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 Sammy
3.98/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Top notch brown ale. Pours dark brown, thick looking, with off-white head. Malty and some roast aromas. Very tasty malt job, supporting by light roast. Yeast is there and that taste builds up over a few samples. Very drinkable, made even more so by its sweetness. Recommended.

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Photo of Knapp85
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew is quite nice, The pour comes out as a nice deep brown color with a fluffy light tan head on it. The lacing was minimal but still not too bad. The smell of the beer was a little bit on the nutty side but also had a subtle sweetness on the nose. The taste had a light hoppy character in there, along with some chocolate too, really interesting tasting brown ale for sure. The mouthfeel had a smooth, richness to it, medium bodied and well carbonated. Overall this is probably one of the best Pretty Things I've had. Really worth checking out.

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Photo of metter98
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is clear very dark amber in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high dense beige head that consistently left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface and lacy rings of bubbles down the edges of the glass.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of caramel and toasted malts in the nose along with notes of brown sugar, cocoa, nuts and smoke.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell and initially has a slight amount of malty sweetness. There are hints of molasses in the flavors; the underlying hops do not really contribute any noticeable bitterness yet they help to balance off the beer from being overly malty.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate, somewhat smooth and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is very easy to drink and is quite sessionable. I had no problem drinking an entire bottle of this.

Note: Bottled March 2011, Batch 10

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Photo of BEERchitect
4/5  rDev -1.2%
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!

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Photo of brentk56
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a rustic brown color with a "10 minute" three finger head that leaves a big smattering of lace

Smell: Really different aromatics - let's see, I pick up some dark fruit, tamarind, smoked embers, and crusty brown bread

Taste: Opens with a crusty brown bread flavor that diverges in a surprisingly sweet and dark fruit (raisins and dates) direction that becomes a touch phenolic by mid-palate; after the swallow, the sugary complexity (almost palm sugar like) dominates, though there is some nutty breadiness in the finiah as well

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body, slightly creamy, with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A really surprising ale that covers a range of styles and is just gosh darn good

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Photo of largadeer
4.17/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sinstaineddemon sent this one my way. Thanks.

Brown in the glass, murky and turbid. Pours with a finger of tan head that reduces to a cap.

It smells strongly of coffee, roasted malt and toast. There's a bit of sweet dark malt and fruit as well, excellent.

Coffee and toffee up front, cereal, toast and carob. Very roasty, almost burnt in a subtle and pleasant way. Hints of leafy hops and minerals. Carbonation is a bit too high for the style, which makes the body seem a tad thin. The yeast profile is unusually prominent, giving the beer a fruity undertone. Finishes lightly hoppy and roasty with a big coffee kick and a faint mineral aftertaste.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.79/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a deep cloudy brown color ale with a huge medium brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of caramelized malt with notes of toffee and light residual sugar with light funky yeast notes. Taste is also a complex mix between some light funky yeast with heavy caramel malt with balanced residual sugar in the aftertaste - I don't know if it is the color or what else but I almost had the feeling of drinking a stout though I knew full well it wasn't. Body is quite full with great carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Very interesting beer with no real appurtenance to any style I know.

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Photo of oline73
3.89/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the bottle into a standard pint glass.

Pours a dark brown color with a hint of red. Small amount of head. Smell is a fruity caramel malt, but not overly sweet. A fruity brown ale. Bit nutty with a bitter finish. The bitterness is on the intense side. Just a touch of toffee.

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Photo of zeff80
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a clear, mahogany color with ruby highlights. It had a two-finger, tan, bubbly head of foam that left soapy patchy lace.

S - A very nutty aroma with a touch of vanilla. Also, a nice caramel smell.

T - It taste very nutty and had a nice roasted malt caramel taste. Just a touch of bitter hops balance out the sweet caramel and nutty flavor.

M - It was crisp and smooth. A medium-bodied brown ale.

D - Great representation of the English brown ale style. They really nailed it with a great nutty taste.

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Photo of oberon
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My first Pretty Things beer and man was I impressed.Poured a deep roasted chesnut brown with amber highlights showing thru,a 1/2 finger tannish colored head atop,malt lovers rejoice from there.Brown sugar,molasses,roasted walnuts,and chocolate all over the place,great malt complexity in a "small" beer.Roasted nuts and cakey flavors at the onset with molasses sweetness coming into play,again great malt complexity.I put limits on certain styles of beer because Iam a hophead who likes extreme beers,this wowed me being an English Brown wich I think has never happened,a great beer.

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Photo of jlindros
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tap at prezo's

Nice creamy head fades at a med pace, light lacing, dark hazy molasses brown colored beer.

