1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Spanish Peaks Black Dog Ale - Spanish Peaks Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Spanish Peaks Black Dog AleSpanish Peaks Black Dog Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
80
good

144 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 144
Reviews: 124
rAvg: 3.5
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 2
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Spanish Peaks Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  5.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-28-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 144 | Reviews: 124 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Cujo65:
Photo of Cujo65
4.25/5  rDev +21.4%

Cujo65, Nov 07, 2013
More User Reviews:
Photo of Todd
4/5  rDev +14.3%

Presentation: 12oz brown bottle. No freshness date.

Appearance: Deep amber with reddish hues. Nice off-white cream lace, that has just enough stay and stick.

Smell: Raw aroma of malts, floral hops and fruity esters.

Taste: Smooth, creamy and full-bodied. Nice fruity flavour of raisin and grape, touch of background chocolate malt, bready malts and a floral hop character that peaks with a zesty flash of semi-citrus bitterness, but not enough that it overpowers the mild malt sweetness. Bit of crispness from the Munich malt. Turns coarse, a bit raw, on the palate (hops), then finishes out dry with lurking husky tannins and some traces of yeast.

Notes: A damn fine ale, very traditional English in its character and very easy to drink. Described by the brewer as an English amber, which I'd translate into being a pale ale.

All in all a good beer, and well worth a tasting.

Todd, Mar 30, 2002
Photo of merlin48
3.58/5  rDev +2.3%

12 oz brown bottle with a black dog paw on the cap. Label says it's brewed in Saratoga Springs, NY. Pours a clear, copper amber with a one finger, beige head. Minimal ring lacing.

Aroma is malty. Caramel aroma with a weak note of pine in the background.

Taste is very malty, with caramel and a subdued fruit note. Mild presence of pine is just enough to maintain a decent balance.

Smooth and crisp, slightly on the sweet side. Good drinkability, overall. Hard to figure this brewery out. They no longer have a website, and seem to be moving around the country a lot.

merlin48, Apr 28, 2004
Photo of Billolick
3.78/5  rDev +8%

12 ounce bottle sampled, no freshness dating. Pours dark honey/almond amber, clear, with large bubble rising, a minimal white head and just a tad of lacing on the glass. Slight buttery nose. Fairly full bodied ale, malty, buttery. Notes of honey.vanilla, toffe. Fairly low hopping rate, as just the slightest drying and bitterness is noted late. Middle of the road, APA, I prefer this style to be more assertiviely hopped. Decent sessioner, tastes more like a Brit style brown ale to me.

Billolick, May 21, 2005
Photo of jcdiflorio
2.53/5  rDev -27.7%

Poured into a nonic glass from a 12oz long neck brown bottle with a crimped on cap.

Clear dark amber color with a 1" off white head dissapating quickly to a thin layer of foam. A fair amount of carbination with some spotty lacing.

Moderate sweet malt aromas with a slight toasty/burnt carmell aroma. Very leafy,grassy with a hint of citrus.

Grassy/leafy tastes,nutty with some light toasty/burnt carmell notes. A sour citrusy taste with a very dry finish with somewhat of a lemon rind feel.

A light to medium body and grainyness thats on the rough side. I remember drinking this beer years ago it had a decent taste and was very drinkable. This beer doesn't have those qualitys anymore. The date on the bottle said something 07 it couldn't have been too old. The beer was a real dissapointment,maybe I just got a bad bottle. I'd give it another try for old times sake i would hope that it would be better next time.

jcdiflorio, Mar 28, 2007
Photo of Osiris9588
4.08/5  rDev +16.6%

Had this on tap and Bodega in Columbus, Ohio. Pours a slightly hazy amber color with a golden hue. Thin white head didn't stick around for long.

The smell is light and malty, some floral and citrus notes. The taste is also light and crisp, caramel malt followed directly by a strong, slightly nutty hop presence and lemony zing. Somewhat similar to a Scottish Ale, but with less grain and more hops.

It's light in body, but shows decent complexity. This would make a good session brew, though is not earth shattering.

Osiris9588, Jul 23, 2007
Photo of Thrasher
4.22/5  rDev +20.6%

Ah, revisiting an old friend. Spanish Peaks was one of the first craft brews I enjoyed as an underage drinker, Yellowstone Pale Ale being my 2nd "epiphany" beer following Sam Adams (Jr yr in college). Looking at the ratings for that particular beer, it may have been a youthful indiscretion, but anyway I haven't tried this brewery since those halcyon days and it's nice to be back. This Black Dog ale is a solid pale, slightly hazy and raw, the way beer should be. It's hard to tell how old this sample is, there are some tiny numbers on the bottom of the bottle but almost impossible to read. The last 2 digits could be "01" - could mean anything, but if this beer is two yrs old it's held up remarkably well. The thing that does it for me is the use of the chocolate malt in the pale ale setting. I don't know enough about brewing to know if this is common practice, but its more pronounced here than any other beer I can thing of. Wow, it's an incredibly successful venture, offsetting the caramel sweetness with a burnt roastiness and bitter chocolate. Much better than any black and tan you will ever have. I think more breweries should pursue this avenue; until then I will be drinking this often.

