S.O.B. (Special Old Bitter Ale)
Atlantic Brewing Company / Mainely Meat BBQ

S.O.B. (Special Old Bitter Ale)S.O.B. (Special Old Bitter Ale)
Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Bitter - English Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)
Ranked #195
Ranked #40,663
3.67 | pDev: 13.62%
Atlantic Brewing Company / Mainely Meat BBQ
Maine, United States
S.O.B. (Special Old Bitter Ale)S.O.B. (Special Old Bitter Ale)
Notes: This strongly hopped, crisp ale, is the clear choice for the hop enthusiast.

We use pale, crystal, black and Munich malts, and a veritable boatload of Northdown bittering hops for this ale.

Like the Island Ginger, it is quite popular in the warm weather, as hops yield a clean, crisp bitter that is rather refreshing.
Reviews: 69 | Ratings: 95 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Lone_Freighter
Lone_Freighter from Vermont

3.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The appearance had a hazy dark brown body with a foamy tan half finger white head that lasts for about a good minute. The body is too hazy for any carbonation to be seen rising and there is minimal lacing. The smell had bitter hops up front with a light bit of malts with an even lighter sense of molasses. The taste was a slight malty sweetness combined nicely with the bitter hops. A slight breadiness comes through as well. On the palate, it sat at/about a medium on the body. The carbonation is felt and seems to absorb some of the creaminess coming through, dry aftertaste and finish. Overall, I do like this. I like how a lot more hops come than most ESB’s I’ve had, and the malts are not necessarily subdued but has a certain strength in it. I would definitely get it again.

Jun 11, 2017
Photo of DIM
DIM from Pennsylvania

3.11/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

a: This was a bright, clear golden copper color. It poured with a thick sticky head.

s: Fruity pot pourri tea and biscuits.

t: Crackers and tea up front with a lots of bitterness at the end. A little lingering plastic.

m: Creamy with a nice heft.

o: Thanks E this was pretty good.

Oct 27, 2012
Photo of Durge
Durge from Connecticut

3.95/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(I should first note that the bottle I sampled here had been cellared for well over a year) This bitter pours a rosy copper color into the pint glass and produces a healthy egg shell colored head that deflates to a stubborn sheet and creates a creative web of lacing. The aroma is a pleasant caramel malt and brown bread grain laced nicely with lemony hop bitterness. This promises to be a well grounded but reasonably hoppy brew. The first swallow is indeed tasty with a definite crisp citrus hop presence but a clear grain back bone. This suggests rhubarb and rye toast along with some lingering caramel sweetness. I'm pleasantly surprised by this one. Not really an American IPA yet something a bit beyond the usual hoppiness of an English bitter. It's perhaps a tad watery and I do get some metallic or musty notes that bring it down a notch here and there, but the nice hop attitude shores up the feel somehow, enough to make this a drinkable and likeable refreshment with a busy carbonation built on very tiny bubbles that attack the tongue and lively things up. I'm not sure what attracts me here. It does not strike me to be a beer I would typically search out for a follow up, but I have to say it is a relaxing, pleasant brew. A little different I think. Recommended for a try.

Jul 24, 2012
Photo of BeerKangaroo
BeerKangaroo from Alaska

4.15/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Into a pint glass:

A: hazy dark brown body with a foamy tan half finger white head that lasts for about a good minute. The body is too hazy for any carbonation to be seen rising and there is minimal lacing.

S: hops up front with a light bit of malts with an even lighter sense of molasses.

T: slight malty sweetness combined nicely with the bitter hops. A slight breadiness comes through as well

M: medium, carbonation is felt and seems to absorb some of the creaminess coming through, dry aftertaste and finish

O: I do like this. I like how a lot more hops come than most ESB's I've had, and the malts are not necessarily subdued but has a certain strength in it. I would definitely get it again.

Jul 23, 2012
Photo of drpimento
drpimento from Wisconsin

4.33/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I let this bomber warm up a bit out of the fridge first. Poured with a nice foamy, thick, light tan head that lasts and good lacing. Color is a clear copper and has plenty of bubble trails. Aroma is malt, hop, toffee, a little caramel. Flavor is like aroma, has little sweetness and is true to style although I could even say it's perhaps like an ESB. Body is good and so is carbonation. Finish is like flavor, has medium length and is balanced. Good beer. Session for sure.

