Saint Botolph's Town
Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project

Saint Botolph's TownSaint Botolph's Town
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Brown Ale - English
4.09 | pDev: 10.02%
Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
Massachusetts, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Saint Botolph's TownSaint Botolph's Town
Notes: SBT is fermented with two yeast strains for a unique rustic finish. But it’s in the yeast strains where this beer really departs from the typical: one is a German ale strain, the other is a common English strain. Why? Because it’s about the flavour, not just ticking the “style” boxes.

In the end we have an ale of 5.9% abv with a big malty, almost smokey Black Malt character, a bitter attack from Fuggle hops, a rich barleymalt finish, some dried coconut hints and an old ale acidity around the edges. We’ve even timed its tan head, standing proud for ten minutes!

The name “Saint Botolph’s Town” is in tribute to our great home in America: Boston. The original Boston in Lincolnshire, England is an abbreviation of “Botolph’s Town” or “Botolph’s Stone”. When we were back in Yorkshire recently, we found a churchyard where St. Botolph spoke in the year 675; a ‘stump’ (broken old cross) marks the spot. Saint Botolph is a 7th century saint from England whose feast day is June 17th. Perhaps a great day to save a bottle or two for!

38 IBU
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Reviews: 302 | Ratings: 631 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Ciocanelu
Ciocanelu from Romania

4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear dark brown color with creamy tan head. Aroma has caramelised dark fruits, brown sugar and sweet, dark malts. Taste starts sweet and sugary but not cloying. It balances out towards the finish with some roasted malt notes. Light to medium bodied with medium to low carbonation. Overall it’s a really tasty, well balanced brown ale.

Dec 27, 2018
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tbryan5 from Louisiana

4.39/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A- A dark brown ruby with minimal off white head
S- Sweet milk chocolate and roasted malts.
T- Almost tastes like eating a fresh baked brownie.
M- Medium carbonation and pleasant mouthfeel.
D- A very nice almost flawless brown ale. Sad that they are closing their doors...

Jan 03, 2016
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ManapuaMan from Massachusetts

4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not a fan of brown ales until this beer. Outstanding. Whereas most beers garner praise for masking a high ABV, Saint B's gets a lot of kudos for tasting like a bigger beer and integrating a little heat to up the taste profile. Maroon, dark brown pour with a nice nutty, earthy aroma. Taste of nuts, wheat, earth, hops, wood and heavy malt. Thick, almost warm, mouthfeel that leaves a nice bittersweet coating on your palette. Shit, Pretty Things - won't you stay a while longer and let this gem hang out in a barrel for a few months and then take over the world with it?

Dec 05, 2015
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rand from California

4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

From 22 oz bomber to Weihenstephan stein

A: Stained wood color; a small wispy head quickly dissipates leaving moderate lacing.

S: Subtle, malty nose. Notes of honeyed squaw bread, mixed dried grains.

T: Malt-forward on the palate, with a rich caramelly note that turns molasses-like midsip. Maple tones as well. Crackery but not yeasty, while a touch of bittering hops yields eminent drinkability. With a medium-to-light complexion and moderate carbonation, the brew finishes fairly quickly, leaving the palate dry and refreshed between sips.

What a great beer. I kept this at the back of my fridge for awhile, mostly because I've never clamoured over the style (I always think Newcastle).

Nov 19, 2015
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maputnam25 from California

4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Solid beer. Aroma contains hints of fall leaves, oak bark, and burnt sugar. Think syrupy mouthfeel withs notes of chocolate, molasses, winter squash, oak. Slight astringency at the end. Currently on tap at Clover in Harvard Sq - will be returning for more!

Sep 30, 2015
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Brutaltruth from Ohio

4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed from the 22 oz bomber in a snifter. This most excellent brown pours a muddy mahogany color with a mixed sized bubbled head of light tan foam that settles to a thick ring, pooling thin layer, and excellent lacing. Nose of brown sugars, nutty roasted malt aromas, and a touch of chocolate and coffee. Flavors far exceed the nose with rich nutty malts the front and sides lightly glazed with brown sugars. The middle to back has light coffee and chocolate flavors that fade to lightly creamy moderately roasted malt character that is pleasant for the style. An interpretation to be emulated with a great mouth feel and medium high carbonation finishing with slightly bitter malts and a touch of hops. Excellent.

