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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: 292
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: 292
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 WanderingFool
4.39/5  rDev +0.9%
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. (919 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 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 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)

Photo of coreyfmcdonald
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
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. (933 characters)

Photo of wchollif
4.24/5  rDev -2.5%
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. (760 characters)

Photo of tewaris
4.17/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml growler. Poured into a snifter.

I stuck my nose into the growler, as much as a 750 ml growler would permit, and I was instantly reminded of mangoes. Good news. Some guava too, but mangoes ruled the aroma. Poured a dark brown color with good clarity and a medium sized brown head. Not much by the way of retention or lacing, but I didn't mind.

Fruity and lush hops, mangoes as remarked, some pine too. Then once in a while, it starts to smell like a regular stout, almost, with roast making its presence felt. Taste is sweet with residual malts and juicy with hops. Roast appears only at the end. Mouthfeel seems to be a very strong suite of Hill Farmstead beers. Creamy and smooth, this one (also) goes down damn easy.

Overall a great job with what I consider to be a ho hum style. Kudos!

4, 4.5, 4, 4.5, 4 (819 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 silentjay
4.2/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml growler filled at the Damon/Mimosa/Flora release this past Saturday. After falling ill, this is the first beer I've had in about a week. It's been all Green Tea, Gatorade, and Water. Looking forward to a damn beer.

pours black and almost opaque with a nice deep mocha head that doesn't fill the glass too much, but cascades nicely and leaves behind chunky lacing like an uber-fresh hoppy ipa would do.

even with a slightly lingering congestion I can smell the piney hops from over two feet away. bringing it up to my nose... damn piney as hell with grapefruit and citrus in there and a slightly burning brownie batter maltiness. like sitting in front of the christmas tree, peeling an orange while someone is burning brownies in the kitchen. some light tropical fruits in there too. hops definitely more evident in the aroma than the malts.

sharp hoppiness at first with a quickly appearing dark roasted maltiness that never quite makes it to the forefront, as the piney, grassy, bitter, citric, and tropical flavored hops are too busy dancing on your tongue. a bit leafy and resiny on the finish with a slight hint of cocoa.

medium bodied with a perfect effervescence that really keeps the hop flavors popping and a hoppy resin left behind to keep a nice linger.

another tremendous beer from Shaun, would have maybe liked to see a bit more malt presence, but the hop flavors alone make this beer as tasty as they come. (1,430 characters)

Photo of Gushue3
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
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. (958 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 kingcrowing
3.92/5  rDev -9.9%
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! (295 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 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)

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