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What Is Enlightenment? - Hill Farmstead Brewery

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What Is Enlightenment?
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BA SCORE
97
world-class

90 Reviews
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Reviews: 90
Hads: 740
rAvg: 4.42
pDev: 5.66%
Wants: 256
Gots: 26 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Hill Farmstead Brewery visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  5.40% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: CliffBrake on 04-26-2012

American Pale Ale brewed in honor of our Second Anniversary. Simcoe and Amarillo hops.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 90 | Hads: 740
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750 ml Growler to HF stemmed tulip glass. Bottled 5 days prior.

A - Poured a hazy yellow/peach colour. One finger of bubbly white head formed and quickly receded to a few bubbles scattered across the top of the beer. Very light lacing.

S - A massive fresh tropical fruit, citrus and pine aroma up front with a moderate bitterness evident. Peach, mango, tangerine, apricot and grapefruit. By far the most appealing APA nose I've experienced.

T - A nice pale ale profile - well hopped but not so much that you wonder if you are drinking an IPA. Tangerine, grapefruit, mango and peach flavours take centre stage with a touch of pine present as well. The malt bill is barely noticeable but adds a very light touch of sweetness. The bitterness is quite dry.

M - Medium body with nice hop oils. Light to moderate carbonation. As noted above, very dry throughout.

O - This is a spectacular APA. My first ever 5/5 rating and unquestionably deserving of it. (957 characters)

Photo of BERNUTBAG
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

went to waterbury vt, had this on tap at the resevior tap room, this by far has to be the best i have had in a pale ale, had to have two more before i left, pours orange hazy, plenty of citrus pine and hops, well balanced. will search this beer out again. (255 characters)

Photo of iwantsomerocks
4.97/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at Gramercy Tavern in NYC.

Looks sexy as hell. Slightly cloudy bright amber hue, with a lingering single finger head.

Nose has intense citrus accents. I get orange and peach dominating, with a nice piney background. Little bit of grapefruit too.

Taste is very complex. The hops come at you at first, but then recede quickly with the citrus notes dominating the rest of the way. Great orange and peach notes follow the nose perfectly.

Mouthfeel is perfect. Carbonation is muted for easier drinkability.

This is one of my favorite beers right now. If I could, I would drink this non-stop, forever. What a beer. (620 characters)

Photo of Pahn
4.89/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

1 liter growler into Duvel tulip (note: love that Hill Farmstead fills any growler as long as it's brown glass). Bought 2 days ago from the brewery.

Appearance: Free pour yields a one inch frothy white head that dissipates steadily. Pours a very hazy yellow (I love these unfiltered, glowing IPAs like Heady Topper), and leaves sparse spots and bars of lacing.

Smell: Grapefruit and tangerine, light tropical fruit highlights and an undercurrent of pale malt. Growing, heavy melon flavor that sort of overlaps with tangerine. The melon and malt are kind of a "light" aroma (like white wine is light) while there are these bold citrus, red fruit (almost cherry like), tropical fruit aromas that sort of blast in from the side and come across as bold and "dark" (like red wine).

That last sentence may sound ridiculous, but there's a lot going on here, and it's really good.

Taste: Melon, tangerine, some trademark Simcoe pungency up front, then a crisp hit of bitterness and perfect carbonation, moving to a ton of really good pale malt and a long, succulent citrusy/fruity hop finish. Bright cereal malt flavor goes so well with the tangerine/melon hop flavor; it's a perfect match.

This is one of those beers where the hop flavor has *all* the elements that I smell in Simcoe and Amarillo hops in the homebrew shop before I boil them into a beer, plus *more*. It's a struggle to keep all the beauty of an ingredient from fleeing when you make a beer--it's genius when you capture all that beauty and somehow add to it.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied. Moderate but perfect carbonation. Nice crisp bitterness, with a semidry finish.

