Grog | Nodding Head Brewery

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Brewed by:
Nodding Head Brewery
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: English Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.25%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 41 | Ratings: 70
Photo of Slatetank
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am a fan of the style so I thought I would give this a try, served in a pint cool.

The color is an appropriate shade of brown with light head. The smell is mild with some yeast in aroma and subtle malt. The feel is gentle roast with slight sweetness and semi-dry finish with moderate carbonation.

The taste is very good with subtlety of English malt in the taste adding slight toast and gentle dried fruit flavor with a low bitterness and dry quality. This is decent beer -very quaffable but not extreme or outrageous in any sense I would recommend this to fans of the style.

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Photo of mactrail
2.27/5  rDev -38.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Lovely to look at, with beige-tinged head on the dark brown ale, served in a standard US pint glass.

Odd aroma is the first sign of trouble. Smells like the smoldering remains of a burned house. Then one sip and the flavor hits me-- burnt newspaper. Surprisingly malty, but the taste is deeply disturbing. It reminds me of the charred blood sausage I spit out at the Argentine restaurant at lunch. Or the smell of nearby burning garbage in a damp country.

On tap at the brewpub in Philadelphia. From notes on June 2, 2012 visit.

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Photo of mvanaskie13
3.8/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On cask at fergies, nice pour, a little colder than expected; color is dense brown, light thin head.

Smell is nice and malty, solid sweetness, notes of toffee.

Taste is malty dense sweetness, hint of bitterness , bready and toffee flavors.

Mouthfeel is just right, lingering sweetness is just enough.

Overall, great beer on cask, good flavors, good presentation.

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Photo of jmdrpi
3.83/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

served in pint glass on-tap at the Brewpub.

appeared a very dark brown, with thin off-white colored head. aroma and taste had highlights of chocolate, toffee, nutty, slightly roasted flavors. More of a cross between a brown ale and a porter. a bit fuller body than most brown ales, but still drinks easy.

overall, a nice variant on the traditional English Brown Ale style.

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Photo of Rifugium
2.03/5  rDev -44.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

First had: on tap at Nodding Head, Philly, PA

Poured a slightly hazy dark brown with a small off-white head that receded quickly. Sweet malts and toasted bread in the aroma. Mostly sweet malts in the taste, caramel, light bread, nuts. Leaves a stale aftertaste. Light-medium mouthfeel, and seemed watered down and too sweet. Not a very pleasant drink.

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Photo of THECPJ
3.92/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes:

appearance: dark brown with a reddish hue and a 1 finger head

smell: roasted malts, chocolate malts, caramel,

taste: chocolate, caramel, malts

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium body,

overall: nice brown ale with a sweet nutty flavor.


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Photo of nukem5
3.33/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark brown almost black color without any trace of head retention(Could be older cask not as fresh as could be)

S: Aroma is of light malts and and bready.

T: Is sweet and malty with some fruity notes, carmels, and toasted malts.

O: Drinkable but being on the flat side would love to try this again maybe on draft.

Love Philly this week!

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Photo of stakem
4.27/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Nodding Head on 4/9/11 served in a pint glass. This brew appears a very dark brown color with a creamy tan cap that fades quickly and holds close to the edges. Faint spotty lacework sticks to the glass with swirls. When held to the light, this brew displays some redness through the body.

The smell of this brew is robust with chocolate, very roasty with a sweet fresh grain character to the aroma. "Holy shit, this is a brown ale?" Those were the first words that came flying out of my mouth. As it warms it picks up some light fruity character.

The taste of this brew is dark and roasty with grain that imparts a smooth chocolate flavor. There is a very mellow bitterness that seemingly comes from the extent of the roasted malt, not hops. However, in the background there is some lightly tangy, fruity hops which accent the initial roasted bitterness.

This is a full bodied brew with a modest level of carbonation. Very smooth, roasty and enjoyable with a perfect balance of residual sweetness. Honestly, a great beer. Someone looking for a traditional take on a brown ale might be a little upset with this offering but I found it to be very enjoyable. It was like a hybrid stout-brown ale composed of the best traits of each. Having this brew was a bittersweet experience, I wish I could have taken some home but they don't allow it. This brew provided a perfect base or the other "one-offs" that were served on this occasion "Groggy afternoon."

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Photo of Bouleboubier
3.32/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This looks and drinks much like what "grog" implies to me - a no-frills, serviceable alcoholic malt beverage. Not necessarily pleasing to eye, for sure - NO f'n trace of a head/carbonation, dense, dank and dark muddy brown. If you jump on board to the simplicity or primitiveness that, once again, its name implies, this is all good - but uninspiring as far as beer goes - its potential. That said, getting past the blah look, the smell is a small step up, yet still sooty-bland. Sleazy malty, if that makes sense - powder-blue-sweat-suity...maybe...some hops, perhops...Yeah, getting to the flavour - it's not bad! Don't express itself as a brown, no. I get an unabashedly rauch stance on it - light (tad more than 'light') smokiness on the malt - and it's good, yes. It's a rauch/(slick-slimy-muted) bkln brn blend - challenge me on that, kids! It drinks e-z, without dazzling. Grog is goud. If I have to swallow it, I don't mind. Nothing I would seek out, but it don't turn me off. 'T'would go a'ight with some proper right grubb.

