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

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

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590 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 590
Reviews: 290
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 10.51%
Wants: 87
Gots: 72 | 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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 590 | Reviews: 290 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mostpoetsdo
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Doherty's East Ave.

A: Dark, chocolate pudding brown. Faint, light tan head. Good lacing.

S: Cocoa and hazelnut, kind of a Nutella smell to it, roasted coffee, good maltiness.

T: Dark, roasty, but super smooth malt. Bitter chocolate, with milk chocolate sweetness. Slight coffee ground taste. Sweet and roasty, very enjoyable.

M: Medium body, low carbonation, but smooth.

O/D: It won't blow you away, but this is one of the better brown ales I've had in a while. Very solid offering by Pretty Things. Might have to pick up a bomber.

Photo of JamnesCameron
4.92/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Received this bottle from dmeadows in my Birthday BIF box. Thanks Denis!

Bottled November 2010, Batch 8.

Poured into a MJ tasting glass. Pours a deep dark brown with reddish hightlights. Big yeasty tan head of about two fingers. Head is slow to drop.

Aromas of molasses, dark caramel malt. Raisins. Brown sugar. Brown malt. Reminds me of the aroma from my home roasted grains used in a porter, fresh out of the oven. Toasty.

Flavors of toasted malt, raisins, nuts, a little smoky, light roasted coffee, very complex. A lot going on here that all melds very well. Finish is long, with a roasted smokiness lingering.

Mouthfeel is medium, with a light roasted grain bitterness. Good level of carbonation.

Overall an excellent brew. One of the most complex brown ales I've ever had. So much going on that really clicks together. Very nice.

Photo of greybeardloon
3.76/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled March, 2011. Poured into a nonic.

A: Clear, dark brown. Thick, stiff head that lasts for a good while. Good lacing.

S: Mostly herbal hops, some mild roastiness. The smell is pretty faint.

T: Some roastiness and chocolate and herbal hops. I think I can taste the effects of the Belgian yeast, but that might be my imagination. [In the May 2011 batch, banana flavors come through much more clearly.] The finish is earthy and a bit dry, and the earthiness sticks to the tongue for a while. The flavor is overall a bit less robust than I would like, but it's nevertheless sufficiently interesting.

M: Medium mouthfeel for the style with good carbonation. A bit creamier than I would have expected.

O: This beer is very drinkable and would probably be a great dinner or social beer.

Photo of JizackFH
3.85/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Sunswick 35/35 on 4/7/11.

Review taken from notes.

A - This beer pours a dark brown color. It has a small light tan head on it, that has decent retention and left some good lacing on the glass.

S - It smells of toasted malts and caramel. There are also notes of vanilla, hazelnuts, grassy malts, and some cocoa.

T - It tastes of dark roasted malts up front. There is a nice grassy hop character, caramel sweetness, nuttiness, and some nice dark fruit notes. The finish is pretty clean, with just a touch of lingering bitterness.

M - This has a medium body and medium carbonation. It coats the mouth nicely and goes down smooth. There is some roasty bitterness and the finish is clean.

O - This has good drinkability. It goes down easy and has great flavor. I could easily drink a few of these in a sitting. This is my first beer by pretty things, and I'm excited to try more. I would recommend giving this one a try.

Photo of ngeunit1
4.23/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a very opaque brown color with a thick finger of frothy tan head. Reduces slowly down to a thin layer lacing very nicely around the glass.

S - Aroma is full of toasted caramel malts and sweet brown sugar. Some dark fruits and nuts are also evident in the nose.

T - Starts off with sweet toasted caramel malts and some nutty flavors. Bit of brown sugar sweetness in the background. Through the middle some light citrus fruit and a touch of bread flavor. The finish is a blend of some dark fruits, caramel, and nutty flavors that linger.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Fairly smooth and crisp, though a tad watery. Nice and sweet with a earthy finish.

D - Very drinkable. Smooth and balanced flavors, and though they are a touch mild, it is different and interesting. Very nice nutty flavors.

Photo of Satchboogie
4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber, March '11 batch, poured into a pint glass

A: Brown and fairly opaque, though clear around the edges. About an inch and a half of mocha brown head that slowly dissipates.

S: Toasted grains, brown sugar, nuts. I admit, the aroma is a bit faint.

