Elaborative #1 - Hill Farmstead Brewery

Not Rated.
Elaborative #1Elaborative #1

Educational use only; do not reuse.

266 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 266
Reviews: 36
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 7.83%
Wants: 123
Gots: 59 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Hill Farmstead Brewery visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
American Wild Ale |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: MasterSki on 04-16-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Elaborative #1 was brewed in November of 2011 with our friends Brad Clark and Chad Yakobson. A brown ale brewed with freshly harvested Ohio walnuts. The beer was aged in oak barrels, each barrel with a different blend of wild yeast and bacteria representative of the participating brewers. After 18 months, the distinct threads were blended back together and refermented in the bottle.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 266 | Reviews: 36
Reviews by Kinsman:
Photo of Kinsman
4.36/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Fills the glass with a rich mahogany color and a big and fluffy tan head. First whiff gives you a healthy dose of fruity tartness overlaying a more subtle sweet malty note. Hard to pick up on any nutty notes at this point.

Refreshingly tart on the first sip without being too sour. Lemony citrus notes come through alongside a bit of a sweet white wine note. As it warms, it opens up a bit to show the maltier side of things. FInishes nicely with just a touch of the woody barrel flavor.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and rather crisp. Carbonations seems to be spot on. Overall, and excellent wild ale, though the walnuts seem to be hidden by all the wild yeast and barrel flavors.

More User Reviews:
Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.23/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

375ml bottle into Hill Farmstead stemware. Shared with schen9303.

Pours a 1.5 finger foamy cream colored head with moderate retention. Beer is a clear, dark brown-amber. Lacing is thick and layered with excellent stick. A great looking brew.

Nose is sweet off the bat with hints of vinegar and sour red fruit. Some nuttiness is apparent but if I didn't know it was supposed to be there, I'd confuse it with a sharper tartness. A woody funk too. Decent and moderately aromatic. Good balance too.

Opens tart red fruit with some nutty shell bitterness. Tart in the middle with a vinegary lean. Prunes and more red fruit at the middle. Funk and oak at the back end. Finishes dry with a light, prickly bitterness. Tart aftertaste. Very solid.

Light bodied with ample carbonation. Prickly and lively in the mouth and goes down aggressive and foamy. Finishes dry with a slightly puckering, but mostly clean aftertaste. Really good.

A very impressive offering from Hill Farmstead, Elaborative 1 leans more towards the Flanders style than an AWA but for what it is, its very good. Nice balance in the nose and palate with an outstanding feel to pull everything together. Definitely worth seeking out!

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.83/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

375 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Murky brown. Small khaki head. Nice surface wisps and retention.

Smell - Wow, it actually smells like walnuts. Sharp acidity. Lactic. White pepper.

Taste - Sharp sourness. A little bit of letdown. Malty. Nuts come out in the back.

Mouthfeel - Not as dry as Prolegomena. Better body. Nutty.

Overall - A unique take. I expected something similar to Prolegomena, but this has a totally different profile.

Photo of mobius387
4.52/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured into hill farmstead stemware

appearance: dark oaky brown, thick vanilla bubbly head, opaque, few bubbles clutching the sides and bottom of glass. is this a stout? no, no, its a wild

aroma: nutty, oaky, charred, brett, very nice and robust

palate: medium body, minimal carbonation, soft on the tongue, easy to drink

taste: i get black cherries, oak, tart, some molasses, a hint of hops, so smooth

overall: i have to say, this is one of the best sours ive had by HF. i love them for their ipas and saisons, but this is fantastic as well. a superbly balanced wild, tart enough to be a quality sour, but robust enough to offer much more than just sour power.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured in to HF stemmed tulip.

A - Deep brown with one finger of light brown head.

S -Some vinegar sourness up front that settle down and give way to a light nutty aroma and some sweetness.

T - Acidic sourness that gives way to a nutty/bready sweetness and touches of caramel and brown sugar. Not specifically getting the walnuts but there is a big nutty note.

