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

Bomber from Batch 2 (April '09). Pours dark, slightly cloudy mahogany with a huge, creamy head. Great lacing. Dark roasted malt on the nose with chocolate. Light molasses. Tastes more impressive than it smells. Toasty malt and chocolate again. A slight bit of dark fruit. Very dry finish with slight astringency. Fairly full body. Very nice brown ale over all.

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Photo of mjl21
3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Acquired via trade...thanks Russ. 22 ounce bottle poured into an Imperial pint glass. Batch Two and was bottled April 2009. No abv info is given.

A-Pours a dark brown with lots of red visible in the light. It has a one finger sandy head that has some decent retention.

S-Lots of malt in this one, which shouldn't be a surprise. There is lots of sweet malt and plenty of roast malt. The yeast is also very present which gives it a very bready aroma. Also getting some nice earthy hops. This one deserves a 4.25.

T-The sweet malt is the first flavor to hit. There is some stone fruit noticeable in the middle. The roast malt and some coffee notes hit in the back. After it has gone down the sweetness lingers. There is also a touch of tartness that I am getting. The yeast used is also noticeable adding a layer of breadiness to it. The earthy hops got stronger as it warms and help give this a respectable amount of bitterness.

M-Medium bodied with a tad too much carbonation. The lively carbonation results in a dry finish.

D-Abouts as good as it gets for the style. You can tell a lot of thought went into this beer to make it veer away from a true brown.

My least favorite of their beers, due in part to the fact that brown ales are not one of my favorites. If you like the style, you are going to really like this one.

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Photo of jamie2dope
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A beer for Boston, ya gotta love that. I also love the fact that Pretty Things' beers can change drastically between batches, so that it is almost like you are drinking a new beer with every release. This is batch #3, brewed last month. Pours a very dark brown color. Not close to black, but as dark as brown gets. Big and creamy tanned heading with some staying potential in the appearance. In the nose, one gets some caramel, cocoa powder, freshly baked bread, and many other interesting complexities. Sweet brown bread with powdered sugar comes to mind first in the aroma, followed by Christmas pudding and all sorts of spiced cookies. Overall much sweeter than previous batches. About medium to heavy, and it feels much larger than it is. Alcohol is virtually untraceable, which is a little disappointing for me only because that was one of the qualities I really liked in the older versions. Overall this is a bad ass brown that is on the threshold of the porter style. It has lost some of the rustic qualities from other batches, but this is still really well crafted, and a brew that they should serve at all Boston pubs. Not just for the nod to Boston, but for the overall quality. Cheers

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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 mirish72
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finally found a bottle out in Amherst after looking everywhere from Boston to Worcester.

Pours almost impenetrably dark drown with red highlights, almost black. It has an incredible two finger head, an absolutely beautiful pour.

Smells of roasted malts with a noticeable hoppy background. Tastes of malty goodness with a lingering bittersweet aftertaste. Very drinkable and tasty.

I'm thinking this would be a great beer for a rainy cold New England fall afternoon. Now we just need them to brew another batch.

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

Typical Pretty Things arty and neat-o presentation, with the thin label strip over the cap, "Bottled April 2009 Batch two" Pours darker amber, medium brown, robust and retentive light mocha head, then thick film, a mottled ringed collar and finally respectable lace. Nose is yeasty and bready, with sweet malt notes just below the surface. Chocolaty brown. Sweet malt, powdered sugar, dusty dark chocolate, toffee, all come to mind. Creamy and luxorious mouthfeel, smooth as can be all the way to the finish. Very tasty and pleasurable brown ale. More quality and quite "artisanal" suds from the PT beer and ale project.

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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 paco1029384756
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle thanks to jlindros.

Pours a deep burgundy color with a slight ruby tint and a small creamy off white head.

Scent of brown sugar, yeast, some dark fruit, tobacco, and sweet hops. A good amount of complexity and different than the norm.

Taste of chocolate, light coffee, oats, brown sugar and faint bitter hops. Very tasty and unique, try this if you get a chance.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and somewhat flat.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
4.02/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

"Bottled April 2009, Batch Two." Pours an opaque dark brown with a large beige head. Clumpy lace droppings.

Aroma is of woody hop, chickory bitter, brown sugar and molasses.

Woody campfire hop compliments a black chai bitter twang. Brown sugar and light roast esspresso fade. Rich and creamy this beer is incredibly complex and flavorul for %5.7 abv.

