Pig's Ear Brown Ale | Woodstock Inn Brewery

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Pig's Ear Brown AlePig's Ear Brown Ale

Brewed by:
Woodstock Inn Brewery
New Hampshire, United States

Style: English Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.30%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Medium bodied with a balance of roasted and crystal malts creating a hearty nutty flavor. Medium bitterness with a slightly sweet finish.

25 IBU

Added by UnionMade on 09-02-2002

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Reviews: 129 | Ratings: 408
Photo of scotorum
4.53/5  rDev +25.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was my go-to quality beer before I really got into craft in May 2013. I had bought a twelvepack of it in New Hampshire and savored three quarters of that before getting into other craft tastings. The bottle I had tonight was one of the remaining three, which have been kept cellared at about 55 degrees all year. I finally cracked this one to see how it stacked up now after all the hundreds of different brews I've tried since it was my fave, including more than a half dozen other browns. My May review had rated it super high, and I wanted to see if I would still rate it 4.73. So...here's my re-review.

Best Enjoyed before 1/13. Oops, this came from a twelvepack I purchased in early 2013, and apparently it was already past its prime.

Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into a Samuel Smith English tulip pint.

a: Clear dark ruby, an inch and a half tall offwhite head receded to even surface foam and fairly dense lacing.

s: Pretty intense caramel malt.

t: Caramel malt with some hop bite for balance. Aftertaste is sweet caramel malt.

m: Medium with good body.

o: Still lovin' this one after all this year. Tops on my brown ale list. Not as hoppy as most American versions, which I also like, but this one has the sweet flavor that makes you warm inside. Very easy drinking and serves well as either an accompaniment to a good meal or a sipping session brew.

ORIGINAL REVIEW FROM 5/29/13: After having a Dogfish Indian Brown Ale earlier this evening, and finding it tasted very Porterish, I went back to this one I've loved since I had my first on draft at a Turkish restaurant in Manchester NH in May 2012. I wanted to see if I could still taste a difference,.

a. 4.75 Poured into a tulip glass. Translucent dark ruby-red all the way through. Lighter and more transparent than the aforementioned (and higher priced) competition. Appealing! Whiter head of about the same quarter inch height as Dogfish's. More lacing too.

s. 4.75 Just wonderful! Sweet as a brown ale should be.

t. 4.75 Tastes stronger than 4.3 abv. For me that's good. I like beer that tastes like beer and lets you know it's not a soft drink. OTOH at 4.3% a definite session choice.

m. 4.5 smooth and fine.

o. 4.75 I may be prejudiced by this time because this is about the 22nd bottle I have had since a year ago May. I try to stop and get a twelver every time I go up to NH, but it is not always available at the little gem of a Brookline convenience/Subway store I stop at, the back half of which is all micros on racks.

This is my favorite brown ale. I hope I can get up to Lincoln for the beer fest at the end of June and pick up some more Pig's Ear! So if you go, leave a few behind please!

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Photo of tekstr1der
4.46/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On tap. 2nd favorite brew from this establishment. Pours brown with a tan clingy head. All malt and caramel in the nose. Flavors are the same – sweet, smooth malty goodness with a characteristic common to most of their brews that (others have noted maple) really works for me. Finish leaves me wanting more. This is what I pick for a growler to go.

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Photo of wikk3d
4.45/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance - Pours a very dark brown with a foamy brown head that settles into a very thin layer. Very dark, but still see through.

Aroma - Malty with a hint of sweetness, very underlying chocolate. Doesn't give really a presence of a strong alcohol content, which this beer doesn't have. Nothing out of the ordinary for a Brown Ale.

Taste - Sweet full bodied taste, definite hint of dark chocolate. Really the only place where there's any bitterness. Creamy feel. Doesn't leave a lot to the imagination. Very solid beer that's extremely smooth. Very little aftertaste.

Mouth - Extremely creamy beer that leaves little to no strong overpowering aftertaste.

Drinkability - Can pound down a few of these in a single sitting. It's a full bodied beer that is not too filling. Had a few of these samples at the ACBF, one of my favorite Brown Ales.

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Photo of edchicma
4.35/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance a nice, mellow dark, brown-gold. Smell is well-rounded like smoky coffee. Based upon smell, I was expecting a stout-like mouthfeel, which was there, but with a lighter, easier to drink character. Mouthfeel was smooth with a very slight malty, smoky aftertaste. Had one with Italian food and it was an excellent complementt. Very drinkable. Got this six pack at market in town where it is brewed....next time will try on tap at the pub.

