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Jim - Hill Farmstead Brewery

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

53 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 53
Hads: 117
Avg: 4.25
pDev: 9.65%
Wants: 127
Gots: 9 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Hill Farmstead Brewery visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  7.50% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: sisuspeed on 10-03-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Jim (1954-1998) is the name by which our Uncle was best known. Hill Farmstead Brewery rests upon the land that was once home to him and his four siblings. In his honor, we barrel aged our Black IPA (James) in a French Oak Pinot Noir barrel for four months and dry hopped the beer with Simcoe. Naturally carbonated and hand bottled, this is one of only 300 bottles.

Pale and Caramel Malt; Roasted Barley; Centennial, Columbus, and Simcoe hops; Ale Yeast, and our Well Water.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 53 | Hads: 117
Photo of Sammy
3.88/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

John S's bottle, recently acquired. The aroma is chocolate and orange (reflecting the Simcoe). all in a very dark brown to black appearance. very smooth and understated carbonation, even less than many cask ales. The wine barreling overcomes everything, so that the hops are understated as well. A rich worthwhile beverage more akin to a wine itself.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.37/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter.

Pours nearly black with a single-finger tan head and a bit of lacing plus a nice collar. The nose brings some strongly resinous pine along with a bit of roasted malt character.

The taste is more of the same as the nose with a pungent pine character and quite a bit of resin. A bit of earth there as well in addition to some roasted malt. Mouthfeel is nice and medium with a really bitter, dry finish. Drinkability is high as well. A really, really solid brew from Shaun and I'm glad to have been able to nab a bottle of this.

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Photo of largadeer
4.05/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks, Nick. 500ml bottle.

Dark, perfectly clear brown with an opaque black center. A thin off-white head quickly recedes.

The nose is layered, complex. Sharp resiny hops, evergreen, grapefruit. More digging brings out smoke, roasted malt, tar. Vinous notes come out as it warms, along with oak, earth. Complex and nicely balanced.

Citrusy, resiny hop flavors hit the palate first, leading into a mid-palate that's more roasted and and smoky, slightly vinous. Bitter grapefruit, tannic oak, pine and burnt malt linger on the tongue.

Despite the many layers of flavor, this is light and easy to drink. Unique and enjoyable.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.89/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

prepping myself for hobo tasting number 3 or 2.5, i sit here eating pizza with a bottle of Jim(somneone please send me more!) served in a pint glass and enjoyed on 1.16.11.

the pour is dark as night, black with a nice little head of dark tan that falls to a quarter inch and hangs there throughout the entire session, just sitting and mocking me as i drink.

then i take a whiff, one of the best smells i have ever come across, deep pineapple and citrus hops, roasted malts, ash and campfire, tobacco, leather, and a wonderful warming alcohol. my god this is what dreams are made of. the flavor does not dissapoint. creamy and luscious feel is spot on not too heavy at all. first flavor to hit is pineapple and ripe citrus which folds into heavy smoke and ash. roasted malts everywhere with tons of wonderful favors, dark fruits, rich leather like back lash, amazing beer. i am not sure what to call this except amazing. finishing with a smack of grapefruit and smoke that dries the palate and leaves a smokey flavor at the same time, this was quite simply an amazing beer,

overall honestly one of the best beers i have ever had. every sip was better then the one before. each smell better then before, just simply awe inspiring and amazing. top notch in every way.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.85/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks for sharing this one, Nick.

A: The pour is a very dark brown color with very little foam/head to speak of.

S: A good hoppy aroma to start out with. It seems to be mostly pine with some grapefruit peel in there as well. I get some smoke and ash, too. A definite oak presence as well as chocolate and roast.

T: The oak and specialty malt flavors are the strongest ones here. Lots of wood, peat, and smoke, with maybe a touch of ash. Grapefruit hops along with a pine bitterness and a touch of bitter chocolate.

M: Maybe it's just me, but the body seems a little thing. The carbonation is low to medium.

D: Not entirely sure how to feel about this one. It's quite complex, which is nice, but for some reason, not all the flavors really work all that well.

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Photo of oline73
4.18/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I was lucky enough to be invited over to try batch 1 and 2 side by side. Poured into a goblet.