Nose adds nice dark malts, dark crystal, light caramel and molasses brown sugar, bit biscuity, light sweet effervescence, light earthy hops

Taste starts fairly sweet, plenty of malts, darker malts, crystal, biscuit, light brown sugar, some light earthy hops and just a touch herbal, touch of a candy flavor. Finishes still fairly sweet but not sticky, some bitterness coming through with a touch of lingering earthy hops, some darker malt flavors lingering as well.

Mouth is med with decent carb.

Overall pretty good, a bit on the sweet side, decent hop addition light but earthy, just a touch of a briny taste, but a decent drinkable brown.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Saint Botolph's Town is my favorite beer by Pretty Things, and by far. It's rich, toasty, and a bit chocolaty with some nice fig flavor to round it out. The body's medium and it's creamy-smooth once it's warmed a bit. It reminds me of an English-style "Old Ale" rather than just a simple "brown ale". It's got a kind of brown malt character going on, and it's got a lot of dark caramel that borders on being almost like burnt sugar. It's a hint sweetish but there's a fairly solid bitterness behind it, and a hint of dark malt acidity as well, which lends to the balance and leads into a dry finish where the leafy hops finally appear. You can drink it straight-forward, or you can relax and sip it. Quite charming!

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.88/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap 1/2/2011 at Doherty's East Ave Irish Pub in Pawtucket, RI, served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep brown color, with a short dense off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is kind of faint but contains roasted malts, maple, caramel, nuts and a faint touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out malty, then sweet flavors of caramel and maple come in quickly along with some nuts in the background. The hops presence if mild but complementary and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, good representation of style, this is a nice beer with flavor and substance making it worth drinking for a long time if you're in the mood for the style.

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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 dbrauneis
4.04/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Served on-tap at LTK (Legal Test Kitchen) Bar and Kitchen in Boston, MA

A: Pours a clear dark amber in color with moderate amounts of visible carbonation and some ruby red highlights. The beer has a half finger tall beige head that reduces to a large patch of very thin film and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light to moderate aromas of toasted malts and caramel malts along with some lighter hints of cocoa, brown sugar, nuts, and just a hint of smokiness.

T: Upfront there are light to moderate flavors of toasted and caramel malts with a light to moderate amount of sweetness. That is followed by the hints of cocoa and brown sugar. Overall there is a light amount of nuttiness and smoke. Very light amounts of earthy hops give the beer some balance.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth.

O: This beer is very easy to drink and quite sessionable - in fact, everyone at the table enjoyed it and most people ordered a second glass with lunch.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled August 2009. Pecan shell brown with generous highlights of cherry and orange. This is one of the darker brown ales out there, which bodes well. The upper third of the glass is filled with a pillowy crown of pale caramel colored foam that isn't in any hurry to depart.

It appears that Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project beer is great smelling beer. This English brown (or 'rustic dark ale') smells wonderful. Each sniff delivers cocoa and caramel and nuts... maybe even a hint of ground coffee bean. Both German ale yeast and Belgian yeast are used, though the latter isn't appreciated. So far at least.

Ah, there it is. A telltale clove spiciness on the tail end of the very first mouthful cranks up complexity, deliciousness and drinkability in one fell swoop. I love it when talented brewers use their imaginations and brew just slightly outside the box, turning what might have been just another ale into something special.

The flavor profile is, indeed, darker than most. There has to be some type of chocolate or roasted malt in here, given the dark chocolate, black coffee and black licorice vibe. Maybe it's the different four types of sugar, one of which is probably dark candi sugar of the sort used in BSDAs. Yes, this beer is a little BSDA-like, which is to its credit.

Other than those already mentioned, flavors include dark caramel, figs, sugared pecans, spicy ground clove and a splash of Sambuca. Sweet, bitter and spicy are all prominent, with tangy following along in their wake. Warming brings more boldness and even more depth and complexity. Wow, what a beer!

The mouthfeel is appropriate for the ABV. That doesn't mean that bigger wouldn't have been better. More plush creaminess would have garnered the next highest score with ease. Less than tight carbonation is partly to blame.

Saint Botolph's Town may not be the best English brown ale to have entered my glass... on second thought, it might be. It's definitely the most interesting. This is a brewery to keep an eye on. Make that two eyes. And a nose. And a tongue.

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes

A: Pours a dark brown almost black with an off-white head. Nice head retention and thick lacing.

S: Lots of roasted/toasted malt, some caramel and nuts.

T: A very nice combination of malty sweetness and caramel. Not much hop presence. And the nuttiness from the aroma comes through nicely at the end.

M/D: Medium bodied, very smooth with nice carbonation. A very nice beer, my first in the style. Would certainly get this beer again, goes down easy.

