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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Reviews: 109 | Ratings: 355
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 mentor
2.08/5  rDev -42.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Thanks to GCBrewingCo for this one. Pours a thin layer of tan head that quickly shifts to a ring around the glass. Nearly pitch liquid has dark brown edgings. Smells soured malt cherry and black patent. Not so good. Cream and chocolate. Lactic?

Tastes wet sweet with drying woody and soured caramel tang. Nutty and thin yet bitter coffee flavor. Not good. Astringent dry finish with carbonation acrid chiming in as an unpleasant counterpoint. Light body and strong carbonation. Dumper, life is too short to drink lousy beer.

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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 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 SaCkErZ9
2.64/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Beautiful, chocolate copper colored beer ith a slightly tanned head of about one finger. Remains about 1/4 inch for the duration of the cosumption. This looked great but went downhill from here.

Aroma had a slight chocolate aroma but was mostly filled with a vegetal aroma and battery acid. Not pleasing A Tall.

Flavor was the same. More vegetable flavors with some caramel and toffee flavors with a touch of chocolate. A very distinct sourness emerges that causes a slight pucker of the mouth. DMS aftertaste as well that nearly ruined the whole experience.

Not please with this one. Everything was slightly off but not horrible. I cant recommend this in good faith. Decent mouthfeel was and wonderful appearance but those were about the only redeeming qualities in this let-down.

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Photo of bigbluebeerguy
2.7/5  rDev -25%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a pint glass. Dark Brown with a little reddish highlights around the edges, aggressive pour yielded zero head. As stated by another reviewer, does have a cool label on the bottle.

Smell was decent, weaker coffee aroma with a touch of smokiness.

Taste is where this fell apart for me. Coffee initially, but then it was overtaken by a smokey, almost ashen flavor. The coffee almost became a little rancid. Not good.

Mouthfeel was OK, very little to no carbonation, slightly slick and filmy in the mouth.

Personally, not very drinkable for me. Too many good beers out there to settle for this one.

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Photo of bobbyc881
2.73/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours out a dark brown -- darker than most. Bit closer to porter color. Light brown head hang out for a while. Aroma is light chocolate.

Taste begins smooth and creamy, almost like chocolate milk. No real hop presence to speak of. Finish, as other people have mentioned, definitely reminds me of a cola. Maybe it's the carbonation that lends to this? Almost like a chocolate coke. It's odd, I can't decide if I like it.

Although it starts creamy, overall the mouthfeel is a bit thin and over carbonated. Not sure I could drink another one of these. Fairly average brown ale -- and I can't quite put a finger on what went wrong.

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Photo of smerkinb
2.8/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

From notes on 4/19/09.

Pours a deep mahogany with a 1/2" tan head that looks smooth and creamy. The head quickly collapses into a thin collar.

Wow, this smells great. Sweet malty, rich earthy scent smacks me across the face. Deeper is a chocolate roast. Hints at complex flavors, is inviting, even tantalizing. As it warms, caramel scent enters the scene. Can't wait to taste this...

Alas, the taste doesn't live up to all the nose promises. Flat, slightly burntish malt. No sweetness and I can't detect any balancing hops. The finish is a late metallic note.

The mouthfeel is good on this beer right up until you swallow. All that's left after that is a chalky, too dry feel. Almost like I would imagine my mouth would feel after sucking on a dry sponge for 5 minutes. I assume this is the hops trying to let me know they're under there somewhere.

I am super, uber disappointed. I have had this beer twice before and have looked forward to this chance to finally review it. I feel like it was reduced to potential for me. It's got a creaminess that doesn't quite hold up, a complexity that never equals the sum of it's parts and the finish is strike 3. The roastiness becomes burnt and the alcohol becomes prominent.

I will definitely have another go at this one to give it a fair shake--my bottle is less than amonth old but maybe one of us is having an off night.

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Photo of oregonskibum
2.81/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Color is generally brown, although there are some orange hints when held up to a light. Pours with a 3/4 light tan head that fades quickly.

S: Not a lot going on in the smell. Some faint nuttiness along with roasted malts and cocoa notes.

T: Getting more cocoa early in the taste, but then it fades and is replaced by, not much (?). At some point, a bitterness reminding me of burnt coffee kicks in. There's nothing offensive or off in the flavors, there's just not much there.

M: Light body body, almost to the point of being thin, with low to medium carbonation. Makes for an easy quick drink.

