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.
very good

2,162 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,162
Reviews: 906
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 11.2%
Wants: 79
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: 2,162 | Reviews: 906 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mzwolinski
3.48/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I found this to be a rather uninspired beer, right from the start. For starters, it's amber in color, defintely not brown, and the head is thin and spotty at best. The aroma was slightly roasty, but mostly malty sweet, and a bit sickly at that. The taste is inoffensive, but unexciting as well. Sweet malt with a bit of roastiness and hop bitterness at the finish, but without any real depth or character. Thinnish in the mouth, and sweet in the finish. Not a bad beer, but not one I would go back to by any means.

mzwolinski, Jul 27, 2004
Photo of GCBrewingCo
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer arrived on the bar a clear amber brown with a low tan long lasting head which laced the glass.

The aroma was chocolate, caramel, and coffee.

The flavor was choclate with slight caramel and coffee present.

The finish was dry with chocolate and coffee lasting into the aftertaste. The body was medium to medium full.

Pint at CAH Innsbrook.

GCBrewingCo, Jul 25, 2004
Photo of NEhophead
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Creamy 1" off white head that holds due to visible carbonation. Decent cascading lace throughout the glass. A dark red color with a tone of light brown.

Mild roasted-malt sweetness. A few minor caramel aromas as well, but nothing really overpowering.

Sweet malt flavors along with a faint caramel and nuttiness. A lot of carbonation up front that IMO takes away a bit from the ale's natural flavors. It finishes a bit dry and slices through the bitterness.

A little overly carbonated (this would be a nice treat on cask though). Medium bodied, smooth, and not overly sweet.

Very drinkable and pleasant. A session beer IMO. Nothing great but nothing average about this one either.

NEhophead, Jul 22, 2004
Photo of taez555
4.43/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beer poured a ruby/tan body with a white head

The nose was beautiful rich malt. A few hints of soft fruit and caramel as well. Basically though malt.

The taste was medium bodied. Rich slightly burnt malt taste. Caramel, some soft hints of chocolate. A very nice even bitterness that balances well with a very soft earth hop taste. Really the story of this beer though is the malt. Malt, malt, malt. The roasted barley flavor actually almost gives it a slight porter taste. It ends malty with a quick bitterness.

This is really a fantastic session beer. Simple, malty, smooth and very balanced. I think I’ll have another one.

taez555, Jul 05, 2004
Photo of BadBadger
3.05/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This "Brown Ale" pours a rather nice dark amber color. There is a moderate foamy head which lasts for a bit. The smell is rather nondescript. The taste starts out pleasant enough, a fine balance of sweet malts and hops. But there is a disgusting metallic residue on the tongue. I can not recommend this ale, with so many others out there to be enjoyed.

BadBadger, May 31, 2004
Photo of merlin48
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, brown, "iced tea" body with a skimpy beige head that disappears in seconds. Minimal patch lace is left behind.

Aroma is subdued, with notes of toffee malt and floral hops.

Mouthfeel has spritzy carbonation and a mild hops zing on the tongue.

Taste begins with chocolate malt and chicory nuttiness. Hops are adequate to bitter this out, but difficult to pinpoint any particular hops flavor(or aroma). Finish is slightly bitter, and seems a bit thin.

I'm just not a fan of American brown ales. I find them boring, and without many redeeming qualities. This one, like most others, is very similar to the modern Pete's Wicked Ale, and there's just not much going on here.

merlin48, May 25, 2004
Photo of psyco1
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It poured a translucent deep brown with a thin light tan head that dissipated quickly.

The smell was first of a nuttyness, then some sourness and a bit of carmel.

The sourness came through first, then carmel/malt and at last, a bit of hops with the sourness throughout until I got about halfway through, then I stopped noticing it.

