Smuttynose Really Old Brown Dog Ale | Smuttynose Brewing Company

very good
388 Reviews
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Smuttynose Really Old Brown Dog AleSmuttynose Really Old Brown Dog Ale

Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company
New Hampshire, United States

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.10%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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%

Added by cbl2 on 03-03-2007

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Reviews: 388 | Ratings: 869
Photo of jamie2dope
2.34/5  rDev -40.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

It seemed like a while since they had put this beer out, so I was pleased to see it around again. Apparently the recipe has changed this year. Red/light brown color, with a bit of tan lacing. Nose is really big on wood and alcohol, although a hint of fruit lies underneath it all. Caramel sweetness hits the palate first, followed by some bitter hop, then ends on a very boozy, almost acrid note. Mouthfeel is heavy and in your face. I had a tough time getting through this beer. From what I can remember, the 07 bottling was more preferable. Maybe this one needs some age, as the label suggests.

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Photo of miclormic
2.52/5  rDev -35.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

At first sip I thought this would be a nice brown ale , but, it has some strange taste that I cannot describe,it is a bitter taste that hangs with you after each mouthful. Kinda like biting into a rotten nut , yuck! I had high hopes upon first sip but actually dumped the rest of my pint and the remaining bottle contents down the drain. I have only dumped a few beers down the drain in my life and this is one of them.

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Photo of MattXT
2.8/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.25

2013 bomber poured roughly into a Chimay Chalice.

I was eagerly anticipating this beer as I love Smuttynose's offerings. Visually was as an old ale should be. Nose was malty and sweet, fairly pleasant. The taste is what got me. It lacked any heat for a 10%'er and it tasted like a really bad pumpkin spice or Christmas beer. I'm not sure if I got a bad bottle or what, but I could barely choke down the glass and poured the rest. I'm a fan of the style and thoroughly enjoy Curmudgeon, Peculiar, and the like, but this was really disappointing. I probably
won't revisit unless someone opens a bottle from their stash.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
2.8/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A - Deep amber brew with a small head and isolated flecks of lacing.

S - Clean hop aroma with a faint backing of wood and forest floor.

T - A nutty malt with a bit of chicory and alcohol on the palette. The aftertaste is very nutty with clean woodsy hops finish.

M - Pretty smooth, thin, the finish is astringent with an overall mildly refreshing effect. Alcohol is strong enough to make a bit of a burn.

D - Better than old brown dog, but not by much. I don't think I will have again. Pretty easy to drink though.

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Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
2.92/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This review pains me a little; the Smutty Big Beer series is one of my all time favorites. This one is very, very disappointing, Olive deserves better. Maintains a decent appearance, nicely balanced head, apparently bottle-conditioned, no residue anywhere.

Unbalanced malts dominate, with a slight hop-bitter finish. Not sure where the brewer was trying to go with this one; being that it is bottle condition, and relatively high ABV, I am interested to see how it ages.

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Photo of 2ellas
2.94/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Look is a lighter brown and completely see through.
Smell is slightly malty but not much there at all.
Taste is almost muted, not much there either. The 11% abv is very well hidden.
Thin on the mouthfeel.
The best thing this beer does is hide the high abv. Everything else is just kind of there. I wonder if a year in the cellar would do anything to help?

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Photo of Amalak
2.98/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

At Mugs Ale House on Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn they had a tasting with a cask of this brew. It was a clear brown color with a average foamy head and limited lace. Malt scent with a slight fruity after tone.

The beer is very sweet, actually, quite sour. High alcohol content that comes through. I hear that this is better if you sip and savor, but for a first go, it was alright.

