Really Old Brown Dog Ale
Smuttynose Brewing Company

Really Old Brown Dog AleReally Old Brown Dog Ale
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Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
Old Ale
Ranked #54
ABV:
11.1%
Score:
88
Ranked #11,894
Avg:
3.93 | pDev: 10.43%
Reviews:
403
Ratings:
911
From:
Smuttynose Brewing Company
 
New Hampshire, United States
Avail:
Year-round
Wants
  61
Gots
  139
SCORE
88
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%
Reviews: 403 | Ratings: 911 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by EricDu:
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EricDu from New Hampshire

3/5  rDev -23.7%

Jun 13, 2013
More User Reviews:
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scotorum from Massachusetts

4.19/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

"Bottle Conditioned Dec. 2014"

Poured from the 12 oz., bottle into a Tree House tulip.

a: Clear dark ruby with a finger thick offwhite head which receded to even surface foam and dense lacing.

s: Ripe dark fruit, caramel malt and alcohol.

t: Light dose of caramel malt forward with lots of mild dark fruit undertones. Light hop bite, sweet to dry finish. Although it seemed to show up in the aroma, the high ABV is very well covered.

m: Medium, ok body, plenty of carbonation tingle.

o: A really pleasing version of Old Brown Dog, dangerously easy to drink given the very high ABV. Probably worth cellaring some for six months to a year.

Mar 16, 2015
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BuckeyeNation from Iowa

3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First Edition. Bottled in 2007. Dark apricot infused with maraschino cherry juice. Several streams of bubbles slowly blip their way up to a richly creamy crown that is equal parts pastel orange, pale gold and ivory. A wide swath of thick lace tops things off in fine fashion.

The aroma is low on power and isn't as complex as it could be. Truthfully, the beer smells more like a garden-variety brown ale than an old ale. Each sniff delivers toasted nuts and a light sprinkling of cocoa powder, nothing more. Note: warming helps quite a bit.

Really Old Brown Dog makes something of a comeback on the palate... as I thought it might. It still tastes like an Imperial brown ale rather than the stated style. In the final reckoning, the only thing that matter is whether it's good beer or not. It is.

The Brewer's Notes on the Smuttynose website got it exactly right. The flavor spotlight is occupied by a baked chocolatiness, along the lines of chocolate cookies or chocolate cake. Ripe figs, well-toasted pecans, golden brown sugar, an indeterminate spiciness and a hint of estery alcohol contribute as well.

SROBDA is good beer because the brewers didn't make it a malt bomb. An impressive 40 IBUs is just what this hophead was looking for. Liberty (bittering) and Crystal (aroma and flavor) provide more bitterness than flavor. Their fruity-herbal character is a welcome addition to an ale that is becoming sneakily complex as it warms.

The mouthfeel edges into 'lush' territory, without quite getting there. That doesn't mean that it's less than immensely enjoyable. In fact, I'm tempted to go with the next highest score... but can't quite justify it in the end.

Smuttynose has done a good job with this inaugural version. According to the Brewer's Notes, they aren't 100% happy with how it turned out, but I think it turned out pretty well. If brown ales are your favorite style, then Really Old Brown Dog is worth an enthusiastic Two Paw's Up.

Apr 03, 2008
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Jonada from New Jersey

4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22oz bomber with no freshness date. 10.4% ABV. Served in a snifter.

Appearance: Pours a dark amber color with 1 finger of a light tan head head that dissipates to a thin ring. Body is dark and hazy but not opaque.

Smell: Booze soaked dark fruits, raisins, dates, vanilla, sweet malt

Taste: Dark fruit, toffee, and vanilla, with some milk chocolate and roasted malt character that wasn't present in the aroma. Slight earthiness in the finish helps balance the malt sweetness a bit.

Mouthfeel: Medium/full bodied, somewhat sticky mouthfeel. Medium levels of fine carbonation. Booze is definitely there, but the beer isn't hot by any means. Goes down smooth.

Overall: Really impressed with this one. Super flavorful and complex and at $6-7 per bottle, a really good value, which seems to be becoming more and more rare these days. Highly recommend picking up a couple bottles to drink and throw in the cellar.

Jan 25, 2014
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mvanaskie13 from Pennsylvania

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

this is the 2015 version, clocking in at 11%.

Poured into a small chalice: color is amber, head is off white, not to thick, but some light lacing on the glass.

Smell is subdued at first pour but with some warming comes through as very pleasant and enticing, light fruit, mostly toffee and hints of caramel, extremely enticing.

Taste is also starts lighter than many 11% abv beers, some subdued toffee and light raisin, touches of nuttiness and some toasted malts, but the finish is so smooth, the low bitterness and clean malt fermentation lead to an incredibly tasty old ale, this is delicious

Mouthfeel is smooth from the taste, nice low carbonation leads to sweeter presence, but as you go the alcohol dryness comes through and leaves a dry presence on the tongue.

