Old Brown Dog | Smuttynose Brewing Company

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Old Brown DogOld Brown Dog
Very Good
2,729 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: 2,729 |  Reviews: 984
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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Photo of DarthMalt
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oh, Mommy!

Pours dark amber. Smells like an abundance of caramel malts in the grain bill. No discernable fermentation aromas.

Roasty-toasty flavor, which matches the dark-amber expectations dead-on. Tastes like a light d-bock, which I guess makes it a bock? NO! Too many melanoidin-like flavors floating around. Maybe they use Moravian malts. Who the hell knows. This beer kicks ass! YUM! YUM!

...make that, "Woof! Woof!"

Doublebock fans, line up for this one!

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

Pours a nice brown color with an orange tint, with a thin tan lace. On the nose the aromas of malt, caramel and fruity undertones are evident. On the palate there is a caramel malt sweetness, dark fruity notes, toffee perhaps, slight graininess, and a touch of brown sugar, little bready... The mouthfeel is smooth. Emmm, I love this old brown dog...good brew

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Photo of Thrasher
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

All in all pretty good. I had high hopes for this beer and was (probably inevitably) a tad let down. Very sweet malts, caramel, brown sugar, maple syrup hints. It not only looks brown, but tastes brown. I would have liked a little more hop bitterness, perhaps the grassy hints could be embellished into a stronger flavor to balance the sugary malts. Nice mouthfeel but ultimately too syrupy. Am very envious of those who have tried it on cask - I'd imagine this would be a real winner in that format.

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

A nice brown ale. It poursa nice and bark brown with a respectable head. The aroma was a bit nutty and somewhat sweet. The first sip is about what you would expect from the aroma. Relatively easy to drink. All in all, nothing to write to momma about.

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Photo of Jason
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Semi clear amberish brown with a bubbly lace that fades slowly. Rich malty aroma with hints of butterscotch and ripe dates. Big toasted maltiness with an underlying fruitiness and buttery flavours. Tad estery with a noticeable alcohol, hops are vague a only aim to balance with virtually no flavour. Finishes with a touch of sweetness and toasted grain all over. A great brown ale to have around all the time.

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Photo of beernut7
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This one is a keeper. Real deep, but not hazy dark brown color, head doesn't stick around too long. Aroma of dark malts and vanilla. Light carbonation and medium body. Rich, complex flavor with just the right amount of sweetness. Hard to have more than a few, though due to the richness of it. Quality all around.

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Photo of Bierman9
4.45/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cask review from 04MAY02...
Enjoyed at Nerax! A great rendition of an already good bier! Lovely color: garnet-ruby hues....superb! Very little head/lace, though. Appealing sweet, malty nose. Just invites you in! Medium for body/smoothness on the tongue.... Great flavors! lots of maltiness, some caramel, finishing on a great balancing note of hops! Mmmm!

overall: 4.45
appearance: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | mouthfeel: 4 | drinkability: 4.5

*** ***

On-tap review from 30JAN02...
Enjoyed on tap... a nice copper color, but small fine head. Nose hard to detect....touch malty/nutty? Medium body/smoothness-wise. Semi-sweet flavor, hint of nuttiness. Easy drinking, though I've had tastier bottle versions. (4.0/3.5/4.0/4.0/4.5 = 3.95)


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

Nice malt-accentuated example of style. A little flatter(carbonation-wise) than most, which I thought took away from the beer.

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Old Brown Dog from Smuttynose Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.93 out of 5 with 2,729 ratings