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Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale | Smuttynose Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
88
very good
952 Reviews
Smuttynose Old Brown Dog AleSmuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company
New Hampshire, United States | website

Style: American Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.70%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Old Brown Dog has been cited as a classic example of the “American Brown Ale” style of beer. Compared to a typical English Brown Ale, Old Brown Dog is fuller-bodied and more strongly hopped.

18 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 05-07-1998

BEER STATS
Reviews:
952
Ratings:
2,597
Avg:
3.9
pDev:
18.46%
 
 
Wants:
133
Gots:
479
For Trade:
4
User Reviews
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Reviews: 952 | Ratings: 2,597
Photo of Guppy314
3.87/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From a tap at a Burgers, Tap & Shake in DC, it poured an almost clear gold with a thin tan head. Aroma was decent (not bold) with both malt a hops. Taste is malt-forward with some interesting caramel and even chocolate flavors. Mouth feel was decent but average for a craft brew with definite carbonation. Hops wasn't so evident in the taste.

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Photo of Sabtos
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark reddish copper, with a medium beige head.

Smell is caramel and raisin.

Taste is bready malt, caramel, and nut.

A little sweet, semi-dry, yet frothy.

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Photo of DabblinWiscCraft
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Grabbed a Smuttynose mixed 12-pack at the Trig's Cellar 70 in Rhinelander. The bottling code states this one is good for another four months. Poured right from the fridge into my Founders pint glass.

L: Pours a fairly clear golden brown color with about a quarter-inch of off-white head that dissipates quite quickly down to an almost nonexistent film and slight ring that leaves very little lacing on the glass. Lots of fine particulate in the beer, and very little visible carbonation present.

S: Sweet caramel malts register first, and they're followed by some rich bready malts and more roasty malt notes. Some nice earthiness to balance out the sweet. Just a touch of cracked pepper and nondescript herbal notes. Very pleasant nose on this one.

T: Caramel, bready, and roasty malt flavors come on strong right out of the gates, with the sweeter caramel leading the way. The middle brings on a bit of hop astringency--earthy and slightly herbal. Some cracked pepper in there, as well. There's a bit of a root beer thing happening in the middle and toward the back--some birch and sarsaparilla notes in the mix. The back end continues the dominance of the malts, though there's a hint of clear alcohol and a touch of hop bitter to end things cleanly. Sweet, rich, and earthy brew.

F: Medium-bodied and quite smooth overall. There is some of that bright hop astringency happening, but it's overall a smooth and creamy feel. Very low carbonation on this one--thankfully, the body keeps it from feeling outright watery (though I would've appreciated a bit more carbonation).

O: I've had this beer on a few occasions before, but I'm just now getting around to reviewing it. I think I appreciate the flavors in this one a lot more now than I used to. It's got a very nice balance between the sweet flavors and the more savory and earthy notes--one thing I dislike about a lot of brown ales is that they overdo the sweet. This one also has enough complexity to keep me interested. Though I wish the look and feel was better, this is a brown ale that I definitely recommend.

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Photo of manfromanotherplace
4.19/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Definitely one of the best brown ales out there....semi sweet with a strong dark biscuit and malt flavour.mouthfeel is definitely thicker than it appears.a superb brown ale.

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Photo of brblanch
3.77/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass. Reddish brown appearance with thin off white head that dissipates quickly. No real lacing. Bready malt aroma. Notes of caramel with some lingering sweetness. Medium carbonation. Overall, a very drinkable enjoyable ale I'll revisit though not a favorite style.

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Photo of PA-hunter
3.76/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured 12oz bottle into glass. 6.5% abv

Appearance- Pours a light reddish-brown. Appears a dark charcoal brown once in glass. Thin white head that dissipates fast. Opaque.

Smell- Faint grainy malt, caramel, molasses

Taste- Rich caramel. Quite sweet with a nuttiness. Hints of chocolate that are very light. Sweetness lasts into the finish turning into some dark fruit notes such as prune. Minimal hop herbal notes.

Mouthfeel- Medium in body with low to medium carbonation.

Overall- A rich flavorful brown ale. High quality and a good bit complex

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Photo of BrokenEdge
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Clear brown color with a thin cream colored head. Not much head retention or lacing here. Smell is very pleasant, I got: bready sweetness, some faint hops, toasted nuts, caramel. Taste is similar to Fat Tire, but with more hops and overall a "bigger" and more complex flavor. Tastes like bread, caramel, hops, and some faint spices (nutmeg? cloves?) in the aftertaste. Good balance between malts and hops, the malt taste is still the star but the hops keep it fresh and clean. Carbonation was good, feels medium. Overall a really solid beer that I would recommend to fans of Fat Tire and other similar amber ales.

