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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
94
outstanding

57 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 57
Hads: 543
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 8.33%
Wants: 366
Gots: 103 | FT: 20
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 57 | Hads: 543
Photo of emerge077
4.28/5  rDev -0.9%
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. (534 characters)

Photo of Dmbphoenix
3.88/5  rDev -10.2%
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... (403 characters)

Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.39/5  rDev +1.6%
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. (1,310 characters)

Photo of stx00lax
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
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. (572 characters)

Photo of Etan
4.39/5  rDev +1.6%
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. (530 characters)

Photo of ehammond1
4.28/5  rDev -0.9%
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. (779 characters)

Photo of jzeilinger
4.45/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a semi-cloudy deep ruby red color with a light, bubbly, semi-frothy white head, very good legs and sticks to the glass.

S - Oak, white grapes, tart red grapes, barnyard, funk sweetness,

T- Tart, oak, red and white grapes with a lingering puckering sourness., fruity.

M - Full medium body, thick, puckering.

O - ery unique and amazing. (349 characters)

Photo of Skrip
4.57/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle poured into a Hill Farmstead oversized wine glass.

A~ ruby red hue, darkish brown, slight copper color. nice white fluffy head and a little lacing.

S~ some orange and lemon/lime tartness followed by lots of oak.

T~ wow! grapes and black cherrys up front, then comes the orange, grapefruit, lemon/lime tartness. followed by a lot of oak just like the on the nose. pretty sour all the way through. this has crazy complexity and is still very well balanced.

M~ heres where the honey comes into play, smooth but rather thick. perfectly carbonated and slightly dry from the tartness.

O~ yup... amazing! why did i ever doubt it? well probably because Biere De Mars usually isn't my go to style but this definitely stands out from everyone i've ever had. a little of their saison style comes through as well, which i find in some of their beers like Abner and Wheat Is The New Hops. this is exactly what i love about HF. their well water also might have something to do with their outstanding brews. next time i go up there i'm totally asking them to fill a growler with their water haha. (1,099 characters)

Photo of owend
4.47/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-red hued, slightly murky dark copper color with a small white head that leaves behind some light lacing

S- funky along with a nice blend of fruity sweetness, oak, a bit of grass, and bready malts.

T- Bready malts with a sharp sour apple tartness nicely cut with oak overtones. Hints of not quite ripe stone fruits, including apricot and plum. Dry finish with a bit of lingering tartness on the back of the tongue.

M-relatively low carb, medium body.

O-Another very nice offering from HF. Very complex beer that offers a wonderful blend of flavors that truly develop during tasting (588 characters)

Photo of jaasen64
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle poured into HF stemmed glass. 2012 vintage- 1200 bottles, ~850 released. Second time having this in the last month.

A- Pours a slightly murky reddish brown with a slight yellowish hue. Thin layer of white foamy head that leaves some spotty lacing and recedes to a fairly flat top.

S- Vinous fruits, sweet lightly bready malts, light sauvignon blanc wine and oak presence that balances nicely with the vinous fruits, slight vinegar tartness.

T- Vinous fruits of light grapes, some cherries, etc. (not overly fruity), balanced with sweet malts that have a subtle bready presence, finishes with a fairly light tart presence, some light oak, and wine presence. Very well balanced although a little bit sweeter then I was expecting and slighlty less tart then I was hoping.

M- Medium bodied, very easy drinking, just the right amount of carbonation, smooth.

O- This was another great beer from HF, but I wouldn't say I was blown away by it. It was slightly different then I was expecting having a slightly sweeter and less tart presence then I was expecting. I've only had a few Biere de Gardes as I wouldn't say it's a style that is brewed a lot, but this is easily the best of the style I've had and perhaps one of the best representations of the style out there. That being said I wouldn't say I enjoyed this that much more then Shaun's more common offerings such as Anna, Arthur, etc.. I highly recommend checking it out though and I'm sure you'll enjoy it. (1,475 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.43/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Callmecoon for sharing this one at Retsinis' tasting.

2012 vintage. 1200 bottles.

Pours a clear dark orange with a foamy bone colored head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Tiny dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is sour and tart with fruit, acidic, and wood aromas. Taste is much the same with fruit and grain flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of acidity on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with some great aromas and flavors that make this beer super easy to drink. (637 characters)

Photo of DaSolomon
4.66/5  rDev +7.9%
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. (526 characters)

Photo of WillCarrera
4.42/5  rDev +2.3%
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. (531 characters)

Photo of joel66
4.61/5  rDev +6.7%
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. (625 characters)

Photo of SABERG
4.51/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Served into an HFP snifter.

A - Color copper, rust, tinges of burnt umber. Fine formation and retention, lacing throughout.

S - Wine, grass, ruby fruit, apricot and fresh leather. As it warms even more complex with fig and light tannins.

