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Smuttynose Really Old Brown Dog Ale (Big Beer Series) - Smuttynose Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Smuttynose Really Old Brown Dog Ale (Big Beer Series)Smuttynose Really Old Brown Dog Ale (Big Beer Series)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

542 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 542
Reviews: 308
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 11.03%
Wants: 39
Gots: 34 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company visit their website
New Hampshire, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  10.10% ABV

Availability: Spring

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.

20 IBU

2007 - 7.0%
2008 - 9.3%
2010 - 10.9%

(Beer added by: cbl2 on 03-03-2007)
View: Beers (54) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Smuttynose Really Old Brown Dog Ale (Big Beer Series) Alström Bros
Ratings: 542 | Reviews: 308 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of KenGage


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

Bomber poured into a 22 oz. C.B & Potts mug.

A: Medium brown...I didn't get a whole lot of a head or much lacing...and that's...OK

S: Cherry and plum compote....a little alcohol...and a little grain

T: Sharp and somewhat sweet fruit flavors... every now and again I think I get a hint of bittersweet chocolate... then it's right back to the dried/spiced/sharp fruit flavors... and a clean hop bitterness. Alcohol is present but not overly so considering the high content

M: Light/Medium carbonation, a medium body... about what would be expected for a brown, alcohol

D: Everything Smuttynose is new to me and I'm loving it. This is sweeter than what I would usually drink...but I'd have it again without anyone twisting my arm

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2009 02:41:21 | More by KenGage
Photo of saintwarrick

South Carolina

3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2008 vintage.
This brew pours amber with some light brown highlights and a fluffy off-white head. Aroma is sweet and boozy, lots of maltiness with hints of brown sugar, fresh cookies and brownies, with some rum raisin thrown in for good measure. Taste follows most of those flavors, heavy on the sweet brown sugar; definitely old-ale style although Imperial Brown wouldn't be too far off either. Booze is apparent but not distracting. Very smooth and tasty.

A tad too sweet for the style but still a great brew. Highly recommend for old ale lovers.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2009 05:39:30 | More by saintwarrick
Photo of msubulldog25


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

Bottle-Conditioned (2008) 22 oz. bottle pulled from the cellar, sent by BanditBrewingCo (thanks Alan!).

A: Murky auburn without much carbonation, a few small flecks of sediment bobbing. Ivory cream topping, maybe 1/2 finger before fading to a vague swirl. Thin bands of crooked lace drape the sides.

S: Sweeter, fruit-filled aroma - plums, ripe cherries - before huskier/grainier aromas catch up. Scents ebb and flow, like peat, leather, singed wood, cocoa powder, sage/herbal hops. Still, sugared sweetness reigns.

T: Not quite so candy-like, but still on the sweeter side. More cocoa, darker chocolate shavings, spiced fruit, caramel reduction, toasted nuts. Bitterness in finish is mild, a by-product of the grain roast; enough leafy hoppiness for a cleaner finish.

M: Slight carbonated crispness initially at each sip, then a rolling smoothness. Medium body, borderline heavy due to a creeping alcohol warmth.

D: Likable stuff, another solid brew from Smuttynose (I'll ask again: please, can you come to Oregon?). This particular one isn't my favorite of their brews (a bit too sweet for the style - or is it? 'Brown Ale' or 'Old Ale'?) but I still enjoyed it. Would have another...

Serving type: bottle

05-30-2009 15:18:31 | More by msubulldog25
Photo of Mauerhan


4.13/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

this has been sitting in my fridge for a while now, and last time i checked i have FAR to much beer. so smuttynose your mine tonight.

pours a light brown with a nice amount of tan head that is formed off a center pour. moderate retention. some spotty lacing. a decent looking brew. only thing holding back the score is the retention and lacing.

i stick my nose in and i get figs, brown sugar and some dry malty characters.

taste is solid. a smooth ride. moderate sweetness. this is a very easy brew to drink. i get everything from biscuits to toffee, caramel to fruit. well balanced and very easy to drink.

i get no hint that this is a 7 abv. i would have no problem polishing off a bottle of this by myself. very VERY drinkable. with the amount of sweetness i would be afraid to see what some age would do to this but it never hurts to experiment in the name of science. worth a shot if you have it readily available.

yet again I am thoroughly satisfied by another brew from smuttynose. they are making a fan outta me.

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2009 04:47:54 | More by Mauerhan
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2009 15:29:51 | More by glid02
Photo of gford217


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

Bomber shared by glid02 at the Brick Store.

Pours a clear amber brown with a very small tan head that recedes immediately and leaves no lacing.

The aroma is extremely sweet with tons of caramel malts, dark fruits and brown sugar. There are raisins, figs and other sweet dark fruits in there.

