Old Slug Porter | RCH Brewery

very good
105 Reviews
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Old Slug PorterOld Slug Porter

Brewed by:
RCH Brewery
England, United Kingdom

Style: English Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
In the old brewery we had a problem with slugs getting into the brewery. As the beer leaves a trail down the glass as you drink it like a slug, that's how the beer was named.
A delicious traditional porter with a full bodied taste of chocolate, coffee, blackcurrant and black cherry with a good aroma. A near black colour with a good white head when served through a tight sparkler.

Added by stirgy on 01-14-2002

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Reviews: 105 | Ratings: 135
Photo of Dithyramb
2.52/5  rDev -33%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Purchased the dark brown pint sized bottle from Wells yesterday. Has a different label on the front and export labels elsewhere. No born on or freshness dating, but this one is bottle conditioned.

The biggest plus of the slug is the appearance. It literally erupts from the bottle into the glass. One should pour it sluggishly slow to save the brew. Pours an opaque, dark black. Viewable through the beer are the thousands of rivulets of carbonation bouncing around. A thick, dark brown head lasted forever, finally leaving a creamy ring and glass lining lacing.

Tastes like a root beer soda. Where this wasn’t bad, I just expect more from a porter, especially when it is making the trip overseas. Very faint sugary sweetness and malts were available along with a light chocolate coffee. Very light mouthfeel that is not style centric and usual for a porter. This slug is not lethargic, but very quickly and cleanly exists the taste buds. Could actually see myself chugging this summer time.

Overall: High carbonation that added to the appearance really detracted from the brew itself. I won’t give up entirely, but will try to check out some notably fresher or cask versions next month in the UK. It may have lost something on the shelves at Wells. With all the other porters out there, both national and international, the slug only stays ahead by a clever label and some other nice appearances.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.78/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Brief impressions from a bottle reviewed live in Kuopio, Finland:

A: Pours a healthy khaki head with ample frothiness an cream punctuated by a soft even consistency. Has a soft sticky look - right on the money for an English porter.

Body is a predictable opaque black. True to style. No yeast is visible.

A standard porter appearance, with notable head retention (~9 minutes).

Sm: Chocolate malt, cream, a hint of blackcurrant (when I look for it, per the label; otherwise I'd figure it for some kind of berry), and dark malts. Malty sweetness dominates. More of a rich chocolatey aroma would be superior, and its absence of roasted barley is disappointing. Additions of coffee, hazelnut, vanilla, etc. would also help.

Still, it suggests a balanced beer with a pleasant taste. Very inviting, even if there is ample room for improvement.

I find no oats, yeasty notes, overt hops, booze, off-notes, or black cherry. The label's claims of "nutty, woody flavours" and "honeyed toffee" go unsatisfied.

TASTE: The shallowness of the chocolate malts is highly disappointing, and feeds into the generic malty sweetness that dominates the beer - almost eclipsing the otherwise pleasant blackcurrant character. There's zero roastiness here, and it could do with more cream. All in all a shallow simple brew with only a passable balance. Not a gestalt brew, but it does have limited cohesion.

The build is rather basic. Very much a no-frills porter.

TEXTURE: Medium to full-bodied. Somewhat creamy. Overcarbonated. Smooth and wet, but not silky or velvety. Typical thickness for a porter. Not too heavy or overbearing.

Decent execution in terms of mouthfeel. It's a shame there isn't much in terms of flavour for this texture to support.

OVERALL: It's a fair attempt at a porter, but it falls far short of the greats in the style. Definitely drinkable, but lackluster nonetheless. Not a beer I'd buy again at Finnish import prices, nor would I say it's worth trying. But you could do worse, and I do like it for what it is. An average porter is a likable porter...

Low C (2.78) / AVERAGE

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.89/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Verging on opaque tobacco brown with amber-brown accents. The large head is malted milk ball beige in color and displays a fantastic honeycomb pattern on the surface and on the glass. It's falling more quickly than I'd like, but it sure looks great while it lasts. Thanks to an abundance of carbonation, the cap is reinvigorated amply with each subsequent pour.

There isn't much to the nose. It's pathetically roasted malty and is as one-dimensional as any porter in recent memory. There's absolutely no coffee, chocolate, hops... or anything else of note. I would have called it an average dark lager if blinded.

While things improve somewhat on the palate, Old Slug is impressively light. Again, there isn't a whole lot of malt. Weak coffee appears in the second half of the mouthful, along with a dusting of slightly bitter cocoa powder. The RCH Brewery website claims that the beer tastes like 'blackcurrant and black cherry', but that's sheer imagination on someone's part.