Becoming more and more a fan of this brewery.


Sep 22, 2015
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Benish from Wisconsin

3.71/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown in color and translucent while pouring. An inch tannish head built which dissipated quickly. Aromas of malt and milk chocolate; very sweet, maybe a bit of honey. Taste wise - sweet with roasted malt character and a touch of vanilla. The flavors go away pretty quickly so you'll be ready for another sip before you put the glass down. The beer is medium-bodied and almost like drinking sweet nectar. It's tasty for a brown ale. I find it very sweet with roasted character. I have not tried many brown ales so there is not many to compare it to. But if it's ever distributed your way, pick it up.

Aug 23, 2015
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stephens101 from Oklahoma

3.93/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Magnificent light tan froth that loses its vigor in good time. Wide swaths of lacing are left behind.

Malty with deep roast to the nose.

Creamy with a hefty dose of caramel up front. A hint of roasted nuts, a bit of grain, persimmon and taffy to end.

Slightly sweeter than I prefer, but a flavorful brown that is definitely hitting the spot.

Aug 08, 2015
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Tone from Missouri

3.11/5  rDev -24%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Pours a clear, dark brown color. 1/2 inch head of an off-tan color. Decent retention and slight lacing. Smells of sweet malt, slight caramel malt, slight roasted malt, slight yeast, and a hint of hop. Fits the style of an English Brown Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and clean, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of burnt toast, slight roasted malt, strong caramel malt, sweet malt, hint of yeast, and a hint of hop. Overall, weak appearance, decent aroma, but almost acrid body and unpleasant blend.

Jun 19, 2015
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GarthDanielson from Virginia

4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bomber into a shaker pint, the beer is a nutty brown coloring with a foamy, clingy, light tan head that recedes down to a surface coating. Aromas of sweet milk chocolate, cream highlights, nutty sweetness, and subtle coffee notes. Flavors are roasted and sweet forward, with a solid blend of nut, chocolate, toffee, and an interesting underlying roast coffee bitterness. Good balance and dynamic in this one. There is a tangy crème overlay, which further adds to the depth in the palate. The body is smooth and creamy, but still light enough to keep the drinkability up. Very nice. The aftertaste is more of the roasted sweetness, with a decent toffee and nut linger through the smooth, slow, easy finish. Very good beer.

May 10, 2015
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Suds from Missouri

3.9/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown, with some clarity when held to the light. The head is thin, and the smell of of toasted nuts, brown malt, lightly roasted grain, and bread crust. The taste is slightly sweet, with a lot of the roasted notes coming through the flavor. Medium to full in body, balancing bitterness, and enjoyable.

May 02, 2015
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barczar from Kentucky

3.85/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Toasted, nutty, caramelly sweet malt dominates the aroma, with perhaps a touch of soft floral hop character.

Flavor is sweet, as well, initially, fairly nutty, with big caramel accents. Mid palate, light roast malt kicks in, giving a coffee impression and a lightly acrid note to the moderately bitter, astringent finish. Body is pretty light, and phenolic notes surface late. There's a touch of fruity yeast character, but it's overwhelmed by the malt and bitter finish.

Apr 23, 2015
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cujocon from Massachusetts

3.39/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pretty Things St.Botolphs Town Rustic Brown
5.9% ABV
1Pt6oz bomber $6 at State St Northampton MA
Appearance: dark brown, gigantic foamy billowy light tan head stays strong long
Smell: dark fruit
Flavor: mild grain, bit of hop bitterness, not fruity or tart at all
Overall: 3.5/5 I could drink it, but it's pretty boring. The hops, even as small as they are is still too much for me.
Bland is the overall impression.

Apr 10, 2015
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thebeers from Pennsylvania

3.77/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Ruby colored with a light tan head. Smells of raisins, molasses and burnt bread crust. A bit of that continues in the taste, but the addition of caramel is what stands out, as well as some stale hop bitterness that I found a little off-putting. Surprisingly light bodied compared to the strong aroma. It's good, but I would have liked a bit more in the body to match the amazing aroma.

Jan 18, 2015
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mclaughlindw4 from Maine

4.32/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Clear, dark crimson with a touch of brown. Thick,rocky off-white head.

A: Rich Caramel and coffee, sweet alchohol. Dried fruit leather. Nutty. Low hop aroma.

