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Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale - Smuttynose Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Smuttynose Old Brown Dog AleSmuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,227 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,227
Reviews: 909
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 11.2%
Wants: 83
Gots: 182 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company visit their website
New Hampshire, United States

Style | ABV
American Brown Ale |  6.70% ABV

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

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 05-07-1998)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,227 | Reviews: 909 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of IPAescotch
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A thick cloudy burnt siena brown.

S: Chocolatey and wholesome, very inviting.

T: Some floral hints, strongly reminds me of dark chocolate.

M: Rich and compelling.

D: Ohmigod this is what brown ale should be, a slightly thin finish, superbly drinkable, and flavor of the most complex variety.

IPAescotch, Jul 11, 2010
Photo of horshack7
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearnace: A amber brown with a twinge of haze to it. On top is a white frothy head about an inch thick.

Aroma: Sweetness from the malts emit a caramel aroma wtih the hops in the tail end letting out a floral hopiness.

Taste: Full bodied mouthfeel nicely malty. A little bit of bready texture. The hops add a nice touch to round it all out. It is sweet but still nicely balanced.

Notes: Quite a solid beer and a great session beer as well. Cheers.

horshack7, Jul 06, 2010
Photo of firkinhophead
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

beautiful color and clarity. thin head leaves some sheets of mocha foam on the glass.

fantastic malty aroma of brown bread crust, roasted nuts and wet earth. bit of spice as well, cinnamon and clove.

taste is rich and malty with more of that brown bread, toffee and a bit of nuttiness. flash of sweetness followed by a solid hit of grassy, hay-like hops and some herbal bite. roasted flavors linger long into the dry finish.

smooth, solid mouthfeel with modest carbonation. about as easy to drink as falling off a log. minerally, dry finish might be too much for more than a few, but at over 6%, its not really a session beer anyway.

one of my favorite fall back beers. when all the fancy overwrought beers start to wear you out, get a pint of this and see how great a simple malty beer can be.

firkinhophead, Jul 01, 2010
Photo of mgbickel
3.73/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Perfect Pint glass. A small, single finger of pearl foam sits on top of the chocolate amber body. The head receded quickly, leaving no lace behind.

The nose has burnt caramel malts, roasted nuts and maybe a little toffee.

The taste is a little weaker than the nose would indicate, but the flavors are similar. Starts off a little sweet and finishes with roasted malts. There is a hop character present that I could not detect in the nose...makes things a bit odd...

The mouth feel is on the lighter side of medium, a bit astringent with moderate carbonation.

This is an easy drinking beer...light and tasty without overpowering the palate. A good way to start off the night!

mgbickel, Jun 30, 2010
Photo of rlshep
2.95/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

An English Brown Ale. Poured from 12oz bottle to pint glass. Served about 50F. BBF Date: July 2010. Really looking forward to this beer, heard good things about it.

Aroma: Somewhat yeasty. Malt in the background. Slight chocolate notes. Possible oxidation?

Appearance: Beer is brownish with slight amber hues. High clarity, could read the other side of my glass through it. Small white head, fades quickly.

Flavor: Subdued chocolate and caramel flavors. Getting some type of sugary taste. Higher bitterness than expected. Alcoholic in finish. Very clean beer.

Mouthfeel: A little watery. Low carbonation. Warming alcohol.

Overall: A solid beer, would drink again but not go out of my way to get. Needs more mouthfeel and richer dark malt flavor. Style says it is an English Brown, but it seems more like an American Brown. Fairly bitter and little to no fruit characteristics.

rlshep, Jun 30, 2010
Photo of abrand
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bomber poured into a pint glass.

The Old Brown Dog Ale pours a copper/brown color with a small off-white head up top and not much lacing. Smell is somewhat sweet with sugar with a nice malt backbone. Some raisins are also present. Taste is some caramel, some malts, some sweetness, and a slightly alcoholic finish. Pretty good tasting beer. Mouthfeel is creamy and drinkability is solid. Would love to keep this in my fridge if it were available to me.

abrand, Jun 26, 2010
Photo of Natural510
4.28/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle BBD Sept '10

Pours a cloudy, murky medium-brown with blood-orange highlights. Ivory-white foam is small but nice with the lacing.
If nothing else, these Smuttynose beers look great.

Roasted malt with alot of molasses and dark sugar to the nose.

Sweet brown-sugar/caramel malt, heavily roasted, giving off notes of charcoal & tobacco. Tart yeast and fairly significant hop note balance it out.

Excellent mouthfeel for the style. A bit higher in ABV than you'll find in a typical English brown, but this is jam-packed with flavor while maintaining a traditional bent. I could enjoy these all night long.

