Old Growler | Nethergate Brewery Co. Ltd.

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Old GrowlerOld Growler
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

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Ratings: 197 |  Reviews: 150
Photo of HochFliegen
4.27/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer had little to no head with minimum amount of carbanation. The color was a deep brown with slight red tints to it. The smell was malty almost a carmel smell with a little hint of fruity tones. The taste was carmely as well with a hint of coffee and maybe even chocolate. It was amazing I really enjoyed the taste of this beer it was very smooth and clean. The mouthfeel was oily and bold. This is one of my new favorite beers.

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Photo of moulefrite
4.32/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very little, if no head-the the color is deep brown, near black and appears to be very thick and viscous in texture-some ruby hues. Aromas are fruit driven (raisin/prune) deeply roasted, and a tad woody. In the mouth the beer is quite dry, and again very fruity. Fruit and dark chocolate come to mind as well as freshly brewed coffee. Woody and even slightly oxidized notes appear as well. On the finish a kiss of sweet cream. This is a fine porter, but not the run of the mill type. Give this one a couple shots and it wil surely grow on you.

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Photo of Doiv
3.91/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Now this one is a real treat. It emerges from the pump as dark as an Old Peculier, and it has that very ashen, smokey feel that makes Old Speckled Hen so great.

This has an incredibly strong flavour, putting it somewhere between a mild and a stout. (If such a thing is possible!) It tastes dense and almost silty, with a very dry, crisp overtone reminiscent of Guinness Original. This is a real winner.

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Photo of Gusler
3.6/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer evacuates the bottle and pours a transparent deep incarnadine color, the head minute in size, the texture spumous, and the color a light tan with the lace a filmy slip to conceal the glass. The nose has a light toasted grain aroma at the front, slight sweetness in the middle and the end fresh and clean to the senses with the start nicely malted with a touch of caramel sweetness, top is thin in its feel. Finish is bearably acidic, the hops judicious in their spiciness, very dry aftertaste that lingers on the palate, a drinkable and light English Style Porter.

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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 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 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 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 TerryW
3/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours dark cola colour with a short head that very quickly leaves the glass, no lace.

Smells of coffee, chocolate and malt (maybe some prunes) and comes across the same way on the palate. Bitter finish. Kind of one-dimensional compared to some others of these I've had. Medium bodied.

Nothing special, but nothing to cause me to turn it down flat, either.

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

It comes in a brown 16.9 oz bottle with an angry bulldog in a spiky collar on the label. It pours a lighter than expected dark reddish brown that allows plenty of light to pass through. The tan head foams up quickly but fades a bit and leaves a nice layer on top of the glass, along with a trail of lace. The smell is fairly complex combination of chocolate, bread or biscuit, and traces of ripe fruit. The taste is also quite nice, with roasted flavors adding to the flavor of chocolate and biscuit. Unfortunately, it's a bit on the thin side. However, it's quite drinkable. All in all, a pretty good effort.

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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 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 Shiloh
3.25/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Not a brew to my liking but either is the style. It pours a very deep brown with a limited head and some minor glass ring. The body is medium/full and the aroma is clean. The taste is pleasent enough, starting with a sweet bakers chocolate progressing to a bitter chocolate finish. I am sure it is an aquired taste to which I have not been elavated to, at least yet.

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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 TXHops
4.54/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

-Malts: Maris Otter pale malt, wheat flour, and crystal, black
-Hops: Challenger

Nethergate’s Old Growler Porter was one of my recent new finds on my trip to Austin. Very exciting to find a new-to-me-English beer… Old Growler pours a brownish-black color, with cola-looking highlights. The 2 fingers of foam settled into ¼ inch of very lacey head. A pungent aroma of bready, sweet, chocolaty, fruity malts races out of my Nonick pint, treating my nose to quite the sensation. It almost smells like chocolate-flavored waffles. The flavor follows the lead established by the esters—bready, sweet, fruity maltiness mingles with a lovely, earthy dryness to construct a tantalizing, slightly bitter porter. The nose is more powerful than the flavor, creating a sense of this beer being way bigger than it is. A single sniff suggests an OG of more than 1.065. This boasting by the aroma carries through somewhat into the flavor and is only belied only a little by a slight thinness in the body and a touch of sourness in the tail.

I’m happy to report that I think I learned something while drinking this beer. As I was sniffing away at the rich aromatics produced by this beer, I realized that it smelled almost identical to Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, which was one of the best smelling beers I’ve ever come across. The most obvious shared trait between the two is the use of wheat in the grist, which appears to mix with the pale malts and darker malts to create an intoxicating, cookie/waffle smell. It’s addictive really…

The beer continued on to feature the sweet, doughy maltiness and a bit of yummy but vague fruitiness, which added a nice shot of complexity to an already intriguing beer. My only complaints were with the ever-so-slight thinness in the body (which can’t really be helped in a standard-gravity brew) and the suggestion of sourness at the end of a swallow. Really, this beer only suffers from a case o the aroma writing a check that the flavor can’t possibly cash without having twice the alcohol. As a result, this is a phenomenal beer and one worth searching out by lovers of Brooklyn BCS and “dark beer” fans everywhere…

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Photo of WilliamPhilaPa
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark mahogany color. The head is dense, fluffy, tan colored, holds well. Lower carbonation. On the nose the aroma of rum, caramel, raisins, and molasses. Mouthfeel is smooth. On the palate the flavors consisted of dark chocolate, molasses, rum, brown sugar, caramel, coffee flavors. All of the flavors become more pronounced as the brew warms up. Overall a rich and filling porter…

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

**Please remember that I am a rookie reviewer who is only trying to learn the art of beer appreciation**
--Upon pouring I noticed that the head did not last and ws minimul to begin with. It poured an almost 'cola like' colour, with a hint of purple when looking through into the light.
--It has a very earthy smell. The first thing that came to my mind was coffee.
--Not a bad taste. I found it to be very sweet, then almost changing into almost bitter. I guess kind of an earthy taste.
--I have been a lager fan for years and have just started to dabble into porters and stouts. I have had better tasting porters than this one. There are other porters I would drink before this one again.
**Thanks for reading

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.38/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

16.9 z bottle, from a 1750 recipe, so they say. Frothy tan head, aromatics are mild: cocoa, nuts. Color, a dark brown. Some hoppiness, good malt, very smooth and easy-drinking. It's just missing something in the character department. There's very little of the flavor I enjoy most in a good porter, that deep, dark, but smooth blend of coffee and chocolate. This version's on the mild side.

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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 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.
Beer rating: 3.82 out of 5 with 197 ratings