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Ephraim - Hill Farmstead Brewery

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207 Reviews
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Reviews: 207
Hads: 871
Avg: 4.52
pDev: 8.19%
Wants: 1,487
Gots: 26 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Hill Farmstead Brewery visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Kegatron on 09-28-2010

Ephraim (1823-1913) was our great-great grandfather; Hill Farmstead Brewery resides several hundred feet downhill from the land that he and his father settled. In his honor, this Imperial India Pale Ale is dutifully crafted from American malted barley, buckets of American hops, our ale yeast and water from our well. It is unfiltered, naturally carbonated, and double dry hopped. Intensely aromatic and saturated with resinous hop flavor, this is the ale that I dream to have shared with Ephraim.

280 Theoretical IBU

Pale Malt; Dextrose; Centennial, Chinook, Columbus, Simcoe, and Warrior hops, Ale Yeast, and our Well Water.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 207 | Hads: 871
Photo of s1ckboy
4.2/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Amber in color with a 2-3 finger white head

S - Very sweet and fruity.

T - A ton of grapefruit, some honey, a lot of malty-ness. A slight touch of pine.

M - Medium. Right amount of carbonation, very refreshing.

O - Great beer. Worth seeking out.

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Photo of nhindian
4.6/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2L growler poured into a tulip. Big thanks to CharlieMurphy for this, props Nick!

A - Pours a golden amber, crystal clear as well. A huge fluffy head gradually fills in the extra space in the glass. Retention is good for the amount of alcohol in here, and lacing is on par with some of the best in the style. A visually impressive beer!

S - After my first smell I'm getting flashbacks to Bell's Hopslam in the fact that there's a ton of citrus and fruit in here. The grapefruit is bitter to a vengeance, taking exception to the IPAs I've quaffed in days past. You can almost smell the hop juice oozing out of this beer. Besides the grapefruit, there's also a good bit of orange and mango in here as well, and perhaps just a bit of alcohol.

T - I take my first sip and I can almost hear my teeth scream and this beer rips the enamel straight off of them as the 280 IBUs cut through my palate. This beer features a cornucopia of citrus, most prominently the grapefruit. This is a big hop bomb, but not in the typical West Coast style. The finish is long and very bitter, with mango the strongest flavor.

M - Mouthfeel is moderately heavy with good carbonation. The hops really do a number on the palate, and its very resiny. The tongue feels a bit heavier after a glass of this.

D - Drinkability is high. This beer is a monster and has a ton of flavor and hops. An incredible offering from a hopefully up and coming brewery!

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Photo of ChadQuest
3.5/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a Growler. Giddie Up.
Color is a sunburst golden amber color, like a light resin nugget. Picture the piece of resin from jurrasic park that they extract the mosquito dna from, that color right there hits it.
The aroma is predominantly citrus and grapefruit, and just a hint of mango and tropical pulls through, but citrus is by far the winner in this aromatic battle of domination.
The flavors match the aroma, with the exception that the faint tropics are replaced with a faint pine grove, but this pine grove still has 10x the grapefruit trees in comparison. This one is very bitter, it doesn't only have hop flavors but a lot of bitterness also, balanced slightly but a bit of residual sugars.

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Photo of huddyball
4.49/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Hill Farmstead stemmed glass out of a growler filled 4/12/14.

A: Beautiful hazy goldish-orange. Nice thick head that dissipates leaving a nice lacing as I drink.
S: Orange/mango/pine. This is intense.
T: Much like the nose with a stronger pine/resin flavor coming through. Bit of an alcohol punch.
M: Very smooth and easy drinking.
O: Fantastic and another HF home run.

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Photo of sisuspeed
4.85/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at the Farmhouse Tap and Grill. Served in a small tasting glass. A thin white head sits on top of a beautiful glowing orange body. Lots of sticky lacing left behind.

Wedges of orange citrus mixed with pine-laden hop hit the nose. Some sweet malt makes its way in as well. Definitely more balanced this time around than at the release. More citrus notes, but the grassy-pine hop aroma is still nice and strong.

Hoppy, bitter, crushed orange and sweet malts wash across the tongue. Sticky pine, slightly grassy and full of citrus. A great IBU punch to the mouth, but still maintaining great balance. This is how a DIPA should taste.

