Society & Solitude #2 - Hill Farmstead Brewery

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Society & Solitude #2
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BA SCORE
95
world-class

55 Reviews
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Reviews: 55
Hads: 291
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 2.3%
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: 291
Photo of Sammy
3.82/5  rDev -12.2%
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. (262 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 largadeer
4.03/5  rDev -7.4%
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. (542 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 jlindros
4.18/5  rDev -3.9%
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. (1,334 characters)

Photo of Rifugium
4.15/5  rDev -4.6%
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. (644 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 mdfb79
4.12/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 02/25/12 notes. Again, big thanks to yourgrafile for sharing this one.

a - Pours a very dark brown color with one inch of white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of roasted malts, citrus hops, lemon, pine hops, light chocolate, and light floral hops. A very nice mix of fresh pine hops and roasted malts, really good.

t - Tastes of roasted malts, chocolate, toasted malts, pine hops, and light citrus hops. Still very nice, but the hops don't come through quite as much as the nose.

m - Medium body and low to moderate carbonation. No bitterness, pretty easy to drink. Couldn't believe it's 9.5% ABV.

o - Overall a very good beer. Loved the nose as I thought the hops and roasted qualities mixed together very well. Would like to have it again. (770 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
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. (540 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 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 BARFLYB
4.05/5  rDev -6.9%
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. (1,198 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 Alieniloquium
3.98/5  rDev -8.5%
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. (541 characters)

Photo of corby112
4.24/5  rDev -2.5%
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. (821 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 spinrsx
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
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. (793 characters)

Photo of rudzud
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at the abbey.

A - Poured a deep dark black with a creamy one fjnger mocha head that leaves thick side lacing.

S - Lots of amazing pine and chocolate with good earthy qualities.

T - like the nose with super nice pine and chocolate with roasted malts. Deep and pleasant.

M - nice mouthfeel on this. Slightly bitter and nice carbonation.

O - Overall this was a very enjoyable beer. Good ipa notes with like chocolate and roast malts. Super crisp and refreshing. (478 characters)

Photo of cpetrone84
4/5  rDev -8%
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. (325 characters)

Photo of ColForbinBC
4.23/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap, served in a stemmed tulip

Pours an opaque black with a small mocha cap. Some sheeting lace covering the inside of the glass. Head never truly recedes, only falls to a thin layer.

The hop aroma pierces the air. A ton of pine and citrus on top of roast, dark fruit and some charcoal.

On the palate, this guy follows the nose, only with some cocoa powder. Pine an citrus rind up front with malt carrying through the middle. The finish is another rush of hops before lifting away, leaving a bitter citrus wake.

Medium body, extremely smooth. Nearly velvety, but the piney hops cut through just a tad.

I have never had James, but I have to say this is delicious. Smooth, fresh hop bite, mild bitterness. The abv is extremely well-hidden. I had no idea this was 9.5%. (776 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 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 ehammond1
4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
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? (886 characters)

Photo of vonnegut21
4.15/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a delightful dark deep black with a finger and a half of brown-white head. It smells intensely of roasted malt with a healthy dose of hops. The hop presence is more floral and less fruity than other HF brews. The first sip is quite good, the richness of the malt doesn't overpower the hops as is the case with many black IPA's/American Black Ales. For an almost 10% beer, it goes down easy. Overall, a very nice brew. Second in my mind only to Stone's Escondidian Black IPA in the style. (493 characters)

Photo of Tucquan
4.08/5  rDev -6.2%
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, (396 characters)

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