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.
BA SCORE
88
very good

712 Ratings
THE BROS
78
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 712
Reviews: 350
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 10.49%
Wants: 45
Gots: 86 | FT: 1
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: 712 | Reviews: 350
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.

Photo of miclormic
2.52/5  rDev -35.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

At first sip I thought this would be a nice brown ale , but, it has some strange taste that I cannot describe,it is a bitter taste that hangs with you after each mouthful. Kinda like biting into a rotten nut , yuck! I had high hopes upon first sip but actually dumped the rest of my pint and the remaining bottle contents down the drain. I have only dumped a few beers down the drain in my life and this is one of them.

Photo of Levich
3.45/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a pint glass.

This one pours a rich dark caramel color that turns ruby tinted when the light passes through. There is a light brown head that settles a bit, but never goes away completely.

The aroma is of caramel and dark fruits like raisins and prunes. It's a very pleasing smell. The flavor mimics the smell somewhat starting with the burnt caramel and some dried dark fruits. There is a moderately unpleasant flavor that shows up on the back of the tongue for a moment. It's like a hospital-ly sterile flavor (sorry about this description - probably a yeast off flavor). But that gets overpowered by the malty sweetness and a touch of bitter hops to finish nicely. The strength is masked nicely with the sweetness with no real booziness to detect. The mouthfeel is nice. It's rich and creamy with just a bit of carbonation to lighten out.

Overall, this is a pretty good beer. I wish that "off flavor" wasn't there as it would make this a really great beer.

Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a cloudy dark brown with one finger head that stuck around and a strong malt smell - hit me immediately - as I got chocolate, toffee, caramel, a touch of roasted or coffee malts, and something akin to molasses or syrup and there is that "dark fruit" aroma (figs, black cherries, not sure). Thick, full-bodied, slightly chewey and heavy, this is not a beer if you like 'em light or not sweet. The sweet malts overpowered everything but since I have a sweet tooth the balance was just right for me. Caramel, toffee, chocolate sweetness and a bit of sticky syrupiness or molasses as well, but there is a touch fruit sweetness (I swear I picked up cherry). The alcohol is low key but does contribute to a dryer finish. Very slow sipper for me and one that I really enjoyed.

Photo of tut2528
3.36/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: pour is of a typical Old Ale, dark amber in color and when its backlit it becomes slight transparent and picking up a ruby hint. head was minimal and slightly tan in appearance.

S: picking up a slight bit of roasted nuttiness, vanilla, caramel/toffee, slight grain and more of a berry-like dark fruit at the backend.

T: not a fan of the balance here. again i get the typical Old Ale qualities such as vanilla and caramel sweetness. but there's a peppery spice, nutmeg and a nuttiness (hazel/walnut maybe both) that just doesn't sit too well in this brew. i also pick up on some dry bitter hops in the finish. and its slightly watery. i feel that this brew has no true identity.

M: i feel that the body fits the beer. its a solid medium bodied brew, minimal carbonation. doesn't leave much on the palate though between sips. and surprisingly, the alcohol heat is extremely well integrated for it being 10.10%.

O: the best component of this brew is how well the alcohol is hidden, but other than that, I am not a fan of this brew. simply off balance and a lack identity here.

Photo of rlee1390
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Clear ruby in the glass, some carbonation, one finger head with some lacing.

S-Starts with a good deal of malt, caramel, toffee and vanilla.

T-Nicely balanced, caramel, toffee, dark fruits, vanilla, grass, slight bitterness, candided sugar, maple and oak.

M-Medium bodied, slight carbonation, not much, but a hint, of alcohol.

O-A solid well made Old Ale. Adam an its variants are better. But for the price, this one is hard to beat.

Photo of UnderPressure
3.32/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Inventory sticker reads 4/20/12. Drinking on 7/1/13

Very dark amber to light brown colored beer. Very nice creamy white head with great retention. Awesome lacing.

A nice aroma of sweet malt and spice. Spices are reminiscent of Christmastime Ginger/gingerbread, maybe some clove. I detect no hop aroma.

Very sweet flavor balanced by spiciness. Dark fruit. Some staleness and oxidation. The spices kind of linger after swallowing and tingle on the tongue.

A very thick, creamy mouthfeel. Highly carbonated, almost like a Belgian. Bitter, spicy, wet, long lasting finish.

I didn't taste this one when it was fresh, but I still feel like the flavors have probably blended well over the past year. I think this beer has probably improved other than being oxidized and a little stale. It wasn't always kept at cellar temps.

Photo of dbrauneis
3.87/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2012 Vintage

A: Pours a crystal clear medium reddish amber in color with some moderate amounts of gentle visible carbonation along the surface of the beer and some copper + crimson red highlights. The beer has a little more than a finger tall creamy foamy tan head that slowly reduces to a thick film covering the entire surface of the beer with a slightly thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of caramel and toffee malts that have some sweetness to them along with some lighter notes of alcohol, vanilla, and just a hint of dark fruit (raisin).

