Dismiss Notice
Microbrew Invitational
Join us June 3 + 4 in Boston and help us drink 300+ beers, ciders, kombuchas, meads, sakes and more!

TICKETS: beeradvocate.com/micro/

Smuttynose Really Old Brown Dog Ale | Smuttynose Brewing Company

very good
375 Reviews
Read the review
For Trade:
Smuttynose Really Old Brown Dog AleSmuttynose Really Old Brown Dog Ale

Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company
New Hampshire, United States | website

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.10%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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%

Added by cbl2 on 03-03-2007

User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 375 | Ratings: 842
Photo of tekstr1der
3.89/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Certainly a whole different animal from the younger dog. This stuff has some great malt notes, but a slight off flavor. Pours brown with tan head. Aromas of cooked sugar and alcohol. Flavor is semisweet with a little funk (could be those oak chips) and more alcohol. Not very balanced, but fairly tasty. Borderline choice if I'll try again.

 340 characters

Photo of TX-Badger
3.6/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear light brown color with deep ivory colored head. Sweetness, grass, caramel, and roast on the nose; follows onto the palate. Medium bodied, alcohol well hidden. Finishes with caramel and hay.

 203 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.72/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 1/2015.

Pours a hazy reddish-brown with a foamy tan head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Tiny particles of sediment are seen suspended in the beer after the pour. Smell is of toasted malt, caramel, toffee, earth, and dark fruit aromas. Taste is much the same with caramel, earth, dark fruit, and fruit juice flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of earth bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with a nice mix of sugary and fruity qualities all around and a higher ABV that is very well hidden.

Serving type: bottle.

 740 characters

Photo of craftbeersweden
3.63/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bought this at the release in Sweden in August.
I was a little dissapointed with Smuttynose Old Brown Dog so I only got one bottle. We'll se if I have to get back and have som more :)

Poured into a sniffer. Dark red-brown, clear, beer with a tiny, beige, head that leaves a lot of lacing.

Nose: Red berries, dried fruit, caramel malt, biscuit, nuts and butter.
Taste: Brown sugar, toffee, biscuit, vanilla, molasses and a little bit of oak.
Body: Medium to full body. Light carbonation. ABV 11% ?? It can't be true? It's very well hidden. Smooth taste. A little bit to "simple" body - I would like more compexity.

Great beer but not up to Founders Curmudgeon.

 666 characters

Photo of utopiajane
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

toasty brown with an off white head of creamy foam that dwindles like you've got all day. Nose is sumptuous malts. Nose is sweet toasty malts with a fruity backnote . outrageous! taste is rich and layered. Malty, sweet, caramel and that fruit to oighten it beautifully. Finishes dry and with a mouthfeel that is silken. Just enough hops to finish it.

 355 characters

Photo of emyers
3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz. bottle poured into a Great Lakes snifter. Bottled on date: 2/2015

Appearance: Pours a cloudy medium brown color, not much head. Slight off-white lacing.

Smell: Predominately yeast and caramel malt with some tasted biscuit and a mild nuttiness.

Taste: Similar to the smell but a bit more robust. Nice roasted nut flavor with caramel malt - good depth to the malt profile. A little bit of oxidation. No alcohol heat. Finish is dominated by caramel malt and yeast.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full-bodied, low carbonation.

Overall: Very solid, but I would like a bit more roasted malt presence personally.

 608 characters

Photo of DoctorD
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Nice smell of rich caramel to match the deep red-brown color. Very smooth and balanced taste with just enough body to linger for a couple of moments but not coat your mouth completely. I prefer to drink old ales to have a little more "edge" to them (like Curmudgeon) and this is just a smooth sipper. The alcohol can be detected but it is not hot at all, it sneaks up on you. A solid beer but not something I would rush back to try again.

 438 characters

Photo of 2ellas
2.94/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Look is a lighter brown and completely see through.
Smell is slightly malty but not much there at all.
Taste is almost muted, not much there either. The 11% abv is very well hidden.
Thin on the mouthfeel.
The best thing this beer does is hide the high abv. Everything else is just kind of there. I wonder if a year in the cellar would do anything to help?

 358 characters

Photo of kemoarps
3.96/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Light muddy brown. Murky like swamp water, word to Swollen Members. Minimal head that sticks to the corners like a wallflower.

Nose is sour dried cherries and prunes. Faint tobacco and leather. Beautiful old ale aromas.

