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Norfolk Nog | Woodforde's Norfolk Ales

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Norfolk NogNorfolk Nog
Very Good
13 Ratings
Norfolk NogNorfolk Nog

Brewed by:
Woodforde's Norfolk Ales
England, United Kingdom

Style: English Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by TheLongBeachBum on 01-19-2003

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 13 |  Reviews: 11
Reviews by texashammer:
Photo of texashammer
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

at salisbury winterfest. dark red to brown/black in color, good full bodied smooth mouthfeel, easily gulped as most cask ales. good roast in the nose with some slight spice. good balance and a little bit interesting in its spiciness; maybe a Christmas spice like nutmeg?

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More User Reviews:
Photo of rastaman
3.58/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Quite sour and vinous, thin mouthfeel. Nice caramel, chocolate and sour berries flavour, highly carbed, slightly rusty/woody. Acidic, citric kind of flavour aswell. Sourness seems to be a theme in these Woodford beers, and i for one don't mind it, like in the Norfolk Nip for example.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.28/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle conditioned; and enjoyed at 50F. Carefully poured it's just slightly hazy. The deep mahogany robe is capped by a creamy one-fingered light-tan head that holds well and leaves some thin lace. The nose offers some sharp fruitiness, a mild caramel maltiness, and a light touch of smoky roastiness. The body is light with an extremely fine-bubbled and mild carbonation at around 1.8 volumes of CO2. It's silky smooth in the mouth which adds greatly to it's excellent drinkability. The flavor starts with a smack of lightly tart dark fruit at the front of the mouth, but it's soon softened by a gentle caramel & chocolate-tinged maltiness as it warms in the mouth. A fuller caramel note emerges in the long finish before a low-key bitterness and cusp of roastiness appear to help dry things out. An excellent session beer that offers a highly drinkable mouthfeel, enough flavor and complexity to keep it interesting throughout an evening, and a low enough level of alcohol (4.6%) to allow you to enjoy that many! This was the 1992 Champion Beer of Britain and it shows. An excellent beer that's not to be missed by fans of cask and bottle conditioning.

 1,154 characters

Photo of hotstuff
2.95/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Gyle No. L39. A large tan creamy head that consisted of medium sized bubbles.The body was carbonated and the hue was dark brown.The nose was that of alcohol and the flavor was somewhat malty.The mouthfeel was smooth and medium bodied.This beer lacks flavor, nothing really stood out about this beer and it was boring to drink and rate.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.28/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 33cl tall thin brown glass bottle. A brown and cream label that has the words Norfolk Nog in red, with the silhouette of the familiar Norfolk Wherry on it sailing down the Norfolk Broads. Listed as 4.6%.
No Freshness Date but it is listed on the Reverse Label as being from Gyle No. L24.

Appearance: Poured into a handled Half-Pint Wakefield CAMRA Beer Festival from England, and it looked perfect. A very dark brown mahogany body that is lucid when held to the light. A lovely smooth light tan head formed from the smallest of bubbles carpets the beer like crushed velvet with no surface imperfections. Some light lacing, more ring-like than Belgium. Below average carbonation levels.

Nose: Has a slight sour nose that is immediately detectable when the beer is poured, but it is nothing that even hints at a beer that is past its prime, moreover it has a Belgium Oud Brune. Dark fruits with some roast malts.

Taste: Begins with a sweet roasted malt entrance that has a tasty fruitiness to it. Some caramel and liquorice traits as it warms. The beer easily fills the mouth and has lots of Bitterness that comes through in the end and lends a really nice dimension to this Old Ale.

Mouthfeel: Creamy with lots of dark textured fruits. Quite light in strength to be honest, in what is other wise a very solid beer. It is not wishy-washy by any stretch of the imagination, but there again this beer is 4.6%, even so it is an easily dispatched beer that is far from heavy. I think the average mouthfeel definitely adds to the Drinkability here.

