Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale | Smuttynose Brewing Company

very good
966 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: 966 | Ratings: 2,667
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.56/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Medium brown in color with a fizzy, foamy off-white head.

Smell: Aroma of rich caramel malts, toasted nuts and, to some degree, a light herbal hop scent.

Taste: This is so precious. Upfront, sweet caramel maltiness coupled with a pleased nuttiness. A little buttery. Light hints of chocolate. Bitterness is very light, but the beer still finishes dry.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin. Lightly carbonated. Quite smooth, even creamy, and goes down with ease.

Drinkability: Fine, fine. Seriously, though. Very drinkable. One of the better brown ales I've tasted.

My hat's off to MuddyFeet for a trade featuring several Smuttynose offerings. Thanks!

 663 characters

Photo of RedHaze
3.68/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear reddish brown with a half inch head that quickly fades to a spotty cap and ring with decent lacing.

Smell; lots of caramel malts and nuts, with hints of some bitter chocolate. There's a bit of some floral hops, not much but they're there.

Taste; sweet at first, with caramel malts and touches of chocolate. The slightly bitter roasted nuts follow, along with a mild hop bite. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied and very drinkable, as a brown ale should be.

 477 characters

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

Pours a nice brown that is fairly clear. Smallish tan head with biggish soda-like bubbles.

Smells- nothing too noteworthy. Maybe some chocolate notes...

Tastes- just a bit more malty than hoppy. Good balance. There is a malt taste that approaches chocolate, but not full-on chocolate. Pretty smooth and finishes sweet. Some tingling sensations.

Not sure what all the hype is about as I found this to be pretty average.

 427 characters

Photo of beerphilosopher
3.82/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard pint as a mahogany brown color with a sizeable tannish head and decent lacing. Nose is quite nutty and the malt foundation is predominant, leaving a rather sweet disposition that carries over into the taste profile. Nutty and malty sweetness. This beer is light/ medium bodied and a good brown ale over all. Brown ale isn't among my favorite styles, but this one is really very drinkable and I'd not require a twisted arm to drink it again!

 463 characters

Photo of HurricaneMo
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This one poured a dark amber with a decent-sized head that quickly dissipated. Smell and taste both contained a decent amount of malt. It tasted a little sweet in the beginningt with some caramel in there as well. Also, the hops showed through and really rounded out the taste out nicely.

The mouthfeel was fairly light as one might expect. Not too much carbonation in the glass, but quite a bit once it hits your mouth. Drinkability is a definite plus - I'm going back for another right now.

Overall, a good beer with some character.

 540 characters

Photo of EStreet20
4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce brown bottle poured into a nonic pint glass.

A - A nice deep brown color with a two finger off white head. In the spots where light comes through the beer has a reddish tint to the brown.

S - Smells like roasted malts with a nutty character coming through.

T - Dark roasted malts come full circle from the first sip till the beer goes down. Some hop presence in the middle of the drink but the beer is mainly charactierized by the roasted malt. The beer finishes with some sweetness kicking up then a roasty nuttiness in the aftertaste. Very nice.

M - Medium body with a nice smooth character in the mouth.

D - Very nice for a darker session beer. That nutty aftertaste is inviting me for another sip every time.

 737 characters

Photo of tgbljb
4.12/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a crystal clear mahogany-brown color with moderate white head that quickly fell to a thin ring. Smell is extraordinary with strong notes of roasted malt combined with a hint of coffee. Taste is somewhat on the sweet side, and a nice maltiness balanced with a good bit of hoppy bitterness. Great combination. Finished slightly dry, but with a taste that rapidly dissapates. A nice enjoyable beer.

 402 characters

Photo of MattBrooks
4.18/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A rich, dark amber brown color starts this classic brew off, and notes of caramel, coffee and toasted nuts showcase its aromatics. This beer has some toffee characteristics to it as well along with a slightly smoky and very, very long finish. Tried it on tap for the first time recently, always purchased it in bottles before. Much better/different on tap.

 356 characters

Photo of dbalsock
3.32/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

appearance: murky brown with an orange tint, thing light colored head that quickly dissipates and laces the sides, looks a little odd to me, but at least it shows some substance

smell: its hard to place the smell, but i think i get a good whiff of bakers chocolate, kinda dry but with an undertoned sweetness

taste: like the smell, i get another hint of bakers chocolate and some slight butteryness. overall somewhat sweet, and tasty with no discouraging flavors

mouthfeel: dry and nicely balanced, nothing remarkable

drinkability: easily drinkable/quaffable, getting more interesting as it warms to room temperature

"old brown dogs, they're plain" - ciderfaerie, and that's kinda what i thought of this brew, fairly plain, but nice

 747 characters

Photo of Citadel82
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is the beer that Newcastle wishes it was. Caramel malts, swet caramel malts and enough hops to mke it more than just plain old brown and uninteresting.

