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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)

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very good

579 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 579
Reviews: 313
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 11.03%
Wants: 44
Gots: 42 | FT: 3
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
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Ratings: 579 | Reviews: 313 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of dsa7783
4.28/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Smuttynose Big Beer Bottle Series purchased from Super Saver in Somerville...
Really enjoyed Smuttynose's original Old Brown Dog Ale, so I figured this could only be a step better...
Didn't dissapoint...
Pours a deep, dark, mahogany-brown colored hue with a minimal foamy head that soon dissipated and left a modest amount of lacing around the glass...
Very nutty, malty, and strong-filled caramel aroma, bursting with flavor and character...
Sweet, sugared, bread and butter flavor, with strong hints of caramel, vanilla, rich malts, toffee, and cream...
Very rich, sweet, and thick taste loaded with flavors... For an Old Ale, this is certainly one of the better depictions of the style that I have recently sampled...
Great, creamy, rich mouthfeel and ultra-easy drinkability...
Great stuff...

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

A- Pours an auburn hue with a small head which sinks to nothingness.

S- Old Ale's are quickly becoming my favorite style because I just love to stick my nose in them. Full malty aroma leaning toward the caramel side of the spectrum with a subtle sweetness. It seems like it might be a little too light from the smell but we will see.

T- Taste is full and starts off sweet and caramely with touchs of raisin and that leads into a barage of hops at the end. I think after a year when the hops die down a bit this will be drinking extremely well but even now it is delicious.

M- Lots of carbonation and fairly thick.

D- I think the drinkability is about on par with the abv, a bit less than a session beer but it's nice to enjoy and I could definitely drink multiple glasses.

Photo of brentk56
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a cloudy mahogany with a sturdy head that dots the pint glass with lace

Smell: An enticing blend of caramel and cocoa powder from the malt and some grapefruit from the hops; the overall impact is almost raisiny, when taken together

Taste: Opens malt forward, with plum and cocoa flavors that are joined, mid-palate, by some hoppy citrus; after the swallow, there is a blast of cocoa that persists and dominates the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Now that this has had a chance to settle down (a number of posters said it was unbalanced when freshly bottled), it is drinking very nicely; quite different and a solid achievement

Photo of Wasatch
4.33/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to jwc215 for this brew.

Pours a nice slightly cloudy brown color, nice carbonation, nice little creamy tan head, which leaves some small islands and sticky lacing. The nose is malty, vanilla, toffe, roasted nuts, and caramel. The taste is sweet, malty, nice roasty tones, toffee/caramel. The alcohol is basically non-existent. Medium body. Very drinkable, this brew goes down very smooth, another awesome brew from Smuttynose, thanks Joe.

Photo of Vancer
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to MuenchenerKindl for this beer sent my way via trade.

Poured a clear mahogany, with a tan head that left nice lace rings in the ol’ tulip glass.

Surprising big whiff of a maltly chocolate and coffee. Quaff was a gritty burnt toast thrown in the mix. Very stoutish type brew.

Drank lite and easy, I could do a few of these winner bombers.

Photo of gpcollen1
4.4/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This one pours a beautiful dark brown into my Smutty Big Beer Tulip. Head rises up an inch or so and quickly settles. Aroma is deep and malty rich with hints of caramel and maybe a waft of alcohol.

TAste follows the nose a bit in the heavy duty malt but not giving in to much sweetness at all and complimented by the slightly elevated alcohol. Wondefully dry hops rides in on this one mid sip and cruises through the finish.

I am not certain if I liked this more now or when it was fresh but regardless, it is delicious. Would like to see more of this...

Photo of DrJay
3.63/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to purplehops for sending this as part of BC2!
Very clear and reddish brown, the chucky, light tan foam was very longlasting and formed thick lacing. Aromas of brown sugar, cocoa, dark chocolate, bread crust, toffe and faint alcohol. Low bitterness with lots of malty sweetness. Faint hop leaf with alcohol throughout and a toffee aftertaste. Medium bodied and average carbonation with some warmth and a decent texture. Although it didn't quite come together for me the way it should, it was still enjoyable and had some nice malt presence.

Photo of RonfromJersey
4.22/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours light brown, appears more red in the glass, and features orange highlights either way. Topped by two fingers of soft beige foam.

Aroma features roasted coffee with some chocolate, stout/porter characteristics, but with less intensity in this case. Faint whiff of extra sweet alcohol at the edge.

Nice deep malty semi-sweet foundation begins the taste, followed by entwined notes of coffee and chocolate (cafe au lait perhaps). Deep dark fruitness. Good earthy hop snap. General vague awareness of alcohol but no burn. Slowly building belly warmth.

