Old Plowshare Stout
North Coast Brewing Co.

Old Plowshare StoutOld Plowshare Stout
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Stout - American
3.84 | pDev: 10.68%
North Coast Brewing Co.
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Old Plowshare StoutOld Plowshare Stout
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Reviews: 155 | Ratings: 187 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of superspak
superspak from Michigan

3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, no bottle dating. Pours hazy dark reddish brown color with a small foamy khaky head with decent retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of caramel, toffee, toast, molasses, chocolate, roasted malt, raisin, cream, and light herbal. Nice aromas with good strength and balance. Taste of dark chocolate, roasted malt, caramel, toffee, toast, biscuit, vanilla, light coffee, and light herbal. Light bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of chocolate, roasted malt, caramel, toffee, toast, and light coffee, and light herbal on the finish for a short bit. Very nice robustness and balance of flavors; zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very creamy and lightly slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with zero warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a very nice dry stout! Nice robust and balanced flavors; very smooth to drink. Really enjoyable offering.

Oct 26, 2012
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sulldaddy from Connecticut

3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drinking a cellar temp bottle poured into a pint glass. The beer has been in my basement for about 2 years. Pops open nicely and pours a rich chocolate color with fizzy beige head of about 1 cm that fades rapidly, and noisily to a string of wispy islands. Several small streams of bubbles continue to rise to the surface.
Aroma is roasted malt with some dark chocolate maybe a little sweet brown sugar hit that could also be dark fruit. Aroma is mild and more roasted than sweet for certain.
First sip reveals a fairly light body that is smooth with very fine carbonation. Very easy to drink this beer.
Flavor is roasted malt and then some dark chocolate and actually a little bitter like a high % cacao chocolate bar.
No hops or ABV presence detected.
A fairly straightforward but tasty, easy to drink stout. Quite nice in a world of ever increasing punch you in the face beers.

Jun 01, 2012
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mralphabet from Virginia

2.83/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: Poured dark brown with a good 2 fingers worth of tan head that settles to a nice thin layer. Not much lacing here.

S: I'm getting dark chocolate and roasted malt... not much else.

T: Taste just like the smell.. the dark bitter chocolate hits first with a roasted malt backbone, finish is clean the aftertaste has a little cherry cough syrup too it.

M: Lighter than I was hoping for... I'd say mid to light bodied.... not a lot of carbonation here.

D: Not a bad stout, but feels a little weak.. lighter that I was hoping for... Not the best I've had from North Coast.

Aug 15, 2011
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Rhettroactive from Pennsylvania

2.32/5  rDev -39.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

From 12oz bottle to Bruges hybrid glass on 6/28/11
*From notes

A: Cherry brown in color. A 2.25 finger head is the product of a generous pour. The fluffy head leads to decent lacing.

S: Rusted metal left in a cesspool on the hottest day of the year. It's pretty awful. I can't find a single pleasantry about the bouquet.

T: A bit of milk chocolate up front that comes off as whimpy and meek. The mid is filled with the essence of caramel mocha, as the finish is metallic and a slight bit off-putting.

M: Thin and utterly oily. There's no residual bulid-up in the mouth like most of the quality stouts on the market. Instead, this one is in, out and over.

O: North Coast's Old Plowshare Organic Stout is a weak link in an otherwise solid catalog. I'm guessing they were looking to create an everyday, low ABV stout, and instead found a beer that I came close to drainpouring.

On a sidenote: if you're looking for a proper and simply top-notch interpretation of the low ABV American Stout style, check out Evolution's Rise Up! Stout. You're welcome.

Jul 30, 2011
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mikesgroove from South Carolina

3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Huge dark body that no light could penetrate at all. Big head of dark tan then rose up from the bottom of the glass and reached a height of around three fingers before returning back down to earth.

Aroma is very nice, very well balanced I have to admit with loads of roasted malts, light smoked notes, hints of chocolate and coffee. Warming brings out a nice blend of licorice and peat that mixed with a nice woody, earthy tone. Again really nicely done I have to admit. Each sip was rich, creamy, and very dry. Nice follow through on the palate as well left me looking for another sip of the semi sweet and definitley dark stout.

