1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Old Plowshare Stout - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Plowshare StoutOld Plowshare Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

184 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 184
Reviews: 155
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 10.97%
Wants: 14
Gots: 1 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
North Coast Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Stout |  5.70% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: hyuga on 10-01-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Old Plowshare Stout Alström Bros
Ratings: 184 | Reviews: 155 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of NEhophead
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz short, brown bottle.
No best before date.

Pours a deep, russet brown with shades of coal beneath a creamy and frothy, coffee-colored head. Trails of thin lacing.

Sweet molasses and light vanilla. Tame, roasted malts: powdery, milk chocolate, dried almonds, and peanuts. Faint hints of toffee.

Starts sweet and creamy with a toffee flavor, but is immediately overtaken by a chewy, roasted maltiness and a mouth full of hops. Dark chocolate, unsweetened with fruity esters: plum, cherry, apple. Heavy bitterness; very earthy with an aftertaste of coffee beans and hazlenut.

Medium to full in body; chewy roasted quality, very earthen.

A flavorful dry stout, that I'd have again. Bonus points for the USDA organic seal of approval.

NEhophead, Sep 03, 2006
Photo of arguemaniac
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Not a bad dry stout, not bad at all. It’s got that delicious, heavy roast flavor with strong notes of chocolate, coffee, etc. and some lightly sweet caramel maltiness. The mouthfeel is a bit on the light side, so it’s not too filling. Quite drinkable with a lingering bitter chocolate finish. Paired well with my Ben & Jerry’s Black and Tan ice cream. Highly recommended (the stout, that is, but the ice cream is certainly worth a try too).

arguemaniac, Aug 06, 2006
Photo of SilentSabre
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

First, thanks to Ding for this one, and the several others, as well!
This is quite possibly the lightest (in colour) stout I have ever seen. It's dark, of course, but light passes through it pretty easily. Looks like a clear dark reddish bronze colour. Doesn't look bad, but considering the style, it seems a bit "off". The smell is absolutely fantastic. Lots of sweet espresso beans and chocolate. That's about it. Smells delicious! Taste is mostly dry thoughout with roasted malt and very slightly bitter coffee beans dominating. Adheres to the style as it should in this aspect. This is really nice. Mouthfeel seems a bit light for a stout. Not quite thin, but thinner than I think it should be.
Overall, this was quite good. Thanks again, Ding!

SilentSabre, Jul 30, 2006
Photo of acrawf6
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours out a clear ruby brown amber with nice tan head. Light can be seen through all of the beer.

Smell. heavy roasted malts, nice aromas of bitter coffee, mocha coffee.

Taste. More nice tastes of the roasted malts, tastes even burnt. bitter coffee and powder chocolate. very nice. aftertastes are sweeter with a cooked malt flavor. as it warms up, there is a burnt oat flavor, cereal like.

Mouthfeel is good. nice carbonation, body is on the thinner side compared the the norm in this style. great balance.

Overall a very nice stout. each taste have very distinct flavors that are so easy to pick out from. I would mind having this in the fridge often. quite nice.

acrawf6, Jul 16, 2006
Photo of assurbanipaul
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours a really dark brown with a thin brown head. Aroma is rich and malty, molasses and dark cocoa.

Taste is dark bitter chocolate with a touch of espresso, no sugar. Lots of malt here, some sorghum, roasty black patent. Not real sweet but has a little lactic nature. Aftertaste of bitter coffee.

Mouthfeel is a little on the thin side but not too very, a little carbonation keeps it sharp. I would say it's just a little too sweet for the Irish dry stout style. Excellent, especially for a certified organic brew. I could session this.

assurbanipaul, Jun 30, 2006
Photo of russpowell
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Purchased at city market in san antonio tx memorialday weekend. Very nice stout, usually not impressed with most organic ales, but this really worked!