Mouthfeel is sticky, resiny, smooth and bitter. Good carbonation and a body that is substantial, yet light enough to be refreshing.

As always, this is ridiculously easy to drink. A delicious Double/Triple IPA that has a huge helping of hops, but plenty of citrus and body that make it a pleasure to drink. The ABV is unnoticeable, so this brew is dangerous in more ways than one. I highly recommend seeking this one out. It is simply one of the best hop-infused beers out there.

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Photo of KornWallace
4.6/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Date: 4/15/15
Location: Hill Farmstead
Glassware: Red Wine Glass
Appearance: A neatly clear amber that looks like a perfect carbonated apple juice. Pours with a thumb size white head that evaporates quickly with no cascading.
Aromatics: It starts with a Pine bomb. The hops also impart the fruit flavor, a mix between mango and peaches. A nice wheaty grassy smell.
Flavor: The pine again hits first but now the resin is totally present. White peaches and mango. Some sugar in there that I'm having trouble placing adds to the sweetness.
Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is smooth with a good deal of the resin on the tongue. A nice carbonation.
Notes: Had on tap at HF and in a 750ml growler. Bottled 4/9/14 and suggested drink by date is 4/17/14.

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Photo of Hendry
4.9/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a cloudy peach hue with a generous two finger soapy white head, crazy lacing. This is an unfiltered concoction, so there is some sediment present that only adds to the appearance.

The nose is prominent: completely hop forward with only a trace of malt: my kind on IIPA.
Mango,pineapple,and nectarine are assaulting your nostrils....beautiful. The dry hopping really steps up the intensity level on the aroma, just amazing.

Flavors are pretty close to the strong aroma: intense and tropical, piney, and slightly warming. The 10.5% abv is nicely hidden though not completely undetectable.
The mango-pineapple blast is most juicy and inviting, the bitter grapefruit presence plays out in the finish, which is dry and desirable.

Mouthfeel is medium, dry satisfying finish.This 3 week old swing top growler maintained the excellent carbonation in an impressive manner. Intense flavors coat the palate like roofing tar leaving a delightful bitterness on the back of the palate.

Overall, easy to see why Hill Farmstead only fills 750 ml growlers and limits you to four at their Greensboro Bend retail store. Ephraim is amazing, and extremely high on the recommendation list, seek this one out for sure. I'm gonna get four more of these and trade none of them this time! Understandable why traders from everywhere want this stuff, but the incredible quality and a formidable drive to acquire it make it a private stock item of the highest order: HFS has built their reputation on excellence, and just about everything on the planet pales in comparison (Lawson's Double Sunshine not withstanding).

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Photo of rhinos00
4.3/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to the most generous BA I know. Thanks man, I owe you big time! Growler shared amongst friends and consumed exactly 6 days after the growler was filled.

A- Pours a clear, vibrant amber color. Produced two fingers width of white head. Some lacing as beer was consumed. Very pretty to look at.

S- An abundance of tropical fruits and hops. Very juicy, with mango, papaya, and pineapple at the forefront. Just a great hop profile in the nose. I could smell this all day.

T- I was expecting a hop bomb, but this was more on the balanced side. The tropical aromas are well represented here. Not too much hop bitterness. Very juicy with a bit of a caramel presence in the finish. Restrained, but clean prominent flavors.

M- Light to medium bodied with good carbonation. Really being picky here, but could of coated the palate a little better.

D- At 10.5% this beer is very dangerous. Alcohol is nearly undetectable and the tropical fruit flavors beg you to come back for more and more.

Overall, an excellent DIPA and one that I am extremely grateful to have tried, much thanks to a very generous BA. This is a very tropical fruit forward DIPA that is nicely balanced. I think it could have used a little more hop bitterness though. Recommended.

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Photo of Luk13
4.62/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Harvest Festival. The most stinky and dank IPA I've had. Lots of onions, some earth, very farmhouse. Some citrus of course. The bitterness is higher than most Hill Farmstead. Not my favourite from Hill Farmstead but definitly interesting, unique and very tasty.

