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.
very good

711 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 711
Reviews: 350
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 10.51%
Wants: 45
Gots: 85 | FT: 2
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
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Ratings: 711 | Reviews: 350
Reviews by dreis:
More User Reviews:
Photo of scotorum
4.19/5  rDev +7.4%
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 +3.1%
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 oberon
3.62/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass a hazed chesnut russet brown with a thin toasted almond colored head that was gone quickly.Deep malty aromas,brown sugar,roasted nuts,and some whiffs of dark fruit,the alcohol sweetness isnt to strong.Not as big and chewey as I would have thought,not to thin,just a little thinner than most of the style I think.Sweet malty flavors,again the brown sugar element is big along with light bakers chocolate,there is a fig/plum jamminess as well.Its quite sweet but its pretty good,a one and done though with the alcohol level and sweetness.

Photo of ExtraStout
4.13/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had the 2012 as a guest beer at Amherst Brewing.

A - Pours a murky brown with amber highlights at the edges. Muddy looking beer. One finger head dissipates after a minute or two leaving a thin film, some bubbles & a few splotches of lace.

S - The nose is ripe with good complexity, primarily dark fruits & sugary malts. Notes of raisins, figs, candied malts,caramel, and a bit deeper molasses. Some lighter hops in the end, and spicy booze.

T - Wow, lots of flavor here. Brown sugar prevails, then plenty of fig and dark fruit. Richer molasses as well. Light airy hops mingle in as well. Finishes with a blast of warm, spicey booze.

M - Big chewy bodied beer, slick big bodied beer.

O - Time has been kind to this one. A pleasant surprise, huge flavor profile with plenty of complexity. Gets a bit sweet as it warms, world class mouthfeel IMO.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.4/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Beer review from BA Mag Sep 2007.

A bumped-up version of Smutty's Old Brown Dog Ale (sort of), this brew is part of their limited Big Beer Series and brewed to honor Olive--the mascot and spirit guide for the brewery who passed away in March 2007. RIP, girl.

Dark amber with bright garnet hues and plenty of carbonation from bottle-conditioning creates a thick, three-finger head. Bready nose, rustic, with herbal and chicory notes, earthy and nutty. Extremely smooth, silky, round and chewy in the mouth. The solid malty base is sweet, brown sugar-esque and complex. Somewhat fruity, with some plum and apple esters. Toasty malts, very bready and nutty, husky at times, with some light chocolate and coffee. Alcohol is warm and spicy. Very thin bitterness beneath it all. Raisiny. Goes dry toward the end, with a lingering peanut skin character.

An interesting American twist on an Old Ale, but it's far from any traditional examples of the style. Smutty hints that this is a good candidate for aging. We agree, as everything still seems a bit too "green" for the style. However, if you can't wait, like us, we recommend allowing this beer to warm and open up before enjoying it.

Photo of elinash
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a Gouden Carolus goblet.

Appearance is a ruddy light reddish brown with minimal lacing around the edges. A haze is on the surface of the beer.
It smells alcoholic (spicy) and nutty with some diacetyl.
It isn't nearly as big as I thought it would be. The taste is nutty, with some chocolate. The finish is unexpectely spicy and hoppy, slightly acidic.
Mouthfeel is thinner than I expected, too. I would wish for it to be a little more rich and caramel in the mouthfeel.

Overall, it's good, but it's really close to Old Brown Dog. Although it's bottle conditioned, I couldn't really tell, but there was a little bit of sticky yeast left in the bottle. Maybe this one is best if the dog is laid down to rest!

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.23/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 22oz bomber. Very pretty beer: red/brown in color, with a thick coffee-colored head that retains well. Malty/grainy aroma, with a background of dark fruit. Intensely malty taste up front, followed by the dark fruit. Maybe even a slight chocolate taste at the end. Alcohol is noticeable but not intrusive. Very smooth, very drinkable. Gotta get more of these.

Photo of BeerIsland
3.67/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was NOT an appetizing looking beer when served; kind of muddy brown looking. It's possible it was the tail end of the keg. There was a nice head that went to a ring in a bit. It smelled ok, lots of malt; nothing huge. What I liked about this beer was the balanced flavor that stayed right through to the finish. There was a pretty decent malt flavor to it. I rather liked this beer although I don't have much experieince with the style.

