Really Old Brown Dog Ale
Smuttynose Brewing Company

Really Old Brown Dog AleReally Old Brown Dog Ale
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English Old Ale
Ranked #48
Ranked #10,146
3.93 | pDev: 10.43%
Smuttynose Brewing Company
New Hampshire, United States
Very Good
Really Old Brown Dog AleReally Old Brown Dog Ale
Notes: Olive, iconic mascot & spirit guide of our brewery, first appeared on our Old Brown Dog label in 1994 & returned, thirteen years later, to pose for our Really Old Brown Dog, a luscious, malt-rich, full bodied “old ale” featuring deep notes of complex fruit. Much like our beloved Olive, this beer will mellow & age gracefully.

Formerly part of the Big Beer Series.

20 IBU

2007 - 7.0%
2008 - 9.3%
2010 - 10.9%
2012 - 10.1$
2014 - 11.1%
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Reviews: 402 | Ratings: 910
Photo of LarryV
4.28/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled in June 2019. Pours a dark amber color with a minimal, short lived head. Aroma of brown sugar, dark fruits, a hint of black pepper. Label on the bottle reflects the new direction that Smuttynose has taken in eliminating all the classic SN labels, however Olive the dog is still there. Taste is big malt flavor, raisins, figs, a hint of coffee. A bit sweet and a bit hot- ABV is not listed on the bottle. I can see where this would really benefit from some additional aging, but it is delicious regardless.

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Photo of Djoneil
3.84/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Draught 8oz snifter at the Brass Tap here in Baltimore. NOT sure where the line is between Belgian dubbel/dark, Scotch/wee heavy, and English Old Ale, but willing to keep drinking until I can figure out.

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

Draught @ Hayseed: This one pours a dark brown color with a thin tan head. Minimal lacing. Good nose. Caramel malts, dark fruits, a hint of vanilla. The taste is very good also. Malty, plums, vanilla, other dark fruits.

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Photo of Smakawhat
3.82/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass.

Khaki colored, and creamy rich filling head. Two fingers tall with a yellow vanilla ice cream like top, sitting on a opaque copper brown body. Lathery top with a hint of reddish bottom.

Real nice notes of toffee and cream on the nose. Sticky caramel and lots of vanilla touches, for a real state fair candy vendor like smell. Slight touches of clove and herbal spice round out for a good additional character. Very nice.

Palate is a but unexpected. Very wet bodied, and touches with a large amount of hop quality. Herbal to dried out pine needle like flavor, with a particularly dry tannic tea bitterness on the finish. More of the taffy and caramel action is quite muted but the flavor does manage to perk up once in awhile. Lots of tea leaf leftover flavors.

For an old ale, this comes out more of an large hopped tea brew. Good, but misses a lot of the caramel and sweet richness of the style.

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Photo of brureview
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look: cloudy chocolate color with a 4F head in a Mikasa tulip with a 4F head.
Good head retention.

Excellent aroma:Chocolate, dates, vanilla.

MF: very malty for the style. Smooth drinking and deceiving, especially at 11%. Most old ales are lighter bodied.

Taste- good but not as complex and pronounced as the aroma.: chocolate, date, prune.

Finish: not bitter, and smooth for the style.

Overall: excellent approach to an Old Ale. Smooth, far less bitterness than most Old Ales. Lots of flavor.

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Photo of VAFolks14
4.34/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This is one of my personal favorites. Pours a very beautiful dark brown, true to the style of beer. Sweet malts are evident, especially late in the flavor profile. This beer isn't overly sweet but the ABV is hidden very well within the malty profile. The beer has a nice smooth and clean feel and feels very refreshing through the end. I highly recommend this beer to all dark ale drinking fans.

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Photo of ChickenHeadCandy
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a 12oz bottle at fridge temp into a chilled pint glass. Bottle date 4/27/17.

Appearance: Dark hazy honey brown, no floaties, with a small creamy head leaving a little light lacing.

Smell: Bananas, raisins, toffee, caramel, brown sugar, rum. Very pleasant and sweet.

Taste: Banana bread, prunes, fruitcake (in a good way...), caramel and molasses. Light bitterness. Became sweeter as it warmed, nuttier, slightly floral, and a little more bitterness came through at the finish. Taste was enjoyable straight from the fridge to the last hour-warmed sip. The taste seems just right, so I don't know if cellaring would really improve it much.

Mouthfeel: Medium soft silky body, a little sweet but not cloying at all, medium finish towards the dry. Carbonation is just right. Expected some heat due to the 9.8% ABV but experienced none.

