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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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Reviews: 124 | Ratings: 179
Photo of Japerrault
3.63/5  rDev +3.7%
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 -13.4%
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 +7.1%
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 -5.7%
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 +10.3%
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 +5.7%
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 +15.1%
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 +10.6%
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 +0.9%
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 +3.7%
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 +10%
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 +3.1%
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 +15.1%
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 +15.1%
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 -2.3%
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 +20.6%
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 -4.6%
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 +12.9%
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 +12.9%
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 +12%
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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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 jadpsu
4.17/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I see where w/o picture the next Spanish Peaks beer listed is Black Dog English Style Amber Ale - which has only one review.
This label, which is a direct match to the beer shown here calls itself an English Style Amber Ale so I am not sure how or why all the ratings are in the category of American Amber Ale.
Anyway onto the rating:
Poured a red amber color with a frothy head with some big but tight bubbles and good brussels lacing.
While the head retention was only average a simple quick swirl replenishes more ample foamy head.
The aroma at first pour is hoppy but as this beer settles the sweet malty smells of caramel and toffee prevail over the hops and some hints of pine nuts.
Mouth feel is full bodied and smooth with very little after taste.
This beer was a pleasant surprise and I will buy some more

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

Appearance - Deep amber almost purple color with only about an eighth of an inch of light tan head.

Smell - Nice sweet malt aroma with even a note of Belgian.

Taste - Robust hop flavor throughout. The aftertaste is a bit uncomfortable at first but interesting nonetheless.

Mouthfeel - The Black Dog Ale has a nice dryness that often accompanies good ales. The flavor is felt all over the middle to the back of my tongue.

~ All in all, this is not a bad brew by any means. I would buy a sixer in order to sample a few after a nice long hard bike ride.

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

This brew poured into a pint glass has a brownish color with an amber red tint, semi transparent with a thin white head that left some decent lacing on the glass. There wasn't much nose to this brew, some mild hops, a little soapy, but mostly floral hops. The taste was nice, slight bitter hops, good balance, mild carbonation. Overall just a smooth beer. Nothing is too overpowering and the mild bitterness is smooth and there is no major after taste.

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

It has a dark brown color, kind of like an old penny. Light passes through it easily; I didn't see any cloudiness at all. It is dark enough that you can't see through it clearly. When I poured it there was no real head. It formed a thin tan head that faded quickly to a crown around the glass. There was no lacing at all.

The scent was of roasted caramel malts and citrus hops. It has a nice and enticing aroma, not overwhelming at all. The taste starts out with a strong hop flavor. There are some malts that follow, but nothing specific. For the hop flavor, it's not very bitter at all. The aftertaste is mild.

This is a medium bodied beer. It is a little heavy on the carbonation.

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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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