Batch 1 - The smell is rather smokey with some wine notes as well. I'm getting some bacon and bbq sauce notes. The flavor it quite smokey as well. This is like a wine barrel rauchbier. There is a slight roast bitterness that builds towards the finish. Just a touch of cardboard due to the age. The body is smooth and dry with a ton of carbonation.

Batch 2 - This one is missing the smoke that made batch 1 so interesting. There is more of a hop bitterness to this one. Just a hint of roast with a higher bitterness level.

I enjoyed both of these, but the older version won the night in my opinion.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.13/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From 10/13/12 notes. Big thanks to whoever brought this to the Top Hops tasting in NYC; second new HF beer of the day.

a - Pours a pitch black color with two inches of dark tan head and moderate carbonation evident. Looks great.

s - Smells of roasted malts, pine hops, wood, light smoke, peat, dark fruits, and light chocolate. Some decent pine with lots of roasty notes...pretty nice.

t - Tastes of roasted malts, chocolate, pine hops, dark fruits, oak/wood, smoke, toasted malts, and a tiny bit of sourness almost. Nice taste; very heavy on the roasted notes again.

m - Medium body and low carbonation. Very easy to drink; pretty smooth.

o - Overall I thought this was a pretty good Black IPA. Tons of roasted malts to it and some decent pine hops, and I thought the wood came through a decent amount, and added a little smokiness to it. Very nice and worth checking out.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.95/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Jason for sharing this last night. Served in a Rodenbach tulip.

A - Pours with two fingers of light mocha foam that settle to a chunky collar and partial cap, leaving behind spotty lace. Dark brown body that's slightly lighter at the fringes.

S - Barrel, earth, smoke, some light vinous notes, a sweet indistinct hop note that mingles with the vanilla from the oak, and a black patent malt backbone. It's quite unique and I kept returning to the aroma.

T - Taste is not quite as successful for me. There's the motley assortment of wine, sweet malt and cocoa, and a light smokey finish that features hoppy bitterness as well. The aftertaste is a little off-putting and reminds me of playdough.

M - Medium-light body, medium-low carboation, no alcohol, dry finish. Quite pleasant.

D - This was definitely unique, and I'd like to try it again in a slightly more relaxed setting (i.e. not immediately after Ephraim). That being said, I'd probably dig James more than Jim...or maybe El Jefe.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Mike, thanks! Beer is black with a big tan head of small and medium bubbles. Good retention and lots of lacing.

Beer smells a lot like hops, pine hops to be exact. Pretty overwhelming, lots of stuff going on in there. Some coffee / roasted malt character as well.

Beer is medium in body and very bitter. The pine hops are a good choice I think, the flavor stands up well with the bitterness from the coffee and roast as well as the hop bitterness seems to play well in this beer. Beer is a little herbal up front but overall a nice BIPA.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.32/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Thorpe429. Thanks Mike!

A: This black IPA appears well...dark brown. The beige head is about an inch thick and leaves plenty of lacing on the glass.

S: I can tell that this is going to be a good beer. The aroma is a delicate balance of pine, hops, and roasted malt. Very enticing!

T: This beer is excellent. Roasted malt, meet piny hop resin. Absolutely delicious. Hill Farmstead nailed this one!

M: Medium bodied with a present hop bitterness and somewhat of a dry finish.

D: A great example of the style. I would be excited to have this again.

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Photo of billab914
4.17/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks for sharing IrishColonial. Poured from a 500ml bottle into a tasting glass. It poured black in color with a thin, creamy head sticking to the sides of the glass.

The aroma shows a lot o citrusy hoppiness to it. I get a good dose of smoke to it along with the roasted malts. The wine barrel gives it a little bit of a fruity and oaky quality. Really nice aroma to it, lots of complexity to it but it comes together well.

The taste show a little more bitter roasted favors to it with a good amount of smoke still showing up. The hoppiness is pretty bold in it as well with some juicy citrus qualities. It tastes a little like burnt, smoky hops, which sounds bad but I'm really kind of liking it. A little bit of the oaky fruity wine barrel smooths it out an brings it together.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and seems fitting for the style. Overall I really liked it, especially the smoke. The hoppiness seemed to work pretty well for it as well, which is impressive to me as I usually think hops and roasted favors clash. The wine barrel was a little reserved in the taste but did seem to smooth it out with the oak and fruit favors. Very good version of the style.

