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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)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

609 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 609
Reviews: 318
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 10.77%
Wants: 45
Gots: 48 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company visit their website
New Hampshire, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  11.10% ABV

Availability: Rotating

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.

20 IBU

2007 - 7.0%
2008 - 9.3%
2010 - 10.9%
2014 - 11.1%
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 609 | Reviews: 318 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jp62099
3.78/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 ROBD, pours a dark amber, tannish head with good retention.
Smell is caramel and some burnt sugar, also some nuttiness. Nothing that really stands out, kind of exactly like a normal brown.
Taste is caramelized malts, some chocolate and roasted nuts, with a slight hop finish.
Medium body, low carbonation.
I didn't get much out of this, I guess I expected a little more punch, but I'm not well versed in English Strong Ales so I will need to revisit the style.

Photo of Duhast500
4.17/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tasting glass from the tap.

The color is a dark amber to a very dark brown with a offwhite head.

The smell is fruity, deeply malty, a hint of caramel.

The taste has brown suagr flavor, roasted malt, and a bit sweet. There also hints of hops and toast.

This beer has a nice feel to it. Nicely carbinated and quite mellow

Photo of AlexJ
3.67/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pale chestnut with a puffy tan head that quickly sizzles down to a thin veil, leaving very litte lace in it's wake.

Aroma is rich and caramel drenched. Roasty, nutty malts, golden fruit, and subtle vanilla spice.

Flavor opens with luscious caramel cream, tofee,brown sugar and creme brule cream. It dries midway with hints of oak and whiskey, peat, and a hot alcohol finish. If this is 7%, than I'm a monkey's uncle. Perhaps barrel-aged, but subtly if it is. Overall an excellent candidate for long-term storage, but rather hot and arrogant right now.

Body is creamy, smooth, and slightly chewy. Creamy palate. Finish suffers from boozy heat.

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

2008 edition.

Pours a transparent amber, with a bubbly soapy two-finger head that has good retention. Not a lot of lacing left, slick and slides right off. Not too much to the smell, sweet malt and a little bit nutty.

I can see why this year's ROBD has gotten the reputation as a malt bomb. I taste malt and peanuts / caramel. Little bit of a banana taste in there too. I also taste a dash of semisweet chocolate. Sweet without being overbearingly so. Has kind of a smokey, a little boozey barrel aged quality about it. Little bit of hop presence for balance with no bitterness, no sharp aftertaste. Smooth all the way through. Could use a little more carbonation to add to the mouthfeel, but that's a small complaint. Overall, a great tasting beer, I can see why the style is described as "barleywine lite". I have to confess, I'm eating spicy meatballs with it, and it's doing a great job of punching through the spicyness without being overbearing. Another awesome beer from the Smutty!

Photo of WesWes
3.7/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a translucent brown color with a 1/4" offwhite head that fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a mellow, crystal malt scent with a slight fruitiness and a touch of warmth. The taste is decent. It has an alcohol filled taste that boasts mostly of pale and crystal malts. It does have some fruit character, but it's hard to put this one down; definately a sipper. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a slow drinker that would best be served at a later date. It's tastes quite young and powerful. The alcohol needs time to mellow out.

Photo of ericlawton007
4.37/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark ruby color, very faint head. Aroma smells like the inside of a barrel warehouse of a bourbon distillery, with oak and malts making me feel very intrigued. Bourbon barrel flavors are found in the taste as well, along with some dark fruits. Extremely smooth mouthfeel, with little carbonation. I had high expectations for this beer, and although it was very different from what I was expecting, I was extemely pleased.

Photo of beerthulhu
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a ruby red color thin light tan head.

S: a light roasted malt aroma.

T: The initial flavor yielded some dry pine hopping, robust roasted malt with some grapefruit. There was a warm nutty taste, while the malting was very sweet. Some oak cask and woody notes as well. Good rich caramel malt on tongue for a finish.

M: Nice warm caramel flavor on the tongue upon warming, soft carbonation and a moderately full mouthful.

D: Great drinking brown, rich, malty, sweet and a dream going down.

