S.O.B. (Special Old Bitter) | Wild Rose Brewery & Taproom

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S.O.B. (Special Old Bitter)S.O.B. (Special Old Bitter)
S.O.B. (Special Old Bitter)S.O.B. (Special Old Bitter)

Brewed by:
Wild Rose Brewery & Taproom
Alberta, Canada

Style: English Bitter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.10%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Golden-bronze colour and light in body, Wild Rose S.O.B. is delicately hopped and refreshingly delicious. Very gentle and approachable, this classic English ale is an excellent choice to enjoy as a "session beer.

23 IBU

User Reviews & Ratings
Reviews: 23 | Ratings: 44
Reviews by 69IBU:
Photo of 69IBU
4.1/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

SOB used to be packaged by Wild Rose, but nowadays is only available on tap. Even so, you're hard-pressed to find it in many places outside of their taproom. That's a real pity, but cause this beer is terrific.

Colour is a pleasant golden-orange with a pleasant fruity aroma. The taste is exceptional, with a good balance of bitterness, malt, and fruit esters. It's fairly low alcohol as well, and as WR describes it a "session ale" - which basically just means it's easy to drink a lot of it.

If you see this on any tap or growler bar wherever you go - give it a try!

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More User Reviews:
Photo of MAB
3/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

An easy one to review. It's absolutely average in all respects.
It looks like a commercial lager, has little in the way of nose/ aroma, or head, and little in the way of taste or bitterness.
It could be one of the sweetest bitters I've ever had, not that it's malty or particularly sweet, either.
You can (and I did) pound back one of these when it the beer is cold and the day is hot, and I will say that it was refreshing and very easy to drink. I wish it were more like it's papa: the Wild Rose IPA, which is chock full of the exact flavors that are missing in this one.
It's a good introductory beer, or a "Dad" beer (if your dad always complains about the beer that you regularly keep around).
Not terrible, not bad...average.

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Photo of pootz
2.95/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle: Aptly named SOB

Poured a deep gold with a small white cap. Modest carbonation.

Aromas of musty grain husk, caramel and some grassiness.

Thin mouth feel. Decent enough blast of caramel malting in front but thins out mid palate and goes to a semi bitter thin finish.

Not the best bitter I've endured.

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Photo of IronDjinn
3.53/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear coppery hue in appearance, served with very little head at the brewery, although the party pig my friend the Spitfire picked up the same day provided bountiful amounts of head upon a personal pour.

Mild herbally hops on the nose, very faint malt.

Nice herbal hop flavour profile, similar to a tradition English Pub Bitter, which isn't overwhelmingly bitter at all. Nice dandelion and baby greens flavour.

The mouthfeel is on the light side, especially considering this is a 5% abv offering.

An enjoyable hot summer afternoon ale, on the patio of the Wild Rose Tap Room, or in the back yard of the Spitfire's, only getting up to deplete the party pig more of its contents. She was so proud of her Lando...

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Photo of Cwrw
3.82/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This Special Old Bitter (SOB) was tried from the cask at Wild Rose's new taproom in the barracks area of Calgary. The pint arrived a very hazy apricot/pineapple juice colour, with decent head retention on top. Aroma is mostly some fresh hopping with a solid if somewhat inconsistent backdrop of maltiness. Still, a very nice nose on this beer. The beer tastes a little undercarbonated, but the flavour is full of fresh hops and some caramel malts. The taste is not complex, but pleasant. A nice session ale. Cheers to Wild Rose for doing casks Friday nights too!

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Photo of Sammy
3.22/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at the brewery. Quite blond, some lace on yellow. Disapointing after hearing much about its bitterness. There was a bit of it, more in the finish, but this is mediocre bitterness compared to the ESBs I have had. Light mouthfeel. Above average carbonation. You can almost say it was watered down and that the 4% is the result.

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Photo of BigBry
3.65/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have had the SOB a number of times and always enjoy having a pint at the new brewery and tasting room location.
Beer is a clear, and dark golden color with a thin layer of foam. Good head retention and some traces of lace. There is a yeast smell to go a long with the floral hops, but not the big hoppy aromas expected in a bitter. The taste is more on the malty side, but it is well balanced with the hop bitterness. The carbonation is quite low makeing it smooth but not flat in the mouth. A nice drinkable ale, but I would have liked a bit more bitter kick to it, but still a good sessional.

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Photo of CrazyMike
3.45/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Amber brown apperance with lots of head that settles slowly. Smell is sweet with bread and malt, has a hint of grass.

Taste is very malty with bread and citrus. Picked up some sweetness and dry hops. Creamy, medium bodied with moderate carbonation. After taste is bitter.

Overall, suprisingly full flavored for it's abv. Refreshing to, worth a try if your getting a taster pack or at a restaurant.

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Photo of headlessparrot
3.62/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Noxious26
2.36/5  rDev -31.4%

Photo of vanrassel
3.78/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer isn't quite as bitter as it should be, but it's tasty and well crafted.

