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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

190 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 190
Reviews: 148
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 10.97%
Wants: 5
Gots: 5 | 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: 190 | Reviews: 148 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of AEK
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500ml brown bottle poured into a Hobgoblin branded pint pot.

A. A clear, deep red bordering on brown ale with a light brown solid, rocky head.

S. Coffee and bitter chocolate

T. Black chocolate, bitter chocolate, dark fruit and some smokiness. A lingering hoppy finish.

M. Medium and good with a little carbonation.

D. A deliciously dark ale that packs a heavywweight punch in its taste. This is certainly a beer to enjoy.

AEK, May 28, 2010
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

16.9 oz. bottle to pint glass. No date or batch number. $4.50 for the bottle.

A: Huge 4 finger light brown rocky head sits atop a dark brown nearly opaque body. Only when the beer is held in front of a light source is the clarity noticeable; ruby highlights appear. The head lasts forever and becomes increasingly lopsided. Excellent lacing sticks in chunky sheets that are punctured by BB pellet sized holes.

S: The aroma incorporates average malts of bread, toffee and the faintest toffee. Shockingly, the malts come across toasted, not even close to roasted. Herbal hops are light. There is a well placed heavy sourdough yeast component as well. The yeastiness is much more noticeable from the first pour. But much less on the second...

T: Flavors include dark fruits, currants, blackberry jam, strawberry, and woody with some tobacco earthiness. I noticed a brief metallic flavor in a few sips.

M: The mouthfeel is light...way too light. Nearly watery. Inadequate carbonation drags the mouthfeel score down even further. Nothing impressive in this department.

D: It's an easy drinking porter. Would be a satisfying dark lager. Plenty of room for improvement.

FeDUBBELFIST, May 18, 2010
Photo of biggmike
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a very attractive dark brown/black color with athick off-white/tan head that stayed for quite some time. The aroma was malty. Flavor was of roasted malt and licorice. Mouthfeel was very pleasant and the drinkability is very high on this one. Good stuff.

biggmike, May 03, 2010
Photo of Kromes
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pitch black with some ruby accents. A thick tan colored head that leaves some lacing down the glass.

S: Roasted malt and a really big dark fruit aroma....almost a hint sherry.

T: The initial taste merges with the aromas. It has a hint of the dark fruit sherry at first and then is quickly taken over by the roasted malt and chocolate flavors. The finish is sweet and roasty and a touch fruity which is good.

M: The mouthfeel is light, not that much carbonation which is good for a porter and makes for easy drinking.

D: The taste is ok. The low carbonation makes it drinkable.

Kromes, Mar 04, 2010
Photo of jbphoto88
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

O.G. pours an oddly deep yet thin brown... word. It's dark walnut in color but thin enough to let light pass through easily revealing ruby and golden highlights. The head is a lackluster tan which doesn't last long and doesn't give anything in the way of character to this beer.

The nose is sweet and malty. Fresh milled grains mix with the caramelized scents of roasted malts. There isn't much more then those malts which is cool with me. I do wish they had a little bit more variation, perhaps some chocolate or coffee touches but it is a very satisfying aroma.

Taste is also simple and pleasing like the nose. Sweet caramelized grains with touches of toffee and a little earthy bitterness. Nothing jumps out at you in this beer but I don't think it needs any glitz and glamour. This is a solid beer and there is beauty in it's simplicity.

The mouthfeel is almost on par with the rest of the beer but I find the carbonation to be a little strong and the body a touch thin. Very enjoyable none the less. It's a good simple roasty beer that deserves a nod.

jbphoto88, Feb 13, 2010
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a dark brown body with some ruby hues at the edges and topped with a finger of ecru foam.

Smell: A grab bag of various notes: some chocolate, nuts, caramel, ripe plums, raisins, wood bark, and spice.

Taste: Starts with a sweet mix of chocolate caramel, along with a bold dark fruitiness from the English ale yeast. Spicy, herbaceous hops with a mild bitterness. Small pinch of tobacco along with minor hints of wood and nuts. Dry maltiness on the smooth finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Fairly smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Truth told, the one kind of grew on me. A subtle, well-balanced, easily drinkable porter.

ChainGangGuy, Jan 28, 2010
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 Mora2000
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown to black with a beige head. Aroma is English malts and hops with some roasted malts as well. Flavor is definitely English, with roasted malts, English hops and a slight bit of coffee at the end. Slightly bitter, dry finish. Medium mouthfeel and carbonation and very drinkable.

Mora2000, Jan 01, 2010
Photo of TheSarge
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This produces a half finger thick tan head, from a vigorous pour, which dissipates quickly though it has nice lacing.