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Photo of russpowell
3.76/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this one from PEBKAC, cheers Adam!

Pours a chestnut tinged brown with a thumb of bubbly beige head. Near zero lacing & head retention

S: Toasty malt, faint brown bread aroma & leafy hops

T: Toasty malt, slight charred grain character, dryness & brown sugar up front. Slight coffee & charred grain flavors as this warms, along with more toastyness. Finishes dry with a little too much coffee taste hanging around for me to love this one

MF: Medium bodied & near carbonation

Drinks alright, the coffee accents cost it points in drinkability & flavor

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.21/5  rDev +4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Not really sure what to make of this one when I grabbed it out of the fridge, but went for it none the less. Served chilled and poured into a tall wheat glass, this one was consumed on 12/09/2009.
The pour was wonderful, rich brown in color with a huge tan head that stayed on top forever! Seriously this had to have looked better then damn near anything else I have run across recently, no joke. Just perfect. Aroma is dark fruits, lots of sweet brown sugary notes, hints of clove and light earthy hops, all mixing together nearly perfectly at this point in time. Nice smooth, even carbonation and feel here now as well, really well placed I have to admit. Rich warm flavor here, nice mix of pear, light spice, hints at brown sugar and a nice even caramel flavored dry finish. Hints of plums pick up as I finish the glass now as well, again well placed and nicely balanced. Superb drinkable factor here as this went wonderfully with dinner and everything after.
Overall really a superb, superb offering here, not really sure how to classify it totally, but superb,

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Photo of billab914
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber of this while in Boston last weekend. It poured caramel brown in color with a modest tan head covering the top.

The aroma is malty and nutty with a moderate roasted malt and a little caramel sweetness.

In the flavor I get some toasted malts to it with some coffee and slightly burnt flavors. It has a nice nutty and caramel flavor coming out towards the finish. The flavors seemed to lean towards the porter spectrum a little, but were very good overall.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and creamy. Carbonation is moderate. Overall I thought it was a very good beer. It was very flavorful but also pretty easy drinking. Very good version of the style as well.

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Photo of smcolw
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Neutral brown color with a very nice light beige head. Long lasting time. Good rocky lace after each sip--almost forms a ring.

Chalky, brown ale aroma. Mellow crystal malts with a dash of chocolate. Attractive.

I am drinking this immediately after the Pretty Thing's Jack D'Or. I find this to be a better beer--rich darker malt flavors with a generous amount of hop without losing the English Brown Ale character. Again, the body is lower than expected, but I find this to be a creamier offering. Relatively dry, the aftertaste offers great balance between the darker malts and the light hop.

I'd love to try this in a flight of Browns; I think it would fare well.

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Photo of Jason
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz brown bomber with no freshness date.

Dark chestnut brown color, good lacing all around. Smells of toasted almond bread, faint chicory and a mild raisin/brown sugar note in the back. Big smoothness with a lush malty medium body. Toasty malt character with undertones of dark brown sugar, raisins, toasted bread crust and some dried hay in the finish. Modest hopping here, hint of herbal flare helps to balance. Mineral and fruit in the middle, hint of nutty yeast as well. Just a slight edge of char throughout. Lands semi-dry with a kiss of residual maltiness in the after taste.

Balance is seen across the board here, event the level of charred grain is perfect. Not massive or in your face yet this is of demi-epic material. Love it.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The pour is a dark brown color with a few notes of red when looked at in the right light. A mild tan head forms on top.

S: There is a nice toasted malt note right off the bat along with some nuttiness. Certainly sweet, but not overly so. Fairly well balanced all around.

T: The nuttiness and toasted malts are the main flavors of this beer. There is a nice caramel and toffee sweetness as well that works nicely with the very mild bitterness.

M: Medium in body with a somewhat light carbonation to it.

D: A very easy beer to drink. Before knowing the style, I thought it could have passed for an English Mild, and could easily drink this like it was.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.8/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had at a local DC tasting.

a - Pours a dark brown color with an inch of tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of caramel malts, bready malts, vanilla, sugar, and dark fruits.

t - Tastes of caramel malts, dark fruits, sugar, and sweet fruit.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation.

d - A decent brown ale. Would give another shot.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy dark brown with ruby highlights and a big bubbly head that sticks around for a bit before sticking itself to the glass. Smells of chocolate, caramel, brown sugar, and sweet malts. Tastes is sweet malts with lots of brown sugar and chocolate. has a hint of spicy yeast in there as well. Crisp carbonation, medium body, light syrupy mouthfeel. Great little session brown, I wish they put this in a six pack I'd buy it all the time.

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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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