Natural510, Jun 22, 2010
Photo of Bouleboubier
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A temporal snappy head and devoid of lacing. Shows a reddish-brown similar to an ESB. Specks of yeast floating about.

Sniffed und sniffed, straining for aroma. I may have been dreaming, but there were flashes of coffee, caramel, and dry champagne. Barely perceptible though.

The taste isn't all that bad actually - caramel and a love tap of bitter, with some fruity (strawberry) tart/sour sprinkled in. Moderate malt factor.

At times, the carbonation will scrub the tongue, finishing medium-dry. Dead center on the spectrum of body.

Good initiation to a brown ale for those developing their palate. A few points above what most chain brewpubs might offer. Tastes a little different each time - sometimes it's wonderful, sometimes it's an effort to finish.

Bouleboubier, Jun 21, 2010
Photo of chickenflea
3.33/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12-oz bottle. Pours golden brown with some haziness. Full head that dissipates quickly. Aroma is doughy with some wet leather notes. Medium sweetness, with some sour edges. Medium body, mouth feel on the thin side, soft. An easy drinking beer that goes better with bready foods that offset the sour finish.

chickenflea, Jun 20, 2010
Photo of TheJollyHop
3.6/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Stoddard's in Boston.

While the light at Stoddard's isn't very conducive to reviewing the appearance, from what I gathered, the beer was somewhere between dark amber and light brown, clear, and had decent head retention that left behind frothy lacing.

The aroma of this beer was really the standout. Caramel undertones, lightly buttered white toast, figs, and sweet barley.

The taste is surprisingly different from the nose. Herbal and faintly earth hop flavor, slightly mineral, and a near moderate level of bitterness. The taste ends with a medium in length, and dry finish, underscored with lingering herbal hop flavor and bitterness. Bitterness builds early and pops. This brown is more of an American style to me. The hops actually overpower the malt character, leaving only faint cocoa/bready/cereal malt sweetness. A little less bittering hops would have made this beer a more balanced knockout.

The medium level of carbonation and low to medium body worked well, but the tongue drying and salty quality of this brew was a little off putting. Overall a little less hop character would have made this beer more drinkable and enjoyable.

TheJollyHop, Jun 19, 2010
Photo of DrewKid4
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured a dark cloudy red-brown with a small creamier head. Seems moderately carbonated.

Smell: Good, smooth roasted, even chocolaty aroma. Easier on the nose than a typical brown ale.

Taste: Again, rather smooth roasted or chocolaty taste. A bit more carbonation than preferred. Feeling most of the taste on the back of the tongue. Doesn't taste as malty as it smells, can sense a little more hoppiness than typical browns.

Mouthfeel: The only harshness comes from the carbonation. Besides that it has a good woodier, earthier taste that sticks around for a while.

Drinkability: Great easy beer to have after a long day at work. One of my favorite browns due to how easy it is to drink. Most browns I've encountered are harsh like macrobrews and I don't usually enjoy them. Smuttynose is usually pretty good about the drinkability of all their beers so I trusted them with this brew.

DrewKid4, Jun 19, 2010
Photo of jsprain1
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A- pours a reddish brown with a nice small head that sticks around quite a while.
s- nice and malty. a bit of sweetness in there.
t- it starts nice and malty. it floats into a bit of a soft hop flavor. mostly malty, rather sweet. kind of fruity. very good.
M- it was reasonable enough for a brown ale. i found it a bit overcarbonated and something just wasn't quite right here.
d- very drinkable for a near 7% brown ale. i liked it quite a bit. this is one of the better brown ales i've had in a while

jsprain1, Jun 18, 2010
Photo of babaracas
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear red-brown with thin cream colored head, spotty lace. Smell: toasty, nutty, fruity, toffee. Taste: vaguely fruity, toasty, hazelnut. Earthy hopping and some oat. Mouthfeel: light to medium and fairly dry and a bit minerally as befits the style. Pretty good though not something that I'll likely pick to make mine a Smutty with again.

babaracas, Jun 17, 2010
Photo of mstyne
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber purchased from Hannaford on NY 43.

Best before July 2010.

Pours a dark maroon/brown with a thin head that raced away. Minimal lacing and very little carbonation. Almost no smell to speak of -- pretty sure all I could smell was the water I used to rinse out my glass. Needless to say, I was concerned.

POW! This brew has bite, if that's possible. The initial sip lulls you into a false sense of security, and then it hits you with a big malty, spicy bite. Mouthfeel is chewy -- I've always had trouble gauging mouthfeel but this beer is freakin' chewy. And delicious.

