Really Old Brown Dog Ale | Smuttynose Brewing Company

very good
878 Ratings
Read the review
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 Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 878 |  Reviews: 392
Photo of falloutsnow
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From: Friar Tuck's, Savoy, IL
Date: Bottled in 2012
Glass: US pint glass

Smuttynose's Really Old Brown Dog is an old ale that points out its ethanol content, along with a fair bit of oak barrel, roasted malt, and caramel malt presence. It was never difficult to put down a glass of this bomber, but I often reflected on how the ethanol seemed to be the showpiece, and that this detracted significantly from the other flavors, aromas, and feel of the beer. One that I might split with a friend if requested, but not something I'd seek out on my own again.

Pours a 2cm head that's composed of medium and large-sized bubbles, with average retention, leaving a good sampling of lace as it descends, strong doily patterns on small portions of the glass' sides. The head eventually settles to a thin spiderweb atop the beer's body. The body is a semi-hazy brown with slight orange tints, light simply brining out lighter shades of these colors. Carbonation is not visible through the haze.

Aroma of ethanol and caramel malts, light brown sugar, a bit of toasted malt leading to slight bread crust scents, and when warm, kind of like a less intensely alcoholic scotch. Not unpleasing, somewhat complex, but fairly subdued considering the amount of malt and yeast reproduction that went into the creation of this.

Overall taste is intense with ethanol heat: this beer does not hide its alcohol content well. Other flavors include peat, smoky malts, caramel, cocoa, and molasses. Detailed: a bit of cocoa powder and caramel malt on the front of the tongue, along with a healthy dose of ethanol. Mid-palate continues strong ethanol flavor along with deep caramel, a bit of cocoa, molasses, and heavy peated malt. Back of palate is significantly barrel-aged and peat-flavored, a bit smoky, with heavy ethanol and slight caramel and chocolate flavors. Lingering taste of ethanol and caramel malts, with slight hints of smoke, roasted malt, and scotch.

Beer is heavy-bodied, true to style, with medium to medium-light carbonation. This brew sits on the palate a fairly long time to let the flavors and ethanol sink in. Resulting mouthfeel is thick, chewy, spicy, and burning. Ethanol creates the burning, essentialy from the front of the palate onwards; spicy arises also from ethanol, with substantial heat and burn from this component. Closes dryly, with some lingering stickiness on lips from sugars.

 2,395 characters

Photo of chefduff2
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of baybum
4/5  rDev +2.3%

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

Served on tap at Global Brew, O'Fallon, IL, in New Belgium tulip. Slightly hazy brown body, nearly chocolate color, with a slightly less than one-finger tan head. A little lacing.

Good aroma, but not overwhelming. A bit of toasted malt, with a touch of caarmel, and molasses.

A very tasty mix of flavors that follows the aroma fairly closely. Malt-forward with caramel and molasses notes. Just a touch of bitterness from what tastes like roasted malt but no real notice of hops, which is OK with me for this style.

Medium texture in the mouthfeel and very drinkable for the high abv. I liked this very much and will look for it in bottles. Recommend it.

 657 characters

Photo of nas4atu
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of obywan59
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful clear amber with a tannish head that recedes leaving attractive lacing. Highly carbonated.

Fruity and vinuous. Raisins and toasted malt. Somewhat bready, like a doughy loaf of whole wheat. Molasses.

Sweet and bitter run neck and neck throughout, but as the beer warms, it seems to become sweeter. Huge caramel and light molasses. Some light metallics from drinking through the head. Taste of alcohol and dried dark fruit.

Moderatly thick and slightly syrupy. A prickle of carbonation. Drying in the end.

Very good as is, but would probably benefit from some aging It seems a bit green.

 607 characters

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.25/5  rDev -16.9%

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.

 574 characters

Photo of nh2032
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of lovindahops
3.76/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thought I'd grab a little bit warmer brew from the cellar tonight. There's no doubt we are on the precipice of summer's end so I thought this would be a good treat

A- pours an amber body with a monsterous flush of foam that bursts on the scene, to only slowly revert. The remnants of ruby hued foam on the edges of the glass with a fair white head are all that remains

S- very faint toffee, caramel, and fig are present. Slightly boozy scent is picked up but none of scent is strong

T- Very strong combination of dark fruit, caramel malt, and fig is present in the taste. Both delicious and enjoyable as a rush of alcohol splashes in. Pretty intense and certainly made up for the weak scent

M- carbonated and boozy with the fig flavor

O- I like this as a warming old ale. Good amplified flavor really shows up in the taste profile. Keep the big beer series coming smutty!!!

 878 characters

Photo of Rekrule
3/5  rDev -23.3%

Photo of Rempo
5/5  rDev +27.9%

Photo of illini4x4
2.75/5  rDev -29.7%

Photo of Stevie_Janowski
3.25/5  rDev -16.9%

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

22oz bottle, 2012 vintage. Served at cellar temperature.

Pours dark reddish brown with a large three finger foamy off-white head that leaves sheets of lacing and holds a nice foamy cap.

Aroma is brown sugar, toffee, some dark fruits, golden raisins, a bit of cherry, some alcohol. Good to very good strength.

Flavor is brown sugar, toffee, caramel, some molasses, dark fruits, cherries, oak, some herbal hops, moderate sweetness, some bitterness, a bit of smooth alcohol. As I get further into the bottle, I'm picking up a lot of spices as well, almost like a pumpkin-eque ale.

Mouthfeel is medium-plus bodied, sticky, oily, creamy, mild to moderate carbonation.

Very nice Old Ale. Rich and complex and quite drinkable for a big 10% beer. Been wanting to try this for some time and I’m glad I finally got a chance to.

 824 characters

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

A: brown with off-white head; minor lacing

S: caramel malt, baked cookies, brown sugar

T: again, caramel malts up front, lots of malty brown flavors, brown sugar, molasses; subtle undertones of aged wood and earth

M: medium body, moderate carbonation, mild aftertaste

O: a good beer, but that is all; I love old ales, wee heavies, and barleywines, but this not one of the best, but it is worth a try if you like the style; rather like an American barleywine met a brown ale in style.

 487 characters

Photo of RMoeNay
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of Texasfan549
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of mtlasley
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of phingdong
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

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.

 372 characters

Photo of JRod1969
4/5  rDev +2.3%

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

"Bottle Conditioned in 2007"

A: Beautiful ruby-brown-amber with a yellowish foamy head that builds and dies quickly. No lace or retention, as expected.

S: Boozy, malty, sugary, fruity, sweet. Brown sugar. Dried fruits. More booze. You can tell that some flavors were lost in the five years of aging but some were enhanced and it's an aged beauty!

T: Fruity, malty, sugary sweet goodness! Aged beautifully. The alcohol is of course pronounced and while it burns a bit, it adds to the flavor of the beer. As good as an Old Ale can be after all this time in a bottle.

M: Smooth, sweet, boozy. Fits the style. Some of the yeast and booze becomes cloying but it's very enjoyable overall.

O: As a 2007 vintage I was a bit nervous but when I purchased this bottle at Smuttynose back in December of 2011, I knew it had been cared for properly. It has aged extremely well. I am a huge fan of Smutty's Big Beer Series and I would not hesitate to buy another vintage brew from them.

 976 characters

Photo of dojii54
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Really Old Brown Dog Ale from Smuttynose Brewing Company
3.91 out of 5 based on 878 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.

    Learn More
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.

    Learn More
  • Our Magazine

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

    Learn More