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Old Growler - Nethergate Brewery Co. Ltd.

Not Rated.
Old GrowlerOld Growler

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

192 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 192
Reviews: 148
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 10.99%
Wants: 5
Gots: 5 | FT: 1
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: 192 | Reviews: 148 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Slatetank
4.4/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I picked this up at State Line in Elkton MD. Poured chilled into a tulip and sipped til just above room temp from a 16.9 oz brown bottle.

A - A dark mocha brown w/ a 2 finger band of tan. The bead is pin sized and lace forms nice rings the head is rocky topped.

S - A dark fruit and mineral odor w/ cocoa, plum and tobacco aroma w/ a hint of toast and wood. There are notes of spice and raisin in the nose

M - A dry clean texture w/ subtle sweet feel. The full carbonation gives this a refreshing texture w/ subtle spice and tinges of roasted and fruit textures in the finish

T - The flavor is roasted at first which gives way to fig and prune-like rich sweetness. The chocolate and coffee is supplemented by toffee and tinges of molasses. I like the toasted and raisiny brown sugar flavors at play here. The taste is deep w/ a woody complexity and very nice dry flavor as it a slight fruit mixed w/ roaste malt flavor behind.

D - This is a great tasting porter in the English tradition. I recommend this if you are a fan of Fuller's and Samuel Smith's Taddy porter. The drinkability is so nice since it is complex, deliciously smooth and earthy. The drinkability is enhanced for me by abv and this is quite the dark gem at the strength

Slatetank, Jul 15, 2008
Photo of barleywinefiend
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep brown with an average tan head. Nose had hints of chocolate with English malts. Taste was of roasted and English malts, chocolate, caramel, and really malty. It was very smooth going down and left me with a smooth malty and chocolate taste. A good porter overall, too bad I am not much on English brews because I cant stand English malts.

barleywinefiend, Jul 14, 2008
Photo of champ103
3.6/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown with some ruby highlights. There is a beige head the recedes to a one finger head and leaves some sticky spiderweb looking lace.
S: Musky and funky malt. Lots of chocolate and coffee. A typical porter aroma.
T: Chocolate and coffee again. Lots of roasted malt. Nice, but is a bit typical for the style. That being said, I will take a typical porter over just about anything.
M/D: A bit thin and watery with a soapy and oily character. A medium body brew that is pretty damn smooth and easy to drink.

I like this beer. This is one of my favorite styles, and I could drink this anytime of the year. I have had better, but I would not hesitate to drink this again.

champ103, Jul 05, 2008
Photo of omnigrits
3.33/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I tried this one on the recommendation of a fellow stout/porter drinker.

Not as dark as some porters I like to drink such as Sierra Nevada or Sam Smith's Taddy. More light coming through the beer than I would expect, revealing a deep amber colour. A good quality light brown head that lasts to the end of the pint. Plenty of caramel in the nose with some chocoalte maltiness. Both the taste and the feel are disappointingly thin. I'm not looking for fireworks here, but I like a beer that lets me know I'm drinking it, and I have to say that this one's a bit lacking in that respect, sadly. Definitely better than your average brew, but not a great beer by any stretch of the imagination.

omnigrits, May 25, 2008
Photo of Offa
4.68/5  rDev +22.5%
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 Commandogeraldo
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Great toffee and caramel in the nose of this one. Nice roasted coffee flavor in the finish. Some elements of molasses and plum as well. Overall, a nice brew, very drinkable, and I can see why it has as many followers as it does. Continues to be one of the popular items at my store whenever I can get it on the shelf.

Commandogeraldo, Mar 04, 2008
Photo of hardy008
4.38/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Pours a dark black color with a two finger tan foamy head which did not disappear right away. Nice lacing in the glass.

Smell - Chocolate and malt.

Taste - Chocolate, coffee, molasses.

Mouthfeel - medium to full bodied. Rich and creamy.

Drinkability - Very good. I would recommend everyone who likes a good porter to try this.

hardy008, Feb 23, 2008
Photo of Stimack
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This brew pored to a nice dark brown color, hedging on black with a think lighter tan head. Head had some legs and left some lacing down the sides. The aroma seems light which I guess surprised me a little. What was there was chocolate malt in nature but seemed a little muted but was more noticeable than the very slight coffee note. The taste was good, nice malt flavors showcasing both roasted and chocolate some fruit like flavors are there as well which goes nicely. Easy drinking brew, quite smooth. Overall this is a solid brew, flavor really made up for the aroma IMO. The ease of drinking this one was nice, made you wishing for more. Not close to the best I have had but a solid choice.

Stimack, Jan 14, 2008
Photo of shererjt
3.6/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a clear, very deep red with a moderate-sized beige head. Nose was rich chocolate/coffee with a lot of malt and some alcohol. Medium body. Fair amount of chocolate flavor present and an underlying acidic tartness. Leaned slightly to the malt side but pretty well balanced. Mellow. Mouthfeel and drinkability were both above average. Would suspect this is drinkable enough to make a good session beer.

