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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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 108 | Ratings: 351
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 metter98
3.48/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Big Boss Brewing, Raleigh, NC

A: The beer is dark brownish amber in color and poured with a thin white head.
S: The smell isn't very strong but has some hints of caramel malts.
T: The taste is nutty and has some hints of sweetness along with flavors of caramel and chocolate malts.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied and a bit smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: The beer isn't that difficult to drink.

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Photo of zeff80
3.95/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a dark, dark brown color with a two-finger head of off-white foam. It left minimal lacing.

S - It smelled very nutty with strong malty notes and hints of caramel.

T - Good nutty flavor like you'd expect in an English Brown. Nice roasted malt flavor with toffee and caramel notes.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied brown ale that is very easy drinking.

D - This is one of the better tasting brown ales out there. I'm glad I grabbed it at Bruisin' Ales in Asheville.

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Photo of oberon
3.68/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the restaurant attached to The Souther Season in Chapel Hill.Poured into a standard pint glass a deep mahogany brown with a thin almond colored head atop,muted aromas of dark roast coffee and bitter chocolate mainly.Pretty standard for the style on the palate,somwehat sweet up front with bitter chocolate flavors with pretty hefty roasted coffee-like base underneath thru to the finish.Not bad but like I said pretty basic stuff here.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.48/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Horniblow's Tavern (Raleigh, NC).

Pours a dark brown with a think wispy off-white head that retained into a thin ring around the edge of the glass that some minimal lacing. The aroma is generally sweet with some light toasted notes and nuttiness. Nothing too special.

The taste is more of the same, with chocolate sweetness, toasted malts, some nutty character and a little hop bitterness. The mouthfeel is a light medium with a creamy feel. Overall, the flavor profile feels pretty mild.

This wasn't a bad Brown Ale form Big Boss but nothing seemed to really jump out at you. It went down easy enough though.

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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 BuckeyeNation
4.1/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

"Pennies do not come from heaven. They have to be earned here on earth."

--Margaret Thatcher

Walnut brown with radiant orange highlights when on the coaster... dark cranberry when backlit with sunshine. Approximately two fingers of khaki colored foam was created on the pour, which allowed the entire bottle to enter the glass in one fell swoop. A thick collar of lace eventually becomes thick rings and scattered sheets.

The nose is classic for the style and is wonderfully aromatic to boot. Three different malts combine to produce a melange of cocoa, dark caramel and baked nuts. No negatives here.

There are no chinks in the armor when it comes to the flavor profile either. Way too many browns are wimpy and don't show off their malts enough. Bad Penny isn't shy at all, which makes sense when you consider the look she's giving from well-done, informative label. It would be great if all breweries included style, ABV and bottled-on date.

BPBA is delicious beer that is exiting the glass almost as fast as it entered. Each sip delivers chocolate-dipped English toffee, sugared pecans, ripe fruits and enough earthy hoppiness to take the edge off the sweetness. Big Boss Brewing has done themselves proud with this well-constructed ale.

Keeping style and ABV in mind, the mouthfeel easily keeps pace. It's no bigger than light-medium, but is aided by an ideal amount of carbonation that inflates the beer to a fluffy, creamy state on contact.

Bad Penny (the woman) may have a tarnished reputation, but purchasing Bad Penny (the beer) makes a lot of cents for those who appreciate a finely crafted English brown. For my money, Bad Penny is definitely Good Beer.

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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 Huhzubendah
3.41/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer is reddish brown with a thin beige cap. The aroma is pretty weak, offering subtle hints of bready malts, biscuits, fruit. Light bodied, with moderately low carbonation. A decent beer, but generally unexciting. Some toffee and caramel notes. Probably won't have this one again.

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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 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 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 yourefragile
3.75/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle bottled in 2/08 served in a pint glass. I already reviewed this on tap, giving it another shot.

A: Deep, dark brown color, clear mahogany against light. Light tan head with light retention, dissipates to a splotchy thin film and a ring. A little streaky lacing.
S: Nice malty, slightly chocolate smell, not very strong or sweet, but very pleasant.
T: Medium bodied with strong carbonation and slightly creamy mouthfeel. Predominantly malty body, some toasted flavors, mild chocolate, nuttiness and some hop bitterness in the finish.

Well, pretty much what you would expect from this style. Nothing spectacular, and like last few reviews said no one will probably rate this particularly high, but a very nice session beer.

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Photo of akorsak
3.88/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 12 oz bottle purchased at Chip's.

A: The ale is a dark ebony color, black from afar but deep cola brown up close. A two plus finger head on pour has settled down to a thin pool.

S: The nose is mostly toffee with a sprinkling of nuts thrown in. Very sweet with a sugary note that strikes me as Belgian.

T: The flavor is a little thin upfront, all nondescript grains before the toffee kicks in. The darker malts are toffee sweet and nut dry, a nice mix that coats the tastebuds over the last half of a sip. Grassy hops add a nice bitterness that penetrates the sweetness.

M: The mouthfeel is sweet with a pleasingly mild finish that makes me want another sip.

D: I'm glad I grabbed a bottle of this. The ale is a solid brown ale that packs a nice flavor.

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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 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 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 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 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 glid02
4.22/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased from Bruisin Ales in Asheville, NC.

Pours a chestnut brown color with a one-finger tan head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells very good. Smooth caramel, toffee, and mild toasted malt aromas all hit the nose at once.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Toasted malt flavors hit first with underlying hints of caramel and toffee that are not overly sweet. Midway through the sip a very small amount of earthy hop flavors enter into things before receding for a sweet and crisp ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's a bit on the thin side but with solid carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my bottle fairly quickly and could have a few more.

Overall this is one of the more flavorful English browns - or any brown for that matter - I can remember having. Definitely worth a shot.

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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 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 Cyberkedi
3.48/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark, semi-transparent chocolaty brown with a fairly thick, if not too persistent, light tan head. Malty aroma has tones of molasses and caramel and a sweet hint plus a touch of hops. Flavor has malty and molasses notes plus hints of caramel, hops and honey. Smooth texture has above-average body and a little fizz. Bad penny? Not too shabby!

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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 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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Bad Penny Brown Ale from Big Boss Brewing
3.6 out of 5 based on 351 ratings.
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