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 farHillsBrewer
3.88/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A reddish-brown ale with a touch of chill haze, a thin tan head that didn't last and not much in the way of lace.
The flavor is very enjoyable with sweet rich malt notes of chocolate, caramel, licorice and grain.
The hops are subdued to the malt but provided good balance. This beer is tasty and I'd like to drink a few more.

 329 characters

Photo of blitheringidiot
3.63/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Clear russet orangey hued bottle pour.

Woody malts.

First swigs: Ginger bread. Baker’s chocolate, smokey malts and plenty of pamcake malts.

Easy soft carbonated brew.

Last swigs: Great if you enjoy the style. Drinkable. Better on draught? A review from penned notes. Bottle from SkinnyElvis.

Beer is good. Happy beering.

 337 characters

Photo of 99bottles
4.14/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Looks awfully nice. Deep ruby, brownish color, head of 1/2" that fades to persistent lace. Tons of suspended sediment that looks like carbonation. Odd.

Smell: Nice and full malt, lots of old oak and wet leaves.

Taste: This is a great ale. Tastes strongly of wood; mostly oak and some hickory. Wet paper, wet leaves (oxidation?) Still, a very nice onslaught of hops at the finish to leave the mouth bitter and slightly piney. I like this more and more as time wears on. I think I'm wrong with the oxidation comment. I think it's just the inital flavos breaking in. I stand corrected. This is a very tasty beer. This rules!

Mouthfeel: Right where it has to be; just like an Ol' Brown Dawg.

Drinkability: I really like this ale, even though it bursts past the stylistic restraints that most brown ales stay within. Good gets.

 846 characters

Photo of putnam
4.47/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I think calling your brown ale "old brown dog ale" sounds cliche. But such usage among American craft brew brands must be read as a device to liberate the beer from style conventions. It's not "brown ale" man. It's an "old dog". Lighten up! Only liberated beer can taste this great.

The aromas are bold and rustic. They render images of vanilla, nuts, nutshells, sweet herbs, maple, woodshop and anise -- very rich, sweet and spiked with charred sweet spices. On the palate, however, it is dry and forthright. Certain tannins outlie juicy fruit flavors of nectarine. Secondary flavors include fig and and brown, tart coffee. The gas is very responsive when squeezed, but never revealed in the individual prickle. It gives the beer a broad, velvety sensation while lending agility to the flavors. For the hops-fixated, there is a breath of the piney woods at night in here, but this is the least dominant ingredient, behind malt and yeast.

This brewery has an impressive record.

 983 characters

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

This brown ale doesn't appear to be so brown. It's definately a little light for the style, but hey, that's ok, I'm all for innovation. Nice head. Smells nutty and roasty. Taste is great, nice and complex for a brown ale. There is this taste in several of the Smuttynose beers that I can't quite put my finger on (if you have any insight, beermail me) but my best explanation is a non-hop piney woodsyness, with some raisons or something. Very interesting and also seems to be only in Smuttynose beers. Perhaps a bit thin on the mouthfeel for a brown ale, but very easy to drink. Not your standard brown ale, and that's a good thing.

 633 characters

Photo of masterbruewer
3.7/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a ruby brown with a thick tan head. Light carbonation, good lacing.

The smell is carmelly and malty. Maybe a little fruity and chocolatey.

The taste starts lightly hoppy and fades into a nice chocolate malt flavor. Very nice.

A nice strong flavored brown ale. almost tastes like a stout.

Mouthfeel is smooth for the flavor behind it.

Very drinkable. Smooth strong ale.

 390 characters

Photo of shapudding
4.32/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice mahogany ruby/amber color, clear with not too much of the frothy, khaki head... it cleared pretty quick and left only a thin ring. Great scents of warm butterscotch, toffee, and caramel malts. Alot of carb going on, a bit much for me, it foams up in the mouth a bit too much for my liking. Tastes of black licorish- more like the black good-n-plenty candies... Roasted malty flavors. Good flavor with a nice and dry finish and dry mouthfeel, it leaves just enough flavor on your tongue and just a bit of the anise flavor. Easy drinker, smooth and medium bodied, just goes down very nice!