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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 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 ppoitras
4.53/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22oz bottle purchased at Julio's, Westboro, MA. Batch 2, bottled April 2009 sayeth the cap tape.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 3/4" light brown head over the slightly cloudy reddish brown brew. Frothy head recedes slowly, with heavy coating lace. Aroma is sweet and lightly chocolatey. Taste is rich grain character from beginning to end, overwritten with nutty chocolate and complementary hops. Mouthfeel is soft, smooth, low carbonation in a good way, with drinkability oh-so easy. Let it warm a touch out of the fridge, and you've pretty much got a cask-like experience. Yay!

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Photo of Bounty628
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

St. Botolph's Town comes in bomber bottles and has an ABV of 5.7% which makes this beer a great offering to wind down the end of a long day with.

Upon pour, a rich milk chocolate brown color fills the glass and a tan head gracefully waltzes its way to the top of the pint glass. There does not seem to be a ton of carbonation within the pour but the color is the real winner in the pour. The visual appearance alone leads one to believe that this English brown is going to be a dynamite offering with a visual thickness recognized in the pint glass.

The smell is jam packed with some of the richest roasted malt and caramel notes than I can recall noticing in quite some time. There are hints of cinnamon and nutmeg in the nose that at times pairs nicely with a dark chocolate undertone. The nose of this brown ale is quite remarkable and ultimately gives the drinker an impression that the taste is going to be jam packed with flavor.

The quality of a good beer obviously relies heavily upon what is exhibited in the taste. One can rest assured that the taste the comes out of the St. Botolph's Town bomber is so amazing that you will be running back to your local package store of choice to grab an armful of more bombers. Immediately there is an emphasis on the roasted malts that give this beer its deepest base. Those roasted malts are ideally balanced and do not exhibit any over roasting or burnt qualities and with the quality malts meeting up with the right amount of caramel tastes, as well. There is a great relationship at work here in the taste and the cinnamon that was in the nose seems to slip on through in the taste, as well. The taste weighs the balance between roasted malts and sweet caramel ideally and the end product is one of the top brown ale tastes around.

The mouthfeel exhibited within St. Botolph's Town features the same top quality all other aspects of the beer carries. Pretty Things crafted this brown ale nicely and ensured that the mouthfeel fell somewhere a little bit more robust than most brown ales but not as heavy as say a smoked porter or a stout. There is a really whole beer mouthfeel to this ale in the sense that what you can tell just by the mouthfeel alone is that the entire bottle and all that has gone into making this ale is nothing short of brilliant.

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

this beer pours a dark brown with red highlights that support he tan head beautifully. the aroma is caramely malt all the way. i'm wondering if the color and aroma was from the grain or carmalization in an extended boil. very tasty either way. the sweet tasty malt flavor works well with the roasted malt astringency. the medium body and good co2 make this a really drinkable brown.

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Photo of WesWes
3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a nice dark brown color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a wonderful chocolate and roasted malt scent along with a dry nutty feel. The taste is good. It has a nice dry roasted feel with a light crystal malt sweetness. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium/full bodied beer with good carbonation. This is an above average brown, but nothing too special.

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

This was a pleasant surprise. The beer pours a dirty brown color with a hazy cast. The head is tannish and creamy and a bit foamy. There is minimal lacing a decent retention. The nose struck me as being quite boozy. I thought I was in for a wallop of a beer with a high ABV, but alas no. The nose has caramel, roasted notes, some raisin, some boozy toffe aromas.

The taste is quite good and surprisingly mild given the nose on the beer. The beer is sweet, a touch cloying so, there are definite molasses notes, caramel notes, some brown sugars, some dark chocolate notes, some raisin flavors, some spices maybe a touch in the coriander family. This is a substantial brown ale, very nice, not too carbonated, medium bodied, reasonably complex. Worth seeking out. L'Chaim.

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Photo of vrazionale
4.27/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 fl. oz. bottle at refrigerator temperature poured into a snifter. Bottle reads "April 2009 - Batch Two."

A - Pours a very dark brown body with a full light brown-colored head.

S - Caramel, roasted nuts, dark chocolate, the faintest hint of coffee, molasses, nutmeg, cinnamon. Very nice balance between the sweetness and roastiness of the malts.

T - Again, I'm struck by how well-balanced this brew is. The roasted malt flavors come out here in full force: chocolate, caramel, molasses, dark spices, a touch of dark fruit. The finish is sweet but not cloying.

M - The carbonation doesn't make itself known here, but that's probably for the best. This brew feels a little too light-bodied for me - which is surprising, considering the dark roasty flavors going on here.

D - A very well-crafted brown ale. Nice balance, with no one element coming to the fore and overshadowing the others. I would love this brew with BBQ - beef brisket or spicy pulled lamb with this brew would make you very happy.

