Saint Botolph's Town - Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project

Not Rated.
Saint Botolph's TownSaint Botolph's Town

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612 Ratings

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Ratings: 612
Reviews: 295
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 10.51%
Wants: 89
Gots: 82 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
English Brown Ale |  5.90% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: morebeergood on 02-12-2009

A big malty brown ale fermented open with Yorkshire malts and eclectic yeast strains.
View: Beers (18) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 612 | Reviews: 295
Reviews by micmillon18:
Photo of micmillon18
4.28/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Possibly my new favorite brewery. Had this one previously, thought I'd actually review it this time. Poured from a bomber into a pint glass. Labeled as Batch Four, bottled December of 2009.

A - Poured a thick, creamy beige colored three finger head. Lots of lacing around the glass. Head subsided slowly after I took my first sip. Very dark reddish brown; almost mahogany in some areas where the light is able to shine through the glass.

S - Roasted barley and nuts. Sweet at times. Scents of caramel. Dark chocolate is also there.

T - Roasted barely, nuts and coffee are present. The taste of dark chocolate is there, really delicious and this is from someone who doesn't like dark chocolate. It seems to mix well with the other flavors, creating a sort of roasted chocolaty, coffee goodness with a nutty undertone, if that even makes sense by anyone else's logic. It ends with a nice hoppy bitterness that adds to its complexity, rounding out the great flavor.

M - Very smooth and clean, one of the bests I've had in terms of the style. It knows how to stay on the pallet just long enough to keep you wanting more without becoming too present.

D - Definitely something thats great to sip on a chilly Autumn night. The rich, malty flavors made for a real treat, almost warming in fact. The bottle was easily finished. Another great from Pretty Things.

More User Reviews:
Photo of buschbeer
3.79/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

1 PT. 6 FL. OZ. bottle
Served in an imperial nonic pint glass

A - This beer pours dark brown with ruby highlights when held to the light. A semi aggressive pours yields about three inches of tan head.

S - I smell some cocoa, along with earthy, nutty aromas.

T - The taste has those earthy, nutty flavors that make English browns great. With hints of cocoa it is a nice representation of the flavors of this style.

M - Medium towards full.

O - I like the comforting earthy qualities of this beer. While I find it a good example of the style, I still think I would pick a Sam Smith's Nut Brown over this. But, this will definitely slake my thirst of the style.

Photo of oberon
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My first Pretty Things beer and man was I impressed.Poured a deep roasted chesnut brown with amber highlights showing thru,a 1/2 finger tannish colored head atop,malt lovers rejoice from there.Brown sugar,molasses,roasted walnuts,and chocolate all over the place,great malt complexity in a "small" beer.Roasted nuts and cakey flavors at the onset with molasses sweetness coming into play,again great malt complexity.I put limits on certain styles of beer because Iam a hophead who likes extreme beers,this wowed me being an English Brown wich I think has never happened,a great beer.

Photo of lordofthewiens
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled dec 2009
Batch 4
In a pint glass a red/brown color with a thick tan head that left some lacing.
Aroma of roasted malt, chocolate, and some spice.
Caramel chocolate taste, a bit of cinnamon.
This was a very smooth beer, very drinkable. I wish I could find this in Maine.

Photo of Doomcifer
4.24/5  rDev +3.7%

Best brown ale I have ever had...not really into the style but THIS beer just plain 'ol rocks.

Photo of Jason
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz brown bomber with no freshness date.

Dark chestnut brown color, good lacing all around. Smells of toasted almond bread, faint chicory and a mild raisin/brown sugar note in the back. Big smoothness with a lush malty medium body. Toasty malt character with undertones of dark brown sugar, raisins, toasted bread crust and some dried hay in the finish. Modest hopping here, hint of herbal flare helps to balance. Mineral and fruit in the middle, hint of nutty yeast as well. Just a slight edge of char throughout. Lands semi-dry with a kiss of residual maltiness in the after taste.

