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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

645 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 645
Reviews: 328
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 10.74%
Wants: 46
Gots: 67 | 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: 645 | Reviews: 328 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JohnQVegas
4.02/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

Photo of grayburn
3.43/5  rDev -12.3%
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.

Photo of Amalak
2.98/5  rDev -23.8%
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.

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear brown that had ruby hues when held to light. Creme head. Nose is a bit hot. Slight fruity sweet tones. Flavor is sweet with woody tones. Comes off a bit hot as well. Muted wood tones it seems now that I ponder it. Kind of chalky a bit. Feel is smooth on liquid and a bit lower on carbonation. This is nice to drink, but I think it needs a good bit of time I develop it's complexities.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 vintage.

Appearance: Pours a lightly hazy, brown body with a thin, wispy, off-white head. Let's pour out a portion for Olive Francis, the Really Old, Really Dog Brown Dog. Olive, we hardly knew ye.

Smell: Pleasant, though not exactly effusive aroma smelling of toasted caramel, pressed sugar cookies, and a light touch of fruit and spice.

Taste: Plenty of upfront malty goodness: flavors of caramel, fresh-baked cookies, toasted light brown sugar. Minor hint of fruit. A few drops of amontillado. Light earthy, spicy hop character and accompanying bitterness. Only the faintest alcohol warmth. Sweetish, crisp finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-plus carbonation.

Drinkability: Certainly worth a try. Fairly easy drinking and enjoyable. I hear Smuttynose has since revamped the recipe and even called in some port-soaked oak chips, so I'll try to snag myself up a bottle of that.

Photo of jjayjaye
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can't help but compare this to the Ruben & the Jets that i just had. Many similarities...can't speak to R&TJ as an IS or this as a English Strong Ale. This one is lighter in color; a mid-range amber with reddish hues...far less lacing observed. While malty and sweetness are its keynotes, the nose is quite timid. The flavor is really nice. Malty maple and caramel, but none of the cocoa...replace with tangy butterscotch notes. The mouth feel is full bodied and nicely carbonated, the flavors are simple and the taste lingers some, but nothing heavy. Quite a reasonable drinker...especially at 7% ABV. Recommended.

Photo of Bung
3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. Amber brown pour with a descent white head. Noticeable lacing. Some malt, pine, brown sugar aromas. Tastes of malt and smoke. Not very sweet really, some peat/tobacco and pine. Medium bodied, not as sticky as the lacing might imply. A little boozy considering the abv is not really that high. Finish is pretty clean with a little lingering smokey sweetness. Pretty drinable, but not entirely pleasant for some reason. I think this could use some aging, but it is right at the border of being really ageable. Not a bad strong ale, I would have liked it to be a little sweeter and fuller.
As a side note, this mellows and becomes nicely less bitey and a bit sweeter as it warms.

Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber from The Lighthouse in Manchester, Maine. Pours a translucent copper body with virtually no head. Caramel, chocolate, toffee, and raisins dominate the aroma. Raisin and toffee are strong parts of the flavor, with some caramel, citrus, chocolate, maybe hints of a peat like flavor. Full bodied bordering on viscous with moderate carbonation. Definitely a sipper for sure. Overall, a tasty sipper great for a cold winter night like tonight. Good stuff.

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

Pours a dark amber, nearly brown color with a large, two finger bubbly off-white head, nice lacing, fairly clear on the first pour. Aroma has a nice spicy attribute, some dark fruits, brown sugar, a bit of earthiness, and very sweet. Taste is very sweet, plenty of brown sugar, loads of caramel, some nuttiness, maple syrup, some dark fruitiness, raisins/grapes, just a touch of chocolate, light bitterness, and some alcohol heat. Mouthfeel is on the high end of medium, nice and creamy, appropriate carbonation. This is a very tasty beer. The sweetness can be a bit cloying, and the alcohol is a little noticeable, but it's very tasty nonetheless. Thanks to Rochefort10nh for giving the chance to try this one!

Photo of Traquairlover
3.97/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

22-oz bottle poured into a tulip.

A = Dark amber like a good maple syrup with foamy yellow-orangish light tan head that resolves into a thin layer of foam.

S = Light oakiness, almonds and walnuts, some bitter herbs.

T = An almond nuttiness with a chocolate-maple syrup taste balanced by a fair bitterness on the front of the tongue and mid-palate but disappearing in a long sweet finish. The only drawback is the alcohol seems a bit too noticeable.

M = Heavy body, luxurious thick feel with light foaming, great mouthcoating.

D = I really like this beer but the drinkability is maybe just slightly lower than it could be due to the strength of the flavors and alcohol feel.

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

Beer pours out nicely. Decent head with good lacing for the style. Great color, a clean clear brown.

Nose:Bourbon cedar and floral notes

Palate:Slightly sweet with lingering notes of Bourbon and high quality tobacco subtle undertone of vanillin on the finish.

Good beer but not what I had expected. A nice Old Ale for those looking for one that isn't overwhelmingly sweet. Just balanced right enough to make finishing a bomber possible.

