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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

2,258 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,258
Reviews: 914
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 11.2%
Wants: 86
Gots: 191 | 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)
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Ratings: 2,258 | Reviews: 914 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ToasterChef
3.78/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into the center of a standard pint glass. The beer has a reddish-brown color and a good sized head of off-white bubbles. The head dies down to a thin coating, leaving a coating on the sides of the glass. There isn't much aroma to this beer, jsut a hint of something toasted. There are some hops and bittnerness to the taste, but nothing overpowering. I can also detect toasted molasses. The best way to describe it is that it tastes like a brown ale (who says you can't use the term you're defining in the definition). It has an average amount of carbonation and a light-to-medium body. I'm not generally a fan of browns, but I like this beer.

Photo of alphanon
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Real nice english brown ale. Appearance of this beer is a nice amber brown color and very clear. The smell is a mild roast aroma. The taste is a wonderful malty, roasted sweetness with no real hop notes. The mothfeel is thin to medium, it's the kind of brown ale to sit and drink a pitcher of with a nice large pizza and some friends.

Photo of Naugled
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

served in flute

a: nice crystal clear thin brown body, not much head though

s: very pleasing roasted malt aroma, hints of chocolate

t: good roasted flavors with the chocolate notes in the background.

m: medium to thin feel, nice crisp body, this is not an overly sweet brown.

d: very drinkable mild brown ale.

Photo of esv
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A) Dark, handsome brown. Tan head, 1/4". Appears to have a sufficient but moderate carbonation level. The head is reduced to a few clouds floating about and no real lacing

S) Light malt. A little bready. Difficult for me to smell. My neighbors grill is getting into my nose ... wouldn't have it any other way.

T) Toast and caramel malt sweetness washes over your mouth and leaves you with a somewhat dry finish and a smattering of hop bitterness. There is hint of roasted malt left over.

M) The body is on the heavy side of light.

D) Too sweet without enough bitterness. That's the style though and not the beer. Drinkability for me is low but the style is spot-on for an American brown.

A nice, solid brown ale. I drank it too cold. Great brown, and I just don't like them.

Photo of redneckchugger
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured a medium brown, fair head, decent lacing
smells of light roast malt, hint of hops in the back
tastes a lot hoppier than expected. If the india brown ales are ipa meets brown ale, this is amber ale meets brown ale. its hoppier and lighter than a brown ale. Its delicious, but off putting. maybe because i was expecting a nutty malty brown ale and thats not what i got. its good, and i will probally drink it again from time to time, but still its offputting.

Photo of drtth
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lightly chilled and poured into a Duvel glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: The beer pours out a clear medium dark brown with golden undertones and a ¾" light tan head that shrinks rapidly leaving behind some rings on the glass and a ring of foam around the liquid, with patches of foam on the surface. Sipping leaves behind some partial sheets of lacing and some long slender tails of lacing that become a speckled pattern.

Smell: The aroma of the beer is soft and is almost all a rich dark caramel malt with only a bit of herbal hop scents detectable.

Taste: The flavor is buttery brown sugar, some roasted nuts, and a rich dark caramel with notes of herbal bitterness from the hops.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium bodied with a soft creamy feel from the light carbonation. The finish is reasonably long, begins in sweetness, then turns into a dry spicy bitterness the flavor fades.

Drinkability: Sipping this beer is a pleasure to be enjoyed slowly and savored. I'll be having more of this beer but probably not more than one or two an evening.

Photo of BZero007
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle in to a pint glass. Pours a nice brown amber color. The brown is the main color which is supported by amber tones and swirls threw the beer. Forms a pretty good head with an off white color to it. The aroma is very nice and refreashing, with dark fruits and caramel malts pushing threw. The flavors where great and I feel this is one of my favorite brown ales. Dried fruits, caramel, and toffee power this brew. The carbonation fits perfect with the brew and helps force flavors threw out the pallet. The brew is well balanced and can be easily had in a session.

