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James Black Ale - Hill Farmstead Brewery

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James Black Ale
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310 Ratings
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Ratings: 310
Reviews: 53
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 7.57%
Wants: 28
Gots: 6 | 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: 310 | Reviews: 53 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of SPRichard
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

SPRichard, Aug 14, 2012
Photo of TheRuss9585
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

TheRuss9585, Aug 14, 2012
Photo of JRod1969
4/5  rDev -5.4%

JRod1969, Aug 10, 2012
Photo of ElGallo
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

ElGallo, Aug 03, 2012
Photo of Blanco
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Blanco, Jun 10, 2012
Photo of MattR
4/5  rDev -5.4%

MattR, May 25, 2012
Photo of Reagan1984
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Reagan1984, Mar 21, 2012
Photo of mikeywtc
4/5  rDev -5.4%

mikeywtc, Feb 26, 2012
Photo of millerbuffoon
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

millerbuffoon, Feb 20, 2012
Photo of mltobin
4.23/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap in Putnam County, New York.

The appearance is a dark brown color with a short tan head. Its` nose has grass, roasted malts, some light fruit. Sipping this and it tastes of big roasted malts, followed by chocolate and and a small amount of bitterness. Mouthfeel is nearly medium, a fairly crisp finish. It drinks very easily and makes for a great growler fill, especially with being under 7% abv.

mltobin, Feb 19, 2012
Photo of dunix
5/5  rDev +18.2%

dunix, Feb 11, 2012
Photo of grahambo
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

grahambo, Feb 06, 2012
Photo of Ineedabeerhere
3.5/5  rDev -17.3%

Ineedabeerhere, Feb 06, 2012
Photo of phingdong
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

phingdong, Jan 31, 2012
Photo of WanderingFool
4.7/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

James pours black into the glass with some brown highlights around the edges. A creamy tan head forms on top. The foam dissolves slowly to a thin sheet on the surface and leaves behind a coating of lace on the glass.

The aroma is hoppy with orange citrus notes and pine. Some chocolate and roasted malt notes and a touch of bread are also detected.

Each sip of this medium to full bodied beer is smooth, creamy with moderate carbonation. The flavor is well balanced between citrus & pine hops and dark malts. It begins with orange citrus and pine. Soon, sweet flavors of chocolate and pale malt appear along with a touch of roast malt. It finishes dry with a hint of ripe fruit and moderate bitterness. Once gone the pine and chocolate flavor lingers on the palate.

This is one of my favorite Hill Farmstead beers. It's very well balanced and easy to drink. I had this on tap at several bars in Montpelier when I was there a couple months ago. This pint was poured from a growler a friend got me on a recent trip to the brewery.

WanderingFool, Jan 28, 2012
Photo of FosterJM
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

1073rd Review on BA
Growler to HF Pint
750 ml growler

Thanks to CliffBrake for this one!!

App- A very deep rich brown with lots of density leaning towards a black color. The tan head on this one is amazing. 1st it just fell as a giant clump of foam. On a repour it was huge lines of sticky cling. One of the best looking beers I have seen in a 1000+ reviews.

Smell- A pretty straight forward Black IPA. It starts off with a little bit of a citrus punch and then slowly moves to a little malt and even gets a touch of chocolate in there. Very smooth on the aromatics and for almost 7% no trace of the booze at all.

Taste- I think the reason I am rating this one so high is the balance between layers its showing. Most black ipa's try to come across as a assertive roasty kind of note and then counter with some bitter. This was very delicate and balanced. The malts are a bit smoother with a velvety note and a bit of a orange/lemon/pine taste behind them.

Mouth- A very creamy medium body with this beer feeling out of the growler like it was on nitro. Super smooth and very creamy. A low carbonation level with enough bubbles to last for days if that makes sense.

Drink- Overall, this beer really was amazing. The appearance was magical and the feel was the stuff of legend. A truly great black IPA. This is what brewers should strive for.

FosterJM, Jan 28, 2012
Photo of heffnate77
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

heffnate77, Jan 25, 2012
Photo of Hojaminbag
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

James has a body that borders on black, but I would still call a very dark brown. The tan head is solid looking, and showcases pretty good retention and lacing.

The aroma is straight hops, with all kinds of fruit and some resin. The malt barely makes an appearance, contributing perhaps a hint of both sweetness and roast.

The flavor certainly showcases a little bit more malt, but James is still one of the most hop-dominated American Black Ales that I have come across. Loads of hops, with some citrus and tropical fruit, but lots of earthy, grassy and resinous flavors as well. The bitterness is only moderate. The malt isn't completely shut-out, as it adds sizable flavors of caramel, chocolate and roasted malts.

This one feels creamy and smooth; both the body and carbonation as quite well-done.

Every hoppy beer that I have tried from Hill Farmstead has been phenomenal, and James proves that statement true regardless of what malt is used.

Hojaminbag, Jan 25, 2012
Photo of Afufnuh
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Afufnuh, Jan 24, 2012
Photo of MasterSki
4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Sean for sharing this growler. Served in a Cigar City snifter.

A - A finger of tan foam settles to some wisps, a thin collar, and minimal lacing. Very dark brown body.

S - Aroma is great! If I were blindfolded I'd *almost* be fooled into thing this was a regular IPA (or at least a hoppy amber). There's a faint hint of chocolate and roast character in the periphery, but this is heavy on the citrus, tropical, and lightly herbal hop flavors.

T - The taste tends a bit more towards the balanced side of things, although there's still a ton of hop character. Juicy citrus, earthy hops and roasted grains, and a touch of tropical fruits. Pleasant moderate bitterness in the finish that stays at a manageable level.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, lightly chewy texture, with a dry finish. Some resinous hop oils linger on the palate.

D - This is exactly how I like my Black IPAs. Hopefully John Kimmich makes El Jefe again so that I can do a side-by-side showdown between these two beers. I'll probably trade for this one in the future, as I really enjoyed it.

MasterSki, Jan 24, 2012
Photo of AgentZero
4/5  rDev -5.4%

AgentZero, Jan 22, 2012
Photo of HopsHopenstein
3.5/5  rDev -17.3%

HopsHopenstein, Jan 14, 2012
Photo of yourefragile
4.13/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL growler.

Pours a clear dark brown, near black with a bubbly tan, ruby tinged head. Aroma is resin, pine, roast malt, and light citrus hops. Mouthfeel is suffering a little from sitting on this growler for too long. Light carbonation on a medium thick body with a slightly watery finish. Much less roast in the flavor than the nose, pine hops dominate, bitter and resiny with light citrus in the finish. Aftertaste lingers more malty than the body with soft roast and light chocolate. Having had this fresh, I won't ding the mouthfeel from this sample; one of my favorite Black IPAs.

yourefragile, Jan 14, 2012
Photo of 321jeff
3.68/5  rDev -13%
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 -17.3%

ygtbsm94, Jan 13, 2012
James Black Ale from Hill Farmstead Brewery
94 out of 100 based on 310 ratings.