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 deaconoflove
2.26/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Ap. Light brown color with small tan head.
Sm. First came a malty, earthy, sweet caramel followed by a little compost pile.
Ta. Choco/caramel with an off bitterness/rottenness.
Mf. Seemed thin at first with low to medium carbonation.
Dr. My first reaction was "GACK!", but the more I drank, the more tolerable it became. It's not as awful as it seemed at first. Drinkable, but probably not by me.

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Photo of ToasterChef
3.75/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured form a cellar temperature bottle into a 12oz "pint" glass. I could hear a loud hiss as I popped the cap on this bottle. I began to pour the beer into the center of my glass, but quickly had to tilt the glass to the side and stream the beer down the wall of the glass, the head was just too big. I couldn't even get the entire 12 ounces into the glass. When I stopped pouring, there were equal parts beer and head. There is still a large head of big off-white bubbles that is resting above a dark amber beer. There are some bubbles clinging to the bottom of the glass, but not too many rising to the top. There is a tiny amount of lacing, just a few meager patches of foam clinging to the sides of the glass. The aroma has a pleasant hop smell; it reminds me of a pile of dry leaves on a sunny fall day. The beer tastes very well balanced. I can pick up toffee malt flavors and subtle hop bitterness. The malts are more up front, and the hops show up late and linger on after I swallow. It tastes like a well-crafted amber ale should. There is a lot of carbonation present that attacks my tongue if I let the beer sit in my mouth for too long. It has a medium body and an even, but thin, amount of coating. This beer is pretty drinkable. Each individual glass goes down easily, but I think the high level of carbonation would get to me after a few bottles. That's not too say I wouldn't buy more of this if it were sold in my area.

[I don't think this listing is any different from the Spanish Peaks Black Dog Ale, but since they have a similar number of reviews, I'm posting this here as well]

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Brewed by Spanish Peaks Brewing Company La Crosse Wisconsin, so this must be a contract brew by City Brewing.

A nice clear red amber pour with about an inch of foam and some good lacing.

The smell is very malty....lots of sweet caramel with a bit of bread. No bitterness that I can detect.

The taste is also of caramel malt but not as strongly sweet as in the nose as there's some nice notes of bread and a light spritz of some hops that tastes lemon like and brings a light bitterness that tempers the maltiness of Black Dog. And yet, I would have been down with it if tasted like it smelled. More than down with it.

A pretty good tasting brew that's more of an ESB than an Amber to my tastebuds.

It's light bodied with plenty of carbonation.

Drinkability? A good beer overall and not hard to drink 1 or 2 of, me thinks.

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Photo of BedetheVenerable
4/5  rDev +14.3%
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 matty
3.85/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber colored beer with a rapidly fading head.Aroma is fruity and caramel.Taste is dominated by delicious caramel malts and bread.A nice beer that is tasty and smooth.It would probably be very easy to polish off a number of these at one time.I would recommend and would purchase again.

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Photo of u2carew
3.88/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz longneck. Consumed 11/01/09

A) Pours with a two finger head. Wispy and fizzy. Lacing is thin and semi sticky. Clear body. Mahogany in color. Visible signs of carbonation.
S) Caramel sweetness. Apples. Sweet potato - earthy sweet aroma.
T) Sharp caramel malt up front. Then moves to a mild bitterness that lingers in the finish and beyond.
M) Fizzy. Medium bodied. Bitter.
D) A nice brew, not a stand out but I'd have another.

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Photo of JTahoe
3.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Slightly hazy honey amber color. Surging rocly off-white head from vigourous pour. slowly settles from two+ fingers to 1/8" cap which clings to glass with each tip, leaving just a bit of sticky.

S - Mild. Earty with notes of toffee.

T - Clean and crisp. Earthy foundation with spicy hops, caramel, malt, a bit of bitter roasted coffee, and a slight metallic twinge.

M - Surprisingly thin with more effervescent carbonation than meets the eye. Slightly slick feel.

D - Not bad--a decent session beer.

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Photo of thartman
3.88/5  rDev +10.9%
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 droomyster
3.75/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The pour was the highlight of this beer: came out a rich-looking brown with reddish edges, a thick a creamy tan head sitting long on top. Citrusy aromas promised and delivered oranges and leafy hops on the palate, with a light malts that I wish were more apparent. Overall a sessionable ale.

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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.

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Photo of gueuzeonhigh
3.68/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice copper color.
Produces a yellow-tan head with surprising longevity.
Head Laced the glass as if desperate to maintain its presence in the glass.
Small nose.
Flavor is "bitter 'n' sweet"-- hops, malt and the presence of some sort of wood.. The brewer doesn't brag about it-- but I could be fooled into believing this beer had spent time inside wooden barrels... or at least flinches of wood were immersed in the tonnes. But the "woody" flavor hints doesn't really make the beer unique or add a memorable taste sensation.. it's just a noticeable characteristic that's "there".

Overall I conclude that this is an enjoyable brew after a long day.