Photo of JRed
3.76/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark amber in color with little head to speak of. Almost nonexistent aroma of dark fruit reminiscent of black cherries. The taste is quite extraordinary; strawberries give way to black cherries that cascade down leaving behind an oily slick dark fruit tang aftertaste. Medium bodied and very drinkable for an above average ABV. Alcohol sneaks its head around from behind the fruit at times but never fully reveals itself. Wine-like in character and enjoyable as an after dinner brew. Prelude to poop.

Photo of SeanRedd
3.55/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Strong Ale, shmong ale. Alcohol, burn grain introduction. Oily, aggressive nature. Chocolate is light, spread on bread; with solid booze. Sharp cocoa powdered black tea. Bit winey and fruity. Figs, mollasses, cherry, plum, vodka, blood, and wood. A battle in the belly to keep down after several sessions. Apertif to queaf.

Photo of ColForbinBC
3.9/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into a pint

Appears a clear mahogany, with small strands of bubbles and a thin, one finger creamy khaki head. Pretty decent retention with some scattered dots and lines of lace strewn about.

The nose is of dark fruits, burnt brown sugar and caramel, and a toasted biscuit background. Some earthy, leafy hops round out the nose.

The flavor mimics the aroma almost to a 'T.' Soft fruits, raisins/figs, toasted biscuits, and burnt caramel and brown sugar. Also get a touch of cocoa powder and a medicinal, herbal hop profile that finishes with a bit of warming. The booze lingers around for a bit and is quite strong.

A medium to full body, not as creamy and silky as I would have liked, but more on the creamy side than not.

I felt like this drank a little tougher than 7%. A nice sipper on a cold night.

Photo of jamie2dope
2.34/5  rDev -40%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

It seemed like a while since they had put this beer out, so I was pleased to see it around again. Apparently the recipe has changed this year. Red/light brown color, with a bit of tan lacing. Nose is really big on wood and alcohol, although a hint of fruit lies underneath it all. Caramel sweetness hits the palate first, followed by some bitter hop, then ends on a very boozy, almost acrid note. Mouthfeel is heavy and in your face. I had a tough time getting through this beer. From what I can remember, the 07 bottling was more preferable. Maybe this one needs some age, as the label suggests.

Photo of HeyItsChili
3.56/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured from a bomber into a pint glass. Pours crystal clear garnet with amber highlights and a thin, creamy ecru head.

S - Not very much to be had here, what I do pick up is a slightly bitter hop tinge with some brown sugar sweetness.

T - Hops, caramel, toasty malt, and very faint white pepper.

M - Creamy, medium bodied with faint carbonation.

Notes - Good but not great, pretty tasty

Photo of Hojaminbag
3.21/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

About a finger of tan heads crowns this dark amber body. Leaves some nice rings and sheets of lacing.

There isn't a huge aroma here. Surprisingly, one of the dominant aromas that I can pick up is hops. Very slightly floral and bitter smell. Next I notice a the slight aroma of dark fruits.

Despite a fairly week aroma there is a ton going on in the flavor of ROBD. Up front alcohol comes through right away followed by a pretty firm, bitter, hop bite. Next comes a slight but noticeable chocolate malt flavor. Next comes what I think is the most powerful taste in the beer, some sweet, dark fruit. Raisins and figs. Tastes a lot like port actually.

Mouthfeel is on the heavy side of medium bodied and carbonation is about the same. A tiny bit of burn from the alcohol.

This is a little boozy to be exceptionaly drinkable, I had trouble getting through the bomber.

Photo of sawbones420
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reportedly higher in alcohol than last year's incarnation, I'm rarely disappointed with the Smutty Big Beers.

Into my snifter, pours nice, rich brown with a touch of ruby. Solid head that doesn't linger forever. Good lacing remains through the entire beer.

Alcohol is on the nose as is a candy sweetness, although not obnoxious. Sips less smooth than last year's, as the alcohol hits you up front. This isn't bad, mind you, but it takes the drinkability down slightly. Faintest hint of coconut (really!) before warm dark alcohol takes over your tongue.

