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Bad Penny Brown Ale - Big Boss Brewing

Bad Penny Brown AleBad Penny Brown Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

219 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 219
Reviews: 98
rAvg: 3.59
pDev: 14.48%

Brewed by:
Big Boss Brewing visit their website
North Carolina, United States

Style | ABV
English Brown Ale |  5.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: atsprings on 04-17-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 219 | Reviews: 98 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of kris10michele

North Carolina

3.93/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer is what turned me over to stouts. While it isn't a stout, it's just dark enough to get you interested in darker beers. At least, that was the case with me. I have found that this is a good middle ground beer for my friends and me. They like light beer, while I drink stouts now. Bad Penny is so yummy, I don't see why anyone wouldn't like it.

Serving type: on-tap

02-01-2014 04:15:19 | More by kris10michele
Photo of dfswan

North Carolina

3.98/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Being in Raleigh, I can get this beer fresh both from local taps, as well as from the bottle. On Tap is not surprisingly smoother than the bottle.

Not too rich
Not light
A bit of hopes, but not too bitter.

All in all, a very good American Brown ale!

If you're in NC, Have a Bad Penny on tap. I think you'll enjoy it.
(Sweet Jose and Old Town are also great local Brown Ale's)


Serving type: on-tap

01-14-2014 07:39:16 | More by dfswan
Photo of seydou

South Africa

3.33/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured out of a bottle into a mason jar. Disappointing brown, tepidly see-through, with some good sticking power of the offwhite head. Smell is not overpowering - don't get much of anything. Taste is mild, malty, very drinkable. A good session brown.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2014 04:11:14 | More by seydou
Photo of GarthDanielson

North Carolina

3.71/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a shaker pint, the beer is a very dark, ruby-highlighted, hazelnut coloring with a thin, bubbly, light tan head. Aromas of roasted nut sweetness, woody characteristics, and some light, sweet cream highlights. The nose is subtle, and it takes some getting in there deep to pick up characteristics. Flavors are very sweet forward, with an overall roasted character giving way to a blend of nut, chocolate, and subtle toffee notes. Very sweet characteristics, but remains light and drinkable. Roast characteristics build towards the end of the palate into the aftertaste, and are joined by a subtle, mild bitterness. The body is light, and slightly effervesced by the carbonation. The finish has a sweet linger, with a subtle bitterness that provides a clean and dry finale. Very easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2013 01:22:01 | More by GarthDanielson
Photo of TheQuietMan22


2.48/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Serving type: 12-ounce bottle. Bottling month and year numbers for notching are written on the side of the label, but there are no notches.

Appearance: Poured into a pint glass. The color is a beautiful deep, ruby-tinted brown. A finger of buttery, creamy, light tan head settled to a thin lacing and thick, buttery ring around the edge.

Smell: Kind of funky. I am unsure if the general impression is nutty or medicinal rubber. I think it may be a combination of both. Underneath are aromas of caramel, toffee, toasted malts, black licorice, and some dark fruit esters (mostly plum and cherry).

Taste: The mouthfeel is pretty creamy. The nutty/rubbery quality dominates. Though there are toasted undertones, the flavor is very tart. Sweet caramel, toffee, toasted malts, a little cocoa, and both sweet and dark esters (apple, plum, and cherry). After letting it sit for a few minutes, the medicinal quality becomes so overpowering that it just about ruins the whole beer.

Drinkability: It looks awesome, the smell is uninviting, and the flavor eventually becomes offensive. I suspect this bottle is past its prime so I will stay open minded. I think this one deserves an asterisk.

Serving type: bottle

06-21-2013 03:19:44 | More by TheQuietMan22
Photo of Axnjxn

North Carolina

3.54/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

on tap at sams for 2 bucks.

pours a dark brown with not much of a head. smells like...not much honestly. taste is better than it smells, good malt characteristic. typical English brown flavors, nothing big. enjoyable for what it is though. medium bodied with low carbonation.

overall nothing special, but its enjoyable. not bad.

