fruitiness. Spicy, floral English hops. The bitterness is initially mild but resilient, and increases as you head towards the dry, bittersweet finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: A rather full-flavored session ale with a keen drinkability. Worth a try.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.86/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Blurry orange-amber; looks for all the world like an IPA. The head is very light tan... which I first saw when it came spouting up out of the bottle after I popped the cap. It's stiff, sticky and leaves a respectable amount of lace in chunky rings. The superior surface also pits, or rather craters, with impressive vigor.

Earthy hops are present in the nose, but their strength is muted. I can also appreciate lightly toasted caramel malt and grain. The flavor follows the nose, but is more aggressive. Sweetish malt and earthy, somewhat spicy, hops coexist nicely. The malt-hop balance favors hops, though not hugely so. A pleasant fruitiness appears with warming.

The hoppy bitterness is gentle, but insistent. Black Sheep would be a good starting place for someone who wanted a gradual introduction to American APAs or even IPAs. The finish is medium in length, increasingly bitter and finishes on the dry side. It reminds me of the mouthfeel that I get after drinking strong, unsweetened tea. The body is middle-of-the-road for a pale ale; no complaints.

Black Sheep Ale is a good to very good English Ale that--due to the sub-5% ABV--should be an excellent session beer. I will definitely buy more if I run across it again.

 1,238 characters

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Black Sheep Ale (Special) from Black Sheep Brewery PLC
Beer rating: 3.69 out of 5 with 574 ratings
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