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Farmhand Ale - Driftwood Brewery

Not Rated.
Farmhand AleFarmhand Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

140 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 140
Reviews: 57
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 9.48%
Wants: 12
Gots: 14 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Driftwood Brewery visit their website
British Columbia, Canada

Style | ABV
Saison / Farmhouse Ale |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Derek on 12-20-2008

Our interpretation of this Southern-Belgian farmhouse ale uses a partial sour-mash and the addition of freshly ground black pepper. We use a very unique strain of yeast from Belgium to add further layers of spice and complexity to this rare style of beer.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 140 | Reviews: 57
Photo of StJamesGate
3.84/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Tap & Barrel, Vancouver.
White film over burnished bronze. 4
Light floral and pencil eraser on the nose. 3.75
Honey graham, mashed pear, a touch of clove, and a zesty noble end. 3.75
Perfumed finish and honey linger.
Lt-med, smooth, clingy. 4

The most accessible farmhouse ale ever; the lightest touch of yeast and plenty of sweetness. Credit to Driftwood (if that’s what they set out to do.) Nothing revolutionary, but way sessionable. 4

Photo of mactrail
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Fairly dark amber with a thin veil of foam in the snifter. Smooth, tangy, and spritzy in the mouth. Has a substantial feel on the tongue.

Flavors are mellow and restrained. There is plenty of the Belgian yeasty taste and the drying effect, but it's less obtrusive than many Saisons. There is even a little of the American wheat taste, but here it helps make this lighter in a nice way. A slight sweetness and a pleasant grainy edge. Quite modest bitter tang at the finish.

Overall this is an elegant and highly quaffable Saison. From the 650 ml botle purchased at the BC Liquor Store in Ladner.

Photo of HipCzech
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Serving: 650 mL bottle poured into a 0.3 L tulip glass (bottle "07.05.13").

Appearance: Slightly hazy, warm golden copper hue. Lush, bubbly off white head that slowly recedes with thick lacing.

Smell: Belgian yeast and spice (clove) dominate with a bit of malt, sweet citrus (mandarin) and funk as well.

Taste: Sweet and slightly toasty malt opens with tarter fruit, yeast and overall earthiness following. Finishes quite dry, with herbs and spice and bit of bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium body and carbonation.

Overall: Fuller bodied, malty and hearty while more restrained on yeast and spice; overall a balanced and satisfying saison.

Photo of flagmantho
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 22oz bomber into a tulip.

Appearance: medium copper hue with no haze and a moderately strong effervescence. Head is a finger of frothy white foam. Not bad!

Smell: toasty malt with some floral notes and just a little bit of saison funk. It's a bit subtle, but well put-together.

Taste: a little bit funky and almost a little sour; like the aroma, it's quite floral and a little bit toasty. It reminds me a bit of a bière de garde. It's decent, however there's a certain je ne sais quoi that doesn't 100% work for me. So, a good beer, but maybe not one that wholly suits my palate.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a huge carbonation and creaminess. Bam! Great.

Overall: this beer is definitely worth a try; however, note it is on the drier and toastier side.

Photo of SebD
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: It has a nice hazy golden/orange color to it. It has a nice off-white head that dies down moderately slow and leaves some nice lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitely give out hints of Belgian yeast, black pepper, cloves, banana and some breadiness.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has some Belgian yeast, black pepper, cloves, definite banana and some sweet bready malts.

Mouthfeel: It has a low-medium carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel. Body is definitely thinner than I thought it would be. I actually find it a bit watery.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied by good flavors and aromas. This is the first time I'm disappointed with a beer from Driftwood. Maybe it's because I had really high expectations but it's still a good Saison nevertheless.

Photo of jrenihan
3.94/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 11.21.13

Beer is clear copper in colour, with a small off-white head. Head fades quickly.

Nose contains Belgian yeast and spices. The black pepper shines through. Some light fruits.

Like the nose, the flavour contains black pepper quite strongly. A bit much, but not overwhelming. Light fruit flavours bring some balance, and are quite nice. A bit of yeast.

Medium bodied, moderately carbonated. A bit spicy.

Overall, nice. Not exciting but good.

Photo of darryletlesballons
4.52/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've been "checking in" on this beer every now and then for a few years now, as much a review of my partialities as of the beer itself. Still a favorite.

