Really Old Brown Dog Ale | Smuttynose Brewing Company

very good
390 Reviews
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Really Old Brown Dog AleReally 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

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 390 | Ratings: 876
Photo of VoxRationis
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
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 -7.2%
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 -4.6%
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%
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 +3.1%
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 HamdenHector
3.62/5  rDev -7.4%
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;

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Photo of Ciocanelu
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
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 -8.7%
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 kculrich
3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
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 +3.3%
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%
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 -3.1%
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 -11.5%
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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Photo of arizcards
4.16/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a single from TW Arrowhead in late February for $ 3.79. Bottle conditioned February 2015.

Beer poured a murky brown with a decent white head that is hanging on a bit.

Nose is malty with hints of dark fruits.

Taste is relaxed, big malt base with dark fruits with a slight hop bite. Alcohol is well hidden.

Mouthfeel is full and satisfying.

Overall this is a nice old ale. This could definitely be Great Divide Hibernation's big brother for sure!

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Photo of bound4er
3.69/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours to a dirty light brown to dark amber appearance with a one finger head. Heavy smell of caramel, faint cherry and faint ethanol. Taste is similar to nose with a lot of caramel malt, some secondary pitted fruit nuances and almost no hop bitterness. Thin to medium in body. Decent enough beer - enjoyed it but not enough to go out for more. Would have needed a bit more complexity for that to have occurred.

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Photo of StoutElk_92
4.27/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

May 2015 - 11.1% abv

Pours hazy red amber with a creamy light khaki colored head. Smells like big toffee, nutty caramel, dark honey, molasses, brown sugar, earthy herbal dank pine and grass, mild plum and raisin, with dried fig and spice. Tastes like dark honey malt, roasty molasses, caramel, toffee, brown sugar, dried fig, plum, raisin, mild cinnamon spice, with earthy pine and dank herby grass. Feels medium-light bodied, creamy with moderate low carbonation. Overall a really nice old ale.

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Photo of CoreyC
4.11/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

1 year old bottle
L - solid brown, nice head
S - very light, slightly sweet
T - smooth, sweet malts, very nice
M - nice, slightly sticky
O - very good, no overly strong flavors, but smooth sweet maltiness

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Photo of SuomiHobbit
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle poured into pint glass. Really delicious. Dark, thick, fantastic. Malty, with just a hint of alcohol burn. If on tap, would be tough to leave the bar.

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Photo of Myotus
4.14/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured at 52°F from a 12oz bottle (bottle conditioned on February 2015) into a snifter. Consumed on 08Mar16.
LOOK: Pour with a half fingers worth of white foam that dies into a partial foam line within 35 seconds. Brown in color with a copper tint. There is a high amount of cloudiness. Rising bubbles are small in size and very subtle in quantity. Lacing is thin and barely present.
SMELL: Mild aromas of figs, plums, molasses, tree nuts, and caramel are supported and balanced by subtle spicy and floral hop aromas.
TASTE: Strong fig and plum flavors first strike the palate along with mild flavors of tree nuts to create a great first impression of a well balanced brew. Mild flavors of molasses and caramel further add to the sweetness of the brew while subtle smokey flavors prevent any cloying. Mild floral hop and subtle spicy hop flavors trail lastly to bring an additional balance as all previous flavors persist, except for figs and plums, which fade to mild.
FEEL: Full-bodied and subtly carbonated. Goes down smooth and creamy. Ends with a thirst-quenching finish. A mild alcoholic warmth can be felt as it goes down the throat.
NOTE: I have never tried a fresh one, but aging this for a year turned out to be a great idea. Very sweet with balancing hop flavors that don't take over.

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Photo of Thomas_Wikman
4.19/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A friend sent this to me and it was a quite good beer. I've had not had many Old Ale's.

(L) It has a nut brown hue with an inch off-white head.

(A) The aroma is nutty and toasty

(T) The taste is nutty, toffee, raisins, somewhat low bitterness.

(F) Fairly light, medium carbonation, and alcohol taste is barely noticeable. Overall a very good beer.

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Photo of dee4maine
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

oak aged version of the classic brown ale. certainly much boozier mouth feel and nose of caramel, oak, malts intensified. was definitely a sipper at room temp.

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Photo of DaverCS
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a murky brown color with tons of sediment. Very little of an off-colored, yellow-tinted head.

Aroma is of toffee and malted milk balls.

Taste reminds me of a liquid version of the malted milk ball candy. Tons of malt and malt sweetness; light carbonation with a creamy mouthfeel. Toffee is present and only a slight bit of alcohol on the finish.

Overall, this just isn't my style. Too rich and one-noted. Then again, it is an interesting change of pace. I see this pairing well with a caramel flan, or turn it into a true malted beer float with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It gets a 79/100.

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Photo of GreatStoutman
4.23/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle conditioned. Feb 2015

Pours thin and clear, deep, dark copper. Light tan head that disappears quickly. After almost a year on the shelf, its got no hop smell and all caramel, toffee. Expecting this to be pretty sweet and malty.

Medium carbonation and body. Definitely a nice warming old ale, taste is much stronger than the aroma. Some bitterness showing up, but this is all malts.

Finishes slowly, with a very milky, chewy feel. Its 11.1% abv, and it shows a little bit at the finish, but I think thats somewhat desirable for this style. I'm really liking this.

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Photo of 57md
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle conditioned May 2015; consumed January 2016; 11.1% abv.

Poured a brownish copper with a finger of head. The nose is deeply malty and bready. The flavor follows the nose with a rich malt presence but nary a sign of the high alcohol.

This is a plain old, straight up solid big beer. No gimmicks - just complex quality.

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Photo of Lobina
4.16/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Got a few to share. At 11% this was really smooth. Enjoyed the overall combination of aroma and taste. I wish I had grabbed a few more. Still amazed at how easy this went down for such a high abv.

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Really Old Brown Dog Ale from Smuttynose Brewing Company
3.91 out of 5 based on 876 ratings.
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