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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

667 Ratings

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Ratings: 667
Reviews: 336
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 10.74%
Wants: 46
Gots: 71 | FT: 3
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: 667 | Reviews: 336
Photo of PicoPapa
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle with a Bottle Conditioned Date notched at 2010. Pours a murky, dark dark chestnut color with a 1/2 inch of creamy head. Aroma is a big whiff of booze. Dark fruits as well but the alcohol smell dominates. Taste is more of the same. Booze and dark fruits upfront with some vanilla at the end. Some caramel flavor. The 10% abv makes its presence known. Very little carbonation, but that is to be expected. I would like to see if the alcohol flavor would mellow with some more age on it. Overall, it is a decent beer and worth grabbing every so often.

Photo of xnicknj
3.55/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into snifter glass - i forget who sent this to me but thanks!

Pours a clouded burnt orange color with some brown tones. A thinner beige head fades quickly into a collar of film with some spots of lacing on the glass.

Dark fruit and brown sugar up front, some elements of raisin and dates. A bit of a candied edge, caramel with thick bready malts and sweetness. Slight alcohol warmth.

Rich and full flavored up front with sweetness driven by brown sugar and candied dark fruit. Syrupy caramel with burnt sugar. Thick breaded malts with some roasted tones. Slightly bitter towards the finish with more sweetness and some boozy heat which lingers on the tongue.

Fuller bodied, decent carbonation, chewy and roasty, lingering and lasting feel. Drinks decently, but overall a bit too sweet for my tastes, especially with the combination of brown sugar and dark fruit.

Photo of Dotcubed
3.84/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Got several weeks back.
Thought it was a good idea at Wegman's.

Realized tonight that they put a barcode sticker over the percent alcohol and the bottle date. And peeling it off obliterated the info, so I think it's a 2008 bottle.

Pours a nice fizzy sounding glass, good cream on top.
A very red looking lab color. Not as pretty as my dog, not seemingly a natural color.

Can't smell much. Sweet. Nutty.

Hot, bourbon like flavor. Warms the chest.
Sweeter than I'd like to drink. Complex bitter tones with bubble gum? Stunning. But heavily sugared.

IF it was much older and had the sugar muted, this could get a five or two.

A nice product!!! I'll look for another to cellar.

Photo of baldycmu
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Pours a ruby brown color with a very thin tan head
S-Smells like a bourbon pecan pie, caramel and bourbon with notes of alcohol
T-Strong flavor of bourbon and molasses with a nice hint of alcohol at the end that lingers with you for a while. At first you'd be surprised it is 10% ABV
M-Thick and syrupy, light carbonation.

Photo of drowninginhops
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Weihenstephan weisen glass.

A: Muddy brown, could not see through it with ambient light. Slightly off white head that left no lacing.

S: Malt, bourbon, alcohol with some nut and earthy notes.

T: Bourbon, with roasted malt and some coffee notes, with a slight bitterness to round out the pallet.

M: A little thin but not too thin (creamy), but this is good for the beer. Perfect amount of carbonation.

D: You dont feel its 10% till the end. Could but a few back quickly.

Photo of OWSLEY069
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy deep brown color with a light tan head. In the aroma, dry caramel, and a small roasty malt. In the taste, oaky, bourbon like notes, a small roast and caramel hints. A smooth and medium to big bodied mouthfeel, with a dry oaky bourbon like aftertaste. Nice hidden oakiness, nice mellow bourbon notes and a sipper for sure.

Photo of biegaman
3.67/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I struggle to think of any other drink, or food for that matter, that you'd want to be this colour. It is an entirely murky, pecan (there ya go) brownish tone with not even a thread of luster, even when held directly up to the light. A tight ring of lace throttles the perimeter but not a spec of it extends further than the sides. Lacing too stays put where it is.