Overall: This beer goes down like water, but is packed with more hop and malt flavor than a top tier DIPA. It reminds me of NEBCO's Fuzzy Baby Ducks--a perfected IPA--but just with Amarillo and Simcoe instead of Citra, lower alcohol, a superior malt backbone (big achievement), and slightly inferior mouthfeel (tiny criticism). Also like FBD, the particular flavors that this beer perfects are exactly what I want to find in a beer, so if it's not objectively a masterpiece (I think it is), at the very least it's a perfect fit for me.

You just can't really overstate how good Hill Farmstead is at crafting hoppy pale ales. This is the kind of things fanatics dream "actually exists somewhere" and search for. Beer lovers who live near Greensboro, Vermont are lucky people. (2,409 characters)

Photo of DaveR514
4.79/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Enjoyed a 2 liter growler with some friends the same day it was filled.

Very hazy golden orange with a finger of creamy head...

Beautiful and complex aromas (think citrus, stone and tropical fruit mixed with with barnyard herbs).

On first sip, it feels like the bitterness is about to hit very hard, but it quickly wisps away leaving behind a mouth full of expertly choreographed and juicy hops flavours layered on top of a foundation of sweaty malt.

An outstanding APA that goes on and on for what seems like forever... (526 characters)

Photo of BoldRulerVT
4.78/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from the 2 liter growler into a large tulip.
Pours a light honey color, hazy with not a ton of head, tiny tiny bubbles.
Smells wonderful glorious amounts of citrusy hops with some sweet tropical fruit hints.
Taste is fucking ridiculous. Perfection. This literally could not taste any better for an APA.
Grapefruit explosion without the bitter bomb, hints of mango and pineapple.
Mouthfeel is soft and inviting.
Overall, a world class APA. Shaun Hill is a Jedi. (467 characters)

Photo of MarkIntihar
4.77/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Zach for the trade! Poured from the growler into my brand new FFF Teku tulip.

A - Pours a cloudy yellow-orange, with a half a fingers worth of pale white head. The head dissolves somewhat quickly into a wisp of white dust on the top of the glass along with a ring around the outer edges of the glass. Head retention is nice from this point, and it seems to cling to the sides of the glass after every sip.

S - WHAM HOPS! Citrus and grass dominate the nose in an exceptionally pungent blend. Incredible nose from the moment I popped the swingtop. Nice vanilla notes in the backdrop as well, complimenting the citrus with a clean finish. Really an exceptional scent to it.

T - Follows nicely from the nose. Very tropical fruit/citrus hop up front, with a nice vanilla malt background flavor. My only complaint is that it is not quite as intense as the nose, but it is still an incredibly well done beer.

M - Dry enough finish to clean the palate, but not too dry to leave me thirsty with every sip. Obviously very little/no alcohol burn with this one, but still pretty incredible how smooth it goes down.

O - Overall, wow, this is the first HF hoppy offering I've traded for, and I honestly couldn't be happier. What an exceptionally balanced pale ale, and one I hope to enjoy again! (1,296 characters)

Photo of rudzud
4.77/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Reviewed from notes (May!) after hooking JLindros up with a growler. Finally getting around to adding all my beers. Poured into a Kate the Great tulip.

A - Yessss, a glorious hazy golden Apollo the God of the Sun hue with with a wonderful one finger fluffy white head that fades slowly to leave a wonderful thick and creamy blanket with nice sticky side lacing.

S - Aromas EXPLODE. Actually, more than explode. They assault the nose with huge tropical citrus powers. Grapefruit, pineapple, mango, passion fruit, juicy glorious hops. Its a nonstop glorious assault on the senses all backed up by that faint malty sweetness.

T - The taste is superb, but not quite as ZOMG as the nose. Pleasantly delicious citrus (grapefruit, tangerine, clementine) with a super faint musty hop and creamy malt sweetness. Man oh man...

M - Mouthfeel is exceptional. Creamy bust crisply carbonated. Just top notch.

O - Overall another phenomenally well done beer. I love, absolutely love, tropical notes in a beer and this one delivers in aces. Well worth the 8 hour round trip. (1,063 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL growler. Thanks to Michael for the acquisition. Shared with Adam and Mike.

The beer is mildly hazy and appears a golden yellow color. The white head is about a half inch thick and leaves ample lacing on the tulip.

