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Spanish Peaks Black Dog Ale - Spanish Peaks Brewing Co.

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

124 Reviews

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Reviews: 124
Hads: 145
Avg: 3.5
pDev: 12.57%
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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-28-2002

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (7) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Spanish Peaks Black Dog Ale Alström Bros
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Reviews: 124 | Hads: 145
Photo of beernut7
4.32/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This English-style pale ale has a sweet caramel fruity bouquet with a noticeable Munich malt flavor character. There is just a hint of chocolate malt in the last few sips. This is a complex and flavorful beer

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Photo of Thrasher
4.2/5  rDev +20%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of EagleTalon
4.2/5  rDev +20%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of budgood1
4.2/5  rDev +20%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a very interesting brew here! cloudy deep gold in color, there was a bit of sediment in the bottom of my bottle that i, of course, swirled in. the best way to describe the aroma is to say it smells like tootsie rolls...very nice. upon drinking.... creamy, buttery....flavors of caramel, toffee, and hints of chocolate with a discernible hop finish, which adds a weird sensation of starting creamy and ending dry to the mouthfeel. i pick up sweet, fruity overtones as it warms, making this one delicious experience. lots of complexity to this brew. highly recommended.

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Photo of BeerManDan
4.18/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

When poured, it was a medium brown with loads of light tan foam. Pour slowly in to glass. The smell was of roasted malts and hops, with a hint of a toffee aroma, but weak on the aroma of this ale. The taste was of a sweet/tart flavor of roasted malts and hops just like the aroma but more intense on the flavor rather the the aroma. Also there seem to be a hint of chocolate/caramel when tasted. An interesting ale with some surprises in the flavor!

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Photo of MrHungryMonkey
4.1/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Deep red, clear. Moderate carbonation. Mild-moderate head, fluffy and creamy, stratified lacing.

Spicy warm hops. Sweet malt, caramel and a little nut.

Medium bodied. Starts smooth and finishes with a nice little carbonation kick. Sweet caramel and nut malt base. Some coffee and mild chocolate notes. Nicely balanced with herbal hops, floral and spicy notes. Very mild warmth, just a simple presence. Finishes a little tart, mainly clean.

Impressive. Very enjoyable brew.

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Photo of bagpiper2005
4.1/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pour: Deep caramel color with a 1-fingered head that dissipated fairly quickly and left minimal lacing on the glass.

Smell: Lots of sweet caramel malts, a little bit of molasses, some fruity notes, and just the ever slightest amount of earthy hops.

Taste: Big caramel and roasted malt flavor which gives way into a brown sugar type sweetness, some fruity notes, and finishes up with a very light, delicate hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium in body with a moderate amount of carbonation. Very smooth.

Drinkability: Goes down extremely well and is very refreshing.

Final Notes: A great all-around beer for either drinking alone, with a meal, and would pair well against a rich, flavorful dessert or drank all its own as a dessert beer.

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Photo of Osiris9588
4.07/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

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Photo of soupyman10
4.05/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle into a stange

A - Nice one finger tan head, deep amber color, mostly clear, immediate lacing

S - Nose is nutty malts, some toffee aroma to, sweet florals; mild but nice, very unique

T - Nice caramal malt flavor dominates; also some roasted naste in the middle, mild hops with some nuttiness

M - Good carbonation, medium body; good aftertaste, no problems here, although nothing particularly special

D - A good beer - reminds me a lot of Newcastle Brown, but some different flavors; definitely drinkable

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.04/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle from AJ's Fine Foods in Glendale, AZ, on to the beer:

Into a mug it goes, the beer pours caramel copper color. The orange copper color is brillinat in my glass, and the head formation and retention is great. Great lacing too. The aroma is soft and subtle. A little bit of apricot, zest of grapefruit feel. As for taste, it is light one. It reminds me of a good English ale. Fruity esters dominate this one, flavors of pine, caramel, and a soft buttery edge. Mouthfeel is smooth with a buttery feel.

An enjoyable ale. It's not the hopbomb you would expect given the category listing, but it's pretty good washing down some tortellini.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.02/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

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Photo of Todd
4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of tugdriver7
4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is one of those beers you pick up with an expectation and are impressed because it surpasses your expectation. Really nice dark gold to copper color in the glass, bubbly head and a bit of a hops bite in the nose. A bit. Perfect, so far. Then a taste. Richly moderate mouthfeel and really nicely balanced APA flavor. Just enough malt and hops to truly cover the other, and yet neither really comes out the winner. The flavor is a bit one-dimensional at times, but because it is so balanced, the beer is rendered extremly drinkable. Truly something I'd try again. Good.

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Photo of Brent
4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice brew with very traditional English ale attributes. Poured an amber-gold with good lacing. Aroma was a solid, somewhat sweet malt, with a hint of orchard fruit. The mouthfeel was substantial, with very light orchard fruit notes submerged in the malt. Hops stepped in and delivered bitterness at the finish to cap things off. Not a smooth beer, but pleasant nonetheless.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: Standard looking 12 ounce brown glass bottle. Crown cap has a black padded foot print on it. Bottle looks like that in the BA Database. No strength nor freshness, but a rather cool looking bottle nonetheless.

Appearance: Smart looking dark amber chestnut body that has a mild hazed appearance. Pours with a seriously gorgeous thick rich luscious off-white head which leaves some extremely nice lacing. Immense carbonation, a slow swirl rebuilds the head ion no time.

Nose: Oats, Malts, Nuts, Nuts and more Nuts with some milk chocolate brown ale in the nose, this has a lovely soft silky inviting nose.

