Old Plowshare Stout | North Coast Brewing Co.

very good
155 Reviews
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

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Reviews: 155 | Ratings: 186
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.

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Photo of cbutova
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
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.

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Photo of drpimento
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pretty nice beer. Brought this back with me from Miami Beach this past summer and it suffered not. Me either. Four of us sampling and agreeing it's pretty good. Good head and lace; lovely dark rich brown with dark cherry highlights. Vanilla, chocolate and dark malt aroma. Flavor's about the same. Fine carbonation. Good quaff. Satisfying. Session beer. Great finish.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz single, presumably from rileys

appearance: pours into a crowleys pint glass...dark mahogany body, big chocolate foam head with strong retention...about what one would expect for an american stout

smell: dry roasty malts, milk chocolate powder

taste: dry bland chocolate, a touch nutty, light cream...just fairly standard

mouthfeel: dry and creamy

drinkability: fine

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Photo of Pencible
4.8/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This poured an opaque dark brown with tan head. It smelled like creamy milk chocolate and roasted coffee malts, with a bit of copper hops. It tasted like sweet cream and milk chocolate malt with light coffee hops. It was watery with no carbonation, and had a brief bittersweet aftertaste. Overall this was one of the most delicious stouts ever, with a silky smooth body. This was so good, I could drink it all day.

 414 characters

Photo of Cyberkedi
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
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.

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark reddish-brown color with a lot of light penetration. Medium thin beige head that lasts pretty well, and thin sheets of lacing. Aroma of roasted malt and coffee. Medium-bodied and creamy with lots of roasted coffee flavor throughout. Other flavors like chocolate and malt are not as consistent though. The finish is mildly bitter coffee and a little watery. Above average overall, and not by far.

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Photo of popery
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

It's a relatively light stout with a lot of roasted flavor but there isn't quite enough going on to push the score into a higher tier of stouts. Also, there is a slight metallic aftertaste, but maybe I just got an imperfect batch or something.

It's a dark, red beer that can be seen through. The head is fluffy and pretty great looking. I like the head a lot, so I gave the beer a slightly higher score than it should probably get as compared to really great stouts. There is a lot going on in the nose for a beer with an abv of 5.7%, but it's only good relative to the quality stronger stouts.

The beer tastes pretty good but doesn't live up to the nose. Not all of the coffee and chocolate notes come through on the tongue. Partly, it's due to this funny metallic taste that's coming through for me. The feel and drinkability suffer for this metallic taste, as well. It's not a bad stout. It's just not a great one.

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Photo of illidurit
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Darkest brown with a big fluffy tan head. Nice retention and decent lacing. Aromas of cocoa powder, graham, brownie mix, iced coffee. Flavor is mainly chocolate malts. Lightly acidic and roasty. Not as sweet as the aroma, but there's a dusting of cocoa and dark chocolate. Sort of light bodied with sharp carbonation. A very solid stout.

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Photo of wedge
3.94/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark cranberry with a solid creamy head. Bigger aroma than usual for a stout of modest strength...silky, chocolatey coffee and a rich, porter-like sweetness. The flavor is, at first, a huge load of fresh malt on the tongue: dry, bitter, and black. Bittersweet chocolate and roasted coffee beans make up most of it. Medium mouthfeel...smooth but dry.

Dark and bitter would best sum it all up. Plenty of character to go around too though.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

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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.

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Photo of PorterLambic
3.67/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours very dark brown wih red edges. Big fluffy head, creamy, drops to a film kinda fast.
Smell is malt, coffee, soy sauce, smoke, hint of yeast.
Taste is malt, smoke, soy sauce,peat, bitter chocolate, slightmetallicnote that increases in aftertaste with hops, toffee & coffee.
Smooth, rich, medium full body, light effervescence. Good stuff. only down side is the metallic note.