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Photo of dragonWhale
4.85/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This was just flat-out ridiculous. It reminded me only of one other beer, an old DIPA I made 5 years ago with 294.6 theoretical IBUs that was 9.5%. So this one was 280 theoretical IBUs and 10.5%. No heat, all face-fucking hops. Big nasty bitterness, and to all those who "can't taste" above 100 IBUs or don't know the difference, I'm sorry. Some can, if you can't, then oh well. But this was a big beautiful bitter. I've never had a commercial beer approach this level. The next closest would be Bitter Bitch from Astoria.
I stood turgid in Blind Tiger, trying not to poke people standing next to me, for fear of being kicked out and not allowed to have any more. Pine, grapefruit, mangoes, sticky icky. Jesus, this was beautiful. Truly substantiated hype about this brewery and the beers being made here. Praise be to the Blind Tiger for hosting this event today. I cannot wait to put this down my throat again.

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Photo of DWolf
5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Simply said, this is as close to perfect an imperial IPA you can ask for. From the aromatic piney esters, to the cirtrusy flavors, to the soft round mouth feel, to the dry finish. This is simply outstanding. The only negative is the exclusivity that makes this hard to get. I'm sad that I may not have it again.

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Photo of Sarlacc83
4.21/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

750mL courtesy of Jim. Huge thanks.

A: Beautiful golden-orange with a foamy white head. Sediment mars the overall beauty, but it still looks quite nice.

N: Wonderfully balanced. Pine, earth, mango, pineapple. Deep and rounded. Some grass and a little bit of caramel around the edges.

T: Quite sweet at the front with a moderate bitterness. Showcases the hops very well. Both stinging and balanced. Big kudos here, though it’s just a tad sweet for me.

M: Very good mouthfeel. Carbonated nicely with a slight dryness and a round, heavy mouthfeel.

O: A top tier beer that might get a few more points from me with a touch more dryness and a little less malt. Still, well done. Would have time and time again.

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Photo of CliffBrake
5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at the brewery for their harvest festival, served in a Hill Farmstead stem.

Hop-hazed orange with a creamy head that leaves plenty of lacing. A bright inviting color on a dreary, cold rainy day.

Nose of all sorts of luscious ripe fruits - peach, pineapple, tangerine, papaya, mixed with sweet bread.

The flavor follows on the nose - with a little concentration, it seems like just about any sort of ripe fruit can be conjured up on the tongue, along with a bit of pine for balance. Plenty of bready sweetness provides a foundation for the hops, but does not detract one bit.

Mouth coating sweetness is punctured by layers upon layers of sticky hoppiness. Dry finish and although it seems like a cliche for such beers, very drinkable for the adv.

In a word, sublime. I usually think of myself preferring Abner to Ephraim. But this batch of Ephraim sets the standard for imperial IPA for me. Shaun served a lot of amazing beers at the harvest fest and yet Ephraim stands out as an amazing experience.

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Photo of oakbluff
4.94/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Growler- pours a light tangerine with slight haze with a light head and soapy lacing. Nose- huge blast of tropical fruit (mango, pineapple, passion fruit). Taste- WOW- intense, wave after wave of hops attack the senses. Citrus, pine resin. Thick chewy hops interplay with cookie dough pale malts. Medium bodied. Carbonation spot (esp for a growler I've been sitting on for a few weeks). Booze is not apparent other then a warming heat as this hop delivery vehicle slides down the throat. Its a man among boys in the world of dipas. Drinkability is insance for the power of this brew. World class

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Photo of celticfutblclub
4.35/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml growler poured into a pint glass

A - inviting bright yellow body with a nice two finger foamy top. great retention and lacing.

S - big hop smells here and good grapefruit edge to it as well.

T - good hop presence here with some bread malts lying beneath. great grapefruit edge to this.

M - lots of carbonation medium bodied beer with good hop puckering.

O - a fine DIPA and well worth the ride out to pick it up.

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Photo of PeterIngemi
4.42/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ blackback pub in waterbury VT

A: hazy golden with a touch of amber, served with about a finger of white head that dissapates nicley and leavs some nice lacing. Looks delicious.

S: wow, this smells so good, loads of grassy and citrusy hops, pleanty of tropical fruit aroma, mango, pinneapple, passion fruit... Smells like citrusy juicy hop deliciousness. Amazing aroma.

T: tastes like biting into a tropical fruit hop salad, some much tropical citrusy hop flavor, oh my, a touch of caramel sweetness. So yummy and resinous and juicy. Loads of grapefruit and pinneapple, and no overly bitter, wonderfully balanced.

