Special Ale | Lake Superior Brewing Company

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Special AleSpecial Ale

Brewed by:
Lake Superior Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): not listed

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by taez555 on 08-25-2002

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Reviews: 56 | Ratings: 87
Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Pours golden amber with a slight haze under a 1” white to cream colored foam cap. Provides light lace.
S: Light hop and malt aromas, not much fruit action.
T: Toasty malt with some biscuit leads to a bitter hop accent. Malt driven without a lot of yeast flavor.
F: Creamy medium to medium light body and medium carbonation.
O: An easy to drink American Pale Ale with a good balance between the hops and malt.

 417 characters

Photo of MNAle
3.74/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A very enjoyable ale. More of an English Pale Ale than an APA, though, to my taste… which means I like it a lot. Aroma is a bit weak, but everything else is wonderfully done. Good balance, not over hopped. Good palate and good aftertaste.

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Photo of zeledonia
3.59/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Trying out some beers from local breweries that I haven't had before. Tasted 15 February 2014.

Pours a hazy medium amber. Half-finger of whitish head. Okay retention, good lacing.

Smell is grainy and faintly hoppy. Herbal, a little earthy, with a touch of pear in the background.

Taste is fine, innocuous. Slightly sweet, with woody dry dark amberish grains. Again a faint hoppiness, only a touch bitter. It's fine, easy drinking.

Feel is good. Medium-bodied, enough carbonation. Prickly at first, then backs off, staying at solid mid-level.

This is tasty enough. There's not a whole lot to it, but it's easy to drink and as flavorful as it needs to be.

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Photo of NuclearDolphin
3.08/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a 16oz Pint Glass

Appearance - Wet Golden Straw/Amber Red color with a slight haze to it. Not too much carbonation going on inside. The head around 1 finger with an agressive pour and is fairly foamy and stays around for a while. Lacing is pretty good here as well and pretty sticky

Smell - There's a mixture of yeasts, barley, floral hops, and buttery biscuits in the nose with a generally encompassing grassy scent. Nothing really stands out in terms of smell, but it's still got a pleasant, earthy and inoffensive scent regardless.

Taste - There's a mix of subtle floral hops, followed by barley and caramel. The grassy flavor is here, but it really doesn't get in the way of the flavor. The malts have a slight burnt sensation to them, but they really blend in more with the overall flavor as opposed to having a huge backbone.

Mouthfeel - Carbonation is more intense than usual, which prevents this from being a smooth feeling, easy to drink beer. However, it does feel very crisp and fresh on the palette which I think is it's saving grace.

Overall - There's nothing really too "special" about this beer but there's nothing really terrible about it either. It's what you would expect out of an American Pale Ale, but there are better APAs out there.

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Photo of beergoot
3.68/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden straw color with a decent white head and good lacing.
Putting nose to the glass, I pick up soft, slightly sweet malt notes and a subtle, earthy hop presence. The taste is a very nice mixture of light malt character, tangy bitterness with some fruity notes added to the mix. It has a clean, dry finish.

Yeah, this one is worth searching out...

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Photo of tvv375ia
3.35/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured from 12oz bottle into pint glass

A-pored a nice ochre color in the glass with about a finger of head that faded wuickly without much lacing

S-a litlle carmel and nutty malt with some citrus hops

T-much like the smell some carmel and nuts with a touch of some lemon on the finish

M-nice carbonation and good clean finish

O-nice well balanced eay to drink beer

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Photo of corby112
2.4/5  rDev -35%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a slightly hazy golden amber/orange color with a very thin off-white head that quickly dissipates leaving no lacing.

Bland aroma with slight earthy hops, subtle pale malt, nut and grass notes.

Decently balanced and not too watered down with nutty/caramel maltiness balanced by subtle earthy/grassy hop flavor. Dry finish.

 329 characters

Photo of nrmiller
3.7/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured into a pilsner glass. An amber colored body. Somewhat small white head.

S: Smells of malts and cirtus hops.

T: Malts up front that stay fairly bold until a moderate grapefruit bitterness kicks in to keep things in check and even goes into the aftertaste.

M: Light to medium bodied, with just right carbonation.

D: Nicely drinkable, an APA that has some interesting malts. I really enjoyed this one. Another solid offering from a solid brewery.

 458 characters

Photo of dpnelson1978
3.22/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle into glass pint.

$8.99 / 6-pk.

A: Bright amber body topped with a small loose head that quickly dissipates leaving light lacing and a thing bubbly cover.

S: Sweet caramel malt with a strong lemon citrus kick. Simple profile, but effective.

T: Biscuit malt flavor with a slight sweetness, and just enough hop bitterness to offset. Citrus hop flavor on the back end and a moderate bitter aftertaste that builds as you drink.

D: Solid beer, but nothing special. Better than the macro alternative, but not something I would seek out. A couple is plenty, but it could be a live saver in a pinch.

O: I'll be interested to taste some of their other offerings.

