1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.
BA SCORE
88
very good

2,166 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,166
Reviews: 907
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 11.2%
Wants: 78
Gots: 166 | FT: 2
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,166 | Reviews: 907 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of koopa
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle received as an extra in a trade from RReagan. Thanks Man!

Appearance: Brown with a ruby tinge and a beige head that quickly dissolves.

Smell: A very nice display of balanced malts, roasted grains, honey/caramel, with some hops.

Taste: A touch of sweetness and hops are the glue that hold together this roasted gem. I like how the bitterness of the hops and the caramel type sweetness meld. Very nice!

Mouthfeel: standard medium body that the style usually produces.

Drinkability: This is a very drinkable brown that I will return to.

koopa, Sep 16, 2008
Photo of Strix
3.4/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Malty smell, with a bit of a woody tinge to it.

Taste is predominately malty, some caramel in there too. Again, a woody/nutty taste, that settles into being somewhat metallic as it warms. Interesting, but not great.

Medium carbonation and viscosity.

This was just so-so. I've heard good things about Smuttynose, but this was not all that memorable. Worth a shot, and I'd have another. Just ended up being a bit murky-tasting for my taste; nothing really stood out.

Strix, Sep 15, 2008
Photo of Boto
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle: This one pours a fairly clear, brown color. There was a bit of a tan head on it that dropped away rather quickly. There is a nice nose to it. Caramel, roastiness, perhaps a bit grassy, nutty and a hint of chocolate. A well rounded flavor. Caramel and chocolate notes, but very subdued sweetness. A hint of bitterness in the finish. A very nice beer.

Boto, Sep 14, 2008
Photo of kevinglin
3.43/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a wide-mouthed glass. Reddish-brown body with Virtually no head. Some caramel notes in the aroma, sweetness and no hops. Flavor was malt-driven with bready and caramel notes; no hops. Mouthfeel was light to medium. Overall, a decent beer, but to me, not a lot going on. Nothing overpowers, but nothing really seemed to shine either.

kevinglin, Sep 06, 2008
Photo of nrpellegrini
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was really into this beer.

Every drink made me want one more. A great combination of malt flavors, gave off a caramel and slight nutty taste. Very smooth texture, and very easy to drink. No stand out hops or spice which was a big plus. Just a very solid beer that had it right. A 6-pack would be perfect. Try it.

nrpellegrini, Sep 03, 2008
Photo of Jwale73
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a tumbler. Poured an almost opaque brown; however, substantial light penetration allows for maroon highlights when backlit. Half inch, tight tan head quickly dissipated into a thin band around the perimeter of the glass and a broken film of foam; no lacing adhered during the tasting. Nose is predominantly chocolate malt. Taste follows nose with a little nuttiness and a subtle hops presence (no bitterness presented). Mouthfeel is medium-bodied and lively. Extremely easy drinking english brown.

Jwale73, Aug 31, 2008
Photo of cvstrickland
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12-ounce bottle poured into a shaker pint glass yields a dark amber body with a thin cap of tan foam. Thin swatches of lacing remain on the glass.

The smell of the drink is hoppy, with a pungent bit of green-citrus fruity, herbal hops. A lightly-toasted malt note sneaks from under the potent hop bouquet.

The taste of the drink is a tad sweet, mellow and fruity with a dash of caramel, but just as all the sweet flavors are about to get lightly dusted with cocoa, a solid herbal-grapefruit hoppy bitterness kicks in the door, grabbing control, smacking the soft malty sweetness about before exiting with a sting of lemon zest.

Great medium-fullish feel, nice carbonation, great drinkability.

cvstrickland, Aug 28, 2008
Photo of kmeves
3.38/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear brown with an off white head. Aroma is medium sweet caramel, nuts and toffee. Flavor is much of the same but a bit fruity as well. Medium bodied, slick mouthfeel. Finishes medium and a bit astringent. A middle of the road Brown Ale and not Smuttynoses best offering.

kmeves, Aug 27, 2008
Photo of bkilpatr
3.78/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. 08/26/08.

Pours a clear ruby brown color with about a finger of beige head. Aroma is sweet caramel malt.

Taste is sweet caramel malt with a bit of molasses. Just a hint of chocolate and roasted nut. Fairly simple, but also pleasant.

Feel is just about right for a brown ale. Plenty of carbonation for a crisp and clean finish. Drinkability is pretty good, would be a bit higher if the sweetness were toned down.

bkilpatr, Aug 27, 2008
Photo of BWH3
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Beautiful ruby tinted medium brown ale. Perfect clarity. Thin beige head that quickly dissolves to a ring. Retention a bit weak.

S: Light on hops aroma, but complex malt flavors abound. A light caramel scent rises up above the nutty roast grain beneath. The truly unique feature is the dark fruit and nut aroma almost like a light amaretto and somehow reminiscent of sherry. Very good.

