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Biere De Norma - Hill Farmstead Brewery

Not Rated.
Biere De NormaBiere De Norma

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
98
world-class

474 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 474
Reviews: 54
rAvg: 4.41
pDev: 7.48%
Wants: 354
Gots: 106 | FT: 18
Brewed by:
Hill Farmstead Brewery visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
Bière de Garde |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: MasterSki on 01-12-2012

Brewed on the day of my grandmother’s passing (Norma), this is an inspired Biere de Mars fermented entirely in oak and soured with our house spontaneous culture.

Norma (1939 - 2011) was my maternal grandmother, my Guardian Angel, and the woman that nourished the laughter and innocence of my youth. In her honor, we craft this Bière de Mars each February and condition it in oak barrels with our resident microflora, allowing it to develop indefinitely until it is ready for release. We realize the influence of those closest to us only after having left their presence. At Hill Farmstead, our spirit is forever defined by Norma and the memory of our loved ones.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 474 | Reviews: 54
Reviews by mjohnson17:
More User Reviews:
Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.41/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle with thick red wax. Vintage 2013

Split 3 ways with my local beer crew into 3 HF Wine Stems.

Appearance: Orangish and murky crimson colored body maybe a copper hue as well. Thick cap of white head that drops to a thin cap.

Smell: Very wine barrel forward. Mild funk that is familiar to me as Hill Farmstead funkiness. Fruity and oaky. Slightly briney and minerally.

Taste: boarders between mild and moderate tart/tanginess. Tannic wet oak, vinous red wine, combine with subtlely sweet malt profile. Earthy and mustiness about the beer. Fruity and the minerals flavors also come through. As this beer gets warmer a musty funk becomes slightly cheezey or yogerty like some lactobacillus was involved in the brewing process.

Mouthfeel: medium boided beer with low carbonation. Just the right amount of driness in the beer to drive home the wine barrel character in this beer is a most pleasant way. Drinks pretty well.

Overall: I have only tried a handful of beers from the Beire de Garde family of beer styles. Aging this style in a wine barrel is a great idea. It compliments the beer style very nicely. This is the best that I have had out of all the Biere De Garde beers so far! Again another beer that is excuted so well by S. Hill.

Photo of joel66
4.61/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle poured into one of my HF tulip glasses

Deep amber color with a white fluffy pillow head. Very nice retention, little to no lacing.

Nose was oak barrel, raisin, prune and funk

Flavor was extremely complex yet well balanced between sweet and tart. Oak barrel aging really brought out the complexity of fine red wine. Reminded me of coterone only with more funk.. slight sweetness from red grapes, almost fig like. As it came to room temperature the tartness became sharper and imo, even better if that is possible.

Mouthfeel was light and refreshing.

Overall I would rank this second only to juicy in the HF lineup.

Photo of obiwan_k3n00bi
4/5  rDev -9.3%

Batch 3 is miles ahead of batch 2.

Photo of ehammond1
4.28/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle (2013)

Acquired via trade
Thanks, baconsausage!

Dark orange or a glowing, light ruby in color. Nearly clear, though some faint sediment visible throughout. Pillowy near-white head. Irregular dots of stick left down the glass.

Tart fruit, musk and dust, a little bit of farmhouse funk, and oak combine quite nicely. A bit of a yogurt character, red grape, and dried cherry character as well.

The flavor is similar to the aroma, with the farmhouse funk, dried grass, red grapes, and sun-dried cherry flavors leading the way. A bit of a muted citrus character as well. Some simple grain and bread notes, but tasty and complementary.

Medium mouthfeel with high, but creamy, carbonation. Disappearing.

Excellent departure from the style. Unique, flavorful, and delicious.

Photo of DaSolomon
4.66/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Opened up in a nice mini tasting with thezoobrew!

A: Nice deep amber color, with a solid inch of head.

