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 Sammy
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours deep chocolate brown, rich looking body.Chocolate malt in nose. And the mouthfeel is richer than avarage. A great malting experience, with secondary toasting and chocolate. On the sweeter side, not as complex as a few aged old ales I have had from the U.K. itself. Very drinkable.

Bottle from New Hampshire trip.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.72/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 1/2015.

Pours a hazy reddish-brown with a foamy tan head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Tiny particles of sediment are seen suspended in the beer after the pour. Smell is of toasted malt, caramel, toffee, earth, and dark fruit aromas. Taste is much the same with caramel, earth, dark fruit, and fruit juice flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of earth bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with a nice mix of sugary and fruity qualities all around and a higher ABV that is very well hidden.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of metter98
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
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

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Photo of brentk56
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a cloudy mahogany with a sturdy head that dots the pint glass with lace

Smell: An enticing blend of caramel and cocoa powder from the malt and some grapefruit from the hops; the overall impact is almost raisiny, when taken together

Taste: Opens malt forward, with plum and cocoa flavors that are joined, mid-palate, by some hoppy citrus; after the swallow, there is a blast of cocoa that persists and dominates the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Now that this has had a chance to settle down (a number of posters said it was unbalanced when freshly bottled), it is drinking very nicely; quite different and a solid achievement

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a clear light brown color ale with a nice size foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of fruity ester is quite enjoyable with some light caramel malt. Taste is a nice mix between some fruity ester (peach, apricot) and some caramel malt. Additional notes of dry fruit and more pronounced presence of sweet malt would have made this more enjoyable. Carbonation is good with an average body and no noticeable alcohol.

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Photo of oberon
3.62/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass a hazed chesnut russet brown with a thin toasted almond colored head that was gone quickly.Deep malty aromas,brown sugar,roasted nuts,and some whiffs of dark fruit,the alcohol sweetness isnt to strong.Not as big and chewey as I would have thought,not to thin,just a little thinner than most of the style I think.Sweet malty flavors,again the brown sugar element is big along with light bakers chocolate,there is a fig/plum jamminess as well.Its quite sweet but its pretty good,a one and done though with the alcohol level and sweetness.

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

22 ounce bottle into snifter, 2012 vintage bottling. Pours fairly crystal clear deep ruby red color with a 2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big biscuit, caramel, toast, molasses, brown sugar, light chocolate, raisin, plum, nuttiness, vanilla, toffee, herbal, oak, light leather, and toasted earthiness. Fantastic aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/bready malt, oak, and yeast ester flavors; with great strength. Taste of caramel, biscuit, toast, brown sugar, molasses, light chocolate, raisin, plum, nuttiness, herbal, vanilla, toffee, oak, light leather, and toast/oak earthiness. Minimal earthy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, biscuit, toast, molasses, brown sugar, light chocolate, raisin, plum, nuttiness, herbal, toffee, oak, vanilla, light leather, and toast/oak earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and oak flavors; with zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a moderately creamy, smooth, and fairy slick/chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is an outstanding old ale style. All around awesome complexity and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast ester, and oak flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of jlindros
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is about a year and a half old, so really old brown dog is now really really old brown dog. Should be delicious, and believe it or not this is my first taste of ROBD.

Pours a nice decent sized 1.5 finger head but it's very bubbly and airy, with some light fluff, and fades at a medium pace, and leaves hints of lacing. The beer is a dark copper maroon brownish red color.

Nose comes with lots of brown malts, plenty of brown sugar and molasses, toasty malts, reddish malt aromas, a little fruit, a slight nutty aroma, a hint of boose, and some of that aged malt aroma that typically comes with good old ales.

Taste is very sweet! A little too sweet actually, but has a nice taste. Some nice malts, roasty, toasty, and a little red malt flavor. Plenty of brown sugar and molasses, light syrup flavors, and some nutty flavors as well. A very little fruit flavors, not dark fruits or bright fruits, something in between I can't put my finger on, what would typically come from a red ale, also a little raisin. It also has a nice hop flavor, with some light spicy and grassy hops, and a nice mild hop flavor with some bitterness. It finishes even more bitter as the hops really come out on the finish. A slight salt minerality flavor also on the finish, and a lot more of that aged malt flavor lingering.

The mouth is medium bodied with good carbonation, especially for the age.

It has a decent drinkability, drinks much lighter than 10%, but a touch of booze, some lingering malts that are nice, but it adds a hint of salty minerality as well. A nice chewy flavor too.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The clear, deep mahogany body of Really Old Brown Dog displays gleeming orange and crimson highlights beneath a creamy head of yellowed khaki. The head retention is fairly good and it leaves some nice splashes and streaks of lace about the glass.