Pours a clear ligt chestnut with a shortlived off-white head that fades rather quickly. Not much lace evident but that is lkely due to a freshly rinsed glass.

Aroma is earthy and sweet with a tinge of floral hops.

taste is sweet caramel up front - dryish in the middle andpiney citrus hops and bready malts in with a sharp leafy hop finish. Great balance and complexity. the depth of this brown far surpasses the others that I have tried.

Mouthfeel is light and slightly effervescent as one would expec. This is a drinkable brown that might make a decent session brew, especially in the spring months.

 772 characters

Photo of Franchise
3.87/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a medium brown and leaves a thin lace that quickly disappates. The smell of this beer is wonderful of cocoa powder, molasses, lemon, and some earth tones. As I taste this beer all the previous flavors come out I can really taste the chocolate on the fore front as well as some hop kick rounded out with some sweetness from the molasses then finished with a orange rind bitterness. This is a good beer from smuttynose one I will def come back to.

 461 characters

Photo of abcsofbeer
3.48/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle with June drink by date. The color is a reddish, brown with nice clarity, topped off by a tan 1 inch head. The lacing is thick and nice at first as the head sticks around. I found the aroma to be hoppy with hints of caramel and malt. The taste is pretty hoppy for a brown ale, with a nice bitterness in the aftertaste. Different than other browns I have tried. The taste is pretty bold.

 405 characters

Photo of thetachibro
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

into my nonic pint glass it pours a dark brown almost looking like some ice tea with a little too much mix. the one inch head quickly fades away leaving next to nothing with no lacing on the glass. when i sip it a slight bitterness is the first thing to hit me followed by some nuts and some slight malts. a very nice medium bodied mouth feel with good drinkability

 365 characters

Photo of SwillBilly
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz bottle

Appearance: True to its name, its pours a brownish/dark amber color. Head was minimal, almost no lacing.

Smell: Sweet caramel, nutty, slightly earthy and herbal.

Taste: Starts with a nice dose of sweet maltiness that transitions to a slightly tart, dry hop finish. Pretty well balanced.

Mouthfeel: Well carbonated, somewhat thin.

Drinkability: A very easy drinker that won't offend too many palates. Goes down nice and smooth, would make a great session beer. I could drink these all night. Another fine beer from Smuttynose. Worth seeking out.

 585 characters

Photo of radshoesbro
3.58/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

i've heard some great things about this so i was really excited to try it.

a - it pours a crystal like redish brown with a nice finger head that leaves ample lacing that sort of slides down the glass as i drink. no visible carbonation.

s - what the hell is that smell??? i can't put my finger on it. it's not quite has sort of faint malt smells, but not nearly as much as other people have said it has. this is a very unique nose, that's for sure.

t - nice and sweet with very mild hops that balance quite well. hints of sugars, slight slight SLIGHT caramel, etc.

m - very smooth with a very odd aftertaste that takes a little getting used to.

d - i only bought one bottle of this and i definately need to have another to be 100% sure on how much i could drink this. if you really dig this it would be a great session beer, however, i'm not thrilled with it.

 888 characters

Photo of Litterbean
3.63/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brown in color with a tan head that doesn't stay for that long. Smells of roasty malts, with a mild hop sprinkle. Tastes deliciously robust with a coffee-like malt profile. A little thin in the end though. Smooth mouthfeel, some carbonation. A good beer to relax with.

 268 characters

Photo of Jcdolan
3.78/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 mix pack of bottles

Poured into a frosty mug (Boston Bruins Mug!)

Smells like your average brown ale with a hint of molasses.

Pours a nice brown red color (more brown) with a nice light brown head that is this and dissipates in due time.

Tastes like a typical dark brown ale but with a little somthing extra. Nice sweet taste that is just on the edge of tasting like a darker beer, which is probably from the hint of molasses that I taste. Also a taste of slight hops.

I love the mouthfeel of this beer. Goes down nice and smooth.

I could drink these all night. Not sure if it is becuase of the excellent mouthfeel or what, but this is deffinately a beer that is brewed with high quality and care. Wouldn't know it was 5.7% if I had to guess.

 763 characters

Photo of Shovelbum
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a generous creamy light brown head that has decent retention. NIce thick bands of lace as well. The body is a translucent brown-amber. Smells of sweet roasted malts, caramel and light floral hop aroma. The taste has a slight hop crispness, but overall the toasty sweet malts carry the day. It is very well balanced. The Mouthfeel is smooth and slightly creamy.

The ABV puts it at the upper limits of a session beer, but it would do fine if you don’t mind a little extra booze. A solid brown ale.