Photo of brewmudgeon
3.35/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

3.5 clear brown hints of amber head vanishes to ring scattered lace
3.5 toasty metalic vaguely resembling sam smiths nutbrown but not as fruity
3.5 definately an english style nut brown ale, the nuttiness comes through in the flavor, maple hazlenut elements. dry finish and some sharpness from the alcohol.
3 light to medium body on the watery side
3 take away most of the diacetyl and fruitiness, add some coffee astringents and youve got a sam smith clone. perhaps to style but not my thing. would prefer more texture and a chewy sweetness would be nice. lastly havent yet looked at the abv but a pitty if above 5% as that would defeat the purpose

Photo of biegaman
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bright chestnut lacquered with various tones of light and reddish browns. The beer can really only be appreciated when held into the light where the bright and vivid dynamics of its colours are fully displayed (it is otherwise concealed and appears quite dark.) Its surface is topped with a thick, ivory collar which dresses the glass in a soapy residue.

The aroma marries nutty, caramelized malts with smoked and peaty wood (the former prevailing, the latter more of just an undertone.) Baring the prominence of that ashy roast, the beer smells ultra sweet and reminds one of caramelized nuts. It bears much similarity to the great brown ales of Britain with the notable exception of stinky Willamette hops.

The flavour is delightful. It resembles something of a pecan and caramel chocolate truffle. It also suggests hints of coffee, black tea, dried fruits, toffee and a wide variety of caramelized nuts. It has enough roast to likely fare well with grilled meats and most certainly makes an excellent ingredient for sauces, gravies or braises.

The bitterness is chalky and the aftertaste dry and lingering. The malts are dually both richly sweet and sufficiently roasty. As far as both flavours and textures go, it offers plenty of both. It may be a little more full-bodied than traditional English offerings but the one word that still seems most befitting to the beer is 'sessionable'.

If you are searching for loyalty, unconditional love and companionship in a beer then it's likely Old Brown Dog Ale is the best candidate for the job. It is a tasty, sessionable, consistent and well crafted ale that I wouldn't hesitate to rank amongst the best in show for its style. If only Smuttynose would throw me a bone and distribute it a little further...

Photo of lstokes
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I don't know anything about brown ales, but this was easy to drink, subdued flavors but delicious.

I didn't love the smell, but I know I'm not a big malt smell person. It's an amber brown with a thin bubbly lacing, very malty aroma and taste (grains, roasted nuts, maybe a smidge of chocolate) that ends with a caramel sweetness. The mouthfeel is heavy like it should be with so much malt, creamy and not a dry beer at all.

Photo of aubuc1
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured in to a tulip glass.

Pours a clear brown with a thinning beige head.

Smell is roasted nut and earth.

Very smooth lightly hopped malty brown ale.

A very good brown ale that is well balanced with a fair hop. Slightly sweet, good mouthfeel, and very easy drinking beer.

Better review than I expected.

Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A 12 ounce bottle purchased at the Beer Stop for around $1.75. Poured into my shaker glass and appears a clear medium brown color with about a finger of quickly fading light tan head. Smells and tastes of roasted grains, tree nuts (hints of hazelnut) toasty bread, sweet malts, and the slightest touch of cocoa. A notch above medium in both body and carbonation. A pleasantly drinkable English brown.

Photo of dickieb
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a medium brown, with some amber hues, a small head and average lacing. The smell is roasted malts with some mild nutty hints. The taste is much like the smell but more prominent with roasted malts and nutty flavors, also some musky earthy flavors are present. The mouthfeel is a bit heavy from the malt backbone but this is a highly drinkable beverage. I tend to like the the more hoppy American Brown Ales but I truly enjoy this offering from Smutty.

Photo of jimj21
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Twelve ounce bottle poured into a pint glass. Best by date of May 2009. Pours a very clear reddish brown. Some bubbles rising in the glass. Pours provides about a finger or off-white head. This fades pretty quickly. Not much lacing either.