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Photo of yourefragile
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Harvest Festival. Waited until opening a bottle from this release before writing up both.

Dark, near black with a creamy tan head. Nice retention and a large amount of sticky lacing. Extremely hoppy aroma, pine and wood, with light roast that easily overwhelmed. Flavor is similar, a robust, creamy body with light roast and chocolate malt but the pine hops dominate every aspect of the flavor. Very little oak or wine present in this version. A very pleasant dry hopped black IPA, but lacking the complexity of fresh or aged versions in the bottle.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5


Thanks! Poured into my Bruery tulip.

A: Deep brown, near black. Mountainous frothy beige head resulting from a hard pour. Great retention, with a quarter inch froth lingering forever after the initial recession. Lacing is scattered in thick sheets on the glass. Great looking beer.

S: Pine, light citrus in the form of grapefruit, and oak. The wood, in conjunction with the smoke character, is redolent of beachwood; applewood smoked bacon is also brought to mind. The aroma displays just the right amount of smokiness, never overwhelming the other notes. Malt is lightly roasted and shows a dash of chocolate with just a whisper of coffee. Not really noticeable at colder temperatures, the vinous aspect of the beer comes out with substantial warming, but it remains light at all times. Many different aromas are in harmony in this one. I could smell this all night. A damn fine aroma. *edit* when the beer warms up quite a bit, the combination of smoke, chocolate, wine, and pine is intoxicating.

T: Red wine, oak, tannins, pine, grapefruit, light notes of chocolate, roasted malt, and a light smoke character. The beer is dry and moderately bitter, with a great grapefruit rind and pine bitterness attack The beer is increasingly vinous with warming. The smoke character is most evident in the dry bitter pine and grapefruit finish roasted finish. There's a trailing vinous sweetness that comes to life after what seemed to be the terminus of the finish.

The beer is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. The mouthfeel is dry, creamy, and lightly tannic.

Though the original beer was a Black IPA, the barrel aging and the blending in of Fear and Trembling have transformed this into a delicious Strong Ale. A unique and thoroughly enjoyable beer.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
4.37/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

From 500mL bottle to Portsmouth glass on 4/5/12
*From notes

-- Another winner pulled from the cellar of IrishColonial --

A: Dying autumn leaf brown. A good pour yields a .75 finger head. It lingers for some time, and a thick collar and above average lacing follow. A lovely beer.

S: Quite a bit of smoke. As I swirl it in my glass and allow it to warm a bit, I get a lot of freshly picked garden herbs and crushed rose petals. Wildly unique.

T: Extremely complex, and not too far off from the bouquet. It comes off a little salty up front, followed closely by a massive amount of natural smoke. A touch of red vine fruit rides in on the mid. The charred and smoked malts tone down on the back, revealing a vinous, wine-like finish. This literally keeps evolving in my glass like no other beer I've come across.

M: A bit odd. It sort of washes over my palate instead of sticking to it. Oily yet ever-so-slightly velvety. It lacks what I would call proper carbonation. It just feels thin.

O: Hill Farmstead's Jim. What a great beer, folks. I'm not a smoke beer guy in the slightest, yet I found this so inspired and one-of-a-kind. Almost unclassifiable in it's flavor profile. Worth seeking out. My HF sleeper pick.

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Photo of Gobzilla
4.32/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a very dark brown in color with brown highlights when held up to the light that had a half finger of head and left plenty of lacing sticking to the glass. Lots of piney earth hops pop out on the nose with some nice roasty sweet malts alongaside subtle oak notes and faint coffee. The piney hop flavors dominate the palate with oaky roasted malt accents that did add some sweetness but had slight caramel notes and a touch of smoke with mild coffee character. The brew was medium in body with a good amount of carbonation which had a very piney hoppy, roasted, slight sweet but bitter finish. I was digging this intresting beer and drank good but I'm starting to like how roastiness is adding dimension to hop forward brews.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.12/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A gift from Thorpe429, thanks Mike!

The label says only 300 bottles: "we barrel aged our black IPA (James) in a French Oak Pinot Noir barrel for four months and dry hopped the beer with Simcoe." It pours a dark brown color , transparent at the edges, with an off-white wet looking foam.

