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Smuttynose Really Old Brown Dog Ale | Smuttynose Brewing Company

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very good
381 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

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 381 | Ratings: 860
Photo of blackie
3.8/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: into my piraat snifter, gives a low khaki head with light retention, deep amber in color

s: fruity toasted malt nose with notes of raisin, toffee, date, and boozy brown sugar, toasted nuts with a sugar-butter glaze, hopped lightly but adequately, very nice malt structure if a touch one-dimensional as a whole

m: light carbonation, body on the full side of medium

t: there's a nice toasted crystal malt here, but it's presence on the palate is brief and nearly overwhelmed by a sharp bitterness and indistinct hop flavor, grassy and herbal in the finish, warming alcohol compliments date and raisin flavors, unexpectedly dry, much more complex after warming to room temperature, same complaint as the nose...a bit of a one-note melody

d: not bad, hot for the relatively low abv but an easy sipper on a cold night

complaints notwithstanding, an accurate representation of its smaller sibling, bomber from Rick's, Alexandria, VA

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Photo of leif86
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark maroon with a pleasing ruby glow around the edges of the glass. Two fingers of beige head yield a nice rim around my Duvel that clings as the level slowly descends.

S: Allergies have given me a bit of a stuffy nose, but I think I can manage. It smells boozy with the oft hint of raisins that accompany such high ABV brews. Figs, dried fruit and a hint of general maltiness rounds it all out.

T: More than just palatable. A predictable sweetness takes center stage while the same cast that presents itself with a whiff now perform on the palate. Sure hope you weren't counting on something hoppy - not even the slightest flavor that I could honestly discern as being derived from my favorite little green coney flowers.

M: Tiny little bubbles tingle the mouth which is nice, it prevents this brew from being syrupy. I receive the stickiness well here, with the pleasing taste you don't mind that it wants to stay around for a bit. Plus, it's so sweet that it is what to be expected.

D: These "hotter" big beers have grown on me over time so perhaps my interpreting this as pleasantly drinkable won't quite meld with past reviews of similar brews. But yeah, drinkable.

Let it warm up so that you can really take everything in.

 1,237 characters

Photo of jim102864
3.58/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear copper and brown with carb bubble streams and a thin pond head from this bomber bottle into my Trois Pistoles goblet. This is s tough one to get a handle on at first. Subtle sugary sweetness both in the nose and in taste. Nice malty flavor. Some cocoa notes. Slight bittersweetness. Nice full mouthfeel. Overall a bit cloying, even for a guy who likes stuff on the sweet side. A bit too sweet even for me.

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

From 22 oz bottle - Pours a very cloudy and ugly dull copper color. Smells boozy and sweet with musty a old attic aroma. First sip is fruity sweet with caramel and plums leading the way. Tons of alcohol hotness prevails and the musty aroma is also noticeable in the flavor.

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Photo of selecter70
4.4/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

While Smuttynose has also brewed some great beers, their Big Bottle series has definitely captured my attention. A hearty 1pt 6oz bottle, this guy pours a dark caramel brown with honey color and a good 1 and a half -2 finger head. A light but rich malt aroma with yeast and a slight lavender floral aroma settles in the nose. The flavor moves towards a bitter hop/sweet malt and is smooth & chewy with plum-like sweet/sour musty fruit undertones. Very drinkable and quite delicious!

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Photo of marcpal
4.58/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

From tasting notes on 1/29. Poured a couple times in Delirium Tremens snifter.
Bottle Graphics: 9/10. Hit or miss with Smutty.

A: Dark auburn red, borderline brown colored body. Very light bubbles with a thin 1/4 head that held on tough. The second pour into the glass produced a mammoth head. The chunks in this pour were also pronounced. Yum, protein.

S: Dried fruits: figs, dates, figs and raisins. All of them with a sugary malt aroma. Molasses decadence. The booze is more present in the nose than the first sniff would lead you to believe.

T: Poundingly sweet and a little hot when chilled. The flavors and alcohol would make you think it was more than the 7% listed. The dates are pungent, tastily warming with huge brown sugar flavors. There is some huge flavor in this big beer packed into a relatively low and drinkable abv. Hops do not claim to nor do they take any residence in the taste or feel.
Buttered and toasted raisin nut artisinal bread.

M: Sweetness tings on my cheeks some and the body has adequate medium thickness. No bitterness but rich and luxurious.

D: Another, yet another beer from Smutty that is top notch. This brewery is beginning to get a seat at the head of the class in my book. The 22oz makes for a super sipper and it was a nice touch to sit back with a moderate abv brew that left a slight burn in the chest.

As the bottle says, age would probably do good things but the sweet fruits are what it is about. For the price tag, great.

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Photo of corby112
4.37/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice dark chocolate brown color with a thin, foamy beige head. Roasted malty aroma with cocoa/chocolate, sugar and dark fruit notes. Nice choclate malty flavor that is kind of similar to a tootsie roll. Strong chocolate presence along with hints of fig, dark fruit and alcohol. Slightly sweet with a spicy dry finish.

