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Daybreak - Hill Farmstead Brewery

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

60 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 60
Hads: 314
Avg: 4.09
pDev: 20.29%
Wants: 196
Gots: 46 | FT: 8
Brewed by:
Hill Farmstead Brewery visit their website
Vermont, United States

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

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: bark on 09-28-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Imperial Stout brewed with Citrus at Hill Farmstead Brewery with the company, hardwork, and input of our good friend Mikkel Borg Bjergsø of Mikkeller.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 60 | Hads: 314
Photo of Bardwashrind
3.33/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I have come across tastes of this beer two times. The first was from a Growler within a week after being released, the second was just a few days ago (February 10th) and I must say that both interactions were quite different. This review will be based on my most recent bottle experience as I'm sure it's the most relavent for those that might be interested.

The beer's initial tasting moment was a joy. Full on bright citrus on the nose and palate. Juicy almost faint Meyer lemon and persevered citrus styled aromas. Big chocolate flavors and a somewhat candied sweetness that followed up into a bitter edge not too far off from the rind of an actual lemon. The sweetness was well in check, balanced by the fruit and supposed high "ICU" count of the beer. Delicious and the alcohol was non existent.

The most recent tasting was out of a bottle and truly came across as a different beer. The big punch of citrus juice I got from the first drink out of the growler was almost nonexistent. Really looking for the citrus, I instead got aromas not too far off from lightly roasted coffee beans and rye flour. Not a bit of alcohol coming off with some smoke and charred malt to back it up. The flavor was nice if a bit lighter on the chocolate. Bitterness from a hoppy/pine/spruce like flavor and a very dry finish made this a slightly singular beer. The citrus was not a big component this go around, still a decent dark beer if just a shadow of the previous interaction.

I hope there are more collaborations from these two. Mikkeller was my first obsession in the world of beer and Hill Farmstead accounts for my current one. When Daybreak was on, it was magic. I could have a slightly off bottle or it just could be unraveling a touch. Let's get some more ICU counts on beers...

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Photo of JAXSON
3.38/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Robert, pours near black with a creamy brown mocha foam head. Nose is roasted malt, citrus, hops, mint. Highly roasty in the mouth with a long bitter element, a collage of hops, orange peel, and roasted malt. Finish is creamy with a bit of vanilla sweetness opening up. Mint and lots of orange peel on the finish too. Feel is pretty thick and creamy. This would appeal to those who enjoy very roasty stouts with heavily bitter elements. Kind of has an orange chocolate thing going on. Interesting, though not really my thing.

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Photo of TheDudeRules
3.4/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my Darkness snifter.

An almost black pour with two fingers of foam head. Strong roast and citrus protrude from the glass. A mocha coffee is evident in the taste. It's a bit different though. Basically what I am tasting is is a citrus oatmeal stout that feels dry hopped with a dry and bitter ending. A big knock is how thin this is. Overly so.

Not a letdown but a rather average beer. Take a run of the mill oatmeal stout and add orange peel. Whoopee. My hopes were higher. Not great but descent.

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Photo of craytonic
3.4/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Near-black pour with a tan head that sticks around
Smell: Heavy roast, chocolate and a bit of lemon zest and piney hops
Taste: Roasted malts, chocolate, lemon zest, piney hops, faint smoke and coffee.
Mouthfeel: medium body and carbonation
Overall: Not that impressive, particularly for the style.

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Photo of BarrytheBear
3.53/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500 ml bottle courtesy of Cody. Thank you for the opportunity! I believe this is my first Hill Farmstead beer and one I am excited to try.

Pours a rich looking black with milky hot chocolate colored froth that pools to a ring of medium sized bubbles. Subsequent sipping yields some spotted stickability.

Bitter dark roast and hops. An earthy bark quality as well along with a spot of orange and booze.

Bigger than the nose indicates and very bitter. Drying baker's chocolate mixed with orange rind. Juiciness of the citrus hops really clashes against the roasted stout base. Lingering earthy bitter finish plays yin to the hops' yang.

Mouthfeel is light despite that weight and bitterness. Carbonation may be higher than needed.

Overall, I think this beer works better in theory than execution. I can't believe I'm saying the hops should be dialed down, but it would benefit the beer in my opinion. A kitchen sink of citrus hops atop a very dry and roasty bitter base just doesn't quite work. I can see how this beer would be desirable, as it was for me. I just can't help but feel this is a bit disjointed.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.55/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle pour at Woodshop 8 held at The Hermosillo in Los Angeles, CA.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, citrus, earth, and wood aromas. Taste is much the same with char, cocoa, and slight citrus flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but there is an odd earthy quality in the taste that isn't to my liking.

