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What Is Enlightenment? - Hill Farmstead Brewery

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What Is Enlightenment?
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99 Reviews
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(Send Samples)
Reviews: 99
Hads: 803
Avg: 4.4
pDev: 19.77%
Wants: 264
Gots: 33 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 99 | Hads: 803
Photo of Treebs
4.59/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

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Photo of Hophead717
4.2/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Hazy, light straw-orange. Fluffy one finger head caps the beer. Nice.

S: Fresh, semi-sweet sweet citrus. Some grapefruit, but also sweeter mango notes. Lightly resinous. Delightful.

T: Tropical fruits and light citrus upfront, quickly yielding to a mild malt backbone, with a some grassy notes. The finish is lightly bitter. Definitely a less-intense experience than the nose, but it largely follows the scent.

M: Light-bodied, with medium levels of carbonation. I'd like this a little less carbed, but we're splitting hairs on this.

O: Well-done pale ale--definitely one of the better ones that I've had. I'll definitely have a second glass.

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Photo of Gatch
4.47/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Beautiful hazy golden yellow with a super frothy, soapy, and sticky bright white head. Massive lace and great retention. Bright, vibrant, inviting.

S/T: Huge citrus. Seriously. Sweet, slightly tart, some pine, fresh dough and a bit of yeast. So perfectly balanced yet nicely hopped.

M: Super smooth as all HF beers are but a tad cloying which is surprising. Sort of chalky and yeasty in a weird way.

O: Pretty amazing beer. Low alcohol so its easy to put down a 750ml growler.

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Photo of Tschnab
4.42/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- a yellow cloudy color with a two inch head, some lace as well but not a lot.

S- lemon and tons of grass and flowers, tropical fruits.

T- Tons of fresh summery grass cuttings, floral notes and tons of mango and pineapple.

O- this is without a doubt the most ridiculously good tasting pale ale I've had.

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Photo of kevanb
4.28/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml growler, poured into a Hill Farmstead stemmed glass.

Pours a soft orange, hay-like yellow color, a bit of off white head rests atop the glass. Some lacing appears and the head retention is good. The aroma is simple, citrusy hops, grassiness plays well, lemongrass comes to mind, some cereal malt, and something sweet like honey also comes out. The flavors are pretty similar, very nice, a bit soapy, but nice citrus presence with a good floral bouquet, some earthiness from the malt along with a touch of pine comes forward as well. Nice body, light and easy while still packing in all that flavor, great carbonation and sticky texture. Hard to believe this is just a 5.4% pale ale.

Verdict: Another exceptional beer from Hill Farmstead. Consider me another convert and bandwagon rider, this guy knows how to brew a wonderful beer.

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Photo of Bendurgin
4.42/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Jon for bringing this one back from Vermont! Poured into a pint glass. This pours a cloudy pale straw with a thick cap of rocky white head. Lots of sticky lace.

The aroma hits right off with citrus hops with some hints of pineapple with a nice bitter edge. A little bit of vanilla seems to linger in the background. The pallet has a nice tropical fruit presence with candied orange and pineapple. A little bit of vanilla on the finish with doughy yeast.

The body is somewhat light and sticky with soft carbonation. Overall another home run for me. Love these sticky hop pale ales.

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Photo of Pahn
4.89/5  rDev +11.1%
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.

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Photo of silentjay
4.2/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

as with all Hill Farmstead hoppy pale beers, its hazy beyond hazy, with a huge pure white head that laces very well.

definite simcoe hop aroma of citrus and pine with a bit of the cat urine. lots of bitter citrus and grapefruit. all hops, very soft malt presence.

the pine and citrus notes are huge in the flavor with grapefruit being strong. definitely like Alpine Duet, some floral and spiciness in the middle with some tropical fruitiness behind that.

medium bodied with a fluffy carbonation and a juicy finish that's quite refreshing.

drinks very easy. for 5.4%ABV, they sure packed in a lot of flavor. another good, hoppy beer from Hill Farmstead (the best brewery going right now in my eyes).

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Photo of dcloeren
4.4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

HUGE thanks to jlindros for this growler!

Pours a hazy pale straw color with 2 fingers of bright white head. Excellent lacing all the way down.

The aroma is citrus hop dominated. A little dankwoth some nice breadiness adding a little depth.

The taste is citrus hop dominated, clean and crisp. The breadiness I got in the nose adds a little depth and balance tothe taste as well.

The mouthfeel is amazing! Light to medium in body with the perfect amount of carbonation. Makes for one hell of a refreshing brew! This beer goes down extremely easy and has an amazing dry hop finish. Makes you want another sip as soon as you finish your last. One of the best pale ales I've had to date!

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Photo of Gosox8787
4.25/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 2L swingtop growler chilled and split with a friend. Poured into pint glass. I had this filled straight from the brewery about five days ago, so it is still really fresh.

Appearance: Definitely on the lighter side for pale ales, a lot like Edward. Golden yellow to light orange in color with a nice creamy white head and good retention.

Aroma: Tropical fruit and pine notes right off the bat. A really nice pineapple sweetness with a resiny pine note in the back. Really nicely balanced.

Taste: Again, really hop forward. Tons of tropical fruit sweetness throughout. The amarillo and simcoe are both really noticable and play off each other well. Some bitter pine is there, but the pale malt and tropical fruit notes really balance it out well. Really drinkable and refreshing.