Visually appealing golden-amber beer with a full white head. I enjoy the gritty interplay of spicy clove and pepper on a sour base. Reminds me of a grassy Wit with more spice to bite, ending on the same dry "where-did-all-my-saliva-go" finish. Definitely the aroma of Belgian yeasts up front, setting the stage with a light sour grassiness and hints of tart apple followed by cloves. Not too much, not too little for flavour.

Until next time Madame Farmhand.

Photo of JasonLovesBeer
4.16/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This has been a staple all summer for me, just a great thirst quencher with a little more character than the typical pale ale.

Nose: Spicy! Lots of spice, from pepper to nutmeg to clove to steak spices. Some banana and apple/pear.

Taste: Crisp, light but fully mouth coating and nicely malted - spices both start and finish prominently, the pepper stays around for a while. Banana and apple, maybe a touch of peach? Not much breadiness for me, though what there is might be sourdough in nature.

Overall: Not a thinker, but a really enjoyable saison.

Photo of EspressoGuy
3.85/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: amber with orange hints; low carbonation; transparent
S: low intensity grapefruit rind, pine, nutmeg, bread dough
T: clean, broad, malty, well-balanced; more spicy maltiness than hoppy character; bitterness is there from the start and builds till it's prominent --but not excessiveness-- in the finish. Leaves a nice rich lingering aftertaste.
M: medium-modied
O: not particularly complex but rich and enjoyable. Very nice with simple hearty country food (ploughman's lunch, lentil soup or salad...)

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.02/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap @ Garrick's Head

A - Medium orange; cloudy. A ring of off-white head.

S - Sweet bready malts, Belgian yeast and a big banana aroma with some spice in the background.

T - Clove, Belgian yeast and banana with a good spice profile in the backgound and some sweet breadiness.

M - Medium body. Moderate carbonation.

Photo of Siriusfisherman
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice Saison with a great peppery yeast character and nicely carbed body. The hops are not a dominant as some of their other beers, but they do lend a nice herbal presence to go with the yeast spice. The brewers here seem to know how to make great beer, haven't had anything I did not find great.

Photo of Rutager
4.17/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance. Pours a fairly clear amber-gold with a thin, bubbly off white head that doesn't last long.

Smell. Fruity belgian yeast and peppery spices, just a bit of bananna and clove.

Taste. Doughy, lightly toasted malts, some Belgian yeast, a little clove, pepper and spices with just a trace of orange and lemon. Very nice.

Mouthfeel. Medium body, medium+ carbonation.

Overall. Very nice belgian style farmhouse ale with mild flavours that I would think would go well with almost any food. Really easy drinking.

Photo of spoony
3.85/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Hapa Izakaya in Vancouver, BC.

A-Nothing special, but not awful, either. Light gold in color and very little haze. A one-finger off-white head dissipates quickly. Lots of lacing.

S-A little funky. Some sweet yeast and a little spice. A touch of banana. Not a hop-monster by my estimate, but there was a hop note or two.

T-Tastes much like it looks and smells, i.e., a little funk and a hint of spice with a pretty sweet, yeasty backbone. More banana bread notes in the taste than the smell. Some malt flavor with very little hops.

M-Not much in the way of carbonation. Had a bready, sweet quality that I would rate as heavy medium body (for the style, especially). An easy drinker.

O-Not a bad effort... One rung below my New World saison measuring stick that is Tank 7. It wasn't a complex show-stopper, and it was a touch sweet (and probably would benefit from a little more carbonation), but I would drink this again.

Photo of lacqueredmouse
3/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On-tap at Alibi Room in Vancouver, BC.

Pours a deep amber colour, almost flecked with copper. Head is a mild, filmy white that leaves some spidery fine lace. The worst part, however is that it just looks flat and still. C'mon, this is a saison! I want it Alive!

Nose is lean and soft, without much funk or acid (or acid funk?). Some honeydew melon rind and a bit of green organics is as close as it gets. It's pretty mild all up, without a lot going on.

Taste is similar. Smooth, mild Belgian notes, backed with just a touch of green vegetative organics. No funk, no yeast notes (apart from a hint of that round Belgian sweetness), no real saison character. It feels very weak, limp and insipid.

