Plow Horse
Brewery Vivant

Plow HorsePlow Horse
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Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #766
Ranked #15,779
3.93 | pDev: 9.92%
Brewery Vivant
Michigan, United States
Very Good
Plow HorsePlow Horse
Reviews: 17 | Ratings: 109 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of FriedSlug
FriedSlug from North Carolina

4.24/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Super dark beer with a quickly fading head that leaves no lacing. The aroma is raisins, figs, chocolate and toasted malt. The taste is the same with the raisin and chocolate being the primary flavors. I love Belgian beers and stouts so this one is right on target for me.

Sep 02, 2016
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paco1029384756 from Illinois

4.11/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Black, viscous, minimal tan head. Scent of molasses, burnt toast, prunes, motor oil, sugar, and roasted malt. Flavors of dry brown sugar, roasted malts, coffee beans, earth, dark fruit, and molasses. This is good stuff.

Apr 11, 2016
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Tripel_Threat from Michigan

4.09/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Had this one straight from the can. Aroma was strong and enticing enough that ever without the aid of my usual tulip, I could get notes or roasted dark malts, ground coffee and bitter powdered cocoa through the mouth of the can. Taste came through, smooth and roasty, with notes of dark fruits (plums, figs) mingling with malt, coffee, and dark cocoa. There's a bit of a spice to it, must be the Belgian style part of it, the yeast Viviant uses. Whatever it is, it's lovely and keeps this one from being just another stout. Wonderfully big-boned and semifull feel.

Apr 03, 2016
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buschbeer from Ohio

3.77/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

1 Pint can
Served in a snifter

This beer pours black in color and is topped with an inch of mocha head that leaves a little lacing.

I get some dark fruit aroma along with some chocolate and roasted malt.

The taste begins with ripe, dark fruit with some spiciness from the yeast. Chocolate comes through the middle and into the finish. Some roasted malt also comes in the finish.

Full mouthfeel with a prickly sensation from the spiciness of the yeast.

It is a good beer, but Vivant prices their stuff at the upper limits of this ham and eggers budget. I was glad to find a single to try because the four pack was out of my comfort zone.

Feb 17, 2016
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hoptheology from South Dakota

4.27/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Beautiful dark chocolate pour, 2 finger beige head that slowly recedes to a ring. 100% oil-like opacity.

Dark chocolate bitterness meets alcohol burn in the nose, with some snappy black licorice following quickly after.

The flavor is explosive with dark malts, coffee, cocoa, and a finish of molasses and burnt fig. A nice chocolate shake flavor dries on the palate. If I were to change anything about this it would be the angry alcohol permeating the whole flavor profile. Regardless, it's still knockout in this department.

Carbonation is super buzzing, and feel is syrupy and dry.

I was super impressed with Plow Horse. A bit overwhelming after it's half gone, but still a knockout stout!

Jan 26, 2016
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carlborch from Michigan

4.52/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch back and produces a 1.5 inch dark-tan head that persists after settling in at 0.5 inches. The nose is full of dark fruit, sour notes, bitter chocolate, coffee beans, and faint Belgian yeast funk (for lack of a better descriptor). Medium to full body with enveloping warmth and sweetness. The body hides the ABV well. Dark, rich, creamy, chocolaty, roasted notes on the palate. Lingers very nicely. Quite sweet - almost sticky, like a consommé double. Modest to light carbonation. No Belgian lace (?); must be my glass! Drinks very well. I would not want mine with grilled steak, but the Stilton and chocolate recommendations work for me. Definitely worth a re-visit.

Dec 31, 2015
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hardysf from Michigan

3.47/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer missed the mark to me. STrange fruity aromas which are no doubt the belgian yeast esters. The underlying beer has some good chocolate notes and some roasty malt flavors. Mouthfeel was a little thin. Head retention was weak.

Dec 21, 2015
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SerialTicker from Michigan

3.66/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

$4.99 pint can. Poured into a mini-mug. The style sounded interesting to me and it didn't have horrendous reviews, so I figured it was worth a shot.

Appearance: Pitch black with a fizzy head that bubbles away after a few seconds. No lacing. Doesn't sound (carbonation) like an imperial stout, so that's a bummer.

Smell: Roasted malt, chocolate, dark fruits, maybe a little coffee. Old newspaper vibe from this beer too, which I get in stouts occasionally, but I'm thinking the yeast is causing it in this one. Doesn't smell particularly funky, like I'd expect from Vivant.

Taste/feel: Hits the tongue with a medium body and a pretty high, prickly carbonation ... doesn't strike me as a 9% imperial stout. Drinks rather light. Flavors are much of what the smell is, except with a fairly intense sweetness on the front with a really small metallic flavor that lingers to the end of the sip. Aftertaste is probably the best part, as it features bitter and sweet roasted malt flavors with a little char and also the Belgian yeast. Not particularly exciting, to be honest.

