Plowman's Ale - Grand River Brewing

Not Rated.
Plowman's AlePlowman's Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

78 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 78
Reviews: 50
rAvg: 3.69
pDev: 14.09%
Wants: 0
Gots: 3 | 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:
Beer added by: crwills on 09-15-2007

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.
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Ratings: 78 | Reviews: 50
Reviews by grub:
Photo of grub
4.25/5  rDev +15.2%
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!

More User Reviews:
Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.76/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

Photo of Sammy
3.8/5  rDev +3%
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.

Photo of CanuckRover
3.8/5  rDev +3%
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.

Photo of heebes
4.15/5  rDev +12.5%
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!!

Photo of DaveBar
3.9/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased at the LCBO for just under $5.00 for a 500ml bottle. Served at 4deg C in a draught glass

A- Opens well and pours a great head that is gone pretty quick. Dark gold almost brown color. Filtered clear

S- Good nose here. Lots of hops and malt.

T- Nice malt/hop balance. Overall a nice blend that has no real stand out hop.

M- Nice IPA. Good and dry but creamy

O- Rather good beer after some not so good experiences from these guys. Well blended and balanced. Will buy again

Food Pairing

This nice little IPA went well with....... Chicken in a mushroom cream sauce.

Enjoy

Photo of Stocean1
3.55/5  rDev -3.8%
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

Photo of Phyl21ca
3/5  rDev -18.7%
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.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.63/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

Photo of IronDjinn
3.53/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

Photo of ssmack
4.15/5  rDev +12.5%
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.

Photo of mrnobody
3.36/5  rDev -8.9%
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.

Photo of papat444
3.81/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

Photo of spinrsx
3.7/5  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.

Photo of liamt07
3.73/5  rDev +1.1%
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.

Photo of SebD
3.7/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

Photo of mrmanning
4/5  rDev +8.4%
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.

Photo of thehyperduck
4.08/5  rDev +10.6%
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.

Photo of funkengruven
3.78/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This poured a nice reddish color with lots of head. Smell was a bit musty, but in that musty aroma there was a very strong hop presence. Flavor was extremely bitter, hop heaven. Hops are the prominent flavor here. The bitterness can be a bit aggressive at times, but I still very much enjoyed this fine crafted brew.

Overall, If you’re a hop-head you WILL enjoy this. Can't say I've had an Ontario brew that takes the hops to this level. Very good stuff. I think I'll have to head back to the brewery to get these growlers refilled sometime this week.

Photo of bryehn
3.86/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice copper amber colour with a large and frothy tan coloured head that leaves rings of lace and settles as a collared film.

Nice dark fruit and bread aroma that has a metallic or mineral-like note to it when first poured. Once that wears off, fresh grains and chocolate can be smelled. Also a slight nuttiness and diacetyl after warming.

Surprisingly complex in taste. Sweet and toasted malts, chocolate, sweetened raisin, caramel and smokey wood are capped with a solid and bitter floral hop finish.

Creamy, bready mouthfeel with a strong earthy note. Fairly heavy mineral and grain characteristics. Dry aftertaste with a hint of caramel.

Solid offering from Grand River, which should be no surprise. Also is one of the better red lagers in Ontario and paired well with salty snacks, soft, mild cheese (mozzarella) and deli meats (salami, ham) best.

Photo of Derek
4.43/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Fresh growler from the Brewery (first batch in June).

A: Copper-bronze, fluffy off-white head, good retention, great lace...

S: Grapefruit, grassy and slightly spicy hops; bready/biscuity malt with a little toffee.

T: Grapefruit, nectarine, grassy, hints of pine, toffee, bread, caramel, assertive bitterness.

M: Moderate body is creamy (great for its weight), modest carbonation, hop acidity.

D: Incredibly drinkable. I'd say this is one hell of an American Pale Ale, especially considering its weight!

I've had it a few times on draft since I tried the first batch (which was a little more hop-forward).

IMO, it's now a very well-balanced brew with some serious depth to the malt flavour and a pleasant fruityness from the yeast (making it a little more "British" than the original). Although I loved the hops in the first batch, the same score stands.

I even had a growler with the one-off centennial hopping (due to a brief supply shortage). It seemed to be the hoppiest since the first batch. Or maybe the fresh growler is just a little bolder than the draft? I expected more of a nectarine flavour from this replacement, but I think it's Warrior that has came through stronger. It seems to have a fresh hop spiciness as well (like that jalapeno spiciness from fresh, wet hops). Interesting, but I like the cascades.

Photo of demcorhip
3.95/5  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.

Photo of superspak
3.78/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500 ml bottle into pint glass, bottled on 3/13/2015. Pours crystal clear deep orange/copper color with a 1 finger dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of caramel, toffee, toast, brown sugar, brown bread, light nuttiness, grapefruit, orange zest, light pine, herbal, grass, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt and moderate citrus/earthy hop notes; with solid strength. Taste of caramel, toffee, toast, brown sugar, brown bread, light nuttiness, grapefruit, orange zest, pine, herbal, grass, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Good amount of herbal/piney bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toffee, toast, brown bread, light nuttiness, grapefruit, orange zest, pine, and herbal/grassy earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice robustness and complexity of dark/bready malts and moderate citrus/earthy hop flavors; with a nice crisp malt/bitterness balance and no cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, fairly creamy/bready, and lightly sticky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with zero warming present after the finish as expected of 4.7%. Overall this is a very good amber ale. All around good complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt and moderate citrus/earthy hop flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink. I definitely got some English yeast character from this, but the estery qualities were very well restrained. A nicely enjoyable offering.

Photo of matt7215
4.62/5  rDev +25.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

fresh growler from the brewery. i pick a growler of this whenever im down at Grand River and it is truely the best session ale ive ever had.

pours deep amber with a tight everlasting tan head.

the aroma is of spicey hops and amber malts. very fruity and caramel based but the hops steal the show.

the flavour is quite hoppy with a solid malt background.

very easy to drink while at the same time, subtle and complex. as ive said this is the best session ale ive had and id drink this one over any low abv IPA anyday.

Photo of crwills
3.98/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at C'est What - best beer I sampled there. Fantastically hoppy, lots of pine and citrus, both in the aroma and the flavour. The server actually "warned" me about how hoppy it was, to which I nearly replied "Thank God!" Very balanced and drinkable, however, with a good crackery malt backbone. Low alcohol level means I could session this very happily. Looking forward to trying the rest of the beers from this brewer.

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Plowman's Ale from Grand River Brewing
83 out of 100 based on 78 ratings.