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
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 siradmiralnelson
3.5/5  rDev 0%

Poured from 12oz bottel into SABL glass.

A. 2 finger head. Color is caramel brown. Decent head retention. Not very much lacing.

S. Nice caramel malt smell. Smell some dark fruit & raisins. Molasses. Not a very big hop smell.

T. Taste is very much like the smell. Dominant carmel malt taste. Semi-sweet. Brown sugar. Not much hop taste or bitterness.

M. Medium bodied. Pretty smooth. Low-medium carbonation. Semisweet aftertaste.

D. Nothing amazing but a drinkable brew. Maybe a little too malt forward of a pale ale for me.

siradmiralnelson, Jan 23, 2010
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 BrewsCrewSA
3.98/5  rDev +13.7%

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.

BrewsCrewSA, Sep 13, 2009
Photo of atpben
3.18/5  rDev -9.1%

Poured into a pint glass. Appears light brown with a thin off-white head. Malty aroma with earth notes. Creamy mouthfeel with a very malty taste with hints of caramel and very light chocolate. Some light hoppiness in the middle with a bitter finish. The flavor improves as the beer warms. Not bad for a middle of the road beer. Good session beer.

atpben, Jul 23, 2009
Photo of Haybeerman
3.85/5  rDev +10%

A: Deep, dark amber color. Poured a 1 finger toffee colored head that dissipated to a thin skim. Minimal lacing.

S: Slightly sweet grains and caramel malt. Citrussy hops.

T: Consistent with smell though citrissy hps are more prominent. Balanced bittering in the finish

M: Medium body. Nicely balanced carbonation. Dry and crisp so doesn't come accross too heavy.

D: Very drinkable and nicely balanced, but frankly not quite what I expected in a an APA. Not taking anything away, but expect more of an English pale ale.

Haybeerman, Jun 08, 2009
Photo of DoubleJ
4.05/5  rDev +15.7%

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.

DoubleJ, Mar 25, 2009
Photo of thekevlarkid
3.95/5  rDev +12.9%

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.

thekevlarkid, Nov 17, 2008
Photo of kinger
3.4/5  rDev -2.9%

Funky aroma of strong malt and interesting hops, I like it. Medium-dark copper pour solid head and lacing. Biting mouthfeel that sticks with you, I like it. Upfront taste that knocks you back a bit then settles down. Some strong coffee is present, rather bitter. Peculiar ale, but I do like it.

kinger, Oct 29, 2008
Photo of rye726
3/5  rDev -14.3%

Considering the name, I thought this brew would be a little darker. It pours a clear golden color with a decent tan head. The nose has some sugary malts and a small grassy hop presence. The taste is also mostly malts with some bitter hops through the finish. An average ale and a good drinker.

rye726, May 21, 2008
Photo of babaracas
4/5  rDev +14.3%

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.

babaracas, Apr 10, 2008
Photo of ROMER79
3.93/5  rDev +12.3%

I actually had my growler filled straight from a tap with this beer. What a way to enjoy it. I had had a glass at the bar and new that it was worth filling a growler with it.

Its a dark dark red color with a burnt red/ brown head that was typically between a finger or two. It is a warm beer for the winter and goes well with steak, chicken, or pizza.

As far as the taste. There may be a slight taste of hops, but it was very grainy, with sugar notes and a slight caramel feel. This is definitely a grain/malt beer with a sweet aroma.

Very crisp in the mouth. Refreshing and pleasant to the palate. If you take the time to drink this beer, you will enjoy it immensely.

ROMER79, Feb 13, 2008
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 Foxman
3.28/5  rDev -6.3%

It pours a clear, dark reddish amber, and is amply carbonated. A full finger of white head stands for a time. Lacing is thin, sparse, and an afterthought.

The aroma is a mild mix of subtle malt and a bready dough note. A mere touch of hop bite is tamped down by a fruity, generic sweetness.

Upon tasting, the sweetness of the malt is most notable, and not so much of grain as sugar. Only a hint of caramel stops it from being too distracting when the sweet grains turn lightly tart and cherry-esque. The hops here are even less notable, with just the slightest touch of spicy edge. A swish of bready malt drops off when a fairly crisp bitterness dries the finish a bit. Too sweet and not hoppy enough, not what I was expecting or hoping for.

Light bodied, the malt lends the ever so gentle creaminess to the texture, which combines with the carbonation to lend more than a little presence.

At first I thought, maybe I'm not impressed because it's not really what I was expecting. Then I realized, I wasn't impressed because the malt carries an unbalanced sweetness, which is the result of too frugal a hop profile. It's far form macro territory, of course, but I shudder to think what a draft list would have to look like for me to order this again. Maybe as a bail-out in a shot and a beer macro haven, but it just doesn't cut it otherwise.

Foxman, Jan 11, 2008
Photo of AlexJ
3.05/5  rDev -12.9%

Nice pour, darker amber than i expected with a very nice white head that retains well, but leaves little lace.

Aroma is very subtle, light grain and some malt roast with a earthy pungentcy that I don't find very appealing.

