Saint Botolph's Town | Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project

301 Reviews
Saint Botolph's TownSaint Botolph's Town

Brewed by:
Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
Massachusetts, United States

Style: English Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.90%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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

Added by morebeergood on 02-12-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 301 | Ratings: 632
Photo of Reagan1984
2.61/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

After being so happy with the Jack D'or, I was eager to try this second offering from Pretty Things. Man, was I disappointed.

Off white head forms, then settles very quickly to a thin ring around the glass. The beer is the color of brown shoe polish. No lacing at all.

Aroma is real earthy with some molasses and deep malt. Not the most pleasant.

Um, didn't really like this at all. I enjoyed this with a couple of friends and all of us looked at each other with that look.... Grain, grain, grain. Sweet malt and a strange just shy of sour flavor. Very earthy and frankly a little dirt like.

Mouth feel was a bit grainy and chalky.

Not very drinkable in my book.

Sorry, I hope chapter 3 of the Pretty Things book is a ore enjoyable one.

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Photo of tr4nc3d
2.83/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Received in a trade

22 oz Bomber poured into my Pint glass.

Pours a murky dark brown color with a tan two inch creamy slightly tan head. Good head retention that last for a while and leaves very minimal lacing as the head subsides.

Smell is pretty simple actually with the likes of roasted malts, caramel, bread and biscuit like malts, and a musty earthy smell.

The taste was that not really to my liking and thought it was, in lay mans terms, BLAH!!!. Taste was slightly sweet up front with some caramel and slight toffee flavor, leads to a kind of nutty taste and finished with a pretty interesting yeast and sour like taste.

Mouthfeel was actually pretty thin with medium carbonation.

Overall I was not impressed with this beer and would not recommend to try. By the way, I do like Brown Ales and have nothing against them, I just thought this was not a good representation of how good this style of beer can taste like.

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Photo of ProfessorHomer
3/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Due to the rather outstanding reviews of this beer and brewery, was really looking forward to this one.

Poured brown with nice head. Decent carbonation. Smelled more malty than hoppy. Tasted OK, like a very average brown ale. Mouthfeel also eh. Was OK. I do like brown ales, but wasn't impressed by this one. At all.

The high price point ($9.99 in bombers only)and the dashed expectations were disapointing.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.03/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed on 06/04/2009. Bottle at PPRBSG09. This beer pours a cloudy brown. It has an aroma of indistinct sweet malt. The flavor is of super sweet caramel malt. I found it to be pretty bland, overall and much too sweet for me (like many poorly made brown ales...).

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Photo of jdhilt
3.11/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a one finger light tan head that fades very slowly leaving some lace. Deep cloudy amber color, some yeast settles out. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Earthy nose. Flavor is a strange grainy coffee, some sweetness. Burnt coffee finish. $6.45 for a 22oz bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, MA.

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Photo of Tone
3.11/5  rDev -23.2%
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.

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Photo of gfreed
3.18/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dense, yet a fluffy tan head rests on the surface for a good long time. Rather hoppy aroma with some citrus and flowers, with malt in the background. The taste was overall rather unbalanced-- rather, perhaps it was *too* balanced. There was no differentiating between the malt and the hops for me, so there was no real flavor one way or the other. It was just beer. I expected something malty and instead got something... not so malty, but not so hoppy, either. Worth a try, especially if you live in MA and want to support your local brewery. I preferred the PT saison over this one.

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Photo of drpimento
3.28/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bartender was very enthusiatic about this so I hated to let him down when I didn't find it to be so fantastic. Poured with a thick foamy frothy tan head and plenty of lace. Color was an opaque brown black. Aroma was very malty a bit roasty and a bit of sour. Flavor was the same. Tartness seemed inappropriate unless it woulda been a Flemmish brown. Body was good and ditto carbonation. Finish is like flavor and I was noticing the tart more. Not a session.

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Photo of cujocon
3.39/5  rDev -16.3%
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.

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Photo of socon67
3.43/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours brown with a hearty tan head. Decent lacing, and settles quickly

S - Slight scnet of almonds and chocolate. Reminded me of an Almond Joy candy bar, but not particularly pronounced.

T - Flavors of chocolate malt and nuts. There is also a slight taste of toffee. Would have liked the flavors to linger a bit more. Seemed muted.

M - Pleasant feel, medium bodied, and well balanced. The best property of this beer is that it is a pleasant drinker that is enjoyable to have a few.

O - A decent english brown, but nothing that stands out. If you like the style it is worth trying. Otherwise it is average.

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Photo of mactrail
3.43/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Slight sourness. Some tarry flavors like over-toasted bagels. A touch of burnt raisins. Very dry. Fairly rich body but not a trace of malty sweetness. Seems chalky. A woody flavor like walnuts, and bitter with the skins. Hops are not overwhelming but provide some bitterness rather aromatics. Some nutty flavors.

