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

TICKETS: beeradvocate.com/micro/

Smuttynose Really Old Brown Dog Ale | Smuttynose Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
88
very good
375 Reviews
THE BROS
82
good
Read the review
BEER STATS
Reviews:
375
Ratings:
842
Avg:
3.91
pDev:
15.6%
 
 
Wants:
54
Gots:
119
For Trade:
2
Smuttynose Really Old Brown Dog AleSmuttynose Really Old Brown Dog Ale
BEER INFO

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

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.10%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Olive, iconic mascot & spirit guide of our brewery, first appeared on our Old Brown Dog label in 1994 & returned, thirteen years later, to pose for our Really Old Brown Dog, a luscious, malt-rich, full bodied “old ale” featuring deep notes of complex fruit. Much like our beloved Olive, this beer will mellow & age gracefully.

Formerly part of the Big Beer Series.

20 IBU

2007 - 7.0%
2008 - 9.3%
2010 - 10.9%
2014 - 11.1%

Added by cbl2 on 03-03-2007

User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 375 | Ratings: 842
Photo of badgustav
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

While the aroma is a bit off, the fact that is smells a bit of wet dog kind of adds to the allure of this beer, based on its name. The color is lovely, and the taste is malty and mellow. I'm curious to see what age does to it.

 226 characters

Photo of Ian_B
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Very dark amber. Translucent, but such a dark brown it's hard to peer through. Good head and retention.

Deep, bready notes on the nose, with loads of buttery, nutty, earthy, and fruity undertones (in order of potency). Very slight notes of fig, raisins, and apple.

Taste closely follows the aroma, beginning with sweet, brown sugar and creamy, roasted nuts. A little bit of chocolate is present, along with lots of the same fruity notes on the finish.

Warming alcohol is present and provides a very well-balanced, drying finish to an otherwise thick and very sweet malt base.

Overall kind of buttery which makes me question aging it, though a small amount of time may do it some justice.

 691 characters

Photo of Oldejoe
4.47/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Look. Rich golden brown, with medium light tan head.
Smell. Caramely, roasted sugars? Yeasty.
Taste. Rich malts, slight dry hoppy finish, great balance and depth.
Mouthfeel. Full bodied beer, spongey, chewy,, good carbonation.
Overall. Right in my favorite beer house. A hearty, full, dark, malty beer.

 307 characters

Photo of dpgoblejr
4.85/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Golden amber in color with not much in the way of head retention or lacing. Smells of some bread and fruits. Taste is of sweet malts, dark fruits, and biscuits. Coats the palate nicely and is quite enjoyable to drink. I thoroughly enjoyed indulging on this Smuttynose take on an old ale!

 291 characters

Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.62/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On tap at World of Beer in Jacksonville, FL.

Pours a somewhat dark brown color, with a quarter inch head, and a little bit of lacing.

Smells pretty malty and sweet, with some dark fruit and chocolate.

This is nicely malty and tasty, but seems a bit simple for an old ale. I only really get vaguely sweet malt, and a little bit of chocolate. Tasty, but not all that interesting, really.

This is medium bodied, with a crisp and bready mouthfeel, and a lower level of carbonaton.

Not super impressed with this one, Smuttynose can do better.

 542 characters

Photo of bushbeer75
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22 oz brown bottle label notched 2012

Smuttynose Really Old Brown Dog Ale changed the color of my snifter to a dark cloudy amber producing a 3/4-finger tan head that was reduced to spotty lacing and a collar of foam. The nose was dominated by caramel malt and dark fruit (raisins). The taste is similar to the smell. It is malt-rich of deep notes of complex dark fruit and dark toffee with just a faint underlying hop bitterness that helps balance the ale. Mouth feel is full bodied, creamy, with fizzy carbonation that tickles the tongue and has a pleasant alcohol warming.

Really Old Brown Dog is a good Old "stock" Ale that is a sipper even after [approximately] 2-years of age. The ale paired well with Mexican style salsa and chips.