Solid brew, but I prefer the lower-alcohol incarnation. Grab a bottle while they are around. I imagine this would age VERY well and mellow out over a 6-12 month period. I can just imagine what this would taste like with that slight edge taken off of it. YUM

Photo of akahn
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice ruby-brown color. Leathery, peat nose. Nutty, sherry-like. Surprisingly this beer is not all that smooth. It's not brash, but the flavor is fairly sharp. None of that rich, velvety stuff. Not much residual sugar. Again, notes of sherry, with a touch of alcohol. This is a nice beer, not something that's going to blow your hair back, but a good, mellow wintertime sipper, with a bit of a kick. Props to Smuttynose, as always.

Photo of soccerman7
4.16/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Very reddish brown with no head/head around the edge of the glass. Dull almost in color.

S - Chocolate, wood, biscuit, sherry notes. One of the most complex noses I have add.

T - Very nice. Toasty, baked bread. fruity and chocolate notes but very well blended. A very good example of an English style strong ale. Warm alcohol but nothing over powering.

M - very smooth with little dryness for a strong ale.

D - excellent brew and look forward to the year of big releases by the brewery. worth the effort to find!

Photo of indiapaleale
4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep ruby, chestnut color. Very clean and clear with a fluffy half inch of head that is not going anywhere anytime soon. Beautiful.

Smell is of dark, sweet fruit with hint of astringent alcohol. This smells like a complex malty delight.

Taste is sweet and tart fruit. I also get some cotton candy and a nice dry finish with more of those alcohol notes. It has an alcohol presence that is not bad by any means but for 7% it seems stronger.

Very smooth drinking beer, another great release in the Smutty Big Beer Series. I put aside a bottle that I will look forward to drinking next winter. This one is perfect for a very cold New England night with the snow falling.

Photo of Proteus93
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Very orangish coloured deep amber pour with a little bit of tiny sediment resting almost in stasis. Nice, creamy head sticks around reasonably.

S: Almost something of a mixed berry-like scent... a medley of them with a sweet maltiness.

T: A nice, rich maltiness with a bit of alcohol pepperiness. A roasty malt, some soft chocoate notes, a little caramel. Rather pungent, but tasty.

M + D: Soft carbonation, fuller body, rather appropriate for the style and the flavours. A nice beer, and another good offering from Smuttynose - particularly in the "Big Beer Series" which hasn't really done me wrong yet.

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.88/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Far333 for this one.
Poured a deep brown with nice tannish head, good carbonation and a good looking brew. Nose is pretty hot, you can tell this beer has some alcohol to it. Some dried fruits, caramel and even some oak perhaps. Taste is pretty hot from beginning to end. You really taste the alcohol in this brew. Dried fruits, caramel malts and much more. Mouthfeel is noce, warm and very coating on the mouth. Good beer!

Photo of IBUnit63
4.02/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 vintage bomber into Duvel tulip...

Buttery, tight (actually cheesecake color) 3/4-finger head sticks around for just a bit but wisps away slowly. Tops a deep, dark gingerbread body that has almost a Dubbel look to it. Very slow and sparse carbonation.

Figs, figs and more figs...and a couple of dates. Maybe some dried plums, prunes and even currants too. Quite bountiful with mild brown sugar, a pinch of molasses (maybe) and soft cinnamon and clove on deep background. Brown sugar brings alcohol; slight hop pine (very slight). This is very good and provides great anticipation.

The aroma is so spicy and full of dark fruit that the malt is really on the back burner. but it dos emerge on the taste profile. Very heavy dark caramel is abundant. There is a fair amount of earth here - malt provides coffee - bitter, iced coffee - tones. Alcohol brings it to temperature - there's sweetness from the heat that draws out those dark fruits. A little pine is there too. Finishes a little on the tight side at first. Earth burns off after a while leaving more slate and BBQ char.

Feels drier than would expect - alcohol and slate mix do actually cool this down after a while. Impact point is mid-mouth - a little hop pine and dark fruit tightness. Very complex - still a bit of lingering earth.

This is a good effort with a lot going on...I'm guessing a little time may be helpful. Smutty never disappoints!

Photo of NEhophead
3.62/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 fl oz brown bottle; served in a nonic.
Bottle conditioned in 2008.