T: The roast grain component dominates the flavor. The caramel sweetness is reduced to a memory captured by licking one's lips after a gulp. The nuttiness accompanies the sherry flavors in the end. A purely mineral like hops bitterness ends the experience abruptly.

M: Light medium body. Good for style. Matches well with appearance and taste. Not too gassy on the palate but found myself emitting fumes after each sip.

D: Unfortunately since the Smuttynose porter is so good most will pass this one by for its more acclaimed big brother. However this is a very good beer in its own right.

BWH3, Aug 25, 2008
Photo of GbVDave
4.47/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a 20oz imperial pint. Thanks to neubernie for the hook-up!

Best before Oct. 08

A: Pours a clear brown-honey color with a creamy, light-tan, one-finger head with just fair retention. The head recedes quickly to leave a splotchy skim and a ramdomly bubbled ring of uneven thickness. Carbonation is present, yet lazy.

S: Delicious aromas of toasted/bready malt, roasted nuts, dark chocolate, caramel, a hint of dark fruit, toffee, and a tiny pinch of floral hops. Very simple, very clean. Excellent!

T: See above. Dry toasty malt flavors share center stage with caramel, bread crust/biscuit, brown sugar, dark chocolate, nuts, and the aforementioned floral hops that take on an herbal flavor profile.

M: Excellent balance between creamy, oily, fullness and dry, toasted goodness. The finish develops into sweet dryness that takes on a hint of tangy citrus and sweet brown sugar qualities.

D: A fantastically sessionable brown ale that hits all the right marks and manages to be an immensly satisfying beer while following a simple and tidy course.

GbVDave, Aug 24, 2008
Photo of ibashmuck
3.25/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Purchased as part of "build-your-own-six-pack" at local grocer. Poured a small foamy head on a dark amber body. Smelled floral, very sweet, and very caramelly. Taste was exactly the same, with medium hoppiness. Coffee flavor poked through as it warmed. Came across as kinda flat. Admittedly, this is not one of my favorite styles, but I really didn't find anything overly exciting about it.

ibashmuck, Aug 23, 2008
Photo of changeup45
3.13/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark brown body with a nice tan head with some staying power and a nice bit of lacing. A pretty good Brown ale with a good compliment of a spicey hoppy flavor with sweet malty notes. It is however a little too sweet and sugary. It's a decent beer though and I wouldn't pass one up if offered.

changeup45, Aug 23, 2008
Photo of thekevlarkid
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Khaki colored head dissipated quickly. Barely retains a tiny ring that laces surprisingly well for as lacking as it is. Clear cherry wood color. Soft sweet malt aroma, augmented by a fresh leather hint with very, very subtle hops undertones beneath. More depth in the flavors than the aroma suggests. Roasted/toasted grains, toffee and caramel notes. Nicely balanced. Moderate to high carbonation with a good but not great mouthfeel. The hops finish is pronounced and pleasantly cutting. A very good brown ale.

thekevlarkid, Aug 20, 2008
Photo of eweneek83
4.28/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a perfect dark amber, not quite see through, and very thin lacing that dissipates quickly.

Smell - a very chocolately smell. Roasted hops and a burnt cocoa. No alcohol smell at all.

Taste - a faint chocolate taste with a great, bold brown ale taste. Roasted hoppiness come through perfectly, no beery taste whatsoever. this one taste really good, hard to explain.

Mouthfeel - Carbonated perfectly! a refreshing aftertaste that makes you wanna go in for another drink. This stuff is damn good!

Drinkability - This one is very drinkable because it tastes so damned good, it's a bit heavy which keeps it from being perfect, but wow, I'm impressed! a great Brown Ale.

eweneek83, Aug 20, 2008
Photo of Biggness
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this on cask this evening @ once and for all. It pours a browninsh amber with a slight white head. The smell is of nuts and malts. The flavor is very nice with a nice nutty flavor, this cask was dry hopped so you get a nice hop flavor as well, there is also alof of nice malt flavors to fill this beer. The mouthfeel is very pleasant and this is a very drinkable cask, well done!

Biggness, Aug 17, 2008
Photo of williamherbert
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Not much head. Mahogany reddish brown. Dishsoap film on top. Cloudy with a thick haze.

The smell is nutty with a mild roasted malt. Some molasses/toffee sweetness. Mild but nicely balanced. Very very mild coffee bitterness. Not bad.

Nice caramel molasses sweetness at first sip. More bitter malty notes toward the end. Some grainy barley, with a bitter aftertaste. A tinge of alcohol, minor metallic taste.

The feel is gritty and chewy, but also creamy and milky. Leaves a milky film. A nice, gritty brown ale. Full of flavors, though they are a tad on the rough/harsh side. Still, not bad.

williamherbert, Aug 15, 2008
Photo of Seanibus
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A pretty good brown ale, all in all. Pours translucent brown with a medium head and nice lacing. The smell is fairly strong, solidly dark malt. The flavor is pleasant and slightly sweet, with a nice roasted malt base - a little smoke, a little wood. There is a pleasing astringency on the finish that clings ever so slightly to the tongue. This is a highly drinkable brown ale, as comfortable, dependable, and mellow as an old brown dog.