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Photo of boatshoes
3.71/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on cask at Nodding Head last week when out to dinner with some friends. Along with the berliner weiss, they were my two beers for the evening.

Appearance- Comes from the bar a nice shade of dark ruby brown that allows some light to come through. Creamy one finger tan head sits on top and retains very well. Small amounts of lacing left as I drink.

Smell- Unfortunately, not a whole lot going on in the smell department. Very mild, mostly of sweet roasted malt, perhaps the faintest whiff of coffee. Pleasant, but not terribly impressive.

Taste- Slightly more complex than the smell. Lots of roasted malt, followed by a mild burnt coffee aftertaste that lingers after the beer goes down. Not really much else going on here however for me. Not overly complex, but enough flavor to make this a decently sessionable beer while not being overpowering.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- The high point of this beer is the mouthfeel. Coming off of cask, it is silkly smooth with just the right amount of mild carbonation. Feels great going down and helps the drinkability of the beer as well. Unfortunately, I've got to dock this one some on the drinkability, because as I've noticed with other Nodding Head brews on my past two visits, the beer seems to take on a bit of an offputting sour/lactic aftertaste as it warms to room temperature. Drink this one on the cooler side and it is much more pleasant.

Overall, pretty decent. Didn't love this beer, but I found it to be the most pleasing offerning I've had from Nodding Head in my last two visits. Mild and decent with my meal.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.06/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at the brewpub. Pours black with a pretty thick tan head. Aroma of sweet malt. Flavor of crystal malt, roasted malt. Sessionable, certainly, but this is TOO sweet (a common theme among Nodding Head beers it seems...).
Aroma: 6/10
Appearance: 4/5
Flavor: 6/10
Palate: 3/5
Overall: 14/20

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Photo of cichief
3.8/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had on cask at Fergie's Pub in Philadelphia, PA.

A- Pours a dark mahogany, almost opaque, hazy, with a thin light brown head.

S- Slight scent of malt, not much else.

T- Some roasted malt, slight hop dryness in the finish.

M- Nice but watery, not enough body, little carbonation from the cask.

D- An acceptable brown beer, but there are much better out there.

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Photo of Foxman
3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours a an opaque strong coffee mahogany. A thin finger of light brown head sinks soon to fine surface froth. Trails of lacing map the inside of the glass.

The aroma is all malt, though with a touch of smoke, and totes caramel, toffee, a vague nuttiness, and mellow cocoa. The only issue is it's a bit of a strain to make out the specifics.

Upon tasting, the malt is fuller here, with caramel, toffee, light chocolate, and even a background of soft coffee. Roasted nuts and licorice come through muted in the middle. A tease of vanilla and baked bread presage a finish that grows drier and more bitter as it lingers. The character is spot on and quite enjoyable.

Medium bodied, the ample grain lays a creamy caress on the palate, and a nice crispness stands for a bit.

The name does nothing to denote the enjoyable blend of malt and the ensuing subtlety. It is an especially drinkable version of a generally drinkable style, so it's above the mean. The clean flavors and finish make help make this one to be enjoyed whenever the opportunity should rpesent itself. It's on my radar for good, now.

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Photo of akorsak
3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A pint served from the cask at General Sutter's Nodding Head night.

A: The ale is a dark brown color, coffee-like in appearance. A minimal head emerged from the pour but no more than 1/4 of a finger. It quickly dissapated.

S: The ale has caramel and toffee and a rather strong smoked aroma. Perhaps the smoke is a side effect of the cask but it works.

T: The brown ale qualities are accentuated from the cask. The reduction in carbonation again removes the cleansing factor, allowing the chocolate, caramel and toffee flavors to linger on the palate without being shooed away. There isn't a lot to say hop-wise but a smoky quality is evident throughout, adding some meat to the taste.

M: Solid mouthfeel that nicely splits between the toffee/caramel and smoked malt. This type of ale was made for casks.

D: A real sessioner, this is a good subtle brown ale.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.45/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

OMFG, I had no idea that NH did cask! Come in, Paul Pendyck! It arrived with a finger's worth of deep-brown head with great retention. The nose had a chocolate/licorice quality. The color was a deep cola-brown with very little light able to penetrate its depths. The mouthfeel was full and creamy with a mildly chocolaty taste on the tongue. The finish was cocoa intermingled wih coffee. I was deeply impressed by this beer and its serving style.

Re-Review: Well, somebody was listening, apparently. Mr. Pendyck did, indeed, have a cask of this for a Cask Night at Lititz's General Sutter Inn. These are my thoughts from that evening.