The mouthfeel is about as light and as airy as it could possibly be and still belong to a porter. In addition, the finish is frankly watery and just sort of gives up and wanders off into nothingness. There isn't much in the way of carbonation either, leading to an especially lackluster feel on the swallow.

Old Slug Porter (great name, great label) is one of the lightest porters that I've ever had. It's so light, in fact, that it seems unfinished; as if the brewers sketched the outlines of a good beer, but neglected to fill in the center, to give it substance. This one is skippable.

 1,579 characters

Photo of mattcrill
2.95/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Aroma: Moderate fruity esters initially that remind me of dark fruits (raisins and plums). Light chocolate notes woft out of the glass. No alcohol or hop aroma detected.

Appearance: Clear deep brown pour with garnet highlights. A creamy off-white head develops. No carbonation noted in the body.

Flavor: Chocolate and coffee notes that assert themselves initially. No hop flavor detected. No fruity esters tasted that were in the aroma. Seems quite light and slightly acidic as it warms up.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with low carbonation. Finishes slightly bitter and astringent. Just a bit of creaminess that finishes in the back of the palate.

Overall impression: A little on the light side. Overall, a well crafted beer. No real flaws but may benefit from a more complex grain bill.

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Photo of gfreed
2.98/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

As porters go, this one is a bit light. I couldn't generate any kind of a head from this one, even when pouring from very high: nothing more than a very loose, coke-type head that disappeared almost instantly. Decent aroma of charred grain and molasses, not very strong but pleasant enough. There was a hint of citrus as well. Rather thin in the body, appropriately lacking in fizz; a tad watery overall. The taste was unusual for this style: there was enough toastiness and caramel to qualify it as a porter, but the ill-mannered fruitiness from the hops took over too quickly. With prominent flavors of orange and lemon, even a little honey, this tastes more like a bitter than a porter. Call it a dark bitter, perhaps? Worth a try, but only once.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.06/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On cask at Rustico Alexandria. Served in a nonic pint.

Pours dark brown with a good cask-level light tan head. Good lacing on the way down. The nose carries a strong component of diacetyl, which is thankfully at least partially covered up by roast and chocolate. Flavor isn't quite as bad on that front, though it's still there. Nothing too interesting. Medium body and light carbonation with a bit of roast. Okay.

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Photo of biglite351
3.12/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - red brown light through the center of the glass. Tall creamy white head.

S - malty but a bitter finish, not inviting.

T - very solid flavor. Mold roasted malts. Maybe a minor coffee in there. Much better than the scent.

M - medium coating, mild tingle on front of tongue.

D - solid good flavor and mildness of the feel make this am all nighter.

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Photo of naterock
3.14/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

pursa a medium brown not opaque in any way. no head to speak of.
smells nutty and chocolatey, alcohol is coming forth the most alcohol I've ever tasted in a porter.
smokey taste leads to a not so impressive watery finish. really nothing more to say about this.
light almost no carbonation.
weird and almost pathetic, this porter is not a shining example of what an english porter should be. nor should it be judged as such.

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Photo of Mechphisto
3.21/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Interesting bottle art. Cute. =)
It pours with a nice, thick, nutty cream colored head. Very thick if you're not careful, but reasonably thick with a careful pour. Almost edible.
It's a deep, cola color with a slight red hue to the extremely dark brown/black.

The scent is nearly undetectable. A very slight citrusy smell and a slight nuttiness.

The taste is bitter, with a bitter aftertaste that hangs around in the back of the throat for a while. However, oddly, only when it's cold. As it warms up that aftertaste doesn't exist.
(And no, it's not because I drank too much of it. After noticing this as I nursed the first glass, I waited quite some time before I poured the second glass from this large bottle, and there was virtually no extended bitter aftertaste.)

It has a slight cloa, coffee taste with a hint of burnt nut. Very rich, nice mouthfeel.

 868 characters

Photo of PorterLambic
3.24/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured a dark reddsih-brown. Creamy looking head 1" high. Slightly cloudy.
Smell is malt, cardboard and hops.
Taste is coffee, roasted malt, chocolate, wood (maple, I think), with alcohol late and light. Way better on the tongue than in the nose
Some warming, light body, light effervesence, slightly dry finish. Watery throughout. Decent overall but only decent.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.25/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

This one pours a nice dark black, with a full frothy head, and a bit of lacing. Looks right on.

Smells like chocolate, old coffee, slightly tart dark berries, and slightly oversweet maltiness.

This isn't bad per se, it's just not very good, either. It's definitely thin, which doesn't help, and the slightly tart finish, like rotten berries, is not pleasant. It's a bit chocolatey, but the main malt character is just sweetness, which is disappointing and non-complex.

This is kinda thin and watery, with a normal level of carbonation.

