Old Growler | Nethergate Brewery Co. Ltd.

BA SCORE
86
very good
197 Ratings
Old GrowlerOld Growler
BEER INFO

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

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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
197
Reviews:
150
Avg:
3.82
pDev:
10.73%
 
 
Wants:
7
Gots:
4
For Trade:
0
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 197 |  Reviews: 150
Photo of Cyberkedi
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Strong aroma is malty and smoky with a firm undertone of apple and hints of molasses (should I say treacle?) and licorice. Pours a warm opaque sable that lets in a bit of light at the bottom and has a fairly thick wheat head. Mouth-filling flavor has notes of roast malt, coffee, treacle and licorice. Smooth texture has good, firm body and a fair amount of fizz, not as heavy as a stout but certainly pleasing. Let this one growl for you!

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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.

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Photo of Daniellobo
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice soft porter with good balance and flow.

Presentation: 500 ml brown capped bottle. Label with a seal presided with the rendered image of a mean looking bulldog with a framed belt, and red and gold touches. Brags about different prices with the back noting some historic background. Shows an illegible bottling code on the neck, and shows 5.5% Alc. by Vol. Served in a tulip glass.

A - Very dark brown pour with a nice, rich and creamy tan head.

S - Initial cola, with some coffee and malt, quite restrained nose.

T - Hmm, plenty of coffee upfront... Milk coffee, sweet touch, bitter touch in the finish. Overall malty with some toffee in the horizon.

M - Medium to medium-light body, with medium-low carbonation. Creamy and smooth...

O - It´s actually pretty pleasing and flows with grace.

Notes: The coffee sweetness is not exactly my thing but it is very drinkable and comes together rather nicely. A good brew.

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.31/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Sharp, slightly tannic Porter that pours a deep dark ruby-brown with minimal head. You definitely need to let this one warm awhile until it settles down a little. Glad I tried it but I won't go out of my way to get it again.

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Photo of popery
3.62/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

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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 tavernjef
4.42/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours out into a deep, dark brown, almost black hue with nice thick foam about two fingers high. Sniff away, cuz this is very nice to inhale. Has aroma of deep roasted barley and chocolate, toffee, bread & pastry-like, sweet and even fruity. It reminded me of a chocolate covered jelly donut. Taste is pretty complex and has deep dark richness, covering alot of coffee, chocolate, tootsie rolls, heavy roasted malt, and fruit sugars. Has a great earthy, dry bitterness to it. Super smooth,thick, and rich. The balance of paled malts with roasted malts and the breadyness is super good. I just kept thinking I was drinking a liquid chocolate cookie.This is quite an amazing porter. Yum.

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Photo of RoyalT
3.55/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – Dark brown in color with a tinge of red and a nice head.

Smell – There’s some big sherry and port scents in there. The toasted malt gives these a foundation, but this one has a very sweet aroma.

Taste – The toasted malt is a little more supportive in the taste, but the sherry still runs this show.

Mouthfeel – I thought this was the beers strong point. The sweet flavor and smooth character felt incredible on the tongue and cheeks.

Drinkability – Not my idea of a porter. It probably met the textbook definition, but I like my porter bigger and more complex.

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Photo of ROGUE16
3.25/5  rDev -14.9%

Photo of Jame515
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

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.

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

From BeerAdvocate magazine Issue #61 (Feb 2012):

LOOK: Nearly pitch black

SMELL: Coffee, fudge, dried figs, brown bread, burnt sugar, nutty yeast, toasted bread

TASTE: Very smooth, medium body, bready, carob powder, dried plums, peppery, estery, mild charcoal, nutty, coffee, buttery, semidry finish

Brewed from a London recipe that dates back to 1750, this is one of those beers that novice beer drinkers should be forced to drink in order to experience the Porter beer style. Delicious. Serve at a cellar temperature to maximize your enjoyment.

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Photo of cokes
3.23/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Shadow-laden tea under a bleached gray cap.
Slightly scorched herbal nose.
Toasty right away. Hints at cocoa, but stays too quiet. More of a branded tree bark. Earthy towards the middle. Light hazelnut sweetness, leaning ever-so-slightly in the prune and liquorice direction. Hopping is mutely substancial and very herbal. A burn barrel full of dried Autumn leaves.
This is relatively nice, but far too introverted.
Light bodied and boring, despite its monster drinkability.

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Photo of RochefortChris
3.25/5  rDev -14.9%

Photo of mdagnew
3.58/5  rDev -6.3%
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...