The aroma smells like a syrupy reduction of molasses, bourbon, maple, rum, raisin and just about anything else sweet you care to throw in there. This potent, strikingly bourbon-y sweetness crashes into the room and roles around like a grenade. First impressions indicate that finishing a full bomber was a more daring task than first perceived.

The fumes seem capable of getting you drunk but the taste is more conservative with regards to the alcohol content, this because the malts are a little bit more forward. Still, the fierce, unencumbered sweetness only assists in propagating a blustery, stiff and rugged ale. It is both too sweet and too strong, at least in quantities larger than a few ounces.

As far as the flavours go, only the sweetest and strongest of the Old Brown Dog Ale have survived, those being pecan & caramel chocolate truffles and macerated dark fruits. None of the stinky Willamette hops that give the base beer's cutting, alleviating bitterness are perceptible in this higher gravity rendition. Even my sweet tooth is screaming 'uncle!'.

This beer is the after-dinner chocolates and port all rolled into one indulgent, sinfully sweet tipple. Mind you, this 2010 release (10.9%) went a little north of the intended alcohol mark and is better suited to the cellar than previous vintages. Still, the alcohol is a massacring presence and it's tough to know if it'll grow more subdued or suppressive with time.

My money is on the latter. At only a few months of age this has ravaged through much of the coffee-ish, roast malt flavours (which partially come with warmth). I can't imagine what another few years will do. As it stands, this beer is agreeable only in small sips which, although common for the style, is usually by choice - not necessity as is the case here.

My whole life I've lived with dogs in the house. They are wonderful, meaningful members of the family. But they are a lot of work once they get old. Of course we still love them unconditionally. The people at Smuttynose obviously love this beer, brewed in commemoration of their dog Olive, but I can't shake the thought that it may be time for them to start looking at some new projects. It's about time this old girl be retired...

Photo of unit555
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Really nice brown ale. The aromas are complex with many sweet notes. The dominant tastes are nut and malt. It was an easy beer to drink. You would not suspect the alcohol content was around 10% so it is slightly dangerous in that regard. Highly recommended.

Photo of oberon
3.62/5  rDev -7.4%
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 Ryan011235
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter on 1/10/11

Bottle conditioned in 2010

Pours a murky brown with an amber twinge. In the glass it's fairly dark with highlights of plum & ruby. One finger head dissipates after a minute or two leaving a thin film, some bubbles & a few patches of lace.

The nose is ripe with complex aromas; primarily dark fruits & sugars. Notes of raisins, figs, candied malts, floral hops, toasted grains, toffee, hints of caramel, tobacco overtones throughout & a notion of butterscotch. A modest booziness is appreciable.

The flavors found herein are of the same depth & complexity suggested by the aroma. Granular sugars a la caramel & toffee drift about emboldened dark fruit notes - raisins, plum & such. Earthy, with hints of tobacco & dates. Nips of hops add subtle accents to the otherwise malt-centric beer. The booziness mentioned below becomes more apparent with warmth.

Medium-full body, though it has a slightly juicy feel especially on the peripheries. Appropriately low carbonation is underscored with a dry, albeit subtle, grittiness. A little bit of booze is present. Finishes with a dried fruit stickiness. Dark fruits & residual sugars linger.

Why have I passed up Really Old Brown Dog Ale for so long? It's a high-quality beer; one that's a fully enjoyable sipper. It's an exceptional value to boot.

Photo of aepb1
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Brown body gives the illusion of translucence but can't quite see through it and a creamy brown head

S- Nutty and earthy nose, bready as well, and pretty big

T- Roasty and nutty malts, some bitterness in the finish

M- Medium-bodied, good carbonation, creamy

D- At 10% abv, you really don't get that and it's quite drinkable

Photo of cbutova
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Notes from over the weekend, always nice to sample one of my favorite styles.

A- Cloudy dark brown with a small creamy, off-white head. Nice cloud and ring leave some spotty lace.

S- Deep caramel with some Brown Ale nutty malt and some spice/raisin.