Well done Smuttynose. You've largely been ignored by my wallet in the past, but I think I'm going to make up for that moving forward.

mstyne, Jun 11, 2010
Photo of hreb
3.55/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle dated best before July '10. Served cold and poured into pint glass. Beer pours brown with a reddish hue and a moderately dark tan head of medium thickness, with very fine bubbles. Chalky, almost lagery aroma.

Flavor is almost alarmingly well rounded compared to the nose: the carbonation brings out a crispness, chalky hops, roasty barley, but a pleasantly tangy aftertaste.

Alcohol is a little high for the style but the beer compensates well. A solid B-. Nothing fancy here, but happily drinkable.

hreb, Jun 08, 2010
Photo of MbpBugeye
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

So Smutty has been in OH for a few months now. I am doing my best to knock out most of the beers they offer here, but there are just so many other beers that catch my eye much more. This 6 pack was sold in my local Giant Eagle so I picked it up on my way to a little cookout.

A- I drink nearly everything out of a perfect pint. This glass makes this beer appear to be a clear copper color. There is minimal foam with very little effervescence. No lacing.

S- I must say the smell is surprising after seeing how this beer looks. Its a lot more rich that it looks. Lots of malts, mostly milk chocolate and french vanilla. Hops are nicely present and lend a light spicey/peppery and grassy smell.

T- About the same balance between malts and hops that is picked up in the nose. It starts malty, sweet and chocolatey with hints of oatmeal. The hops come soon after. They bring on lots more peppery spice and grassy yellow citrus.

M- Very dry. The hops seem to over run the mouthfeel. They take over just before the finish and make this beer very very dry. The plus side to this is that it is a very clean finishing beer.

D- It is easy to drink if you like moderate hops but to me this is just an average beer. Its not easy nor hard to drink.

MbpBugeye, May 30, 2010
Photo of kbanks13
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle into a pint glass

A: Pours a hazy amber/honey brown color with some red shining through. Moderate pour yields a one-and-a-half finger cream colored head that dissipates very quickly to leave a wispy ring of foam around the top of the beer and a good lacing on the sides of the glass.

S: Sweet bready malt aroma with hints of caramel and nuts. Only the faintest trace of piny hop presence.

T: Sugary and sweet malt is the first thing I taste, but its not too sweet. Toasted nuts and caramel flavors in the background. Hop profile is only slightly stronger than the nose lets on, not too much hop in this beer. Clean and delicious malts balanced with adequate but not overpowering hops.

M: A bit thin, I was kind of expecting it to be a bit more viscous. Not as thick as a stout or even a porter, but I was expecting it to be a bit thicker than it is. Moderate carbonation coupled with a smooth and overall pleasing consistency.

D: Such a clean and refreshing beer. Simple and tasty, but with enough complexity to make me want more than one. With the reasonable ABV, this would be a great beer to have one or two with dinner or while hanging out watching the game. Another beer from Smuttynose that I really enjoyed.

kbanks13, May 28, 2010
Photo of Sam21
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into pint glass.

Appearance - Hazy reddish brown. The head recedes quickly to a thin cap. Minimal lacing.

Smell - Toasted malt, molasses sweetness, and a general nuttiness. Not picking up any hop aroma. Somewhat subdued, yet still nice.

Taste - Toasted malt, slight roasted flavors in the middle, and a subtle bitter finish. Not an in-your-face flavor profile, but easy to drink because of it. Very nice balance.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied (leaning towards full) with a creamy smoothness to it. Coats the mouth in soft carbonation and goes down just as smooth.

Drinkability - A combination of the balance and the mouth feel make this a very easy drinking beer. This is the sort of beer I would love to drink a few of in an evening, although the ABV is a bit high for a session beer. Definitely fits nicely in the English brown ale category, although I would like a more pronounced aroma. Otherwise, another great beer from Smuttynose.

Sam21, May 28, 2010
Photo of jampics2
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

About 8oz from a bottle @ Heinen's Smuttynose VS Sierra Nevada smackdown.

Poured an amber brown with a nice head.

Smell is a nice mix of roasted malt and some hop presence as well. Hints of chocolate and a touch of nuttiness. Slightly subdued but good.

Taste is really nice! Caramel and roasted malts. Slight nuttiness. Cocoa powder. And a nice touch of hops that don't ruin the power of the roast. I liked the way this held back and let the malt sweetness be the finisher.

Touch too carbed but not distracting. Nice medium-light body. A touch watery in the finish but it's a brown ale not a stout or porter.