S: Sweet, fruit funk, oaky and bretts full notes that danced on the nose

T: wow this was so smooth and easy to drink, sour and tart were very balances, with figs, red wine, oakiness, vanilla notes all coming through, very well balanced

M: perfect carbonation levels, very nice mouthfeel easily can drink this all day

O: another hit by HF, the hype behind this is not a let down, would like to see how age affects this.

Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.39/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Kyle for getting this for me. 2012 vintage into Hill Farmstead stemware. Shared with schen9303.

Pours a 1.5 finger light cream colored head with low retention. Beer is a stunning, clear red. Lacing is patchy but sparse with good stick. Very good.

Nose is oak, sour red fruit, light vinegar and a spritzy creaminess. Some cinnamon mixes well with the acidity. Pretty good though not the most aromatic.

Opens oak, lightly sour red fruit, cinnamon, leather, and a distinct, yeasty funk. Bone dry through the experience. Some pomegranate in the middle with a lightly bitter yeasty straw funk. End is foamy. Cobwebs, hay, and farmhouse come to mind. Finishes slightly sweet and fruity with a lightly tart, yeasty aftertaste. Very delicate with some unique flavors for sure.

Light bodied with ample carbonation. Prickly and lively in the mouth and goes down very dry. Finishes filmy with a bone dry aftertaste. Almost exactly what I want from the style. Excellent.

A magnificently balanced and crafted beer with a ton of nuances that only Hill Farmstead could pull off. Delicate nose, flavor, and feel pull this one together just right. That being said, sometimes I want a little bit more distinctness and oomph to my beers. Still, this is, no question, an excellent brew and well worth seeking out.

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.1/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Batch 2. Finally reviewing this after having it multiple times.

Appearance - Very dark outside as I drink. Appears to have a nice khaki head. Murky lightbrownish body.

Smell - Acidic. Malty. Lots of oak. All three aromas blend together seamlessly.

Taste - Mild acidity. Malty. Slight citrus tang. Very oaky. Oak pulls together the flavors in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium body. Well carbonated. Mild sourness.

Overall - A beer that is greater than the sum of its parts. Simple flavors put together very well.

Photo of emerge077
4.28/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Served in a tulip at Decofest, thanks to Mark for sharing!
Quick review from written notes.

Dark and saturated reddish orange color, wispy seafoam spray of lace around the edges with a thin veil across the surface.

Dried citrus aroma with what seems like a saison yeast.

Tart citrus upfront, finishes dry with some light woody spice and lightly bitter tannins. Medium body, crisp feel with ample creamy carbonation. Light sweetness in the middle. Overall pretty straightforward and not far off from HF's other wild and sour beers.

Photo of stx00lax
4.5/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Dave. Finally, thank you!

A- pours a copper-amber hue with a long lasting white/off-white head.

S- oak, light toasty/bitter malts, grapes, dates and a bit of musty lactic twang.

T- oak and malts up front leading to a dry,vinous and tart finish.

M- light to medium body. Ample carbonation. Drying oak.

O- awesome! I have only had a few beers in this style, but this is as good or better than any i tried. I think the amount of tartness, spritzy carbonation and unique house yeast separate this from the rest and make for a very complex and refreshing brew.

Photo of largadeer
4.32/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Amber body with some haziness, topped by a thin clinging head.

Vinous funk on the nose. Tamarind, leather, barnyard. Slight oxidation, touch of caramel malt sweetness. Smells quite good.

Heavy on the wine barrel, which brings an interesting tamarind and currant quality. Plenty of barnyard funkiness, too. Feels pretty big - good flavors but a bit heavy on the palate. Acidity is moderate. Finishes with lingering tamarind and red wine flavors. Pretty damn good, one of the better farmhouse ales from Hill Farmstead.

Photo of rlee1390
4.4/5  rDev -0.2%

A-Cloudy deep orange, nice carbonation, two finger head that leaves nice lacing.

S-Oak, grapes, wine, honey, nice funk notes as well.

T-Starts with very tart oak with grapes. Some carbonation.

