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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

(Read More)
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
Reviews: 124 | Hads: 145
Photo of far333
3.62/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

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.

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Photo of LucaBrasi
2.79/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The appearance is of a golden red color, when poured it created a nice tan head. I’m not sure if it was just me but the smell was faint. The taste was average a little hoppy perhaps a hint of carmel. The mouthfeel was light and lightly carbonated. This seemed a middle of the road ale, not a bad one, but not something to go crazy other either.

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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 jasonpeckins32
2.99/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a reddish-amber color. Maybe you could call it mahogany. There is a massive tan, frothy head that tops of the glass, and leaves nice lacings throughout the session.l

The smell is a little faint. Carmelly and malty, not much else.

The taste is also of sweet caramel malts, and leaves a nice bittersweet finishing flavor.

The mouthfeel is a little thin for what I expected. Not quite medium-bodied.

The drinkability is average. I could put quite a few of these away in a hurry, but I'm not going to drool over them either.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.43/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours with a frothy, large bubbled, tan colored head that sits atop a lightly hazy deep orange-amber colored brew. The aroma is a mix malty notes of caramel lightly toasted whole grain bread and fruity notes of cherry & strawberry. The taste starts out with a certain smooth creaminess, but quickly moves to a light frothy spritziness. This beer has a nice (though fairly subtle) zesty hop character to it that adds a bit of a bite as well as some nice flavor zing. The taste is quite fruity with notes of cherry and raisins. There is a bit more hop character than I was expecting in this beer and there is a nice fruity character to balance it. Actually not a bad example of an English style Pale Ale.

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Photo of whartontallboy
3.84/5  rDev +9.7%
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.

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Photo of CherylM
3.68/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

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Photo of Billolick
3.75/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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 Imbiber
3.31/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

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Photo of msolar
3.26/5  rDev -6.9%
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.

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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.

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Photo of allengarvin
3.71/5  rDev +6%
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.

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Photo of hungryghost
3.48/5  rDev -0.6%
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.

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Photo of Guinness4me
3.07/5  rDev -12.3%
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?

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Photo of abcsofbeer
3.76/5  rDev +7.4%
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of mschofield
3.58/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

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Photo of merlin48
3.57/5  rDev +2%
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.

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