Plowman's Ale - Grand River Brewing

Not Rated.
Plowman's AlePlowman's Ale

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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)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 69 | Reviews: 47 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Photo of MattPS
4/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of Digimaika2
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

Photo of scott451
3.73/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

Photo of beerhunter13
4/5  rDev +7.5%

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.

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.

Photo of bryehn
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
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 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

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.

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.

Photo of Kartoffeln
3.85/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

Photo of cyrenaica
3.15/5  rDev -15.3%
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.

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.

Photo of peensteen
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

Photo of biegaman
3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
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?

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.

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.

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!!

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.

Photo of cratez
3.85/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle at Chancey Smith's. Copper red in colour with bronze hues and a ring of eggshell white head that dissipates to nothing. Threads of lacing on the shaker. Smell and taste are fresh and doughy rye bread, yeast, caramunich malts, mineral water, earth, biscuit, very light grapefruit, and a citric hop bitterness. Medium mouthfeel, crisp and refreshing, good malt/hop balance, mild dryness to finish. Excellent session beer, lots of flavour for the low ABV, not as hoppy as your typical American amber. Grand River never lets me down.

Photo of MrHall
3.85/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500 ml bottled on Dec 27/09. poured into a mill st pint glass.

Pours clear reddish amber with an off white head that floats down to a thin layer. Little bit of lacing on the glass.

Smells a little of toffee, and malts.

Has the malty taste of a Canadian amber but much more hoppy. Maybe a little too much that it overwhelms the malts.

Mouthfeel is medium with high carbonation.

Very drinkable. They're not filling and at 4.7, you can crush 'em.

A great brew from a great brewery. Still haven't tried Curmudgeon IPA, but I'm looking forward to it.

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.

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.

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

Plowman's Ale from Grand River Brewing
84 out of 100 based on 69 ratings.