M-Lighter, semi dry finish, nice carbonation.

O-Another great beer from HF, what can I say.

Photo of Etan
4.39/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml into a tulip. Batch 2.

A: Pours a slightly murky dark amber with a nice off-white head.

S: Red wine tannins, clean lactic notes, mild acetic character, overripe cherry, leather, pineapple, a hint of caramel sweetness.

T: Taste brings moderate lactic tartness, more notes of cherry and currant, toasted grain, buttery oak tannins, vinous, apricot, a bit of pleasant wild mustiness, mild floral bitterness, dry finish.

M: Medium-bodied with silky carbonation.

O: What a treat. I can imagine this aging well in the bottle.

Photo of FondueVoodoo
4.4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Special thanks to seblp for going to Vermont and bringing this back for us.

A: Tawny brown topped with a sand coloured foam, rocky and solid on the pour hold well both on the surface and up the glass with plenty of lacing.

S: Dank wet oak with plenty of fresh tart fruit notes, tart cherries, plums and musky grapes. A sour dankness of brett and some warm caramel malts round the finish off.

T: Resembling a red wine in many ways, it's tannic with a musty grape flavour with notes of minerals. Herbal notes show up mid palate that dance with the tart fruits, plums and grape skins.

M:Mouth feel seems to be all about supporting the tartness, it a snappy carbonation with plenty of dryness on the back end.

O: A terrific brew that manages to straddle the world of wine and beer, tangy dry tart and just a hint of wild sour yeasts are bold and unapologetic. Notable how the head holds strong on the brew from start to finish.

Photo of cbutova
4.54/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Reviewed from notes last night. Huge thanks to Kimmy for opening this treasured bottle.

A- Poured from a 750ml to five glasses for a tasting with a fairly murky, light apple red body. A foamy, frothy white head builds to a finger without much retention. Foamy ring leaves drizzle and spotty lace on the glass.

S- A mix of fruits, Brett and barrel souring. Tart apples, white wine grapes, a Brett aroma reminiscent of barnyard, tart cherries and mustiness. Certainly some wet oak, lactic acid, slight vinegar and a tiny band-aid hint at the very end.

T- A myriad of tart fruits jump all over the palate without being sour. These mix with a funky Brett profile of barnyard, straw, cherry pits and band aid. Fruits that come to mind are tart green apples, vinous grapes, lactic sour lemon, white grape juice, cranberry and cherry. A slight spiciness along with fresh oak tannins and an acetic hint.

MF- Fairly dry but the body still has a substantial moderate thickness for the style. Somewhat creamy with medium carbonation and a tartness lingering at the end.

Biere de Garde that strikes a great balance between tart fruits, Brett funk (without overpowering), oak fermentation byproducts and souring bacteria. A damn fine brew that brings on some insane complexity.

Photo of Luk13
4.25/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. Hazy dark gold pour with white head, very pretty, almost glowing orange. Aroma has some brett, peach, lots of oak, vanilla, light buttery aroma, honey. Taste like TDD Dulcis, grape peel, honey, grain, butter, vanilla, very tasty. Not really sour but has a nice funk and a tart, citric finish. Palate is well carbed, and full bodied. Delicious.

Photo of Thorpe429
4.4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Huge, huge thanks to yourefragile for sharing this beer. Served in a Hill Farmstead wine glass. Pours a light reddish-brown color with a short tan head. Good retention and a good bit of lacing throughout. The nose carries some typical biere de garde character, with some semi-sweet malt and a touch of bread, followed up with a nice oak component. Also there is a bit of cherry alongside some faint acidity. The acid component grows through the flavor, leading the way to an exquisite mouthfeel -- dry, tart, and a nice bit of oak. Even after just having Ann, this was a beautiful beer and one of the better ones I’ve had in a long time. A great take on the biere de garde style, without being in name only.