It poured a dark, burnished gold and very clear with a one-finger head that left sticky lace. Good head retention as well. The aroma was yeasty (there's a slight commonality in all the Wild Rose beers) with pleasant fruity esters and subtle floral hops.

The taste started off with caramel malt that gave way — though not entirely — to bitterness. Again, this could be a little more bitter, but the style guidelines do point out balance is the key for an English bitter, and this fits the bill. The subtle carbonation was bang-on and medium body was nice.

This is a highly drinkable ale and easily sessionable as well. It's a crowd pleaser that even my macro-drinking friends have enjoyed.

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Photo of thehyperduck
3.62/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I love bitters, and it's been a while since I've had one so hopefully this will be a treat. Wild Rose SOB pours a pale amber-orange color with a half-finger of head that doesn't last very long before becoming a patchy cap and collar of beige foam. Smell is mostly caramel sweetness and pale malt in the foreground, with some grassy hops in the background.

Some brown sugar or caramel sweetness is the first taste I notice; harmonizes nicely with some nut flavors and subtle hop bitterness in the finish. A little bit of citrus taste, with a dry finish. Mouthfeel is kind of thin, but still a little creamy. Carbonation is biting on the tongue and it sort of interferes with the taste.

I like it - tasty and refreshing. The labelling recommends it as a session beer and I think it would definitely be suitable for that purpose, with its low ABV and balanced flavour profile. If bitters are your thing, this is definitely worth a try.

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Photo of Shadman
2.99/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Rich gold in color with a frothy white head and impressive lacing.

Kinda smells like musty grain with some floralness in the background.

Have to admit I didn't like the inital swig. A harsh graininess was present. As I worked into the middle and end of the flavour profile tsome nice nuances became apparent. Specifically a nice roast malt that had a slightly buttery twinge to it. Brew is decently hopped and these provide a bitterness that lingers long after.

Mouthfeel is fairly close to bang-on. Easy to drink.

Need to try this on tap sometime. Decent

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Photo of ChrisCage
4.22/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- I gave this an aggressive pour, but not much of a head formed, but rather a decently frothy ring around the glass. The color is dark gold/light bronze and is also nice & clear. I didn't find that there was much lacing, just a little that clings to the glass.

S- This has a very malty aroma, maybe even slightly yeasty....much different than other bitters I've tried. I don't detect any hop bitterness unfortunately but that's ok, it's something different!

T- I agree with other reviewers...this is the sweetest bitter that I've tried to date! It is biscuity, but also slightly toasty, and what I feel is a honeyed sweetness to it. Also mixed in is some modest herbal/spicy notes. There is some decent bitterness on the finish, which is what I'm quite pleased with. Actually quite complex in the flavors, well done!

M- Good medium body to this beer. The carbonation is mild, just as it should be....it's nice and buttery smooth. It really lets you grasp the character of the brew!

D- I've never tried this at the taphouse before and am convinced that it would even be better, but I'll never pass up a bottle of this brew! It's easy drinking, the alcohol content is lower, so you won't get stupid off of it, and I think it would appeal to a large group of beer drinkers, both experienced and newbies! Great choice to enjoy an evening with!

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Photo of biboergosum
3.75/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

341ml bottle. Since I can't get to the Tap Room in Calgary as often as I'd like, seeing the S.O.B. in six-packs now makes this sonovagun happy.

This beer pours a clear, medium golden amber colour, with three fingers of puffy, thickly sudsy, and somewhat creamy dirty white head, which settles after a few minutes or so, leaving a nice riddled wallpaper lace effect.

It smells of sourdough bread, biscuity and grainy caramel and pale malts, a soft flintiness, and mild citrusy, grassy, and floral hops. The taste is very much consistent, with the biscuity and lightly doughy grainy caramel malt, the hard water character mostly washed away, and some tame citrusy, herbal hops rounding things out.

The carbonation is quite low, and unobtrusive, like I've got a draught pint here or something, the body medium weight, rather nice and smooth, and also a little watery, but not as much as I would expect for the 4.1% ABV. It finishes dry, ethereally hoppy, and bang-on for another swig.

Yup, this is a more than decent session ale, the kind with a soft bitterness, and not overly heady bearing, which makes you want to have another sip to replenish the flavour again, and still leave you in possession of some of your wits (if you had any to begin with) after a spell.

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Photo of SickGnar
3.51/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Rich golden just leaning coppery, smallish white head, clear with a few streams of big rapidly rising bubbles. Cap fades to a skim that has good retention & leaves okay lacing.

S: Muddled citrus, herbal, & grassy hops – EKG? Must be. Pale malt that is slightly biscuit & also hints grainy. Faint hints of caramel & diacetyl. Fair overall, but not all that pungent or strong though.

T: Citrus is even more muted – herbal & grassy, hay-like hops with just a hair beyond moderate bitterness. Malts are biscuit pale with touches of grain, caramel, & sweetness. Diacetyl really fades. Fairly balanced until the finish when it goes hoppy.

M: Just a bit under medium body with CO2 a touch over-matched. Barest hints of texture with a finish that is drying from attenuation and hops.

