Sheephead Ale | Brau Brothers Brewing Co. LLC

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Sheephead AleSheephead Ale

Brewed by:
Brau Brothers Brewing Co. LLC
Minnesota, United States | website

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.70%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by morimech on 03-26-2009

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Reviews: 76 | Ratings: 188
Photo of KarlHungus
4.45/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a cloudy burnt orange color. The head is two inches in height, and recedes into a thick cap of lacing that leaves foam all over the glass. The aroma is of citrus, grapefruit, pine resin, and some nice floral notes. This is a very aromatic APA. The taste leans more toward the pine and floral aspects with a firm lingering bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with lively carbonation, and a velvety texture. Overall, this is a very good beer on the border between APA and IPA. I really like that the hop bill seems to consist of more the just Centennial and Cascade. I like those hops, but it seems that every brewer is using nothing but them in their hoppy beers. Sheep Head is a refreshing change, and I would love to see it take the place of Brau Brother's regular APA.

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Photo of DarkhorseII
4.37/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I keep coming back to this one. I generally like the IPA style but more is not always better. This brew has a fine balance & at 7.7% it's deceptively intoxicating.

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Photo of lwillitz
4.34/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12-oz bottle into Belgian ale glass

A - 3 fingers of light tan head atop a transparent body of orange amber; moderate amount of rising bubbles; great head retention and lace

S - tons of citrus, hop spice, toasted malt characteristics

T - citrus goodness with a touch of pine, peppery spice, fruity notes, big bready malt backbone; dry, citrusy finish

M - oily, smooth, medium/full body; moderate carbonation; quite pleasant

O - Sheep Head is a very nice IPA. The hop profile is delightful and the malt balance is prominent, but not overpowering. Well done, Brau!

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.33/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lightly hazed, deep ambercolor, big,boisterous, creamy-toned head. Long lasting, lace leaving.

Soft, hoppy aroma, gentle citricnotes...Cascade?Pungent pineapple, prickly pine, lemon rind. Lovely stuff. Just gorgeous.

Hoppy, spicy smack on the palate, then mellow, but never gone. Same flavors felt in the nose return on the tongue, mixed with lush, tasty caramel & pale malt. Medium bodied, great texture, long, hoppy finish, and terrifically refreshing.

A very interesting brew, the hoppiest yet from the Brothers. Wheat malt, too, eh?
It comes through, and aids the drinkability, yet the flavor and hop profile doesn't suffer.

Great brew, Bros! I'll be back for more!

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Photo of jera1350
4.32/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the brewery.

Golden brown color with a fluffy tan head on top.

Huge and bright citrus comes from all of the hops in this one. Sweet caramel rears its head as well.

This is balanced, but contains huge citric hops with lots of orange and loads of caramel malt. It's satisfying for any hop head or malt head. The hops are so fresh and tasty, it's crazy. Nice bit of complexity to it.

Smooth feel, about medium bodied. Good clean finish.

Really drinkable beer. Lots of flavor going on and the alcohol is well hidden. Really refreshing and satisfying. My favorite beer from Brau and it will now thankfully be year round.

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Photo of Ragingbull
4.28/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Amber in color with a nice foamy head with very good retention. The foam is a sort of off white perhaps muslin or a canvas. Very faint prickle. A picturesque beer. Nice nose of malt and hops with the hops sort of laying on top of the malt. I believe I can pick out the cascade hops, but there is more to it than that. Nice attack of hops that gives way to a tasty malt flavor with just a bit of cracked grain. Lots of great flavors. There are floral hops flavors, caramel malts and some nice grains. The grains are pronounced in a good way, which is saying something as I usually prefer my grains more muted. This is well crafted as it is a bitter beer with a wonderful malt flavor that finishes it off. I have really been missing out, as I haven't had that many Brau Bros. Beers. I hated the first two that I tried and it took about a year after each to try another. No joke. This one is finally a winner and in a big way. Well done, and oh, I am sorry for not trusting Brau Bros. more.

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Photo of ZAP
4.19/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Orange/amber...leaves a nice lace on glass as I drink

S-Great aroma...tons of toasted malts...also some candied toffee ...I guess that is what toffee is :)...some caramel notes too...very sweet aroma and a fresh hoppiness complements perfectly...great smelling beer.

T-Where the nose is malt forward, the taste is more balanced...some good hopping to this...a citrus like grapefruit rind bitterness is evident..but it mingles nicely with the great malt backbone..

M-Medium bodied....seems sessionable but still loaded with flavor.

D-I really like notch beer....Doesn't really fit a style....a cross between an ESB and Red Ale in my opinion..I definitely would buy again...right up there with Ringneck as my favorite from this off notes at all....