Drinkability was excellent. I would session this even though it's a touch over session strength. A nice brown ale and one of my favorites of the evening.

jampics2, May 20, 2010
Photo of detlefchef
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A tad murky but with a proper, amber head. Smells quite malty (as one would expect) but maybe a touch thin in that respect. On the palette it tastes rather peety with toasted hazelnuts (or is it almonds?). In general, on the refreshing side of brown, and that's not exactly a bad thing.

All in all, as I would suppose a beer like this should be judged on how many you might want to drink... well, I wouldn't mind drinking a couple. So, there you have it. A fine enough beer, even if it doesn't change me for the better.

detlefchef, May 18, 2010
Photo of tchenery
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured in pint glass.

Beer looks great. Classic brown color, not too dark. Darker than a traditional amber with reddish hues when held up to a light. Poured a 1/4" head that dissipated to a nice lacing.

Smells the part. It smells somewhat sweet, but not too sweet. It smells roasted and of caramel, and very slightly raisin-like.

It's a delicious beer. Extremely smooth and well balanced. Enough bitterness to level off the sugar and maltyness of the roasted/caramel malts. Not as sweet as I thought it would be, and with no real aftertaste. It has an excellent silky mouthfeel.

I am thoroughly impressed with this beer and will probably go back for a 6-pack to keep in the fridge. There's nothing harsh about this beer. It's one that I feel I could use to turn non-interesting beer drinkers on to the world of craft beer.

tchenery, May 17, 2010
Photo of Pittsburgh
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the Portsmouth Brewery, so I know it was fresh. Solid brown ale, pours a dark brown color, small amount of foam, good malty flavor, has almost a nutty/coffee flavor to it as well. True to the style, the thing about most brown ales I have had, is it is tough to have a very distinctive flavor with a brown ale, but you can tell when it is a quality brew, and this definitely was. Smuttynose has never disappointed me thus far and this was no different, solid brown ale.

Pittsburgh, May 16, 2010
Photo of kegger22
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale was brown in color with a half inch beige head that rapidly faded to a thin collar.

The aroma nutty, roasted and cocoa. A nice combination of smells but not overpowering.

The taste was pleasantly sweet, still retaining the roasted cocoa and nuts from the aroma. Olive had a slight bitter hop after taste that was a nice compliment to the flavor.

The mouth feel was medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability was good, I purchased a sixer and four went down last night.

Old Brown Dog was the first offering from Smuttynose that I have tried and I was satisfied with the results. This is a very good beer, easily the best English brown ale I have had to date.

kegger22, May 15, 2010
Photo of Ryan011235
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass on 5/11/10

Best before either July or August 2010

Medium brown in color, Old Brown Dog has a slightly watered-down cola appearance. The solid one finger worth of tan foam dropped to about 1/8th inch, but seems to be holding the rest. Thin retention & sparse lacing but gets a little better by the end.

The smell is steeped in nuttiness & plenty of earthy aromas. Faint hints of hoppy spice & stray inklings of citrus. Roasted aromas are pervasive, offering notes of caramel & brown sugar. Pretty solid overall.

The taste is no less impressive despite being proportioned differently. Roasted sugars are apparent upfront, seeming most like molasses & brown sugar. It isn't particularly sweet, however. It seems the nutty & earthy flavors act as a counterpoint. Upon the first drink it seemed none too hoppy. While it isn't overly so, the hops compound over time.

Leaning toward the heavier side of medium bodied. Carbonation is spot on, exhibiting enough prickliness to keep the beer lively without being brash. Mild bitterness & roasted malts linger on the finish.

Old Brown Dog Ale is another solid beer from Smuttynose; quite enjoyable, indeed. While this isn't a style I drink on a regular basis, this would be a upper-tier contender when the mood strikes me.

Ryan011235, May 13, 2010
Photo of BeckyFreesTibet
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Clear, very dark caramel color, like a coca-cola. Thin, latte-colored head.

S- Not a lot of aroma, but what was there was great. Chocolate, coffee and caramel were all present. Also yeasty and malty. It took a while for the aroma to open up.

T- Dark, possibly burnt coffee, chocolate milk and caramel are the most present flavors, with a moderate hoppy bitterness in the aftertaste. Toasted malt and a roastiness were also very present.

M- Surprisingly creamy mouthfeel with a medium body and light carbonation.

D- Good for what it is, but pretty boozey for a beer that doesn't have a very substantial mouthfeel.

BeckyFreesTibet, May 13, 2010
Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale from Smuttynose Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 2,227 ratings.