The nose is excellent. Dank hops and a variety of tropical fruits and citrus. Oh yeah...

The flavor is earthy with notes of well water (in a most positive way). Lots of citrus and hop notes. Simply fantastic. Chuggable. Another winner from Hill Farmstead. I think this is the best pale ale I have ever had. I am dumbfounded. I could drink this indefinitely.

What is Enlightenment? Well, the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, and apparently, Shaun Hill. (672 characters)

Photo of Evmo31
4.74/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

This is a amazing pale ale. I am suprised by some of the lower ratings (for HF) on this beer. I tried to keep in mind that this is a pale ale, and to me shouldn't be compared to hills big IIPAs. Silky smooth mouthfeel, the hops are nicely showcased and not overpowering. This is sessionable and beautiful, one of the best pale ales i have tried. (345 characters)

Photo of cfrances33
4.73/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2L growler thanks to ILOVESTOUTS poured into a Hill Farmstead stem.

Pour: A lightly hazy pale mango, with a billowing, three fingers, soapy, thick white head. Incredible lacing - literal chunks of head are left on the glass. Head retains for a good portion of the pour

Smell: Bright tangerine and oranges up front, with a touch of mango. Some raw dough and a touch of uncooked oats balance the citrus juiciness. Some light pine is in there, too.

Taste: Tangerines and oranges mix with a light pine. Some floral hops. A nice doughy backbone provides a touch of delicate sweetness and prevents the hops from dominating too much. Finishes with a mix of doughy bread and tangerine juice.

Mouthfeel: Incredible. Perhaps the most drinkable beer I've ever had. Lightly bitter, but more juicy than anything. The malt profile provides some body, but only just. Sessionable and refreshing.

Overall: A pale ale that lives up to its hype. Absolutely delicious. Thanks Evan! (966 characters)

Photo of dougfur
4.71/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a light straw color, hazy and a nice creamy head on top. It looks exactly how a beer should, in my opinion. The smell is modest, but awesome. Straight up grapefruit hoppiness. The taste takes it up a notch, with pretty powerful citrus hop flavors. Very little bitterness, but enough. Typical HF body, even in this pretty light beer. As usual, Hill Farmstead has made a beer that is hard to find fault with. It is masterfully brewed and probably the best APA I've ever had. (478 characters)

Photo of Luk13
4.7/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

64 oz growler. Pale gold pour, white head. Super citrusy aroma, thick lemon and orange peel, a bit of white pepper. Taste of fruity hops, nice lemony finish. Super dry and just perfect. Bitterness is balanced, palate is light and refreshing everything is just wonderful. Now have to get Shaun to bury a tapline all the way to my house. (335 characters)

Photo of andrewinski1
4.69/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to Jon for picking these up and not liking hoppy beers! Poured into a pint glass with. The color is hazy light straw. There os a light white fluffy one inch head.

The aroma has a lot of melony hop aroma with a touch of danky dirty hop.

The taste starts out crisp and quickly becomes an explosion of hop flavor. Sweet citrus and melon with a touch of honey grahams are noted. The finish is perfectly bitter.

This is light and refreshing. As amazing as all the Hill Farmstead hoppy beers. (496 characters)

Photo of FFreak
4.68/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a growler into a HF willy glass. Color is hazy lemonade with a one finger quickly-dissipating white and tight head, minimal lacing. Grapefruit absolutely dominates both the aroma and taste. Very much like drinking the very best slightly sweetened grapefruit juice you've ever had. This is a nice, refreshing summertime quencher. Well done. (351 characters)

Photo of Hendry
4.68/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I assume that HFS WHAT IS ENLIGHTENMENT? was intended as a session ale given the abv.
Just picked up a couple growlers of this offering last week, and decided to give one a try.
I wanted to try this HFS American Pale Ale on the heels of just having sampled another ale made with Amarillo and simcoe hops, Alpine Duet.

The cloudy yellowish hue is becoming a trademark for several Vermont craft beers, the head was tall and soapy,lacing well above average.