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Photo of lackenhauser
3/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Random, somewhat copper color. White, lacey head on top. Malty, somewhat sharp and lactic aroma. Decent enough malty flavor. Slightly robust with a faint alcohol twinge. Tastes like an amped up version of their regular brown though out of balance. Ok mouthfeel. Rather ho hum overall for me. I was expecting more to tell you the truth. All their big beer series beers I have had have been great-this one lacks a lot.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
3.06/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Smuttynose- Really Old Brown Dog Ale

Appearance- Dark blood red/ brown with a huge frothy head. Thick lacing down the glass.
Smell- Light tinge of alcohol, ceder, oak, & cherry.
Taste- Dried fruits; cherry, raisin blended into a sweet malt. Slight wood; cedar/ oak chip flavor with a hint of boozy alcohol. A pinch of cocoa powder detected in the end.
Mouthfeel- Sweet with a strong alcohol finish. Strong alcohol aftertaste.

Overall- A sweet and strong (alcohol taste) beer. Let this sit in your cellar until it matures. Not bad but seems

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Photo of tempest
3.13/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

On-tap at the Hop Devil in NYC

I think OBD is a great beer, this on the other hand - not so much. It looked like a brown ale, but upon tasting, it turns into a bad brown/barleywine hybrid. And that says a lot if it's only 7% abv. There were some cocoa-like malts trying to blend with sweeter, fruitier malts and it just didn't work. Poor balance here. No good.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
3.16/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Deep, clear chestnut with auburn hues. Light beige head rides down to glass bottom. Lacey fingers wrap around my glass like holding it from the inside out.

Aroma is sugar coated golden raisins, whole wheat bread and a little citrus infused booze. Taste is plums and raisins dunked in semi-malty goodness. Alcoholic warming. Little bit of leafy hop tea fade in back. Smooth, carbonated with reservation, mouthfeel.

Doesn't have that full on malt bath feel or taste that I expect from the style. I'm using head over heels in love with everything from the Smuttynose big beer series, or anything Smutty in general, but this is pretty average. Can't teach an old dog new tricks?

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Photo of BeerZack
3.19/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle is notched for 2013 and stamped "10.4%"
Really dark amber that looks brown unless held to the light. Nice white lacing doesn't last long as it warms. Smell is not that intense until it warms up, then the floral (violet candies) booziness comes out. Somewhat floral and sweet caramel with a hint of hazelnut creme liqueur and maybe some chocolate on the nose. Sweet without being overly cloying because of the burn from the alcohol- the flavor is just kinda sugary and maybe marzipan then the violet-like fusel alcohol flavor comes in and the burn starts to sear all the sweet mess off my tongue.

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Photo of smcolw
3.21/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Excellent head. Clear light brown liquor. Good sticky lace throughout the glass as I finish the beer.

First impressions are distracting--reminds me of beef stew. Afterwards, I smell darker malts, alcohol

Strong alcohol presence to this beer. More malt than hop but this is still well balanced. Not quite dry, but it isn't at all sweet. The bitterness (from the hop) is low but provides light balance.

In the end, this is a 90% alcohol profile, which is too much for my enjoyment. Still, I feel this beer is worth seeking out as a change from the ordinary.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
3.21/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

About a finger of tan heads crowns this dark amber body. Leaves some nice rings and sheets of lacing.

There isn't a huge aroma here. Surprisingly, one of the dominant aromas that I can pick up is hops. Very slightly floral and bitter smell. Next I notice a the slight aroma of dark fruits.

Despite a fairly week aroma there is a ton going on in the flavor of ROBD. Up front alcohol comes through right away followed by a pretty firm, bitter, hop bite. Next comes a slight but noticeable chocolate malt flavor. Next comes what I think is the most powerful taste in the beer, some sweet, dark fruit. Raisins and figs. Tastes a lot like port actually.

Mouthfeel is on the heavy side of medium bodied and carbonation is about the same. A tiny bit of burn from the alcohol.

This is a little boozy to be exceptionaly drinkable, I had trouble getting through the bomber.

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Photo of Sam21
3.23/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz bottle, 2010 edition.

Appearance - Deep amber/light ruby brown body underneath a smooth off white head.

Smell - Rich malty nose. Rum soaked dark fruits, caramel, and molasses. Not an overwhelming aroma. Presented well.

Taste - Matches the malty aromas with waves of rum soaked plums, dates, and raisins. Some vinous complexities. Thick swirls of caramel and molasses with a solid dose of warmth in the finish. There is some oiliness in the finish that seems off, but it's not a distracting or overly noticeable flavor.