M: medium heavy body with a very lush an juicy feel, nice creamy moderate carbonation.

O: this an amazing dipa one of the best I've had hands down. So much hop flavor, so well balanced...

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Photo of BeerAndBourbon
4.55/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A. Pours clear orange with a two finger white head.

S. Grapefruit, orange, lemon - very citrusy with floral hoppy notes. Almost hoppy.

T. Nice sweet malt presence with supreme hoppiness - floral notes, citrus, and delicious.

M. Thick and creamy. Delicious.

D. Great. Lovely.

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Photo of pmlondrigan
4.76/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up at the Harvest Festival. Great time. 750ml poured into my shiney new Hill Farmstead steam wear. Murky orange / tangerine color with a white one finger head. Lots o' lacing. Tropical. Papaya, passion fruit, citrus zest. Bam, explosion, nothing more to say. Huge tropical flavor, pinapple, passion fruit, papaya, citrus zest, a little pith and pine resin. Hoppy bitterness lingers on the finish. The finish is dry and there is absolutley no way of detecting that this is 10.5% abv. Slightly more carbonation would be nice. Really they only downside to this beer is the appearance. Don't know how they did this.

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Photo of BearsOnAcid
4.45/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this in tap at their autumn festival and thought it was too hoppy for me. Got to sit down with it again a few days later and now I can see what the big deal is about.

Pours the color of a refined honey. It glistens and sparkles in the glass. HUGE layers of dank herbal hops, piney grapefruit and candied hops greet your nose. Smooth sweet hoppy taste. Just layer upon layer of a brutal hop assault. The big alcohol burns this mammoth into your tongue. The only hop I could clearly make out was Simcoe. I'm also getting some mango and passion fruit. There's just an insanely complex hop profile in this beer. With all that is going on, it is incredibly drinkable for a beer of this caliber.

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Photo of greenmonstah
4.4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Growler picked up at the brewery yesterday, 10/8. Poured into their Belgian stemware glass.

A - Pours a typical light caramel-gold with a thin wisp of head. Head is retained at this wisp-level throughout. Nice clarity and a decent amount of carbonation. The head and carbonation levels make it look like a lower ABV beer-- it is impressive for a beer at 10.5% to look like this. A more aggressive re-fill yielded a larger, frothy head, which dissipated at an average rate.

S - Fresh tropical fruit sweetness, bitter hops, and a subtle caramelly malt base. One of the better-smelling east-coast IPAs I have had. You can smell the grains as if you were walking through the Hill Farmstead fields.

T - An initial sweetness transforms quickly into intense bitterness. The caramel provides the sweetness, but just can't compete with the hops. Strong notes of grapefruit and a hint of papaya. Finishes with a bomb of bitterness that only a hophead could enjoy. No booze at all, which is amazing.

M- Medium to full in body, this beer is a big one. It envelops your mouth and fires on every tastebud. Initially round, it sharpens very quickly. Finish dries out the mouth, but not too much.

O - Overall this beer is exceptional. While I don't think it gets any one category perfect, it exemplifies each to a degree that few other beers can. The bitterness is intense, and would overwhelm the unprepared, but at at "280 IBU" level, that makes perfect sense. I think I might still prefer Heady Topper to this beer as far as East Coast IPA whales go, but I wouldn't mind having this every day, either! I need to get my hands on some Abner, since that'll compare more closely to what Head Topper really is.

Is this the Pliny the Younger of the East Coast? Hard to say. I'm going to go with "Maybe."

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Photo of nesarebad
4.99/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Last of my Hill Farmstead from my trip a few weeks back. 750 ml bottle style growler poured in to my Hill Farmstead stemware.

A - Pours a murky golden orange color, nice carb with a two finger effervescent head. Delicate lacing clings to the glass as I drink. Even though the beer is unfiltered, it is still a nice looking beer.

S - Sweet tropical fruits, blends of citrus fruits, some earthy notes peak through. Candied sugar and all the right notes, a nose that beckons you in to the first taste. Legit and all too intoxicating.

T - Sweet up front, with a pungent hop note. Sweet tropical fruits in melody with citrus-y hops. MIght be a tad sweeter than some would like in a DIPA, but the hops are blended so well in this one, it is punchy without being over bitter. A taste like none other, I can recollect only a few beers where I was like 'oh, ok' when I first tasted.

