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James Black Ale - Hill Farmstead Brewery

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James Black Ale
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262 Ratings
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Ratings: 262
Reviews: 52
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 7.55%
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: 262 | Reviews: 52 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of 321jeff
3.68/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

750ml Growler provided by Michael, thanks!

Pours a dark brown that is lighter around the edges with just a bit of tan head.

Aroma is bright and hoppy with mostly piney hops but there is a nice roast note in the background. The hops really dominate here, surprising for an older growler.

Bitter pine hop resins hit up front before the roast takes over. Pretty mellow flavor profile that is brought together nicely.

I think the time in the growler has hurt the mouth feel in this one, it comes across aa little flat. Still very nice overall, and I'd love the chance to try this fresh out of the tap.

321jeff, Jan 14, 2012
Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -17.5%

ygtbsm94, Jan 13, 2012
Photo of cestlavie
5/5  rDev +17.9%

cestlavie, Jan 09, 2012
Photo of dave00100
5/5  rDev +17.9%

dave00100, Jan 01, 2012
Photo of silentjay
4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml growler...

pours deep brown to black with a sizable light mocha head that retains very well and leaves behind tons and tons of lacing.

hoppy aroma of pine, fresh cut grass, a touch of citrus, with an earthy quality as well. the dark chocolate aromas come in after the nose gets used to the hops. also a bit of coffee and maybe some molasses.

starts off with deep roasted bitter coffee before the hops quickly and completely take over providing some pine and citrus, a bit of tobacco leaf. chocolate malts come in to play for a bit and there is some caramel sweetness. finishes with some resiny hops.

light/medium bodied with an extensive carbonation level with a resiny feel left behind.

wow. another masterpiece by Hill Farmstead. Reminds me of Dark Element from Element Brewing, but teeters more to the hoppy end of the spectrum.

silentjay, Dec 30, 2011
Photo of zekeman17
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

zekeman17, Dec 27, 2011
Photo of tugg407
3.5/5  rDev -17.5%

tugg407, Dec 26, 2011
Photo of CliffBrake
4/5  rDev -5.7%

CliffBrake, Dec 23, 2011
Photo of smithmd4
5/5  rDev +17.9%

smithmd4, Dec 22, 2011
Photo of cyrusthepup
4/5  rDev -5.7%

cyrusthepup, Dec 21, 2011
Photo of Sean9689
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks, Bob! 750ml growler split with the fiancé.

A - Pours black, light khaki-colored head, thin ring, some spotty lace, no cap.

S - An excellent balance of roast and hops. Citrus, pine, caramel, toasted bread. Again, the aroma on this is just outstanding. I don't really like my Black Ale's/IPA's with an overload of hops, but a balance of roast/malts in there really do it for me.

T - Not as roasty as the nose. Bitter hops, citrus notes, pine, light chocolate, caramel, roasted malts. Really nice and easy to drink. Finish is light chocolate and bitter hops.

M - Light, good carbonation, refreshing (for a black ale), oily finish.

O - Really enjoyed this one. I can't emphasize enough how I enjoyed the balance between hops and roast. It really makes this Black Ale easy to drink and that much more enjoyable. Recommend.

Sean9689, Dec 16, 2011
Photo of rondufresne
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

rondufresne, Dec 12, 2011
Photo of polishkaz
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

polishkaz, Dec 07, 2011
Photo of InspectorBob
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

InspectorBob, Nov 28, 2011
Photo of rudzud
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at the brewery in their tasting room.

A - Poured a rich dense black with a nice small creamy mocha head.

S - Mostly consists of dark roasted malts and some nice chocolate notes. Some light pine/citrus from the hops.

T - More of the same with nice roasty, dark malts that give way to good dark chocolate flavours. Its rounded out at the end by some light, but definately present pine and grapefruit rind bitterness.

M - Mouthfeel is good with some nice creamy carbonation.

O - Overall this was a tasty black ale. I would have liked a bit more dark roasted malts though as opposed to the hops.

rudzud, Nov 26, 2011
Photo of koopa
4.22/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler fill picked up at the brewery this past Saturday at the Thanks Given event.

