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Society & Solitude #2 - Hill Farmstead Brewery

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Society & Solitude #2
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55 Reviews
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Reviews: 55
Hads: 293
Avg: 4.34
pDev: 7.6%
Wants: 65
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 WanderingFool
4.39/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

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Photo of spinrsx
4.42/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

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Photo of Gushue3
4.42/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

#250. Fresh growler filled at HF this past weekend at the Damon/Mimosa release into Hill Farmstead Bulb

A Pours very dark and can see some through some spots. A smaller head that's a little less than one finger forms and goes away pretty quickly. The body is black and can see though the shallower sides..

S Citrus and pine are the most obvious components along with come bitter grapefruit, roast and some tropical fruits. smells really good

T Dark malt sweetness and bitter pine take charge out of the gate. Some bitter grapefruit and tropical hops come through in the middle along with a roast. Nice combination of strong bitterness and dark roast.

M Mouthfeel is on the heavier side for the style but not too thick. Carbonation isn't too heavy which could be a result of being in a growler. Very smooth and easy to drink.

O Nice ABA that hits everything I'm looking for. Very bitter but still a noticeable roast. Citrusy hops make for a tasty drink.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.42/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Growler shared by yourefragile because he doesn't go anywhere without a box of Hill Farmstead beer with him. Served in a snifter because I couldn't locate my HF glass.

Beer is black with a thin tan head, small bubbles, low retention, low carbonation.

Aroma is nice, mildly dark but mostly piny hoppiness with hints of fruits.

Beer is medium to light in body, a good beer overall I thoroughly enjoy it. It has a moderate but smooth bitterness to it on the backend, a good beer, one of my favorite black ales for sure. I"d have this again.

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Photo of coreyfmcdonald
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Growler pour into a tall tulip glass

A: Pours pitch black with three fingers of dense tan head.

S: Piney hops are most prevalent in the beer with a faint dark chocolate and roastiness in the background. Hops really dominate, but I can tell there is some nice roast and dark chocolate in the background.

T: An interesting mixture of intensely piney hoppiness, dark chocolate, and roasted malts. I get light caramel sweetness in the background that builds as the beer warms. The hoppiness also takes a back seat to the dark chocolate as it warms. They end up balancing each other very well.

M: Medium to thick body with creamy carbonation.

O: This is an odd beer that balances stout-like roastiness and dark chocolate with lots of piney hoppiness. Very nice. Hard to describe as it's not just a stout that is very hoppy, it's got a great balance between some stout-like characteristics while still keeping the beer very drinkable.

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Photo of Verecund
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

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Photo of Skrip
4.46/5  rDev +2.8%
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!

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Photo of MDDMD
4.46/5  rDev +2.8%
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

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Photo of n2185
4.47/5  rDev +3%
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.

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Photo of orangesol
4.47/5  rDev +3%
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.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.47/5  rDev +3%
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.

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Photo of CliffBrake
4.47/5  rDev +3%
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.

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Photo of SawDog505
4.48/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.52/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

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Photo of andrewinski1
4.52/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

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Photo of BoldRulerVT
4.54/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

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Photo of dar482
4.56/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

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Photo of Sean9689
4.57/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

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Photo of 05Harley
4.6/5  rDev +6%
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!!

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Photo of Luk13
4.62/5  rDev +6.5%
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.

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Photo of raveskdr
4.62/5  rDev +6.5%
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.

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Photo of yourefragile
4.62/5  rDev +6.5%
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.

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