Black Dog Ale | Spanish Peaks Brewing Co.

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Black Dog AleBlack Dog Ale
179 Ratings
Black Dog AleBlack Dog Ale

Brewed by:
Spanish Peaks Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Cresant on 05-08-2007

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Ratings: 179 |  Reviews: 124
Photo of thartman
3.88/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured deep amber color, creamy head, lots of sticky lacing left behind.

Malt and caramel rule the nose.

Nice malty taste, with a caramel-like sweetness. Some hop bitterness mixed in, goes down slick, but fishes kind of dry with a slight bitter aftertaste.

The description on the bottle say English Style Amber Ale, and I thought this was a decent version for the style, a pleasant surprise.

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Photo of MOShepp
3.89/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice dark amber color. Bottle poured into a mug, nice 3/4" head that lingered throughout. Not a lot going on to smell. Mildly bitter up front, but the malty sweet kicks in right away with carmel overtones. Finishes smooth with very slight bitterness. Overall a great beer to just sit and drink.

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Photo of BigRedN
3.91/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm adding my review to this Black Dog entry because the bottle in the picture lookes like the bottle I purchased as part of a mixed 6-pack. Also, bottle says English style amber ale, but I am reviewing this as an amber ale, much like Fat Tire. Finally, (one last descrepancy then on to the review) my bottle says is brewed in Denver. CO.

Appearance: Poured from the 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. The beer is a wonderful brownish red (more red when held to the light). My pour produces a nice thick, fluffy off white head about 1 inch in height. The head slowly fades to a solid cover and leaves plenty of lacing.

Smell: Some light malty aromas (caramel-like) with some floral hop aromas. Becomes a touch citrousy when it warms.

Taste: A nice balance of malt backing up a nice little hop bitterness on the finish. Just a good amber ale.

Mouthfeel: Somewhat light in body with just enough carbonation to keep it lively. A nice prickly sensation on the tongue and the finish.

Drinkability: A very drinkable, sessionable ale. One I would definitely have again.

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Photo of steelerguy
3.92/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was pleased with the color as I poured the beer from the bottle to the glass. I had not had an amber ale in awhile and I thought the dark copper color was quite pleasing. There was not much of a head after pouring, but what head there was remained for quite awhile with some nice lacing as the glass was emptied.

The beer had a nice malty smell which I thought was very nice. Even better was the hop aroma, overall I thought this was the beers best characteristic and I was eager to taste.

The first think I noticed was a nice hop flavor. I was not entirely expecting this before I smelled the beer. I was expecting more mild hop flavor being that it is an English Style Amber Ale. Instead there were nice nice roasted and caramel malt flavors along with the hops. It was all very nice until I was hit with a slightly off putting after taste. Mind you, it was not horrible or offensive, just not my cup of tea. This would have been a solid 4 if not for the after taste.

The would say this beer had a nice medium body, but was a little more carbonated than I would have liked at first. The carbonation was perfect when I was about 2/3 done.

This is a beer I would be very happy sitting around enjoying at a BBQ and talking with friends. I very much enjoyed the color and clarity and was pleasantly surprised with the wonderful hop taste and aroma. An amber ale I am sure I will enjoy again.

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Photo of Spikester
3.95/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'm not sure what is up with this Brewing Co. The bottle I drank was made in Montana not California. Their website says it is brewed in Polson, Mt. and Denver, Co. Owned by U.S. Beverage, Stamford, Ct.

The six-pack I purchased was bought at a Wal-Mart in Oregon.

A-Nice dark amber color with average head and fair amount of lacing.

S-Nice citrus hop aroma with some herbal scent.

T-Nice hop profile listed as 36 IBU on their website. Nice sweet rich malts balance the hops very well.

M-Above average

D-Good sessionable English-style Amber Ale.

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Photo of JMScowcroft
3.95/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4.5

Look - Nice Midwest artwork. Pours light brown and settles Black Sea amber in the glass. Lightly fizzy and little to no head.

Smell - Strong and malty, should have some bite.

Taste - Strong, malty and hoppy, but a very creamy finish. Very good.

Mouthfeel - Not a very pleasant aftertaste but it doesn't stay with you that long.

Drinkability - Very good, you can have quite a few of these with no problems.

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Photo of Brenden
3.98/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Notes are from a couple nights ago.

Amber's the word on this one, as this brew's color is about as close to it as could be. A nice, off-white head stands between one and two fingers tall, leaving adequate patchy lacing partway down the glass as it recedes.
There's a nice, solid malt base with caramel and toasty bread notes complimenting a bright citrus and light pine hops aroma. There's a light earthiness in here, and it gets a little grainy as I get as much as I can pull from the aroma.
The balance works very nicely in the flavor, with the hops greeting the tongue but graciously giving way to the caramel malt without falling away. It's not vastly complex, but it's solid, very nicely balanced, and flavorful.
The body is medium and carbonation is moderate, giving a crisp bite on first sip that fades to a pretty smooth swallow.
This is a good brew that keep me interested in a brewery that's new to me.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.98/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A – Poured a nice deep amber color with a good billowing two inch plus head gracing over the top of it. Really nice retention left the frothy white pillow on top for a good long while with a nice strong concentric ring of lace going through the glass. Very nice carbonation only added to the splendid view that this one gave from the moment it was poured. They were really pushing this one at Barleys and rightfully so, this was really looking good at this point.