The subtle fragrance of oranges,clementines, and tangerines are giving your nose a treat amongst some subtle malt backing: the bright and bouncy hops are the ones on display here.

Initial flavors are tropical fruit juicy with a touch of pine and herbal undertones: this has a very crisp and snappy character with a dry finish, medium carbonation, and no trace of booze.

Mouthfeel is quite extraordinary, a touch of piney goodness and slightly oily, but the aftertaste gives way to a crackery, yeasty dryness with less bitterness than I would have expected, but this is likely due to the modest abv and the "sessionability" factor.

All in all , a fine APA that has a lot of great characteristics to offer. The appearance, nose and initial taste are all outstanding, but the aftertaste that starts out promising falls off the cliff too quick for me. (1,308 characters)

Photo of CliffBrake
4.67/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy pale orange-yellow color with a large frothy head. Great retention, leaving gobs of lacing on the glass.

The aroma is prominent, complex, and HOPPY! It is hard to pick out which notes are dominant....apple, pine, (pineapple?), grapefruit, mint, a bit of bitter orange rind. It is easy to let the imagination go and just explore the complexity of the aroma and the flavor that follows suit with a suite of fruity and spicy hop characteristics.

The malt base is a very neutral presence that is felt more in the mouthfeel than in the flavor. There is a touch of sweet bread that provides the perfect stage for the hops and unlike a lot of the super hoppy APA's on the market, the mouthfeel is round and does not feel thin or out of balance with the big hop presence. The finish is crisp and dry.

What is enlightenment? Well in this case it is when a hop lovers dream is fully realized in a truly balanced and sessionable ale. After a few more glasses, maybe a other aspects of enlightenment will reveal themselves. Cheers! (1,029 characters)

Photo of metalgdog
4.62/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to baconsausage for this gem. Pours an inch or so head that dissipates to a long lasting white lacing. The appearance is cloudy with a light golden hue reminding you that this is an APA.

Wow, the aroma is absolutely incredible! A huge blast of citrus infuses the nose. I could smell this beer all day.

The flavor is a wonderful marriage of citrus and hops. Some juicy notes that are a trademark of the best pale ales. Finishes with a dry piney and bready bite.

The carbonation on this one is ideal allowing the characteristics of this beer to shine. Refreshingly light yet complex at the same time. It all makes for a wonderful drinking experience. (658 characters)

Photo of vonnegut21
4.62/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Hill Farmstead release 5/5/12.

Appearance: Hazy burnt-golden color, with a small head that fades rather quickly.

Smell: Citrus, hops and pineapple. Amazing pineapple in the nose. The malts break through toward the end. But wow, that pineapple stays with you.

Taste: Mild hop presence and creamy malts up front. The citrus and tropical fruits really shine on the back end. Goes down smoothly and on a warmer day I could put down several of these very quickly.

Feel: Perfect carbonation. Fairly strong bodied for the style. Crisp and smooth.

Overall: An excellent reprentation of the style. One of the best APA's I've ever had (the only ones better were also by Hill Farmstead). (696 characters)

Photo of VelvetExtract
4.6/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A-Pours incredibly opaque. The body glows. Minimal head. Light bubbles and some froth. Light lacing splotches.

S-An orgasmic mixture of tropical fruits and Summer grass clippings. Malt is sprinkled with spice and is akin to a doughy sweet bun. Has that trademark Hill Farmstead hop profile. Simply elegant.

T-The flavor is exquisite. The has introduce themselves in a jacket of tropical fruits and citrus juice. There is a clear transition into a clean grassy hop finish. Tastes ripe, juicy and fresh. The malt adds an underrated balancing factor. Caramel-glazed sweet dough. It meshes perfectly with the hops.

M-Sessionability is remarkable. Light, almost cask-esque feel. Finishes with a respectable level of bitterness. Semi-creamy.

O/D-Excellent, excellent beer. This is one of those beers that just misses the cut of being lumped into my top-most tier of beers. I actually have no complaints or criticisms of this beer. Sublime. (937 characters)

Photo of CADMixes
4.6/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

poured from a 750 ml growler into a hill farmstead stemmed glass.

