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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 mdaschaf
4.44/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes. Thanks to Greg for this one!

A: Pours a hazy yellow with a large white head on top, very foamy with great retention and lacing. Great looking beer.

S: Lots of citrus on the aroma, lemon, lime, orange, and a little bit of tangerine. Slight sugary sweetness and pale malt, but overall lots of juicy citrus.

T: More juicy citrus, lemon, lime, a bit of grapefruit and orange zest. Nice malt backbone, but certainly hop forward for a pale, just as I want it. Very flavorful.

M: Medium bodied with perfect carbonation. Extremely smooth and easy drinking. Could drink this one all day long.

O: Another great hop forward beer from HF. Hard to put them in any sort of order, because all of them are great. (724 characters)

Photo of nootch23
4.44/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured from a 750ml growler into a tulip glass

A - a nice hazy, golden orange color. About a half a fingers worth of white head.

S - very light smell. not much aroma to this one. Mostly citrus with a little bit of pine.

T - right up at the front of the tongue was the taste of citrus, lemon with orange peel. Picked up small traces of melon and a little bit of malt flavor underneath. Very light hop bitterness.

M - very juicy finish leaving the mouth with the lemon flavor.

O - This was a very nice pale ale and at 5% a very sessionable beer to have. Very smooth and easy to drink on a hot day. Nice balance to the flavors. Hill Farmstead has done it again and come out with a great beer for its style. Would definitely purchase this one again when available. (765 characters)

Photo of jbaker67
4.44/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours unclear golden with an orange hue, thicker for the style which is nice. Aroma is the only thing that is not balanced here because it is so light. What you do get in the nose is so juicy and delicious, some citrus sweet hops. The body and flavor are perfectly balanced, as usual for HF. It brings juicy hops with just the right tang, and citrus, soft without any hop bite at all. Each sip gets better, refreshing the palate on a warm spring day just like an APA should do. Lingers on the tongue just long enough until you are going back for more. (551 characters)

Photo of tectactoe
4.46/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Super huge thanks to TheLostGringo for a growler of this stuff... and it was only an extra. Shared with some good people. This one pours a golden-yellow; bright, vibrant, and translucent, but still plenty of unfiltered haze. The soapy, foamy white head settles quickly to a collar after building up to only about a half-inch in height. Good looking pale ale, no complaints so far.

What Is Enlightenment is hopped with one of my personal favorites - Amarillo - and Simcoe, which is often hit or miss for me (and is usually only miss when it's the only hop used). Piney, citrusy, bursting full of oranges and some grapefruit with oily resins and a mildly dank character hiding in the background. Success! The pine comes through from the Simcoe and mixes well with the heavy fruit aromas from Amarillo. Malt? Nah, this is a hoppy pale ale, baby!

A crisp little bitterness bites the tongue up front but it's pretty tame and never reaches a level where I'd say "this is more bitter than a pale ale should be". Lots of pines and leaves, followed up quickly with grapefruit peels, juicy orange centers, and a hint of lemon zest. Whatever the proportion of Simcoe to Amarillo is here, I don't know, but it's almost perfect.

Such a crisp pale ale, relatively light bodied, yet robust enough to maintain its presence on your palate. Carbonated well, even for a growler (I guess that's why swing-tops are so good), so it keeps nipping softly at your tongue with each sip and finishes dry to keep you thirsty. A touch of yeast and malt coats the palate and only become noticeable once the hop assault has finally faded.

I wasn't particularly impressed with the first two Hill Farmstead beers I ever had, but What is Enlightenment has essentially blown me away. Such a good pale ale, it's really a crime that this stuff is only available in Vermont. Though it was split six ways, I could easily smash through an entire growler of this on my own. So drinkable, so tasty, such an awesome pale ale. (1,986 characters)

Photo of Chico1985
4.46/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

750ml growler shared by....wait for it...cbutova.

Pale hazy orange pour, white head, good retention. That Hill Farmstead look.

For smell I wrote "Uh, tangerine." More or less, true. Just fresh orange/citrus hops all up in there with danky pine, herbal and tropical notes for good measure.

Taste delivers what I can only describe as super fruity dankness. Just great orange, mango, grapefruit, dank earthy hops. Baked bread malts at just the right level. Hard to believe this a pale ale, just huge flavor and huge hops, but balanced.

Medium-high carbonation and a well-bodied beer. Feels a bit bigger than the ABV would hint towards.

Very good, hard not to enjoy this one. I think this is the new generation of American pale ales. Enlightening. (751 characters)

Photo of jlindros
4.47/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wish I could get up to the brewery more. Such amazing beers, and pretty cheap overall too. Love the fresh APAs, IPAs, and saisons.

Pours a nice fizzy fluffy 1 finger head fades fairly slowly with light foamy lacing, fairly hazy golden orange yellow wheat colored beer.

Nose explodes with awesome hops, tropical fruit, citrus, grapefruit, pineapple, light musty resin and passion fruit, juicy fruit, light malts to base it.