Mouthfeel - Very full-bodied and a little thick. Feels a little heavy and overwhelming in that sense.

Drinkability - Halfway through the first pour and the alcohol and sweetness are making this a slow sipper. As I move on to the second glass I am more comfortable with this beer's freshness and complex layers. This is definitely a sipper and would have benefited greatly from some aging, but I'm happy to try a fresh 2010 bottle of this.

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Photo of markgugs
3.23/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz bottle poured into a Belgian snifter

A: A faint off-white head bubbles up on top of a russet-colored, fairly clear body. Head dies down to a cluster of carbonated bubbles and a swirl up top after only a few seconds, then seems to stick around.

S: An intoxicating, rich blend of caramel sweets and overripe fruit is blatant, contributing to an overall "boozy" aroma. Banana and cookies are the predominant scents, near as I can tell.

T/M: Woah, not at all what I was expecting. I sat here patiently letting the beer warm a bit, then finally took a sip. Raw, fresh, bitter were the first 3 words that came to mind. None of the syrupy sweetness that the aroma would have had you believe. I imagine that this bottle-conditioned ale (2007) will most definitely improve in time as the flavors blend together. I'll surely have to revisit. Some nice malt flavors do begin to shine through, but the underlying bitterness to everything doesn't help this beer. Mouthfeel is slick and oily, but stops just short of being cloyingly sticky.

D: Right now? Not much, but I bet in about 1 year this beer will be tremendous.

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Photo of UnderPressure
3.32/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Inventory sticker reads 4/20/12. Drinking on 7/1/13

Very dark amber to light brown colored beer. Very nice creamy white head with great retention. Awesome lacing.

A nice aroma of sweet malt and spice. Spices are reminiscent of Christmastime Ginger/gingerbread, maybe some clove. I detect no hop aroma.

Very sweet flavor balanced by spiciness. Dark fruit. Some staleness and oxidation. The spices kind of linger after swallowing and tingle on the tongue.

A very thick, creamy mouthfeel. Highly carbonated, almost like a Belgian. Bitter, spicy, wet, long lasting finish.

I didn't taste this one when it was fresh, but I still feel like the flavors have probably blended well over the past year. I think this beer has probably improved other than being oxidized and a little stale. It wasn't always kept at cellar temps.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.33/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle

A- Pours a dark brown color with a light tan head.

S- The aroma is sweet malt and caramel. 

T- The taste like the aroma is very malty with caramel and some warmth from the alcohol in the finish.

M- The mouthfeel is between light and medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

O- Overall, a solid malty brew that I think will age exceptionally well.

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Photo of larryarms847
3.33/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours kind of murky brown with a heavy ruby red hue and a solid finger of off-white foam.

Some light brown sugar but very faint, raisins or dried plum, and some light caramel sweetness.

This packs a punch! Very boozy, the dark fruits stand out more in flavor, but the alcohol overpowers everything else aside from a general sweetness.

Heavy-bodied, light-medium carbonation, thick, chewy, boozy.

Overall, I was pretty disappointed with this. Will not be purchasing again.

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Photo of Thads324
3.33/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A : pours a vibrant caramel color. Deep and rich looking amber. A really thick blanket of off white head. The head is super sticky, leaving a layer on the edges of the glass. Refuses to dissipate.
S : sweet caramel, a hint of walnut and a lot of alcohol with lingering sweetness. The alcohol seems harsh. Everything else is mellow and overly sweet. Off putting corn aroma as it warms.
T : starts with a bunch of sweetness. Caramel, butterscotch, a bit of unknown nuttiness. Finishes smooth and sweet with more caramel.
M : very smooth the whole way through. The alcohol is there but not super imposing. Low carbonation.

Needs age big time. Really sweet and still pretty good, but with age could be amazing. I'll grab another bottle and let it sit for 2 years

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Photo of Jayli
3.34/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Consumed 11/12
Poured in to a pint glass

A: This beer pours a nice, rich caramel/mahogany brown with a one finger of light khaki colored sudsy head. Decent head retention that leaves coats of lacing on the glass.

