2014 Really Old Brown Dog (Smuttynose Brewing Company)

Style: English Old Ale aged with Port Wine Chips

11.1% ABV

20 IBU’s

Malt: North American 2-Row, Crisp Pale Ale, C-15, Aromatic, Carared, Carafa II DH

Hops: Sterling

Yeast: WLP-001 California Ale

Other: Port-soaked Oak Chips

OG: 22° Plato

FG: 8.9° Plato

From: Hampton, NH

Bottle Conditioned: November 2014

Brewery’s Note: “Old Ale (also known as “Stock” Ale), is a full-bodied beer with high levels of dextrins. In times past, this beer was typically laid up to mature, hence the name. The color varies from rich, dark amber to a very dark brown. This style features fruity, vinuous & deep, malty flavors, giving it an almost port-like qualities. Sight acidity is not uncommon./Olive, iconic mascot & spirit guide of our brewery, first appeared on our Old Brown Dog label in 1994 & returned, thirteen years later, to pose for our Really Old Brown Dog, a luscious, malt-rich, full bodied “old ale” featuring deep notes of complex fruit. Much like our beloved Olive, this beer will mellow & age gracefully.”

The beer pours out a similar color to regular Old Brown Dog but with a slight ruby tinge. Its sits in the glass as a dark mystery, like Grade D maple syrup with a thin, sand-dune-white ring of bubbles. When splashed against the sides of the glass, the beer leaves polka dots and thin, slick strands of lacing, along with an oozy and brief pair of alcoholic legs. In body, the beer is clear and clean, with a phenomenal translucency. This is a dark beer, but this is a clear beer. On the nose, the beer smells of sticky toffee and brown bread with a nice crust. There is a dark fruit sweetness to the scent that travels from plums to raisins and back again. Brown sugar and syrup with vinous twist. There is a slight must below the other scents, which suggests the oak chips (I guess…), and there is also the faintest twinge of English cider. On the tongue, the beer tastes of restrained sweetness that slowly builds to a rich bready sweetness, but is kept in check by a rising herbal bitterness, a slight citric bite, and a definite boozy warmth. The beer’s finish is of a middling length, and leaves a sticky sweet aftertaste with slight hop resin bitters. In flavor, the beer tastes of brown bread crust, sweet booze, and subtle port wine/honey. An herbal bitterness works its way into the middle and finish of the sip, suggesting tannins and more British-style hops to the tongue. The finish is of bread pudding, raisin bread, and a touch of maple syrup. There is a touch of woodiness to the finish as well, and this lingers into the finish with brown sugar and bread crust. The aftertaste, as a whole, reminds me a bit of day old (going stale) oatmeal bread, but this isn’t unpleasant. In the mouth, the beer feels medium plus bodied, yet thinner and silky in mouthfeel with a mild carbonation that gently scrubs the tongue. The hops, booze, and oak tannin also leave a slight astringency to the tongue reminiscent of over-steeped tea, and when the beer leaves, the mouth is left near neutral, but with a tightness to the tongue and some spittle welling up the extreme corners of the cheeks. Overall, I know what this beer becomes with age, and I think I like that more as far as decadent sipping beers go. Before the age, it is a little astringent, but still nice, complex, and smooth to sip (especially for the 11.1!). I’m cellaring the rest of my 4-pack, but I am excited that they finally released these in 4-packs, and I can’t wait for the Baltic Porter to join it. I can taste the heritage of this beer.


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