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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

281 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 281
Reviews: 58
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 7.64%
Wants: 57
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: 281 | Reviews: 58 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BobaFret
4.75/5  rDev +10%

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4.75/5  rDev +10%

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4.75/5  rDev +10%

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4.75/5  rDev +10%

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4.75/5  rDev +10%

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4.75/5  rDev +10%

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4.75/5  rDev +10%

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4.75/5  rDev +10%

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4.75/5  rDev +10%

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4.75/5  rDev +10%

Photo of DaPan
4.75/5  rDev +10%

Photo of TheBrewo
4.74/5  rDev +9.7%
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 jaken0ss
4.74/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Duffman79
4.74/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Ace1117
4.73/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Uconnelmo
4.73/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of ngeunit1
4.72/5  rDev +9.3%
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.

Photo of AdamF625
4.69/5  rDev +8.6%
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 SadMachine
4.69/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of cfrances33
4.67/5  rDev +8.1%
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 Bardwashrind
4.63/5  rDev +7.2%
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 Luk13
4.62/5  rDev +6.9%
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 raveskdr
4.62/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

Photo of yourefragile
4.62/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

Photo of 05Harley
4.6/5  rDev +6.5%
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!!

Society & Solitude #2 from Hill Farmstead Brewery
96 out of 100 based on 281 ratings.