Seanibus, Aug 15, 2008
Photo of pwoods
3.4/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to tprokop7 for this extra.

12oz. brown bottle poured into a SA pint. Best before 12/08

A: Pours a light bronze with decent visibility. 1/2 finger light khaki head forms and has a bit of retention. Not much lacing.

S: Sweet caramel malts with a bit of rustic wood notes.

T/M: More of the sweet caramel malts mixed with some amber lager flavors. Some floral hops balance a bit and dry the beer out some. A bit of butterscotch in the tail end that play behind a lightly nutty, toffee character. Body is medium with average carbonation.

D: Decent brew with moderate alcohol. Not interesting enough for me to session though it'd be a candidate.

pwoods, Aug 13, 2008
Photo of guzzle211
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours brown with a hint of orange, crystal clear. Not much head to speak of, but it was poured rather gently. Little to no lacing.

Nose is malty, very slight hint of chocolate and roasted malt. Even fainter hint of hops is present.

T/M: malt dominates, with hints of toasted malt, fruits such as raisin and prune, with a slightly sweet finish. Mouthfeel is pleasant and standard for a brown ale, however with such a complex taste one might expect fuller mouthfeel. Carbonation lasts throughout.

D: this goes great with a wide varieties of food, and would be a solid session on its own.

This is one of those beers that is a classic example of true-to-style American craft beer, (even though its an English Brown Ale.) Its well done, with surprising subtleties.

guzzle211, Aug 03, 2008
Photo of blackie
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: pours a low khaki head that shows moderate retention, the beer is a deep cherry brown in color

s: moderately sweet amber malts make up the bulk and give notes of toffee, also carries aromas of green wood and fresh nuts, big english hop presence smells of earth and dry pine, complex for the style and well executed

m: carbonation just under medium, with a medium body, a little too clingy in the finish

t: on the malty side but not without a perfectly balanced hop bite, opens with amber barleys and notes of toffee, light roasts come out in the finish, mild bitterness

d: easy, a quality example of the style

part of a mixed 12 from Whole Foods Reston, by which I've been nothing less than impressed (the mix-pack, the whole foods is relatively weak), notched as best by November '08

blackie, Jul 31, 2008
Photo of russpowell
4.53/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Cheers to jwc215, thanks Joe!

Pours an effervescent caramel/brown with 2 fingers of rocky cream/sand colored head. Great lacing & head retention

S: Toasty malt & faint kiss of leafy hops

T: Toasty malt, caramel, dryness & some toffee up front. Dryness & toastyness carry the day as this warms. Finishes toasty with slight grainyness & some cocoa & herbal hops

MF: Smooth, medium bodied with great balance & nice malt depth

This drank way too easy, very nice English brown!

russpowell, Jul 27, 2008
Photo of CrellMoset
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle from Whole Foods in Charlottesville, VA. Poured into a Blue Mountain Brewery pint glass.

Appearance: Deep ruby brown, with a one-finger head that's slightly off-white, has decent retention, and leaves patchy lacing in its wake. Sparse carbonation, but very true to style.

Aroma: Very mild, perhaps too mild, but what is there is nice. Caramel and toast - a nice range of roasted malts - and some light, citrusy hops round things off.

Taste: Big Malt (TM). First up is some toasted, grainy biscuityness, followed by lighter malts - caramel, pale malt, very nice. Some slight fruity esters are present as a nice surprise. There's some mild balancing bitterness present, but this one's really all about the malt bill.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bubbled, full, and medium-bodied, but also even, smooth, and creamy. Perhaps a little too carbonated, but that's ok.

Drinkability: Great! Very complex in the flavor department with a really full and interesting malt bill. Low in alcohol. Kicks Newcastle's butt.

CrellMoset, Jul 20, 2008
Photo of Jerico
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - brown! It's a deep iced-tea type of color, pours with almost no head at all.

S - Malty, hints of brown sugar, and maybe a touch of raisin.

T/M/D - low on carbonation, but a bit chewy on the tongue, but smooth and relatively light tasting. It doesn't bombard the taste buds and the taste doesn't linger too long. Not bad!

Jerico, Jul 16, 2008
Photo of geexploitation
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a tight, fresh-looking head atop a body of light molasses brown. Wonderful aroma redolent of bread crust, rich caramel malts, and some light, earthy hops. Just a touch, not offputting, of band-aid. On the palate, surprisingly thick on the tongue, with light carbonation. The first impression is of sweet malts, followed by a crusty baked note and a parting note of herbal bitterness. Overall, this is an excellent example of an English brown ale, although I would have appreciated a bit less alcohol and a bit more sessionability. Still, very well done.

geexploitation, Jul 16, 2008
Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale from Smuttynose Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 2,166 ratings.