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Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale | Smuttynose Brewing Company

very good
948 Reviews
For Trade:
Smuttynose Old Brown Dog AleSmuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale

Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company
New Hampshire, United States | website

Style: American Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.70%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Old Brown Dog has been cited as a classic example of the “American Brown Ale” style of beer. Compared to a typical English Brown Ale, Old Brown Dog is fuller-bodied and more strongly hopped.

18 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 05-07-1998

User Reviews
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Reviews: 948 | Ratings: 2,576
Photo of brblanch
3.77/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass. Reddish brown appearance with thin off white head that dissipates quickly. No real lacing. Bready malt aroma. Notes of caramel with some lingering sweetness. Medium carbonation. Overall, a very drinkable enjoyable ale I'll revisit though not a favorite style.

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Photo of PA-hunter
3.76/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured 12oz bottle into glass. 6.5% abv

Appearance- Pours a light reddish-brown. Appears a dark charcoal brown once in glass. Thin white head that dissipates fast. Opaque.

Smell- Faint grainy malt, caramel, molasses

Taste- Rich caramel. Quite sweet with a nuttiness. Hints of chocolate that are very light. Sweetness lasts into the finish turning into some dark fruit notes such as prune. Minimal hop herbal notes.

Mouthfeel- Medium in body with low to medium carbonation.

Overall- A rich flavorful brown ale. High quality and a good bit complex

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Photo of BrokenEdge
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Clear brown color with a thin cream colored head. Not much head retention or lacing here. Smell is very pleasant, I got: bready sweetness, some faint hops, toasted nuts, caramel. Taste is similar to Fat Tire, but with more hops and overall a "bigger" and more complex flavor. Tastes like bread, caramel, hops, and some faint spices (nutmeg? cloves?) in the aftertaste. Good balance between malts and hops, the malt taste is still the star but the hops keep it fresh and clean. Carbonation was good, feels medium. Overall a really solid beer that I would recommend to fans of Fat Tire and other similar amber ales.

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Photo of dd43
3.78/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I guess I had built this beer up in my mind over the past few years, being a fan of brown ales and having heard so much about this one's place in the pantheon of the style. It was malty, had some nice toasted (but not roasted) qualities, and I'd certainly not turn down another pint in the future. That said, I've had some more recently introduced brown ales which captured more of my attention. I felt like the flavor profile of this beer was a little thin, meaning something a little more assertive in terms of breadiness or richness would have been appreciated. I should really do a side by side with this beer and a few of my favorites in the genre. By no means a beer to pass over, my only advice is to temper your expectations and not go into this expecting transcendence.

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Photo of CNoj012
3.83/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This beer pours a clear brownish orange color with a one finger khaki head with barely any retention and not much lacing at all. Smell is roasted bready malts, caramel and toffee. Taste is the same. Feel is light, crisp and very drinkable. Not much carbonation. Overall a good representation of the style, but not my favorite.

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Photo of bristol2120
3.88/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Served from a 12 oz. bottle freshness dated 2-20-16. Pours a medium deep ruby red with a light tan head that quickly subsides leaving only minimal lacing. Aroma has the expected roasted malt character, with faint notes of butterscotch in the background. Maltiness really comes through in the taste, though just a bit of wateriness detectable in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is very smooth with a subdued amount of carbonation that does not overpower the beer. Overall, a nice, drinkable representation of the style, though it might have benefited from just a slight bit more assertiveness on the palate.

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Photo of Mollyellis
4.89/5  rDev +25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Smuttynose does brown ales well. This American style brown ale does not disappoint. If you enjoy the English cousin (aka Samuel Smith) this is the same smooth finish but a deeper beer and darker in the glass. If you see this on tap and like anything close to a bock you need to give this a shot. The only points I deducted were for the label. It's super basic and definitely doesn't make you gravitate towards it. But that is so fitting for this beer. It's extremely classic and understated and will not disappoint.

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Photo of StoutElk_92
4.17/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This beer pours a beautiful red-amber brown color. It smells malty and hoppy, with caramel, brown sugar, molasses, and things of the like. The taste is pretty similar. Slightly fruity and hoppy, with toasted malty notes of molasses, caramel and toffee goodness as it warms. Moderate carbonation with a light-medium body. Goes down smooth, and tastes sweet as anything paired up with a savory dish like steak. Overall a delicious tasting reddish, brown ale.

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Photo of MaineBrewing
4.23/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A - Poured a almost clear brown, when held to the light the color was brilliant with hints of ruby. Head was thick and slightly off whit with a mix of small and large bubbles, head died quickly to not much froth, slight lacing.

S - Lots of malt, sweet smelling, dark, smells like brown bread in a can, slight caramel, almost a raisin fruityness. Smells hearty.

