Black Dog Ale | Spanish Peaks Brewing Co.

124 Reviews
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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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Reviews: 124 | Ratings: 179
Photo of giblet
3.47/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured decent. decent head and carbonation. smell and tastes of lightly roasted malts and a lil bit nutty. a bit lighter in body than i was expecting but a good easy drinking beer nevertheless. pretty good choice. this is the first i have had from this brewer but i will be willing to try more.

suckem up and movem out!


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Photo of biggmike
3.4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured an attractive amber color with a small tan head that disappeared quickly. Hops very noticeable and mouth feel is thin. Not bad, but nothing overly memorable about it. It definitely grows on you. The drinkability factor on this one is very high. Decent lacing on glass. Aroma is malty with small hops presence.

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Photo of charlesw
4.43/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Deep brown amber (some red when held up to the light) with a medium white head. Gone a bit quickly, I suppose. Smells malty and grassy. Tastes like... Well, the bottle says, "English Style Amber Ale" (_not_ American Amber, eh?) and that really explains the way it tastes. Rich and sweet and malty, mild hop flavors. Maybe a bit of a blend of an ESB and an English brown, you know? Very pleasant. Easy to drink. Very easy to drink (ahem). Hmm. Maybe I'll have to modify my own amber recipe a little - it might be nice to make something like this...

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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 Onslow
3.8/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

bought after a night out with nate and discovered in my fridge the next day
... Been avoiding Spanish Peaks for awhile but why?
, this actually very nice!
.... Pours a dark copper colour (darker than honey rasp) and has a good lacing amount
.... taste is very good, bitters are full but not over done, and the flavour profile is very pronounced and delicous.

.. A satisfying beer that deserves a try!!!

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.28/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle. Served in the "new" Sam Adams Lager pint glass, the beer pours a red/amber color with an inch off-white head. It smells like toasted malt, citrusy hops and toffee, although the aroma isn't very strong. Taste is pretty similar to the aroma, but there's also a bit of nuttiness to the taste. It finishes with a sour/bitter aftertaste. Mouthfeel is light, but not watery at all. Drinkability is OK, the beer is smooth, but nothing special at all. Overall it's decent. I'd drink it again, but I wouldn't make a point to go look for it.

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Photo of hammer09
3.28/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Clear, deep red in appearance with a thick and foamy head. Visible signs of carbonation are light, despite the large head. Smell is malty and sweet with some citrus notes. Overall, this smells fresh and clean. Taste is slightly sour with mild malt flavors and a mediocre bitterness. Basically, it tastes okay, but is uninteresting. Mouthfeel is flat, sticky, and boring. This beer needs more carbonation. Drinkability is okay, but not a very memorable offering.

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Photo of enfield249
2.92/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

A - Dark brown with amber highlights. Fingers worth of head, some lacing.

S - Spicy smell.

T - Here is a problem, very metallic tasting. Other then that I get some roasty hints. Mostly iron however.

M - Smooth, thick.

D - Meh. Not impressed. I'll drink this one, but that's it.

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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 gotweid
3.17/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From Spanish Peaks Brewery, founded in Montana and brewed in Montana or Denver is this fine English Style Amber Ale. Got all that ????From a 12oz bottle. Very thick off white head lasted quite a while. This brew has a deep brown color that matches the bottle. Great lacing. Smell is of very strong malt, hops and nuts. The taste is a very prominent malt, kind of nutty, not bitter. Leaves a pleasant malt feel in the mouth and not dry. Finishes nice and easy, not too bitter. The dark malt stays with you quite a while. Highly recommended. Very nice English style amber ale. Goes well with a nice English beef stew.

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Photo of billybob
4/5  rDev +14.3%
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 BigRedN
3.91/5  rDev +11.7%
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 tgbljb
4/5  rDev +14.3%
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 Cyberkedi
3.83/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep reddish-brown with a thick but not persistent head. Aroma is pleasantly malty and fairly strong. Malty flavor has some nutty undertone to it. Finishes very smoothly with minimal bitterness. This is a delightful, if not outstanding, ale that is worth a try.

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Photo of dacrza1
2.92/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Mahogany orange red body with a fluffy uneven one-finger head...hops are confident but not annoying...fleeting taste (a certain thinness) to the back of the mouth...warm, low alcohol notes...strictly speaking on a personal level, these ambers cannot class themselves with any imported ale of note and generally cannot decide which glass to serve themselves in... as an American invention, not tasty, but useful for a night in, take out and a movie on.