 592 characters

Photo of kegerator
4.33/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Excellent offering from Smuttynose.
Poured a medium brown, amberish color with a nice head that left good lacing. Smell was Caramel and Sugars, big malt bomb, slight nut in the background
taste was about the same, it reminded me of optimator but thinner in the mouth as this was more medium to medium/thin in body.
very drinkable and very tasty brew.

 353 characters

Photo of mzwolinski
3.47/5  rDev -11%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I found this to be a rather uninspired beer, right from the start. For starters, it's amber in color, defintely not brown, and the head is thin and spotty at best. The aroma was slightly roasty, but mostly malty sweet, and a bit sickly at that. The taste is inoffensive, but unexciting as well. Sweet malt with a bit of roastiness and hop bitterness at the finish, but without any real depth or character. Thinnish in the mouth, and sweet in the finish. Not a bad beer, but not one I would go back to by any means.

 514 characters

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

The beer arrived on the bar a clear amber brown with a low tan long lasting head which laced the glass.

The aroma was chocolate, caramel, and coffee.

The flavor was choclate with slight caramel and coffee present.

The finish was dry with chocolate and coffee lasting into the aftertaste. The body was medium to medium full.

Pint at CAH Innsbrook.

 358 characters

Photo of NEhophead
3.81/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Creamy 1" off white head that holds due to visible carbonation. Decent cascading lace throughout the glass. A dark red color with a tone of light brown.

Mild roasted-malt sweetness. A few minor caramel aromas as well, but nothing really overpowering.

Sweet malt flavors along with a faint caramel and nuttiness. A lot of carbonation up front that IMO takes away a bit from the ale's natural flavors. It finishes a bit dry and slices through the bitterness.

A little overly carbonated (this would be a nice treat on cask though). Medium bodied, smooth, and not overly sweet.

Very drinkable and pleasant. A session beer IMO. Nothing great but nothing average about this one either.

 691 characters

Photo of taez555
4.4/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beer poured a ruby/tan body with a white head

The nose was beautiful rich malt. A few hints of soft fruit and caramel as well. Basically though malt.

The taste was medium bodied. Rich slightly burnt malt taste. Caramel, some soft hints of chocolate. A very nice even bitterness that balances well with a very soft earth hop taste. Really the story of this beer though is the malt. Malt, malt, malt. The roasted barley flavor actually almost gives it a slight porter taste. It ends malty with a quick bitterness.

This is really a fantastic session beer. Simple, malty, smooth and very balanced. I think I’ll have another one.

 639 characters

Photo of BadBadger
3.06/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This "Brown Ale" pours a rather nice dark amber color. There is a moderate foamy head which lasts for a bit. The smell is rather nondescript. The taste starts out pleasant enough, a fine balance of sweet malts and hops. But there is a disgusting metallic residue on the tongue. I can not recommend this ale, with so many others out there to be enjoyed.

 352 characters

Photo of merlin48
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, brown, "iced tea" body with a skimpy beige head that disappears in seconds. Minimal patch lace is left behind.

Aroma is subdued, with notes of toffee malt and floral hops.

Mouthfeel has spritzy carbonation and a mild hops zing on the tongue.

Taste begins with chocolate malt and chicory nuttiness. Hops are adequate to bitter this out, but difficult to pinpoint any particular hops flavor(or aroma). Finish is slightly bitter, and seems a bit thin.

I'm just not a fan of American brown ales. I find them boring, and without many redeeming qualities. This one, like most others, is very similar to the modern Pete's Wicked Ale, and there's just not much going on here.

 695 characters

Photo of psyco1
3.53/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It poured a translucent deep brown with a thin light tan head that dissipated quickly.

The smell was first of a nuttyness, then some sourness and a bit of carmel.

The sourness came through first, then carmel/malt and at last, a bit of hops with the sourness throughout until I got about halfway through, then I stopped noticing it.

I think it could be a decent session beer, especially if the alternatives were macros.