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Photo of SUjunkie
3.92/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottled April 2009 - Batch Two

A: Dark brown with a reddish tint. Thick caramel colored head with some nice lacing.

S: Caramel, figs, fruit.

T: Breadiness and sweet. Some caramel. Nice and thick.

M: Low carbonation. Smooth. Light for a brown.

D: Very drinkable. I've tried the entire line since the ACBF. They are a solid brewery.

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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 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 goblet
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from a 1 pint 6 oz bottle into my glass .

right out of the bottle i got a 1 inch thick tan frothy head that didn't last long. the color is coffee with a little splash of milk,its light brown and unclear ,no lace ,alot of carbonation.

the smell is very earthy with hints of dark fruits and roasted lite malt .it also has a coffee aroma subtle though noticeable .

the flavor is lite roasted malt and dark fruits like dry figs or raisins it's got a bit of a porter quality to it ,earthy and some grains .

the feel as it coats my palate is a mild spice, roasted and a tad bit bitter after taste.

i find the brew to be very enjoyable and ease to drink, full smooth flavor ease on the palate .

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Photo of taez555
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a brown coca-cola colored body with a big dark white/tan head.

Nose is really a mystery. It's a dark ale for sure, but there are these passing whiffs of German malts, then touches of coffee and chocolate, then some swishes of English caramel notes. Sweet and bready, but earthy and dry. Interesting for sure. Very subtle though.

Taste is medium thick with an immediate dryness. Very very bready, like eating dark rustic rye bread. Dark malts, some subtle chocolate. There's a strong, but extremely muted, hop bitterness throughout. It's the sort of bitterness you don't taste unless you're paying attention, but when you do it's very much there. There's a granite like, stone earthiness to the hops that meld well with the toasted and burnt malts. Sort of a dance between the two. Ends with a soft lingering earth hop flavor.

It's a rustic dark session ale. It borders on so many styles without deciding to choose any one style. Not my favorite of Dann's new beers, but a killer session beer for sure.

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

Bottled April 2009. Batch Two.

Picked up a bottle from Abe's Cold Beer after enjoying their saison. This beer, unfortunately, is less impressive. I suppose it's a little rustic in the sense that the malts have an earthy, dry bitter taste that's certainly not unpleasant. Still, this beer just seems to linger between and brown ale and a porter for the dry roasted malt that consumes the aftertaste. The aroma has more of a candy dark chocolate character, but the flavor and feel is very dry. I guess that aspect is more Belgian. Still, a pretty tasty beer, I'm just not sure what's going on.

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

EDIT- RE-reviewed from Bath 3, 12/08/09. Changes made as needed.
Poured from 22oz bottle into .5L gold-leaf swiss boot. Label notes this was bottled in April 2009 and is from batch two.

A- Pours a chestnut brown with a tinted, rich head. Very nice looking brown ale. Very dark, porter-like in appearance.

S- Very inviting. Malt sweetness is very prominent. Mild toasted grains and a hint of cinnamon (just a hint).

T- Very good. A very rich, robust, and deep brown ale. This is the real deal. Smoky (well, hefty) malt and bitter baking chocolate, a bit of coffee, and a nice caramelized sugar sweetness combine for a really flavorful beer. Pretty Things describes this as a rustic dark ale. I think it's an apt description. This beer is a 'classic'- while distinct, it shares a lot with the traditional English Brown Ale, only moreso. Very deep, dark, and hearty for the style. I like it.

M- Unique. Healthy carbonation, a rich flavor profile, yet the beer comes across lighter than expected, which is a good thing. A well-crafted brown ale, prob. the best Am. Brown I've had... although I do like DFH's Indian Brown... this is top 3 at least.

D- Very good, although this beer will fill you up. Still, I enjoyed this beer all the way down.

An excellent beer, I came back to this after a few months and found it to hold up to my lofty expectations and hazy memory. Well worth seeking out.

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

22oz brown bottle, capped and sealed with a paper strip. Bottled in April of 2009 per the paper strip. Poured into a 22oz Sam Smith Tulip.

Darker shade of brown than I expected with a lovely off white head that lasts. Smell is light with hints of chocolate, malt and dry chalk.

Taste is much bigger than the smell. Perfect level of carbonation as I like it on the lower side. Very complex flavors come through. Loads of malt and chocolate as expected but also hints of nuts and even figs. Half way through the hops deliver a green flavor that adds depth. I also pick up some toast and something cinnamon like. Fuller bodied but yet very easy to drink. After taste is easily 15-20 seconds.

This is an Brown Ale with some balls. I am not talking extreme, just a bigger beer with loads of flavor yet still remains easy to drink. A pleasure.

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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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