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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
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: 2,227 | Reviews: 909 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Foxman
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It pours a ruby brown, almost like cherry wood, reasonably clear and fairly carbonated. A finger of tight white head settles soon, and the lacing spirals the inside of the glass.

The aroma carries a nutty tanginess, with cocoa and dark cherry along for the ride. A mild spiciness glitters along the edges.

Upon tasting, the roasted malt is sweet and earthy, with a nutty edge that counters a darker fruit presence. A light chocolate note partners a doughy yeastiness as things progress. The hops present as a mild, drying bitterness as opposed to any real favlor component. The finish sees a bit of residual malt sweetness sliding into a pleasant lintering bitterness. The flavor is everything you'd expect of a solidly crafted brown ale.

Between light and medium bodied, it runs off the palate more thinly than might be expected.

Once again, Smuttynose comes through with a solid, enjoyable beer that seems to nail the style it's aiming for. It's got the earthy nuttiness you'd expect, and while the aroma is a bit sparse, the flavor makes up for that. It's very drinkable, with an aftertaste that's a joy. It seems these folks just can't manage to do very much wrong. Good dog!

Foxman, Aug 29, 2006
Photo of bklynbeerbaron
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On tap at Lazy Boy Saloon, White Plains, poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: A rich chestnut-brown color with a thinly bubbled white head that still managed to lace all the way down the glass.

Smell: A mild sweet and nutty aroma.

Taste and mouthfeel: The sweetness from the malt hits right away, with a subdued bitterness from the hops to prevent it from being too sweet. Nice roasted hazelnut flavor that lingers through to the finish. Mouthfeel is a bit oily and the carbonation is minimal - could stand to be a little crisper.

Drinkability: Just an easy drinker, good for a session or a meal partner.

Notes: Nothing fancy, just sturdy and tasty, like a good brown ale should be.

bklynbeerbaron, Aug 25, 2006
Photo of NeroFiddled
3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
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!

NeroFiddled, Aug 20, 2006
Photo of BabaJohn
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice deep brown with some reddish hints and a pleasing tan head, but only after vigorous pouring. Nose has that brown ale sourness but complimented by some nice grapelike malt aromas and some earthy, nutty, seedy stuff in the background. Pretty well balanced first taste, almost hard to get a read as all of the above mentioned flavors take their turns vying for dominance. Actually makes it fairly interesting. Malts became more pronounced in the aftertaste followed by the hops. Both were fairly strong in their own right. A nice creamy mouth feel as well. Definitely not a killer alcohol-wise and I feel as if, though strong in taste, it doesn’t blow your taste buds. I could have more. All in all, definitely more hops than I expected, bordering on weak IPA levels. This is a tasty brew and the hound on the label is quite handsome as well.

BabaJohn, Aug 17, 2006
Photo of boulevard2
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle with no freshness date.

Pours a smooth brown ale with no head and little retention. Scent of roasted nuts, caramel and chocolate through out. Feelin ready to bite down on a nice piece of BBQ chicken with this...oh ya this is it. The roasted caramel flavours compliment the BBQ flavour of the chicken. A true brown ale with the perfect amount of everything from Abv to roasted malts. Next to Brooklyn this is my fav! Thank you Mr. brown dog!

boulevard2, Aug 15, 2006
Photo of MuenchenerKindl
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a pint glass. The liquid is a clear brown with good carbonation. The head is 2 fingers thick, tan and rocky, it fades fast leaving not much lace.

The smell is Sweet, nutty and toasty.

The taste is good, malty, nutty and bready. The finish is bitter hops and nutty.

Mouthfeel is medium body, carbonation is OK, no bite in the finish.

Drinkability is good, but could be better. The sum of its parts are better then the whole. MK

MuenchenerKindl, Aug 08, 2006
Photo of cbl2
3.6/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

4/3/2005 $6.99 6 pack 5.70% Bottled February 2005.


Pours a slightly hazy brownish-orange with a thin film of white head on top.


Earthy and nutty in aroma with hints of cocoa and a mild herbaceousnous.


Medium bodied with a roasted nut flavor accompanied by a sweet malty presence. Finishes with a touch of hop bitterness (grassy). Easy to drink, though not exceptional. Worth trying, though not a go to beer.

cbl2, Aug 03, 2006
Photo of cokes
4.38/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear bronze adorned with a nicotine-stained lace.
A simple and enjoyable nose full of caramel-dribbled nuts.
At the onset, it is toffee towing impressions chocolate/carob, nut meat, and caramel. It dries in the middle with redskin peanut skins, though a wandering figgy fruitiness remains. Becomes more sere at the close, with hops contributions of dead weeds and rust.
Taut bodied, modestly charged, and throroughly drinkable.
A classy, classic brown ale, all the way.

cokes, Aug 03, 2006
Photo of Liquids
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours an amber, with a decent two finger, tinted off white head. Smells like and english brown but with some american hops...leaning toward american, but near balanced in aroma. Taste is multi-layered. Starts like a hoppy amber ale, then morphs into a bit of nutty brown flavor, and then leaves a husky ghost note of dark or roasted malt as it fades. It's balanced, but still leans toward hops, and the type of hop used is a little dominant making it taste like a strong amber over the browner, nuttier subtleties. Mouthfeel is on par and medium bodied, balanced, and lively. Invites drinking. I'm torn if this is too hoppy to imagine friends drinking it or not. It's a good drinker, I'd just rather something else.

