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 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 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 heebes
4.15/5  rDev +11.3%
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!!

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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 cratez
3.87/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

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Photo of MrHall
3.83/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.91/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

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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 wordemupg
3.95/5  rDev +5.9%
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

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Photo of mrmanning
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deeper shade of amber, topped with long lasting off white head, leaving good lace. Gorgeous, fresh aroma of leafy, floral hops, bursting with pine essence, citrus (lemon, orange), and hints of butterscotch and cotton candy. The inviting aroma is matched by assertive floral hops, lemon zest, grass, a touch of sweet malty caramel and bubblegum. Medium body, with a very forward and enjoyable bitter finish. As with other beers from this brewer, the focus is on balance, full flavour, and lower ABV. It seems they can't go wrong. Excellent.

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Photo of papat444
3.81/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Derek for getting me this beer.

Paired it with a homemade lunch, chicken sandwich & potato salad.

Poured from a 500ml. bottle, bottled on Apr. 22, 2009.

Appearance: Big thick white head with tanned tinges. Body looks like burnished copper but when held to the light it' very reddish in color.

Smell: Initial weird metallic aroma that gradually dissipates. Roasted smell and as it warms, i get a gentle hop presence.

Taste: A nice robust yet discreet taste. Some hops in the fore with a subdued dry bitter finish. There's also some tea and a type of herbal presence lurking in there. I'm also getting some earthy notes, maybe barley?

Mouthfeel: Just a tad too carbonated at first but not uncomfortable by any means and definitely eases as it warms. Nice full body with a smooth flavorful feel.

Drinkability: A nice low ABV with some good taste makes this one a pleasure to drink. Would gladly have another.

Overall: Thoroughly enjoyed this one. A discreet but very well made brew. First one from this brewery and i definitely want to try more of their beers. I actually also have their Curmudgeon IPA & Russian Gun so looking forward to trying them.

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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 beachbum1975
3.91/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's bet a minute since I've reviewed a beer, so here we go... Got this in an "Over The Border" trade with mjohnston on DLD '09... Listening to Muse's "Origins of Symmetry"via iPod. If anyone actually reads my reviews - GO BUY THIS ALBUM - IT'S EPIC! (No, I don't just listen to Pink Floyd and worship 3F's)

Ok, so back to my review...

Pours an attractive clear, brownish copper read from the 500ml brown bottle into my over-sized Duvel tulip. Speaking of symmetry, the body and large, rocky creamy head forms the perfect pour into my glass, leaving just enough room to sip. Ahhh...

Smells of caramel, light grains and earthy hops. Very nice.

Much like the nose, but with a crispier hop presence then I was expecting. Sweets and sugars at first, followed by a wave of mildly bitter and dry hops. Overall flavor is medium with high carbonation and water mouthfeel. Crisp and refreshing, surely sessionable. Nice, but I was a big surprised to see this was a Red ale and not a hoppier brown ale! At either rate, drink it up!

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Photo of MeisterBurger
3.83/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Looks great, a dark amber, pours with a nice chunky head with some wonderful lacing.

Smell is sweet caramel and slightly piney.

The hops are a nice citrus and pine which is nicely balanced against a toasted bread and a toffee malt backbone. There's not much to complain about here.

The mouthfeel is full and crisp.

Overall a really nice and drinkable ale.

Bottled April 14.

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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 grub
4.25/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle purchased at the brewery. sampled march 28/09.

pours crystal clear deep coppery orange, not quite red. a small dense patch of tan head forms, dropping slowly and leaving plenty of lace.

aroma is great. big chewy malt - biscuit, whole wheat bread, cracker - all lightly toasted. light orange peel and tangerine. hint of grapefruit. just a touch of alcohol. lightly sweet caramel and a touch of toffee.

taste is good. just over medium bitterness level. the first thing i notice is a mix of grapefruit, orange peel, and a touch of tangerine. this quickly gives way to the solid malty character that i got in the aroma. lightly toasted biscuit and whole wheat bread. alcohol feels a little higher here, but still not enough to overshadow the rest of the beer. touch of earthy character too.

mouthfeel is good. medium body. medium carbonation level.

drinkability is great. nicely balanced. great malt character matched perfectly against some light american hopping. and at under 5%, an excellent session beer too!

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Photo of demcorhip
3.95/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Derek. I love these old school 500ml bottles. Anyways it was poured into my trusty Samuel Smith glass, its perfect for the 500ml bottles. A deep amber mixed with burnished bronze in colour. Good clarity, but not much for head or retention in his very mildly carbonated ale. Im not expecting much for lacings either.

