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Society & Solitude #2 - Hill Farmstead Brewery

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Society & Solitude #2
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BA SCORE
96
world-class

289 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 289
Reviews: 59
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 7.62%
Wants: 63
Gots: 12 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Hill Farmstead Brewery visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: MasterSki on 01-12-2012

Imperial Black IPA
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 289 | Reviews: 59
Photo of dar482
4.56/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An exceptional black IPA that separates itself from the other hoppy offerings from Hill Farmstead.

Citrusy and juicy up front, a medium roasted malt, a touch of chocolate and coffee bitterness, and then onto a piney and earthy bitterness on the back.

Photo of MDDMD
4.46/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A-dark brown black color with a nice tan head and good lacing

S-dark malt, citrus, pine, little coffee

T-dark roasted malt, citrus, little coffee, chocolate, licorice, nice moderately bitter finish

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, smooth

O-great black ale, smooth and easy drinking

Photo of Stum-pub
4.14/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I feel I had this a bit early.

Photo of Guess2814
4.53/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Strong! Dark IPA.. Hoppy.. Good beer.. Closet beer to this, "just to compare this beer to another", Self Righteousness STONE.. Good beer

Photo of BoldRulerVT
4.54/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The best black IPA I've ever had.
Poured on tap at Pro Pig.
Pours nearly jet black with a finger of deep caramel head.
Smells really roasty, just as I like it with a good load of hops as well.
Tastes so full and rich, the roastiness of the malts and the good bitterness playing with the higher notes from the hops is just perfect.
Mouthfeel is perfect. Just chewy enough to fill your palate perfectly.
This beer is fantastic.

Photo of mklisz
3.33/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cloyingly bitter for a beer by this brewery. Not an enjoyable drinking experience.

Photo of Roguer
3.87/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Quick notes:

Beautiful black beer, clear at the absolute edges. Great head retention.

Aroma is a nice blend of hops and roasted malts. Flavor hits a poor spot for me: oddly heavy on liquorice notes, giving it an off kind of sweetness that stood out too much.

Least impressive mouthfeel I've ever had from HF, as well. The 9.5% is not particularly well hidden at all; you can feel every bit of it. Detracts from that normal creaminess HF has mastered.

Photo of cpetrone84
4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour is black, faintly lighter on the edges, lots of tan head and leaves a huge lace. Nose has a light roast, hint of sweetness, loads of citrusy and peachy hops. Taste follows suit, roast is light, faint touch of chocolate, load of hops, citrus and peach flavors. Moderate bitterness, creamy light body, soft carbonation.

Photo of Davepoolesque
4.24/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

God damn this is a good beer and I don't even like black ipas. So much better than James. Perfectly balanced roasted malt and hops.

