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: 109 | Ratings: 355
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 jampics2
3.8/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into my pint glass.

Looks decent, a brown color (imagine that!) with a tan head. Nothing bad, nothing extraordinary.

Smell is nice, slight roast, some nuttiness, and hint of hops. Pretty much to-style.

Taste is good but a little underwhelming. Toffee malt, some slight roast gives chocolate impressions. Hoppiness is mild and earthy. Just a touch of bitterness. Pretty nondescript overall, but nothing offensive.

Mouthfeel is good, medium body and light carb give a creamy finish. Drinkability was nice. I would try this again but won't be seeking it out.

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Photo of Naugled
4.39/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A gorgeous beer, dark crystal clear chestnut brown with a thin creamy head.

Fantastic chocolate in the nose along with toasted cereal and malt.

Flavors follow the nose with the chocolate toasted malt notes as well as a lightly sweet vanilla. Very nice.

Medium to full body with a soft mouthfeel.

A very drinkable brown, that is an excellent example of the style. This is a beer I would make a regular in my cooler.

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Photo of Walken
4.47/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big Boss: Bad Penny (Bottled 02/10) (Tasted 06/10/10)
12 oz. bottle, poured into a dimple mug.

Appearance: Extremely dark chestnut brown with fiery red highlights. Head is small, a three millimeter cap of off-white, froth and bubbles, exceptional retention and lace.
Odor: Cocoa powder, toasted brown bread, slightly nutty, with a hint of toffee and dark fruit. Full malt background suggesting confectioners sugar. This is likely one of the most pleasant aromas I have ever smelled in a malt-forward brown ale.
Consistency: Light end of medium bodied with a dry, nutty feel from the malt. Carbonation lends a smooth, even creaminess.
Taste: Like perfect. Roasted chestnuts, fresh grain, layered dark and cocoa chocolate flavors with a ghostly smoky roasted background in perfect harmony with a low-riding, non-descript hop bitterness, that balances and stops short of being a presence in and of itself.

Oooo weee.

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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 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 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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Photo of aerozeppl
3.72/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to scifan for this as an extra in a recent trade.

A: The label need mentioning as it is awesome. Great design. On to the beer. Poured a merky brown color with less than a finger of slightly brown head.

S: Quite a bit of chocolate for a brown ale. You get a little bit of that english malt nose which is nice. Not much else.

T: Quite a bit of chocolate again. The rest of the malt is there but it never catches up to the initial blast of chocolate.

M: It feels a little on the thin side.

D: Super easy drinking. Not something I would seek out but a nice session beer. Thanks for the opportunity.

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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 BierWolff
4.61/5  rDev +28.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I really enjoyed this brew and was lucky to have experienced its malty deliciosness on tap. When I ordered, the server asked if I liked Newcastle, which I do, but this beer is much better. The only similarity is their style. She brought out my pint, and I had to first notice the dark color and limited head. The flavor is what blew me away. It is technically an English brown, but it tasted very American. I say that because of the intense roasted malt flavor and hearty feel. This isn't a thick beer, but it was definitely heartier than a typical brown. I loved it!

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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 farrago
3.89/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours with minimal head, light cream tan color, the foam wasn't there long enough to really be able to leave any lacing behind. Hazy reddish brown, almost mud-like, has a more metallic red hue around the rims, admits a bit of light. The nose is almost completely chocolate, actually smells like a German chocolate cake, caramel pudding, whipped cream, touch of roasted chestnuts, minimal, if any, fruit, citrus scents, any hops-based elements hiding better than Al-Queda. Medium-bodied, the carbonation is semi-sluggish and doesn't add texture as the weight is shed swiftly. More chocolate, caramel, toffee, whipped cream, molasses, manages to come across as sweet but not necessarily sugary. Pinch of apricot and cherry fruit as well as cereals, granola. Overall, it's an innocuous quaff, hits your belly solidly, especially if you like a sweeter beer. I don't know that I'd purchase it again but would easily down it if handed one.

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Photo of apbarwood
3.72/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A dark brown color with mahogany highlighting around the edges. A thin cap of lace and a rim around the top but not much head retention. A pleasantly strong aroma with some roasted grains jumping out first and a hint of chocolate. The taste doesn't really seem to deliver what the aroma promised. Granted the roasted flavors are there and in particular a flavor of bittersweet chocolate but it seems a little one-dimensional. Not a whole lot of complexity. The feel is surprisingly more carbonated than I expected. It had a decent scrubbing bubbles thing going on but I would have liked it to be softer and more coating than cleansing. Perhaps that would have allowed some more flavors to come out. A decent beer that is worth a try if you're in the Raleigh area. It's certainly drinkable and makes a decent session beer but there are certainly nicer brown ales on the market.

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Photo of SIRIUS2
3.7/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a medium to dark brown in color, mostly clear, with a thin layer of light brown bubbles. Bubbles reduce rather quickly to a thin ring. Light lacing.

Slightly sweet roasted malt aromas, not too dark, but a touch more than basic caramel with a little toffee thrown in.

Smooth flavors drench the taste buds a great balance of moderate malts with a slightly nutty flavor up against a earthy hop. The malts are more prevalent but you can definitely taste the balance. The finish is fun, a little misleading, starting with what you think is going to be on the sweet side, but sliding to a relatively quick clean finish.

The lighter carbonation on this helps add to an already smooth mouthfeel and aids in making this brew incredibly easy to drink. Very nice and flavorful without going overboard with any of the individual components. Very nice.