The aroma is of faint coffee and metallic characteristics.

Mouth feel wise it's prickly upfront, but has an oily slickness that helps the palate to stay moist.

Overall this is a decent porter, which I was surprised by with the lack of appearance and aroma, and is somewhat complex.

TheSarge, Nov 01, 2009
Photo of tatoodkelt
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a pint glass on 7/25/09. From notes.

A- Very dark brown with ruby highlights when held up to light. Big creamy head that settled to about one finger and lasted the whole glass, nice lacing.

S- Roasted chocolate, a little sweet and a little coffee.

T- No one thing stood out for me, hints of a lot of things here- vanilla, chocolate, roasted malts, coffee, a little smoke, a little sweet. Blended together very nicely.

M- Medium bodied, carbination was not noticable, very smooth.

D- Definitely could have a few of these in a sitting. I'll be looking to pick this up again.

tatoodkelt, Jul 27, 2009
Photo of MrHungryMonkey
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nose is dark and malty. Lots of roasted grain and creamy chocolate. Tart/sour fruit/hop notions provide excellent balance. Smells great.

Pours a deep, deep brown, almost opaque, mild super-creamy head. Looks quite good.

Moderate-to-strong malt - moderate chocolate, a little less dark roast, and a solid malty foundation; creamy and smooth with ample dryness. Moderate tart/sourness - good embodiment of esters and hop. Mild esters take on a dark, slightly ripe fruitation. Mild sweetness can't overcome the bitterness. Mild hop is herbal and earthy with tea-like notes and some leafiness. Finishes dry with a touch of chocolate and roast. Tastes pretty good. Feels pretty good. Good drinkability.

MrHungryMonkey, Jul 02, 2009
Photo of Wasatch
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this one at the Bayou SLC.

Pours a nice black color, nice carbonation nice little fizzy/creamy tan head, with some nice sticky lacing. The nose is malty with some toffee notes, nice sweetness, with some caramel. The taste is malty, sweet, very nice toffee notes and caramel. Medium body. Drinkable, a very nice english porter, recommended.

Wasatch, Jun 26, 2009
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 elniko
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into pint glass, this bottle had been in the fridge for quite a while and I decided to bust it out.

A: Standard porter coloring with nice head and thick lacing. Good looking brew.

S: Strong roasted and chocolate tones coming from nose, quite nice.

T & M: I wonder if this had a gone a little flat with the time that it was in the fridge but then again I would expect an English Porter to have low carbonation and bite. Very creamy mouthfeel that I really enjoyed. A little watery up front but finishes with some smoky, roasty tones from the malt.

D: Nicely done, this is not my favorite style but I did enjoy and would be opposed to having again as change up to my usuals.

elniko, Apr 17, 2009
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 therica
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

There are others in this style that are better.

A= nice tar-dark color, very little head.

S= a bit on the brandy raisin side.

T= somewhat more watery than we expected. Modest molasses, raisin.

M= light clean aftertaste, slightly watery and light.

D= depends on why you're drinking it and with what. Not really worth the US $3.89 we paid for a bottle in late 2007.

therica, Mar 01, 2009
Photo of Bitterbill
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This pours a dark brown with reddish hues and about an inch of tannish foam.

The smell has a pretty big nose of chocolate, roasted malt, and a touch of coffee. Smells...um...good.

The taste has the chocolate up front, definitely milk chocolate as there's quite a sweet thing going on here. I don't taste much roasted malt, but there's some earthy tones and the slight bitterness I can taste reminds me of cocoa or dark chocolate. The flavours aren't huge here and I didn't expect them to be. Still, a little more assertiveness with those flavours would have been a plus for me.

The mouthfeel makes it to medium territory, the carbonation is on the light side, and it finishes slightly sweet, slightly bitter.

Drinkability? Tasty and easy drinking, I could put away a couple of bottles easily. For the price I paid for this bottle, US$1.50, it's a hell of a deal. Btw, the head sharnk some but there's still some left at the end of the session and lacing is above average.

Bitterbill, Feb 04, 2009
Photo of Mark
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep brown, not black. Tan head retained fairly well, lacing a decent pattern in the form of rings. Not as aromatic as some porters, a faint but inviting chocolate like maltiness. Complex tastes that changed with each sip before settling down to a solid consistent chocolate toned taste. not too sweet and not too roasty, a real drinkable porter that some might not find assertive enough. I hope I can find this on cask during my upcoming trip to the U.K.

Mark, Jan 22, 2009
Photo of tmitch75
4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with mahogany highlights, huge creamy tan head drops a little but maintains 2-finger thickness quite well.

