Sheephead Ale | Brau Brothers Brewing Co. LLC

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Sheephead AleSheephead Ale

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

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: 77 | Ratings: 191
Photo of BEERchitect
3.56/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A robust IPA that straddles the fences of American IPA's, English IPA's and Amber Ales.

The pour delivers a strong amber-copper color with a very mild haze. The beer carries a glowing appearance. Great head formation, retention, and lacing give a very favorable appearance to the beer.

Toast, pine, and caramel immediately come to mind with the first sip. Resiny, spicy, and richly malty; the beer takes tone of strongly hopped English Ales. Fruity esters (much like the flavor of young Old Ales) further emphasize the point.

Malt flavors start with caramel, then grow into toffee like sweetness, and finish with a toasty or bread crust flavor- this gives a Strong Ale taste if not for the aggressive hop additions. Pine resins, strong bitterness, and heavy spice shys away from the classic citrus character of American hoppy ales and toward the more earthy English varieties. Moderately fruity throughout with yeasty, biscuity goodness.

The sweetness also ushers in a sugary weight, giving a fuller and richer flavor as if lower attenuated character prevails. hop bitterness and alcohol attempts to dry the beer in the finish, but it holds on to a lot of residual sweetness and weight going deep into the finish and aftertaste.

While a tasty beer, I cannot decide if it borrows what's best of these styles or if the beer is seriously confused. Better melding of flavor and lightening of body could have helped me make up my mind.

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Photo of zeff80
3.8/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, copper color with a small, white head of bubbly foam. It left some thin rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of piney hops and burnt toast maltiness.

T - Nice bitter piney bite on the tip of the tongue with some citrus kick. It had some sweet caramel and toastiness for a backbone.

M - It was crisp and sharp. A medium bodied ale with a dry finish.

O - This is a very nice IPA. A nice brew from Brau Brothers.

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Photo of mothman
3.62/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into New Belgium Globe Glass.

I honestly don't think this is a APA. I'll explain in my review.

Pours a 1 finger slightly tan head. Good retention, slightly splattered lacing. Color is a dark golden copper.

Aroma has an amazing floral/pine hops, like an IPA. Some musk to it as well as sweet sugar malts.

Taste very weird as compared the the smell. Doesn't taste like an IPA. The smell is a lot better. Carmel and floral hops. Reminds me of an ESB, not a pale ale. There is also alcohol in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is refreshingly bitter. Very smooth going down. Leaves a mouth full of hops.

Overall, I thought it was an IPA from the smell, then I tasted it and didn't think it fit the style, thought about it and figured it could be an ESB, not an APA. Hard to rate this beer, because I do not know what the real style is.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.98/5  rDev +8.2%
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 feloniousmonk
4.33/5  rDev +17.7%
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 Tone
3.39/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, copper color. 4/5 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and good lacing. Smells of sweet malt, alcohol, fig, hint of wine, hint of liquor, slight hops, slight all spice, and a hint of cinnamon. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with a high carbonation level. Tastes of sweet malt, alcohol, fig, hint of liquor, slight hops, slight all spice, and a hint of cinnamon. Overall, too carbonated, complex, odd blend, body and aroma are dominated by malt, spice, and fig.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.06/5  rDev +10.3%
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 Wasatch
3.7/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks goes out to luxbwin for this brew.

Pours a nice clean/clear golden amber color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy off-white head, with some sticky lacing left behind. The nose is slightly hoppy, malty, with some slight citrus. The taste is hoppy, very nice malt note, with some citrus. Medium Body, with a nice dry/bitter finish. This is a tasty brew, glad to have gotten a chance to try it.

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Photo of tempest
3.4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked up a single at Princeton Liquors. Eh, this is disappointing and I keep hoping the Brau Brothers will kick up their beer from decent to a beer really worth talking about. This just tastes like a hoppy amber, but not that hoppy. The malts are dark bread crust with a hint of cocoa and the hops are a plain citrus punch. The hops dominate the aroma, thought that's not to say any of the flavors are that great. OK so the hops are pleasant and the malt has a little depth, but there's nothing that stands out here. Meh to this beer.

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Photo of jzeilinger
3.55/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark amber color with nice clarity and a thin lacing ring.

S - Caramel honey toasted malt, somewhat biscuit, some citrus aroma.

T - Toasted caramel malt backbone with a nice citrus finish.

M - Medium body.

O - A very balanced traditional IPA.

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Photo of Viggo
3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle, extra in IP trade with deleriumfest at DLD.

Pours a cloudy dark orange/amber, some light reddish highlighting, pretty thick off white head forms, tight bubbles, slowly settles to a thin ring around the glass, a few lace spots but not much. Smell is alright, quite malty, very biscuity, some caramel sweetness, floral hops, a bit of grapefruit and orange peel, a touch yeasty, not a whole lot of complexity but decent enough. Taste is similar, very bready and dry up front, some toast/biscuit, light caramel sweetness comes through more in the middle, alcohol, some floral and citrus hopping, quite dry, but again solid though lacking in flavour. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, pretty nice in that department, medium to high carbonation, a bit much for the style, but pretty drinkable considering the ABV. Reminds me a bit of a not as good Hop Devil with the flavour profile. Thanks Brandon!