Balance is seen across the board here, event the level of charred grain is perfect. Not massive or in your face yet this is of demi-epic material. Love it.

Photo of Billolick
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Typical Pretty Things arty and neat-o presentation, with the thin label strip over the cap, "Bottled April 2009 Batch two" Pours darker amber, medium brown, robust and retentive light mocha head, then thick film, a mottled ringed collar and finally respectable lace. Nose is yeasty and bready, with sweet malt notes just below the surface. Chocolaty brown. Sweet malt, powdered sugar, dusty dark chocolate, toffee, all come to mind. Creamy and luxorious mouthfeel, smooth as can be all the way to the finish. Very tasty and pleasurable brown ale. More quality and quite "artisanal" suds from the PT beer and ale project.

Photo of mrquartetman
4.85/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Poured into a Samuel Adams glass. Dark brown with a big and persistent creamy head that left lace on the glass.

S: Roasted malt aroma, grassy

T: Very malty, big English ale flavor, some sweetness, very hearty

M: Long flavor that morphs from sweet to deep coffee follow.

This beer is a surprise. I bought it because I'd tasted two of their beers a while back and had liked them; but I was really just guessing on what it would be like, memory of beer after tasting so many being what it is. It is an excellent, full-flavored beer, something I'm always looking for these days, having tired of the massive overhopping of American craft beers. This is a beer with a strong malt profile, more aggressive in its flavoring than most of the English ales it takes as its progenitors. Were I drinking it in a pub with lots of beers, I'd be ordering it over and over again.

Photo of tigg924
3.87/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: medium head, medium carbonation, not clear, leather brown

Smell: chocolate and malt

Taste: malts, brown sugar, and molasses dominate

Mouthfeel: sweet and smooth

Drinkability: A very good and interesting beer which i will have again. Not as tasty as some English browns I have had, but it is a winner.

Photo of far333
3.83/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch Four, bottled December 2009
Dark brown, not quite opaque wth streams of fine bubbles rising up through the dark liquid to a one inch head of high and frothy dimpled foam.

Low aroma of toasty malt and dark cereal, some pumpernickel and fig.

Flavors of toasted malt, understated cocoa, leather and mild smoke, plus some dried leaves and dark fruits. Smokiness increases in the finish. No one flavor dominates, very balanced. Gets more interesting as it warms. Notes of port emerge.

Full mouthfeel, a little tingly, finishes a bit tannic. Tasty and drinkable, good beer.

Photo of hagbergl
4.17/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed a pint of Pretty Things' Brown Ale, Saint Botolph's Town, at Cambridge-area beer bar Lord Hobo (great place to have drinks!). St. Botolph's Town came in a Pretty Things goblet (generous pour). Review is from notes.

Appearance (4/5): Saint Botolph's Town is–surprise, surprise–a dark brown colored ale. It is topped by a one-finger head of creamy beige foam. It features some nice ruby highlights when held up to the light and lots of sticky, soapy lacing shows on the sides of the glass as you drink.

Smell (4.5/5): SBT's nose is characterized by great brown ale notes: quite nutty, a little roasty, and malty, you'd know instantly in a blind taste test that this baby's a brown. It has an earthy edge to it that I find quite nice. Some dark bread notes can be detected as well. A little musty–and not in a bad way. This is one fine smelling brown. Lots of character!

Taste (4/5): SBT's flavor follows the nose. This beer is pretty much a malt fest from the get-go, though herbal noble hops do an admirable job of balancing and drying this one out in the finish. It is quite an earthy beer and it displays a relatively complex flavor profile (relative to many browns) in which nutty, roasty, grainy, and bready notes come out. Rich, rustic, deep–three words that describe SBT's taste very well. I would have liked this brown to be a tad bit sweeter, but can't say that this is a major sticking point.

Mouthfeel (4.5/5): Saint Botolph's Town features a full, creamy body, medium carbonation, and an exceptionally dry, bitter finish. This last quality is what, in my mind, makes SBT stand out among the crowd. Drinkability is high– the dry, bitter finish brings a quenching quality to the beer that one might think strange in a beer this dark, roasty, and full-bodied.