Photo of Billolick
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

$4.99 for a 22 ounce bomber, the front of label lets you know this brew was "Bottle conditioned in 2007" certaintly a good bit of info as this one most likely was designed to be put away in a cool dark place for a few. Pours medium almond amber, moderate haze, cloudyness and sits under a tightly knit light tan head, that leaves nice, fine and scattered lacing. Allowed to warm up abit the nose is of some raisins, light alcohol and warm toast. Pleasant malty brew, more raisins, whole wheat toast, vanilla and a slight bite of mellow alcohol. Pleasant sipper, nicely crafted and smooth on the tongue. Well worth a try, if I had the space and the will power I'd put some bottles of this away for a few years...its drinking quite nicely right now...

Photo of warriorsoul
3.36/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to Joe at Liquor World for supplying this one...
Rust copper in color with a finger of off-white head...only a skimming remains and produces some attractive, yet thin lacing.
Faint aromas...really have to stir this one to get anything. Some mild fruits (green apple, fig) with a hint of spice.
Taste is better, but not impressing me where this one is right now.
Candied sugar, molasses, alcohol and some floral hops. Bitter dry in the finish with the alcohol also apparent in the aftertaste.
Mouthfeel is its best quality for me...full bodied and not cloying.
A bomber is consumed with little effort, but I feel Really Old Brown Dog is Really "Young" Old Brown Dog and this one will kick major ass six months from now.
Will definitely snag a couple more bombers to age...I know this one will impress me more down the line.
Right now, it's just ok.

Photo of RTEdmunds
3.48/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Brown with some deep reddish colors. Looks quite nice, and has a frothy head with good retention.

Smells grainy, with some caramel undertones. A bit earthy as well.

Sweet up front, with some syrupy flavors. Earthy presence from the nose is pleasant. A warming boozy aftertaste.

Medium bodied and carbonation is moderate. The alcohol is a little to in your face.

Overall this is a good beer but certainly not my favorite in Smuttynose's Big Beer series. I miss the Baltic Porter.... that was a damn fine product!

Photo of jondeelee
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Really Old Brown Dog opens with a fruity, malty nose ripe with strawberries, oranges, peaches, watermelon, and kiwi (!), but also bearing brown sugars and vanilla bean, as well as rising wheat dough, toast crust, and toasted pecan. The fruit aromas are quite spectacular here, drifting out almost bubble-gum like in their potency. But "bubble-gum like" works for this beer, the aromas coming across more like fresh-cut fruit juices than manufactured flavor additives, and nicely grounded by the grains. As a whole, the nose is perhaps slightly too reminiscent of a fruity cocktail, but is still enticing and intriguing.

On the tongue, the beer opens with a lovely fruit and sugar rush, though here the fruits tend toward the darker side, still bearing hints of strawberry, peach, and watermelon, but adding fig, plum, and black cherry to the mix. Healthy touches of molasses and vanilla add to the depth and complexity of these darker sugar flavors. The beer also boasts some kola nut flavors, as well as touches of charcoal, oak, port, and bourbon; in fact, based only on flavor, I would swear this bourbon-barrel aged. The ABV is high (10%), coming across in bourbon-like vapors, but blends nicely with the dark fruits and liquor flavors, making this taste in many ways like a very fine cognac. Wheat toast crust and fresh-cut wheat stalk round out the flavors. The aftertaste is more of the bourbon/cognac/fruit mixture, lingering deliciously on the tongue for a long time. Mouthfeel is medium, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, this is excellent beer, and the aging that has been done to the normal Old Brown Dog Ale has brought out an excellent range of flavors. In fact, only the slightly-too-high alcoholic kick prevents this one from being a perfect 5 in flavor. Must try.

Photo of far333
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Caramel colored with orangey highlights and an oatmeal colored and wispy low head that recedes quickly.

Aroma of lightly toasted malt, some cereal and light brown sugar.

Favor of dry walnut, roasted marshmallow and chestnut, graham cracker, oak and some smokiness. Morphs to bourbon in the finish, bourbon lingers.

Thin mouthfeel, a bit tannic and dry.

Good sipper, but drinkability wanes as complexity decreases and bourbon dominates. Would like to cellar some of this to see how it ages.

Photo of kpantz
3.38/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Executive Summary: Here's to you, Olive. Rest in peace. I wish I had enjoyed this more in your honor, but I'll be sure to go grab a sixer of the regular Old Brown Dog Ale and down that.

Appearance: Pours a quite clear, yet deep molasses color with a cream-colored head that starts a couple fingers thick, but drops steadily from there. Lacing isn't too shabby.

Smell: Caramel, toffee, nutty aroma with even some hops in there.