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Photo of stakem
3.61/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle into some snifters. The brew appears brown in color with some ruby brown clarity when held to the light. A finger of mocha head sits atop and slowly fades leaving spotty lacing on the glass. A swirl revives a finger back to the surface.

The aroma includes a hearty inclusion of musty coffee coupled with pulp from oranges. It has a bit of a soapy feel before the onset of more citrus as fruity alcohol notes. There is am herbal aspect and a minor veggie element here that while not obnoxious, just doesnt totally work for me.

The taste is bitter like chocolate with some hebal hops and a strong flavor of musty coffee. Some orange zest brighten things up a bit and transitions the flavor away from stale coffee. More sips reveal an earthen flavor mixed with fruit and some catty to veggie hop quality.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. It is musty and bitter with zesty elements which is unique but not good enough to warrent the trouble acquiring again. Its not a terrible brew but its also something I really wouldnt be interested in again either. Old coffee plus orange zest just didnt pan out all that well together.

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Photo of jmarsh123
3.63/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown/black with a healthy 2.5 finger dark tan head leaving lacing down the glass with excellent retention.

Smells of pure fudge and roasted malts, but a citrus aroma does creep in.

Flavor follows closely to a regular stoutr. I do get a little bit of a citrus twist at the beginning, but it may be more power of suggestion than actual taste. The roasted malts quickly overpower the citrus and a little bit of sweet chocolate creeps in on the back end as well.

Medium mouthfeel and carbonation.

Interesting take but just ok. I wish the citrus has shone through a bit more. Not a bad beer, but there was potential for more.

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Photo of pwoods
3.67/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to Kels' bf for the bottle.

500ml brown bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours deep black with medium viscosity. Not much head or retention. Not really any lacing but some oily legs.

S: Definitely plenty of citrus that smells kind of odd blended with the stout. Not a ton of roast.

T/M: Plenty of citrus and more citrus flavors from the hops. A bit more roast than in the nose and a bit of chocolate. Nice velvety slim mouthfeel than finishes surprisingly dry.

D: Interesting beer that's a bit odd. Not my favorite but worth a try.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.77/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle opened on 2-10-12.

A - Pours a very dark chocolate brown with a dark tan-brown small head. Good retention.

S - Chocolate, roasted malt, citrusy - orange.

T - A unusual orange-chocolate mix. Unbalanced, but improves greatly as it warms.

D - Good carbonation, heavier body.

O - I like the thought, but doesn't quite deliver till it warms.

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Photo of starrdogg
3.77/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to SneezyAchew for this bottle. I love me some Hill Farmstead, let's see how this one stacks up.

A: Beer is nearly jet black and opaque with a thin tan head. Beer leaves some pretty significant lacing on the sides of the glass. Looks like this one has some body to it.

S: Smell is very interesting and unique. You definitely get some of the big Hill Farmstead DIPA hop blast aroma in there, but it's mixed with a mild roastiness and some orange as well.

T: I have to say, after the incredibly complex smell, I'm a little disappointed in the flavor here. The components are definitely all there: hops, roast and citrus, but I feel like it all gets a bit muddled when they come together. The hops are big on the front end, but when the roastiness kicks in, it seems to give it a bit of a chalky flavor. It's got a pretty bitter finish as well.

M: It's pretty thick, but there's some weird chalky/dryness in the finish which is a bit of a turnoff.

O: I should admit that Black IPAs and hoppy stouts are not usually my favorite style, so take everything I say with a grain of salt. I guess I had hoped that Hill Farmstead would blow me away yet again and open my eyes to a style I'd given up on, like they did for me with Everett and porters. Unfortunately I think the bitter hops combined with bitter roastiness is hard for me to enjoy. Not to say that this is a bad beer by any stretch. If you like these types of beers, this is a great one, and I don't want to deter you from drinking this particular one. It's just not to my preference, but the idea is interesting and I commend HF and Mikkeller for trying something a little different.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.78/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Sweetwater mini-snifter.

For whatever reason, this beer makes me think of bad vampire novels or something... Anyway, it pours a deep dark sienna topped by a finger of light brown foam. The nose comprises candied orange peel, dry roasted malts, buttery toffee, and dusty lemon zest. The taste holds notes of mandarin orange syrup, roasted malts, light dark chocolate powder, and candied orange peel. The body is a light-leaning medium, with a very light moderate carbonation, a smooth feel, and a dry finish. Overall, a pretty nice stout, one that shows that a stout can indeed be blended with fruity elements without the latter taking over and ruining things, but it wasn't entirely my cup of tea: While the elements didn't actually clash, they didn't seem in complete cooperation and harmony, either. Still, it didn't turn out all that badly...

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Photo of HopHead84
3.78/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5


Bottle courtesy of bring, thanks! Snifter.