Overall, a great beer and way to easy to drink for 11%.

Dec 21, 2015
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Flounder57 from Massachusetts

4.02/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle was poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance: A one finger off white head was poured that reduced to a thin layer. It is a amber copper color with good clarity and vision of bubbles coming up through the glass. Spotty lacing down the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: Caramel, toffee, Toasted, biscuity, bready, and some dark fruits.

Taste: Definitely a malt forward brew bring that it is like a double brown ale. Caramel and toffee sweetness with toasted, biscuity, and bready malts in there too. Nice warm booze, some dark fruits, and slight bitterness too.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, medium to full bodied, nice warm alcohol, low to medium carbonation, and slight bitterness in the rear.

Overall: Pretty nice brew. Definitely grabbing some bottles to store in the cellar.

Mar 15, 2015
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metter98 from New York

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

A: The beer is crystal clear reddish amber in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. Haze begins to appear when you get towards the bottom of the bottle. It poured with a finger high beige head that took a long time to die down, consistently leaving a thin layer of bubbles coating the surface and running down the sides of the glass.
S: Light aromas of sweet caramel malts are present in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the taste is a little sweet and has flavors of caramel along with notes of brown sugar, dark fruits and vanilla plus some faint hints of alcohol.
M: It feels a bit more than medium-bodied, rather malty and a little sticky on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. There is some warming from the alcohol towards the finish.
O: This beer reminded me a lot of a "lite" version of a barleywine (if there is such a thing) or a hybrid between a barleywine and a brown ale. It's rather drinkable considering its strength but has enough complexity in the taste to be a beer that can be enjoyed if sipped slowly.

Note: 2012 vintage

Dec 28, 2012
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argock from Virginia

3.91/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22 oz brown bottle into a clear glass snifter. Bottle conditioned in 2012 notched on label. Purchased at Market Street Wineshop (Charlottesville, VA).

A: Semi-opaque dark amber with 1-finger of foamy beige head with decent retention but no lacing.

S: Very sweet, buttery caramel-toffee malt aromas dominate with minimal herbal hopping. Yeast esters are bready and a little fruity but subdued. Alcohol singes the nostrils a touch.

T: Very sweet sipper here, drinks like a big beer with toffee, burnt caramel, date, and a bit of rum raisin. Nuty as well -- nice malt complexity overall. Hopping is only bitterness to counter the intense maltiness. Alcohol presence is mild with a bit of warming on the palate and throat. Yeast character is again bready-doughy but not overwhelming. Light bitterness.

M: Very smooth, full-bodied, light carbonation overall.

O: I enjoyed this beer but about 12 oz is enough -- big body and intensely malty with a nice use of alcohol presence in the background to remind you this is a big beer.

Jun 05, 2014
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spinrsx from Canada (ON)

3.77/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2012 edition

Jul 24, 2015
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BarrelAgedBrian from Massachusetts

3.5/5  rDev -10.9%

Apr 13, 2013
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DefenCorps from Oregon

3.51/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I'm making a sincere attempt at drinking down my cellar, and I'm now confronted with a variety of beers that I not only have no idea why I cellared, but also not worthy enough to take to a tasting. Tonight - the first batch of Really Old Brown Dog, bottle conditioned in 2007. RIP, Olive! Smuttynose were my introduction to craft beers with my first wow beer (Portsmouth Lager) and the first DIPA I remember being blown away by (Big A). Cheers, guys, and thank you!

With a light haze, this beer is a deep crimson red witha dense, off-white head with exceptional retention and lacing. Really, is this a 10% old ale?
The nose is decent. Age is evident in the form of a light staleness to the malt character, reminding me of stale bread. However, this hasn't deteriorated significantly, the light plum notes are gently balanced by a little caramel, a moderate nut character and some old leather. Understated for sure, but appealing too. Mildly honey like, reminding me of the jar of wildflower honey I have in my pantry. Solid stuff

The palate is solid. For its age, it's still surprisingly hoppy with a moderate earthy, leafy character. The hop character, coupled with a light to moderate grainy bitterness forms a great backbone upon which the malt character is allowed to shine. Mildly fruity for sure with some prunes, there's also a solid leather character. The flavors and nose make me thing of an amped up nut brown ale. While there's a touch of stale oxidation present, thankfully it isn't too much. Slightly sweet on the finish with a blend of honey and bitterness, this beer is full in body with moderate carbonation. Alcohol is very well hidden too. Drinking an entire 22oz is going to be a bit of a chore, but I've got all night. Unfortunately, though, I never got around to finishing it. Oh well, I still did enjoy the beer.

May 12, 2010
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beancounter from New Hampshire

3.37/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Rating the 2010 batch that was bottled in a bomber.

