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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
-
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
Reviews by djmichaelk:
More User Reviews:
Photo of kingcrowing
3.92/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap poured into a tulip.

Pours a very dark black with a small one finger dark brown head. Nose is hoppy and rich, really nice.

Taste is well balanced, bitter but it doesn't have that astringency I often find in black IPAs, really rich and it has a nice dry finish. Overall it's really good!

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?

Photo of 05Harley
4.6/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Fresh (Feb/2012) from the keg @ Hill Farmstead Brewery, Greensboro VT
(285 calories)

Price - $10/750ml growler

The second batch of this beer brewed with buckets full (literally) of Simcoe and Columbus hops, in the kettle and, as dry hops, in the fermenter.

The appearance is a near black pour with a tan creamy dense head that fades quickly to a thin silky veil. Lines of lacing add to the artistic look. Legs, lots of legs like at the beach.

Smells like an IPA. So much so if I had a blind fold on and was asked to guess the color, I wouldn't guess black. Strong nose of grapefruit and pine (thanks to the simcoe hops). As it warms a more pronounced roastiness is detected from the malt but doesn't overtake the hop aroma.

A delicious tasting beer with flavors of grapefruit, pine, roasted malt and an underlying taste of unsweetened coffee. A complex and truely amazing balance between hop and malt flavor, nice...

Mouthfeel is silky smooth on the tongue at first with some carbonation afterburn followed by spices. The body is medium and has a sticky dry feel in the finish that works well here.

Overall I could live exclusively on Shaun's beers. With his many successful varying styles let's add this one to the ever growing list. Brewed once but should be a regular in the lineup it's that good. Way to drinkable @ 9.5% (no booziness taste at all) which puts this in my dangerous category. Oh yeah!!

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 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 Sammy
3.82/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Their self-capping bottle, re: half a growler. Very floral.A big roast, and also big citrus hops. The two are too much. Less hop kick may have been better and improved drinkability. Looks great at black body.Fuller mouthfeel.Suitable carbonation.Some burnt bits.

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 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 Kegatron
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ Lord Hobo (Cambridge, MA) on 2/3/12. Served in a cervoise.

Pours black, with a thin layer rich mocha head. This maintains some frothy edging that flares up to a full ½ finger when swirled, leaving back robust spotty lacing that sticks to the sides of the glass. Grapefruit and pine stand out in the aroma with a zesty assertiveness. Herbal notes, sweet chocolate, and roast sit underneath with a flavorful smoothness in the nose but the overall focus of this is definitely on that robust combo of Simcoe and Columbus hops.

The hops just POP in the taste, with grapefruit and pine, and an underlying danky feel. That herbal character melds well with the acrid smokiness of the roasted malts across the back, while a hefty dose of chocolate and caramel sweetness comes in off the edges and offer up extra flavor and balance to this. Those bright hops sit at the core of this though, finishing things dry and resinous with a bit of extra burnt character that sticks to the tongue. The mouthfeel is fuller bodied, with a slick and creamy feel to the carbonation at first, which then firms up on the middle of the tongue with a tight sharpness where the hops sit. The high alcohol gives this a little headiness on the palate, maybe even adding a little extra sweetness and spice to the profile but never feels stinging in any way.

Wow, this might be the best Black Ale I’ve ever had, Imperial style or not! There is just a ton of robust and intense flavor here from the hops, malt, and alcohol but it’s all in harmony with each other with a finesse that I wasn’t expecting and helps make this super drinkable for the size! This is another stellar effort from Hill Farmstead.

Photo of n2185
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: pours black witb two fingers of light tan head that fades into a thin layer with good lacing.

S: loads and loads of grapefruit and grassy hop aromas. There are some more subtle roasted malt and pine aromas. Smells amazing.

T: again, lots of grassy and earthy hop characters. They are more balanced in the flavor with dark chocolate and roasted malt charactersistics. It also tastes a bit like marijuana. The finish is moderately bitter, but not too much so. Very tasty.

