Style: American Brown Ale
Malt Bill: North American 2-Row, Munich 10L, C-120, Chocolate
Hops: Bittering: Cascade and Galena
Flavoring Hops: Willamette
OG: 15° Plato
FG: 3.26° Plato
Brewer’s Notes: “Old Brown Dog has been cited as a classic example of the “American Brown Ale” style of beer. Compared to a typical English Brown Ale, Old Brown Dog is fuller-bodied and more strongly hopped./ Old Brown Dog has been around for many years. It was first brewed in 1988 at the Northampton Brewery. In 1989 it won a silver medal in its category (American Brown Ale) at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver.”
The beer’s label is a classy artsy photo with some almost cubist-like blocks surrounding. I love the color scheme of dark velvet red and mustard yellow. The photo of the dog is cool and classy, and the boring information is nicely kept to off-color blocks on the side of the label. The beer’s title font is very boring though, and I wish they had added a little more flair to it, though its reserved simplicity is nice. This bottle is definitely worth scrapbooking and is worthy of consideration for a shelf.
The beer pours a dark and candied brown with the slightest hint of ambering notes, like maple syrup. A lovely, light tan head of tightly packed and smooth bubbles forms over the top of the beer and stands at about a fingers-width. Lacing from the head is like thin and slightly slippery curtains along the sides of the glass, leaving cob webs of foam in its wake. The beer’s body is dark, but relatively clean with a very light haze. On the nose, the beer smells of a nutty roast, similar to lighter porters that I have smelt. Hazelnut coffee comes to mind, though there is a very faint bitter kiss to the nose suggesting hops, and some semisweet chocolate notes. The beer tastes lightly roasty and nutty, with some lovely light complexities playing on the tongue. The beer begins with light sweet caramel malts before opening into very light roasted flavors which eventually introduce nutty and chocolate flavors that smooth through the finish alongside the returning caramel malts. The aftertaste is of sweet malt coffee, almost like bittersweet chocolate. As I sip it more, I notice a certain bitter quality building in my mouth, though it has no discernible flavoring to it. On the mouth, the beer feels medium of body, with a nice chewiness to it. The mouth is left a little roasted dry on the tongue, but with a good sheen of saliva sitting over the tongue to dampen it down. Overall, this is a really nice brown ale. I’m actually really digging this beer right now. It doesn’t blow you away in any category, but has an all-around balanced flavoring that is excellent to sip on. This beer is a great fall beer, I imagine, and is surely excellent for sipping on as you watch the world blow by. This beer is the next step up from sessionable. A good beer from Smuttynose for sure!