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James Black Ale - Hill Farmstead Brewery

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James Black Ale
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256 Ratings
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Ratings: 256
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: 256 | Reviews: 52 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of zekeman17


4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

12-27-2011 17:51:56 | More by zekeman17
Photo of tugg407


3.5/5  rDev -17.5%

12-26-2011 00:36:23 | More by tugg407
Photo of CliffBrake

New Hampshire

4/5  rDev -5.7%

12-23-2011 00:14:33 | More by CliffBrake
Photo of smithmd4

New York

5/5  rDev +17.9%

12-22-2011 00:46:35 | More by smithmd4
Photo of cyrusthepup


4/5  rDev -5.7%

12-21-2011 15:11:19 | More by cyrusthepup
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.

Serving type: growler

12-16-2011 13:53:58 | More by Sean9689
Photo of rondufresne


4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

12-12-2011 18:48:46 | More by rondufresne
Photo of polishkaz


4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

12-07-2011 23:50:40 | More by polishkaz
Photo of InspectorBob

New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

11-28-2011 05:16:42 | More by InspectorBob
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.

Serving type: on-tap

11-26-2011 23:53:45 | More by rudzud
Photo of koopa

New Jersey

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

Serving type: growler

11-23-2011 00:29:55 | More by koopa
Photo of Rochefort10nh

New Hampshire

5/5  rDev +17.9%

11-18-2011 20:33:42 | More by Rochefort10nh
Photo of Gushue3


4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

11-16-2011 04:23:43 | More by Gushue3
Photo of sideshowe


4/5  rDev -5.7%

11-15-2011 20:09:33 | More by sideshowe
Photo of Jspriest


5/5  rDev +17.9%

11-14-2011 15:45:35 | More by Jspriest
Photo of s1ckboy


4/5  rDev -5.7%

11-14-2011 13:56:00 | More by s1ckboy
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.

Serving type: on-tap

11-13-2011 23:10:06 | More by jlindros
Photo of greenmonstah

New Hampshire

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.

Serving type: growler

10-30-2011 18:54:34 | More by greenmonstah
Photo of GarrettMD

New York

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.

Serving type: growler

10-22-2011 06:14:39 | More by GarrettMD
Photo of cosmicevan

New York

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.

Serving type: growler

10-19-2011 01:55:45 | More by cosmicevan
Photo of celticfutblclub


4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

from a 2L growler poured into a pint glass

A - nice pitch black body with good head nice small bubbles sticks wonderfully and is slowly to settle.

S - big pine resin hop notes here hint of roasted coffee malts in the back.

T - taste is very similar to the nose with the roasted malts taking a more pronounced presence. great balance in this beer. pine hop taste with roasted coffee and a bit of chocolate in there for the malt side. great great beer.

M - good amount of carbonation with nice twinge in the back of the mouth from the hops and a good alcohol feel to it for the ABV.

O - superb beer from hill farmstead. can't wait to start seeing this on tap in boston.

Serving type: growler

10-16-2011 20:41:02 | More by celticfutblclub
Photo of rfgetz

New Jersey

4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark charcoal color with nice cap of dense khaki brown froth, good retention and lacing. Scent is a perfect balance of roasted grain and piney and fruity hops, nose brings out more fruit towards the end with some tropical notes present. taste begins as scent did with bitter roast and light char with a resin and grapefruit profile, mellows into a fruity mix of tropical and citrus notes. medium bodied, a touch grainy and dry on the tongue. Fantastic bIPA that doesn't allow the malts to overshadow the hops or vice versa.

Serving type: growler

10-10-2011 21:34:33 | More by rfgetz
Photo of ffejherb


4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured via growler procured at the Hill Farmstead brewery on 6/19/11. Thanks to FooFaa for sharing.

A - Milk chocolate brown with deep amber and burgundy hues around the bottom edges and a finger's worth of creamy beige foam that reduced, leaving thin, delicate lacing all over the sides of the glass.

S - Wonderful melange of dark chocolate and coffee malt at the forefront, although the hop character is equally as impressive, imparting notes of citrus rind, earthy dankness and leafy, green fresh hop cones.

T - Opens with plenty of coffee bitterness and a hint of dark chocolate malt paired with an abundance of earthy hop bitterness and some citrus attributes. Finish is extremely dry and bitter, giving the overall flavor an intensely earthy, leafy character.

M - Medium bodied with a creamy texture and modest carbonation, giving the mouthfeel an exceptionally smooth character overall. Finish is dry and bitter, though the bitterness doesn't linger on the palate for too long.

D - Awesome black IPA... or whatever they are calling these nowadays. Plenty of dark malt goodness without compromising the hop character. Delicious!

Serving type: growler

06-27-2011 05:56:01 | More by ffejherb
Photo of corby112


3.9/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on draft at Capone's.

Pours pitch black and almost complety opaque with only the slightest hint of deep, dark mahogany edges when held to a light source and a one finger beige foam head that settles into a lasting ring. Sporadic chunks of lacing left behind.

Interesting aroma with hints of roasted malt as well as some sweet citrus and earthy pine hop notes. Slightly roasted with hints of chocolate and caramel but not as malty as I expected.

Medium bodied with a nice bitter blast of earthy hops up frotthat is immediately coutered by sweet citrus and tropical frut notes. The roasty malt is minimal and is actually used to counterbalance the hops. Subtle toasty bread, chocolate and caramel but this beer is all about the sweet citrus and tropical hop flavor. Only slightly bitter with some earthy pine as well as some grapefuit, lemon, pineapple and orane peel. This was a really interstig beer and one of the better black IPAs ibe had.

Serving type: on-tap

01-07-2011 01:24:11 | More by corby112
Photo of mountsnow1010


4.18/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Mount Snow 1/02/11

A - Hazy dark brown to black with a tan/caramel creme head. Some lacing but not much
S - Pine and toast with a citrusy kick.
T - The smell all over again - quite resiny and citrusy, loads of hops crammed into this with a nutty toasty malt backbone. Bit of a bite.
MF - Crisp and clean - refreshing after skiing all day. Goes down pretty smooth.
D - Could have 2-3 but the subtle hops flavors would be dominated by the bitterness at this point.

Very nice beer with some very interesting and complex flavors. Would definitely seek out again.

Serving type: on-tap

01-04-2011 15:36:29 | More by mountsnow1010
James Black Ale from Hill Farmstead Brewery
94 out of 100 based on 256 ratings.