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Society & Solitude #2 - Hill Farmstead Brewery

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Society & Solitude #2
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BA SCORE
95
world-class

55 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 55
Hads: 293
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 5.52%
Wants: 66
Gots: 11 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 55 | Hads: 293
Photo of TheBrewo
4.74/5  rDev +9%
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. (3,000 characters)

Photo of ngeunit1
4.72/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Pours a dark black color with just a hint of brown and a finger of frothy chocolate colored head. The head fades down fairly slowly leaving behind some nice lace.

S - Aroma is full of pine hops and roasted chocolate malts. There is also some citrus hop alongside some lightly burnt malts.

T - Starts off with some pine hops with some deep roasted dark chocolate malts with some light bitterness. Through the middle, some more chocolate malt flavor comes through alongside some citrus hops and a touch more bitterness. The finish is a mix of chocolate malt, citrus and pine hop, some bitterness, and a touch burnt malt character.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth with a dry, roasted, and bitter finish.

D - Very drinkable. The mix of roasted chocolate malts and hop flavors is incredible in this one. The balance here is just perfect. (865 characters)

Photo of AdamF625
4.69/5  rDev +7.8%
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. (583 characters)

Photo of cfrances33
4.67/5  rDev +7.4%
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. (948 characters)

Photo of Bardwashrind
4.63/5  rDev +6.4%
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. (1,468 characters)

Photo of Luk13
4.62/5  rDev +6.2%
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. (486 characters)

Photo of raveskdr
4.62/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Was lucky enough to get a growler of this when Starrdogg and I were up at HF. Poured out of the 750ml swing top growler into my HF high tulip.

A - Nice black color with great carbonation. The head is a brownish white. Nice lacing.

S - Great mixture of tropical fruits, slight pine and roastiness.

T - Starts out with the prototypical amazing HF hop combination. Rounds out on the end with a good amount of roastiness. It finishes with a combo of roast and hops that lingers on your tongue.

M - The hops and roast really interact well to make this a really drinkable beer. A bit lighter than the other imperial black IPA's that I have had.

O - A stellar beer. I am confident in saying that this is the best black IPA I have ever had. Another beautiful beer by Shaun. (770 characters)

Photo of yourefragile
4.62/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Imperial James you say? Yes, please. 750 mL growler muled by starrdog and raveskdr.

Pours a dark mocha brown, near black with a thick, dense dark tan head. Long lasting retention and thick sheets of lace. Deep, complex aroma of roast malt, caramel, dark fruit and pine hops. Minimal traces of alcohol and great balance. Smooth, medium thick body with light carbonation and a sweet, sticky finish. Strong roast malt presence with some dark chocolate sweetness balanced by a strong pine and resin hop presence. Delicous. So, I normally don't like Black IPAs, but... I liked this. Thanks to me for opening this. (609 characters)

Photo of 05Harley
4.6/5  rDev +5.7%
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!! (1,414 characters)

Photo of Sean9689
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750ml growler into Darkness tulip.

A - Pours darker brown/nearly black color, cream-colored head, thin collar, wisps on top.

S - An excellent mix of hoppy bitterness and malty roast. The hops hit you first in the form of pine and citrus, and then that's followed up by a nice dose of roasted malty sweetness. Mostly a hop-focused nose, but there's still a nice mix of both.

T - The roasted malty sweetness shows up a little bit more on the nose, but the piney hops are very much still there. There's also some dark chocolate and citrus that's really outstanding throughout. An excellent mix of hops and malts.

M - Medium to full body, good light carbonation, creamy finish.

O - I was really impressed by this one. I don't think I've ever had an Imperial Black IPA that this kind of notes and flavors mixed together. There's no harsh char from the malts and it's not overly hopped...it's exactly what I would want from this type of beer. Simply a must-try. (960 characters)

Photo of dar482
4.56/5  rDev +4.8%
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. (251 characters)

Photo of BoldRulerVT
4.54/5  rDev +4.4%
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. (425 characters)

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.52/5  rDev +3.9%
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. (588 characters)

Photo of andrewinski1
4.52/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a wine taster. There is a black body with a large tan head that leaves a lot of sticky lacing.

The aroma is full of piney hops and chocolate malt.

The taste is chocolate covered hops with a huge bitter finish. The hoppiness is mostly piney.

The body is medium, with a lot of nice carbonation. This has great drinkability.

