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Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale - Smuttynose Brewing Company

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,306 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,306
Reviews: 924
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 11.2%
Wants: 93
Gots: 224 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 05-07-1998

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,306 | Reviews: 924 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of dedrinker
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mahogany color with an off-white head. Aroma of brown malt and a little caramel. The head was thin but persistent, and clung to the glass; showing each previous water-mark that I had last drank from. Flavor was fairly two dimensional with some caramel and mildest hazelnut. Finished slightly sweet with a medium body. An easy conversation beer.

Photo of athensbeermaster
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured this in a Eichen crystal large red wine glass. Some small patchy lacing on the glass. The nose had hints of toffee and brown sugar. The mouthfeel was med. body. The Taste was very unique
starting with a burst of dark fruit and caramelized sugar, that leads into a spicy hop punch and finishes with a oaky semi-dry finish.
Give these guys props for not going crazy with the hops and not being to sweet with the malts. This beer would go well with grilled red meat.

Photo of Rudgers73
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this expectedly at Tully's in Batavia, NY.

Pours a cola brown, solid inch tan head that slowly settles to a thin cover. Mild carbonation. The aroma is full, rich, sweet and smooth along with the flavor. Rich sugary malts up front with a very well balanced hop finish. Perfect english brown ale: malty and rich with a subtle, yet apparent aroma hop added to keep the sweetness in check. A great brown ale IMO.

Photo of sinistrsam
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured a rich red-brown out of a 12 oz. bottle and had a small white head.
The aroma was a good balance of brown sugar, sweet malts and mild fruits; not just the brown sugar so many browns have in the nose.
The taste was also a great balance of sweet fruits and caramel malts; I think this is the toughest thing abotu making a good brown and I must say I'm impressed with SN in this department.
Although the feel was a bit flat/watery, the play of sweet and semi-bitter roast was great.
Overall one of the better browns I've had, and another excellent brew from SN.

Photo of jmalex
3.69/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

From a Smuttynose mix case that I bought for a trip to Maine. I've had this before on tap and it was delicious.

APPEARANCE: Pours a clear reddish brown with golden highlights into a shaker pint glass. The head barely forms and at its height is a thin collar with a very small bubbly patch. I expected a bit more.

SMELL: Smells vaguely of chocolate and caramel with a mild toastiness. Aromas are not too intense but are in line with style. Hop aroma is non-existent.

TASTE: Much more toasty - so much so that it becomes the dominant flavor. It lasts completely through to the finish too. Otherwise it's accompanied by bittersweet chocolate and toffee. A bit of diacetyl sneaks through as well.

MOUTHFEEL: The body is medium to medium-light and appropriate. The carbonation is definitely low for my liking however.

DRINKABILITY: A very easy drinking that goes down like nothing. That's exactly what you'd want from an English Brown. The ABV is very reasonable too, so you could have a nice session with this.

I'm not sure if my bottle was a fluke or if it's normally carbonated like this. I wish it was a bit more, but it's still a nice tasting beer. Certainly worth drinking if you like the style.

Photo of stereosforgeeks
4.02/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Mildy cloudy amber color. Full light brown head. Thin retention. No lacing.

Smell: Almonds, caramel, light hops, toffee.

Taste: Starts off sweet and caramel/toffee flavored. The almond comes in next followed by the hops in the finish. Everything is nicely balanced.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Slick on the tongue. Good carbonation.

Drinkability: Great session beer.

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

Pours a deep mahogany with a creamy, beige head that reduces fairly quickly but leaves a nice lacing behind. Pleasant smells of caramel and, it seems, perhaps candied dates and figs. The taste is a knockout -- sweet, toasty malts, again reminiscent of candied dark fruits and toffee. Hints of alcohol and a nice little hoppy twinge in the finish. Satisfying medium-bodied mouthfeel. I could certainly drink this all night. An outstanding brown ale -- one I feel lucky to be able to find regularly living in New England.

Photo of Leon
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Brown ale was my original favorite craft beer style, mostly due to the former and much-missed incarnation of Pete's Wicked Ale.

That brew to my palate combined a sweet, rich roasted malt flavor with what I can best describe as a slight but quite savory edge of blackcurrant.

Once Pete's sold out -- no, to be frank it was even before that -- I stopped buying it. Just wasn't the same, and I've mostly steered clear of browns since then because I can't find that same irresistable combination. (Otter Creek Copper Ale is sort of close to what I'm talking about, but of late the recipe seems a bit watered down.)

Anyway: Smuttynose Old Brown Dog.

This is a solid brew, one that sparks the word "structured" in my mind. There's not a ton of body but it delivers a solid dose of roasted malt flavor - a good balancing act by the brewmaster for sure.

