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Farmhand Ale - Driftwood Brewery

Not Rated.
Farmhand AleFarmhand Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

130 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 130
Reviews: 56
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 9.45%
Wants: 11
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:
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.

(Beer added by: Derek on 12-20-2008)
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Ratings: 130 | Reviews: 56 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.6/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Derek's bottle and he has confirmed better on tap. Good summery beer, altough not great for style, yellow with bubbles and creamy, soapy head, lacey. Peppery white, although it says black pepper. A little funky tasting, yeasty aroma, and a little lemon.

Photo of olradetbalder
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a clear golden color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of Belgian malt with fruity ester and light barnyard notes. Taste is not as funky as expected but notes of light barnyard and fruity ester are nice but fall a bit short from some of the style best offering. Body is about average with good carbonation. Well done but unfortunately lacking some character.

Photo of biboergosum
4.38/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

650ml bomber, brought back from a visit to Kelowna earlier this 'summer'...

This beer pours a hazy medium golden orange colour (very fall foliage-esque!), with two fingers of roiling, foamy eggshell white head, which leaves some splotches of lace around the glass as it duly recedes. It smells of white grain, banana, clove, and yeast. The taste is quite fruity - banana, apricot, some orange pith - mostly overshadowing the more demure malt. Balancing this is a nice even spiciness - clove, black pepper, some funky yeast, as well as an earthy, leafy hoppiness. The carbonation is very soft, the body full, round, smooth, and slick. It finishes clean, and pretty dry, the grain and spice staking their claim.

Given the very fall-like weather that we've been having for the past few weeks, my harvest mentality has definitely set in (California grape shipments are imminent!). As I am a few levels removed from any actual harvest, this beer definitely helps out. It is a solid example of the style - very flavourful, and everything in equilibrium. Spicy, fruity, yeasty, it's got it all. And at a pretty normal ABV, easy as pie to put back.

Photo of MasterSki
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this one at Volo. Served in a tulip glass.

A - Two and half fingers of off-white foam, with superb retention and tons of sticky lacing that eventually settles to a thick cap. A slightly hazed golden color that glows in the sunlight. Not really sure what else I'd expect from this style of brew.

S - Spicy Belgian yeast, pale malts, zesty orange peel, and black pepper. It's solid and pleasant, but doesn't have any of my favorite sour/funky elements.

T - The taste is pretty similar, with light bready malts, Belgian yeast, black pepper, perfume and floral notes, and fresh pears. Thankfully the spice and black pepper are held in check. Again - it's solid but a little pedestrian.

M - The texture is lovely - light tingly carbonation, medium body, super soft texture, and very refreshing.

D - I drank the whole bomber by myself, and it never felt like a chore. I'd have this one again (although probably not by myself if it was a 22oz bottle again). The clean aftertaste, low ABV, and pleasant taste make it easy to drink a lot.

Photo of mactrail
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
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 lacqueredmouse
3/5  rDev -25.4%
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 billab914
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

Photo of Viggo
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle, big thanks to ritzkiss for hooking me up!

Pours a clear coppery orange, really thick off white head forms, drops down to a thick ring leaving a ton of lace chunks on the glass, looks good. Smell is real nice, sweet and malty, orange peels, light spice, yeast, toast and bread, lemongrass, wheat, very refreshing and fruity aroma. Taste is nice too, orange peel and tea up front, lemons, toast and wheat, light honey sweetness, very malty, some fruit and a touch of peppery spice in the finish. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with medium carbonation, goes down real easy. A very nice saison, I could drink a lot of this stuff. Thanks Eric!

Photo of Derek
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Alibi.

A: Gold with a white head that leaves a great lacing.

S: Peppery & grassy with hints of barnyard. The aroma is quite good.

T: Peppery spice, grass, slightly earthy, a little citrus, light tartness and a good bitterness.

M: Moderate body is smooth with a crisp, dry finish.

D: A good drinker (I'd love to have this locally in the summer!).

Brewers info...

A traditional Belgian-style Saison. Originally produced on the farm for seasonal workers during harvest. Tart malt is balanced with flavors of fruit and spice from our unique strain of Belgian yeast.

