Old Brown Dog | Smuttynose Brewing Company

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Old Brown DogOld Brown Dog
Very Good
2,717 Ratings
Old Brown DogOld Brown Dog

Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company
New Hampshire, United States

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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,717 |  Reviews: 983
Photo of uustal
4.07/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pretty light reddish brown for the style. Not much head, quickly goes away. Nice nutty aroma. Also some chocolate, toffee and alcohol notes. Really smooth light flavor. Good nuttiness, hints of baking chocolate, toffee and some crisp hops to finish. Solid smooth brew.

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Photo of ZeroSignal
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle - marked best by 12/10, but I'm not terribly worried about it...poured into my DFH Snifter

A - Pours an opaque chestnut brown with ruby streaks; half an inch or so of beige head that settles to a thin layer and laces lightly but attractively.

S - Nice malty nose with light hints of sweet fruit. A good level of subtle nuttiness...faintest hint of alcohol

T&M - Medium bodied with a nutty yeast and caramel laced malt hit. Good level of carbonation keeps the beer flowing nicely across the palate. Semi-dry feeling but also carries a light fruitiness. Finishes dry with just a hint of bitterness that makes me look forward to the next malty hit.

D - An all around easy to drink and simple, yet complex, brown ale. I found myself thoroughly enjoying this one and would gladly have another.

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Photo of silver0rlead
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep brown color with a thick off-white head that leaves impressive lacing. The aroma has strong coffee and toasted whole grain bread notes upfront, along with some caramel and dark chocolate, dark fruits and some floral hops and alcohol. The flavor is more fruity upfrong with notes of figs and plums, along with some toasted bread and caramel, cafe au lait, floral hops and a touch of alcohol. The mouthfeel is moderate and drinkability is very good. This is a solid brown ale, admirably restrained in the hops department, dry and more roasty than fruity.

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Photo of vazy
3.82/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- warm clover colors blend into a murky brown. Almost like a rich apple cider.

S- its hoppy at first, very floral notes come through.

T- smooth malty flavors pop right away and finish with some hoppy flavors. Its balanced with some clover and honey accents. Thats all I can pick up.

M- not too heavy, slightly thick but overall balanced.

D- Not bad, its def drinkable by itself or with a meal.

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Photo of albertjr21
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle that's good until Feb 11' into a pint glass on 2.9.11. Color is a somewhat hazy and dark amber-reddish color under a big pillowy light tan head. Aroma is a moderate malt nose with notes of toasted biscuit, toffee, and a light but sharp pungent earthy fruit spice. Mouthfeel is a pretty gentle malt sweetness with hints of roasted pistachio, light caramel, and a light but outstanding hop note. There's a dry finish that somewhat resembles that of an earthy root and butterscotch. I'm gathering this is more along the lines of a Northern English Brown Ale. Very nice...

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Photo of chinchill
3.97/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle dated "best by" 3/2011 served in pint glass.

Pours a dark amber with a very slight haze and a small amount of tan head. Head quickly dies to a bubbly partial coat with excellent duration.

This is a rich and flavorful brown ale with a strong toasted malt base and a bit more hoppy bitterness (IBU = 15) than usual.
A little earthy. Flavor is much stronger and more complex than the aroma. Some noticeable esters despite moderate ABV of 6.5%.

Rather full body. Moderate carbonation.
Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 02-07-2011 03:06:21

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Photo of bishopdc0
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another great smuttynose label and fits the beer very well

The beer is a dark amber with a nice head formation. The head forms very well in my chalice overflowing the side. It slowly dissipates to a wisp over the top with a line around the edge.

The aroma is faint but is good for a brown slight sweet malt with a mid level crystal roasted barley finish.

The taste is brown, but unlike far to many browns this is worth drinking. The mouth fills with a decent carbonation and leaves a slight numb on the tongue. The flavor is sweet malt to start. The sweetness is quickly cut but a roasted malt that leaves a dry slight roast on the tongue.

The drink is good for a brown, being that it is actually tasty and worth drinking.

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Photo of devinoconnor
4.27/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Smuttynose is one of my favorite brewerys and their Brown Dog Ale is a major reason why.

Pours a nice brown color.

Smells crips, classic English ale scents.

Taste is smooth, yet sometimes gives me a metallic flavor. Earthy, an alive ale.

Very easy to drink.

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Photo of chefelf
3.52/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I found this one to be a very good brown ale. It was perhaps a little bolder in flavor than most brown ales. There's a picture of a dog on the label (presumably named Olive) who stares at you sheepishly as you drink it. I received this same effect from after consuming a few too many barleywines one night but it turns out that this time the dog on the label was real.