Roasty chocolate on the nose with a touch of vanilla.

Flavor is the same but roastier. Quite tasty. Creamy and smooth with medium body.

An excellent English Porter that I wish could be more widely available, I'm quite glad I came across it.

Tasted 7/28/08.

tmitch75, Nov 30, 2008
Photo of wl0307
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

BB MAR 09, served cool in a straight imperial pint glass. The label says the beer is brewed to a 1750's recipe!

A: very very dark brown in colour, with some mahogany glows against light; the dark beige head retains a 1.5cm thickness very well, leaving even sheets of lacing behind.
S: the aroma upfront smells more like a Dark Mild, due to a strong element of treacle or dark sugary syrup, on top of sweet dates, sour berry fruits, and a light sour, resinous touch of hops, sweet dark chocolates, and prune juice all come to mind.
T: a smooth flow of not-overly-roasted black malts, semi-thick sourness of raisins and prunes precede aromatic black malts and caramelised walnuts, which develop further with jammy black plums and a mild touch of smoked red beans, gradually settling down to a semi-chewy bitter and early hoppy finish reminiscent of sweetened roast tea as well as English hops. Semi-sour undertone lingers, outliving the bitter-sweetness actually.
M&D: refreshing enough, but the fizziness and a slightly thin body still are not as natural as a real cask ale, leaving the palate disagreeing a little with the flavour profile; that said, a decent, light sour fruitiness threads through the flavour, true to the style of English Porter. Overall, this is still a very good take on the brilliant cask version, but the palate makes it slightly less fantastic than the real thing.

* Tasting Date: 12/08/05
Tasted this beer at the Black Bull pub near White Chapel, East London.
4 A: it pours a clear, dark brownish colour with a deep brownish, forthy beerhead slowly fading out, leaving scattered lacing...
4.5 S: rich aroma of dark fruits (like black cherries and black prunes) combined with "calcium pills"(!!) and slightly blue-cheese-like savoury note arrives at the nose... a port wine-like aroma plus overwhelmingly aromatic malty body sustains at the back. How distinctive nose this is!
4 T: rich, chewy mouthfeel of chocolatey malts, on top of a floral and grainy flavour of malts, while the calcium pill-like interesting flavour lingers in the long, warming finish...
4.5 M&4 D: this is a full-bodied porter with a silky-smooth mouthfeel consistently. Very different from the cask-version but very enjoyable.

wl0307, Nov 10, 2008
Photo of stumac
2.78/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

pours totally dark brown with a slight brown tinted head. the nose is caramel, roasted malts and sweet malts. in the palate, there is metallic malts, cocoa powder, vanilla bean, sweet malts. its medium bodied, low and smoothe carbo, very "thin" tasting. Im not the biggest English Ale fan....

stumac, Aug 23, 2008
Photo of BlackHaddock
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finally got round to buying and reviewing a bottle of this beer. Brown 500ml bottle, 5 months beyond its Best by Date. Poured into my new La Chouffe tulip glass twice.

Wonderful colour, Mahogany red with a tan head that sat for ages on top.

A chocolate aroma with toffee esters hit your nose, lovely.

Rich plum bread type taste (without butter on it). Almost creamy in the mouthfeel, very rich and heavy in its body. If I know of a better Porter I can't think of one right now, this is good.

Glad I got to have this in a bottle, just as good as the cask version, 4's all round again.

BlackHaddock, Aug 12, 2008
Photo of GClarkage
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

07/27/08- Purchased at Bottle Barn, in Santa Rosa, CA.

Presentation- 500ml bottle with no freshness info. Poured into my imperial pint glass.

Appearance- Medium black in color, opaque. Watered down chocolate milk colored head. Very large bubbled and about a 3/4 inch rise upon pour. Medium ring of sticky lace remain.

Smell- Nice aroma of milk chocolate malt, a bit earthy with a touch of enlish style hops.

Taste- Damn, this beer would have brought down the house if it didn't have this annoying metal tinge to it for the entire beer. The milk chocolate was very large for a porter of this modest abv. Quite nutty and with a nice hoppy flaovr happening.

Mouthfeel- Miedium carbonation level with a slight taditional british hop aftertaste. Nice chocolate aftertaste as well.

Drinkability- Without the metal, this would have been a very solid porter, even with it here, it was quite drinkable. Maybe an off bottle?

GClarkage, Jul 28, 2008
Photo of Slatetank
4.4/5  rDev +14.9%
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 +4.4%
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 13, 2008
Old Growler from Nethergate Brewery Co. Ltd.
86 out of 100 based on 190 ratings.