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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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 179 |  Reviews: 124
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 AndoBrew
3.05/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

* did not mind would not buy*

app: nice dark ruby with copper hints. no head, dish water suds.

smell: mild but nice. small amounts of amber malts, sweet in nature. no real hops..

taste: water, thin trash hinted malts with a bit of pineish hops.. the hops are hard to pin cause there are not many.

mf: fine, not to alive not to dead, not to thick or thin.

drinkable?: yeah, not good but easy to put down.

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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 plaid75
3.88/5  rDev +11.8%
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 Poser
3.57/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep, brownish amber with a decent head and little lacing. Aroma is malty with earthy tones. Taste is a bit sweet up front with a milky texture. There is definitely a hop presence at the end that is well balanced but the front end is a bit off for me. Body is a little thin -- it could probably use an infusion of carbonation. That made the mouthfeel a little off for me. It was textured like a medium but carbonated very light.

It does well as a session beer, though, and I can buy it at the Feed n' Seed out in the middle of nowhere Alabama where I live.

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Photo of giblet
3.47/5  rDev 0%
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%
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 +27.7%
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 +4.6%
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 +9.5%
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 -5.5%
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 -5.5%
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 -15.9%
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 +9.5%
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 -8.6%
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 +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 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 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 Cyberkedi
3.83/5  rDev +10.4%
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 -15.9%
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 -2.6%
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 -4.9%
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 +3.5%
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 -3.7%
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 +3.5%
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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Black Dog Ale from Spanish Peaks Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.47 out of 5 with 179 ratings