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

a: muted brown. slight head that quickly dissipated. What I’d expect from a brown ale. A few carbonation bubbles.

s: very subtle. I was a snorting and a sniffing, and could sense very little aroma. And I don’t think I had a cold. Much less aroma/smell than other beers.

T: I liked the taste, but found that too was subdued. Seemed kind of simple to me. Surprised by the other reviewers who refer to this as having a complex taste. Almost no hoppiness to the flavor. Pleasant and smooth. Seemed weak to me in flavor, and as such, would probably drink this without any food, or a bland food.

Mf: effervesced in the mouth. More than I expected, given the amount of observed carbonation. Expected more of a guiness stout mouthfeel (probably expectation from the appearance)

O: Overall, I found this beer pleasant, but not really notable. Would be hard pressed to buy again at $6 a 22oz bottle.

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Photo of jmarsh123
4.53/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep brown with one finger of tan head head. Good lacing as well.

Rich toasted malt, breadiness, toffee and a bit of chocolate in the aroma. Pretty sweet smell.

Taste is completely different than aroma. Lots of heavy chocolate up front. Earthy hop bitterness and toast/toffee are prominent on the back end. Good amount of bitterness.

Medium mouthfeel with medium-low carbonation.

One of the best non-bal browns I've had. After the aroma was afraid this would be a malt bomb, but it's very well balanced and not overly sweet. Will definitely be seeking this one out again.

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Photo of seand
4.22/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark slightly translucent reddish brown, with a small amount of light tan head. Just a little rata ins around the edges and in clumps on the surface, but it's enough to leave decent lacing.

S: Rich sweet roasted malts, brown sugar, lightly toasty.

T: Full sweetness, with a relatively mild bitter note starting mid-palate and continuing through the finish.

M: Medium body, medium but smooth carbonation.

Overall, a good brown ale. On the hoppy and higher alcohol side for an English brown, but quite good for what it is.

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Photo of ottovon
4.12/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

shared by whiterascal.

A: a murky, maroon brown with a tan head.

S: rich malt aroma. hints of toffee and coffee. i get some smoke in there as well as some dark fruits and raisins. has a sweet aroma, but not too sweet. i get bread and some chocolate as well.

T: rich malt. smoke, roasted malt, coffee, toffee, and some earthiness. starts out with a bit of sweetness, and finishes bitter. the finish is a bit roasted malt, and some earthy hops as well.

M: medium thin, with medium-high carb.

O: a really nice brown ale. could drink lots of this.

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Photo of MrKennedy
3.96/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bomber thanks to sinkas for the trade. Poured into a Tripel Karmeliet tulip.

Pours a big deep brown colour, with a brown chocolate look around the edged. Nice perfect height tan foam that has a creamy appearance and leaves a dripping lacing as it falls with good retention.

Smell has a strange yeastiness to it and plenty of malt and just enough nut to make itself known.

Taste echoes this, with a slightly yeasty front end, followed by a very solid malt phase in the middle that is full and of darker malt. Just a little bit of nut at the end.

Mouthfeel is very good, the yeastiness gives it a slight pucker early on, the maltiness in the middle makes it feel very full and the nuttiness at the end is a little sharp and immediately cuts off any thought you have that this would be cloying in any way.

This is a big, malty, English brown ale with plenty of malt backing. Despite the relative size of this, it is still decently easy to drink with the nutty sharpness at the end doing a great job in counteracting the sweetness. Quite nice for a big English brown.

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Photo of micromaniac129
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear ruby brown or chestnut, whatever.
Got a tall dense head, tan in color. Good carbonation.
Aroma was richly scented with complex malts, toffee and some candied sugar.Maybe some hops and yeast, could be me.
Taste has a good roasted malt backbone with toffee and yeast. A medium weight on the palette. I notice some chalky grit. Some low cloying in the back.
Pretty good brown we have here. I think it represents the northern England style brown ale nicely because of the lite cloying and toffee aspect.

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Photo of ficknish
4.33/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Hazy dark brown. Orange tint at bottom.

S - Toasty. Molasses. Noble bitter. Chocolate. Raisins.

T - Toasty malts. Bread crust. Noble bitterness. Spices. Umami.

M - Medium to heavy body. Big mouth feel. Strong noble bitterness.

O - Love this beer. Sweet smell. Big malty taste, with a fun funky bitterness.

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

A-Dark non see through brown hue which leaves a very creamy thick two finger head and clingy lacing.

S-Toasted malts,berries,mocha and port.

T-Raisins,blackcurrants,sweet toasted malts,cherries,black forest cake and finished with a dark fruity bitter hoppiness.

M-Medium bodied,sweet and dry.

O-I def think this is better than the other sampling ive had from this brewery and i could drink all night cheers.

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

From 22oz bottle to Bruges hybrid glass on 10/17/11
*From notes

A: Tanned brown leather with a touch of crimson to it. A good pour yields a cascading 2.25 finger head. Solid retention and lacing.

S: Milk chocolate and rice milk - in fact it's quite horchata-like. As it warms, hints of caramel candies and (of all things) turnip reveal themselves.

T: Really on point. A bit nutty, yet it's malty and rich with a kiss of molasses and char. There's a generous amount of toffee here too.

M: Big. Insanely creamy for a lower ABV brown. The carbonation, texture, all of it is pretty close to perfect.

O: Pretty Things St. Botolph's Town is one of the biggest surprises of recent memory. After the disaster called Baby Tree, I'd written Pretty Things off. You can understand my groan of disinterest to find this buried in the back of my fridge.

But I'm glad this was in there, and I'm even happier I didn't pawn it off. This is a quintessential American interpretation of an English Brown, and one of the better brown's I've quaffed. From top to bottom, this is a class act.

