Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale | Smuttynose Brewing Company

very good
946 Reviews
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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: 946 | Ratings: 2,570
Photo of Sammy
3.88/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice balance of malt and bitter. Nicely drinkable. Tad of roast, chocolate malts, cocoa. Some nuts, and smooth - Brown earthy colour. Really good with lighter supper. Medium mouthfeel.
Had 4.5 years later on tap at the Smuttynose brewpub and not so much roast came through. Above average mouthfeel.Lacey and fresh.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.94/5  rDev +1%

Best by 11/19/14.

Pours a hazy copper with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, caramel, and nut aromas. Taste is much the same with toast, caramel, and nut flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of toast bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is tasty and easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.36/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Half finger head with light lacing on a cloudy on a very nice amber and brown body. Caramel malts and brown sugar in the aroma. Flavor is more of the same with the addition of nutty and chocolate notes. Medium body and moderate to high carbonation. Overall the hops are well represented, the taste is complex and there is no bad aftertaste making this one very drinkable.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.96/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

similar in both namesake and flavor to averys brown ale out of boulder, this is a delicious brew from smuttynose. it pours light for a brown, almost more of an amber color, with less than an inch of tan lace head. strong aromas of drip coffee above sweeter amber malts make this an enticing pour. before any flavors come in I notice body, lots of heft for a beer on the lighter side color wise. sweet malts, spent coffee grounds, and a pronounced nutty finish, this is as complex yet mellow and drinkable as they come. a beer lovers brown ale id say. carbonation is just enough, alcohol content is warming but not tasted, and there is a certain smoothness not only to the beer itself, but to the buzz it generates after a few pints. I strongly recommend this to the lover of fine browns, real good.

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Photo of metter98
4.02/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear brown in color and poured with only a few bubbles floating on the surface. Only a very light amount of carbonation is visible from the rising bubbles.
S: The aroma is slightly sweet and has notes of caramel and nuts.
T: A slightly amount of sweetness is present in the initial taste, but does not stand out because it is nicely balanced by the hops; a very light amount of bitterness is noticeable in the finish. Like the smell, there are flavors of caramel, nuts and caramel malts.
M: It feels medium-bodied, creamy and rather smooth on the palate. There is a medium amount of carbonation.
D: The beer is very easy to drink and quite sessionable.

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Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
2.5/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

A muddy brown hazy color with almost no head. A little aroma of weak malt, the taste is a little wort like. It has some basic sweet mealtimes with a watery mouthfeel and practically no finish.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.25/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Old Brown Dog reminds me of the better micro-brewery beers that came out early in the '90's. While nothing is wrong with it, it's not exactly wonderful either.

A standard brown color shows a bit more of a watery texture than malty. Great clarity with light carbonation (a plus), low retention or lacing.

Caramel aromas stand out, but with a follow of toffee, light chocolate, and nuts. Fairly malty but a low percentage of grain aroma shows.

Flavors are very sweet with caramel and not much showing from a balancing English hop character. Fairly straight forward with the caramels, toffees, and light chocolates that the nose promises. Again, light grain flavors in the finish.

Medium textured up front but with a quick drop-off to watery and thin. This allows the husk character to have more overall impact than it should.

Again, this is a fine beer but not memorable.

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Photo of brentk56
3.7/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy ice tea color with a very impressive cap that leaves a few strands behind

Smell: Caramel, nuts and roasted malt

Taste: As advertised in the aroma, caramel, nuts and roasted malt; just a vague dollop of earthy hops arrive in the middle and then fade to let the malts take over the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: At one time this would have been the bee's knees but, like that saying, those times have passed; a nice brown ale but more like your father's brown if your father was a craft beer drinker

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a clear deep brown color ale with a medium foamy head with OK retention and no lacing. Aroma of deep caramel malt with light notes of molasses and some grain is quite enjoyable. Taste is a nice enough mix between some deep rich caramel malt with cereal and a light subtle touch of molasses. Hops are not very apparent which might be a good thing considering the nice malt base. Body is slightly above average with good carbonation. Well done - nice session beer.

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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 Thorpe429
3.9/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a moderate brown color with a bit of a light tan head. Nose brings toast, caramel, light roast, hops, and a bit of earth. Taste is slightly toasted bread as well as caramel, toffee, a small amount of dark fruits, and some sweetness. Good mouthfeel and body carry the flavors. Drinks quite well and is a nice American take on the style.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
3.73/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Part of the Smuttynose mixed 12 pack. Pours a nice redwood color, good to head it.. not much for lacing on the glass though. Nice nutty smell to it. Taste has a nice initial mouthfeel to it, a bit on the light bodied side but very smooth and drinkable. Nice balance in this one, not too much hops by any means. Nice and drinkable.. a bit of a warming alcohol kick to it, surprising for the low ABV of this beer. An above average brown ale.. pretty good beer to quaff down in the mixed pack but still loving their IPA.