Faint mahogany with auburn highlights. Creamy off-white head that recedes to a thin sheet after a moment. Patchy lacing with adequate strength.

Aged, vinous fruit: grape, plum, red apple, orange, date. Notes of light toffee and milk chocolate. Slick, gaseous alcohol nose. Lemon and grapefruit hop character. Pleasant aromatics, but young.

Reserved, chocolate malt character with notes of unsweetened caramel and toffee. The malt character is attacked by an aggressive, citrus hop character and immature alcohol flavor. Raisin, plum, date, and red apple appear at mid-sip. The vaporous alcohol and young, hop intensity make for a somewhat waxy finish with an alcohol and bulky, aged fruit-filled aftertaste.

Full bodied; slick and somewhat filmy. For the most part, the intense alcohol presence and waxy, citrus hop character cause an unbalance in texture.

There are some really good flavors in this complex ale. Unfortunately, they are clearly unbalanced due to the alcohol and hop profile's youth. This Really Old Brown Dog needs to lay down for another year. This is one I would love to revisit once it mellows a little more.

Photo of johnnnniee
4.47/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 Vintage, I can't believe it took me so long to post a review of this one.
Pours a crystal clear brown color with ruby highlights when held to light. Thin head dissipates quickly. Smells of Brown Sugar, cherries, dark dried fruits, vanilla, some oak or smoke too. Very malty nose very little if any hop presence. Taste is sweet with dark fruits, toffee, sugar, a touch of alcohol and a warming finish. Mouthfeel is creamy/syrupy, body is medium, carbonation is ample. Another great brew from an underrated brewery.

Photo of far333
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Caramel colored with orangey highlights and an oatmeal colored and wispy low head that recedes quickly.

Aroma of lightly toasted malt, some cereal and light brown sugar.

Favor of dry walnut, roasted marshmallow and chestnut, graham cracker, oak and some smokiness. Morphs to bourbon in the finish, bourbon lingers.

Thin mouthfeel, a bit tannic and dry.

Good sipper, but drinkability wanes as complexity decreases and bourbon dominates. Would like to cellar some of this to see how it ages.

Photo of LOCAL
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally I'm getting a chance to review Smuttynose's 2008 release of Really Old Brown Dog Ale. My absolute favorite beer the last time it was brewed about 20 months ago. The last time it was brewed it was made to be a brown porter/ old ale weighing in at 7% ABV. This time the recipe was changed a bit and its brewed to be more of an Old Ale/Barleywine at 10% ABV. I'm freaking excited!

Appearance: Pours a dark brown/ rubyish red with a two finger light tan head that fades in moments into my new Duvel tulip glass. Leaves some very nice lacing.

Aroma: First nose gives me a lot of sweet cherries, oak, and malt. Perhaps some vanilla in there too.

Taste: WOW! Not disappointed in the least. Comes through with a malty, roasty, oaky flavor enhanced by that port soaked oak chips that the brew finished on. Bit of alcohol in the back that is sure to fade in several months. Seemingly a beer that will become very balanced if it isn't so already. (the port finish may be a bit too much fresh for some)

Mouthfeel: Medium to heavy: Seems to stick to the tongue on the way down.

Overall: Another awesome brew from smuttynose. An old favorite brought back in even more glory. This is going to be a fantastic beer to cellar and stand the test of several tasty years.... I'm buying even more than a case!

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

22 oz bomber bottle conditioned in 2007. I've kept this in the cellar since I picked it up over a year ago

Pours a deep caramel brown with an immense fluffy light tan head. Soft fluffy streaks of lace stick to the glass.

Scent is warm sweet caramel, soft cocoa, and a hint of alcohol esters.

Taste is rich caramel and chocolate malts. Brown sugar. Soft bittersweet cocoa. Nuts and toasty notes. Sticky sweetness on the lips and a slight alcohol warming at the finish.

Mouth is soft, creamy and full; even a bit chewy.

Drinkability is excellent - the bomber practically drank itself.

Much softer and smoother than I remember it fresh. Seems to have taken on a lovely English nut brown ale persona. Quite delicious. Wish I'd cellared more of this!

Smuttynose Really Old Brown Dog Ale (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 609 ratings.