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Photo of Carlton1964
4.35/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Think syrupy body with a slight nutty hint. NO dry effects on pallet. Color was a nice medium brown. No a lot of head though. Very pleasant and had me wanting a second helping. Anxious to try more from the folks at Woodstock Inn. I'm kind od a bock guy and I really enjoyed this. Worth a try. Bet it's better on tap too!

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Photo of Fernans
4.33/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a beer that anytime I am in N.H. will order, especially on tap (don't poo-poo bottles though it will still impress). Like many nut browns of any worth, it has rich, nutty flavor and aroma to it. Though rich in texture good (smooth) and taste (lingers in a good way), it is a deceptively easy drinking beer that is great with a quality burger or steak. Woodstock Station has a number of quality brews, this one is the standard.

Unfortunately for me, it's not available in my area.... yet.

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Photo of BrewMasterG
4.3/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Brown, mostly clear with some slight murkiness.

Smell: Nutty and toasty - a bit like Newcastle without the sweet smell.

Taste: Nice, nice, nice. A classic brown ale, Americanized. Not bitter, not sweet.

Mouthfeel: Typicaly dry, moderate carbonation - a bit higher than the Brits would have.

Serving type: 64oz growler, and on tap at Woodstock Inn.

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Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.24/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz screw-top bottle from the local Hannaford. Pours a translucent dark brown body with a quarter-inch of light tan head. Butterscotch, caramel, brown sugar dominate the aroma. Tastes sweet, with caramel, butter, and chocolate notes. Flavors are definitely understated, which is not uncommon for the style. Light in body, bordering on aqueous, with moderate carbonation. Fairly middle-of-the-road as far as drinkability is concerned, quaffable but doesn't go down as easy as it could. Overall a solid English Brown.

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Photo of BradMacMullin
4.24/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I had this at Canoe near Meredith NH, and liked it enough to buy a 12 mixed pack at the grocery store. Having it at home has given me a new appreciation. I poured it into a brandy glass. Yes, a brandy glass. I grabbed it quickly without realizing it - thank god we have glassware for a liquor we have never had in the house.
Pours a very dark color with a lost lasting lace. The smell is hard to detect because it is in this stupid brandy glass which I will be donating after this. I hope poor people like brandy.
The smell though is malty and yeasty - very rich flavor. Goes down so well - this is an extremely good beer. Tastes almost like a Belgium - very fruity with a crisp maltiness. This is a great beer, particularly for the cost.
I like the light-hearted logos on the bottles - some of the breweries these days have logos that belong more on a Metallica shirt.
Nice work on this beer.

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Photo of jeremy2027
4.2/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1. Poured from bottle to nonic style glass.

2. Dark mahogany one finger head with nice lacing through out the glass.

3. Smells of caramel and molasses.

4. Smooth little to no bitterness. Tastes of caramel malt and maybe a slight (very slight) hint of vanilla.

5. Low carbonation, and typical mouthfeel for a good brown ale.

6. I wish I could get this locally, I would defiantly put it in the rotation of session beers. Got this from a friend that is in a beer of the month club. Great offering...

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Photo of sponberg
4.17/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark reddish brown with a cream colored head that clings to the sides of the glass.

Exceptionally appetizing aroma - nutty maltiness abounds. Starts with a round, slightly sweet, nutty malt-biased flavor, with a hop presence coming in halfway through. Finished with a slight roasty-bitter (citrusy? Hard to say) hop edge, balanced with some malt fruitiness and a very crisp, clean finish. Slightly thin body, but I can forgive that because it's such a great all-day-long drinkable brew.

2005 update: Nothing has changed. Still an excellent session brew whose flavor still makes me smile... unless the growler's empty.

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Photo of FatSean
4.13/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

An interesting brown ale from a brewery I'd never heard of before.

Poured a very dark brown into a 12oz shaker pint. Some light-brown head with large bubbles that quickly dissipates.

Smells of musty malts and a little twinge of hop

Taste is a sweet, thin caramel/black-bread. Finishes with an odd twang that clears the palate and gets you thirsty for another sip. An interesting and appealing aspect, given that most brown ales I've tried leave a lingering sweet taste.

A bit thin, quite carbonated. This is a crisp beer!

Very drinkable! Plenty of nice brown ale flavors that don't over-stay their welcome. I might buy this again, and I will definitely look out for other offerings from this brewery.