This is a very average saison, without much going for it. It's drinkable in its way, but it's a poor example of the style. Once again, I'm at odds with the general consensus around Driftwood, but I just couldn't see the appeal in either of the beers of theirs I tried.

Photo of spinrsx
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber - Thanks to Lubiere for sharing

Appearance - Clear copper colour with a small size sizzt off white coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation and there is some faint lacing. The head lasted for around 5 minutes.

Smell - Malts, caramel, hops, herbal/earthy notes, spices

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and the taste is made up of caramel and malts mixed with some grassy hops. There is a hint of spice and some strong herbal notes. It ends with a slightly spicy and malty sweet aftertaste.

Overall - Not what I was expecting from a Saison. The taste is fine but it's a little too earthy/herbal and boring for me. Some of the taste reminded me or the flavours found in Beau's beers. I wouldn't seek this one out.

Photo of FondueVoodoo
3.91/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Fantastic colour of deep super clear copper, very low head with only a minimal thin layer lasting. While not dealing with the beers appearance it's worth noting the simplicity and clarity of the label. Driftwood uses icons to lists the ingredients, for me it stirs a confidence in being able to see the minimal list of ingredients.

S: Sweet malts and yeasty high notes with a hint of pepper. Tiny bit of hops, or citrus fruits at the end. It's a great balance of malty earthiness and very subtle citrus after notes.

T: Balance of yeast and rich mildly sweet malts and after taste of citrus peel on account of the hops. After spending the majority of the day running errands this beer is the perfect cap to sit and enjoy with a hardy meal. It's the balance that is most striking and comforting.

M: Tiny bit of sting from the carbonation on this medium bodied ale, again it's the balance of airy carbonation and thin syrup mouth feel that stands out.

O: Well balanced easy drinking ale. I would pair this easily with a hardy meal intended to draw the day to a close. Whether it's steak and potatoes or roasted root veggies, this beer tastes like comfort.

Photo of tbeckett
3.62/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from a liquor store in Vancouver. Best Before July 2012.

A - Pours with a one finger light brown head, dark gold, bright, strong carbonation. Some chunky lace and a film of retention.

S - Sweet spice, yeast, grain, a mild funk. Hops come through and blend well bringing this full circle as a nice saison aroam.

T - Sweet spice, yeast, grain, banana and other types of fruitiness with a tiny funk in the finish. There's definitely a hop note there too but I can't tell what it comes out as.

M - Good carbonation with little tingly bubbles, medium to full body, a spicy finish, maybe some pepper.

O/D - A bit spicy for my tastes in a saison. Definitely a solid saison. The body is bigger than the style and ABV would warrant, though it's pleasant and easy to drink.

Photo of kjyost
3.68/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Undated bomber acquired at Luxelune, Winnipeg. Poured into a weizen glass at around 4C.

Deep copper body with substantial haziness and a light white head that leaves gorgeous lacing. A muted nose at first until the thick cap drops, leaving belgian barnyard esters and a hint of peppery spice to come out from beneath it. An odd body in a way as it is quite thick and sweet, but finishes with a light peppery dryness. Too thick for a saison, but with nice esters. A nice beer, just not what I was expecting. Worth having again.

Photo of LampertLand
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-poured into a pilsner glass , a nice inviting rich copper , minimal head that receded leaving some lace on the glass
S-some fruityness like banana bread in the front with black pepper in the background
T-the mix of flavors follow the aroma fairly close , fruit followed by spices
MF-good body , medium to full , enters the mouth nicely then burst's with sweet , fruit , bitter , spice , a crisp finish that will slightly sour the longer its held in the mouth
Ov-a well balanced saison , pleasant to taste and very easy to drink

Cheers LampertLand

Photo of beerayrton
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I thought for my second review i'd do one of my favourite British Columbia breweries, Driftwood out of Victoria.

Appearance - You get quite a nice rich copper colour, which is accented by a minimal head. It's not hazy at all, quite clear.

Smell - You get banana and citrus right off the bat in the front, with pepper in the back.

Taste - well, if you thought the smell was peppery, the taste hits you with it, but it's a mellow pepper. It's very present, but not so much so that it gets you over the head with a hammer. The taste gets rather yeasty, but in a good way.

