Bad Penny Brown Ale | Big Boss Brewing

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Bad Penny Brown AleBad Penny Brown Ale

Brewed by:
Big Boss Brewing
North Carolina, United States

Style: English Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by atsprings on 04-17-2007

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 109 | Ratings: 356
Photo of nick_perry
3.46/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

My introduction to Raleigh craft beer (although I had it in Charlotte a little over a year before moving down to NC). Crisp, slightly dry with nutty/toasted bread flavor notes. Slightly metallic tasting finish (it was off draught). It's a local staple around Raleigh, places that aren't even craft beer places tend to have it.

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Photo of Radome
3.04/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Enjoyable but not outstanding in any way. Low roastiness and malt flavors but both aromas and flavors are fairly muted. Yeasty aftertaste might indicate a low level sanitation problem.

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Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Pours brilliant brown with ruby highlights under a 1” off-white foam cap that rapidly dissipates.

S: Nutty rich malt aromas with faint chocolate and caramel, grains.

T: Malt caramel, chocolate, nuts. The malt is medium, hops are low, bitterness is low.

F: Medium body and medium carbonation.

O: this is a good but not great brown ale.

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Photo of chinchill
3.48/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

From a bottle.
Lightly sweet with a mild but lingering flavor.
Medium-light body may be slightly over carbonated and thin.

Overall: A good, mainstream brown ale.

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Photo of FrothFanatic
3.62/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

A nice brown ale nothing extraordinary here, but drinkable and enjoyable. Its one of those brews that smell better then it tastes however, too many bitter notes overpower the toasted coffee and nutty flavors.

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Photo of hotpauko
3.74/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Not a "bad" brown at all. Not the best I've had but enjoyable if you want an easy drinking brown with decent flavor. Flavors work well without being too overbearing. Not too sweet. Finishes mild in the mouth, I guess a little more stronger finish would be good.

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Photo of JohnnyI
3.87/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown with garnet red accents. 2 fingers of cream colored foam settled with no lacing in to a thin layer and attractive collar. There's a little bit of nutty aroma with some faint smoky accents. Some toasted bread. Not a lot happening in the nose. The taste brings some sweet toffee malts with a little buttery diacetyl. Traces of pecan nuttiness and a little bit of mineral water flourish in the flavor. Scant bitterness with a slightly drying finish and touch of roast. The flavors are all pretty subtle, but artfully constructed. The mouthfeel is medium-full with mild carbonation. This entire beer exhibits great balance. With the moderate ABV and pleasant yet gentle flavors, this would make a spectacular session beer. I am typically not a fan of the brown ales that I've sampled from throughout the United States, but this one got my attention. Simple, tasty and uncontroversial. Many American browns have gone too far with the hops, and in my humble opinion, it takes away from what makes them delicious. It's good to see another East Coast brewery that puts the Carolinas on the map.

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Photo of barczar
3.76/5  rDev +4.4%

Unsure of age, but know it was bottled this year. Nutty, caramelly, toasted brown malt dominates the aroma. Flavor is fairly sweet and underattenuated, with toasted, nutty malt dominating, finishing sugary sweet, but then countered by hop bitterness, which borders on piney. There are light chocolatey notes that make me think this would go very well with a peanut butter sandwich.

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Photo of Brenden
3.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Beer #3 in an NC beers only tasting, thanks to Benny (styleisking).

[Appearance: 3.25] This brown's got a paleness to it that lends itself to more of a dark orange color, maybe copper, overall. The head is a thin cap eggshell in color that holds up a film and deposits spotting in moderation.
[Aroma: 3.75] The nose has some heft to it, showing off a strong malty base. It's got toffee and caramel with an expected toastiness, but seems to lean in an interestingly American direction with a bit more roast than expected before it gets strongly nutty.
[Taste: 4.0] This one is a good addition to a market in which it seems some brewers think an English Brown is weak and can't appreciate the delicacy or subtlety that makes the great ones deep. This one dials up the flavor without losing sight of what it is. It's got lots of toast, a nice sweetness from caramel and toffee notes, just a bit of leafy hops for balance, a lot of nut, and just a bit of cocoa.
[Mouthfeel: 3.75] While on the light side of medium, the body shows texture and depth while remaining clean, giving just a bit of dryness to counter the sweet while maintaining a firm crispness and being quite smooth.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.72/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Type: 12-oz. bottle
Glass: Boulevard Ales pint glass
From: Trader Joe’s in Ballantyne (Charlotte), N.C.
Price: $1.67 (I think)
Purchased: July 26, 2014
Consumed: July 28, 2014
Misc.: N/A

Poured a dark red, almost mahogany color with 1-to-2 fingers of khaki white head that dissipated pretty quick. Minimal lacing on the sides of the glass. Minimal retention on the top. Light bubbles coming up from the bottom.

