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: English Pale 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

View: Beers
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 179 |  Reviews: 124
Photo of oriolesfan4
3.65/5  rDev +5.2%
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 BWH3
3.44/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark copper with one finger light tan head that dwindles to a spotted surface of foam before collapsing into nothing.

S: A plethora of floral hops sweetened with a note of citrus. The malts are light caramel and honey sweetness.

T: A bit of dry toasted bread combined with brown sugar sweetness and a touch of caramel. The bitterness is rich an earthy but not overly assertive. Avoids the dry tea like finish of many reds.

M: Smooth medium bodied. Crisp finish, poor head retention.

D: A good amber. Would like it a bit warmer and on draft.

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Photo of Gavage
3.59/5  rDev +3.5%
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 Hoagie1973
3.75/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours medium orange-amber; just slightly hazy with a nice rocky cream colored head. Excellent retention, leaves a frothy cap and rings of lace with each sip.

Great fruity citric-hop bouquet. A fairly prominant malt and molasses/dark sugar aroma as well.

Everything in the nose comes through. Nice flavorful hops with a strong malt backbone and a moderate sweet fruitiness. A bit of butterscotch, maybe a bit too much.

Feel is smooth and almost creamy with soft carbonation. Medium to full body.

A drinkable amber. These won't hang around too long in my fridge.

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Photo of CityBoy1986
3.34/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The pour is a very dark amber with an off-white head that lingers before giving decent lacing.

The scent is made of flowers, citrus and toffee. The taste of more of the same, mostly floral and citrusy with some sweeter toffee at the finish.

The mouthfeel is medium with little carbonation. Drinkability is okay, but I would not want more than a few of these.

Overall, it's not bad, but there are better beers to be had.

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Photo of Japerrault
3.63/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A: Beautiful clear amber, cream colored thick head. Nice lacing left behind.

S: floral, citrus hops, Grain

T: Sweet brown sugar first followed closely by floral hops, leaving slight bitterness at the finish.

M: Good carbonation, but the beer is thinner than the color leads one to believe. Not watery but not really deep either.

D: Very easy drinking beer. Nice sweet flavors with a slickness going down.

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Photo of Pencible
3.03/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

This poured a surprisingly dark mahogany with some light tan head. It smelled like a mix of lemony yeast and citrus hops. It tasted like sweet yeast balanced by some hops, but no malt was noticeable. It was thick and oily with a bit of carbonation and a mildly bitter aftertaste. Overall this was yeastier and thicker than expected; not bad, but not too good.

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Photo of JayQue
3.75/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Good solid session beer. Pours a clear, dark amber with a medium size off white head. Head retention slightly below/average. Some lacing on the glass.

Nice mild aroma: malty and a little sweet. Tastes pretty good. Crisp malty taste with a little hops bite.

Mouthfeel is solid. Rich enough, and crisp. Drinkability is very good. Flavor warrants your attention and light enough for you to drink a lot of it. Very good everyday type beer.

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Photo of Jayli
3.3/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer pours a dark amber color with not much of a head to it though is does remain throughout. Fair amount of lacing on the glass. The smell is of this beer is by far the best part. It has a toasty and malty scent to it. The taste is slightly sweet, a little bitter, and hoppy. The low carbonation could make this a beer one you can kick back for an evening with.

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Photo of ewright
3.86/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Brilliantly clear, dark red/brown in color with a finger of off-white head that recedes to a fine layer.

S: Faint notes of grain husks and white grape juice.

T: Nice hit of toffee notes up front with a crisp hop bite at the end. Hints of fruit linger in the background.

M: Just a bit thin, but good carbonation levels.

D: Definitely an easy drinking ale ... dangerously easy to put away a 6 pack on a holiday afternoon if you aren't careful.

Note: I found this on sale for $10/case. I have fond memories of this beer as Black Dog and Pete's Wicked Ale were my gateway beers.

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Photo of scottbrew4u
3.7/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours aa amber color with reddish-orange hues and a creamy off-white head. Great lacing on the glass.

S: Bready, dried cherries and currants, sweet roasted malt with bits of caramel and floral hops. Bit of a yeasty smell present.

T: Roasted malts impart some vanilla, caramel and fruity esters. Hops quickly balance with a combo of bitter orange and a peppery spice. The yeast plays in with some of the dried fruit esters. Finishes a bit astringent.

M: Crisp yet smooth with a great medium body feel to this one.

D: Overall very balanced with hops playing a good roll in this amber ale. Refreshing on a hot day and easy to drink a few.