S – A good well balanced aroma is what greeted me here right away. Very nice piney sort of hoppiness right up front and it was nice and light not too bitter, behind that was a good deal of bready malts, and I mean a good deal of them. It was a very well balanced aroma. Lots of earthen grain here as well. Overall very nice and a good solid amber ale type of smell. I was really liking where this one was going.

T – Wow, not this was what all the talk was about. Now this was a fine quality session ale if I have ever had one. It had a very nice hopped up front but then fell back right into the trap of deep roasted malts and a touch of sweet caramel. Very complex for a session ale, but very very good. I really think I oculd have enjoyed this one again and again on this night, it was just that good. Really great balance and a huge amount of flavor packed into an unsuspecting package, very good and so well worth it here. I was really shocked I had not heard of this before, almst disappointed in myself to be honest.

M – Superb. Like liquid gold. So smooth it just floated down when you sipped and you could not even think about trying to not go for some more. Great dry finish and an awesome amount of carbonation. This was really a winner and something that was totally worth the price of admission here.

D – Not really sure how much more I can say here. It was just great. I so wanted to get another, but there were several other ales here I still needed to try on this night so I would have to go to them, but really just a superb brew.

Overall, awesome. I had not even heard of this until a couple weeks ago and just cannot find it In the store so I had to try as soon as I was able to track one down. It was really worth the wait and I can really see why people are raving and drooling over this one. This is truly quality. It is nothing out this world, or over the top, just straight up quality. I would love to see some of this floating in my fridge and hopefully will soon.

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Photo of LXIXME
4/5  rDev +15.3%

Photo of billybob
4/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

medium brown color with a red hue to it. light tan one inch head holds well and lots of lace. hints of caramel and toffee, taste is slightly sweet, caramel, buttery toffee, a hint of bitter chocolate, with a salty nutty finish. definitely worth a try.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I must have passed this beer by a thousand times, thinking that I have drank it, reviewed it, and thought it was fine. Thouroughly shocked that I have never tasted this before-- it's a tasty beer. A lot of the beer reminds me of a good American Pale Ale: attenuation rates, clean malt character, crisp hop citrus flavors... Except brewed with amber / toasted malts, bringing out more caramel flavors without sacrificing the crisp malt flavors and textures. The extra sweetness and malt boldness keeps the hops balanced, while making it east to drink. Medium texture, but with a crisp malt / hop finish. Very good Amber.

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Photo of tgbljb
4/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep copper-amber color with modest slightly off-white head.
Smell in hoppy with a slight malty background.
Taste also has hops in the foreground, but the malt present with a nice balance.
Very easy to drink, nice and refreshing.
A bit of confusion about the company. Founded in Montana, the company is listed as California, but my bottle was brewed by Spanish Peaks in Frederick, MD. ???

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Photo of goldennectar
4/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into pint glass.

Appearance: Nice dark amber color and light head that laced the sides of the glass.

Smell: Sweet and caramel notes

Taste: Smooth - slightly sweet, caramel and malty with a little bit of hoppy bitterness, but not too much for me.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and Balanced. Seems a little creamy, not bad though a good texture. Good carbonation

Overall: Very drinkable and smooth, a very decent amber ale - Will definitely drink again. Maybe tonight.

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Photo of BedetheVenerable
4/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12oz brown pop top, nice label, no date...this says "English-style Amber Ale;" just from the aromas and the "English-style" on the label, I think this is more of an ESB than it is an American Amber...

Appearance: Slightly hazed dark copper beer; a medium pour produces an antique ivory cap with decent retention

Smell: Lots of fresh, toasty bread, some caramel and toffee, some light fruity hops; this reminds me strongly of many of the pub ales I had in Yorkshire.

Taste: The key here is balance; it's all about toasty, bready, and caramel malts up front, with dry notes of biscuit on the backside. Some light, fruity, mildly bitter hops on the finish as well. Impeccably balanced

Mouthfeel: On the light side of medium-bodied

Drinkability: High

Conclusion: I dunno why, but I've always passed this by at the stores, even when I did see it. A friend bought it, didn't like it, and left it at my house. I'm glad he did. Nice, solid quaffing ale.

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Photo of jscottku21
4/5  rDev +15.3%

Photo of kirok1999
4/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured on tap into a 6oz sampler glass. Looks like a shot of bourbon with an off white head.
Smell is nicely malty, caramel and slight hops.
Taste is pretty good, caramel malts, earth, a little musky peat. This is prety complex and easy to sip. No noticable alcohol. Mouthfeel is silky smooth, light carbonation, smooth and mellow. I'll try the bottle next to see how it compares.

