Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale | Smuttynose Brewing Company

very good
968 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: 968 | Ratings: 2,673
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

Photo of BradMacMullin
3.29/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Argh, why do I keep getting this. Got the variety pack and this one again. I've had it 50 times and always forget how unforgettable it is. Thank god for beer advocate - this well thought out review is now locked in stone. Here goes. Odd copper color in my mind. I liked the bready smell, but the taste is disappointing. ABV not distinctive and just bland to me. I like the name and art - bottle looks good. I'll probably have another one in 2 weeks and be annoyed

 471 characters

Photo of Jeffreysan
4.46/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a pretty, cloudy, dark mahogany color with an eighth of a finger of white-colored head that quickly dissolved into a thin lacing of foam that completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Very malty and bready, like freshly baked pretzels, followed by some sweetness, floral notes of clover and some nuttiness.

Taste: Very much like the aroma. Very, very malty and bready up front, imparting flavors of pretzels and rye bread, followed by some toffee-like sweetness, some nuttiness and some subtle, hoppy bitterness. Delicious!

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with some good carbonation to tickle the taste buds. With an ABV of 6.7%, there is no alcohol on the palate.

Overall: This is an absolutely delicious brown ale! Great balance between malt, nuttiness, sweet and bitter. This can easily become my go to East Coast brown ale. Delicious!

 909 characters

Photo of Gusmanthecat
3.91/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

It's an OK beer. Not world class but just OK. I did expect a better feel but it just felt thin. Lacked a head. The high ABV doesn't justify a stellar review. However, love the name!

 181 characters

Photo of SD-Alefan
4.04/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass.
Pours an appropriate brown with ruby highlights and a tan head that leaves plenty of lacing.
The aroma is spice and dark fruit with a hint of booze as well as hints of caramel and rich, dark bread.
Very tasty brew. Early sweet caramel with some spiciness and a hint of dried fruit. it finishes with a pleasing and mild bitterness.
Nice moutfeel, medium and almost creamy. Very nice.
A really enjoyable and finely-crafted beer.

 468 characters

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
2.5/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

A muddy brown hazy color with almost no head. A little aroma of weak malt, the taste is a little wort like. It has some basic sweet mealtimes with a watery mouthfeel and practically no finish.

 192 characters

Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, best before 6/1/2015. Pours slightly hazy/cloudy reddish brown color with a 1-2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of caramel, toast, toffee, brown bread, nuttiness, chocolate, herbal, floral, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt and light-moderate earthy hop notes; with good strength. Taste of caramel, toast, toffee, brown bread, nuttiness, herbal, floral, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Light earthy herbal bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toast, toffee, brown bread, nuttiness, chocolate, and herbal/toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice complexity and robustness of dark/bready malt and light-moderate earthy hop flavors; with a good malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth and moderately creamy/bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent brown ale style. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt and light-moderate earthy hop flavors; and very smooth to drink for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

 1,400 characters

Photo of Boo_Bill
4.75/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is an excellent beer. I do not agree that it's a "hoppy" beer. It's less bitter and has a better mouth feel than New Castle. Medium bodied and delicious. I'll be buying more.

 183 characters

Photo of JohnPolino
4.32/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Great un-asuming beer! I'm an IPA/Porter/Stout guy, but this beer surprised me...pleasantly. Bolder than a typical English Brown. More aggessivily hopped . great mouth feel. See what Brown can do for you!

 208 characters

Photo of tekstr1der
4.02/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a deep copper with small, fast-disappearing head. Smells of malt with a slight metallic tinge.This comes through in the taste which seems a little mineral-ey, but well-balanced with notes of caramel - not too sweet though. Great body makes it very smooth and drinkable.

 275 characters

Photo of Gperson
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%

Bottle, but always happy to see it on tap. A standard bearer. Caramel isn't to my taste, but the fullness, integration of ingredients, and final smoothness render complaints silly.

 182 characters

Photo of UnicornProfessor
4.25/5  rDev +9%

One of my favorite beers of late. I was a weekly drinker of this at the Alamo Drafthouse in Sterling, VA until they stopped carrying it. I really miss it, and look forward to drinking it again.

 193 characters

Photo of jeranbrews
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%

A - high clarity. Amber color that's slightly in the brown side but not quite molasses. Thin wispy head that falls fast. 3

S - sweet roasted caramels and fresh wheat toast. 3.5

T - mildly sugary. Faintly roasted malts. Similar to smells. Simple but pleasant. 3.5

M - vaguely effervescent. Soda like. 3.25

O - a good simple anytime beer. 3.25

 349 characters

Photo of ArrogantB
3.25/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle from a mixed twelve pack. Borwn color, good head. Aorma was malt, flavor was a malty brown ale. Not much to say about this one except that its easy to drink but sort of average.

 189 characters

Photo of PatrickKellyCT
4.19/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark, great looking amber/brown with a couple of fingers of head which quickly receded to a nice white lacing.

