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

68 Reviews
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S.O.B. (Special Old Bitter Ale)S.O.B. (Special Old Bitter Ale)

Brewed by:
Atlantic Brewing Company / Mainely Meat BBQ
Maine, United States

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by Bierman9 on 11-17-2001

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Reviews: 68 | Ratings: 94
Photo of lordofthewiens
3.65/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A 22oz bottle with a cool label. The beer was a daark amber with a medium head and some lacing. It had a malty, floral aroma. I liked the taste: sweet, with a nice hoppy bite. Decent mouthfeel. Very drinkable, but I don't think I'd want a lot of this in one sitting.

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Photo of ElGordo
3.7/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had a draft pint at the brewery last month while vacationing on MDI. Pours a deep copper/brown color with a creamy tan head. Nice lacing. Nice hoppy nose - spicy, with a touch of pine and some caramel malt. Palate is dry, with a slightly sweet malt presence up front followed by a little bite from the English hops. Notes of pine and brown sugar. Well-balanced. Medium body is a bit creamy. Not bad, but not the all-day sipper I like in an ESB.

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Photo of BillyBrew
3.98/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bought the last case of last summer's run at the brewery and finished them last month. However, this one is fresh from a recent trip. Obviously, this brew is better on tap, especially at the brewery. Anyway, 22oz bomber:

A excellent rocky , off-white head that slowly fades to a solid, thin cap. Also very sticky and never leaves the beer uncovered.

Pleasantly strong, a little wild, hoppy nose. A slight malt sneaks in now and again.

Strong bitter, raw hopped bite. Solid enough malt profile to support its tastiness. ?Oily and bushy? I dunno, but that came to mind.

Light-medium body that finishes pretty dry and crisp. The tastey hops linger, but in an unoffensive way.

It is a special bitter alright. Much more a raw, lively hop bitterness than I have tried in 'bitters' before. I was very excited when this first came out last year as it is the only hoppy offering from Atlantic Brewing's already awesome lineup.


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Photo of Viggo
3.9/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber brown, big off white head forms, some nice lacing. Smell is sweet, but with some chocolate and grassy hops, a bit of a hay smell as well. Taste is coffee and chocolate, some grass, big kick of bitterness at the end and a shot of alcohol, but real subtle hop tones. Body is pretty light but the carbonation is a little too high, kind of harsh. But pretty tasty ale.

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Photo of Truh
3.97/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Discovered that I was messing with a summa’ with this one on 7/30/2005. 1 pt. 6 fl.oz bomber poured twice in a shaker glass.

Faint shadow of head at start with light stick that trailed down, though I would categorize them as blue circle variety in nature. Kind of a mahogany red hue and pretty clear, but also very quiet overall. Nice hop presence on the nose, with a touch of caramel and butterscotch, and just a hint of smokiness. Comes off the mouth with a bit of brown ale character – some nice malt and a buttery front – but this is quickly replaced and given a tongue-lashing by the smarting bittering units derived from the kind of sooty hops. Fairly low level alcohol creeps out a bit more in the heat of the deck I found myself anjoying this on, appropriately enough, in the fine state of Maine.

This is a bit of an enigma for me; tough to say what it is I am really drinking, but liking it nevertheless.

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Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.08/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep clear amber with a 1/4 inch tan head. Some sparse lacing. Smells strongly of herbal hops and fruity yeast with hints of tea leaves in there too.

Taste is bitingly bitter herbal hops. Hoppy as hell really. Some fruitiness from the yeast and malt but mostly that herbal tea-like hoppiness. Medium bodied, the alpha acids stick to your teeth and roof of your mouth and linger a bit. Really good stuff. The closest thing to a British style bitter made in America I've tasted. I usually don't like British-style bitters much anyway but this one is a standout.

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Photo of jdhilt
2.8/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a one-fingered cream head that fades quickly leaving some lace. Clear amber color. Spicey/hoppy nose. Light carbonation and medium bodied. Starts hoppy with some sweetness, smooth, hoppy finish, the aftertaste is not too bitter. $4.39 for a 22oz bottle from Tulley's Beer & Wine Wells, Me.

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Photo of sponberg
4.1/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A big ol' bomber with a picture of a guy that looks like an older version of my buddy Bob on the label, undoubtedly grousing about the cod that got away. Malty toasty slightly burnt-husk aroma atop a coppery brew with a slight but lasting cream colored head.

Nice rendition - dryish, with toasty maltiness in fine balance with a firm English style earthy bitterness. Leans toward the dry side of bitter, with little in the way of malt sweetness or stickiness after the swallow. Whiffs of fusel alcohol and maybe a bit of astringency in the finish, but a dry tealike maltiness carries the day. I can see sitting down in front of the fire during a coastal storm with three or four of these and reading a good book while the winds blow the rain sideways out the window and having a very enjoyable afternoon while doing so.

Many thanks to the esteemed bennybrew for the bottle.