D: A bit simple. Surely straight ahead, non-complicated session strength Bitter. Feels like an English style done for people used to US pub pales. Drinkable and will not unduly slow you down.

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Photo of prosper
3.8/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a crystal clear dark gold, with rather a bit more head than I prefer in this style.

Smells mostly of tart biscuit-y grain, with some light fruit flavours and a touch of orange-rind hops.

Taste is nicely balanced between slightly acrid biscuit, orange-y hops and a stiff IBU background. Finishes with a blast of toast/biscuit. Clean.

Mouthfeel is nice and light. A bit more spritzy than I like, and even a bit carbonated-watery. Clean.

Very drinkeable, pleasant session beer. Though it doesn't leave you with a strong impression either way. Tasty, but ultimately does little to distinguish itself, and is easily forgotten. Thoroughly 'average'

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Photo of EskimoDave
3/5  rDev -12.8%

Photo of DoctorStrangiato
3.87/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a 341-ml bottle into a long tulip glass.

Appearance - a gentle copper colour with a quickly fading white foam head. Lace is thick and pronounced on the sides of the glass. Medium carbonation.

Smell - Amazing caramel malt aromas - very favourable barley smell. A light fresh sweetness to the pint, I anticipate a creaminess to the flavour.

Taste - a creamy barley malt flavour throughout with a quick dry finish. Subsequent tastings are less on the maltiness and more on the dry hop finish. Some earthiness to the flavour as well.

Mouthfeel - a short burst of flavour before the sudden finish creates the impression of an intense, short ride. Not bad.

Drinkability - pounding away on this is easy and does not get boring but is overall not too challenging. Price is a little restrictive at $13 for a six-pack.

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Photo of wordemupg
3.75/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

341ml bottle poured into pint glass jan28 2010

A clear copper with two fingers of thick off white head that falls fairly quickly and leaves lace where the foam existed

S lots of toffee with some biscuit and grassy hops

T not far from the smell but not as strong

M a little thin but decent carbonation makes up for it

D a good session beer, lots of flavor for a light alcohol brew

not a bad beer from Wild Rose, perhaps more of a summer beer but still not to bad an this winter day

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Photo of sammytag
2.85/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

a- as with the wred wheat, a head only formed after an aggressive pour (but who cares?).

s- A pleasant grassy hoppyness - is this the calm before the storm?

t- No. Lightly bitter, very thin, watery. Almost nothing on the attack, some face is saved on the aftertaste where a grainy, hoppy remnant pleads for forgiveness.

m- light bodied. there's light malts which open this brew up to being more than just a strictly "light bodied beer", but other than that - it's just average.

d- For me, this one's just okay. No flaws, and there's whispers of pleasantness here & there, but it just doesn't make a statement. Gets a little better as it warms, but
overall, kind-of unimpressive. Up until today, the IPA was the only Wild Rose that I didn't like, but now the S.O.B has joined the ranks, although SOB is slightly better than the IPA. I guess it would make a good "session ale" at 4% and light to boot, but, unfortunately this is not what I'm looking for in a beer.

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Photo of sherpahigh
3/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of Converge
3.32/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

341ml bottle poured into a 16oz pint glass.

A - Fluffy snow-white head off the pour, above a clean copper brew. Nice head retention with some light lacing.

S - Malty and floral right off the bat. Lots of caramel malt upfront with light fruity notes. Almost reminds me of the Wraspberry Ale. Slight floral character, with some subtle grassy hops in the finish, providing a gentle citrus twang.

T - Aroma translates poorly to the taste. Caramel malt is still present, but takes a backseat to the 2-row character. Fruity and hoppy twang from the aroma has been toned down a lot. Mild fruity flavor, adds some sweetness, and there's a sort of banana/clove thing going on that reminds me of a hefe. Overall this is too boring for my tastes, but still unoffensive.

M - A little more than light-bodied, and the carbonation feels high without feeling at all fizzy.

D - A mild beer overall. The flavor profile just feel uninteresting and gives me little to enjoy. A decent beer for a Calgary local, but I won't be trying this again. I feel this is a pretty complex beer, but all the flavors are so light it never comes to fruition.

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Photo of andrenaline
3.55/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a clear, light golden colour, finger of head with mild retention (2-3 minutes) and no real lacing.

S - Bready malts dominate the nose, with a bittersweet corn finish. Grassy hop scents are easily masked by the bready malts.

T - Metallic, bready malts come off the top, followed by some sour lemon. The bitterness is evident and the finish is quite dry. There's a unique nutty flavour to this one as well, almost reminiscent of peanut butter on the finish.

M - The dryness is a bit of a turnoff, but it is fitting of the style so I can't knock it. Carbonation is nicely balanced and it goes down quite smooth. A tad thin, but by no means terrible.

D - Interesting offering by Wild Rose. Tasty but nothing spectacular. I'm inclined to think this would be much better on tap. Would've liked a bit more in the hop department, but all in all a decent bitter.

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Photo of ptarmigan98
3.5/5  rDev +1.7%

S.O.B. (Special Old Bitter) from Wild Rose Brewery & Taproom
Beer rating: 3.44 out of 5 with 44 ratings