Appearance: Pours a deep brown to black, opaque, and slightly murky. The crown is 1 finger, khaki, shows little retention, and good lace.

Smell: Chocolate, moderately roasty, some grapefruit, pineapple and pine resin.

Taste: Same as the nose but bigger flavor and good hop bitterness. A touch of caramel malt but mainly a bready / biscuit charge.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation.

Overall: Really solid black ipa

koopa, Nov 23, 2011
Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +17.9%

Rochefort10nh, Nov 18, 2011
Photo of Gushue3
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Gushue3, Nov 16, 2011
Photo of sideshowe
4/5  rDev -5.7%

sideshowe, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of Jspriest
5/5  rDev +17.9%

Jspriest, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of s1ckboy
4/5  rDev -5.7%

s1ckboy, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of jlindros
4.05/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tap at the Hill farmstead tasting room.

Dark almost black color, hint of ruby light coming through, creamy head with lacing.

Nose great spicy earthy hops, light citrus, some pine, dark caramel malts and molasses, chewy malts and hops.

Taste chewy spicy earthy hops, bit of pine, creamy dark malts, caramel, light roast, fairly bitter. Dry very bitter finish, bit of darker creamy malts.

Mouth is creamy med bodied, good carb.

Overall pretty good, less of the darker malts and more of the big bitter hops, not quite what I was expecting but maybe what I should have expeccted from Hill Farmstead. A taste drinkable beer but less dark malts than I expected.

jlindros, Nov 13, 2011
Photo of greenmonstah
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL growler purchased in early October and shared with GarrettMD a week later.

A - Black with brown edges. Mocha head, half a finger, and average retention.

S - Huge pine aroma. Not much else. So thickly resinous.

T - Bitter pine flavor throughout. Finish has some considerable roast flavor along with bitterness. Pine resin is the dominant flavor here.

M - Medium body with above average carbonation and a drying finish.

O - Brilliant Black IPA. Could use more roast character, but I love the hop profile.

greenmonstah, Oct 30, 2011
Photo of GarrettMD
4.33/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Black as a moonless sky. Half a finger of off-white head that stays around for a bit. No visible carbonation.

S - I am almost positive they dry hopped this beer with Chinook hops, either that or Northern Brewer and maybe a bit of Cascade, that's pretty much exactly this smell. This smells exactly like opening a fresh bag of whole leaf hops and nothing more. No malts, no roast, no sugars, just hops.

T - Still mostly hops. So much bitterness from the hops it's amazing. This is what a black IPA should be. Tastes like an IPA but with a roasted twist, but still very slight. Same hops as the aroma with a little more bittering hops than the piney flavors.

M - Medium bodied, low carbonation. Starts off bitter and wet with mostly bittering hops, flows into bitter and sweet with pine hops notes and some slight dark malts, and finishes bitter and slightly dry with chocolate, roasted malts, and a wallop of pine and earthy hop notes.

GarrettMD, Oct 22, 2011
Photo of cosmicevan
4.33/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

huge thanks to baconsausage for an array of hill farmstead goodies in the Growler Plus BIF (round 2).

a - this 32 oz growler had some minor leakage in transit, probably lost about 4 oz or so, so figured the time is nigh to consume this. poured a pretty lifeless brown/black. some swirls of the glass drummed up some bubbling, but nothing much and nothing that hung out.

s - really unique. strong sweet citric hop with a roasted malt. nutty, grape, candy. very nice.

t - the nose is there but assaulted by bitterness at first. nutmeg. a bit burnt on the finish. as i drank more and more of this brew, it just became more and more tasty. the hop and malt are so nicely intermingled in the beer.

m - cooling and biscuity. bitter. a bit watery but also silky. easy drinker.

o - overall, very solid black ale. quite delicious.

cosmicevan, Oct 19, 2011
James Black Ale from Hill Farmstead Brewery
94 out of 100 based on 262 ratings.