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Photo of ramseye4
4.02/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A=Pours a fairly light brown color, minimal head, subpar lacing
S=Roasted malt, some faint fruit and tobacco, smoky
T= Predominantly sweet malt, some roasted malt and sweet fruit, a bit of tobacco.
M= Excellent carbonation and body, really brings out the flavor
D= Outstanding for a beer of this body and ABV.

Definitely worth a look, not Smuttynose's finest, but definitely an above average brew

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Photo of sixerofelixir
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle notched with the freshness. A supposedly old brown dog named "Olive" on the label.

Pours a perfect tea-brown, faintly orange and murky. A tannish head rings quickly, but stays on the glass. I'm picking up a bit of detritus as well as a hot alcoholic aroma. A touch of sweetness. The taste starts off with some decent hopped bitterness, then blends into some sweet and very slightly sour roasted/toasted malts. Decently cocoa-like. Nicely complex, in all. The finish is smooth and bitter, actively carbonated. More leaf litter for the aftertaste, but that seems to be a constant among the Smutty's that I've tried, and it's not a bad thing. (Also, the alcohol being about at its max for the styles - their beers can sneak up on you!) A good drinking English Brown that tastes a lot better than its first impression.

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Photo of Gushue3
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- medium colored, cloudy brown with moderate off white head that goes away.

S- malty and roasty.

T- malty up front that leaves a slight sweetness after the sip is gone. a light nutty taste is in there too. well balanced

M- very smooth with some carbonation. somewhat light.

D- very drinkable. good taste, not too heavy and no unwanted aftertastes. quality beverage. im not a big brown ale guy but this ones pretty good

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Photo of Neecee513
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured bottle into pint glass.

A: Reddish brown, slight haze, mild head.

S: Nutty, but with a slight sweetness.

T: Nutty, biscuit malt backbone with a slightly bitter bite on the finish.

M: Medium carbonation, medium body, somewhat dry finish, moderately creamy as well.

D: All around a nice beverage, especially if you favor malts.

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Photo of scruffwhor
3.71/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The color is a ruddy amber and copper with great bubbling. The head is a nice two fingers and the foam is nice and thick, just dying to stick to the inside of my glass.

Rich toasted mlat aroma making me think of caramel, bread crust, and toasted egg bagels.

The taste combines the medium roasted flavors and hardshell nuts. Hopping adds a little leathery, earthen bitterness to off-set the malts. This is a pretty staright forward, sweet, somewhat syrupy palated beer. There's balance, but it stays well within style. A nice NH session Brown Ale for your consideration.

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Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance -- Pours a lightly hazed chestnut hue with a slim sudsy beige head.

Smell -- Quite malty, evoking smells of biscuit, whole grain toast, as well as some fruity esters. Faint hop presence, but overall the smell is of a well-malted brew.

Taste -- Biscuits and golden toast, fruity esters, and perhaps a bit of cocoa-like roast character. Yeast character is noticeable, but not profound. Same can be said for the hops: balancing bitterness, but little else as far as flavor. Well-malted, well-balanced.

Mouthfeel -- Medium-bodied, well carbonated. Feels good and makes for a satisfying drink.

Drinkability -- This one really hit the spot. Great malting, easy drinking. If I wasn't such a beer whore, I'd put this one in regular rotation in the fridge. Really quite satisfying.

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Photo of ElliotNess
3.77/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Different and Drinkable.

A very good nose of deep roasty sweetness. The taste was not as indepth as expected, although drinkability was very good the taste was not complex: a slight peanut and butterscotch. The aftertaste lingered well though with a nice malt roast.

Not down and out, just brown.

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Photo of CaptDavyJones
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a really dark brown color from a 12 oz bottle, with 'best-by' date on the label.
One finger head that dissipates fairly quickly.
Aroma is predominantly malty with hints of biscuit and fruity esters.
Rich and silky mouthfeel, coats the palate nicely.
The taste is a very nice blend of malts with hints of sweetness. There is faint, a really faint twang of bitterness in the finish. This is a very well-balanced and full bodied ale.
Drinkability of this ale is very high, considering the delicious taste and well-balanced nature. Decent lacing along the insides of the glass. A solid offering from Smuttynose, definitely worth a try.

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Photo of Dotcubed
3.6/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

An adorable bottle.

Best buy June '11 stamp. Big props to them for dating the bottles.

Poured from a cold 39-40 degree fridge. Warming it up as I admire the aesthetic beauty.

Looks rather heavily carbonated. Modest foam.
Paler than their pale ale?

Simplistic beer aroma. Malts.
That classic old ale smell.

An impressive flavor of char, fruit, and more fruit.
Banana, over ripe mango. Sweet like carmelized sugar cane. Or burnt marshmallow.