Jul 23, 2011
Photo of Snamnoum
Snamnoum from District of Columbia

3.62/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Drinking this beer with a year on it.

Appearance - hazy nut brown color with one finger of beige head. Retention is fair and leaves some rocky lace clinging to the glass.

Smell - resigny and slightly piney hops with a big toasted malt backbone. Notes of molasses and brown sugar.

Taste - Malty sweetness and bitter hops are well incorporated yeast is slightly doughy. Finish is dry and astringent. Hops are a little overpowering and overshadow the more subtle malt profile. Finish is tannic and abrasive. A good beer but a few too many hops.

Mouthfeel - medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation. The mouthfeel is creamy.

Overall - A good ESP in a market over saturated with IPAs glad they tried something a little more risky. IMO a tad over hopped or under malted but still a good brew and an easy drinking one too.

Jul 10, 2011
Photo of deaconoflove
deaconoflove from Pennsylvania

3.05/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dark brown w/o much head, but produces a nice head with a swirl of the glass. A bit of ruby around the edges.
Smell. Faint caramel, some malts, and slight citrus.
Taste. It tastes good, but has indistinguishable flavors, some malt, a little bitterness, longer bitter finish. Tastes good, but vague...like me.
Mf. Good fullness and carbonation, smooth.
Overall. Easy to drink, okay, but unmemorable.

Jul 01, 2011
Photo of Jayli
Jayli from Massachusetts

1.15/5  rDev -68.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Consumed 11/21
Poured in to a pint glass

A: This beer pours a clear, dark copper color with a one finger of white head. Head recedes immediately, leaving no lacing.

S: Nose is... good GOD what the hell is it? Musty, musky, dirty malts that were left in a garbage can...or wait, was that the dead floral or citrus hops?

T: Taste was.. hideous. Musk, musty dankness, and not whole hell of a lot more. The taste is almost akin to that of the smell you get from the water that flowers were left in for too long...I made my way halfway through a pint before pouring the pint and the rest of the bottle.

Yea, let's just stop here. This was an abomination to all of my senses. I don't think that you could pay me to put something this hideous near my lips again. There was absolutely nothing special about this...but it did make me say S.O.B. and several other colorful phrases...

Nov 23, 2010
Photo of potownbill
potownbill from New York

2.2/5  rDev -40.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

This beer poured a cloudy copper brown color with a thin tan head. The first impression was the smell, which was musty, similar to a dirty dishtowel. The taste was not much better. I was looking forward to this beer, but could not get past the second sip. There was a metallic taste in the middle, and the finish was somewhat dry and a little too bitter. Never made it past the second sip.

Oct 31, 2010
Photo of WesWes
WesWes from New York

3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a hazy, dark amber color with a thick frothy off-white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a balanced aroma of pale and crystal malts along with a solid hop aroma. Northern Brewer hops provide adequate bitterness, but only a subtle hop aroma. The taste is good. It has a wonderful malt flavor that features pale, crystal, and Munich malts. The hops offer up an aggressive bitter flavor. It's very balanced with loads of character. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good drinking beer. It's smooth and balanced; a well brewed ESB.

Sep 12, 2010
Photo of MA08
MA08 from Massachusetts

3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap at the Lompoc Cafe in Bar Harbor, ME.

Pours a amber/gold with a white head that dissipates. The aroma is almost all bready malt with some elements of hops. Tastes like a true bitter with carmel malt notes and minimal hops. Mouthfeel is average and somewhat smooth. Overall, a decent bitter, but nothing exciting. I am not sure why this is part of their limited series, as there nothing that special about it.

Aug 27, 2010
Photo of dudecandle
dudecandle from New York

3.36/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bomber into my chalice:

A: Nice moderate brown color, somewhat hazy, with a decent fluffy head.

S/T: That the brewery calls this an IPA is quite misleading. They say they want it to be mild, and it comes out like the Bitter title that they gave it. Oh well, a title is but a title.
The hops are quite mild, and quite herbal, floral, and dry. The real base of the flavors are sweet and nutty with caramel, with some bits of chocolate and a touch of the yeast coming through as well.