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Photo of RedDiamond
3.97/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bottle of this at Whiteside’s in Corvallis. Oddly enough I’d never seen Old Growler at any retailer in Portland. Never even heard of it. But I’m glad I found it because it’s really a decent brew. It bears little resemblance to contemporary American or English porters, but the label states that the recipe dates to 18th century London. Accordingly, I accepted the beer for what it is though I have no idea how authentic that may be.

My half liter bottle was dusty but well preserved. The beer immediately greeted me with a sugar-bread aroma while the body is very light for a porter and bloody red moreso than brown. There wouldn’t appear to be any unmalted roasted barley in this recipe and that strikes me as curious. The hops are very timid here and are strictly relegated to no more than logistical support in the bittering range. In fact, the taste suggests low attenuation and the brew is very mild bodied.

I find that this beer tastes somehow comforting (or am I just sentimental for old-style traditional designs?) The taste delivers plenty of sweetness and probably some good nutritional carbs. Nothing here is especially roasted and the beer would seem to draw closer to a sweet brown ale than to a Fuller’s or St. Peters. Ultimately a very clean and drinkable ale though not very porterly in the modern sense.

Note: this beer is erroneously listed as an American porter. It is anything but.

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Photo of Brent
3.02/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured a dark cola color, with a good deal of light penetration observed around the edges. Aroma was a bit vinious, red wine and dark fruit. Not much head even on vigorous pour. Mouthfeel was moderately thin. Up front, the beer boasts a medium dark-roasted malt flavor, and a firm, non-aromatic hops bittering lands at the back of the tongue. The beer dries at the finish. The beer bills itself as a "traditional English porter," so I wouldn't expect it to be loaded up with hops or carry an unusual malt load, but, even so, this beer lacks substance. Seemed to have more in common with a mild brown ale than a porter.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.01/5  rDev +5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I am sampling a bottle of this beer and pouring into a pint glass. The beer pours a dark brown color with a frothy beige head foaming up and fading quickly to an edge layer.
Aroma is rich chocolate candy bar and some cocoa powder chalkiness too. Very rich on the nose.
First sip reveals a smoooth texture and very light carbonation. Flavor is roasted malt up front and some chocolate. The finish is slightly grassy hops. The body really thins out to almost watery on the finish. While this doesnt really do it for me I know it is typical of ENglish porters.
Overall this is a tasty and easy to drink beer. Just dont expect a robust brew!

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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 Pegasus
3.65/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a deep mahogany color, verging on ebony. Although its difficult to discern, there are a few slow-rising bubbles. The head is small and tan-colored, it slowly settles to scattered patches of foam. The lacing is quite good.

Aroma: Earth and smoke notes vie with dark fruits, molasses and dark bread for dominance of the aroma.

Taste: Begins with a brief sweet note, soon followed by molasses, coffee, bitter chocolate and wine notes and a slightly dry finish. Interestingly, there is a subtle sting of carbonation throughout the taste.

Mouth feel: A bit thin, but certainly not bad.

Drinkability/notes: Quite wonderful, should be sipped slowly and savored, like a fine whiskey. I think that it would be particularly inviting on a cold day.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.38/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I really enjoy this beer. It is has a strong chocolate/coffee impression, but has a decent bitterness in the beer. The aroma is again of coffee/chocolate. The body on this beer is spot on for a porter, and I can see why it has been awarded the titles in the UK it has achieved.

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Photo of CRJMellor
3.43/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep maroon with yellow highlights. Small white head, falls apart quickly leaving minor lace.
Aromas of roasted coffee and chocolate dominate.
Flavor is sweet chocolate, roasted barley, some espresso notes. Finish leaves a lingering bitterness.
Very light in the mout, too watery for the style.
Drinkability is OK, nothing really too great.

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Photo of matjack85
5/5  rDev +30.9%

Photo of beerguy101
3.36/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown color, large head. A Medium bodied English style porter. Mild malts, slightly roasted. Very mild hops. Malts somewhat chocolaty. A mild tasting porter, typical of the English style. Lots of flavor. Mouthfeel is a little thin. Finish is clean and crisp. Aftertaste is slightly bitter.

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Photo of ADR
4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Clearish darker brown to coffee color...head is small and just a skim after 30 seconds. Deep and slightly rum/raisin aromas. Low carbonation adds to medium-bodied mouthfeel, slightly coating. Impressive bittering in the brew, flavors of brown sugar but also of some coffee and grape. Taste grows deeper the farther it gets in the mouth and finishes as java with a touch of a phenolic impression. It does tastes like an old recipe and reminds me of the days of blending roasty, smoky stout-like beers of low carbonation into a Porter. Interesting...

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