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Photo of chadlebald
3.38/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Hmm, what can I say? It's a solid beer--nothing 'wrong' with it but nothing extraordinary, either. It's smooth & drinkable for sure. I drank it with a tex-mex veggie burger, which actually paired well. Kind of reminds me of the typical Ambers you'll find at brew pubs (e.g., Rock Bottom)

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Photo of hunteraw
3.3/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Surprised there are so few reviews. Glad I can contribute towards actually getting a rating. Confused by the label: originating in Montana, but the brewery listing is in California, and my bottle says it was brewed in Frederick, MD. What the...?

Appearance: Rough pour coaxed a decent two finger head, that exhibited good retention and lacing. Color is a little light of garnet, brown tints.

Smell: Biscuit and a sharp, vaguely sour malt aroma predominate. Hints of caramel and hops.

Taste: Mediocre. Bitterness is astringent, not flavorful. Biscuit-heavy malt profile. Some caramel, then a grainy astringent finish.

Mouthfeel: Light-medium body. Good carbonation.

Drinkability: Definitely fits the style - malt dominates the flavor, same biscuit-heaviness that's so prominent in Fat Tire. That said, pick up Fat Tire or Nugget Nectar instead.

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

Picked a six pack of this up at a local grocery store for $8.99. Cute label that includes a mini 'bio' about the brew. Pours a dark amber color with not much of a head to it--but it stays throughout. Fair amount of lacing on the glass. The smell is its best attribute--toasty, malty, and I almost get a sense of raspberry. The taste is slightly sweet, a little bitter, and hoppy. The low carbonation could make this a solid session beer. A nice kick to it. Really enjoyed it.

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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 RDAdams
3.59/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Beautiful Mahogany color wit a low cream colored head and decent head retention.

Aroma: The malt does not stand out, but it has a pleasant buttery aroma. Very faint aroma of hops (or di I imagine that).

Taste: It has a buttery malty taste and a pleasant aftertaste. Hops are there, but mild. No harshness at all. After a drink my mouth had the sensation of toffee (which I like).

Mouthfeel: It has a medium body - great for chewing.

Drinkability: This is a very nice beer for people who'd like to have one or two beers.

The bottle says it is an 'English Style Amber Ale'. If it is, it is not like any English Ale I've tasted. But commercial brewers are not confined by guidelines.

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Photo of Kendo
3.53/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a clear but dark amber with a big, bubbly off-white head that left plenty of lacing on the way down.

S: Mild. Mainly sweet caramel malt and some grain, but not particularly strong in the nose.

T: A little odd. Sweet at first but also tangy with a sour bitterness that appears at the end of the sip. I was told this was an English-style brown ale and my comment was "it seems closer to a German altbier" as a result of that sour bitterness at the end.

M: Light in body -- actually, it's somewhat thin.

D: OK. Light in heft allows it to go down pretty easily, but that tangy finish kind of slows you down a bit.

Notes: While I was told this was an English brown, I pretty much knew right away that description was wrong. Not a bad beer, but it is a bit watery and thin and that sour tangy bitterness that lingers at the end is a bit of a turn-off. Still, it's not a bad beer per se, just not my favorite by any stretch. Worth checking out as a possible session beer, as it did go down pretty easily.

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

Black Dog Ale
12 oz brown bottle
Jet ink label: 125A07
Served in a 20 oz tulip pint glass

Pours a reddish amber with a decent head on top. Minimal trails of sticky lace.

Malty nose with sour milk notes.

Juicy caramel malt backbone with a touch of dark fruit. The finish is a tad off & sour. A pleasant beer overall and quite drinkable in the spectrum of beers. Nothing worth searching for though.

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Photo of Cresant
3.84/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured this 12 oz. brown bottle into a Samuel Smith tulip. No date. The body was clear, bright amber with an off-white head that faded to a film, then ring.

Smell was big and tangy sweet malts. Figgy, fruity. Maybe Concord grapes. Sweet grain richness.

Taste reflected the aroma. Tangy sweetness with mild hops in the background. Non-cloying syrupiness. Rich grain flavor.

Mouthfeel was medium in carbonation and medium/thin in body.

From the website:

Malts used: Munich, Caramel 40, Caramel 80, and Chocolate.

Hops used: Centennial, Northern Brewer, and Chinook.

IBU: 36

The Brewer calls this one an English Style Amber Ale.

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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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