The taste is just as sweet with the same caramel malt backbone dominating. There are, again, dark fruits and even some toffee sweetness in the taste.

The mouthfeel is slick with little carbonation and the sweetness completely coats the palate.

This is a decent strong ale but is extremely sweet and one dimensional in that way. It's still very good but definitely a sipper and not a bottle to finish yourself.

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2009 02:08:16 | More by gford217
Photo of Gyle41386

South Carolina

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

Poured from a bomber into a mug.

Pours a rich mahogany with a couple of fingers of rich creamy foam. Streams of bubbles rising throughout.

Aroma is really, really sweet. Loads of caramel malts, chocolate and rum-soaked, brown sugar filled dark fruits.

Flavor followed the nose, although the sweetness doesn't quite reach the level it does in the aroma. Very, very rich. There's some toffee flavor that I didn't detect in the nose. Possibly even some oak.

Medium body. Appropriately carbonated. Couldn't really taste any alcohol at all. Definitely a sipper. I'll probably be picking up another bottle to see how it does with some age on it.

Serving type: bottle

04-20-2009 01:37:39 | More by Gyle41386
Photo of Reagan1984


3.33/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Gorgeous looking beer. Two fingers of creamy beige head rise above the dark amber beer. Mostly brown tones and perfect clarity. (perhaps a bit of ruby) No visible carbonation. Sticky lacing everywhere.

Aroma is of deep malt, caramel and some alcohol. A touch of cinnamon as well. A touch musty.

The beginning of the flavor is nice. There is a strange aftertaste I can't quite put my finger on. Starts with some nice potent malt and rich caramel. In the middle you get some alcohol and then there is this lingering almost plastic taste. Is it some phenolic tones? Not sure. Certainly some nutty flavors as well. A touch of almond perhaps.

Almost astringent. A bit dry. Not quite hot, but you know there is a alcohol here.

Not quite as drinkable as I had hoped. The aftertaste really puts a damper on things.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2009 18:25:34 | More by Reagan1984
Photo of yesyouam

New York

3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Smuttynose Really Old Brown Dog is a very clear, dense, brown ale with a generous, thick, dense, foamy yellow head that has incredible retention. It smells kind of like a home brew. There are notes of green hops, peppercorns and resiny malt that is just a touch sweet. It is full bodied, thick and syrupy. It has a wooden, resiny malt flavor that's a little sweet and a little bitter. There is almost an umami note. Oak and leather are detected. It's pretty drinkable. This is a solid Old Ale.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2009 13:03:00 | More by yesyouam
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This had to be one of the sweetest beers I have ever had in my life. Served chilled and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 04/06/2009.

The pour was very nice. Rich, dark chocolate brown with a nice head of light tan on the top of it. Smooth, easy settling left behind some nice side glass lacing. The aroma was soo sweet. Lots of caramel, smooth molasses and brown sugar like smells coming off of here. The flavor was much more of the same. Rich and very sweet, defintly a dessert beer. I found myself savoring each and every sip of this one as the delicate sweetness of this one overwhelmed me. Soo much flavor here as the sweet caramel malts just overpowered everything and made for a wonderful flavor. The medium bodued ale was well carbonated and all alcohol was hidden and totally non existent.

Overall this was a really solid beer. A really solid version of the style.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2009 01:46:05 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of CHADMC3


4.43/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The deep copper to chestnut body gives way to an enormous, creamy, tan head packed with dense carbonation and a thick, lacey top that hangs around the sides throughout the beer.

Big malt, deep, dark fruit, a bit of brown sugar, and possibly even bread or biscuit highlight the nose of the Old Brown Dog, almost mirroring the friend on the label.

Great flavor, and very diverse; up front there is dark fruit such as raisins or plums, but also toffee, and a hint of something sherry-like. There is also a touch of pepper on the back of the throat, and then a sweet nutty finish.

Medium to low carbonation, a bit chewy and on the thicker side, great palate with increasing sweetness to enjoy more and more.

This is a great beer, and near spot on for the style in my opinion, certainly a beer I will have over and over again. Tons of flavor and aromas to enjoy, entirely too easy to drink, and completely satisfying to the senses.

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2009 01:10:11 | More by CHADMC3
Photo of JohnGalt1


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

22 received as surprising extra from rpstevens .. This was on my wants for the longest time.. and I just took it off because I never got any bites... Huge thanks Ryan! Poured into a big red wine balloon..

1" head looks fantastic.. nice lace.. not alot of retention.. the brew is crystal clear deep amber...

The nose has a ton of caramel malts with about as much fruitiness.. toasty toffee.. apples and sugared pears.

