Old Growler | Nethergate Brewery Co. Ltd.

very good
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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 150 | Ratings: 197
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.

 563 characters

Photo of AlexJ
3.6/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Old Growler pours from the bottle a dark, coffee hued color with a creamy head the color of chocolate milk.

Aromas of chocolate, coffee, raisins, port, and oaky vanilla are present, but a bit on the subtle side.

Chocolate and coffee are the main flavors, accented by a plummy raisin taste and countered by a nice floral hop finish.

The body is light and almost thin, yet retains a creamy smooth texture. Definately a middle of the road porter, light enough for drinking on a hot day.

 492 characters

Photo of beertastegood
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a nearly opaque amber, with a smallish rocky tan head. Aromas of raisins, burnt coffee and a hint of plum. Tastes more like burnt coffee than anything else...dry finish. A lot thinner on the body than I would have expected, as I like my porters thick and chewy. However, the one positive aspect of this characteristic is that it makes this beer very drinkable for its style. A very middle-of-the-road porter.

 414 characters

Photo of BeerFink
3.42/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark reddish brown, pretty close to black coffee. Topped by a quickly dissipating, anemic looking white head. Aroma is more complex than I would have expected. Coffee, chocolate, and roasted barley, with some fruit and a little nuttiness. Quite a bit of caramel in there too. Some alcohol presence in the nose as well. The first thing I notice as I sip is the thin mouthfeel. Taste is actually decent, despite the almost watery mouthfeel. Bitter chocolate and roasted barley, some coffee dominate. Some nutty qualites are apparent, and a hint of fruit. English hops are present in a subdued state. Finish is dry and coffee like, along with slight tannin astringency. Not a bad porter, but not outstanding in any way. Overall, I would describe it as thin. For some reason I have an image of English soldiers drinking this and cursing about it.

 850 characters

Photo of GreenCard
3.18/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: mahogany, good clarity, spongey layer of tannish foam, stands of lace

Aroma: bananas, chocolate milk, hazelnuts, hint of coffee and malt

Flavor: cola, roast, banana peels, a bt nutty and some hints of dark chocolate, slight sweetness, vegetal hop flavor, finishes dry with a tangy roasty aftertaste

Mouthfeel: medium body, gentle carbonation, minerally, a bit warming

Other comments: Sort of a weird one. The banana-ness seems out of place, but I suppose it makes it interesting.

 503 characters

Photo of isubsmith
3.42/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark brown, dark reddish tints. Off-white head. Some lacing.

Nose: Chocolate, roasty malts. Fainter than I would expect for a porter. A bit of carmel.

Taste: Not bad. Chocolatey coffee flavors up front. Lots of malt. A mild hop finish.

Drinkability: Pretty drinkable. I've had better porters, but this is still pretty good. Definately worth a try at least.

 379 characters

Photo of mgdeth
3.93/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Murky brown, with garnet highlights. Good off-white head, okay head retention, and good beer lace. Low to medium carbonation.

Smell - Chocolatey. For some reason this beer reminds me of the smell of a dark lager. This might be due to the lack of hop aroma. Still, it smells tasty and delightful.

Taste - This is a down and dirty, old-fashioned tasting porter. Rich malty and chocolatey taste. This is followed by a roasty coffee flavor. Malt is emphasized more than bitterness. There is a bit of astringency (that makes me think "hard water") as well.

Mouthfeel - Gritty, yet it is not super thick. The body is adequate, and is accented by the roasty flavor.

Drinkability - Quite quaffable, even with its strong flavors. This beer is easy to keep on sippin'.

Comments - This is pretty good stuff, and definitely worth a try. It has a few characteristics that remind me of lager beer, which is pretty strange.

 936 characters

Photo of jdhilt
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a two-finger light tan head that fades slowly leaving a good lace. Deep, clear amber color. Medium carbonation and heavy bodied. Nose is roasted coffee. Starts and finishes with a roasted chocolate/coffee flavor, this porter epitomizes an English porter. $3.50 for a 500 ml bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, MA.

 324 characters

Photo of hungryghost
3.57/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with a subtle head, not much carbonation. No lacing.
Roasted malt in the aroma, later hint of coffee.
Immediately taste the roasted malt, slight smokiness, mild coffee finish.
Mouthfeel is a bit thin but I think the taste makes up for it.
Good flavor and easy to drink, nothing stands out drastically. This is a pleasant all around average porter.

 368 characters

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.

 277 characters

Photo of BeerBuilder
4.12/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours to a deep brown color with a creamy light brown head. The aroma is of roasted malts and toasted malts. It has a nice dark chocolate aroma as well. The flavor is toasty and bready which then flows to a light roastiness and chocolate finish. It has a light hoppy flavor throughout. In the finish is a bit of hop and roast malt bitterness. I very nice drinking porter.

 371 characters

Photo of BrewMaster
3.47/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Served on tap in a standard pint glass at Lucky Baldwin's at the BA Throwdown. It had a weird head made of of very large bubbles. A good portion of the bubbles were the size of Skittles, maybe a bit smaller. It had moderate head retention but the whole time I was looking at it I just kept thinking how stange it looked. The color is dark brown to black liquid with slight amber hues. Almost no light passes through it.

Smell: Again the weirdness comes in. There is sort of a spicy fruit smell to it, but nothing to distinct that I can name. Not very roasty in smell.

Taste: My first few sips of this beer I did not like it. But about halfway through the pint I changed my mind and became fond of the flavor. The beer is lightly sour with a big flavor of plum. It has some dry sweetness to it as well as a sandy, earthy flavor.