T: Brown sugar, slight dark fruit, toasted grains, a little nuttiness and mustiness. Good portion of medium roast, Earthy coffee, slight smokiness. There's probably more depth in this brown ale than any I've had before. I suppose the flavors bounce around a bit with the coffee/toasted/smokey brown malt being the focal point. Definitely one of the more tasty brown Ales I've had.

D: Medium carbonation, chew body with a fairly good coating though the body itself is just a touch light. Does have a nice creamy mouthfeel.

O: One of the finer 'sessionable' brown ales there is.. Loaded with great earthy and nutty/smoky flavors while the alcohol is almost completely hidden. This would probably become a staple brown ale for me if only it was locally available.

Photo of wcintula
4.27/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Awesome brown ale! Drank about a bomber's worth on-tap. There's not too much to speak of as far as looks go, but looks aren't everything. Great malty smell with a light spicy hop scent and dark fruits. Everything compliments everything in this beer There's a touch of booze in here as I've come to know and like in many brown ales, English or American. I never knew how many excellent brown ales there were out there.

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

Pours a dark brown, nice subtle redness in the color as well. Coffee colored one-finger head. Decent lacing and retention. Aroma of dark fruits primarily. A bit of toffee and chocolate powder as well. Flavor starts off with nice sweet malts. Unsweetened chocolate, hint of nuttiness, sticky molasses. Toasty bread characteristics. Dark fruit flavor carries the beer until the finish where a decent amount of hops shine through (citrus/pine).

Photo of younger35
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received a bottle of this from adamharbaugh as an extra in a recent trade. Have really liked Pretty Things thus far and I do love me a good Brown Ale. Drank from my spanking new Russian River tulip.

Bottled Dec 2009, Batch Four

Appearance- Pours a dark brownish red with a big beautiful one finger light tan fluffy head. The head stays around for quite some time but not a lot of lacing is left.
Smell- Has a nice sort of dark fruitiness that jumps out of the glass right from the get-go. Lots of raisin bran and dark brown sugar. I assume they used some Belgium candied sugar(s) in here as it has that sort of earthy candied thing. A touch of hops are noticeable as well adding a twang of citrus.
Taste- Sort of a tamed version of the nose with a kind of hoppy bitter dark fruited start. Raisins and prunes galore (although subtle) with an ever so light kiss of caramel and chocolate. The beer isn't sweet in the least and surprisingly has a sort of earthy bitter undertone. Something almost grassy about it. Sort of doughy at times as well especially near the finish as a light nuttiness moves in.
Mouthfeel- Surprisingly dry with a nice zippy bit of carbonation in the light body.
Drinkability- Really nice beer. I love how the beer has all the makings and flavor of a sort of English/Belgium Dark Ale but it's not sweet at all and very dry and balanced. It's super easy drinking and very enjoyable. I'd be really interested to try a super fresh one just for comparisons sake. Thanks very much Adam!

Photo of grub
4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

another bottle from my recent trade with jlindros. thanks jared!

22oz bottle. sampled march 27/2011.

pours hazy deep brown showing more of a deep red-brown hue at the thinnest part of the glass. a small pale brown head forms, dropping fairly fast and leaving a bunch of lace as it falls.

aroma is nice. dark fruit - raisin and date. neat nutty character - peanut, almond, maybe a little walnut. whole wheat bread. biscuit and cracker. bit of alcohol. earthy and a touch herbal. caramel and toffee. light alcohol.

taste is great. lots of raisin and date. dark chocolate. bit of coffee. nice nutty character again. lightly toasted whole wheat bread. bit of biscuit and cracker. earthy and slightly woody. touch of alcohol. low bitterness level. perhaps a touch of a funky edge?

mouthfeel is good. medium-light body. medium carbonation level.

drinkability is good. a lot more dark fruit than you usually see in a brown, even an english one, but i suppose they call it a "rustic dark ale", and i think it sort of fits that title more. seems to have a bit of a belgian/farmhouse flare to it. i like it.

Photo of Viggo
3.68/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle, thanks to grub for sharing!

Pours a hazy and opaque dark reddish orange, black away from the light, medium sized tan head forms and settles down to a medium ring around the glass and a thin layer, nice lace spirals stick around, looks pretty nice.

Smell neat, dark and malty, a lot of raisin and plum sweetness, caramel, light biscuit malt and a touch of roast, lots of fruit, lightly sulphurous, bit weak in the nose, touch of coffee and chocolate milk, alright.