This has a lot going on in the nose, most notably smoke and the pinot noir character I got in one of the Fear and Trembling versions earlier this month. I actually like the smell a lot, this isn't the roasty IPA I expected. The Simcoe is there but isn't overly assertive.

It tastes complex too, the barrel seems to add so much to the beer (although I've never tried the James before, but it seems pretty evident that the barrel is responsible for a lot of what's here). Smoke and oak, a little roast, more bitter hops in the aftertaste than previewed by aroma.

Light body, about right for a dark IPA. Another winner from Hill Farmstead, and another bottle in my deficit against Mike.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.27/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to sleepydave, bottle into my Narke tulip...A beautiful pour, dark brown with the slightest hint of purple has me really excited. An equally nice really nice tan head, decent retention but good lacing...The aroma is outstanding, complex and keeps me guessing. At first you get a lot of smoke and pork (salt), making me wonder where that came from, the barrel? That smoke really settles and a distinct pinot noir wine flavor really comes through in a great way. Oak, vanilla, smoke, pork, and wine mixed superbly....The taste sadly doesn't live up to the aroma, and totally reverts to an ipa. Light smoke on the front, most of the wine disappears. The finish is strong, full and lasting, but that's not a good thing here as its a little chalky. Mostly hoppy, still drinkable, a good ipa, just not what I expected after an awesome start so I'm a little disappointed.

A beer worth drinking and trying, just slightly disappointing in the taste and execution.

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Photo of rfgetz
4.27/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark, near black with thin cap of brown froth, little retention save for a ring of brown that leaves good, sticky lacing the first half of the glass. Scent brings heavy roasted malt with notes of char and smoke, strong grapefruit and pineapple notes come through almost as strong, hints of oak and leather. Taste brings a complete balance of roasted malt and fruity hops not found in many Black IPAs i've had. The oak keeps the hops fruity without too much bitterness. Roasted malts and hops both very strong in flavor but the balance makes it fantastic. Medium bodied, lightly oily. dry on the finish. A fantastic barrel aged IPA, would have loved to have sampled fresh and this aged version side by side.

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Photo of ColForbinBC
4.42/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500mL bomber poured into a pint glass

Pours a dark brown with reddish highlights around the edges when held up to the light. The cap is firm and thick, and has some great retention. A good amount of sticky lace all over the glass.

There is a nice balance in the aroma. Roast and smoke, vinous wine, oak, pine, orange peel and bit of an earthy aroma. Hops are bold, but so is everything else. The fruity notes from the pinot noir is readily noticeable.

This has everything you want in a black ipa. Roast and smoke up front with piney hops, while pinot noir and oak carry you through the middle. The wine lends a touch of fruity sweetness and the oak lends a welcome dryness. The finish is of pine, orange peel and a hearty burst of roast. Everything has its place in this guy.

The feel is medium to full. I found it to be a little prickly on the back end, or I would have rated this higher. It didn't hurt the drinkability, but detracted a bit from the overall smoothness.

This is the best black ipa I have ever had. It's a nice meld of roasty notes and hoppiness with the added kicker of being aged in pinot noir barrels. Everything works really well together.

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Photo of thagr81us
4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to nickd717 for sharing this one on my recent trip to Cali. Served from bottle into a goblet. Poured a massively dark brown with a minimal off-white head. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, citrus, and citrus hop. The flavor was of sweet malt, citrus, smoke, and slight citrus hop. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this brew wasn't that bad, but it also wasn't that great. To me, the smoke drowned out a lot of the flavor and might have covered some up in the process. Just wish that aspect of the brew was a little more mellowed out. With that said however, this is a brew that you must at least try if you are a fan of smoked brews or Cascadian IPAs.

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Photo of AgentZero
4.1/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to jrallen34 for busting this out.

A - A very dark brown that looks black if you don't hold it up to the light, reddish tint on the edges when you do. Nice tan one+ finger head that dissipated to some spots and chunks on the sides.

S - Truly unique, and unlike anything I've ever smelled. I wish I were more of a wine drinker so I could pick out some of the subtleties here, I know it's red, and a little bit sweet. It's very nicely layered onto a not-overpowering malt backbone with some light hops. The smoke really stands out to me, also not dominating, but the strongest note on this one, and it combines nicely with some oak.