Mouthfeel: Manages to be both creamy and smooth. The carbonation is spot on and keeps this refreshing.

Overall, another awesome beer from Hill Farmstead where they really make a common style unique and great. One of the better pale ales I've ever tasted and the only one I can recall being better is probably Edward. I would definitely get this again.

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Photo of BranfordBound
4.25/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had at the Hill Farmstead brewery on Saturday, 9/26, poured into a wine glass. Pours a slightly hazy amber color with a smallish head. Nice floral aroma of hops of sweet malts. Overall this is a very well done Pale Ale by HF here, there is a nice malt backbone and the hops aren't crazy. Nice citrus and tropical fruit notes, definitely some grass, too. Not overly bitter. I would say this offers a little different hop profile than Edward, but I would still put Edward just a touch above this. Still great, though!

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Photo of Hop_God
4.4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

You can't go wrong with a Hill Farmstead Ale. This has everything you could hope for in a pale ale. Easy to drink, crisp and just the right amount of citrus and pine to go together.

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Photo of JC333
4.27/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

This was my 5th HF beer from a recent trip and the only one I will review since they were all stellar and I couldn't add anything that hasn't been said.

But I felt compelled to write about "What is..." Because it uses my two least favorite hops, Amarillo and Simcoe. I usually have to power through a beer with those hops as the center piece.

Not here, the mouth feel on HF beers is a thing of beauty and even the bitterest and piniest of hops finish smooth.

This is a pale ale way ahead of anything else out there using these hops.

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Photo of Ian_B
4.34/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Slightly hazy, unfiltered yellow-gold with a decent, fluffy head.

Smells heavily of citrus hop notes, particularly sweet tangerine. Very slightly woody/earthy with hardly any resinous characters; this smells like fruit juice.

Tastes very similar. Pale malted wheat with a lot of sweet, orange-y hop flavours. A little more piney and bitter than the smell, but very smooth overall; you might enjoy this even if you aren't a fan of hops.

A little light on the body and carbonation, but this is an extremely nice, crisp, and refreshing American Pale.

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Photo of ToasterChef
4.32/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A 750 ml HF swing-top growler has been in my fridge for a few days. The beer is poured into a white wine glass.

The liquid is golden colored and appears hazy through the condensation on my glass. A small pure white head does last too long but leaves good lacing. Clinging and rising bubbles can be seen within. For a growler that is a few days old and made the long car ride from Vermont to Maine, the carbonation levels appear to have held up nicely.

The beer has an amazing aroma. Lots of citrus and floral hops. It leads me to believe this will be an exception American pale ale.

The beer has a strong hop flavor.Citrus is the most noticeable flavor, although at the finish, it is more of an oily hoppiness. For the first few sips the hops were so dominant that the malts were noticeable absent. It was as if there was a large hole in the flavor profile. After a few sips, the beer tastes more balanced, but the hops are still strong.

Medium body with strong carbonation. There is a tangible coating on my lips and the roof of my mouth that is a touch sticky and fairly bitter.

This is a fairly impressive APA. I wouldn't say it is worth the long pilgrimage to HF if this is the only beer you seek, but if you make the trip and it is still available for growler fills, you should think about buying some. If you find it on tap, then by all means order a glass.

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Photo of andrewinski1
4.69/5  rDev +6.6%
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.

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Photo of mtomlins
4.25/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Prohibition Pig.

A 'light' refreshing, easy drinking APA. Lots of citrus, pine and some tropical fruits in the nose and on the palate. One of those well balanced beers you could drink all night.

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Photo of Kinsman
4.22/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a 750 of this at the brewery this afternoon. Poured into Lawsons tulip.

Pale and cloudy orange body with a nice white head. Pungent aroma brings out the hops. Lemon and orange cover the citrus notes while the floridness of the hops covers the rest.

Hops dominate the palate as expected with loads of grapefruit and orange notes. Bitterness really comes through with little malt body to balance things out. It has the ABV of a pale ale but all other signs point you towards an all out hop-bomb. Nothing wrong with that, just catches you a bit off guard.

Mouthfeel has a medium-light body with a well-rounded and drying finish which only helps accentuate the bitterness of the hops. Overall, it's not small secret... Hill Farmstead knows how to use it's hops. Boatloads of flavor in a relatively light package but still seems to be lacking a certain something (can't quite put a finger on it) that would put this in the upper echelon of hop-centric beers with a few other HF beers and their peers across the country.

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Photo of Hendry
4.68/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

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Photo of metalgdog
4.62/5  rDev +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.

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Photo of Luk13
4.7/5  rDev +6.8%
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.

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Photo of CliffBrake
4.67/5  rDev +6.1%
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!

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Photo of pmlondrigan
4.6/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

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Photo of alaimoa
4.34/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Growler fill from @tauroe and brought to CT
Smells of pine, floral and an overall earthiness
Big head that remains with a stickiness and lacing down the glass
Taste has a barn rusticness that almost reminds me of gardens, dirt, and more bitter than edward

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Photo of BoldRulerVT
4.78/5  rDev +8.6%
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.

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What Is Enlightenment? from Hill Farmstead Brewery
96 out of 100 based on 99 ratings.