Dismiss Notice
Extreme Beer Fest:Los Angeles

Join us December 9th in Los Angeles for the ultimate throwdown of craft beer creativity!

Learn more...
Dismiss Notice
Introducing: Project Extreme Brewing (a Dogfish Head + BeerAdvocate project)

Old Plowshare Stout | North Coast Brewing Co.

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
Old Plowshare StoutOld Plowshare Stout
Very Good
186 Ratings
Old Plowshare StoutOld Plowshare Stout

Brewed by:
North Coast Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.70%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by hyuga on 10-01-2005

Bros Score:
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 186 |  Reviews: 155
Photo of Rhettroactive
2.32/5  rDev -39.4%
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.

 1,053 characters

Photo of cokes
2.37/5  rDev -38.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours to a dark mahogany brown with a good deal of translucency, topped with a thick khaki-tan head. It's not an ugly beer, for a brown ale. For a stout, it's simply not black enough.
Aroma-wise, a tic of scorched sugar and caramel, and a tiny notion of roast are succumbed to a brown bag papery astringency and misplayed spearmint hops. It turns towards tea and cocoa powder and wet leaves as it warms, and that represents a marked improvement.
A brown sugared carob tobacco maltiness prevails in the mouth. Roast is nearly absent from the taste profile, aside for a token appearance around the swallow. And it isn't sweet either. The fizzy, abrasive carbonation won't allow for it, and neither will the bizarre acrid tea-like hops, backed with an equally dissonant note of mint.
The body, as mentioned, is thin and overcharged. There is no sense of body, malt, or stoutness here. It congeals a bits after it sits a long while, but all is lost by then.

 955 characters

Photo of Offa
2.4/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This is a sub-par stout, sharp and rough.

In appearance, it's almost black, faintly reddish brown with a very large tan head steadily shrinking to a smaller, lasting head and leaving a tiny bit of weak lace.

The aroma is fairly good overall and rather full, with chocolate, coffee, lightly burnt roasted grain and wood, smokey prunes and fruit.

The taste, thoughm, disappoints. Ok at first, it rapidly deteriorates. It starts off with decent but rather vague, weak chocolate, coffee, a roastiness that is strong but still pretty smooth, light sweetness and light spicey bitterness. However, it goes downhill and rapidy gets worse as it warms. It becomes more pungently and sharply spicey, very acridly peppery, with a strong, sharp fermented prune quality, yet lacks the body and depth to carry any of this. I can see how someone might like this but I find it barely drinkable, rough, with the character thin, weak, unbalanced in every respect, the qualities failing to marry well.

 986 characters

Photo of hyland24
2.82/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A- Poured a thin dark brown almost black with red hues when held up to the light. No head and little to no lacing.

S- Malt with hints of roasted coffee ad a slight hop smell.

T- Malty start, with a slightly smoky flavor although it tasted very watered down.

MF&D- Way to thin for a stout both in texture and in flavor. Disappointed overall with the body of this stout. Dont bother nothing special.

 442 characters

Photo of mralphabet
2.83/5  rDev -26.1%
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.

 610 characters

Photo of CrellMoset
2.99/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy of proteus93 - thanks!!! Poured my share into an Allagash flute.

Appearance: Pours a deep brown, with some nice lacing, an average-retention one-finger tan head. Not bad at all, and the lacing in particular is

Aroma: Agitation reveals a hollow, shallow chocolatey note, some toasted malts ... almost like a spent coffee filter, unfortuantely.

Taste: Ok, first, there are a few lightly diluted coffee notes, faint toasty malts note, and a faint hop bitterness. But, there are also a lot of V8 mango peach notes in here, and that's just not cool. Not cool.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, but largely watery, a little fluffy, but minimal carbonation.

Drinkability: Not so hot, really. Watery, spent coffee-grounds, eh, but the alcohol is well-hidden and of a reasonable level. Still, not too impressed with the flavors in this one. Not recommended.

 864 characters

Photo of chrispoint
3/5  rDev -21.7%

Photo of GClarkage
3.07/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

10/26/05- Purchased at Whole Foods in San Mateo, CA

Presentation- 12oz bottle with no freshness info. Poured into a random pint glass.

Appearance- Odd garnet coloring in the pour. Very bright color for a stout. Large one inch large bubbled head which leaves no lace.

Smell- Fairly dark malt scent with a bit of choc and a bit of coffee.

Taste- Bitter in the hops department, but really no strong flavors that stand out. Sure, there is some bittersweet chocolate and a little coffee, but the flavors don't stand out. They are just kinda there.

Mouthfeel- Ultra carbonated for a stout. I mean wayyyy too much. Hard to consume.

Drinkability- The worst effort so far that I have had from North Coast. A bit disappointed for sure. I need me a Old Rasputain to wash away this pain.

 793 characters

Photo of cep3959
3.07/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I've been drinking Stouts all month without filing reviews, so my review may suffer from an unfair retrospective comparison.