T- Deep caramel again and a spice/raisin presence. Hops bring in some earthy and floral notes toward the finish. Nutty malt.

MF- Creamy body with fine carbonation and a bit of an oily feel. Slightly bitter and some warmth.

DB- Flavorful old ale with a Brown twist. Goes down easy for an Old Ale.

Photo of commis
3.89/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle into a Sierra Nevada tulip.

Appearance is a bit murky but not at all unattractive. red/brown with a head the color of white chocolate.
Smells like fall turning into winter...if that makes any sense. There is plenty of citrus and if you could smell "tart" than this would smell that way.
Lots of dried fruit. Not overly sweet at all but still malty enough to fix my malt-fix. it's nice.
Feel is creamy. It's got a drying effect because of the slightly tart nature of it but its got the gravity to balance well and even feel on the richer side.
I wouldn't say that I could go through more than a bomber and a half of it, but for what it is, this is very drinkable. Nicely done Smutt.

I buy it every year and I won't stop until it isn't good.

Edit: Adjusted the 'drinkabilty' on this to suit the 'overall'.
Awesome fucking beer, either way.

Photo of WeedKing4
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a semi clear, dark brown, slight amber colour with a decent amount of head. Tastes of slight caramal malt with a candied sugar like finish. Drinks down very smooth and the high alc % is very well hidden. Very easy to drink. Quite a tasty old ale overall.

Photo of billab914
3.53/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Allagash chalice. It poured a dark caramel color with a thinner but frothy head to it. The head retreated to the edges of the glass and left just a bit of lacing as I drank it. Pretty good for the style though.

The aroma has caramel and toffee flavors to it along with a surprising amount of grapefruit citrus. Some malty, darker fruit flavors come through as well. Some alcohol is there too and gives it just a bit of a booziness.

The taste also shows a good amount of the bitter grapefruit citrus throughout the flavor. Malty, caramel flavors also come out with just a bit of some dark fruit qualities to them. The finish also shows a bit of toffee. The bitter citrus and malty sweetness both linger for a bit.

The mouthfeel is a bit above medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is pretty good, it had some nice flavors to it. It was a bold beer but came together pretty nicely. It was hoppier then I expected for an old Ale, but it gave it an American kind of twist that I enjoyed. Pretty decent beer overall, but not my favorite of the style.

Photo of KTCamm
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the Big Beer series bottle into my Duvel glass.

Pours chocolately brown with wisps of brownish white foam. Very sticky lacing.

Boozy smell - whisky/bourbon. Woody. (the smell, not me).

Vanilla taste - and boozy - whisky/bourbon finish. Tastes like a mellow cordial. Warm finish. Ahhh.

Drinkable - the 10% can pack a punch though. Enjoy.

Photo of donkeyrunner
3.16/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Deep, clear chestnut with auburn hues. Light beige head rides down to glass bottom. Lacey fingers wrap around my glass like holding it from the inside out.

Aroma is sugar coated golden raisins, whole wheat bread and a little citrus infused booze. Taste is plums and raisins dunked in semi-malty goodness. Alcoholic warming. Little bit of leafy hop tea fade in back. Smooth, carbonated with reservation, mouthfeel.

Doesn't have that full on malt bath feel or taste that I expect from the style. I'm using head over heels in love with everything from the Smuttynose big beer series, or anything Smutty in general, but this is pretty average. Can't teach an old dog new tricks?

Photo of ChrisPro
3.82/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Blind Beer #4 thanks to mtunnell as part of Blind BIF #3

22 oz bomber poured into a tulip.

Solid dark brown with a light colored-khaki head. Big frothy foam that stuck around and left good lacing.

Aroma of toffee and some pine, touch of grapefruit hoppiness. Definitely thinking an American Barleywine here. Lots of molasses, cherry and plum as it warms, making me think it might be English

First sip is very sweet caramel and toffee, with a nice balanced bitter finish. This is definitely a dry malt finish from something like a touch of chocolate malt or dark crystal. Some slight dry oxidation notes and I'm thinking this might be aged a little bit, especially given the fruity notes on the nose.