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Photo of bum732
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice clear reddish brown, not much lead and not much lacing. Smells of strong caramal malt galore, brown sugar, dark fruits, faint hops and touch of diacetyl. Tastes of sweet caramal up front followed by a nice malty backbone ending with a nice earthy hop bitterness. Finishes quite sweet.

A good beer, especially if you like sweet caramal. That said, there is a decent hop bitterness that lends some balance to the sweetness. Definitely a sipper.

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Photo of SFLpunk
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz brown glass pry-top. "Bottled Conditioned in 2008."

Appearance: Thin bone-white head, spotting on the glass. Deep red mahogany. Cristal-clear.

Nose: Alcoholic fruity esters, sweet biscuit (cookie), dried orange peel, malted milk, molasses.

Palate: Medium bodied and malt-ball goodness! Seriously, I'm blown away by this...Reminds me of a drier Madeira, from Bual or Malmsey grapes (low of the mountain). Oxidative notes of caramel and nuts, paper glue, cashew, caramelized palm sugar. Long, changing finish with some burn at the back of the throat.

Notes: I seriously misjudged this beer the first time I had it (2 or so years ago)! This beer has a lot going on, lots of similarities to oxidized dessert wines (Madeira, tawny/Colheita ports, Oloroso/PX sherries, etc.). I think it's a little disjointed right now, but that it will fall into place in the next 6 months or so. Seriously good.

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Photo of mpyle
3.6/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

App - Rich amber color, good clarity, moderate sized whitish head with okay retention.

Aroma - a plum/alcohol mix, some chocolate. Peppery. Complex and interesting.

Taste - Malty and slightly fruity up front, but turns spicy midmouth (alcohol flavor?). Finishes a bit bitter. Flavors a bit less inspired than indicated by some of the aroma notes.

MF - Med-full body, and moderate carbonation. A bit of alcohol warming which is pleasant and style appropriate.

D'ability - Definitely a sipper, and a beer than in some ways feels bigger than its ABV rating.

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Photo of grub
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

MuenchenerKindl hooked me up with this one. thanks tom!

22oz bottle, bottled in 2007. sampled feb 7/09.

pours deep red with just a touch of haze. the dense tan head falls quickly and leaves spotty lace.

aroma is nice. white bread, cracker, bit of biscuit. hint of alcohol. caramel and toffee. touch of apple. light toasty character. bit earthy.

taste is nice. whole wheat bread. cracker. biscuit. just a touch of toast. light caramel and tofee, but imparting very little sweetness. bit of fruit, mostly a fresh red delicious but also a bit of other lighter fruit character. light alcohol. low bitterness level. earthy.

mouthfeel is good. medium body. medium carbonation level.

drinkability is good. nicely balanced. not quite as much depth to the malt as i was hoping for, but still tasty.

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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 TrevorGW
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown with red tints as you hold it to the light. Thin head that eventually just clings to the rims.

Smell is sweet with dark fruit aroma.

Taste is exactly what you would expect. Rich brown sugar, caramel, milk chocolate with a firm bitterness at the finish. Hops are pretty sharp with the bitterness but do not offer much in the way of flavor. Nice and dry after the initial sweetness.

Full-bodied and relatively creamy.

This beer is dangerous because it is so tasty and is a somewhat high ABV. But compared to other beers like it (Brown Shugga, India Brown Ale) it is not too bad in the booze department.

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

22oz bomber into nonic.

Crystal clear deep amber hue, which is almost brown. Ruby highlights at the bottom of the glass. A gentle pour results one finger tan head slowly settles to an even razor thin cap. An aggressive pour may have yielded a two finger head.

High amounts of burnt caramel and toffee. Hops add very little but to add a slight herbal aroma in the background. A slight amount of dark fruit is in there.

The malts have both a toasty and burnt flavor. A little bit of sweet brown sugar sneaks its way in. A slight spiciness shows up in the middle and lingers for a while. Full bodied.

An enjoyable beer, definitely for the malt fans. Complex, along with plenty of roasty malts. Recommended.

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

22oz bottle

Well the regular Old Brown Dog is definitely one of my favorites in the style so im pretty excited to try this one. ROBD pours a reddish brown copper color with nice clarity and a large and slightly sticky tan head. Rich nose of banana, figs, brown sugar soaked wood, raison and sweet bready malt. Rich in initial profile as well, full body, grainy with sweetness but still i dont find it overpowering or cloying, this beer is BIG and all its malty good is still slightly balanced by a crisp bitterness mid palate. Raisons and lots of em on the finish and into the smokey, sweet caramel malty aftertaste. Good beer, definitely lived up to my expectations, this beer would pair nicely with food, food bigger than this beer that is...

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Photo of wapack
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber poured into a pint glass....

A: Nice dark copper color, two finger foam head with very light lacing.

S: Big hints of toffee...there's a lot going on here.