Overall, a solid English porter. Don't think it rivals the all-time greats, but I enjoyed it. I might bump the roasted character up a tad.

shererjt, Sep 25, 2007
Photo of JayTheFinn
3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Very typical, tasty porter in the English style.

A - Dark brown to black body with a medium sized off white head with a bit of staying power and some decent lacing.
S - Not very strong, but some light whiffs of chocolatey malts.
T - Subtle is the key, as it seems the leaning is with most British made beers. Malt-heavy as a porter ought to be, but not as strong on the spiciness as the American counterpart often is. A smooth mild flavor for optimal drinkability is where it's at with this one.
M - Not as strong in this field as porters can be. I'd mark it as slightly above medium.
D - Top marks here. Whereas some porters tange it up a bit too much for my liking, the Old Growler's smoother bitterness and subtle flavor make it easy to let a few of these slide down the back of your throat in one sitting.

JayTheFinn, Jul 10, 2007
Photo of Jordan1985rec
3.65/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Often in America it is hard to come by a truly exquisite Porter, at least in the average beer/wine dive. I popped into a local little place on the corner near my house and I was in the mood for a Porter, I grabbed up a couple of these (1 Pint Bottles) and headed home. I poured the beer into a traditional pint glass (Imperial, not paltry 12 0z) and was blown away by the deep, rich colour of this beer. I have had a few of the different large brand attempts a porter; Serria Nevada, Yueng Ling etc., but this was by far the best I could find. The head was decent, nothing to get too excited about, but not bad. The taste was wonderful, very rich and creamy with those coffee and chocolate nodes that porter fans adore. All in all this was a real surprise and I am definitely going to pick this beer up again!

Jordan1985rec, Apr 28, 2007
Photo of goochpunch
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a dark ruby body with a thick ta head that comes off looking like foamed milk on a coffee. Leaves cheets of thick, raised lacing. Smells like chocolate syrup, with fainter coffee notes. Nice bready background. Flavor is of toasted malts up front and the flavors that initiate this remind me of a soft brown. Middle is vinous and of dark fruits. Maybe some pomegranate in there as well. Chocolate finishes this up with some raisins and dates. Aftertaste lingers on of strong coffee and light smoke. Mouthfeel is silky and the body is somewhere between moderate and light, though it leans towards the middle. This is really quaffable. Although this isn't the most interesting porter, I could session this.

goochpunch, Apr 15, 2007
Photo of jmz62565
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear dark reddish brown with a medium tan head with no lacing. The smell is pungent with dark fruit,raisins,molasses,and alittle chocolate. The taste is like the smell. Dark fruit,molasses,brown sugar,and roasted malt make this a very drinkable porter. The m/f is light and abit thin,but the flavors mix well making this a very easy drinking porter and a nice start on St. Patty's Day.

jmz62565, Mar 17, 2007
Photo of DESTRO
3.18/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

pours a deep ruby with a nice tightly packed head. smells pretty tasty, sweet molassess, dark fruit. taste much like the nose. lightly sweet. a bit dumbed down. raisins, finishes a bit "metallic". thin in the mouth and just seems mediocre overall. one is enough for me, bummer.

DESTRO, Feb 17, 2007
4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - 2" tan head. Head retains well at 1/4" and leaves a thin lace pattern. Dark brown porter.

S - Dark fruit. Molasses. Earthy malt. Light coffee.

T - Earthy malt - same as in the nose. More coffee, lightly roasted. Big cocoa. Molasses. Seems to be a nit of a smokiness later in the finish.

M - Medium body with medium carbonation.

D - Great drinkability. Fairly complex flavor. a little light in body to me.

Photo of BeerSox
3.4/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1pt .9oz bottle into pint glass.

Dark, nearly opaque brown creates a base for a light tan head that quickly fades to a thin cap with bubbly edges. Stringy lacing.

Roasty malts, a little bit of caramel, and raisins make up the aroma.

The beginning stars out with the bitterness of roasted malts, along with a bit of caramel, which lingers until the beer's finish. Medium bodied with decent carbonation. Some more of the grainy character comes out toward the end.

This is an okay porter, but I have tried better from the other side of the Atlantic. This one has some odd characteristics, like raisin in the smell and a little bit of caramel. Worth a try.

BeerSox, Jan 28, 2007
Photo of BanjoGasmic
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Aroma: very nice. rich and malty with lots of caramel, toffee, and toasty brown malt. Hints of chocolate, treacle, and roast malt adds complexity. Just a hint of paper indicates a bit of oxidation. Quite forgivable, but not necessarily to style.

Appearance: Deep Brown, but not black w/ ruby highlights when held up to light. Good clarity. Thin, transient off white head. poor retention (probably due to the age of this sample).