Liquids, Jul 26, 2006
Photo of mnj21655
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Rich brown that is slightly opaque. Has a thick off-white head that is initially about a ½” but almost completely disappears by the end. Smell is slightly of caramel but roasted malts seem to dominate. Taste is mainly of sweet malts and some roasted malts. It is fairly simple (but certainly not in a bad way). Some carbonation, overall very smooth and light-bodied. This is not a complex brew (by any means) but that characteristic makes this a very drinkable beer. A good session beer, especially if you’re a fan of the style.

mnj21655, Jul 23, 2006
Photo of pbr85
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ouncer into an Arcadia pint glass
A: Nice semiopaque mahogeny brown. Head is a deep off white and pours out to about an inch and a half, and settles down to about half a finger.
S: Nice roasted wheat malts. Some subtle citrusy scents. Toffee.
T: Roasty malted wheat infused with cashew and almond. Not much else I can say about it, its not a complex brew.
M: Silky smooth, light on the tongue. Carbonation is low, but you can still feel it on the tongue. A little too watery for my tastes.
D: Lack of complexity and mouthfeel, along with a taste that would remain non offensive through a six pack or two, make this a great beer to drink. Have one, have a case, it will last. Well worth the try if you like the style.

pbr85, Jul 14, 2006
Photo of asabreed
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle in a pint glass.

Appearance: A nice dark amber body with a moderate amount of bubbles floating toward the top. After a slightly vigorous pour, the head stays at about 1/4" with some drooling lacing spilling down the sides of the glass.

Smell: Nice sweet malt, along with some caramel, and some toasted characteristics in there too. A bit of brown sugar. Slight amount of fruitiness also creeps in too. Evenly balanced and aromatic.

Taste: A bit of sourness from something, and I find that to be that way with a lot of Smuttynose brews. Maybe the hops or the water? Either way, I like it here, as I do with a lot of their non Big Beer series brews. There's some fruitiness, some sweet malt, some maple and toasted flavor, and finally some citrus hops to quell any overly sweet flavors. A nice stab at the style, and certainly one of the better ones I've tried.

Mouthfeel: Lots of tingly carbonation which pulls into some fullness for an evenly dispersed amount, with a slight amount of bubbles still lingering on the back of the tongue. Some may call this astringent, but whatever it's doing it's making the beer more interesting for me.

Drinkability: One of the better English browns I've had, domestic or import. A solid brew with a lot of flavor and one that could also probably be paired nicely with some good meal combinations. But still it's very good on its own.

asabreed, Jul 14, 2006
Photo of generationmy
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A pretty great brown ale... very tasty and satisfying. Mouthfeel is slightly slick... very yummy. All kinds of flavor to be had here. I could easily drink a few more of these. if i had 'em. Definite session material here. Great after a long days work!

generationmy, Jul 13, 2006
Photo of Rickery
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Great smell! Nutty, chocolaty, slight alcohol smell, rich and aromatic! Nice color medium to dark brown. When held up to light had an orange hue. Good head with lacing until I was done.

Taste: the smell, color and pour built me up for a let down with flavor. It was a good beer that did not live up to the tremendous smell. I could taste the alcohol. It seemed raw. It was good for an occasional beer but would get old with more than two.

Rickery, Jun 30, 2006
Photo of
3.58/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A crystal clear, light brown with slight copper color. Moderate head, with lacing until the end. Aroma was very mild, mainly yeast/bread with a slight whiff of alcohol. Taste was complex - burnt toast, caramel, a little heat/pepper from alcohol and light hops in finish/aftertaste. Mouthfeel was almost creamy. All in all a very drinkable beer.

, Jun 23, 2006
Photo of aluskungs
4.43/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Smack lipping good beer!

A little on the red side for a brown ale, but that's ok, we don't drink color. Good foam hugging the glass and a nice aroma of mollases and alcohol.

Good smooth carbonation with a great mouthfeel. Full flavor followed by an alcohol warmth (mild) and then a clean taste. Not heavy at all for a summer night.

A good beer any time of year. It's 91f here in Boston, at night! And I'm drinking a brown ale, go figure? Ready for another sip!

aluskungs, Jun 23, 2006
Photo of clabaugh
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a rich cedar color with some ruby hues. A creamy tan head rests on top, displaying some modest retention as it recedes to milky ring around the glass. Lacing is light.

Smell: Roasted nuts, faint chocolately malts, flour, and a subtle grassy hoppiness. Very mild and discreet in the nose, with malts predominating.

Taste: Very nutty with some residual chocolate flavors. Softly bitter owing to some strong roastiness and the leafy green hops. Diacetyl comes through in a not unpleasantly sweet finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, with a certain chewiness. The carbonation is fairly subdued, as the beer gently caresses the palate. Soothing to the tongue, and easy going down.

