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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Reviews: 362 | Ratings: 568
Photo of dacrza1
4.06/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

DATE TASTED: February 1, 2014... GLASSWARE: Hobgoblin pint...OCCASION: prepping for the Super Bowl with Blades of Glory... APPEARANCE: orange-amber, semi-translucent body akin to tea; white, frothy, thin head; lacing twists and turns somewhat seductively... AROMA: luxuriant scotch-like notes; light, buttery English muffin; some malty elements too--attractive... PALATE: active, medium-bodied and drinkable; a pub compatriot for certain...TASTE: buttery, slightly doughy malts as an ESB would be; mellow with an unmistakable, oaky, highland fortitude; a dry, thin finish akin to sherry--though not nearly as powerful... OVERALL: A pleasant draught from a brewery I've had little else from, but in seeking to rate this beer (one I'd last drunk in 2005, if my records are accurate), I am pleased with the experience; it's no nonsense, light fragrance invites quick sips and rewards with thirst-quenching malts and enough hops to achieve a worthwhile balance ....

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Photo of mralphabet
3.53/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: Poured a slightly hazy burnt orange with a good finger and a half worth of head that settled to a ring with spotty lacing.

S: I'm getting a strong amount of toffee with a little touch of sweet fruit.

T: Much like the smell the toffee hits first, pretty strong, then I'm getting a little light fruit.... Kind of like a raspberry tea. Finish has very little bitterness to it with with more of a sweet malt.

M: Medium body with moderate carbonation, right on point for the style.

D: Pretty average, makes for a great session beer.

(From Notes)

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Photo of Brenden
4.18/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This pale ale is on the darker side, a thick and murky orange that stops just short of edging into shades of brown. It has a nice crown of pale orange tinted foam, plenty thick and study. Its height is just more than one finger, retention is good, and it lacing is in patching and sticks well.
Bready in the malts with lots of fruits, there's a bread crust sort of dryness, some yeast, a little sweetness and a touch of spiciness with some leaf.
The taste has lots of ripe fruits, some paler as well as darker-skinned. Just a little earthy, the malts give off bread and just a hint of mineral along with the hops, which show a more herbal nature on the tongue. Underneath and running all through, it's lightly spicy and floral. Hops are firm, and it leaves no doubt this is a British variant as it seeks balance to keep a delicate complexity and depth, all while keeping the hops stronger.
It's plenty crisp in a sturdy medium body with a smooth flow, easing off into the finish but not thinning. There's a light earth and herbal dryness in the middle and beyond, ultimately making for a semi-dry feel.

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Photo of zlel
3.63/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle 500 served in ikea glass (like those you use for Belgian blanche).
Despite of the name this beer is orange amber. It is indeed very pale.
Carbonated at first then still.
I don't feel a special smell, maybe tea and some candi sugar.
It is fizzy but dry, with less alcohol than I would expect.
It has an accentuated bitterness and a very light body.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
3.4/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

500ml Bottle: BBD 28 Jun 2014, poured into a UK pint sleeve at home on 19 Oct 2013.

Good amber body with an off-white head that tried to stay around.

Which ingredient gives the aroma and taste lead? Malts, but only just, this is a good blend of flavours and smells.

Semi-sweet malty molasses actually rule the flock in this Black Sheep brew. Caramel and mild toffee notes come through with an undertone of hop bitterness asserting it'self towards the end of the nose and taste.

Mellow and soft body: very easy to drink.

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

Amber in colour. gently rising bubbles. Thin but fully covered head.
English hop and malt aroma.
Light digestive/malt biscuit taste. Hop is present.
Well balanced.
Decent English beer.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.76/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Served in a tumbler.

Gotta love it when awesome customers travel to the UK and bring you back some tasty beverages. This stuff pours a clear brass topped by a finger of lightly off-white foam. The nose comprises lightly-toasted biscuit, mild grass, and sweet flowers. The taste brings in more of the same, with a stronger vein of sweetness stemming from the biscuit, though this serves only to perfectly balance the grassy and flowery hops. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a smooth feel. Overall, this stuff is not gonna set the world on fire, by any means, but it is a very tasty, very easy-to-drink little brew. Something tells me it would taste just grand (Wow, did I just say that? Who am I, a middle-aged upper-class Victorian woman?) from a hand engine...

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

Appearance: Amber; huge head; good lacing

Aroma: Malty; sweet; alcohol; raisiny

Taste: Dry, slightly bitter start with slightly bitter mid and finish; nutty aftertaste

Remarks: Did not score A, T, S, M at that time; so please disregard those scores

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Photo of soju6
3.67/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a deep copper color with a decent head that fades to some lacing.

S: Aroma is fairly mild roasted malt with a bit of fruit.