Taste is similar, sweet and malty, some caramel/brown sugar, lots of raisin and plum sweetness, light biscuit through the middle, no real roastiness or nuttiness, just a lot of fruit and raisin, smooth finish, a bit of dry toast.

Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with low to medium carbonation, pretty smooth going down. A little plain for me and alright for an English brown but a little too much straight raisin. Not bad though, I could drink this. Thanks Russ!

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 srandycarter
3.85/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Murky cola, off white head leaves fast. Small lace.

S - Powdered cocoa, malt back and a little hops.

T - Snappy fresh flavor, flavors similar to smell.

M - Med to light body, good carb, nice balance.

D - Wish it had a little more malt - a little dry for my taste but a fine beer.

Photo of Jeffo
3.58/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bullied Doopie into giving me some of this stuff. He provided the brew, and I provided a decoder card so we could watch the Hotsputs against Milan on pay TV. Good times bro!

From a bomber into a snifter

APPEARANCE: A clear brown pour yields a 1 ½ finger, medium looking, light tan head with great retention. Dark brown, bistre perhaps, clear body with higher levels of carbonation evident. Head slowly fades to a full foam cap and leaves lots of immediate lacing. A splotchy wisp and ring remain, leaving lots of nice lacing down the glass. Good looking.

SMELL: Dark malts, caramel malts, and dark fruit notes. Prunes, plumbs, and light chocolate notes. Very fruity and quite bold for the style. Nice.

TASTE: Pretty bold flavors on this one. Dark malts and quite sweet up front. Dark fruits, plumbs and prunes again, with some sweet caramel malt. Notes of bubble gum through the middle, with a touch of spiciness and some yeasty qualities at the finish. A long and lingering, bitter-sweet aftertaste is plenty bold and flavorful.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Full and creamy smooth on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes slightly mouth-coating on the palate. Nice and creamy feel on this one.

OVERALL: A pretty good brew for sure. Calling this an English Brown Ale is a bit of a stretch; a Belgian Dark Ale would make more sense. Regardless, this was an enjoyable, drinkable brew that I'm glad to have had the opportunity to try out. Though I wouldn't seek it out again, I certainly wouldn't pass it up if I was offered. Good stuff. Thanks again for sharing Doopie!

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

Got a bottle of this through a trade with Naloxone. Thank you, Evan.

Poured from a bomber into a snifter.

Comes out dark brown, almost black but I saw light at the end of the beer. Off white/ tan head of a decent size leaving some nice lacing.

Smells of coffee, sweet malts and prunes.

Tastes sweet like the nose promised als fruity and a little bitterness in the end.

Creamy and smooth drink. Fairly full body with a good amount of carbonation. Low ABV makes this very drinkable. Glad to have been able to try it.

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

a: This was a very dark brown and it poured with a thick, frothy cap.

s: On the sweet side, but with lots going on. I found brown sugar, caramel, raisins, some nuts, and mild leafy hops.

t: Sweet and surprisingly complex. This had a fairly prominent spicy side as well with flavors of nuts and little clove. Sweet elements of caramel, toffee, vanilla, and some dark fruits.

m: Full bodied with lush carbonation.

d: Thanks for this one Eric. I forget how big small beers can be sometimes.

Photo of paulozanello
4.06/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled may 2010
Batch Six

Pours a very dark brown color that turns into a glowing ruby red when looked against the light. It forms a creamy light brown head that lasts forever leaving good lacing on the glass. Gorgeous beer.

Aroma is of dark malts, chocolate, coffee and a light alcohol note (believe it or not).

Taste starts very sweet with dark roasted malts, mollasses, honey, toffee and caramel. It does not have as many coffee and chocolate notes as in the nose. In the middle of the sip there is a nice floral hop kick that cuts the excessive sweetness with some nice bitter notes. Finish is very lasting and aftertaste is sort of a bitter/roasted combination.

Mouthfeel is syrupy and sticky with a medium to high body. However I don't get that heavy/overpowering sensation in my throat nor in my stomach that I usually get from malt bombs that are very high in abv. Carbonation is high.

Overall an explosive brown ale. Lots of flavor and malt complexity and definitely better than most beers in this style. People usually rave about how a malty and full bodied beer hides well its abv. Here the opposite happens. It is surprising to me that a beer with this much malt taste and full body has so low of an abv. Maybe the yeast got lazy and couldn't finish its job? Or maybe it was intentional? Either way... i don't see that as a bad thing (And I'm probably crazy for picking up a boozy note in the nose of this beer).

