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Plowman's Ale - Grand River Brewing

Not Rated.
Plowman's AlePlowman's Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

69 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 69
Reviews: 47
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 14.52%
Wants: 0
Gots: 2 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Grand River Brewing visit their website
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  4.70% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
This is a big, bold beer that is loaded with five types of hops but also backed up with a hearty grain that establishes balance and body. This deep copper coloured beer has beautiful spicy and a slight citrus hops note right from the start with a rounded malt finish accompanying the hop bitterness.

Immediately after pouring the beer, you will notice a full, rocky head form at the top of your glass that preserves all the flavour and allows the slow release of the hop focused aroma. As you drink and enjoy your beer you will notice the head take on a thick and rocky appearance as it creates some wonderful lacing down the side of your glass. All signs of a well made traditional style beer.

(Beer added by: crwills on 09-15-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 69 | Reviews: 47 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by demcorhip:
Photo of demcorhip
3.98/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Derek. I love these old school 500ml bottles. Anyways it was poured into my trusty Samuel Smith glass, its perfect for the 500ml bottles. A deep amber mixed with burnished bronze in colour. Good clarity, but not much for head or retention in his very mildly carbonated ale. Im not expecting much for lacings either.

Aroma is quite muted, likely due to the low level of carbonation. Some interesting fruity esters tempt the nose with the scents of aromatic red apple and a touch of black grapes. Amber malts with hints of caramel and toasted nuts also present. Im not getting much at all from the hops, and in some ways that is quite a surprise.

Toasted wholegrain bread and some toasted nuts from the malts meet the apple flavoured esters as well as flavours of dark grapes. Wondering if the vinous quality is from esters or oxidation, but either way it adds to instead of detracts from the overall taste of this freshly brewed ale (gotta love the bottled on date stamped onto the label). There is a solid amount of hops providing a nice bitterness with flavours of grapefruit and pine.

Quite well attenuated, some honey like malt sweetness remains to lighten the tea like astringency. Light bodied yet full flavoured, with a nice touch of hops to round things out here.

Another full flavoured session ale from Grand River, and another tasty offering. Well worth seeking out for fans of the style. While not as aggressively hopped as modern american versions of the style this is a very drinkable ale with enough depth and flavour to make for an enjoyable all night session beer. Damn good stuff here, if it was readily available it would be something i would always keep on hand. Thanks again Derek.

demcorhip, Dec 01, 2008
More User Reviews:
Photo of beerhunter13
4/5  rDev +7.5%

beerhunter13, Jan 13, 2012
Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've had this beer so many times before, I'm surprised I haven't reviewed it yet. This was one of my first craft beers that truly surprised be with its earthy bitterness; I'm interested to see how I feel about it now.

500mL picked up from the brewery, bottled January 25th. Looks like they've completely changed over their bottling artwork for all their regulars.

Poured into a Grand River conical pint glass. A striking amber hue, the pour leaving a foamy inch of head that displayed great retention. Lots of sticky lacing as well.

Nose is that distinctive, metallic tang seen in other Grand River brews (not much they can do about the water supply), with herbal hops, caramel and malt.

Earthy and flavorful, with a nice herbal/citrus hop finish. Malty, but not overly so. A nice sipper, full of flavor.

Medium bodied, creamy, nice pinprick carbonation.

A perennial favorite of mine from Grand River. A solid, flavorful red ale that displays a surprisingly diverse profile of earth, bread, herbal and bittering hop flavors. Best on tap, but bottled fresh from the brewery itself is always a treat as well.

JohnnyBarman, Feb 19, 2011
Photo of Sammy
3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lovely white head, with lace, on grapefruit coloured body. Aroma is good, with C-hop, malt and lager. Grapefruit hop takes over, hoppy pale, with acidic bite begging for food. Bold eh? for Ontario, very fresh thanks to Old Faithful's growler. Very drinkable and also surprisingly bitter. A good pale,
Once in a while, the hype is for real. One of the best Ontario brews I have had...you can look it up.Had it six months later, and creamy good, hoppy just not as outstanding as the first.

Sammy, Sep 16, 2007
Photo of CanuckRover
3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice dark amber. Couple fingers worth of head. Spider web lacings all the way down.

Smells like an awful lot of hops for the style, quite piney. Solid toffee behind.

This is interesting. Certainly an American-style hopping with a good dose of pine and grapefruit. However, I feel the malt and yeast take over. The malt comes across as toffee/caramel while the affect of the yeast is quite orangey like you find in alot of English ales. Having the malt-focused palate that I do, I would place it in the English category instead of as an American Amber.

This is a very drinkable amber ale, very nice.

CanuckRover, Sep 09, 2008
Photo of traumaqueen
3.25/5  rDev -12.6%

traumaqueen, May 28, 2012
Photo of heebes
4.15/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

64 oz Growler from the brewery.

