Special Pale Ale | Wellington County Brewery

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139 Ratings

Brewed by:
Wellington County Brewery
Ontario, Canada

Style: English Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Special Pale Ale is an approachable and smooth pale ale that is deep copper in colour with a roasted malt and subtle apricot aroma. With a balance of malt and hops patterned after traditional English pale ales. this malt-forward beer has biscuit and caramel flavours upfront with a delicate floral hop finish.

IBU: 22

Added by BeerAdvocate on 08-16-2002

Bros Score:
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 139 |  Reviews: 69
Reviews by BeerClubNiagara:
Photo of BeerClubNiagara
3.75/5  rDev +9%

More User Reviews:
Photo of Popsinc
3.45/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice deep amber. small head. the nose is mild with light malts and some caramel sweetness. taste was mild. again, light malty sweetness, minimal hops, some caramel sweetness as well follwed up with a lemony twang on the finish. very light bodied, smooth and creamy texture. a little light all the way around for my liking but has good drinkability. probably best enjoyed on a warm summer's day when the goal is sit down and enjoy several. not a favorite of mine.

 470 characters

Photo of Easton70
3.35/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

There's something familiar about this one that I can't put my finger on. It's mostly in the aroma but featurea in the taste to a certain extent. It's a funky, musky characteristic but it's not unpleasant. It's pretty well balanced but I'm not sure I'd want to drink too many of them. That funky dankness would get to me pretty quickly.

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Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.68/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewery. I've had this brew many times before, but this is the first occasion I've had to put thoughts to paper.

Pours a crisp, dark amber. About an inch of creamy head, loads of lacing.

Nose is malt, bread, a bit of fruit. Typical pale ale fare.

The taste isn't complex, but man does this stuff go down easy. Light malts, a bit of biscuit and bread, dark fruits and bitterness to the finish. More fruit flavours here than in their Best Bitter, which makes for a smoother quaff. Very enjoyable.

Mouthfeel is medium thin, average carbonation.

The definition of a great session beer. I can drink this stuff all night, and I certainly have. A great introduction to the pale ale style, and a solid Ontario offering.

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Photo of Swedes21
2.98/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

473 ml served in a chilled glass..

Appearance - Beer pours with as a clear auburn colour and a slightly brown based head. Head is foamy while having a thick appearance. The carbonation levels almost not present and minimal lacing.

Smell - I would say almost too simple. Nice balance of caramel with roasted nuts in the taste. Nothing that blows me away, i was hoping for more...

Taste - I can taste the caramel but not much of a punch. The beer is actually a little bland to my taste buds. There is no aftertaste either, i found it to go down easy.

Mouthfeel - not a lot of carbonation is offered to this beer, it does not come alive and offers the same amount of taste in the mouthfeel.

Drinkability - Its almost light beer with a hint of caramel. There isn't much offered overall, but its not a bad beer. Just need to manage expectation when trying it.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.17/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Amber body cream colored head, minimal lacing. Aroma: Nice caramel toasted malts apparent with a kiss of hops there floating in the background. Taste: Grainy off note is apparent but the upside is there is a detectable succulent caramel tone to the malts with fair bitterness. Mouthfeel: Light to medium in body definitely meant to be a session ale. Drinkability: Not bad a tasty pale ale, however I desire more hops. After asking for a hoppy ale this is what they gave me, it's okay I enjoyed it.

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Photo of MJ63
3/5  rDev -12.8%

Photo of biboergosum
3.43/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

 829 characters

Photo of mdaschaf
3.52/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to korguy123 for this one

A: Pours a Clear copper color, small head that dissipates quickly, not real lacing.

S: Very nutty, lots of malts. I also get a good amount of caramel and toffee.

T: Dominated by malt. The nutty aroma comes through and is very strong. A slight hop flavor in the middle as well, but very brief.

M/D: Light to Medium bodied, but very little carbonation. Overall, not bad, but not special. Again, props for the tall boy can. Love those no matter what.

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

A fine golden colour, some hoppy aroma, some flavour and cream, carbonation, altogether average however. In sip nuttiness, some bitter aftertaste. Not so pale, maybe name owes itself to cross-style with the cream, which is sugar biscuit in the dough, Bitter over sweet.

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Photo of cliff1066
3.5/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of bryanzk
3.77/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of joemcgrath27
3.41/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - a clear copper, decent off white head but it did not retain well
S - sweet molasses malty smell, floral and citrus hop notes, and a slight yeast scent
T - sweet and nutty flavours, the hop taste is more earthy and subtle that I expected, and I found mild tobacco hints
M - slightly thin but some richness of flavour, very little carbonation, in fact almost flat, a little dry bitter hoppiness
D - generally average, drinks fairly easily and flavours are decent, but to call it a pale ale was a bit of a stretch for me

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Photo of ADicerni
3.54/5  rDev +2.9%
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 Juiposa
2.85/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Photo of MichaelGennings
3.93/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Wellington County Brewery Special Pale Ale. 4.5% alc.

Special Pale Ale is copper coloured and the head is off-white.

The beer smells of malt and hops.

The taste is malt forward, some brown bread and light hop bitterness.

The beer is medium bodied and the finish is dry.

Overall, the beer is very enjoyable. It would go well with red meat dishes.

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Photo of DaveBar
3.29/5  rDev -4.4%
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!


 482 characters

Photo of StormAles
3.26/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Photo of Stocean1
3.45/5  rDev +0.3%
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 emerge077
3.04/5  rDev -11.6%
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.

 635 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.15/5  rDev -8.4%
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.

 347 characters

Photo of Adamthornton13
3.09/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of ThinkAgain
3.5/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of ZorPrime
3.5/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Another beer from liamt07, sent to me in a recent trade.

Copper color beer, clear with a tiny foamy head (big bubbles) on top. I get some malts notes and earthy/woody hops in the nose. Not very tasty, I would have expected it to be a little bit more upfront on the taste side. Not bad. Light bitterness at the end. Woody in the taste with some malts too. So easy to drink and refreshing. This beer does the job. Not a tasty beer but a good damn refreshing beer.

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Photo of WillAndSarah
3.25/5  rDev -5.5%

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Special Pale Ale from Wellington County Brewery
Beer rating: 3.44 out of 5 with 139 ratings