Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale | Smuttynose Brewing Company

very good
965 Reviews
Smuttynose Old Brown Dog AleSmuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale

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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 965 | Ratings: 2,660
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.

 598 characters

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.

 327 characters

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.

 648 characters

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"

 483 characters

Photo of BrewAskew
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).

 312 characters

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!

 219 characters

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.

 275 characters

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.

 872 characters

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).

 351 characters

Photo of cjgiant
3.73/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Revisit 2/2017:
Little better head. Not as dark fruity, more of the English bitterness, toast, and a hint of fruit. Feel is light but smooth, taste is toast that doesn't quite hide a berry like flavor.
Upped overall .2 points to 3.73.

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.

 1,114 characters

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.

 214 characters

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.

 709 characters

Photo of biboergosum
3.86/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, a very recent arrival to we beer freaks and geeks up here in Alberta.

This beer pours a clear, medium red-brick amber hue, with three fingers of puffy, densely foamy, and slightly creamy ecru head, which leaves some layered approaching storm front lace around the glass as it genially recedes.

It smells of semi-sweet, and lightly roasted caramel malt, a thin bar-top nuttiness, faint cold coffee, smoke-tinged cocoa, muted black fruit, and soft earthy, leafy, and herbal hops. The taste is bready, grainy caramel malt, a bit of wet breakfast biscuit, bittersweet chocolate, still ethereal cafe-au-lait, fading dark orchard fruit, and a consistent earthy, weedy, and herbal bitter hoppiness.

The carbonation is pleasantly engaging with its come-hither frothiness, the body a sturdy middleweight, and a bit too edgy from either hop or heretofore undetected alcohol to be deemed particularly smooth. It finishes well off-dry, the complex malt steering it as such, while any hops continue to fail to provide much in the way of flavour.

Much more English in orientation, than American, as far as Brown Ales go, methinks. The hops generally provide support and balance, without coming to the forefront, and the well-rounded malt seals the deal. At any rate, a decent brown ale overall, and worth seeking out.

 1,323 characters

Photo of pugbutter
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Lots of caramel and dark fruits (raisins?) from the malts on this one. Yum. A slightly hoppy finish too. Much better than Samuel Smith's Nut Brown in my opinion.

 161 characters

Photo of Tsar_Riga
4.21/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - A translucent brown, with a touch of red, and transparency only at the edge. White head is short and quick to fade. Not much lacing, but a delicious looking brown nevertheless.

S - Strong hit of malt, caramel, cutting toward barrel aged spirits despite not having been aged in one, and alcohol hints.

T - Delivers a bright malt flavor of baked brown bread, wheat, along with a strong caramel note. The close is mildly bitter, hinting a more savory element, a smokiness, that adds greater depth and character.

M - Sufficiently hefty to not disappear as you drink, but not in the least burdening as you drink.

O - A well crafted brown that delivers both a traditional flavor and additional depth from hops and roasting that make it a brown to remember.

 762 characters

Photo of Bone53
4.13/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Brown pour with a clear amber hue in the glass; One finger beige head that leaves a ton of lacing

Smell: Caramel and toffee, cocoa powder, maybe even an undertone of smoke as well, and the hops help to kind of brighten all the aromas. Quite subtle yet balanced and somewhat complex

Taste: A good blend of malt flavors (toffee, caramel, bakers chocolate) upfront with a nice grainy and hoppy finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body; I must say i was very surprised and impressed by how smooth this is. If this isnt creamy i dont know what is. Seems like its nitro or something.

Overall: This is a damn good brown ale, and a great go to, sessionable ale. I imagine drinking this at a pub next to classics such as Eddy Fitz and the like. Dangerously drinkable, even at 6.7%. You cant really get smoother than this. The only thing that could make this beer better is to kick up the aromas a notch or two to make it more robust. That being said, it is quite good as is and I definitely recommend it. Make yours a Smutty!

 1,023 characters

Photo of rob111270
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Excellent brown ale. One of my favorites. Smells good, tastes even better. Just the right mix of hops to malt. And the 6.7% ABV isn't too bad either!

 151 characters

Photo of WunderLlama
4.13/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into Pilsner glass

Clear copper brown, some carbonation, bubbly one finger taupe cap, good lacings

Aroma of sweet malt

Malt sweetness, back of the tongue, slight hoppy finish

Little to no sudsing, quaffable,

Very good, enjoyable brew

 253 characters

Photo of malt-ofthe-earth
4.41/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The Old Brown Dog is still what it used to be although Olive herself has passed on to amber fields of grain. I started drinking this on tap at the Portsmouth Brewery back in the days of the early twenty-first century while watching Tom Brady lead the Patriots (they hate us cuz they ain’t us) to their first Super Bowl champion season before TV was HD and the bartender knew the point spread. Ah, those were the days my friend when games were won by some sleight of hand and bar seats were scouted out by watching wallets being pulled out of if not exactly a hat then an old jean pocket. Is that all there is? Then let’s keep sipping. Oh yeah, the beer? I like it. It’s one of my old stand-bys, much better than most normal-priced twelve-packs around these parts. There’s a nice muted malt flavor that actually gets better as the beer gets warmer, and a sufficient dose of hops for the American palate, although, truth be told, I’d increase the malt and lessen the hops and then I’d be giving it a perfect 5, which considering my preference for a four-pack bang for the buck roasted toasted or malted is saying quite a lot. The color is a nice brown, of course, rich Ghirardelli-like about (did you know there’s 2 r’s in Ghirardelli?) 60% cacao-like. I’m not a beer connoisseur but I know what I like and I like the Old Brown Dog. Oh you’re such a good girl, Olive.

