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 barczar
3.85/5  rDev -4.9%
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.

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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 thebeers
3.77/5  rDev -6.9%
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.

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Photo of mclaughlindw4
4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

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Photo of greg33027
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

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.

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Photo of buschbeer
3.79/5  rDev -6.4%
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.

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Photo of pkalix
4.12/5  rDev +1.7%
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%

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Photo of scotorum
4.14/5  rDev +2.2%
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.

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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 GreesyFizeek
3.81/5  rDev -5.9%
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.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
4.56/5  rDev +12.6%
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

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Photo of dar482
4.64/5  rDev +14.6%
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.

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Photo of BEERMILER12
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
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

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Photo of alaimoa
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

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Photo of OrestesMethuon
4.66/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A light, clean, malty odor floats up from this nicely-turbid medium-brown ale. Saint Botolph's has a rustic character indeed, with sharp, very-slightly sour notes effervescing above the rich sweetness of the malt. I've had darker browns, but perhaps not truer; the roasting is exquisite and not at all overdone, like some browns, nor is it overly rich or sweet or in any other sense trying too hard to hit the "brown" mark. I'm a fan of this style, and this crisp, clean, softly piquant offering is one of the best iterations I've tried. The only downside is it isn't sold in six-packs.

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Photo of angusdegraosta
4.19/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Deep chestnut brown. Very nice head and lacing. The mild and pleasant toasty raisin smell leads nicely to the first sip and becomes more noticeable thereafter. If malt can be described as nectar, this comes close - not so much because it is thick or too sweet, but because the sweetness is so well integrated with the aroma. So are the yeasts, the herbal hops, the roasted flavors. This is a remarkable brown ale. Though it is bitter, this is a textbook example, for me at least, of how elegantly bitter flavors can be integrated into the overall picture. Amazing.

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Photo of Prince_Casual
4.23/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

22oz bomber poured into a "softball sized" snifter.

Backstory: in MA for my sister's college graduation, she said Pretty Things was a good local brewery. Figured her friends were dumb (she's not a beer geek at all), but the bombers were cheap and I was bored so I picked up a mixed case and brought them back to good old Northern VA. Fired up the old beer advocate and saw these have hot reviews... so here we go....

I don't usually care for Brown Ales, as they are generally pretty boring. This one actually smells great. Sure it's not blowing my mind, but "for the style" it's as good as I've sniffed. Tasting it continues to please. Great amount of carbonation, refreshing and nice "dark beer" notes aka coffee/roasty flavors.

Definitely worth trying if you see it, even if you aren't enamored with the style.

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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 clayrock81
3.85/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured a hearty, dark brownish color with minimal head but some decent lace that stuck around. Picking up slight hops in the aroma along with roasted and bready malts, touches of something like dark chocolate, caramel and maybe something burnt and/or toffeeish (not real specific, I know). Thicker, fuller-bodied than most browns, smooth and goes down easy, I enjoyed this beer but it was just a tad off for me. The sweetness from the beer seems to derive from dark chocolate, caramel, toffee, and yeast and is balanced with not only a larger-than-normal earty hoppiness but roasted, toasted, possibly burnt malts and a cracker-like dry breadiness that almost creates a chewey sensation. Unfortunately, as I slowly sipped the beer and it warmed, the taste (I won't say the ABV b/c it is not even at 6) seemed to go towards the dryer parts of this beer and the smoothness dipped a little, so basically the beer became dry and husky and the sweetness and the touch of hops subdued. A good beer but not my personal favorite for this style.

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Photo of trooperp
4.79/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into a English pint glass. This beer is very dark reddish brown with a nice moderate brown head.

This dark English ale was brewed in Massachusetts. It tastes incredibly malty and sweet. Moreover, I taste strong caramel, toffee, and hints of chocolate. A definite woodsy feel to this beer. I love this style of beer so I rated it higher than most. Pretty Things Brewery took great care and attention to detail in creating an authentic, highly drinkable, and extremely satisfying dark ale. This has become my Go-To beer... I ALWAYS have a case of this beer on-hand in my cellar.

I HIGHLY recommend it!

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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 DrinkSlurm
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz botle into tulip. Nice chestnut brown color with a bit of off white head. Great toffee and sweet malt aromas. Taste is sweet english style malts, toffee, and a bit of honey. Really easy to drink, and has a nice balance of sweet malts to noble hop. Really nice.

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Photo of QuarterHorse
4.57/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber poured into a tulip glass.

Pours a nice chestnut brown with a fluffy tan head.

The smell is very pleasant... English malts, sweet caramel, some dark fruits and a hint of chocolate.

A light to medium mouthfeel gives way to caramel, dark cherry tobacco notes, and a nice roasted char that lingers a bit on the palate. The finish is fairly dry.

This is a really nice English style brown ale. For the style, there isn't much better offered in the states. I highly recommend it.

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Photo of AgentMunky
3.81/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a goblet. Bottled August 2012.

A: Light head, translucent ruby-brown.

S: Smells very English. Metallic malts have a light caramel scent. Lightly roasted bitterness.

T: Mmm! This is a great beer! Ric h, nutty, malty, bitter, roasted, tasty. Finish is fruity and dry. Hops are interwoven throughout the beer.

M: Carbonated, light, interesting, and spicy.

O: Great brown ale! Highly recommended, and would have again. One of the best browns I've encountered.

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Photo of Maxwell
3.91/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a beautiful caramel brown like a light roast coffee with a light creamy head that sits at a sticky half of a finger’s width and leaves a thin sticky wall of spatterwork lacing. The beers body is dark but seems clean, and there are lots of bubbles coming up the sides from carbonation. The beer smells richly malty with a nice lactic souring to the back of the smell. The nose is reminiscent of brown sugar and dark fruits or craizens (cranberry raisins). There are faint roasty notes, but the lactic sour overpowers them swiftly and is a little off-putting. The beer tastes wonderfully roasty and nutty with notes of brown sugar and biscuity malts. The tastes begins with faint lactic sours and then opens up into big roasted nut flavors before closing back to roasted burn with hints of lactic sugars, like in a milk stout. I am, of course, aware that these aren’t really lactic sugars or sours that I taste, but that is the best I can do to describe them, so bare with me. The sour gives hints towards slight pear, raisin, and apple flavoring before it is burnt away. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, kissing the tongue with barely any hint of prickly carbonation, and only a smooth blanket of chewy beer. The tongue is left quite dry and slightly burnt as the beer leaves, which definitely encourages more liquid to calm it down. There is also a slight tea astringency/tightness to the tongue reminiscent of hops bitters, but different and slightly earthy. Overall this is a tremendously odd ale that perfectly defies definition in true Pretty Things style. It is a delightful sipper, weighing in just above a session ale, but goes down nicely. Another great beer from Pretty Things, and worthy of a sip, though I liked Collaboration #3 with Boulevard Brewing more in terms of similar beers.

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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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