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Special Pale Ale | Wellington County Brewery

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Special Pale AleSpecial Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Wellington County Brewery
Ontario, Canada

Style: English Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 08-16-2002

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Reviews: 67 | Ratings: 129
Photo of ADicerni
3.54/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A. The beer is cloudy amber (chill haze?) with a nice rich looking off white head. After the beer warms slightly it clears up but the head by then is long gone. No lacing that I could notice at all.

S. That of a typical Canadian Ale with light malt and hop aromas. Actually as having tended bar in my youth it reminds me of the smell around the beer tap of spilled beer that’s sat a while. Sort of dank and sweet. Not a turn off at all really.

T. It is a light sweet roasted malt flavour up front with a balance of bitterness from the hops in the finish. Very reminiscent of a good Canadian Ale.

F. It has a light body with low carbonation. Looks flat until you sip.

Overall a good Pale Ale experience.

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Photo of SSS
2.98/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-Burnt orange colour, it's actually very warming
S-Super feint malt, no real other aromas to speak of
M-Quite light in body and carbonation
T-Watery flavour with subtle malt, but no real identity
O-This is a general and vague beer, I wish it were more special.

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Photo of Haydn-Juby
3.64/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

L: A cloudy, golden colour. One finger of head. Small specks of lacing appear after a while.

S: Slight floral,earthy, spicey aroma, reminiscent of English hops. A bit of a light caramel malt and some cereal-like malt character.

T: Pretty much like the smell. Fairly balanced but leans more towards the malty side. Maybe slightly toasty/biscuity, but just slightly so.Hops come through but they're pretty laid back and don't really stick out that much. Similar to an English bitter but lacking in the toffee and fruity ester department.

F: A somewhat light body. Maybe a bit higher carbonation, but then again this might be a perceived effect as a result of a light body.

O: It's okay and definitely very drinkable, but I don't know if that qualifies it as a "Special Pale Ale". It's most certainly a nice offering in the face of a macro beer, but it was really just okay for me.

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Photo of wolf6656
4/5  rDev +16.6%

Another very nice product from this local (for me) brewery.
Nice hop finish. Nice caramel body.
Not the best beer in this class, but a cut above the average.

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Photo of DaveBar
3.29/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Purchased at the LCBO for $2.85 473ml can. Served at 6deg C in a draught glass

A- Very good. Opens well and pours amber dark. Not much head though

S- Ok. Basic British malt caramel and hops but none in anything to call anything special.... Ok I guess

T- Ok. Nothing special for me. Basic IPA

M- Ok. Nice and creamy, LOL

O- Your ok basic rendition of a British IPA.

Food Pairing

This ok IPA goes well with... Steak and kidney pie... I made it to try believe it or not!


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Photo of EvanHarper
3.01/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bright, pale amber with an effervescent and very short-lived head. Smells of bread and biscuits with a hint of woody, floral hops. Taste is similar to the smell, toasty malt and bright floral hops. Light-bodied, mild, and highly carbonated.

Tame example of the style, no off flavours, a little too bubbly. Decent.

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Photo of DenisKolkin
3.88/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

473 ml can served cold into a pint glass. Purchased from LCBO for $2.60 CDN. Been wanting to revisit this for a while now, but haven't seen to much of it until lately.

Appearance - crystal clear, dark amber color with some honey brown colouring as well. nice two finger fluffy white head is poured and nearly spills over the sides. Some bubbles rise to the surface making a glacial ascent. Good head retention although not much for lacing.

Smell - some caramel malt, otherwise a good amount of general "beer" smell. Some nice ready notes and light floral aspects too.

Taste - again the caramel and ready flavours come out, but there's a lightness and subtlety to the flavours that makes you want to back for more. I'm also picking up some slightly roasted nutty characteristics. Yummy.

Mouthfeel - very smooth and delicious, nice creamy feel with sufficient carbonation and fairly light body.

