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Plowman's Ale - Grand River Brewing

Plowman's AlePlowman's Ale

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

63 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 63
Reviews: 46
rAvg: 3.71
pDev: 14.56%


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)
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Ratings: 63 | Reviews: 46 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Stocean1
Stocean1

Ontario (Canada)

3.55/5  rDev -4.3%
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

Serving type: on-tap

10-14-2011 20:03:02 | More by Stocean1
Photo of pootz
pootz

Ontario (Canada)

3.85/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On Tap at the castle.

Tapped a deep clear amber color with a decent sticky off-white cap that lasts and laces the glass

Aromas of roast toffee, some carmel over dry hay and some citrus and ale-like fruity tones.

Up front a decent malt spine is balanced with pine-citrus hopping...mid palate the hopping gets bitter and dries up the drink leading to a clean dry bitter finish.

This is the bitter amber that Wellington never brewed.

Serving type: on-tap

09-30-2007 01:45:04 | More by pootz
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.78/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

09-16-2007 22:55:06 | More by Sammy
Photo of crwills
crwills

Ontario (Canada)

4/5  rDev +7.8%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

09-15-2007 23:17:38 | More by crwills
Photo of BuckyBeerBeaver
BuckyBeerBeaver

Ontario (Canada)

3.59/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Brew #2 of 6 purchased from Grand River's retail store in Cambridge, Ontario. Plowman's Ale came in a brown 500 ml bottle with a ‘bottled on' date of December 10, 2013 and was 4.7% alcohol by volume.

Plowman's poured a slightly hazy dark amber colour with notes of ruby, and plenty of visible carbonation bubbles. Pouring produced about 1” of thick, beige tinted foam that lasted for several minutes before fading to a 1/8” foam cap which left some attractive lacing all down the glass. Certainly a good looking beer. Its aroma was fairly mild, likely due to the ever present foam cap, but bitter grapefruit and sweet malt aromas were detectable. Plowman's taste began with a malty sweetness which quickly gave way to a strong grapefruit bitterness which lingered for several seconds as an aftertaste. I'm glad that there is some malty sweetness up front to mitigate the hop bitterness somewhat. The mouth feel was an interesting contrast of the creamy foam cap and what is a relatively light bodied beer…but the combination works. The carbonation was just enough to give the beer a bit of a bite. I see that Plowman's Ale sells for $3.25 per 500 ml bottle when available through the LCBO.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2014 21:20:23 | More by BuckyBeerBeaver
Photo of SebD
SebD

Ontario (Canada)

3.69/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2013 19:20:44 | More by SebD
Photo of hopsolutely
hopsolutely

Ontario (Canada)

3.53/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A very malt-forward British-style red ale. Surprised to see it listed on this site as "American"? No hint of hops outside of the dry finish. and how much of that is a result of Grand River's hard water versus the personal taste of their brew master, I'm never sure...

Pours a beautiful, clear red with decent head and moderate lacing. Aroma is malt-forward with a metallic undertone. The taste has the sweetness of caramelized malts followed by some bittering complexity. Bottled several months ago, so that may also play a role.

Definitely a sessionable ale, although prefer it on draught and not as "American" as I'd personally choose.

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2012 21:18:39 | More by hopsolutely
Photo of korguy123
korguy123

Ontario (Canada)

3.73/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into tulip.
Bottled March 15th, 2012

A- Clear dark amber with red hues. Finger width off white head. Lacing is spotty.

S- Toffee, caramel, sweet cookies, subtle floral hop.

T- Caramel, slight sour dough, toffee, coffee and bitter floral hops in the finish.

M- Medium bodied, slightly chewy, good carbonation.

O- Solid amber, really glad it's a super fresh bottle.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2012 22:56:22 | More by korguy123
Photo of ssmack
ssmack

Ontario (Canada)

4.16/5  rDev +12.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2012 02:35:30 | More by ssmack
Photo of Digimaika2
Digimaika2

Ontario (Canada)

3.75/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Clear reddish-copper with a creamy eggshell coloured foam head. Healthy retention and lacing.

S: Toffee, molasses, baked bread, nutty qualities, citrus, and spice. A full aroma that's full of spice and all things nice.

T: Spice, bread-like malt, sweet toffee, faint citrus, and a general nuttiness. Overall quite bitter from spice but with enough of a toffee and bread sweetness. Easy to drink.

M: Medium body with a moderate carbonation. Appropriately creamy and semi-buttery.

D: Tasty offering from Grand River. I would pick this up every once in a while.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2012 02:51:41 | More by Digimaika2
Photo of scott451
scott451

Ontario (Canada)

3.73/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass. A clear dark amber with a two finger bubbly tan head. Good head retention. Some patchy lacing.

Sweet fruity malt smells. Some caramel. A big burst of sweet malts up front in the taste. A more complex bitter finish with a wash of sweet caramel after.