M/D: I had no trouble at all polishing off this bomber on my own, as it makes for quite the session beer, however dry. Quite easy going down with a good array of flavors, but I think an extra punch, whether of hop or sweetness, would have really done it well to round everything out, especially if they insist on calling it an IPA. Perhaps I let it sit in my cellar too long before opening so the fresher version would have had that extra hop kick, but I guess I won't know til the next time I swing through Maine to get a new bottle.

Overall: Drinkable - yes. Remarkable - no.

Aug 13, 2010
Photo of lou50rp
lou50rp from Maine

4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It is a nice dark red color with an off white head that lasts a while.
It has a strong dark coffee smell with a bit of sweetness.
Definite malty taste with a touch of bitterness at the end.
Medium to light mouth feel. feels good.
Very tasty, with mouth feel an easy brew to drink. With low ABV you can have more than one. Good session beer.

Aug 07, 2010
Photo of BeerAdvocate
BeerAdvocate from California

3.67/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beer review from BA Mag Nov 2007.

In a beer world dominated by India Pale Ales and wannabe-IPA Pale Ales--at least in the US--it's refreshing to see a Bitter, which are known for their moderate hopping, complementary malts, and balance.

Clear ruby copper with a massive off-white foam head--good retention and stick. Nice hop aroma, with a hint of orchard floral, and notes of soap. Fairly light on the palate, a bit crisp up-front, with an even feel. Nice smack of prickly raw hops--leafy, coarse, oily, herbal, citric, and pith--followed by nutty tannins and an intense dryness. Malts are a bit toasty, with a thin carob back-note and mild sweetness. Mineral towards the center. Nutty, dry, tannic, astringent and slightly yeasty finish.

Aside from the harsh end, this is nice bitter for hopheads that's put together well, easy to drink, very flavorful and refreshing, and very sessionable as a result--making it oh-so-easy to polish off the bomber.

Jul 07, 2010
Photo of Seanibus
Seanibus from California

3.6/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

They call it an IPA on the label, but I am not buying it. It is, however, a pretty decent pub bitters.

Pours a deep amber with a lively head that falls away quickly. The aroma is strongly malty, biscuity, slightly caramel, with a little kiss of hops. The flavor is somewhat flat and malty. Lots of caramel, a little floral hops, and a chalkiness that reminds me of a bittersweet chocolate. The finish is surprisingly dry.

Ok, but not exceptional or even particularly memorable. Call it a decent session beer, perfectly in the spirit of a pub bitters.

Mar 11, 2010
Photo of goatgoat
goatgoat from Arizona

3.41/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks GrittyMug345 for the opportunity.

Pours a perfect copper. Finger's worth of tan head with decent retention. Nice sheets of lace.

Sweet toasted character with an oddly clean earthy hop character.

Nice start. Sturdy, assertive bitterness comes midway and sticks around far after. There's something throughout the taste that throws me off. I can't put my finger on it, but I'm not sure about it. The finish is more reminiscent of an IPA (as the bottle is labeled) than a bitter which knocks it down a notch.

Overall a tasty brew.

Jan 22, 2010
Photo of Mistofminn
Mistofminn from Minnesota

3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Recieved this extra in a trade with rrheisler a while back. Thanks Ryan!

Color is root-beer brown with a tan head. Head has good retention and it leaves a little bit of lacing.

The nose is really malty, with faints citrus and floral hops in the background. The focus of this one is definitely on the complexity of the malts.

Much like the nose, malts are the focal point. Sweet and earthy, they dominate the faint-at-best hop presence that can only be described as faded. Cirtus and floral hops, somewhat earthy lay in the background. This is all about the malts.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, smooth and soft. Drinkability is ok, it goes down easy enough and I had no problem finishing the bomber.

Overall, not very impressed with this one. Glad I got a chance to try it, but I wasn't really a fan.

Jan 08, 2010
Photo of Kallessin
Kallessin from Massachusetts

3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a foamy light-tan head with nice retention and plenty left of the glass. Its medium to deep amber in color and clear throughout.

Has some citrus/grapefruit with a hint of pine. Has a nice sweet malty caramel and toasted biscuit aroma.