I think it could be a decent session beer, especially if the alternatives were macros.

psyco1, May 14, 2004
Photo of longpondbeerman
3.6/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brown ale poirs a deep but dull beer bottle brown (how appropriate), and there is very little by way of appreciable head. The aroma is of nutty, almond malts, with slight tartness lurking somewhere in the background. The taste is pretty much in concord with the way this ale smells. The tartness is a touch more evident, but the brew is dominated by the smoky malts. The mouthfeel has a medium body supported by light carbonation, and the finish is almost sweet.

longpondbeerman, May 13, 2004
Photo of mattcrill
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass with a nice head that quickly disappearted. Deep amber red in color. Smells great! Taste was a little too light for me as a stand-alone beer. However, I really started enjoying it after I paired it with my black angus steak off the grill! It's a nice beer to have throughout the meal. A good representation of a brown ale. Good to have on hand but just not my "perfect" beer.

mattcrill, May 09, 2004
Photo of ppoitras
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12ozer, purchased at Luke's Super Liquors, Yarmouth, MA, on Cape Cod, for enjoying at the hotel on the beach.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, 1/4" latte-hued head formed, which quickly faded to a layer of foam. Laced well. Brew is a reddish amber hue and has a heavy malty aroma with undertones of hops, maybe a bit of smoke, and that slight underlying alcohol essence. Taste is well balanced with malt and hops, but the malt is victorious with more pronounced flavors, like the slight coffee and smoke. Mouthfeel excellent, drinkability not a problem, keeps you wanting more, for sure.

ppoitras, May 09, 2004
Photo of Billolick
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Ginger man NYC, Pours light brown and clear. Minimal off white head, heavy lacing. Malty nose. Malt carries the day, as it should in this style. Crisp carbonation in the nose. Mellow brown ale, delicate flavors. Smooth and satisfying. Decent stuff. Quaffer to be enjoyed with a summer BBQ

Billolick, May 08, 2004
Photo of tar
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Part of a sampler 12 pack brought to me as a gift by my roommates. Pours a semi-opaque, medium brown with red highlights when held in light. The half inch thick, white head, slowly diminishes and lingers as a thin layer of bubbles which is slowly fed by rising carbonation. Smells sweet and malty--primarily of caramel. Very smooth, medium bodied with a very good taste. Malt flavors, and again especially that of caramel dominate. Some bitterness is present in a very nice finish. A very nice beer overall.

tar, Apr 29, 2004
Photo of david23
4.75/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a case where a brew looks as good as it tastes. Pours a deep brown with a creamy tannish head that lingers.Aroma of rich malt and grains. Almost reminds me of walking through the grainery in my old home town. This is all about the best use of grain to produce a great tasting, smooth drinking Brown that leaves you wanting more.Unfortunately, I just drank the last bottle and the stores are close. There's always tommorrow. Surpassed some of my old favorites in choice.

david23, Apr 24, 2004
Photo of bewley
4.38/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

"Olive" appears to be sitting on a leopard skin shawl draped across a wooden barrel. Curious that.

I like this beer.

It pours a thick creamy/white head that dissipates quickly. Medium carbonation. Nice hoppy-burnt-caramel flavor.

This is an easy brew to drink at any time: with a spicy curry, with cookies, with cornflakes.

We tried this on tap and in the bottle and enjoyed both.

Worth a try by all means.

bewley, Apr 22, 2004
Photo of TerryW
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cloudy medium brown, no real head to speak of, only spotty lace early on. Points for good colour.

Sweet mild malt and caramel aroma. Quite pleasant.

Great use of malt in this beer. Gentley sweet, full of grain and nuts. Real nice on the palate.

An interesting beer to drink. Very enjoyable. Reminds me of Dead Guy Ale by Rogue. Worth a try.

TerryW, Apr 13, 2004
Photo of oberon
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a medium brown with amber highlights thru out not much head but that wasnt expected or hoped for.Aroma was chocolat and more chocolate with an underlying nuttiness to it,very appetizing.Taste is to me of malted chocolate balls with a fruitiness in the finish.A true to form brown ale appetizing and very easy to drink,well done.

oberon, Apr 12, 2004
Photo of MuddyFeet
3.03/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer was tough to pour without creating a lot of head. The color is that of stained wood and there is a little lace around the glass. The beer tastes like the smell of woodstain unfortunately. It's not bad, but comes off as tasting a bit acidic. The beer was bottled recently, but I think it may be better to either drink off the tap or let it age a while. It still tastes kind of green to me.

MuddyFeet, Apr 06, 2004
Photo of jtfest
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Love the label ...