D: While not offensive, this beer doesn't have a lot going for it. Flavors are just to weak. I won't mind finishing the bottle, but I wouldn't track this down.

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Photo of Bung
2.93/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. Real nice dark brown pour, white bubbly head. Aroma is of heavy malt with some yellow raisin. Taste has some malt, brown sugar, raisin, but is then overwhelmed by a cardboard like flavor. Not sure if this is supposed to be some woody characteristic but it is not good. Like if you let your McDonalds soda sit for a day then try and drink it. Mouthfeel is ok with some carbonation. Might be drinkable if not for this large problem also.

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Photo of ccrida
3/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark brown with a thin off-white collar that leaves very light lace.

Smell is light, sweet, brown sugar, directly opens as it warms.

Taste is light roasted malts, iced coffee and molasses / over caramelized sugar. A hint of diacetyl, the butter gives it a sugar cookie note.

Mouthfeel is crisp, medium bodied. Seems a little heavy.

Drinkability is ok, it's a pretty full flavored brown ale, a bit heavy for my taste in the style, especially when the ABV doesn't really match.

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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 jraycee
3.07/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a very dark brown almost black. Small head swhows little retention.
Smells dark nutty pine, caramel, cola.
Taste is surprisingly thin. Some hints from the nose in a much more restrained form and maybe a hint of ginger.
Mouthfeel is watery, not full. Carbonation is good, but makes the wateriness more apparent.
Drinkability is decent but not anything special. I'm glad I have better browns to choose from locally.

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Photo of CBlack85
3.15/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass

Let me preface this review by saying that I am not a huge fan of the style.

Pours dark brown with ruby highlights, minimal amount of light tan head. Head doesn't seem to stick around for long and leaves a fair amount of lacing.

Just the slightest hint of a nutty aroma, with some caramel highlights.

Mild malty flavor, with a hint of caramel and nut flavors. Mouthfeel was quite average and thin, not much in the way of carbination.

Overall not bad.

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Photo of wagenvolks
3.18/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at the Big Easy, downtown Raleigh.

Color is a mix of deep amber and sepia hues. A light, buff-colored head floats on top. Decent retention, but no lacing. The aroma is lacking; I really have to strain to get a good sense of it. Caramel, nutty malts provide most of the smell, while the hops are faint.

The taste is a bit bland, with some toffee-caramel malts, a bit of nuttiness, and really not much else. Even once my food arrived, the flavor just didn't do anything for me. As for mouthfeel, it's a bit thin and watery, with a low carbonation level and an okay finish. It is refreshing, however, and quite easy to drink. I'll probably try this again sometime, and hopefully it'll impress me more than it did today. The first "miss" of the normally delicious Big Boss beers I've tried.

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Photo of RothBrews
3.19/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This review is compiled from 3 associates and I off of a taste test. All four of us were aware of the beer name, brewery, and style. This is one of our competitors beers, though this beer review is as true and accurate as we can be as beer drinkers and not as business men. I was unaware of the policy about reviewing beers from other local breweries, but I will be posting this review anyway. We, and I, respect beer and do not intend to inflate our own ego, show beer snobbery, or be jerks! I would be flattered to have Big Boss Brewing Company review our beers and give us constructive criticism. All this being said, we understand if the review is removed and will not be offended or be the previously stated jerks. Hooray Beer!

Look/Color - Pours a very nice brown to crimson with excellent clarity. This is a very appealing color for a brown to me, looking like a mix between an American Amber and a Porter. This is a very pretty beer. The head pours to about a finger and a half and has medium to low retention.

Aroma - This has a chocolate coppery malt nasal immediately with a very light cherry after note. This beer smells strongly of hazelnut. I feel that a lot of effort was put into the smell of this beer, very inviting.

Taste - This beers first sip can be confused with the first sip of a stout. We feel that this beer could benefit greatly from an increase in hops, as there are only small glimpses of the ingredient across the palate. The malt profile isn't so much a profile but a power chord of darker malts. All the flavors from the malts are present and in balance with each other through the entire drinking experience, which this reviewer finds to show confidence in the crafting of this beer. This beer contains hints of dried apricot, caramel, and copper. These reviewers recommend to drink this beer at 55 - 60 degrees F. Not to cold, not to warm, but just right. This beer has a relatively bitter aftertaste. The aftertaste can become burdensome and is the part of the beer my reviewers were most critical about.

