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What Is Enlightenment? - Hill Farmstead Brewery

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What Is Enlightenment?
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97 Reviews
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Reviews: 97
Hads: 785
Avg: 4.41
pDev: 19.73%
Wants: 256
Gots: 29 | 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: 97 | Hads: 785
Photo of cfrances33
4.73/5  rDev +7.3%
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!

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.31/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Positive Pie. Reviewed from notes. Served in a Hill Farmstead pint.

Served with a 1 finger foamy white head with moderate retention. Beer is a cloudy pastel lemon. Lacing is thick and layered with very good stick. Real pretty. I wouldn't expect any less.

Nose is mango, citrus, and papaya with a splash of cane sugar and the slightest hop bitterness. Moderately aromatic. Solid.

Opens manga, papaya, and cane sugar sweetness. Pulpy and juicy in the middle with some citrus hop bitterness creeping in towards the end. A robust citrus malt backbone with a sprinkling of hop bite at the finish. Clean, tropical fruit aftertaste.

Light bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth and quenching in the mouth and goes down light and dry. Very drinkable. Clean finish with the slightest lingering aftertaste.

This pale ale really delivers and I wouldn't have expected any less from Hill Farmstead. Almost like an Ephraim light that I could drink all day long. An exception example of the style.

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

Taken from notes on a recent trip to Montreal and Vermont.

On tap at the Prohibition Pig. Pours a hazy golden color with an inch of head. Some lacing. This thing smells amazing. Big, hoppy aroma. Citrus and tropical fruits. Predominately grapefruit. The taste is a big swig of sweet grapefruit and citrus peel. Floral hints at the end. Bitter and hoppy throughout. Lots of carbonation. This one is a bit on the dry side. Overall, an outstanding bitter Pale Ale with a great deal of grapefruit flavor.

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Photo of Hendry
4.68/5  rDev +6.1%
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 jaasen64
4.55/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml growler poured into HF stemmed glass. Filled two days ago, keg just tapped that same day. Thanks Don (DonFrap) for picking this up for me.

A- Pours a yellowish golden that appears slightly hazy and mostly opaque in the glass, about a finger of foamy head forms leaving nice layered lacing around the sides of the glass as it dissipates at an average pace.

S- Tropical aromas of grapefruit, lemons, hint of papaya, balanced with a light malt profile. Simcoe and Amarillo really come out nicely and give the beer a very pleasant refreshing aroma and is without a doubt one of the best pale ales I've ever smelled, even better then Zombie Dust. It's one of those beers that I just don't want to consume because I want to keep on smelling it.

T- Juicy notes of grapefruit and bitter lemons, finishes with papaya and a little bit of passionfruit balanced with a nice malt background. Not quite as good as the aroma but extremely balanced with a ton of flavor coming through.

M- Smooth, refreshing, extremely easy drinking, medium bodied to a little bit on the light side, decent carbonation.

O- This was easily one of the best APAs I've had and is another home run by Hill Farmstead. This beer had a ton of flavor but still remained nicely balanced with the malt profile. Insanely drinkable and easily one of my favorite HF growlered beers, I wish I could have a glass of this every day. I highly recommend checking this out, just make sure you drink it fresh.

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Photo of yourefragile
4.49/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Blue Bird in Burlington.

Pours a hazy, glowing yellowish orange with a frothy off white head. Fairly sweet, juicy aroma of grapefruit and orange, some grass and lemon, and faint doughy malt. Like nose, flavor starts initially sweet, orange and other tropical notes before giving way to a grassy bitter finish. I prefer Edward to this, but that might just be more out of conditioning than anything else.

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Photo of rudzud
4.77/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

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Photo of iwantsomerocks
4.97/5  rDev +12.7%
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.

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.2/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

What is Enlightenment? 12-ounce snifter at Bluebird Tavern in Burlington, Vermont.

Appearance: Classic Farmstead look, hazy-unpasteurized, one finger of bubbly snow-white head that lasts. Foamy lacing.

Smell: Reefer, quality skunk, naked hops, grass. Sniff deeper and get barnyard funk, stinky cheese. Citrus, pickled pineapple.

Taste: Super refreshing, light citrus, but not as good as smell. Smooth honey, clover, tad of spice at the end. Pollinated fields, fresh hops. For a 5.40% APA, this drinks more like a DIPA!

Mouthfeel: Nice spicy hoppy finish, well balanced all around. A little thin but fine.

Overall: Super drinkable, and as farm-fresh as always (more so here in Vermont!). A beautiful display of craftmanship and delicious hops.

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Photo of pmlondrigan
4.6/5  rDev +4.3%
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 Luk13
4.7/5  rDev +6.6%
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 cosmicevan
4.1/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another pleasant treat from the 7/27 Top Hops mini tasting! Filled a week and a half ago.

a - murky straw yellow with a foamy head. beautifully cloudy. doesn't look like an IPA at all, but still gorgeous. great lacing.

s - great hop smell. citric burst. little rubber in the background (from the rice?).

t - tastes like a rice ipa. doesn't compare to the kuhnhenn DRIPA. nice, but the rice definitely takes over on the flavor and drains some of the ipa goodness from the smell...still very solid.

m - easy drinker, very soft. a bit watery even.

o - overall very good. not something i'd trade my cellar for but very crisp. nice and different for an IPA. the lower abv gives it good sessionability. the finish shows the bittery hops which i wish were more prominent in the taste. enjoyable.