Smelled caramel, toffee, roasted nuts, chocolate, espresso and some rye.

Tasted roasted nuts, caramel, toffee, chocolate, espresso and hot cocoa.

Medium body. Oily-to-creamy texture. Average carbonation. Long, smooth finish.

Not a bad brown ale overall. It grew on me a bit as it went down.

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Photo of avalon07
3.58/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a medium brown color and a clear texture. There was an inch of foamy, long-lasting head. Very good lacing.

S: A typical aroma for a brown ale: Nuttiness, with some malt mixed in as well.

T: Tasted of the old brown ale nuttiness, a good shot of malt, and a hint of chocolate in the finish. This is a pretty standard flavor for the style, but still pretty solid and straightforward.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a dry finish. Medium-bodied.

O: Nothing overly spectacular here, but it's definitely drinkable. Worth a look.

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Photo of kris10michele
3.89/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer is what turned me over to stouts. While it isn't a stout, it's just dark enough to get you interested in darker beers. At least, that was the case with me. I have found that this is a good middle ground beer for my friends and me. They like light beer, while I drink stouts now. Bad Penny is so yummy, I don't see why anyone wouldn't like it.

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Photo of dfswan
3.96/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Being in Raleigh, I can get this beer fresh both from local taps, as well as from the bottle. On Tap is not surprisingly smoother than the bottle.

Not too rich
Not light
A bit of hopes, but not too bitter.

All in all, a very good American Brown ale!

If you're in NC, Have a Bad Penny on tap. I think you'll enjoy it.
(Sweet Jose and Old Town are also great local Brown Ale's)


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Photo of seydou
3.3/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured out of a bottle into a mason jar. Disappointing brown, tepidly see-through, with some good sticking power of the offwhite head. Smell is not overpowering - don't get much of anything. Taste is mild, malty, very drinkable. A good session brown.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.71/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a shaker pint, the beer is a very dark, ruby-highlighted, hazelnut coloring with a thin, bubbly, light tan head. Aromas of roasted nut sweetness, woody characteristics, and some light, sweet cream highlights. The nose is subtle, and it takes some getting in there deep to pick up characteristics. Flavors are very sweet forward, with an overall roasted character giving way to a blend of nut, chocolate, and subtle toffee notes. Very sweet characteristics, but remains light and drinkable. Roast characteristics build towards the end of the palate into the aftertaste, and are joined by a subtle, mild bitterness. The body is light, and slightly effervesced by the carbonation. The finish has a sweet linger, with a subtle bitterness that provides a clean and dry finale. Very easy to drink.

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Photo of TheQuietMan22
2.53/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Serving type: 12-ounce bottle. Bottling month and year numbers for notching are written on the side of the label, but there are no notches.

Appearance: Poured into a pint glass. The color is a beautiful deep, ruby-tinted brown. A finger of buttery, creamy, light tan head settled to a thin lacing and thick, buttery ring around the edge.

Smell: Kind of funky. I am unsure if the general impression is nutty or medicinal rubber. I think it may be a combination of both. Underneath are aromas of caramel, toffee, toasted malts, black licorice, and some dark fruit esters (mostly plum and cherry).

Taste: The mouthfeel is pretty creamy. The nutty/rubbery quality dominates. Though there are toasted undertones, the flavor is very tart. Sweet caramel, toffee, toasted malts, a little cocoa, and both sweet and dark esters (apple, plum, and cherry). After letting it sit for a few minutes, the medicinal quality becomes so overpowering that it just about ruins the whole beer.

Drinkability: It looks awesome, the smell is uninviting, and the flavor eventually becomes offensive. I suspect this bottle is past its prime so I will stay open minded. I think this one deserves an asterisk.

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Photo of Axnjxn
3.51/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

on tap at sams for 2 bucks.

pours a dark brown with not much of a head. smells like...not much honestly. taste is better than it smells, good malt characteristic. typical English brown flavors, nothing big. enjoyable for what it is though. medium bodied with low carbonation.

overall nothing special, but its enjoyable. not bad.

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Photo of larryinnc
2.05/5  rDev -43.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.75

The seasonal beers are actually decent, but I cannot tolerate the year round brews from Big Boss. I really really tried to like their beers - but ever since first going there when it opened, I immediately noticed a horrible aftertaste. Maybe a bad batch? Tried a 2nd, and 3rd, and the other of the year round varieties - even from the bottle over the past few years. Nope - that's the way it's brewed. As others have commented, there is an off aftertaste and suspect something wrong with the brewing process (sanitization?). However, I do know a couple people that do like and even love their year round beers - so to each their own.

