Old Brown Dog | Smuttynose Brewing Company

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Old Brown DogOld Brown Dog
Very Good
2,737 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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,737 |  Reviews: 987
Photo of fattychubs
3.55/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Reddish brown pour, with a small white head. Aroma is sweet malt, with hints of caramel. Body is closer to medium then thin, with light carbonation. Taste starts malty and moves to a very sweet caramel with very subtle hops, finishes sweet and slightly buttery. Not a bad brown ale, not to complex, pretty drinkable.

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Photo of WesWes
4.09/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark amber color with a thin white head that provides good lacing. The smell is of rich chocolate, crystal, and roasted malts.; a true brown ale. The taste is smooth and balanced. The complexity of this brew is what I like the most about it. It signifies what a brown ale should be; amber/brown in color, good malty aroma, a complex balance of specialty malts, and a smooth finish. The mouthfeel is low to medium which makes this a nice sessions beer.

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

A nice,cloudy orange/brown color with a slight tan head. A little toasted malt and earthy hop on the nose followed by a nicely balanced caramel malt and earthy hop flavor. Some toasty malt flavor comes out in the finish along with a bit of nuttiness, a decent brown ale.

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Photo of Stopper
4.02/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yep, this old dog is brown. I had to pour it pretty vigorously to get any head at all, and that disappeared quickly. Medium sweet malt aroma. A very sweet, smooth, round mouthfeel up front. This is quickly joined by a distinct roasted grain dryness. I don't get much hops in any aspect of this beer, mostly just a very sweet maltiness, but this is actually nicely balanced by the dry roasted grains and doesn't come across as overly sweet.
A nice medium-bodied beer that celebrates malt. I'll definitely enjoy the rest of these.

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Photo of stegmakk
3.61/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark amber color with thin off white head

Smell: Hard to detect...Hints of sweet malt and a touch of caramel

Taste: Sweet malt mild bitterness at end...not too complex but still pleasing...

Mouthfeel: A little thin

Drinkability: I could drink a lot of these

Overall good but not spectacular...taste is a bit muted but I could drink plenty of them

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Photo of kfoss99
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The picture of Olive should be hung in a museum.

The ale is brown with a hint of mahogany.

The mouth feel was hindered a bit, as the bottle hadn't been sitting in my refrigerator long enough, the ale could have been a little more carbonated.

The ale smells like butter pecan ice cream, this shows in its taste, along with a hint of slightly roasted peanuts.

This is an ale that looks good and tastes good.


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Photo of francisweizen
3.58/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Notes: brewed in may of 2002(quite old, unfortunately). This sample poured a nice dark reddish brown colour into my pint glass. It had some good head retention and a nice fluffy head. It had some nutty, malty, earthy aromas that melded well. The taste was more of the same, nutty and malty, very similar to Sam Smiths nut brown ale, but not quite as good. I have to agree with the previous reviewer of this beer, this is like a less complex version of Sammy Smiths nut brown ale. the mouthfeel was a bit thin for this style, but it was still good. The drinkability was very good as well.

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

The bier came in a dark brown bottle, and the label featured, what else, a brown dog by the name of Olive. Brewed in the month of March, I'll assume they mean 2003...

It poured a dark reddish maroon, with a small beige head that beat it out the doggy door immediately.

The aroma had a citrusy kind of tang to it, and I thought I detected a hint of beef gravy. (Hmmm, makes it's own sauce, just add water...)

I found the taste to have a lot of hops bitterness, and while passing the local hydrant, detected, not the poodle down the block, but fleeting notes of lemon and caramel.

The finish was more hops, and lemon peel, and the mouthfeel was thin, with light carbonation.

I found it to be similar to Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale, but not as complex. Other reviewers have noted more malty sweetness, but I didn't notice any. Assuming the beer didn't get skunked, perhaps it will mellow out in the cellar. If the brewing date was indeed March 2003, it may need to sit awhile. Good dog!