Medium body. Very nice overall. Good flavour and well balanced.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2012 17:58:00 | More by scott451
Photo of thehyperduck
thehyperduck

Ontario (Canada)

4.08/5  rDev +10%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2011 05:39:50 | More by thehyperduck
Photo of spinrsx
spinrsx

Ontario (Canada)

3.73/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-24-2011 14:01:22 | More by spinrsx
Photo of bryehn
bryehn

Ontario (Canada)

3.88/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

10-22-2011 23:14:11 | More by bryehn
Photo of tbeckett
tbeckett

Ontario (Canada)

3.93/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-02-2011 18:51:08 | More by tbeckett
Photo of


4.03/5  rDev +8.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2011 00:09:25 | More by
Photo of Kartoffeln
Kartoffeln

Ontario (Canada)

3.85/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep, coppery amber-red with a dense, beige head of average size. Retention is good, and the head leaves plenty of sudsy lacing as it dissipates to a thin cap of foam.

S: Hops up front with floral, fruity, and especially citric aromas - mainly orange and grapefruit. Slighty sweet and bready biscuit malts with a definite nutty character and caramel undertones round out the scent.

T: Sharply citric (orange zest and white grapefruit juice) hops tempered by a fresh, fruity character hit the mouth at the same time as nutty biscuit malts. Milder, bready caramel malts follow with a lingering nutty undertone and floral, slightly woodsy hops.

M: Medium-bodied with creamy yet crisp carbonation to keep things refreshing and moderate the slightly sticky mouthfeel. The citric hops come through a bit too strong for my liking in the finish and tends to overwhelm rather than balance the flavour profile.

D: I've got qualms with the weak nose and balance skewed towards the hoppy finish, but it's otherwise a very solid ale, both flavourful and sessionable. Certainly worth trying.

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2011 00:43:58 | More by Kartoffeln
Photo of cyrenaica
cyrenaica

Ontario (Canada)

3.15/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

500ml bottle
4.7% ABV
I tried this beer on May 5, 2011 after purchasing from the Queen's Quay LCBO outlet in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The beer poured a translucent brownish-red with a rocky tan cap that laced well. The aroma was sweet caramel malt, and weak floral hops. The mouthfeel was medium bodied with medium carbonation. The flavour is quite hoppy with a malt sweeetness in the middle - I was hoping for better.

Serving type: bottle

06-29-2011 23:08:42 | More by cyrenaica
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
TheSevenDuffs

Ontario (Canada)

3.63/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-25-2011 00:47:16 | More by TheSevenDuffs
Photo of peensteen
peensteen

Ontario (Canada)

3.75/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep amber colour, slight white head, little touches of lace. Smell is malty, caramel notes, hop bitterness, citrus is there as well, grapefruit. Taste is of big chewy malt, toffee, good hop bitterness, slight citrus in the aftertaste. Medium to full mouthfeel, slightly oily at times, good carbonation on this one. Good brew and I liked this very much, solid as usual from Grand River.

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2011 14:05:53 | More by peensteen
Photo of biegaman
biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

3.9/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Plowman's Ale, befitting to its name, looks a quaintly rustic beer, a country brick tone that turns a bright Canadian maple leaf red when held into the light. Clarity is far less a concern than carbonation, which there is little evidence of. Some sign of life is observed on the surface, however, where a low-tide current washes over with sandy grains of off-white.

A delicious nutty-sweetness slides into your nostrils like a tired man does his recliner after a long day's work. And there it rests, quiet but contented. A spritz of grapefruit essence lingers like an old-lady perfume, lending the caramelized malts a refreshing candied fruit counterpart. The smell is far from substantial, but does a possess a certain charm.

Plowman's Ale has a flavour that cuts right to the chase: sweet, toffee-ish malts coated in a sticky, resinous goo. A grilled grapefruit/roasted orange peel flavour saturates the palate briefly in citrusy tang before quickly parting ways to soft and biscuity maltiness. It's an assertive taste, making the most of its generous, inherently pleasant hop bill.

Grand River makes nothing but ample yet sessionable beers. Still, this may be both the most ample and the most 'sessionable' (taking some liberty with the term) of all their offerings. It's the kind of beer you could finish in less sips than you have fingers on your hand and, while you'd be satisfied leaving it at that, another pint would be more satisfying.

Plowman's Ale is indeed a drink that would suit a plowman: it's a substantial, flavorful ale, abundant in both hops and malt, and tremendously quenching and far too easy to throw back. Although I bet it'd be extra gratifying after a hard day's work, it's been greatly enjoyable in a relaxing, quiet-evening setting. Is there a wrong time for a beer like this?

Serving type: bottle

05-03-2011 01:57:27 | More by biegaman
Photo of liamt07
liamt07

Ontario (Canada)

3.75/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2011 16:12:52 | More by liamt07
Photo of JohnnyBarman
JohnnyBarman

Ontario (Canada)

3.8/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2011 21:31:27 | More by JohnnyBarman
Photo of heebes
heebes

Ontario (Canada)

4.15/5  rDev +11.9%
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!!

Serving type: growler

01-19-2011 17:44:23 | More by heebes
Photo of mrnobody
mrnobody

Ontario (Canada)

3.38/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2010 21:24:23 | More by mrnobody
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Plowman's Ale from Grand River Brewing
84 out of 100 based on 63 ratings.