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

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 362 | Ratings: 568
Photo of leokbelo
3.68/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear copper on a Pint glass. 2 inch head that dissipates quickly into a 1/2 inch lacing.
Hint of sweet malts on the nose, with some grainy yeast in the backround.
Like the label said, bittersweet on the tongue, hints of caramel and some minor hops to finish.
Overall a decent English Pale Ale. With the low ABV (4.4%) a nice session brew.

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

Pours copper with one finger head, patchy lacing. Aroma is malty, hints of vegetables.

Taste starts malty and is balanced by delicate bitterness, hints of sour and slowly drying finish with aftertaste dominated by light hops.

Overall, decent and widely distributed, but when there are decent pale ales from other breweries available, I would certainly skip this one.

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Photo of BeerLover99
3.68/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: tan/amber body, finger head, fine lacing

S: light yeast, grain, malt, hint of sugar

T: sweet caramel/toffee, malt, grain, light bitter mild
crisp finish

M: light/med body, semi-dry crisp mouth

O: Nice English pale ale. Not my top choice,
but you could do a lot worse. Would get
again and recommend.


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

A: Orangish amber colored with a big head.

S: Caramel, malt, fruity esthers.

T: Lots of malt and yeasty goodness. Pear? Diacetyl butterry flavor. Hops are there, but buried.

M: Medium bodied and smooth. Finishes nicely.

This is really good, I may need to stock it in the cellar if I can find it again.

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Photo of wvsabbath
3.83/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Serving Type 16.9 0z bottle

Appearance - Dark tan/brown, copper, with a nice 1 inch creamy head, plenty of lacing.

Smell - Malty, breash-like aroma. Some pale yeast, hops, and a little sugars, nothing special, a little weak.

Taste - Crisp hops, carmal malt backbone, and some yeast mixed in. Alot of flavor for such low alcohol. Has a bready, grassy feel to it. Sugars add slight sweetness and add to drinkibilty.

MOuthfeel - Light, smooth and refreshing. Doesnt do alot to mouth. Tounge gets the malts, palette gets the hops, and thats about all. Aftertaste is really light and gone quick.

Overall - Not bad at all, easy drinker. Has nice amount of hop and malt flavor. Slighty too bitter and overpowers the overall sweetness but other then that a decent english pale ale.

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

A solid English Pale Ale, in fact better than I thought it would be. I've ignored this beer for years, and I'm not sure why, so I'm glad I decided to pick up a bottle on a whim. Pours a nice amber, not copper colored, but not as pale as some pale ales from England either. A medium head that eventually fades away away to nothing. Very little of the often present metallic aroma in present, but there is a bit of a buttery note that is not out of place in the style, as well as some earthiness, some clean graininess, and a decent bitterness, particularly on the finish. A light biscuity sweetness on the palate as well, but that plays well with the hops. The more I drink of this, the more I like it- always a good sign.

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Photo of rvdoorn
3.53/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this during my visit of Aberdeen.
Look: The beer pours an orange color with a nice head
Smell: Malts, fruits, butter and earthy hops
Taste: Firm malts, nuts, toffee, butter and yeast
Mouthfeel: Low carbonation, full bodied
Overall: Nice drink for pubquiz

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Photo of juhl31
3.86/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

-the body is a good dark, golden color accompanied by a nice lookin white head. this a a straight up good lookin beer

-a malty, sweet smell to it. the malt has a sweet bread type of smell. really like a nice fresh baked loaf

-there is a good, developed malt taste from front to back. lightly sweet, accented with a honey type character. there is a subtle english hop flavor and bitterness in the background. of the meaty, earthy hop type

-very crisp and somewhat dry as advertised. makes my mouth happy on a summer day

-i enjoy this beer. it's a nice easy drinker, with a good english style balance. seems like it would be a very good cask beer

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Photo of alpinebryant
3.21/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark copper with a white head and heavy lacing.

Aroma is of mixed English hops, a light malt presence and caramel crystal malt aromas.