T: BIG flavors in this beer! some caramel with toffee...alcohol sneaks in the back but is very balanced with the malts.

M: Feels like a nice big beer. Leaves notes of coffee on the tongue.

D: Overall drinkability is high. The alcohol is warming but very well hid. Overall, this is a great beer by Smuttynose!

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Photo of Avagadro
3.71/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed: 1-11-2009
Bottle: Bottle Conditioned 2008

A: Copper in color and transparent. The head is tan in color and has the texture of whipped cream. Carbonation is visible, lacing its way from bottom to top.

S: Aroma is somewhat reserved. Toast and toffee are its major characteristics.

T: Honey, caramel, toast, and spicy ethanol combine wonderfuly.

M: Creamy and full-bodied. Exactly what one would expect from this style of ale.

D: A wonderful brew that has a nice kick. Great "Big" version of a brown ale.

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


Bomber poured into a duvel tulip. Stained oak wood in color, brilliant clarity, very minimal light tan to cream colored head, breaks quickly.

Aroma is incredibly complex. Wet fresh cut wood, oak, rum, natural vanilla extract. No perciptible hop profile. Whiskey and rye vodka alcohol as it warms.

Flavor begins with a deep caramel sweet malt followed by a oak wood dry middle and a complimentary vanilla and subtle chocolate. Finishes with a warming whiskey sourness and complex dark rum character.

Mouthfeel is smooth, medium body, alcohol compliments relatively low carbonation to help lead to a relatively dry finish overall. Some appropriate sourness, low bittering, slightly creamy.

Extremely drinkable, alcohol character is more apparent than would be expected in a 7% beer, but it creates a lot of the taste aroma that makes the beer inviting a d drinkable.

Buy more.

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Photo of corey0212
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Reagan1984 for helping me get one of these!!

Pours a nice reddish-brown color, ruby-red highlights when held to light, tan head fades slowly into swirly foamy goodness atop the beer. Smell is massively malty, some caramel and raisin. A little spicy alcohol heat compliments the malt and fruit flavors, really rich flavors. Pretty sticky mouthfeel, lots of lingering spice and bell-warming alcohol. Another kick-ass Smuttynose beer!

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Photo of Jwale73
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Track 84 on 1/28/09. Served in a tulip. Poured a translucent garnet color with a tight half inch white head that quickly dissipated into a consistent skim of foam. Nose was spicey, malty, toasted grain and a suggestion of dark fruit. Taste was spicey - lots of nutmeg, with a solid malt backbone and a bit of booze; somewhat reminiscent of a winter warmer, but more well-balanced. Mouthfeel was medium-bodied and lively with some acidity. Not at all what I expected, but a great sipper. I really enjoyed savoring this brew. Another great big beer from Smutty.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a reddish brown with a tan head that lasts in the glass. Decent lacing.

Smells a bit fruity with some sweet toasted malt.

Sweet malt and toasted grain, with a bit of hop bitterness and some alcohol warmth. A little fruity, but not as much as the scent would lead you to believe. Alcohol sneaks up a bit.

Mouthfeel is good. Some good carbonation cleans the palate and keeps sugars from being to cloying. A real drinker, the 22 oz. disappeared really quick for me. Grab this while it lasts. Another winner from this brewery.

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Photo of Brad007
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color with a one-finger head that fades after about a minute.

Aroma is full of raisin and brown sugar with a subtle hint of spice and a bit of alcohol heat.

Taste is strong upfront with a decent mix of raisin and caramel and followed by a bit of alcohol heat.

Mouthfeel is full of lingering raisin and caramel flavors and again, alcohol heat.

Not bad overall but the alcohol isn't well-hidden. Could be more enjoyable with age and I'd recommend aging it before you consume.

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Photo of jp62099
3.78/5  rDev -3.3%
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.

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Photo of Duhast500
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tasting glass from the tap.

The color is a dark amber to a very dark brown with a offwhite head.

The smell is fruity, deeply malty, a hint of caramel.

The taste has brown suagr flavor, roasted malt, and a bit sweet. There also hints of hops and toast.

This beer has a nice feel to it. Nicely carbinated and quite mellow

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Photo of AlexJ
3.67/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pale chestnut with a puffy tan head that quickly sizzles down to a thin veil, leaving very litte lace in it's wake.

Aroma is rich and caramel drenched. Roasty, nutty malts, golden fruit, and subtle vanilla spice.

Flavor opens with luscious caramel cream, tofee,brown sugar and creme brule cream. It dries midway with hints of oak and whiskey, peat, and a hot alcohol finish. If this is 7%, than I'm a monkey's uncle. Perhaps barrel-aged, but subtly if it is. Overall an excellent candidate for long-term storage, but rather hot and arrogant right now.

Body is creamy, smooth, and slightly chewy. Creamy palate. Finish suffers from boozy heat.

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Smuttynose Really Old Brown Dog Ale from Smuttynose Brewing Company
3.91 out of 5 based on 860 ratings.
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