 427 characters

Photo of longpondbeerman
3.62/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brown ale poirs a deep but dull beer bottle brown (how appropriate), and there is very little by way of appreciable head. The aroma is of nutty, almond malts, with slight tartness lurking somewhere in the background. The taste is pretty much in concord with the way this ale smells. The tartness is a touch more evident, but the brew is dominated by the smoky malts. The mouthfeel has a medium body supported by light carbonation, and the finish is almost sweet.

 467 characters

Photo of mattcrill
3.72/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass with a nice head that quickly disappearted. Deep amber red in color. Smells great! Taste was a little too light for me as a stand-alone beer. However, I really started enjoying it after I paired it with my black angus steak off the grill! It's a nice beer to have throughout the meal. A good representation of a brown ale. Good to have on hand but just not my "perfect" beer.

 400 characters

Photo of ppoitras
4.24/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12ozer, purchased at Luke's Super Liquors, Yarmouth, MA, on Cape Cod, for enjoying at the hotel on the beach.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, 1/4" latte-hued head formed, which quickly faded to a layer of foam. Laced well. Brew is a reddish amber hue and has a heavy malty aroma with undertones of hops, maybe a bit of smoke, and that slight underlying alcohol essence. Taste is well balanced with malt and hops, but the malt is victorious with more pronounced flavors, like the slight coffee and smoke. Mouthfeel excellent, drinkability not a problem, keeps you wanting more, for sure.

 593 characters

Photo of Billolick
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Ginger man NYC, Pours light brown and clear. Minimal off white head, heavy lacing. Malty nose. Malt carries the day, as it should in this style. Crisp carbonation in the nose. Mellow brown ale, delicate flavors. Smooth and satisfying. Decent stuff. Quaffer to be enjoyed with a summer BBQ

 302 characters

Photo of tar
4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Part of a sampler 12 pack brought to me as a gift by my roommates. Pours a semi-opaque, medium brown with red highlights when held in light. The half inch thick, white head, slowly diminishes and lingers as a thin layer of bubbles which is slowly fed by rising carbonation. Smells sweet and malty--primarily of caramel. Very smooth, medium bodied with a very good taste. Malt flavors, and again especially that of caramel dominate. Some bitterness is present in a very nice finish. A very nice beer overall.

 507 characters

Photo of david23
4.77/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a case where a brew looks as good as it tastes. Pours a deep brown with a creamy tannish head that lingers.Aroma of rich malt and grains. Almost reminds me of walking through the grainery in my old home town. This is all about the best use of grain to produce a great tasting, smooth drinking Brown that leaves you wanting more.Unfortunately, I just drank the last bottle and the stores are close. There's always tommorrow. Surpassed some of my old favorites in choice.

 477 characters

Photo of bewley
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

"Olive" appears to be sitting on a leopard skin shawl draped across a wooden barrel. Curious that.

I like this beer.

It pours a thick creamy/white head that dissipates quickly. Medium carbonation. Nice hoppy-burnt-caramel flavor.

This is an easy brew to drink at any time: with a spicy curry, with cookies, with cornflakes.

We tried this on tap and in the bottle and enjoyed both.

Worth a try by all means.

 424 characters

Photo of TerryW
4.27/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cloudy medium brown, no real head to speak of, only spotty lace early on. Points for good colour.

Sweet mild malt and caramel aroma. Quite pleasant.

Great use of malt in this beer. Gentley sweet, full of grain and nuts. Real nice on the palate.

An interesting beer to drink. Very enjoyable. Reminds me of Dead Guy Ale by Rogue. Worth a try.

 349 characters

Photo of oberon
4.07/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a medium brown with amber highlights thru out not much head but that wasnt expected or hoped for.Aroma was chocolat and more chocolate with an underlying nuttiness to it,very appetizing.Taste is to me of malted chocolate balls with a fruitiness in the finish.A true to form brown ale appetizing and very easy to drink,well done.

 334 characters

Photo of MuddyFeet
3.03/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer was tough to pour without creating a lot of head. The color is that of stained wood and there is a little lace around the glass. The beer tastes like the smell of woodstain unfortunately. It's not bad, but comes off as tasting a bit acidic. The beer was bottled recently, but I think it may be better to either drink off the tap or let it age a while. It still tastes kind of green to me.

 398 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.