Not much of a head to speak of, more like a thin film of light brown wisps. Nose was quite malty, with notes of chocolate and anise. I think that it is the anise that makes it attractive to me. It is usually available on cask at Fergie's Pub in Philadelphia, although generally not at on cask at Nodding Head, go figure. Color was a deep brown with cola color highlights. Mouthfeel was medium with a light additional mixture of coffee, chocolate, and anise taking place on the tongue. The finish was sort of a smoky chocolate flavor, not overpowering on either score, but definitely present. Proof positive that Gord-O has a handle on what he is doing.

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Photo of tempest
3.23/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Grog is an appropriate name considering I'm pulling out the same herbal flavor I've gotten from the 60 Shilling and Doc. Roasted grains and coffee flavor come forward first with that funk in the background. Really though, there's so much roasted flavor, this reminds me more of a brown porter than a brown ale. There's no fruity sweetness like you'd get from an English brown. Overall, it's not bad, but it's not to style.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.08/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours just short of opaque. Nose is woody. Flavor is whoa! Nice and hearty. Woody character. Thick robustness that is nowhere near overdone. Slight bitter back tone. Feel is thick enough on the liquid. Has a good level of carbonation. Very drinkable. A good brown ale. If you see it, go for it.

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Photo of letsgopens
2.86/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Tasted on cask at Nodding Head, this EBA cranks out a matted black core with large, woody brown highlights. There is a sparse rim of bubbles, but little else to look at. Fairly characteristic of a cask brew.

The aroma is pretty nice; mild but nice. Some roasted malt and cocoa. Also a hint of weak coffee is detectable. Bland (not necessarily in a bad way) and rather unrecognizable fruit ups the nose a bit. A hint of molasses is noticeable as well.

Mild, sweet and nutty with a somewhat roasty character. Not necessarily heavily roasted malt, but more like burnt sesame seeds. Some sweet molasses and vanilla rounds out the flavor profile. There are a lot of components present, but it seems like everything is toned down and not because of the style on cask or lack of carbonation.

Thin and somewhat watery. I understand the implications of a cask ale, but this selection just seems dim and lifeless. The flavor is quality but short-lived. I am usually a fan of English cask conditioned ales, but I was unimpressed with this one.

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Photo of kajerm
4.02/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Tasting glass at Nodding Head. Pours dark brown and opaque (finally) with a thin off-white head.

The smell is loaded with toffee, hazelnut, and a little chocolate. The flavor is similar, opening up with nutty and toffee-ish malt flavors, that last through mid-palate into the finish. A little bit of chocolate and some very subtle English hops are evident in the finish.

The body is on the heavier side of light; lots of malts are evident in all aspects of this beer, including the mouthfeel. Drinkability is off the wall.

This is probably the finest English brown ale I've had. It's not a style that I normally love, but this one is just so gutsy and flavorful, it's hard not to like it-- plus the name is awesome.

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Photo of Gratefullawyer
4.45/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Was in Philly this weekend found myself at fergies and got to try this beer.I enjoyed this beer. I really liked the coffee hints that arose as you drank this beer. I found very smooth and it went down very easily.
It even tasted better the second time as i was looking foward to that coffee taste.
a very drinkable beer

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Photo of brentk56
4.21/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Arrives at the bar with an unexpectedly dark coffee brown color with sienna highlights; creamy tan head leaves sheets of lace behind

Smell: Surprisingly fruity aroma with a touch of funky yeast; smells more like an Oude Bruin than an English Brown

Taste: Starts with a bread and chocolate flavor that is slightly smoky; a modicum of sour flavor appears in the middle and the finish reinforces the dark fruit, coffee and smoke flavors

Mouthfeel: Moderately thick body with mellow carbonation

Drinkability: For a style that normally underwhelms, this beer provides enough complexity to keep my attention through the entire pint

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Photo of WonderWoman
3.32/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Served in a pint glass, poured a dark crimson with a frothy head and nice lacing.
The only smell that surfaced was a metallic odor.
Tasted kind of boring with subtle cocoa notes and malt.
The mouthfeel was smooth medium bodied with minor carbonation.
Overall, there wasn’t much offered here for a brown ale, I think I’d pass it up.

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Photo of tgbljb
4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

served a medium brown beer with modest slightly off-white puffy head.
Smell is mild with some notes of roasted malt and caramel to be found.
Taste also shows roasted malt and caramel. A slight nutty flavor also noted.
Finish is more maltiness with a slight hop presence also beginning to show through.
Very drinkable. Great session beer.

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Photo of ggaughan
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My Grog was served in a standard pint glass with a robust dark brown body and a nice tan head and good lacing on the glass. The aroma is a bit toasted, chocolately and caramel. The taste is a bit more toasted, pleasing to the tongue. The body is rodust and chocolately. I find the medium body easy to drink and very enjoyable.

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Photo of speedy3d
4.03/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer was on tap at a pub in downtown Philly.

This beer had a very dark color with a medium beige head and light carbonation. This beer was extremely smooth and had a slight caramel and chocolate taste with a light coffee-like finish as others have noted.

Overall I was very pleased with this beer and would certainly recommend it.

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Grog from Nodding Head Brewery
Beer rating: 3.68 out of 5 with 70 ratings