T: Taste of roasted malt, bittersweet with a bit of spice. Mild bitterness and a dry finish.

F: Medium body, crisp and smooth with a nice balance.

O: Nice beer for the style. Has good flavor with character without being overpowering.

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Photo of doktorhops
3.35/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Finally we have the normal cousin of Monty Python's Holy Grail Ale, the kind that is like a bespectacled man named "Simon" who wears a brown flannel suit with a pocket protector, hello Simon! Well I'm hoping this doesn't turn out to be as average (for an English ale) as Monty Python's Holy Grail Ale, which I gave a 3.05 out of 5.

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Simon has a light white dusting of a head (going bald I suspect), with a clear orange body (Carotenoderma methinks).

S: Toasted biscuit aromas dominate with a hint of buttery diacetyl, some light earthy hops and minimal yeast presence. Quite a typical English (ale) chap this Simon is.

T: The flavour is a very relaxed, almost sedate, mix of the above; toasted biscuit base, mid buttery diacetyl, and light earthy hops, but it comes with a more chunky bread yeast note and finishes slightly bitter. There is a mild caramel sweetness in the centre as well but this beer isn't slamming anyone over the taste buds and shouting "Ave it!", frankly wouldn't expect Simon to do such a thing anyhow.

M: Also a bit on the light side, well light for an EPA, and with that traditional borderline flat English carbonation.

D: Easy drinking fellow this Simon, a little too easy drinking perhaps. This is a PPSA (Pommy Pub Session Ale) if ever I saw, or tasted, one. I could down a dozen pints of this before I even thought about staggering home and microwaving a pizza pocket (only to bring it up later). Is it worth getting? At this price; no, at a more reasonable price; maybe - though stacked up against a brew like "Pride of Oxford" it doesn't stand a fighting chance.

Food match: PPF (Pommy Pub Food); pot pies, Guinness pie, stews of various flavours with unreliable meats in them, and fried battered fish with a wedge of lemon and chunky chips (or "fries" as Americans call them). Also if you're still peckish: crisps! (or "chips" as Americans call them).

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Photo of jtierney89
4.5/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

having the word "black" in the name threw me off but it looks tasty. Gorgeous orange maber glow with a 2 finger sticky off white head and lots of active carbonation. Brilliant clarity. Toasted biscuits and flowery hops on the nose.

Talk about a morning beer. Body a little light then expected but with brisk carbonation. Thin malts on the tip of the tongue followed by rich toasted whole wheat breads that rolls into burnt toast crusts. Faint buttery notes reminds you of heavily toasted whole grain rolls on a sunday morning. Underling euro hop bitterness comes in to play on the bready flavors while the linger in your mouth.

A very bready and sessionable beer. This will be my new standard for breakfast drinking.

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Photo of Pegasus
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep and clear golden orange, with a large white head of fine beads, which soon collapses t o scattered patches of foam on the surface, and circling the glass walls. Slight carbonation slowly rises to the surface.

Aroma: Herbal hop notes dominate the aroma, but there are notes of bitter apples and pears as well. There are slight hints of toasted malt and caramel as well.

Taste: Opens with strong medicinal and herbal hops. As the taste progresses, there are notes of caramel, toasted malts and a faint sweetness, but the hops take center stage throughout. Finishes with a long, lingering, mild medicinal note, and a tang of bitter apples.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft, and full, very pleasant.

Drinkability/notes: An excellent example of the style, perfect for a cool, dark autumn day.

Presentation: Packaged in a custom 500 ml brown glass bottle, served in a New Belgium Brewing chalice.

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Photo of Murrhey
3.28/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 1pt .9oz bottle into a pint glass. Reviewed live.

A- Two finger off-white head. Fluffy and thick, middling retention. Clingy lacing. Cloudy auburn color, low clarity.

S- Pears, apples, light English hops and sweet malts. Very light and fruity smell. Smells like an autumn festival.

T- Tastes very different from the smell. The sweetness largely subsides. Apples and pears are still there with the caramel, but the presiding smell and taste is a biscuity, golden hop flavor. Quite an odd beer.

M- Light bodied, thick carbonation and relatively wet finish.

O- Odd beer with a nice appearance.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.23/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer is transparent and amber hued with a soft white head. Biscuit and bread aroma. A simple beer with a touch of bitterness in the finish. Notes of toasted grains and a subtle earthy quality, perhaps mushrooms. Light bodied and while unexciting, certainly drinkable. Worth a try.

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Photo of Eramen
4.35/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Copper with a large tan head.

S - Biscuit, toffee, caramel, brown sugar - plenty from the malts indeed!

T - Freshly baked bread, toffee, biscuit and caramel malts, citrus tang.