S: Nose is caramel, caramel, caramel with a hint of booze.

T: Taste starts with a thick, sticky caramel flavoring. Brown sugar and rich molasses. Hints of smoke and roast in the finish. There is an underlaying alcohol booziness throughout.

M: Fuller side of medium body, medium carbonation, rich, silky feel with quite a bit of alcohol warming.

D: Goes down somewhat easily, somewhat filling, nice kick, ok representation of style. The sweetness was a bit much.

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Photo of warriorsoul
3.36/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to Joe at Liquor World for supplying this one...
Rust copper in color with a finger of off-white head...only a skimming remains and produces some attractive, yet thin lacing.
Faint aromas...really have to stir this one to get anything. Some mild fruits (green apple, fig) with a hint of spice.
Taste is better, but not impressing me where this one is right now.
Candied sugar, molasses, alcohol and some floral hops. Bitter dry in the finish with the alcohol also apparent in the aftertaste.
Mouthfeel is its best quality for me...full bodied and not cloying.
A bomber is consumed with little effort, but I feel Really Old Brown Dog is Really "Young" Old Brown Dog and this one will kick major ass six months from now.
Will definitely snag a couple more bombers to age...I know this one will impress me more down the line.
Right now, it's just ok.

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Photo of tut2528
3.36/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: pour is of a typical Old Ale, dark amber in color and when its backlit it becomes slight transparent and picking up a ruby hint. head was minimal and slightly tan in appearance.

S: picking up a slight bit of roasted nuttiness, vanilla, caramel/toffee, slight grain and more of a berry-like dark fruit at the backend.

T: not a fan of the balance here. again i get the typical Old Ale qualities such as vanilla and caramel sweetness. but there's a peppery spice, nutmeg and a nuttiness (hazel/walnut maybe both) that just doesn't sit too well in this brew. i also pick up on some dry bitter hops in the finish. and its slightly watery. i feel that this brew has no true identity.

M: i feel that the body fits the beer. its a solid medium bodied brew, minimal carbonation. doesn't leave much on the palate though between sips. and surprisingly, the alcohol heat is extremely well integrated for it being 10.10%.

O: the best component of this brew is how well the alcohol is hidden, but other than that, I am not a fan of this brew. simply off balance and a lack identity here.

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Photo of EPICAC
3.36/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I purchased a bomber of the latest release in the Smuttynose Big Beer Series, Really Old Brown Dog Ale, about two weeks ago at Downtown Wine & Spirits. I let this warm and served it in one of my New Belgium glasses.

Appearance: Pours a clear ruby-brown with a fluffy, beige head that fades to a film leaving patchy lace.

Smell: Sweet malts, caramel and light fruit, some roasted aromas, as well as a light graininess.

Taste: Sweet and malty upfront: caramel, raw sugar, and dark fruit. The finish is roasted bitterness with a light spiciness.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied, moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: Not bad for such a malty style.

Overall: This isn't an unpleasant beer to drink, but it doesn't quite fit the style.

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Photo of Reagan1984
3.36/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Gorgeous looking beer. Two fingers of creamy beige head rise above the dark amber beer. Mostly brown tones and perfect clarity. (perhaps a bit of ruby) No visible carbonation. Sticky lacing everywhere.

Aroma is of deep malt, caramel and some alcohol. A touch of cinnamon as well. A touch musty.

The beginning of the flavor is nice. There is a strange aftertaste I can't quite put my finger on. Starts with some nice potent malt and rich caramel. In the middle you get some alcohol and then there is this lingering almost plastic taste. Is it some phenolic tones? Not sure. Certainly some nutty flavors as well. A touch of almond perhaps.

Almost astringent. A bit dry. Not quite hot, but you know there is a alcohol here.

Not quite as drinkable as I had hoped. The aftertaste really puts a damper on things.

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Smuttynose Really Old Brown Dog Ale from Smuttynose Brewing Company
3.91 out of 5 based on 869 ratings.
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