Smell is quite malty. Aromas toasted bread and roasted nuts. A swirl produces some fruity esters as well as some floral hops. Aromas stay reserved, even as the beer warms.

I was a little skeptical of how this would be considering the lacking nose. However, the flavors explode on the tongue. The flavor starts out with some toasted malts and a bit of nuttyness. These flavors evolve into chocolate and just a touch a roastyness. Tealike hops on the finish and a residual sweetness in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is nice. Very smooth. Somewhat creamy. Carbonation is perfect. Medium bodied. Not really dry at all.

Definitely an easy drinker. Not too complex. Mild but great flavor profile. Another great one from Smuttynose.

Photo of glid02
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Brick Store in Atlanta.

Pours a clear chestnut brown color with a one-finger off-white head. The head dissipates into a wispy layer on top leaving light lacing.

Smells of toasted malts with hints of toffee and lighter hints of chocolate.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Toasted malt flavors up front are backed by toffee and chocolate flavors that come out near the end of the sip and linger for a bit.

Mouthfeel is good. I'd prefer just a bit more thickness, although it still managed to go down smoothly.

Drinkability is good. I had no problem finishing my glass and could have a few of these.

Overall this is a solid brown ale that leans more toward the toasted end of the spectrum as opposed to the buttery end, which I'm a fan of. Certainly worth a shot.

Photo of bgjohnston
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tried my first 6-pack of this beer for the holiday weekend. Pours a clear dark amber with an off-white head that quicky dissipated. Had a sweet smell that lets you know right away that it isn't about to startle you. Good malty flavor, not hoppy at all, finishing just right for you to want to take another sip.

A very drinkable beer, and easy to keep drinking if you are so inclined.

Photo of storksonm
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pint glass

It poured a nice big head, almost too big seeing as it was trying to jump out of the glass. (mostly my fault) I took care of that with a giant slurp. Now that it has settled down a bit, it's a nice dark amber. It's light and smooth as any brown ale should be with a nice dry, hoppy finish. Smelled sweet and hoppy. Its quite like any brown ale that I would like to have. Very mild and is kind of an anytime kind of beer.

Photo of scottbrew4u
4.33/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Beautiful brown color with good clarity. Tan head is full but quickly settles.
S: Aroma of roasted hazelnuts and lightly burnt malt hit the nose first. Some sweet brown sugar and molasses hints then a bitter chicory and coffee smell penetrates. In the background there are herbal hops lingering.
T: First sip is sweet with some toffee and raisin flavors coming to mind. Touch of nuttiness comes with the rich roasted malt profile. Towards the middle a bitterness comes out from the darker roasted malt and bittering hops. Some herbal coffee flavors add to this brown ales depth.
M: Medium body beer with moderately crisp carbonation. Has a fairly dry finish with no alcohol burn.
D: Super drinkable brown ale! Great flavors keep coming and wanting you to throw back more of this beers goodness. Mild enough to get a few down without difficulty. Would expect this to be awesome on tap. Yumm.

Photo of BlackBearForge
3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Topped by a very nice creamy tan head this beer glints a clear deep ruby brown and while the head fades quickly it leaves nice thick lacing in it's wake.

Perhaps my nose is getting more sensitive lately but the last few beers I've reviewed all had nicer aromas than I've noticed before. This one is no exception with a strong sweet caramel and roasted malt aroma backed with a bit of grassy hops.

The flavor is very good of dark roasted malt again, nicely caramel in tone, perhaps a bit bready with a pleasant bitter background. It's a bit sweet up front but it is nicely balanced with the bittering finish perhaps a bit like burnt toast.

Mouthfeel is light to medium-light, moderately carbonated and somewhat creamy.

Pretty much everything a brown should be, tasty and ver drinkable. I haven't had browns in a while so this is a pleasant surprise. It's wonderful to have Smuttynose available here as there IPA is one of the better of it's style I've had and Old Brown Dog does not dissapoint!

