Old Growler | Nethergate Brewery Co. Ltd.

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 woodychandler
4.57/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

It is becoming a porter afternoon, it looks like. I am waffling between bottles and CANs of late, but simply as an effort to reduce some of my stock. Once the bottles are depleted, The CANQuest (TM) will re-assume its rightful focus.

From the bottle: "This SPECIAL PORTER from an original London recipe which dates back to the year 1750, is only brewed by the Nethergate Brewery in rural Suffolk."

The carbonation seemed a bit low, producing only a moment's worth of light-tan head before falling to wisps. This seems to have held up quite well in the BeerFrigerator, in evidence a deep brown color with cola highlights. Nose had a smoky anise quality, very nice. Mouthfeel was medium with tastes of dried dark fruit, smoke, charcoal, anise and dark chocolate in the mouth. I was liking this even more than the earlier Taddy Porter! Finish was semi-dry with an intense smokiness that not only stole the show, but lingered well after the swallow. The other flavors remained in evidence, but it was the charcoal/smoke flavor that dominated. Was it the (inadvertent) aging that created this? I do not know because I have not reviewed it fresh, but this was a winner!

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Photo of Brad007
3.56/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Label has been updated with an english bulldog on the cover. Makes sense.

Pours a dark brown color with a one-finger head into my glass. There's no mistaking it for anything else.

Sweet malt greets the nose followed by only a fleeting hint of cocoa and anything palatable.

Sweet and crisp with all the ambience of an English porter. Very little roastiness.

Body is too thin to fully enjoy. Just a hint of sweet malt lingers.

It's so very dull. Goes down easy with a whimper.

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Photo of vandemonian
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nethergate Old Growler is a nice, if sour, porter.

A: Black colour and hug 2 cm head that lasts. 4.5

S: Milky yeast with a hint of sourness. Maybe I'm going crazy, but I smelled cheries. 4

T: Has a slightly sour with some flavours I might associate with dried fruit. 4

M: Reasonably foamy and carbonated. 3.5

O: Very drinkable and tasty. 4

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

(Served in a Nonic)
A- This beer pours a deep black body with a hint of red in the glow at the base. There is a thick creamy light tan head that last for a good bit. There is a few tiny bubbles that pop of the side and glide up the glass.
S- The aroma of dark fruit and mellow roasted dark malt has a cola almost Dr. pepper quality with a tootsie roll finish.
T- The creamy smooth roasted flavor has a light cola taste to it. The dry finish almost taste flat bit it's more of a roasted quality. There is a faint spice note in the finish and the soft roasted fruitiness lingers for a moment after each sip.
M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a soft carbonation and no alcohol heat.
D- This beer has a nice flavor but it is just a bit to muted. This makes it easy to drink but just a bit more depth or character could really add some excitement. There are some very subtle characters that I just can't pin down but I think on tap or cask it might really bring those characters out.

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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 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 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 AEK
4.3/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500ml brown bottle poured into a Hobgoblin branded pint pot.

A. A clear, deep red bordering on brown ale with a light brown solid, rocky head.

S. Coffee and bitter chocolate

T. Black chocolate, bitter chocolate, dark fruit and some smokiness. A lingering hoppy finish.

M. Medium and good with a little carbonation.

D. A deliciously dark ale that packs a heavywweight punch in its taste. This is certainly a beer to enjoy.

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3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

16.9 oz. bottle to pint glass. No date or batch number. $4.50 for the bottle.

A: Huge 4 finger light brown rocky head sits atop a dark brown nearly opaque body. Only when the beer is held in front of a light source is the clarity noticeable; ruby highlights appear. The head lasts forever and becomes increasingly lopsided. Excellent lacing sticks in chunky sheets that are punctured by BB pellet sized holes.

S: The aroma incorporates average malts of bread, toffee and the faintest toffee. Shockingly, the malts come across toasted, not even close to roasted. Herbal hops are light. There is a well placed heavy sourdough yeast component as well. The yeastiness is much more noticeable from the first pour. But much less on the second...

T: Flavors include dark fruits, currants, blackberry jam, strawberry, and woody with some tobacco earthiness. I noticed a brief metallic flavor in a few sips.

M: The mouthfeel is light...way too light. Nearly watery. Inadequate carbonation drags the mouthfeel score down even further. Nothing impressive in this department.

D: It's an easy drinking porter. Would be a satisfying dark lager. Plenty of room for improvement.

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Photo of biggmike
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a very attractive dark brown/black color with athick off-white/tan head that stayed for quite some time. The aroma was malty. Flavor was of roasted malt and licorice. Mouthfeel was very pleasant and the drinkability is very high on this one. Good stuff.