 1,385 characters

Photo of jamiejohnson
4.87/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I can't believe I haven't reviewed a Smutty beer - one of my absolute fave breweries. In the mad world of the IPA craze (and I love them too -Smutty's Finestkind included) a malt based probrew like Old brown Dog is refreshing. Smuttynose is incredible value - all of their beers are solid and priced for the working man. Thanks to you all you hard-working Smuttiers for producing this classic.

I drink every day
But it's not my fault
It's those evil brewers
Of hops and malt

 476 characters

Photo of lazy8
3.45/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 Oz bottle in point glass. Medium brown with a thin team head. Mild malt aroma. Tastes a little sweet and caramel malty, but we'll balanced. Not as burnt as some brown ales. Neeson bodied. A good, easy drinking brown.

 228 characters

Photo of Nolo
3.96/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look -> The look was obviously the best. Nice amberish brown.1 finger of head with a slight tan that quickly turned into a ring and later disappeared. Not sure if it had really small amount of sediment, almost nothing. The name and the image go great with the look and style.

Smell -> The smell kinda turned me off as I expected a sweet yet bitter caramel. But is morelike a grainy malty smell. Its not bad, you just expect a whole different aroma and i think we can all agree.

Taste -> You get this caramel sweet bitter roasty hot flavor. Really pleasant good to the palate taste. I really didnt perceived more flavors, id say hops but really nothing much. I also perceived kinda off a nutty flavor almost like cashews. Really complex.

Feel -> Felt it a like dry, but thats just me. Also felt a nice kinda creamy smooth soft really low on crisp. Not the best but not bad at all.

Overall -> I can totally pick this up again, great for dessert or just to chill out on a stressful day. Love what Smuttynose does, they just know how to do it and from a scale from 1 to 10 id give it a solid 7.5

 1,098 characters

Photo of StoutHunter
3.69/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I picked up a bottle of Smuttynose's Old Brown Dog Ale a couple weeks ago for $1.79 at Holiday Market. It's been a little while since I've tried a new Brown Ale and I'm interested to see how it turns out, so lets see how it goes. Best by 6-1-15. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a imperial pint glass.

A_ The label looks good and it goes well with the name. It poured a nice darker amber color that took on more of a mahogany color when held to the light with almost two fingers worth of fizzy tan head that died down to a thin ring that stayed till the end and it left some just a little bit of spotty lacing behind. This is a pretty nice looking beer and it's mainly what I expect from the style.

S- The aroma starts off with a medium amount of sweetness with some yeasty aromas being the first to show up and they are followed by the malts which impart a caramel malt, toasted, grainy, and doughy aromas. This beer had a nice aroma, but it wasn't as balanced as I would like.

T- The taste seems to be similar to the aroma, but more balanced and it starts off with a slightly higher amount of medium sweetness with the yeast still being the first to show up, but it's not as dominating as it was in the aroma. Up next comes the malts which show up more than they did in the aroma and they impart the same nice aspects along with a noticeable toffee flavor. On the finish there's hardly any bitterness with a little of sweetness taking it's place and it has a nice toasted, toffee and caramel like aftertaste. This is a pretty nice tasting Brown Ale, I have no complaints.

M- Smooth, pretty crisp, slightly prickly, medium bodied with a higher amount of medium carbonation. This beer had a pretty nice mouthfeel that worked well with it.

Overall I thought this was a pretty nice beer and I thought it was a good example of a Brown Ale, the aroma threw me off a little, but once I got to the taste I enjoyed it more and those aspects that I look for in the style started to show up. This beer had nice drinkability, It was smooth, pretty crisp, slightly prickly, not too filling and the taste did a nice job at holding my attention, I could drink a couple of these, especially in the fall time. What I like the most about this beer was the taste, it was pretty nice and true to style. What I liked the least about this beer was the aroma, it was just a little unbalanced with the yeast being too dominant. I would buy this beer again when in the mood for the style and I would recommend trying it if you like Brown Ales. All in all I was happy with this beer, it wasn't the most impressive Brown Ale I've had, but it was still nice and in the end I enjoyed it. It's not a favorite of the style and I would say it's right on the same level as their Finest Kind IPA. Nice job guys, this was a nice Brown Ale, keep it up.

 2,849 characters

Photo of ThaneMcC
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a fine brown with a fair amount of off white head. Smells of malts, bready a bit floral. Taste is caramel, light non specific malts throughout, minimal floral/bitter hops at finish. Light to medium bodied, fairly clean finish.

Overall, not bad for the style but lacks body, complexity and flavor. I wouldn't seek this beer out, but wouldn't turn it down if offered to me.

 378 characters

Photo of Gajo74
4.26/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Look- dark brown with a thin creamy lace that retains well.
Smell- malty, syrupy, caramel and grains. Also slightly medicinal.
Taste- sweet, fruity, malty and grainy.
Feel- my favorite attribute of this brew. Creamy, smooth and a nice wet finish.
Overall a great beer that I see myself getting again. This is my second time trying it and I like it even better than before.

 374 characters

Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale from Smuttynose Brewing Company
3.9 out of 5 based on 2,660 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.