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Photo of barley
4/5  rDev +15.3%

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4/5  rDev +15.3%

Photo of horshack7
4.01/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12 punce bottle a picture of a black dog with the words no whinners written. Behind the picture is a moutaniness setting.

Appearance: This one pours a absolutely stunning dark amber brown with slightly lacey head that disicpates quick.

Aromas: Notes of caramel and light hops. Nice malt notes as well.

Taste: A nice dose of hops starts in right off the bat. With nice dark roasted malts along with caramel hints. It has an interesting crispness to it and a slightly dry finish.

Notes: This one I could definately enjoy year round. I do find one thing odd on the bottle it is described as an English style amber ale. But here on the website it is listed as American amber/ Red ale. None the less still a tasty beer.Cheers

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Photo of bc2208
4.02/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

$9.99 6-pack at a grocery in brooklyn.

Appearance - I just noticed that the color of a beer changes if you hold it in front of an lcd as opposed to a lamp. In front of the lcd it is a hazy orange brown, in front of the lamp it is a crystal red amber. In natural light the beer is very dark.

Smell - Very malty with brown sugar aromas.

Taste - Gingerbread, brown sugar.

Mouthfeel - Smooth and syrupy, not much carbonation on the tongue.

Drinkability - Not a heavy beer but certainly not one that can be pounded. 2-3.

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Photo of rebel1771
4.03/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark amber color with small off-white head that sticks around a bit.

S: Caramel malts with a decent amount of hops.

T: Bready malts of front with a noticeable hop presence in the middle and fading to a biscuity after taste.

Good solid brew, nothing earth shattering but it doesn't need to be.

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Photo of hustlesworth
4.03/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- super crystal clear reddish copper amber has fine rising bubbles and honey golden highlights. beige head is fluffy at first becoming full of bubbles and dimples as it slowly shrinks down. huge patches of airy spit bubble lace become like old cobwebs as they dry and in some areas there are thick fingers of foam bridging the raised center mass to the convex inner curve of the tulip. cooool.

S- nutty and toasty, dried wood, mineral water, burnt caramel, and a pleasant earthy spicy hop aroma, and possibly some faint milk chocolate. a slight fruity tartness amid the toasty biscuit malts as well with some orange citrus notes, dark toffee, and fortified wine.

T- slightly metallic well water/copper pipe type taste isn't necessarily a bad thing because for me it can create sort of a raw rustic feel to the beer as long as it isn't too prominent. luckily this one blends right in and immediately after is flattened by toasty bready malts, burnt caramel, some cocoa and coffee flavors, resinous piney hops, and aromatic wood. some toffee/peanut brittle, and soft red cranberries into the slightly herbal finish. as it warms the beer really takes on more character. the toasted biscuit flavors become sweeter and fruitier as the hope become more floral citrus and pronounced.

MF- i was a little thrown off by the clarity but this brew is over medium in body with carbonation to compliment its viscosity- soft and non aggressive, has a very british feel to it. goes down juicy and smooth, and is well balanced all the way into the finish.

D- advertised as a highly drinkable beer, i cannot disagree. this sample bottle went by too fast and i wish i had some more. relatively low abv is also a plus.

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Photo of jonworth
4.03/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a tight, kind of rocky head. Rich cedar color -- bit like St. Johns riverwater, though I wouldn't recommend drinking that. Taste is very good balance of malts with hops, if not very spicy. Mouthfeel is very slick--wonderful, really. ABV is within reason, so moderately sessionable. I good ale that I'll buy again.

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.05/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into an imperial pint glass. Clear and amber hued, with a toffee colored glare and the head to match. Some sporadic lacing down the glass. The head starts out nice and fades very slowly, leaving a ring around the glass and a small film on top of the beer.

Aroma is bisuity and bready. Plenty of malts. Toasty, caramel. Not a whole lot going on hop wise, but this smells about perfect for an English Amber. Some slight vegetal aromas throw a wrench in the spokes, but I cant complain.

Quite malty, maybe too malty. This is borderline scotch ale, but there are some hops in the background that spring forth at the last minute to remind you they are there. Tobacco flavors seem prevalent as well, almost as if I am smoking a cigar. More toastiness and tons of roasted malts and breadiness.

Creamy and medium bodied in the mouthfeel. This beer is certainly sessionable, although I may limit myself to three or four.

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Photo of jadpsu
4.17/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I see where w/o picture the next Spanish Peaks beer listed is Black Dog English Style Amber Ale - which has only one review.
This label, which is a direct match to the beer shown here calls itself an English Style Amber Ale so I am not sure how or why all the ratings are in the category of American Amber Ale.
Anyway onto the rating:
Poured a red amber color with a frothy head with some big but tight bubbles and good brussels lacing.
While the head retention was only average a simple quick swirl replenishes more ample foamy head.
The aroma at first pour is hoppy but as this beer settles the sweet malty smells of caramel and toffee prevail over the hops and some hints of pine nuts.
Mouth feel is full bodied and smooth with very little after taste.
This beer was a pleasant surprise and I will buy some more

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Black Dog Ale from Spanish Peaks Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.47 out of 5 with 179 ratings