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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 jbphoto88
3.92/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

O.G. pours an oddly deep yet thin brown... word. It's dark walnut in color but thin enough to let light pass through easily revealing ruby and golden highlights. The head is a lackluster tan which doesn't last long and doesn't give anything in the way of character to this beer.

The nose is sweet and malty. Fresh milled grains mix with the caramelized scents of roasted malts. There isn't much more then those malts which is cool with me. I do wish they had a little bit more variation, perhaps some chocolate or coffee touches but it is a very satisfying aroma.

Taste is also simple and pleasing like the nose. Sweet caramelized grains with touches of toffee and a little earthy bitterness. Nothing jumps out at you in this beer but I don't think it needs any glitz and glamour. This is a solid beer and there is beauty in it's simplicity.

The mouthfeel is almost on par with the rest of the beer but I find the carbonation to be a little strong and the body a touch thin. Very enjoyable none the less. It's a good simple roasty beer that deserves a nod.

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

Appearance: Pours a dark brown body with some ruby hues at the edges and topped with a finger of ecru foam.

Smell: A grab bag of various notes: some chocolate, nuts, caramel, ripe plums, raisins, wood bark, and spice.

Taste: Starts with a sweet mix of chocolate caramel, along with a bold dark fruitiness from the English ale yeast. Spicy, herbaceous hops with a mild bitterness. Small pinch of tobacco along with minor hints of wood and nuts. Dry maltiness on the smooth finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Fairly smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Truth told, the one kind of grew on me. A subtle, well-balanced, easily drinkable porter.

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Photo of StJamesGate
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On cask at The Cricketers, Clavering, Essex, UK.

Pours ruby brown with a loose off white head of bigg bubbles that leaves light lace. Nose is chocolate malts and winter spice. Soft cocoa and dark berry malts with sap hops. Medium body, a bit of chew, no stick.

Either a bit light and pale for an English porter or a throwback to the roots of the style. Still a very drinkable winter quaffer.

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Photo of Mora2000
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown to black with a beige head. Aroma is English malts and hops with some roasted malts as well. Flavor is definitely English, with roasted malts, English hops and a slight bit of coffee at the end. Slightly bitter, dry finish. Medium mouthfeel and carbonation 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 tatoodkelt
3.91/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a pint glass on 7/25/09. From notes.

A- Very dark brown with ruby highlights when held up to light. Big creamy head that settled to about one finger and lasted the whole glass, nice lacing.

S- Roasted chocolate, a little sweet and a little coffee.

T- No one thing stood out for me, hints of a lot of things here- vanilla, chocolate, roasted malts, coffee, a little smoke, a little sweet. Blended together very nicely.

M- Medium bodied, carbination was not noticable, very smooth.

D- Definitely could have a few of these in a sitting. I'll be looking to pick this up again.

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Photo of MrHungryMonkey
3.87/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nose is dark and malty. Lots of roasted grain and creamy chocolate. Tart/sour fruit/hop notions provide excellent balance. Smells great.

Pours a deep, deep brown, almost opaque, mild super-creamy head. Looks quite good.

Moderate-to-strong malt - moderate chocolate, a little less dark roast, and a solid malty foundation; creamy and smooth with ample dryness. Moderate tart/sourness - good embodiment of esters and hop. Mild esters take on a dark, slightly ripe fruitation. Mild sweetness can't overcome the bitterness. Mild hop is herbal and earthy with tea-like notes and some leafiness. Finishes dry with a touch of chocolate and roast. Tastes pretty good. Feels pretty good. Good drinkability.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this one at the Bayou SLC.

Pours a nice black color, nice carbonation nice little fizzy/creamy tan head, with some nice sticky lacing. The nose is malty with some toffee notes, nice sweetness, with some caramel. The taste is malty, sweet, very nice toffee notes and caramel. Medium body. Drinkable, a very nice english porter, recommended.

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

Poured into pint glass, this bottle had been in the fridge for quite a while and I decided to bust it out.

A: Standard porter coloring with nice head and thick lacing. Good looking brew.

S: Strong roasted and chocolate tones coming from nose, quite nice.

T & M: I wonder if this had a gone a little flat with the time that it was in the fridge but then again I would expect an English Porter to have low carbonation and bite. Very creamy mouthfeel that I really enjoyed. A little watery up front but finishes with some smoky, roasty tones from the malt.

D: Nicely done, this is not my favorite style but I did enjoy and would be opposed to having again as change up to my usuals.

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