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Photo of froghop
3.33/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

pours a clear dark copper with a large white-yellowish head, and very good lacing.

smell of earth, caramel, some coffee, and a little wood.

taste is creamy, some spice, a little bitter, caramel, earth, malt, and a few hops, end is a little oily.

ruff, ruff!

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Photo of cottonkoozie
3.31/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A - nice amber color. Two finger creamy colored head that has some retention but sinks to just a thin cap. No lacing, otherwise very nice.

S - toffee and caramel, that's about it, not a strong smell.

T - much like the smell, has a somewhat leafy hops finish. Not great but ok, would prolly be a 4 from me if it wasn't for the aftertaste that is a little metallic

M - pretty thin, could use some carbonation. Also a little oily.

D - pretty drinkable for me, but again the metallic aftertaste turns me off.

Overall this beer is just ok for me. Not a bad choice for the price and the avaliablity. Worthy of a try, and I might would buy this again.

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Photo of demuzik
3.19/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This is a nice looking beer, pours with a hefty head.

Like hopps? You won't really find em' here.
You better count on malty caramel sweetness - oh, and very minor carbonation, too.

Starts off OK - turns into a "too sweet" malty beer thats more work than pleasure to get down - in my humble opinion.

And whats up with the dog on the front?

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Photo of albern
3.18/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

According to the label, this beer is brewed in Wisconsin, probably under contract with another brewery. This is more of an English style amber ale, so the BA label is in need of revision too. The beer pours a nice creamy headed mahogany color. It looks good and the nose is really pungent toffee and butterscotch.

The taste is pretty much in line with the aroma. This is a touch more light bodied than medium bodied, not very carbonated, and really overpowered by the toffee, caramel, butterscotch, and brown sugars. There are some leafy and drying hops towards the finish that give it almost a chicory type flavor and some bittering qualities. I wasn't sold on this beer because of the oaky flavored butterscotch/toffee/caramel and the lack of anything else interesting going on with this beer. The mouthfeel was a tad oily as well. Not a favorite.

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Photo of BeerSox
2.93/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle into pint glass.

Very deep copper hue, almost mahogany. A one finger white head settles to a thin cap.

A little bit of caramel along with a little dark fruit (probably shouldn't be there for the style). The hops add a slight minty aroma.

Some more burnt caramel along with a little dark fruit. Toasty grains in the background. The hops maybe what's contributing to that light dark fruit flavor, and adding a bit of bitterness. Full bodied.

Didn't enjoy this one too much, and it seemed like it had some slight off flavors (dark fruit).

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Photo of roadhouse
3.06/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

Appears a brownish amber color with a half inch of off-white foam. It falls to a cap and leaves no lacing.

Aroma is caramelly, with a slight nuttiness, some floral hops. Weak as hell overall though.

Taste has some caramel up front with the nutty character coming out in the middle. A slight non-descript fruitiness shows up and is met by some floral hops in the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium-light bodied, creamy carbonation feel that is also crisp at the same time.

Overall consensus: eh. Nothing that's exactly good about this one, it's an alright beer, but certainly not one I would purchase again, even though it was $1.

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Photo of climax
3.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

the labrador on the boddle makes me feel like this beer will be my best friend, maybe not so much but it didn't pee on my floor either

poured a cloudy reddish copper, a finger of chunky head faded lazily to a film, slight spotty lacing

smell - citrusy hops hits first, quicklly balanced by bready caramel malts, i got a hint of plum

taste was initially sweet which remained until the finish, brown sugar, fruit and a little honey, lingering dry roasted aftertaste stood out the most

mouthfeel was medium and pretty dry, not a lot of carbonation, perhaps because i molested this one quite a bit to release more aroma.

this beer just seemed a little too sweet for me to enjoy repeatedly, but it's an otherwise well-balanced beer thats worth a try

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.35/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Poured a medium, bright amber with a 1 finger, fluffy white head that was stick leaving a fairly good lacing on the vessel.

S: On the nose was some sweet caramel malt, berries, and a light floral hoppiness to balance of the sweetness in the end.

T: The initial flavor was fruity with a nice citrus bite, sweet toasted malt and some light fruitiness from the yeast.

M: light, a tad thin with moderate carbonation.

D: A moderate amber that was more fruity then malty and a touch to sweet for a session. Would make for a good fruity summer drink in moderation.

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Photo of dpsychoholic69
3.78/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A Dark amber color with a three finger off white head, nice lacing on the glass

S Caramel malts, some sweetness, slight hops

T Was not expecting the strong flavor of the hops which are slightly, not bad, bitter, less caramel than expected, sweet, hints of toffee

M Pretty smooth, a little carbonation, some acidity, finish was crisp and clean

D Not a bad beer for sitting around and sipping, wouldn't want to chug this one, just sit back and enjoy the complex flavors

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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 BWH3
3.44/5  rDev -1.7%
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 +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 Hoagie1973
3.75/5  rDev +7.1%
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 -4.6%
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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Black Dog Ale from Spanish Peaks Brewing Co.
3.5 out of 5 based on 179 ratings.
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