Overall: A very enjoyable old brown brew. Not as complex a taste profile or malt-sweet-fruity-bold as other Old Ales I've tried. But that's not to say it lacks any character by any means. And sometimes it's better to not be beat over the head with what a brew is supposed to be. Smuttynose reliably delivers delicious brews, and Really Old Brown Dog doesn't disappoint. The ABV is hidden very well, which is a good thing... or could be a bad thing... because this really old dog wants you to keep coming back and give it some more attention, but she'll bite ya if you don't respect,

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Photo of jkblr
3.97/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottled March 2015 poured into a Duvel glass at fridge temp 11.1% ABV (per bottle). The beer pours a soft medium brown with tiny bits of snow globe floaties and quickly settling khaki head. The head recedes to a ring and thin cap with little lacing. The aroma is brown sugar, dark dried fruit, burnt sugar and caramel rolls. Taste is semisweet caramel and a bit of cardboard. Mouthfeel is thin to medium bodied, lowly carbonated, a little chalky and mostly dry in the finish. There is no real bitterness but it's not overly sweet either. Overall, very good, but is better fresh (I stored this last bottle of the 4 pack at 60-70 degrees for over 2 years). It would probably be fine aged at cellar temp or below. Giving some extra points as I know this was better fresher.

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Photo of takurmudgeon
2.04/5  rDev -48.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

After imbibing this ale ,I believe smuttynose has a decomposing dog being aged along with the ale. I hate to talk poorly about a great brewer , but something is wrong with this ale or there is an actual decomposing dog in the brew. This is bad, this is gross. It tastes the way I imagine an old brown dog in the south would taste if it were put in an alcohol extract. I love smuttynose but this is not lovely at all.

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Photo of Czequershuus
4.76/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This beer pours a deep ruby brown with smallish head. The aroma is wonderfully rich, with notes of coke, raisin, molasses, caramel, burnt sugar, walnuts, figs, cinnamon, it has many of those Christmas spice and cookie smells, wrapped up in a lovely sweet package. The flavor is equally as lavish - cinnamon, molasses, caramel, nutmeg, banana bread, date, raisin, fig, golden raisin, prune, nutmeg, burnt sugar, praline - the list goes on. The mouthfeel is rich, but not heavy, almost medium bodied but with a stickier finish, and soft carbonation. Overall this is an absolutely sensational beer. It is rich without being cloying, complex, and juts a joy to drink. Why don't more breweries make old ales?

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Photo of Lone_Freighter
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was poured into a pint glass and a snifter. The head lasted longer in the snifter than the pint glass but that was the only difference. The rest of the appearance had a nice looking hazy amber to brown to even some light black edges. There was about a finger’s worth of white foaminess coating the top of the beer. The lacing was somewhat speckled and had a glossy foaminess encircling both glasses. The smell took some light milk chocolate and roasted to a nice aromatic vanilla nuttiness. I believe the bottle I had was only two weeks old as I could definitely smell the alcohol on it. The taste took all of those previously mentioned smells along with the alcohol and added a nice light oakiness invading my taste buds. On the palate, this one sat about a medium on the body with more of a sipping sort of quality to it. This one is exactly sessionable as one might think. Overall, though I had this super fresh when I had it, I wouldn’t mind getting another one some day to age.

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Photo of chinchill
3.96/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle served in a Samuel Adams glass enjoyed 26 May 2017. March 2015 bottling date.
Pours slightly hazy, dark mahogany color and a well sized bone-colored head that has good retention. A full coat of foam is left on the glass with each tip even long after the pour.
Full, very smooth body with some alcohol warming and surprisingly lively carbonation.
Lightly sweet with alcohol esters, toffee and hints of barrel aging, brown sugar, dried fruits, brown bread, white pepper, mild coffee and faint smoke. The aroma has more pronounced dried fruit and fruitcake notes.

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Photo of VoxRationis
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

No production date evident.
Decanted into a tulip pint glass.
A: Hazy copper with 1/4 in eggshell white head which dissipates quickly.
S: Whisky evident immediately, slowly evolving to medium malts, milk chocolate, toffee.
T: Again, whiskey very strong early, but dry medium malts, kiwi, sugar cane, evident later.
M: Full bodied, with persistent effervescence and a tingling sensation on the tongue throughout.
O: Enjoyable. Not an afficiado of liquor cask aging, but definitely worth a try. Definitely reminiscent of similar Scottish cask aged brews, but milder and thus more enjoyable

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Photo of woodychandler
3.63/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I really dig the label, with an aging Olive abiding on what may be her favorite chair. It makes me wistful in some indescribable way. I am getting old also & yet I am as careless as ever. Oh well, time for a beer.

From the bottle: "Make mine a Smutty!"; "Brewing fine beers in NH since 1994"; "Come visit our brewery and restaurant at Towle Farm in Hampton, NH. And check us out online at for events, releases and great Smerchandise in our e-store. As always, thanks for saying: Make mine a Smutty!"

I have gotten into what I consider a more appropriate habit of Pop!ping the cap, conducting a slow, gentle pour & then doing a vigorous in-glass swirl. The results seem a little less harrowing & the clarity is usually very good. This time, I got just under two fingers of foamy, light-tan head that quickly fell away to wisps, but left sticky lacing in its wake. Color was Coppery-Brown (SRM = > 17, < 22) with NE-quality clarity. Nose smelled like dark bread, either B&M Brown Bread or a loaf of Rye bread, with a bit of maple syrup thrown in for good measure. Mmmm. Mouthfeel was a bit thin, not watery, but especially for the style. The taste was mostly of dried, dark fruits such as raisins, prunes & dates with a light leatheriness, but it lacked Ooomph. I almost want to say that it needed be aged longer, but I am unable to read the smeared bottling date. I will promise you this - should I see another bottle, I will put the year of purchase on it myself & place it in my cellar. Finish was in that Twilight Zone of semi-sweet to semi-dry. On the one hand, the leatheriness gave it a dryness, but the lack of full aging allowed the malt to retain a perceptibly sweet presence. Hmmm. I am kind of disappointed. Again, I think that this is a beer that will really benefit from proper aging.