Mouthfeel: The sourness is not enough to make my mouth pucker so it is comfortably balanced by the sweetness.

Drinkability: This one gets better as it warms a bit and as more of it passes over my palate. I can't say I love this beer, but with its intriguing flavor I might consider drinking it again.

 1,152 characters

Photo of DrJay
3.92/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear, dark brown beer with coppery/red highlights topped by a dense, light brown head of fine bubbles that reduced quickly to a thin lace. Nice stickage to the sides of the glass. Roasted maltiness leaves the most impression in the aroma, but there is a bit of chocolate and light fruitiness. Burnt, roasted flavour to start, followed by malty sweetness and finishes with a lingering bitterness. Bitterness is fairly mild but balanced, and comes from both hops and roasted grain. The body was a bit thin, but the texture was quite smooth and was aided by the medium/low carbonation.

500 mL brown bottle with best before date stamped on rear label.

 651 characters

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.

 484 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.32/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a clear light dark beer with a medium head with standard retention. Aroma is a mix of roasted malt and chocolate. Taste is a bit surprising with quite strong chocolate notes with nice roasted malt with subtle hops and a thin watery finish. Body was lighter then expected for a porter. Overall, this is like a light chocolate porter – not bad, just different I guess.

 382 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.45/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Old Growler is one of the lightest porters that you'll ever see. Non-opaque reddish copper with bright orange highlights capped with a less than firm beige head that doesn't linger as long as it might. Neither does it appear to be all that sticky; therefore... almost no lace.

The underpowered nose has notes of dark malt and dark, dried fruits such as currants and figs. Maybe a whiff of carob, but no dark chocolate or coffee; it's just not *that* kind of porter. The flavor is bolder and more outgoing than the nose, but this beer tastes more like a dark lager than a porter.

My taste buds register flavors of heavily toasted malt, dark toffee and the same dark fruits mentioned above. The body/mouthfeel is overly thin (acceptable, makes it drinkable) and overly fizzy (not acceptable). The finish is modestly bitter, dry and tea-like.

The label informs the drinker that this is 'a traditional English porter' and that the recipe is 254 years old. That's traditional by anyone's definition. Be that as it may, Old Growler isn't really my thing. Simple to drink? Sure. Stands out in any way? Nope. I'm sure that there are adherents to this type of porter in general and this beer in particular, but I'll give it a friendly, respectful pass.

 1,253 characters

Photo of Sammy
4.23/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Seemed a cross between a barleywine and a Porter in aroma and taste. Easier drink than a thick stout. Tan brown with a modest amount of lace. And not overpowering as a barleywine. Nice, medium/bit thin mouthfeel. Malty, modest roasty. This works for the sum of its parts.

 271 characters

Photo of BeerResearcher
3.94/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16.09oz brown bottle. No freshness date.
It pours a deep dark mahogany with a thin and fading beige head.
The smell is of slightly burnt toast and brown bread.
A taste of coffee and dark roast malt are upfront. A hint of dark bitter chocolate and smoke peek through.
This brew is fairly hoppy for a Porter. Edgy citrus and a slightly sour tartness mix with a light tea-like bitterness. A mild piney taste is noticed in the finish. A hint of alcohol is present throughout.

 476 characters

Photo of Guinness4me
3.47/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This gem poured a dark coffee color with a slight cream head with a soapy, cascading lace.

The smell had me stumped for a bit...sweet breads, molasses and and tobacco leaves. Extraordinary!

The taste was impressive as well with slight hazelnut and fig flavors. The most pronounced flavor was deep, rich coffee.

I found the tastiest part of this beer was the aftertaste which reminded me of coffee candy. A very nice porter that I will definitely enjoy again.

 469 characters

Photo of pootz
4.07/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled 5.5% version. Poured a lovely dark cherry cola color with a respectable tan cap that goes to a sticky lace....delicious aromas of smokey figs. Low carbonation. Front side is mild, smooth sweet roasty malt pronounced....great mixture of fruity tastes, burnt toffee and some juicy lemony hops that ride in the background to keep this porter from becoming too sweet...finishes up fairly clean with a wonderful bready-sweet lemony tastes...A nice porter....one of the best I've tried for being very smooth and drinkable...well put together. like a casked draft porter from the 1800s Recommended.

 599 characters

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. It’s an uncommon porter, but drinkable, has a pleasing smell, and is worth a try (once).

 487 characters

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.55/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Tried this on cask at the Romsey Beer Festival in Hampshire UK.

It has an ink black appearance with a big tan head that sticks around for a while (something that seems quite unusual with British Cask ales). The aroma is very toasty and full of coffee flavors. The taste is very intense. Lots of dark chocolate, deep coffee flavors, toastiness and a very strong bitterness. A very bold Porter. The mouthfeel is velvety smooth. Absolutely amazing, one of my favorite cask beers I had in England... packed with flavor.

 519 characters

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.

 294 characters

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.

 618 characters

Photo of Morris729
3.97/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown, almost black, color with little to no head and only a thin collar of tan lace. Nose is a bit subdued at first but becomes more pronounced as the beer warms with notes of raisiny port, molasses, cocoa, and black liquorish. Medium to full in body with a winey texture. Tastes begins with roasted malts and dark fruit followed by some unsweetened chocolate. Next is some smoky and earthy notes of burnt wood and charcoal followed by some mildly sour prune notes. A nice brew that should be drunk near room temperature.

 540 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.