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James Black Ale - Hill Farmstead Brewery

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James Black Ale
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257 Ratings
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Ratings: 257
Reviews: 52
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 7.78%
Wants: 28
Gots: 4 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Hill Farmstead Brewery visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  6.80% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
James was our Uncle (Edward James Hill Jr.). Hill Farmstead Brewery rests upon the land that was once home to him and his four siblings. In his honor, this Black Ale is dutifully crafted from American and German malted barley, American hops, our ale yeast, and water from James’ well. It is unfiltered, naturally carbonated, and dry hopped. Roasty and smooth, with accents of chocolate and a balanced hoppy finish, this is the ale that I dream to have shared with James.

Pale and Caramel Malt; Roasted Barley; Centennial and Columbus hops; Ale Yeast, and our Well Water.

(Beer added by: SFLpunk on 06-27-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 257 | Reviews: 52 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of WeisGuy
4/5  rDev -5.7%

WeisGuy, Sep 23, 2012
Photo of SourinQns
4/5  rDev -5.7%

SourinQns, Sep 23, 2012
Photo of rderedin
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

rderedin, Sep 22, 2012
Photo of orangesol
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

orangesol, Sep 21, 2012
Photo of HevvyMetalHippie
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

HevvyMetalHippie, Sep 20, 2012
Photo of GennyCreamAle
4/5  rDev -5.7%

GennyCreamAle, Sep 18, 2012
Photo of jaasen64
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml growler filled at the brewery on Saturday (2 days ago). Poured into a HF stemmed glassware. Split bottle 2-ways. Also had it on tap at Prohibition Pig while I was in VT.

A- Pours a completely opaque dark black with about a two finger thick creamy yeasty brownish head that has decent retention, but slowly fades away to leave lots of spotty lacing. Nice carbonation.

S- Piney citrus hops, notes of pine, grapefruit, some light lemon, baker's chocolate, subtle spices, definitely slightly above average aroma strength.

T- Piney hops with a light grapefruit flavor and a not too overpowering pine presence, finishes with a nice baker's chocolate with a bitterness from the hops which is at the perfect level (not too bitter, but definitely present). Awesome balance between all the flavors.

M- Medium bodied, decent carbonation, easy drinking, abv very well hidden, fairly smooth.

O- I'm beginning to think HF can do almost any style of beer almost perfectly. This is definitely one of the better black IPAs I've had. Nicely balanced between all of the flavors that a black IPA should have. I could easily knock back a few glasses of these. I definitely recommend trying it.

jaasen64, Sep 17, 2012
Photo of sdaly3
4.75/5  rDev +12%

sdaly3, Sep 17, 2012
Photo of nh2032
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

nh2032, Sep 16, 2012
Photo of MDDMD
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-dark brown/black color with a decent tan head and some lacing

S-roasted malt, citrus, pine

T-dark roasted malt, citrus, pine, hints of sweetness and some bitterness in the finish

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, smooth

O-a good black ale but lacked a little depth in the flavor

MDDMD, Sep 15, 2012
Photo of jbertsch
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

jbertsch, Sep 15, 2012
Photo of Bendurgin
3.88/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. This one pours black with a dark khaki head about an inch tall. Nice thick sticky lace.

Lots of piney hops hit the aroma right away with some citrus in the background. Hints of cocoa and nice roasted malts in the background. Real nice balance here. The pallet is a bit more bitter than the aroma indicates. Piney hops with a bit of a citrus background. A little less of a roasted character in the background.

The body is medium with good carbonation. Overall this one is pretty enjoyable. A good one to grab when it's around.

Bendurgin, Sep 10, 2012
Photo of andrewinski1
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Bendurgin for sharing. There is a large mocha colored head atop a pitch black body. There is minimal lacing.

The aroma has a nice resiny hop aroma. There is nice earthiness.

The taste is bitter and emphasizes the dank hops with a slight touch of chocolate malt sweetness. The start is mellow, but the finish is bitter.

This is medium bodied with smooth carbonation. I like this one a lot, but it's hard to emphasize the hops in a black ale. This one falls a little short of greatness. It is still a great drink, and goes down quickly.

andrewinski1, Sep 10, 2012
Photo of Bierman9
4.33/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My nightcap at The Reservoir on 02SEP12. Got a 10+ oz snifter for $6.50.

Poured a verry dark, near-opaque brown. Topping was a thin, rim job of light tan foam, with a touch of lace. Nose was a combo of rindy, resiny, toasty notes, which was inviting. A solid, medium body and a smooth feel helped things along.

Had some roasty coffee and chocolate at the start. Soon after came some rindy citrus, with bitter, piney, pithy characteristics. Quite flavorful; a solid BIPA! Zum Wohl!

4.33/5 rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5


Bierman9, Sep 08, 2012
Photo of Yabev15
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Yabev15, Aug 28, 2012
Photo of smakawhat
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured on tap into a solo clear plastic cup, at the Celebrate Vermont Fair outside Stowe VT.

Black walnut brown body, no head given, barely a tan collar, with some light rising carbonation. Kind of boring and ordinary, but sometimes you get what you are given.

Great hop and malt nose on the brew. Charing coffee roast with some light carbon and simple profile. Hop action seems pine like on the nose but fairly mild on the nose.

Palate hits nicely with a great mouthfeel of mixing creamy character of playful carbonation. Coffee and chocolate, with a real lingering hop and bitter dark chocolate finish. Hop angle seems a little bit hard to pinpoint along all the roast flavor.

Overall a real fun beer, perhaps not my favorite but a really well made.

smakawhat, Aug 25, 2012
Photo of bostonryan
5/5  rDev +17.9%

bostonryan, Aug 22, 2012
Photo of Huhzubendah
4.05/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at the Blind Tiger in NYC.

The beer appears black with a thick, tan head. Long lasting retention with copious lacing. Hill Farmstead beers are beautiful. The aroma brings roast, pine, a hint of chocolate. Nice flavor. Well balanced, with a healthy pine bitterness on top of a roasted malt bill. Medium bodied with lingering chocolate in the finish. A solid beer.

Huhzubendah, Aug 21, 2012
Photo of mitchellaneous
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

mitchellaneous, Aug 18, 2012
Photo of Sammy
3.93/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at the Black Back Pub. An IPA that happens to have a shwartzbier element,resiny,piney, chocolate stoutish and grapefruit. Dark body and some lace.Hops and some roast aroma. The roast was lightly done which was nice to drink. Average mouthfeel.

Sammy, Aug 17, 2012
Photo of jrenihan
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Ginger Man.

Beer is black, with a moderately sized tan head. Retention is mediocre, excellent lacing.

A nice hoppy scent, orange and grapefruit. Some roasted malt and chocolate behind that.

Taste has more of the roast- lots of roasted malt, coffee and chocolate. Strong hop flavour as well- citrus, orange, grapefruit. Citrus comes out more as time goes om, roast comes out first. Bitter.

Medium bodied, high carbonation. Tingly. Too much.

Overall, a great Black IPA. My first beer from this brewery and I was impressed.

jrenihan, Aug 16, 2012
Photo of Chugs13
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Chugs13, Aug 15, 2012
Photo of SPRichard
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

SPRichard, Aug 14, 2012
Photo of TheRuss9585
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

TheRuss9585, Aug 14, 2012
Photo of JRod1969
4/5  rDev -5.7%

JRod1969, Aug 10, 2012
James Black Ale from Hill Farmstead Brewery
94 out of 100 based on 257 ratings.