Really Old Brown Dog Ale | Smuttynose Brewing Company

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Really Old Brown Dog AleReally Old Brown Dog Ale
Very Good
899 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 899 |  Reviews: 396
Photo of Pando
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

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

Well, I didnt cellar this beer, I bought it today. It pours a deep, rich, murky red with a khaki head that dissapates quickly. It leaves a nice lacing while it lasts. It smells of figs, malt, alcohol, and a hint of citrus. It has a creamy/oily mouthfeel with medium carbonation. Figs, Vanilla, and a slight oakiness dominate the palate. A little hoppy bitterness on the finish that lingers along with a slight tingling on the tongue. As other reviewers have said, it is a little rum like. I will have to buy a few more and try aging them, although it is excellent right now.

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Photo of sendbeer
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of cliff1066
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of morebeergood
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This bottle was a 2008 vintage from my cellar. Poured into tulip glasses. Chestnut brown body. Carbonation has diminished a bit, but there was still decent lacing. Smell was ripe with raisins and fig. Flavor was sugary, rum-like, and malty. Still a hit of booze there after all these years. Mouthfeel was on the thin side but still smooth. I liked this beer, and I think it aged well. It just so happened that I had a 2008 Smutty Baltic Porter the same weekend, and that blew the ROBDA out of the water.

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Photo of chippo33
3/5  rDev -23.3%

Photo of e30todamax
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of ChrisMon02
3/5  rDev -23.3%

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

Sampled a 2010 and a 2012 simultaneously.

Pours a hazy chesnut russet brown color. The older edition has a thin toasted almond colored head that was gone immediately where the never batch had a medium size head of the same color.

Aromas begin with deep caramel and toffee, brown sugar, roasted nuts and some dark fruits. The older batch has more sweeter darker fruit notes where the newer batch has more of an alcohol booziness about it with less malt complexity.

The tastes follow the nose with sweet malty flavors, again highlighted by caramelized brown sugars light toffee and bakers cocoa with the ever emerging fig and plum dark fruitiness. Newer batch is once again boozier and less sweet than the aged version.

Moithfeel is medium bodied with medium to low carbonation (even lower for the aged version). The finish is quite sweet on the old batch, boozy and drier on the newer one.

Overall I think somewhere in the middle of these two editions is a decent beer but for me the newer was too "green" and the aged one was too sweet and cloying. I ended up blending the two to confirm my belief but the beer still lacks some complexity which I desire in my "big" beers of this nature.

 1,193 characters

Photo of dreis
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of micromaniac129
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A deep ruby brown color and loads of carbonation. Sitting on top is a big fat off white head, dense as all getup and lingers with curtins of lace. Striking in apperanace that makes you want to drink it.

Aromas I thought were kind of basic and not really too deep. Toffee malts and sweet sugar is what I smell.

Taste is toffee malts sweet candied sugars and alcohol up front with sutle hints of stewed fruits and oak, these could be suggestive perhaps.
Strong and potent on the palette also smooth flowing and weighty. Finishes slightly bitter and slighty dry.
A good beer though higher in alcohol for my taste drinks small.

 626 characters

Photo of seplo
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of mklisz
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of NODAK
3.77/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The amount of caramel and dark fruits on the nose here is more than sufficent...if somebody told me this was a dopplebock, I'd have believed that without a doubt. No alcohol, though.

Predictably, pours a translucent medium brown color in my pint glass. Pretty fair head on it.

Taste isn't QUITE as rich as I may have thought from the nose, but is plenty big. The caramel and dark fruits are there, but they're restrained enough to let a decent, toasty husk quality come through and add a level of complexity to this one so it's not all sweet. The alcohol does show up near the finish, though I wouldn't say it's just makes you aware this is a high ABV brew. There's a small, English hop bitterness on the finish...pretty small and non-lingering.

All in all, it's pretty good but perhaps nothing super special. Goes down well for its high alcohol.

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Photo of CheezyBlaster
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Good brew. I'd like to AGE ONE and see if it balances out.

Nose is all dark fruits. Dates, figs, etc. Rich, dark caramel.

The taste surprised me and shifted gears. Lots and lots of maple syrup, and booze too.
A little bit of medicinal/tussin on the finish and later. Carbonation is a bit inconsistent with the body. The body/taste crossover isn't quite as chewy as I'd expect. Metallic compounds in the last 1/3rd of the bottle.

I bet this beer would age tremendously well, and hammer out the imperfections. I don't know why they don't keep it for an extra year?

Whffff. This is all over the place, despite having some very enjoyable sips.

Anyhow, I love Smutty! I'll buy another and check it out next fall.

 715 characters

Photo of Lynn
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of Johncnh
4.34/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of kirkse
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Ommegang Tulip glass.

A- pours a beautiful brown fading to a deep copper around the edges with two fingers of an off-white head that leaves beautiful lacing.

S- booze and toasty malts. Some nuttieness as well. As it warms the booze fades and the toasted grains and breadyness prevail.

T- Much more presence of cinnamon and spices than I remember from having had this before. Sweet candied nuts. Fresh baked ginger bread. Not as much nuttieness as expected, although there is more as it warms.

M- lighter bodied than I would expect given the abv. I appreciate the lighter carbination on this one as well.

O- This is the fresh 2013 batch. Having tried this before with some age on it I must say that I think it will be much better in October or November. Definitely planning to pick up another for the cellar. Also, this is my first review and it makes me realize that while I have formed definite opinions about what I like and don't like, I have trouble finding adjectives for this.

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Photo of gpawned
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of uustal
4/5  rDev +2.3%

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.

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Really Old Brown Dog Ale from Smuttynose Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.91 out of 5 with 899 ratings