English Style Special Ale
Sand Creek Brewing Company

English Style Special AleEnglish Style Special Ale
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Brown Ale - English
Ranked #288
Ranked #45,953
3.52 | pDev: 10.51%
Sand Creek Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States
English Style Special AleEnglish Style Special Ale
Notes: A robust traditional English ale with a fine roasty-toasty flavor, handcrafted from select roasted barleys that impart its red-brown hue.
Reviews: 59 | Ratings: 114 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of metter98
metter98 from New York

3.73/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is slightly hazy brownish amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured wth a quarter finger high light beige head that died down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles on the surface, a collar around the edge of the glass, and some lacing down the sides.
S: Moderate flavors of nutty malts are present in the nose.
T: The taste has flavors of nutty malts along with hints of toasted malts. The nuttiness lingers into the finish, which also has some bits of earthiness. Light amounts of bitterness are perceptible.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer has an interesting mix of malty aromas and flavors but has a good balance with the underlying hops because it doesn't taste sweet or overly heavy on the palate.

Serving type: bottle

Sep 22, 2016
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bsp77 from Minnesota

2.73/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Almost as bad as their Pale Ale. Odd cherry and butter aroma and taste. Not even sure what style was being attempted here. Does not have the mouthfeel of anything properly English.

May 01, 2016
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jSehnert from New York

3.42/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber pour. Not much on the nose but bread and malt. Sweet slight back end bitterness to a nice finish. Not a brown ale in my opinion, but would say amber and hence my low rating for look. Nice mouthfeel creamy carbonation. Overall a decent brew.

Apr 20, 2016
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hopflyer from Pennsylvania

4.07/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

No visible bottle date

Poured dark copper and amber color with ample head. Lively carbonation. Head retains well with tight bubbles

Aroma is dark fruit, prune and fig.

Taste carries some dark prune flavors along with some subliminal toffee and caramel. A little sweet but includes a burnt sugar quality. Molasses. i get more ripe dark fruit sweetness than anything else. Faint hop bitterness but does not throw the sweetness off.

medium to light body and medium carb

Not a style I gravitate to but this is pretty good. Light bodied with decent sweetness without some of the cinnamon and spice. Underrated I think.

Dec 29, 2015
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gmoneyproductions from Colorado

3.22/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

12 oz bottle poured into a 5 oz sample glass
came from a craft beer of the month club type deal
pours amber/brown/orange with a moderate offwhite head that faded fast
smells very boozy malty fruity and some caramel notes
taste much the same as the nose boozy caramel malty and slight fruit or sweet with a some what bitter finish
feel viscous and warming
of note this beer smelled and tasted quite a bit more boozy than the abv would indicate
overall ok not great

Dec 16, 2015
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pat61 from Minnesota

3.84/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Hazy amber under a 1” cream colored foam collar that quicky fades leaving splotchy lace.
S: Not a big nose – some graham cracker, nuits, grain spice.
T: Light fruit, traces of cola, treacle, grain, nuts, biscuit.
F: Creamy, medium body and carbonation.
O: there is no bottle date so I can’t tell how old it is but itt tastes a little oxidized.

Apr 24, 2015
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pweis909 from Wisconsin

3.99/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A=Darker side of copper, with tawny head. Could probably be described as a brown ale, which I see is how BA describes it. I was expecting it to be an ESB. If there is a tweener category from an appearance perspective only, this would be it.

S=Caramel, caramel, caramel. The smell is one dimensional. It is great that it has some caramel notes, but... overpowering.

Taste= Consistant with the smell, I get a lot of sweet caramel up front. It sticks around almost long enough to be cloying, but gets rescued by a dry finish that might be attributed to the use of roasted grains. My very first swallow, and that swallow only, I was able to detect what I thought was a citrusy, tangerine-like hop.When I looked for it in the second swallow, all I could find was a metallic taste. However, by the third swallow, I wasn't perceiving that anymore, either.

M& Overall Drinkability= It seemed like it had less carbonation than an American ale. This added to drinkabilty. Body seemed slightly thin, but this enhanced drinkability.

Dec 14, 2013
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Gavage from Nevada

3.57/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours a reddish brown color with a 1" head that falls quickly.

Smell: light caramel and toffee aromas are all you can detect.

Taste: caramel, ripe fruit sweetness, mild hop bitterness, and a hint of nuttiness create a mild flavored ale.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Lightly crisp to start, less crisp and a bit smooth at the finish. Short lasting aftertaste.

Overall: very easy to drink this beer, and despite the milder profile it is nicely satisfying if you are looking on a less hoppy beer.

Jun 03, 2013
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WastingFreetime from Wisconsin

3.47/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from tasting notes.

A. Pours out a very reddish brown color with a thin cap of off-white foam for a head and minimal lacing.

S,T. Some toasty caramel aroma and flavor with a hint of buttered bread, good smooth even earthy hopping and a faint garnish of herbals when warmed up.

