Farmhand Ale - Driftwood Brewery

Not Rated.
Farmhand AleFarmhand Ale

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

60 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 60
Hads: 153
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 7.46%
Wants: 9
Gots: 17 | 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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Reviews: 60 | Hads: 153
Photo of DIM
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a: This was a coppery, golden color. It poured with a sticky, frothy head.

s: Barnyardy, yeaty phenols, bananas, and a nice, sharp, spicy pepper note.

t: Dry and refreshingly tart with a faint, burnt plastic flavor at the finish. Also, some fairly strong spicy notes of pepper and cloves.

m: Viscous, with creamy carbonation.

d: A very nice saison, one of the top three brews I tried on this trip. I wish I had been able to bring some home. (444 characters)

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. (1,576 characters)

Photo of markaberrant
4.77/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - deep orange glow, haze, white head gently floats on top, leaves some lacing behind.

S - peaches, apricots, herbal spice, earthy, fresh, but not in a bright floral way, more of a wet soil right after a rain kinda thing, I dunno. Different, but good.

T - dry, musty, earthy, herbal, damn... some really dry biscuit malt, I mean dry, lacking sweetness, but not overdone, fresh cut wood, well integrated flavours, pepper is really nice, not hot, hops don't jump out at you, but are firmly there, superb, lingering aftertaste

M - the carbonation isn't huge, but the mouthfeel is still quite lively and spritzy, dry, lip smacking finish

D - very quaffable, very thirst quenching, very flavourful, what more can you ask for?

I heard about this beer and new brewery months ago, and was intrigued, yet also cautious... new brewery in Victoria, pushing a session saison as one of their standard offerings... I'm thinking "lame wheat beer with some gimmick spices." WAS I EVER WRONG!!!

Most of my experience with commercial saisons has been of the heftier variety, which are very good, but lack that thirst quenching, refreshing quality that saisons historically had (supposedly, based on the reading I've done). Most of the lighter ones I had tried came off as poor attempts. NOT THIS ONE!!!

This beer rocks! It is world class! You need to taste this beer! It is truly satisfying! Exclamation mark!!!

Thanks to Canucklehead for sending me this very fine beer! (1,461 characters)

Photo of Hornet2003
4.18/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

650mL bottle.

Appearance: Golden-amber in colour with a creamy white head that laces well.

Smell: Lots of fruity yeast aromas. Musty bread notes as well. Very pronounced aromas remind me of a good solid Belgian.

Taste: Nice hoppy bitterness with a fruity tang bite. Orange, banana, and lemon notes.

Mouthfeel: Nice and light. Perfect for a refreshing summer saison.

Drinkability: Extremely high. They should sell this in 5L mini kegs because it's low-ish alcohol and ridiculously refreshing. Great for a hot day thirst quencher.

Overall: I had this on-tap at Alibi room a while ago and am reviewing this from a bomber I bought after the initial taste. Such a smooth drinker and one of the most thirst quenching beers I've had in a long time. (747 characters)

Photo of msubulldog25
3.96/5  rDev -1.5%
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! (1,611 characters)

Photo of canucklehead
4.22/5  rDev +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?) (303 characters)

Photo of bobsy
4.4/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I split this bomber (cheers Eric) with my lovely wife. She's not very good at pouring beers (having somehow obtained a skill for slow low-carb pours), but even she gets a good three fingers of head atop a bright orange liquid. Great lace. The aroma instantly marks this beer out as a winner, with a complex mix of pear, pepper, grass and barnyard. I'd wear this as an aftershave. The initial flavour hit is a spicy pepperiness, followed up by citrus, earth and some mild barnyard funk. Moderately bitter, but hugely refreshing. The body is spot on, in my opinion... nicely crisp and ever so drying.

For a new Canadian brewery to open and offer a saison in its initial slew of offerings is very encouraging. For them to completely nail the style is remarkable. I think Driftwood holds a lot of promise and I'll happily hunt down the rest of their lineup. This is great stuff from Ritzkiss! (889 characters)

Photo of ritzkiss
3.79/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Edit: 11/06/09

Grabbed the last bottle from the shelf - good sign.

Still heavy carbonation out of the bottle but manageable, raises a couple fingers of nice rocky head. Leaves light, patchy lacing down the glass.

Looks great, clear burnt orange/ harvest orange color that has hints of brown. Tons of bubbles.

Smells has some vague fruity esters, lemons, a hint of pepper, almost a hint of tea leaves.

Taste is a light and springy: the lemons mix with a slight breadiness, pepper notes jive with a hint of earthiness, a herbaceous hops quality leaves a slight drying in the finish.

A little light on the body. Not too bad though. Upon re-drinking I can gladly up the score a bit but still feel there are better saisons out there. This is one is unique in coloring but I feel fails to deliver in complexity of flavors. Light drinking and an excellent option for summertime and decks. Another good brew from Driftwood. (921 characters)

Photo of BDTyre
4.33/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A great Saison from Victoria's newest brewery. Nice cloudy burnt-orange colour with a foamy white head. Spicy, peppery malt and hints of citrus and fruit and hops. Good spicy and malty taste - the black pepper is fairly subdued but noticeable enough to be "felt."

Slight burn to the mouthfeel, probably from the pepper but a great beer and this would probably be excellent in the summer. (388 characters)

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. (582 characters)

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Farmhand Ale from Driftwood Brewery
89 out of 100 based on 60 ratings.