Mouth Feel - Again, this beer has the initial mouth-feel of a stout like Guinness. It is a thin beer, with the carbonation slow to bite. This beer then fills out as it is let warm a little and becomes a rather full-bodied beer.

Overall, we find that this is an average to good beer, reasonably priced, and worth drinking from time to time.

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Photo of JayQue
3.2/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A so-so brown ale. Purchased on a recent trip to Asheville NC. Pours a dark brown color with a lot of ruby highlights when held to a light. Almost no head and minimal lacing.

Smell is faint roasted malt and a little chocolate.

Taste is fairly good. Roasted malt, a hint of chocolate. Pretty simple.

Mouthfeel is a hair too thin but it is crisp and refreshing.

Overall a pretty average brown ale.

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Photo of thegodfather2701
3.23/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

A-Pours an amber brown with an off white head that dissipates quickly.

S-Very, very malty with hints of toffee and some caramel.

T-Toffee and chocolate stand out the most. It is incredibly malty and kind of chalky.

M-Thick and somewhat gritty.

D-I couldn't finish the bottle because I just didn't like the beer. Its not a bad beer, its just not for me.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.25/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass. Bottled April 2011 I think, so off we go!

Out of the bottle this head can't form at all. Never gets bigger than an off light brown one finger head. I'll admit it sits for a bit but that's it. Color is a classic dark walnut brown for the body, leaving a simple small but solid puck but no lacing while drinking. Other than that slightly better than average.

Malt roast of mild chocolate. Simple, muted, there... but a kind of strange malt bent. Hard to describe, it's just a tad off putting.

Taste is weak sauce. Extremely wet bodied, like very watered down coffee without a sense of coffee strangely. Malt presence lacking and unknown. Virtually no chocolate taste coming from the nose as thought to be expected.

Overall a drinkable beverage you could do a lot worse. This isn't even a particular favorite style of mine, but I would have many others over this thing "in this style" by a country mile.

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Photo of tdm168
3.28/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the brewery's tasting room

Pours a pure brown with no head. Smells of caramel and faint roast malt. Taste is caramel and sweet malt. Thin, a little watered down, and very little carbonation.

Not bad, but could use a little more body in my opinion.

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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 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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Photo of devilben02
3.33/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep, nearly opaque reddish-chestnut brown, with a foamy off-white head that quickly dissipates. The aroma is light and sweet, with notes of brown sugar, milk chocolate, and a mild graininess coming through. The flavor is likewise light and sweet, but not overly so. The same brown sugar and milk chocolate are again found, but a dull, earthy, musty hop character also seems apparent. The body is a bit thin, but this is overall a nice, well-constructed brown.

I should note that this bottle was dated July 2010, so I will be interested to try a fresher sample to see if my impression changes at all.

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

12oz bottle acquired in trade (I can't find who this came from, if it was you, let me know!).

Poured a deeper brown color with an averaged sized off white head. Aromas of toasted malts, light caramel, and some nuts. I was also getting an earthiness to it. Tastes of caramel, chocolate, toasted malts, and nuts.

Notes from 12/29/06

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Photo of hayesez
3.33/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Received as an extra in a recent trade with crosamich.

Poured into a Red Hook pint glass, this beer had a very dark copper color. Absolutely zero head on this guy, even with a stiff pour. Understandably, there was no lacing left as I drank this one either. I'm wondering if I got a flat bottle. Upon looking at other reviews, it appears that most are getting a decent amount of head on the top. I will certainly be looking for a second bottle of this and will adjust my comments accordingly.

A nutty aroma dominated the nose, although a small amount of chocolate was definitely present as well.

Literally zero carbonation...I always have a bit of trouble detailing the flavor profile in these types of situations. The beer starts with a chocolate-nutty flavor before spiking into a cheaper coffee taste. It was very interesting how the initial flavor would hang around for a second, recede a bit, and then be spiked by this weird coffee finish. A nice line graph here would illustrate this well... With no carbonation, the mouthfeel was obviously "off." Still decent body, but lacking bite of any kind. Of course, this lends itself to being very "drinkable," but I wouldn't trade flavor for drinkability...

Again, perhaps I've got my hands on a bad bottle. Although there were some redeeming qualities of this beer, I would have to say that overall I was disappointed. I will seek it out once more, just to compare to this run, but based on tonight, there are plenty of other browns out there that I would prefer.

Consumed on2/24/2010

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Bad Penny Brown Ale from Big Boss Brewing
3.6 out of 5 based on 355 ratings.
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