Smuttynose Really Old Brown Dog Ale | Smuttynose Brewing Company

very good
388 Reviews
Read the review
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 388 | Ratings: 872
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.

 233 characters

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!

 467 characters

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.

 410 characters

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.

 496 characters

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

 204 characters

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.

 161 characters

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.

 1,297 characters

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.

 354 characters

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.

 160 characters

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.

 602 characters

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.

 572 characters

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.

 325 characters

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.

 196 characters

Photo of mvanaskie13
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
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%.

 829 characters

Photo of drmeto
4.24/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

-pours a copper-brown with a medium,foamy,offwhite head
-low carbonation visible
-nutty,caramel,cinnamon,toffee,vanilla,raisins,black tea
-caramel,toffee,cinnamon,vanilla,syrupy,raisins,toasty finish
-low to medium carbonation
-light to medium body
-alcohol very well hidden
Mouthfeel is a little light.Otherwise a great Beer

 340 characters

Photo of Fdough1
3.67/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

So my favorite old ale is Hibernation Ale...and I love old ales. I tried this back to back with Hibernation and was pleasantly surprised, Pour nice dark color. The smell was somewhat muted but similiar to Hibernation. Taste was very good with good mouth feel. Overall this is not a bad old ale and could substitute in a pinch if I every run out of Hibernation.

 360 characters

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.

 387 characters

Photo of L0ne
3.63/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle.

Pours chestnut brown with a small, fizzy head. Fairly underwhelming taste and aroma, unfortunately. Some caramel and brown sugar sweetness. Fruity and warming alcohol. Not bad, just simple.

 204 characters

Photo of Bonsall_Phil
3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottled Jan 2015; 12 oz bottle

Clear but dark amber beer with inviting off white head that's stays awhile.
Caramel, candy like nose. Not overbearing. Bready - fruitcake notes.
Surprisingly, flavor is very faint. It's not a bad flavor, breads, slight fruit. My brain is sticking with the fruitcake idea, it's there. But is fruitcake good?
Mouthfeel is medium-heavy with decent carbonation, this old ale finishes pretty warm.

This beer is worth a try for you old ale fans, but it will it be your favorite. It lacks complexity and the robustness of others in its style. Even with that being said, it's a good beer worthy of trying out on a cool autumn evening.

 670 characters

Photo of muchos
4.3/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Printed in white on the side of the bottle...
"Bottle Conditioned
Feb 2015 ABV 11.1%"
Thanks for that, Smuttynose Brewing Company.
L - red side of brown, little head which fades fast. Hazy.
S - subdued sweet malty goodness. Minimal anything else. Smells like a dusty road sundae tastes. Toasted marshmallow, dates, a bit breadier and fruitier as it warms.
T - caramel, toffee, woody, toasty bread. Not tons of flavor, but good. Bitter aftertaste. 11.1% abv is not there except maybe a little mediciny in the after taste.
F - medium body, smooth, not much carbonation.
O - I like it a lot. Really solid. I'm glad I have some to age.

 632 characters

Photo of CHickman
3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottled Feb. 2015 (Bottle Conditioned listed on the glass.) Pours very cloudy copper color with 2-3 finger big foamy tan head that was full of bubbles of all sizes and faded very slowly, leaving decent spotty lacing. It settled into a foamy layer on top of the brew that stuck around for a long time.

Smells of malt, caramel, peat moss, earthy notes like twigs, grass and dry leaves, cocoa and some dark fruit. It's malty with strong fruit notes that don't distinguish any particular fruit, ending with toasted grains and mild toffee. The nose completely hides the 11.1% ABV.

Tastes of toasted grains, wheat bread, toffee, peat moss, caramel, earthy notes like in the nose with twigs, grass, tree bark and dry leaves, cocoa powder, chalky yeast, light booze, tart to almost sour grapefruit and some dark fruit. It almost tasted like a home brew that someone had stuck in the fridge a few days, the type that needs a tweak here or there but is overall pretty tasty. Like the nose, the alcohol is very well hidden.

Mouthfeel is slick and almost too thin, but just thick enough to be hardy; medium body and overall feel, it has very light carbonation and a sweet finish that is full of toffee, crackers and grains.

Good for an old ale or brown ale, overall it was enjoyable if you're a fan of malty beers.

 1,306 characters

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

For a high abv nicely priced brown ale this stuff is good for what it is. I'm not sure what world class brown ale would be honestly but when u are looking for something to change up the palate a bit . This stuff does the trick ! Almost barley wine like but without the sweet

 274 characters

Photo of tekstr1der
3.89/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Certainly a whole different animal from the younger dog. This stuff has some great malt notes, but a slight off flavor. Pours brown with tan head. Aromas of cooked sugar and alcohol. Flavor is semisweet with a little funk (could be those oak chips) and more alcohol. Not very balanced, but fairly tasty. Borderline choice if I'll try again.

 340 characters

Photo of TX-Badger
3.6/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear light brown color with deep ivory colored head. Sweetness, grass, caramel, and roast on the nose; follows onto the palate. Medium bodied, alcohol well hidden. Finishes with caramel and hay.

 203 characters

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.

 740 characters

Smuttynose Really Old Brown Dog Ale from Smuttynose Brewing Company
3.91 out of 5 based on 872 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.