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Dirty Penny Ale | The Olde Burnside Brewing Company

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Dirty Penny AleDirty Penny Ale

Brewed by:
The Olde Burnside Brewing Company
Connecticut, United States

Style: Black & Tan

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our popular “Dirty Penny Ale” is a hearty, but never heavy “black’n’tan” style* which is mixture of 60% Ten Penny/40% our own signature stout. This beer is also available year-round at your local bar or favorite beer store.

(Motto: Dirty Penny Ale …Polish One Off!)

Added by BeerAdvocate on 04-02-2004

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Reviews: 57 | Ratings: 149
Photo of Thads324
3.93/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark black into a pint glass...

A : black, unable to see through it. thin tan head dissipated quickly.

S : immediate roasted coffee with a hint of chocolate near the end. A slight aroma of toasted oats and what I think is hops but are blended and overwhelmed by the roastiness.

T : A hint of toffee and then a full on roasted coffee flavor. Not heavy like you would think. It is very smooth, and has almost a burnt caramel flavor that holds on the palate after a few sips.

M : lightly carbonated and lingers slightly.

D : despite the ABV and the hefty looking color, this stuff goes down real easy.

Another winner by Olde Burnside. A nice roasted coffee flavor and extremely drinkable. Unlike any other bottled black and tan I have ever had, but I like it enough to buy it again. As with the last growler of theirs that I bought, this one is super fresh, and my buddy and I had no time polishing it off. I really want to eat this with some steak and potatoes. Highly recommended!

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Photo of humanbeer
2.91/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is my first review here on BA, how exciting

Last night I ran into the beer store with only 5 minutes left to buy, I knew I had to act fast so I limited myself only to the selection nearest to the registers. In the first cooler was a wide variety of 8 dollar bombers of Rogue and a few different half gallon jugs. Ive heard of Olde Burnside and since their local I figured I'd give it a chance.

It just wasn't my cup of beer. It poured nicely, very dark; couldnt see through it. Decent head, a little creamy tan color. Smelled roasty; with hints of caramel.

The taste just felt empty. I was expecting a fuller bodied beer. Smooth to drink with a little bit of chocolate. Very dry aftertaste to me. Slightly bitter

My buddy loved it, so it must hit the spot for some people. Just not for me

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Photo of Duhast500
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the tap into a tasting glass.

The color is a dark burnt brown with some brownish head and some slight lacing.

The smell is pretty malty, mostly dark malty flavor with a hint of a roasty nut flavor.

The taste is biscuty with a nice robust malt finish. Some coffee flavor and a bit of a bitter hop flavor does come out to counteract the sweet feel.

The feel of this beer was a bit of a medium feel. It was pleasing but not too exciting. It did go down pretty smooth and would make a good beer for food pairing.

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Photo of bum732
3.28/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown, decent bubbly head, good retention. Smells of sweet chocolate and coffee malt, caramel, hint of smokiness. Tastes of chocolatey and caramel like malt. Caramel sweetness dominates with just a hint of smoke. Moderate earthy bitterness giving way to a fairly neutral finish, touch of roasty dryness. Fairly high carbonation for the style, moderate mouthfeel.

An ok beer, way too highly carbonated, luckily this faded with some time. Fairly sweet and pretty one noted, but definitely drinkable.

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Photo of stakem
3.35/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Review from notes taken on 11/21/09

Growler care of my frend Dan who was paying a visit from CT. Pours a dark brown with more than two fingers of tanned creamy head. Lacing about the glass from a slow and steady recession of the thick head of foam. Nose is hoppy with citrus and some malt. Also includes some sweetness and burnt grain akin to chocolate. Taste is minorly bitter upfront. Little bit of the chocolate character comes through as well. Med feel and low carb. Finish is quite crisp. Overall not bad and one of the more flavorful "stock" black and tans.

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Photo of ShogoKawada
3.35/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

64oz Growler @ 1776, $11. Always a sucker for the growlers. Poured into my 1L Lowenbrau seidel. Hell yeah! Bought this one without knowing what style it was... expecting an amber, but it's a black + tan.

A- A huge but weak dirty head that lacks any staying power. Beer itself is a nice, roasted brown, like brownie batter. Head is active but dissipates fast.

S- Rich, sweet malts, not much else. Fairly standard, not bland, but on the border of bland.