Photo of TheBrewo
4.74/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

We pop the cage on our reusable 750mL Hill Farmstead bottle, pouring a brew of the deepest impenetrable browns, letting virtually no light through around the edges. It holds a two finger head of medium brown cake batter, showing fantastic retention. Ridged forests of lacing are left around the glass as it slowly glugs away. No haze or sediment is appreciated, and carbonation appears to be moderate. The sniff finds syrupy and dark grain of brown, chocolate, and raw barley varietals, with notes of warming booze, fresh spearmint, grassy, soapy, and brightly herbal hops, clay and earthen mineral, must and dust, coconut, light roast of char, caramel sugars, creamy lactics, and spiced woodiness. Our first impression is that the flavoring is utterly tremendous, with beautiful interplay between the undeniable richness of the malts, and the fresh, slick, oiliness of the hop varietals. As we sip, the taste explodes with resiny hops, sticky sweet honeycomb, chlorine chemicals, Band-Aid phenols, light plastics, sweet bubblegum esters, herbal tea bite, basil and fresh mint leaf, deep chocolate malts, and spicy black pepper booziness. The middle peaks with authentic dark cocoa and buttery warmth, white sugar flashes, sticky toffee nougat, lime rind, clean citric and piney hops, irony metallics, gingerbread, milk chocolate syrup, vanilla ice cream creaminess, and cleansing boozy sweetness. The end comes with sweet apple and strawberry fruitiness, honey sugars, spicy black pepper, herbal hoppiness, wet clay, gravel, maple sugars, mossy tree bark, mineral earthiness, coiny metallics, and rich chocolate and brown malt oiliness. The aftertaste breathes of char and chalk, spicy medicinals, strongly earthy and herbal hops, warming chocolate, coffee, and brown maltiness, light vinegar acidity, raw coffee bean, heavy creamer, fusel booze, coiny yeast, mineral water, and vanilla buttercream sweetness. The body is full, and the carbonation is solidly medium. Each sip gives gloriously full and creamy slurp, smack, froth, foam, and pop, much like slugging back on a freshly whipped milkshake. The mouth is left coated, velvety, and happy, with final coolness, and the mildest astringent pucker of dryness across the posterior palate. The abv is appropriate, and the beer sips very, very well.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this beer was its taste, which was just no-nonsense amazing. It was unbeatably smooth, freshly hopped, and as deep, and as dark as night, with enough residual sweetness and booze to perfectly round out the flavoring. The aroma speaks much to the same note, but is comparably subdued in robustness, but to no real detriment. The sip is silky, creamy, velvety slick, causing the mouth to writhe in ecstasy, waiting for the next installment. Looking from a distance at the entire project, it is hard to find cracks. This is one of the best Hill Farmstead beers we’ve had to date, and one of the most exquisite representations of the style we…have…ever…had.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.52/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Growler from the brewery purchased on June 28 and consumed on July 2.
Poured in to HF tulip.

A - Poured dark brown and settled black with two fingers of light brown head. Great retention and lacing.

S - Bitter hop profile up front - grapefruit, pine and peach notes are evident. Some roast and chocolate aromas are also present but very much secondary.

T - Bitter up front with grapefruit, pine and some lighter tropical fruit notes coming through. A good roast profile with hints of chocolate in the background. Overall a nice balance.

M - Medium body. Creamy. Light carbonation.

Photo of jaasen64
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750ml growler poured into HF stemmed glass. Growler was filled almost exactly three weeks ago which is way longer then I usually take to open growlers but was refrigerated since purchased and seemed fresh when opening. Had first time at brewery when purchased, review from growler though.

A- Pours a pitch black with decent carbonation, light mocha head with slightly yeasty yellowish hue to it, head is just over a finger and has nice retention receding at a moderate pace leaving nice layered lacing along the sides of the glass and eventually setting to a thin creamy layer.

S- Aromas of greeny hops, pine, malts, a hint of baker's chocolate, fairly aromatic and very well balanced.

T- Greeny hops, pine, some light citrusy bitterness, baker's chocolate. Finishes with more baker's chocolate and citrusy bitterness. Nice balance between the IPA and dark beer aspects, alcohol extremely well hidden, full of flavor but I wouldn't say there is anything that really stands this out significantly compared to other black IPAs.

M- Extremely smooth, lightly creamy, nice carbonation, fits style and complements flavors very nicely.

O- This was a fantastic black IPA that easily lives up with the other beers in the Society & Solitude series. There was a ton of flavors that came out and was perfectly balanced with an incredible smoothness at a staggering 9.5%. This was easily one of the better black IPAs I've had but still doesn't even come close to Jimmy (one of HF's Barrel-Aged Black IPAs).

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.98/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 mL growler poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Black body with a nice khaki head. Almost mocha. Great retention and lacing.

Smell - Grapefruit citrus hops. Resiny pine too. Deep roast. Dark chocolate, but it's secondary.

Taste - More of a blend between the hops and dark malts. Bright citrus up front. Chocolate and some sweetness. Bitter. Dry and resiny hops in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium body, maybe too heavy. Medium carbonation.

Overall - It's a very good black IPA, which isn't an easy style. Even the best aren't great.

Photo of kevanb
4.21/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml growler poured into a Hill Farmstead Wine Glass.

The beer pours a deep black color, hues of dark brown when struck by the light, quite opaque, with a big 2 finger khaki head that has great retention and leaves lots of soapy lacing. The aroma is nice, lots of resinous and piney hops with some lightly roasted coffee and bitter bakers chocolate and faint citrus with some softly toasted grain and alcohol. The flavors are right in line, lots of piney hops, chocolate covered orange that has a nice bitterness and a touch of tang, with some coffee roast and smooth dark grain and a lightly astringent alcohol touch at the finish. The body is nice, coats the mouth well, moderate to low carbonation but just enough lively zip to keep things interesting with a solidly dry finish.