Pours mahogany with a 4 fingers+ tan head. Beautiful lacing & head retention

Slight choclate scents

Taste: choclate up front, followed by slight fruitiness, plus slight roasted barley. Finsihes with slight oakiness & roasted barley

MF: Rich & full, good carbonation

Very drinkable, but too heavy to session on IMHO. I reccomend highly none the less

russpowell, Jun 28, 2006
Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - stout dark, but as dark as other, wells up a gorgeous caramel colored full finger thick head, too dark for carbonation

S - a nice light espresso aroma with the requisite hop aromas intertwined, perhaps slight vanilla aromas as well

T - such a smooth coffee flavor, not overbearing, not too subtle, a great balanced bitter/sweet flavor, this is a great stout, love the organic mustiness as well, a superb stout

M - smooth as i said with a great aftertaste

D - high for stout lovers other may find a bit musty, but damn is it good

sinstaineddemon, Jun 14, 2006
Photo of rowew
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz short bottle typical of North Coast beers. Brewed by North Coast exclusively for Whole Foods. Certified organic.

Appearance: Very dark with just a bit of red around the edges, thin head, very little lacing.

Smell: Chocolate and roasted aromas.

Taste: Similar to the aroma - lots of roasted flavor, and a good amount of chocolate, with a bit of coffee bitterness. Medium bodied.

Overall impression: Medium bodied so it is highly drinkable, and it has good flavors. A nice stout offering from North Coast.

rowew, May 23, 2006
Photo of Dogbrick
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark reddish-brown color with a lot of light penetration. Medium thin beige head that lasts pretty well, and thin sheets of lacing. Aroma of roasted malt and coffee. Medium-bodied and creamy with lots of roasted coffee flavor throughout. Other flavors like chocolate and malt are not as consistent though. The finish is mildly bitter coffee and a little watery. Above average overall, and not by far.

Dogbrick, May 04, 2006
Photo of jmz62565
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This pours a dark brown with a medium sized tan head. The smell has a real strong coffee aroma to it that's very nice along with some malt sweetness. The taste has a malt sweetness that blends well with alot of coffee flavor. This is crisp and very refreshing. The m/f is light,but it does have abit of a mettalic aftertaste. This is a very drinkable beer from one of the better brewerys in the country.

jmz62565, Apr 15, 2006
Photo of briman
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served from bottle into standard pint glass.

Pours dark brown, but not opaque, with some ruby highlights when held up to the light. Decent clarity. Half-inch tan head dissipated quickly leaving very little lacing.

Very mild but noticeable aromas of chocolate, coffee, roasted malt.

Taste is sweet upfront, little bit of chocolate, but the the coffee and roasted malt flavors become more evident. Finish has a tinge of hops, but to me it's mostly a mild roasty, burnt malt bitterness.

Mouthfeel seems thin, and not as robust as I would like for a stout. The lightness of it does make it the kind of stout I could drink a few of, especially if I wanted to stay away from something overly heavy.

briman, Apr 13, 2006
Photo of blitheringidiot
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a barely see thru eggplant hue with a settled head cap, leaving no lace in the glass.

Aroma is a toasted malt and slightly smoky with a hint of cocoa.

First swigs: Cocoa sweet and toasted almost burnt malt. Smooth cream texture. Suggestion of vanilla ans light black coffee. Full flavored coffee and toasted malt.

Zesty carbonation and a medium mouthfeel. Fizzy feel.

Last swigs: Quite impressive how this is organic and full flavored. Approachable and tasy. Decent version for the style.

blitheringidiot, Apr 02, 2006
Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a pretty color. It is a deep garnet color with a small 1/4" head of tan bubbles at first, but then it falls within 30 seconds or so to end up as a small ring around the top of the beer.

Aroma: Very mild aroma. There is some noticeable roastiness here along with a smooth aromatic like it has oatmeal or something. The head doesn't retain like there are oats, so it is more likely a specialty grain like aromatic or biscuit. The beer gains more of a chocolate flavor as it warms a bit.

Taste: The flavor is much more assertive than the aroma. There is roast up front that has a sweet chocolaty edge to it. There may be a little floral hops in here in the flavor, but the bittering is reserved. The beer is light, but it finishes with a noticeable sweetness and slight acidity to linger for some time. Late in the finish, there is a porter like coffee flavor to linger in the throat for some time.

Opinion: This is a pretty good standard dry stout. We get hyped up on all of these high-octane beers, and one like this is a breath of fresh air in that it is palatable and not too heavy. I am enjoying the beer, and will most likely buy it again to try, but I am not in a stout phase right now. I would still recommend this beer. You won't be disappointed.

SkeeterHawk, Mar 31, 2006
Photo of taez555
4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a brownish black body with a small off-white head.