T: Similar to the smell, the beer has a moderate to strong flavor of caramel and toffee malts with a light to moderate amount of sweetness that is followed by some light notes of vanilla, dark fruit (raisin), and just a hint of alcohol. There is also a faint underlying pine hop bitterness that lingers.

M: Slightly heavier than medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly sticky with just a hint of alcohol warming in the finish.

O: There is a nice complexity to the flavors and aromas of this beer but I just wish that the alcohol was a little more well hidden in it. I enjoyed the beer and it feels like it is somewhere between a brown ale (maybe an imperial brown ale) and a barleywine.

Photo of Bouleboubier
3.66/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

(the bottle appears to be a '12 or '13, however, the lower corner of the label, where this is listed had a price sticker on it that was ripped off, taking some of the label with it)

A: really bright and almost as clear reddish-brown color.... good amount of frothy head on the pour, stays only in a thin pad atop.... the clarity thing is a little odd to me, as if I wasn't expecting it...

S: hmmm.... slightly-solventy, somewhat sweet booze and old oven-browned graham cracker crust.... if you strain, the quality of the (i'm guessing) light-mid crystal malt in combo with everything else makes for an almost barleywine-like smell (sans hops), but not quite... weak aromas overall with the old-bread-crust malt aroma dominant.... not terribly inviting

T: wow! what are they going for here? this is interesting, at the very least.... I suppose it resembles a more "premium" version of their brown ale... the caramel flavor and overall crystal malt foundation is rich and tasty, however, there seems to have been a fermentation "mishap"?.... strange sort of gin-but-not-gin (ouzo?!) herbal accompaniment to the solventy/bubblegum-schnapps/chlorophyll(?) finish... this initially quite off-putting element slowly fades behind the malt and it ends up balancing out ok, but not really

M: very lovely... medium-full right past the lips, it holds soft and smooth for a moment and then quietly creeps away with a brief push of nearly hot ethanol smacking the back near the soft palate

O: strange and nasty right out of the gate - give it few swirls and some time to air out and warm and it's not all that bad.... I think that it's not too often one (me) comes across a double-strength brown and can be unprepared, however, the alcohol could be thought of as harsh and a good year or two hiding this away could fix that

Photo of shand
4.16/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Really Old Brown Dog ale is a really tasty old ale loaded with dark fruit, deep and toasty malt flavors, and a solid booze kick. It's rather drinkable for the high ABV, and provide quite a bargain. Overall, Really Old Brown Dog is one of the best values on the market. Five bucks for a tasty bomber is really hard to beat. There's real depth of flavor here - it almost tastes like a BBA beer with the rich malt and boozy tones.

Photo of TheBrewo
3.64/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

This beer was served on draft at Tap and Mallet in Rochester, NY. It arrived in a generic snifter showing a rich mahogany coloring, letting up ruby hues around the edges and bottom. It held a one finger tall head of cream colored bubbles, showing okay retention. Spotty lacing was left around the glass as it dissipated. No haze or sediment was noted, and carbonation appeared to be moderate. The nose filled with aged musk, rich and syrupy fruitiness of apple, plum, and raisins, huge butterscotch caramels, and softer maple sugars. These mixed atop a base of brown and caramel malts, light toast, bittered plastic phenols, earthen mineral, and heavily fusel booziness. Our first impression was that the flavoring was certainly full, and nicely inclusive of the fruits noted in the aroma, but it was a bit hot. As we sipped, the taste opened with baked plums, red cherry sweetness, candied walnut, toffee and caramel malts, and massive butterscotch, sugariness, warmth, and butteriness. The middle hit with the fusel punch of a double shot of vodka. This laid the palate clean with fire, but did leave enough room for black pepper, lightly roasted brown malts, brown sugar, and biscuity butter qualities to shine through here and there. The end came on the tail end of this boozy wave, washing a bit more cleanly with butters, toasty brown malts, and heavy cherry, fig, and apricot syrups, making it seem, here, much like darker, scarier Scotch ale. The aftertaste breathed of mustiness, plastic phenols, fusel ethanol, light grassy hops, straw, gravel, salt water taffy, watered caramel and toasted brown malts, and red apple sweetness. The body was surprisingly light, and the carbonation was medium. Each sip gave good pop and smack, but with lesser slurp, cream, or froth. No coating was ever appreciated as the booze came in hot and drying, with light pucker, and fusel astringency streaking across the hard palate. The abv was big and noticeable, but the beer sipped nicely.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this brew was its drinkability. The nose started things off on a fair note as well, giving bright butterscotch sweetness and veritable smorgasbord of fruit to behold. While the former translated well into the flavoring, coming across as big, relatively dark, and biscuity, the latter added pecks of sweetness here and there, only becoming starkly noticeable in the end of the sip, where it was left essentially on its own to fight through the harshly bitter, boozy, and musky finish. This was, at first sip, rather off-putting, but as the beer warmed the flavors melded a bit more, calming the booze, while that 10.10% itself started to warm the drinker, and calm that pucker reflex as you sat back and accepted what was in front of you. This is an interesting offering from Smuttynose, but it just wasn’t exactly to the same level we’ve come to expect from them, and especially from their “Big Beer” lineup.

