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Old Growler | Nethergate Brewery Co. Ltd.

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very good
150 Reviews
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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Reviews: 150 | Ratings: 197
Photo of LacquerHead
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not pitch black - poured a barely translucent brown with a tint of red. Had a good head retention but it eventually settled to a strong lace with a few mounds of foam here and there.

The aroma reminded me of maraschino cherries and light malts.
After a while the smell took on a gritty quality.

At first it had a dark fruity taste, sort of like strawberries or dark cherries. However, that flavor quickly subsided and took a back seat to the malts. The malts were a bit subdued. There was not much bitter hops.

M/F: Prickly carbonation. A very easy to drinking porter.

Overall I though the name and picture on the bottle were very appropriate. This beer had an "ashtray and cigarettes" quality - and I mean that in a good way. It reminded me of a smoky ol' pool hall. This brew made me want to smoke a cigar. It was not bad and I enjoyed the beer. I could easily drink a few of these in a session. I'd probably buy this again and would happily revisit it, but for now I'm glad I tried it - I'll be moving on.

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Photo of maxpower
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear reddish-brown in color, small creamy light tan head that doesn't last, some lacing. Aroma of dark roasted coffee and malts. Light body, thin and soft mouthfeel. Smokey coffee and chocolate flavors, with a light burnt bitterness in the finish, somewhat watery but tasty and very drinkable.

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Photo of TheSarge
3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

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Photo of GClarkage
3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
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?

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Photo of sinistermadman
3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Crimson hued dark brown in color with a slight head that all but lasts a couple of seconds. Smell is of toffee or caramel with a chocolate nose. Aroma is somewhat faint. Medium bodied with a slight to moderate level of carbonation. Taste is of chocolate/caramel malt with a slight citrus tinge. Malt flavors preside over the other ingredients. Drinkability is derived from the subdued nature of flavors, which is not to say it is a good thing. Mouthfeel is somewhat slippery or dare I say watery. Could be a bit more aggressive with the flavor profile. Worth a try but there are plenty of other more interesting and more assertive examples of the style out there.

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Photo of Kromes
3.71/5  rDev -2.9%
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.

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Photo of EmperorBevis
3.71/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip Guinness glass to form a reddish black pint with a thick slightly off white head that curtained the glass luverly.

The smell rather than aroma was slightly off putting marsh like peat and diesel.

The taste is a sweet treat though bonfire toffee as beer, cinder and treacle it is slightly cloying with the sugary taste and I doubt anyone could down this in one.

Heavy on the sweetness but nice if you hold your nose.
Would buy again and split a bottle with the missus.

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Photo of juju7
3.73/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

All round a decent representation of an old school porter. Chocolate, bitumen and cocoa on the nose. Surprisingly thin in the mouth given the ABV. A little grainy and powdery, some more of the cocoa. Fairly pleasant though not particularly memorable. Would have again but not at theprice I paid-$9 500ml.

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Photo of whynot44
3.74/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

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Photo of aforbes10
3.76/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

got a bottle of this in houston. pours fluffy brown with a surprizingly white head. head settles to a nice creamy layer after a while. sweet malty, unremarkable odor. taste is very smooth, slightly burnt malt. tasty. vague, nicely subtle hops. very easy to drink. a good catch and a fine example of the more traditional porter.

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Photo of baiser
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a dark brown body, almost opaque. Head was disappointing, even after a hard pour. Lacing was ok, but this wasn't a very visually attractive beer.

Aroma of roasted malts, chocolate and a candy-like sweetness.

Taste was initially burnt chocolate and bitter coffee. After the bitterness passes, it's actually quite sweet and candy like. I'd say it was a bit too sweet for me. There's a nice roasted character. Good balance with the bitterness. Medium bodied. A solid porter.

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Photo of aaronh
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a medium brown with amber highlights. The cream colored, thin head fades to a ring around the glass sides. Toasted biscuity malt aromas are doppled with sweetness. On the tongue, an assertive roasted flavor is accompanied by a touch of smoke. Decent bitterness is in the finish. The mouthfeel is ample, but not specifically noteworthy. The drinkability is good. I enjoyed this english porter that uses a very old recipe. I especially liked the unique malt tastes this beer presents. This beer seems more enjoyable in my memory than my notes indicate, so this one may be deserving of another review while at home. Overall, a very enjoyable beer.

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Photo of Stimack
3.81/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This brew pored to a nice dark brown color, hedging on black with a think lighter tan head. Head had some legs and left some lacing down the sides. The aroma seems light which I guess surprised me a little. What was there was chocolate malt in nature but seemed a little muted but was more noticeable than the very slight coffee note. The taste was good, nice malt flavors showcasing both roasted and chocolate some fruit like flavors are there as well which goes nicely. Easy drinking brew, quite smooth. Overall this is a solid brew, flavor really made up for the aroma IMO. The ease of drinking this one was nice, made you wishing for more. Not close to the best I have had but a solid choice.

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Photo of ybnorml
3.82/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark brown beer with strong red highlights. Has a thick beige head. There is a strong coffee character with a chocolate background in the aroma. A big rush of coffee flavor followed by some chocolate sweetmess and back to a black coffe bitterness for the finish. Quite tasty.