Verdict: Yet another quality brew from Hill Farmstead. While rather tame at times, this beer is quite balanced and showcases the full range of flavors a well made Black IPA has to offer.

Photo of AdamF625
4.69/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A- Pours black with a khaki brown head. It has excellent head retention and lacing. Poured from a growler that is 2 days old.
S- Fresh citrus hop aroma and roasted malts.
T- Roasted dark coffee and malts, dark chocolate, and resinous hops.
M- This beer is very smooth with medium carbonation. Sticky hops linger on the palate but not long enough to influence your next beer.
O- This is the framework for a black IPA. Perfect balance between roasted dark malts and sticky citrus hops. Its not going to blow you away with any flavor in particular, but that is what makes it so good.

Photo of DaveHack
4.26/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a growler into a HF stem

Pours dark, pretty much black. Huge, tan colored head fills the glass, slowly settling but leaving tons of reminders down the sides of the glass

Smells of faint chocolate and coffeesque roast. There is a bit of earthiness and some fresh hops

Taste is similar...slight chocolate and roastiness. There is a bitterness that mixes with the hops at the end

Feels really good in the mouth. Carbonation is about perfect and it is slighty dry, but in the perfect way for this beer.

Black IPAs aren't my thing, but from the ones I've had...this is a stellar example. Certainly worth a try either way, but if you dig on Black IPAs...it's a MUST try

Photo of Skrip
4.46/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml growler poured into a Three Floyds Teku.

A~ extremely black, huge tanish head, and lots of beautiful lacing.

S~ dark roasty malts, a good amount of coffee, bitter dark chocolate, earthy pine, and some citrus from the abundance of hops.

T~ pretty straight forward, just like the nose. a little more bitterness here as to be expected. i love how much coffee flavor comes out. theres also a little tart toffee on the finish, which is a really nice surprise.

M~ extremely well carbonated, very smooth and sort of has a stout feel. well rounded and crazy enjoyable on a hot day like today.

O~ i'm very impressed by this black IPA, its one of my favorite styles and not too many brewers do them... right! super well balanced, the coffee aspect seems to push this one over the top for me. definitely one of those must try HF's!

Photo of cfrances33
4.67/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Growler poured into a Hill Farmstead wine stem.

Pour: Pours a dark, deep brown body. Nearly black. Almost looks more like a stout than a Black DIPA. Two fingers of frothy, khaki head forms and leaves some really nice sticky lacing.

Smell: Lots of roasted malts up front, mixed with a nice resinous pine, bright flora hops, and a touch of citrus hoppiness. Finish is a combination of roast and piney hops.

Taste: Incredible. So roasty, yet balanced perfectly with juicy hops. Slick, and decadent. Hop character is a fusion of pine, citrus, and floral notes. Roast is pronounced and forward throughout the entirety of the sip. Finish is bitter with a linger roasted coffee.

Mouthfeel: For a beer that is so flavor forward and higher in ABV, it is surprisingly drinkable. Roastiness lingers very nicely. Medium bitterness.

Overall: Easily the best Black DIPA I've ever had. Drinks almost like a very hoppy stout, and I really enjoy that. Awesome.

Photo of NuclearRich
3.87/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750mL growler purchased at the brewery 6/5/13 and poured into a HF snifter on 6/7.

A. Pitch black with a tan head that is solid and fairly lasting. Leaves subtle lace.

S. Black malt. Roasted aroma, pretty basic. Faint pine, coffee bean, toffee. Would like a little more floral hop aroma here.

T. Black bitterness up front, starting with an almost burnt quality, leading to a pine like hop bite. Nice flavor.

M. Medium bodied. Bitterness lends the carbonation an extra bite.

O. Solid for the style. A tad heavy on the bitter black malt, and could use a touch more hop aroma. I guess I'm being picky, but this is Hill Farmstead! It's got a reputation and a standard.