Photo of Stimack
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Brew pours to a somewhat cloudy brown color with a nice sized light tan head. Nice lacing down the side of the glass. The aroma consists of roasted and dark malts, burn brown sugar, caramel, fruit (plum, pear?) and a nice alcohol scent, slight wine like smell (?). The flavors here seem to be a little raw in my opinion, seems like they need to settle out a bit as the alcohol flavor seems a little hot. While that flavor seems to be a little hot the rest of the flavors though raw are nice. Roasted malts, chocolate, caramel, plum and raisin seem to come to mind. As I said earlier the alcohol flavor is there and seems to really to be coming out as the brew warms. Nice warming feeling, growing on me as I make my way through this one, it feels like it would be bigger than 7%. I will pick up another one of these and sit on it for a while to see how it does in a year or so.

Photo of Jmamay22
4.52/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Really Old Brown Dog pours a somewhat cloudy ruby brown with a thick ring of foam that clings to the walls of my glass, but leaves no lacing.

Wow, what a scent! The wood comes through nicely with hints of vanilla. Deep complex malt is evident with hints of raisin, plum and rum. The many layers leave me constantly sniffing at this beer trying to understand everything that is going on. The mix of various scents creates a deceptive fruit presence that is difficult to place seeming to change and shift with every sniff.

Soft mouthfeel and more of that alluring fruity taste that I can't get enough of. Caramel, maple, plums, and fig come together to create an amazing beer. There's only a hint of the alcohol that adds another layer to the malty sweetness, but keeps everything in check from becoming cloying. Not your prototypical old ale, but a great ale nonetheless.

Photo of dasenebler
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Attractive pour-- dark copper almost ruby. Nice pillowy head subsides pretty quickly. Aroma is tons of fruit and some alcoholic esters as well. Almost smells like whiskey-- woody, caramel-like.

Flavor is huge, and tasty as well. Tons of malt and woody, alcoholic notes that, again, remind me of whiskey. Also fruity almost like a belgian dubbel. Touch of hop bitterness on the finish. Pretty deep, layered beer. Mouthfeel is quite good, chewy and almost sticky. Carbonation is kept to a good medium-low level. You've got to sip this one. I'm actually surprised it's only 7% abv. Thought it would have been higher. That said, it's absolutely delicious, and this bomber will do me good.

Photo of blackie
3.8/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: into my piraat snifter, gives a low khaki head with light retention, deep amber in color

s: fruity toasted malt nose with notes of raisin, toffee, date, and boozy brown sugar, toasted nuts with a sugar-butter glaze, hopped lightly but adequately, very nice malt structure if a touch one-dimensional as a whole

m: light carbonation, body on the full side of medium

t: there's a nice toasted crystal malt here, but it's presence on the palate is brief and nearly overwhelmed by a sharp bitterness and indistinct hop flavor, grassy and herbal in the finish, warming alcohol compliments date and raisin flavors, unexpectedly dry, much more complex after warming to room temperature, same complaint as the nose...a bit of a one-note melody

d: not bad, hot for the relatively low abv but an easy sipper on a cold night

complaints notwithstanding, an accurate representation of its smaller sibling, bomber from Rick's, Alexandria, VA

Photo of leif86
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark maroon with a pleasing ruby glow around the edges of the glass. Two fingers of beige head yield a nice rim around my Duvel that clings as the level slowly descends.

S: Allergies have given me a bit of a stuffy nose, but I think I can manage. It smells boozy with the oft hint of raisins that accompany such high ABV brews. Figs, dried fruit and a hint of general maltiness rounds it all out.

T: More than just palatable. A predictable sweetness takes center stage while the same cast that presents itself with a whiff now perform on the palate. Sure hope you weren't counting on something hoppy - not even the slightest flavor that I could honestly discern as being derived from my favorite little green coney flowers.

M: Tiny little bubbles tingle the mouth which is nice, it prevents this brew from being syrupy. I receive the stickiness well here, with the pleasing taste you don't mind that it wants to stay around for a bit. Plus, it's so sweet that it is what to be expected.

D: These "hotter" big beers have grown on me over time so perhaps my interpreting this as pleasantly drinkable won't quite meld with past reviews of similar brews. But yeah, drinkable.

Let it warm up so that you can really take everything in.

Photo of jim102864
3.58/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear copper and brown with carb bubble streams and a thin pond head from this bomber bottle into my Trois Pistoles goblet. This is s tough one to get a handle on at first. Subtle sugary sweetness both in the nose and in taste. Nice malty flavor. Some cocoa notes. Slight bittersweetness. Nice full mouthfeel. Overall a bit cloying, even for a guy who likes stuff on the sweet side. A bit too sweet even for me.

Photo of ATLbeerDog
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From 22 oz bottle - Pours a very cloudy and ugly dull copper color. Smells boozy and sweet with musty a old attic aroma. First sip is fruity sweet with caramel and plums leading the way. Tons of alcohol hotness prevails and the musty aroma is also noticeable in the flavor.