Aroma isn't anything special but is enjoyable...sweet malts, almost fruity, get a tad bit of hops in the aroma.

Flavor is wonderful, nutty, malty, sweet, lots of caramel and toffee. Very little hop presence. Very nutty at the back end in a very, very enjoyable way.

Mouth feel is pretty standard with a little bit of carbonation.

All in all a very enjoyable beer.

 487 characters

Photo of ordybill
3.4/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 OZ bottle into a pint glass. Aroma- A nice rush of sweet malt with some hops. Appearance- The beer pours a dark amber/brown with a fairly large white head. Taste- Has a nice malt and nut flavor, semi- sweet with some caramel notes. Palate- /a medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation and a dry finish. Overall- A good American Brown Ale.

 358 characters

Photo of fscottkey
3.51/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: [4.50] looks brown in the glass. When held up to a light it shows some red hues. It forms a small white cap with varying bubbles. The head looks like it won't be around for long. No real lacing on the glass. I was wrong. I let the beer sit an hour to warm. The cream head stayed the entire time. There is nice lacing now too. The bottle says best by 10/21/14 and ABV 6.7%.

S: [2.75] Slight caramel and brown sugar. There is also something sort of metallic (even though this was a bottle pour)

T: [3.75] The initial taste is lackluster. This is right out of the back of the fridge. I am giving it time to warm. After an hour of warming the flavors opened up. There is sweet flavor, caramel, a nutty taste too.

M: [3.75] It is smooth with just a little bit of carbonation so you know it is there. The body is nice on this one.

O: [3.50] This beer is a lot different when it warms up. It is still not my favorite - but it is better than it was. I won't buy it again - but I wouldn't turn one down.

 1,019 characters

Photo of illpass78
4.18/5  rDev +7.2%

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear amber/brown that looks kind of reddish against the light. One-finger off-white head.

Aroma: Smells of nuttiness, caramel, hops, toast and malt. Appealing.

Taste: This is a really tasty brown ale that hits you with a roasty nutty flavor and a nice hoppy finish. There's also some sweetness and caramel, which is represented in the nose.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, as it should be. Maybe a shade less than medium, but the depth is pretty spot-on.

Overall: A terrific representation of the style, and altogether a terrific beer. Lots of flavor, and leaves you wondering where they hide the more-than-average alcohol, as it's barely noticeable. A modern classic, I'd say.

 737 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.94/5  rDev +1%

Best by 11/19/14.

Pours a hazy copper with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, caramel, and nut aromas. Taste is much the same with toast, caramel, and nut flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of toast bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is tasty and easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle.

 534 characters

Photo of wonothesane42
4/5  rDev +2.6%

The beer pours a nice light brown with a soft white head, and smells of toasted bread and caramel. Upon tasting the beer the taste is mostly in line with the smell with some earthiness and chocolate mixed in. The mouthfeel is very smooth and creamy with good carbonation. Overall this is a solid beer with nice flavors and drinkablility, but the star of this beer is the texture, which is outstanding.

 402 characters

Photo of HamdenHector
3.18/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A: medium brown; 1 finger off white head that receded quickly to a thin ring; no lacing;

S: caramel malt; slightly sweet;

T: caramel, roasted grain; a little too sweet for may taste;

M: medium bodied; moderate carbonation;

O: my recollection of this beer from previous tastings is that it had more depth of flavor and less sweetness;

 337 characters

Photo of SaltofOH
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a clear reddish brown with a 1" tan head. Thin cap remains, nothing lingers on the walls of the glass.

Aroma: Caramel malts, bloody/flinty and slightly sweet. Slight hoppiness, and as it warms it gets sweeter & fruitier. Toffee.

Taste: Tart arrival, sweet across mid-palate. Distinctive bitter apple flavor on the middle, not sure if it's hops or esters, but it is unique and good. Roasty, dry finish. The finish is quite bitter, and brings balance to an otherwise sweet beer.

Mouthfeel: Hefty; solid & substantial. Not heavy, though. Mid-to-heavy weight. Moderate carbonation. Creamy, but slight astringency on the finish prevents cloying sensation.

Overall: This is a great example of an American brown ale. Love the style and love the beer; nothing pedestrian about this one. Caramelly, tart, and clean. Hides 6.7% (now 6.5%) really well. On the sweeter side of the brown ale spectrum, with a little fruit lurking beneath the toast and caramel. I plan on buying this regularly.

 1,003 characters

Photo of BoldRulerVT
3.82/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from the 12oz bottle into a snifter.
Pours a deep dark amber, with half a finger of head.
Smells toasty, toffee and roasty malts.
Tastes very much in line with aromas. Good flavor and decent hop bitterness on finish.
Mouthfeel was solid and very drinkable.
Overall, it's a good representation of the style.

 313 characters

Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale from Smuttynose Brewing Company
3.9 out of 5 based on 2,673 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

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.