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Photo of oberon
4.07/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a medium brown with amber highlights thru out not much head but that wasnt expected or hoped for.Aroma was chocolat and more chocolate with an underlying nuttiness to it,very appetizing.Taste is to me of malted chocolate balls with a fruitiness in the finish.A true to form brown ale appetizing and very easy to drink,well done.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Light tobacco brown-dark amber, a color that is both interesting and appealing. The beer is topped by an ecru head that is densely creamy enough to demonstrate a great deal of stubbornness. When it eventually begins to deflate, very little lace appears on the glass.

The nose is of moderately roasted malt with a suggestion of chocolate and a hint of hops. It isn't as dark or as aromatic as I'd like however. I hope the flavor is more bold because (going on aroma alone) OBD occupies the lighter end of the brown ale spectrum.

Thankfully, there's more flavor than expected given the color and the nose. I'm not surprised a bit that Smuttynose has come through yet again. Old Brown Dog is bold and spicy without being as roasted malty or as chocolatey as some. That isn't to say that it isn't enjoyable; far from it. Actually, it tastes like a baby dubbel or a Belgian brown (if such a style existed).

Herbal, darkly fruity and more bitter than most, this is a brown ale with attitude. A light malty sweetness appears early on and is carried throughout the mouthful, but the hop load is what distinguishes this beer and is the engine that makes it go. The body is medium in heft with a lively, mouth pleasing amount of carbonation. Thanks to far333 for the bottle.

Old Brown Dog marks its territory as a more hoppy, less roasty brown ale and guards it with a menacing growl. I haven't run across a beer of this style that presents itself in quite the same way, so points for originality must be accorded as well as points for quality. If you love hoppy browns, unleash this pooch and let him run.

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Photo of nickfl
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - One half finger of off-white foam on a clear, medium brown body. The head settles quickly and leaves some lace.

S - Strong, bready malt aroma with notes of caramel, toasted malt, and a hint of pine hops.

T - Sweet and malty up front with lots of caramel and rich bread-like flavors. Darker grain character comes out later, light roasted malt and a hint of chocolate. Minor hop flavor in the finish with just enough bitterness to balance.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - Quite drinkable with a very nice caramel flavor. This doesn't stand out for its complexity, but as a brown ale it really shouldn't. The malt dominates but never becomes cloying and the hops balance the beer without getting in the way.

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Photo of oline73
3.53/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours an almost clear brown color with a little red hue. There is a one finger white head that goes away and leaves just a little bot of lacing.

Smell: Sweet malt with hints of caramel and some dark fruit.

Taste: Sweet mildly nutty malt dominates. There are also hints of brown sugar, caramel, and some dark fruit as well.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, perhaps a hint of syrup. The carbonation is on the high side and the finish is very mildly dry.

Drinkability: While I think this is a good beer, I could have used a little bit less of the dark fruit sweetness. I wish there was a little more nutty flavor along with the malt.

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Photo of jlindros
3.9/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap@ Texas BBQ in Northborough, MA.

A: Nice fluffy 1finger head fades at a medium pace over toasty maple brown colored mostly clear.

N: Sweet malts, some brown sugar, toasty malts, little nutty, some spicy and mild hop aromas.

T: Starts with some sweet brown sugar, sweet malts, lots of malts, pretty sweet beer overall, lots of crystal caramel malts, caramel flavors, toasty and a little creamy, slight porter like roast too. Then some light bitter earthy mild hops.

M: Medium body with decent carbonation.

F: Finishes still pretty sweet with lingering malts, lots of brown sugar and molases, little stickiness, some nutty flavors and little creamy porter like. Nice long finish.

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

the last beer i was able to try for about the next month so i went with an old classic. served cold in a pint glass at barleys, this one was consumed on 11/07/2010.

really a decent pour here with a nice medium brown color and a smooth even head of tan that came up from the bottom and coated the glass rather nicely i have to say. aroma is light chocolate with hint of nice roasted malts and a touch of coffee, well rounded for sure and definetely a nice way to end an evening. a mix if light carbonation with a smooth, velvet like texture to it led me to sip it down quite nicely and left a really nice overall impression.

very solid beer for sure and one i would have no issue in going back to again.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.56/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Medium brown in color with a fizzy, foamy off-white head.

Smell: Aroma of rich caramel malts, toasted nuts and, to some degree, a light herbal hop scent.

