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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

352 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 352
Hads: 745
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 9.49%
Wants: 46
Gots: 94 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Smuttynose Really Old Brown Dog Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 352 | Hads: 745
Photo of Hojaminbag
3.21/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

About a finger of tan heads crowns this dark amber body. Leaves some nice rings and sheets of lacing.

There isn't a huge aroma here. Surprisingly, one of the dominant aromas that I can pick up is hops. Very slightly floral and bitter smell. Next I notice a the slight aroma of dark fruits.

Despite a fairly week aroma there is a ton going on in the flavor of ROBD. Up front alcohol comes through right away followed by a pretty firm, bitter, hop bite. Next comes a slight but noticeable chocolate malt flavor. Next comes what I think is the most powerful taste in the beer, some sweet, dark fruit. Raisins and figs. Tastes a lot like port actually.

Mouthfeel is on the heavy side of medium bodied and carbonation is about the same. A tiny bit of burn from the alcohol.

This is a little boozy to be exceptionaly drinkable, I had trouble getting through the bomber. (867 characters)

Photo of sawbones420
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reportedly higher in alcohol than last year's incarnation, I'm rarely disappointed with the Smutty Big Beers.

Into my snifter, pours nice, rich brown with a touch of ruby. Solid head that doesn't linger forever. Good lacing remains through the entire beer.

Alcohol is on the nose as is a candy sweetness, although not obnoxious. Sips less smooth than last year's, as the alcohol hits you up front. This isn't bad, mind you, but it takes the drinkability down slightly. Faintest hint of coconut (really!) before warm dark alcohol takes over your tongue.

Solid brew, but I prefer the lower-alcohol incarnation. Grab a bottle while they are around. I imagine this would age VERY well and mellow out over a 6-12 month period. I can just imagine what this would taste like with that slight edge taken off of it. YUM (813 characters)

Photo of akahn
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice ruby-brown color. Leathery, peat nose. Nutty, sherry-like. Surprisingly this beer is not all that smooth. It's not brash, but the flavor is fairly sharp. None of that rich, velvety stuff. Not much residual sugar. Again, notes of sherry, with a touch of alcohol. This is a nice beer, not something that's going to blow your hair back, but a good, mellow wintertime sipper, with a bit of a kick. Props to Smuttynose, as always. (430 characters)

Photo of soccerman7
4.16/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Very reddish brown with no head/head around the edge of the glass. Dull almost in color.

S - Chocolate, wood, biscuit, sherry notes. One of the most complex noses I have add.

T - Very nice. Toasty, baked bread. fruity and chocolate notes but very well blended. A very good example of an English style strong ale. Warm alcohol but nothing over powering.

M - very smooth with little dryness for a strong ale.

D - excellent brew and look forward to the year of big releases by the brewery. worth the effort to find! (521 characters)

Photo of indiapaleale
4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep ruby, chestnut color. Very clean and clear with a fluffy half inch of head that is not going anywhere anytime soon. Beautiful.

Smell is of dark, sweet fruit with hint of astringent alcohol. This smells like a complex malty delight.

Taste is sweet and tart fruit. I also get some cotton candy and a nice dry finish with more of those alcohol notes. It has an alcohol presence that is not bad by any means but for 7% it seems stronger.

Very smooth drinking beer, another great release in the Smutty Big Beer Series. I put aside a bottle that I will look forward to drinking next winter. This one is perfect for a very cold New England night with the snow falling. (677 characters)

Photo of Proteus93
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Very orangish coloured deep amber pour with a little bit of tiny sediment resting almost in stasis. Nice, creamy head sticks around reasonably.

S: Almost something of a mixed berry-like scent... a medley of them with a sweet maltiness.

T: A nice, rich maltiness with a bit of alcohol pepperiness. A roasty malt, some soft chocoate notes, a little caramel. Rather pungent, but tasty.

M + D: Soft carbonation, fuller body, rather appropriate for the style and the flavours. A nice beer, and another good offering from Smuttynose - particularly in the "Big Beer Series" which hasn't really done me wrong yet. (614 characters)

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

Thanks to Far333 for this one.
Poured a deep brown with nice tannish head, good carbonation and a good looking brew. Nose is pretty hot, you can tell this beer has some alcohol to it. Some dried fruits, caramel and even some oak perhaps. Taste is pretty hot from beginning to end. You really taste the alcohol in this brew. Dried fruits, caramel malts and much more. Mouthfeel is noce, warm and very coating on the mouth. Good beer! (432 characters)

Photo of IBUnit63
4.02/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 vintage bomber into Duvel tulip...