MF - Medium body with ample carbonation.

O - Fantastic English pale, one of the best I've had recently.

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Photo of killianf
4.27/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle into pint glass

A: Pours a nice copper/bronzed amber colour. Decent carbonation and a 2 finger off-white head. Medium lacing.

S: Very sweet smells, chocolate and toffee or caramel, with a definite hint of bubblegum or candy. Also some nice biscuity bready notes, quite malty, and a slight fruitiness. Overall complex and inviting.

T: Sweet at first, toffee and malty tastes, slightly hoppy in the middle, a long bready or nutty aftertaste. Maybe not matching the complexity of the aroma but nonetheless very tasty.

M: The lowest point of this (or any beer) is a slightly watery texture. Light bodied with a bit of fizz. Still though, very smooth and drinkable.

Overall: This would have scored even higher if it was full bodied, but that's just my personal opinion. I appreciate that others might prefer this type of mouthfeel. Either way it's a great beer and one I would certainly recommend. I'll probably try one again in the near future and see if I like the feel better.

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Photo of CwrwAmByth
3.91/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a deep amber colour with a good long lasting head and some nice lacing as well.

Smells very fresh and slightly yeasty.

Tastes well balanced between light sweet malts and bitter sweet hops. Quite a wholesome mouthfeel as well.

Overall a solid bitter.

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Photo of fx20736
4.12/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle poured into nonic, served cool.

reddish amber, visibly carbonated. thick meringue of light khaki head.

Aroma of sweet caramel malt with a hint of vanilla ice cream.

mouthfeel: good, lively.

Taste: malt bomb with spicy herbal hops with a walnut like bitterness at the end.

Notes: This is what a good beer is; hits all 4 aspects well. Great!

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Photo of wordemupg
3.95/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle poured into pint glass 27/3/12

A clear light copper with just a few small slow bubbles feeding a thumbs width of cream colored foam that hangs around long enough to leave a few thin rings of lace,

S sweet malty caramels and a little bready with some spicy hops and just a little fruity

T a little nutty and the spicy hops balance well with the sweet malts, for style its pretty good

M a little thin but bubbles give it some life and body, metallic aftertaste lingers faintly

O for an English Pale it gets pretty good marks, something you could drink a few of without falling over

for style its good, not my favorite style of beer but I'm learning to appreciate low booze, mellow, balanced English brews

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.53/5  rDev -4.6%
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.

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Photo of evlu1441
3.95/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a lovely medium copper colour and is exceptionally clear. The head sits at about a centimeter and remains quite fluffy. There are lots of medium sized bubbles floating up to the top. Quite a nice looking ale.

The aroma is VERY malty, with hints of caramel and a nice earthy background note.

The taste quite hoppy to start, with some earthy/faintly spicy notes coming through strongest. It quickly becomes a nice cascade of biscuity malt and finished on a rather dry note. It's got a light body, making it quite sessionable.

Overall, this is a nice ale, and I'd definitely recommend it. I'd even think about getting a few of these to enjoy over an evening sometime in the future.

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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.

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Photo of angusdegraosta
4.09/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

In a blind taste test, even I could pick out the country: England. Far more than some other Pale Ales, Black Sheep has the aroma and flavor profile of a bitter or an ESB. That esthery smell, with yeast and caramel malt, is one of a kind. Complex flavor. You'd think this is a dark, almost black beer from the name, but no, just the classic copper look with a fine head, classic being the key term. The dark brown bottle simply preserves the freshness better. A solid recommendation here.

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Photo of Dhoff1109
4.47/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Amber colored with a big head.

S: Caramel, malt, fruity esthers.

T: Lots of malt and yeast - very good. Slight hop taste, but it is subdued

M: Very nice finish. Medium body and very smooth

Although I would not rate this beer as perfect, it is one of my favorites. Its a go to beer for me, and would recommend that you give it a try if you havent yet.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.43/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A 500ml bottle with a BB of March 2012. I can't believe this is the first Black Sheep beer I'm reviewing - the brewery is a classic.

Poured into a straight pint glass. A faintly hazy orange-amber colour with low carbonation. Forms a decent head of frothy white foam that lasts for a minute or so before dissipating. Aroma of slightly sweet caramel malt with hints of yeast esters, toffee, stewed hops and butter.

Tastes of caramel malt with a mild bitter finish. Notes of fruity yeast esters, caramel/toffee, stewed hops and a hint of diacetyl in the background. Quite dry, with a subtle sweetness. Mouthfeel is smooth and tingly with some astringency. Aftertaste of fruity yeast and caramel malt.

A decent ale. A restrained flavour and good body make for easy drinking. Dry but fruity. Well-crafted and worth sampling.

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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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