 744 characters

Photo of ZebraCakez
4.27/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A great beer. Pours a deep red/brown with little head. Aroma of roasted malt and fresh bread. Taste is that of deep malt and dried fruit. It's sweet on a molasses like level on the finish, and the alcohol is present at the end with a pleasant warming sensation. Medium body and just enough carbonation add to an overall well balanced and enjoyable experience. Definitely worth trying.

 384 characters

Photo of delta490
3.79/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A deep rich brown with a short-lasting creamy white head. The head leaves bigger volumes of small sticky lacing. The aroma is nutty but also sweet (think hazelnut). The body tastes barrel-aged and it dominates the flavor profile. The body is nice weight and there is a nice mouthfeel to it.

 290 characters

Photo of gr0g
3.84/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2014 Release in 12 oz. bottle format. Reddish brown in color. Not quite two fingers of foam leaving some mottled lacing behind. Aroma of overripe fruit, even candied fruit. Some brown sugar. It would be great if this were more aromatic. Alcohol scent is well restrained for 11% ABV.

Sweet, but not cloying, some alcohol heat and flavor on the finish. A little bit of oak on the finish, too, though I don't know if this is aged on wood at all. Rich, malty, fruity. A bit of port wine character. Nicely balanced carbonation - not too aggressive but not overcarbed.

This is drinking nicely right now, but with at least a year of aging it would be even better. A good, strong sipper for the cold months.

 701 characters

Photo of dbl_delta
4.3/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 vintage bottle into glass mug.

Drop dead gorgeous reddish amber color with a 2-finger, creamy tan head. Perfect amount of carbonation. Sweet and malty. Alcohol is well hidden - perhaps TOO well hidden. Could be a real adventure for the unwary.

Mouthfeel is, IMHO, perfect. Just enough body to let you know it demands respect, but so slick and smooth that you're immediately anticipating the next sip.

I wish I'd have had the willpower to cellar this one, but I didn't. Might go back and grab a couple more bottles so I can see what it's like with some age on it. Bet it'll be even better.

Overall, I really like this beer. Olive would approve.

 667 characters

Photo of Thirstygoat
4.24/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This is thin and cloudy with a hint of wood smell. BUT it drinks dangerously easily for 10% abv . Think Newcastle with a hint of sweetness and triple the malt flavor.

 166 characters

Photo of Morey
4/5  rDev +2.3%

2014 Bottle (11.1%)

Aroma was good, but on the mild side. Tasting notes: Darks Fruits, Burnt Toffee, Oak, Faint Cinnamon with a medium body. Looking forward to aging my other bottles.

 186 characters

Photo of M_C_Hampton
3.71/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: poured from a 22 oz bottle into a pint glass, red-orange brown colored with a large tan head that lingers leaving good lacing, clear

S: heavy malt, nutty

T: slight dark fruit, malt forward, very earthy

M: heavy with lower carbonation

O: earthy and malt forward brown ale

 277 characters

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

2012 vintage

Appearance - murky brown liquid with khaki head

Smell - brown sugar, molasses, caramel, tobacco, prune, oak

Taste - similar to the aroma, brown sugar, molasses, caramel, tobacco, leather, prune,
Oak
Mouthfeel - full bodied, medium plus carbonation, sweetness upfront and the leather/tobacco on the finish

Overall - decent beer that is a sipper on a chilly night

Price point - $7.99/22 oz bottle

 412 characters

Photo of SportsandJorts
4.58/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2013

Appearance: a reddish brown, fresh leather color. a small tannish head that leaves behind a small lacing. hazy and opaque.

Smell: rum soaked raisins, brown sugar, plums, leather and earthiness, booze.

Taste: opens up with some brown sugar, hints of raisins and plums, almost reminiscent of rum soaked raisins like the smell, strong leather and oxidized earthy quality to it, hints towards some chocolate tastes. small amount of booze other that the taste of rum.