A thin tan head graces this cola colored ale -- perhaps a bit more amber tinted than a true cola. A malty bread & biscuit aroma reminded me of buttered toast. The mouthfeel was almost chewy -- thick but not heavy, it felt good on the palate with just a tingle of carbonation. The taste was slightly sweet and very clean, somewhat meaty, with a toasted flavor and peppery aftertaste. This was a very enjoyable and easy drinking ale. I really enjoyed this Smutty offering.

jtfest, Mar 24, 2004
Photo of Gavage
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear brown color with an 1 inch head. The head did not last to long and no lacing developed. The aroma was mild as some malt and caramel tones were evident. The flavor was nice as malt, caramel, and a tiny hint of chocolate were touched with some light roastiness. Very little bitterness. Carbonation level was somewhat weak. The mouthfeel was smooth and this was on the lighter side of a medium bodied brew. Nicely drinkable as the flavors keep this interesting.

Gavage, Mar 18, 2004
Photo of Stimack
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This brew poured to a very nice brown amber color with a very small light brown head that broke down to hardly no lacing at all. Looks to have a nice amount of carbonation as I can see a good deal of bubbles coming up the side of the glass.

The aromas from this brew are of malt, brown sugar, caramel and a fruity hop essence. The malt aroma is much more over powering than the rest of the scents, over all a excellent smelling brew!

The taste is almost like candy, as it is very sweet and smooth. Can definitely notice a Fruit taste from the hops with a ending of the caramel that I was able to pick up earlier.

Overall I must say that I like the brew, very sweet and that is what would be its downfall for a brew that I could have a lot of in one setting. It is a very nice offering from Smuttynose and one to look for!

Stimack, Mar 15, 2004
Photo of WVbeergeek
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Ruby chestnut brown with a decent sized quickling dwindling off white cream head, leaves scattered lacing. Aroma: Very nice mix of roasted malts giving of toasted nuts and caramel and chocolate tones nice creamy edge, very mild hops. Taste: Full on cohesion between a sharp malt sweetness caramel and mild alcohol note finishes with hazelnuts wrapped in milk chocolate nice. Mouthfeel: Medium to light bodied ale, great feeling smooth on the palate. Drinkability: One of the better brown ales in my opinion beats Brooklyn brown.

WVbeergeek, Feb 24, 2004
Photo of smcolw
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark amber or light burnt brown, with a nice tight head that dissipates reasonably. Malty chocolate aroma with a touch of hop and yeast.

The taste is unsweetened cocoa followed by a balancing hop bite. This bite lasts through the swallow. Moderate to high carbonation, the body is fuller than most brown ales. Quenching and flavorful.

smcolw, Feb 19, 2004
Photo of RBorsato
3.63/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Brown with tons of suspended sediment, a low light brown head, low carbonation, and no lace. Light hoppy aroma at first changes to a non-descript dark malt aroma. Decent malt-hop balanced American Brown Ale but definitely more malty. Medium bodied with a dry bitter (?) finish.

Although this one should not have gone downhill this fast, I would like to taste a fresher version because this one just had nothing outstanding.

Per Smuttynose website:
OG: 1060
Grain Bill: Pale Brewers, Munich, Crystal 60°L, Chocolate
Hops: Cascade, Willamette
IBU's: 15

1989 GABF - Silver - American Brown Ale

Bottled In: 09/03
Tasted: 01/29/04

RBorsato, Jan 30, 2004
Photo of CharlesRiver
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours out a clear brown color with a small head. The smell is malty and very sweet. The taste is actually more complex than I expected. Hints of malt, chocolate, raisins and also a touch of coffee. The ending seems to add a bit of hops but not much. I love this beer on tap. The bottle seems to have something a bit more tart to it, not sure where that is coming from. A solid offering from Smuttynose.

CharlesRiver, Jan 23, 2004
Photo of yankeeheel
3.18/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Here's the deal, I want to love Smuttynose. Everything in my being desires to support them and to drink them constantly. However, they always seem to taste like they're just they're one step short of making a really great beer. Brown Dog is no exception.

Pours a clear brown with a two finger eggshell colored head. Smells nice and caramely with a hint of toasted nut.

Tastes quite nutty and buttery with some hints of a slighlty darker malt in the middle. The problem is it finishes very soapy. I can't explain but is has a bit of detergent mouthfeel to it. Body is good and it's drinkable, but the ending is rather unfinished and bizzare.

yankeeheel, Jan 22, 2004
Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale from Smuttynose Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 2,162 ratings.