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Old Growler - Nethergate Brewery Co. Ltd.

Not Rated.
Old GrowlerOld Growler

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

191 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 191
Reviews: 148
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 10.97%
Wants: 5
Gots: 4 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Nethergate Brewery Co. Ltd. visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
English Porter |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-10-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 191 | Reviews: 148 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of popery
3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Old Growler pours a just barely translucent burnt umber to auburn (sorry, I just discovered wikipedia's color entries) with a creamy tan head. The aroma has a strong caramel malt character. It's quite sweet with hints of stone fruits. I'm not getting much of that normal ashy character that I enjoy in most porters, but it's certainly not a bad beer. The aftertaste seems a touch off, but I can't exactly say why. There are some funny English hops in there, but they certainly aren't the stars. I had this beer marked higher (nearly across the board) after initially tasting it, but the sweetness is really wearing for me. My tongue is almost numb as I get to the last quarter of the beer. It's an interesting beer and I'm glad that I tried it, but the first sip was way better than the last sip, and that doesn't make me want to run out and get another. Like many English beers, I would love to try it fresh from a cask.

popery, Jun 12, 2009
Photo of cokes
3.23/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Shadow-laden tea under a bleached gray cap.
Slightly scorched herbal nose.
Toasty right away. Hints at cocoa, but stays too quiet. More of a branded tree bark. Earthy towards the middle. Light hazelnut sweetness, leaning ever-so-slightly in the prune and liquorice direction. Hopping is mutely substancial and very herbal. A burn barrel full of dried Autumn leaves.
This is relatively nice, but far too introverted.
Light bodied and boring, despite its monster drinkability.

cokes, Nov 19, 2003
Photo of RedDiamond
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bottle of this at Whiteside’s in Corvallis. Oddly enough I’d never seen Old Growler at any retailer in Portland. Never even heard of it. But I’m glad I found it because it’s really a decent brew. It bears little resemblance to contemporary American or English porters, but the label states that the recipe dates to 18th century London. Accordingly, I accepted the beer for what it is though I have no idea how authentic that may be.

My half liter bottle was dusty but well preserved. The beer immediately greeted me with a sugar-bread aroma while the body is very light for a porter and bloody red moreso than brown. There wouldn’t appear to be any unmalted roasted barley in this recipe and that strikes me as curious. The hops are very timid here and are strictly relegated to no more than logistical support in the bittering range. In fact, the taste suggests low attenuation and the brew is very mild bodied.

I find that this beer tastes somehow comforting (or am I just sentimental for old-style traditional designs?) The taste delivers plenty of sweetness and probably some good nutritional carbs. Nothing here is especially roasted and the beer would seem to draw closer to a sweet brown ale than to a Fuller’s or St. Peters. Ultimately a very clean and drinkable ale though not very porterly in the modern sense.

Note: this beer is erroneously listed as an American porter. It is anything but.

RedDiamond, Dec 19, 2005
Photo of Brent
3/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured a dark cola color, with a good deal of light penetration observed around the edges. Aroma was a bit vinious, red wine and dark fruit. Not much head even on vigorous pour. Mouthfeel was moderately thin. Up front, the beer boasts a medium dark-roasted malt flavor, and a firm, non-aromatic hops bittering lands at the back of the tongue. The beer dries at the finish. The beer bills itself as a "traditional English porter," so I wouldn't expect it to be loaded up with hops or carry an unusual malt load, but, even so, this beer lacks substance. Seemed to have more in common with a mild brown ale than a porter.

Brent, Aug 05, 2004
Photo of Suds
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Dark, opaque, brown and slightly reddish color with a negligible head. Roasted and burnt malt aromas with a touch of under-ripe fruit and a sweet, grist-like smell. Coffee and bit of hops in the aroma as well. Initially sweet, with a sharp hop finish. Mid-taste is somewhat hollow and the mouthfeel is light, nearly watery. Still, the beer has a soft feel about it, in a very easy-drinking manner. It’s an uncommon porter, but drinkable, has a pleasing smell, and is worth a try (once).

Suds, Sep 12, 2004
Photo of cbutova
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Not gonna lie, pretty much got this because the awesome Bulldog on the label, lets see how this goes.

A- Pitch black body poured into my snifter. Light tan head builds up to a nice size and retains decently. It eventually falls to a cloud in the middle and a small ring around the sides. Small, plentiful spots of lace around the glass.

S- Not sure how old the bottle is, it should be pretty fresh. There is some kind of funky hint up front. The weirdness goes away with some warmth and opens up better things. Roast, burnt malt, caramel and licorice really come to mind. Yeast hints and grains as well.

T- An interesting flavor has notes of dark roast malt, cocoa powder, coffee and even tart dark fruit (cherries). I still get a good amount of anise/licorice, toasted nuts, grain and yeast bread.

