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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

191 Ratings

(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 DaveFL1976
3.55/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

poured from the bottle, a nice brown body with hints of ruby-red showing through. Unfortunately, the head quickly settled down and the brew quickly became a rather flat-looking pint. Smell of chocolate malt and a bit of fusel alcohols. Taste up front is smooth, caramel and chocolaty, then a fusel bite. Not many hops evident. Really good, smooth mouthfeel with nice carbonation. All in all, a tasty brew, and pretty much what you would expect from an English Porter. It's really rich, though, and many breweries would try to call this a stout.

DaveFL1976, May 25, 2006
Photo of HardTarget
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle Inspection: Unique thin neck brown bottle with an abv listed at 5.5% in the smallest possible font on the front. No date noted. My label art differs from the picture; mine shows a bigger white bulldog and a silver neck label proclaiming a platinum metal from the BTI World Championships. Imported by Manneken Brussel Imports Inc., Austin Texas.

Aroma: Rich roasted malts, hint of coffee, chocolate, hops, and toffee.

Appearance: Deep brown/black mug with thick clear brown edges. Head is creamy and tan and gives curtains of thin lace.

Flavor: Rich flavor! Good dose of chocolate malts, nice hop level gives just a taste and keeps the beer very well balanced. I get just a hint of Fuggle hops, which I’m happy for as I don’t care for Fuggle. Hints of wood dark fruit give this some nice complexity.

Mouthfeel: Creamy texture, low but firm carbonation, medium body, slow fading linger.

Overall Impression: A lighter porter, easy to drink, nice unsweetened chocolate and hop balance, easy on the eyes… hard to find anything wrong with this one. I’m not a porter fan and I liked this, but again, it’s a lighter porter. So: a porter for non-porter lovers.

HardTarget, May 20, 2006
Photo of Naes
3.05/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This porter pours out almost black with a one finger light tan head. There is little lacing and the head does not retain all that well.
The aroma has that leathery smell that usually implies that I will not like this porter. There are however, chocolaty tones surfacing as the beer warms.
The flavor is much better than I was expecting based upon the aroma, but does not stand out as exceptional. There is a good presence of chocolate malt and coffee tones and I detect some dark chocolate near the finish followed by a slight hop presence.
Mouth feel is medium in body and is a bit under carbonated.

Overall, this is an average porter.

Naes, Apr 27, 2006
Photo of Drew966
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a very dark brown with an off white head from a brown bottle featuring a label of an English Bulldog. Aroma is all chocolate. Taste is chocolate, some coffee notes, a little bit of raison. Reminds me of chocolate covered raisons. I like it. Definitely worth a try.

Drew966, Mar 25, 2006
Photo of bennetj17
3.45/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Only a faint head of foam, color is dark brown/amber, as you can barely see through it. Smell is a bit faint, with notes of licorice and coffee. Taste is dry, coffee flavored malt. Hops low. Finish is somewhat bitter and carries a strong of strong fresh coffee grounds. Medium body, well carbonated. Drinkablity is nice. A little more robust/complex flavor might make this a great session porter, but for now its just decent...

bennetj17, Feb 19, 2006
Photo of brentk56
4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a tootsie roll brown body with a beige head that quickly reduces to a film but does leave a few momentoes of lace around the side of the pint glass

Smell: Roasted malt with a touch of chocolate and prune

Taste: Nice dark roasted malt opening followed by subtle hints of chocolate, burnt coffee, dark fruit and a touch of wood

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with modest carbonation

Drinkability: A wonderful example of a subtle but complex porter

brentk56, Feb 05, 2006
Photo of WesWes
3.3/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a dark brown color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a sweet malty scent that boasts of pale and roasted malts. It's light with some burnt toffee notes. The taste is average. It has a smooth malty flavor that seems a bit light, but goes down easy with some residual sweetness on the finish. It has a funny aftertaste, like molasses or wet cardboard. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is an above average beer, but nothing I'd buy again. I don't really care for the taste.

WesWes, Jan 06, 2006
Photo of mntlover
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear dark brown no highlights just brown, nie fluffy dense tan head that leaves some sticky lace behing.

Aroma is toasted malt light coffee mingled with some nuts and a mellow herbal hop aroma.