Taste: Really don't get the hefty maltiness purported to exist. Rather, the front end is a relatively thin malt layer (though it does get a little better closer to room temperature), followed by some hop flavor (no doubt revealed by the lack of a thick malt presence) and definite alcohol flavors. Slight sourness lingers afterwards, accompanying the alcohol's warmth. Flavor is not bad, mind you - just not what I expected given the description.

Mouthfeel: Kinda thin - I expected this to be chewier. Carbonation levels are low - pretty appropriate here.

Drinkability: It's not bad, but it's just not going to be able to hold my interest to the point that would make me go back for more.

Photo of glid02
3.9/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up at Total Wine in Greenville, SC.

Pours a brown-copper color with a one-finger off-white head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of toasted malts with hints of nuts and herbal hops.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Toasted malts flavors start things off and are sooned joined by herbal hops and slight nutty flavors. There's also a syrupy sweetness throughout that carries on until the ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness and slick carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I didn't have a problem finishing my glass and could go for another - though I can envision the sweetness becoming a bit much for any more after that.

Overall this beer is somewhere in between an Old Ale and a Brown Ale. I'm not very familiar with the English Strong Ale so this may be what Smuttynose was going for, but I would've liked a bit more emphasis on the Brown Ale side of things. Still, it's worth a shot.

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.33/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Poured in a snifter)
Bottled in 2012
A- The dense glowing garnet body is slightly hazy with a thick carbonation of sticky deep beige cream that clings to the glass with each sip.

S- The cream and toasted malt flavors are pleasant but a bit soft. There is a nutty note that grows a bit and the finish has a sherry hint and some old ale esters come through.

T- The brown candy sugar blends with a raw grain flavor and the finish is slightly dry with an alcohol spice to it. There is a woody hop hint in the finish and the brown malt flavor lingers nicely at the end.

M- The medium mouthfeel has a tight little fizz and a nice alcohol heat that has just a spice heat to it.

O- The spicy and wood is well balanced with nice malt characters that compliment each other. I don’t get any dried fruit character but it has a nice flavor and I think it would age well.

Photo of BostonBrewRu
3.66/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Hides the abv really well, but not huge flavors

Photo of JMS1512
3.83/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Though not traditional for BJCF style guidelines, it's still really enjoyable. I had a 2013 in 2015. Mellow, complex, dark fruits, malty, boozy. Great bottle.

Photo of caddybuyer
4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a celler temperature bomber into a tulip glass. 2008 vintage.

A-Murky deep, rich ruddy brown copper with ruby highlights when held to light. A whispy tan/eggshell head that settles to a thin ring, but does so leaving a nice lacing. a very pretty ale.

S-While it made an impression while pouring, the nose is remarkably understated. Nutty roasted malts, caramel and bready. No alcohol or hops detected at all.

T-Nicely aged bourbon takes the lead, with figs and fresh plums quick on the tail followed by candied fruits preserved in alcohol. The boozyness is in the thick of it all, but it is neither hot, nor out of place. I love beers that remind me of a well made Manhattan...this is one of them.

M-Silky and creamy, carbonation a tad on the light side, but just fine.

D-A lovely brew....a bomber is maybe a bit much, as it packs a punch, and has a strong flavor profile, but definately a keeper, and probably a good one to cook with as well. I'm not a huge fan of Smuttynose, but this is clearly the best thing I have ever tried from them.

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.06/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Smuttynose- Really Old Brown Dog Ale

Appearance- Dark blood red/ brown with a huge frothy head. Thick lacing down the glass.
Smell- Light tinge of alcohol, ceder, oak, & cherry.
Taste- Dried fruits; cherry, raisin blended into a sweet malt. Slight wood; cedar/ oak chip flavor with a hint of boozy alcohol. A pinch of cocoa powder detected in the end.
Mouthfeel- Sweet with a strong alcohol finish. Strong alcohol aftertaste.

Overall- A sweet and strong (alcohol taste) beer. Let this sit in your cellar until it matures. Not bad but seems

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber>snifter. The photo of olive (the brown dog) is really great, taken many years after her debut on the brown dog ale lable the photo shows the dog at her twilight of life and it seems very peaceful. I love her sitting in the chair by the ocean, anyone who has lost a pet will have heavy feelings seeing this lable.