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Photo of BRiddoch
3.73/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams glass. Pours a dark red with minimal head. Malty and smoky smell with a taste that is smooth and earthy. Not a bad beer but I think I expected more.

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Photo of jzeilinger
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled: May 2015

A - Dark chestnut burgundy color riddled with suspended floaties, and a moderately thin caramel cream colored lacing ring.

S - Nutty toasted caramel malt, figs, prunes, raisins. For such a big beer, very little alcohol is showing up.

T - Some earthiness, toasted caramel malt, figs, prunes, dates, raisins, some alcohol presence, and mild pine bitterness showing up on the back end.

M - Rich and full bodied, velvety, very little carbonation, lip smacking sticky, and alcohol warming on the way down.

O - Big and malt forward.

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Photo of bobv
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fairly vigorous pour yields a big head that diminishes to a little ring quickly with very little lacing. Nose is a little booze with even less brown sugar and dark fruit with fruit cake as it warms. Taste is where it's at, with a nice sweet blend of all the aromas on the palate. Feel is just about right for an Old Ale. Overall, this is probably the sweetest Old Ale I've had. I have no idea why it took me so long to try this!?!?! Oh, this is not boozy at all. Bottled 2016 and the bottle I have is smudged so I can't make out the ABV.

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Photo of CTHomer
3.62/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: cloudy; deep amber in color; 1+ finger khaki head that receded to a thin cap; OK lacing;

S: cinnamon, nutmeg, dark fruit;

T: earthy for a moment, then follows the nose; mild bitterness on the finish;

M: medium bodied; moderate carbonation; moderately dry finish; very smooth for 11.1% ABV;

O: as smooth as this is, I'm not sure it's going to change much as it ages, but I've got a couple bottles set aside to test that - see you in a year;

Update on 1/12/18 - not much is different. The cinnamon character is faded.

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Photo of Ciocanelu
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Quite murky brown color with beige head. Aroma has toasted malt, brown sugar and some booze soaked dried fruits. Taste starts sweet and sugary with some raisins and other dried fruits. Towards the finish it gets bitter with toasted notes and burnt sugar. Medium body and carbonation. Overall it's quite tasty but a bit boozy and unbalanced.

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Photo of tone77
3.57/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a dark chestnut/amber color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of dark fruits, some spices. Taste is dark fruits, alcohol, malts, some oak, hints of spice, more alcohol. Feels medium/full bodied in the mouth and overall is a somewhat boozy but solid beer.

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Photo of papposilenus
3.73/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From the 12oz bottle, 'best by' date rubbed off. Served in a cervoise.

Pours a clouded maple colour with a scant finger of rocky head which dies back to a decent cap of foam and some gobby lacing.

Smells of brown sugar, sweet, flowery herbs, currants. Sweet, nutty and boozy.

Taste is brown sugar and rum, roasted malts, porridge, apples and prunes. Ends with the merest hint of bittering hops and then some syrupy booze in the sinuses.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and a little sticky-syrupy, partially offset by abundant, fine, fizzy carbonation.

Overall, a decent enough beer which, at better than 11% abv, certainly gets the job done.

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Photo of edward_boumil
4.04/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L: Amber/brown in color, little to no head
S: Somewhat weak aroma. Can smell alcohol and a little dark fruit but that's about extent of it.
T: Phenomenal. Tons of raisin and fig, sweet molasses, slightly nutty. Kind of reminds me of quad or doppelbock. Finishes with a slight dryness from a floral hop note. Really tasty. Alcohol is definately noticable but its not hot or solventy in any way.
F: Beer has a bit of an alcohol burn but it works in this one. Surprisingly body is pretty light, definately not bogged down by any heaviness. Carbonation is on the higher end which makes the beer more drinkable.
O: Haven't had this in awhile, its better than I remember. Really nice flavors and has a light body. Perfect IMO

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Photo of anteatr23
3.52/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown with a short head. Smells of cinnamon, apple and booze. Taste is intensely malty, figs, dark fruits, whiskey, molasses, caramel. Booze isn't too well hidden at 11%.

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Photo of barczar
3.79/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Aroma is floral, with big caramel and toffee malt notes. Toasted, sweet, nutty.

Flavor is sweet, nutty, toasted, with a slightly offputting, overly earthy bitter finish.

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Photo of Sabtos
3.46/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Brighter red than either a regular brown or an old ale, with a brown tinge.

Prune, fig, and oak aromas are ever present.

Taste is fig, oak, with a slight sting of heat, and some caramel.

Dry, not as frothy as its younger brother.

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Really Old Brown Dog Ale from Smuttynose Brewing Company
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 910 ratings