Photo of selecter70
4.4/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

While Smuttynose has also brewed some great beers, their Big Bottle series has definitely captured my attention. A hearty 1pt 6oz bottle, this guy pours a dark caramel brown with honey color and a good 1 and a half -2 finger head. A light but rich malt aroma with yeast and a slight lavender floral aroma settles in the nose. The flavor moves towards a bitter hop/sweet malt and is smooth & chewy with plum-like sweet/sour musty fruit undertones. Very drinkable and quite delicious!

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

From tasting notes on 1/29. Poured a couple times in Delirium Tremens snifter.
Bottle Graphics: 9/10. Hit or miss with Smutty.

A: Dark auburn red, borderline brown colored body. Very light bubbles with a thin 1/4 head that held on tough. The second pour into the glass produced a mammoth head. The chunks in this pour were also pronounced. Yum, protein.

S: Dried fruits: figs, dates, figs and raisins. All of them with a sugary malt aroma. Molasses decadence. The booze is more present in the nose than the first sniff would lead you to believe.

T: Poundingly sweet and a little hot when chilled. The flavors and alcohol would make you think it was more than the 7% listed. The dates are pungent, tastily warming with huge brown sugar flavors. There is some huge flavor in this big beer packed into a relatively low and drinkable abv. Hops do not claim to nor do they take any residence in the taste or feel.
Buttered and toasted raisin nut artisinal bread.

M: Sweetness tings on my cheeks some and the body has adequate medium thickness. No bitterness but rich and luxurious.

D: Another, yet another beer from Smutty that is top notch. This brewery is beginning to get a seat at the head of the class in my book. The 22oz makes for a super sipper and it was a nice touch to sit back with a moderate abv brew that left a slight burn in the chest.

As the bottle says, age would probably do good things but the sweet fruits are what it is about. For the price tag, great.

Photo of corby112
4.37/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice dark chocolate brown color with a thin, foamy beige head. Roasted malty aroma with cocoa/chocolate, sugar and dark fruit notes. Nice choclate malty flavor that is kind of similar to a tootsie roll. Strong chocolate presence along with hints of fig, dark fruit and alcohol. Slightly sweet with a spicy dry finish.

Photo of bum732
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice clear reddish brown, not much lead and not much lacing. Smells of strong caramal malt galore, brown sugar, dark fruits, faint hops and touch of diacetyl. Tastes of sweet caramal up front followed by a nice malty backbone ending with a nice earthy hop bitterness. Finishes quite sweet.

A good beer, especially if you like sweet caramal. That said, there is a decent hop bitterness that lends some balance to the sweetness. Definitely a sipper.

Photo of SFLpunk
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz brown glass pry-top. "Bottled Conditioned in 2008."

Appearance: Thin bone-white head, spotting on the glass. Deep red mahogany. Cristal-clear.

Nose: Alcoholic fruity esters, sweet biscuit (cookie), dried orange peel, malted milk, molasses.

Palate: Medium bodied and malt-ball goodness! Seriously, I'm blown away by this...Reminds me of a drier Madeira, from Bual or Malmsey grapes (low of the mountain). Oxidative notes of caramel and nuts, paper glue, cashew, caramelized palm sugar. Long, changing finish with some burn at the back of the throat.

Notes: I seriously misjudged this beer the first time I had it (2 or so years ago)! This beer has a lot going on, lots of similarities to oxidized dessert wines (Madeira, tawny/Colheita ports, Oloroso/PX sherries, etc.). I think it's a little disjointed right now, but that it will fall into place in the next 6 months or so. Seriously good.

Photo of mpyle
3.6/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

App - Rich amber color, good clarity, moderate sized whitish head with okay retention.

Aroma - a plum/alcohol mix, some chocolate. Peppery. Complex and interesting.

Taste - Malty and slightly fruity up front, but turns spicy midmouth (alcohol flavor?). Finishes a bit bitter. Flavors a bit less inspired than indicated by some of the aroma notes.

MF - Med-full body, and moderate carbonation. A bit of alcohol warming which is pleasant and style appropriate.

D'ability - Definitely a sipper, and a beer than in some ways feels bigger than its ABV rating.

Photo of grub
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

MuenchenerKindl hooked me up with this one. thanks tom!

22oz bottle, bottled in 2007. sampled feb 7/09.

pours deep red with just a touch of haze. the dense tan head falls quickly and leaves spotty lace.

aroma is nice. white bread, cracker, bit of biscuit. hint of alcohol. caramel and toffee. touch of apple. light toasty character. bit earthy.

taste is nice. whole wheat bread. cracker. biscuit. just a touch of toast. light caramel and tofee, but imparting very little sweetness. bit of fruit, mostly a fresh red delicious but also a bit of other lighter fruit character. light alcohol. low bitterness level. earthy.

mouthfeel is good. medium body. medium carbonation level.

drinkability is good. nicely balanced. not quite as much depth to the malt as i was hoping for, but still tasty.

Smuttynose Really Old Brown Dog Ale from Smuttynose Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 645 ratings.