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

Saint Botolph's TownSaint Botolph's Town
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4.09 w/ 631 ratings
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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Ratings: 631 |  Reviews: 301
Photo of zaphodchak
3.78/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

"Bottled May 2011"

2 fingers of light tan creamy head on a ruddy brown body. Laces like a champ even in the plain jane hotel-room tumbler I poured it into.

Powerful English malt I can smell from far away. That's about it; tempered by some mild British hops-- all that comes to mind is that it smells English to me.

Plenty of hops drive the front of the taste, though the bitterness could be coffee. I may be serving this a bit too warm. A bit nutty.

Smooth, pretty fine grained mouthfeel, but not nitro-smooth and doesn't cut the taste.

A good English brown, but bitter enough to be an ESB or something at least.

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Photo of Finn
3.68/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Duvel tulip, Botolph's is a dark, dark brown with a touch of tan creamy faom left sitting on top. The aroma is simple and clean, with sweet malt and alcohol and a touch of roastiness. A large sip reveals earthy, roasted malt flavors, with the warm alcohol from the aroma in flavor this time. Tastes like a belgian style yeast, considering the pronounced phenolic presence in the flavor. The mouthfeel is full and smooth with a moderate carbonation level. It finishes with lingering bitter roasted malts. Overall a nice beer for a cool evening. The phenolic/warming alcohol presence hampers the drinkability and for me leaves this as a once in a while cool weather sipper to share with a friend. A nice, hearty beer, but drinkability leaves something to be desired for me.

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Photo of BeerResearcher
4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz brown bottle. Bottled on date stamped on cap top label. (Batch 10)
Served in a standard pint glass.
Pours a dark brownish amber mahogany color with a solid 2" beige head and lots of webby lacing.
Smells of roasted barley, barn, and resinous and citrusy hops blend nicely together. A whiff mixed fruit soaked in mellow rum floats in the background.
Brown Malty backbone with a touch of toffee. Evenly matched hoppy balance. A light taste of prunes with a hint of tobacco.
This is an amped up Brown Ale. It can easily slide into an Autumn or Fall Ale style profile. There's more malt, hops and alcoholic punch to this wonderfully crafted ale, than you find in your standard English Brown Ale.
Just a lovely ale for a cool evening! Very nice!

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Photo of mdagnew
4.67/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

650ml bottle bought online from

Poured a deep mahogany brown colour. Nice creamy tan head poured very tight, thick and foamy then faded slowly to nice thin smooth coating... light carbonation... some decent sticky lacing...

Aroma - Lots of roasted nuttiness mixed with caramel malts, brown sugar and treacle, some cardboard / earthy hints, dark fruits (figs and prunes), musty traces, toasted bread, light butterscotch notes, light coffee hints...

Taste is exactly as a brown ale should be in my opinion... deep rich roasted nutty sweetness, lots of chocolate and caramel malts, molasses, toasted bread, just the slightest hint of smoke / tobacco, faint metallic notes, nice peppery / grassy hops cut through the maltiness, fig and raisin fruitiness...

Feel - Smooth and creamy... Medium / full bodied... Extremely drinkable...

Overall - A superb example of a brown ale... very well balanced and drinkable... definitely recommended...

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Photo of phichifiji00
3.83/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a May 2011 bottle into a tulip glass:

Appearance: Pours a rich brown with slow fading tan head.

Smell: Malty, nutty, rasiny, plums, molasses, bourbon, brown sugar. The aromas inprove and become much more complex as it warms.

Taste: raisiny, plums, espresso, malty.

Mouthfeel: Rich, medium-full bodied, good carbonation.

Overall: A good brown ale with lots of character.

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Photo of willjschmidt
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bottle (bottled May 2011) into a Sierra Nevada hop tulip glass.

A: Pours a very dark brown, nearly black, red undertones with a thin light tan head.

S: Light roasted malt, burnt sugar, a hint of sweetness.

T: Great malty taste, roasted malt, and burnt sugar. A hint of dark fruits. The finish is drying with some herbal and earthy flavors. Very well balanced and very tasty.

M: Creamy, medium bodied, average carbonation.

O: A very good brown ale. Well balanced, great flavors, and very drinkable.

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Photo of Knapp85
4/5  rDev -2.2%
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 david18
3.5/5  rDev -14.4%
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 FosterJM
3.89/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

796th Review on BA
Bottle to Mug

April 2011/Batch 11

Thanks to mjtiernan for this bottle.

App- A very dark brown with a static non moving two finger eggshell consistency head. This head didn’t leave, just had the beer go underneath it. A nice cling as it fell.

Smell- A little damp roasted malts. Some fresh peanuts and a bit of the heavy cream. Smells like an old world recipe.