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Photo of dcloeren
4.4/5  rDev -0.2%
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 Pahn
4.89/5  rDev +10.9%
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 kevanb
4.28/5  rDev -2.9%
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 Kinsman
4.22/5  rDev -4.3%
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 Tschnab
4.42/5  rDev +0.2%
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 VelvetExtract
4.6/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

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Photo of WanderingFool
4/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What is Enlightenment? pours a cloudy, straw yellow with a thing white head on top. The foam fades quickly leaving behind a few spots and lines of lace on the glass.

The aroma is loaded with orange citrus and tropical fruit notes of mango and tangerine.

Each sip of this medium bodied beer is soft and light on the palate with mild carbonation. The flavor is sweet and nicely balanced. Caramel and toasted malt are followed by orange citrus and tropical fruit (tangerine). It finishes dry with lingering tangerine flavors.

This is a very tasty, easy drinking beer that is light in body and well balanced.

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

750ml HFS Growler of What is Enlightenment filled at the 7/14 Ann release.

A: Poured a cloudy pale straw color with about a finger of white head.

S: An abundance of tropical fruit/citrus in the nose

T: Nice fruity citrus notes upfront (lots of lemon) and finishes with a mild bitterness that lingers.

M: Soft carbonation with a medium body.

O: A very well balanced APA from HFS. Quite delicious.

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

Hazy golden body, frothy white head. Good retention; leaves sticky bubbles on the side of my glass. Huge aroma of fresh hops and citrus brings a smile to my face. Pungent and pleasant.

Hop-forward with minimal malts which is usually off-setting to me, but this works nicely. Intensity is scaled back; good balance of flavors. Refreshing and tasty, easy to session.

Yet another stellar brew from HF!

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Photo of ppoitras
4.22/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2L swing-top growler filled at the brewery.

First HFB glass pours with a 1/2" eggshell head, over the cloudy golden amber brew. Head recedes gradually down to an uneven layer, with lasting lace. Aroma is oranges and tangerines.

Taste begins with a peek of sweetness, quickly giving way to the dominant citrus hops character which holds on through the close, which is lightly chalky. Mouthfeel is soft and smooth, and drinkability is good. Nice thirst-quenching brew for a hot day. Reminiscent of Harlan, but with much less bitterness.

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Photo of stakem
4.18/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1-liter growler care of baconsausage, big thanks for the trade man. Poured into a tulip, the brew appears a clouded golden color with more than 2 fingers worth of pillowy white head. As the cap fades, it leaves a wall of lace sticking to the glass. A light swirl revives a finger of froth back to the surface fairly effortlessly.

The initial aroma includes hints of tropical fruit quality that is something along the lines of nectarines and as more sniffs are taken, more of a not-so-specific tropical fruited quality emerges. Having sampled this almost immediately after Harlan reveals a lot of similarities here to the aromatics. There is a mild cheesiness to the backend of this that takes this brew off in a different direction.

The taste has some zesty bitterness like orange pulp that blends into bitter herbal aspects mixed with a bit of grassy and then yeasty quality and faint straw-like grain inclusion. Like I noted about the aroma, there are a lot of similarities here with Harlan but maybe a bit more grain inclusion here with this brew. As it warms up, a bit of sulfur is noted and a classic "catty" quality typically found from simcoe that lasts into the aftertaste.

This is a light bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. It is light, refreshing and easy drinking. Having a 1-liter growler is perfect, I have no hesitation reaching for another glass and could easily take down several glasses of this in a session. To be picky, I found this to be just too similar to Harlan. If I wasn't paying specific attention to what was going on in my glass, I think these 2 brews could almost be passed off for one another.

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Photo of BarrytheBear
4.05/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Growler courtesy of Camden. Thank you again!

Pours a cloudy yellow-orange with a substantial full finger's worth of white froth. Lace curtains adorn ye ole tulip.

Unmistakable whiff of Amarillo hops here, playing lemon-lime. A doughy sweetness from the malts hover over the proceedings as well.

Lemon pledge and lemon drop candy strong out of the gate. There's a caramel covered apple sweetness along with apple skin throughout the middle. The end is hop oils and catty with a light leafy bitterness and very dry finish. A saliva sucker.

I have been quite fortunate to try Edward, Abner, and this beer in the same week and while a nice beer, this is the weakest offering of the three. The term weak, however, is relative here. Appreciative for the chance.

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Photo of codysjb
4.35/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: good yellow, amazing like all hf stuff.
S: somewhat bland but lemon and zest.
T: another amazing pale ale from hf. balanced, not too much of any flavor but all around good lemon and citrus tastes.
M:same as taste.
O: had at good beer while beer shopping and still have yet to have a hf beer that isnt amazing.

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