Old Growler | Nethergate Brewery Co. Ltd.

Old GrowlerOld Growler
197 Ratings
Old GrowlerOld Growler

Brewed by:
Nethergate Brewery Co. Ltd.
England, United Kingdom

Style: English Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-10-2002

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Ratings: 197 |  Reviews: 150
Photo of Irish12
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of BlackHaddock
4/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

 587 characters

Photo of twiggamortis420
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

'Supreme Champion of Great Britain', eh? Must be good then if the label says it is so...500 mL bottle pours a very dark brown color and shows a few highlighted edges. Head is a rich and creamy tan color and displays decent retention and great lacing.

Nose is pretty nice, rum-soaked dark fruit with some chocolate and chalky minerals. Pretty bold for the ABV and right on for the style.

Taste has many of the same attributes as the nose and has a chocolate covered raisin flavor that is pretty typical of a British porter. Some roast comes out as well as some lighter fruit, almost like a melon salad. Very tasty beverage and finishes pretty dry despite a decent amount of sweetness up front. Mouthfeel is nice and creamy with a touch of chalkboard to it. While I think I like Taddy Porter from Samuel Smith's a little better, Old Growler is a very good beer that I could drink again and again. I am quickly coming to realize that English Porters might be in my top 15 favorite styles.

 987 characters

Photo of Tumble
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of bigred89
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of avalon07
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a dark brown color and a thick consistency. There was an inch of creamy, off white, fairly long-lasting head. Very good lacing.

S: Smelled of malt, chocolate, and some coffee.

T: Tasted of malt, first and foremost, with notes of chocolate, coffee and toffee. A somewhat mild flavor, typical of English porters. Solid enough.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a dry, smooth finish. Medium-bodied.

O: There's nothing overly special about this beer, but it is a nicely made, drinkable brew.

 540 characters

Photo of superspak
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle into pint glass, L1125 bottle code. Pours fairly crystal clear dark reddish brown color with a 1-2 finger dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass. Aromas of caramel, toast, toffee, raisin, fig, cocoa, brown bread, molasses, light roast, herbal, and toasted earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt and yeast ester notes; with good strength. Taste of caramel, toast, toffee, brown bread, cocoa, molasses, raisin, fig, light roast, herbal, and toasted earthiness. Lingering notes of caramel, toast, toffee, molasses, brown bread, cocoa, raisin, fig, light roast, herbal, and toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice balance, complexity, and robustness of dark/roasted malt and fruity yeast ester flavors; with zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied; with a moderately creamy and slightly slick/chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with no warming present after the finish. Overall this is a damn nice English porter style. All around good balance, robustness, and complexity of dark/roasted malt and fruity yeast ester flavors; and very smooth to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

 1,301 characters

Photo of kew
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of kobeer
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: Comes in a 1 Pint 0.9 fluid ounce “Half Litre” Bottle. Simple looking obverse label, that has a dark green belted oval with the words ‘Old Growler, a Traditional English Porter’ with the head of a fierce looking British Bulldog underneath. Crown capped with a different picture of an equally menacing looking Bulldog. Scary stuff. First Brewed in 1989, three years after the Brewery was established, it is brewed to an original London recipe which dates back to 1750, and it has been a firm favorite ever since and is often seen in the UK Cask Free Trade. I have never seen it in bottles, so I reckoned I should check it out.

Appearance: Dark brown clear looking mahogany body with a lovely, rather fluffy tanned head that has some large bubbles sat atop its otherwise smooth looking surface. The head has good staying powers and never gets below ¼”. Nice conditioning.

Nose: Malts laden with a liquorice toffee feel. Dark fruity aromas and pungent warm wafts of roast malts with dark chocolate & coffee in the back-end.

Taste: Slightly sweet/sour beginnings with a strong but short punch of roast malts. Middle is definitely fruity. Dark cooking chocolate ending with a nice hop bitterness. Lingering chocolate with some light liquorish skid-marks on the tongue. The finish has a vinous Old Ale character to it which is highly enjoyable.

Mouthfeel: Smooth body, the conditioning is perfect and adds a nice dimension to the feel of this beer in the mouth and on the tongue. Has quite a powerful feel, way higher than the 5.5% would suggest.

Drinkability: No problems, I loved this one, brought back some memories of a few trips to Suffolk. A great Porter that drinks well.

Overall: Better as it warms. Not easy to “get” straight away, you have to work at this one, but it is rewarding & worth it. It’s very interesting to see these old recipes re-activated, and to see how much they differ from peoples “perceptions” of what a “good porter should taste like”. Try this and the Flag Porter next to each other and it is obvious that Porters of old were not as strong, thick and dark as people imagine, or rather should I say “led to believe”. The vinous trait in the back end is particularly authentic and often missed in more modern day versions.

I have drunk this beauty on Cask more times than I care to even remember when I lived in England. Somehow, its body and complexity loose a little something in the bottle. Nevertheless, this is a solid beer that is well worth trying.

A former CAMRA Champion Beer of Britain. But its favored serving method remains Cask-Conditioned, dispensed through an Angram Quarter Pull Beer Engine with a tight Sparkler (despite what the Brewery say), for me at least.

 2,755 characters

Photo of videofrog
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of harpus
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of Hellmeh
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of kbub6f
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

This beer is brown/black, mostly clear. Garnet against the light. The head is a minimal, yellowish-beige film. There is one spot of lacing, maybe two. Sweet chocolate in the nose with a little toffee, maybe a little nuts. The front shows unsweetened chocolate, roasty and tangy. The flat, oily middle is a little sick and a little buttery. Bitter chocolate in the tangy, buttery, roasty, toffee finish. This is a very good beer that falls short of great. But it does develop nicely with temperature, getting more creamy and rich. Quite enjoyable.

 546 characters

Photo of HardTarget
4/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

 1,178 characters

Photo of BillRoth
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of PEIhop
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of KevinRailton
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of mrfrancis
4/5  rDev +4.7%

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.

 352 characters

Photo of THECPJ
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes:

appearance: dark brown black with a 1 finger mocha head

smell: chocolate, roast, malts,

taste: chocolate, malts, sweet

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium body,

overall: a nice porter. easy to drink very chocolaty. glad I got to try it and Thank you mom for picking this bottle up since it had a bulldog on the bottle.


 363 characters

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of ActonBrewer
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of laxer8811
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of russpowell
3.99/5  rDev +4.5%
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

 372 characters

Old Growler from Nethergate Brewery Co. Ltd.
Beer rating: 3.82 out of 5 with 197 ratings
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