Taste- At 1st sip this goes a bit roasty, then it evolves into a more malty beer and then follows itself to a tad hop/bitter. As it warmed retained a tad bit of that creamy note to it.

Mouth- Medium bodied and medium carbonation. A slight roasty, peanut and cream after taste.

Drink- Pretty good old feeling Brown Ale. This had a nice balance and symmetry to all the flavors. Wasn't a complete roast beer and one sided. Had a nice creamy feel and it was a little chilly in So. Cal last night so this was a good choice in my new dimpled mug.

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Photo of socon67
3.43/5  rDev -16.1%
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 DovaliHops
3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color with a small tan head that disappears quickly. Scent is very nutty with some lovely malt and grain aromas. A bit of a roasted chestnut aroma. Taste is initially very malty, then a shitload of nut flavor comes in. Hints of espresso linger throughout each sip as well. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a surprisingly crisp finish. Drinkability is fairly high. Overall, if brown ales were my thing, I'm sure this beer would get all 5s. This is one of the best brown ales I've had, even though I can't see myself ever getting real into them. But I'm gonna rate this one for it's style.

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Photo of Gushue3
3.71/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- 1+ finger head thats off white woth moderate retention. Nice lacing laft on the side of my glass. Cant really see through too much of the beer, with that said the body is dark brown.

S- big malt note that takes over. Subtle chocolate malt woth some nuts.

T- nice subtle flavor thats well balanced. Sweeter taste woh some roast and nuttiness.

M- medium to lighter mouthfeel with medium carbonation.

O- not a gigantic brown guy but this thing is pretty good (see what i did right there).

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.68/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Taken from notes on 7.29.11

22oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours a dark brown with a thick tan head, which has good retention and leaves lacing on the glass.

S - Nuts, spices, hops.

T - Slight chocolate flavors with some nice roasted malts.

D - Good carbonation, with a medium body.

O - Nice drinker, but nothing that stood out to me.

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Photo of SolipsismalCat
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Dark hazy brown. Two finger, light brown, creamy head that diminished after a few minutes. Good lacing.

Smell: Toasted, roasted, and nutty aromas.

Taste: Moderate sweetness and bitterness. Roasted and nutty with hints of coffee. Slight earthiness and spice. The finish lasted about average.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body that was creamy. Nice lively carbonation. The alcohol was noticeable.

Overall: I liked this beer a lot, but felt it was a bit too dark and heavy (more like a porter), and not quite as refreshing as a brown ale should be. It was also a bit pricey.

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Photo of Tschnab
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Red Bones, some local brewers came in and thankfully Pretty Things brought along this brew.

A- this one pours a brown chestnut color with a creamy tan head, some lace.

S- great malty smell to this, along with raisins, bread and rye, spice, brown sugar.

T- along with the characters of the smell the taste also adds a nice char and some balancing hops to smooth out the maltiness.

O- I really love this beer, beers like this are why I revere brown ales as the ultimate session brews during the fall.

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Photo of July2Nov
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Medium to murky brown in color with a dirty beige two-finger foamy and frothy head that stands tall for what seemed like an eternity (or a few minutes).

Smell: Nicely roasted coffee, brown sugar....a good one for the sweet-toothed out there or sweet-nosed.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Oh so smooth! The velvet like touch and creaminess are the first features that jump out. Some roasted grains comes through, with some sweetness of biscuit and raisin flavors. Lighter in body at first, but then turns up to a medium body later on. Warms up with a slight acidity and some good bitterness near the end. Excellent!

Overall: What a great take on the English Brown Ale. Very well balanced with some great malts that shine through and a great roast bitterness, with some tartness thrown in for good measure. Another Pretty Thing in the Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project.

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

picked up locally.

a - opened the bottle and filled my captain lawrence taster tulip. deep brown with a mocha brown frothy head that hung out a while. to the light there was a reddish tint, but this bad boy is mostly brown.

s - brown sugar, malts, even some milk characteristics. bit of toastiness. nutmeg. nutty sweetness.

t - brown malt but a bit on the sweet side. nutmeg. pretty good for the style.

m - pretty full bodied, a bit fizzy.

o - overall a nice english brown ale. nothing too crazy. pretty much just good across the board...not mind blowing.

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Photo of siege06nd
4.23/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared a bomber of this with my friend, irishcolonial. Thanks, Eric!

A: Aggressive pour yields a 2 finger creamy tan head, which slowly subsides into a half finger head. Sticky lacing coats the inside of my Sam Adams perfect pint. The beer itself is an dark ruby brown, contrasting nicely with the light head. Really a great looking beer, nearly black towards the middle of the glass until the red brown tones seep in on the sides.