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Photo of sulldaddy
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

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Photo of dsa7783
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Short, fat, stout, single, 12 oz bottle purchased from Total Wine and More in Union for $1.99...
"Organic stout" on the front logo sticker...
Most of North Coast's stuff is usually pretty good, so I expected the same from this sample...
Pours a engine-oil, jet-black hue with a decent-sized foamy head that soon dissipated and left a minimal amount of lacing...
Rich cocoa and espresso aroma coming through along with enticing mocha nuances...
Taste paid homage to the smell, with a warm suggestion of rich latte, dark espresso, and chocolate factors thrown into the mix...
Mouthfeel was decent, but slightly more watered-down than I had anticipated...
Easy drinkability due to the lack of any cloying factors present and relatively modest 5.7% ABV...
Decent stuff...
Worth a shot...

 783 characters

Photo of allengarvin
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Old Ploughshare, on pour, is a deep, ruby-red tinted beer with small, thin coat of foam across the top. Aroma is somewhat faint, mostly roasted, bready malt. Lots more roastiness at taste, along with moderately-high bittering hops. I can't detect any hop flavor. Finishes dry with a lingering taste of toasted malt. Medium-bodied, fairly carbonated.

Nothing bad here, but nothing stands out either. I admit stouts are not my favorite style, but I can't see any reason to buy this again.

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Photo of Pegasus
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Clear deep amber brown, with a large, persistent tan head, thick patchy glass-coating lace, and slight carbonation.

Aroma: Rich, roasted coffee aroma, with lesser notes of bitter cocoa. The coffee presence is very, very strong.

Taste: Rich roasted coffee flavor from start to finish, with slight undercurrents of bitter cocoa, earth, and smoke. Late in the taste there is a faint herbal hop presence. The finish is a bit dry, with a lingering charcoal note.

Mouth feel: Smooth and fairly full, decent body, pleasant.

Drinkability/notes: A pleasing, though unspectacular example, quite drinkable.

Presentation: Packaged in a short twelve ounce brown glass bottle with a pop-off crown, served in a standard pint tap glass.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer poured into the glass translucent blackish brown with a brown head which rose well and fell to lace the glass.

The aroma was chocolate with expresso. Also present was a nice caramel aroma and a light fruitiness. As the beer warmed and the head fell some roasty and smoky character emerged.

The flavor was nicely done with a dark chocolate and coffee, expresso, flavor. Some caramel character was present but it did not add sweetness to this dry brew. The bittering was earthy and it's presence with the dark grains led to the dryness.

The finish was dry with lasting earhty hop presence and bittering and coffee long and pleasant into the aftertaste. The body was not quite medium but well done for a dry stout. A nice beer, can drink this one without issue. The alcohol is a bit on the high side for a dry stout, but this one is well done.

12 ounce bottle. USDA organic and brewed only for Whole Foods.

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Photo of snaotheus
4.25/5  rDev +11%
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.

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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.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

North Coast- Old Plowshare

Appearance- Dark ruby red brown with a thick cola like head. Heavy lacing though.
Smell- Smooth creamy coffee with a touch of cocoa powder.
Taste- Light french vanilla coffee heavy on the cream. Light touch of cocoa in the end.
Mouthfeel- Smooth throughout with a touch of dry bitterness in the end, otherwise creamy smooth.

Overall- Nevermind the organic label on this 1. It's mighty tasty. This is easily a session stout.
Once again North Coast doesn't dissappoint.

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Photo of Crosling
3.96/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Different, multi-dimensional dry stout aroma, which gives hints of espresso and coffee, but also a nice variety of fruits and chocolate. Nearly opaque black color, with a thin but lovely colored light tan head. Flavor brings a medley of rich malts into play, which bring several different flavor characteristics. Really rich body as well. Impressive beer.

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Photo of atsprings
4.59/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a not-quite opaque deep brown almost black with a thin off-white head, the beer showed decent ruby highlights when held up to light. The roasty aroma was evident from arms length while pouring the beer, even more evident when held to the nose. Fresh-brewed coffee and milk chocolate are also present making one of the most fragrant brews I've come across in a long time. The taste is also a great balance of flavors. This was much better than I was expecting from an organic stout. The beer is medium bodied with low carbonation. This one would make for a great session on a cold winter night.

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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.

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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.

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Old Plowshare Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
3.83 out of 5 based on 186 ratings.
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