The tasting experience, again, screams "structure." Upon first sip the malts bloom to life on the tongue but you can sense the pingy hops lying in wait. They strut in after the malt along with a breeze of carbonation for a tight, clean finish.

You have to down this one when it warms up a bit, though. There's really no point in drinking it straight from the icebox.

Photo of argock
3.58/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served on-tap in a clear pint glass

A: Dark amber color with ample tan head and some lace

S: Faint buttery caramel with faint yeast

T: A little underwhelming but not unpleasant -- just wish it had a little more oomph. Roasted malts with chocolate and not overly sweet buttery caramel flavors are dominant with a vague hops finish. I enjoyed the flavor but it seemed stronger tastes would have been even better.

M: A bit thin with pretty heavy carbonation. A little more body would wear well on this beer.

D: Easy to drink -- almost too easy which I think is a reflection of its thin, light body.

Photo of brdc
3.55/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown brew with a fading tan head, and not much of a lacing.
Pleasant but limited aroma, some toffee and coffee, not a lot else.
Nice velvety body, but the taste is also limited, with the same expected nuances from the aroma. Mostly sweetish, but ends dry.
Pleasant, but rather simple.

Photo of BDIMike
3.6/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Just had this at the Publick House in Boston last night. Was definitely and above average beer. I ordered a burger and asked the waiter for a good compliment. He advised a brown ale and I tried this one. It was very smooth, but did not have a terribly strong taste. Very drinkable, but not a lot of punch to this Brown ale..

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

Perhaps my favorite brown ale--a smooth but rewarding session beer with a slightly creamy mouthfeel. This is what I want when I drink a brown ale--a little sweetness, a little bit of hops, a tinge of caramel and spiciness, traces of a few other flavors...just a nice balanced beer that has some complexity (some rich fruit flavors are present, but don't overwhelm you), but that is soft spoken about its flavors. A winner.

BTW--If you like Grotten Brown, try Old Dog, or if you like Old Dog, give Grotten Brown a shot.

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

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams tasting glass. This beer poured out a clear, dark amber/light maple syrup color, with a big, beige head. The aroma was bready and sweet, with some light roastiness and a hint of chocolate.

The taste contained roastiness, wheat bread, chocolate, and a touch of coffee. The mouthfeel was somewhere between light and medium.

The drinkability was very good. This beer is surprisingly smooth and very easy to drink.

Photo of WJVII
3.59/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

My fiance wanted me to buy this beer because of the "brown dog" on the bottle (looks like our chocolate lab) so I did. I enjoy brown ale's so I figured it was worth a try.

It had a nice amber color when pouring into a pint glass, but little head. It had a nice nutty and faint chocolate smell. It had decent mouth feel, but the after taste was not great. Was it worth the $8.50 for the six pack, not really, but it was worth a try.

Photo of BBM
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a rusty brown color with minimal head. Aroma was nutty, with traces of chocolate and an earthiness.

This is an extremely flavorful and well-balanced brown ale. The sweet nutty flavor is complimented by a subdued hop profile and a nice dry, dark chocolate flavor. Mouthfeel is medium and creamy, not too carbonated. A very drinkable brown ale, at that. Perfect beer to kick back and relax with.

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

Smuttynose Old Brown Dog is an easy to drink mellow brown ale with a lime citrus hop that's in the flavor and aroma. Many have found a fondness for it after the very first bottle they try. A mellow chocolate malt and a fig fruitiness round out the flavor and aroma profile. The carbonation has a smooth medium mouthfeel and is great right out of the bottle. Pairs excellently with anything roasted as the caramelized flavors match while the carbonation and lime citrus clear the palate for the next bite. A dessert match would be chocolate pecan pie. Also a great beer to session with and stick to for the length of any party, bbq, boat trip, camping trip etc. etc. etc.... Very consistent whether sampled on-tap, bottled or growler. A NH classic.

Photo of Georgiabeer
3.6/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a chestnut brown with an okay head that fades to a ring. The smellis malty, dry, and maybe just a little nutty. The same dry malt is present in the taste, as is the nuttiness. There is also a touch of caramel and raisins. A hint of sweetness in the taste, but nicely restrained. Smooth mouthfeel, dry rather than creamy. Nice mellow brown, very pleasant and drinkable.

Photo of Atlas1
4.07/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Haven't had too many bad brews from the folks at Smuttynose, and it's been quite a while since I had an Old Brown Dog. So I decided to pick up a single the other day at the beer store for the sole purpose of reviewing it over the weekend. Gotta love sundays.