T - The hearty sweet, dark brown malt flavors carry over from the nose, but are met with ample hop bitterness and a quenching slight alcohol biting finish. The hops linger, and beg another sip. This brew finds a balance of letting the brown ale character through while having more than ample hop character, but still not trying to be overly hoppy... if that makes sense?? Would venture a guess there's a ton of early hop additions and pretty much none at the end.

M - For 6.7 or so ABV, this drinks like a much lighter ale, although admittedly the alcohol is present with a biting slight warmth, it goes down quick and dangerously so.

O - A great example of a brown ale, nice balance between that brown ale flavor with ample hops, slight warming making this a great sipper for a cold Maine evening.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
3.76/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, best by date 12/01/2015 printed on the bottleneck. Another new one to me from Smuttynose, this one their brown ale.

Poured into a Big Eddy snifter.

A - Pours a dark reddish-brown body hazed with flecks of sediment. One finger of creamy khaki tan head. Not much lacing to speak of.

S - Aromas of must, caramel, toffee, brown bread, some cola. A pretty tame aroma.

T - Flavor profile follows the nose: toffee, caramel, brown bread, brown malt, cream.

M - Smooth, creamy, fluid mouthfeel. Medium bodied, good carbonation, and easy-drinking.

Overall, a characteristic brown ale.

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Photo of NotAlcoholicJustAHobby
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L- Not alot of head or lace, but beautiful clear caramel brown.
S- Roasty caramel malts with a just a hint of hops
T- Follows nose with an excellent balance between malt and hops.
F- carbonation is low, which gives it a fuller mouthfeel.
O-Very good example of the American Brown ale style and one I will revisit in the future.

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Photo of slusk
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L: Pours a clear brown with a short lived off-white head

S: Brown bread, caramel, earthy hops. A bit of an English brown ale aroma.

T:Bready, malty with good caramel flavor. A bit of toffee. Good balanced bitterness with an earthy hop. Bright malt flavor. A bit of an English flavor. Definitely taste the malt in the aftertaste, much like chewing fresh barley malt in the homebrew store.

F: Medium light body, low carbonation. Smooth.

O: This beer is a fine example of a brown ale. A bit of English yeast with a nicely balanced malt forward profile. Bright malt flavors with subdued earthy hop. Very fresh, clean flavors. One of my favorites.

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Photo of moonboogie_n8
4.24/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

what I want to drink when I need a malty, slightly roast-y, medium brown ale.
look is a medium brown/mahogany with a nice foam ring that pleases the lips.
nose is roasted malts and nuts, not getting chocolate like some people, but it's still pleasant.
taste is great with caramel, earthy malted chocolate grains, some dried fruit (apple). great.
medium bodied, smooth mouthfeel. all good
great brown ale that goes down smooth, for an even greater brown try "really old dog brown ale"

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Photo of EagleTalon
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours to a generous beige head that falls to a thin ring and bits of lace. Light brown-red. Aroma is subtle toasted, nutty grains and slight alcohol. Not much hops. Flavor, is clean, nutty, malty and crisp. Low bitterness, feels good going down. Damn good brown. The bar served it at cellar temperature (50-55F).

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Photo of 2ellas
3.43/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Look is a see through dark brown with very little head
Smell is very mild. No roast or hops
taste is good. Straight brown ale with no extras
feel is a bit lighter than expected
overall a good beer from a great brewery!

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours bright dark mahogany under a 1.5” rocky and clingy light tan foam collar. Some caramel and chocolate on the nose and palate with some light nuttiness. No harsh roast or burnt flavors or aromas. Medium body and carbonation. This is a brown als you can drink all night.

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Photo of rawfish
3.51/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours deep amber, on the lighter shade of most brown ales. Garnet highlights when held to the light and a small half finger head with some legs.

Aroma is odd with sweet roasted malt but the depth doesn't go much beyond some caramel and herbaceous hops. Off aromas of yeast culture media and boiled vegetables.

Flavor is caramel sweetness, nuances of red berries and a spiciness that hints of rye. Grainy and a touch metallic on the finish. Nice balancing bitterness, less herbaceous than the nose.

The strange bitterness and metallic finish takeaway from the nice body, appropriate carbonation and drinkability of this one.

A well designed brown ale with caramel, red berry and spicy notes but ultimately flawed in the execution. Too many off and vegetative highlights, the dark malt doesn't get into the chocolate and coffee territory that make great brown ales.

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Photo of craftbeersweden
3/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Hmmm... this is really not that interesting...

The beer is clear, copper colored with a one finger highe, white head.
The nose isn't there! Only light nose of caramel malt.
Taste: Caramel malt, dried fruit and butter.
Body: Waterish and light. Light carbonation.

No this is something I only will have one more time (because I've got two bottles).