Same as the old boss. Sour cherries with some prune and fig. Bit of leather and tobacco towards the end. Chocolate toffee across the middle like Riesens. Bitter finish from the cherry and the tobacco flavours. Sweet side of the fruits comes through gently coated across that bitter finish.
Old ales are a style that can be really underwhelming and boring if not pulled off right, but can be really nice and uniquely enjoyable if done right. I dig this one.

 678 characters

Photo of ClavisAurea
4.69/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

12oz bottle served in a tulip glass. Bottle date 02/2015

Appearance: reddish brown with a nice thick head that sank to some nice lace and thin rim in the glass

Nose: chocolate, malty biscuity, toffee, caramel, cherries

Taste: fruity and fresh, cherries and strawberries, malty and biscuity, absolutely no alcohol presence, where is the 11% ABV?!? No hops reserve in the beginning or the middle. Ultra smooth with nice carbonation for the high alcohol content, malty sweet finish that lends to a very very very slight bitterness from the hops.

Overall: I was extremely surprised at there they were hiding the alcohol. At over 1/10 drops of this wonderful brew being booz I really have no clue where it ran off to. I'm really not sure if further aging would improve this beer seeing that it is already a few months old in my cellar.

Cellar Review:

I recently opened up a 2013 bomber of this beer. Truly magnificent. Rich and delicious with just the right amount of sherry, toffee and port flavors. This beer is truly a cellar staple.

 1,038 characters

Photo of TheSixthRing
3.69/5  rDev -5.6%
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.

 868 characters

Photo of JMS1512
3.83/5  rDev -2%
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.

 161 characters

Photo of larryarms847
3.33/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours kind of murky brown with a heavy ruby red hue and a solid finger of off-white foam.

Some light brown sugar but very faint, raisins or dried plum, and some light caramel sweetness.

This packs a punch! Very boozy, the dark fruits stand out more in flavor, but the alcohol overpowers everything else aside from a general sweetness.

Heavy-bodied, light-medium carbonation, thick, chewy, boozy.

Overall, I was pretty disappointed with this. Will not be purchasing again.

 475 characters

Photo of Jonny41
3.69/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

kind of a boozy brown, to be expected with the 11% abv was nice to have one and would likely have again, but wont be buying,,, would like to try on draught
Overall it was well balanced for the high abv

 201 characters

Photo of polloenfuego
4.06/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A ruby brown pour with a thin thumb of head that breaks leaving little lacing behind. The nose is very strong on malts with dark sweet fruits coming through as well. The taste gives you those malts your nose told you about, and there are caramel notes, sweet fruits come through and there is only a hint of hops bitterness at the end. Feel is nice, moderate carbonation with a bit of a stickiness that suits the beer nicely.

Overall I would say this is a nice beer, but I really do think I need to let a couple cellar for a while and evaluate how it does with time (darn).

 576 characters

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.97/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a teku.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown color. There's a finger worth of eggshell-colored head, offering a creamy texture and nice retention. Some lacing also sticks to the glass. Generally, a nice-looking beer. (3.5)

Smell: There's a lot going on here - expected for over 11%, natch. I get plenty of rich dark fruits (also some cherry), alongside a powerful caramel-laden maltiness and leathery must. Brown sugar and chocolate add some nice nuance to the nose. It's also a little boozy, but that works to this brew's favor. I must say, I'm very intrigued... (4)

Taste: ...good news, everyone! The flavor profile lives up to the nose. It starts off very fruity; in particular, I pick up raisin, fig, and cherry. Afterwards, it shifts to rich malt in the midtaste - think caramel and brown sugar. It finishes in a surprisingly light fashion, albeit with some faint alcohol. One wouldn't expect a bit 11% to be balanced, but guess what? This is balanced like an accountant's checkbook (or my checkbook, whichever analogy works...) (4)

Mouthfeel: A touch of booze prickles the tongue immediately. While it has a full, richly sweet body, it helps to dry out the finish just enough to make it easy drinking. Even better, the booze doesn't make it needlessly harsh. Carbonation is fairly low, as its concealed by the semi-syrupy texture. (4)

Overall: Smuttynose is one of those breweries where I keep wondering to myself "why don't I drink more of their beer?" Beers like this prove that I really need to drink more of their beer. It's rich and liquor-esque yet nicely balanced all at the same time - plus, it's in 4 packs. I'll definitely buy it again. (4)

3.97/5: Delicious yet easygoing, kind of an archetypal old ale

 1,737 characters

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.

 380 characters

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.

 1,518 characters

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.

 481 characters

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.

 186 characters

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...

 388 characters

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.

 646 characters

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.

 794 characters

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!

 242 characters

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.

 572 characters

Smuttynose Really Old Brown Dog Ale from Smuttynose Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 375 ratings.