Photo of jlindros
4.57/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks a ton to shaun for this one, REALLY thanks Shaun. 2011 vintage, bottle number 43 of 300

Gorgeous fluffy head fluffy and rises up to over 1 finger, nice sticky lacing drops down the sides slowly. The beer is a mostly clear golden tan slight honey orange colored.

Nose, yup thats funky alright, a light horsehair wet blanket funk but not overpowering, then nice tart fruit, plenty of sourness with a definite lacto, hints of reddish berry like sour fruit.Under that is a nice saison, light saison malts, wheat like and hint of yeast spices. Touches of barrel aroma.

Taste starts rick and smooth, creamy and malty actually, with light saison malts, light toasty reddish malts as well, with a nice light buttery today oak. So much creamy milk like lactose sugar... So much creamier than I expected. Then funk, just a bit of horse blanket funk, but plenty of sourness. Tart berries almost wild berry like but not quite that much berry just fruit, a juicy tartness but dry bready malt juxtaposition. Tons of carbonation helps to keep the palate from getting too bogged down in tartness and creaminess. Finish is dry but slightly sticky, just a touch phlemy, light bready malts, more creamy lactose, some lingering funk, and tart fruit, and a light bitterness comes through with earthy fruit stem like and a bit of floral hops.

Mouth is ridiculously creamy but plenty of carbonation to offset the sour and creamy.

Overall awesome, I would call this an American wild over biere de garde, or saison, but delicious. Great wild funk, sour fruit, saison like malts, hunts of barrel, light biter hops late in the finish, and delicious delicious lacto.

Photo of WillCarrera
4.42/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

750 ml bottle generously shared at the Peg's tasting on 3/8/13.

A- Pours a murky orange color, topped with a thin white head.

S- Sweet aroma of peach, apricot, brett, oak, and bready, grainy malt.

T- Bready malts and yeast upfront, followed by a nice, slightly tart, brett flavor with some peach, dry oak and a vinous, dry finish.

M- Medium-bodied, smooth feel, dry finish.

O- A very nice beer, the dry, vinous, oaky flavors and the fruity brett are really nice, the flavors are complex but very subtle, awesome stuff overall.

Photo of davey101
4.59/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml red waxxed bottle into a tulip glass. 2012 vintage, 1200 bottles. Shared moments after returning to CT from the Norma release on an outside patio in the cold. Can't beat it! Quick notes I jotted down.

A - Pours a cloudy dark red body. Messy off-white foam.

S - My first thought was of a Flemmish bruin. Has a lactic twang with some cherries, vinegar, apricot and plenty of oak. Some musky saison notes with a touch of caramel.

T - Tart cherries and vinegar, caramel malts, funky earthy notes, fresh apricot, and some light oak and vanilla. Really complex and tasty. The finish was unreal though. The beer was incredibly tart and then it just vanishes away. Medium bodied with nice carb.

O - The first half of the glass left me a bit underwhelmed. The more I thought about the beer the more I liked it though. Its incredibly complex and unique. Super tart with a perfectly clean finish. It drinks way too easily. Certainly worth the effort to get a bottle in person.

Photo of cfrances33
4.96/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle #12, batch 1 shared generously by Shaun at Hill Farmstead. Served in a Hill Farmstead stem. Thank you so much Shaun!

Pour: A nice hazy orange, with some reddish notes. A nice crisp, fingers and a half off white head forms, and leaves some very, very nice, sticky lacing.

Smell: Lots of lactic tartness up front, followed by some red grapes and oak. Some light cherry and lemon juice. A very pleasant funk rounds everything out. This smelled unreal.

Taste: Follows the nose with a nice lactic tartness up front, with a light lemon and cherry tartness. Some pear skins. Nice wine tannins as well as a nice rustic funk. Lots of oak round this out, and it finishes dry and lactic with some lemons.

Mouthfeel: Supremely drinkable, and not overly sour. Very, very nice prickly carb compliments the tartness well. Juicy through the palate, but very dry on the end.