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

22oz.

A: Clearish light woody brown with a small mild beige head.

S: Old dried prune and peach, raisins, toasted grain, a hint of alcohol, dry honey.

T: Taste brings a moderate wood note (neutral, possibly beachwood?), apricot, lightly astringent hop bite, pine, raisins, caramel.

M: Between medium and thick-bodied with moderate carbonation.

O: Pretty nice old ale. I don't love the wood flavor, but besides that I'm ok with this beer.

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.64/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a tulip, the beer is a ruby-highlighted light brown coloring with a thin, sparse, filmy head coating the surface. Aromas of roasted nut sweetness, old world fruit sweetness, and boozy character. This one smells big. Flavors are rich and bold on the forward tongue, with a roast and bitter backbone supporting date and fig sweetness throughout. Subtle spices and honey sweet highlight, as well as a not so subtle boozy ribbon throughout the palate. Rich, slightly cloying sweet aftertaste, with earthy notes. Slick, slightly abrupt finish on the palate, with a slightly sweet and boozy linger.

Photo of wedge
3.72/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

@ Tyler's (Raleigh)

2007

Murky mahogany hue with nearly no head, just a wispy topping. Aromas of raisin, apple, and caramel with a bit of oxidation from the age and a vague nuttiness. Rich, malty taste, but not overly sweet by any means. Brown bread, cake, apple, brown sugar, light earthy spice, and fig...very smooth, well integrated flavors. Moderate body, lighter than initially expected, but the '07 was a laid-back 7% compared to today's 10%+. Nothing outstanding, but I enjoyed my ten ounces.

Photo of BeerZack
3.19/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle is notched for 2013 and stamped "10.4%"
Really dark amber that looks brown unless held to the light. Nice white lacing doesn't last long as it warms. Smell is not that intense until it warms up, then the floral (violet candies) booziness comes out. Somewhat floral and sweet caramel with a hint of hazelnut creme liqueur and maybe some chocolate on the nose. Sweet without being overly cloying because of the burn from the alcohol- the flavor is just kinda sugary and maybe marzipan then the violet-like fusel alcohol flavor comes in and the burn starts to sear all the sweet mess off my tongue.

Photo of MattXT
2.8/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.25

2013 bomber poured roughly into a Chimay Chalice.

I was eagerly anticipating this beer as I love Smuttynose's offerings. Visually was as an old ale should be. Nose was malty and sweet, fairly pleasant. The taste is what got me. It lacked any heat for a 10%'er and it tasted like a really bad pumpkin spice or Christmas beer. I'm not sure if I got a bad bottle or what, but I could barely choke down the glass and poured the rest. I'm a fan of the style and thoroughly enjoy Curmudgeon, Peculiar, and the like, but this was really disappointing. I probably
won't revisit unless someone opens a bottle from their stash.

Photo of BeerLover99
3.39/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: copper tawny body, khaki finger head, gorgeous lacing

S: boozy nose, toffee/caramel, biscuit malt, sugar candy

T: same as nose, but light bitter finish and a little hot.
bet if laid it down until Fall, would improve.

M: med/light body, could be a little creamier/thicker mouth

O: Old Ale (rarely see this style) and truly enjoy
Smuttynose. Fine cold weather or flash flooding brew
in Jersey.

GOOD; NICE OFFERING!

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Poured in a snifter)
Bottled in 2012
A- The dense glowing garnet body is slightly hazy with a thick carbonation of sticky deep beige cream that clings to the glass with each sip.

S- The cream and toasted malt flavors are pleasant but a bit soft. There is a nutty note that grows a bit and the finish has a sherry hint and some old ale esters come through.

T- The brown candy sugar blends with a raw grain flavor and the finish is slightly dry with an alcohol spice to it. There is a woody hop hint in the finish and the brown malt flavor lingers nicely at the end.

M- The medium mouthfeel has a tight little fizz and a nice alcohol heat that has just a spice heat to it.

O- The spicy and wood is well balanced with nice malt characters that compliment each other. I don’t get any dried fruit character but it has a nice flavor and I think it would age well.