Overall (4/5): Pretty Things' Saint Botolph's Town is a solid brown ale, one that I think is pretty unique in its hoppy dryness and rustic earthy tones. While I favor Dogfish Head's Indian Brown, this is also a very good American interpretation of a traditional English style. Perhaps not the best Pretty Things beer, but a good choice as the seasons change and the cool fall air settles in.

Photo of glid02
4.12/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Simon – thanks!

Pours a hazy brown color with a light tan head that leaves decent lacing.

Smells of deep caramel malts with hints of toasted malts and nuttiness. Also present are very slight hints of toffee and milk chocolate.

Tastes similar to how it smells, though not quite as well integrated. Moderately sweet caramel malts up front are joined quickly by smooth toffee. Midway through the sweetness subsides a bit with hints of nutty flavors and cocoa powder that carry through to a mildly sweet ending. Mouthfeel is good, with solid carbonation.

Overall this is a very good beer for the style, with a good deal of complexity. Well worth a shot.

Photo of DirtybeerguyRI
4.95/5  rDev +21%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

APPEARANCE: This fine ale fills the glass with rich, deep mahogany brown. The head is more of a light caramel. Very pretty beer!

SMELL: You'll pick up on a lot of roasty malts with some mildly fruity (raisins perhaps?) notes. There's also a hint of chocolate in there, but this isn't a sweet beer. It's pleasantly understated.

TASTE: The dominant taste here is a smokey black malt combined with hints of an earthy, roasty sweetness. This is an incredibly well-balanced rustic dark ale. The finish is just a hair tart, which is a plus. I wouldn't call this a complex beer, but it does a lot of good things in one ale.

MOUTHFEEL: This is a very rich beer without being heavy. There's a mid-grade hoppiness, which provides a mild bite when it first hits your mouth. The loamy earthiness makes this the sort of beer that you'll want to savor with every sip.

DRINKABILITY: This is a fine session beer. All of the nicely integrated flavors make this a very accessible brew. For food pairings, St. Botolph's will go with a wide range of dishes and palates.

VERDICT: I've made my way through more than a few bottles of St. Botolph's Town. It's one of my favorite brews from one of my favorite brewers. I especially like its broad appeal. I've actually used St. Botolph's Town on a few occasions to introduce chronic Bud/Miller/Coors drinkers to the wonderful world of beers that taste like ... well ... something. If you see this on the shelf, buy bunches of it.

John Harvey

Photo of mdaschaf
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes

A: Pours a dark brown almost black with an off-white head. Nice head retention and thick lacing.

S: Lots of roasted/toasted malt, some caramel and nuts.

T: A very nice combination of malty sweetness and caramel. Not much hop presence. And the nuttiness from the aroma comes through nicely at the end.

M/D: Medium bodied, very smooth with nice carbonation. A very nice beer, my first in the style. Would certainly get this beer again, goes down easy.

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
3.62/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours out with deep and dark shads of amber with ruby red inside. Bubbly, lively head, yet very dense khaki coloration in the head. Retention is excellent and stays pretty deep throughout.

The aroma has a unique sweet-fruitiness too it that i was not expecting. Sweet dates and raisins all-over, a touch of hershey's chocolate syrup, mildly sweet red fruits and a bunch of heat, which is also a surprise. The aroma is nice and draws you in.

The malt is very smokey and fruity...which seems like a strange combo, but it works. The roastie flavor's make it almost Stout-like in flavor except for he lighter body and major fruitiness. Raisins, grapes and raspberries along with mild chocolate gives this one a really strange balance. Medium feel, thanks to a creamy head with a light body and way too intense heat for the style. There's a dry, bitter hoppy finish along with the heat...makes it a bit too harsh. Complexity is high and it has a bit of "aged" cask flavor's around it too, which is fine if the flavor's worked together! instead, they come at you in all directions. The blalance is crazy with herbal, bitter hops that are not too intense until the heat rides in and refuses to settle down.

simply, this is a crazy, messy but complex brown ale.