Mouthfeel: creamy and silky, but still is chewy. leaves a strong oxidized leather taste behind.

Overall: At a year or so old this beer is fitting in quite nicely to the old ale style. great notes of leather and oxidation along with dark fruits and slightly boozy qualities. some sweetness from possible adjunct usage and a wonderfully chewy-silky mouthfeel. this beer is a must try.

 865 characters

Photo of ExtraStout
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had the 2012 as a guest beer at Amherst Brewing.

A - Pours a murky brown with amber highlights at the edges. Muddy looking beer. One finger head dissipates after a minute or two leaving a thin film, some bubbles & a few splotches of lace.

S - The nose is ripe with good complexity, primarily dark fruits & sugary malts. Notes of raisins, figs, candied malts,caramel, and a bit deeper molasses. Some lighter hops in the end, and spicy booze.

T - Wow, lots of flavor here. Brown sugar prevails, then plenty of fig and dark fruit. Richer molasses as well. Light airy hops mingle in as well. Finishes with a blast of warm, spicey booze.

M - Big chewy bodied beer, slick big bodied beer.

O - Time has been kind to this one. A pleasant surprise, huge flavor profile with plenty of complexity. Gets a bit sweet as it warms, world class mouthfeel IMO.

 851 characters

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

Don't think this beer is getting a fair shake in the ratings. Maybe because it is a brown ale and there are not too many fans of brown ales. I happen to be one. Maybe because Smuttynose is more or less a local New Hampshire brewery. But in fairness to the beer. This is a real great beer in its style. Would rate this as a great everyday beer, like Shed's Mountain Ale or most Sam Adam's beers.
Brown is not a very appealing color for a beer, it pours out with very little head or lacing. It kinda just sits there, but the taste is special, and I feel it deserves a better appreciation for what it is.

 601 characters

Photo of argock
3.91/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22 oz brown bottle into a clear glass snifter. Bottle conditioned in 2012 notched on label. Purchased at Market Street Wineshop (Charlottesville, VA).

A: Semi-opaque dark amber with 1-finger of foamy beige head with decent retention but no lacing.

S: Very sweet, buttery caramel-toffee malt aromas dominate with minimal herbal hopping. Yeast esters are bready and a little fruity but subdued. Alcohol singes the nostrils a touch.

T: Very sweet sipper here, drinks like a big beer with toffee, burnt caramel, date, and a bit of rum raisin. Nuty as well -- nice malt complexity overall. Hopping is only bitterness to counter the intense maltiness. Alcohol presence is mild with a bit of warming on the palate and throat. Yeast character is again bready-doughy but not overwhelming. Light bitterness.

M: Very smooth, full-bodied, light carbonation overall.

O: I enjoyed this beer but about 12 oz is enough -- big body and intensely malty with a nice use of alcohol presence in the background to remind you this is a big beer.

 1,040 characters

Photo of superspak
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into snifter, 2012 vintage bottling. Pours fairly crystal clear deep ruby red color with a 2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big biscuit, caramel, toast, molasses, brown sugar, light chocolate, raisin, plum, nuttiness, vanilla, toffee, herbal, oak, light leather, and toasted earthiness. Fantastic aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/bready malt, oak, and yeast ester flavors; with great strength. Taste of caramel, biscuit, toast, brown sugar, molasses, light chocolate, raisin, plum, nuttiness, herbal, vanilla, toffee, oak, light leather, and toast/oak earthiness. Minimal earthy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, biscuit, toast, molasses, brown sugar, light chocolate, raisin, plum, nuttiness, herbal, toffee, oak, vanilla, light leather, and toast/oak earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and oak flavors; with zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a moderately creamy, smooth, and fairy slick/chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is an outstanding old ale style. All around awesome complexity and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast ester, and oak flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

 1,558 characters

Photo of Jonada
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22oz bomber with no freshness date. 10.4% ABV. Served in a snifter.