Flavors are mirroring the aromas but with alot more "uumph"... brown sugar and lite burnt caramel.. a little nutty.. some lite chocolate.. the esters lay waste as this bottle warms up.. plums and cherry essence come to mind.. a prevalence of apple is another component.. This is screaming "English" as it hits room temperature.. some beginnings of tannins too.. the body is fairly thick.. and carbonation is sorta light..

Honestly.. way too sweet and cloying for my tastes.... Ryan.. I am very thankful to be able to try this brew.


Edit: I should probably check out the style before just punch "review this beer"... I initially reviewed this as an American Brown Ale.. but I can see for sure how this would fit well as an English SA ... with a touch more EtOh, I would say it would be a bit too sweet ... but Old Ale with some tweeking.. Now I wish I would have saved this one to share with some other Boise BA's and see what they thought.

Thanks Ryan again.


Serving type: bottle

03-31-2009 07:36:42 | More by JohnGalt1
Photo of JayQue


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

Good one! I thought this beer was a strong Brown Ale, but it seems to fit the description of the English Strong Ale style very well. Pours a clear mahagany / orange color with a small, slightly off-white head. A bit of sticky lacing and low head retention.

Smell is very mild maltiness. Taste is more complex. Sweet caramel malt, some dark fruit and a strong hint of oak. It all works very well as a slow sipper. The oak and the bit of alcohol in the taste tends to slow you down.

Mouthfeel is rich and there is nothing off- putting either with the oak or alcohol. Drinkability is good. This could seem like a good session beer for the unwary. I would imagine that aging would bring out even more flavors.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2009 00:52:00 | More by JayQue
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

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

Bottle: Poured a clear light brown color ale with a nice size foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of fruity ester is quite enjoyable with some light caramel malt. Taste is a nice mix between some fruity ester (peach, apricot) and some caramel malt. Additional notes of dry fruit and more pronounced presence of sweet malt would have made this more enjoyable. Carbonation is good with an average body and no noticeable alcohol.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2009 02:46:35 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of hopdog


3.9/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle. 2007 vintage.

Poured a deeper amberish color with a larger sized off white head. Aromas of caramel, toasted nuttiness, and a little fruity. Tastes of caramel, nuts, lighter fruitiness, toasty, and some woodiness.

Notes from and tasted on: 03/23/09

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2009 23:36:49 | More by hopdog
Photo of StrangeBrewer76


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

The look is perfection in a glass for this style. Classic brown, head fades to sticky lacing.

Smells woody like a tree should but anything else is subtle or hidden.

Big oak barrel taste that really supersedes all in terms of taste. It's like the distillate of water from a barrel. Plenty of woody, oaky goodness if that's what you're in to. There is also a long, lingering malty sweetness that goes a long way to making this an awesome beer.

Mouthfeel is fine, medium bodied and otherwise unremarkable, well rounded.

Drinkability - There is no impediment to drinking this beer in mass quantities other than price which is hardly a limiting factor.

This is a nice beer to have on hand for occasions as special as a weekend.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2009 00:44:59 | More by StrangeBrewer76
Photo of GreatPondBrewer


3.7/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An interesting beer... okay more of a review than that. Poured a beautiful ruby red with hues of amber and mahogany as well. The head was barely off-white. Streaks of a yellowish-brown mixed into the bubbles. The nose was completely dominated by notes of bourbon and vanilla and a faint hint of green raisins. The first blush revealed more of the bourbon barrel notes and a smooth finish. The moutfeel was rich and creamy. Not too bad, and I wonder what a little aging would do for it?

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2009 22:09:29 | More by GreatPondBrewer
Photo of Clydesdale

District of Columbia

4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: A deep orange-brown color with a very large, densely creamy light tan head with very good retention and really nice lacing. Quite a bit of tight, visible carbonation here.

S: Toasty, nutty aromas are quite noticeable. Cocoa, plums, and a leathery aroma also make themselves known. Some sweet, boozy alcohol as well - interesting.

T: Surprisingly spicy flavors at work here. A large dose of chocolate malts along with plum/fig fruitiness. Nutty flavors of walnuts are detectable. Some brown sugar and soft leathery notes as well. Leafy hops provide some flavor and bitterness, but they take a back seat. A zesty, alcoholic finish that recalls a spiced rum in some ways.

M: Fairly full-bodied, with a sweet, sticky feel. Carbonation is pretty light. Smooth overall.

D: Very interesting and pretty complex for the style. I'm a big fan of Smuttynose and this just shows off their ability to put a distinct spin on a beer style that has been done unremarkably by so many. That said, it's a definite sipper, and I wouldn't call it balanced given its spicy/alcoholic characteristics, but it's very tasty nonetheless.