The complexity may be appealing, but it is a very intellectual pleasure. I find no sensuality here.

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Photo of crusian
3.44/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

bottle from awesome girlfriend from boston area.
batch 5 april 2010.

pours a deep rich brown, almost black color with about an inch of head, nice.
Carmel malt and some brown sugar on the nose, but not much, very faint to be honest...
a lot of caramel malt, hmm, just noticed some mold or something under the cap, great. doesnt seem to have any affect on it though. has a bitter finish... this is very dark for a brown ale, not bad though. not great, as there really isnt much here, roasty etc... but all seem a bit subdued. Not bad for a session.

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Photo of hreb
3.46/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cold 22 oz bottle, batch 4, bottled Dec 2009, poured into pint glass. Ale is a dark brown with a red tinge and a massive lighter brown head. Faint estery/banana aroma, not expected for this style IMO.

First sip is thick, with a foamy mouthfeel, and an aftertaste that's surprisingly chalky and bitter for an "English" style. Typical notes of brown ale are slower to develop, and they're more the roasty flavors of an under-roasted stout than the nutty flavors (Newcastle, Sam Smith). Not particularly sweet or otherwise betraying a large malt bill. More hops than expected, leaving a thick set of lacing, but this doesn't have a well defined bitterness profile.

Pretty Things has impressed me so far, but this beer is merely average. Not sure why it's so highly rated -- maybe it needs to be fresher?

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Photo of TrevorGW
3.46/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours the darkest brown possible. Off-white head dies quickly, but looked nice while it lasted.

Aroma is tricky -- some wheat, coffee, brown sugar.

Taste is not as robust as expected. Faint unsweetened chocolate, dark caramel, cashews, and licorice. Semi-sweet and wet finish. Hops are pretty loose and submissive here.

Mouthfeel is nice and smooth. A good full-bodied beer without the chewiness of an imperial stout or porter.

Overall a good brown ale or old ale. Complex, but not necessarily memorable.

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Photo of saulcharlesworth
3.46/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bomber in to tulip glass. Thanks for 6DaysBottomOcean for this one!

Appearance - Dark brown, very little light passing through. Head settles nicely after the pour but dissipates very quickly.

Smell - Not getting much here - some sweetness but very little else.

Taste - Lots of sweet malts but with a decent backbone. Offers more than you'd expect from the aroma. Little bit of hop bitterness as its goes down.

Mouthfeel - Medium with a fair amount of carbonation.

Drinkability - If I was in a malty mood, this one could stay in the glass most of the night, but I'm looking for just a little more.

Not typically a style I go after but I'm glad to have sampled this offering from Pretty Things. As far as an English Brown Ale goes, it does well. Not sure I'd actively search this one out, but I did enjoy it and would recommend it to those who enjoy a good brown ale.

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.48/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle split with oglmcdgl, poured into some small snifters.

Botolph has a dark brown body that does not quite make it to black. A small dark tan head stuck around for a few minutes before capping, leaving some sticky lace. The smell consists of dark roasted malts, brown sugar and some old coffee. The taste is huge on the malts with alot of nuttiness. Some coffee with a nice amount of hops to round it out. The feel could of been a tad fuller as I found this to be a bit light/watery. The carb was not so high also. I enjoyed my glass and drank it in no time, but im not a big fan of nutty brown ales so this will do for me.

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Photo of david18
3.5/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was a recent review of the draft version:

Had a sixteen ounce draft of this at the new taproom 307 in Manhattan. I'm not a huge fan of brown ale and didn't love this but i guess it was pleasant enough.

Poured a brown/red with some carbonation but not a whole lot.

Aroma had a light malt sense without too much hops. A little light on the aroma overall.

Taste was good, again, like a brown ale only a little light/thin.

Overall it was an ok beer but I wouldn't highly recommend it.


The bottle was pretty much the same but with a little more interesting flavors and aromas on the malt end of the spectrum.

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Photo of mikey711
3.53/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass. Batch One February 2009

A: It's a dark brown with a little bit of transparency. White head sits on top, not great lacing.

S: A hint of chocolate and roastiness.

T: The roastiness is very mild and there is a good chocolate note as well.

M: Slightly watery and acidic. Very light but a bit chalky too.

D: Very easy drinking and the bomber went down way to fast. There is nothing bad about this beer, but there is also nothing memorable.

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Photo of nickd717
3.53/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Bomber thanks to BelgianPrincess.

Pours a deep purplish-amber color with a five-finger tan head. I mean huge! This head sits on top of the beer for quite awhile.

Aroma is very light. Mostly sweet malt, with a little earthiness and some considerable yeast presence.

