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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: 126
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 callmemickey
3.7/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Consumed January 2011

A: Pitch black body with a moderate sized off-white head. Decent lacing and a nice lingering skim.

S: Massive dark roasted malts, chocolate, pine and grapefruit from the hops.

T: As expected, the malts are quite dominant. A touch of earthy flavors as well as some oak. Unexpectedly though, the hops didn't contribute much in the way of flavor... mostly just bitterness. A little grapefruit creeps through.

M: Medium bodied with a nice effervescence and a lingering bitterness.

D: Eh. Just something wasn't clicking for me here. It might have been the fact that the malts and hops didn't play nicely for me.

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Photo of nickd717
4.42/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle thanks to grassrootsVT.

Pours darkest brown with a small but lasting tan head and very good lacing.

The aroma is great, roasty with a hint of dark chocolate, coffee, and big hops, mainly of the piney variety. Slight dark fruit and oak notes from the barrel.

Really tasty with a great malt base to it, with roast, coffee, charcoal, and dark chocolate. Big piney hops, and a nice red wine and oak character to it.

Very crisp and resinous on the palate, medium bodied with an intense charcoal-like dryness. Really excellent mouthfeel on this one.

Well, looks like we've got a hype-liver-upper-to here, or however you say that. Hopefully this one comes back with a bigger bottle count.

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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 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 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 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 GatheringBrews
4.73/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pitchy black color with a khaki head that holds well and laces nicely. Abundant hop aroma and a hint of resin from the dry hopping. Definitely a Vermont black IPA in both body and flavor with plenty of hop bite and a nice sharpness in the finish. Not a lot of the barrel comes through initially, but as it warms, more of the character of the barrel emerges.

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Photo of kingcrowing
3.75/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle poured into a Hill Farmstead wine glass.

Pours jet black with a nice one finger dark brown head that slowly fades into a nice ring of sticky head. The nose is fresh and hoppy. a bit sweet, and certainly oaky.

Mouthfeel is a bit of a let down, the carbonation is a bit low, making it feel a bit flat in the mouth (but this beer is NOT flat, just not highly carbonated). It's quite juicy and hoppy without bring too bitter at all. The wood flavors are there and balance it out nicely.

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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 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 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 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 nkersten
4.52/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from growler into Saison DuPont glass. Black body with a mocha tan head and excellent laving and retention. Huge hop aromas, pine balanced with roasty malts and amazing bitter combination, some molasses sweetness. Bitter hopiness, herbal, thyme, roasted malts, not overpowering in any way. Black malts make their presence known in the finish while the hops take over everywhere else. Medium bodied with a light carbonation. Drinkability is exellent - the balance of flavors and the smells are wonderful.

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Photo of Neffbeer
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Blind Tiger:

A: Black body and a tan frothy head. When held up to the light a ruby hue emerges revealing that it is not quite opaque. There was good head retention and lacing.

S: Roast and smoke hit first followed by some pine hops and and a woody character. I pick up some chocolate and coffee somewhere in there along with a hint of wine as well. This is a really complex assembly of aromas.

T: Roasted malt and wood hit first, followed by some pine hops. I taste chocolate and coffee with a hint of fruitiness as the beer warms. Man oh man is this good.

M: The mouthfeel is superb. Thick and viscous and manages to be pillowy smooth at the same time.

D: Overall I am very impressed with this beer. I would struggle to call this a CDA, but it is truly an excellent brew.

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Photo of madorb
4.29/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle picked up on a Thanksgiving trip home to Vermont. Was awesome to make the trip out to Greensboro and meet Shaun and his Mom. Lost track of time and showed up a bit early and interrupted his breakfast but he was quite gracious about it.

Really amazing nose on this one, I got wine, oak, smoke, vanilla, dark cherry, and perhaps even a bit of tropical fruit (pineapple??), chocolate... as others have mentioned, this is one of the most convoluted and interesting noses i've come across in a beer.

That said, the flavor did not fully live up to the nose, the various flavours just didn't pull fully together into a cohesive whole, it was quite good, but not as good as I hoped from the nose.

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Photo of hoppymcgee
4.4/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Blind Tiger's Very Special Keg Night on 11/3/10 in Manhattan, NYC.

A: Black with a dark tan ring.

S: Hoppy! Vermont at its best.

T: Smoky, hoppy, and just a touch of oak. A perfect blend of flavors and unique.

M: Nicely carbonated. Perfect body on this one.

D: No issues getting through not one but two tulips of this.

Overall, a special treat delivered by Alan!

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Photo of CliffBrake
4.42/5  rDev +4%
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.

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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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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 mikey711
4.28/5  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

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