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Bad Penny Brown Ale - Big Boss Brewing

Not Rated.
Bad Penny Brown AleBad Penny Brown Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

239 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 239
Reviews: 98
rAvg: 3.6
pDev: 14.17%
Wants: 8
Gots: 11 | FT: 0
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: 239 | Reviews: 98 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BuckeyeNation


4.1/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

"Pennies do not come from heaven. They have to be earned here on earth."

--Margaret Thatcher

Walnut brown with radiant orange highlights when on the coaster... dark cranberry when backlit with sunshine. Approximately two fingers of khaki colored foam was created on the pour, which allowed the entire bottle to enter the glass in one fell swoop. A thick collar of lace eventually becomes thick rings and scattered sheets.

The nose is classic for the style and is wonderfully aromatic to boot. Three different malts combine to produce a melange of cocoa, dark caramel and baked nuts. No negatives here.

There are no chinks in the armor when it comes to the flavor profile either. Way too many browns are wimpy and don't show off their malts enough. Bad Penny isn't shy at all, which makes sense when you consider the look she's giving from well-done, informative label. It would be great if all breweries included style, ABV and bottled-on date.

BPBA is delicious beer that is exiting the glass almost as fast as it entered. Each sip delivers chocolate-dipped English toffee, sugared pecans, ripe fruits and enough earthy hoppiness to take the edge off the sweetness. Big Boss Brewing has done themselves proud with this well-constructed ale.

Keeping style and ABV in mind, the mouthfeel easily keeps pace. It's no bigger than light-medium, but is aided by an ideal amount of carbonation that inflates the beer to a fluffy, creamy state on contact.

Bad Penny (the woman) may have a tarnished reputation, but purchasing Bad Penny (the beer) makes a lot of cents for those who appreciate a finely crafted English brown. For my money, Bad Penny is definitely Good Beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-23-2009 12:29:43 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of metter98

New York

3.5/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Big Boss Brewing, Raleigh, NC

A: The beer is dark brownish amber in color and poured with a thin white head.
S: The smell isn't very strong but has some hints of caramel malts.
T: The taste is nutty and has some hints of sweetness along with flavors of caramel and chocolate malts.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied and a bit smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: The beer isn't that difficult to drink.

Serving type: on-tap

02-01-2011 01:27:24 | More by metter98
Photo of nmann08

District of Columbia

4/5  rDev +11.1%

12-09-2011 23:27:01 | More by nmann08
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

3.68/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the restaurant attached to The Souther Season in Chapel Hill.Poured into a standard pint glass a deep mahogany brown with a thin almond colored head atop,muted aromas of dark roast coffee and bitter chocolate mainly.Pretty standard for the style on the palate,somwehat sweet up front with bitter chocolate flavors with pretty hefty roasted coffee-like base underneath thru to the finish.Not bad but like I said pretty basic stuff here.

Serving type: on-tap

07-03-2008 19:27:40 | More by oberon
Photo of Knapp85


3.45/5  rDev -4.2%
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 zeff80


3.98/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a dark, dark brown color with a two-finger head of off-white foam. It left minimal lacing.

S - It smelled very nutty with strong malty notes and hints of caramel.

T - Good nutty flavor like you'd expect in an English Brown. Nice roasted malt flavor with toffee and caramel notes.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied brown ale that is very easy drinking.

D - This is one of the better tasting brown ales out there. I'm glad I grabbed it at Bruisin' Ales in Asheville.

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2010 00:19:05 | More by zeff80
Photo of russpowell


4/5  rDev +11.1%

12-05-2011 20:34:41 | More by russpowell
Photo of Kegatron


3.5/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Horniblow's Tavern (Raleigh, NC).

Pours a dark brown with a think wispy off-white head that retained into a thin ring around the edge of the glass that some minimal lacing. The aroma is generally sweet with some light toasted notes and nuttiness. Nothing too special.

The taste is more of the same, with chocolate sweetness, toasted malts, some nutty character and a little hop bitterness. The mouthfeel is a light medium with a creamy feel. Overall, the flavor profile feels pretty mild.

This wasn't a bad Brown Ale form Big Boss but nothing seemed to really jump out at you. It went down easy enough though.

Serving type: on-tap

02-07-2008 17:35:26 | More by Kegatron
Photo of oline73


4/5  rDev +11.1%

11-15-2011 03:40:31 | More by oline73
Photo of mendvicdog


4/5  rDev +11.1%

04-18-2013 23:26:08 | More by mendvicdog
Photo of beernads


3.25/5  rDev -9.7%

01-25-2013 10:59:03 | More by beernads
Photo of yourefragile

District of Columbia

3.75/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle bottled in 2/08 served in a pint glass. I already reviewed this on tap, giving it another shot.