Drinkability: Offers a great deal in terms of flavor for the style. Quite easy to consume. Well-balanced, well-rounded, well done. Hand me another.

clabaugh, Jun 23, 2006
Photo of maundythirsty
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beautiful deep and clear mahogany color, with a thin khaki head and little to no lacing. Charred malt smell with a bitter sort of resiny hops, I think. I'd call it a touch of bile, but it's not really unpleasant...

Smooth combination of toasty dark malt and caramel. Sweet touch, like unfermented wort. Not much hop presence. Slight carbonation, loose mouthfeel that I thought would be creamier.

I like a brown ale, and OBDA is a good one. Not a masterpiece, but plenty good.

maundythirsty, Jun 15, 2006
Photo of akorsak
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a 12 oz bottle of Old Brown Dog Ale served in a DuClaw Celtic Fury tumbler. The ale is cold (straight from the fridge).

Appearance: The ale is a deep brown color that betrays reddish hints when held to light. There was a decent head on first pour that did not last long.

Smell: The ale has a pleasant, low-key nutty malt aroma. There is a slight hop presence, but not enough to detract from the malts.

Taste: The ale has a well-balanced flavor, with a nutty malt flavor taking control on the first sip. There is an earthy hop flavor that conjures up european varietals, but surprise, it is hopped with good ol' American varietals. Never ceases to amaze...

Mouthfeel: Very smooth and well-balanced, this ale is good for repeat sips.

Drinkability: I rate it higher than average as the abv is moderate and the well-balanced taste keeps one coming back for more.

akorsak, Jun 13, 2006
Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
3.78/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a brownish tinted amber color with some deep-red hues in dierect light. big carbonation provides liveliness and supports a 1/2" deep tan colored head that dissiptes moderaley.

The aroma's are that of nuts and oats with a cypress tree in the summer time malt scent, pretty meaty i.e roastbeef. Old oak furniture comes to mind with the blending of these aroma's. Mossy, wet-earthy hops with slight whiff of spice and zestiness.

This is a nice malt flavor with an earthy but peppery hop balance, le's get more specific...Hardwood, oakie and smokiness malt flavor, not burnt but smokey...like smoked meat. There's a very subtle brown sugar in the malt when the brew warms up to room temp. The hops come off as earthy, wet moss type thing but also zesty. Pretty good for a style that usually bore's me to death.

Medium bodied, livley with a kick and a smooth hefty finish.

A fine brown ale here folks.

GratefulBeerGuy, May 20, 2006
Photo of LarryV
3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

If you like malty beers, this one's for you. Small hops presence balances the malt to a nice profile, but is not there to be the star.
Dark amber color, almost opaque with a thin wispy head. Taste is malty toasted grain with hints of caramel and toffee. Mouthfeel is quite lush.

LarryV, May 12, 2006
Photo of ommegangpbr
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Chocolate flavored tootsie roll pops... tootsie rolls. Candy and soda. Not as dry as dry could be but dries up some. Not something you wanna sit and drink a six pack of but I'd get this again as an after dinner brew. A pretty tasty brown ale; might be more interesting if doubled up. Flirts with being a porter, just around the edges. Sticky.
Needs more dog.

ommegangpbr, May 08, 2006
Photo of scooter231
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a reddish brown color with a fair amount of head, no lacing. A nice ruby twinge going through it. Smells sweet and malty, hints of raisins and other dark fruits, maybe a bit of espresso. It's not the most aromatic ever, but it's there.

Taste is malty and barely fruity, with a nutty aftertaste to it. A little vanilla extract, a little coffee. It's not overpowering, not too sweet. Hop presence is just slightly there. Mouthfeel is a little watery but there are enough suds so it doesn't feel too thin. I could have a few of these, though I think the sweetness would start getting to me after a while. Still, a pretty tasty brew, probably would pair pretty well with a brunch kind of deal.

scooter231, May 07, 2006
Photo of RonfromJersey
4.33/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Darkish red body, topped by a thick slab of dense oatmeal-colored microbubbles. Some nice little bits of lacing.

Toasty aroma of bread and biscuits. Little subdued.

Taste is a deep semi-sweet caramel poured over toast, a kiss of dark chocolate.and a slowly building wash of earthy balancing hops, which hang aroud after the sweet toast is a happy memory. Beautiful balance overall, but the individual elements get a chance to shine.

Solid medium mouthfeel lets beer work with food or solo. Drinkability? Third one this evening, and I want more (should have bought two of the variety twelve packs).

I've recently rediscovered my fondness for brown ales, and this is a fine example. Smutty is mighty.

RonfromJersey, Apr 26, 2006
Photo of jwc215
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours hazed medium brown with a thin head that eventually dissipates to a ring, leaving only a slight trace of lacing.

The smell is of cocoa, hint of nuts, and the house yeast strain (which is itself pleasant).

The taste is of cocoa and lightly roasted maltiness. Some nuttiness mixes in. A mild hop presence balances some of the malty sweetness. Semi-sweet, malt-accented finish.

Light to medium bodied. Smooth.

A nice brown ale - pretty traditional, with a Smuttynose touch.

jwc215, Apr 12, 2006
Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale from Smuttynose Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 2,227 ratings.