Photo of flagmantho
3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
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 TheSevenDuffs
4.01/5  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 drummermattie02
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

Photo of wordemupg
4.3/5  rDev +7%
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

Photo of spinrsx
3.5/5  rDev -12.9%
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 tbeckett
3.6/5  rDev -10.4%
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 Kurmaraja
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of mhaugo
3/5  rDev -25.4%

Photo of tom10101
3/5  rDev -25.4%

Photo of twelveinches
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of canucklehead
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hot damn this is one tasty Saison, big spicy and full of lots of citrus and that belgian yeastiness that defines the style. I got a lot of complexity out this beer as it warmed up and I am starting to realize that Driftwood is quickly becoming one of the best and most innovative brewers in BC( Canada?)

Photo of msubulldog25
3.98/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A 22 oz/650 ml bottled smuggled back to the States by beer brutha/house guest Metalmonk on his Vancouver --> Portland trek. Poured to a trusty pint glass; bottle cap sticker shows Best Before 25 07 09.

Label: a simple pastel/black logo of a farmhand's pitchfork, bordered on the left by small depictions of Water, Barley Malt, Hops, Yeast, and Black Pepper(?). 5.5% alc/vol.

A: Beautiful amber, glinting in the sun. Nearly clear, shows a bounty of tiny carbonation. Fluffy tuft of white foam, building to over two fingers, dropping slowly but never disappearing. Bulky bands of lace hanging in broad patches. Just a gorgeous looking saison.

S: Sweet aroma of honey, flora, spiced cake. Subtle, but appealing, begging for a sip.

T: Spicy bread, grass & hay, mellow fruit (melon or pear) and a nice dusting of dry pepper. Bounces back and forth between sweetness, deep and earthy spices, greens and a carefully placed chalky/medicinal dryness in the end. Exactly what I was looking for to pair with a spicy/sweet pulled pork sandwich for dinner, cut straight though and married wonderfully.

M: Smooth, not quite as carbonated as expected just based on appearances. Crisp and clean, lightly bitter finish, just a little thin-feeling. Quite refreshing, just as the style should be.

D: Really good flavor, excellent look. I've had plenty of saisons, Belgian/French and North American versions and definitely rank this among the better ones, at least on this side of the Atlantic. Went down so easily, too quickly. Would gladly have this again...thanks, Jeff, for importing this otherwise hard-to-find treat!

Photo of andrenaline
3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a nice hazy golden orange colour, thin finger of head with little retention, leaving some lacing throughout.

S - Scent is largely bready, wheat scented malts, with a bit of a sweet kick on the finish consisting of apricots and honey.

T - Quite delightful! Although I found it a bit bland in the mouth, the flavours really come through on the finish. Fruits are bananas, oranges and apricots, while the spices (not noticeable on the scent) finish nicely with cloves, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg that linger on the palette.

M - This one is poundable! Goes down silky smooth, perfectly carbonated, though it was noticeably dry on the finish.

D - Quite impressed by this offering. Full of flavour, very drinkable and an excellent take on the Saison style. Highly recommended to anyone who can get their hands on this stuff!

Photo of Metalmonk
4.18/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Had this one at Salt, a cheese-tasting room in Vancouver, B.C. Was impressed with it then and hope to be now. Note: brewed with all the usual stuff (water, barley malt, hops and yeast) and then black pepper. Hmm.

Bountiful two-finger head of latte-like foam with a rush of bubbles up through a copper/sunset/amber color. Head never totally disappears and lace clings to the glass in a thick wall. Very Belgian indeed, as far as its looks go.

As per style, yeast forms the basis for the aroma, bringing various herbs and spices to mind, and sure enough I'm getting black pepper. It's not overdone, and I ain't sneezing, it seems to be added in just the right amount to offer a bit of extra personality. Some mellower fruit elements creep in as well.

Speaking of mellow, the flavor delivers a gentle, delicate mixture of herbal, spicy and lightly fruity characteristics. Yeast plays a part in the profile and some fresh-baked wheat bread and toffee/butter hints follow through behind it. Reminds me of Van Steenberge's Bruegel in a way, in its gentleness and subtle flavors.

Fittingly, the mouthfeel is silky and soft, just right for the flavors, although it might be a tad thinner than it could've/should've been.

A wonderful saison, which has become a popular style for North American brewers to tackle as of late. Thankfully it offers something more subtle and less spice-driven than its modern counterparts on this side of the world while doing its representatives from the original homeland proud -- reason enough for any Belgian and Belgian-style fan to seek it out.

Photo of Rutager
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

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Farmhand Ale from Driftwood Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 130 ratings.