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Photo of Hokies
4.12/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours a deep brown shade with some pronounced red hues. Their is a light brown head with a thin lace on the glass.

The aroma is quite enticing with some sweet malt and light roasted malt notes with a nice coffee hint.

The hops and roasted malts make more of a presence in the taste as they battle off the sweetness from the malt. The coffee is somewhat subdued as the sweet malt taste takes over with undertones of burnt coffee.

Probably one of my new favorite brown ales right up their with Ellie's Brown and SA Brown ale.

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Photo of jiggahertz
4.11/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Nice thick brown ale with a thin head which dissipates quickly.

S: Don't pick up much on the nose, some doughy malts get through.

T: Chocolate up front, followed by great malty flavor. Malt dissipates and leaves a clean finish.

M: More carbonation than expected for this style.

D: Very good drinkability for a brown ale, goes great with bbq.

O: One of the better brown ales I've had, not a huge fan of this style but this one really seemed to hit the spot.

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Photo of kenito799
4.07/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Tasted this already on tap, which is usually too cold. At home from the bottle this malty dark brown brew recalled Belgian dubbels in the slightly sweet malt and a touch of smokiness that was really quite excellent. Very nice session beer, gets better as you drink more.

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Photo of taigor
4.03/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into regular pint glass.

A - Poured dark brown almost non-transparent color with medium head that quickly dissipated leaving moderate lacing around the glass.

S - Mostly roasted malts and slight nuttiness but other than that nothing much there.

T - Slightly sweet to start followed by roasted malts and almonds with a slightly bitter dry finish.

M - Medium bodied with high carbonation.

O - Very good brown ale that I highly recommend if you can find it.

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Photo of BuckSpin
4.02/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12oz bottle (best by of 4/08) in a Shaker pint

BAside: I love BBQ, so this label is now one of my favorites...awesome!

Poured with some life & crackle. Initially its kinda woodsy on the nose, like sawdust from old lumber. As it warms the caramel appears, growing sweeter, a little spice in there. Its really starting to open up now as the caramelized malts grow a little richer, even sweeter with a faint dried fruit quality. Some earthy aspects are even present.

A noisy, snappin', loose pinky's worth of dull parchment hued foam faded rather quickly and with noticeable sound to a thin sheen of a floater with a thick edge ring that doesn't lace. Color is striking - a crystal clear, radiant cherry mahogany, almost tea-like, just vibrant.

Light, crisply semi-dry, kinda thin but not watery, balanced but just barely favoring the bitter side of bittersweet. I can tell immediately this would be a nice session ale. Malts have a faint burnt caramel quality as well as a lite nuttiness that together deliver a mild toasted quality. This is very easy to drink & going down smooth & quick. Its not very complex but so what? Where's my cheeseburger with cheddar and sweet onion and a side of fresh cut fries when I need them?

It grows a little drier on the palate with a slightly sharper crunch, the edges round off, still very balanced & even in that its quite level by now. It finishes soft & bittersweet and very clean, leaving the aforementioned as an aftertaste that is nice.

What can I say? Its a nice, easy to drink beer. This is a very nice "beer to have when you just want a beer" beer, and as mentioned previously would be a great session beer or with any standard pub fare, as well as enjoying around the grill. The world needs beers like this. I'd definitely drink this again and wouldn't hesitate to grab a 6 pack to enjoy with friends. This Pig's Ear, while not a silk purse, is definitely no doggie chewie. Give it a shot - definitely recommended for those times you just want some beer.

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Photo of BigD1972
4.02/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass

Nice reddish brown color. inch thick light brown head.

Roasted, Nutty aromas slight fruit note.

pleasingly bitter mouthfeel with nice finish.

nice malty roasted flavor.

More a beer for the fall or winter, but all in all an enjoyable brew!

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Photo of gestyr
4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a nice deep reddish brown, clear. Nice offwhite head about 1" high that fades slowly and leaves lacing.

Smell: Smells sweet, toasty, slightly roasty, nutty

Taste: Slightly sweet. Roasty, malty, nutty.... definitely nutty, detectable note of biscuit

Mouthfeel: medium. Sits well on the tongue

Drinkability: Good session beer. Would go great with some cheese... sharp cheddar comes to mind

Overall I would and will drink again. It doesn't jump in your face but it also doesn't disappoint.