MF- Moderately thick body with silky lower end carbonation. Creams up a bit on the palate and leaves behind a roast bitter tart feel.

A good porter for sure, not sure if it is the "Supreme Champion" like it says on the label but worth trying and really brings a nice English feel to the Porter.

cbutova, Aug 19, 2011
Photo of Bung
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml Very dirty brown pour, thin layer of off white tops it off.

Aroma, roast, chocolate, an earthy yeastiness.

Taste, It is nice and malty. Caramel, pecan, chocolates. There is fainter red and grape like fruits. Finishes a nutty cocoa, with a yeasty spice note.

Good lighter side of mid bodied and fairly lively. Still coats almost creamy. Drinks very easily. Spot on English style, brown ale porter.

Bung, Oct 13, 2011
Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I really enjoy this beer. It is has a strong chocolate/coffee impression, but has a decent bitterness in the beer. The aroma is again of coffee/chocolate. The body on this beer is spot on for a porter, and I can see why it has been awarded the titles in the UK it has achieved.

GCBrewingCo, Oct 24, 2003
Photo of StJamesGate
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On cask at The Cricketers, Clavering, Essex, UK.

Pours ruby brown with a loose off white head of bigg bubbles that leaves light lace. Nose is chocolate malts and winter spice. Soft cocoa and dark berry malts with sap hops. Medium body, a bit of chew, no stick.

Either a bit light and pale for an English porter or a throwback to the roots of the style. Still a very drinkable winter quaffer.

StJamesGate, Jan 25, 2010
Photo of allengarvin
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a nonik glass. Pours an opaque very dark brown with a quickly fading tan head. Very lightly roasted cocoa nose. Malt comes through more prominantly with the taste: toasty, medium-dark-chocolate sweetness, some roasty bitterness but low hops, with a nice undercurrent of fruitiness. Finish is mostly clean with slight lingering maltiness. Body is a little thin, but that's often typical of porters. Crisp texture.

Not my favorite style by far, but this mostly hits what I count for "English porter".

allengarvin, Oct 18, 2006
Photo of Daniellobo
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice soft porter with good balance and flow.

Presentation: 500 ml brown capped bottle. Label with a seal presided with the rendered image of a mean looking bulldog with a framed belt, and red and gold touches. Brags about different prices with the back noting some historic background. Shows an illegible bottling code on the neck, and shows 5.5% Alc. by Vol. Served in a tulip glass.

A - Very dark brown pour with a nice, rich and creamy tan head.

S - Initial cola, with some coffee and malt, quite restrained nose.

T - Hmm, plenty of coffee upfront... Milk coffee, sweet touch, bitter touch in the finish. Overall malty with some toffee in the horizon.

M - Medium to medium-light body, with medium-low carbonation. Creamy and smooth...

O - It´s actually pretty pleasing and flows with grace.

Notes: The coffee sweetness is not exactly my thing but it is very drinkable and comes together rather nicely. A good brew.

Daniellobo, Apr 01, 2011
Photo of beerguy101
3.38/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown color, large head. A Medium bodied English style porter. Mild malts, slightly roasted. Very mild hops. Malts somewhat chocolaty. A mild tasting porter, typical of the English style. Lots of flavor. Mouthfeel is a little thin. Finish is clean and crisp. Aftertaste is slightly bitter.

beerguy101, Sep 04, 2003
Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From BeerAdvocate magazine Issue #61 (Feb 2012):

LOOK: Nearly pitch black

SMELL: Coffee, fudge, dried figs, brown bread, burnt sugar, nutty yeast, toasted bread

TASTE: Very smooth, medium body, bready, carob powder, dried plums, peppery, estery, mild charcoal, nutty, coffee, buttery, semidry finish

Brewed from a London recipe that dates back to 1750, this is one of those beers that novice beer drinkers should be forced to drink in order to experience the Porter beer style. Delicious. Serve at a cellar temperature to maximize your enjoyment.

BeerAdvocate, Jan 09, 2013
Photo of sulldaddy
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I am sampling a bottle of this beer and pouring into a pint glass. The beer pours a dark brown color with a frothy beige head foaming up and fading quickly to an edge layer.
Aroma is rich chocolate candy bar and some cocoa powder chalkiness too. Very rich on the nose.
First sip reveals a smoooth texture and very light carbonation. Flavor is roasted malt up front and some chocolate. The finish is slightly grassy hops. The body really thins out to almost watery on the finish. While this doesnt really do it for me I know it is typical of ENglish porters.
Overall this is a tasty and easy to drink beer. Just dont expect a robust brew!

sulldaddy, Aug 26, 2005
Photo of ADR
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Clearish darker brown to coffee color...head is small and just a skim after 30 seconds. Deep and slightly rum/raisin aromas. Low carbonation adds to medium-bodied mouthfeel, slightly coating. Impressive bittering in the brew, flavors of brown sugar but also of some coffee and grape. Taste grows deeper the farther it gets in the mouth and finishes as java with a touch of a phenolic impression. It does tastes like an old recipe and reminds me of the days of blending roasty, smoky stout-like beers of low carbonation into a Porter. Interesting...