Overall - wanted to revisit this since i did notice that I rated this much higher than average. After revisiting, I realize that this a beer I really enjoy and find it to be a good representative of the style and easy to drink. Throw in the reasonable price and this is going to be a staple in my fridge from now on.

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Photo of decimator
3.32/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

473ml can poured into a pint glass. ABV 4.5%.

A - Poured a clear light copper with a 2cm off-white head. After a few sips the head completely vanished. No lacing.

S - Crackers, hint of caramel, some spice, a bit of earth.

T - Light caramel, a bit of bread, hint of butter, bit of spice, mild bitter finish.

M - Medium-low carbonation, medium body, some creaminess, slight tang, clean finish.

O - The mouthfeel helps carry this beer. Decent pale ale overall.

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Photo of hopsolutely
3.54/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear and almost iridescent copper colour with a limited white head that dissipates quickly. Has a mild and grainy aroma of sweet caramelized malts. The flavours are simple and a wider public should find them inoffensive, with the sweet caramelized malts followed by a mild hop bitterness.

A bland style of beer that I don't personally choose often, but believe this to be a well brewed example of it.

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Photo of Kremlock
3.06/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

A: Copper in colour, pours a frothy off white head that was about 1 inch then fell to about 1/8 inch and stays like that. Lacing medium. Clear with no visible particles.

S: Toasted malts, caramel and hints of butter are present. Hop aroma is low

T: Low-medium bitterness. Caramel and toasted flavours are low. Hints of acidity is present when swashing over my tongue.

M: Thin and watery. Carbonation is low-medium but it has this stingy feeling on the tongue.

O: For a Wellington Brewery beer, not all that impressed. There is a lack of caramel/toasted malt flavours, only bittering hops present. Body is too low and acidity is high imo.

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Photo of JamesMN
3.38/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Golden caramel hue with a thin off-white head.

Aroma: Sweet bready malt. Not much hop presence.

Taste: Like a watery Pale Ale. Bready malts. Some lemony hops. A bit of a crisp finish.

Mouthfeel: Just below medium in body and average effervescence. Easy drinkability.

Final Thoughts: A decent Pale Ale, if a little watery. Would I drink it again? Eh, maybe.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.15/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Can: Poured a slightly hazy amber color ale with a medium size foamy head with average retention and some light lacing. Aroma consists of somewhat dry English style malt with light floral notes. Taste is also a mix between some floral notes with light dry malt notes. Body is about average with good carbonation. Not complex and easily drinkabale.

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Photo of Digimaika2
3.33/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

(3.5) A: Rich amber coloured with a fast thinning foam head that appears quite wispy. Retention quickly transitions to a ring and lacing is present.

(3.0) S: Toasted grains, buttered bread qualities, some nut, and crisp apple-like aroma. Pleasant.

(3.5) T: Similar to aroma with lightly toasted grains, bready malt, nut, faint citrus elements, and slight lemon zest. Clean with a general crisp taste and semi-tart finish. Tasty and satisfying.

(3.0) M: Light bodied with a moderate carbonation. Comes across with a spritzer-like mineral mouthfeel.

(3.5) D: Good offering from Wellington that is a pretty accurate representation of the style.

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Photo of emerge077
3.04/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks Jay for sharing this beer. Served from a yellow can with a boot on it, into a tulip glass. Reviewed from quick notes.

Dark amber orange body, sharp clarity, ample foam on the surface that has an off white cream color to it. Retention is adequate, the foam leaves some spotty lacing around the edges here and there.

Smells a little off, funky yeast and musty wet grains. Some bready malt underneath, but overall not too appealing.

Flavor is better, malt dominant, toasted grain and multigrain bread. Light to medium bodied, slightly low carbonation. It's ok, but the smell is just odd. Not one i'd seek out when in Ontario.

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Photo of NV9
3/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a light brown/amber colour, very little foam that almost instantly fades to nothing.