It almost seems like Brewery Vivant is scared to put too much Belgian flair into some of their beers now for whatever reason. The Belgian character in this one is so faint that had I drank this blindly, I probably wouldn't have guessed it. I mean there's a slight wet newspaper sort of strange flavor, but that makes this beer come off a little more old tasting than it does Belgian. Also, the mouthfeel on this one is a definite bummer. Still, this is a pretty decent beer. I appreciate the attempt and it has a mild but unique flavor to it, but I'm not too sure I'm intrigued enough to spend $5 for a can of it again.

Dec 13, 2015
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sweemzander from Illinois

3.94/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

16oz. can poured into a snifter.

(A)- Pours pitch black. Some tan froth.

(S)- Good roasted coffee and grains meets some cocoa and molasses.

(T)- Again, some good roasted grains with raisin/coffee combo. Ever such a slight yeasty funk to its backbone.

(M)- A lively carbonation level. It has a good base, but the belgian yeast throws it off just a bit.

(O)- Pretty good, but this might have benefitted from NOT having the belgian yeast added.

Jul 17, 2014
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JohnnyHopps from Indiana

3.77/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - Poured into a snifter, I was amused by the huge bubbles in the mocha head. These bubbles were like holes in Swiss cheese. The stout itself was a handsome black color with little variation.

Smell - The aroma was largely that of burnt sugar/burnt malt. There was nothing particularly attention getting about the aroma.

Taste - In the initial taste, I detect dark, almost bitter chocolate. Further, the malts were more dry than sweet. Amidst the sugar were hints of banana like a banana malt with a modest sourness. The burnt sugar becomes more evident in the aftertaste as the taste angles toward the more bitter side.

Mouthfeel - Based on the head, I expected a carbonation bomb. That was not the case as the carbonation was actually appropriate. The beer itself was a hair too thin for my liking.

Overall - I would suggest this to be a slightly less than average imperial stout. I would have like to have seen a little more sweetness.

Apr 12, 2014
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TreyIsWilson from Michigan

3.94/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a motor oil black with a one-finger tan head. Light amount of lacing.

S - Dark chocolate, sweet roasted malts, and some dark fruit.

T - Starts of with sweet chocolate and dark roasted malts. Nice amount of dark fruits come through mid drink. The finish has a good amount of bitterness from the Belgian yeast.

M - Medium bodied with light carbonation. Smooth creamy mouthfeel.

O - Nice beer with lots of complex flavors. Really enjoyed this.

Feb 07, 2014
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gueuzedreg from Colorado

3.71/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A- Pretty thin, the can exploded with four finger head. Retention is very good with quarter pinky head after one minute. Dark brown/black non transparent.

S- It has that weird belgian RIS smell that belgian yeti has too. Just not natural here. It is like two styles meeting and a weird smell comes out of it. Can't put my finger on it. It's like rain-soaked wood for three days.

T- Definitely the best attribute of this brew. Dark roasted fig fruit backbone to this RIS that works better than the Belgian Yeti. Interesting. Molasses, toffee, but lots of roasted dark fruits here.

M- Pretty thin, but 40% up the ladder of thickness for a RIS.

O- The taste is waaaay better than all of the other attributes. I think this one is better than my stomping ground's Belgian Yeti.

Jan 29, 2014
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MaximalC from Illinois

4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

From notes:

Smooth, light, well-concealed alcohol, mildly roasty, vanilla, oak, slightly nutty, slight milk chocolate, brown sugar, juniper, slightly spicy...

This is a silky smooth Belgian-style imperial stout that drinks way too easy for nearly 10 % ABV. Complex and balanced, it won't wow you with over-the-top flavors, but it will wow you with it's subtlety and luxury.

Dec 27, 2013
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superspak from Ohio

4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16 ounce can into tulip glass; no canning date, but was released recently. Pours dense pitch black color with a 1 finger fairly dense dark brown head with decent retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings on the glass, with a good amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, toast, toffee, molasses, raisin, clove, pepper, light coffee, light banana, light char, and roasted/yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with good complexity and balance of roasted malt and yeast ester notes; with good strength. Taste of big dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, toast, molasses, toffee, dark bread, clove, raisin, pear, light banana, light char, light pepper, and roasted/yeast earthiness. Lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, toast, molasses, toffee, dark bread, clove, raisin, light char, and roasted/yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice complexity, robustness, and balance of roasted malt and yeast ester flavors; with zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very creamy, slick, and lightly chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent Belgian imperial stout. All around great complexity, balance, and robustness of roasted malt and moderate yeast ester flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

Dec 15, 2013
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StoutHunter from Michigan

4.24/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I picked up a can of Brewery Vivant's Plow Horse yesterday for $4.09 at The Lager Mill. I've been wanting to try this one for a while and I really liked Tart side of the Moon which was the unintentional tart version of this beer and i'm interested to see how this beeris in intended to taste, so lets see how it goes. 2013 Vintage, fresh can. Poured from a tall 16oz can into a goblet as the can suggests.

