1. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $14.99 (US/print only). Offer ends April 30. Subscribe now! (Because great beer deserves great stories AND readers.)

Smuttynose Really Old Brown Dog Ale - Smuttynose Brewing Company

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

687 Ratings
THE BROS
78
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 687
Reviews: 340
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 10.49%
Wants: 46
Gots: 77 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company visit their website
New Hampshire, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  11.10% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: cbl2 on 03-03-2007

Olive, iconic mascot & spirit guide of our brewery, first appeared on our Old Brown Dog label in 1994 & returned, thirteen years later, to pose for our Really Old Brown Dog, a luscious, malt-rich, full bodied “old ale” featuring deep notes of complex fruit. Much like our beloved Olive, this beer will mellow & age gracefully.

Formerly part of the Big Beer Series.

20 IBU

2007 - 7.0%
2008 - 9.3%
2010 - 10.9%
2014 - 11.1%
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
to view more.
Ratings: 687 | Reviews: 340
Photo of JackieTH
4.3/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Hazy dark tea-colored beer with a creamy cap of foam. Smells of rich caramel, butterscotch, chocolate and biscuit. Tastes of luscious caramel and malt, mild chocolates, oats, raisins, dried plums, lightly sweet but mostly dry, has creamy velvety mothfeel and medium to heavy bodied. I didn't notice the 11.1% ABV at all. Excellent beer, smooth, rich and creamy. Very enjoyable.

Photo of malt-ofthe-earth
4.81/5  rDev +23%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Now I’m sipping a Really Old Brown Dog and when I mean sipping, I mean slowly sipping, because whereas the Old is 6.7% ABV, this one is 11.1%. Like I said earlier when you weren’t reading, I’m a fan of Smuttynose, and I’ve been revisiting their beers and reviewing them here for posterity, although I might try a Founders or Sierra Nevada next to change things up a bit. I like how they, Smuttynose of course, clearly label each bottle with a date and ABV in white ink on the bottle itself. With the Old and Finestkind, the date is the one to drink by, but the Really Old is a bottle conditioned date, which is a nice touch, more like a vintage year kind of thing. Now this one was bottled in Nov 2014 so we’re not exactly talking Bordeaux yet, but a lot can happen in 5 months. But I’m still alive to tell you: now we’re talking! This is almost more mellow than the Old because it hides its alcohol behind a smooth caramel wash but there’s a sharp licorice backwash to let you know this isn’t just a milky way. It’s another galaxy altogether where the cantinas are filled with old celestials speaking about their latest alchemies promising immortality using yin-yang malts and silver hops and wine-soaked poets drowning in a lake of moons. Although the color is similar to the Old, I can’t really tell, because clouds have moved in and the light isn’t as clear as earlier. So, just saying this is a nice alternative to my usual special stouts and porters and even barley wines. I’ll be back.

Photo of MikeMcCl
3.54/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I bought as part of mix and match 6 pack in 12 oz bottles, had in beer glass
Lighter in color than I expected, lighter brown, little no lacing, Tough time placing the aroma - caramel? oak-ish?
Taste for me well balanced for the alcohol content, goes down too easy for ABV
Feel - good body to it, but not too heavy
Found no evidence of bottle conditioning residue.
Overall - very good - esp for ABV. I'll have too go back for a 6pack if I can find it and I'll let 3 sit for a time.

Photo of dtreindl
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Little to no head. Taste is pretty well balanced for as strong as it is. I like the sweet bread flavor. But too candy sweet for my taste. It has a slight alcohol aroma but not offensive.

Photo of nate_nate_nate
4.75/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

a beautiful sipper of a brown ale

Photo of gonzo000
3.96/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I really enjoyed this beer, but the alcohol was a bit too prevalent. Very enjoyable, would revisit.

Photo of Murphious
4.54/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Certainly a very good to excellent barrel aged brown ale. Fantastic oaky nose and taste! I was half-way through my glass before realizing I was getting tipsy---11%!? Very smooth and drinkable so be slow with it. 4.5 out of 5. Much better than other beers with more hype and brewery induced exclusivity. Just because a brewer limits production, doesn't necessarily make it better beer...