S: Strong roasted biscuit gives way to a bouquet of spicy yeast and sweet malt. We detected a noticeable Belgian presence in this one, and it was welcomed. Faint traces of cocoa, roasted malt, and sweet honey. Smells very good.

T: This is very tasty. Sweet roasted barley, coffee, honey are right up front. The flavors linger and coat the palate, creating a cloying, sticky brown ale. Very very good. Starts off very sweet, but as the flavors wash over the palate, the honey steps back nicely and blends with the roasted coffee and biscuit malts, creating a truly wonderful and lasting flavor.

M: Highly drinkable. Surprisingly light mouthfeel for the depth of flavor that's there. Carbonation is a touch flat, would like to see it just a tad more crisp. Flavor balance is good, and as said before, the flavors linger nicely and let you truly savor the beer.

O: One of the better brown ales I've had. A hard style to distinguish yourself in, but Pretty Things does a memorable job. It's so roasty and thick it's a borderline porter, and it is complemented by a spicy sweetness I associate with Belgian styles. Very enjoyable. Don't hesitate to try it.

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Photo of juhl31
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

-pours a light flooded brown color with a good lookin tan colored head

-i'm getting a really good mix of chocolate, caramel, and maple on the nose

-this beer's flavor is very subtle. good brown malts that give off a bit of chocolate, roast and dark bread. it leaves the dark bread flavor in your mouth which is nice

-the body is quite light without any lingering carb feel. this all makes the beer extremely drinkable. i would love to see this on cask somewhere

-this is a very good beer. the price tag is a bit of a bummer, considering the assumed cost to make it compared to others in their line-up, but i am glad i drank it

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Photo of glid02
4.12/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Simon – thanks!

Pours a hazy brown color with a light tan head that leaves decent lacing.

Smells of deep caramel malts with hints of toasted malts and nuttiness. Also present are very slight hints of toffee and milk chocolate.

Tastes similar to how it smells, though not quite as well integrated. Moderately sweet caramel malts up front are joined quickly by smooth toffee. Midway through the sweetness subsides a bit with hints of nutty flavors and cocoa powder that carry through to a mildly sweet ending. Mouthfeel is good, with solid carbonation.

Overall this is a very good beer for the style, with a good deal of complexity. Well worth a shot.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.63/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Brown colored beer with red on the edges. Tan head that left some stick on the sides and a small cap.

S - Malts, grains, little chocolate, some nuts, little bit of sugar.

T - Decent malts with chocolate, sugar, toffee, some nuts. It's not bad, it's a style that I'm not familiar with but it's entirely drinkable, with only the slightest hint of hops.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

O - Not bad, I guess I really need to drink an English Brown next to an American one so I can experience the differences, but this is a solid beer.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
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 drabmuh
3.58/5  rDev -12.5%
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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Photo of DaveHS
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours dark chocolate color with over an inch of rocky, khaki colored head. Leaves moderate sticky lacing and a small cap of foam similar to what you might find in a vanilla root beer float.

S-Maris otter malts, chocolate dust, cereal grains. Kind of smells like the home brew store on a humid day.

T/M-A very authentic take on the style. Chewy maris otter and biscuity goodness with a dry, grassy hop profile that leaves a thin, tannic coating on the tongue. A flavor not unlike strong brewed English Breakfast tea. Light/medium bodied with low carbonation holding it all together.

O-Very nice stuff. Will be drinking more of this in the future.

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Photo of Daniellobo
3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tasty brown ale, with a long sense in the palate.

Presentation: 22 oz brown capped bottle. Somewhat cartoonish label illustration with a a brown image of a the town named in the brew over a field of flowers. Back label notes inspiration for the brew, main description, as well as a thank you note from the brewery. Seal tape on the cap notes bottling May 2011. It shows 5.9% Alc. by Vol. Served in a tulip glass.

A - Dark ruby brown pour. Nice early ecru frothy head with medium retention, good surface memory, and nice touches of lacing.

S - Shy nose, malty, with a nutty touch sweet hint. A longer sugary range emerges as it settles but altogether without a tremendous aromatic character.

T - The palate rescues the brew, which expands a rich malty toasty range with touches of fruit, nutty touch, hazelnut and pecan. Hint of chocolate and coffee in the malty body, sugary notes cover a distant hint at the hop bill.

M - Medium-full body, medium carbonation with a creamy sense of flow, and a long lasting memory in the mouth.

O - Nice take on a brown ale, a tad longer and surely richer than most.

Notes: Nice brown ale, rich and with a long sense. Now, would I have it again? Sure. Is it worth getting out of one´s way to reach for it? Not so sure about that. But that is me.

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Saint Botolph's Town from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
Beer rating: 89.4% out of 100 with 631 ratings
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