M: Light to medium body with light to medium carbonation. Oily up front with a carbonation bite on the tip of the tongue.

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Photo of gatornation
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

came in pint glass a copper color with almost no head and tan ring..smell was musty malts and hops and a peat earthy smell..taste was the same it was malt forward with same hops and a peat earthy taste that was good ..the mouth feel was medium and this was pretty drinkable..would not ever buy a sixer of this but would have it om tap again

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.45/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This was poured from a 12 ounce bottle into my standard shaker glass. The ale appears a clear amber color with about a finger or so of creamy off white foam. Notes of caramel malt, lightly toasted cereal grain, grassy, slightly fruity, floral hops, citrus. Light bodied with ample carbonation for the style. Not terrible overall.

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Photo of taylorhamrick
2.87/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours out with very little head, and I poured it as vigorously as I could. The color is kind of copper, but pretty hazy, and there is not lacing, no bubbles, no nothing. At least you can feel the carbonation, of this one would've been very disappointing. The smell contains some normal, slightly floral hops, and a decent dose of bready malts. I get whiffs of lemon, lime, orange, earth, leaves, and spice in turns, but none of it really stands out, none of it really impresses me. There's also a kind of watery graininess, a bit powdery. The taste comes out with a light lemon or orange cake taste. And that is about all you get. It's actually not bad, and I like it better than some APAs but it could definitely get a boost. There's also a bit of an herbal taste, leafy and kind of crisp, mixed in with a nice dense biscuity taste. The body is nice, medium, maybe it's because there wasn't a lot of bubbles, but I can really feel the carbonation, it's kind of prickly, and provides a nice rush as I drink. I like it. The drinkability is average. With more of a head, maybe I could've gotten into it from the start, and I bet it would put this kind of at a B or B-, better than average, but not quite standing out in it's class. As it is, it's right around average. The flavors in here are nice and pleasant, it doesn't stray too far from what I want, but it just lacks in certain areas.

 1,388 characters

Photo of zeff80
3.62/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a somewhat cloudy, orange-amber color with a small, white foamy head. It left minimal lace.

S - It smelled grassy and of citrus with a nice malt aroma.

T - It had a pretty strong bitterness. It had a biscuity maltiness and a slight citrus kick.

M - It was crisp and smooth with a slightly dry finish. A light to medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a malt forward APA. It really reminds me more of an English Pale Ale.

 433 characters

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.85/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clouded amber orange with minimal head. Floral tones with citric edges. Caramel edges of malt tones. Lots of malts. Feel is smooth on liquid and fairly low on carbonation. Easy to drink. Nice enough. I bet this would probably be nice on cask.

 250 characters

Photo of jera1350
3.45/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First beer I've tried from Lake Superior Brewing.
Slightly hazy light brown/orange appearance. Minimal head after pouring. Malty taste with caramel present. Slight bitterness from the hops. For this style of beer, I would expect more hops and less malt. Pretty easy drinking beer.

I've had two from this sixer and I'm not real impressed. Maybe its been sitting in the cooler for a while and has gone south. If I'm going for an APA, I will search elsewhere.

 458 characters

Photo of Bitterbill
3.66/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I got this bottle in a trade with russpowell. Thanks Russ!

It pours a slightly hazy orange gold with a 2 finger head of foam.

The smell has some hop notes of citrus and light grass followed quickly by some decent malty tones. It smells ok overall and.... I notice the foam hasn't shrunk much and there's lots of nice lacing.

The taste...I like. The hops dominate at first with notes of grapefruit and grass but there's a solid presence of malt here...some biscuit and light caramel and some sweetish fruit I can't put my finger on. The more sips I take, the more I notice the bitterness from the grass. The malt can't quite keep up with that but it's still a tasty and quite drinkable brew.

The mouthfeel is on the light side and the carbonation is medium.

Bottom line: A tasty APA that I enjoyed from first sip to last swallow. My first brew from Superior and I think they did a fine job here.

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Photo of Buebie
3.71/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtasy of Hogwildliquore.

Poured from a 12oz brown bottle into a brandi snifter. No freshness date on the bottle.

Transparent copper in colr, with a 1 finger fluffy white head. Some bubbly retention, mixed with some mild laceing.

Prodominatly cracked pepercorn hop aroma with pine and mild grassy hop aroma. Slight fruitiness comes around with a swirl as does some bready dough aroma.

This is super smooth with an oily carbonation texture. Pine, earthy hops, hemp, tobacco, and malty sweetness. There is a banana peel like flavor coming through after the swallow.
Quite a bit of malt for an apa. Hops arent as dominant as I'd hop for.

Damn this is smooth, great beer all around. I recommend trying.

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Photo of cokes
3.55/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Fairly foggy honey colored with a skimming of beige lace.
It noses of caramel apples and heathery, faintly citric hops.
Enters the mouth with some husky graininess smoothed by a honey note. The middle is yeasty in the lightly musty, concrete basement sense, and lightly Granny Smith sour. Ends with some herbaceous notes and and zippy conclusion of lime peels.
Medium bodied with a low level of CO2. Quirky, possibly a tad old, but still alright.