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Photo of thekevlarkid
4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Seen this one around, finally picked it up after hearing it won some award. Poured out of the bottle a reddish brown color which appears ruby when held up to sunlight. Aromas are sweet and malty, hints of vanilla and banana bread. Tastes are of caramels, biscuity malts, a hop presence in the middle offers some balance. Finish is sweet, slightly off and it lingers. Smooth and a good American version of an English brown.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.98/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on tap at Brew City, Worcester, MA.

Shaker 12oz glass presentation. 1/2" beige head over an orangey brown brew, which faded down to an uneven layer of bubbles, and had ample sticky lacing. Aroma is lightly malty. Taste is well-balanced, medium grains, with moderate hopping. Mouthfeel is soft and smooth over the tongue, and drinkability is very nice. Not my favorite style, but I'm liking this one.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.98/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My local sharer (we don't trade so much as swap or share our extras), Sam Knocken, provided this to me from his Beer of the Month Club take.

Can you make a brown ale from a pig's ear? I have heard that a silk purse is out of the question, but perhaps anything is possible.

My pour got me a finger of fizzy, light-brown head with moderate retention. Color was a deep brown with ruby/garnet highlights. Nose was quite malty, reminiscent of something that eluded me, but perhaps it will come. Did I sense a slight buttery quality? I usually have a blind spot when it comes to diacetyl, so I may be mistaken. Plus, I really do not mind such a flavor. Mouthfeel was medium and the taste was much more chocolaty than I had experienced on the nose. It had a powdery taste, like Hershey's Cocoa Powder right out of the tin and into the mouth. Do they even make that any more? I knew precisely where it was stored in my maternal grandmother's house and used to love it straight as a child. I sprinkled it on peanut butter to make a phenomenal sandwich. That's what the nose reminded me of - Ovaltine! Great Gar, but this beer really takes me back. I saw where Newcastle Brown is the standard bearer for the style, but this is drier than that. The finish was semi-sweet with the yeast having converted most of the fermentable sugar to alcohol. I was very impressed by this little piggy.

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Photo of micahgoldfus
3.96/5  rDev +10%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured much lighter in color than I am used to in a brown ale: a brown-amber color that was fairly transparent. It has a big, bubbly head to foreshadow the high carbonation level. The smell was a great mixture: there was nutty flavors up front, plus some dark-but-not-too-dark malts, a pinch of floral hops, a mild presence of alcohol, and ended with a touch of caramel sweetness. The taste was quite nice as well. The dominant flavors were the roasted nuts and the dark, coffee-flavor malts. However, it was rounded out by a mild hop presence in the background, and ends with some sweet caramel flavors (and maybe even some vanilla in there too). The last taste the beer leaves it actually a fantastic mix: it's malty, bitter, and sweet all at once. The thin, carbonated mouthfeel makes this beer go down nice and easy, and I could certainly drink a few more. It has enough flavor to be savored, but is smooth and light enough to have a handful.

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Photo of woosterbill
3.96/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the brewpub into a pint glass.

A: Clear dark amber body comes topped by a finger of dense off-white foam; decent retention and good lace throughout. "Very pretty" according to my wife. I concur.

S: Nothing special here: just smooth biscuity malts, some nutty sweetness, and a touch of crisp hops on the tail end. Pretty straightforward.

T: Much like the nose, but richer and fuller. Good amount of mildly sweet nuttiness without being cloying, thanks to a generous dose of hops on the finish. Very smooth and refreshing.

M: A little on the thin side of medium bodied, with spiky carbonation. Not bad, though.

D: Very sessionable indeed, as the ABV would suggest.

Notes: Extremely smooth and drinkable beer that doesn't sacrifice flavor. Nothing spectacular at all, but as servicable a brown ale as one could desire. Nice.


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Photo of papat444
3.95/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Disclaimer: I enjoyed this brew at the Woodstock Inn but my notes are brief because i was with family & friends and my daughter beside me was very active :)

Appearance: Brown (duh!) and looks a little like cola. Very thin ring of foam.

Smell: At first nothing but as it warmed a whiff of bitterness, probably hops.

Taste: Subdued, malt-like taste with a very nice moderate bitterness.

Mouthfeel: A strong point. Smooth with a rather low carbonation that i didn't expect but wasn't unpleasant.

Drinkability: Very nice beer with a low profile taste but was still very enjoyable to drink.

Overall: I forced myself to write a review because i was pleasantly surprised by this beer. Definitely worth checking out.

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Pig's Ear Brown Ale from Woodstock Inn Brewery
3.6 out of 5 based on 408 ratings.
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