Plowman's Ale | Grand River Brewing

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53 Reviews
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Plowman's AlePlowman's Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Grand River Brewing
Ontario, Canada | website

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.70%

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.

Added by crwills on 09-15-2007

BEER STATS
Reviews:
53
Ratings:
91
Avg:
3.73
pDev:
16.89%
 
 
Wants:
0
Gots:
6
For Trade:
0
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Reviews: 53 | Ratings: 91
Photo of MMansfield
2.52/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Growler sent to me through CanBIF. Thanks splotch

Appearance: Dark copper color with creamy off white head. Great Retention.

Aroma: Fruity, some funky smells coming from the yeast. This seems past its prime.

Taste: Heavy grapefruit bitterness, astringent.

Mouthfeel: A bit thin. Med-low carbonation.

Final Statement: Doesn't seem too fresh. I've had worse.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3/5  rDev -19.6%
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.

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Photo of ONUMello
3.08/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a pint bottle dated 3/3/14 poured into a pint glass
A: Transparent light orange color with a generous 1+ finger head that lingers
S: Generic hops/malts and a metal aroma as well
T: Some pleasant hop/malt notes come through up front but that metallic note comes through big time on the finish and lasts a while... not so pleasant
M: Light-bodied, unremarkable
O: I think this was past its prime or a bad bottle. I really hate rating it this low given every review here is better. I'll try to find a fresher bottle or the brewery itself isn't so far away & I'll re-review

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Photo of cyrenaica
3.18/5  rDev -14.7%
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.

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Photo of EricVonStein
3.3/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

aggressive pour gets half an inch of off white head that settles to a film quickly. Nice orange amber colour and a little opaque.

sugary sweet caramel right away on the nose. brown sugar, malts are dominant. some light dates and prunes.

malts upfront with decent rye grains and sweetness that transitions in sour then bitter pine hop finish. Dry on the end. Tastes watered down, very liquid and light on body. dry bitter lingers.

Overall the nose is a little interesting but this brew turns out just average. An easy drinker that checks the boxes of an ale, but perhaps a bit too easy of a drinker. Not a lot of complexity or depth. Still, its got some good character, even if underdeveloped.

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Photo of mrnobody
3.36/5  rDev -9.9%
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.

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Photo of bobsy
3.5/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Golden pour with a mottled white head. Good retention and lace. Grand River beers tend to look good and this is no different. Good citrus aroma...grapefruit, tangerine, some biscuit. Sadly I found that the taste was a bit hollow, citrus, orange peel and biscuit were all present, but so was the odd hint of plastic, and it lacked some soul in the middle. A decent beer but not one I'd be inclined to order again. Decent body.

Its okay... I expect more from them, and I've got it, just not from the ploughmans.

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Photo of IronDjinn
3.53/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A tip of the hat to wfeddern for including this in CanBIF 5.

Pours out a deep transluscent ruddy amber, very appealing, capped by a tall spongy light beige head with good retention.

Uplifting floral notes at first on the nose, followed by mild toffee and nuts, and light grassy hops.

Nutty and earthy flavours up front that then seamlessly melds into spicy hops in the middle, then turns more herbal on the finish, leaving a lingering aftertaste of dandelion greens.

Thin on the mouthfeel, but with enough body and carbonation that it doesn't quite get watery.

An average amber ale, not offensive but also kinda blends into the background like a wallflower, it doesn't quite stand out from the crowd.

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Photo of hopsolutely
3.53/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

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Photo of allergictomacros
3.53/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a clear ruby red. Head is solid and substantial.

S - Floral and slightly citric hop. Big caramel maltiness.

T - Lightly fruity with a solid malt backbone. Hops are fairly aggressive with hints of citrus and pine. Hard bitter finish.

M - Slightly chewy. Moderate body.

D - Not bad. I wouldn't session this, but there's some solid flavours in here.

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Photo of Stocean1
3.55/5  rDev -4.8%
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

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Photo of BuckyBeerBeaver
3.59/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.63/5  rDev -2.7%
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.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.7/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

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Photo of SebD
3.7/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

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Photo of korguy123
3.7/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

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Photo of scott451
3.7/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

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Photo of liamt07
3.73/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of Digimaika2
3.73/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.76/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

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Photo of CanadianBacon
3.76/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - This beer pours an amazingly beautiful hazy dark amber color with 2 fingers of off white head, The head fades and leaves a layer of bubbles over top. Carbonation seems really lively. This is exactly what I want to see when looking at an American red.

Aroma - a sweet caramel hits the nose right away. followed by some light citrus, mostly orange and a bit of grape fruit. Then I get some really roasty smells and it finishes off with some earthy floraly hops

Taste - Caramel but not as sweet as on the nose, almost like salted caramel or buttersctoch, floral/earthy hops dominate the caramel and are then balanced again by some sweet orange which mixes well with a bit of grape fruit. all the while a light roasty flavor is sitting on the back of the tongue. Very interesting.

Feel - medium-light body dense but not prickly carbonation.

Overall - This beer is more than I expected from a red ale, It is agressively hopped which Personally I like but also holds true to the style with Caramel and roasty flavors. The nose is amazing and the flavors do mesh well. When I first saw the bottle it interested me but the label looked plain and cheap. It goes to show dont judge a book by its cover. I would definitely have this again :)

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Photo of peensteen
3.77/5  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.

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Photo of funkengruven
3.78/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This poured a nice reddish color with lots of head. Smell was a bit musty, but in that musty aroma there was a very strong hop presence. Flavor was extremely bitter, hop heaven. Hops are the prominent flavor here. The bitterness can be a bit aggressive at times, but I still very much enjoyed this fine crafted brew.

Overall, If you’re a hop-head you WILL enjoy this. Can't say I've had an Ontario brew that takes the hops to this level. Very good stuff. I think I'll have to head back to the brewery to get these growlers refilled sometime this week.

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Photo of superspak
3.78/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500 ml bottle into pint glass, bottled on 3/13/2015. Pours crystal clear deep orange/copper color with a 1 finger dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of caramel, toffee, toast, brown sugar, brown bread, light nuttiness, grapefruit, orange zest, light pine, herbal, grass, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt and moderate citrus/earthy hop notes; with solid strength. Taste of caramel, toffee, toast, brown sugar, brown bread, light nuttiness, grapefruit, orange zest, pine, herbal, grass, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Good amount of herbal/piney bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toffee, toast, brown bread, light nuttiness, grapefruit, orange zest, pine, and herbal/grassy earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice robustness and complexity of dark/bready malts and moderate citrus/earthy hop flavors; with a nice crisp malt/bitterness balance and no cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, fairly creamy/bready, and lightly sticky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with zero warming present after the finish as expected of 4.7%. Overall this is a very good amber ale. All around good complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt and moderate citrus/earthy hop flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink. I definitely got some English yeast character from this, but the estery qualities were very well restrained. A nicely enjoyable offering.

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Photo of Sammy
3.8/5  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.

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Plowman's Ale from Grand River Brewing
84 out of 100 based on 53 ratings.
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