Black Dog Ale | Spanish Peaks Brewing Co.

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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 jaydoc
3.25/5  rDev -7.1%

Photo of GRG1313
3.06/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep copper red with a nice thick white pillowy head.

Very light citrus and stone fruit in the nose. Elegant; not real assertive but nice.

Mouthfeel a light to medium body with a light creamy character.

Very delicate and somewhat elegant very light coffee with cream fruit flavors. Hints of milk carmel. All is rather light but some elegant character and some interesting flavor profiles. Finish of light carmel, coffee milk. Seems simple; on reflection has a light pleasant milked coffee, carmel character.

 521 characters

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this as part of a Spanish Peaks mixed 12 pack which was on clearance for $6.99.. not a bad deal at all!

I thought this was the best of the 12 pack. While they were al solid beers, this one was above average for sure. Pours a nice copper color, but not much head or lacing. Taste is silky smooth with some nice bitterness but also some maltiness in there. Very drinkable and goes down easy. I'd recommend this one out of any in the mixed 12 pack.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4/5  rDev +14.3%
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 LXIXME
4/5  rDev +14.3%

Photo of oberon
3.63/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard pint glass a rich deep amber color with a thinner slight off white head that was quickly.Juicy,fruity malt tilted aromas with notes of brown sugar and caramel a real malt paradise,a tad thin in the mouthfeel department but it goes down effortlessly anyways.Again the malt rules on the palate juicy and quite sweet very fruity with notes of caramel that linger only a slight drying in the finish.Iam not sure what a English amber is but this a quaffing sweeter amber and pretty food friendly to boot.

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Photo of russpowell
3.34/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Let me get's this straight, this beer claims a Montana lineage, but is from a company in california & my bottle says brewed in Denver WTH?

Pours caramel/brown with 3 fingers of sand colored head. Below average head retention & good lacing After studying my glass further)

S: Caramel, a little toasted malt & choclate

T: Caramel sweetness up front, then some earthy hops & grainyness as this warms. I picked up toasted/charred grains as this warms some more. Finishes kind of a mess, earthy hops & caramel sweetness almost overpower the grainyness

MF: Thinish & low carbonation, really brings this beer down a knotch IMO

Drinks above average, but started with loads more potential. If I was actuakky interested in this beer, I'd see what the story is on it. Frankly, I'm not interested

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.98/5  rDev +13.7%
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 mdfb79
3.08/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. glass into a pint glass.

a - Pours a very dark brown color with one finger of fluffy white head that only lasts for a minute and moderate carbonation evident. When held up to the light there is a tiny bit of red/amber, but not much.

s - Smells of caramel malts, bready malts, wheat, toasted malts, and light fruit.

t - Tastes of roasted malts, toasted malts, bready malts, light dark fruit, light caramel and light chocolate. Some slight bitterness in the taste.

m - Medium body and high carbonation that stings the tongue. Wish it was a little less carbonated.

d - An average amber ale; nothing really jumped out about it to me. Not bad, just a lot of bready and toasted malts. Wouldn't seek out again.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.2/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a Chicago Bears shaker pint glass.

After having seen this bottle a number of times at a local mixed sixer source, I figured this time would be its lucky day. It pours a clear dark garnet topped by a finger of dirty white foam. The nose comprises orange rind, mild toffee, light biscuits, and a touch of wet cardboard. The taste holds notes of dark greens, orange rind, dank oak, and toffee (both normal and a bit of burnt). Man, these things do not mesh together into anything good on my tongue. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a sorta drying finish. Overall, a decent brew, though the constituent elements just don't do it for me when brought together. Something seems off, almost. Maybe it's just me...

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Photo of ejimhof
3.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of rab53
3/5  rDev -14.3%

Photo of Hopheadjeffery
3/5  rDev -14.3%

Photo of jwc215
3.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours deep amber/light brown with a thin head.

The smell is of buttery notes with a toffeeish sweetness and earthy/fruity hints. Mild, but pleasant enough.

The taste is of toffeeish sweetness with fruity, spicy hops that go together quite well, creating a nice balance. A mild, crisp toastiness is mixed in. Buttery notes add to smoothness. Some hop bitterness in a fairly dry finish. Soft flavors.

I was going to say "thin" (and lower my score for feel a half-point), but it's not watery and has enough to it for a "sessionable" brew and has a nice carbonation level and smoothness.

Hey, it might not "knock your socks off", but it's a decent "session" brew that does have enough to it to keep it going. The brewer claims that it is an "English style Amber Ale" on the label, and it does combine English and American characteristics quite well. It's one I probably personally like a bit more as a whole than the score reflects.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.82/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass, the beer has a healthy 2 inch profile of off-white, almost cream colored, head that is densely packed and almost creamy in appearance. It seems to stick around for a while, too. The beer itself is hazy to the point of being opaque, showing a dark brown color in the depths with a ruby tinge to the edges and highlights. Heavy aromas of slightly sour malt and nutty sweetness, with a little hint of woody character. Flavor gets more of a roasted note to it, almost hitting into coffee flavors, with the tangy malt sweetness quickly transitioning into a hazelnut and chocolate combination at the end of the palate. Aftertaste is primarily the hazelnut and chocolate again, which is very pleasant. The finish is slick, and it lingers for a bit, but not overpowering. Tasty beer.