T- Better. A smoky, robusto supremo coffee malt goodness takes center stage. Hopped enough to provide some good counterbalance. Not the best B+T, hell, tastes more like a standard stout, but it's tasty nevertheless.

M- Too thin.

D- Fairly high, would have liked a better, fuller mouthfeel, although I'll have no problem finishing off this growler. I can't say I'd buy it again, though, @ 11$ I can get many better growlers for a few bucks cheaper.

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Photo of Ezone024
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Growler poured
dark brown color, with thick creamy butterscotch head.

smells of roasted carmel and toffee with bready english malts

tastes like chocolate butter.
and drinks smooth as that sounds!

great beer to drink by your fire place with your dog. throw your sweater on throw on some football and indulge in a growler of TPA's Dirty Penny.

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Photo of thekevlarkid
3.92/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Off the tap at the Bluebird Tavern this beer was an opaque, burned-caramel color with a skim of mocha-like head. The retention was pretty good and the lacing in sliding curtains. The aroma was of mocha, roasted malt, toffee and chocolate. The flavors were equally complex and tawdry. I tasted dark caramel, rich molasses, coffee, chocolate, hints of wood, roasted malt and caramel. Yum. The mouthfeel was creamy, the body full and the carbonation perfect. Sweet and satisfying.

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Photo of dbmcrorie
4.27/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

64 oz. growler poured into an American pint glass. No freshness date or inclination to the style.

Wow. Pours thick into a pitch black body with slight brown hues when held to the light. Massive 3 finger head surprised me, khaki-brown with nice retention. Average lacing and a nice bubbly cap stays on top of the pint till the end.

Buttery diacetyl and rich biscuity malt punches the nose. Soft cocoa and espresso beans in the middle with hop earthiness around the edges. A slight smokiness piques, but doesn't linger. Slightly boozy in the finish. I'm curious to try the two ales on their own and compare which notes come from which brew.

Porter-like chocolate and caramel malts create coffee, toffee, roasted almond, vanilla, caramel, and biscuit/bready flavors. Plenty of sweet flavors, but not overly sweet/sugary. Hops provide a decent balance with earthy peat flavors along the back of the tongue. Slight astringency between the hops and darkly roasted malt. There is a faint flash of dark berries somewhere in the middle, but has a hard time being distinguishable with all of that roasted malt. Full bodied with a creamy/oily mouthfeel. Rich chocolatey finish with a boozy cocoa aftertaste.

Great version of the bottled Black & Tan style. Normally I can enjoy this style bottled, but am never impressed. However, this definitely took me by surprise; worth buying again. Rich body and a great aroma. Despite it's heaviness, it's extremely drinkable and easy to put back a few pints - glad it came in 64 oz's.
Would pair greatly with any savory or hearty dish, such as corned beef hash, clam chowder, shepherd's pie, etc. Would also stand up to rich chocolate/coffee based desserts such as chocolate cheesecake or tiramisu.


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Photo of ChugsMugs
3.86/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

bought as a growler and poured into standard chilled pint glass.

A- massive head, solid inch and a half of thick dirty white foam. Almost black in color, charcoal/black licorice, hardly affected by light when held up. Some bubbles collected along the bottom of the glass but none racing up the edges.

S- faint sweetness, molasses maybe. Hard to fully describe the scent other than it definitely had some sweet tones to it.

T- pretty sweet in taste. not rich or bitter. most tastes are faint and subtle of molasses or chocolate. Complex blending of subtle tastes with no single one overpowering the rest.

M- not creamy but not thin either. A perfect balance. mild dryness left on tongue. Faint leftover taste in mouth made me take sips quicker than usual to get it back on my tongue for identification.

D- bought the growler hoping to split it between two nights, but enjoyed it too much to put down. Just subtle and not overpowering enough to pour glass after glass, but not weak enough to mistake for poor quality. I will gladly get it another one!

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Photo of bgjohnston
3.76/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

I have enjoyed several growlers of this beer. It pours dark, with a nice head and good carbonation at first, but it goes flat if you don't finish the growler in 1 night. Probably normal, but too bad since I can't buy it in smaller containers.

Taste is smooth, with roasted chocolate flavor, and very drinkable. Not so drinkable that I can pound away the whole growler in one sitting, but very enjoyable as a refreshing beverage in warmer weather.