This is fairly disappointing- I was expecting a rich traditional porter, and I got some weird shadow of that. It could be old, I didn't check the date, but this is definitely not something I'd recommend anyway. Maybe they should try brewing it without slugs?

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Photo of stakem
3.3/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to wisherebeer for sharing. Poured from a stubby brown bottle into a snifter. This brew appears a light brown color with super clarity that is ruby red in color laden with brown hues as it is held to the light. A tan cap quickly recedes leaving "sluggy" spots of lacework on the glass.

The smell of this brew is fruity with alcohol and hops mixed with chocolate malt and a light mineral quality. There is a light tang to the nose from the mix of fruit and alcohol. The grain is leaning towards musty but not fully.

The taste is minerals and musty grain like the aroma led on. Hops are evident giving a fruited quality when mixed with the alcohol. Chocolate malt is present with a taste of old coffee. This is a lightly tangy brew, dare i say suggesting an "old style" or traditional method used in the brewing of this offering.

It is medium bodied and lightly carbonated. Somewhat watery in the feel and easy drinking. This is something I could forsee myself drinking all day long while getting some work done around the house. But to sit down and just sip and savor, this isn't the brew for the job. The description/details in this listing are more appealing than the brew itself (minus the slug reference.)

 1,218 characters

Photo of Guinness4me
3.31/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

While I generally stay away from slugs, I agreed to sample this brew thanks to my hubby's prodding.

The beer poured a dark porter with a massive head that looked like dirty, brown snow piled high on the side of a dirt road. It was over 3 fingers deep but quickly subsided leaving big, beautiful lace.

The smell had a tart, yet smoked fruitiness that enticed me further. The taste was much like the smell, with what I first noticed as green bananas! The malt, chocolate and coffee flavors soon followed. I wonder if I'll be the only one to taste green bananas in this brew?

Though a bit thick and sticky in the mouthfeel, I found it rather easy to drink. Odd little beer, but I'd drink again.

 702 characters

Photo of hotstuff
3.32/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer poured a large head that was tan, creamy and had fine sized bubbles. The hue of this beer is dark brown and the lacing was fair. The nose was that of chocolate and roasted coffee and the flavor was roasted coffee. The mouthfeel was smooth and light.

 259 characters

Photo of Naes
3.34/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This porter is almost black with a huge tan frothy head that leaves some lacing.
Its aroma is not a strong one, but is chocolaty.
The flavor is roasty and has a nice chocolate finish, though it is not overly sweet.
Mouthfeel is light in body for a porter and lightly carbonated.

This is a good beer, though it is not an outstanding one.
For the money that it costs to get a single bottle ($5.00) in America, I believe that I would have been better off with something else.

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Photo of ghebel
3.36/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Extreme dark brown, almost black. Pours with a nice creamy tan head that leaves plenty of laces on the way down.

S - A bit lacking in aroma. What I can smell is pleasant - chocolate and roasted grains.

T - Chocolate sweetness that is followed by moderate bitterness and a slight puckering effect on the back of the mouth. Taste makes up a bit for the lack of aroma.

M - Moderate body with a mild bitterness. A bit thin.

D - Drinkable, but average.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.41/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a one-fingered light tan head leaving a good lace, very dark ruby color. Light to medium carbonation. Roasted coffee/malty nose. Starts as a roasty coffee with a hint of malts and finishes with a slightly bitter aftertaste. Full bodied. A good porter.

 257 characters

Photo of Realale
3.43/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Very dark brown, bordering on black. Huge fine rocky mocha head settles very slowly to a thick complete cap leaving nice lacing down the glass.

Nose is beautifully balanced and quite complex. A bisquity maltiness leads the way, followed by chocolate, brown and a touch of roast coffee. Bit of smoke?

Nice notes of brown and chocolate add some complexity to the good base malt, but its ultimately a bit too simple and speaks too softly. Its mid-weight, but could use a bit more complexity and malt to really balance it. There is quite a streak of acidity that some might not enjoy.

Great bottle-conditioned mouthfeel, which helps provide some interest to the palate, and lengthen the finish. Its certainly easy to drink, but offers little reward for doing so.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.43/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this at De Bierkoning in Amsterdam

From a bottle into my pint glass

APPEARANCE: Pours a small thick tan head with lots of little bubbles on the top. Color is very dark brown with some ruby hints around the bottom. No carbonation evident. Head levels out to a decent film and the bubbles seem to stick around. Decent lacing and generally looks good for the style.

SMELL: A nice medium strong scent of roasted barley malt and licorice. Some smokiness in the back and a faint hint of pure chocolate. There is also a slight touch of sweet honey in the background as well.

TASTE: The barley malt is pretty roasted and smoky initially. Some nice bitter chocolate, licorice, and even some nuts and wood come out afterwards as well. A nice long lasting bitter-sweet chocolaty aftertaste slowly fades in the end. A nice touch.

