1. Rating beers by attributes (look, smell, taste, feel, overall) is back! Read the latest update ...
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. 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 benmiliron
2.2/5  rDev -37.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

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 Hawthorne
3.33/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a good English style ale. It poured nice with a good head that shortly after the first sip had reduced to a lingering lace. The initial taste is smooth with a crisp hops finish. For those who don't like to be bowled over by their hops, this is a safe beer. It is very drinkable, though rather uninteresting.

Hawthorne, Jun 09, 2007
Photo of Zorro
3.83/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A clear deeply red colored ale that is almost brown. If only a decent head had formed I could have given this a higher appearance rating.

The smell is sweetish and strongly herbal with a strong scent of patent malt and smelling more like a Brown Ale that a pale ale. Hints of chocolate and coffee in the scent are unusual for the style.

The taste begins slightly sweet and herbal with a slight hop bite in the finish. Sweet and malty this is nicely accented by the coffee and roasted flavors of the patent malts.

Mouthfeel is good.

Nice tasty different sort of pale ale here. Almost could be called light brown ale.

Zorro, May 05, 2007
Photo of atsprings
3.88/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served a crisp dark amber with a thin head that leaves some lacing. The aroma was of dark malts with some light pine hops. The taste was smooth dark malts well balanced with earthy hops, it only gets better as it warms. The beer is light and crisp with a smooth dryness. This is an enjoyable session beer.

atsprings, Apr 17, 2007
Photo of fightingirishcmk
3.18/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Very moderately sized head formed after an aggressive pour, dissipating rather quickly. Some lacing was detected on the glass, although it wasn't much. Color was a deep reddish brown.

S: Sweet roasted malt, vanilla was discernable

T: Not very complex, with an odd metallic like taste, very little hop character, but some sweet malts were present.

M: Fairly good, light feeling with just the right amount of carbonation.

D: Very average, not too heavy, but nothing spectacular.

fightingirishcmk, Apr 14, 2007
Photo of NJpadreFan
3.03/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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 tempest
3.93/5  rDev +12.3%
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.

tempest, Apr 13, 2007
Photo of udubdawg
3.2/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle.

pours a bright red/amber. High clarity. Not a lot of the frothy off-white head, and what there was quickly receded to a ring. Left decent lace.

Aroma is very floral and a little earthy. Comes across as quite sweet.

Taste is caramelly/buttery and some raisin. A bit too sweet for my taste, and this is more pronounced as it warms. Like the balancing bittering hops noted. Not a big fan of the drying, acidic finish.

Appropriate carbonation. I'd call it a little thin in the mouth, but honestly if the body were much bigger I'd probably find the sweetness cloying. I could have another, but I'd definitely chill it a bit more first. I don't care for the honey sweetness once this gets too warm.

udubdawg, Apr 06, 2007
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.

MrHungryMonkey, Mar 29, 2007
Photo of jcdiflorio
2.53/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

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 younger35
2.83/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Drank from a nonic pint glass. Poured from a 12oz bottle. This is the first Spanish Peaks Brewing beer that I’ve had.

Appearance- Pours a nice dark amber-brown with an alabaster foamy head. Fairly nice retention that recedes to form a nice collar with spotty lacing.
Smell- Lots of toasty malts with a big doughy backdrop. Very feint citrus hop tones. Has an almost sour smell that I didn’t expect.
Taste- Not really the punch I was hoping for. Rather sweet toasted caramel malts that are quietly followed by a very mellow hop bitterness. The aftertaste is semi sour with a nutty, fairly dry finish.
Mouthfeel- Very crisp with medium carbonation. Kind of a thin body with a pretty dry finish.
Drinkability- Not bad for a session beer but overall not my favorite. I’m not sure what, but this beer seems to be missing something. There’s better out there.

younger35, Mar 25, 2007
Photo of NEhophead
3.15/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 fl oz brown bottle, served in a tumbler.

Light caramel with auburn highlights. Foamy, half-inch white head with good retention. A sheet of all-encompassing, condensed lacing with good strength.

Toasted malts; musty breadiness. Faint linger of diacetyl with a touch of skunkiness. Pleasant citric hops that lighten the toasted malt character.

Semi-sweet toasted maltiness with a lingering, mild astringency; metallic-tinged malted wheat. Citric hops with a solvent-like flavor. The bitterness is reminiscent of cleaning solution, finishing quite waxy.

Medium bodied; smooth, but turns waxy/filmy on the palate. Very gaseous and slightly annoying as it sits.

A decent Enlgish Pale that becomes more and more annoying in flavor and texture as it sits on the palate. Not a flattering ale, and not one that I would taste again.

NEhophead, Mar 23, 2007
Photo of jscottku21
3.58/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Very drinkable ale that, as some posters have said, is more of a pale ale than a British Ale. Nonetheless, this hybrid is an excellent sessioner that doesn't pack too much of a punch. This beer starts out tasting like a classic British Ale, however the mild taste of hops takes over and turns this more into an APA. All in all, not a good representation of either style, but definitely worth a try.

jscottku21, Mar 23, 2007
Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.98/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours out a chestnut brown body with a small, near-white head.