Overall very, very solid.

Jul 18, 2011
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JizackFH from New York

3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - This beer pours a dark brown color, and has a small 1-finger light tan head. The head falls very quickly, leaving no lacing behind.

S - Smells of roasted malts, coffee, and a big bunch of chocolate. There is also a nuttiness and theres some notes of toffee and some pine present.

T - It starts off with a nice roasted bitterness and flavors of chocolate and coffee. There are some nice notes of toffee, some caramel sweetness, and some hops. The finish is roasty, a tad hoppy, and I'm also getting a touch of smokiness.

M - It has a light body and moderate carbonation. It's creamy and it goes down easy. There is a bit of lingering roasted bitterness, hops, and some smokiness in the finish.

D - This has pretty good drinkability. The taste is good, and I could easily drink a few in a sitting. It isn't the best stout I've ever had, but I think it's pretty good. I'd try it again.

Mar 25, 2011
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haddon from Kentucky

3.69/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

pours a dark cola color with a light head that fades quickly.

first smell was heavenly. got one of the purest dark chocolate whiffs that I've ever noticed in a stout. espresso, roasted malts and a light hint of bitter hops. exactly what a stout should smell like.

lots of earthy flavors on the palate. moss, burnt wood, coffee been & cocoa. a weird sourness creeps up and competes with the bitterness of the hops. strange indeed.

little light on the body that accentuates carbonation. overall, the feel comes across watery for a stout

not a disappointing beer but not a stout I would go to if given a choice. just OK. it was more than worth the try just to smell it after the pour.

Jan 04, 2011
Photo of silentjay
silentjay from Massachusetts

3.54/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

pours surprisingly translucent. dark brown with some red tints. a nice finger sized khaki head retains and laces ok.

aroma is nice. dark chocolate, licorice, molasses, charcoal, and pine tree bark interplay nicely.

molasses, licorice, some nuttiness, a bit of chocolate, and some slightly charred malts make up a decent flavor profile that is bittered up noticeably by a heavy handed hopping.

mouthfeel is barely medium bodied with a slightly watery finish that leaves me yearning for a bit more. a decent drying, yet sweet aftertaste.

goes down ok. nothing detrimental, but it lacks a bit of body and complexity that I look for in stouts. Would drink again, but I wouldn't seek it out.

Aug 28, 2010
Photo of Mora2000
Mora2000 from Texas

4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to someone for sharing this at a recent tasting. Sorry I forgot who you were.

The beer pours a dark brown color with a tan head. The aroma is chocolate with some roasted malt. The flavor is toffee, chocolate and roasted malt. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Pretty straight forward and not too complicated, but well executed.

Aug 05, 2010
Photo of Fnord
Fnord from Texas

4.11/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Black with a large and thick tan head that won't let go of the glass.

Smell - Chocolate, alcohol, malt shake, and coffe.

Taste - A lot of chocolate malt, with some alcohol and coffee thrown in. There's a little oak in the aftertaste, along with a roasty element. It's somewhere between sweet and dry, with some balanced bitterness thrown in.

Mouthfeel - Very smooth, with a thick body and high carbonation.

Notes - Because of the evident malts, I would call this a porter instead of a stout. Whatever you call it, though, it's very good, maybe even as good as a well-made English porter. That would be a tasting I'd like to try. In the meantime, I'd recommend this beer to anyone with a taste for porter/stouts.

Apr 21, 2010
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bpbieste from Florida

4.72/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Serving out of a bottle. Appearance of a very dark brown with a creamy head. Sweet Coffee and smooth chocolate. Smooth taste, very smooth confirming the aforementioned aromas. Mouthfeel has a balanced consistency, not too thin, not too thick. Drinkability: One of the best stouts I've ever tried. I will definitely be having this again in the future.

Apr 19, 2010
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regspeir from Pennsylvania

3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass.
Dark caramel appearance with a 2-inch coffee-colored head which quickly dissolves. Little lace left behind. Nose is sweet roasted coffee, chocolate, roasted malt. Little carbonation. Smooth, creamy mouthfeel but not overly thick. Smokey, sweet molasses and nutty up front with a bitter hop finish that makes this very tasty. Very sessionable at <6%, I will be revisiting this for sure.