M. Medium body and carbonation levels...smooth with a short yet semi-dry finish.

Yet another nice all-rounder from Sand Creek.

Apr 13, 2012
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facundoCNB from New Jersey

3.89/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured a nice opaque color with about a half inch of creamy off white head. smells of toffee, caramel, chocolate, cedar wood with a citrus hint (grapefruit/orange). instant bubbling fizz releases a sweet caramel taste up front, followed up by a wooden bitterness. easy going down, making this a nice session ale. feels like a very classic recipe, much like climax brewery's ESB.

Mar 19, 2012
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DabblinWiscCraft from Wisconsin

3.84/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, cloudy amber with about a half inch of off-white head that sticks around for a bit and leaves minimal cling. It has a nice nose, with roasted malts up front and less pronounced caramel sweetness and some hop zest following. The taste is much more hop-centric than I was expecting: There is some roasted malt flavor at the fore, but this is immediately superseded by herbal and pine hop flavor. The hop bitterness lingers for just a little while on the tongue, but this one finishes fairly clean. There's a little more effervescence than I'd like to this one, but the feel is pretty adequate overall.

I've enjoyed the last couple Sand Creek beers I've tried. While this one doesn't blow my mind, it has an interesting and enjoyable hop quality that I'm not accustomed to in this style. This beer goes down quite easily, and I could see it pairing well with a lot of foods. I'll come back to this one again.

Mar 02, 2012
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richkrull from Wisconsin

2.78/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Picked this up in a mixed 12-pack because my wife is a big fan of Sand Creek Brewing.

Poured a brownish amber color with some beige head on it. Smell is caramel malt with some bread notes coming through. Taste is sweet caramel malt. Decent tasting beer, but not great. I wasn't a big fan of it. Tasted a bit off to me. Didn't go down very smooth, especially for a light bodied beer. It was OK but I wouldn't try it again.

Apr 15, 2011
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Duff27 from Illinois

3.11/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Big two fingered head atop a dark amber beer with fine floating sediment. Above average lacing and head retention.

S- Grassy. Licorice.

T- Caramel malts. Easy drinking as the flavor is mostly muted sans a quick sweetness at the tail end of the taste. Bready.

M- On the watery side of things.

D/O- Pretty quaffable beer overall. I'm not so sure I wouldn't reach for something with a little more flavor though. No bottle date so who knows how old it is.

Jan 31, 2011
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Contagion from Illinois

3.38/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The beer itself is a rich dark amber color with bronze highlights. There appears to be no haziness to it. Light passes through easily, however it is dark enough that you can't see clearly through to the other side. When poured into the glass, an inch thick tan foamy head formed. It faded slowly and a good film and ring on the top of the beer was present until I finished what was in my glass.

The smell starts with a nice roasted malt scent. Caramel and Toffee is the most prominent malt scent that comes out. There is just a hint of nuttiness to it that should be present in an English Style ale, not as much as I would have expected, but it was still there. The taste was rather mild and unassuming. Mostly of caramel malts, a mild nuttiness, a faint hint of cocoa is what you notice at first. There is a slight hop backbone to it that rounds the flavor out.

This is a medium bodied beer; there is a good level of carbonation to it that is standard with the style.

Over all for an English Style ale, I was little disappointed. The flavor wasn't as prominent as one would expect. It's very unassuming. It is very easy to drink, and is something that I could see drinking on a hot summer night, Possibly while sitting around a campfire with some friends or even while playing a game at the local bar. I could also see someone sitting down and enjoying a nice platter of fish and chips while sipping on one. Overall I found it a decent beer to drink.

Jun 24, 2010
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scruffwhor from Illinois

3.57/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a muddy ruby andcopper mix. Only a so so head, but very good bubbling for this style. Lots of suspended yeast in this brew. Pretty sweet malt aromas of dark white bread and some marmalade with a little hops adding just a touch of citrus to this snack. The taste is super malty and bready. Myabe even a few hints of brown sugar and maple yrup. But the hops give just a soft dash of citrus marmalade to this sweet brown ale. Swet start, but a slowly bittering finish. Pretty good drinking with this brew.

Sep 02, 2009
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SykDoc from Wisconsin

3.65/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. It pours a minimally hazy copper/red color. A 1/4 inch tan head forms and quickly reduces to a lacing around the edges. Carbonation is visible.

The aroma is that of caramel malty sweetness. There are some bready notes, as well as a nicely placed pine hops component.

The taste again reveals a caramel malt sweetness. The citrus/pine hops is present but minimally compared to the malts. Fairly sweet and just a mild amount of bitterness.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a reasonable amount of carbonation for the flavor. A pleasant dryness is left at the finish. It is a little thin.

Overall, this is a good beer and worth enjoying. There are definite areas for improvement but decent and something worth trying.

Aug 12, 2009
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BeerFMAndy from Wisconsin

3.28/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into an Imperial Pint. No date.