Bready hops smell, with a hint of fruit

Tastes of bread, nut, strong hops in that order and bitter finish

Goes down fairly smooth with a slight bitter/hoppy afterbite.

Watery feel in the mouth, only that slight bitterness at the end keeps it from being an extremely drinkable beer.

All in all, solid but unspectacular

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Photo of liamt07
3.57/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Can from the LCBO, 473ml into a pint glass. Best before June 15, 2012.

Pours a chestnut brown, with an offwhite head that almost immediately subsides to virtually nothing. A pencil thin collar and thin film persists. Nose has some whole grain breads, caramel, some earthy notes and a bit of diacetyl. Taste is about the same, moderately sweet malts, grainy and bready with some light hopping. A relatively 'signature' Wellington feel to the malt profile. Slightly bitter finish. Carbonation is quite high and almost fizzles. An OK English Pale, but I think this would be better on cask.

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Photo of IronDjinn
2.75/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

From a 473 ml can, part of a sampler 4-pack. Pours out a hazed amber hue, loose foamy off-white head that retains to a thick cap.

Dry toasty malt on the nose, a brief spike of sour veg, some leafy and grassy hops.

Toasty and sweetish malt up front in the flavour, mild notes of caramel, finishing with mild leafy hops.

Medium-bodied mouthfeel, although with a watery texture, but a moderate carbonation tends to save it.

Either I got some old product schlebbed off in a variety pack (although it's not showing serious signs of age), or Wellington is just phoning it in with this special pale ale, as for the most part it comes across as a sub-par offering.

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Photo of Stocean1
3.45/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - poured a one finger lacy head with some retention onto an amber hued body - somewhat clear

S - light malt and floral hops and light fruit

T - light malt up front with the floral hops, biscuit, pepper, a little medicinal, apple and pear notes

M - light body with little carbonation, bitter and dry

O - a drinkable pale ale but nothing to blow you away - grabbed it because the pub had nothing else

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Photo of bylerteck
3.43/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours dark gold or copper. Bright. Good carbonation. Half finger of slightly off-white soapy head. No lace, a film of retention.

S - Light citrus, a little herbal. Bread and toffee, with some nuts.

T - Good bready malt with a little caramel or toffee and some citrus and earthy hops. Slightly nutty and a touch of spice.

M - Proper carbonation with a little held back for a good feeling. Medium body is nice with a slightly bitter, dry finish.

O/D - Not a bad one from Wellington. A good transitional beer towards beers with a little more hops. It doesn't blow your mind in any way but for an EPA it's fairly nice. The warmer temp I had this at definately helped. Worth a shot for a nice subtle, sessionable OCB beer.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.43/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

473ml can. The eponymous commander's campaign to Ind-ja is summed up pithily on the label.

This beer pours a clear medium golden amber colour, with two fat fingers of thin foamy, frizzy off-white head, which leaves some inconsistent arched lace around the glass in its wake. It smells of bready pale malt, and zingy, sharp floral, weedy hops. The taste is mildly toffee and caramel tinged bready malt, some faint nutty esters, and somewhat fruity floral hops. The carbonation is average, the body on the lee side of medium, and roughly smooth (I know), as a bit of what I'm guessing is a hop-oriented edge permeates. It finishes off-dry, the extended malt and hops making no unexpected u-turns.

A pretty faithful ode to the British style - yet a bit too mild, and not very challenging, or by non-condemning extension - rousing.

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Photo of SebD
3.3/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: It has a nice golden/copper colour to it. It has a nice white head that dies down fast and has no lacing.

Smell: The aromas give out hints of bready malts and a bit of caramel but not much else.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a very malty taste with some caramel and very light hops.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium carbonation with an uneven balance and slightly light feel. Too much malts, not enough hops.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with bland flavours and aromas. Not at all what I expected from the style. No hop aromas or bitterness like you would usually see in a English Pale Ale.