Fills a Sam Adams "new" glass with a dark, reddish brown/amber color. Lighter than expected. Nice foamy head with decent retention. Some lacing.

Pleasant aroma. Reminds me of old fashion chocolate malt with some coffee undertones. I wound up smelling it more than sipping it.

Pleasant enough taste. Decent balance of malt and hops with a good roasted undertones. Some coffee and chocolate there. Too much carbonation for me (and I gave it a hard pour). Finishes thin and chocolaty like watered down chocolate soda. - with a nice bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is thin. Too thin for my liking. As noted, end of the glass is exceptionally thin, watery and too fizzy. Needs more richness to get it even a dry stout level.

Average overall, maybe below - but perhaps gets a few extra points because of the "organic" labeling. Wouldn't buy again unless the "green" friends demand organic beer and that's all the local had. But would drink again if handed to me.

 1,084 characters

Photo of DogFood11
3.1/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Solid white head sits atop a black bodied brew with a reddish outside ring when held to the light. traces of lacing.

Lately for some reason I just like to get to the point of a review which is the overall view of the product. Not bad at all. For someone that likes a mild roasted/toasted chocolaty malt presence and more of a blended brew with some bitter hop background this is it. Malts tended to be slightly smoked and it was rather hop heavy all considered. Light mouthfeel with some lingering dryness in the late late finish.

Never understood the whole "organic" thing considering there are alot of brews that don't advertise this quality and are yet still organic.

 676 characters

Photo of DHGranstrand
3.21/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark, dark brown with very nice creamy head. Good head retention with good risidual lacing.

Smells of molasses and malt.

Tastes somewhat watery for a stout with coffee and malt.

It just tastes watered-down to me for a stout. Not my cup of tea.

 254 characters

Photo of Jredner
3.25/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Mildly roasted malt aroma and scant else. A sorta dark brown/black with some amber tinting and a bubbly, diminishing, thumb thick tan head. Flavor has a bit of a cola/tobacco tinge in the fore followed by some brown sugar and tea-like sweetness. I seriously get hints of chamomille as well. Kinda Reminds me of Sleepy Time Tea-Stout! It’s different and pleasant.

 363 characters

Photo of robertjskelton
3.25/5  rDev -15.1%

Photo of cvfish
3.28/5  rDev -14.4%
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

 541 characters

Photo of mikereaser
3.3/5  rDev -13.8%
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.

 420 characters

Photo of Proteus93
3.33/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Holy head! A HUGE forming, sticky and foamy head with amazing lacing. Leaves a nice sheet.

S: Smells like changing the coffee filter. Almost floral... But that's light. Nothing too complex.

T: A little disappointing. Thin, lacking compexity. Spent coffee, a strange sweet note. Kinda fruity, a little metallic? There was mention of V8 peach mango... I could agree with that.

M + D: A hint towards medium body and a thin and kinda watery feel. Not as good as I may have hoped. The scent offered some promise but didn't deliver. Too bad.

 543 characters

Photo of theopholis
3.35/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance- Pours a black liquid that turns a deep, transluscent ruby when held up to the light. The head is a creamy tan with little staying power or lacing.

Aroma- Smwlla moatly of coffe and chocolate, with some lingering malt sweetness in the background. Bit of a yeasty smell in there to.

Taste- Pretty nice.Starts out like a mild coffe with some chocolate overtones. Just a bare hint of malt in there. Just a tad thin in the middle, but its really quite tasty.

Mouthfeel- Medium body. A tad over-carbonated for the style.

Drinkability- A good stout, but not great.

 581 characters

Photo of HardTarget
3.35/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle Inspection: Certified Organic, 5.7% abv., another of the North Coast offerings celebrating the 25th anniversary of Whole Foods. Ingredients listed: Water, organic malt, hops. Guess yeast just isn’t needed.

Aroma: Chicory coffee mixed in a classic stout smell. A bit rough, but bracing.

Appearance: Some clarity to a blackish, dark brown ruby glass. Tan head gave no lace.

Flavor: Bitter from both the coffee and the hops, chocolate malt added some complexity, but overall this is a straight-forward brew.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, a touch heavy.

Overall Impression: Very drinkable, but nothing I’ll crave.

 627 characters

Photo of callmescraps
3.38/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The lady friend picked up this one to bake bread with. The bread was tasty, and the brew wasn't bad either.

Appearance - Nice and black with almost an inch of chocolate-colored head. The head disappears pretty quickly.

Smell - A little burned malts and some real coffee notes going on.

Taste - Pretty mild up front. Followed by a mocha-chocolate flavor that lingers. Just a little bite, almost no booze.

Mouthfeel - Pretty thin, actually. More watery than I'd expect from the style.

Drinkability - I'm not a big stout guy in general, but this one goes down pretty smooth.

Overall, not a bad stout. It's not my favorite style, but this one is totally approachable, and pretty easy to put away. That being said, it lacks complexity and depth.