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Photo of dd43
3.78/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I guess I had built this beer up in my mind over the past few years, being a fan of brown ales and having heard so much about this one's place in the pantheon of the style. It was malty, had some nice toasted (but not roasted) qualities, and I'd certainly not turn down another pint in the future. That said, I've had some more recently introduced brown ales which captured more of my attention. I felt like the flavor profile of this beer was a little thin, meaning something a little more assertive in terms of breadiness or richness would have been appreciated. I should really do a side by side with this beer and a few of my favorites in the genre. By no means a beer to pass over, my only advice is to temper your expectations and not go into this expecting transcendence.

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Photo of CNoj012
3.83/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This beer pours a clear brownish orange color with a one finger khaki head with barely any retention and not much lacing at all. Smell is roasted bready malts, caramel and toffee. Taste is the same. Feel is light, crisp and very drinkable. Not much carbonation. Overall a good representation of the style, but not my favorite.

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Photo of bristol2120
3.88/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Served from a 12 oz. bottle freshness dated 2-20-16. Pours a medium deep ruby red with a light tan head that quickly subsides leaving only minimal lacing. Aroma has the expected roasted malt character, with faint notes of butterscotch in the background. Maltiness really comes through in the taste, though just a bit of wateriness detectable in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is very smooth with a subdued amount of carbonation that does not overpower the beer. Overall, a nice, drinkable representation of the style, though it might have benefited from just a slight bit more assertiveness on the palate.

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Photo of Mollyellis
4.89/5  rDev +25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Smuttynose does brown ales well. This American style brown ale does not disappoint. If you enjoy the English cousin (aka Samuel Smith) this is the same smooth finish but a deeper beer and darker in the glass. If you see this on tap and like anything close to a bock you need to give this a shot. The only points I deducted were for the label. It's super basic and definitely doesn't make you gravitate towards it. But that is so fitting for this beer. It's extremely classic and understated and will not disappoint.

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Photo of StoutElk_92
4.17/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This beer pours a beautiful red-amber brown color. It smells malty and hoppy, with caramel, brown sugar, molasses, and things of the like. The taste is pretty similar. Slightly fruity and hoppy, with toasted malty notes of molasses, caramel and toffee goodness as it warms. Moderate carbonation with a light-medium body. Goes down smooth, and tastes sweet as anything paired up with a savory dish like steak. Overall a delicious tasting reddish, brown ale.

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Photo of MaineBrewing
4.23/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A - Poured a almost clear brown, when held to the light the color was brilliant with hints of ruby. Head was thick and slightly off whit with a mix of small and large bubbles, head died quickly to not much froth, slight lacing.

S - Lots of malt, sweet smelling, dark, smells like brown bread in a can, slight caramel, almost a raisin fruityness. Smells hearty.

T - The hearty sweet, dark brown malt flavors carry over from the nose, but are met with ample hop bitterness and a quenching slight alcohol biting finish. The hops linger, and beg another sip. This brew finds a balance of letting the brown ale character through while having more than ample hop character, but still not trying to be overly hoppy... if that makes sense?? Would venture a guess there's a ton of early hop additions and pretty much none at the end.

M - For 6.7 or so ABV, this drinks like a much lighter ale, although admittedly the alcohol is present with a biting slight warmth, it goes down quick and dangerously so.

O - A great example of a brown ale, nice balance between that brown ale flavor with ample hops, slight warming making this a great sipper for a cold Maine evening.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
3.76/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, best by date 12/01/2015 printed on the bottleneck. Another new one to me from Smuttynose, this one their brown ale.

Poured into a Big Eddy snifter.

A - Pours a dark reddish-brown body hazed with flecks of sediment. One finger of creamy khaki tan head. Not much lacing to speak of.

S - Aromas of must, caramel, toffee, brown bread, some cola. A pretty tame aroma.

T - Flavor profile follows the nose: toffee, caramel, brown bread, brown malt, cream.

M - Smooth, creamy, fluid mouthfeel. Medium bodied, good carbonation, and easy-drinking.

Overall, a characteristic brown ale.

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Photo of NotAlcoholicJustAHobby
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L- Not alot of head or lace, but beautiful clear caramel brown.
S- Roasty caramel malts with a just a hint of hops
T- Follows nose with an excellent balance between malt and hops.
F- carbonation is low, which gives it a fuller mouthfeel.
O-Very good example of the American Brown ale style and one I will revisit in the future.

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Photo of slusk
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L: Pours a clear brown with a short lived off-white head

S: Brown bread, caramel, earthy hops. A bit of an English brown ale aroma.