Apr 15, 2010
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BeerAdvocate from Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine March 2007.

Very interesting:an organic stout. No organic hops, though. Wonder why?

As dark as night with faint ruby edges; better-than- average retention from the lace, with some clinging action after each sip. Cocoa powder, chocolate syrup and mocha aromas with fruity undertones. Heavy hand of smoothness; slightly crisp with a medium body. Baker's chocolate flavor up front, with a kiss of charred malt in the middle. Hints of black currant and elderberry jump across the dark, bready, malt sweetness. Peripheral hop bitterness is there but overshadowed by the fresh roasted malt character. Finishes milky, semi-sweet, with a lengthy yet very mild roasted grain flavor.

Old Plowshare Stout is a good call, and it's nice to see more brewers explor- ing the organic market. Lots of roasted malt flavors to go around. Quite com- plex, and indeed interesting. The sweet side makes for better pairings with this beer. Try brownies or a molten chocolate cake.

Apr 07, 2010
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ByTor2112 from North Carolina

4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have been drinking off a case of this for a while, so here goes:

Pours a very dark brown, some light comes through at the edges of the glass. Carbonation is lively at first then diminishes to a thin ring of beige foam around the glass.

Aroma-Roasted malt, some earthy hops and a sweeter smell I am trying to pinpoint; toffee?

Mouthfeel-Very good carbonation delivers a tasty palate of hop bitterness and dark malt and roasted malt flavors, some light tannins even.
This tastes like a milk stout as I am getting some sweet, almost sour/tart like flavors. Very nice. A froth on the palate activates the hops and it returns back to an American stout feel as the sweetness yields to the hops. I have sessioned this one and North Coast brewed a winner here.

Not mind blowing but satisfying for Winter and a great brew for any occasion. Cheers!

Feb 24, 2010
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oberon from North Carolina

3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a nonic a deep cola color with a thinner but well retained light mocha colored head.Nice chocolate tones in the nose with some espresso roast coffee,a nice mix.Mouthfeel is creamy but a bit light,a good mix of malted chocolate and dry roast with a bit of raw earthiness in the finish.A well flavored stout,its got a few different things going on in it.

Jan 29, 2010
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cbutova from Massachusetts

4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow, talk about a beastly head. Pours pitch black with a three finger head that has some large bubbles but is creamy for the most part. Head starts to leave some good lacing as it dies down but retains pretty well. Good looking stout. Smells of roasted malts, coffee, sweets and chocolate. The smell is nice and strong and doesn't seem to let up as I drink this one down. Taste is about the same as smell. A nice roasted malts characteristic that is not too strong but tasteful, coffee, chocolate, vanilla and sweets. I even taste some bourbon, its nice and a pinch of alcohol. I like the balance of flavors here. Moderate body with good appropriate carbonation, a tiny bit of warming makes for a good mouthfeel. A coat of roasted malt flavor is left on the tongue. Drinkability is decent, taste is very good, price isn't the best, no off flavors (the flavors are actually very solid and balanced), depending on the price and the night I would certainly buy this one again.

Nov 16, 2009
Photo of wnh
wnh from Missouri

4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours a deep, dark mahogany, opaque except when held to the light, with a frothy pale tan head.

Aromas of sweet caramel, roasted--almost burnt--grain, dark chocolate, and a light mineral character. Chocolate and roasty up front on the palate, with a substantial minerality in the middle, before finishing with more bitter roastiness hinting at coffee, alongside a light herbal hoppiness. Short finish.

Light to medium in body, with a bit of thinness that would make this quite sessionable.

Nov 08, 2009
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natelocc787 from Texas

4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was better than I expected. Chocolate and black coffee flavors with a creamy vanilla character. The smell was of black coffee and roasted chocolate malt. Taste was the same+the vanilla. Mouthfeel was good but not great, a little thin. Upon finishing the first bottle I thought this was a very fine example. Upon remembering the Rogue Shakespeare is the same style and roughly same ABV I realized this wasn't so great after all. Still a good session beer and well crafted quality.