A- The can looks pretty nice, it's got a dark brown background with a nice drawing of an actual plow horse. It poured a dark black color that didn't let any light come through with two fingers worth of light mocha colored head that died down to a thin ring that stayed till the end and left some spotty rings of lacing behind. This is a pretty good looking beer, I have no complaints.

S- The aroma starts off with a slightly higher amount of medium sweetness that had a light molasses like aroma followed by some yeast aromas that impart a lighter tart aroma that resembles Tart Side of the Moon a little especially with some nice cherry aromas and some dark fruits in the background. Up next comes the malts which impart a roasty, dark malt, light char, light coffee and cocoa aroma with a nice chocolate aroma seeming to stick out the most. The aroma is very nice, it's got just enough roasted malt aromas and the balance was good.

T- The taste seems to be fairly similar to the aroma and it starts off with a slightly higher amount of medium sweetness that has a slight molasses like flavor to it and it's followed by some dark roasted malts that impart all the aspects that I got in the aroma with the chocolate still sticking out the most, but not by much. Up next comes a nice fruity flavor with some dark fruit flavors showing up and the cherry still sticking out the most and they work well with the malts. On the finish there's a light amount of medium bitterness with a slightly higher amount of light tartness that seems to hide most of the bitterness and it had a roasted, tart, and cherry like aftertaste. This is a very nice tasting beer, it's got that signature Vivant yeast that imparts a light tartness that somehow works well with the roasted malts.

M- Pretty smooth, clean, lightly tart, crisp, a little rich, on the slightly lighter side of being full bodied with a good amount of medium carbonation. The mouthfeel was very nice and it worked really well with this beer.

Overall I thought this was a very nice beer and I think it's a good and pretty different example of a Belgian style Imperial Stout, it was pretty similar to Tart Side of the Moon, but the tartness and cherry flavor were toned down in this beer and I thought they still stuck out enough and it provided better balance then Tart Side of the Moon had. This beer had pretty good drinkability, it was smooth, clean, a little filling and the taste did a good job at holding my attention, I think I could drink a couple pints of this without getting tired or bored with it. What I liked the most about this beer was the balance, the tart cherry flavors showed up just enough to work well with the dark roasted malts. What I liked the least about this beer was the appearance, it wasn't bad at all, but a little more head and lacing wouldn't hurt. I would for sure buy this beer again and I'll be picking up more shortly, I would also like to put some in my cellar to see how well it ages. I would recommend this beer, it's a nice very unique example of the style. All in all I was happy with this beer, I wasn't expecting it to be tart so now I know this beer was intended to be a little tart but not as tart as Tart Side of the Moon. The sour cherry followed by roasted malts is a pretty nice combo that held my attention well. I pretty much like both beers equally, Good job Brewery Vivant, thanks again for another great and unique beer.

Dec 07, 2013
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Fcolle2 from Illinois

4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark black in color, no light makes it through this brew. Tan is a quarter finger and tan in color. Head retains nicely.

Smell is great rich aromas of bittersweet chocolate along with warm notes of molasses caramel and toffee. There are some faint phenol notes reminiscent if cola also detectable. Moderate boozy finish.

Taste is great and follows the nose molasses toffee and mild cocoa are forward. Semi sweet malty flavor follows along with a light phenol flavor that works well with the rich flavors.

Mouthfeel is good. Good thickness with a mild soft carbonation keeps it this very drinkable through all the sticky rich flavors and feel.

Nov 25, 2013
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schepelz from Michigan

3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

16oz can poured into snifter

A - Deep dark brown with one finger dark tannish head that dissipates rather quickly. Moderate lacing

S - Getting a lot of roasty coffee notes right away. Followed by a sweet malt. Slight dark chocolate and cocoa. Also some subtle dark fruit

T - What a complex imperial stout this is, so many flavor profiles dancing around. Initially, taste follows the nose with coffee and cocoa. Getting a VERY subtle sour taste from the yeast. Left with a nice bitter/tart taste of dark chocolate. Big boozy stout. Can only imagine it's barrel-aged counterpart

M - Holy thick....definitely heavy body. Moderate carbonation.

O - This one definitely grew on me the further into the glass I got. Was caught off guard by having very subtle aromas but huge complex tastes. Another great beer put out by Brewery Vivant.

Nov 21, 2013
Plow Horse from Brewery Vivant
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 109 ratings