T:Bready, malty with good caramel flavor. A bit of toffee. Good balanced bitterness with an earthy hop. Bright malt flavor. A bit of an English flavor. Definitely taste the malt in the aftertaste, much like chewing fresh barley malt in the homebrew store.

F: Medium light body, low carbonation. Smooth.

O: This beer is a fine example of a brown ale. A bit of English yeast with a nicely balanced malt forward profile. Bright malt flavors with subdued earthy hop. Very fresh, clean flavors. One of my favorites.

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Photo of moonboogie_n8
4.24/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

what I want to drink when I need a malty, slightly roast-y, medium brown ale.
look is a medium brown/mahogany with a nice foam ring that pleases the lips.
nose is roasted malts and nuts, not getting chocolate like some people, but it's still pleasant.
taste is great with caramel, earthy malted chocolate grains, some dried fruit (apple). great.
medium bodied, smooth mouthfeel. all good
great brown ale that goes down smooth, for an even greater brown try "really old dog brown ale"

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Photo of EagleTalon
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours to a generous beige head that falls to a thin ring and bits of lace. Light brown-red. Aroma is subtle toasted, nutty grains and slight alcohol. Not much hops. Flavor, is clean, nutty, malty and crisp. Low bitterness, feels good going down. Damn good brown. The bar served it at cellar temperature (50-55F).

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Photo of 2ellas
3.43/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Look is a see through dark brown with very little head
Smell is very mild. No roast or hops
taste is good. Straight brown ale with no extras
feel is a bit lighter than expected
overall a good beer from a great brewery!

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours bright dark mahogany under a 1.5” rocky and clingy light tan foam collar. Some caramel and chocolate on the nose and palate with some light nuttiness. No harsh roast or burnt flavors or aromas. Medium body and carbonation. This is a brown als you can drink all night.

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Photo of rawfish
3.51/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours deep amber, on the lighter shade of most brown ales. Garnet highlights when held to the light and a small half finger head with some legs.

Aroma is odd with sweet roasted malt but the depth doesn't go much beyond some caramel and herbaceous hops. Off aromas of yeast culture media and boiled vegetables.

Flavor is caramel sweetness, nuances of red berries and a spiciness that hints of rye. Grainy and a touch metallic on the finish. Nice balancing bitterness, less herbaceous than the nose.

The strange bitterness and metallic finish takeaway from the nice body, appropriate carbonation and drinkability of this one.

A well designed brown ale with caramel, red berry and spicy notes but ultimately flawed in the execution. Too many off and vegetative highlights, the dark malt doesn't get into the chocolate and coffee territory that make great brown ales.

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Photo of craftbeersweden
3/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Hmmm... this is really not that interesting...

The beer is clear, copper colored with a one finger highe, white head.
The nose isn't there! Only light nose of caramel malt.
Taste: Caramel malt, dried fruit and butter.
Body: Waterish and light. Light carbonation.

No this is something I only will have one more time (because I've got two bottles).

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Photo of cjgiant
3.58/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle best by 7/5/15 (so a bit of age, and this review might reflect that):
Pours almost like a barleywine... hazy amber to auburn brown, with a nice amount of tan head, lasting. Nose surprisingly follows suit: candied date, fig, a bit of chocolate caramel. I like the smell, but seems awfully strange for a brown.

The taste starts with a bit of the dark fruits in the taste, but does get back to "its roots" mid taste. English hop bitter notes on top of a nutty (and slightly chocolatey) malt flavor. As the beer warms, the dark fruit turns a little tart, and the earthy, deep roasted nut notes grow just a bit.

I tasted some potential in this beer, but as mentioned, it seems muddled with the characteristics of a barleywine, which I am not sure is caused by age or not. I could easily see this being between .1 and .2 higher if a fresher beer fits the style better.

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Photo of TheBeerMaster1
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Usually not a big fan of brown ales but this was really good. Smells of dark fruit and biscuit, and tastes just that with an enhanced malty caramel flavor and small hints of chocolate. Great balance and complexity.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.78/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Best by date of 09/10/25

Appearance - Pours clear and auburn brown with a khaki colored finger width head. Fair retention, resulting in a thin, broken layer of surface suds. Lacing is spotty with good stick.

Smell - Sweet, malty aroma with brown sugar and nutty, earthy character.

Taste - Follows the nose. Brown sugar and light cola notes with a fair nutty undertone. Distant earthy, leafy hop character comes in to deliver a bittersweet finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium in body with a lively, bitey carbonation. Crisp, semi-dry finish.

Overall - Very solid brown. Nice strength of flavor and with great balance. Could stand to have an additional layer to add some complexity, but it's a fine brown ale as is.

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Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale from Smuttynose Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 952 ratings.
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