Drinkability: Pretty quaffable, the light mouthfeel but tasty robust body means that you can quite easily quaff this beer if you wish, at 4,6% it won’t creep up on you for a while, and it goes very well with strong cheeses, pickles and crusty bread.

Overall: You could be forgiven for mistaking this beer for something in excess of 4.6% ABV, but that is about right for an English Old Ale. A beer that I have had on Cask many times (it goes exceptionally well with a Ploughman’s Lunch), and this is one of the rare English beers that tastes equally just as good from the Bottle. The fact that this is Bottle-Conditioned obviously assists this. A high quality English Old Ale and a former CAMRA Champion Beer of Britain. Recommended.

Nice to have an old friend round for supper again.

 2,364 characters

Photo of bgcookie
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dated L39. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this beer. Nice rocky head that lingers awhile very dark brown in color.

Roasty to chocolate aroma. Nice chocolate and roasted flavor. The grassy and earthy tones of the hops come through a bit. The body is fairly light. I can detect some cidery flavors as well. There may have been brown sugar used in brewing. There is also a slight nutty character. The more I drink this the better it gets. The finish is dry and chocolate.

I like this beer. It is a great brown ale.

 521 characters

Photo of Slatetank
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of tavernjef
4.18/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle conditioned, Gyle No. L39 This is a very nice Old Dark Ale that stays true to the Dark style and doesn't go Stout.
Color is a nice deep brownish, with some reddish toned highlights. Head is tannish and creamy looking with a few divets and layed about a pencil width high leaving rings of lace that are very thin, stringy web-like. Smell is mild and welcoming with a favorable roasted sweet maltness and a bright but mild citrus floral hop note. Taste is subtle and full with mildly balanced roasty/toasty/earthy malt and sweet caramel malt with a super light but sharp hop of dark red apples. Its medium body is a nice earthy tang thats mild and very easy to handle with a silky smooth feel the whole way through with a very complex earthy, fruity dry finish that holds nicely in the back of the mouth and throat, quite nice. Drinkable indeed, smooth, mild, and complex, how could one not want to try this, it's one very nice dark ale and recommend picking some up.

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Photo of UncleJimbo
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at the Luton Real Ale Festival.

This ale poured an almost opaque coffee brown color with brown foam that settled to a thin layer. The smell was malty and fruity with notes of dark malt and a hint of caramel. The taste was mildly sweet, dark roasted malt with hints of coffee and caramel, and with a light bitterness in the finish. The mouthfeel was smooth with medium body and low carbonation. There was a tangy, roasty lingering flavor. This was a rather nice and enjoyable cask ale.

 495 characters

Photo of Trizzle
3.94/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nearly opaque dark, dark brown with sexy burgendy highlights. Settles like a nitro with a good finger of head, foamy lacing and great retention.

Smoky porter notes, brewed coffee with a fruity malt background.

Sweetish residual sugars and malts up front, followed quickly with dry, roasted dark chocolate malt, muesli and grain notes. Hints of dates and prunes. A touch of acidic tart and cola. Finishes dry and moreish.

Medium body with low carbonation some tanin astringency..

Long dry finish, low carb, very moreish, very drinkable.

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Photo of atrocity
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of wl0307
3.76/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle-conditioned in a 500ml brown bottle, BB JAN 09 (hopefully it's not too late to drink it now?!), served cool in a straight imperial pint glass.