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.22/5  rDev -12%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Found this for the first time in Maine and was pleasantly surprised, I've been wanting to try something from Olde Burnside for a while now.

Pours a dark brown, almost black color, a little light shines through for some dark ruby hues, great sized head that fades slowly to leave some decent lacing.

Smell has a weird metallic aroma to it, not all that pleasant, slight caramel aroma.

Taste is rather bland, has that metallic feeling that the smell had, good carbonation, seems to me that they might have soaked some dirty pennies in this beer for its signature flavor.

Bit disappointed but hopefully I'll get a chance to try some of their other offerings in the future.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured a dark brown out of the growler with a full rocky tan head and good lace.

Lots of toasted malt here, bready scents, maybe some hop.

Toasted maltiness, brown bready, some hop bitterness, and hints of sweetness -- maybe a little vanilla. Pretty decent. Fresh brew flavors.

This is medium bodied with substantial amount of carbonation. Maybe would have liked it to have a little less.

Overall, you can put these down. Wish it was available in a bomber or smaller, and not in a $10.00 growler, but hey...why am I bitching -- right next to it was a $16.00 Rogue Dead Guy Growler! This was very decent. Worth the try.

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Photo of erosier
3.61/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown/black from the growler with a light airy caramel colored head that is huge - something like 3 fingers. It smells of dark malted grains and some light hoppiness, almost a homebrew smell to it. The taste is pretty good. Mostly a roasted grain taste to it with a hint of chocolate aftertaste. Not much hop flavor to it, but it seems to be there. The mouthfeel is nice and velvety and it is a decently drinkable beer. Definately worth a try.

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Photo of Gambrinus1184
3.65/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a growler into my frosted Ten Penny pint glass.

A: Pours a very nice brownish-black color that reflects dark ruby when held up to the light. A nice two-finger tan head billows to the top and fades to a decent lace.

S: An aroma of french vanilla coffee and toasted bready malts swirls into my nose. No real hop presence detected.

T: Those toasted malts are in full effect, but with a very slight herbal hop mixed in. It tastes more like a deep, burnt mahogany brown ale, then again, pre-packaged Black & Tans are sort of a unique style all their own.

M: It's a medium-light bodied brew. There's a bit more carbonation in the mouthfeel than what I'd expected, but then again, who knows what makes up the lager portion of this Black & Tan.

D: It's flavorful, light enough to drink for a session, and uses its relatively average ABV to full advantage. I'd pick up a growler of this again.

I think Ten Penny is one of the better Conn. breweries, but still has a pretty limited scope in terms of styles. Though I'm used to drinking layered Guinness and Harp black and tans, I think their blended version is better than average.

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Photo of WesWes
3.08/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer pours a cloudy brown color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is sour almost lambic like. I think this might have sat a while. It has a mild caramel/roasted scent. The taste is average. It has a light and easy drinking flavor that boasts of pale, crystal, and roasted malts. It goes down easy, but it has a sour finish. I guess the yeast has given it some off flavors. Anyway, the mouthfeel is decent. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. I would have liked to try this one fresh out of the tanks. As it is, I think I drank a sat beer that was past it's prime.

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Photo of PhillyMonk
3.86/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was a very drinkable session beer, and a great one to get a growler of if you can, especially if you enjoy dark, toasted malts.

This beer poured near-black in color with a huge tan head from my growler (had to be poured very slowly with a very tilted glass). Smell included some coffee and malts with a hint of bread. Taste was highly carbonated, with lots of toasted malts throughout, very little alcohol taste. As I mentioned earlier, this beer was very drinkable. I would definately recommend it.

Just as a note, his growler was given to me as a gift and sat in my fridge for over 3 weeks before I got around to drinking it and the carbonation and taste seemed to hold up very well, which has not been true of other beers I've bought in 64-oz jugs.

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Photo of geexploitation
3.47/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Pours the color of motor oil, with a thick, big bubbled tan head that sinks into the beer to form a thin dusting on top of the body. Some soy sauce smells in the nose, along with heavily roasted, coffeeish malts and freshly innocculated dough. On the palate, heavily bitter malts and fruity bittering hops hit first off, then doughiness comes in at the mid-palate before the beer finishes long and dry. Mouthfeel is quite thin and just a bit watery; I could have used more body in this beer. Overall, this is a drinkable beer that is only OK in the taste department.