Serving type: on-tap

06-18-2013 20:28:32 | More by Axnjxn
Photo of larryinnc


1.99/5  rDev -44.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.75

The seasonal beers are actually decent, but I cannot tolerate the year round brews from Big Boss. I really really tried to like their beers - but ever since first going there when it opened, I immediately noticed a horrible aftertaste. Maybe a bad batch? Tried a 2nd, and 3rd, and the other of the year round varieties - even from the bottle over the past few years. Nope - that's the way it's brewed. As others have commented, there is an off aftertaste and suspect something wrong with the brewing process (sanitization?). However, I do know a couple people that do like and even love their year round beers - so to each their own.

Anyway, it's worth a visit to check out the brewery if you've never had their beers, but IMHO, there's too many other good breweries in NC that I would try first.

Serving type: on-tap

06-03-2013 02:22:50 | More by larryinnc
Photo of jrstamp


2.16/5  rDev -39.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.25

A: Dark brown. Very low carbonation, not to style.

S: Huge unappealing esters, not sure what to call them, but very unappealing. Feels like it was fermented way to warm. Almost don't want to taste this.

T: Tastes better than it smells, but it is still pretty bad. Very muted malt flavors. Definitely get a cardboard taste.

M: Medium

O: Not a fan of this at all. I think there is a process problem, maybe a very high fermentation temp to get that nose.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2013 01:07:55 | More by jrstamp
Photo of dpodratsky3

North Carolina

4.21/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: Slightly opaque deep chestnut color, not much light gets through, ruby around the edges, head is very small and light, reduces to a thin spotty film

S: Distinct sweet toffee aroma, very sweet caramel malt aroma, but its pleasant

T: Has a big bold malt flavor, very full and deep feeling, has some caramel toffee flavor but also has lighter toasted malt flavor, hints of a deeper roast are barely perceptible, clean spicy, floral hops help cut some of the malt but after a while it does finish a bit sweet, otherwise I would grade this higher

M: Medium dryness, medium-high carb, medium-full body, all help keep the sweetness down since the hops are a little low

O: Delicious, nothing earth-shattering and not going to win a hype contest, but just a good all around beer to sit down and relax with

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2013 02:32:11 | More by dpodratsky3
Photo of dbrauneis

North Carolina

3.53/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a slightly opaque but clear dark brownish amber in color with some significant garnet red highlights and a light to moderate amount of visible carbonation. The beer has a finger tall creamy light tan head that slowly reduces to a thin film covering the majority of the surface of the beer with a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Overall the aroma for this beer is quite light with some very light notes of caramel malts and just a hint of nuttiness.

T: Upfront there is a moderate amount of malts - some caramel and some chocolate malts and just a touch of sweetness. There is a light amount of nuttiness to the brew. Light amounts of bitterness towards the finish but it does not linger.

M: Light to medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth.

O: Pretty easy to drink and enjoyable but not really anything special - I would have appreciated a little more aroma to the beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2013 21:35:27 | More by dbrauneis
Photo of Durge


3.5/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another brew found at Margaux's restaurant in raleigh, NC this one shows a dark brown mahogany color, nearly opaque. The head is a modest off-white cover with respectable lacing. The aroma brings pretty standard roasted malt with a touch of burnt wood ash. Mild but pleasant enough. The first mouthful delivers a somewhat diluted brown bread, malt-charcoal medley. Well blended but kind of watery without being unlikeable. There is a bit of tart swampy hop going on here, sort of cider like maybe, but the roasted malt charcoal lead the way on flavor. As I get used to this I pick up some honey sweetness and leafy edges. This brown ale is medium-light bodied with subtle, tingly carbonation and somewhat aqueous feel. Not bad at all, a little weak for my tastes but drinkable and worth a try.