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Photo of cjgiant
3.58/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle best by 7/5/15 (so a bit of age, and this review might reflect that):
Pours almost like a barleywine... hazy amber to auburn brown, with a nice amount of tan head, lasting. Nose surprisingly follows suit: candied date, fig, a bit of chocolate caramel. I like the smell, but seems awfully strange for a brown.

The taste starts with a bit of the dark fruits in the taste, but does get back to "its roots" mid taste. English hop bitter notes on top of a nutty (and slightly chocolatey) malt flavor. As the beer warms, the dark fruit turns a little tart, and the earthy, deep roasted nut notes grow just a bit.

I tasted some potential in this beer, but as mentioned, it seems muddled with the characteristics of a barleywine, which I am not sure is caused by age or not. I could easily see this being between .1 and .2 higher if a fresher beer fits the style better.

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Photo of TheBeerMaster1
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Usually not a big fan of brown ales but this was really good. Smells of dark fruit and biscuit, and tastes just that with an enhanced malty caramel flavor and small hints of chocolate. Great balance and complexity.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.78/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Best by date of 09/10/25

Appearance - Pours clear and auburn brown with a khaki colored finger width head. Fair retention, resulting in a thin, broken layer of surface suds. Lacing is spotty with good stick.

Smell - Sweet, malty aroma with brown sugar and nutty, earthy character.

Taste - Follows the nose. Brown sugar and light cola notes with a fair nutty undertone. Distant earthy, leafy hop character comes in to deliver a bittersweet finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium in body with a lively, bitey carbonation. Crisp, semi-dry finish.

Overall - Very solid brown. Nice strength of flavor and with great balance. Could stand to have an additional layer to add some complexity, but it's a fine brown ale as is.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.86/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, a very recent arrival to we beer freaks and geeks up here in Alberta.

This beer pours a clear, medium red-brick amber hue, with three fingers of puffy, densely foamy, and slightly creamy ecru head, which leaves some layered approaching storm front lace around the glass as it genially recedes.

It smells of semi-sweet, and lightly roasted caramel malt, a thin bar-top nuttiness, faint cold coffee, smoke-tinged cocoa, muted black fruit, and soft earthy, leafy, and herbal hops. The taste is bready, grainy caramel malt, a bit of wet breakfast biscuit, bittersweet chocolate, still ethereal cafe-au-lait, fading dark orchard fruit, and a consistent earthy, weedy, and herbal bitter hoppiness.

The carbonation is pleasantly engaging with its come-hither frothiness, the body a sturdy middleweight, and a bit too edgy from either hop or heretofore undetected alcohol to be deemed particularly smooth. It finishes well off-dry, the complex malt steering it as such, while any hops continue to fail to provide much in the way of flavour.

Much more English in orientation, than American, as far as Brown Ales go, methinks. The hops generally provide support and balance, without coming to the forefront, and the well-rounded malt seals the deal. At any rate, a decent brown ale overall, and worth seeking out.

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Photo of pugbutter
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Lots of caramel and dark fruits (raisins?) from the malts on this one. Yum. A slightly hoppy finish too. Much better than Samuel Smith's Nut Brown in my opinion.

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Photo of Tsar_Riga
4.21/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - A translucent brown, with a touch of red, and transparency only at the edge. White head is short and quick to fade. Not much lacing, but a delicious looking brown nevertheless.

S - Strong hit of malt, caramel, cutting toward barrel aged spirits despite not having been aged in one, and alcohol hints.

T - Delivers a bright malt flavor of baked brown bread, wheat, along with a strong caramel note. The close is mildly bitter, hinting a more savory element, a smokiness, that adds greater depth and character.

M - Sufficiently hefty to not disappear as you drink, but not in the least burdening as you drink.

O - A well crafted brown that delivers both a traditional flavor and additional depth from hops and roasting that make it a brown to remember.

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Photo of Bone53
4.13/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Brown pour with a clear amber hue in the glass; One finger beige head that leaves a ton of lacing

Smell: Caramel and toffee, cocoa powder, maybe even an undertone of smoke as well, and the hops help to kind of brighten all the aromas. Quite subtle yet balanced and somewhat complex

Taste: A good blend of malt flavors (toffee, caramel, bakers chocolate) upfront with a nice grainy and hoppy finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body; I must say i was very surprised and impressed by how smooth this is. If this isnt creamy i dont know what is. Seems like its nitro or something.

Overall: This is a damn good brown ale, and a great go to, sessionable ale. I imagine drinking this at a pub next to classics such as Eddy Fitz and the like. Dangerously drinkable, even at 6.7%. You cant really get smoother than this. The only thing that could make this beer better is to kick up the aromas a notch or two to make it more robust. That being said, it is quite good as is and I definitely recommend it. Make yours a Smutty!

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Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale from Smuttynose Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 948 ratings.