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Photo of dherling
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured out as a dark brown ale, with bit uneven off white head that leaves good lacing behind. HAs some alcohol in the nose along with malt, caramel, and mollasses. Also smells of soething in between bacon, liquid smoke, hickory, or bbq sauce. This bbq sauce flavor frames the flavor of the beer, but now also with some chocolate and a tiny bit of hops. Starts thick and luxurious, then finishes clean and crisp, wth a tiny bit of lingering bitterness. For something that borders on smoked, this is a good beer to have a few rounds of, but I can see how it might grate on people.

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Photo of RedChrome
3.64/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pour was a molasses brown color with a barely visable ruby color in the light. A thick chesnut color head of about an inch disappeared quickly. No carbonation to be seen.

A very nice aroma of slightly burnt coffee wafted out of the glass. A subtle hint of chocolate brough a sweetness to balance the bitter aroma.

The blend has a flavor exactly like my morning coffee. A slightly roasted flavor with a hint of cream taste. Has a slightly bitter finish that evens out the cream taste.

Despite the appearance, this beer has a watered down feel. Although no carbonation can be seen, it is very apperant on the tongue.

Overall a slightly above average offering. This would be a nice offering to complement a dessert course involving chocolate. Another solid offering from Olde Burnside.

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Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.17/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - this ale pours a dark dark brown, not quite black, but impenetrable by light, with a pillowy three finger head

S - a surpsrisingly pleasant chocolate aroma surrounded by a hops/roasted malt background, inviting

T - roasted malts dominate the taste, with a stout-esque chocolate/espresso flavor lying in wait

M&D - very smooth and balanced beer, as with other Olde Burnside brews, my father likes them as well, and he is a prototypical High Life Man, a great session beer for any hard worker, or oaf like me

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Photo of SteveO1231
3.72/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

64 oz. growler, bottled 2 July. Pours an opaque, dark brown, almost black. Slight maroon highlights. Nice tan foamy head that holds well and laces nicely. Big grain husk aroma, caramel, coffee beans, smoked grains, and chocolate. Rather light on the palate for such a dark beer, good carbonation. Light malt sweetness, taste of caramel and chocolate up front. Big smokey taste and a dry black coffee finish. Nice beer, despite the dark appearance this brew is very smooth and drinkable.


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Photo of kelticblood
3.76/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Great appearance with a head that lasts! Color is real dark almost black.Has a great smokey taste. Thick lacing circles the glass with each sip. Dry finish with great carbonation. Small amount of bitterness. Medium bodied with a nice malt taste. Other than the mouthfeel and appearnce there is not much to the taste other than a malty smoke. Very drinkable. No real hop character other than a touch of bitterness. Not a bad black & tan. But i'd prefer a guinness and bass.

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Photo of francisweizen
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark burnt caramel brown/black with a nice off-white head that dies quickly and leaves minimal lacing. Aromas are lovely, like a nice scotch ale and porter mixed together. I get a lot of chocolate and coffee notes as well as some freshly greened piney hops. Also some sweet caramel, roasted malts, and more! Quite complex for a low abv black and tan and actually reminiscent of a toned/watered down version of Alpha Klaus from FFF. Anyways, taste is hoppy with nice green oily flavors of pine needles and such. There is also some nice roasted malt flavors, as well as the mentioned coffee and chocolate rounding it out. Mouthfeel is medium bodied/light and almost cask-like. Drinkability is quite good because of this and how damn tasty this one is. The #1 black and tan on this site for a reason!!!
Thanks C and BIF 16...


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Photo of connecticutpoet
3.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was sampled at the Connecticut River Brewer's Festival 2005 in Holyoke, MA.

This was a clear, dark brown offering with a half finger head. Looked OK for the style.

Aroma was of dark malts, with some nuttiness and fruitiness thrown in for good measure. Pretty good, a good lead into the taste.

Taste... dark roasted malts, bitter chocolate, coffee, with a roasted malt aftertase. This is all about roastiness.

However, the mouthfeel was pretty smooth and creamy... kept the taste from being too overpowering. Very well balanced indeed.

This was quite a drinkable black & tan, and I wouldn't mind picking up a growler (if I found a place around that carried this one).

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Dirty Penny Ale from The Olde Burnside Brewing Company
3.66 out of 5 based on 149 ratings.
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