 815 characters

Photo of sendbeer
2.5/5  rDev -28.6%

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.8/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Seattle Beer Week pint glass. Pours a medium reddish amber with a thin off-white head that dissipated quickly to a ring around the glass and patchy foam. Aroma of biscuit and light toasted malt, with a hint of hops. Flavor is light toasted and biscuit malt, mild bitterness and finishes with brown sugar and malt with a slight unfortunate metallic hint. Light to medium bodied. The flavors are somewhat subdued, but very pleasant and the flavor progression is nice. I'd like to see a bit more aggressive flavors, but this is a well made and pleasant to drink light red / amber ale. The bottle calls this an English style amber and I have to agree that the flavors and subtleness reminiscent of a well made English beer.

 733 characters

Photo of Gavage
3.59/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours a dark copper / mahogany color with a short one finger head that falls to a spotty surface foam almost immediately. No lacing develops.

Smell: plenty of floral hops and citrus are up front with some fruity sweetness in the background.

Taste: caramel, ripe fruit sweetness, hints of lemon citrus, a hearty bitterness, and a bit of brown sugar are the main flavor components.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp to start, smooth and dryer at the finish. Medium bodied. Aftertaste is short-lived.

Drinkability: decent beer but I found it to get a bit boring near the finish. After two of these, you will be looking for something else.

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Photo of Rochefort10nh
4/5  rDev +14.3%

Photo of flagmantho
3.55/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: rich amber hue with just a touch of haze. Head poured a thin finger of frothy ivory foam. Decent.

Smell: very caramelly crystal-malt type aroma. Not a lot of complexity, but it seems well-crafted and is free from off aromas.

Taste: very biscuity, bready malt, with a hint of caramel in the works. Bitterness is pretty low and it seems unbalanced toward the malt side. Still, not bad.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a pretty decent carbonation and concomitant creaminess. I like it.

Overall: this is a decent beer. It strongly favors the caramel and biscuity malt flavors, which is OK for the style but not my personal favorite.

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Photo of plaid75
3.88/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep amber hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was good retention and sticky lacing.

The smell featured a muted toasted grain with a balancing floral hop.

The taste consisted of a robust toasted grain with a balancing gentle hop. Some cocoa and coffee elements as well.

The mouthfeel was of average fullness with a dry finish.

Overall a very well balanced and highly drinkable ale.

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Photo of BillRoth
3.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of biegaman
3.8/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The bottle tells a confusing tale. It reads, if I follow correctly, that the Spanish Peaks Brewing Company was founded in Bozeman, Montana, then moved brewing to Polson Montana, opened a second location in Denver, Colorado and then directs me to a website that claims it's now brewing in King City, Califronia -- where it is located on San Antonio Drive ??!
Whatever the case, my mom found this bottle in New York and the picture in the BA database matches the bottle in front of me...
Pours an attractive colour although with no crowning head or draping lacing. The body is a deep ruby red on its top half and a soft auburn amber on the bottom. Quite nice but looks flat without the head. The aroma is a soft but delicious west coast style blend of hops, featuring a resiny character. Real toasty. It's quite soft but rather pleasing to the senses. The mouthfeel - simply put - is quenching. Very quenching. The hops present only a mild bitterness, enough to lend quench without compromising drinkability. There's also a mineral, slightly chalky makeup. At the forefront I taste toasted malts with complimenting finish from the hop resin. Again, quite toasty. Toasty and tasty.
I'm drinking this on a hot, hot June evening and from what I can encrypt from the numbers on the bottom right corner of the bottle, this was brewed in January. While I can detect it's lost a little bit of its edge, the malt and hops have blended nicely in time. Also, I wouldn't think this beer is trying to be much more than what it is - a nice, highly quaffable amber in the English (aka not 'in-your-face-aggressive-like-the-US-revamps') style.
Their slogan says "no whiners" - good mantra. My black dog, whom I love, never whines.

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Photo of clayrock81
3.88/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark ruby-copper body into my glass with a frothy, one-finger head that left good lacings. A rather mild smell of hops mixed with some minor citric notes; very little malt presence in the smell. However, the malts do come out in the taste, although not as clear as the hops. The hops are a tad earthy/grainy, but mostly gives this a spicey, tart edge. The backbite is dry on a medium/fullish body, and overall this reminded me of an Irish Red more than an Amber Ale. Either way, a nicely brewed beer from Spanish Peaks and one I would say is worth a try if you haven't had it before.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
2.91/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz from Bucket O'Brew for about $1.40.. shared with Brenda, mine from my New Belgium goblet.

Nice head and lacing atop a clear amber red brew.

Aroma is toasty malts and some English hops... fruity yeasty notes... uninspiring .. could use more of everything.

Flavor/body is a watery English pale with a touch more hops. Toasted and a touch of caramel malt.. spicy hops are mid palate.
The body is light medium with a watery finish that could easily benefit from more viscosity and a fresher hop flavor. Yeasty fruitiness is right on par.

This was a much better beer when I last had it on tap in Bozeman in the late '90's... Black Dog is basically a macro pointing its nose toward what it used to be.

Edit: I wasn't going to put this in the review, but if you are ever near Bozeman, check out Bozeman Brewing Company.... If they have BDA (Best Damn Ale) on tap, give it a try and take home a growler and try these two side by side.... no comparison.

Edit2: "Spanish Peaks Brewing" is now brewed in California and still trying to market the "Montana" atmosphere ... Chug is rolling over in his grave.

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Black Dog Ale from Spanish Peaks Brewing Co.
3.5 out of 5 based on 179 ratings.
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