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Photo of rundocrun
4.17/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A - Pours a very deep dark copper color. Almost brown, but still crystal clear. A finger of white head forms and stays around for quite some time. Minimal lacing on the glass.

S - Lemony citrus and sweet carmely malt predominate. Mild, earthy and piney notes also present but not as noticeable. I get the impression that this beer will have just as big of a malt presence as hops. Let's see if the taste proves that right...

T - I sure was! Lots of rich dark malts give this unique IPA a good balance of chocolate and caramel flavor that compliments the bitter and mildly acidic notes from the hops quite well. Don't get me wrong, this is still one for the hop heads too. A strong hop bitterness takes over the flavor profile in the middle and mingles with the malt through to the finish leaving the tongue actually a little numb (something I've found to happen with particular IPA's I've tried.

M - Medium body. Thicker than most IPA's I've tried. I'd dare say this fits squarely in between an "average" IPA and an "average" DIPA as far as mouthfeel goes. Good bright carbonation. Dry finish.

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Photo of ThePeskyDingo
4.15/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Been waiting to try this for a couple weeks now, my friend DerrickBerg came over, and we thought it was a perfect time to try it out.

With a decently aggressive pour it yielded a 1.5 finger off white head which dissipated at a medium to slow rate, but never fully dissipates. Clear caramel-amber in color with a good amount of carbonation coming up. Lots of lacing, a full wall of bubbles are left on my glass side.

Smells very nice. I smell malt, hops, and subtle citrus notes in the background.

Taste consists a lot of malts, with a bitter hop background. The malt taste settles into a slightly roasted malt aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is good. Medium carbonation, medium bodied.

Easy to drink, very tasty, and well balanced.

Overall a really good beer. The label is misleading, not quite as hoppy and bitter as it claims, but that doesn't deter from how good it is. I recomend this beer!

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Photo of ckeegan04
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Bright orangish brown with a thick, foamy light khaki head. Lots of lacing left behind and very good head retention. Lots of actvie carbonation bubbles quickly rising to the top as well.

S - Excellent mix of malt and hops in the nose. Lots of grassy and citrusy hop notes dominate. A little grapefruit and lemon. The malts are primarily caramel and a little biscuity. Excellent mix of aromas.

T - The malts are much stronger in the taste than they were in the nose. Lots of caramel and a sweet biscuity taste as well. Hops are present and provide a nicecitrus and grassy balance. Bitterness is mild but lingers. An excellent example of a pale ale, but I was expecting a little more hoppiness from the label.

M/D - Medium bodied with some resinous aftertaste to it. Carbonation is very good and drinkability is high.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
4.08/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Served in a tumbler pint.

Appearance : Dark honey, almost iced tea colored. Popcorn colored head measuring three fingers and sticking around for several minutes. Lace is left behind in several broken webs and flecks. Opacity is 90%. This is one seriously thick looking IPA.

Smell : A surprisingly nostalgic smell to me. Malts are balanced with hop almost impeccably. Wood, snow-tipped pine, graham cracker, very faint honey glazed biscuit. The aroma is the perfect volume and medium strength. I can't fault much about this beer's aroma.

Taste : Cracker malt out front with a quick rush of piney hop and citrus peels. A bit of spice mid-palate, and finishes out tropical and fruity with cantaloupe, melon rind, and guava.

Feel : Substantial. Creamy, well-carbonated, finishes moderately dry.

Overall : I could have done with a touch more malt in the taste. I realize this is an IPA but I really look for balance and this one only fell short a slight bit in the taste category. Everything else was stellar. I still would recommend this beer, in fact, their variety pack is quite a bargain. Cheers!

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Photo of brewdoc75
4.07/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this on cask once and it was great. Its a bonus to find it in bottles now.

A: Beautiful light amber color. A strong off-white head with prevalent lace along the sides.

S: Plenty of hops in the nose with some citrus, definite fruitiness, and some earthiness from the hops. Really complex in regards to aroma. Faint maltiness present.

T: Fruitiness and light caramel maltiness from the malts. This trends to a flavorful citrus and earthy hop flavor profile. The hops present in the nose aren't nearly complex in the flavor, but are still there. The bitterness is toned down which makes this beer pretty easy to drink. Really quite flavorful.

M: Medium bodied. Maybe a tad bit too heavy to be sessionable, but pretty solid nevertheless.