Very good mouthfeel, solid, substantial, but not syrupy or oily. Good drinkability, but watch the late arriving warmth, its fair warning.

Nicely constructed. I think the six months in the basement helped to mellow things out. If you find it around, I'd recommend a try.

Photo of Budlum
4.22/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pouring this beer produces a solid two fingers of creamy, tan head. The body is a rich mahogany and garnet color with excellent clarity. The head is nicely retained in a one quater inch thick layer on top of the beer.

The nose presents a rich, malty profile that gives an overall sweet aroma. Brown sugar and maple syrup blend with notes of bourbon and root beer for a very warming sense. Hops are well represented on the nose which out the resounding sweetness of this beer.

A heavy rush of toasted barley flavors blends with earthy, peat flavors to create and hold the strong profile of this beer. Tastes of plums, grape jam and cinnamon blend with a spicy hint of alcohol in the middle of a sip. Hop flavors are restrained and grow towards the finish. The finish is long, yet clean holding the flavors initially tasted. Very good.

The mouthfeel of this beer is good. The body has the right texture only I expected it to be a bit thicker. The highlight is that this beer finishes relatively clean.

Drinkability is quite good. This is an enjoyable and flavorful beer. The only downfall is that it isn't memorable. This is another gem from Smuttynose.

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

Reading the side of the bottle I expected more. Old Ale if you will.
Couldn't find stats on their site....good ol' BA to the rescue.
Beautiful garnet color and bright. Lots of bubbles to sustain a nice head after the pour into Imp Pint glass.

Biscuity on the nose, some spicy hops.

Flavor....this is one those beers that tries to blend the nuttier grains with spicy hops and it can be a train wreck. After a couple mouthfuls and some "breathing" in the glass it starts to come together. I found it to be more of a Imp Red or Stock Ale.

I certainly would be happy to have it again.

Photo of elinash
3.83/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a Gouden Carolus goblet.

Appearance is a ruddy light reddish brown with minimal lacing around the edges. A haze is on the surface of the beer.
It smells alcoholic (spicy) and nutty with some diacetyl.
It isn't nearly as big as I thought it would be. The taste is nutty, with some chocolate. The finish is unexpectely spicy and hoppy, slightly acidic.
Mouthfeel is thinner than I expected, too. I would wish for it to be a little more rich and caramel in the mouthfeel.

Overall, it's good, but it's really close to Old Brown Dog. Although it's bottle conditioned, I couldn't really tell, but there was a little bit of sticky yeast left in the bottle. Maybe this one is best if the dog is laid down to rest!

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.28/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 release, poured from a 22oz. bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a light brown color with a short and dense off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, spice, nuts and a good hops background.

T: The taste is very malty with flavors of caramel, nuts & maple with a little bit of spice. There’s a pretty significant alcohol burn, which expect from an Old Ale, but not particularly from one that has only 7.00% ABV. There’s also a stronger hops presence than what I was expecting and provide a very nice balance. The biggest thing that I was expecting and received was that this beer is definitely an enhanced version of the regular Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, dry and slightly sticky finish.

D: Tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, good kick, I’m not so sure this is a good representation of the Old Ale style, but it is certainly an excellent English-Brown-Ale-to-the-second-power. Like almost all of the beers that I’ve had from Smuttynose Brewing Co., this is a good beer to drink for an evening whether it’s sipping slowly or pounding down.

Photo of RedHaze
3.83/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle

Pours a red tinged brown with a one finger head that settles quickly to a spotty cap and ring. The foam is a bit thin and tattered, leaving behind just a little bit of lace.

Smell; the aroma is a bit subdued, but there is a noticeable malt presence. Caramel and some cocoa are the dominant players, but there's also a little bread dough and cinnamon. There's a bit of a musty presence in there on top of it all.

Taste; caramel, brown sugar, and bread dough are all present, bu there's also an underlying spiciness that has some cinnamon and others that I can't quite place. There's no real hop presence here, it's pretty much all about the malts, with just a little bit of alcohol in the finish. As this gets warmer it kind of reminds me a bit of a dopplebock.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and has a fairly low carbonation making this pretty smooth, and helps give this a good drinkability.

Photo of tempest
3.1/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

On-tap at the Hop Devil in NYC

I think OBD is a great beer, this on the other hand - not so much. It looked like a brown ale, but upon tasting, it turns into a bad brown/barleywine hybrid. And that says a lot if it's only 7% abv. There were some cocoa-like malts trying to blend with sweeter, fruitier malts and it just didn't work. Poor balance here. No good.

Photo of Viggo
3.68/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At Goldoraks tasting, post-Mondial 2007! Big group of RB guys and a couple BA's, and some on both, it was a great time! I brought this, courtesy of purplehops for BC2!