A: pours a beautiful ebony colour, deeply dark brown with some purples hues just like my clarinet; the lively and constant flows of fizziness buttresses a thick, soufflé-like dark beige froth with decent retention.
S: on the nose it's predominantly yeasty, rusty, damp and sour-grapey, due to the yeast sediments and the froth I think; as the drink goes, more dark malts, black sugar, sour-sweet black plums, aromatic Northdown (?) hops, and faint tinges of root herbs manage to come forward. Still, "predominantly yeasty" is the word.
T: rather sour (but not lactic) and bitter upfront, denoting a mixture of pale malts, stock ale, and old-ish dark fruits, sprinkled with hints of red-grape skins (tannic); gradually, bitter chocolatey (and remotely coffee-ish) hints expand, along with a lightly spicy aftertaste of licorice powder, brown-bready malts, and rather soothing hop bitterness in the end. Slightly powdery in the finishing touch. Overall, although the yeastiness affects a desirable balance, it's far short of overpowering the overall flavour.
M&D: pretty effervescent and fluffy-fizzy, due to abundant input of carbonation during the bottle-conditioning process I guess, then turning softer but always fresh. This bottle is nowhere as complex as the cask-conditioned version that I enjoy dearly, but still, I can appreciate the quiet profile in this Old Ale that fails to disappoint after giving it some time to breathe and "relax" in the glass.

* Tasting Date: 18/06/05
A: 4.5, S: 4.5, T: 3.5, M: 3, D: 3.5
Opened up my second bottle of NOG and re-reviewed this beer yesterday. Overall it scores better than the first one~~

It comes in a dark-brownish hue, with a rocky and frothy brownish beerhead which lasts only too well... The nose is exceptionally complex this time--full of dark-fruit's maltiness and very very aromatic hoppy note, against dark chocolate and dried plum's aroma, lightly-sweet and almost "floating" nuttiness at the back. The palate, again, is not as good as the aroma--some tart-fruitiness and a bit interesting black-current like flavour dominate the main theme, with residual dark-malty flavour which is not pronounced enough (to me). The mouthfeel is also a bit too flat and the body too thin vis-a-vis the rich and complex nose. Still, not too bad, compared to my first experience of this beer, but I would expect it to be more complex and richer on the palate on cask.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.04/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Gyle No: L242. Opaque umber with gorgeous crimson highlights. The toasted tan head is on the small side because I used a gentle pour so that sediment wouldn't enter the glass. Since the beer is so dark, I can't tell how much sediment is present or when it might be exiting the bottle. The cap isn't especially attractive as it falls. It maintains a featureless surface and graces the glass with almost no lace.

The nose is wonderous, something that became evident as soon as the beer was liberated. English brown does not do this ale justice. It looks and smells much more like an 'Old Dark Ale', as noted on the label. The aroma is deep, rich and complex, with elements of darkest butterscotch, molasses and anise. It smells like a cross between a non-smoky, non-peaty wee heavy and a Baltic porter.

Unfortunately, Norfolk Nog doesn't taste quite as good as it smells. That may be because it's lighter of body and lower of alcohol than it should be. What it should be is a more full, chewy, sweet and malty 8.0%'er. In my considered opinion, this beer needs to have every one of its characteristics doubled, across the board.

Due to the relative dearth of malt, the sweeter flavors of dark butterscotch and molasses don't make much of an impression. On the palate, the beer is dark fruity (raisins primarily) with a little bitter cocoa and a modicum of earthy, tea-like hops. Think old ale mixed with English pale ale and you'll be pretty close to the mark. The finish is slightly sour, teasingly bitter, clean and almost dry.

As noted above, the mouthfeel is on the light end. It's also sparingly carbonated. Simply put, the beer's mouth presence doesn't match its flavor. Maybe it's me; maybe it's the fact that I've never had a beer with quite this mix of traits before. Still though, I can't resist suggesting tweaks (okay, wholesale changes) that I think would make it an even better.

Woodforde's Norfolk Nog is a former Supreme Champion Beer of Britain. Unlike some beer that trumpets similar past glories and attempts to rest on old laurels, this one actually tastes like it was deserving of the honor. Just because I tried to change it into something that it was never meant to be doesn't mean that I didn't enjoy the beer that it actually is. It's definitely worth a purchase if you can locate a bottle.

 2,329 characters

Norfolk Nog from Woodforde's Norfolk Ales
Beer rating: 3.87 out of 5 with 13 ratings
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