Flavor is sweet nutty malt and roast, maybe a slight hint of dark fruits. Definitely some kind of Belgian aspect to this one. It's almost like a dubbel.

Medium-bodied with excessive carbonation. Toning this down a little bit would make the flavor come out better.

Overall a somewhat enjoyable beer, but not great. Drinkable at least.

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Photo of williamherbert
3.53/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The appearance is cloudy reddish brown, like prune-juice. Decent light brown head. A nice-looking, formidable appearance.

The smell is dark malts. Prunes and dates. Pungent and earthy/grainy. Harsh.

The taste is a grainy malt, earthy and gritty. Punctuated by dark grapes, sugary raisins. The sweet breaks out more as it warms up. It's solid.

The feel is smooth at first, then dry, earthy and ashy on the back end. It's a decent dark ale. Sugary, sweet and grainily dark.

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Photo of stickynotes
3.56/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bomber into overiszed wine glass, bottled Dec. 2009 "Batch 4." I was slightly worried about the age but grabbed it for the hell of it.

Pours a very deep amber with a thick tan head which slowly recedes, some lacing. White chunky sediment appears at the bottom, looks awesome except for this. Smell is subtle, sweet caramel, some cherry and not much else perhaps due to its age? Taste it good, not too forward, subdued. Sweet caramel malts, slight nuttiness, not much bitterness to speak of, a cherry and raisin aftertaste, ends a little stale. Medium mouthfeel. Overall this is ok, flavors are subtle and work well. I definitely want to try a fresher bottle.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.57/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Purchased from Berkeley Bowl West in Berkeley, CA.

Bottled in May, so this one is a few months old. Pours a deep, but somewhat ruby-hued brown, with a fine and filmy head of ochre-beige, riddled with large-bubbles. Lacing forms in pockets around the edge of the glass. Not bad.

Nose is mild and nutty, with some pleasantly smooth lightly toasted malt characters. Lifting it is a slight peppery spice and a hint of bright cinnamon. It's all pretty mild, but it's really nicely integrated.

Taste is a bit flat, but has a pleasant hook of nutty grain through the centre, and a dry slightly bready finish. Bitterness is present through the centre, but very subtly executed so there's no resin or oiliness to it. It does feel dulled and muted somewhat, especially on the feel.

I wonder if this really needs to be fresh to be so good. This had some pleasant characters, but everything was muted, mild and a little flat. This helped it all integrate, but also made me shrug a little bit as well. So what?

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Photo of ThirstyBird
3.57/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appears hazy reddish brown with a tan head
Sweet dark malt and dark fruit
Initial deep malt sweetness is followed by roasted flavor that lingers. Some slight coffee flavor.
Medium body and fairly effervescent.
Overall a decent beer- a bit sweet but tasty.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bullied Doopie into giving me some of this stuff. He provided the brew, and I provided a decoder card so we could watch the Hotsputs against Milan on pay TV. Good times bro!

From a bomber into a snifter

APPEARANCE: A clear brown pour yields a 1 ½ finger, medium looking, light tan head with great retention. Dark brown, bistre perhaps, clear body with higher levels of carbonation evident. Head slowly fades to a full foam cap and leaves lots of immediate lacing. A splotchy wisp and ring remain, leaving lots of nice lacing down the glass. Good looking.

SMELL: Dark malts, caramel malts, and dark fruit notes. Prunes, plumbs, and light chocolate notes. Very fruity and quite bold for the style. Nice.

TASTE: Pretty bold flavors on this one. Dark malts and quite sweet up front. Dark fruits, plumbs and prunes again, with some sweet caramel malt. Notes of bubble gum through the middle, with a touch of spiciness and some yeasty qualities at the finish. A long and lingering, bitter-sweet aftertaste is plenty bold and flavorful.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Full and creamy smooth on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes slightly mouth-coating on the palate. Nice and creamy feel on this one.

OVERALL: A pretty good brew for sure. Calling this an English Brown Ale is a bit of a stretch; a Belgian Dark Ale would make more sense. Regardless, this was an enjoyable, drinkable brew that I'm glad to have had the opportunity to try out. Though I wouldn't seek it out again, I certainly wouldn't pass it up if I was offered. Good stuff. Thanks again for sharing Doopie!

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Photo of drabmuh
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

At the time of this review this the #2 (seriously?) English brown ale on beeradvocate. Beer is brown and hazy with a thin off white head minimum lacing and carbonation.

Beer smells bubblegum and yeasty.

Beer is medium bodied and sweet with a mildly dry finish. Overall nice but I've had better browns. I'd have this again. Lots of esters in the midpalate.

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Saint Botolph's Town from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
4.05 out of 5 based on 632 ratings.
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