M - Light to medium body. Dry. Moderate carbonation.

Photo of rlee1390
4.52/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

A-Clear ruby when pouring, black in the glass, with a two finger tan head and some lacing.

S-Mild funk, lots of oak and the nuts are present.

T-Amazing balance. Starts with mild funk. Then the walnuts and oak take over. The walnut flavor is outstanding. Even some grass.

M-Medium bodied, well carbonated, semi-crisp finish.

O-An absolutely amazing beer. One of the best. The walnuts had be concerned, but they flavor they give the beer was phenomenal.

Photo of Etan
3.77/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A. Pours a murky mahogany with a large off-white head.

S. Big lactic aroma. Toasted grain, strawberry, and a nutty aroma that is quite unique.

T. Vinous, light acetic acid, walnut husk, lactic finish. Simple.

M. Between light and medium-bodied with moderate carbonation.

O. This was enjoyable, and the walnut flavor came through more than I expected, but it's a somewhat one-dimensional beer. For the length and variety of barrel-aging I'm not really picking up much barrel complexity.

Photo of SadMachine
4.57/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a deep, opaque brown with mahogany hues on the edges. A finger head that retains well and leaves good lacing.

S- Smells incredibly unique! Opens with a waft of tart funk and barrel character, but it is swiftly ushered away by walnut and some wood. As it warms the tart and funky aromas increase. There's also a bit of smokiness.

T- The flavor is incredible, and so different from anything else I've ever tasted! It's hard to even describe many of the flavors since it's so unique. It is only mildly tart and funky, but the walnut and barrel flavors are big and pronounced. There are many subtleties that make this beer a pleasure to explore. It has a nice smokiness and mild roast to add to the mellow feel of the beer.

M- The mouthfeel is medium, smooth, and just about perfect for the style.

O- Overall I am enthralled with and intrigued by this beer! I wish I could describe it better, but this will have to suffice!

Photo of jlindros
4.13/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Shared with rudzud.

Decent fluffy slight foamy head, fades at a med pace with nice lacing, super dark cola brown color.

Nose is very interesting, there is a definite toasted walnut aroma, almost walnut shell like, with toasty brown malts hint of smoke too, then a nice sour wild ale with light funk, a wild lacto like creamy sour funk. then a nice toasty oak, hint vinous must I think.

Taste starts with creamy sourness, lacto like sour funk and wild flavours. Then brown malts, creamy toasty brown malts and plenty of nutty flavours, roasted walnut and light nutty toffee candy like, mixed with the nice sour wild funk, light malt vinegar. Also a touch of vanilla toasty oak. Finish is flemmy with more malt vinegar light funk lingering, little nutty toffee like and walnut shell.

Mouth is med bod, little flemmy, decent but lighter carb.

Overall not bad, interesting and unique, not quite wild enough imo, and a bit too malty but maybe that's the way to blend the walnuts in, but pretty enjoyable.

Photo of M-Fox24
4.19/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Shadowy dark brown tone, slightly fizzy and hazy which recedes, and a decent off-white, tan, head

S: A manifestation of an astonishing earthy funky vibe with traces of wine, dark fruits, grapes, peach, cherry, malt, oak, wood, and faint walnut notes. Aromas are bitter, sharp, and tart

T: Tart and acidic, woody and earthy, oaky and malty. A slight nutty /toffee feel in the beginning strengthens as the beer rests for a moment or two. Nonetheless, it’s encompassing among all sorts of intricacies; traces similar to the aromas: berries, grapes, limes, lemons, and peaches. Has a toasty sweetness, a pronounced funky and earthy character, a tad bit peppery, and vibes of red wine

M: A pleasantly smooth and elastic carbonated beverage that has a light to medium body

O: The strengthening of the toffee and walnuts is quite interesting, perhaps unnoticeable if one doesn’t pick up on it from the start. The earthy funky vibe, the smoothness, the variability, and the unpredictably make this out to be a remarkable innovative beverage.