Pours a clear red/brown, thin tan head, nice lacing, leaves a solid ring around the glass. Smell is sweet and malty, bit of toffee, very fruity, alcohol is present, bready malt. Taste is toffee, some chocolate, quite rich, roasty bitter finish, some alcohol, bread, nice. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation, warms as it goes down. Not bad, neat shot at a lighter old ale. Thanks Stan!

Photo of bruachan
3.65/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

ooohh, the head is nice. creamy tight, great lacing. nice garnet color, too

musty hop smells and a little hop sweetness. not a big aroma, though

big, sweet, warm, roasty, brown. is brown a flavor? bitter. brown sugar. i taste a little red, too. a little heat

good brew. not their best

Photo of WanderingFool
3.65/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Really Old Brown Dog Ale pours a hazy deep amber color into the glass. It looks almost ruby in its hue. On top a small off white creamy head forms which quickly dissolves to a thick ring around the surface of the beer. A few spots of lace are left behind as the foam fades away.

The aroma is faint with mainly caramel malt, nuts, fruit (raisin?) and alcohol in the nose. Each sip of this medium to full bodied beer is somewhat chewy and smooth. The flavor is full of malt. Caramel and toasted malts dominate, but mixed in are notes of chocolate, nuts, and light cherry flavor. At the end a mild bitterness with some dry alcohol finish off the sip. Once gone the sweet malt flavor lingers on the palate.

This is one tasty beer that hides its 7% alcohol very well.

Photo of jbsteiny
3.48/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a light brown with red highlights and nearly an inch of a creamy head the color of aged ivory. It smelled rich, with dominant caramel and brown sugar and elements of cognac, cocoa, grassy hops, and a spicyness that I think is a hop flavor as well.

I think that the taste was overwhelmed by alcohol, which isn't really acceptable in a 7% ale, in my opinion. There were all of those malty flavors present, with a bit of a dark berry thing as well, but the finish was too boozy for me to appreciate it. Sorry to say (as I rather like the regular OBD, and I love SN in general, as well as the beautiful label), I think this is the least of the Big Beer Series that I've tried (S'muttonator, Wheat Wine, Farmhouse). Regardless, thanks Franchise for hooking me up with this!

Photo of lackenhauser
3/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Random, somewhat copper color. White, lacey head on top. Malty, somewhat sharp and lactic aroma. Decent enough malty flavor. Slightly robust with a faint alcohol twinge. Tastes like an amped up version of their regular brown though out of balance. Ok mouthfeel. Rather ho hum overall for me. I was expecting more to tell you the truth. All their big beer series beers I have had have been great-this one lacks a lot.

Photo of arguemaniac
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Nice citrus hop bouquet in the aroma. The burnt and slightly smokey palate offers some nice bitter coffee flavors and a great chocolate malt character, not to mention a fairly assertive hop spice. Burnt coffee with a firm note of cocoa in the satisfyingly lengthy finish.

Burnt and roasted flavors dominate the palate here. Sure, a sharp hop spice makes an appearance but it’s eclipsed by the rich and somewhat complex maltiness.


Photo of Bitterbill
4.38/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was aquired in a trade with jwc215...Thanks, Joe!

The beer pours aclear light brown-amber with a nice big head of foam that stays around forever as a solid 1 finger layer with lots of lacing.

The smell has some caramel malt, fruit, and some floral hop in the nose.

The taste is very complex and not what I expected. Lot's of caramel and dark fruit in equal quantities for me and it's very nice and very tasty. The dark fruits I notice are plum, raisin, and fig and hey, a touch of cherry is there as well. And boy, there's definitely some warming going on here but that's not interfering with the good flavours that are dancing on my palate. :^)

A few more sips in there's some vanilla and some floral hop bitter goodness that's most notable when I swish the brew in my mouth. It finishes bitter *and* slightly sweet and leaves a good long lasting aftertaste. Yummy. I like this a lot and I'm finding that it's very drinkable. Every time I take a sip and put my glass down, the flavours beckon me to take yet another sip and I obey their command!

Bottom line: I'm very impressed with this Old Ale offering from Smuttynose and can easily recommend it. See it? Buy it and sip on it. Thanks again Joe!!

Photo of sulldaddy
4.33/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I am sampling a cellar temp bottle poured into a snifter. The beer pours a bright clear mahogany with some garnet highlights. A soft fluffy yet frothy aroma of 3 cm foams up easily and recedes gradually with some medium craters forming on the surface. The aroma is brown sugar and chocolate mixing with some toasted grains and light fruitiness as well. No hop presence on the nose.
First sip reveals a full bodied yet soft and smooth textured beer with very fine tingly carbonation.
Flavor starts with some sweet chocolate and brown sugar but rolls to some light roast malt notes and I actually do get a bit of herbal hops on the finish that mix with the roast malt to leave a mild bitterness on my palate. The 7% is well hidden and the beer drinks easily.
Quite a tasty beer now, I dont think this is one that I would age, not much would change IMO and it is very good now!