Very bitter up front with some citrus/pine. This goes to a malty toasted biscuit flavor with some caramel in the background. It's definitely balanced toward the bitter side but not overly so. There's plenty of maltiness to balance it out nicely. There is a pleasant lingering hoppy aftertaste.

It's a light to medium body beer with fair amount of carbonation and a nice dry clean finish.

I really enjoyed this beer. The bitterness works very well with the malt. It has nice and clean flavors, easy to drink.

Oct 11, 2009
Photo of ZorPrime
ZorPrime from Canada (QC)

3.87/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tasted in Wells,ME on August 1st, 2009.

This beer pours as amber color with a nice foamy head. The aroma is malts with some hints of hops. As for the taste, I get malts and then some bitterness. Very subtle however.Mouthfeel is medium body and this is an easy drinker.

Nice bitter for the everyday people. Not a very aggressive beer.

Aug 18, 2009
Photo of Yeastcakes
Yeastcakes from Colorado

3.45/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving notes - Imperial Pint glass
A - Full hops with piney and spicy notes. Very smooth aroma.
A - Clear red amber. Two fingers of rocky head. Head lingers for the remainder of the drink.
M - Medium body, light to medium carbonation. Some slickness from the hops.
T - Piney and citrus flavor from the hops follows the aroma very closely. Slightly harsh bitterness lingers on the tongue.
D - A decently smooth IPA.

Jun 14, 2009
Photo of JohnQVegas
JohnQVegas from Tennessee

3.6/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Draught at the brewery.

Pours medium brown with a thin off-white head.

Nose is sweet caramel and a bit of citrus, not big.

Taste is somewhat sweet caramel up front, with a citrus hop presence emerging very quickly and asserting a nice firm citrus and lightly resiney pine bitterness that really attaches itself to your palate.

Moderate carbonation over a medium body.

Decent take, fairly balanced, somewhere between an English bitter and an American Pale in hop character. Bonus points to Atlantic for serving this, and all of its beers at its brewpub, at almost the perfect serving temperature.

Mar 29, 2009
Photo of shanem
shanem from Vermont

3.42/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark copper with light, inch head that bubbled away and laced down

S: pretty hoppy backed by some biscuity/yeasty character

T: fresh and clean. Has a pretty strong hop presence with some orange notes backing it up

M: average feel, maybe a little light

Acquired a few 22's from Atlantic Brewery and not my favorite but not bad. Definitely seemed to fit more into an IPA than a Bitter. Good but nothing I'll spend a lot of time searching for

Mar 17, 2009
Photo of thekevlarkid
thekevlarkid from Maryland

3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This 'special old bitter' ale was a chestnut brown out of the bomber with a three finger head of khaki foam. It quickly died back to a thin skim however and the lacing was in broken bands. The aroma was notably hoppy with some biscuity malt notes. The flavors were almost like an IPA with strong hop bitterness especially along the citrus and citrus rind levels balanced by the doughy malt. The finish was tart and tongue coating. The mouthfeel was a little watery, the body light/medium and the carbonation average with a high level of acidity. A good example of the style and worth a shot.

Jan 31, 2009
Photo of Manosbeeroffate
Manosbeeroffate from Maine

3.92/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bought this at South End Grocery, never seen it before, had to try. Pours a dirty orange color, not as nice I wouyld expect, pours with a thick head. Smells quite hoppy, tastes really nice, biscuity malt balanced with not so bitter hops, quite a citrusy aftertaste. Overall, a solid beer, not exceptional but vdery very good, recommended if you can find it.

Dec 14, 2008
Photo of PatronWizard
PatronWizard from California

2.89/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The pour spout looked like an IPA, but once in the glass it was a lot darker. Dark bronze seems appropriate. Head looked good for a second but didn't last long.

Scent is like no other beer I've ever smelled. Seriously. Can't decide what it is. Kinda vinegary. Maybe not.

Taste follows suit. I get some hop flavor, not enough. Some other bitterness. I wanna associate the smell and taste with a particular malt, but am too dumb.

Guess I'm just OK with this beer. I think something with bitter in the title should really make you pucker. This bomber won't go to waste though.

Overall: not my thing

Oct 09, 2008
S.O.B. (Special Old Bitter Ale) from Atlantic Brewing Company / Mainely Meat BBQ
Beer rating: 83 out of 100 with 95 ratings