Serving type: on-tap

12-07-2012 06:51:55 | More by Durge
Photo of Knapp85


3.45/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This poured out as a nice looking deep brown color with a cream colored head on top. The retention and lacing were moderate, but nothing too exciting. The smell of the beer gives of some nice roasted malt aromas with a hint of hops on the nose as well. There is a touch of chocolate and nuts on the nose also. The taste of the beer is toasted, it's got a decent dry bitterness to it in the finish also. There are subtle elements of coffee and chocolate in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel of the beer is pretty standard, nothing too crazy going on. Overall it's a good drinkable beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-06-2012 21:00:23 | More by Knapp85
Photo of FMSmith


3.58/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had at taproom and in bottle, on tap is better but then I always say that.

Definitely worth a try if you are a brown ale kinda person. Not too hoppy which I like, and best when served colder than most brown ales I think.

A little more bite than say Newcastle but still a good craft beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-03-2012 04:37:52 | More by FMSmith
Photo of BeerFMAndy


3.35/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a nonic.
5.2% ABV, Bottled on notch space empty.

Thanks to Onenote81 for another local!

A - Deep chestnut brown in color Bad Penny is, despite her dark color, clear. A fizzy, loose afro of light khaki head deflates after mere moments, leaving the glass blank; not a trace of lacing.

S - Bad Penny has a very low aroma right from the get-go, softly introducing minor chocolate and coffee aromatics into the air. Light earthy cardboard notes suggest some oxidation, perhaps, but nothing aggressive or unwelcome.

T - Subtle nutty undertones emerge around the faint bittersweet chocolate and thin coffee notes for a low but tasty flavor. Hops are all but forgotten in Bad Penny seemingly leaving the roasted qualities to balance out the sweetness.

M - Smooth and drinkable but highly carbonated, it doesn't quite remind me of an English brown in this regard. The finish lingers on the tongue with faint presence.

O - Bad Penny isn't outstanding by any stretch of the word, but damn if it isn't sessionable and smooth! This beer is, unlike the label, a rather plain Jane which will definitely satisfy in the autumn months.

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2012 00:27:21 | More by BeerFMAndy
Photo of soulfly1492


3.55/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Aroma: Bold, raw worty malt. Chocolate, brown and crystal. Some floral hop notes. Overall very sweet.

Appearance: Dark brown. Holding up to a bright light shows a dark ruby color. High clarity. Some bubbles rising. Small light brown head, decent retention and moderate lacing.

Taste: No surprises, raw worty malt. Lots of bready toasty brown malt, mild cocoa, the bitterness shows up in the aftertaste and is mostly floral hops and mildly bitter malt, maybe Munich.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body. Mild carbonation. The finish is very dry. Chalky.

Overall: I like worty, so it's ok by me, but certainly not the classic example of a brown ale. Nice balance. Easy to drink, and savory enough to enjoy one or more.

Serving type: bottle

06-25-2012 00:11:15 | More by soulfly1492
Photo of buschbeer


3.78/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle
Served in a pint glass

A - It pours a ruddy brown with an inch of beige head that quickly disappears.

S - I get some cocoa, some nutty aromas, and chocolate.

T - The cocoa and nutty flavors combine really nicely. There is some bitter chocolate on the finish.

M - Moderate to thin

O - I was surprised at how flavorful this beer was. I came in expecting boring, and I got a pretty good beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2012 23:27:00 | More by buschbeer
Photo of JayQue


3.23/5  rDev -10%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A so-so brown ale. Purchased on a recent trip to Asheville NC. Pours a dark brown color with a lot of ruby highlights when held to a light. Almost no head and minimal lacing.

Smell is faint roasted malt and a little chocolate.

Taste is fairly good. Roasted malt, a hint of chocolate. Pretty simple.

Mouthfeel is a hair too thin but it is crisp and refreshing.

Overall a pretty average brown ale.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2012 17:55:17 | More by JayQue
Photo of badbilly30

3.5/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours clear, bold brown-cola color; very thin off-white head. Some cocoa and toffee in the aroma; one-dimensional malts. Medium mouthfeel: slightly watery at the edges; cocoa, caramel, toasted malts; a light, inoffensive brown ale; some roasted character coming through mid-palate. Medium finish showing cocoa and roasted malts and breadiness.

