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Jim - Hill Farmstead Brewery

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

112 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 112
Reviews: 53
rAvg: 4.27
pDev: 9.84%
Wants: 133
Gots: 9 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Hill Farmstead Brewery visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  7.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
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 added by: sisuspeed on 10-03-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 112 | Reviews: 53 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of CliffBrake
4.38/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Modest head with light lace on a dark beer is appropriate to a barrel-aged representative of the style.

The smell is amazing - mocha, smoke, black cherries, it is mind boggling and delicious. I could smell this all night.

The flavor is similarly complex, but somewhat of a let down after the initial impression of the nose. Over the course of sipping this beer though, it seemed to open up and the palate expanded. Perhaps it would benefit from a little more time in the bottle.

A great sipper. Expensive, but I would try it again for sure.

CliffBrake, Oct 30, 2010
Photo of koopa
4.18/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

koopa, Oct 22, 2010
Photo of HopHead84
4.45/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

HopHead84, Oct 19, 2010
Photo of mikey711
4.3/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Deep brown, near black with a frothy mocha colored head that holds very well and leave great lacing.

S: Nice roasted coffee aroma followed by a light pine hoppines. there is a nice fruitness from the pinot noir. some light vanilla notes from the barrel

T: the roastiness is very present and quite enjoyable and the hops add a nice balance. nice pine hoppiness and a tough of grasiness. the pinot adds a very nice fruit characteristic as well

M: Very nice creaminess with no rough qualities, thre is no heat and it is very smooth

D: A slow sipper with lots of full flavors. definitely one i would like to try again

mikey711, Oct 17, 2010
Photo of AgentZero
4.08/5  rDev -4.4%
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.

AgentZero, Oct 14, 2010
Photo of MasterSki
3.9/5  rDev -8.7%
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.

MasterSki, Oct 14, 2010
Photo of jrallen34
4.22/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

jrallen34, Oct 14, 2010
Photo of Sean9689
4.28/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

Sean9689, Oct 14, 2010
Photo of SFLpunk
3.5/5  rDev -18%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

500mL brown glass pry-top bottle. Purchased at the Autumn Festival. One of 216 bottles.

Pours a thick black with very little mocha-colored head. Nose is a bit dough-y, some mixed berry fruit, and a little roasted coffee.

Palate is round and then snappy with hop bitterness. Roasted black coffee notes, some citrus from the Simcoe and a whisper of raspberry. Some charred notes too. 90% cocoa dark chocolate-like bitterness.

Very low carbonation level. Finish is long and bitter like coffee.

*I had this on draft at the festival and found that version to be more expressive. The wine barrel spoke more loudly on draft and the carbonation level was much higher which I preferred. This score only pertains to my opinion of the bottle.*

SFLpunk, Oct 05, 2010
Photo of abuliarose
4.7/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Hill Farmstead goblet glass, revealing thick, tall and slightly tanned head over an essentially black body. Pretty lacing. Smells like intense, fresh floral hops with a little smokiness and a slight fruity, woody sweetness maybe derived from the barrel. Nice smells that intermingle well on the nose to make it a complex bouquet.

Tastes very well-hopped, but with a lingering just-sweet fruity finish (sangria-type fruity) and a tannic astringency that mingles well with the hoppy bitterness. Nice fresh citrus rind presence, grapefruit and orange. Mouthfeel is a little creamy with a tickling of carbonation that adds volume. Medium to heavy-bodied. Very drinkable, very well-layered flavors and no trace of the alcohol. I would say this is quaff-able but it's just so tasty.

The best black IPA I've ever had, for sure.

abuliarose, Oct 04, 2010
Photo of sisuspeed
4.53/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Hill Farmstead tasting glass. Pure black in color with a thick, creamy, off-white head on top. Waves of lacing left behind. Looks beautiful.

Earthy hops on the nose mixed with wood and light wine notes. Grassy herbal notes resting on top of well roasted malt. The Pinot Noir barrels really add a nice level of complexity to the nose. Juicy, alcohol-laced, grapes, hops and wood.

Tipping back the glass reveals a fairly unique taste that is new to me. Oaky, hoppy and vinous. Upon further sipping I'm pulling out some tannin and subtle vanilla. Like the nose, the flavor really opens up the more you explore it. The malt character is obviously dark with some nice bitterness and even a touch of dark chocolate. Really interesting and tasty.

Mouthfeel is smooth with perfect carbonation. Leaves a mixture of hop and tannin on the tongue.

Drinkability is great. More of a sipper, but one that is hard to put down. A Hill Farmstead tasting glass or wine glass is probably the best way to appreciate this beer. Shaun has really created a unique brew that is both complex and delicious. I'm wishing that I had picked up more of these. Highly recommended.

sisuspeed, Oct 04, 2010
Photo of Skrip
4.45/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

batch 1, 500ml bottle poured into a Gandhi Bot snifter.

A~ as dark as can be with a huge siberian desert tan head and soooo much lacing!

S~ lots of smokey roasted dark malts. bacon, bbq, and mesquite like smoke. all followed by lots of what smells like charred fresh leaf hops and a little citrus from them as well.

T~ huge sweet caramel, roasted dark malt flavor up front that explodes on the palet opening up to some smokey hop bitterness. all followed by amazing sweet citrus, that lingers with the mesquite style smoke for what seems like forever!

M~ super nice carbonation, smooth, and has a slight maple syrup like texture. which is what i love about some of their "smokey" brews like Fear and Trembling.

O~ really nice! now once again black IPA's are one of my favorite styles so take that into consideration when reading this review. but this one just packs a punch that delivers so much flavor its kind of unreal. every sip is seriously like an overwhelming yet super balanced explosion of flavor. the complexity never stands in the way for Mr. Hill.

Skrip, Jun 22, 2013
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Jim from Hill Farmstead Brewery
94 out of 100 based on 112 ratings.