Last night we enjoyed a rare evening when we were not on the run for some school/sports/church/community event. Colleen and I actually had the opportunity to sit down after an early dinner and relax. Our son was out riding his bike so it was a good time for us to just sit and talk. I decide to break out the bottle of Smuttynose Really Old Brown Dog Ale from Smuttynose Brewery that I had purchased last Summer. Smuttynose Really Old Brown Dog Ale is part of the brewer's Big Beer Series. This is a bottle-conditioned special release Old Ale style beer. I had no idea on how long I should sit on it before opening or what to expect flavor-wise. However, I wasn't disappointed.
The beer poured a reddish-brown color with a moderate pale beige head. The aroma was bready malt with very faint chocolate notes, along with a bit of dark fruit. I found the flavor to be reminiscent of a standard English brown ale but a bit stronger. There was a nice caramel malt base. We also noted raisins, apple, and some chocolate flavors. Hop bitterness was mild. The mouthfeel was clean and creamy. In the brewer's notes, the brewer remarks that he felt the brown malt was overdone causing the chocolate brownie character to dominate, however I did not notice any unbalanced characteristics.
At 7% ABV the alcohol was not noticeable in the taste, and the beer went down very easily, and quickly. I lamented that I only had one bottle to open. It was an enjoyable addition to an enjoyable evening. The Really Old Brown Dog Ale is not listed in the tentative 2008 Big Beer Series lineup. If you come across a bottle from 2007 I suggest you grab it, I certainly would.