Nose has rich chocolate, milk chocolate, fresh coffee beans, toffee and brown sugar. Very rich and completely upfront. Sort of a natural organic smell to it,

Medium bodied with a big present flavor. Coffee, milk chocolate, toasted and dark burnt malts. Touches of natural wood, stone and roots. Touches of root beer almost. A nice earthy muted hop flavor. A rather present bitterness in the finish that lingers for some time.

One of the most flavorful and simple stouts I've had in while. Huge flavor, with a distinctive organic flavor. Great beer.

taez555, Mar 30, 2006
Photo of aleyeast
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured from a 12 oz bottle obtained at Whole Foods, Mt. Pleasant, SC poured in a Stone imperial stout glass

color is dark brown w/ reddish hues, small lacing on top (gently poured)
aroma is chocolate and roast, nice
taste is same with some nutty qualities
mouthfeel is a little thin, and the alcohol comes through a tad much for the style, but not enough to overly affect drinkability

All in all, awell made beer as expected from North Coast and worth a try

aleyeast, Mar 28, 2006
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

See throughable sienna suffused with dusky garnet and capped by a semi-creamy head of weak chocolate milk brown. The foam achieves some semblance of rockiness and throws up soft streamers of lace as it slowly deflates. A solid look.

The nose is a humdinger and surprised me a little with its roasty power. It smells like the beer will be heavy on chocolate malt, with generous black coffee notes. It's also fairly low on fruity hoppiness, but that's okay given the sub-style.

Old Plowshare is a good stout if you aren't expected something stout. It manages to pack a great deal of flavor into a relatively light body, with a nicely bitter, heavily roasted black malt component that isn't able to dig in enough to be palate fatiguing. A mild, sugared vanilla bean sweetness runs interference and keeps things from becoming too one-dimensional.

The flavor profile is simple, but effective. Faintly ashy notes begin to creep in with warming, although I consider them to be a positive, much like peat in a Scotch ale or smoke in another sort of stout. The finish is on the short side and is dry and fairly clean. This is a distinctive, well-constructed beer.

The body/mouthfeel, as alluded to above, fits the style well. This is an enjoyable drinker that combines a 'just right' amount of carbonation with a light-mediumness that still manages to be as firm as the business end of a shillelah. Creamy it ain't. Tastes like a stout, drinks like a porter.

Old Plowshare is the organic version of North Coast's standard Irish dry stout, Old #38 and is brewed for Whole Foods Market, which is where I picked up this bottle. My flavor memory of Old #38 has long since chugged down the tracks, but I seem to like this stout blueprint just fine. Good when toasting St. Patrick and good on all other occasions as well.

BuckeyeNation, Mar 20, 2006
Photo of Mark
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A lightish colored stout that is a dark brown and not blackish. A decent tan head retains well but lacing was not too prevalent. Slight roasted notes in the aroma with a hint of charcoal? Smooth taste profile that seemed a bit chocolatey, Good, simple and straightforward. Kind of thnnish for a stout but is a decent drinkable beer. North Coast brews it for Whole Foods markets.

Mark, Mar 19, 2006
Photo of Pegasus
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Clear deep amber brown, with a large, persistent tan head, thick patchy glass-coating lace, and slight carbonation.

Aroma: Rich, roasted coffee aroma, with lesser notes of bitter cocoa. The coffee presence is very, very strong.

Taste: Rich roasted coffee flavor from start to finish, with slight undercurrents of bitter cocoa, earth, and smoke. Late in the taste there is a faint herbal hop presence. The finish is a bit dry, with a lingering charcoal note.

Mouth feel: Smooth and fairly full, decent body, pleasant.

Drinkability/notes: A pleasing, though unspectacular example, quite drinkable.

Presentation: Packaged in a short twelve ounce brown glass bottle with a pop-off crown, served in a standard pint tap glass.

Pegasus, Feb 19, 2006
Photo of DogFood11
3.1/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Solid white head sits atop a black bodied brew with a reddish outside ring when held to the light. traces of lacing.

Lately for some reason I just like to get to the point of a review which is the overall view of the product. Not bad at all. For someone that likes a mild roasted/toasted chocolaty malt presence and more of a blended brew with some bitter hop background this is it. Malts tended to be slightly smoked and it was rather hop heavy all considered. Light mouthfeel with some lingering dryness in the late late finish.