Flavor: Pleasant, soft caramel sweetness initially, which is quickly balanced by hop and roast-malt bitterness. Balance of malt and hop bitterness lends a nice bittersweet flavor, reminiscent of bittersweet chocolate. Finishes with a lingering caramel on the tongue, which begs to be washed away. Go ahead, have another sip. Slight paper note comes through in flavor as well.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is about perfect, slightly on the low side, but enough to lighten the mouthfeel. Overall, the mouthfeel is a bit heavy & full bodied (especially for an older example), with a slight clinginess. Not at all unpleasant though.

Overall: Super drinkable. The aroma promises a thick and rich, almost cloying porter, but the flavor delivers beautiful balance. The use of brown and intermediate caramel malts adds a lot of authenticity. I could drink this by the bucketfull. I pick up no hop aroma or flavor, nor any fruit.

Note: this example was the Export strength 5.5% Growler, not the original.

BanjoGasmic, Dec 07, 2006
Photo of biegaman
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A repugnant little porter it is! Quite "dogged" (hehe). But really, that word is appropriate, this is porter with an attitude! Deep chestnut colour, no real head. A great blend of bitter and sweet with plenty of flavour. Light roast. Ample satisfaction in all fields. All in all, I have enjoyed this very much.

biegaman, Dec 03, 2006
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

When held up to the light this beer shows a brilliantly clear, sparkling concentrated ruby color, otherwise it is a deep, opaque amber hued dark, dark brown color. It is topped by a frothy, initially finger and a half thick, dirty, brown tinged tan color. The aroma is sweet and concentrated; notes of ample malt show aromas of toffee, caramel, sherry, touches of chocolate, toasted & even lightly burnt grain. A soft dark, burnt fruitiness is also here, I notice notes of raisins and figs in equal amounts, and even a related note of rum.

The taste is light up front, but has a rich, concentrated burnt caramel sweetness that certainly leans towards toffee at times. It finishes with an exaggerated malt character similar to the malt found in chocolate-malt-ball candies. A dry note comprised of a touch of chalk and dark chocolate lingers along in the finish along with a toasty, yet sweetish malt note. There is some fruitiness here as well. For some reason I want to say I taste a note of cherry (really a chocolate covered cherry note), but I can't really say why; I definitely taste notes of figs and prunes and even some roasted raisin notes, but not sure why I want to say cherry. This beer is quite quaffable, it is light on the tongue, but has a depth of flavor which allows it to linger on in the palate. This is quite enjoyable, I can imagine that this would taste quite good on cask.

Gueuzedude, Nov 18, 2006
Photo of allengarvin
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
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 aforbes10
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

got a bottle of this in houston. pours fluffy brown with a surprizingly white head. head settles to a nice creamy layer after a while. sweet malty, unremarkable odor. taste is very smooth, slightly burnt malt. tasty. vague, nicely subtle hops. very easy to drink. a good catch and a fine example of the more traditional porter.

aforbes10, Oct 10, 2006
Photo of sinistermadman
3.73/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Crimson hued dark brown in color with a slight head that all but lasts a couple of seconds. Smell is of toffee or caramel with a chocolate nose. Aroma is somewhat faint. Medium bodied with a slight to moderate level of carbonation. Taste is of chocolate/caramel malt with a slight citrus tinge. Malt flavors preside over the other ingredients. Drinkability is derived from the subdued nature of flavors, which is not to say it is a good thing. Mouthfeel is somewhat slippery or dare I say watery. Could be a bit more aggressive with the flavor profile. Worth a try but there are plenty of other more interesting and more assertive examples of the style out there.

sinistermadman, Sep 11, 2006
Photo of russpowell
4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours deep chestnut with a 2 fingers+ taan head. Very good lacing & good head retention

Smell: Slight maltiness (yawn)

Taste: Caramel & slight chocalate up front. Slight hop tea essences, then finishes fruitty, dry & choclatey

MF: Medium, well balanced & good carbonation

Drinks pretty tasty, but a shadow of the cask version I had in England in the early 90s

russpowell, Jun 29, 2006
Photo of veech
4.28/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark to med dark coffee color
S: The aroma was appropriate for med bodied porter: Coffee and light undertones of chocolate malt. Milder than expected.
T: Smooth med to light maltiness with promary coffee flavors of coffee and caramel.
M: Lighter than the average porter but enough body and substance to represent the style
D:Smooth and with 5.5%ABV, lighter and more drinkable than most English porters I've tried. Overall, good stuff and this being June, a nice choice for warmer weather porter quaffing. Definitely worth seeking out.

veech, Jun 13, 2006
Photo of AaronHomoya
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Old Growler appealed to me with its label featuring an English Bulldog on the front. The beer is a nice brown color with decent head. The aroma is roasted and malty. Taste is roasted, malty, chocolate and sweet with a clean finish. Mouthfeel is a good medium to light body with pleasing carbonation. A very drinkable beer at 5.50% ABV with malty, slightly roasted taste that's clean and goes well with food.

AaronHomoya, Jun 12, 2006
Old Growler from Nethergate Brewery Co. Ltd.
86 out of 100 based on 192 ratings.