Flavor is a dry, bready malt with some grain sweetness and crackery dryness. The hops are virtually unnoticable, showing only as restained bitterness in the meager finish.

Body and drinkability are average. Not bad just not interesting.

AlexJ, Jan 09, 2008
Photo of jasonjlewis
3.93/5  rDev +12.3%

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.

jasonjlewis, Jan 08, 2008
Photo of EStreet20
3.63/5  rDev +3.7%

12 ounce bottle, 20 ounce nonic.

A - Pours out a deep dark amber, approaching brown. Fairly small off white head.

S - Some sweet fruity flavors along with some caramel malts. Tiny hop peaking through.

T - Fairly clean tasting ale with some caramel flavor. Taste is very light but rather pleasant. Nothing really "stands out" but it's an easy drinker.

M - Fairly light and smooth.

D - I tend to like more flavor, but still sometimes this is what you want. I think this is a hybrid between an amber, English Pale, and even a tad of an English Bittter. All-in-all it's an easy drinking session ale.

EStreet20, Dec 08, 2007
Photo of Brad007
3.5/5  rDev 0%

Pours a dark amber color with a one-finger head. Aroma is somewhat malty with a nice hop bitterness showing through. Biscuity and smooth. Taste is chewy and malty with the same hop bitterness that fades in the aftertaste. Somewhat fruity as well at the back of the throat. Very drinkable though.

The label says Amber Ale but the style says American Pale Ale. Somewhat confusing but similar to Roxy Rolles in regards to bending the styles. Not a bad ale at all.

Brad007, Nov 29, 2007
Photo of Monkeyknife
3.55/5  rDev +1.4%

Poured from a bottle a clear dark amber red with a small beige head. Some decent lacing on the sides.

Aroma is loaded with a really nice caramel maltiness.

Taste is light and malty with a touch of caramel and dark fruit. The finish reveals a bit of sourness.

Mouthfeel is light and thin with a light carbonation.

A very drinkable APA from Spanish Peaks. Not a great beer, but definitely a solid beer and one to try.

Monkeyknife, Sep 18, 2007
Photo of dmamiano
3.58/5  rDev +2.3%

Medium dark beer that was reminiscient of a brown ale in looks more than an amber.
Had a strong, two finger head, and it lasted a while. Good lacing held on for a long time.
This beer tasted and smelled of good strong maltiness. The malts of this beer is what impressed me the most.
It is listed as an APA but I cant see why. Hop presence was a bit low to be put in this catagory.

dmamiano, Jul 29, 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 mooseisloose
3.85/5  rDev +10%

This bottle actual looks different and is brewed by Spanish Peaks brewing in Frederick, Maryland. The smell is chocolatey with a very strong hopped smell. Poured into a pint galss (as it is an English Style Amber Ale).. it has a tremendous thick head and a transparent reddish brown colour. The mouthfeel is thick and chewy not expected for a transparent brew. The taste is mildly bitter yet semisweet..the finish brings the two together nicely to a dark chocolate finale. Drinkability is high with the great array of flavours throughout.

mooseisloose, Jul 20, 2007
Photo of Vancer
3.53/5  rDev +0.9%

Noted right on the bottle that this is a English style ale, NOT an American PA as it’s listed under here.

And it really hits the English PA to a tee. Very nice drinker, very enjoyable and I bet low enough alcohol to make a good session brew.

Lite cola brown pour, firm ivory head producing sheets of lace. Then the English kicks in, aromas of a hoppy woody grain, followed by a tasty treat quaff loaded with grassy, resinous and woody malts.

Sharp and crisp body, she finishes clean and tasty.

Vancer, Jul 16, 2007
Photo of tugdriver7
4/5  rDev +14.3%

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.

tugdriver7, Jul 05, 2007
Photo of williamherbert
3.2/5  rDev -8.6%

The color is a deep mahogany red with a nice pillowy head. Quite clear despite the depth of the color. It's got a really reach clear look to it. Minimal lace.

The smell is a bitter amber malt. Quite bitter in fact. Hops are but a mild accent; bitter, yet also a tad flowery and sweet. Decent, but not amazing.

The taste is a bitter German amber malt. Sharp bitter malt flavor. Hops are really scarce here. Slight dark berry accent, but mostly dark, bitter malt. A bit roasted as well.

Feels dry and ashy. Bitter at the end, leaving a thick film. It is a bitter red amber. Hard to have too many because of it's thickness and bitterness. Decent, not the greatest.

williamherbert, Jul 04, 2007
Photo of Drew966
3.63/5  rDev +3.7%

Spanish Peaks Black Dog Ale pours a dark brown with a white head from a brown twelve ounce bottle. I'm getting a little bit of hops in the aroma, but it's mostly malt. Sweet malt hits me up front, followed quickly by hops. Pretty decent, a good all around drinker, but not anything too exciting.

Drew966, Jul 04, 2007
Spanish Peaks Black Dog Ale from Spanish Peaks Brewing Co.
80 out of 100 based on 144 ratings.