T: Earthy Hops, Caramel and Molasses, coffee. Stone Fruit esters. A noticable bitterness and alcohol in the end.

M: Silky smooth, Medium body, Low carbonation. Medium finish.

Overall: Perfect fall beer. Picked up 3 bottles to compare to a clone I tried to make. Definetely picking out the chocolate malt in the flavor and black malt in aroma, and perhaps the sugar additions gives it that molasses flavor. A little surpised at the light booziness. Pretty sure it's there but perhaps just my palate tonight.

Nov 26, 2014
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greg33027 from Massachusetts

4.5/5  rDev +10%

Randomly grabbed so wasn't prepared to do a full review but it was so good I had to put something down.

Great Brown Ale; Smooth, sweet at times, hoppy, balanced. Looks dark and seems like it should be heavier but it is very easy to drink. Up there with DFH Brown and Smuttynose for me. I'll be grabbing this again soon.

Oct 20, 2014
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buschbeer from Ohio

3.79/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

1 PT. 6 FL. OZ. bottle
Served in an imperial nonic pint glass

A - This beer pours dark brown with ruby highlights when held to the light. A semi aggressive pours yields about three inches of tan head.

S - I smell some cocoa, along with earthy, nutty aromas.

T - The taste has those earthy, nutty flavors that make English browns great. With hints of cocoa it is a nice representation of the flavors of this style.

M - Medium towards full.

O - I like the comforting earthy qualities of this beer. While I find it a good example of the style, I still think I would pick a Sam Smith's Nut Brown over this. But, this will definitely slake my thirst of the style.

Jun 28, 2014
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pkalix from California

4.12/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

pours out a golden brown/ iced coffee brown. a light mahogany in the glass with scarce head on a soft pour. has a thin aroma, kind of 'amateurish' aroma to it. can only describe it as the smell I get from a lot of the local brewers' stuff (although many of them are now putting out some incredible-quality brews these days!). I guess I would describe it as a caramel-type smell, between what I get from the german brews and a sam adams malt.
taste is bitter right up front. but then, i'm reading to "store it upright to allow the yeast to settle" after I stored it horizontally thinking it was a regular 'brown'... any relation? cuz, the bitter isn't all 'hoppy'.... I usually read my labels before I open them, but I figure 'browns' are usually pretty ordinary, standard creatures. otherwise, a tad sweet after accustoming my taste buds to the shock of the bitter. taste of some darker malts, some nut, and smoke (as someone else referenced earlier).
overall, I liked this. a little unsure of the sediment I allowed by storing on its side, but it's got a very beautiful color to it. the color alone drew me in. the taste is certainly not the typical 'brown' taste, and I really like that for a change. good beer! but $15 a pop here in California is a killer for me... especially at 5.9%

Feb 09, 2014
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scotorum from Massachusetts

4.14/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Love the name and the old timey label.

Bottled in Sept., 2013.

Poured from the 22 oz. bomber into a Samuel Adams nonick.

a: Clear copper-ruby with an inch and a half tall offwhite head which receded to fairly even surface foam and dense lacing.

s: Quite strong caramel malt. Yummy.

t; Sweet malt up front with hop bite for balance. Sweet to dry finish.

m; Medium, decent body,.

o: A very nice English style brown ale. However, there are cheaper options of quality in this category (Woodstock Inn's Pig's Ear remains my favorite English brown, at about half the price of St. B's), so despite enjoying it, I would probably not buy this again.

Feb 02, 2014
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BEERchitect from Kentucky

4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After years of being brainwashed into thinking that Newcastle Brown Ale is what Northern English Brown Ales should taste like, I am always pleasantly surprised and relieve when the opportunity arises to taste one as robust and flavorful as this Pretty Things offering. Though a little on the full side, its simply what Newcastle wants to be when it's all grown up.

Saint Botolph's Town pours with a medium-dark brown color and with the slimmest of haze. Ribbons of bronze and copper weave through the brown and highlights the steady streams of carbonation that fuel its light sandy and creamy textured head. Long lasting in its foam stance, the ale also leaves broken rings of lace behind in its wake.

Toasty-sweet aromas fill the olfactory senses with savory notes of chocolate, toffee, coffee and hazelnuts. Its medley is robustly scented yet happily appetizing as its hoppy woodish aromas start floral and fruity but finish bark and herb-like heading into the first taste.