PALATE: Medium-thin body, lighter in weight and has low end carbonation. Creamy smooth going down with no bite and finishes rather dry. Could be a little thicker and heavier for the style. A little below average here.

OVERALL: Enjoyed this one, but it is a little too bitter-sweet in the aftertaste to make me want to go back to it. It's definitely sessionable at 4.5%, but the strong aftertaste makes it a little less drinkable than I'd like. I would have another, but I wouldn't go looking for it.

Note: One last thing worth noting is that the beer actually tastes like it's described on the lable. Often times the descriptions aren't even close, so props to RCH there.

 1,505 characters

Photo of JasonA
3.46/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark black with thick 2 full fingers of beautiful mocha head. When held up, plenty of light shows through creating a maroon hue across the glass. Head and lacing looks great for a bottle.

Roasted malt. Sweet. Not as much as a boquet as expected. No alcohol present, though with the small ABV is expected.

Stout dryness, paleness. Biscuit. Little bit of creamyness. Some dry roasted flavor.

Nice carbonation level. Sits well. Carbonation smoothes out in the end.

Somewhat boring for an English Porter. I would wager this would be considered a Macro Porter in England. Nice for the states, but not something I would actively look to return to. Not special enough for me to want to try again.

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Photo of aracauna
3.46/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The glass I used may not have been rinsed thoroughly because I got a slight soapy taste in the beer. I've heard some beers referred to as being a little soapy, but the guy I split the bottle with didn't get it. The head was out of control (again an unthoroughly rinsed glass could explain this) but it wasn't much smaller on the glass I poured my friend. Nice roasty maltiness and some coffee notes like you'd expect from a porter but everything was a little subdued. Nice smouth mouthfeel with some body to it. Beer is dark with blood/ruby highlights. Not bad, but I probably won't be a regular drinker.

 604 characters

Photo of Kendo
3.46/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got it at the Ginger Man in NYC, off the cask.

A: Brownish-black body with crimson hues under a tannish 2-finger head. Lots of lace left behind.

S: Faint nose, with just a basic scent of roasted malt.

T: Roasted malt and barley, a hint of fruit and slightly smoky char. Not as flavorful as expected or desired in a porter, IMHO.

M: Fluffy was the word that came to mind. It's lighter in heft than expected -- call it light side of medium -- but had a nice feel to it.

D: Pretty good. Not terribly interesting, but easy to put down.

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Photo of nouseforotacon
3.47/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Presentation on this bottle caught my eye when I went to Boston for BBF and made a stop at Downtown on Sunday. My non-beer drinking friend loves his share, so let's see what this one has to offer.

Dark cocoa/black bottom with a only a tiny hint of ruby red light penetrating the darkness at certain angles. Weak, unimpressive foam that gets a little rise from the carbonation and then falls timidly. Average looking porter, nice lacing.

Rich, fragrant aroma. Cocoa powder. Woody. Sweet malts, like honey. A touch of fruity, dark berries. Pleasant.

Big, watery flavor that has some light cocoa/dark chocolate notes hitting the tongue. A bit of dark fruit, cassis-like. Very nutty. Dark, roasted malts in the background with some honey lingering on the tongue. Sticky, with a dry, cocoa finish. Watery mouthfeel.

Totally non-offensive beer that is easy to drink and refreshing, minus the dry finish. I like porters, I could definitely drink this one again, but it's not particularly noteworthy.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.48/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Dark brown, almost black yet when held up to the light it is brilliantly clear. Little head, low carbonation levels. Roasted chocolate aroma, actually, extremely roasty aroma. Flavor is dry and very slight sour chocolate roast. Then the finish is bone dry roasted. The mouthfeel is spot on, but the dry finish and the roasted nature don't score high drinkability.

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Photo of bgildea
3.48/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Nice dark brown/black color. Thick tanish head that leaves some good lacing.

S: Nice sweet smell of caramel and chocolate. Very appetizing.

T: Pretty bitter for a porter, almost tastes like a IPA with the hoppy bitterness. Not enough of the sweet flavors come through. Some hints of semisweet chocolate and roasted malts.

M: Thinner than I expected. Not a whole lot of chew and has some large carbonation bubbles.

D: It's a drinkable beer. Definitely not my favorite porter, but its worth a taste.

Overall: Overall I was very excited to try this beer. It looked great, smelled delicious, but then never really delivered for me. A little too bitter and hoppy, and I didnt get enough of the chocolate and caramel sweetness that I was expecting. Decent beer, but not great.

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Old Slug Porter from RCH Brewery
3.76 out of 5 based on 135 ratings.
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