ADR, Jun 25, 2002
Photo of JamLand
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

JamLand, Jun 28, 2013
Photo of CRJMellor
3.43/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep maroon with yellow highlights. Small white head, falls apart quickly leaving minor lace.
Aromas of roasted coffee and chocolate dominate.
Flavor is sweet chocolate, roasted barley, some espresso notes. Finish leaves a lingering bitterness.
Very light in the mout, too watery for the style.
Drinkability is OK, nothing really too great.

CRJMellor, Jan 26, 2004
Photo of matjack85
5/5  rDev +30.5%

matjack85, Jan 31, 2013
Photo of duff247
3.25/5  rDev -15.1%

duff247, Jun 16, 2012
Photo of Pegasus
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a deep mahogany color, verging on ebony. Although its difficult to discern, there are a few slow-rising bubbles. The head is small and tan-colored, it slowly settles to scattered patches of foam. The lacing is quite good.

Aroma: Earth and smoke notes vie with dark fruits, molasses and dark bread for dominance of the aroma.

Taste: Begins with a brief sweet note, soon followed by molasses, coffee, bitter chocolate and wine notes and a slightly dry finish. Interestingly, there is a subtle sting of carbonation throughout the taste.

Mouth feel: A bit thin, but certainly not bad.

Drinkability/notes: Quite wonderful, should be sipped slowly and savored, like a fine whiskey. I think that it would be particularly inviting on a cold day.

Pegasus, May 10, 2003
Photo of OtherShoe2
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with a limited tan head. No retention, no lacing.

Nice dark roasted malt aroma, with hints of coffee, cocoa, milk, and grain.

Good up front roasted malt bitterness, leading to light sweetness (grain), some nuttiness as the palate clears, and a long malty finish. Coffee, cocoa, nuts, and light bitterness all intermingle.

Medium bodied, but very very smooth. All flavors flow together wonderfully. Carbonation is just right.

Good porter all around. Texture, taste, and aroma are a delight.

OtherShoe2, Sep 05, 2011
Photo of lackenhauser
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very nice ruby, brown color. Slight head that quickly dissapears. Low aroma-not a lot there really. Some roasted malt not much else.. Slight oxidized smell like its off the bottle cap. Good malty and roasted flavor. Almost a cross between a porter and the nuttiness you would find in a nut brown ale. Good blend. Slight lingering chocolate tinge. Nice body. A very drinkable beer and a damn good British porter. A nice change from the US micro versions you get all the time.

lackenhauser, Oct 03, 2005
Photo of Offa
4.68/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a really nice porter, full of flavour and depth, yet with a light, lively, and engaging feel and body.

It's very deep, dark red-brown that is almost black, with a thick, creamy tan head that lasts forever and leaves fairly good lacing.

The aroma is very malty, earthy, rather sweet with hints of toffee and fruit.

The taste is malty, very toasty, a bit earthy, a somewhat bittersweet, with a faint crisp tartness and definite, but mild, smooth chocolaty finish. There are hints of herbs and caramel, like home-made root beer. It is a little on the thin, fizzy side, which I was not expecting for a porter.

It's smooth, complex, and exceedingly well balanced.

Offa, Apr 23, 2008
Photo of mdagnew
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle bought from The Vintage, Antrim..

Poured almost completely black with just a hint of brown around the edges when held up to the light. Tan head poured pretty bubbly and frothy then faded quickly to thick wispy covering... some light lacing...

Aroma - Strong chocolate, lots of roasted malts with a slight hints of smoke and leather, coffee, slightly sooty, some cola traces, no real sweetness, very faint dark fruits - some plums and blackcurrents...

Taste - Very nice lightly roasted chocolate malts mixed with cappuccino coffee notes, again some faint smoke, light dark treacle sweetness, cocoa, some roasted / burnt nuttiness, earthy, light vanilla, some date fruitiness...

Feel - Fairly smooth with just a little sharpness underneath... medium / full bodied... fairly quaffable...

Overall - A pretty straightforward porter... nothing earth shattering but well worth a try...

mdagnew, Mar 11, 2009
Photo of Jame515
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

Jame515, Sep 28, 2013
Old Growler from Nethergate Brewery Co. Ltd.
86 out of 100 based on 191 ratings.