I like Saint Botolph's Town and I recommend it to the malt-bomb lovers out there.

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

A: Dark brown with off white medium density head. looks like coca-cola.

S: Chocolate and caramel malts, with smokey undertone.

T: Huge malts up front followed by a nice hop bitterness with some spiciness ending with smokey oak.

M: med bodied, very nice for the style.

D: Pleasant surprise, and can easily finish the bomber.

Photo of afksports
3.87/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this fine brew on tap at Amity Hall, which is becoming more and more my go-to location for food/brew/space to enjoy it. I love some NY beer bars, but they get overcrowded and/or overpriced. Not that Amity Hall is cheap... but variety is good.

Anyway, this is a beer review, and St. Botolph's Town is a Brown. English Brown Ale at 5.9% more specifically. As such, it's got a brown appearance with a thinnish off-white/beige head, that peters out to not-so-great lacing. At the edges of the brew, it appears thin and a tad watery - not terrible for the style though. In terms of its smell, I've had it a couple times, and the first one - on cask - I spent some time raving about the floral and bready aroma. On-tap I didn't get it as much, and that's a bit weird because usually taps bring out more aromas. Either way - points here for a brown smelling like more than malts.

The taste is a little less complex, featuring a lot of malts. About average for an English Brown I suppose. Tasty, drinkable, tons of toasty and nutty malts, tad of herbal hops in the finish, nothing clingy at the back end. It feels about average in the mouth, maybe a tad better because it's fancy beer (girlfriend terminology), and as a Brown it clocks in as one of my favorite styles, so it's drinkable.

All said and done, I'm more curious about the history of the name and the label than the beer. But it's a Brown. What did we expect?

Photo of Lldeegan
3.8/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark Coca-cola brown out of the bottle.
Strong and rich aroma of coffee, chocolate, caramel, and a definite nuttiness in the nose. Hints of earthy hops.
On the palate, sweet toffee strikes first with more nutty flavors and some caramel and chocolate. The bittersweet and chocolaty finish is intertwined with hints of green, herbal and earthy hop notes that give it a little more character than a typical English brown.
This beer is not sweet and malty all the way through, it ends with a hoppy twist and a hint of what they describe as "eclectic yeast strains." Definitely an interesting beer, and I would definitely drink it again particularly with a burger or steak or some other grilled meat.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.79/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a deep cloudy brown color ale with a huge medium brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of caramelized malt with notes of toffee and light residual sugar with light funky yeast notes. Taste is also a complex mix between some light funky yeast with heavy caramel malt with balanced residual sugar in the aftertaste - I don't know if it is the color or what else but I almost had the feeling of drinking a stout though I knew full well it wasn't. Body is quite full with great carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Very interesting beer with no real appurtenance to any style I know.

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 LiquidBread219
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A= Nice dark brown in color, Tan head that is tight pretty nice lacing.

S= The nose is sweet, Huge malt in this beer.

T= Taste is like the nose, Lots of malt a little bit nutty really like it not super sweet like I thought it would be.

M= Carbonation is a little low in this beer but kind of thought it would be like this.

D= Pretty Drinkable would enjoy a bomber of this but would probably just drink one of these but then again this isn't my favorite style but really enjoyable.

Photo of Kinsman
4.27/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of the darkest brown ales I've come across with a dark mahogany brown body with cherry red highlights. A pillowy and sticky looking light tan colored head fluffs up to about 2 fingers thickness.

Aroma shows off with a sweet caramel maltiness with hints of golden raisins and maybe even some smokiness. Really a lot going on here and I'm loving it.

Big malt presence up front before a spicy hop bitterness rounds things out. Sweet and fruity on the malt with a smokey character that lingers around after everything else has gone through.

Thick and almost chewy mouthfeel for a sub 6% abv beer. Overall, another top notch beer from Pretty Things. Really wishing I didn't have to drive to Massachusetts just to buy their beer.

Photo of Liverpool08
4.57/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

So far my favorite from Pretty Things. A really nice dark brown malty colored brew. Smell of sweet malt and nuts. Flavor is very creamy and smooth. Little bit of brown sugar, hazelnuts and a hint of milk chocolate. A super creamy mix of malt and nuts. Yummy. A great example of the style. I could drink these all night!

Saint Botolph's Town from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
91 out of 100 based on 590 ratings.