Oct 07, 2009
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stephens101 from Oklahoma

3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This very dark brown brew is topped with a thick and fluffy tan head which sticks for a bit and slowly recedes. A fairly thick stripe is left behind right above the brew. Coffee notes are floating to my nose before I even go to take a whiff, and that's very promising. Closer inspection reveals a good clean nutty character, some subtle sweet malts, a bit of burnt sugar and a distant astringency. A little sweetness hits the tongue initially, but is quickly followed by more coffee, roasted nuts, dark chocolate and even bubblegum. Clean, and a bit creamy, but dry around the edges going down. Not quite heavy in the body, and drinks a bit more like a porter in my opinion. Well-made brew, and I would not have guessed it was organic without it being noted on the label.

Sep 25, 2009
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snaotheus from Washington

4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass

Looks dark but not black, thin brown head. A little light gets through around the edges. Smells dark and bitter with some chocolate and coffee.

Taste is very pleasant -- surprisingly sweet, but balanced with the same bitterness that you can detect in the smell. Chocolate is even stronger in the taste. The sweetness makes me think of molasses.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly light for a stout, but pleasant. Very drinkable stout.

Jul 12, 2009
Photo of Magpie14
Magpie14 from Michigan

3.87/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: the pour is of light earthy brown and does not have a wink of black in it. It looks dark in the glass but floats with orange, red, and burnt browns all around. Not a heavy pour either, thin for a stout. The top is dingy white foam with broken pieces of lace mixed about. No retention with the head

S: strong whiffs of roasted barley and malts and further pushed out with roasted coffee. I gather a soft mild chocolate scent. No hops in the mix

T: this brew relies on a heavy dose of roasted malts doused with sweet cocoa powder. Flavors also deliver a rather nice bitterness with just a hint of coffee floating around. After my palate gathered the flavors, I found that this mother drinks rather clean and crisp overall

M: quite light and thin for an American Stout. Lower levels of carbonation make things run smooth. Body is a hearty mild and much like an average porter. Needs more in this department

D: tastes like a stout for the most part and it drinks like a porter. I find this to be a nice drink for all occasions. This little guy packs some nice flavors. A good liquid experience

May 26, 2009
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Cyberkedi from Georgia

4.22/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The rich smoky aroma has strong tones of roast coffee and molasses and just a whisper of unsweetened chocolate, demanding a taste. It pours a nearly opaque chocolate brown with a thick, light tan head that hangs around for quite a bit. Flavor is smoky with a strong overtone of fine coffee and touches of caramel, hops and molasses. Texture is this beer's weakest point - though it is smooth and fizzy, it seems just a little watery. This beer is a winner nonetheless.

May 15, 2009
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cvfish from Louisiana

3.28/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - This beer poured a dark brown color which produced a tan foamy head which had some retention and left little lacing on the side of the glass

S - The aromas produced by this beer were mild, roasted malts and dark chocolate

T - The of this beer was muted, some roasted malts and dark, bitter chocolate

M - The mouthfeel of this beer had a medium body with a moderate amount of carbonation to it

D - Not a real fan of this Stout, but then again I am real picky with my dark beers, but this seems like a gimmick beer with the organic tag

May 12, 2009
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paco1029384756 from Illinois

4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown color with one finger of creamy light tan head.

Scent of chocolate, hops, roasted malts, smoke, tobacco, and earth. Very well balanced with a nice strength.

Taste of roasted malts, chocolate, tobacco, and anise. Finishes with some coffee and roasted malts. A solid Stout, I could drink this often.

Mouthfeel is light bodied and somewhat thin, but smooth with fairly strong carbonation.

May 09, 2009
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mikereaser from Pennsylvania

3.3/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - pours a solid brownish black with a little bit of foam that quickly disappeared into a ring of bubbles on the suface around the glass

S - Aromas of roasted malts, chocolate, coffee and sweet cream

T - The taste was just basically coffee and bitter chocolate

M/D = Light bodied and very creamy, nice flavor but there was something about it that wasn't right to me. Can't place it, i guess i'll have to try another.

Apr 29, 2009
Old Plowshare Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 187 ratings