T - Smart, sharp tones of fruit wine, young fig, autunm flowers, mild tart mid and dry finish.

M - Initially oily then dry tight closure, tart singularity, fine blend of carbonation and body. Interesting that it could be served as an appartif, or cordial.

O - Barrel touch adds to the Biere de Mars style, complex offering from a talented craftsmen ( team). The offering is a challenge, and a pleasure. What a treasure this is. (670 characters)

Photo of Knapp85
4.36/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This poured out as a deep amber color, the head was white and foamy. The retention was good and the lacing was decent. The smell of the beer was huge with fresh oak, very wooden and kind of funky. The aroma was quite impressive. The taste of the beer is malty, but has a softer oak flavor that I expected it to have judging by how strong the aroma is. There is a bit of light caramel in the aftertaste also. The mouthfeel medium bodied with a big amount of carbonation. The beer finishes on he dry side with a tart sting in the back of the tongue. Overall this beer is very nice, really impressive stuff. (604 characters)

Photo of davey101
4.59/5  rDev +6.2%
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. (976 characters)

Photo of largadeer
4.32/5  rDev 0%
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. (519 characters)

Photo of Thehuntmaster
4.41/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle 7,0% Abv.
Served chilled in an over sized wine glass.
2011 Vintage
Bottle number 110

Thanks to gn0sis for this bottle.

Appearance: Norma pours out quite a lot dark than expected - appearing a reddish brown in the glass. A standard pour yields a massive off-white head that lasts really well and coats the glass in thick lacing as it recedes.

Smell: I have only had one other Bière de Garde to date (3 Monts) and this certainly smells a whole lot funkier and more rustic than that. Big dusty brett notes dominate the initial aroma, with dry grass, a big lactic character (almost yogurty), tart white grapes, a little oak, some citrus, sweeter fruits (pineapple and peach), dry autumn leaves and a light vinous note all soon becoming apparent.

Taste: The flavour is lightly tart, quite dry and fantastically refreshing - perfect for a sweltering summers day (the temperature just hit 40 °C). As with the nose, the flavour is quite rustic, with dusty brett and tart fruits dominating the flavour. Flavour notes include: Dusty autumn leaves, dry grass, some lactic tartness, an earthy quality, tart white grapes, citrus, peach, green apple peel and a little oak.

Mouthfeel: Light-medium body, with a high level of expansive but soft carbonation.

Overall: Norma is a great rustic ale and I could imagine drinking it on some small farm in the middle of nowhere with fresh bread and homemade cheese. I do however think it is one of those beers that would have escaped notice had it not come from HF. (1,519 characters)

Photo of cfrances33
4.96/5  rDev +14.8%
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! (1,125 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
4.4/5  rDev +1.9%
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. (709 characters)

Photo of cpetrone84
3.97/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pour is orangish red with an off white head leaving a decent lace. Nose is heavy red wine, juicy dark grape, notes of oak, very rustic and pleasant. Taste is a bit muted, the red wine is there but the finish is a touch empty. More Brett but not pronounced, leathery and dusty. Body is light, assertive carbonation, and a touch of dryness to it. (344 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
4.3/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Michael, beer served in a Hill Farmstead glass. Beer is ruby and mostly clear with an off white head of small and medium bubbles, some lacing, moderate retention, moderate to low carbonation.

Aroma is good, a little oaky, woody, earthy, sweet, yeast comes through nicely.

A very nice beer, delicate and complex with hints of oak, esters, yeast, mild funk, sweetness as well. An overall great beer and I'd have it again. (428 characters)

Photo of jbuddle
4.3/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this about 3 months ago and lucky enough to split a bottle last night with my friend who went to the release with me. Cheers, Eric!

A opaque ruby red with an off white head that lasts for hours, literally. Great lacing
S super fruity, much more than I remember. Some brett dancing in the background but dominated by juicy, tart, fruits. A bit of oak too.
T A bit of a letdown from the intensely fruit forward nose, but still quite good. Citrus fruits, some pineapple and kiwi come to mind, all balanced by a nice bready backbone. Pretty funky and musty, just a bit of sourness coming around.
M Fantastic light and airy. Not super carbed like some bretty AWA's, but it did gush a bit after opening.
O A fantastic beer from HF as usual. This has developed some serious fruit notes and is starting to get a bit more sour. (823 characters)

Photo of Mbrown44
4.78/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Been waiting to post this review, had this the day after the release.

Biere De Norma tastes like a cross between a super oaky flanders red and a citrusy, funky, tart wild ale. This is super complex, finding balance between the lacto of tart apple skins and funky yeast. Sean Hill can do no wrong and this beer is why. The hype is worth it for this one, can't wait to try other sours from Hill Farmstead.

Cheers,

Mike (419 characters)

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Biere De Norma from Hill Farmstead Brewery
94 out of 100 based on 57 ratings.