A - hazy pale gold with fluffly white head that bubbles off quickly but leaves good lacing on the glass.

S - somewhat faint and unmistakably citrusy. the hop aroma seems to develop over time in the glass, and i got more fresh pine towards the end. befitting its origins, it smells extremely fresh.

T - big citrus, transitioning into a bright, hoppy bitterness. serious citrus zing with each swallow. particularly lemony, in my opinion. finishes off with a pleasant yeast note before you're left with the hops as a lingering aftertaste. maintains some of the ultra-dry, hoppy qualities of west coast ipas but this is a more mellow pour.

M - light, crisp body and perfectly carbonated.

O - like some other hf beers, enlightenment is elegant to the point of confounding. rather than going after big flavors, this is a beer about balance and creating a completely unified sip, from smell to swallow. it took me most of a growler to realize that it's a stunner. (1,027 characters)

Photo of pmlondrigan
4.6/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is good. It looks good, it smells good, it tastes good. Growler from the source. Pours hay yellow, like pee, with a fluffy merange white head. Laces as I drink. Smell is the best part of this beer. HUGE combo of resin-Y pine and grapefruit pith. I mean it is just gigantic and so fresh. Don't know how they do this. The flavor is packed with grapefruit citrus flavor, a little dankness. Some grainy cracker like malt. But this is a hop fest. The mouthfeel is a little thin but it is forgivable. Overall I have had few pale ales of this caliber. (554 characters)

Photo of Treebs
4.59/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

32 oz. growler served in a Portsmouth tulip. Huge thanks to Sean (Sean9689) for sharing another HF brew!

A: Pours a hazy gold color with light peach hues. A thick and foamy white head forms on the pours and recedes to a nice ring and film that leave some splotchy lace behind.

S: The nose just explodes with intense hops. Robust pineapple, sweet golden delicious apples and mango are the wonderful fruits up front. There is some nice grassy hops in the middle and the finish is of sweet bread malts.

T: The malts show themselves a bit more in the taste, but it is still wonderfully balanced. Great citrus and tropical fruit flesh with tastes of pineapple and mango with a mix of grassy hops and sweet bread malts.

M: Light bodied with perfect carbonation. Nice and refreshing with a sweet malt and fruit combination that lingers long after the finish.

O: As with the rest of the group I was blown away to find it was only Amarillo and Simcoe hops in this brew. Superbly crafted and wonderfully balanced. The nose was unreal and I could really drink this stuff all day. Please, please, please make this part of the regular rotation. I haven't been this blown away by an APA since my first encounter with Zombie Dust. (1,220 characters)

Photo of zoober911
4.58/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a light golden yellow. About a finger width of head that dissipates after a minute or so. When held to the light it is hazy as expected. It's calls your name.

S - Sweet delicious Simcoe and Amarillo. Pine, some malt.

T - A bit of malt up front with hop bitterness on the tail end. Slight citrus.

M - Great mouthfeel. Carbonation is spot on where it should be.

O - Overall a great representation of the style. Definitely another excellent offering from HF. Worth the drive and wait in line. (503 characters)

Photo of raveskdr
4.55/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml growler courtesy of Mr. Saisonsinthesun himself, yourefragile. Michael is the man. Acquired at 2nd anniversary party, poured into my FFF Teku.

A - Very murky, unfiltered off orangeish brown color. The growler kept the carbonation well. Those flip top HF growlers really do.

S - Smells slightly citrusy. Very Centennial-Amarillo type of smell. Not really sure what to expect from there.

T - Boom. Wow. Slightly resinous fresh cut pineyness along with slight melon and a tad of mango. Just a beautiful melange of hop flavors. Solid malt backbone that takes its rightful back seat, but holds up well to the hops.

M - Slightly effervescent on the tongue, solid finish without having too bitter of an ending. Yes, I much prefer a nice, hoppy, happy ending.

O - Winner, winner. Another 3 run homerun from Shaun. The consistency of his hoppy beers is astounding. West coast who? (883 characters)

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What Is Enlightenment? from Hill Farmstead Brewery
97 out of 100 based on 90 ratings.