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Photo of Commandogeraldo
3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Great toffee and caramel in the nose of this one. Nice roasted coffee flavor in the finish. Some elements of molasses and plum as well. Overall, a nice brew, very drinkable, and I can see why it has as many followers as it does. Continues to be one of the popular items at my store whenever I can get it on the shelf.

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Photo of jjboesen
3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a basic English porter that is brewed from a 1750 recipe by Nethergate Brewery, a very small brewer in Suffolk. (Incidentally, my bottle pictures a fierce looking bulldog on the label.)

It pours a quick head that crowns a body of pitch black - there is little carbonation and a minimum of lace. The nose is overwhelmed by strong waft of molasses while the palate receives a hearty molasses bite that fades into a subtly sweet maltiness. The Old Growler's mouthfeel is a bit chewy; yet, the body, itself, is suprisingly light. a smoothly balanced example of the style. Grrr!

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Photo of Dewey0603
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear dark reddish brown with a medium tan head with no lacing. The smell is pungent with dark fruit,raisins,molasses,and alittle chocolate. The taste is like the smell. Dark fruit,molasses,brown sugar,and roasted malt make this a very drinkable porter. The m/f is light and abit thin,but the flavors mix well making this a very easy drinking porter and a nice start on St. Patty's Day.

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Photo of Bung
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml Very dirty brown pour, thin layer of off white tops it off.

Aroma, roast, chocolate, an earthy yeastiness.

Taste, It is nice and malty. Caramel, pecan, chocolates. There is fainter red and grape like fruits. Finishes a nutty cocoa, with a yeasty spice note.

Good lighter side of mid bodied and fairly lively. Still coats almost creamy. Drinks very easily. Spot on English style, brown ale porter.

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Photo of allengarvin
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a nonik glass. Pours an opaque very dark brown with a quickly fading tan head. Very lightly roasted cocoa nose. Malt comes through more prominantly with the taste: toasty, medium-dark-chocolate sweetness, some roasty bitterness but low hops, with a nice undercurrent of fruitiness. Finish is mostly clean with slight lingering maltiness. Body is a little thin, but that's often typical of porters. Crisp texture.

Not my favorite style by far, but this mostly hits what I count for "English porter".

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Photo of biegaman
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A repugnant little porter it is! Quite "dogged" (hehe). But really, that word is appropriate, this is porter with an attitude! Deep chestnut colour, no real head. A great blend of bitter and sweet with plenty of flavour. Light roast. Ample satisfaction in all fields. All in all, I have enjoyed this very much.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

When held up to the light this beer shows a brilliantly clear, sparkling concentrated ruby color, otherwise it is a deep, opaque amber hued dark, dark brown color. It is topped by a frothy, initially finger and a half thick, dirty, brown tinged tan color. The aroma is sweet and concentrated; notes of ample malt show aromas of toffee, caramel, sherry, touches of chocolate, toasted & even lightly burnt grain. A soft dark, burnt fruitiness is also here, I notice notes of raisins and figs in equal amounts, and even a related note of rum.

The taste is light up front, but has a rich, concentrated burnt caramel sweetness that certainly leans towards toffee at times. It finishes with an exaggerated malt character similar to the malt found in chocolate-malt-ball candies. A dry note comprised of a touch of chalk and dark chocolate lingers along in the finish along with a toasty, yet sweetish malt note. There is some fruitiness here as well. For some reason I want to say I taste a note of cherry (really a chocolate covered cherry note), but I can't really say why; I definitely taste notes of figs and prunes and even some roasted raisin notes, but not sure why I want to say cherry. This beer is quite quaffable, it is light on the tongue, but has a depth of flavor which allows it to linger on in the palate. This is quite enjoyable, I can imagine that this would taste quite good on cask.

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Photo of wl0307
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

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Photo of Suds
3.86/5  rDev +1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Dark, opaque, brown and slightly reddish color with a negligible head. Roasted and burnt malt aromas with a touch of under-ripe fruit and a sweet, grist-like smell. Coffee and bit of hops in the aroma as well. Initially sweet, with a sharp hop finish. Mid-taste is somewhat hollow and the mouthfeel is light, nearly watery. Still, the beer has a soft feel about it, in a very easy-drinking manner. ItÂ’s an uncommon porter, but drinkable, has a pleasing smell, and is worth a try (once).

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Photo of GRG1313
3.87/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with a thick, rich and firm khaki head. Nice looking.

Nose is roasted light coffee with plum tones and hints of cooked stone fruit.

Mouthfeel is medium but with a richness, creamy character and brightness. There is actually a "refreshing" quality to this which is a bit unique in my experience for a porter.

Flavors are assertive, albeit simple, roasted coffee, roasted grain and burnt toast, with an almost lemon citric front palate that goes to the bitter roast.

Finish is medium bitter espresso and lightly burned coffee. Nice drink and very appealing. You want to keep drinking it.

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Photo of scooter231
3.87/5  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.

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Old Growler from Nethergate Brewery Co. Ltd.
3.82 out of 5 based on 197 ratings.
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