Also, you can make some pretty rad bread with it.

 798 characters

Photo of Wasatch
3.41/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice clean/clear dark brown color, nice carbonation, nice small creamy tannish head, which leaves some nice sticking lacing behind. The nose is malty, with some very light tracers of chocolate/toffee/caramel. The taste is malty, with some toffee/caramel. Light-Medium body. Drinkable, this is a tasty brew, if you can get it locally, go for it.

 352 characters

Photo of Jwale73
3.42/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle served in a standard pint. No freshness dating indicated on the label. Poured a deep brown with ruby highlights throughout the glass when backlit. Quarter inch, off-white head quickly dissipated into a soapy skim. Only a few spatters of lacing present during the tasting. Nose reveals chocolate malt with a hint of alcohol. Taste follows nose. Chocolate comes across a bit like cocoa (maybe some lactose in the mix). Also picked up a slightly roasty/nutty quality at the finish. Mouthfeel falls between light- and medium-bodied; however, carbonation is a bit prickly and aggressive for the style. A decent stout, but the mouthfeel is off for me, which dramatically impacts the overall quality of the brew.

 718 characters

Photo of Gavage
3.43/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: deep dark black in color with a 1/2" head that lingers around a while. No lacing developed.

Smell: roasted malt aroma is light on the nose.

Taste: grainy roasted malts, hints of chocolate and coffee, a bit of prune sweetness are balanced with some mild bitterness.

Mouthfeel: medium in body. Lightly crisp at the start, smoother and mildly dry at the finish. Aftertaste is short as the flavor softly sit on the tongue.

Drinkability: decent session stout, but not one to blow your tastebuds away.

 512 characters

Photo of GatorBeerNerd
3.43/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz single purchased at Total Wine in Kennesaw, GA poured into a standard pint glass

A: Very dark brown that appears black until its held up to the light to reveal red highlights. An aggressive pour yielded barely a finger thick head that didn't linger for very long. The small amount of bubbles left on the surface leave a little bit of lacing, but it doesn't cling to the glass.

S: The smell is completely dominated by roasted malts. There is a slight hint of a chocolate smell to add a little bit of character to the aroma.

T: The initial flavor is lightly sweet from the malts, but the finish is a bit bitter from the dark chocolate. Its nothing outstanding to me, but I give it a bit higher than average on taste due to the balance.

M: It is very thin bodied for a stout. Lack of carbonation does not give it a nice creamy texture as I like in stouts.

D: The balance and lack of alcohol burn make this one pretty drinkable for me.

 942 characters

Photo of Metalmonk
3.45/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Without much effort this poured a huge light-tan head, creamy and rocky, and the color isn't as typically opaque as most stouts. Light gets through easily and reveals a deep ruby shade. Head reduces, of course, but retention is good, and there's plenty of lace left on the glass.

Aroma is steamed milk, dark baking chocolate, malted milk balls, hints of date and fig, coffee grounds. Doesn't tantalize the nostrils as much as it tickles them in a nice subtle way.

The flavor is a letdown compared to the aroma. It's enjoyable enough but lacks the depth of the aroma. It's almost all roasted dark grains, giving a nutty and rough coffee-like bitterness. A slight lactic element provides a little backup, and there's more coffee in the finish. But that coffee flavor is more Folgers than something on the gourmet end of the spectrum. A simplistic flavor profile.

Mouthfeel is on the thin side, but it spreads out nice and airy on the tongue, also provides a pinch of carbonation, all that keeping it from feeling too watery.

Pretty good, but nothing I'm dying to try again. Like Flying Dog, North Coast always excels with their big beers while their more "sessionable" brews aren't as spectacular.

 1,200 characters

Photo of woemad
3.45/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle purchased at Huckleberry's in Spokane for $1.39. Hadn't previously seen this one before. I'm always a bit dubious of organic beers. While I applaud the use of organic ingredients, I've yet to have an organic beer that has impressed me.

This poured a dark cola color with a very thin light tan head that dropped quickly. Spotty lace, with one odd strand that looked like an upside down map of Italy.

The smell of this beer is dominated by the malt. There's a sweet chocolaty scent that increases as the beer warms, but there's also an oversized burnt malt scent that comes across as a bit crude, or raw, smelling. As the beer warms, it melds a little, but the raw grain odor does remain noticeable.

The taste is more mild than I would have thought from the smell. The raw grain from the nose is there, but it has a slightly more coffee-ish flavor, though it's coffee that could use some beefing up. There's also a chocolatey sweetness that is subordinate to the burnt malts, and a slight hoppy bitterness at the swallow.

Definitely too thin for a stout, though not to an undrinkable degree. A little more body, and this might seema bit richer than it is.

An ok beer, not the worst, by any means, but I'm lucky enough to have numerous superior stout choices to call upon. I'm still looking for that organic beer that impresses me.

 1,358 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Old Plowshare Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.83 out of 5 with 186 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.