M: medium-thick body with medium carbonation, this beer is smooth and a little creamy, which works well with the flavor profile.

O: a great beer with lots of wonderful hop notes. The roasted malt characters could be more present, but the hop flavors and aromas are so great that it makes up for it.

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 Bardwashrind
4.63/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I missed the first release in this hoppy experiment, pleased to have this opportunity even if joining a bit late. Thank you Robert, once again.

Amazing how full these growlers are filled.

The beer is tightly structured with tan colored bubbles and collects wonderfully to the side of the glass. Appears like a porter as there are slight hints of color at the edge of the glass. Very straight forward with aromas of grass, toast, and hops but a very unique floral/rose pedal type of note comes out as the beer warms. Subtle but so very nice.

The flavor is varied and transitions from a smooth start of chocolate and mocha, then into a rounded caramelized sugar perk that finishes bitter and balanced. Amazing texture as the beer's carbonation hold a creamy sort of quality. Beautiful on the palate. Interesting for a Black IPA as the hops are obvious and present but the soft fruitiness of almost tropical qualities make this a remarkable beer with a wide range of flavors.

The Hill Farmstead rocky/stoney/earthy backbone is here and so masterfully represents where this beer comes from. Truly an achievement as so many Black IPAs are simply heavily hop driven porters that don't really achieve the need for the proclaimed style. This is the extreme exception, so much grace, such a balance of flavors and simply one of the top beers of this category. Top ten hoppy beer experience for sure!

Thanks also to Shaun and the Hill Farmstead crew, for obvious reasons.

Photo of jegross2
4.15/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewing the Solitude & Society #2 from the Hill Farmstead Brewery.
Score: 92

Three week old 750 ml growler served in a Half Acre tulip and enjoyed on 04/09/12. Review is from notes.

Appearance: Pours a pitch black, essentially opaque, color with two fingers of foamy tan head that settles to a ring around the glass and foggy cap. Amazing lacing and retention. 4.5/5

Smell: Roasted chocolate, lemon zest, grapefruit, orange rind and pine sap. There is a light amount of oak as well behind the juicy tropical citrus aromas. 4.5/5

Taste: Roasted chocolate malt, zesty tropical citrus and extra sticky and resiny pine sap. There is a heavy and lingering hops bitterness present. The finish is a little chocolate-y. Loads of hops to boot, with a growingly bitter finish as the beer layers on the tongue. 4/5

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus bodied with carbonation on the higher end of medium. Oily mouthfeel. Dry and bitter finish. 4/5

Overall: One of the better black IPA on the market.

Recommendation: Fans of black IPA should seek this one out. Haters of black IPA should seek a bottle of this out too, if only to demonstrate that the style has it's highlights.

Pairings: Hamburgers.

Cost: $10 for a 750 ml growler or $18 for a 2 liter growler (plus the deposit).

Photo of largadeer
4.03/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler from gn0sis. Thanks.

Appearance: Black as pitch, and surprisingly viscous. A dark tan head retains well.

Smell: Citrus and char, orange and chocolate. Resinous, pine-like hop notes pop out as it warms up. Hints of lime.

Palate: Chocolate covered oranges. Pine, bitter herbs, a touch of burnt malt. Pretty thick body - drinks more like a hoppy stout than a DIPA. Resinous, bitter finish with an additional kick from roasted malts.

Overall: Not what I was expecting, but really enjoyable. Something of an imperial stout/DIPA hybrid.

Photo of spinrsx
4.42/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Growler - Thanks to lubiere for this

Appearance - Dark brown/black colour with a large size frothy beige coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some fantastic lacing. The head lasted for over 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, hops, chocolate, coffee, grapefruit/oranges

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste lots of fresh hops mixed with some citrus notes and some chocolate and coffee. There is also some malts and a touch of pine. It ends with a bitter hop and sweet malt aftertaste.

Overall - Whoa.. one of the best beers I've ever had. The hops are very potent and the beer basically smells like a DIPA. I'd be more than happy if I could drink a beer like this for the rest of my life. Worth seeking out.