Taste is very similar to aroma. Light English hop flavors, a mild base of caramel and pale malts, and a slightly sweet lemon like finish. To me, I get a similar taste from some Magic Hat offerings. I would not say that this is better or worse, just that it is trying to personify (and is) an English pale ale. Neither overly hopped or underhopped, but brewed to style.

Medium carbonation and a medium body. Overall not bad, nothing outstanding about this.

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Photo of bamojr
3/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

pours golden with two finger white head. smells like a general ale with a good mix of hops and malt. sweetness from malts and a bit of bitter from hops. This is nothing special, it is just a standard ale. I feel that this is about as middle of the road as you can get.

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

Cheers to the neighbor for hooking me up with a bottle of this stuff.

A - Pours a hazy copper colour with a brown hue, solid finger of beige head with solid retention and some nice sticky lacing.

S - Light citrus hop profile and some musty caramel. Reminiscent of an ESB with stronger caramel notes.

T - Much like the nose, though the citrus hops do come through nicely. A bready, musty caramel lingers on the tongue alongside a grassy wheat finish.

M - A lighter bodied ale that goes down smooth and is refreshing, though can come across as a tad thin.

O - Nothing overwhelming on the palette, but certainly poundable. Nice light, crisp, English Ale that is definitely worth a try.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.11/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

What is it with Yorkshire and sheep? C'mon, read all the football chants putting the two together (often in a vulgar way). Here's a less vulgar theme that puts the two together; a Yorkshire brewery named the Black Sheep Brewery. 500 ml of Yorkshire joy, and we all know what follows...not that! On to the beer!

Almost looking like a shade of lighter brown in poor lighting, this Halloween orange colored beer shows a foamy head an innch thick, holding itself well on top, kicking up some webs of white lace. Better make sure the environment around is free of odor, as this beer is very light in smell. I get a little bit of musty strawberry, a little toastiness, and caramel.

Not much of a surprise that it has a subtle flavor. Toasty is the dominant theme of the beer's overall flavor. Vague esters, bitter grain husk, and diacetyl are among those notes which remain, for the most part, background noise. The liquid has a buttery feel, though at times the carbonation gets a little too perky. More time is elapsed as the beer seems to get more astringent; especially at the aftertaste. What was a pretty good beer first off is now heading towards mediocrity.

Black Sheep is one ale that I put off trying for years, but I thought that I would like it. The reality is that this okay, but it looks like I'll be putting off a second helping for longer than I put off my first helping.

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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 Knapp85
3/5  rDev -18.9%
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.

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Photo of generallee
3.78/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 500ml bottle into an Imperial Pint glass.

Appearance: The body has an orange amber color with a two finger head of light off white foam. The head is slow fading with a wispy thin layer just hanging on. Lacing is spotty and slick.

Smell: It has a very light aroma. All I really get is very light bready malt with very mild fruitiness.

Taste/Palate: Like the nose it has a light bready malt base with thin fruit notes. This is backed up and balanced by mild citrus and herbal hop bitterness. The light body has soft and mild carbonation and a somewhat thin and almost watery feel.

Notes: Overall it goes down easy but the thin feel and flavor are a bit of a let down. I do like what is there but I just want a little more of it.

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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 cichief
3.18/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on cask at the Wellington Arms near Paddington Station, London.

A- Pours a hazy gold with a snow-white head.

S- Some hint of malt, but very little hop aroma.

T- Malty with a somewhat dry finish, bready.

M- Thin to medum in body, not a lot of carbonation.

D- Nothing special about this pint, average at best.

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Photo of bgildea
4.07/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear nice amber color with little to no white head that left some slight lacing.

S: Nice smell of fruits (maybe dates and figs), nuts, and some spices. Slight grain smell towards the end.

T: Starts with a nice sweet flavor that was conveyed in the smell. The flavor then moves into a nice bitter flavor from the hops. Both flavors play off each other very well and balance nicely. The bitter finish is a nice surprise considering I didnt get much of the bitter flavor when smelling it.

M: Very thin beer. I wasnt expecting much, and definitly didnt get much chew with this beer.

D: The beer is very drinkable. It's an easy drinking ale with a decent balanced flavor that will bring you back for another.