Buttery, tight (actually cheesecake color) 3/4-finger head sticks around for just a bit but wisps away slowly. Tops a deep, dark gingerbread body that has almost a Dubbel look to it. Very slow and sparse carbonation.

Figs, figs and more figs...and a couple of dates. Maybe some dried plums, prunes and even currants too. Quite bountiful with mild brown sugar, a pinch of molasses (maybe) and soft cinnamon and clove on deep background. Brown sugar brings alcohol; slight hop pine (very slight). This is very good and provides great anticipation.

The aroma is so spicy and full of dark fruit that the malt is really on the back burner. but it dos emerge on the taste profile. Very heavy dark caramel is abundant. There is a fair amount of earth here - malt provides coffee - bitter, iced coffee - tones. Alcohol brings it to temperature - there's sweetness from the heat that draws out those dark fruits. A little pine is there too. Finishes a little on the tight side at first. Earth burns off after a while leaving more slate and BBQ char.

Feels drier than would expect - alcohol and slate mix do actually cool this down after a while. Impact point is mid-mouth - a little hop pine and dark fruit tightness. Very complex - still a bit of lingering earth.

This is a good effort with a lot going on...I'm guessing a little time may be helpful. Smutty never disappoints! (1,413 characters)

Photo of NEhophead
3.62/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 fl oz brown bottle; served in a nonic.
Bottle conditioned in 2008.

Faint mahogany with auburn highlights. Creamy off-white head that recedes to a thin sheet after a moment. Patchy lacing with adequate strength.

Aged, vinous fruit: grape, plum, red apple, orange, date. Notes of light toffee and milk chocolate. Slick, gaseous alcohol nose. Lemon and grapefruit hop character. Pleasant aromatics, but young.

Reserved, chocolate malt character with notes of unsweetened caramel and toffee. The malt character is attacked by an aggressive, citrus hop character and immature alcohol flavor. Raisin, plum, date, and red apple appear at mid-sip. The vaporous alcohol and young, hop intensity make for a somewhat waxy finish with an alcohol and bulky, aged fruit-filled aftertaste.

Full bodied; slick and somewhat filmy. For the most part, the intense alcohol presence and waxy, citrus hop character cause an unbalance in texture.

There are some really good flavors in this complex ale. Unfortunately, they are clearly unbalanced due to the alcohol and hop profile's youth. This Really Old Brown Dog needs to lay down for another year. This is one I would love to revisit once it mellows a little more. (1,204 characters)

Photo of johnnnniee
4.47/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 Vintage, I can't believe it took me so long to post a review of this one.
Pours a crystal clear brown color with ruby highlights when held to light. Thin head dissipates quickly. Smells of Brown Sugar, cherries, dark dried fruits, vanilla, some oak or smoke too. Very malty nose very little if any hop presence. Taste is sweet with dark fruits, toffee, sugar, a touch of alcohol and a warming finish. Mouthfeel is creamy/syrupy, body is medium, carbonation is ample. Another great brew from an underrated brewery. (519 characters)

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. (493 characters)

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

Finally I'm getting a chance to review Smuttynose's 2008 release of Really Old Brown Dog Ale. My absolute favorite beer the last time it was brewed about 20 months ago. The last time it was brewed it was made to be a brown porter/ old ale weighing in at 7% ABV. This time the recipe was changed a bit and its brewed to be more of an Old Ale/Barleywine at 10% ABV. I'm freaking excited!

Appearance: Pours a dark brown/ rubyish red with a two finger light tan head that fades in moments into my new Duvel tulip glass. Leaves some very nice lacing.

Aroma: First nose gives me a lot of sweet cherries, oak, and malt. Perhaps some vanilla in there too.

Taste: WOW! Not disappointed in the least. Comes through with a malty, roasty, oaky flavor enhanced by that port soaked oak chips that the brew finished on. Bit of alcohol in the back that is sure to fade in several months. Seemingly a beer that will become very balanced if it isn't so already. (the port finish may be a bit too much fresh for some)

Mouthfeel: Medium to heavy: Seems to stick to the tongue on the way down.

Overall: Another awesome brew from smuttynose. An old favorite brought back in even more glory. This is going to be a fantastic beer to cellar and stand the test of several tasty years.... I'm buying even more than a case! (1,300 characters)

Photo of sethmeister
4.38/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber bottle conditioned in 2007. I've kept this in the cellar since I picked it up over a year ago

Pours a deep caramel brown with an immense fluffy light tan head. Soft fluffy streaks of lace stick to the glass.