Mouthfeel - With this beer you get a medium carbonation with a taste that lingers. Sour notes predominate the longer it's held in your mouth.

Overall - I like it. It's a saison that I love drinking anytime I get a chance, and it's very good, on the whole. It's not overly amazing, but definitely one of my favourites for a quiet night in.

Photo of chickenm
3.99/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours orange-copper and has an off-white head with low retention. Nice fruity aroma with spices and yeast. Spicy taste with citrus, pepper, sugar, and sweet malts. Mouthfeel is a little watery. Very drinkable though, this is another solid beer from Driftwood.

Photo of xuptygm
4.35/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a brownish orange, very thick soapy head which recedes quickly leaving some lace but not much. I have to admit I was congested when drinking this so I do not have much to say for aromas. I gave it the benefit of the doubt with a four. A very complex and unique beer when it comes to taste. Coriander, tea, lemon, a touch of honey sweetness. A very unique malt flavor. Spicy pepper taste compliments the higher level of carbonation. A well balanced beer. Carbonation leaves a prickly sensation in the mouth yet the beer is very smooth. Overall a very easy drinking complex beer. My second favorite find from my trip to Victoria. I brought home a few bottles of this stuff. Well worth it!

Photo of IllNate
3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - a very clear amber with a heap of off white head. Very appealing.

S - malty and hoppy, but mostly yeasty, with a bit of funk.

T - caramel malt, with a balancing bitterness.

M - medium bodied, smooth. Well done.

O - well done beer, I imagine drinking this after a day on the farm.

Photo of ChrisCage
4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured into a pint glass, though it's my wide topped Heineken glass....was met with a super nice foamy head that was at least three fingers thick, eggshell in color and with excellent retention! The lacing is super plush on the side of the glass as I drink this down! The beer itself is a yeast hazed rusty orange color and has fine looking bubbles rising to the top! Very enticing upon first glance!!

S- There is a lot going on in the aromas....right upfront, I detect the black pepper that was used in making this. On top of the fresh ground berry scent, there is a blend of funky yeast, banana peel and clove spice. The sweet malt is present too and helps to counter everything else....the finish has a dry spice/bitter hop aroma that ties everything together!

T- The flavors follow the aromas fairly close...banana fruit, cloves, a very modest peppery flavor, lots of rich Belgian yeast/bread like qualities....it really delicious. Overall, everything is toned down from the aroma, and I find it dry on the palate, especially at the end...a really nicely balanced and flavored brew! Just as a note, as this warms up, the peppery character becomes much more noticeable and even leaves a little zing on my tongue, just like freshly ground black peppercorns would do on my food!

M- This is, in my opinion medium-full bodied, and is smooth as silk on the palate! The richness of the yeast is really prominent, and the balancing act between sweet/fruit/spice/bitter is really great. At the same time, this is a really crisp finisher and keeps my palate yearning for more.

D- I've never had a Saison that was brewed in Belgium but this is a world class beer in my opinion and I just know that this would rank right up with the authentic varieties! Another great pick up by my wife, who got this in Victoria for me and I would definitely get this again if given the chance! Highly recommended!

Photo of wordemupg
4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

650ml bomber poured into pint glass April17 2011

A clear golden orange with loads of bubbles that move around like snowflakes in headlights swarming in from every direction, carbonation this heavy will maintain a thick foam all the way down the glass leaving lace everywhere, first in rings then tightly packed speckles

S peppercorns and funky yeast take center stage with floral, fruity and spicy hops in the background, this ones a little hard to wrap my head around

T not quite the complexity I found on the nose but still quite nice, the spice is magnified in the mouth and hides some of what I smell but still lots of flavor for 5.5%

M enters silky then explodes to a thick creamy body mid way then a bit of a bite and a lingering aftertaste

O summer session brew to say the least, pretty complex for something I could drink a gallon of

A crash course in Driftwood 101 has been a pleasurable surprise to say the least. With some of the best beers I've had from Canada in recent memory and I still have some of their top guns to take down, I'm thinking this will be a good week. chickenm provided me the liquid textbook for this particular lesson in Driftwood 101

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Farmhand Ale from Driftwood Brewery
89 out of 100 based on 140 ratings.