Photo of cfrances33
4.64/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a Hill Farmstead wine stem.

Pour: Body is a muddy brown, with some rusty hues included. A finger of khaki head forms and leaves mild lacing.

Smell: A rather subtle nose... there is some funk and hay, that mixes with a lactic character, light lemon, and caramel. A touch of roast. Finish highlights more funk and nuttiness.

Taste: Just wow. Immediately opens with a clean, forward funk and lactic tartness. Evolves into a subtle caramel roast, a touch of dried cherries, and a mild lemony lactic bite. As the glass warms the funk becomes more prominent and is, dare I say, reminiscent of Cantillon, in particular. Finish is lightly roasty, funky, and tart.

Mouthfeel: Perfect levels of tartness and carbonation. Finish lingers with a lactic aspect and funk.

Overall: I am beyond impressed with this beer. One of the best Hill Farmstead beers I have had to date. Awesome.

Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.31/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle opened on 1.16.14

A - Pours a cola brown with a fizzy darker tan head that bubbles down slowly.

S - Earthy, walnuts, oak, tobacco. Smooth.

T - Tart oak, nutty, cherry and vanilla in the finish. Very layered and complex.

D - Good carbonation with a medium body.

O - Lots going on here. Walnuts, oak, funk, fruits.

Photo of nrs207
4.63/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark brown, not too murky. Slight head from a small pour. Looks inviting.

S - Nice slightly tart aroma. Can smell a bit of a brown ale and the walnuts as more of a generic nuttiness.

T - Taste is where the beer really elevates itself. I love walnuts and you can really taste them on the back end. Up front there's a light tartness. By no means is this an exceptionally sour beer. Very well balanced, but I love the walnuts at the end. Really enjoyable.

M - Smooth, well carbonated, no alcohol presence. Just like every other Hill Farmstead beer I've had the pleasure of trying.

O - This is a great beer that surpassed my expectations. The walnuts are really a great addition for someone who likes them, and I could drink this all day. Really great stuff right here, and another great beer from Shaun. Grab them if you can, none of us (6 people) were let down by it.

Photo of BEERchitect
4.24/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Utmost complexity, yet impeccable ease in drinking lie at the precipice of this intriguing sour ale that bridges cultures, innovation and experimentation; fueled by the spirit of Hill Farmstead, Crooked Stave and Jackie O's breweries.

The sour brown ale shows a malty austere but its taste of toast, wood, dry toffee and walnut is short and scant. Strong on oak presence, the beer hurries into a winey, sour and earthy taste that simply blooms in the middle. Notions of game and mushroom are carried away along with its toasted sweetness.

Gaining in its intensity, tangy tartness of dry cider, merlot and balsamic are savory and sour. Still, the shell of malt remains- dry toast, walnut and weathered oak provide firm flavor but without the associated sweetness of those tastes. Lemon, lime, grape and berry tartness turns peppery while a briny taste rounds out the middle.

Its peppery finish is highlighted by the remnants of toast, walnut and wood. With glimpses of chocolate and coffee peaking through, the ale dries to nearly completion with a clean and palate-stripping sour character. A lightly powdery dryness lives on and leaves the mouth feeling as much of wine as it does ale.

Elaborative One is a highly distinctive ale that reels in influences from Flanders Belgium, American "wild" mindsets and a companionship among the brewing brotherhood. You can taste the love as the house flavor of each brewery is alive and well in the glass- all melding into an orgy in taste.

Photo of Pinknuggets
4.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle to HFS Sniffer

A: dark brown but almost reddish mahogany in color with hues of bright red on the outside. It has a creamy tan brown head that leaves a heavy lacing that stays in the glass. It is pretty much completely opaque.

S: Upfront there are smells of oak and funk the wild yeast and long aging really makes its presence felt. There are some notes of walnuts and dark fruit with a little tiny bit of sweetness.