A-Brown color with little head, slow steady carbonation.

S-Carmel and fruity

T-Similar taste to the smell, although a bit more complex. I can definitely taste the alcohol, which for this beer feels rough going down.

M-Medium thickness

D-This beer is a bit harsh, and as others have said, it would probably benefit from aging.

Sep 19, 2010
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jp62099 from South Carolina

3.78/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 ROBD, pours a dark amber, tannish head with good retention.
Smell is caramel and some burnt sugar, also some nuttiness. Nothing that really stands out, kind of exactly like a normal brown.
Taste is caramelized malts, some chocolate and roasted nuts, with a slight hop finish.
Medium body, low carbonation.
I didn't get much out of this, I guess I expected a little more punch, but I'm not well versed in English Strong Ales so I will need to revisit the style.

Jan 24, 2009
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shand from Florida

4.16/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Really Old Brown Dog ale is a really tasty old ale loaded with dark fruit, deep and toasty malt flavors, and a solid booze kick. It's rather drinkable for the high ABV, and provide quite a bargain. Overall, Really Old Brown Dog is one of the best values on the market. Five bucks for a tasty bomber is really hard to beat. There's real depth of flavor here - it almost tastes like a BBA beer with the rich malt and boozy tones.

Jun 21, 2013
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Lucoli from New York

4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jul 19, 2016
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HombreWing from Pennsylvania

4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reading the side of the bottle I expected more. Old Ale if you will.
Couldn't find stats on their site....good ol' BA to the rescue.
Beautiful garnet color and bright. Lots of bubbles to sustain a nice head after the pour into Imp Pint glass.

Biscuity on the nose, some spicy hops.

Flavor....this is one those beers that tries to blend the nuttier grains with spicy hops and it can be a train wreck. After a couple mouthfuls and some "breathing" in the glass it starts to come together. I found it to be more of a Imp Red or Stock Ale.

I certainly would be happy to have it again.

Sep 17, 2007
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JackieTH from Minnesota

4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Hazy dark tea-colored beer with a creamy cap of foam. Smells of rich caramel, butterscotch, chocolate and biscuit. Tastes of luscious caramel and malt, mild chocolates, oats, raisins, dried plums, lightly sweet but mostly dry, has creamy velvety mothfeel and medium to heavy bodied. I didn't notice the 11.1% ABV at all. Excellent beer, smooth, rich and creamy. Very enjoyable.

Apr 20, 2015
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sgregory from Connecticut

3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nov 05, 2015
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sethmeister from New Hampshire

4.38/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber bottle conditioned in 2007. I've kept this in the cellar since I picked it up over a year ago

Pours a deep caramel brown with an immense fluffy light tan head. Soft fluffy streaks of lace stick to the glass.

Scent is warm sweet caramel, soft cocoa, and a hint of alcohol esters.

Taste is rich caramel and chocolate malts. Brown sugar. Soft bittersweet cocoa. Nuts and toasty notes. Sticky sweetness on the lips and a slight alcohol warming at the finish.

Mouth is soft, creamy and full; even a bit chewy.

Drinkability is excellent - the bomber practically drank itself.

Much softer and smoother than I remember it fresh. Seems to have taken on a lovely English nut brown ale persona. Quite delicious. Wish I'd cellared more of this!

Oct 28, 2008
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Chickenhawk9932 from Pennsylvania

3.41/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep mahogany with ruby red highlights and a frothy light brown head, really good retention and some decent lacing.

In the nose is malt, grass, and a hint of toffee.

Creamy malt with a slight taste of toffee, followed by a sharp alcohol bite. It is smooth and not as harsh as Curmudgeon, but then it also lacks the flavor. Overall it falls a little flat.

Jun 16, 2012
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-NESTO- from New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev +8.1%

Jan 02, 2014
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johnnnniee from New Hampshire

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

2008 Vintage, I can't believe it took me so long to post a review of this one.
Pours a crystal clear brown color with ruby highlights when held to light. Thin head dissipates quickly. Smells of Brown Sugar, cherries, dark dried fruits, vanilla, some oak or smoke too. Very malty nose very little if any hop presence. Taste is sweet with dark fruits, toffee, sugar, a touch of alcohol and a warming finish. Mouthfeel is creamy/syrupy, body is medium, carbonation is ample. Another great brew from an underrated brewery.

Jan 02, 2009
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user785335 from Florida

3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

Sep 10, 2013
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badgustav from New Hampshire

4.18/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

While the aroma is a bit off, the fact that is smells a bit of wet dog kind of adds to the allure of this beer, based on its name. The color is lovely, and the taste is malty and mellow. I'm curious to see what age does to it.

Mar 01, 2015
Photo of gdub
gdub from Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +1.8%

May 16, 2013
Really Old Brown Dog Ale from Smuttynose Brewing Company
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 911 ratings