Pours a deep clear copper amber with foamy off white head. Nose is citrus hops, light fruits, faint phenol, sweet caramel malts. Taste follows the nose with some bitterness from the hops in the finish. Good balance of the ingrediants, a definite amber ale quality in taste I can't put my finger on. Smooth and easy drinking on the palatte. Lighter bodied mouthfeel. Overall a great tasting beer. Had a bottle earlier this week that was absolutely wonderful fresh. A great tasting sessionable beer from Grand River. Try it fresh!!

heebes, Jan 19, 2011
Photo of Stocean1
3.55/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a one finger head into a pint glass at the kiwi - fluffy head with little retention - some nice lacing - amber copper colour - pretty clear

Smell is malt, caramel, grapefruit, grassy hops with some floral notes

Taste is malt and caramel up front, orange zest and grapefruit subtle notes, grassy hops in the finish with a mineral twang (it is grand river after all)

Medium bodied brew with some carbonation and a nice amount of bitterness - relatively smooth

Overall - decent on tap with a little less metal twang but I think I get more flavour from the bottled version

Stocean1, Oct 14, 2011
Photo of Phyl21ca
3/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a deep amber color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of dry caramel malt with subtle grainy flavor. Taste is dryer then I had anticipated with good caramel malt and dry finish. Hops are not overly distinct and ester are somewhat lacking. Body is about average with good carbonation. Not bad overall but I would say that this was below average for this brewer.

Phyl21ca, Nov 08, 2009
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.63/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on May 19/11.
Poured in to Pint Glass

A - Medium amber colour; translucent. One finger of bubbly khaki coloured head.

S - Sweet caramel malts initially in the nose with a slight bitterness coming through from the hops that carries a slight floral smell.

T - A nice bitterness comes through at first with some floral notes. A significant caramel/toffee malt flavour rounds out the flavour profile and provides a good compliment to the bitterness with some sweetness as well.

M - Medium body; somewhat creamy and almost full bodied at times. Light carbonation.

TheSevenDuffs, Jun 25, 2011
Photo of irishkyle21
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%

irishkyle21, Aug 26, 2013
Photo of IronDjinn
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A tip of the hat to wfeddern for including this in CanBIF 5.

Pours out a deep transluscent ruddy amber, very appealing, capped by a tall spongy light beige head with good retention.

Uplifting floral notes at first on the nose, followed by mild toffee and nuts, and light grassy hops.

Nutty and earthy flavours up front that then seamlessly melds into spicy hops in the middle, then turns more herbal on the finish, leaving a lingering aftertaste of dandelion greens.

Thin on the mouthfeel, but with enough body and carbonation that it doesn't quite get watery.

An average amber ale, not offensive but also kinda blends into the background like a wallflower, it doesn't quite stand out from the crowd.

IronDjinn, May 13, 2009
Photo of dipso123
1/5  rDev -73.1%

dipso123, Mar 28, 2012
Photo of ssmack
4.16/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance

Slightly cloudy light amber with fine creamy head that last through the drinking.

Smell

Carmel and grainy malt with hops in the background.

Taste

Bitter chocolate and burnt malt at first then a long hoppy aftertaste.

Mouthfeel

Smooth hoppiness.

Overall

Well balanced. A taste that starts quite malty with a long hoppy ending.

ssmack, Mar 04, 2012
Photo of mrnobody
3.38/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

500 ml bottle poured into an oversized tulip.

A: Pours a clear amber with one finger of beige head, minimal lacing.

S: Smells fairly malty, a little spicy hops, weak aroma.

T: Tastes of a bit of sweet malt which is quickly overpowered by a lingering bitterness.

M: Mouthfeel is medium with an appropriate carbonation level.

D: I can see one tiring of the bitterness quickly.

I used to really like this beer so I'm not sure what went wrong here, whether they changed the recipe, I got a bad bottle or my taste has just moved on. Frankly, this was my non-seasonal go-to from GRB and now I'm afraid I don't have one until Curmudgeon IPA comes out in the spring. Hopefully it doesn't disappoint like this did.

mrnobody, Dec 12, 2010
Photo of papat444
3.85/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Derek for getting me this beer.

Paired it with a homemade lunch, chicken sandwich & potato salad.

Poured from a 500ml. bottle, bottled on Apr. 22, 2009.

Appearance: Big thick white head with tanned tinges. Body looks like burnished copper but when held to the light it' very reddish in color.

Smell: Initial weird metallic aroma that gradually dissipates. Roasted smell and as it warms, i get a gentle hop presence.

Taste: A nice robust yet discreet taste. Some hops in the fore with a subdued dry bitter finish. There's also some tea and a type of herbal presence lurking in there. I'm also getting some earthy notes, maybe barley?

Mouthfeel: Just a tad too carbonated at first but not uncomfortable by any means and definitely eases as it warms. Nice full body with a smooth flavorful feel.

Drinkability: A nice low ABV with some good taste makes this one a pleasure to drink. Would gladly have another.