A: Resembles motor oil as it flows forth from the glass. The head is enormous, forming two fingers of dense light brown froth that recede in a haphazard fashion. Lacing covers the glass. A very nice looking Imperial Stout.

S: Strong roasted grain presence with a dash of blackstrap molasses. Dark chocolate is pronounced and I get a little coffee. Citrus is vibrant and fits well with the other aspects. It reminds me of orange flesh. I get a little smoke and caramel.

T: A firm roasted malt presence blends with molasses and dark chocolate. The malt borders on burnt. Citrus reminds me of orange flesh and pith, and it's well integrated. There's a general earthiness about the beer and a moderate bitterness. Alcohol is well hidden. The finish is bitter and chocolatey with a light astringency. It's somewhat burnt and acrid. Coffee is light but pervasive.

M: Full in body with upper medium carbonation. The mouthfeel is chewy, sticky, and silky.

Overall: A little more roasty (approaching burnt) than I generally like, but I still found this to be enjoyable. Still, there's a little too much Mikkeller in this one. The citrus is a nice touch, though.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.79/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from the brewery.
Shared with the group at a recent tasting.

Poured a dark black-brown-ruby color, with a small cap of chocolate head that receded to a wispy layer, dotting the glass with lacing. Dark malts in the aroma, moderate roast with some coffee notes, and not much else. Not bad, just really nothing out of the ordinary, and nothing in the way of citrus going on. Similarly in the taste, there were the usual suspects for a good imperial stout: dark malts, roast, coffee, cocoa, caramel, earth, light hops in the finish. I barely got any orange at all, and in a blind taste-test I probably would not have even guessed there was citrus in this brew, perhaps mistaking it for a subtle hop flavor in the background. Medium-full body, and a good drinker, with the higher ABV pretty well hidden. Good as a regular imperial stout, but ultimately a bit disappointing, as any orange that was present had either faded or was just too hidden behind the dark malts.

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Photo of Bendurgin
3.8/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to Alec for swapping beers with me so I could get this one. This one pours black with a nice cap of of dark tan head with some thin soapy lace.

Slightly charred malts on the aroma with a pleasant orange undertone. Notes of coffee and bitter chocolate linger in the background. Seems a little charred but this is still pretty nice to smell. Good roasted malt flavor with with hints of coffee and bitter chocolate. The citrus comes through nicely. Not overpowering, just a nice edge.

The body is full and robust with soft carbonation. Overall this is a solid brew. Probably one of the better stouts done with fruit that I have had.

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Photo of ColForbinBC
3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap, served in a HF stemmed tulip

Pours an ink black with a two finger mocha colored cap. The head stuck around for a while, never fully retreating. Some sip marks with dots and delicate lace.

The aroma is of thick chocolate, almost fudge-like with a good amount of bitter roast. A large amount of oranges cut right through everything else and invade the olfactories in a quick burst.

Much like the nose, bitter roast and fudgey chocolate hit first before a wave of citrus. The citrus bursts onto the palate, cutting right through the other flavors, and leaving a lingering bittersweet citrus flavor on top of of a touch of roast.

A medium body with moderate carbonation make this guy feel lighter than it really is. The wave of citrus is really impressive. Like a quick strike before receding.

A clean, flavorful stout with a huge rush of citrus that makes this guy unique.

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Photo of AllagashEvan
3.9/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

A - thick. Black as night. Very little to no head. Head that does linger is coffee like brown.

S - orange piff with a slight bitter smell. A little ethyl acetate.

T - orange citrus fruit that pushes though a well balanced thick bitter chocolate roast flavor.

M - dry with a nice full body low carbanation.

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Photo of homebrew311
3.92/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours opaque black with dark brown layer of head, spotty lacing left behind. Nose has dark chocolate and earthy hops paired with bright orange character. Notes of creamy vanilla, chocolate, and spicy character that I am familiar with from other Mikeller stouts. Taste is heavy on chocolate, roast, light on Citrus character. Some malty sweetness in the middle. Mouthfeel is moderate with light carbonation. Overall, it is quite interesting, the orange doesn't come through on the palate as much as I would have hoped.

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Photo of Florida9
3.97/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: very dark. Appears black, but light around the edge shows this to be dark brown. Forms a frothy mocha colored head. No lacing.

S: Lots of roasted malts. Maybe a little char. There is some citrus as well, but its a bit more acidic smelling than it would be from hops.

T: Roasted malts, light sweetness. Orange. Chocolate and cocoa. Citrus.

M: on the heavier side of medium, but a little thin for the style. Lower carbonation. Mild bitterness. Slight citric acidity.

O: A good beer.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of aapp. Served in a Hill Farmstead long-stem tulip.

