Old Brown Dog | Smuttynose Brewing Company

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Old Brown DogOld Brown Dog
Very Good
2,726 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: 2,726 |  Reviews: 984
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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Photo of spinrsx
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz Bottle

Appearance - The beer pours a slightly hazy brown colour with a large size foamy/fizzy beige coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing and an above average amount of lacing. The head lasted for over 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Caramel, chocolate, malts, coffee, a nuttiness, and metallic notes

Taste & Mouth - The beer has an average amount of carbonation and it feels fairly creamy on the tongue. Most of the taste consists of malts, coffee, and chocolate. There are also notes of roasted nuts and a slight metallic taste. The beer finishes with a malty roasted aftertaste.

Drink - A fairly decent brew that might work out well for a session. I was surprised and the amount of metallic taste but it was still decent.

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Photo of comfortablynumb1
3.59/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

A - Pours mahogany with a one finger tan head that dissipates quickly. Not much lacing to be had with this one...

S - Pick up nutty notes followed by lots of sweetness. Brown sugar, caramel, and cinnamon...

T - Pretty much follows the nose. Caramel, brown sugar, lots of nutty flavors, roasted malts, a slight hoppy bitterness, and a touch of cinnamon. Abv is well hidden...

M - Medium bodied with a mild amount of carbonation...

D - Not one of my favorite browns, but still solid enough where I am glad I tried it. Nothing that is going to be in my rotation, but definitely something I would recommend to someone who hasn't tried this one yet, and is a fan of the style...


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

This had a big old head when poured into a pint glass. The beer had a light brown color, with no lacing around the glass as I drank it. I smelled some (caramel?) maltiness in there. The taste is also malty, pretty smooth and thick. The alcohol is a little present here, but that is fine with me. Overall a good brown ale. Not my favorite from Smuttynose, but as I like all of their beer, that's ok.

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Photo of patreely12
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on-tap at woodberry kitchen in baltimore, md.

A - nice cloudy amber. light soapy foam, minimal lacing. still very appetizing though.

S - malts, some hops. maybe a bit of citrus that adds some sweetness.

T/M - creamy malts and hops, hint of refreshing citrus and sweetness. very clean. light-medium bodied with some mild carbonation. not as dry as smooth english brown ales.

D - very drinkable. goes down easy with a good dinner. I'd like to have this again.

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Photo of DAllspaw
3.32/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

poured from bottle into tulip. Fairly light brown, more like dark tea.

I get a little malt and some caramel aftertaste but the alcohol is more present in this beer than I would have expected, and seems to be masking the flavor.

This is from a sampler pack and both bottles had similar flavor, just a bit underwhelming frankly.

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Photo of Ezone024
3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours out a dark amber color with a thin white head.
Has a slight chocolate aroma on the nose, finishes with a slight nutty scent.

drinks easy, relatively light body with caramel and chocolate flavors .

Puts a warm feeling on your tongue. Nice beer to have during the winter time if you don't like really heavy porters or stouts.

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Photo of bashiba
3.45/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured a very clean and clear light amber color, not very brown, but still looks good. Just a light soap ring of a head.

The smell was a bit strange, some basement funk and an almost pork chop meaty smell.

The flavor is very mild and subtle with a light bit of smokey and bready malts with a bit of fruity yeasty funk and a touch of sourness, very light earthy english hops.

The mouthfeel is long dry leaving a long lasting earthy and smokey aftertaste.

Its not bad, but the flavors are a bit strange and on the unusual side. Really having a hard time with this one, not completely sure what to make of it.

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

Pours dark copper with a dense creamy head that quickly becomes a thin soapy sheen.

Aroma is unusually musty and minerally. Some biscuit malt shines through.

Taste is initially more of the biscuit malt from the nose. The musty and mineral qualities have a strong presence as well. Then an orange peel bitterness from the hops balances things out nicely. Finishes with a woody cedar dryness, dark fruit, and a lingering musty yeast quality.

Mouthfeel is medium-full. Very round and smooth.

An interesting take on the English brown ale style. Flavorful, but this is certainly an American version, as the earthy hops come on a little too aggressive eclipsing some of the subtle fruit qualities normally present in an English brown ale.

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Photo of Wamesit
4.53/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a bright and deep red/amber with a thick, slightly off-white head.