D: This is a really good beer. The hop aroma really stands out. I wish the complexity stood out in the flavor a tad more. A definite must have from this brewery. Highly recommended.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.06/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Seattle Beer Week pint glass. Pours a medium coppery amber with a fine two finger cream colored head with great retention and lots of thick lacing. Great aroma of caramel malt, citrus spicy hops with a hint of pine; the hops smell really good. Flavor follows aroma with nice semisweet caramel and bready malt and citrus, resinous piney hops, finishing with a lingering spicy pine bitterness. I don't know if they used rye in this, but there is light spiciness reminiscent of rye. Great medium to heavy creamy body. They advertise this as "tons of caramel malt and too many Cascade hops", and although disagreeing with the latter (how could you have too much cascade hops?), I think they nailed it. A very tasty, malty IPA with a nice hop bill that both smelled and tasted great. Even more to their credit, this was a bottle brought home to me by my sister and arrived after a month long road trip. Held up well and makes me hope I can try it fresh some time. Enjoyable.

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Photo of morimech
4.03/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The latest in the Brau Brothers Single Batch Series. Pours a clear amber color with two fingers of white head that has good retention. The head settles to a thin cap. Heavy lacing is left on the glass. The aroma consists of biscuit and toasted malt with some citrus, grass, and earthy hop aroma. Has a strong malt flavor foundation. The hops add a complimentory grassy and spicy flavor and moderate bitterness. Not nearly as hoppy and bitter as I was led to believe. Carbonation is present without being overbearing. Has a nice texture. I liked the malt profile in this beer. A nice APA that I would drink again.

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Photo of alcstradamus
4.03/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A--Nice copper color with an off white head that rose a full finger in my 16 oz. snifter. Solid lacing was left on the glass.

S--Mostly peel, lemon, floral

T--Taste is a nice balance between bready malts and bitter earthy hops. Good flavor for an APA....enough balance to attract everyone and enough flavor to make the hop heads happy.

M--Medium bodied but definitely full enough for the style

D--Nice easy to drink ale here although with this high ABV I would rather have something a little "bigger" tasting. If this was 5-6% I would give it a 4.5

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Photo of garymuchow
4.03/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Initially a nice fresh hop aroma of mild grassiness, light floral and citrus. This is followed by a pleasing sweet (crystal?) malt. Nice.
Very clear darker amber with golds, copper, brown. Dense close to white head of 1/2 inch. Adequate lacing.
Initially flavor starts like an IPA with full hop flavor and full bitterness. Again a repeat with with malt flavors with a nice sharp clean malt flavor. Mild nut flavor.
Carbonation lends a likable fullness and helps make body moderate. Soft fine bubbles that i like.
Overall a nice drinking full, but not excessively hopped ale.

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Photo of Goliath
4.03/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a lightly hazed copper color, though I believe it to be chill haze. There is a half inch slightly yellowed head on the poor that lingers with decent retention leaving nothing behind.

The aroma is decent. There's a light piney hop aroma followed by a raw grain malt that also seems to have an iced tea and rye like quality all at the same time.

The taste is decent as well. There is again a light hop profile with a bit of a piney/earthy feel that is accompanied by a nice malt bill. There seems to be some raw grain and a rye like character again. Anyone know if there's any rye in this thing? Hmm, I just read the bottle and it makes no mention to rye. Guess I need to get my palate checked.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a nice dose of fine bubbled carbonation.

Drinkability is fairly high. I think this is a really solid beer, and I'm not entirely sure it should be listed as a Pale Ale. Perhaps American IPA would be a little more appropriate. All the same, I dig the flavor profile and I'm suprised to see this thing listed at 7.7% ABV. The alcohol is well incorporated into the beer making for a really enjoyable drinking experience.

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Photo of GeezLynn
4.02/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz single from Cellars Roseville

A: Light brown cider color with a thin, rapidly dissipating white head.

S: Lots of toasted brown malts with west coast hops. I think there's even a little chocolate malt and the smell is actually pretty similar to a hopped up nut brown. Not much in the way of your standard IPA characteristics.

T: Ahh, flavor is more in line with what I expected out of what BA labels an IPA (bottle label does not specify). Nice NW hops pack a good resiny pine punch that melds well with a light, toasty malt base. A few more sips bring some grapefruit and pepper. Just the right amount of sweetness. Finish is medium in length and ends with plenty of bitterness.

M: Crisp, medium to light-bodied with moderate carbonation. Alcohol contributes enough bite that any more carbonation would probably be overkill.

Initially the smell had me not knowing what to expect. But this turned out to be a nice hoppy ale somewhere between an IPA and APA. Could definitely enjoy a few of these in one sitting and will look for it again. Well done.

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Photo of mjryan
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clocking in at a skull cracking 7.7% ABV this is one hell of an American Pale Ale. Sure, whatever, just dont tell the BJCP. Fresh Sheephead is a thing of beauty, as most well crafted uber hoppy IPAs? are. Sweet orange hop aromas mingle with an interesting and unexpected, but not unwelcome toasted/biscuit malt character. Flavour delivers much of the same with a touch of caramel and butterscotch. Medium bodied with a dry, bitter finish. Good and maybe even great!