Photo of BuckSpin
3.93/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 22oz bottle (v.2007) in a classic conical pint glass

Poured straight, strong & true. Slightly spicy on the initial nose, faint cinnamon & biscuits, mild wood quality, deep burnt caramels over some rich, roasted malts. With some air the caramels sweeten and a distant chocolate is barely noticeable, even longer and the alcohol & hops rise up to greet the nose. A finger's worth of mixed, warm, dulled cream hued foam settled softly to an 1/8" sheet that was see through in areas, like an old blanket with worn spots, and with no lacing. Crystal clear with some lazy carbonation, its a striking handsome cherry amber stained mahogany, just lush & rich, warm & inviting, cozy.

Smooth with a nice initial nutty quality on the tongue, earthy roast malts play with those burnt caramels to create a teasingly bittersweet quality - you find yourself torn between the two qualities...it walks the line between sweet & bitter beautifully. Faint sour cherry adds more just barely sweet, but not sweet, character to the overall mouthfeel. I am diggin' the tease.

The fruit qualities grow on the palate with more of the cherry as well as some raisin, dates, even some figs. A subtle warmth from the alcohol rises very slowly, growing a bit braver with each sip until the mouth is gently glowing from it. Its starting to hit its stride now with the alcohol loosening up my palate, the beer growing sweeter with a hint of orange, a warm, comforting, smoother mouthfeel and overall taste. I know it couldn't have been any cooler than 55 degrees when I opened it, but it seems to be picking up steam & overall getting better as it warms even more, becoming more recognizable as an Old Ale and not as much as the Nut Brown it showed initially, so you may want to allow this to come up to 60-65 before partaking, IMHO.

The nose continues to evolve, which I enjoy in a beer. The taste has shifted dramatically from nutty & roast malts to more fruited & chewy with a nice warmth to it, which makes me want to enjoy another at room temps to start. Growing more bittersweet on the palate now, it does get a little dirty before finishing (it was rather easy to drink) slightly sharp and a tad drier, bitter with hops, maybe even an excuse of stale pepper, leaving a coated, chewy, bittersweet caramel aftertaste.

A good, enjoyable Old Ale. Not the best I've had, but very nice. I especially liked how it opened up with some air & temperature, and found it to be much more enjoyable & more like an Old Ale once it did so. Some sharp white cheddar would have been perfect with this, as well as anything nutty (perhaps a praline?). Just like Olive, the Really Old Brown Dog on the label, this hit its stride with some good ol' time. Be patient, let it warm up to room temps, and enjoy.

Photo of SixpointJMH
3.63/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a great looking slightly murky amber colour with a big creamy head that dissolves fairly quickly and surprisingly leaves barely a trace of itself on the glass.

The aroma is malty and semi-earthy, yet has a subtle hop and even a bit of spice kick to it as well. There are also notes of dark fruit in the mix here.

Flavour is hot, but good. There's a definite strong (but not overpowering or intrusive) alcohol presence here that mixes with all other flavours throughout. Malt and fruit lead the way here with spicy notes from the aroma giving way for the most part. There's a bit of toasted flavour here as well along with a slight touch of caramel. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, a bit rugged and a bit slick.

This was pretty good stuff overall. I'd tone down the alcohol presence s bit to make this a bit more drinkable and balance out the flavour a bit more, which could make this one a really good brew. That said, it's still good in it's own right. Also, I can't not mention (even though it's got nothing to do with the contents of the bottle) the truly awesome label for this one. It's a simple, classy tribute to the great (and now late) Smutty mascot and is simply one of the best beer labels I've ever seen.

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

I purchased a bomber of the latest release in the Smuttynose Big Beer Series, Really Old Brown Dog Ale, about two weeks ago at Downtown Wine & Spirits. I let this warm and served it in one of my New Belgium glasses.

Appearance: Pours a clear ruby-brown with a fluffy, beige head that fades to a film leaving patchy lace.

Smell: Sweet malts, caramel and light fruit, some roasted aromas, as well as a light graininess.

Taste: Sweet and malty upfront: caramel, raw sugar, and dark fruit. The finish is roasted bitterness with a light spiciness.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied, moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: Not bad for such a malty style.

Overall: This isn't an unpleasant beer to drink, but it doesn't quite fit the style.

Smuttynose Really Old Brown Dog Ale (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 579 ratings.