A: Deep, dark brown color, clear mahogany against light. Light tan head with light retention, dissipates to a splotchy thin film and a ring. A little streaky lacing.
S: Nice malty, slightly chocolate smell, not very strong or sweet, but very pleasant.
T: Medium bodied with strong carbonation and slightly creamy mouthfeel. Predominantly malty body, some toasted flavors, mild chocolate, nuttiness and some hop bitterness in the finish.

Well, pretty much what you would expect from this style. Nothing spectacular, and like last few reviews said no one will probably rate this particularly high, but a very nice session beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2008 02:59:36 | More by yourefragile
Photo of akorsak


3.9/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 12 oz bottle purchased at Chip's.

A: The ale is a dark ebony color, black from afar but deep cola brown up close. A two plus finger head on pour has settled down to a thin pool.

S: The nose is mostly toffee with a sprinkling of nuts thrown in. Very sweet with a sugary note that strikes me as Belgian.

T: The flavor is a little thin upfront, all nondescript grains before the toffee kicks in. The darker malts are toffee sweet and nut dry, a nice mix that coats the tastebuds over the last half of a sip. Grassy hops add a nice bitterness that penetrates the sweetness.

M: The mouthfeel is sweet with a pleasingly mild finish that makes me want another sip.

D: I'm glad I grabbed a bottle of this. The ale is a solid brown ale that packs a nice flavor.

Serving type: bottle

10-11-2008 22:07:17 | More by akorsak
Photo of dbrauneis

North Carolina

3.53/5  rDev -1.9%
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 duceswild


3.75/5  rDev +4.2%

04-28-2013 22:09:51 | More by duceswild
Photo of Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

3.43/5  rDev -4.7%
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 smakawhat


3.23/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass. Bottled April 2011 I think, so off we go!

Out of the bottle this head can't form at all. Never gets bigger than an off light brown one finger head. I'll admit it sits for a bit but that's it. Color is a classic dark walnut brown for the body, leaving a simple small but solid puck but no lacing while drinking. Other than that slightly better than average.

Malt roast of mild chocolate. Simple, muted, there... but a kind of strange malt bent. Hard to describe, it's just a tad off putting.

Taste is weak sauce. Extremely wet bodied, like very watered down coffee without a sense of coffee strangely. Malt presence lacking and unknown. Virtually no chocolate taste coming from the nose as thought to be expected.

Overall a drinkable beverage you could do a lot worse. This isn't even a particular favorite style of mine, but I would have many others over this thing "in this style" by a country mile.

Serving type: bottle

07-07-2011 03:36:45 | More by smakawhat
Photo of tdm168

North Carolina

3.25/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the brewery's tasting room

Pours a pure brown with no head. Smells of caramel and faint roast malt. Taste is caramel and sweet malt. Thin, a little watered down, and very little carbonation.

Not bad, but could use a little more body in my opinion.

Serving type: on-tap

07-22-2011 12:15:08 | More by tdm168
Photo of glid02


4.2/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased from Bruisin Ales in Asheville, NC.

Pours a chestnut brown color with a one-finger tan head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells very good. Smooth caramel, toffee, and mild toasted malt aromas all hit the nose at once.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Toasted malt flavors hit first with underlying hints of caramel and toffee that are not overly sweet. Midway through the sip a very small amount of earthy hop flavors enter into things before receding for a sweet and crisp ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's a bit on the thin side but with solid carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my bottle fairly quickly and could have a few more.

Overall this is one of the more flavorful English browns - or any brown for that matter - I can remember having. Definitely worth a shot.

Serving type: bottle

08-27-2009 22:48:29 | More by glid02
Photo of TurdFurgison


2.5/5  rDev -30.6%

01-24-2012 03:05:35 | More by TurdFurgison
Photo of GarthDanielson

North Carolina

3.71/5  rDev +3.1%
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 ccrida


3/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark brown with a thin off-white collar that leaves very light lace.

Smell is light, sweet, brown sugar, directly opens as it warms.

Taste is light roasted malts, iced coffee and molasses / over caramelized sugar. A hint of diacetyl, the butter gives it a sugar cookie note.

Mouthfeel is crisp, medium bodied. Seems a little heavy.

Drinkability is ok, it's a pretty full flavored brown ale, a bit heavy for my taste in the style, especially when the ABV doesn't really match.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2011 02:51:39 | More by ccrida
Photo of BeerFMAndy


3.35/5  rDev -6.9%
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 thagr81us

South Carolina

3.75/5  rDev +4.2%
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 Cyberkedi


3.48/5  rDev -3.3%
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
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Bad Penny Brown Ale from Big Boss Brewing
82 out of 100 based on 239 ratings.