Pours a nice looking amber/brown color, with a fat two-finger faintly off-white head that forms at the top of the glass and lingers for a while. Gives some good lace as well as it recedes. The aroma is a classic brown ale smell: nutty, with some smooth malt character and distant hints of chocolate and coffee. This aroma is subtle, but really nice. The taste follows suit, serving up some subtle nut and coffee flavors, with a slightly fruity (cherries and raspberries) background. Mouthfeel is layered, but smooth, with a nice bitter finish. An exceedingly drinkable beer. I am so glad that there are some fine American craft breweries out there doing styles like this very well. This is a great brown ale, and both fans and skeptics of the style should give this one a try. This would go great in a rich Autumnal beef stew, and would make an excellent beer-burger as well.

Photo of Jmamay22
3.92/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Produces a thin off white head that settles to nearly no head. Looks like a standard brown ale should, that is it is brown.

Smell: Certainly smells sweet and malty. I can sense a hint of butterscotch, which is absolutely delightful.

Taste: Tastes of toast grain and sweet malts. The hops serve to balance the brew and cut the malts, but does not add flavor. I absolutely love this beer’s malty finish.

Mouthfeel / Drinkability / Notes: Smooth and medium to light mouthfeel. Moderately carbonated. It’s an easy drinker and a solid offering by Smuttynose. If I was a bigger fan of brown ales I’d likely have this on hand regularly.

Photo of fank2788
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle best before 11/07, served in a pint glass
This one pours a very nice ruby tinged brown with a fairly thick off white head which dissipates slowly and leaves some lace. The smell is rich and malty with a touch of caramel, butterscotch, nuts and dates. The taste is a full malt profile ranging from some buttery light malts to caramels to a touch of roasted dark malt things stay sweet but are balanced by a sharp bitter finish provided by the hops whose flavor is very subdued. A fair bit of alcohol comes through as well. The mouthfeel in nice great full body with a pleasant finish that is not too dry or too sweet. Drinkability is good, maybe not my favorite English brown ale but still a top notch American made example of the style.

Photo of jbsteiny
3.97/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Yes, this beer pours very nicely -- a ruby brown with almost an inch of tan head. Large bubbles leave an explosive lace, which is retained fairly well as the beer disappears down my gullet...

Smells of all those delicious brown malt flavors -- candy sugar, chestnut, cocoa. Yum. The taste is very malty, with a tiny bit of fruity ester and bitter hop keeping it from being a dubbel. A little too boozy for the ABV -- I feel that with all of that malt, it should be better hidden. I guess that's what's keeping me from saying that this is my favorite brown ale ever. Oh well -- it ranks up there -- if only it were a little more drinkable...

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

Thanks goes out to TheManiacalOne for this brew.

Pours a nice slightly cloudy dark golden brown color, nice carbonation, tiny fizzy off-white head, some sticky lacing follows. The nose is malty, toasty, and some caramel. The taste is a nice toasted malty flavor, with a good dose of caramel. Medium body. Drinkable, a nice little Brown Ale. Glad to have had a chance to try it out.

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

I bought a six-pack of this one because it sells very well in my store (I work at a local grocer). It pours a tad darker than I would expect from a brown ale, though my only real basis is from New Castle. LIke other brown ales, it has a slight nuttiness to it that is welcomed by the taste buds. Of the multiple beers I've tried, I would have to say this is one of the most drinkable I've had except for maybe Boddington's Pub Ale which if I'm not mistaken is supposed to be quaffable. For anyone looking for a nice ale, this Smuttynose is a great choice. (I've even recommended it to a few customers)

Photo of msubulldog25
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured to standard pint, "best before" notched - July 2007. 'Olive', the old brown dog, posed for the label.

A: Fizzy, crackling ivory head. Starts at a finger or so then rapidly descends to a half-cover of film and a pencil-thin ring. Strong rising carbonation. Color is lighter than most brown ales I've tried, more a garnet or auburn hue. Seems pale, but still a good color and generally a pretty attractive beer.

S: Decent nuttiness and a fair amount of toasted sweet grain. A dash of holiday spice, a little cream and sugar. Malts dominate, a sweeter aroma.

T: Subtle roasted nuts back a malty, husky grain flavor of lightly toasted cereal (oats & barley). An oddly leather flavor comes out with some fruit/citric acidity in the finish.

M: Starts a bit thin with the first sip, then develops to fuller, medium-ish mouthfeel. Crisp carbonation with a dry, bittered finish.

D: Nice to drink - a likable, sipping brown ale. I enjoyed how the mouthfeel developed and definitely liked the lasting toasty bitterness. A good one that I'd like to have again. Thanks, John.

Photo of mcarroll10177
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

This is a great beer to session. Dark chesnut brown with off white head. This beer did not have much of a nose, but what was there was a nice smell of malt. The taste followed up the nose lots of malts with a crisp clean dry finish. Spot on for the style. The mouthfeel was a bit on the thin side and the drinkablity as with all good ales in this style is exceptional. An easy drinker that I will have again.

Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale from Smuttynose Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 2,306 ratings.