 511 characters

Photo of Dewey0603
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This has a dark amber color with a fine two finger head.A nice look fellowed by a nice earthy smell, not too hoppy for an ale,but with just enough spices.This has a nice flavor,but for this genre it's a little lighter than others.The mouthfeel is light,almost watery aftertaste,but still not bad.This isn't the best english brown ale I've ever had,but it's not the worst either.I would have another one.

 403 characters

Photo of studentofbeer
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

this brown actually pours a fine mahogany with plenty of pretty red. ivory head. a touch cloudy.

rich, malty, toasty and slightly nutty, but with a good dose of fruit -- plum/prune and even a touch of citrus from the hops.

wow, quite complex for a brown. slightly acidic, flavors of tobacco, wood/sawdust (maybe almond), nutmeg, bitter chocolate. really citrusy hops fill up the back end and provide nice bitterness. quite nice and full-flavored.

a bit too carbonated in my opinion, but overall tasty and drinkable. wish i had more of this--it could be a great food beer.

 581 characters

Photo of wedge
3.63/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown in color, suprisingly creamy off-white head with loosly sticky lacing. Light odor: clean, toasty, lighly nutty. Taste is sweet malty upfront with a minimal hoppy finish. Heavier than expected with noticable carbonation. Certainly a solid english brown ale and another good beer from Smuttynose.

 305 characters

Photo of Naes
3.76/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beers appearance is brown with hints of red and orange. The head is small and quickly disappears to just a ring around the outers of the glass.

The aroma is minimal, but sweet.

Its flavor is malty with tones of chocolate and a tiny bit of hop presence near the finish.

The mouth feel is light bodied and mildly carbonated. It goes down easy and is even a little watery for a Smuttynose brew.

This is definitely not my favorite beer from the brewery, but still a damn good brew.
Worth a try.

 509 characters

Photo of mrasskicktastic
2.85/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

Appearance - A mahogany color. I can't tell if it is a bit hazy or clear and just too dark to see my hand through it. Pours a medium head that fades in a minutes leaving no lacing. Visible medium carbonation.

Smell - Not a strong odor. Smell like molasses and piney hops. As it warms the syrupy molasses smell dominates.

Taste - Slightly sweet coffee and molasses malt flavor. Very weak pine. A bitter aftertaste that accumulates. Not very strong character in taste and smell. It is an okay taste. It is just weak. As the beer warms the bitterness increases a lot.

Mouthfeel - Medium viscosity, high carbonation numbs the mouth. It leaves a sort of film in my mouth. A bit drying.

Drinkability - I find this beer pretty mediocre for Smuttynose. It was the only one from the variety pack that didn't impress me. It isn't a bad beer though. It goes down easily, weak flavor enables you to keep drinking it. Would go well with lots of foods (poultry dishes come to mind), especially since food would cleanse the film off your mouth. With this unpleasant mouthfeel, I don't really want another. I suppose it is a decent brown, a little bitter with a foul mouthfeel but decent. It just doesn't impress me in anyway.

 1,222 characters

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

Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale
12 oz brown bottle. Brewed & bottled in May 2005
Served in a 20 oz tulip pint glass

Pours a chestnut brown color with a lightly tan colored head. Trails of sticky lacings on the glass.

Smells very malty and rich.

The mouthfeel is juicy and chewey. Super rich in malts with a tad of fruit flavors and light chocolate appeal. Very smooth and enjoyable.

What a solid Brown Ale. This offering from Smuttynose usually slips under my radar. I have to make an effort to buy this beer more often. It's probably versatile in terms of pairing it up with different foods as well. Hands down, one of the smoothest 5.7 % ABV beers I have ever had.

 679 characters

Photo of jakester
3.63/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I got this as a single from Union Jack's on the Manatawny. Born on date clearly notched on the label.

Pours a beautiful mahogany with a tan head of foam. Head drops to a ring in @ 5 minutes. Still, there's decent lacing on the glass. Light carbonation evident.

Aroma is a delicate chocolate with hints of caramel. Very faint herbal hops way in the back. Not much in the way of aroma. Improves slightly as it warms, but not alot.

Flavor is smooth chocolate, but more like the semi-sweet kind. The sweetness is muted in this beer. Surprising bitterness for an English brown. There is some kind of very faint tartness going on there also. Maybe some hop flavor? Slightly grainy, but a pleasant enough beer. Aftertaste is a little astringent.

Mouthfeel is somewhat sweet and creamy, soft carbonation, with positively a bitter bite at the back of the throat. I like it, but maybe not to style. Finish is semi-dry.

This is a good beer, and I would recommend it, but as an English style brown ale, it's might be out of style. At 5.7% ABV, this would be fun to drink for a few hours.

 1,092 characters

Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale from Smuttynose Brewing Company
3.9 out of 5 based on 2,667 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.