S- Caramel malts.

T- Sweet malts dominate the flavor with just a hint of the nutty malt one of expects from an English Brown. As the ale warms slightly there is an increasing presence of roasted malts (coffee, chocolate).There is a quick touch of hops/bitterness in the finish but the overall caramel malt smoothness flushes it away.

M- Medium.

D- Highly drinkable. Being less dry and nutty than many English Browns this ale is smooth from start to finish, with loads of flavor, and could be enjoyed casually.

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Photo of stingrayvr6
4.47/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at Local 44. Always loved this one, finally got to have it on tap. Showed a reddish brown with frothy white head and decent lacing. Smell sweet malty, some caramel sweetness, balanced by some bitterness. Taste bready malts up front, some dry nuttyness and sweet caramel or raisin like notes, balanced by some dry hops. Loved it.

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Photo of BeerLover99
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - brownish red body, tannish white head

S - roasted nuts, toffee, bread, hint of sweetness, almost dessert quality. Has me drooling already.

T - roasted carmel, toffee, nuts, bread.

M - medium body with med. carbonation. solid balance for the big flavor.

D - goes down with ease, nice brown ale. this is my first Smuttynose and I'm loving their beer. Give this Brown Ale a try, it's worth it and very sessionable, but still with big flavor.


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Photo of Snamnoum
4.27/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reddish brown with garnet hues and very small had which dissipated quickly. Smells surprisingly hoppy for an English Brown. Also plenty of alcohol and toasted malt in the nose. Begins with some initial hop bitterness, and is quickly follow by some malty sweetness and is rounded off by astringent and smoke toasted grains which also impart some bitterness. Overall tastes a lot darker than it looks. Medium bodied with a creamy mouthfeel that is interrupted by the occasional prickly jolt of carbonation. The hop presence was certainly a surprises. An easy drinking complex brown ale in what is otherwise a somewhat, IMO, dull style. Well worth a try.

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Photo of jsh420
3.92/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

best by may 2011

pours amber orange? brown? with a big 2 finger head that left some spotted lacing

smells of sweet toffee caramel malts with herbal floral hops

taste - a good mix of sweet malts and bitter citrus floral hops
reminds me SNPA but with thos toffee caramel nutty malts

mouthfeel - little sticky but light with great carbonation

drinkability - after just drinking a boffo brown - this beer is a much sweeter lighter brown while the boffo is almost a porter - this beer i could even drink in hot weather

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Photo of BeerCon5
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark amber color with two fingers of foamy/bubbly white head, pretty good retention.

The scent is of strong caramel malt, some toasted grains, notes of bread.

The taste is of caramel at first, some nuttiness, roasted malt, good moderate earthy hop presence, toasted grains and some bread.

Light bodied, smooth and a bit creamy, dry finish, high carbonation.

This was very easy to drink, the flavor was strong and well balanced. I wouldn't mind having this again.

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

A - This beer pours a nice reddish brown color, and has a small tan head on it. The head left just a little bit of lacing on the glass. This beer is slightly hazy, but it has some clarity to it.

S - The smell is that of roasted malts and some breadiness. I also get some notes of chocolate and caramel.

T - Roasted malts and caramel up front. There is a nice sweetness to this beer. I am also getting some breadiness, and a touch of alcohol. The finish is a little bit boozy with a some bitterness as well.

M - This has a medium body with med/low carbonation. It is smooth and goes down easy. It also has a bit of a boozy feel to it.

D - The drinkability is good. It goes down very easy. I think this is a great brown ale. I could drink these all day. Perfect beer for the current weather.

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Photo of Duff27
4.06/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Brown! with a one fingered slightly off-white ("light tan") head. Lacing is visible. Just looks great in my glass...bumped a tad.

S- Toasted/roasted malts. Bready. Maybe some chocolate.

T- Sweet caramel malts. A certain nuttiness. Black licorice?...peppermint? Wow, delicious.

M- Very smooth, like silk.

D/O- For having previously not cared a whole lot for browns, I found myself enjoying this one immensely. Could and would drink a few of these if I was able to get them on a regular basis. My first Smuttynose.

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Old Brown Dog from Smuttynose Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.93 out of 5 with 2,726 ratings