T - I like this beer quite a bit, while not as good as the nose, it is exceptionally unique and complex. Smoke is again the strongest characteristic, along with a wine finish. The malts are not overly biscuity or sugary like I've come to expect from black IPAs, and the hops are present, but subtle. I honestly would not have thought this was an IPA unless someone told me. I'm not going to say it's the best beer I've tasted, but it is multi-dimensional and nicely complex, and it tastes good.

M - Lighter side of medium, carbonation seems appropriate for the style and doesn't overpower the wine flavor.

D - Could do a bottle, but couldn't session this, flavors are too unique and could start to get a little much after a lot of this. Good beer though, wouldn't mind having it again, very different.

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Photo of Reagan1984
4.43/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Special thanks to Mtardiff for providing this beer in what was an insane box of Hill Farmstead goodies. Bottle says one of 300. Wow…

What a nice looking beer. Pours like a big stout and the head even erupts from within the beer like an Imp Stout. The head is wonderfully creamy and thick. Like a thick shake it sits atop the brew and starts depositing clumpy lace all inside the glass. The beer is the darkest brown and lets no light through.

Aroma is also really nice. A touch of coffee, some pine a lot of fruit just below the surface.

Good beer. Light roast coffee note to start, some more pine a rounded soft dark roasted malt and then a nice pine bitterness again. The label talks about wine (pinot) barrel aging and I have to admit I would not have picked up any notes here if I wasn’t told. Even after looking for it, there isn’t much. Perhaps this is contributing to the complexity of flavor and the almost earthy tones. Smooth cocoa, light coffee and cream with pine accents rule the day for me here. Melds nicely.

Mouth feel is wonderful. Velvety and so smooth. I have to decide if mouth feel gets a 4.5 or perfect 5.0. It’s that luxurious as you drink it.

Based on the dates of the other reviews, this appears to have a little age on it. I’d say the effects of the dry hopping have probably faded, but this has held up quite well. Very soft and rounded. Nice. Not a hint of oxidation.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.21/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours dark brown/black with a MASSIVE billowy, creamy caramel colored head.

S - Dark roasted malt, dark fruit, light smokiness, and some pine.

T - Mild roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, pine, light hints of wine, some light oak and char.

M - Medium body.

O - The overall blend is delicate roasty bitterness.

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Photo of Sean9689
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle. Thank you Jason!

A - Pours black, reddish/brown hue, nice cream-colored head, thick ring with big bubbles, thin film on top as the cap.

S - Smoke notes, barrel/oak, red wine, bacon. Lots of crazy things going on here. Smoke? Wine? Barrel? Bacon? What? I don't know...I'm kinda digging it. The F&T that's been blended into this beer adds another dimension to the beer, which I very much enjoy.

T - Red wine, oak, smoke, light hops. I like the wine and smoke notes with the IPA profile. The wine notes and oak overpower the hops, but I still mostly getting a black IPA profile on the palate. I was hoping the barrel/smoke/wine characteristics would be a bit more here, but it's still very unique and good.

M - Light to medium, soft carbonation, dry finish (from the wine/oak?). Interesting.

D - Like nothing I've had, what the heck, it's a nice change of pace. Not a black IPA, but kinda, but not really. Very....interesting.

Edit: I was given additional information, which helps explain where the smoke character came from. Some of the F&T was blended into this beer to give it that smoke character. I was contributing this to the oak/barrel, but it appears that there's actually some of the F&T in the blend. Very cool! I've edited my review appropriately.

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Photo of koopa
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle purchased at the Hill Farmstead Autumn Festival earlier this month.

Appearance: Pours an attractive opaque dark mahogany to black. The crown is 1.5 fingers, khaki, shows moderate retention and nice lace.

Smell: Wow here is a really interesting nose...Floral and citrus notes from the Simcoe dry hopping jump out first but strong earthy French Oak barrel notes and smoke are soon to follow.

Taste: Good but a bit of a let down after smelling that awesome nose. The French oak and the hops just aren't properly jiving for me. I do like that the smoke only appears in the finish though.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with good carbonation.

Drinkability: Pretty high but a better flavor profile would make it even more drinkable.

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Jim from Hill Farmstead Brewery
93 out of 100 based on 53 ratings.