Overall: Wow, not only was this beer phenomenal, but everything about having it was perfect. A really clean and rustic beer, and borderline a wild ale. I would rate this just below Flora for taste. Thanks again Shaun, Dan, Phil, and Bob at HF for sharing!

Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.24/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle opened on 12.21.13
2012
1200 Bottles

A - Pours a hazy amber-brown with a fluffy, tan head that fades slowly.

S - Tart-funky, wood, apple.

T - Funky, red apples, pear, wood, acidic-dry finish.

D - Good carbonation with a lighter body.

O - Funky and dry with some orchard fruit flavors.

Photo of Maxwell
4.32/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The beer pours out a dark copper-amber color with a tiny scrim of caramel-white bubbles that mellow into a nice ring around the glass. In body, the beer is nearly a uniform color throughout with a rich opacity. On the nose, this beer reeks of beautiful funk; lemon-lime and horse blanket tango on the nostrils alongside nuances of pineapple, leather, cherry pie, and deep barnyard scents. What a beautiful nose on this beer. On the tongue, the beer tastes of a wonderfully balanced tartness alongside a smooth malt sweetness and just a kiss of herbal and spicy hop bitters at the back and finish. As the beer warms, a smooth and syrupy sweetness also starts to blanket the tongue throughout the sip, further pressing a nice balance throughout the beer. In flavor, the beer begins as pineapple juice and light caramel, slowly working its way to sweet barnyard and horse blanket. The finish blends horse blanket, caramel malt, pineapple juice, herbal hay, and grass notes onto the tongue. Soft touches of pine and this delicious yet unplaceable sweetness splash over the back of the palate. The aftertaste is a delicious blend of caramel and funk, almost like a softly candied funk. In the mouth, the beer is on the light side of medium, with a soft carbonation and a mouthfeel that is smooth and slightly syrupy. Overall, this is delicious and a perfect candidate for aging. The funk will only get better. Sometimes I want to dislike Hill Farmstead’s beer, but I never can. This beer is great.

Photo of dar482
4.52/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The beer comes in a light hazy brown.

The aroma is extremely tart of apples, berries, some acetic sourness, along with oak and a bit of malty sweetness.

The flavor follows with that cherry, pomegranate, grape, fruity tartness in the front. It moves onto a dense aggressive funk and mustiness, which is complimented by oak. The sour qualities has an herbal dill and apple cider vinegar. A slight bready sweetness continues on through the beer. A oak and vinous drying on the finish. The middle palate is quite lacking in flavor.

A wonderful funky wild ale. Tons of complexity and the funk notes remind one of Cantillon's character.

Photo of Dmbphoenix
3.88/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Placed in a cellar for five months. Opened last night. Pours a garnet red into tulip glass. Smells a bit of oak, slightly sweet malt. First sip is tart, good carbonation but not overbearing. Medium bodied on the tongue. Finishes very dry, crisp all the way through. Shared with a lovely gal who loved it. When I asked why, she said maybe cuz it reminded her of a hard cider....for what that's worth...

Photo of scottfrie
4.29/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2012 bottle poured into snifter. Thanks for sending me this one, Kevin!

A: Pours a deep ruddy iced tea color with a thin off-white head that faded into a fuzzy film. Spotty streaks of lace were left down the glass.
S: Musty and tart overall, with notes of dry oak barrel, red fruits, unripe fruits, apricot, and slight notes of perfume.
T: I get notes of buttery oak barrel, tart cranberry, caramel, and cherry pits. Not as tart as I was expecting. I get mild notes of lemon and sour barrel funk in the finish. The aftertaste is buttery, leather, cranberry and slight pomegranate.
M: Buttery and slick mouthfeel, not as dry and I would have liked. Smooth mouthfeel, rich and full boy, low carbonation.
O: Really good flavor, easy to drink and smooth. I would have liked it drier, but I wouldn't turn down another glass of this. Thanks again, Kevin!

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Biere De Norma from Hill Farmstead Brewery
98 out of 100 based on 474 ratings.