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Photo of uwmgdman
3.97/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The brew pours a hazy golden color with a medium white head with nice lacing. The aroma is moderately hoppy, floral and earthy and there is also a low caramel sweetness and slight toasted grain aroma. The flavor is moderately sweet with a medium hop bitterness. The flavor is much like the smell, earthy and a bit woody. The body is medium-full and carbonation moderate. Overall this a nicely balanced beer with just enough hops shining through. On top it was even better, making me question the freshness of the bottle I have.

 527 characters

Photo of Metalmonk
3.88/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Head almost reaches two-fingers before mellowing, although it never really dies out. Color is shiny copper, typical of the style, with lots of bubbles feeding the foam. Whole lotta lace goin' on.

Very fruity hop aroma here, spiked by just a smidgen of yeast and a subtle bit of malt.

Flavor brings in fruity hops front and center, with a curious nutty yeast and bready/wheaty graininess adding depth. Nice grapefruit lingering in the finish. I can't help but think of some of Magic Hat's various pales and IPAs...if you like their beers, you'll like this too.

Mouthfeel achives balance between smooth & creamy and crisp & fizzy.

A very easy-to-like, easy-to-drink beer. I like that the hops works some real magic without being a total hop-bomb...just seems to give new impressions with each sip. Thanks to mnwags for turning me onto this cool Minnesota brewery.

 866 characters

Photo of umustdrink
2.66/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Hazy opaque orange, interesting. Head is offwhite, fades to a film. Lacing is good.

S - Sweet citrusy hops.

T - Smooth hop taste with a cereal-like aftertaste. A little watery and bland.

M - The watery element carries through to the mouthfeel.

D - I've had this before and it wasn't nearly this bad. I'll try it in a month or so and hopefully its better.

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Photo of beachscrat
3.86/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz brown bottle twist off cap (use to be pop tops). Simple blue and black graphics. Beer's title "Special Ale". No explanation of beer style, ingredients, etc.

appearance: Tight, pure white clingy foam persists from start to finish. Bright gold orange color, with slight cloudy-ness.
(I've had this beer in the past and it has been undercarbonated. Seems like they fixed the problem. Also, this beer use to always have a bit of yeast left over in the bottom of the bottle. I miss that aspect with the new twist top bottling line.)

smell: Slight citrus with a small amount of alcohol heat.

taste: Bitter citrus hops upfront that fade quick with a bit of a toasty malt backbone. Little to no lingering bitterness.

mouthfeel: light, smooth and thin.

drinkability: Very well balanced citrus bitterness upfront that fades fast into slight biscuit toast. Very easy drinking without being boring, yet not overwhelming. Sophisticated.

music: "Shame" from Long Division by Low. Fantastically minimalist band from Duluth, MN.

 1,038 characters

Photo of shadow1961
3.64/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Lake Superior's Special Ale pours out with a thin head over cloudy orange
brew. The nose is citrus,herb, and malt- carbonation low. The flavor is grassy
hops with citrus notes. The aftertaste is also of hops. This brew seems a lot
like an Extra Special Bitter, and a pretty decent one.

 288 characters

Photo of Westsidethreat
3.14/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Well, the friggin beer was so overcarbonated it shot out of the bottle and got every where. I salvaged about half of it. Dammit. OK. Pours a *very* carbonated beer with a monsterous snowy white head. Body is sort of a cloudy, apricot juice colored beer with a little bit of activity going on inside.

S: Fruity and bitter. Some green apple, lymon, grapefruit, cut grass and some metal.

T: Begins with apple hints but moves quickly to citrusy flavors...primarily grapefruit and lemon rind. Some blueberry sweetness nips the tip of the tongue. Minor sappy malt notes linger with the bitterness for quite a while and finishes with the same character.

M: Medium to light body with good mouthfeel.

D: Besides the effing carbonation, the beer wasn't bad. Not really my style though.

 790 characters

Photo of CharlesDarwin
3.4/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Originally reviewed April 10, 2005. 12 Oz Bottle. Golden pale, with a touch of orange color. Raging, frothing off-white creamy head, which lasts and lasts. The carbonation in this beer is fuming. Finely flecked with yeast. The lacing is ridiculous, leaving sheets of broken lace, everywhere it goes. This beer pours beautifully. Aroma is a light tangy sting of citrusy hops, but it’s not too strong. Flavor is pretty deep. Starts off with a good burst of slightly floral hops and strong orange flavor, then finishes with a good dose of malt and a strong kick of wheaty yeast. Palate is crisp, yet with a lingering hoppy coating, with a touch of malted sugar. A very well rounded beer, with a fantastic balance of hops, malt, and yeast.

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Special Ale from Lake Superior Brewing Company
3.69 out of 5 based on 87 ratings.
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