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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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Spanish Peaks Black Dog Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 144 | Reviews: 124 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of whartontallboy
3.85/5  rDev +10%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a deep brassy color with a barely-there thin white head that disappears immediately.

Scent is quite interesting, a lot of chocolate and caramel maltiness, but a strong supporting background of piney hops. Nice toastiness to the malt as well.

Flavor is quite unique: a very thick cocoa chocolate taste with some nice caramel notes as well, but balanced by a thick hoppiness that really kind of bites the tongue. It's a little disorienting to get this much chocolate and hop flavors in the same place, but the end result is a relatively smooth drinker that leaves a pleasant powdered cocoa afteraste.

Overall: Not sure I'd want to drink more than one of these at a time, but it does have quite an interesting, complex combination of chocolate and hops that I enjoyed trying.

whartontallboy, Jul 25, 2005
Photo of CherylM
3.73/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I tried one bottle in a mixed-six.

It is a very good, well-rounded English-style amber ale.

Had a pleasant, malty aroma. Was a dark amber color with a thin white lacy head. Tasted slightly sweet and malty with a lingering bitterness. Taste improved slightly when warmer.

I would buy a six-pack.

CherylM, Jun 03, 2005
Photo of Billolick
3.78/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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 kbub6f
3.08/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Tiny, off-white head. Dies fast. Clear, deep amber. Some red. Some soapy, runny lacing. Sweet nose: sugar, ripe fruit, some sour grains. Sour milk in front. Ripe fruit and hints of chocolate and malt. Tingly but flattish. Dark malt middle, but not sweet. Bitter, nutty, alcoholic finish. Nut burps. Not great.

kbub6f, Apr 20, 2005
Photo of Pegasus
3.63/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Hazy light brown color, with a large, dense off-white head, which retains quite well. The carbonation consists of an occasional slow-rising bubble; the lacing is thick and quite broken.

Aroma: Light fruits, mild herbal hops and malts comprise the aroma.

Taste: Dark fruit notes dominate the taste from beginning to end, beneath which there is a solid, although somewhat understated caramel malt backbone, and a flourish of herbal hops late in the taste, these are free of any harsh notes. The finish is quite dry with a lingering mild malt sweetness.

Mouth feel: Smooth and quiter full, with just a touch of soft carbonation on the tip of the tongue.

Drinkability/note: A very decent example of the style, quite pleasing and easy to drink.

Presentation: Packaged in a twelve ounce brown glass longneck, with a pry-off cap. Served in a standard pint tap glass.

Pegasus, Feb 19, 2005
Photo of mgdeth
3.85/5  rDev +10%
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.

mgdeth, Feb 13, 2005
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!!

TheLongBeachBum, Jan 24, 2005
Photo of Imbiber
3.28/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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 msolar
3.28/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I just finished a bottle. Maybe I’m not an ale man, but I thought that overall, it seemed pretty run-of-the-mill.

It poured nicely, with a nice copper color and nice 1” head. It tasted like an average amber ale, just a bit of sweetness. Overall I liked it, but next time I go to the store I’ll probably try a new brew than Black Dog Ale again.

Some of the other reviews below will be a lot more technical, so I won’t even try to compare. From an average beer drinker, I just found this an average to just-above-average beer.

msolar, Jan 15, 2005
Photo of kaszeta
3.4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bought as part of a mixed six pack at Papago Brewing in Scottsdale, AZ

Pours with a nice coppery-red body, lots of fizzy bubbles and a thick foamy head. Aroma is mostly malt, slight toast, and a hint of hops. Taste is mostly your typical amber ale, with some nice sweeter malt notes balanced by a hint of hops. Dry finish. The mouthfeel is moderate, with a fair bit of foaminess from the carbonation. Not a bad beer, but I feel it would be a bit better if it was slightly less carbonated.

kaszeta, Jan 13, 2005
Photo of allengarvin
3.7/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, served in a mug glass.

Appearance: Clear copper color, with very fine bubbles streaming up. Nice off-white head.

Aroma: Sweet, toasted malt aroma.

Flavor: Malt up front, toasted and caramel flavors. Medium bitterness dries it out a little at the end.

Body: Decent, slightly heavier than moderate body.

My first Black Dog ale in 7 or 8 years. Not as good as I remember it back then, but still an alright American amber beer. Nothing special or outstanding about the flavor, but few flaws either.

allengarvin, Nov 30, 2004
Photo of hungryghost
3.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Orange copper color, decent white head, plenty of carbonation in these bottles. Smell some carmelized malts.
First taste brings on the malty flavor and a hint of nuttiness. Just a hint of hops in there. Mouthfeel is fine, not too thin a brew. Nothing stands out too much on this one, even though it is a good beer.
I have had it before and I am sure I will buy it again.

hungryghost, Nov 14, 2004
Photo of Guinness4me
3.05/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Slightly fermented, raw sweet corn is the smell and flavor I notice most in this brew.

It poured browner than I imagined it would be with a wispy head. The smell is sweet but not overpowering and smells a bit alcoholic to me but no alcoholic burn after I swallow.