Serving type: on-tap

03-25-2012 21:19:21 | More by badbilly30
Photo of Cyberkedi


3.48/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark, semi-transparent chocolaty brown with a fairly thick, if not too persistent, light tan head. Malty aroma has tones of molasses and caramel and a sweet hint plus a touch of hops. Flavor has malty and molasses notes plus hints of caramel, hops and honey. Smooth texture has above-average body and a little fizz. Bad penny? Not too shabby!

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2012 02:54:16 | More by Cyberkedi
Photo of thagr81us

South Carolina

3.75/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from tap into a sampler tumbler. Poured a reddish brown with a half finger off-white head that subsided to a minimal amount slowly. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, nutty, and powdered chocolate. The flavor was of sweet malt, powdered chocolate, dark chocolate, and nutty. It had a light feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a fairly good brew. I really liked the chocolate aspect to this one that came across in both the flavor AND aroma. The aroma was quite pleasant on this one, but the flavor just fell a little short. A solid brew that I would drink again and if you haven't I suggest you do.

Serving type: on-tap

01-22-2012 23:47:29 | More by thagr81us
Photo of unknownlamer

North Carolina

4.28/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Fresh bottle, served in a snifter.

Pours a very dark brown, almost opaque, but clear upon further inspection with a bright light. Very small head, fades immediately to the usual ring of foam around the edges. Doesn't leave anything behind on the glass.

Smells like chocolate, roasted coffee. No hop aroma that I can discern.

Taste is initially a tad bit alcoholic with a strong roasty flavor (no surprises here given the aroma). Smooths out after a few sips. Near the end of the swallow the sweetness comes through and a lightly roasty/sweet flavor lingers for a while after swallowing.

Body is fairly thick for a brown ale. Silky smooth!

Bolder than most other brown ales I've had without taking on the qualities of a porter or stout.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2012 01:47:06 | More by unknownlamer
Photo of TheDinger

South Carolina

3.9/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pilsner glass. My last beer of 2011! A little disappointing with the pour- Very small off white/tan head that faded quick and left no traces. Smell was very underwhelming, some nutty malts and a small bit of chocolate. Taste is where this picked up a bit. Something about the coffee/chocolate stout characteristics mixed with the nutty/carmel brown hit the spot on this one. A pretty complex taste which made it hard to sit down. Not too schooled on the EBA's and perhaps that is where the stout qualities come in, but this was very smooth and full flavored. Feel was decent with a good bit of carbonation and stout like silk. Overall- An interesting beer that tastes better than it looks and smells. Complex and rich- I will be hitting another one soon-

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2012 18:13:07 | More by TheDinger
Photo of Amalak

New York

3.6/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It's dark, almost black in color, with very little head and lacing. There's a nutty, but mild, scent to it. Has the look of being a bit flat.

There's a solid chocolate undertone to it with a nutty overall taste. Definitely a stout. The taste is mild, but there's something refreshing about it. It has a carbonated, tingly feel. There's a zestyness there that some stouts lack. It's good, if not forgettable.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2011 00:13:33 | More by Amalak
Photo of Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

3.43/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer is reddish brown with a thin beige cap. The aroma is pretty weak, offering subtle hints of bready malts, biscuits, fruit. Light bodied, with moderately low carbonation. A decent beer, but generally unexciting. Some toffee and caramel notes. Probably won't have this one again.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2011 00:55:24 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of Luigi

North Carolina

3.48/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours our about a half finger head but retains well with decent lacing. Dark brown with amber highlights in color.

The aroma has hints caramel, bittersweet chocolate, and leafy hop. Nothing over powering.

The flavor pretty much emulates the aroma with some hints of toasted malt and toffee. No problem on my side.

The body is medium to full with a mildly hopped finish. Very easy to drink.

Over all this is a great example of a local brewery doing a great job, and it may change until they feel the brew is right. But, right now big boss is doing just fine.

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2011 07:19:40 | More by Luigi
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Bad Penny Brown Ale from Big Boss Brewing
81 out of 100 based on 219 ratings.