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Smuttynose Really Old Brown Dog Ale | Smuttynose Brewing Company

very good
375 Reviews
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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
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Reviews: 375 | Ratings: 842
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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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).

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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...

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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