Anyway, it's worth a visit to check out the brewery if you've never had their beers, but IMHO, there's too many other good breweries in NC that I would try first.

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Photo of jrstamp
2.17/5  rDev -39.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.25

A: Dark brown. Very low carbonation, not to style.

S: Huge unappealing esters, not sure what to call them, but very unappealing. Feels like it was fermented way to warm. Almost don't want to taste this.

T: Tastes better than it smells, but it is still pretty bad. Very muted malt flavors. Definitely get a cardboard taste.

M: Medium

O: Not a fan of this at all. I think there is a process problem, maybe a very high fermentation temp to get that nose.

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Photo of dpodratsky3
4.21/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: Slightly opaque deep chestnut color, not much light gets through, ruby around the edges, head is very small and light, reduces to a thin spotty film

S: Distinct sweet toffee aroma, very sweet caramel malt aroma, but its pleasant

T: Has a big bold malt flavor, very full and deep feeling, has some caramel toffee flavor but also has lighter toasted malt flavor, hints of a deeper roast are barely perceptible, clean spicy, floral hops help cut some of the malt but after a while it does finish a bit sweet, otherwise I would grade this higher

M: Medium dryness, medium-high carb, medium-full body, all help keep the sweetness down since the hops are a little low

O: Delicious, nothing earth-shattering and not going to win a hype contest, but just a good all around beer to sit down and relax with

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.51/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a slightly opaque but clear dark brownish amber in color with some significant garnet red highlights and a light to moderate amount of visible carbonation. The beer has a finger tall creamy light tan head that slowly reduces to a thin film covering the majority of the surface of the beer with a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Overall the aroma for this beer is quite light with some very light notes of caramel malts and just a hint of nuttiness.

T: Upfront there is a moderate amount of malts - some caramel and some chocolate malts and just a touch of sweetness. There is a light amount of nuttiness to the brew. Light amounts of bitterness towards the finish but it does not linger.

M: Light to medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth.

O: Pretty easy to drink and enjoyable but not really anything special - I would have appreciated a little more aroma to the beer.

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Photo of Durge
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another brew found at Margaux's restaurant in raleigh, NC this one shows a dark brown mahogany color, nearly opaque. The head is a modest off-white cover with respectable lacing. The aroma brings pretty standard roasted malt with a touch of burnt wood ash. Mild but pleasant enough. The first mouthful delivers a somewhat diluted brown bread, malt-charcoal medley. Well blended but kind of watery without being unlikeable. There is a bit of tart swampy hop going on here, sort of cider like maybe, but the roasted malt charcoal lead the way on flavor. As I get used to this I pick up some honey sweetness and leafy edges. This brown ale is medium-light bodied with subtle, tingly carbonation and somewhat aqueous feel. Not bad at all, a little weak for my tastes but drinkable and worth a try.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.45/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This poured out as a nice looking deep brown color with a cream colored head on top. The retention and lacing were moderate, but nothing too exciting. The smell of the beer gives of some nice roasted malt aromas with a hint of hops on the nose as well. There is a touch of chocolate and nuts on the nose also. The taste of the beer is toasted, it's got a decent dry bitterness to it in the finish also. There are subtle elements of coffee and chocolate in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel of the beer is pretty standard, nothing too crazy going on. Overall it's a good drinkable beer.

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Photo of FMSmith
3.57/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had at taproom and in bottle, on tap is better but then I always say that.

Definitely worth a try if you are a brown ale kinda person. Not too hoppy which I like, and best when served colder than most brown ales I think.

A little more bite than say Newcastle but still a good craft beer.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.33/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a nonic.
5.2% ABV, Bottled on notch space empty.

Thanks to Onenote81 for another local!

A - Deep chestnut brown in color Bad Penny is, despite her dark color, clear. A fizzy, loose afro of light khaki head deflates after mere moments, leaving the glass blank; not a trace of lacing.

S - Bad Penny has a very low aroma right from the get-go, softly introducing minor chocolate and coffee aromatics into the air. Light earthy cardboard notes suggest some oxidation, perhaps, but nothing aggressive or unwelcome.

T - Subtle nutty undertones emerge around the faint bittersweet chocolate and thin coffee notes for a low but tasty flavor. Hops are all but forgotten in Bad Penny seemingly leaving the roasted qualities to balance out the sweetness.

M - Smooth and drinkable but highly carbonated, it doesn't quite remind me of an English brown in this regard. The finish lingers on the tongue with faint presence.

O - Bad Penny isn't outstanding by any stretch of the word, but damn if it isn't sessionable and smooth! This beer is, unlike the label, a rather plain Jane which will definitely satisfy in the autumn months.

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Bad Penny Brown Ale from Big Boss Brewing
3.6 out of 5 based on 356 ratings.
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