M - Despite being sweet up front, the balance in hop pungency makes this beer incredibly balanced. The sweetness is no factor in the drink-ability of the beer. Not much more can be said, this is a very easy to drink beer.

O - This beer exhibits all the best qualities of an easy to drink DIPA. It is tropical punch, sweet but balanced and smooth as can be. One of my all time favorites; I pull no punches here.

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Photo of readbaron
3.92/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to KickInTheChalice for this one. Pour from a 750 ml growler into a Parra Duvel tulip.

Pours an unusual golden orange color. When held up to the light it's a light golden orange.

Lots of honey and caramel malt on the aroma - then it fades into dank hops and with a hint of citrus and tropical fruit. Really impressive.

Taste doesn't live up to the nose - bitter hops dominate - not as much malt and sweetness as the nose indicates. It's still sweet, but the sweetness is overwhelmed by piney, hoppy bitterness. It lacks the crisp clarity of sweet then hoppy that I appreciate in other sweet DIPAs that I've had.

Mouthfeel is good. Medium bodied, fairly heavy for a DIPA, decently carbed, but not as creamy or smooth as would be ideal.

Overall - a solid beer, but doesn't deserve it's top 100 status in my book.

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Photo of jeffthecheff
3.04/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a swing-top 750 that was bottled for VIP attendees at the harvest festival.

Pours a clear pale orange with a great white head. Aroma is fruity with pear and melon notes along with some peach. Minimal pine/green hop notes.

Flavor is strong and boozy with a nice candy-like sweetnes in the middle. Finish is overly harsh with high alcohol notes and in the end isn't all that complex.

Mouthfeel is smooth throughout with carbonation on the low side. Nice maltiness creates a substantial body mid palate while still having a dry finish. Definitely the high point of this beer. Overall, I feel the same way about this beer as I did when I had it on tap; booziness overshadows the hop profile. This beer reminds me a lot of hopslam, which I also think is on the wrong side of booze/hop balance. I prefer the less harsh/more aromatic character of HF's other hoppy beers.

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Photo of krisandajt
4.79/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoying this brew with some friends to celebrate finishing up my first marathon. Courtesy of mymrrngjckt who received this from the brewer, I'm looking forward to trying this.

Appearance: Poured from a cool looking growler, the beer is a cloudy, rich honey color. Not a lot of head on this one, but I'll attribute that to being in a growler. The thin ring of head around the edge of the beer does leave behind some thick soapy lacing as I swirl it in the glass. Looks good so far...

Smell: Without a doubt, this is the best smelling, hoppy beer that I have ever smelled. Huge bitter citrusy hops without any of that pesky malt getting in the way.

Taste: A fantastic tasting, delightfully hoppy beer! Despite the lack of malt in the nose, there's actually a bit of malty sweetness to at least attempt some balance, but there's no countering the huge about of hops in this brew. Simply put, Pliney has bet it's match. Bitter grapefruit, and just downright awesome.

Mouthfeel: A little lacking in carbonation, but again I have to attribute that to being from a growler. The brew is full bodied and has an interesting sort of hoppy, oily sort of quality to it. Potent for sure.

Drinkability: I love this beer. Loaded with hops, and even though it's got a relatively high ABV you don't realize it while your drinking it. If you are a hop head, you need to try this beer. Highly recommend.

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Photo of spdyfire83
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

58th Review
Growler to Hill Farmstead glass...as it should be consumed.

From notes. Thanks to CharlieMurphy for sending this amongst other HF treats in a wonderful trade!

A: Dull copper. 1.5+ (pristine white) fingernail head on smooth, soft pour.

S: Piney. Massive hop aromas. More pine clouded by hint of citrus. Yummy!

T: Malty and sweet tropical fruit followed by an overwhelming brilliant burst of hops (mid-palate to finish).

M: Medium to full-bodied, but very, very smooth for such a high ABV brew. Medium carbonation.

O: Another excellent output from an up-and-coming brewery. A super drinkable and wickedly enjoyable DIPA that is not too over-the-top, but just right. Can’t wait to pay these folks a visit in-person!

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Ephraim from Hill Farmstead Brewery
99 out of 100 based on 207 ratings.