Taste is toasted malt some nice nutty flavors thru out. Finish is nice hop flavors mixed with some light coffee hints and a light medium lingering bitterness. Very nice flavorable porter with nice lightly dry finish.

Mouthfeel is smooth mellow carbonation right at medium feel.

Drinkability is good an enjoyable flavorable English Porter. Want to thank my friend for picking me up some beers.

mntlover, Dec 25, 2005
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 PBRstreetgang
3/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Cellared for One year. Pours a cloudy dark mahogany with one finger of off-white foam. Soap bubble head drops quickly, but leaves specs of lacing and retains a cap of foam to the finish. Toasted caramel flavor, with some black patent and chocolate that give depth to the flavor, but the malt profile is still too mild. Distinctly bavarinan hop aftertaste, sligthly dry and creates a nice balance. The body and carbonation are light, lending a smooth mouthfeel, but much lighter than a typical porter. A strong bourbon aroma overpowers anything else, perhaps this was aged in whiskey barrels? This may also contribute to the solventlike finish, that is more astringent than acidic or vinous, and becomes harsh near the end.

PBRstreetgang, Nov 12, 2005
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 flood
4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Not your deep dark microbrew porter.

Very smooth, good flavor (a hint of something nutty in there) - not a significant bite that a porter usually has. More like a toned down stout.

The appearance is just okay - not much head out of the bottle - bet it would be excellent on tap with a full head.

Overall an excellent beer - pleasant surprise.

flood, Sep 17, 2005
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 Derek
4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

American Porter?

This is a classic old English Porter that seems to have a variety of malt flavours that include a rounded caramel taste.

During the industrial revolution, brewers realized that Pale Malt provides the most alcohol, while black patent malt can provide the colour. Obviously, the taste suffered!

With the addition of crystal malt, this brew sends us back to a better time.

Commercial Description:
"To drink this beer is to go back in time. Brewed according to a 1750's Porter recipe, Old Growler is one of the most authentic and historical versions of English Porter from anywhere in the world.
Challenger hops, wheat flour, and crystal, black, and Maris Otter pale malts."

Derek, Aug 09, 2005
Photo of ommegangpbr
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Raisin juice.
And prune juice.
Raisin juice mixed with some prune juice in it.
Along with some seltzer.
Oh, and alcohol, but you cant really taste that part.
Definately on the side of a dessert beer.
Not hoppy or smokey at all.
A little bit watery in the mouthfeel
A ... different porter in my experience.
Interesting and worth a try.

ommegangpbr, Jun 30, 2005
Photo of scooter231
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very, very dark red color- virtually opaque. Smell was a bit surprising- very raisiny, some coffee notes, a bit of chocolate. But mostly a fruity raisiny scent. Sweet.

Taste is still raisiny, but I'm also getting some grape tastes in here. Drier than I thought it would be- still sweet, though. Fruityness, but nothing too overpowering or painful. Mouthfeel is bubbly, medium-bodied, not tooo heavy.

Another desserty-type drink for me. Sweet and on the light side, a nice night cap. Not uber drinkable due to the sweetness, but I wouldn't grab eight of this one- one or two would do me just fine.

scooter231, Jun 30, 2005
Photo of whynot44
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark reddish brown, almost opague, with a quick disappearing ivory head that retreats quickly to just a ring.

The aroma is fruity - raisins, stewed plums - with coffee, coca cola, maybe a hint of dark bittersweet chocolate and dark roasted malt.

The taste is heavier on the coffee with a certain burnt or smokey tang up front, the raisn/plum hits in the middle with a caramel, nutty, dark chocolate finish and a lingering roasted malt aftertaste.

Light/medium bodied. smooth textured and easy to drink. A different but respectable English porter.

whynot44, Jun 22, 2005
Photo of AlexJ
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Old Growler pours from the bottle a dark, coffee hued color with a creamy head the color of chocolate milk.

Aromas of chocolate, coffee, raisins, port, and oaky vanilla are present, but a bit on the subtle side.

Chocolate and coffee are the main flavors, accented by a plummy raisin taste and countered by a nice floral hop finish.