Photo of bsend
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured this beer from a 12 oz. bottle into a standard pint.

The beer looked good on the pour. A medium brown color with an off white 1 finger head was the real stand out here. Holding it up to the light gave it a nice deep amber/brown color.

The smell was sweet. I got lots of caramel and carmelized malt. This was backed by more robust malt.

The taste was pleasing. Sweet and slightly bitter at the same time. Plenty of wonderful flavor to make this a joy driking.

Probably the low point for me here. Standard mouthfeel for this style. Slight creaminess for the final finish.

The drinkability is good. This is a great beer. I might need to grab a 12 pack to really session this brew.

Final Thoughts - This beer seems to be one of their staples, and its for obvious reasons. I really disliked Smuttynose's Pumpkin seasonal and didn't give them a fair chance to prove themselves. Since I bought the mix pack, I have been enjoying them more and more. Great brown ale. One of my new favorites.

Photo of yossarian14
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - On the light side of brown. It looks a little watery and thin. Big bubbly head subsided quickly leaving no lace.

S - Toasted malt and molasses. A light hint of fruit, maybe dates

T/M - Fruit comes through big in the flavor. Still watery thin mouthfeel. Think Newcastle with three times as much flavor. Body seems to fill out as the beer warms.

D - Very drinkable.

Looking at other English Browns I've had, newcastle, troegs, sam adams, I guess the thin body is typical. Not my favorite style.

Try Wychwood Hobgoblin for a fuller bodied English Brown

Photo of Aenema
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a deep brown with amber tinting with a fluffy one-finger head and sticky rings of lacing.
Smell - Sweet, nutty hazelnut with chocolate notes and caramel and roasted malts.
Taste - Sweet, caramel with roasted malts and a bit of chocolate. Mild hoppy bite to finish.
Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied, smooth mouthfeel, moderate carbonation and a dry finish.
Drinkability - Quite drinkable, very pleasurable session beer.

Photo of TheycallmeTim
4.18/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle best by June 09 into an American pint glass.

A--Decent one finger white creamy head, but the color was a little off, as this was just one shade darker, more brown than an amber. Cloudy from bottle conditioning but that's fine.

S--Pretty sweet! (in both senses of the word) Rich pecans and some hazelnut coming through. Little bit of floral hops float up if you really dig in and get foam on your nose. But mainly it's rich cereal and the sweeter end of the nut spectrum.

T--Follows the nose for the most part. Initially especially the slightly bitter, mildly sweet nuttiness hits you, followed immediately by cereal and bread crusts. Hopping here is interesting, and delivers this solidly into the "American" category of brown ales. I like the backend cascade flourish of blooming flowers at the end of the profile. It's mild enough not to disrupt the essential simplicity of the style.

M&D--Mouthfeel was a little astringent from alcohol whose presence don't belong here, but not watery as American brewers of browns are sometimes are guilty of. Drinkability is perfect--I've heard a lot of complaints that this style is boring, but Smutty's take seems more dynamic than most. Not sure boring and simplicity are synonomous, but whatever. Anyway, I like it.

Photo of JonMich13
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A = Poured a dark amber brown with minimal head. Looks like a nice glass of strong sweet tea.

S = Deep and strong malt smell. Some caramel and maybe a fruit in there too. Hint of hop as well. Nice.

T = Starts sweet with the malts dominant. A bit of bitter hops come in late to add balance. A little tart there at the end to that lingers. Finishes dry. Not bad.

M = Medium body and carbonation. Dry finish.

D = Good drinkability.

All together not bad. This is my first English Brown, and while not unpleasant to drink, I found somewhat "ho-hum". This may be more indicative of the style than an indictment of this specific beer.

Photo of nickfl
3.88/5  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.

Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale from Smuttynose Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 2,258 ratings.