T: In the beginning it is pretty tart to the point its almost overwhelming, but immediately the brown and walnuts hit you and everything is smoothed out. The tartness does not disappear but becomes a lot more sweet as the walnut and oak flavor really stand out in finish that without being repetitive is completely smooth.

M: The carbonation adds to the tartness up front to almost burn your tongue but the aging and the brown ale parts come through making this beer really smooth and incredibly drinkable. The finish is probably one of the best I've ever had.

O: This is definitely the best brown sour I have ever had and is definitely an extremely high quality beer. The flavor is tart and sweet in the start but smooth nutty with a hint of oak in the finish. The transformation this beer makes in your mouth is amazing especially when coupled with the use of wild yeast and barrel aging if you can get this beer do so.

Photo of scottfrie
4.37/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

375ml bottle into snifter. Thanks again AutumnBeerLove!

A: Pours a deep brown color with a very soft and fuzzy looking light tan head. The head slowly faded into a very fuzzy and thick film that left a solid sheet of lace down the glass.
S: The nose is fruity, with woody notes of oak barrel coming through as well. Scents are tart and acidic, and the fruit is ambiguous. Slight funk, slight earth.
T: Woody and earthy flavors mix with a lightly acidic tartness in the finish. I get nutty notes as well, presumably from the walnuts, and there is a kiss of lemon in the finish. The aftertaste is peppery, earthy, and full of woody and dry oak barrel. There is a light amount of spice overall, and perhaps some unripe peach. More and more of the walnut comes out as this beer warms.
M: Medium body with a slick and greasy buttery-oak mouthfeel. I guess some of the greasiness could be coming from the walnut oil as well. Carbonation is fluffy and very smooth. Acidity is low, and tartness is perfect for the delicate flavors. Finish is buttery rather than tannic and dry.
O: A very enjoyable sour. Very smooth and slick body drinks very well. An interesting use of walnuts that worked very well. Thanks again Kevin!

Photo of unclejazz
4.62/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Happily enjoyed a few pours from brewers Chad and Brad at HF 3rd annual weather emergency. Being a fan of Crooked Stave and having visited Athens once, I was bind to enjoy this. What best stood out toe was the great smell of walnut, great funk tartness, and a clean crisp taste. I could drink and drink and drink this some more. I might jut drive back up when they release this in bottles. Cheers!

Photo of KingdomBobcat
4.8/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A- Rich brown, almost black, with a tan head of about one finger with quite a bit of lacing.
S- Mild funk, some grape-like notes, roasted dark malt, some walnut, smells boozier than it is too.
T- Pleasantly sour, very pronounced walnut that pairs well with the oak barrel aging.
M- A little low in carbonation, very smooth, wine like character. Pleasant mixed aftertaste of roasted malt and slight funk.
O- Was surprised when I saw this for sale at the brewery since it was not listed on their website. Very glad that I got one bottle to try. Pairs very well with wild turkey meat.

Photo of mhksuccess
4.31/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

pour from a bottle into a stone RIS snifter
brown color very little head and little lacing
smell is nuts and fruit with slight funk
has mild sour taste very smooth
the oak barrel they used seem to give it a slight wine type of taste to it
would prefer more of a tart sour
but it is a smooth bottle worthy of trying

Photo of facesnorth
4.68/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Elaborative has grown on me just sickly The aftertaste is so chewy I feel like I'm eating the essence of a walnut without any of the scratchiness and heaviness in actually doing so.

You need to drink 2 full bottles before you even begin to understand this beer. That may be the case for a lot of HF - the first bottle is simply to temper expectations and prepare your palette for the second.

I've had 3-4 bottles of this now. I still have another 4-5 in my cellar. I don't think I'll be trading this one for anything. edit: 6-7 bottles now, possibly my favorite beer ever.

Photo of cpetrone84
3.57/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pour is deep brown with dark ruby red edges and a tight light brown head. Nose is tart cherry, faint lacto, lots of oaky wood and vanilla. Taste is tart, the walnuts come through a bit. Medium body and fairly present carbonation. Taste leans towards a Flanders red with strong oak and vanilla. The nuttiness is through the finish.