The body is light and almost thin, yet retains a creamy smooth texture. Definately a middle of the road porter, light enough for drinking on a hot day.

AlexJ, May 15, 2005
Photo of beertastegood
3.45/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a nearly opaque amber, with a smallish rocky tan head. Aromas of raisins, burnt coffee and a hint of plum. Tastes more like burnt coffee than anything else...dry finish. A lot thinner on the body than I would have expected, as I like my porters thick and chewy. However, the one positive aspect of this characteristic is that it makes this beer very drinkable for its style. A very middle-of-the-road porter.

beertastegood, Apr 11, 2005
Photo of BeerFink
3.43/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark reddish brown, pretty close to black coffee. Topped by a quickly dissipating, anemic looking white head. Aroma is more complex than I would have expected. Coffee, chocolate, and roasted barley, with some fruit and a little nuttiness. Quite a bit of caramel in there too. Some alcohol presence in the nose as well. The first thing I notice as I sip is the thin mouthfeel. Taste is actually decent, despite the almost watery mouthfeel. Bitter chocolate and roasted barley, some coffee dominate. Some nutty qualites are apparent, and a hint of fruit. English hops are present in a subdued state. Finish is dry and coffee like, along with slight tannin astringency. Not a bad porter, but not outstanding in any way. Overall, I would describe it as thin. For some reason I have an image of English soldiers drinking this and cursing about it.

BeerFink, Apr 06, 2005
Photo of GreenCard
3.15/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: mahogany, good clarity, spongey layer of tannish foam, stands of lace

Aroma: bananas, chocolate milk, hazelnuts, hint of coffee and malt

Flavor: cola, roast, banana peels, a bt nutty and some hints of dark chocolate, slight sweetness, vegetal hop flavor, finishes dry with a tangy roasty aftertaste

Mouthfeel: medium body, gentle carbonation, minerally, a bit warming

Other comments: Sort of a weird one. The banana-ness seems out of place, but I suppose it makes it interesting.

GreenCard, Mar 31, 2005
Photo of isubsmith
3.43/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark brown, dark reddish tints. Off-white head. Some lacing.

Nose: Chocolate, roasty malts. Fainter than I would expect for a porter. A bit of carmel.

Taste: Not bad. Chocolatey coffee flavors up front. Lots of malt. A mild hop finish.

Drinkability: Pretty drinkable. I've had better porters, but this is still pretty good. Definately worth a try at least.

isubsmith, Mar 25, 2005
Photo of mgdeth
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Murky brown, with garnet highlights. Good off-white head, okay head retention, and good beer lace. Low to medium carbonation.

Smell - Chocolatey. For some reason this beer reminds me of the smell of a dark lager. This might be due to the lack of hop aroma. Still, it smells tasty and delightful.

Taste - This is a down and dirty, old-fashioned tasting porter. Rich malty and chocolatey taste. This is followed by a roasty coffee flavor. Malt is emphasized more than bitterness. There is a bit of astringency (that makes me think "hard water") as well.

Mouthfeel - Gritty, yet it is not super thick. The body is adequate, and is accented by the roasty flavor.

Drinkability - Quite quaffable, even with its strong flavors. This beer is easy to keep on sippin'.

Comments - This is pretty good stuff, and definitely worth a try. It has a few characteristics that remind me of lager beer, which is pretty strange.

mgdeth, Mar 17, 2005
Photo of jdhilt
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a two-finger light tan head that fades slowly leaving a good lace. Deep, clear amber color. Medium carbonation and heavy bodied. Nose is roasted coffee. Starts and finishes with a roasted chocolate/coffee flavor, this porter epitomizes an English porter. $3.50 for a 500 ml bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, MA.

jdhilt, Jan 22, 2005
Photo of hungryghost
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with a subtle head, not much carbonation. No lacing.
Roasted malt in the aroma, later hint of coffee.
Immediately taste the roasted malt, slight smokiness, mild coffee finish.
Mouthfeel is a bit thin but I think the taste makes up for it.
Good flavor and easy to drink, nothing stands out drastically. This is a pleasant all around average porter.

hungryghost, Jan 06, 2005
Old Growler from Nethergate Brewery Co. Ltd.
86 out of 100 based on 191 ratings.