Taste: This is so precious. Upfront, sweet caramel maltiness coupled with a pleased nuttiness. A little buttery. Light hints of chocolate. Bitterness is very light, but the beer still finishes dry.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin. Lightly carbonated. Quite smooth, even creamy, and goes down with ease.

Drinkability: Fine, fine. Seriously, though. Very drinkable. One of the better brown ales I've tasted.

My hat's off to MuddyFeet for a trade featuring several Smuttynose offerings. Thanks!

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Smuttynose's Old Brown Dog delivers a slightly hazy chestnut-brown body with golden highlights at the base of the glass. The short but creamy yellowed-white head holds fairly well before dropping to an average collar and whispy surface covering. It leaves a ring or two of thin lace at the outset, and then the occasional whisp and splash.

The nose suggests toasty and cocoaish malt, and that's exactly what's found within the flavor. It's sweeter than might initially be suspected; and it's very nicely malty with a nutty side that's backed by soft grassynotes of hops.

In the mouth it's smooth and lightly creamy with a medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall, it's a well-made, well-balanced, and highly drinkable ale - which, of course, is what a brown ale should be! Nicely done!

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Photo of mactrail
3.23/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Light bodied and fairly roasty brown beer. Dark amber in the glass. Modestly carbonated. Plenty of caramel with a touch of wine and cocoa. Not much of a hoppy flavor but it has a pleasant scratch of dark grainy taste.

Just another Brown Ale, but it's quite drinkable as long as you down it fast. On tap at Burger Tap & Shake in Foggy Bottom. [transcribed from notes ; 06/12/2012 visit]

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.88/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Smuttynose US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep copper color with a very thin off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains roasted nuts, caramelized malt, a touch of maple syrup and a little bit of hops.

T: The taste is malty but not too sweet, with flavors of nuts, caramel & maple. There’s a decent hops presence to provide a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet and a little bready.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, very clean finish.

D: Tasty, goes down easy, not very filling, good representation of style, it’s a very ordinary beer, but it’s a good beer to pound.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.66/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Devil's Backbone willibecher.

Good to see this guy back on the shelves yesterday. It pours a clear garnet-brown topped by nearly a finger of ecru foam. The nose is kinda faint, with notes of light brown sugar, dark wheat, light roasted malts, light maple syrup, and a touch of greens sliding up the nose eventually. The taste is also subdued, but the walnut, rye bread, biscuit, brown sugar, maple syrup, and greenery notes come through nicely, in a rather pleasant blend. The body is a light medium, with a moderate carbonation and a slightly watery feel. Overall, a very tasty and very highly drinkable brown, one of the better ones I've found out here on the East Coast.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.93/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle with a date of Dec 06
A - Chestnut brown body with a slowly subsiding rocky tan head. Excellent clarity accented by garnet highlights and a sufficient amount of lace.

S - Sweet woody scents a la hickory compliment a slightly nutty aroma. Hints of pine possibly hop scents linger with dark berry and light pear odors.

T - Sweet, lightly roasted malts appear alongside subtle sweet fruit flavors. The essence of candied dates appears followed by pine and citrus hop tinges. Caramel, toffee and tastes of almond are present in a clean finish.

M - Smooth and subtle sweetness. Moderate carbonation and ample body. A nice medium bodied ale with sweetness hovering on the tip of the tongue.

D - Quaffable and well balanced. Nice hop/malt contrast each adding to the others strengths. The Sweetness is not overdone. I enjoyed a couple of these with homeade chili.

Tasted again blind May 2009.
served chilled in a double walled tumbler
A-3.5, S - 4, M - 4, T - 4, D - 4
A -Slightly red hued w/ good clarity minute tan cap w/ tight bead + no lace

s - Twiggy hops, vanilla and dark toast w/ mild chocolate malt aroma

M - A malt presence and moderately high carbonation w/ smoothness and semi-sweet finish w/ mild level of hop and strong roast character

T - A bready smooth yeast + malt w/ chocolate notes as in the nose w/ slight hop herbal tast trailing and mild green apple accent w/ a mild vanilla taste in the residual

D - A very drinkable brown, nice malt easy to quaff - recommended.

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, best before 6/1/2015. Pours slightly hazy/cloudy reddish brown color with a 1-2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of caramel, toast, toffee, brown bread, nuttiness, chocolate, herbal, floral, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt and light-moderate earthy hop notes; with good strength. Taste of caramel, toast, toffee, brown bread, nuttiness, herbal, floral, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Light earthy herbal bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toast, toffee, brown bread, nuttiness, chocolate, and herbal/toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice complexity and robustness of dark/bready malt and light-moderate earthy hop flavors; with a good malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth and moderately creamy/bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent brown ale style. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt and light-moderate earthy hop flavors; and very smooth to drink for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

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Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale from Smuttynose Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 946 ratings.