1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 69 | Reviews: 47 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of matt7215
4.65/5  rDev +25%
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.

matt7215, Nov 08, 2008
Photo of Molson2000
4.5/5  rDev +21%

Molson2000, Sep 20, 2012
Photo of Derek
4.45/5  rDev +19.6%
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.

Derek, Oct 03, 2007
Photo of Justbenoy
4.4/5  rDev +18.3%

Justbenoy, Sep 08, 2014
Photo of Khaz
4.33/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Grand River Brewing is a small brewery located in southern Ontario. Situated in the town of Cambridge, Ontario, this brewery is nestled close to the nearby Grand River. Cambridge was formerly called Galt, Ontario and only became Cambridge in 1973. Plowman's Ale is full of flavour which I like. I prefer this one chilled to what I would describe as cold.

Khaz, Aug 01, 2014
Photo of HATS4BATS
4.25/5  rDev +14.2%

HATS4BATS, Mar 14, 2014
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
Photo of drinkininthewood
4.2/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Me and my father split one of the first growlers filled and it was memorably bitter. It will be interesting to see if things have changed much considering how well it was recieved.

Served from a 64fl oz growler into a dimpled mug.

A- Amber/copper in color with a nice big bubbly head that settles down and laces 360 around the glass leaving a thin layer of foam protecting the beer.

S- Bready malts,caramel, slight fruit, the nice grassy hop aromas filling the air are very inviting.

T- Wow. Nice malty spine is countered by marked bitterness. Nice grapefruit/citrus, grassy, acidic hops lead to a increasingly dry and very bitter finish. This beer puts hair on you chest.

M- Smooth and Medium bodied with nice carbonation.

D- So flavor-full and easily drinkable.

Overall grab some sharp cheddar cheese and some crackers and let the immense hop bitterness take-over. Absolutly worth checking out!

drinkininthewood, Nov 02, 2007
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 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 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
4.03/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - golden brown with ornage highlights and a large rocky with excellent retention and lacing.

Smell - Malty aroams of buttered toast and caramel with earthy, grassy hops and a hint of citrus.

Taste - Sweet caramel malt upfront with assertive bitterness through the middle, and a toffee finish.

A very good British-style ale.

, Aug 19, 2011
Photo of beerhunter13
4/5  rDev +7.5%

beerhunter13, Jan 13, 2012
Photo of RedAleMan
4/5  rDev +7.5%

RedAleMan, Oct 19, 2012
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 MattPS
4/5  rDev +7.5%

MattPS, Mar 03, 2012
Photo of crwills
4/5  rDev +7.5%
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.

crwills, Sep 16, 2007
Photo of ToddMopps
4/5  rDev +7.5%

ToddMopps, Jun 15, 2014
Photo of WeissBoy
4/5  rDev +7.5%

WeissBoy, Mar 29, 2012
Photo of BigGruntyThirst
4/5  rDev +7.5%

BigGruntyThirst, Apr 27, 2013
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
Photo of wordemupg
3.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle poured into pint glass oct13 2009

A clear deep copper with a fair bit of bubbles. It pours a nice thick head that leaves nice lace and has good retention

S some citrus mild hops and a little caramel, it was a interesting mix

T again a little odd with orange and hops with some sweetness but I enjoyed it

M not too thin but not very thick either, not bad overall it has decent carbonation that helps its cause

D no issues here a well rounded ale

from wittaker in the CANBIF09 my first trade and a great way too try some beer I can't find here in Calgary

wordemupg, Oct 13, 2009
Photo of beachbum1975
3.93/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's bet a minute since I've reviewed a beer, so here we go... Got this in an "Over The Border" trade with mjohnston on DLD '09... Listening to Muse's "Origins of Symmetry"via iPod. If anyone actually reads my reviews - GO BUY THIS ALBUM - IT'S EPIC! (No, I don't just listen to Pink Floyd and worship 3F's)

Ok, so back to my review...

Pours an attractive clear, brownish copper read from the 500ml brown bottle into my over-sized Duvel tulip. Speaking of symmetry, the body and large, rocky creamy head forms the perfect pour into my glass, leaving just enough room to sip. Ahhh...

Smells of caramel, light grains and earthy hops. Very nice.

Much like the nose, but with a crispier hop presence then I was expecting. Sweets and sugars at first, followed by a wave of mildly bitter and dry hops. Overall flavor is medium with high carbonation and water mouthfeel. Crisp and refreshing, surely sessionable. Nice, but I was a big surprised to see this was a Red ale and not a hoppier brown ale! At either rate, drink it up!

beachbum1975, May 12, 2009
Photo of tbeckett
3.93/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes.

A - Poured dark copper. Good strong carbonation. Half finger beige, creamy head. Bright. Great lace and solid retention.

S - Caramelly with bread and citrus.

T - Caramel is less with more citrus and light earth. Bread.

M - Fairly well carbonated and good medium body for the ABV. Bitterness is light to medium.

O/D - Very drinkable. Tankhouse-like. A very sessionable Grand River offering, like they always are.

tbeckett, Oct 02, 2011
Photo of MasterSki
3.93/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Viggo for tossing me one of these at DLD. Bottle April 17th, 2009. Served in a RedHook pint glass.

A - Pours with a big three fingers of soapy orange-tinged foam that slowly dissipates and leaves tons of lacing. Orange-amber body with lots of single bubbles racing upwards. Good looking stuff!

S - I probably should have opened this earlier - it has a bit of that faded hop smell to it. A touch of soapy Cascade and citrus hops, and lots of caramel and biscuit malt character, with some berries and sweet fruits as well.

T - The taste is a little different from what I expected. It's more toffee/bread than caramel, and with even less hop character other than a some nice residual bitterness in the finish. Again, there is some strawberry and other light fruits.

M - Prickly but not burning carbonation, viscous, chewy, medium body. Not a ton of residual feel.

D - The 500ml bottle was pretty easy to drink, as the carbonation isn't bloaty and the ABV is pretty low. If you go in expecting this to be like Nugger Nectar you're going to be disappointed, but it's probably the best beer I've had from Grand River.

I suspect this would be an A- beer when fresh, but it's still pretty good.

MasterSki, Nov 17, 2009
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Plowman's Ale from Grand River Brewing
84 out of 100 based on 69 ratings.