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Photo of kelticblood
3.56/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not much in the form of a head when poured.Poured an anverage head that reduced to nothing.Had a fair amount of lace however.Color presented a very dark reddish-brown.A slight crisp mouthfeel.A touch watery but creamy in the finish.Very sweet and malty as far as the taste.A medium to almost full bodied ale that is very simple but overall good.I would like to try this on tap.A slight bitterness in the back on the throat on the finish but nothing too much.

note:slight hop nose with hints of toasted grain and nuts.ABV is easily hidden and kind of high.

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Photo of Darkale
4.01/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The head of this beer is tight and short and does not last long. There is little immediate aroma, though when the beer warms up a bit a thin malty sweetness can be noted.

This is a very subtle, slightly malty, slightly chocolate brown ale. Very clean taste, with a mouthfeel that starts with a bit of grit but ends up creamy -- thin, but creamy.

Low carbonation. As I noted earlier, the head does not last. I am not usually a fan of low carbonated beers, but the lack of carbonation is not a problem for this beer.

This is a refreshing beer that one could underestimate. One of the nicer brown ales out there. I was pleased to note the lack of a sour aftertaste, which I sometimes notice with other brown ales.

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Photo of UncleJimbo
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz amber bottle with freshness month notch on the label.

This ale poured a reddish amber brown with very, very thin white foam, and almost no carbonation evident. There smell was modest (sweet malt). The taste was sweet and malty with a bit of bisuit and nutty flavors. There was low but noticeable hop character. The mouthfeel was smooth and creamy with very low carbonation, but with a fairly thin body. The drinkability was good, but the body was on the thin side for this brown ale.

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

This is one of my favorite brown ales due to its drinkability. It's a cloudy reddish brown color with a foamy tan head. I was a little disappointed to see the head disappear so quickly after I poured the beer into a glass. Even the lace slides back down into the beer in short order. The malty and nutty aroma is pleasant and not overpowering. The mouth feel seems a bit thin, however this allows each sip to go down easy. The taste begins malty and is followed by flavors of caramel and nuts. I find a very slight bitter flavor in the finish and aftertaste.

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

The beer spills from the bottle a somewhat hazy mahogany color with the head mountainous and the consistency that of whipped cream, the color a nice light tan and the lace a smothering sheet. Nutty sweet, a touch of yeast and the hop flowers present, clean, fresh, and quite sniffable. Sweet malt at the start, top middling in its mouth feel, the carbonation mild, the hops apropos to the style, the aftertaste droughty and long lasting, and a nice quaffable beer.

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Photo of kunzbrew
3.63/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber color with a light creamy tan head that does not stick around. A fine bubble lace is left behind after the first sip. A copper nose and taste hits the palate on the first to the last sip. Chocolate and carmel malt hints are present along with earthy flavors. This is a nice brew but the best brown ale that I have had.

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Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
3.86/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received this as part of the mass-purchase with fellow BA's PhantomVoDoo and AKSmokedPorter.

Pours a truly beautiful deep mahogany color with a transient head that just coats the top of the glass. Malty sweet, caramel aromas filter into the nasal passages. Flavor continues the malty procession, with a "toasted malt" flavor dominating. Mouthfeel is defninitely creamy that floats over the palate. Finishes with just a trace of hoppiness to balance nicely.

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Photo of the42ndtourist
3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Interesting. Although a brown ale, this definitely pushes towards the range of winter warmers/strong ales. Dark brown with reds blending in, a slight head. Malty, with a strong caramel malt flavour that is lightly balanced by a few hops. A little alcohol kick and warmth is inherent. I liked it.

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.62/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found at Jungle Jim's in Fairlfield. Pours a dark amber with very little head and minimal lacing. Aroma is sweet malt and a little fruit. Flavor consists of malt, nuts, and caramel and tasted better as I let it warm. Overall not fantastic but a solid Brown Ale.