A - Candy-apple caramel red color that's dulled a bit by both chill haze (very possible) and teeny bits of sediment. The head retention is low. After a mere moments the creamy tan head went down to a rind. Acceptable due to low carbonation.

S - A rambunctious pour releases toasty bread aromas with toffee and caramel followed by dry wheat and wet grass. Rich malty caramel backbone with a moderate hop presence in the end. The light pine and grassy hop aroma fades with the dead and is overshadowed by malt.

T - Grassy and light pine from the hops flood the mouth instantly followed by a caramel and toasted malts that round out the body. The problem with the beer I see is a slight astringency on the finish that's a bit mouth-puckering.

M - Medium-bodied and smooth, it has a light bitter after taste from the hops but a bit more so from the astringency.

D - I'm not sure if it's just a bad bottle, but I see real potential in this beer. I'd love to get another fresh bottle from a different location and see how it is. It has the possibility of greatness.

Aug 07, 2009
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smibroncos from New York

3.95/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A. Poured a nice clear brown, with a one finger frothy creamy tan head. Not much lacing on the glass.

S. Chocolate malt, caramel, nutty, butter

T. Sweet carmel, slightly bitter, butter toffee, wearthers original candy. A little too sweet for me.

M. Medium bodied a little thin. Good carbonation.

D. Pretty good brown ale a little on the sweet side but appropriate for the style.

Jul 22, 2009
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birchstick from Colorado

3.02/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - a very dark amber, almost chocolate brown appearance with a small head the quickly disappeared

S - biscuity, caramel malt with a hint of brown sugar

T - This was pretty malty and that's about it. Caramel and a bit of nuttiness to it. Tasted kind of watery to me and I didn't get much of the bitterness that is associated with this style.

M - a little thin and watery, but good carbonation

D - I don't know if I would want to have more than one of these in a sitting. If offered, I would drink it, but given other alternatives I would probably choose something else.

Jul 10, 2009
Photo of Tone
Tone from Missouri

4.02/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours cloudy, amber/copper color with a lighter orange along the bottom of the glass. 3/4 inch head of a pale tan color. Good retention and decent lacing. Smells of strong hops, sweet malt, brown sugar, slight alcohol, and some fruity tartness. Fits the style of an English Brown Ale. Mouth feel is smooth and slightly thick with an average carbonation level. Tastes of hops, sweet malt, slight alcohol, and some fruit (raisin). Overall, a really great tasting beer with full body and good mouth feel. Doesn't resemble other EBA's that I've had, but it fits into the category regulations.

Jun 26, 2009
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brdc from Wisconsin

3.47/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Small capped bottle poured into a pint glass.

Bronze colored, thin tan head, no retention or lacing.
Caramel maltiness, some piney hops, in a pleasant balance present on both the aroma and flavor.
Light to medium bodied, this one is not complex by any standard, and the presentation is not very nice even though the color is; but it is well balanced and pleasant.

Jun 19, 2009
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Opethsprite from Kentucky

3.18/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

From notes...also, it should be mentioned that the reviewer was under the influence of *other* intoxicants, though she had her wits about her. In a state of sobriety, she stands by her review.

A: "Rich mahogany" (at sunrise) Foam of...sand, disappates quickly.
S: Earthen, not "earthy," but earthen, deep and cool. Hint of sweet straw, toffee
T: Brusk, but alluring...mineral soda water, sweet, with kale at end.
M: Very carbonated, militant (in a marching way), sprightly
D: 2.5...or 3.0??? 2.5....3.0??? This was the hardest part. And....3.0!!!!

Will Fuckin' Farrell

May 21, 2009
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mcowgill from Massachusetts

3.18/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - pours a slightly hazy amber color with nice creamy head that dissipates quickly living little to no lacing on the glass.

S - Minimal earthy malty aroma here.

T - Strong malt flavor with slight hop balance. Not a bad brew but nothing amazing here.

M - creamy mouthfeel.

D - Relatively easy drinking English style brown.

Feb 07, 2009
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FLBeerGuy from Florida

3.36/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I've updated my review because I had another one and I don't agree with my original review. Must have had a bad taste in my mouth or something...

Pours a reddish brown with a light tan head

I'm not smelling a whole lot here, just some faint malts.

Nice malts and some bitterness at the end.

A decent session Brown Ale.

Feb 05, 2009
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xsists from Wisconsin

2.81/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - Dark brown body with a reddish orangish tint. Creamy off white one finger head. Dissipates quickly.

S - Sweet roasty smell. Great nutty and bready notes come out with a hint of yeast.

T - Up front I am not getting much. Slight malty nut taste up front. Leaves off with a roasted almost coffee bean after taste.

M - A silky smooth medium body with quite a bit of carbonation.

D - Not a bad brew but I won't purchase again. I would drink it if someone offered but won't grab one next time.

Jan 30, 2009
English Style Special Ale from Sand Creek Brewing Company
Beer rating: 81 out of 100 with 114 ratings