Taste starts with more hops, a light creamy pale malt base. Hops again bring tropical fruit, quite juicy, light passion fruit, little musty resin, tangerine, clementine, grapefruit, but not super bitter. Washes down easy and clean, dry, with a nice finish of musty resinous hop that isn't strong, more citrus fruits, crisp and long hop lingering.

Mouth is med bodied, crisp, good carb for growler.

Overall awesome, great hops, tropical fruit, passion fruit, nice clean finish and perfect bitterness with a touch of a fluffy malt base. (963 characters)

Photo of BARFLYB
4.47/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On Tap at Teresa's Next Door. Served in a tulip.

Really nice look here in the beer boasting a olympic metal gold with a light orange look as well. As all hill beers on tap, Enlightenment boasts a bright white firm head leaving some stick on the glass. This one looks inviting as all hell. Smell i all tropical scent with simcoe coming through and a light bready malt profile with warming. This smells like beer I want to drink a lot of. Taste is light while being bold. Everything is light and melded nice like with mango, papaya, grapefruit and slight pine. It's the well water used which brings this over the top though. I don't know if this is true or not, but it has to be the water, this just tastes too clean. Feel is light with a nice crisp carb. This is a all day beer and I only wish it shows up again. I feel blessed. (828 characters)

Photo of Gatch
4.47/5  rDev +1.1%
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. (482 characters)

Photo of Crookdrain
4.48/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

64oz growler courtesy of Matt Six.

A: Translucent golden straw. Healthy foam-white head dissipates as it warms closer to room temperature

S: All Simcoe - pine, some Wheatgrass, fresh mown lawn, honey malt

T: Classic HF pale ale - piney West Coast hop bitterness delicately balanced by a solid malt foundation. This is all pine and grass, with a bit of fruitiness lingering around in the aftermath - I get some lemon and maybe strawberry.

O: Great representation of a hoppy American Pale Ale with eyes toward the West Coast. I still prefer Edward, but this is better than 99% of anything else out there. (609 characters)

Photo of yourefragile
4.49/5  rDev +1.6%
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. (413 characters)

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

I want to get more of this to write a more thoughtful review but this was at a tasting recently and it stole the show for me.

Beer is amber / orange and clear with a white head, nice retention, some lacing, moderate to low carbonation.

Aroma is citrus and tropical fruits.

Beer is medium to light in body and sweet with a nice hop palate and a good lightly bitter hoppy finish. I'd have this again, a lot of this again. I want more, seriously where can I get some more? (472 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
4.52/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to a great trader for the 750mL growler. Served in a Hill Farmstead long stem tulip. Pours a slightly cloudy pale apricot with a really nice white head and quite a bit of lacing. The nose has some light pineapple along with great citrus character and a bit of rind. Extraordinarily flavorful. Hoppy and great bitterness through the finish. Mouthfeel is unmatched. Classic Hill Farmstead. Love it. (407 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
4.52/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to Sean for sharing this one. Served in a Kuhnhenn goblet.

A - Quick-dissolving white foam settles to some wispy patches, a thin collar, and splotches of lace. Murky peach flesh body.

S - The hop intensity is crazy - I was shocked to discover this only contained Amarillo and Simcoe. The Amarillo is nostril-shredding, with lemon zest, herbs, and a hint of dankness, while the Simcoe provides a tropical undercurrent. I initially thought there might be Nelson in in here, but apparently I'm imagining things. Pleasant vanilla malt sweetness way in the background.

T - Delicious mix of citrus, herbs, stone and tropical fruits, hint of sweet malts, and moderate finishing bitterness. No loss of intensity from the aroma.

M - Zesty carbonation, medium-light body, lightly chewy, dry finish, and minimal alcohol presence.

D - Crushable stuff. I think I like Hoppy Birthday a bit more but this is similarly excellent. I could easily polish off 2L on my own. Hope Shaun Hill makes this a regular offering instead of just an anniversary beer, as it's too goo to only be made once. (1,086 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)

Photo of jaasen64
4.55/5  rDev +2.9%
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. (1,467 characters)

Photo of Reagan1984
4.55/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Made the pilgrimage to Greensboro Bend yesterday and this was one of my treats for having made the trip. Enjoying my 750ml growler on a lovely Sunday afternoon.

A finger of foamy white head tops a pale straw color with a touch of amber. Hazy. Lovely thick lace as is standard with many Hill Farmstead products.

Fresh light aroma. I get some herbal notes and a mix of fresh grapefruit and some tropical notes. No single fruit stands above the others, but the meld works wonderfully.

At some level it becomes boring reviewing the Hill Farmstead line-up and by boring I mean that I have to keep reporting that they are incredible beers. The mix of fruit and bread notes are just so fantastic here. Citrus first, then herbal notes, then tropical fruit. The bread notes come in the back half and are blended with a wonderful bitterness to close.

Soft, velvet like and so fresh. The carbonation provides a slight sparkle and doesn’t get in the way.

What a fantastic brew. So easy drinking and soft. Yet at the same time the flavors pop and are so fresh. (1,054 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 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 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 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 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 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)

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