Scent is warm sweet caramel, soft cocoa, and a hint of alcohol esters.

Taste is rich caramel and chocolate malts. Brown sugar. Soft bittersweet cocoa. Nuts and toasty notes. Sticky sweetness on the lips and a slight alcohol warming at the finish.

Mouth is soft, creamy and full; even a bit chewy.

Drinkability is excellent - the bomber practically drank itself.

Much softer and smoother than I remember it fresh. Seems to have taken on a lovely English nut brown ale persona. Quite delicious. Wish I'd cellared more of this! (751 characters)

Photo of velo343
4.04/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a thick, hazy brown with a glimmer of amber in it. A nice, frothy head that subsides after a little while but delicately laces the glass.

Really smells like brown sugar and dark caramel. Strong raisin smell, like a perfectly cooked raisin pie. A little bourbon and vanilla cap it off. Taste is a little subdued given the strong smell. A good balance of hops and malt, not overly syrupy and sweet. A bit like apple or peach pie on which the crust has been burnt just slightly, with a slight bit of nutmeg and cocoa. There's a nice, soft bitterness that hits the back of the tongue to finish. Medium body, not too syrupy, and the hops tend to dry it out just a bit.

A very drinkable beer. The smell is definitely the highpoint, but it's good all-around. (760 characters)

Photo of mshallah
3.67/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Purchased in spring 2007 and reviewed 9/22/07.
Fruity and sweet dried fig nose. Baked bean with brown sugar taste with some herbal and salty hops. Aftertaste is long and bitter after a sweet, fruity start that dries out quickly. Medium thin mouthfeel that goes well with an alcohol bite and warmth. A sipper, or great with a steak, stew or roast. Give it a try. (361 characters)

Photo of Franchise
4.32/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This offering from Smuttynose pours a ruby brown leaving a misty body that is attached to a frothy tan head that slowly disappears to a froth. The aroms is brown sugar, spicy aromatic hops, pepper, cinnamon, vanilla, bourbon, very nice nose that makes this beer very enticing.

The taste is so different from the nose, it is rough bitter blast of grapefruit, citrus, that gives you a slight sour bite, but is balanced by a caramel, brown sugar, sweetness that finishes slightly boozy and soft on the palate. Excellent sipper. (525 characters)

Photo of lpayette
3.82/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled in 2007. I've been hanging on to this for about a year now, so let's see how it is:

Appearance is brownish cloudy copper with a two finger head that diminishes to a thin covering. Bits of lace.

Smell is on the malty side. Notes of caramel ripened dark fruit, and some near-barnyard characteristics.

Taste is very good. Definitely on the sweet side. Cinnamon, caramel, apple, brown sugar. Nice.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly creamy, medium-full, and a bit puckering and dry at the finish.

Overall not a bad beer at all. I never tried this when it was young. I may or may not pick this up again if I see it. Don't get me wrong- for the style this was pretty good for me, but this is one of those styles that I feel is very hard to nail perfectly. (753 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First Edition. Bottled in 2007. Dark apricot infused with maraschino cherry juice. Several streams of bubbles slowly blip their way up to a richly creamy crown that is equal parts pastel orange, pale gold and ivory. A wide swath of thick lace tops things off in fine fashion.

The aroma is low on power and isn't as complex as it could be. Truthfully, the beer smells more like a garden-variety brown ale than an old ale. Each sniff delivers toasted nuts and a light sprinkling of cocoa powder, nothing more. Note: warming helps quite a bit.

Really Old Brown Dog makes something of a comeback on the palate... as I thought it might. It still tastes like an Imperial brown ale rather than the stated style. In the final reckoning, the only thing that matter is whether it's good beer or not. It is.

The Brewer's Notes on the Smuttynose website got it exactly right. The flavor spotlight is occupied by a baked chocolatiness, along the lines of chocolate cookies or chocolate cake. Ripe figs, well-toasted pecans, golden brown sugar, an indeterminate spiciness and a hint of estery alcohol contribute as well.

SROBDA is good beer because the brewers didn't make it a malt bomb. An impressive 40 IBUs is just what this hophead was looking for. Liberty (bittering) and Crystal (aroma and flavor) provide more bitterness than flavor. Their fruity-herbal character is a welcome addition to an ale that is becoming sneakily complex as it warms.

The mouthfeel edges into 'lush' territory, without quite getting there. That doesn't mean that it's less than immensely enjoyable. In fact, I'm tempted to go with the next highest score... but can't quite justify it in the end.