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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 cnjohn19
4.03/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

dark dark dark...consistent throughout but a lack of major head after the pour and carbonation...almost looks like a flat soda

wow...great to the nose...i'm getting roasted cocoa cocoa beans, a sweet cappuccino-like smell...give it a few swirls and you'll get a dark hard candy smell (you know, the old fashioned style candy)

malts dominate the taste...pretty sweet but doesn't distract you from the other characters of the beer...very surprised that i got a distant hop bitterness too...great brew...

medium to light body...enjoyable aftertaste with this brown ale...would prefer over a newcastle (my favorite beer prior to entering the craft beer hobby)...great drink during a cool summer night with friends...

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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 joe1510
4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz Bottle

Bottled 1/09

Bad Penny comes my way of a generous RustyDiamond as an extra in a recent trade, thanks bud! This brown ale has a burnt caramel body with crimson highlights that won't quit when backlit. A creamy, light beige head rose to two fingers in height on the pour and slowly receded to a thick cap that leaves behind some solid drink lines clinging to the glass.

The nose on Bad Penny shows off a lot of toasted barley with a heavy cream smoothness thrown in for good measure. The lactic quality adds a nice touch. A quick, firm swirl of the glass brings along lightly roasted coffee beans. The aromas work together well in this brew and the backend conjures up some roasted almonds; nice.

The flavor is very similar to the aroma. Toasted barley is front and center with a nice mildly roasted coffee playing a central role. The lactic isn't as noticeable as the nose led me to believe but there is a hint of it on the swallow. The roasted almond is there and very unique. This brown ale manages to come together quite nicely.

Bad Penny shows off a moderate body with carbonation quick enough to keep things moving without ever becoming prickly. The tongue knows it had a carbonated beverage cross it but in the non prickly fashion.

This is an easy drinking brown ale. Very flavorful without being overbearing on the tastebuds and one that could be put away very easily.

I wasn't sure what to expect out of this brew but I'm happy with what I got. This is my second brew from Big Boss and an enjoyable one at that. Thanks for the bottle Rusty!

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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 Metalmonk
4.05/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Well, this label is great. The 14 figures seem to be Bad Penny's bedpost notches--even a skirt in there! Ooh, Penny, you are bad. Hopefully this brown ale is not bad. Or maybe it's deliciously bad like the vixen herself. Enough silliness...

Pours a deep brown with a murky dark red tint, and the head is modest, light brown and creamy-looking.

Aroma is nutty, mostly hazelnut, with some fresh cream and even a little coffee coming in.

Flavor mirrors the nose, with excellent nutty notes, caramel/toffee, fresh cream; good roasted qualities without having the over-husky and over-dry elements of other lesser browns.

Slick and round, medium-bodied, good stick, and though I prefer an even bigger, creamier brown, the carbonation isn't too overpowering on this one.

I always say I don't like brown ales and then I realize I've had a lot of really good ones...Bad Penny included. Oddly enough, I got this inside a six-pack of Hell's Belle--someone had either mixed it up or done an opposite switcheroo with a 6 of Bad Penny. Turns out I like Bad Penny better than Hell's Belle. A cool surprise. Definitely check it out if your down with the brown.

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Photo of jbphoto88
4.13/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The bad penny is the color of dark worn leather. A soft sand colored head rises and falls quickly just to leave an island meandering around the glass. Light passing through the beer shows it to be clear yet dark enough to be almost opaque. Nice ruby copper highlights bleed through on the edges. Very pretty.

The smell is warm sweet and malty but not very big. The nose is subtle but when you get a whiff it's very pleasant.

Taste is where this beer really shines. Sweet yet robust malt dominate this brew. Behind the malts are some great flavors that linger down the path of caramelized pecans, creamed chocolate and even a pinch of coffee. I could drink this all day.

The mouthfeel has a drop of metallic coppery taste to it. Smooth and slightly creamy starting off only to dry out in the finish, altogether this brew is sweet and polished. Easy to drink and easy to want another. A damn fine beer.

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Photo of Dodo2step
3.69/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks skeeordye

A- a root beer type of look to it. a cloudy dark chestnut brown color. A somewhat skimpy head that is carbonated white.

S- smell is hard to gather at first but i get caramel, figs and raisins. It also has a ginger root type of hint to it as well.

T- roasted coffee flavor with hints of chocolate. Nutty type of taste as well. Quite malty as well. Very strong on the malts. Taste is nothing like the smell.

M- carbonated and fizzy. Coats themouth nice but too much going on. Coffee carbonation type of feel.

D-a nice beer to pound back. A lil overcarbonation to havemore than 3 because they will fill you up. Smooth, crisp and nice to have as a choice on tap.

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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 ncbeermonger
4.05/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a great little beer from big boss
the achohal is not overpowering, leaving it easy to drink

The bartender suggested it knowing my love for porters

It has the chocolate, and caramel of a porter, though it is a brown ale

the mouthfeel is light, and this one is easy to drink

I love this beer from big boss

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Photo of Cylinsier
3.84/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this one from the tap.

Pours a very dark brown with minimal head. Has a burguny tint when held up to the light.

The smell is very faint and hard to place. Light hints of chocolate and grains.

Tastes of roasted coffee and malts with a hint of nuts. Very complex and delicious.

The mouthfeel is creamy with a bite from the carbonation. Simulates a peppery feeling which compliments the taste nicely.

Great beer! A new favorite in dark ales. Easy to drink for anyone who likes a dark ale.

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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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