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 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 Thorpe429
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Growler courtesy of yourefragile, and thanks to starrdogg for the assist. Sved in a mini snifter because all my Hill Farmstead glasses are packed. Moving sucks.

Pours a very dark brown with a nice tan head and plenty of spotty lacing on the way down. The dose has a good dose of roast along with a bit of pine. Very complex and integrated. Flavor has great roasted malt and a nice hop complexity. Some pine and resin and slightly dank. Medium body with a dry, bitter finish. Really great.

Photo of jlindros
4.18/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tap at abbey
Huuuuge creamy slightly darker smoky colored head of 2+ fingers, fades slowly with a huge layer of lacing, pitch black beer no light.

Nose explodes with earthy spicy hops, centennial, warrior, maybe chinook, etc. a decent kick of pine and light resin even, and just a hint of citrus tangerine like. all those hops blend in the background with a light cocoa and chocolatey creamy dark malt, hint of roast, and a light bready biscuit malt that all adds to a malted milk ball and chocolate covered orange pine candy.

Taste starts with more piney resin, hops again rip in with a decent bitterness but explosive flavor. More earthy spicy hops, chewy hops, and but of citrus. Malts bring more of the cocoa, milk chocolate, and biscuit, for again malted milk ball but with a big earthy pine hop center. A slight hint of booze tickles with warmth. As it finishes it dries a bit but not much, long lingering earthy piney hop and decent bitterness, and a juicy malt with caramel, toffee, and light chocolate fade slowly a the pine keeps steady.

Mouth is full bodied, bit creamy, good carb.

Overall pretty friggen good. I haven't had the earthy piney hops for a while that was done as well as this. the hops, bitterness, piney earthy flavors, malts and chocolate all blend well together, and smoothly for a tasty delicious beer.

Photo of Rifugium
4.15/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Hill Farmstead, Greensboro, VT

Dark brown pour with a rocky off-white head that receded to a wispy layer of bubbles. Aroma thick with resin and hops, roasty malts and cocoa also detectable. Taste followed the aroma well, with the piney and citrusy hop profile typical of the style, in a great balance with dark chocolaty malts, caramel, charred wood. One of the better balanced CDAs I've had. Oily mouthfeel, can be a bit astringent and bitter in the aftertaste, but nothing too overbearing...a palate-wrecker for sure though, so make sure you do this either at the end of a session, or followed by a good water-cleansing.

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

Poured from a 750ml growler thanks to my buddy KingKong.

A generous pour into a snifter generated a finger of mocha colored head. The beer was a very dark brown, reminiscent of a heavy porter. The smell is where this beer lives. Smells like the best DIPA you've ever put your nose to. Not sure of the hop variety, but there's a bunch of it. Close your eyes and remember the most outstanding citrus fruit dry hopped DIPA you've ever had. The mouthfeel is smooth and well textured, not heavy like the color suggests, but more silky than the standard IPA. Flavor is crossed between nuts, toffee, pine and malts. Finishes as bitter as a big IPA should. I'm not a hop-head or a DIPA apologist, but this beer rocks. This beer is 9.5% ABV? Drank the 750, no problem.

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 WanderingFool
4.39/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A couple friends of mine brought some of my growlers to Hill Farmstead on a recent trip. This beer was reviewed less than a week after being poured.

Society & Solitude #2 pours black into the glass with a medium sized, light brown head on top. The foam fades quickly leaving lots of spots of lace on the glass.

The aroma is loaded with hops. Mainly grass and pine. Some rich malt notes of chocolate and roast are also present.

Each sip of this medium to full bodied beer is soft and smooth with a mild carbonated fizz on the tongue. The flavor is hoppy with a rich malt back bone. Pine and grass with a touch of orange citrus are balanced nicely with chocolate malt, roast and an earthy nuttiness. It finishes bitter with lingering grass and pine notes when gone.

This is a beer packed with flavor. Mostly hops, but enough malt to make this an easy drinking beer. A great black IPA that I wish was easier to obtain.

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 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.

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