Photo of corby112
4.24/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Draft at The Boilermaker in Philadelphia, PA.

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

Sweet and roasted malt aroma with some piney, grassy notes.  Malts dominate he nose but hops shine as it warns with subtle citrus, dank buds, pine needle and grass. Roasted dark malt character with hints of chocolate, oatmeal, toffee and coffee bean.

Medium bodied with an explosion of dank, piney hops that linger over the sweet and roasted malt notes into a dry finish.  Finally a black ipa that's hoppy enough.  Dry, dank and bitter with subtle citrus sweetness cutting through.  Underneath, there is some roasted dark malt for balance with sweet and dark chocolate, oatmeal, caramel and toffee.  Really nice beer.

Photo of Luk13
4.62/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 growler, drank one week after purchase and on tap at the Ann release. Appearance: Beautiful black pour with thick moka head. Aroma is roasted grain, coffee, chocolate, burnt toast but also incredibly hoppy and resinous. So resinous, it smells like weed. Taste: Lots of coffee and dark malts and also very hoppy and resinous. Full bodied and lively carbonation. Didn’t suffer at all from the wait unlike Double Galaxy. I’m not a big fan of Black IPAs but I absolutely loved this.

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On draft at Hill Farmstead today.

The beer is near black with a thick, brown head. The aroma offers the best balance of pine and roast I have yet encountered in a beer of this ilk. The flavor is fabulous. A beautiful marriage of pine and roast. Additional notes of chocolate and citrus. Lovely malt body. Medium bodied and easy to drink too quickly. Alcohol content gracefully hidden. Typically not my favorite style, hut this one delivered. Another terrific beer from Shaun and Hill Farmstead.

Photo of BARFLYB
4.05/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On Tap at Teresa's Next Door.

In the Tulip, Solitude two looks very black, An American Black Ale actually, whatever that is? Im not the biggest fan of the style, I don't see it's purpose, if I wanted a high ABV hoppy porter, i would get one.

Either way this one is black with a nice amount of firm dark tan head gracing the top and leaving some notches on the way down. The nose smells great, rich and fresh with big pine bursting, nice grapefruit notes with some florals poking out with warming. A nice roast lingers in the background, where it's usually the other way around. Society two tastes like it should, hoppy, malty, roasty and flavorful with a nearing ten percent ABV. A nice mix of pine with some grapefruit and other light tropics. The maltiness increases as the temp does so cold is the way to go, if your looking for the hops. Hits of roast with light tootsie roll and cocco. Feel is a strong medium with a big bitter hit followed by some soothing malt. It's big beer, I am not going to lie. A lot going on at once. If you close your eyes, you would think this is an DIPA up front, but that black ale portion comes through just as quick and turns the table. A glass will do for me.

Photo of Tucquan
4.08/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on 2012-06-09 in Wayne, PA at Teresa's Next Door during Philly Beer Week.

A - Opaque black with a 1-finger tan head and good lacing.

S - Mild aroma with citrus and chocolate.

T - Dark chocolate, black pepper, dark roasted grain, mild sourness, plenty of hop bitterness. Well-balanced.

M - Medium body and carbonation. Mildly creamy.

O - Not my favorite style but I enjoyed this one,

Photo of ehammond1
4.38/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Growler

Acquired via trade
Thanks, AdamJackson!

Very dark brown, nearly black, in color with a small dark brown head that doesn't last for too long. This does, however, leave the glass completely messy with thick ribbons of lined lacing. Very pretty black IPA.

Though this beer really is exceptional, the aroma is (only) very good. There's good pine and citrus character, butting up against roast and mild coffee. I like it, though I have smelled (slightly) better.

The flavor is wonderfully balanced, though fully delicious. There's lots of pine hop flavor along roasty black malt. There's a little bit of chocolate and coffee as well, but the pine is dominant, and I like it--a lot! Awesome stuff!

Medium bodied with moderate to high carbonation. No alcohol presence whatsoever.

Simply sublime.

Thanks again, Adam. I'm all out of Hill Farmstead. Can I have some more, please?

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Society & Solitude #2 from Hill Farmstead Brewery
96 out of 100 based on 289 ratings.