Appearance: Pours a dark amber color with 1 finger of a light tan head head that dissipates to a thin ring. Body is dark and hazy but not opaque.

Smell: Booze soaked dark fruits, raisins, dates, vanilla, sweet malt

Taste: Dark fruit, toffee, and vanilla, with some milk chocolate and roasted malt character that wasn't present in the aroma. Slight earthiness in the finish helps balance the malt sweetness a bit.

Mouthfeel: Medium/full bodied, somewhat sticky mouthfeel. Medium levels of fine carbonation. Booze is definitely there, but the beer isn't hot by any means. Goes down smooth.

Overall: Really impressed with this one. Super flavorful and complex and at $6-7 per bottle, a really good value, which seems to be becoming more and more rare these days. Highly recommend picking up a couple bottles to drink and throw in the cellar.

 912 characters

Photo of KYGunner
3.77/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This poured a nice hue of filtered mahogany that supported a uniform and cohesive bed of lightly colored foam.

I get a lot of barley on the nose with chocolate and caramel malts. There is a back of dried fruit, maybe raisin, with a strange musty air.

The flavors have a prominent raisin, earthy and natural, with some sweet chocolate malt.

The feel is moderately thick, smooth with a low carbonative bite.

Nice Old Ale like qualities in this , just needs a bit more complexity.

 482 characters

Photo of jmdrpi
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle, 2010 vintage

pours a dark cloudy amber brown. thin cream colored head. decent head retention. smells a bit boozy, rich carmely malts. toffee, vanilla, whiskey, raisins. taste is not quite as sweet as expected. malty, but not as bold of flavors as the aroma. medium body, lower carbonation, slick feel. aging well.

 328 characters

Photo of Ohiovania
4.31/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I believe the recipe has changed slightly since when they were distributing this beer in bombers. Still very enjoyable but a slight notch down from what it was.

 160 characters

Photo of thecheapies
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Old Brown Dog from 2012. Poured it into a Chimay goblet. Nice clarity through a penny-red copper color. The head gathered up decently, but it's almost all gone now. Some bubbles and foam scum remain.

Tempered caramel malts show some notes of papery oxidation and English toffee crisp. There's some lingering scents of dried apricot, vanilla, and light diacetyl. I was expecting a bigger nose, but this one is reaching. Hints of dried fruit are permeable.

Toffee and caramel sweetness with a figgy fruit base and English malt tang. Bristly hops have an afterthought of pine, whilst some caramelly candy notes evolve into subtle oxidation. A good bit of vanilla is produced. Limited is its full potential, or should I say it might have gone by. The fruit notes have really dried up and all of the sweetness therein is produced by malt sugars extracting like darker complex sugars. Hints of chocolate and Cadbury creme.

Still carries a lot of the original gas. Good strong carbonation, which is to say, that it's only right about medium. Nearly perfect for this effort. The body is slurpy, but only medium. Not very boozy, sneaky that way.

A formidable old ale. It really did age okay. It warmed up and changed my whole perspective.

 1,233 characters

Photo of fank2788
3.41/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle split between a couple of tulip glasses
A dark somewhat murky mahogany brown in the glass with a good bit of lace and a fine layer of tiny bubbles on top. Caramel and alcoholic sweetness in the nose, along with a bit of dark fruit and maybe some slight esters. This is a fairly sweet beer the high alcohol is also pretty noticeable. But there is more to the taste than just that as caramel is also very strongly present, there isnt much there in terms of hoppiness but there is a bittering character to somewhat balance the sweetness. Pretty slick mouthfeel as the sweetness really lingers for a long time, carbonation is pretty low which helps the beer feel pretty heavy and the alcohol brings a warming character to the beer. Overall, while this is a good beer, I was hoping to like it more than I do, it is a nice sipper although too sweet for me and I'd wish for the malt to be more complex as that seems to be somewhat lacking.

 944 characters

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