Thrasher, Apr 11, 2003
Photo of far333
3.6/5  rDev +2.9%

Copper to amber honey color. Head rises up about a frothy half inch but runs away too quickly. Inviting aroma of sweet bready malt and ripe fruit, some cinnamon and some faint hops. Sadly the flavor disappoints after the anticipation from the aroma. No hops to speak of, and the malt degrades to a tinny muted flavor. There's a slight bitterness in the finish, and a cherry tang in the aftertaste, but that's the extent of the depth and complexity. Mouthfeel is full and round and creamy, but unfortunately carries nothing else with it. Low drinkability - my tastebuds are bored.

far333, Oct 05, 2005
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
2.91/5  rDev -16.9%

Looks a little darker than expected, not a yellow beer. Aroma, no hop presence, no presence at all really.

Taste, kinda bland, heavier malt wise, but just thicker, no flavor substantiation really. Hops still missing. Tastes like a SA (i.e. minimal hops with wood flavor).

Too pricey to account for the easy drinkability of not a lot of complex flavors. Not really much in the way of flavor at all. Not going to make any west coast pale ale fans happy I would suspect. Never seen this other than at Safeway.

Beerandraiderfan, Mar 11, 2010
Photo of WVbeergeek
3.35/5  rDev -4.3%

Appears a copper amber hue with a bronzish beige off white head leaves even lacing around my pint glass. Aroma has some deep caramel English tinted malt notes with nutty toffee and mild cocoa and dark chocolate malts in addition to the rest of grain bill. Hops are very mild sort of funky and mild grassy in the English pale tradition. Flavor has a roasty chocolate/caramel mix, with toffee tones from the English malts and a mild medicinal tree bark earthy nutty tea feel to it with substantial pine hops very nice American contract brewed English style amber pale. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with a nice coating on the palate and carried by moderate carbonation. Drinkability not a bad session ale but nothing to yearn for I was surprised however by the flavor picked it up in a mixed sixer with no expectations...definitely a solid drinkable offering.

WVbeergeek, Feb 09, 2007
Photo of NJpadreFan
3.03/5  rDev -13.4%

Spanish Peaks- Black Dog Ale

Appearance- Dark redish brown with a thick foamy head after a vigorous pour.
Smell- Light vanilla caramel malt witha light tinge of alcohol.
Taste- creamy vanilla malt and some bread grain notes.
Mouthfeel- smooth yet almost lifeless.

Overall- A mediocre beer at best. Just plain and boring. It gets a passing grade but I would still say avoid.

NJpadreFan, Apr 14, 2007
Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
3.13/5  rDev -10.6%

AP: Very clear Deep red amber color, medium carbonation that creates a one-finger deep frothy and bubbly but tight appearing off-white head that displayed good retention. There are some clusters of lacing remaining on the glass.

Nose: Deep fruity whiff, red berries and citrus tingles the nose and a mellow and mildly sweet malt.

Taste: A very hearty and herbal but piney hop flavor that over-powers a mellow and clean malt flavor that has some subtle roasted-nuts and caramel effects. The finish is a mildly bitter and herbal hop bite.

Feel: Medium body, crisp and clean and a bit dry on the palate.

DA: The lable states this as an English-style amber ale, but it really has a much bigger hop charechter than it should, Pale Ale is more fitting for this. Pretty easy to drink despite the identity crisis.

GratefulBeerGuy, Mar 12, 2007
Photo of BamfBacon
3/5  rDev -14.3%

BamfBacon, Feb 17, 2013
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.03/5  rDev +15.1%

Slightly hazy, deep reddish-copper color with a thin creamy head. The aroma is of caramel malt and light fruit with some grassy/piney hoppiness occasionally appearing in the background. The body is medium-full with a gentle carbonation and a somewhat dullish but creamy mouthfeel. The flavor is mainly of a sweet & toasty caramel malt, with some summer fruit and lightly piney hop character following, supported by a bitterness that shows itself mainly in the finish along with some cocoa. Well made, and quite enjoyable with a very nice maltiness. Worth trying.

NeroFiddled, Sep 16, 2002
Photo of tempest
3.93/5  rDev +12.3%

If this were supposed to be a pale ale, it'd be ok, but the brewery says amber so I'm going with that. There's a nice malty backbone fused with a bit citrus/pine hops. Neither flavor is too big, though it's still rich in flavor, and the beer is very drinkable. It reminds of something from Rogue based on the caramel malt smell, though I doubt Pacman yeast was used. Overall, this is a balanced beer with a little hops kick thats easy to drink.

tempest, Apr 13, 2007
Photo of Southernbrew
3.6/5  rDev +2.9%

Pours dard-amber, decent head.