Photo of scotorum
4.19/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

"Bottle Conditioned Dec. 2014"

Poured from the 12 oz., bottle into a Tree House tulip.

a: Clear dark ruby with a finger thick offwhite head which receded to even surface foam and dense lacing.

s: Ripe dark fruit, caramel malt and alcohol.

t: Light dose of caramel malt forward with lots of mild dark fruit undertones. Light hop bite, sweet to dry finish. Although it seemed to show up in the aroma, the high ABV is very well covered.

m: Medium, ok body, plenty of carbonation tingle.

o: A really pleasing version of Old Brown Dog, dangerously easy to drink given the very high ABV. Probably worth cellaring some for six months to a year.

Photo of Flounder57
4.02/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle was poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance: A one finger off white head was poured that reduced to a thin layer. It is a amber copper color with good clarity and vision of bubbles coming up through the glass. Spotty lacing down the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: Caramel, toffee, Toasted, biscuity, bready, and some dark fruits.

Taste: Definitely a malt forward brew bring that it is like a double brown ale. Caramel and toffee sweetness with toasted, biscuity, and bready malts in there too. Nice warm booze, some dark fruits, and slight bitterness too.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, medium to full bodied, nice warm alcohol, low to medium carbonation, and slight bitterness in the rear.

Overall: Pretty nice brew. Definitely grabbing some bottles to store in the cellar.

Photo of buzzarooski
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I am NOT a BIG Porter or Stout fan so this Brown Ale would be my "beer of choice" if I was having a thick steak and baked potato dinner. Full Bodied, Brown Ale with a VERY high ABV (11.10%) A perfect Sipping Man's Beer. Well Done Smuttynose!

Photo of greenengineer
3.96/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12 Oz Bottle from Colonial Liquors "Bottle Conditioned Jan 2015". In my Spencer Goblet, warmed up a bit from the fridge.

Look - minimal head, deep reddish orange. OK it's brown. Not cloudy. What head there is sticks to the sides of the glass.
Smell - slightly sweet and malty. Not much there, even after I let it warm up.
Taste - the most important factor. Malty, a little chocolate - malted milk balls. Not boozy despite the high ABV. Hints of pepper, bourbon.
Feel - Smooth sipper, with some body.
Overall - I like. Nice glass for slow sipping on a cold evening.

Photo of dar482
3.46/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

The beer comes in a clear dark ruby red.

The aroma hits of sharp spiciness of nutmeg and cardamom, rose water, then some caramel sweetness.

The flavor hits upfront and throughout of nutmeg, cardamom, rose water, floral. Alcohol spikes throughout along with vanilla, toffee, and caramel. The mouthfeel is a bit thin for the ABV.

The beer with that sharp flavor is quite offensive, and the sweetness is not sufficient to balance out the beer.

Photo of thebeers
3.8/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Dark garnet color with a thin tan head. Fig, toffee and oak on the nose, with some breadiness in there, too. Bran even. Slightly creamy, syrupy mouthfeel with the same flavors as the aroma and plenty of hop bitterness for balance.

Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Picked this up in Totowa recently, having had the Brown Dog Ale a while back and thinking that this would be a stronger version of it. Sure enough, it was and it was good too! Loved that this was an Old Ale and that it still had the hue that one would expect from a beer of this name, without being too heavy or smelling like old dogs! All kidding aside, this was what an Old Ale should be with complex flavors, plenty of malt, and lots of booze - all in great harmony with each other.

Of course, the pour to this was brown. Nice and deep with mahogany and ruby tinges to it and clear, with a small head that quickly settled and a nearly-clear hue to it. Lots of fruit, sugar, and booze in the nose and even more in the taste. This packed quite a punch but it settled down quickly on the tongue when the first sips were taken. Brown sugar sweetened everything nicely while the apple, pear, currant, and fig could be found after swishing this around. A walnut tone was underneath these flavors and the carbonation was present and strong, keeping this light and giving a proverbial lift to the taste buds.