Smuttynose has done a good job with this inaugural version. According to the Brewer's Notes, they aren't 100% happy with how it turned out, but I think it turned out pretty well. If brown ales are your favorite style, then Really Old Brown Dog is worth an enthusiastic Two Paw's Up. (1,953 characters)

Photo of dsa7783
4.25/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Smuttynose Big Beer Bottle Series purchased from Super Saver in Somerville...
Really enjoyed Smuttynose's original Old Brown Dog Ale, so I figured this could only be a step better...
Didn't dissapoint...
Pours a deep, dark, mahogany-brown colored hue with a minimal foamy head that soon dissipated and left a modest amount of lacing around the glass...
Very nutty, malty, and strong-filled caramel aroma, bursting with flavor and character...
Sweet, sugared, bread and butter flavor, with strong hints of caramel, vanilla, rich malts, toffee, and cream...
Very rich, sweet, and thick taste loaded with flavors... For an Old Ale, this is certainly one of the better depictions of the style that I have recently sampled...
Great, creamy, rich mouthfeel and ultra-easy drinkability...
Great stuff...
Recommended... (811 characters)

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

A- Pours an auburn hue with a small head which sinks to nothingness.

S- Old Ale's are quickly becoming my favorite style because I just love to stick my nose in them. Full malty aroma leaning toward the caramel side of the spectrum with a subtle sweetness. It seems like it might be a little too light from the smell but we will see.

T- Taste is full and starts off sweet and caramely with touchs of raisin and that leads into a barage of hops at the end. I think after a year when the hops die down a bit this will be drinking extremely well but even now it is delicious.

M- Lots of carbonation and fairly thick.

D- I think the drinkability is about on par with the abv, a bit less than a session beer but it's nice to enjoy and I could definitely drink multiple glasses. (776 characters)

Photo of brentk56
4.33/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a cloudy mahogany with a sturdy head that dots the pint glass with lace

Smell: An enticing blend of caramel and cocoa powder from the malt and some grapefruit from the hops; the overall impact is almost raisiny, when taken together

Taste: Opens malt forward, with plum and cocoa flavors that are joined, mid-palate, by some hoppy citrus; after the swallow, there is a blast of cocoa that persists and dominates the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Now that this has had a chance to settle down (a number of posters said it was unbalanced when freshly bottled), it is drinking very nicely; quite different and a solid achievement (687 characters)

Photo of Wasatch
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to jwc215 for this brew.

Pours a nice slightly cloudy brown color, nice carbonation, nice little creamy tan head, which leaves some small islands and sticky lacing. The nose is malty, vanilla, toffe, roasted nuts, and caramel. The taste is sweet, malty, nice roasty tones, toffee/caramel. The alcohol is basically non-existent. Medium body. Very drinkable, this brew goes down very smooth, another awesome brew from Smuttynose, thanks Joe. (447 characters)

Photo of Vancer
4.27/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to MuenchenerKindl for this beer sent my way via trade.

Poured a clear mahogany, with a tan head that left nice lace rings in the ol’ tulip glass.

Surprising big whiff of a maltly chocolate and coffee. Quaff was a gritty burnt toast thrown in the mix. Very stoutish type brew.

Drank lite and easy, I could do a few of these winner bombers. (350 characters)

Photo of gpcollen1
4.38/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This one pours a beautiful dark brown into my Smutty Big Beer Tulip. Head rises up an inch or so and quickly settles. Aroma is deep and malty rich with hints of caramel and maybe a waft of alcohol.

TAste follows the nose a bit in the heavy duty malt but not giving in to much sweetness at all and complimented by the slightly elevated alcohol. Wondefully dry hops rides in on this one mid sip and cruises through the finish.

I am not certain if I liked this more now or when it was fresh but regardless, it is delicious. Would like to see more of this... (557 characters)

Photo of DrJay
3.65/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to purplehops for sending this as part of BC2!
Very clear and reddish brown, the chucky, light tan foam was very longlasting and formed thick lacing. Aromas of brown sugar, cocoa, dark chocolate, bread crust, toffe and faint alcohol. Low bitterness with lots of malty sweetness. Faint hop leaf with alcohol throughout and a toffee aftertaste. Medium bodied and average carbonation with some warmth and a decent texture. Although it didn't quite come together for me the way it should, it was still enjoyable and had some nice malt presence. (547 characters)

Smuttynose Really Old Brown Dog Ale from Smuttynose Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 352 ratings.