Drinks incredibly smooth, and pretty full bodied. Light carbonation, and a bit of an alcohol burn on the finish, suggesting it maybe isn't aged too much. Probably about 10-11% ABV.

Overall, this is a fantastic beer and quite complex. Definitely goes down easier than what I think the ABV is.

Guessing something like an '08 barleywine, most likely english after tasting it. Could easily be a nice old ale, though as well.

Time for the reveal...Smuttynose Really Old Brown Dog Ale (2010)

Nice! Thanks, Matt.

Now reviewing to style:

A bit boozier than I wanted, but it does have some of the great dark fruit notes that I want in an old ale. This would do great with age I think!


Photo of Chaney
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had a potential beer trader who requested this a while back and the trade fell through. Oh well... I guess trading wasn't for him.

A: Poured a nice Crayon dark brown, with about a finger to two finger head that withered away to a mere bubble formation within seconds.

S: Caramel, butterscotch dessert! This thing smelled like it was going to be sticky and then some!

T: Very full bodied, with a substantial caramel backbone that could have only been duplicated in a homemade dessert. It had the same sort of saltiness one might expect from a "Payday" candy bar.

M: Thick enough, but not too thick for this style. However, I totally welcomed that going into the session. The lacing was fair, but not too great.

D: This was probably the most drinkable Old Ale I've ever tried. The "Old Brown Dog" doesn't have anything on this!

Photo of JizackFH
4.23/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - This pours a dark reddish-brown just like the Old Brown Dog Ale, but slightly darker and hazier. It has a small dark tan head that left just a little bit of lacing on the glass.

S - This one smells of caramel and roasted malts. It is very sweet smelling, and it also has a strong alcohol presence.

T - This beer is sweet and boozy. You immediately taste the caramel sweetness and alcohol. There are notes of toffee, and also a hint of chocolate and hops. The finish is slightly bitter with a boozy bite that sticks to the mouth.

M - This has a medium to full body with a bit of a chewy quality to it. It has decent carbonation, and it also has a rich and creamy quality to it. Bitterness at the finish sticks to the mouth.

D - For 10% ABV this is a pretty drinkable beer. Its nice and silky, and it goes down smooth. this is another great addition to the Smuttynose Big Beer Series. I would definitely pick this one up again.

Photo of CrellMoset
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Smuttynose Really Old Brown Dog, one of the few Big Beer Series beers I haven't yet had. On tap at Monk's Cafe, upstairs bar, Asheville, NC. Served in a pint glass.

Appearance: Arrives a darkly hazed copper, vibrant in hue, and capped by one finger of richly endowed, tan, tawny head. The stick is decent, though not particularly outstanding, not unsurprising given the abv%. The post-fade leaves a foamy collar, non-uniform, but persistent throughout the experience.

Aroma: Glassy, sticky sweet caramel notes, exactly the kind you hope to get out of a nice, well-aged Old Ale. Dark fruits are close behind, raisins and dried cherries among the principle notes. There's also a slight amount of oxidation, coming across as wet cardboard or even dog food (maybe that's just the name evoking that one, though).

Taste: Dark toffee and caramel are large and up front, chewy, crystalline, refined. Cherries and raisins are again the primary fruit notes I detect, but there's a little bit more to the mouth than to the nose. A nice biting, spicy phenolic presence makes itself known throughout the experience, and a nice amount of smooth bitterness balances the unattenuated sugars nicely. Intense and flavorful.

Mouthfeel: Chewy, biting, and thick - in fact, its at times almost borderline overly thick, sweet, syrupy. However, it's also incredibly smooth and creamy, and balances out on the whole.