The nose expresses a combination of scorched brown sugar and yeasty fruitiness with a touch of spice (is that alcohol?) and leafy hops.

It's smooth across the palate with a medium-full (or is that full-medium?) body and delicate, fine-bubbled carbonation that lends a gentle caress to the tastebuds as it crosses the tongue.

The flavor is very much as the aroma suggests, with a soft berry-like fruitiness that permeates the deeply caramelized malt and helps to lend it notes of dark-skinned fruits such as raisins and plums. It's fairly bitter, and that also helps to give the impression of dark fruit-skins. But it's still mainly malty with dark brown sugar and a hint of cocoa. Some alcohol lends it a bit of spice, and the leafy, grassy, and herbal hops help to level it.

It's quite nice on a quiet night on the back porch, or sipping by the fire with a good book, but I'd imagine it's drinkability would be limited in the pub setting. But at 7%, that's to be expected. I'd imagine it would pair well with a variety of foods, but glazed yams come to mind, as does, oddly enough, maple-syrup covered pancakes with a link or two of nicely browned sausage. Enjoyable. Worth trying!

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 release, poured from a 22oz. bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a light brown color with a short and dense off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, spice, nuts and a good hops background.

T: The taste is very malty with flavors of caramel, nuts & maple with a little bit of spice. There’s a pretty significant alcohol burn, which expect from an Old Ale, but not particularly from one that has only 7.00% ABV. There’s also a stronger hops presence than what I was expecting and provide a very nice balance. The biggest thing that I was expecting and received was that this beer is definitely an enhanced version of the regular Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, dry and slightly sticky finish.

D: Tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, good kick, I’m not so sure this is a good representation of the Old Ale style, but it is certainly an excellent English-Brown-Ale-to-the-second-power. Like almost all of the beers that I’ve had from Smuttynose Brewing Co., this is a good beer to drink for an evening whether it’s sipping slowly or pounding down.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.87/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2012 Vintage

A: Pours a crystal clear medium reddish amber in color with some moderate amounts of gentle visible carbonation along the surface of the beer and some copper + crimson red highlights. The beer has a little more than a finger tall creamy foamy tan head that slowly reduces to a thick film covering the entire surface of the beer with a slightly thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of caramel and toffee malts that have some sweetness to them along with some lighter notes of alcohol, vanilla, and just a hint of dark fruit (raisin).

T: Similar to the smell, the beer has a moderate to strong flavor of caramel and toffee malts with a light to moderate amount of sweetness that is followed by some light notes of vanilla, dark fruit (raisin), and just a hint of alcohol. There is also a faint underlying pine hop bitterness that lingers.

M: Slightly heavier than medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly sticky with just a hint of alcohol warming in the finish.

O: There is a nice complexity to the flavors and aromas of this beer but I just wish that the alcohol was a little more well hidden in it. I enjoyed the beer and it feels like it is somewhere between a brown ale (maybe an imperial brown ale) and a barleywine.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 vintage.

Appearance: Pours a lightly hazy, brown body with a thin, wispy, off-white head. Let's pour out a portion for Olive Francis, the Really Old, Really Dog Brown Dog. Olive, we hardly knew ye.

Smell: Pleasant, though not exactly effusive aroma smelling of toasted caramel, pressed sugar cookies, and a light touch of fruit and spice.

Taste: Plenty of upfront malty goodness: flavors of caramel, fresh-baked cookies, toasted light brown sugar. Minor hint of fruit. A few drops of amontillado. Light earthy, spicy hop character and accompanying bitterness. Only the faintest alcohol warmth. Sweetish, crisp finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-plus carbonation.

Drinkability: Certainly worth a try. Fairly easy drinking and enjoyable. I hear Smuttynose has since revamped the recipe and even called in some port-soaked oak chips, so I'll try to snag myself up a bottle of that.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This had to be one of the sweetest beers I have ever had in my life. Served chilled and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 04/06/2009.

The pour was very nice. Rich, dark chocolate brown with a nice head of light tan on the top of it. Smooth, easy settling left behind some nice side glass lacing. The aroma was soo sweet. Lots of caramel, smooth molasses and brown sugar like smells coming off of here. The flavor was much more of the same. Rich and very sweet, defintly a dessert beer. I found myself savoring each and every sip of this one as the delicate sweetness of this one overwhelmed me. Soo much flavor here as the sweet caramel malts just overpowered everything and made for a wonderful flavor. The medium bodued ale was well carbonated and all alcohol was hidden and totally non existent.

Overall this was a really solid beer. A really solid version of the style.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I enjoyed this on tap at Warwick Hotel served in a pint, last sample of the evening but still stood out.