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2009 21:39:45 | More by Clydesdale
Photo of deltatauhobbit


4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour an amber/copper color with a decent sized head that fades fast with not much lacing.

Smell is malty with a caramel backbone with a mild dark fruit aroma.

Taste has quite the kick, tastes much stronger than the 7% listed, strong caramel malt taste with some prickly dark fruit, good carbonation if slightly assertive, bit of an alcohol burn and warming sensation.

Similar to Geary's HSA.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2009 00:16:15 | More by deltatauhobbit
Photo of Pencible


4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This poured a clear mahogany with tan head. It smelled like brown sugar and bready yeast and almond, with a bit of whole wheat or fresh barley. It tasted simple at first, but had a lot of suble complexity. Dominant flavors were brown sugar and creamy yeast, but it also had banana and caramelized sugar (crème brulee crust) and fresh barley, along with a bit of cherry, bourbon oak, and alcohol. It was thick with some carbonation, and had a sweet aftertaste with some alcohol warming. Overall this was a very interesting beer, not like a typical old ale, but more like a strong brown ale. It had great body and was fairly easy to drink despite noticeable alcohol. If the subtle complexities of this became more noticeable with age, that would really help round this beer and make it delicious.

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2009 00:44:15 | More by Pencible
Photo of joepais


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

Bomber poured into a dogfish head snifter produced a finger worth of off white head that trailed off to a thin lace. The body of the brew was mahogany in color

Sweet and malty caramel and sweet fruit the malts are all you get with a whiff of alcohol. The flavor follows' suit to the nose towards the sweet side I think the only balance comes from the heat. This is a sipper and the mouthfeel is medium with almost no carbonation.

Needs some age I think we all agree. I have a few more bottles that will stay in the cellar for a few years. I finish the bottle so you can say it is drinkable

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2009 00:41:53 | More by joepais
Photo of DIM


4.4/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a: This was an almost clear, peachy mahogany color. It poured with a thick, somewhat sticky, off-white head.

s: Some warm, prickly cherries, warm, perfumed hops, and warm, malty toffee. Did I mention warm? This stuff smells pretty young. I like it a lot now, but I think there is potential for this to get even better.

t: Overall, this is probably a little too hot. But I can't help really liking this! Perfumed hop notes lend a sharp edge to fruit flavors of tart cherries and a little raisin. There is also a whisper of chocolate in the malts.

m: Mouth puckering warmth and tartness, combined with long lived, creamy carbonation.

d: Smutty's big beers have been hit or miss for me, but this is a bull's eye. Thanks to both barleywinebrewer and joepais for samples of this. I love this now and I'm really glad I have some to age. I think it will get even better.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2009 15:16:43 | More by DIM
Photo of JohnQVegas


4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into red wine glass.

Pours a dark caramel color, a bit hazy, with a fluffy khaki head that settles into a nice creamy layer on top. Some nice lacing.

Nose is caramel coated apples, sweet, rich, and fruity, slightly toasty, with a hint of spicy alcohol.

Starts off with a rich, multi-layered toasty-sweet malt character; burnt caramel and a hint of molasses come through, as well as a a hint of oaky acidity and some toasty breadiness. Within the malt sweetness are notes of apples and pears. Spicy alcohol heat comes out early, as well as a not insubstantial earthy bitterness towards the finish.

Mouthfeel is a bit slick, a bit of fluffy carbonation gives the beer a bit of a creamy texture. Well done.

Drinkability suffers a tad from the alcohol, and the bitterness seems a bit green at this point. Stash this one away for a year and it will only get better. As it is, I'm a fan of English strong ales anyway, and this one certainly gets my motor running. Nice beer, and major kudos to Smutty for releasing a fairly under-represented style in their big beer series.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2009 21:54:40 | More by JohnQVegas
Photo of grayburn

South Carolina

3.43/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep brown, not much different looking than the regular brown dog. Decent head and lacing.
The smell is very sweet, not extremely well rounded. All malt no hops, I realize that this is the style, it just isn't balanced in taste or smell. The taste is the same way, not bad, just a bit cloying.
Because of the oversweetness, the decent carbonation cannot pull the big body's weight. This is by no means a bad beer, it just isn't smuttynose's finest, they come out with beers that are much better than this.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2009 21:55:53 | More by grayburn
Photo of Amalak

New York

3.03/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

At Mugs Ale House on Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn they had a tasting with a cask of this brew. It was a clear brown color with a average foamy head and limited lace. Malt scent with a slight fruity after tone.

The beer is very sweet, actually, quite sour. High alcohol content that comes through. I hear that this is better if you sip and savor, but for a first go, it was alright.

Serving type: cask

03-10-2009 21:41:41 | More by Amalak
Smuttynose Really Old Brown Dog Ale (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 542 ratings.