Photo of Sammy
3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Top notch brown ale. Pours dark brown, thick looking, with off-white head. Malty and some roast aromas. Very tasty malt job, supporting by light roast. Yeast is there and that taste builds up over a few samples. Very drinkable, made even more so by its sweetness. Recommended.

Photo of augustgarage
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Courtesy of ShogoKawada (thanks as always!) - always happy to try another beer from this brewery. The label art is very attractive (as usual) - I appreciate the care Pretty Things puts into their design. Batch four, bottled December 2009. Poured from a 22oz bomber into my Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Medium chocolate brown which glows a rich even carnelian when held up to a light. A creamy light khaki stand of foam rests on the surface with impressive retention. Hefty lacing slides nimbly up and down the glass tapering into thin coves of hard coral like bubbles.

A nice sweet dark yeast aroma wafts out into the room. Almond butter, light toast, faint hazlenut and perhaps chalk as well. A hint of honey.

Surprisngly rich maltiness: black, chocolate, and roasted notes meld like unto a fine medium-roast coffee blend. Subtle, clean noble hop flavors appear mid-palate as a mild bitterness joins a slightly roasted nut note. Brown bread crust, with hints of pepper and even a touch of fennel-dusted brown butter linger on in the finish. Really nicely done. Would love to try this on cask.

Hearty and medium bodied with a slight astringency, a faint oily quality, and moderate carbonation.

Mellow yet with unexpected depth, this is a pleasant example of the style.

Photo of alovesupreme
4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled in December.
Poured into my Pet Gulden Draak Tulip, this beer yielded a massive light mocha colored head with great retention. The base of the beer is a big earthy brown while the corners are a dark okra.
Raison and brown sugar are the first smells that come to mind, with a slight medicinal character brought on by the hops.
Big malt presence similar to sweet toasted biscuits. Hops are slightly phenolic with a lingering bitterness that balances the sweetness.
Big creamy mouthfeel, similar to Samuel Smiths but a little bigger.
Yet another great beer from The Pretty Things.

Photo of brewerburgundy
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle, Duvel tulip, bottled in October 2011. Thank you, Jayli, my 2011 Secret Santa. I've been wanting to try this for quite some time.

Dark, purply red and brown, beguiling, with a Stout brown head that sticks admirably.

From the first it's anything but average; rich and varied maltiness. Oats, sweet bread, light toast, delicate coffee, all just very rich. There's a playful fruitiness, but for all the richness and moderate sweetness it's drying in the end.

Light roast coffee and a heavier dose of roasted malt make for a much drier body. A little diacetyl and earthy, yeasty bread show more of a yeast factor. I'm imagining cinnamon rolls without the cinnamon; a sweet leavened bread with caramelized sugar balanced well with hop bitterness.

Solid, almost chewy body set against moderate carbonation. Very appropriate and satisfying.

While the yeast isn't a hugely obvious or brash factor, the whole thing is such a classy blend of complex, rich malts and yeast that I am almost totally charmed.

Photo of hreb
3.46/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cold 22 oz bottle, batch 4, bottled Dec 2009, poured into pint glass. Ale is a dark brown with a red tinge and a massive lighter brown head. Faint estery/banana aroma, not expected for this style IMO.

First sip is thick, with a foamy mouthfeel, and an aftertaste that's surprisingly chalky and bitter for an "English" style. Typical notes of brown ale are slower to develop, and they're more the roasty flavors of an under-roasted stout than the nutty flavors (Newcastle, Sam Smith). Not particularly sweet or otherwise betraying a large malt bill. More hops than expected, leaving a thick set of lacing, but this doesn't have a well defined bitterness profile.

Pretty Things has impressed me so far, but this beer is merely average. Not sure why it's so highly rated -- maybe it needs to be fresher?