This is great. There is great hoppy bitterness and lots of hop flavor. (408 characters)

Photo of Kegatron
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
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. (1,690 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
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. (490 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
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. (495 characters)

Photo of SawDog505
4.48/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a 13 oz tulip glass. Satchboogie grabbed this for me last Saturday, that was really cool to bring me back some beers. Pours a slick black with an amazing 2 inch light brown head with lots of sticky lacing. Smell is citrus, pine, chocolate, and grass. Taste is more chocolate than the nose would have you expect, a nice amount of citrus hops to go along. Body is large, good amount of life, a little dry, and very drinkable. This is a very nice beer, I am so impressed with this brewery so far. Lives up to all the hype. (531 characters)

Photo of n2185
4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
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. (775 characters)

Photo of orangesol
4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap at Shady McGrady's on St. Patty's day during the charity brunch.

A - Pours deep dark brown, bordering on black, with a nice one finger tall khaki colored head leaving small rings of lace down the glass.

S - Smells of dark roasted malt, fresh cut pine, chocolate, citric hops and a light herbal quality. Good balance of aromas from start to finish.

T - Starts off with a big dose of dark roasted malt and some dulled chocolaty sweetness slowly giving way to a mix of pungent citric hops and some fresh pine needles. Finish is a mix of dark roast and hop bitterness, lingering on the pallet long after consumption.

M - Smooth body and strong flavors with moderate carbonation. Lots of roast and hop bitterness throughout. The balance of dark flavors to hops is very well done, unlike some of the other examples of this style I have tried.

O - I don't really like the style but this is probably the best black ale I have ever had. The huge amount of hops really held up well with all that darkness surrounding it. Awesome stuff yet again from HF. (1,062 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Sean for sharing this growler. Served in a Hill Farmstead glass.

A - Quick-dissolving dark tan foam settles to a wispy cap, thick collar, and spotty lacework. Very dark brown body.

S - Floral hops, hint of herbs and pine, perhaps a touch of citrus zest. Tons of dark chocolate, cocoa powder, and perhaps a hint of smoke. Aroma is quite sharp and potent.

T - Taste has more malt character and a bit less of the hop flavors, although the citrus comes out more creating a nice chocolate-covered orange flavor. Also some sugar cookie, caramel, cocoa powder, and only a hint of smoke and char - just the way I like my Black IPAs.

M - Smooth texture, lower carbonation, medium body, a bit oily and juicy in the finish. No alcohol presence, which is pretty impressive for 9.5%.

D - This is a really good beer. It's got the exact flavor profile I want from this style of beer, and none of the char or astringency that plagues other beers of this ilk. Would definitely get this one again - hopefully Shaun gets this into the regular rotation. (1,048 characters)

Photo of CliffBrake
4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Lord Hobo during the Hill Farmstead tap take-over. Served in a tulip stem.

Opaque black with a small light brown head that leaves a fine curtain of lacing on the glass.

Big dank hop aromas - pine and citrus share the attention with notes from the malt - roast, charcoal, and stone fruit. The taste continues the impression of the well developed nose.

Big body, mouth-filling but smooth. Considering the flavor and abv, this beer actually shows quite a bit of finesse. Very drinkable for what it is. Hard to believe it is a double version of James, in terms of how it drinks. (589 characters)

Photo of Skrip
4.46/5  rDev +2.5%
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! (831 characters)

Photo of MDDMD
4.46/5  rDev +2.5%
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 (293 characters)

Photo of Verecund
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml growler opened on April 13, 2012.

“We pray to be conventional. But the wary Heaven takes care you shall not be, if there is anything good in you.”

Pours seal brown, with a half finger of tan head, the bubbles of which sluggishly banish themselves to one side of the glass.

An artful nose of citrus, grapefruit, sweet melon, and an indescribable mulchy earthiness. More piney and cedary on the palate—as with James/Jim, I get some Tsuga-in-the-winter evergreen, presumably from the simcoe. Peppercorn dark chocolate malt backdrop. The hop oils give the illusion of sweetness on the late palate, but it ends with a bitter and spicy kick on the finish.

Creamy, a touch oily, with medium, medium-low carbonation.

Another beer from Shaun that asks us to reflect on its art, and the source of our pleasure. I'm not sure you could ask more from a Black IPA. (870 characters)

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Society & Solitude #2 from Hill Farmstead Brewery
95 out of 100 based on 55 ratings.