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

Brown/mahogany coloring with a thin, fine-bubbled off-white head. Burnt caramel and sweet malt aromas, with tea-like hops as well. Light carbonation; smooth mouthfeel. Masterful balance to this brew: toasted and almost brown sugar-like malts are offset by a pleasantly floral hop flavor. Dry, pretty short finish. I admittedly don't drink enough of Smuttynose's beers, considering their easy availability here in Boston. They don't disappoint.

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Photo of MaineBeerMan
4.64/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown with some ruby highlights if held to light, small tan head dissipated rapidly to almost nothing.
Aroma of this beer is all sweet toasty malt, if you have any questions about what malty aromas are get one of these and have a big whiff at cellar temperature.
Flavor is delicious sweet toasty malt, almost like a dark brown bread. Almost no hop flavor present, just a hint of bitter fruitiness that vanishes into more sweet malt on a lasting, almost mouth coating finish.
This is a wonderfull brown that is quite drinkable, if you want a fine example of an American style brown, look no further.

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Photo of Shiloh
3.41/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I don't care much for brown ales.....at least I didn't until I tried this Old Brown Dog. The appearence was what I expected with the exception of a total lack of head...how odd, this cannot be good.
But....But....Damn this stuff tastes good. This brew has a taste that keeps on changing, a light bitter taste passing the taste buds and sweetening as it passes. my compliments to the Smuttynose brewers for helping me see the light.
However, I am unsure as to its drinkability in session.

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Photo of oqnid
4.64/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

One word...whoa!
Okay, more words...mahogany, dark rubis red color, a certain thickness even creamy look to it, too bad for the head though. The smeel...is that strawberry jam I smell? Now for the mouth effect...this brew practices what it preaches, a fruity berry like taste, very creamy full bodied taste. The brew covers your palate and your entire mouth, making sure that every part has a taste. It coats your mouth as would a second skin.
Enjoyable, maybe not in a large quantity (sweetness), this brew is a must!
BTW, they added 0.2% more...just for that extra pleasure!

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

The dog on the label alone made me buy this beer. Very dark beer mahobany beer, with a deep robust taste. Not as deep as the robust porter. The carbonation is light, adding to the drinkability. The nutty taste and the hops can be tasted on even the smallest sip.

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Photo of allboutbierge
4.23/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, this is an incredible brew. Dark, rich mahogany color though it's head disapated rather quickly, has so far left me with a heavy lace on my Ale glass. Has a light chocolate taste that is incredibly smooth. Has very complex taste properties, shares of those with that of a double bock, actually the aftertaste reminds me of the celebrator i had last night. I strongly recommend this brew to any one who enjoys a good beer as it is one of the better. On a side note, one of my brothers in my house is from New Hampshire and we usually argue Steelers vs Patriots and on one occassion argued Penn and Stoudts Brewery vs Smuttynose, and well after this beer, i dont think i can make a strong argument like that again, not that im saying that this beer is better, i just dont think i could argue against a fine beverage like this one.


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Photo of Alewife
3.3/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I usually like this one a lot. This brew today was not up to par. First of all, it was served too cold. Can't taste anything that way! Caramel/copper color, clear. Smooth, fine head. Slightly picky mouth feel, medium bodied. Mild malt nose. Has a malt and caramel like taste with a slightly bitter finish. This one is usually more drinkable. Maybe was a bit too young?

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Photo of StevieW
4.82/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very rich creamy brown, the color of wet shoe leather. Thick rich creamy tan head. Smell is a burst of carmel sweetness, rich brown sugar smells, like a box of chocolates. Taste was a combination of rich creamy carmel, chocolate malt, and yummy hop kick. Medium bodied, slightly syrupy sweet, but in a good way. Very good, very drinkable, I can't wait to get my hands on more of these. Right up there with Rogue's Brown Necter. My favorite beer of all the ones I tried on my recent New England vacation.

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Old Brown Dog from Smuttynose Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.93 out of 5 with 2,737 ratings