Photo of Cabadrin
4.43/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I had this from the third batch, bottled August 2009. Picked it up at Whole Foods near work, in Westwood, MA. This was the first time I had seen this brewery, so I'm checking it out to see if it'll be come a regular. Poured out of a bomber into a pint glass.

Appearance: This is a dark beer. No light shines through except right near the edge, where it becomes just slightly dark. The head rises to about a finger's height, then drops down to a thin coating across the top. The foam provides a nice lace as it drops down the glass.

Smell: A nice malty smell, but not very strong except for the first sniff. This contributes to the drinkability later on - you don't get a nose of alcohol like some other, stronger ales.

Taste: malt, some molasses, and a bit of vanilla. Definitely something roasted here. Aftertaste is dark and roasted.

Mouth: Nice and bitter, but it doesn't hurt your tastebuds. Great and easy to drink.

Drinkability: Fantastic ale to drink, definitely felt a little of it after the whole bottle, but it went down real smooth. I think the lower alcohol content contributes to this being really easy to drink.

It'd recommend this with darker meat and root veggies, this is definitely a good dinner beer.

Overall, I'm impressed with this ale. Definitely looking forward to picking up a few more bottles next time I head to Whole Foods for lunch.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Saint Botolph's Town is my favorite beer by Pretty Things, and by far. It's rich, toasty, and a bit chocolaty with some nice fig flavor to round it out. The body's medium and it's creamy-smooth once it's warmed a bit. It reminds me of an English-style "Old Ale" rather than just a simple "brown ale". It's got a kind of brown malt character going on, and it's got a lot of dark caramel that borders on being almost like burnt sugar. It's a hint sweetish but there's a fairly solid bitterness behind it, and a hint of dark malt acidity as well, which lends to the balance and leads into a dry finish where the leafy hops finally appear. You can drink it straight-forward, or you can relax and sip it. Quite charming!

Photo of zaphodchak
3.78/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

"Bottled May 2011"

2 fingers of light tan creamy head on a ruddy brown body. Laces like a champ even in the plain jane hotel-room tumbler I poured it into.

Powerful English malt I can smell from far away. That's about it; tempered by some mild British hops-- all that comes to mind is that it smells English to me.

Plenty of hops drive the front of the taste, though the bitterness could be coffee. I may be serving this a bit too warm. A bit nutty.

Smooth, pretty fine grained mouthfeel, but not nitro-smooth and doesn't cut the taste.

A good English brown, but bitter enough to be an ESB or something at least.

Photo of socon67
3.43/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours brown with a hearty tan head. Decent lacing, and settles quickly

S - Slight scnet of almonds and chocolate. Reminded me of an Almond Joy candy bar, but not particularly pronounced.

T - Flavors of chocolate malt and nuts. There is also a slight taste of toffee. Would have liked the flavors to linger a bit more. Seemed muted.

M - Pleasant feel, medium bodied, and well balanced. The best property of this beer is that it is a pleasant drinker that is enjoyable to have a few.

O - A decent english brown, but nothing that stands out. If you like the style it is worth trying. Otherwise it is average.

Photo of mclaughlindw4
4.32/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Clear, dark crimson with a touch of brown. Thick,rocky off-white head.

A: Rich Caramel and coffee, sweet alchohol. Dried fruit leather. Nutty. Low hop aroma.

T: Earthy Hops, Caramel and Molasses, coffee. Stone Fruit esters. A noticable bitterness and alcohol in the end.

M: Silky smooth, Medium body, Low carbonation. Medium finish.

Overall: Perfect fall beer. Picked up 3 bottles to compare to a clone I tried to make. Definetely picking out the chocolate malt in the flavor and black malt in aroma, and perhaps the sugar additions gives it that molasses flavor. A little surpised at the light booziness. Pretty sure it's there but perhaps just my palate tonight.

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Saint Botolph's Town from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
91 out of 100 based on 612 ratings.