AP: Just like it's mascot, the color of this brew is a beautiful amber-brown color with a ruby-red glow that has a two-finger deep, foamy, fluffy and sticky tan-colored head displaying great retention, the carbonation is medium with a few little bubbles fighting their way to the top through the medium viscosity.

nose: Unlike most dogs...the aroma of this brew is really good with minor alcohol heat, tart citrus, buttery, semi-sweet malt and a spicey hop note.

flavor & feel: The first hit brings a bit of a suprise with a very bold hop charecter that is mildly bitter resiney pine and tart fruits. The malt charecter seems to be in even balance of the hop with a doughy, buttery, oakie and semi-sweet flavored malt heady-ness. This medium to full body brew has a good balance of flavors, however, i do enjoy a bigger bolder malt flavor when it comes this style. On a positive note, this is a unique Old ale and it needs to be served at the correct temp.

DA: This old ale is able to avoid an identity crisis with it's cousin the barley wine, which it can sometimes miminc...this bigger-than-usual hop effect gives it a unique quality all to it's own. As the lable states: "Much like our beloved Olive, this beer will mellow and age gracefully". Overtime, the hop will mellow and i'm looking forward to pulling a few out of the cellar in a few years. I coupled this old ale with smoked gouda cheese and pepper-corn salmon. The cheese really makes the malt flavors POP.

*Update 2008 version:
The recipe has been pumped up for this year it's acually much bigger than the '07 version. This one is much bolder, huge malt verging on an English Barleywine but slightly more refined. bolder flavor's and feel makes this a killer brew.

Photo of jmz62565
3.6/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear deep mahogony with a medium tan foamy head. The head lasts and leaves decent lacing. The smell is pungent with sweet malt and a strong "bisquity' aroma. The taste is interesting with the alcohol really standing out. The flavors are almost porter/like with coffee,sweet malt,carmel,and a smoked wood flavor. The m/f is medium with the flavors not mixing all that well and making this abit harsh. Not a bad beer,and I like that Smuttynose tries different things,but this really is average,although aging may help. Cheers.

Photo of TheSixthRing
3.69/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottled February '15

Appearance - Pours clear and auburn brown with a khaki colored, finger width head. Fair retention before dissipating to a thin, broken layer of suds across the top.

Smell - Slightly sour, fruity aroma reminiscent of fermenting grapes. Malt sweetness and a bit of nuttiness sits beneath.

Taste - Follows the nose. Strongly boozy, fruity flavor upfront and throughout. Light molasses undertone. Mild oak and a touch of nuttiness and pumpkin(?!) hits mid-taste and rolls into the finish. Faint vanilla. Finish hits with a note of astringency from the booze.

Mouthfeel - Medium to full in body with low to moderate carbonation. Sticky texture before a drying finish.

Overall - Hmm. For the style, I think the Old Brown Dog is the superior beer. While it displays a nice complexity, this one is just a touch too boozy for me to completely love it.

Photo of asabreed
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber into a Brooklyn tulip. Vintage 2008. Smuttynose website says it's just over 9% ABV.

Appearance: Old Ale dark brown amber. Pretty dark and delicious-looking. Off-white head's big at first, then leaves some good raindrops around the glass. Nice murky carbonation floating toward the top.

Smell: A nice amalgam of the sweet and balanced is going on here. Big raisins and vanilla. Almost bourbon-like sweeter aromas and wood going on. Which makes me wonder how amazing this would be if it were indeed bourbon-aged. Some earthy roasted malt. Vinous ripe characteristics. Darker fruit esters. Some figs. Certainly all for fall and winter. The age seems to help here, and the hops, though present, aren't as dominant with the age, which is nice.

Taste: Good notes of figs and raisins on the forefront, with some vanilla and nuts and bread. Booze is woody and vanilla also, and again, almost seems like bourbon. Good vinous characteristics, a lot of earthiness. Cookie dough flavors. Finishes with some nice lingering bitter citrus on the tongue, mingling well with some caramel, dark toffee, dark fruit, and wood.

Mouthfeel: A big brew, with good full carbonation to somehow not make it too cloying. Almost creamy but not quite there.

Drinkability: I'd like to get another and see how it ages after three years, but this seems like a good time to drink the 2008 Vintage. A lot of flavor and a great sipper. Another great effort from Smuttynose.

Photo of Sammy
3.88/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours deep chocolate brown, rich looking body.Chocolate malt in nose. And the mouthfeel is richer than avarage. A great malting experience, with secondary toasting and chocolate. On the sweeter side, not as complex as a few aged old ales I have had from the U.K. itself. Very drinkable.

Bottle from New Hampshire trip.

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Smuttynose Really Old Brown Dog Ale from Smuttynose Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 711 ratings.