Pours near-black with a good, frothy tan head and nice lacing. The nose carries quite a bit of citrus along with some backing roast and a bit of chocolate. Orange comes through well in the flavor with stout backing. Medium body and a good slightly-dry finish. Very solid brew.

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Photo of Sean9689
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle poured into Narke tulip.

A - Pours black, dark mocha-colored head, spotty lacing, thin collar.

S - Hoppy citrus aroma with light malts and a good level of roast. There's a Mikkeller char in there mixed with light chocolate and toasted malts.

T - Pretty hop-forward with some citrus, some toasted malts, light chocolate, and the char isn't in the taste as much as the nose. Finish is slightly sweet and a bitter citrus.

M - Medium to full body, soft carbonation, creamy finish.

O - Not even Mikkeller could screw up a beer brewed by Hill Farmstead, and that's saying something. I enjoyed the citrus aspect of this beer, and it was even more hoppy then I imagined. Drinks really easy and is an excellent twist on a Imperial Stout.

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Photo of Skrip
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

500ml bottle poured into a Hill Farmstead oversized wine glass.

A~ couldn't get any darker, nice tanish head and a tiny bit of lacing.

S~ like a stout haha very roasty, lots of chocolate and a little coffe. some nice citrus notes on the end, lemon, bright orange and some lime.

T~ starts out following the nose, lots of dark roasted malt, followed by a little coffe, then some hop bitterness. once you swallow you get hit with a citrus zest, more so here then on the nose. the citrus gives this a nice sweetness, kind of like a milk stout but more acidity.

M~ smoooth as could be, especially for the high abv. a little warming but thats to be expected. nice carbonation and surprisingly not one bit dry.

O~ very nice, interesting stout. definitely not a HF favorite but its still very well rounded. everything comes out evenly despite the complexity. one thing HF is ridiculously good at pulling off no matter what. definitely let this warm up a bit before drinking as well, i'd say around 55-60. unless you must "catch them all" like myself theres not too much of a reason to seek this out. much better stouts out there but if the citrus aspect is pulling you in, definitely go for it!

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Photo of oline73
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours a fairly thick looking black with a finger of tan head and decent retention. There is a mild amount of lacing left on the glass.

Smell: Really roasty from the malt right off the bat. There is also some sweetness from the malt along with mild citrus notes, but the roast dominates.

Taste: The citrus shows up more here, but the roast bitterness dominates the taste as well. I'm picking up a little sweetness and some dark chocolate as well. The finish is bitter and roasty.

Mouthfeel: The body is on the thick side with mild, tingly carbonation and a very dry finish.

Overall: This is a good one, but I would have liked it to be a little smoother.

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Photo of corby112
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to koopa for sharing.

Pours pitch black and completely opaque with a one finger beige head that slowly settles into lasting ring. Spotty lacing left behind.

Intense aroma with a huge citrus presence along and a good bit of roasted malt. The citrus presence is really strong with lots of zesty orange peel/citrus rind.  The malts are underneath with hints of toast, dark chocolate and toffee.  At first it's all citrus but as it warms the nose becomes more balanced.

Medium bodied with a blast of sweet citrus and a subtle bitter hop presence up front. The citrus orange peel and hop flavor linger throughout but are nicely complimented by the dry roasted  malt notes. Lots of dark chocolate, toffee, toast and oatmeal providing a decent amount of bitterness without becoming acrid of overpowering.  At first there is a bit of a citrus overload but as the palate adjusts and the beer warms, the malt presence really comes through. When I first heard about this beer I was a little skeptical of how it would turn out but it was very well balanced and flavorful.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Josh for this one. 500ml bottle into a Cigar City snifter. Shared with schen9303.

Pours a big, 2 finger frothy mocha head with good retention. Beer is opaque black with stringy, thick lacing with decent cling. Moderately oily legs. Very solid overall.

Nose is orange rind, cocoa powder, liquorice, fudge, roasted malt, and lactose. Aromatic. Decently complex though a touch grainy.

Opens sweet fudge, mocha, and chocolate. Some citrus sweet notes float in and out but don't really make their presence felt. Roasted malt tartness with lactose to smooth things out at the middle. Finishes chocolate and some dark fruit. Coffee, cocoa powder, and roasted malt in the aftertaste. Decent. This one grows on you with time.

Medium to full bodied with low carbonation. Silky and rich in the mouth and warm with a touch of heat going down. Messy finish with a sticky, lingering aftertaste. Near perfect as always with Hill Farmstead.

Although this is still a very solid creation, its not one of the better dark beers from Hill Farmstead. That's not a knock against Daybreak but rather a complement to the incredible lineup from HF. Probably not worth the asking price but I wouldn't mind revisiting this in the future.

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Daybreak from Hill Farmstead Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 60 ratings.