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Photo of jackndan
3.88/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

SOB, special old bitter ale, from the ever-popular Bar Harbor, Maine. Served, to myself, from a bomber. Pours deep amber, with a bit of haze. Nice rich, off white head, with thick lacing down the sides. The aroma is mild, clean. The taste is, well, hard to pin down. The initial few sips, at a slightly colder temperature, were in fact very hoppy and bitter, lacking the floral/citrus notes that I’d been looking for. But as it warmed up, very strong (although not at all unpleasant) roasted malt flavors really asserted themselves. Nice malt tastes help to balance out what I had feared was going to be an over the top hop bomb. Once it settles down, very enjoyable.

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Photo of Gusler
3.95/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer dispenses from the 22 ounce brown bottle a luminous and transparent deep mahogany with a modest light tan and spumescent head, the lace a fine sheet to conceal the glass. Sweet malt dominates the nose on this beer, crisp, clean and fresh, slight hint of the hops also present with the start mildly sweet and nicely malted while the top is middling in its feel to the palate. Finish has a prickly bite from the hops, the acidity mild and the aftertaste quite dry. A fine drinking beer and I thank “Master Bennybrew” for this bottle.

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Photo of PatandDavid
3.65/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Light mahogany color, nice head which died down. Smell is good, of grassy hops. Taste is not bad, but the hops, while not overwhelming, are rathy astringent. The mouthfeel, as a result, suffers. I'm drinking it and wondering why I am thirsty.

Fairly mild, high hop astringency. Better slightly colder than when it warms. pat

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Photo of beernut7
3.2/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep copper hue with a foamy head. The hearty aroma is deep with floral spice. The smooth body supports an initial dark roasted malt flavor eclipsed quickly by a rising bitterness that carries the brew through the finish. Ends strongly bitter and lingergin long upon the palate. Not bad, but not a favorite.

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Photo of longpondbeerman
3.23/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The SOB (special old bitter) poured a deep copper with more than a touch of red, and the head was a substantial, cream-colored foam, which receded quickly in the middle but very slowly along the glass. The smell was, for the most part, indistinct--a whiff of hops but not much else. I was hoping for a bit more in the taste department, but alas, therein I was rather disappointed. There bitter is there, but there's an aluminum undertone that does not really fade. Let me try again: hmm, not as prevelant the second time round, but still noticeable. The mouthfeel is fine, reasonably refreshing. A solid choice, but not my favorite bitter.

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Photo of GreatPondBrewer
2.83/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 oz. bomber purchased after the brewery tour

Poured a clear copper color with a minimal head receding into the classc bitter ring around the glass. Smell was a tad bit medicinal with a slight piney hops aroma and some fruity malts lingering about. Taste was a little too metallic in the malts with the hops feeling forced and somewhat fake if that is possible. Definitely bitter but not the bitterness I was looking for. The astringency bordered on undrinkable.

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Photo of purplehops
4.2/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

SOB poured a deep amber color with an off-white frothy head that left some lacing on the glass. Aroma was floral and citrus hops up-front with some malt and caramel in the background. Taste started with a smack of hop bitterness across your tongue and then mellowed a bit to allow flavors of crystal malt and some grainy and earthy flavors to come forward. Toward the finish there is another bitterness that comes into play that I’m not sure what it is but it has a charcoal like taste to it (roasted barley?). The finish is smooth with the hops toned down a bit and balanced nicely with flavors of malt and earthy grains. Aftertaste was a lingering mild hoppiness with a far in the background note of grain and malt. Mouthfeel was a constant play between crisp and volcanic and smooth and refreshing with a medium body.
Overall one of Atlantic Coast best brews IMHO. It is very complex and yet at the same time it can be very rough and raw. A great brew after a hard day of physical work.

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Photo of bewareOFpenguin
4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Everyone has to have a "hoppy" beer now. Why should Atlantic Brewing be any different? Nice dark auburn color with a good head if poured right. The hops are bold, but not overpowering. They don't have that "west coast" vigor, but they still hold their own. What I really liked about this beer is it didn't try to subdue your mouth with overpowering bitterness, but rather put the hops there, and made you want more. A good offering.

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Photo of MaineBeerMan
4.72/5  rDev +30.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown with a creamy, sticky off white head that leaves plenty of lace. Big hop aroma with very little dark malt hiding in the smell. Smooth mouthfeel with very little carbonation, almost has a cask conditioned feel. Complex flavor with plenty of hop bitterness balanced by toasted and caramel malt flavors. Damned good beer, hadn't seen or tried it before, but I will be looking for more of this great Maine brew.

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Photo of jreitman
3.3/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not my kind of beer, but I still appreciated it for what it was. Had this at the brewery on vacation. Very bitter and fairly hoppy. A decent beer in the style.

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S.O.B. (Special Old Bitter Ale) from Atlantic Brewing Company / Mainely Meat BBQ
3.61 out of 5 based on 94 ratings.
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