Lighter body, wet. English style with American twist of really intensly placed flavors.

Enjoyable, but not remarkable.

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Photo of negroobserver
3.45/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

C: Clear. Reddish brown color.
S: Strong nutty notes. Malty. Mild Hoppiness.
T: Nutty. Light/Medium bitterness. Mild sweet finish.
M: Medium Carbonation. Full bodied with good
WYDA?: Probably. I would drink it again, but I wouldn't seek it out.

I like the beer. It has a good clean finish, but the nutty flavor gets old really quickly. Other than the strong nutty scent/flavor of the beer, I didn't really experience anything else. I found the beer lacking in character and interesting aspects.

Second review... 11/19/2011

Appearance... Medium brown color with a reddish hue. A bit hazy. Pours with a short white or cream colored head.

Smells... Nutty. Earthy. Malty. A bit of hoppy scent.

Tastes... Malty. A little sweet. Flat in the middle. Hoppy bitterness at the end with a dry finish on the tongue.

Mouthfeel... The beer is not light or too watery, but thinner than I expected. You'll get a bit of tingling from the carbonation, but no alcohol burn or tingle.

Overall... It's a good beer, but nothing spectacular. I could drink this regularly, but only at a certain price point.

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Photo of MrMcGibblets
3.4/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: very light colored for a brown-more of a deep reddish amber. Not dinging this for the color, rather for the little floaties/sediment throughout. Decent light tan head and lacing helps.
S: very muted. Some toffee and dark caramel malts.
T: lightly sweet dark caramelly malts are well-balanced by a prominent smooth, spicy hop bitterness. Not a lot going on but well-balanced. Almost clean finish.
M: light to medium body. Frothy.
D: I like that its a different take on a brown, but not a lot going on.

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Photo of BigPlay1824
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a stein

A: pours a clear medium brown with a finger of foamy off white head that lingers for a bit,

S: slight caramel scent

T: very nice caramel malts, great depth, slight brown sugar taste

D/M: very slight carbonation, smooth drinking, great complexity, leaves a lingering maltiness on the pallet, great representation of the style

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Photo of jsanford
3.94/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass

A - Pours a clear brown with slight ruby highlights. A slight white head forms, only to dissipate to a haze and thin ring. No lacing.
S - Roasted malt, toasted nuts, caramel, and chocolate. Very warm and inviting.
T - Maintains the warm feeling with more toasted malt, chocolate, brown sugar, vanilla and roasted nuts.
M - Medium-bodied with moderate carbonation. Fairly creamy mouthfeel.
D - No problem with the one, could probably have another. A great everyday brown ale.

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Photo of TriGuy20
3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On draft poured into pint glass.

A: Copper with a thin white head and a touch of lace clings to the side of the glass.

S: Orange/ Toasted Grains/ Allspice/ Yeast

T: On the front the orange hits you but this flavor fades fast and turns into toasted grains. On the finish there is a little hoppy bitterness, however, this beers flavor fades fairly fast.

MF: Solid medium body beer that goes down smooth.

D: Given that this beer is 6.7 abv, fairly high for this style, this beer goes down fairly easily.

A very solid beer that went well with the burger I had while drinking this beer.

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Photo of BB1313
2.98/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass. Pours a transparent brown w/ little head and not much lacing. Smells typical for a brown, I'm picking up slight amounts of chocolate, malts, grains. There's a breadiness to it and a slight hint of nuttiness. The taste is average, nothing special, but nothing out of the ordinary. There's no body to this one, it's very thin. I personally like more body to my browns. Drinkability isn't bad.. 6.7% is relatively high for the style, but is ultimately unnoticeable.

I had higher expectations the first time I tried Old Brown Dog. Second time around wasn't too impressive. I love the brown ale style, and I can't put this at the top, although it's not horrible.. there's just too many better examples of the style.

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a cherry brown color, lightly hazy with some resplendent carbonation rising from the bottom. A soft foamy white head fades slowly to a ring and a film cap, leaving some lace on the glass.

Smell: Roasted malt, with touches of hazelnut and chocolate. Maybe some leafy hops on the back end.

Taste: This is malty all the way through, but it never really sweet, which is nice. Roasted malt with a touch of cocoa carry the malt, with a light spiciness and then

Mouthfeel: Some tingly carbonation to start, but the feel is creamy overall, buttery even. A Surprisingly full carbonation, with a light to medium body. Finishes dry.

Drinkability: This is a pretty solid brew overall. I have been happy with pretty much everything I have had from Smuttynose, and they distribute in Illinois now.

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Old Brown Dog from Smuttynose Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.93 out of 5 with 2,717 ratings