Smell: Fairly light aroma of toasted malt, notes of cocoa, and a musty sourness. No real discernible hop presence in the nose.

Taste: Weak, sweet toffee base followed by a slight grassiness and metallic notes. The citric taste of spent lemon wedges drives the flavor forward to an ultimately dry finish. And, again, there's that sourness.

Ugh. I've so overdosed on the wonders of craft beer this past week that I am hardly able to contain my disappointment at this so-called "English Style Amber Ale".

Mouthfeel: Thin-bodied. Lightly carbonated.

Drinkability: Dull and lifeless. Where the hell's the flavor? My kingdom for some flavor!!

ChainGangGuy, Mar 18, 2007
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.

tgbljb, Mar 15, 2007
Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a mostly clear reddish amber color with a persistent creamy tan head that is about 1/4" It is leaving some pretty thick lacing on the class as you swirl it a bit. There are quite a few bubbles rising to maintain the head, and it is still very active quite a few minutes after the pour.

Aroma: I get quite a bit of sweet caramel that was backed by a fresh floral hop presence. A very subtle roast is there along with an equally reserved metallic note.

Taste: The roast is a bit more assertive in the flavor than I suspected from the aroma. I do get a whole lot of sweet caramel in here as a base, but it doesn't hold up for too long as the roast and hop bitterness kicks in and runs the show into the finish. The finish is somewhat dry with a mild lingering bitterness. There is no real alcohol noticeable and the residual mouthfeel is more from the hops and dark malts as from the alcohol.

Opinion: This is a pretty decent beer. I like the staying power of the head and it is still there after I have drank over half the beer. It seems that the Brown Ales from Montana (like Moose Drool) have a very pronounced dark caramel component. Big Sky's beer has a sweeter balance that I prefer...but this one is pretty good. I would drink it again.

SkeeterHawk, Mar 14, 2007
Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
3.13/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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 Blakaeris
3.53/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours brilliant coppery-red. Head is foamy, crisp and white with moderate lacing.

Aroma is caramel malt, and tropical fruit. Slightly sweet. Pleasant hop aroma.

Taste is balanced malt and hops. Understated citrus fruit, and caramel malt. Very bready, toasted malt. Finish has a mildly crisp hop bite.

Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied. Slight hop oiliness.

Overall a decent session brew. The label states that it is an English style ale; it is balanced and mild with unified flavor. However, it lacks the distinctive taste of English beer. Still this is a decent brew that I will enjoy again.

Blakaeris, Mar 11, 2007
Photo of bashiba
3.53/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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 rarevos
3.98/5  rDev +13.7%
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.

rarevos, Mar 06, 2007
Photo of foureyedgeek
3.28/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Bottle says an English-style Amber Ale, BA says its an APA. Bottle says its from Montana and Colorado, its actually a beer marketing company from California. Sheesh!

Pours a clear amber with a frothy head. Decent retention as well as some lacing as it drinks.

Smell is rather muted though I do get caramel maltiness.

Taste is much the same. Not a very complex beer, mostly the sweetish toffee/caramel. No really notable hops either, though there is a good bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel is kind of watery, light-bodied.

Drinkability is pretty good, but I don't like this beer enough to have to many.

foureyedgeek, Feb 24, 2007
Photo of BretSikkink
3.1/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Darkish brown "amber" ale, not too much head. Lace sticks for a while.

Aroma is mostly underwhelming malt, roasted fairly dark.

Flavor is all malt, some balancing hops. Some nuttiness, as a brown ale. Subdued flavor overall.

This beer treads the line between porter and dark ale. Mouthfeel is full, good complex ale. Easy to drink, but the aftertaste says porter or stout, not brown ale. Robust microbrewed ale.

BretSikkink, Feb 17, 2007
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

soupyman10, Feb 14, 2007
Photo of Minkybut
2.68/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from bottle to tumbler at 45 degrees. Beer was dark with a head that went away fast, slight lacing. This beer I have had before several years ago and I thought it was good. The label has changed and I guess the beer has also. Beer was harsh chemicle tasting, bitter like. It reminded me of turpentine or something. I will not buy again.
2nd tasting a year later:
I poured this beer into my tumbler at 50 degrees. The beer was a nice light mahoganny color with a nice tan head. The beer had a bit of a hoppy aftertaste and was slighly bitter. The lacing was pretty good. It was a decent beer, nothing exciting but decent. I still will not buy again though as it just was not all that great either.

Minkybut, Feb 13, 2007
Photo of WVbeergeek
3.35/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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
Spanish Peaks Black Dog Ale from Spanish Peaks Brewing Co.
80 out of 100 based on 144 ratings.