Overall: Thoroughly enjoyed this one. A discreet but very well made brew. First one from this brewery and i definitely want to try more of their beers. I actually also have their Curmudgeon IPA & Russian Gun so looking forward to trying them.

papat444, Jun 14, 2009
Photo of spinrsx
3.73/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml Bottle

Appearance – Clear copper colour with an average size fizzy beige coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation visible and there is a fairly good amount of lacing. The head lasted for around 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, tea, caramel/butterscotch

Taste & Mouth - The beer has an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, caramel/butterscotch, and some light hops. The is also a bit of a tea flavour going on. It ends with a malty caramel sweet aftertaste with a little bit of a lingering hop bitterness.

Overall – A very nice easy drinking beer with a pleasant sweet and malty taste. It's well crafted and I'd buy it again. I'd also be interested to try this one on tap/cask.

spinrsx, Oct 24, 2011
Photo of RedAleMan
4/5  rDev +7.5%

RedAleMan, Oct 19, 2012
Photo of liamt07
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle form the LCBO, bottled on April 15, 2011. Into a pint glass.

Pours a ruby red, with maybe some amber highlights. Soapy and sticky white head, leaves a bunch of webbed lacing here. Nose is bready and malty, some earthiness. Very mild citrus/grapefruit too potentially? Taste has a bitter citrus bite with more bready and earthy like malts. Caramel notes too. Lingering bitterness from this but not substantial. Medium body and carbonation. A decent amber overall.

liamt07, Apr 27, 2011
Photo of SebD
3.69/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: It has a nice hazy golden/orange color to it. It has a nice off-white head that dies down somewhat fast and leaves little lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitely give out hints of sweet bready malts, caramel, some fruitiness, (apple juice almost) and faint earthy hops.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a some sweet bready malts, caramel, some nuttiness, slight fruitiness (citrus and apple) and an earthy bitterness.

Mouthfeel: It has a low carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with good flavors and aromas.

SebD, May 01, 2013
Photo of mrmanning
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deeper shade of amber, topped with long lasting off white head, leaving good lace. Gorgeous, fresh aroma of leafy, floral hops, bursting with pine essence, citrus (lemon, orange), and hints of butterscotch and cotton candy. The inviting aroma is matched by assertive floral hops, lemon zest, grass, a touch of sweet malty caramel and bubblegum. Medium body, with a very forward and enjoyable bitter finish. As with other beers from this brewer, the focus is on balance, full flavour, and lower ABV. It seems they can't go wrong. Excellent.

mrmanning, Aug 01, 2009
Photo of thehyperduck
4.08/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

500 mL bottle; packaged on August 24, 2011.

An aggressive pour produces a copper-brown coloured brew, topped with nearly three fingers of foamy, off-white head that gradually seeps away over a period of many minutes. Good retention, and tons of lacing on the sides of the glass. It has a pleasant aroma of bready malts, caramel sweetness and some citrusy hops. Reminds me of bergamot tea.

Not especially complex, but very tasty nonetheless. Bready malts, a bit nutty in character with some caramel sweetness as well. Good earthy, citrusy hop bitterness to balance this, once again very reminiscent of earl grey tea/bergamot; both floral and fruity. The earthy bitterness lingers on the palate in the aftertaste for a few seconds. Medium-bodied, with moderate carbonation levels that give the brew a solid bite. Creamy, maybe a little buttery/slippery on the tongue, and very smooth. Gets much tastier as it starts to warm.

This is the first beer I've tried from Grand River, and I found it highly enjoyable. Easily one of the better ambers available in Ontario, this is a very satisfying, balanced, and sessionable ale that I will surely pick up again some time. Recommended.

thehyperduck, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of Brody1714
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%

Brody1714, Mar 28, 2014
Photo of kinguy
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%

kinguy, Nov 03, 2012
Photo of grub
4.22/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle purchased at the brewery. sampled march 28/09.

pours crystal clear deep coppery orange, not quite red. a small dense patch of tan head forms, dropping slowly and leaving plenty of lace.

aroma is great. big chewy malt - biscuit, whole wheat bread, cracker - all lightly toasted. light orange peel and tangerine. hint of grapefruit. just a touch of alcohol. lightly sweet caramel and a touch of toffee.

taste is good. just over medium bitterness level. the first thing i notice is a mix of grapefruit, orange peel, and a touch of tangerine. this quickly gives way to the solid malty character that i got in the aroma. lightly toasted biscuit and whole wheat bread. alcohol feels a little higher here, but still not enough to overshadow the rest of the beer. touch of earthy character too.

mouthfeel is good. medium body. medium carbonation level.

drinkability is great. nicely balanced. great malt character matched perfectly against some light american hopping. and at under 5%, an excellent session beer too!

grub, Mar 28, 2009
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Plowman's Ale from Grand River Brewing
84 out of 100 based on 69 ratings.