Nice save, Pretty Things.

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

Appearance: pours a cloudy dark brown color with a one inch head that slowly falls to a spotty surface foam.

Smell: bread and some caramel is all you can detect.

Taste: bread, caramel, malt sweetness, and a mild bitterness are the main flavor profiles.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Lightly crisp to start, smoother at this finish.

Overall: this is a solid sessionable brown ale. Full of flavor, this one is easy to drink. One of the more flavorful brown ales I have had in a while.

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

I picked this one up at the Whole Foods on P Street in DC. Welcome to DC Pretty Things!

Trivia: St Botolph was the Anglo-Saxon saint who gave Boston its name.

A: Poured a fairly dark brown, which was almost black by the time the liquid gathered in the glass. White sawdust posing as a head.... for shizzle!

S: Fairly faint, yet glorious makeup of toffee and caramel. Some nuts were in there as well, but it was nothing to write home about.

T: This was a very spicy brown ale and a bitter one at that. However, that gave the toffee concoction dimension and then some! The finish was rather dry.

M: Not a cinch of syrup to this one.... it was very disciplined in that regard. Nice dark, grainy texture to this thing that was exacerbated by the perfectly added carbonation.

O: Great price points on this one! I think I paid $5.99 for this bomber and would have gladly paid a dollar or two more. I've never had a bad beer by Pretty Things.

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Photo of vandemonian
3.92/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pretty Things Saint Botolph's Town is a decent brown ale. I didn't love it, though.

A: Dark brown colour and a 5 mm head that lasts pretty well. 4

S: Roasty malt with brown sugar and chocolate notes. 4.5

T: Malty with some crisp, slightly sour flavours. Pretty dry. 3.5

M: Foamy. 4

O: 4

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

Purchased from Berkeley Bowl West in Berkeley, CA.

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

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

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

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

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

Bottle into tulip glass.

A: Dark brown with slight tan hues, mirky. Great tan thick head, long lasting on top, and good lacing on glass.

S: Thick and slightly sweet biscuit and dark crystal malt up front. Bread smell from yeast Raisin, brown sugar, and dark fruit, and ripe banana to my nose. Faint earthy hop. Very slight roastiness in background.

T/M: Up front thick malt flavor (biscuit and dark crystal again), bready yeast, sharp carbination, slightly slick, fruit/sugar in taste too. Slight roasty flavor. Fair ammount of earthy hop flavor and bitterness in finish. Very minerally finish, accented by sharpness of carbonation. Medium mouth feel, that is boosted by richness of malt.

Overal, I like this beer a lot. Big fan browns. Great very rich flavor, however, I wish the carbonation was less, or slightly less bitterness. These two things with strong mineral character make a sharpness that take away from flavor for me. As I let the glass sit and release carb, its gets really good.

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Photo of hoptualBrew
4.37/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber split with my buddy - good beer is for sharing. Share, taste, enjoy & reflect!

Dark deep brown color with a nice creamy tan head up top. Lacing all over the glass & some small alcohol legs here.

Wow, very clean yeast here with big refreshing caramel malt. A descent aroma of coffee beans & chocolate, not porter or stout heavy with it - but very enticing for a brown ale. A touch of spicy, earthy hop presence as well. This is a beautiful smelling brew.

Subtle yet balanced brew, follows the nose nearly perfect. Thin mouthfeel (4/10) and just passes the threshold on carbonation. Very smooth beer & a nice spicy peppery ending, much like that of Jack D'or, but works better (imo) with this English Brown.

Recieved in a trade, I think $6 bottle.

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Photo of dbmernin83
4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A 22 oz bomber with bottled may 2011 wrapped over the cap.
Pours deep mahagoney with a bIg light khaki head.
Smells of big malty raisins and sweet nuts.
Sweet toffee, dark bread, dark fruits, sticky and slightly nutty. Fantastic! Great on this chilly evening.
Full, well carbonated, a little sticky like any good dark beer should be.
An amazing brew. A brown this big, but this tight almost never happens.

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

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

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

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.79/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A-Pours a deep, dark brown. Head is creamy and smooth. Head is the color wet sand. This beer isn't scared to leave some remnants on the glass as it is drained from the glass.

S-Smells roasty. Aroma of nuts, chocolate, purple fruit, and caramel sweetness. Very clever nose. Enjoyable.

T-All the components of the nose dance on the palate. Along with the nuts, cocoa, raisins, plums, and caramel is a cool soda flavor. Also, there is a nice hop burn on the back end. Lots of individual flavors here.

M-Creamy with mellow carbonation and a smooth medium body. Great feel here.

O/D- I have pushed off trying this one because I have minimal interest and experience in the specific style of beer. I am glad I tried it.

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

Purchased a bottle of this at Julios.

A - Poured into my Duvel tulip a deep rich brown with a creamy one finger light brown head that faded to leave a nice creamy blanket, and light side lacing.

S - Nice English Brown ale here...good light chocolate backed by good roasty malts. Some light almost dark fruits and english hops to round things out.

T - Oh yeah, definately english. While there is that nice roasty malt (and the chocolate that comes with it) there are some subtle fruit notes (raisin maybe?) maybe even a hint of vanilla. Subtle bitter english hops rounds things off. Just bitterness.

M - Nice mouthfeel here. Good carbonation to keep it up off the tongue.

O - A nice offering from Pretty Things. A nice, clearly english offering that was clean and fresh.

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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 zaphodchak
3.78/5  rDev -6.7%
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 -9.1%
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 +6.9%
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 +15.3%
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 -5.4%
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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Saint Botolph's Town from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
4.05 out of 5 based on 632 ratings.
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