Never understood the whole "organic" thing considering there are alot of brews that don't advertise this quality and are yet still organic.

DogFood11, Feb 15, 2006
Photo of orbitalr0x
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Being a vegetarian and natural foods lover...it's cool to see a fully organic stout. Kudos to North Coast for brewing this one up. Pours from the stubby bottle into my glass a dark black with streaks of deep red. A half inch of bubbly tan head appears and slowly falls. When held up to the light it becomes almost transparent with a burnt sienna hue. Aromas of roasted dark grains with burnt cocoa and an undercurrent of mellow brewed coffee. Maybe a touch of dark fruits lurkin in there. Pretty nice, yet fairly standard.

First sip brings a fairly dry roasty maltiness on the roof of the mouth. Burnt, almost smoky tones emerge with a dash of cocoa and a touch of bitter coffee. I get an interesting fruitiness throughout drinking this brew. It finishes with just a touch of hops and a lingering roasty husky malt. An enjoyable dry stout with the added bonus of all organic ingredients.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a nice creaminess...I would like to see a little more body, but as is it makes for easy drinking. I could see having a few of these no problem...it could become my organic session stout! My thanks to beerinator for passing this one off to me. Always good to try something new from North Coast.

orbitalr0x, Jan 27, 2006
Photo of ypsifly
3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Undated stubby poured into a pint glass.

Deep brown with a foamy head of light tan. Good retention but little lace.

Malty chocolate, roasted notes, and a splash of milk abd hop in the nose.

The taste has all of the same components of the nose with the chocolate coming across as bitter cocoa. There's also a bit of coffee in place of the milk. Roasty, bitter finish...almost burnt.

For the style, I found the mouth a bit weak. Not bad, but nothing to get excited over.

ypsifly, Jan 21, 2006
Photo of Jredner
3.3/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Mildly roasted malt aroma and scant else. A sorta dark brown/black with some amber tinting and a bubbly, diminishing, thumb thick tan head. Flavor has a bit of a cola/tobacco tinge in the fore followed by some brown sugar and tea-like sweetness. I seriously get hints of chamomille as well. Kinda Reminds me of Sleepy Time Tea-Stout! It’s different and pleasant.

Jredner, Jan 18, 2006
Photo of JudgeRoughneck
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice looking pint is deep mohagany in color with three fingers of tan head. The head fades quickly to a centemeter or so leaving a lovely lacing behind. This layer stays around, I might add, to the last sip.

Aromas are clove, chocolate, little coffee, and alcohol. Ooh baby thats tasty. Taste starts off slightly metalic, but very smooth none the less. Next the bitterness comes, though it does not seem to come from hops really. The bitterness stays as a backdrop for a mix of flavors, the strongest of which is like a nutty light-roast coffee. Milk and diluted cane syrup make an appearance.

There is a very remarkable aftertaste. I have not smoked in some weeks but after sipping this beer my mouth tastes just as it would after a bowl of pipe tobacco. Navy flake with a touch of perique or Latakia thrown in. The beer itself has no smoked qualities at all but pipe-smokers will recognize this aftertaste instantly.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy and if only it were a touch heavier...oh well, its almost there for a stout. This is just light enough to consider session material. Great all-around no-gimmick stout. Cheers!

JudgeRoughneck, Jan 14, 2006
Photo of ViveLaChouffe
3.45/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours an opaque dark brown with a frothy khaki head. Smells quite sweet and malty. Hops are evident. Hints of coffee, lightly astringent.

Tastes of sweet malt and bitter coffee. Very bitter coffee, unpleasantly so. A bit haphazard in the flavor, things just don't mesh well. An unpleasant coffee ground taste in the finish and aftertaste. A bit thin. Not that great.

ViveLaChouffe, Jan 14, 2006
Photo of ElGordo
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brown with ruby highlights, topped by a pretty half-inch creamy tan head (adjective overload). Aroma of roasted malt with some milk chocolate and espresso. Palate is slightly sweet up front, developing a more roasty character towards the finish. Hints of dark chocolate and dark, strong espresso come through the malty backbone. Finish is roasty, yet also has some hoppy bitterness. Body is smooth and creamy, but just a tad thin. Not bad, but kind of rough around the edges.

ElGordo, Dec 12, 2005
Old Plowshare Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 184 ratings.