Overall: Overall the beer is pretty good. I enjoyed the nice sweet aroma that the beer had. The balance of that sweet aroma in the flavor along with the hoppy bitter finish made for a nice complex flavor. I would recommend this beer to any beer drinker out there.

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

a-light amber brown color with about 1.5 fingers of off white head with moderate lacing

s- aromas of caramel malts and chocolate. clean crisp full aromas

t- it has a good balance of sweet malt and hop bitterness has a toffee flavor that isnt overpowering

m-good fullbody good balance of carbonation

d- overall this is a very good beer, i prefer the yorksire ale more but this is still a very good beer and i would highly recommend trying it if you enjoy english ales

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Photo of Guitarctica
3.95/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I was at whole foods when my wife called me up and asked if I could bring home a nice mild beer. I noticed this in the craft beer section wanting to try something different. I happen to be partial to ales anyway. I decided to get this and a bottle of Fullers 1845 hoping one of them would fit the bill.

Poured into a snifter.

A - Dark brown, like burnt caramel. One finger of foamy off-white head. Lacing not too impressive even after swirling.

S - Nutty with light caramel notes. Some dark fruit like fig.

T - More nuttiness. Perhaps almonds. Bittersweet with light breadiness. Woody flavors and a nice hoppiness round it out. Slight caramel.

M - Full bodied. Though it is bittersweet, it coats the mouth nicely and isnt astringent at all.

D - Good flavor. Somewhat filling, but not aggresive.

Final thoughts - I would recommend this to anyone who likes bittersweet chocolate or nutty beers. Good mouthfeel. One of the better dark ales i've had recently.

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Photo of flyingpig
3.86/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an nice amber colour with a huge, foamy white head that is extremely thick, lasts well & leaves some rather nice lacing around the glass. Some nice carbonation evident too.

Buttery on the nose with grassy hops & a faint fruity smell. Maybe a hint of apple & orange with a slightest toffee smell too.

Sweet tasting to begin with that quickly moves into a moderately bitter finish that is very nice. The flavour tastes of a mixture of toffee & apple with a definite orange like finish.

Medium bodied & quite smooth with very good carbonation. The foamy head is a joy as well. The beer is quite crisp with a dry finish that leaves you wanting more.

This is an excellent all round ale that is incredibly easy to drink & would work wonders as a session ale.

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

Pours a clear coppery amber color with a nice plume of sticky white head, good retention and lacing. Scent is nutty with touches of toffee, fruit, bread and earthy/herbaly hops. taste brings all the components of scent in a nic elight balanced flavor. Medium bodied, slightly oily, dry. A nicely English Pale Ale with good flavor for the low ABVs..

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Photo of StJamesGate
3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours pale amber with a soapy off white head with lacey windows Smoky-toasted nose with maybe some mown hay hops.
Seville orange jam and toast, aggressive biting cedar oil, ginger powder and tea bag Goldings hops. Spicy finish, dry linger. Light - medium, fizzy, some cling.

Big English hops - the bitter side of bitter. Nice feel, too. I'd go back.

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Photo of paxkey
4.07/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

surprised by pour. was expecting it to come out very dark based on the name.

Pours out amber/copper with a small head that is gone quickly. slight carbonation noticeable in glass.

biscuit malt off the nose. grassy hops. not a strong aroma but very pleasing.

good bitterness, refreshing and a bit of malty sweetness. bitterness lingers long after the sip. a little bit of yeast flavor and minerality. really good bitterness.

nice stuff.

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Photo of BeerdedEric
3.45/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Crisp, Dry and Bittersweet is what it says on the bottle. Imported by Eurobrew, Inc.

Interesting color body. Redish orange in the body and gold on the sides. Off white head.

Citrus I'm thinking orange, bitterness from the hops, some malt background.

More malt upfront like a bread-y taste mixing with orange and lemon with some bitterness. But after a few sips it seems to taste like a flat club soda. The taste was unique in the beginning but becoming very strange at the end. Weird.

Body is light to almost medium feeling. Very strange feeling in the body. Very hard to explain.

Drink ability is hard to explain. I wouldn't mind having another to try to figure this beer out. It's not horrible tasting but just overall a very strange beer.

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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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