This was strong but it never felt heavy and there was a good caramel malt tone to this that reminded me of the Brown Dog Ale that I was more familiar with. The nuttiness and underlying sweetness of the brown sugar and caramel made this a slow sipper but combined with the fruit flavors, made this one of the most complex Old Ales that I've ever had. Worth a go if you can find it as this is a worthy, "Imperial" take on the Brown Dog Ale!

Photo of StoutHunter
4.07/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I picked up a bottle of Smuttynose Really Old Brown Dog Ale a few weeks ago for $2.79 at Holiday Market. I thought Old Brown Dog was solid and I'm interested to see how this one turns out, so lets see how it goes. Bottled December 2014. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A- The label looks good, it goes well with the name and it's eye catching. It poured a nice fairly clear amber color that took on more of a red hue when held to the light with a little over two fingers worth of creamy tan head that died down to a thin ring that stayed till the end and it left some spotty lacing behind. This a very good looking Old Ale, I have no complaints.

S- The aroma starts off with a lower amount of high sweetness that has just a slight molasses aroma to it and it's followed by the malts being the first to show up and they impart some nice sweet malt, caramel malt, caramel, toffee and buttery malt aromas that all work very well together. Up next comes a light alcohol aroma that's followed by some fruity yeast with some dark fruit aromas coming through. This beer had a very nice aroma, I really enjoyed it.

T- The taste seems to be similar to the aroma and it starts off with a higher amount of medium sweetness with some honey and light molasses flavors showing up and it's followed by the malts which impart the same aspects that they did in the aroma with no single malty aspect seeming to stick out the most and they all work well with each other. Up next comes the alcohol which shows up more than it did in the aroma and it's a little warming, it's followed by the same fruity yeast that I got in the aroma, but this time it's lighter. On the finish there's no bitterness with some sweetness and booze taking it's place with a nice malty aftertaste. This is a good tasting beer, it is a little boozy, but it's got some nice flavors.

M- Fairly smooth, a little crisp, a little creamy, not sticky, the alcohol could have been hidden better, on the lighter side of being full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. This beer had a pretty nice mouthfeel, but I wish the alcohol was hidden a little better.

Overall I thought this was a good beer and good example of the style. it had pretty much all the key aspects that I look for in an Old Ale and in the end I did think it was a little on the boozy side, but the flavors and aromas kept me coming back for more. This beer has ok drinkability, it's fairly smooth, a little crisp, a little creamy, nor sticky, not too filling and the alcohol could have been hidden better so I think one bottle would be my limit, I might regret it if I drink more than one in a row. What I like the most about this beer was the aroma and appearance, they are both really nice and some of the highlights of this beer. What I liked the least about this beer was the booze, I think it could have been a hidden a little better. I would buy this beer again and I would love to age some in the cellar. I would recommend this beer, especially if you like strong Old Ales. All in all I was pretty happy with this beer, some aspects were little impressive and some weren't but in the end it made for a tasty beer and I enjoyed it. So far it's one of my favorite Smuttynose beers and it's one of the better Old Ales I've had. Good job guys, this is a tasty Old Ale, keep it up.

Photo of Chico1985
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz. bottle gifted to me by ...Cam I believe? Really Old Brown Dog is actually a nickname of mine to a few sick individuals, yet I don't believe I've ever actually drank this. Bottled in November 2014.

A - Pour is surprisingly light colored brownish red with a thin beige head.

S - Dusty caramel, honey, brown sugar, bread crust, perhaps just a touch of wet dog.

T - Lots of sweet caramel, molasses and brown sugar with some cocoa and cola. Some dark fruit, light earthy leathery tones, and quite a bit of alcohol.

M - Big but not super heavy for the ABV, ample carbonation leads to a nice lightish feel. Malty, sweet and boozy, decadent sipper.

O - A big warming old ale that you know means business upon first sip. It's brash and sweet and maybe lacking complexities but the deep caramel/brown sugar flavors are pretty substantial. Definitely hits the spot as a sipper on yet another cold and snowy night. Will probably buy this to age and save for future winters.