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Photo of thehyperduck
3.43/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

I've been on a bit of a pale ale binge recently; had an excellent American-style one earlier and I've got pretty high hopes for this English-style pale ale as well.

Poured from a tallboy can, this brew is a deep, clear copper colour. I was pretty aggressive with the pour but the head is still thin and short-lived, soon dying off to a thin rim around the edge of the glass. Decent lacing. The smell is heavy on the malts, biscuity and a little sweet like toffee. Not much going on in the odour department.

Lightly roasted malts, biscuity and nutty, provide the dominant flavour. Faint toffee sweetness. English-style hops provide an earthy backbone that mostly yields to the more-dominant sweet malts. Aftertaste is a little dry but it doesn't linger. Pretty light-bodied, maybe pushing medium-light, with low-ish carbonation.

It's hard to get excited about this stuff. Enjoyable, but a little watery and light on flavour for an EPA, which is a shame because this brewery's English Bitter managed to pack plenty of flavour in with an even lower ABV. With some work this could be a solid pale ale. I doubt I'll pick this one up again, but I don't regret getting it.

[Updated Nov. 17 2013]

I picked up a six-pack from The Beer Store, largely because it's one of like 3 or 4 craft options available in my small (2,000-person) town. I was much too hard on this last time around - it's not an interesting beer, but it's extremely drinkable, with a balanced (albeit pedestrian) flavour profile. I could easily plow through the entire pack in a night, and suffer no ill effects. I'll admit I wasn't a big fan of this at first, but like most of Wellington's offerings it's brewed properly and accomplishes what it sets out to do - it's a fine, if unspectacular session ale.

Final Grade: 3.43, a B-.

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Photo of Roke87
3.41/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

341 mL bottle from the OCB spring discovery pack, chilled and poured into my trusty Ironspike pilsner glass.

Appearance- Pours a dark amber colour with two fingers of thick off white head that takes a little while to dissipate down to a nice bubbly top leaving average lacing throughout till finish.

Smell- Very heavy on the bready malts, and other than that not too much else going on in the smells for me.

Taste- It picks it up a little better in the tastes, although you do get that huge taste of bready malt in there right away, a mild sweet taste supplied by an almost caramel flavour on the palate.

Mouthfeel- Light to medium bodied, with an above average carbonation to the mouth feel although you can’t really see it at.

Overall- This one really reminds me a lot of Rogue’s dead guy ale, like it literally almost tastes the exact same, an overabundance of bready malts that is like eating a bowl of cambells chicken noodle soup, and some mild caramel flavours in there as well, that are all so reminiscent of a typical British pale ale. Not a huge fan of this one although it did not strike me in a bad note at all, probably would not pick it up had it not been in a taster pack, and definitely not the best offering from Wellington.

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Photo of canucklehead
3.53/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

tasted from The OCB mixed six pack Spring 2011

A throwback beer in that it is a low ABV English pale ale with the British hops and heavy on the malt. Tastes a little like OK springs or Granville Islands version. Good solid no frills PA that has both caramel on the nose and the finish. Could drink a few of these though I do it a little one dimensional.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.48/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

341ml Bottle

Appearance – Clear copper colour with an above average size frothy and fizzy beige coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some good lacing. The head lasted for 5 minutes or so before it was gone.

Smell – Malts, caramel, toffee

Taste & Mouth - There is an above average amount of carbonation and I can taste lots of malts and caramel. There is also quite a bit of a metallic taste and a bit of a tea flavour. the beer finishes with a malty and caramel sweet aftertaste.

Overall – At first the metallic taste really bothered me but it seemed to wear off as I progressed through the beer. The beer is very drinkable it just doesn't really have anything exciting going on taste wise. I'm happy I gave it a shot but I wouldn't buy it again.

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Special Pale Ale from Wellington County Brewery
3.43 out of 5 based on 129 ratings.
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