Photo of Thickfreakness
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a somewhat murky dark chestnut/mahogany with a nice fluffy tinted head that lasts for a bit, fades gently, and leaves skulls, ribbons, islands and lava flows of thick, chewy lacing.
Caramel, toasted filberts/cashews/almonds, a fun blend of root beer/cream soda, little notes of licorice and marshmallow. I'm picking up Bourbon/vanilla/oak for some reason but I don't believe this is oak aged. Definately grabbing a bit of the alcohol, but it's sweet and understated, not punching you in the nose.
Lots of caramel and a wonderful roasted nut blend. Subtle hints of grapes, butterscotch, raisins, figs, marshmallow, bourbon, vanilla, toasted oak barrels.
Really silky, creamy and smooth just like a great single malt scotch. Not much carbonation, but I don't expect any from an Old Ale. I love the way it envelopes the tongue and gets a bit chewy. Tons of flavor that keeps changing and developing after the swallow.
I couldn't believe this was just sitting on the shelf when I walked in yesterday. This is really deep and complex. Lots of caramel/honey/vanilla/oak/marshmallow sweetness, but a really nice bit of roasted malts and dark fruit. I NEED to grab a few more of these before they dissapear.

Photo of hopsolutely
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle dated 03/31/12, and probably could have done with another year or two of cellaring. Pours an oily ruby-amber, a beautiful colour but with little head or lacing. Resinous aroma of wooden planks and bourbon barrels, with a sweet caramelized malt background. An alcohol bitterness in the nose and very much so in the warmth of the finish. Flavours aren't as well balanced as I'd choose, with an initial sweetness that transitions to pure alcohol and bitterness. Doesn't have the depth I expected from this caliber of a brewery - but that may be my fault for drinking it too young. Should have bought two so I could have confirmed!

Photo of Mazeraski
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage poured from a 22oz. bomber into a Brewery Ommegang tulip-style glass.

A- Pours a deep ruby and mahogany colored brew with a rich white/tan head that dissipates rather swiftly. Held up to light revels cloudiness and more garnet coloring.

S - Apricot, fig and caramel notes hit the nose first, followed by a waft of maple syrup and roasted malt.

T- Rich caramel and maple hit the tongue, followed closely by raisin, fig and sweet malty character as one sips. Finish is balanced toward the cleaner side, with a large amount of cloying sweetness akin to caramel again, and a finish more to the drier end.

MF- Lighter to medium-bodied with more carbonation than expected, perhaps due to the aging process. Very syrupy characteristic present in the taste, though the brew remains on the thinner side.

Overall- A decent vintage, very complex. A bit too cloying on the whole for my taste; however, this particular sample has aged quite gracefully. Kudos to Smuttynose in crafting a fine brew.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled in 2012. Poured in to tulip.

A - Very dark amber with a ruby glow around the edges. One finger of dirty white head.

S - Chocolate, roast, nuttiness and some noticeable alcohol.

T - Roast, chocolate, dark fruit, raisins, figs and some warming alcohol.

M - Medium body. Chewy. Light to moderate carbonation.

Photo of metter98
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is crystal clear reddish amber in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. Haze begins to appear when you get towards the bottom of the bottle. It poured with a finger high beige head that took a long time to die down, consistently leaving a thin layer of bubbles coating the surface and running down the sides of the glass.
S: Light aromas of sweet caramel malts are present in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the taste is a little sweet and has flavors of caramel along with notes of brown sugar, dark fruits and vanilla plus some faint hints of alcohol.
M: It feels a bit more than medium-bodied, rather malty and a little sticky on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. There is some warming from the alcohol towards the finish.
O: This beer reminded me a lot of a "lite" version of a barleywine (if there is such a thing) or a hybrid between a barleywine and a brown ale. It's rather drinkable considering its strength but has enough complexity in the taste to be a beer that can be enjoyed if sipped slowly.

Note: 2012 vintage

Photo of silverking
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Well, I didnt cellar this beer, I bought it today. It pours a deep, rich, murky red with a khaki head that dissapates quickly. It leaves a nice lacing while it lasts. It smells of figs, malt, alcohol, and a hint of citrus. It has a creamy/oily mouthfeel with medium carbonation. Figs, Vanilla, and a slight oakiness dominate the palate. A little hoppy bitterness on the finish that lingers along with a slight tingling on the tongue. As other reviewers have said, it is a little rum like. I will have to buy a few more and try aging them, although it is excellent right now.

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

This bottle was a 2008 vintage from my cellar. Poured into tulip glasses. Chestnut brown body. Carbonation has diminished a bit, but there was still decent lacing. Smell was ripe with raisins and fig. Flavor was sugary, rum-like, and malty. Still a hit of booze there after all these years. Mouthfeel was on the thin side but still smooth. I liked this beer, and I think it aged well. It just so happened that I had a 2008 Smutty Baltic Porter the same weekend, and that blew the ROBDA out of the water.

Smuttynose Really Old Brown Dog Ale from Smuttynose Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 712 ratings.