Photo of badgustav
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

While the aroma is a bit off, the fact that is smells a bit of wet dog kind of adds to the allure of this beer, based on its name. The color is lovely, and the taste is malty and mellow. I'm curious to see what age does to it.

Photo of Ian_B
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Very dark amber. Translucent, but such a dark brown it's hard to peer through. Good head and retention.

Deep, bready notes on the nose, with loads of buttery, nutty, earthy, and fruity undertones (in order of potency). Very slight notes of fig, raisins, and apple.

Taste closely follows the aroma, beginning with sweet, brown sugar and creamy, roasted nuts. A little bit of chocolate is present, along with lots of the same fruity notes on the finish.

Warming alcohol is present and provides a very well-balanced, drying finish to an otherwise thick and very sweet malt base.

Overall kind of buttery which makes me question aging it, though a small amount of time may do it some justice.

Photo of dpgoblejr
4.85/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Golden amber in color with not much in the way of head retention or lacing. Smells of some bread and fruits. Taste is of sweet malts, dark fruits, and biscuits. Coats the palate nicely and is quite enjoyable to drink. I thoroughly enjoyed indulging on this Smuttynose take on an old ale!

Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.62/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On tap at World of Beer in Jacksonville, FL.

Pours a somewhat dark brown color, with a quarter inch head, and a little bit of lacing.

Smells pretty malty and sweet, with some dark fruit and chocolate.

This is nicely malty and tasty, but seems a bit simple for an old ale. I only really get vaguely sweet malt, and a little bit of chocolate. Tasty, but not all that interesting, really.

This is medium bodied, with a crisp and bready mouthfeel, and a lower level of carbonaton.

Not super impressed with this one, Smuttynose can do better.

Photo of bushbeer75
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22 oz brown bottle label notched 2012

Smuttynose Really Old Brown Dog Ale changed the color of my snifter to a dark cloudy amber producing a 3/4-finger tan head that was reduced to spotty lacing and a collar of foam. The nose was dominated by caramel malt and dark fruit (raisins). The taste is similar to the smell. It is malt-rich of deep notes of complex dark fruit and dark toffee with just a faint underlying hop bitterness that helps balance the ale. Mouth feel is full bodied, creamy, with fizzy carbonation that tickles the tongue and has a pleasant alcohol warming.

Really Old Brown Dog is a good Old "stock" Ale that is a sipper even after [approximately] 2-years of age. The ale paired well with Mexican style salsa and chips.

Photo of ZebraCakez
4.27/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A great beer. Pours a deep red/brown with little head. Aroma of roasted malt and fresh bread. Taste is that of deep malt and dried fruit. It's sweet on a molasses like level on the finish, and the alcohol is present at the end with a pleasant warming sensation. Medium body and just enough carbonation add to an overall well balanced and enjoyable experience. Definitely worth trying.

Photo of delta490
3.79/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A deep rich brown with a short-lasting creamy white head. The head leaves bigger volumes of small sticky lacing. The aroma is nutty but also sweet (think hazelnut). The body tastes barrel-aged and it dominates the flavor profile. The body is nice weight and there is a nice mouthfeel to it.

Photo of gr0g
3.84/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2014 Release in 12 oz. bottle format. Reddish brown in color. Not quite two fingers of foam leaving some mottled lacing behind. Aroma of overripe fruit, even candied fruit. Some brown sugar. It would be great if this were more aromatic. Alcohol scent is well restrained for 11% ABV.

Sweet, but not cloying, some alcohol heat and flavor on the finish. A little bit of oak on the finish, too, though I don't know if this is aged on wood at all. Rich, malty, fruity. A bit of port wine character. Nicely balanced carbonation - not too aggressive but not overcarbed.

This is drinking nicely right now, but with at least a year of aging it would be even better. A good, strong sipper for the cold months.

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.27/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Aroma brown sugar, malt, ABV, faint nuts, raisins, slight caramel. Taste sweet toffee, molasses, dark fruits, boozy, oak, touch leather.

to view more.
Smuttynose Really Old Brown Dog Ale from Smuttynose Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 687 ratings.