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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 ScottUCF84
3.87/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

7.99 for a six pack at Publix.

A- A nice dark amber with an off-white head that leaves sparse lacing.

S- The nose consists of hops and roasted malt. The hops are slightly dominant, which was a nice surprise. I expected this one to be malty (I didn't read up on it at all).

T- Mmm, I like how well rounded this flavor is. The hops come first, followed by bready tasting malt. There's a bit of toffee, and as it finishes there's bitterness from the hops.

M- Very smooth with a mild bite. The body is far from disappointing, the consistency is perfect for this beer.

D- Not much to say, but it goes down well.

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Photo of Shaw
3.53/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice copper in color with a tight off-white head.

It smells of biscuits and hops.

The taste is lightly nutty and bread-like, with a noticeable bitter character. I'm also tasting some burn and toasted malt flavors like dark wheat bread. The hop flavors are a lot stronger than I was expecting, considering the brewery calls this and English Brown Ale. I see BeerAdvocate calls it an American Amber, which is closer to my perception.

The body is a little light.

Overall this is a fine beer, and better than I expected.

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Photo of dsa7783
3.63/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Single, twelve ounce bottle copped from Total Wine and More in West Orange...
Pours an attractive ruby-red hue with a decent-sized foamy head that left quite a bit of lacing...
Amber-grain aroma replete with hints of caramel and vanilla...
Taste was loaded with caramel essences, hints of bread and butter, vanilla, and sugars...
Good mouthfeel with an equally good level of drinkability make for a solid rendition of the style...
Not bad...

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Photo of cvstrickland
3.85/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12-ounce bottle without freshness information but with 'Chug' the Black Lab on the label, poured into a pint nonic yields a clear brown-copper body with a modest cap of ivory foam that shrinks to a sheet that leaves stringy lacing.

Smell is richly pale-malty with a bit of caramel and a little spice.

Taste is richly pale-malty with grassy hops. A note of pear juice and caramel is the lightly-sweet, juicy backbone of this exceptionally good-drinking brown, and is cleaned up by a nice, crisp herbal bitterness.

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Photo of argock
3.61/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a clear pint glass. No freshness date apparent.

A: Nice woody dark amber color with dense, clumpy 1-2 finger off-white head with sheets of lace down the glass

S: Mainly fruity malt esters and a bit of hops spice

T: Very sweet with lots of bready malt flavor with plenty of brown sugar, toffee, and caramel flavors layered on as well. Hops make a minimal appearance, with a mildly earthy, spicy spot at the end.

M: Not the greatest in this department for a couple of reasons. It has a light medium body which a bit out of keeping with the malty character. This gives it a thinnish profile which is not terribly appealing. The finish is quite dry which is also weird for a generally mellow style.

D: Drinkability is still pretty high because of the rich maltiness, but look out if you are a big fan of full-bodied brews. The thinness of this beer can work against it for those beer lovers but can work for it in those looking for an easy-to-drink session brew.

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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 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 Greggy
3.42/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- crystal clear amber with zero sediment. Small thin cap of head.

S- Fresh flour, light caramel, chocolate (super light), malty, centennial hops (?).

T- Initially, slight malt with mainly hopiness, and dry hop finish. Not a great malt/hop balance.

M- low carb, but overly dry hop finish.

D- Probably the best of the spanish peaks lineup, but still not great. I would choose many ambers over this.

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Photo of Natural510
4.22/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bright red-amber color with good head & lacing.
Smells very pungently of sweet malts, honey & brown sugar.
Very malty, as expected; flavors of brown sugar, toffee and mild orange. Despite these sweet characteristics, it's not sticky-sweet. A subtle hop backbone complements the brew but is not the main feature.
I really enjoyed this brew and couldn't get enough of it. It's nice to see an American company brewing a British-style ale which focuses on subtle notes and drinkability, rather than trying to impress us with an overabundance of hops and alcoholic content.

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Photo of Dodo2step
3.34/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

P- Underdog Bar and grill

A- Red in color with some hints/traces of a light amber. Quite cloudy and hazy as well. A pasty half finger head hits the top and hangs around for a bit.

s- aromas of grapefruit and floral spices hit the nose and linger around for a good while. i can also smell a hint of caramel and malt.

T- a bitter and hoppy flavor. A burnt caramel flavor also is noticeable. The grapefruit finishes it up faintly.

M- dry and weak in the mouth. A kind of tart hop mouthfeel. Light and thin.

D- It seems easy to put down but i struggled with it for a bit. A decent beer but i have had much better red ales. This is worth a try but thats about it. i wouldnt buy it.

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