Drinkability: A little bit less than what I was expecting, but a nicely made beer nonetheless. The 10% is nothing to sneeze at but was undetectable, and - though I can certainly imagine other beers I'd likely prefer to have if I want to get drunk on a 10% abv beer - this one fit the bill fairly nicely.

Photo of Sam21
3.23/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz bottle, 2010 edition.

Appearance - Deep amber/light ruby brown body underneath a smooth off white head.

Smell - Rich malty nose. Rum soaked dark fruits, caramel, and molasses. Not an overwhelming aroma. Presented well.

Taste - Matches the malty aromas with waves of rum soaked plums, dates, and raisins. Some vinous complexities. Thick swirls of caramel and molasses with a solid dose of warmth in the finish. There is some oiliness in the finish that seems off, but it's not a distracting or overly noticeable flavor.

Mouthfeel - Very full-bodied and a little thick. Feels a little heavy and overwhelming in that sense.

Drinkability - Halfway through the first pour and the alcohol and sweetness are making this a slow sipper. As I move on to the second glass I am more comfortable with this beer's freshness and complex layers. This is definitely a sipper and would have benefited greatly from some aging, but I'm happy to try a fresh 2010 bottle of this.

Photo of ryan1788a5
3.58/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a clear dark red/brown color. A tan, bubbly one inch head has moderate retention and leaves light rings of lacing.

S: Very sweet and fruity. Grapes, grape juice, a touch of red wine, sweet darkfruits (plum and cherry). Dark malts are apparent with aromas of molasses and some chocolate. Faint whiffs of alcohol.

T: Grape juice and some lighter fruity flavors of pear and apple wash across the tongue first. These are quickly overpowered by raisin, cherry, plum, and big malt tastes of molasses, thick chewy caramel, some toffee, brown sugar, and the faintest hint of chocolate. Finishes dry with tastes of chocolate covered raspberries, some molasses, and a slight taste of red wine.

M: Medium bodied, smooth, and slightly syrupy/chewy. On the thinner side of the spectrum as far as the style goes. Alcohol does not show up in the taste, but does lend the expected warming sensation.

D: Easier to drink than most Old Ales, but in this case that might be a bad thing. Old Ales are supposed to be heavy, complex sippers. This one is thinner in mouthfeel and very fruity. The strong vinous qualities one looks for are just barely there. There is too much pear, apple, and juicy grape taste here.

Notes: Definitely not the best of the style. I wonder if some extended aging might iron this one out a bit. The extreme fruitiness makes it seem much too young. Having said all of that, this is not a bad beer, and due to the extremely fair price and wide availability, this will continue to find its way into my cellar during the winter months.

Photo of Jayli
3.34/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Consumed 11/12
Poured in to a pint glass

A: This beer pours a nice, rich caramel/mahogany brown with a one finger of light khaki colored sudsy head. Decent head retention that leaves coats of lacing on the glass.

S: Nose is caramel, caramel, caramel with a hint of booze.

T: Taste starts with a thick, sticky caramel flavoring. Brown sugar and rich molasses. Hints of smoke and roast in the finish. There is an underlaying alcohol booziness throughout.

M: Fuller side of medium body, medium carbonation, rich, silky feel with quite a bit of alcohol warming.

D: Goes down somewhat easily, somewhat filling, nice kick, ok representation of style. The sweetness was a bit much.

Photo of Bendurgin
3.79/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Andy for cracking this one. Poured into a tulip. The body is deep mahogany with just a thin layer of light tan head than quickly dissipates and doesn't leave much for lace. The aroma is very rich and malty with lingering aromas of dried dark fruit, toffee and residual nuttiness and wood. The taste is vey sweet to start with caramel malts, with toffee and just a bit of dark fruit and little bit of a woody nutty flavor. Low carbonation and a little bit of a metallic after taste but over all this one is pretty nice. Really just a sipper, but very enjoyable.

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Smuttynose Really Old Brown Dog Ale from Smuttynose Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 667 ratings.