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Photo of maximum12
2.57/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Picked up a single of this recently at Blue Max, in my quest to find a Brau brew that I'm fond of. C'mon guys, I'm willing, convert me! Let's hope this is the one.

Well, the pour is promising, gorgeous amber brew with a nice ring of foam. Damn. The label mentioned bitter twice, & I don't think it was kidding. Like a mix of bitter, ass-kicking roses, hops & pollen. Original, haven't had a nose like that in my bus before.

Well. This had some promise. The bitterness of the hops up front is nice, unbalanced & aggressive for a hop-head like me. Then comes the Brau aftertaste. Honestly, I don't know what it is. The water? Yeast strains? Contamination? But the sub-taste is unpleasantness underneath this promising start. It's musty, moldy, blech.

Dammit. This seems like a pretty doggone good beer. But I won't be able to finish it. The aftertaste simply doesn't agree with me.

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Photo of drpimento
3.61/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Kind of an odd, yet not bad brew. Poured at a good temperature with a huge, foamy, frothy, cream-colored head that slowly settled and decent lacing. Color is a clear medium amber with some bubble trails. Aroma is fresh beer, caramel malt, and mild hop. Flavor is like nose, hop flavor comes out a little more. There's more hop bitterness than flavor. Body/carbonation are perfect. Finish is like flavor, on the short side, drinkable, yet rather forgettable.

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Photo of ZAP
4.19/5  rDev +13.9%
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 jera1350
4.32/5  rDev +17.4%
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 andrenaline
3.92/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a nice amber colour with a hint of brown, finger of head with some retention and no real lacing.

S - Earthy cedar hops with a solid caramel malt sweetness that comes through alongside a spicy ABV scent.

T - Flavour is very bitter with the sour earthy hop notes dominating. Fresh greens and tree bark alongside some toffee and caramel notes on the finish. The bitterness lingers with hints of burnt sugar.

M - Medium bodied, smooth and quite dry.

O - I bought this expecting an ESB, but was pleased to find out it was an IPA, and not one for the faint of heart. This packs a load of bitter hops, so if you're a fan of IBU's, than this brew is highly recommended. The ABV is nicely hidden making is very drinkable.

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Photo of KarlHungus
4.45/5  rDev +20.9%
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 morimech
4.03/5  rDev +9.5%
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 garymuchow
4.03/5  rDev +9.5%
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 Florida9
3.3/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep copper in color. Very clear. Forms about an inch of off-white head. Decent retention and lots of lacing.

S: Lots of caramel malt. Some citrus hops and a faint tinge of pine.

T: Starts off with an appreciable earthy hop bitterness. Some pine. A little citrus. But really the malt dominates on this one - lots of caramel malt. Some burnt toast on the finish.

M: Heavier side of medium with appropriate carbonation. Moderate bitterness.

O: A decent beer, but more like a Red Ale than an IPA.

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Photo of gatornation
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

from 12 oz bottle

A-pours a reddish brown color with an off white head with some nice lacing

S- bready malts caramel, baked bread pine/citrus hops

T- malt forward but pine and citrus hop are there with some earth and bread flavors

M-medium carbonation with crisp hops swet malts

O- solid ipa /apa good flavors nice drinkable tasty

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
4.08/5  rDev +10.9%
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 vette2006c5r
3.12/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Sheephead pours a reddish darker color with a small non lacing head. There is a hoppy aroma, with big earthy notes. The taste is very earthy, some hops come through, a funky earthy aftertaste. A bit flat. Overall its strong, but very earthy, malty, with a funky hop flavor that doesn't fit well

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Photo of jsprain1
3.23/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Pours a reddish amber with a one finger offwhite head that leaves about five little wisps of lacing.
S- Not as hoppy on the nose as the style suggests, as well as the bottle. There is a floral and slightly pithy note, but it's primarily biscuit and caramel malt.
T- The hops come through even less so here. There is a bit of that floral, slightly citrus, note in the finish. But the hops are overwhelmed by a toasted malt, caramel note. It also leans pretty heavily on the sugary side.
M- Full bodied for an IPA. Sugary at times, with a bit of astringentness in the finish.
O- At 7.7 and as much malt as went in this, it's almost like a IIPA but without enough hop flavor to make it a regular IPA. It's an ok beer, but it just doesn't seem to have a firm direction with where it wants to go.

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Photo of nickd717
3.72/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle as an extra in a trade with deliriumfest on BA.

Pours a hazy golden-copper color with a one-finger white head.

Aroma is really nice - lots of tropical fruits (pineapple, mango) and orange, somewhat hoppy, along with sweet caramel malt.

Flavor is also good but not quite as smooth as I hoped from the aroma. Tropical fruits are in there, pineapple mostly, as well as orange and grapefruit. Sweet caramel malt and pale malt balance, along with some noticeable booze (wow, this is 7.7% I see now!).

Medium-bodied and just a little boozy for the style with average carbonation and some hop oils.

Good drinkability. Overall a pretty solid almost imperial pale ale.

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Sheephead Ale from Brau Brothers Brewing Co. LLC
3.68 out of 5 based on 191 ratings.
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