The color is dark brown with light head. The smell has a strong herbal/woody aroma with light sweet smell of caramel. The feel has a fullness with moderate carbonation with semi-high sweetness level.

The taste has a light roast with herbal element which is almost birch beer-like with a sweet flavor and light alcohol in the background with a subtle smoke and gentle root-beer element carrying over from the aroma with cola-like sweetness that is hard to ignore with semi-dry finish and mild alcohol linger in the finish. Overall very good but peculier in that sweet quality that doesn't necessarily translate as a malt or hop flavor perhaps it is alcohol or yeast derived.

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Photo of billab914
3.53/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Allagash chalice. It poured a dark caramel color with a thinner but frothy head to it. The head retreated to the edges of the glass and left just a bit of lacing as I drank it. Pretty good for the style though.

The aroma has caramel and toffee flavors to it along with a surprising amount of grapefruit citrus. Some malty, darker fruit flavors come through as well. Some alcohol is there too and gives it just a bit of a booziness.

The taste also shows a good amount of the bitter grapefruit citrus throughout the flavor. Malty, caramel flavors also come out with just a bit of some dark fruit qualities to them. The finish also shows a bit of toffee. The bitter citrus and malty sweetness both linger for a bit.

The mouthfeel is a bit above medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is pretty good, it had some nice flavors to it. It was a bold beer but came together pretty nicely. It was hoppier then I expected for an old Ale, but it gave it an American kind of twist that I enjoyed. Pretty decent beer overall, but not my favorite of the style.

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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 Jason
3.71/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz brown bottle, sample from the brewery.

Nearly clear viscous looking deep amber red hues brew, bubbles look like they are struggling to get to the top. Smells of a think malt mass of brew with some mild solvent alcohol. Big and chewy, warming from the get go. Sweet yet quite balanced. Peppery alcohol, toasted malt and a hint of yeast help to balance. Lots of fun sipping this one.

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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 johnnnniee
4.47/5  rDev +14.3%
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.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear brown that had ruby hues when held to light. Creme head. Nose is a bit hot. Slight fruity sweet tones. Flavor is sweet with woody tones. Comes off a bit hot as well. Muted wood tones it seems now that I ponder it. Kind of chalky a bit. Feel is smooth on liquid and a bit lower on carbonation. This is nice to drink, but I think it needs a good bit of time I develop it's complexities.

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Photo of jwc215
4.42/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle

Pours reddish brown with a thin, well-retained off=white head.

The smell is of dark malts, caramel, dark fruits with sweet biscuit in the back.

The taste is just as the aroma would have it with some chocolate added in. This is a wonderful blend of malts. Just enough hops to keep the sweetness from being cloying.

There is mild carbonation. Smooth. Farily coating.

Easy drinking, esp. for the style. Yummy! An old ale/brown ale mix. Nice.

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Photo of Billolick
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

$4.99 for a 22 ounce bomber, the front of label lets you know this brew was "Bottle conditioned in 2007" certaintly a good bit of info as this one most likely was designed to be put away in a cool dark place for a few. Pours medium almond amber, moderate haze, cloudyness and sits under a tightly knit light tan head, that leaves nice, fine and scattered lacing. Allowed to warm up abit the nose is of some raisins, light alcohol and warm toast. Pleasant malty brew, more raisins, whole wheat toast, vanilla and a slight bite of mellow alcohol. Pleasant sipper, nicely crafted and smooth on the tongue. Well worth a try, if I had the space and the will power I'd put some bottles of this away for a few years...its drinking quite nicely right now...

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.64/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a tulip, the beer is a ruby-highlighted light brown coloring with a thin, sparse, filmy head coating the surface. Aromas of roasted nut sweetness, old world fruit sweetness, and boozy character. This one smells big. Flavors are rich and bold on the forward tongue, with a roast and bitter backbone supporting date and fig sweetness throughout. Subtle spices and honey sweet highlight, as well as a not so subtle boozy ribbon throughout the palate. Rich, slightly cloying sweet aftertaste, with earthy notes. Slick, slightly abrupt finish on the palate, with a slightly sweet and boozy linger.

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Photo of Duff27
3.86/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2008 vintage

Initial inch tall tan head, brown body. For 4 and 1/2 years old this looks great...head retention, lacing is there.

Smell is of a "really" sweet malt, fruit, and slightly oxidized.

All sweetness, no hop prescence here...c'mon it's an old Old Ale, what did you expect? Potpourri, lavender, silly fruitiness.

Very smooth. Medium mouthfeel, low but adequate carbonation.

Ive been looking at this in my cellar for the last 6 months...picked a good outdoor night with the beer tasting group to pull it out. Very unique. Thanks for the cellar cleaning mikeyv35.

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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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