Photo of bahnfire
4.52/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle into HF stemware.

A: Pours a dark brown color with 1.5 finger head. In the glass it passes minimal to no light, but appears maroon around the edges of the glass.

S: Lots of good funk on the nose. Can't get enough of it. Also get some of the walnuts on the nose as well.

T: Not quite as sour as the nose may lead you to believe, but still properly sour. More of a balanced sour than a mouth puckering sour. The barrel comes through as well. The more it warms the more barrel you get.

M: Medium bodied. Carbonation level typical of the style.

O: A great sour brown ale. If you like sours I would recommend seeking it out.

Photo of PsilohsaiBiN
4.54/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Rusty, brownish red with a small off-white head that recedes quickly to the perimeter.

Smell: Funky sourness, damn. There's an array of fruit there: cherries, pear, apple and lemon. Some faint strawberry notes are there as well.

Taste: Front of the tongue is all funk from the wild yeast. Middle of the tongue gives you that juicy fruit thing as described in the nose. The end of the drink gives you the walnut character and then it all just fades out so cleanly, it's insane. The finish of this beer pretty much makes everything, despite the insanity of it all, drop off a cliff, and leave you with nothing more than an extremely subtle walnut taste; pretty damn complex. The way this beer unfolds is just so nice; beginning, end and middle are just so different, and distinctly unique.

Mouthfeel: Good carbonation and medium bodied at most, but extremely drinkable.

Overall: This beer is like nothing I've ever had, but that alone doesn't make an outstanding beer. This brew is amazing because it unfolds like a well told story; with many distinct stages of the plot happening in waves that can't be ignored. A complex journey that I've found in few beers prior, this stands out. Thanks, Shaun and friends.

Photo of Stevedore
4.05/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375ml bottle, poured into a Cantillon taster 7/7/2014.

A- Medium-dark brown body with an effervescent one finger off-white head with good retention. Looks like Rodenbach in some ways. Not much lacing.

S- Tart lacto, some white wine grape character, a bit of sweet brown malt and a bit of the signature Vermont funk. Missing the walnuts here, though this is a refreshing smelling beer.

F- Vinous character, Vermont funk, more of the sweet brown malt comes out but this is still quite tart. Fairly interesting, but again I'm not getting the walnut contribution here. Was expecting something more nutty, but I'm pleased with the tartness here. Reminds me a bit of Prolegomena but with more of a tart chardonnay-like character rather than port.

M- Medium bodied, well-carbonated, very easy and refreshing to drink. Not particularly complex but fairly interesting.

O- This is probably a bit over the hill considering it's over a year old, but this was still a nice treat.

Photo of WTKeene
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 375ml bottle into a Hill Farmstead tasting glass.

Appearance: Dark maroon/brown at the base fading to almost black at the top. Hints of copper, mahogany in the appearance as well, especially as the bottle gets emptier. Head is thick and creamy beige, and coats the glass with lacing.

Smell: The nose is quite vinegary, with a hint of roasted nuts. Fruity, even a vaguely spicy quality, almost cinnamon. Remarkably complex.

Taste: Not nearly as sour as I thought it would be. I was expecting a vinegar bomb and was happily surprised. Lots of roasted walnuts with a hint of smoke. Hints of fruitiness, and lots of oaky vanilla. Incredibly complex, and ridiculously good. The aftertaste is a lot of molasses.

Mouthfeel: The only negative point of the beer. A little thin, and carbonation is low. Molasses in the aftertaste really sticks to the mouth.

Overall: A pleasant surprise from Hill Farmstead. Was expecting this to be a lot less exciting, but I should have known better than to underestimate Hill Farmstead. A fantastic sour brown right here.

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Elaborative #1 from Hill Farmstead Brewery
96 out of 100 based on 266 ratings.