Aroma is quite muted, likely due to the low level of carbonation. Some interesting fruity esters tempt the nose with the scents of aromatic red apple and a touch of black grapes. Amber malts with hints of caramel and toasted nuts also present. Im not getting much at all from the hops, and in some ways that is quite a surprise.

Toasted wholegrain bread and some toasted nuts from the malts meet the apple flavoured esters as well as flavours of dark grapes. Wondering if the vinous quality is from esters or oxidation, but either way it adds to instead of detracts from the overall taste of this freshly brewed ale (gotta love the bottled on date stamped onto the label). There is a solid amount of hops providing a nice bitterness with flavours of grapefruit and pine.

Quite well attenuated, some honey like malt sweetness remains to lighten the tea like astringency. Light bodied yet full flavoured, with a nice touch of hops to round things out here.

Another full flavoured session ale from Grand River, and another tasty offering. Well worth seeking out for fans of the style. While not as aggressively hopped as modern american versions of the style this is a very drinkable ale with enough depth and flavour to make for an enjoyable all night session beer. Damn good stuff here, if it was readily available it would be something i would always keep on hand. Thanks again Derek.

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Photo of matt7215
4.62/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

fresh growler from the brewery. i pick a growler of this whenever im down at Grand River and it is truely the best session ale ive ever had.

pours deep amber with a tight everlasting tan head.

the aroma is of spicey hops and amber malts. very fruity and caramel based but the hops steal the show.

the flavour is quite hoppy with a solid malt background.

very easy to drink while at the same time, subtle and complex. as ive said this is the best session ale ive had and id drink this one over any low abv IPA anyday.

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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 CanuckRover
3.8/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice dark amber. Couple fingers worth of head. Spider web lacings all the way down.

Smells like an awful lot of hops for the style, quite piney. Solid toffee behind.

This is interesting. Certainly an American-style hopping with a good dose of pine and grapefruit. However, I feel the malt and yeast take over. The malt comes across as toffee/caramel while the affect of the yeast is quite orangey like you find in alot of English ales. Having the malt-focused palate that I do, I would place it in the English category instead of as an American Amber.

This is a very drinkable amber ale, very nice.

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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 drinkininthewood
4.17/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Me and my father split one of the first growlers filled and it was memorably bitter. It will be interesting to see if things have changed much considering how well it was recieved.

Served from a 64fl oz growler into a dimpled mug.

A- Amber/copper in color with a nice big bubbly head that settles down and laces 360 around the glass leaving a thin layer of foam protecting the beer.

S- Bready malts,caramel, slight fruit, the nice grassy hop aromas filling the air are very inviting.

T- Wow. Nice malty spine is countered by marked bitterness. Nice grapefruit/citrus, grassy, acidic hops lead to a increasingly dry and very bitter finish. This beer puts hair on you chest.

M- Smooth and Medium bodied with nice carbonation.

D- So flavor-full and easily drinkable.

Overall grab some sharp cheddar cheese and some crackers and let the immense hop bitterness take-over. Absolutly worth checking out!

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Photo of Derek
4.43/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Fresh growler from the Brewery (first batch in June).

A: Copper-bronze, fluffy off-white head, good retention, great lace...

S: Grapefruit, grassy and slightly spicy hops; bready/biscuity malt with a little toffee.

T: Grapefruit, nectarine, grassy, hints of pine, toffee, bread, caramel, assertive bitterness.

M: Moderate body is creamy (great for its weight), modest carbonation, hop acidity.

D: Incredibly drinkable. I'd say this is one hell of an American Pale Ale, especially considering its weight!

I've had it a few times on draft since I tried the first batch (which was a little more hop-forward).

IMO, it's now a very well-balanced brew with some serious depth to the malt flavour and a pleasant fruityness from the yeast (making it a little more "British" than the original). Although I loved the hops in the first batch, the same score stands.

I even had a growler with the one-off centennial hopping (due to a brief supply shortage). It seemed to be the hoppiest since the first batch. Or maybe the fresh growler is just a little bolder than the draft? I expected more of a nectarine flavour from this replacement, but I think it's Warrior that has came through stronger. It seems to have a fresh hop spiciness as well (like that jalapeno spiciness from fresh, wet hops). Interesting, but I like the cascades.

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Photo of pootz
3.85/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On Tap at the castle.

Tapped a deep clear amber color with a decent sticky off-white cap that lasts and laces the glass

Aromas of roast toffee, some carmel over dry hay and some citrus and ale-like fruity tones.

Up front a decent malt spine is balanced with pine-citrus hopping...mid palate the hopping gets bitter and dries up the drink leading to a clean dry bitter finish.

This is the bitter amber that Wellington never brewed.

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