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.98/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

"A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves."

--Bertrand de Jouvenel

Candied apricot with butter rum colored borders. Polished topaz would work as well since the beer has a gemstone-like glow when backlit with sunshine. The ecru colored lid looks fantastic and is no stranger to the laying down of lace. This is a hearty looking pale ale.

Brau Brothers says that this formerly seasonal (now year-round) brew is their hoppiest yet. The nose says that they aren't lying. It's moderately toasted malty and features a pretty impressive amount of American hops, at least one of which almost certainly starts with the letter 'C'.

SheepHead Ale is tasty stuff, which is something of a surprise. I've had almost everything these guys have bottled so far and consider only Ring Neck Braun to be worthy craft beer. Maybe the brothers Brau are getting the hang of things up there in Lucan, MN.

This APA reminds me, in some respects, of Three Floyds Alpha King. Same general idea, and not nearly as good, but tasty and drinkable all the same. Relevent differences are that SheepHead favors toasted-earthy malt over caramel malt, favors orange peel over grapefruit peel, and is about half as hoppy. Okay, maybe two-thirds. Alpha King is a beautiful buzzsaw-like beast when fresh.

The mouthfeel doesn't quite keep pace, especially given the slightly higher than usual ABV. It's silky smooth enough, but becomes a little loosey-goosey as the finish approaches. A ridiculous amount of lace makes the next highest appearance score an easy call.

In the end, SheepHead Ale is at least as good as Ring Neck Braun... and possibly better. The brewery made a wise decision in making this hopilicious ale a year-round release. Whoever decided to distribute it to Iowa was pretty smart too. And earns my thanks.

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Photo of DaCheesehead
3.97/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour from a 12 oz bottle. Deep red ale, crystal clear, with one finger of off white head. Aroma of sweet malts, caramel, flora hops. Taste follows the aroma - the swallow starts with sweet malts and traslates to a fine complex hoppiness, ending iwth a pleasant bitterness and dry finish. Hops are flora with overtones of spice, citrus, and pine. I didn’t know the style before looking here, but guessed pale ale, so it seems true to me, but the maltiness may also suggest a hopped a red ale. Either way it is a fine fine brew and one that I’ll be getting again. It may be a winter seaosnal but I’m quaffing it on a 96 degree day and loving every drop.

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

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Nice foamy off white head. Good lace. Medium neutral brown w/amber orange tones.

S: Very piney and resinous. SOme grapefruit over the complex malt.

T: Pretty mild. Hops are bitter and dry, offering resinous flavors. Malt gives a caramel note with a very earthy back drop.

M: Med-low carbonation. Medium thickness. Good.

D: Overall, good. If you can, try it.

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Photo of bsp77
3.94/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Pours an orange amber with a very large head. Lots of lacing.

Smell: Citrus and pine hops with some toasted malt.

Taste: Begins with a very nice balance of strong citrus/pine hop taste (but not too much bitterness) and semi-sweet toasted malts, then suddenly turns very dry and bitter towards the finish.

Feel: Very smooth and dry. Medium body and carbonation.

Drinkability: Exceedingly drinkable due to the smooth body and great balance.

I personally don't see the confusion regarding the style of this beer. It seems to be very much an American IPA, albeit in the Torpedo "Extra" IPA direction based on the higher alcohol, smooth body and more balanced malt.

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Photo of NuclearDolphin
3.93/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass

Appearance - Hazy Dark Amber color, good amount of lacing on the side. Excellent head retention

Smell - Toffee, Malts, Caramel, Citrus Hops Grapefruits, and Yeasts. Lots of scents here, but it doesn't pack the punch you'd expect.

Taste - Very Tangy Piney Hops, Toffee, Malts and yeasts. Very resiny aftertaste with a bitter kick

Mouthfeel - Moderate body, but it's got a very creamy feel to it and it's very smooth to top it off

Overall - It's a good IPA to try out, especially with it's strong piney hop flavor.

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Photo of shadow1961
3.92/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brau Brother's Sheep Head Ale pours a couple of stiff fingers of foam over a cloudy deep orange brew. Carbonation is pretty low, and the nose is spicy pine and citrus hops. The flavor is sweet malt up front with notes of honey balanced by brisk sharp hops- I'm tasting grass and pine needles. Mouthfeel starts round and drys out because of the hopping. When I first had this I could have sworn it was an India Pale Ale but was surprised to see it listed as a Pale Ale on the Beer Advocate website. Could be I was thrown off by all that hop aroma from the dry-hopping mentioned on the label. One of their better special edition brews, I would put it just under Brau's outstanding Ring Neck Ale. Worth a first and second look for sure!

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Sheephead Ale from Brau Brothers Brewing Co. LLC
3.69 out of 5 based on 188 ratings.
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