Its malt-forward tilt starts with that hearty singed toffee sweetness that stems seamlessly into heavy toast, sweet hazelnuts, medium-dark chocolate and nutty columbian coffee. Its middle palate offers up a tinge of butterscotch and plumb while the ale is under transition. But as the ale develops toward finish, its broad and woody bitterness rises and gives the ale a toasty-dry spiciness and broadly bittering.

Medium bodied, the ale may register fuller to start. But as the starchy creaminess dissolves its residual sweetness and as the carbonation fades- the ale quickly turns dry and with mild grain-derived astringency. Its mild minty warmth is easily hidden behind the ale's malt character.

The ale is an effortless ale to drink as it is highly rewarding in flavor but crisp and semi-clean and palatable to finish. The 22oz bottle was no match for this thirsty guy!

Jan 28, 2014
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GreesyFizeek from New York

3.81/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle purchased at The Old Toad in Rochester, NY.

'11 vintage.

Pours a dark brown, with a small, half inch head, and a little bit of lacing.

Smells a bit chocolatey, with caramel, toasted bread, and a slight nuttiness.

The taste is similar. The age seems to have not entirely benefited this one- I don't know if they meant to age this one, or just forgot about it in the back, I wouldn't expect a sub 6% brown ale to gracefully age. Some caramel, toasted breadk, cinnamon, brown sugar, nuttiness, with some distinctive cardboard-like oxidation flavor.

Medium bodied, crisp, smooth mouthfeel. Fairly drinkable.

Drink this one fresh, it's not worth aging it.

Dec 07, 2013
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Bouleboubier from New Jersey

4.56/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

(bottled in Oct '11, drank Nov '13)

A: nice, fairly dense, tight-frothy tan head.... clear, deep dark chestnut hue.... high foam on the pour, settled into 1/4" blanket that kept for a few minutes, eventually leaving a wispy collar, however, not much lace... small amount of compact flecks of sediment

S: complex fruity nose - black currant? blackberry?.... chocolaty/bread crust-forward, moderate toasted bread, touch of grassy grain.... quite potent aromas, lovely, and fairly English in character

T: lovely , unique malt flavor - the fruitiness seems toned down in favor of it.... later, the (fruity) esters do emerge and come off as bit much... coffee, hazelnut, bakers cocoa, brown sugar.... the finish has a toasty-bitter, melanoidin-ful, cherry cookie quality, fairly long through... overall, not that sweet and likely devoid of hop nuance

M: only a hint of roundness up front, but ultimately clean and a good bit dry, moreish to the palate... can't quite pinpoint the origin of a slight residual gummy sensation in the finish, similar to that of chewing wheat malt, however not nearly as pronounced

O: explosive, somewhat complex (English) flavors.... I really enjoyed this, whatever style it may be

Nov 20, 2013
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dar482 from New York

4.64/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The beer comes in a dark brown color with a big tan head.

The aroma has a huge punch of bittersweet chocolate as well as roasty malt, bready sweetness, caramel, toffee, some nuttiness.

The flavor follows with again a good amount of sweet chocolate, some caramel and toffee notes. There's a good amount of sticky sweetness, but then it cleans up on this drying bitterness. The strong earthy hops on the end really clean up the beer well.

Easily one of the best brown ales I've had. Definitely the best example of the beer I've had.

Oct 11, 2013
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BEERMILER12 from Maine

4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a deep ruby/mahogany color with 2 fingers of light brown head that fades to a thin cap after a few minutes

S: Very malt-forward with a hint of sweetness and a good bit of caramel and nuttiness

T: Follows the nose. Starts off with a light sweetness and works its way through a light roastiness, some caramel and finally the nuttiness come through for the finish. Almost no hop presence

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth and almost creamy

O: A very nice English brown ale. Not the most complex, but that's not what most English or English-style ales are. Very easy to drink and quite quaffable. Pretty Things also never disappoints with their price point. Recommended if you're into the style

Sep 20, 2013
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alaimoa from Connecticut

4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

By far the best Pretty Things beer I have had so far. Perfect golden caramel brown with caramel candy in the nose. Tastes similar to smell with a light/medium carbonation, some hop but the malt really stands out in a good way and Not sticky sweet.
Overall would buy again.

Jun 30, 2013
Saint Botolph's Town from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 631 ratings