The taste again was sweet corn with light malt at the end. I didn't notice much fruit at all in the taste but I did pick up a hint of green olives.

The mouthfeel was nothing special and low in carbonation; a bit chewy. I wonder how this would taste with a low country boil?

Guinness4me, Oct 25, 2004
Photo of abcsofbeer
3.8/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I thoroughly enjoyed this ale. Poured out of a brown bottle with a very colorful label with the black dog and snow covered peaks.

Pours a rich coppery color with a decent 3/4 inch head, which was off white and rocky. There are small amounts of lace that cling to the glass to the bottom. The aroma is malty, caramel, and sweet smelling. The taste is mildy hoppy, but sweet and caramel tasting. There is a hint of apple spice in the aftertaste.

abcsofbeer, Sep 19, 2004
Photo of Tballz420
3.48/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This brew has a dark orange/brown body, with a good-sized cream colored head. Nose is light and sweet grain malt, maybe a bit of citrus. The taste is a mainly bitter hop, with some lightly sweet malt in front. The feel is weak and runny, ruins any potential this beer has for me. Not the worst beer but i wouldnt recommend it over others.

Tballz420, Sep 05, 2004
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.63/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark coppery orange with a snowstorm of suspended yeast. The light tan head is decently dense and leaves an almost solid sheet of lace near the surface of the receding beer. The aroma falls solidly in the 'balanced for an APA' category. Malt might be just a tad more noticeable than herbal-fruity hops, though both could use more nostril-filling power. Not the usual APA nose and not all that impressive.

The beer manages more boldness on the palate, but could use even more oomph yet. Caramel malt still leads the way. Additional flavors are apparent, such as toffee and subtly smoky peat, giving the beer a weak Scotch ale vibe; definitely odd for the style. Hops remain in the background and contribute little flavor or bitterness. The light-medium body is unusual given the malt dominance.

Black Dog Ale is just okay in my book. It borrows elements from several different styles and doesn't bring them together into any kind of cohesive whole. It's a decent drinker, just don't expect to be wowed.

BuckeyeNation, Aug 28, 2004
Photo of zerk
3.1/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep copper with a very thin head. Aroma is just a touch of malt and caramel. Flavor is sweet... notes of bread an caramel, with very little hop backing. Mouthfeel is a tad over-carbonated, with a medium body. All in all, a decent, if unremarkable pale ale. Not something I'd go out of my way for, but I definitely wouldn't hesitate to drink a couple if there is no better option.

zerk, Aug 26, 2004
Photo of Gusler
3/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer pours from the 12-ounce brown bottle a golden amber color with a modest in size head, the texture frothy and the lace adequate to cover the glass. Nose is sweet malt, fresh and crisp with the start lightly sweet with fair to middling malt, top is light. Finish is stinging in its acidity, the hops benign and the aftertaste quite dry, a tolerable beer. Used to see these beers every where, now only a few places carry this beer, Trader Joe’s is where I picked up this beer, always loved that dog.

Gusler, Aug 24, 2004
Photo of mschofield
3.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark amber-brown, chill hazed?, topped with a three finger pillowy light-tan head. Leaves thin webs of lacing.
Fruity, citrus, tofee and floral notes in the aroma.
Fruity, caramel taste. Herbs, roses, toasted dark break and tea make up the taste.
Medium bodied, nothing special but a good beer.

mschofield, Aug 20, 2004
Photo of merlin48
3.58/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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 Southernbrew
3.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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 WesWes
3.25/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a dark golden/amber color with a thick white head that quickly fades to lacing. The aroma is quite average. It has no real odor at all besides the basic pale malt smell. The taste is decent. It is dry and plain. It has the taste of pale malts and some higher lovibond malts. It has no complexity, but it isn't that bad. The mouthfeel is good. It is a low bodied beer with good carbonation. This beer drinks well besides the fact that it has no real niche or flare.

WesWes, Jan 07, 2004
Photo of daledeee
3.53/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice dark chestnut with a nice head and some lace. Malty and earthy or yardy smelling. Taste is kind of like an Oktoberfest. Big malt taste. A little hops afterwards. Somewhat astringent. Doesn't taste like it is very strong alchoholwise.

Just an average drink.

Dale

daledeee, Dec 29, 2003
Photo of AtLagerHeads
3.68/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very nice ale with a great label. This little brew poured darker than expected but had little trouble creating a nice head and lace from the bottle.

The nose is malty with a little hop aroma to go with it. The flavor is decently malty with a good bitter hop finish. Actually a pretty nicely balanced beer with very good drinkability.

AtLagerHeads, Oct 27, 2003
Photo of alexgash
3.9/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark copper red with a small, light tan head. Smells of sweet, grape juice malts with subtle hops. Taste starts with sweet fruity malts (plums? interesting), followed by smooth toastiness. Finish is lightly bitter. Surprisingly good! Maybe a touch too sweet (a little more hop presence would do this beer well.) Goes down very easily with light carbonation, yet bigger bodied than you'd think.

alexgash, Oct 24, 2003
Spanish Peaks Black Dog Ale from Spanish Peaks Brewing Co.
80 out of 100 based on 144 ratings.