Aroma smells of sweet malts but still crisp.

Medium body, with medium carbonation. Light honey and vanilla flavors. Goes down fairly easy. Sweetness becomes more pronounced as it warms.

A decent ale, nothing to write home about, but easy to drink.

Southernbrew, Mar 18, 2004
Photo of benmiliron
2.2/5  rDev -37.1%

Paid 1.39 for a 12 oz. bottle. Pours a hazy dark amber. Nice white head. Smell is musty, bready malt. Little hop character. Taste is strange - not Pale Ale really, more like a wannabe brown ale. Again musty old bread, possibly old saltines, some bitterness from the tiny amount of hops. Carbonation is good, very light and small bubble.

Very poor offering - difficult to get through.

benmiliron, Jun 10, 2007
Photo of Imbiber
3.28/5  rDev -6.3%

From a bottle bought at Bierkraft, Brooklyn; this one is apparently contact brewed at Saratoga Springs, NY (presumably Mendocino). No date on the bottle.

Rich amber in colour with a decent head. Not much aroma, a hint of hops. Taste is quite mild, more malt than hops coming through, and there's a slight buttery feel on the tongue. There's also a slight sweetness, especially at the finish.

Not bad but not the best beer out there; quite strange albeit quite uninspiring.

Imbiber, Jan 21, 2005
Photo of bashiba
3.53/5  rDev +0.9%

Poured a nice ruby/amber color with a thin off white head. Light lacing and moderate retention.

Smell has a nice toasted malt profile with a nice breadyness.

Flavor has a nice bit of toasted malt with a very balancing amount of crisp hops. A very even beer.

Mouthfeel is light and refreshing with a decent bit of carbonation.

Nothing outstanding, but a solid session beer.

bashiba, Mar 11, 2007
Photo of wspscott
3.95/5  rDev +12.9%

12oz bottle in pint glass

A: Poured very dark amber color, no head/lace, looked viscous as it poured. I did not know what style this was supposed to be until I looked it up here, never would have guessed this was a pale ale.
S: All malts/grains, no hint of hops at all
T: Again, no hint of hops. Slightly grainy, slightly sweet. I'm guessing there is a ton of crystal malts.
M: More carbonation than I expected based on the pour. Crisp/ well attenuated, doesn't come across as "heavy" on the tongue, nice mouthfeel.
D: This is a solid beer, but I would not consider it a American pale ale. It is more along the english lines of a pale ale. Well worth the $.45 from the singles bin :) Worth trying if it is in the $1/bottle range, I'll look for it again.

My numbers are based on this NOT being an APA

wspscott, Feb 12, 2008
Photo of GeoffRizzo
3.68/5  rDev +5.1%

Pours a light amber, bordering orange, a large and very foamy head, clings nicely. Wonderful lacing and texture are noticed up front. Aroma is faint, slightly fruity and maybe a touch of honey on the nose. Taste of bitter and malt combination up front, a combined grapefruit and orange peel taste is noted. The body and finish are bitter and acidic, a very slight creamy finish. Not much on the pale ale side, too bitter, but not bad.

GeoffRizzo, Apr 04, 2003
Photo of Beertracker
4/5  rDev +14.3%

Beertracker, Dec 19, 2011
Photo of EagleTalon
4.22/5  rDev +20.6%

My wife calls this the "whiskey of beers". Why? because like a fine single malt scotch, it has "complexity". You can analyze it with your senses and be continually surprised. Everybody else pretty much said what I was going to say: Complex, malty, Munich malt character, fruity aroma, chocolate finish... Great beer that I will buy again and again.

EagleTalon, Aug 24, 2002
Photo of puboflyons
3.63/5  rDev +3.7%

I sampled this on January 5, 2010. It had a handsome looking mahogany-brown pour with about three-quarters of an inch of short-lived foamy beige head. Lots of lacing but the head dissolves after a few minutes. A good amount of perfume-like sweetness and a bit of hoppiness in the aroma. The mouthfeel is pretty durable and carbonated. The taste is bitter like an English style with a subtle hoppy finale. Not at all bad.

puboflyons, Jan 05, 2010
Photo of Padron4KM
2.48/5  rDev -29.1%

12 oz bottle, cryptic date code, 070a07. Lable looks like it was put on by hand.

Clear amber with lots of carbonation and a thin tanish head.

Aroma is mostly nutty with a little caramel.

Flavor is light burnt sugar with a light earthy citrusy bitterness.

Body is light and finish is short..

Padron4KM, Dec 23, 2006
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Spanish Peaks Black Dog Ale from Spanish Peaks Brewing Co.
80 out of 100 based on 144 ratings.