Grog | Nodding Head Brewery

41 Reviews
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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:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-24-2002

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Reviews: 41 | Ratings: 70
Photo of Rifugium
2.03/5  rDev -45.3%
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 mactrail
2.27/5  rDev -38.8%
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 cracker
2.73/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Had this one at the Michael Jackson tasting at Penn in Philadelphia. Pours a dark brown almost black color. Smells like a sweet roasted soy sauce. Taste is too roasted and coffee like for a brown ale. Probably over-used the roasted barley in this. Has a solid malt backbone and the sweetness definitely takes prescedence over any hop component. Overall I'd say this is average in my book and could be improved if the roasted malts were cut back a bit.

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Photo of letsgopens
2.86/5  rDev -22.9%
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 LilBeerDoctor
3.06/5  rDev -17.5%
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 tempest
3.23/5  rDev -12.9%
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 donnebaby
3.23/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Grog was served far colder than any of the other brews I sample at Nodding Head -- and with the Philly heat, I liked this very much.

Grog has a stout feel and taste, with a toasty oats backbone and a sweet lacto feel. Notes of caramel. Dry finish. Darkest brown body and a fat tan haze. A mild, creamy black beer, good, but watery, with few memorable characteristics. I wished I'd had another pint of Berliner Weiss instead.

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Photo of WonderWoman
3.32/5  rDev -10.5%
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 Bouleboubier
3.32/5  rDev -10.5%
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 nukem5
3.33/5  rDev -10.2%
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 aracauna
3.34/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A dark ruby color with a nice head makes for a good appearance. The aroma is light, but the flavor is almost smoky with a little coffee and a bit of light chocolate. A lightly bubbly mouthfeel makes this a nicely drinkable brown with a bit of flavor.

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Photo of ChappyCubsFan
3.49/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Grog! That sounds like something they would have brewed in the Middle Ages. I just had to try it in our beer sampler. It smelled pretty good. The malt had some interesting characteristics. But it just didn't pack the wallop I was looking for in a brown ale. Maybe that's intentional. It tasted a bit watered-down, and not much hops for my taste. It was OK and worth the sampling. I'm not sure I would order a pint. Tasted like something Ben Franklin may have served to his buddies.

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Photo of boatshoes
3.71/5  rDev 0%
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 Gavage
3.71/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown in color and had a thin head. Some very light lacing developed through the drink. The aroma was bland, as only some malt was picked up by the nose. The flavor is of thin roasted maltiness, caramel, minor chocolate tones, and some mellow nuttiness.

The mouthfeel was a little thin for this medium bodied beer, and the carbonation was on the light side. Mild caramel tones seem to last well into the aftertaste. Nice drinkability.

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
3.76/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured a dark brown that let through a faint burgundy. The head was thick, smooth and tan that left some nice lace. Smells of smooth caramel malt with a little bit of dirty corn and a metallic nip. Tastes like over-ripe fruit and slightly roasted caramel with a smoky dryness to it that brought about some chocolate-like flavors. The mouth feel is medium bodied with a smooth creamy carbonation. This beer’s a little too sweet for my liking, but its smoothness makes up for it and makes it enjoyable to drink.

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Photo of mvanaskie13
3.8/5  rDev +2.4%
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 cichief
3.8/5  rDev +2.4%
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 jmdrpi
3.83/5  rDev +3.2%
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 akorsak
3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
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 Foxman
3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
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 IPA17
3.89/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A very dark beer for a brown ale, almost opaque in appearance, but very appealing to the sense of sight. Inviting and intriguing from an optical standpoint, the rest of the journey through this beer adventure doesn't exaclty measure up to the auspicious start, though it doesn't fail to satisfy completely. The smell was good but there was a certain lack of strength in the olfactory area, though perhaps my sense of smell was adveresly affected by the cigarette smoke from the person next to me (yuck!). Anyway, it was fair, what little smell I was actually able to injest. The taste was very above average yet not even near exceptional. The dark malts predominate and there is little hop flavor, yet it is still not a typical brown ale. A pretty good mouthfeel and a good drinkability, I recommend this beer.

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Photo of THECPJ
3.92/5  rDev +5.7%
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 Sammy
3.93/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Very good, very drinkable session ale. I seem to have enjoyed it far better than people in 2003 and 2004. So perhaps they have tinkered with it. Rich malt with some bitterness. Dark brown and lace. I could stay with this all night if need be. Great followup 2nd after the bitter hop juice IPA.

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Photo of EmoBeerGuy
3.98/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

When I had this on tap at Nodding Head this weekend, the blackboard at-top the bar said this was a brown ale (hope to clear up some confusion).

Poored with little head, but I was not exspecting much of one. Malty nose. Tasted like an embellished Newcastle, strong malts with a nutty, semi-sweet finish. Very smooth brew. A flavorful, yet easy drinking beer. Much better than the other Nodding Head fair that I sipped (my friends pints). Probably the beer to get if you can only try one down a Nodding Head. Solid brown ale.

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Photo of ggaughan
4/5  rDev +7.8%
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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Grog from Nodding Head Brewery
3.71 out of 5 based on 70 ratings.
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