Taste: Lovely milk chocolate feel, reminded me of a grainy cocoa bean, and that of a partially dried exposed chocolate Easter Egg shell, this entwines with nutty Brown Ale feel that lends some thickness to the body. Chocolate coated hazelnut finish with a dry malt feel. A very tasty brew indeed.

Mouthfeel: This one has a beautifully rich rewarding presence. Swirled in the mouth it reveals all of its nuances. Silky and smooth it sits well in the mouth, rich chocolate feel after the swallow.

Drinkability: I found this to be rather quaffable, in fact, it reminded me so much of a few jolly decent Cask Brown Ales I drank in the UK …..names I could mention and regale…but Brown Willy is one of them…a long gone beer from a defunct brewery. Nevertheless, this one drinks exceptionally well. Very nice.

Overall: Described as an Amber Ale, and very English by others, I would go further and say that this one has a lovely rich Nutty Brown Ale feel to it also. Cost me $1.70 for the bottle. Was it worth it!?? Almost, not a bad drop!!

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Photo of tgbljb
4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a hazy reddish-brown color with moderate slightly off-white head.
Smell is notable for caramel with some light piney hops in the background.
Taste also comnines the caramel with the piney hops in a pleasant mixture.
Finishes more dry than sweet, and leaves a nice feeling in the mouth.
Easy to drink. Good middle-of-the road beer.

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Photo of babaracas
4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear dark red with eggnog colored head and clingy lacing. Smell: caramel malt, dark fruit, diacetyl, floral hops. Very English, I'm not sold on this as being an APA. Taste: grain, slightly sour yeasty character, caramel malt, fruity especially raisin, bready malt, raw earthy/floral hop. Mouthfeel: medium bodied, creamy.

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Photo of Mark
3.98/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Way back when this was one of the first craft beers I ever had. Today I saw it on sale and I thought I'd give a go. Nice deep amber and very clear, good lace. I found this very English in style. I liken to a decent English bitter. A nice drinkable ale that I'm glad I got reaquainted with.

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Photo of rarevos
3.97/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this beer in Montana this past summer, and was glad to see it in my local grocery store this week.

A: Pours an amber, almost like a brown ale. More carbonation than I would have thought. A thin blanket of white foam subsides pretty quickly, leaving a foam island and a bubble crown behind.

S: Roasted caramel malt, and some light citric hoppiness. There's a hint of grape juice and some hazelnut in there.

T/M: Hmm. Where to start? There are some sweet brown ale characteristics up front, like a dry nuttiness, sweet caramelly malt, and an almost cocoa-like presence (powdery feel, as well). There's a hint of citrus in there, like very mild, sweet grapefruit. The bitterness creeps in at about this point, piggybacking the fruit. Finish is pretty dry with a long, nicely bitter tail. Not an overpowering bitterness, but it's there, and there's enough of it.

D: Another example of why you shouldn't let the listed BA style cloud your enjoyment of a beer. This is part pale ale, part amber ale, part brown ale. Very nice.

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Photo of tempest
3.95/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

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Photo of BrewsCrewSA
3.95/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a deep amber with a lot of carbonation and a decent off white caramelized head.

S - Bitter in the nose with scents and aromas of biscuits and malts. Carries a lingering aroma of burnt honey.

T - Hoppy bitterness over the top with just enough malts to balance the flavor out. Delicious. Such a great balance.

M - Feels great on the palate making this one very easy to drink. Goes down smooth and relaxed.

D - Extremely.

All around, a very good beer I could enjoy throughout the year. Wish the distros in San Antonio could pick Spanish Peaks up.

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Photo of wspscott
3.94/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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Photo of thekevlarkid
3.93/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Out of bottle found in Maine this beer was a copper color with some orange undertones. The head was two fingers thick, tan and composed a of fine bubbles that retained itself as a thin skim and left sticky lacing down my glass. The aroma was very grainy malt, some toasted malt, some toffee sweetness and a little bitter hops. The flavors were similar in being caramel malt dominated and sweet at first but then later turned bitter and a little "woody" when the hops cut in. A well balanced beer and a crisp finisher aided by the piney hop flavors. The body was medium and the mouthfeel average. I liked this one a lot as a session beer, nothing outstanding but solid and enjoyable.

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Photo of jasonjlewis
3.91/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a huge head with nice retention and a nice ful amber color.

Mild caramel/pale malts and low hop bitterness.

Nicely balanced ale. Caramel and pale malts sweetness with a mild hop bitterness to balance.

Overall, this is a well balanced simple beer. It easy to drink and has a nice mouthfeel. Not a whole bunch to say, but it's still a good brew.

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Photo of mgdeth
3.89/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - This amber colored beer is well carbonated and has a thin creamy head that recedes quickly. There is also some lasting beer lace.

Smell - A grainy smell is present. I think hops are in there somewhere, but they are not as strong as many other American pale ales. I also detect a biscuit-like smell, caramel, and raisin.

Taste - Fruity flavors mix with a grainy or bread flavor. The hops present themselves more assertively in the taste than in the smell. There is also a bit of a hop bite. The aftertaste is pleasant - sort of a sweet biscuity flavor.

Mouthfeel - This beer has quite a bit of body to it. The residual sweetness suggests a relatively high final gravity.

Drinkability - As the beer warms a bit, it gets more appealing. This is a pretty good beer overall, as it is complex enough to engage the senses, yet balanced such that it ought not to drive away craft beer novices.

Comments - This is an odd, yet good, pale ale. It reminds me in a way of Fat Tire because of the biscuit/bread flavor. Still, the taste seems a little odd for an American Pale Ale, and I prefer other APAs over this one. This one is creative and complex enough in its own right to be definitely worth a try.

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Spanish Peaks Black Dog Ale from Spanish Peaks Brewing Co.
80 out of 100 based on 124 ratings.