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Prolegomena - Hill Farmstead Brewery

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

28 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 28
Hads: 213
Avg: 4.32
pDev: 8.33%
Wants: 174
Gots: 50 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Hill Farmstead Brewery visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
Flanders Red Ale |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: MasterSki on 04-25-2013

Prolegomena is our interpretation of the Flanders Red Ale - the Burgundy of Flanders, Belgium. In April 2011, we brewed out version of this classic style with the help of our friend Will Meyers. The beer has aged gracefully in oak barrels for more than two years, all the while slowly developing acidity and various layers of complexity and from the introduction of wild yeast and bacteria.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 28 | Hads: 213
Reviews by EMorgan:
Photo of EMorgan
4.71/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Won this from a raffle at the Hill Farmstead 3rd Anniversary Celebration. So happy I won this, along with a bottle of their Elaborative #1, which I gave to a good friend!

Poured from bottle but shared with five friends, so not a full pour. This is my first official review for a beer, so please bear with me.

Pours a murky, reddish-brown. Head disappears quickly to a thin, white head, giving a fine lacing as you tip your glass.

Dark fruit aroma. I definitely get plum with something slightly sweeter, maybe raisin. You can also smell the classic Flanders Red sourness, which makes anticipation of that first taste all the more exciting!

More of a mellow sourness than I expected from the smell, but very well balanced with the subtle, grape sweetness. This definitely makes you think of a wine gone sour, but in a good way. I expected a little more oakiness since this was aged for over two years in port wine barrels, but it's just as subtle as the grape.

Light carbonation and mouthfeel, but leaves a crisp feeling on the tongue. Tart, but not too tart - right in line with that mellow, sour taste. Makes you want to take the next sip quickly.

Very enjoyable brew. I expected nothing less from Hill Farmstead with this one. I love sours, but this beer opened my eyes up to the fact that a well-rounded sour and not a "pucker-your-lips-with-alum" sour is the bar to measure this style against. Very glad I got to share the first released bottle of this beer with some good friends.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.31/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Huge thanks to Kyle for this one. 375ml bottle into Hill Farmstead stemware. Shared with schen9303.

Pours a rich, 2 finger cream colored head with great retention. Beer is a clear, dark red, mahogany. Lacing is thick and layered with excellent stick. A great looking brew.

Nose is tart cherry puree, oak and peat. Deep and aromatic. Subtly sweet. Decent.

Opens tart cherry, vinous and oaky. Vinegar, rotting wood, leather, tart red fruit in the middle. Acidic as hell towards the end. Cherry pit and skin mixed with oak, moss, and peat. Finishes vinegar and more red fruit puree. Tart aftertaste. Awesome.

Light to medium bodied with ample carbonation. Prickly and lively in the mouth and goes down acidic and abrasive. Finish dry and puckering with a lingering, sticky dry aftertaste. Very nice.

The first iteration of a Flanders Red Ale I've had from Hill Farmstead and its predictably awesome. Great flavor, excellent feel, and a nose and appearance that ties everything together. Very good.

 1,001 characters

Photo of cfrances33
4.65/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a Hill Farmstead wine glass.

Pour: Pours a dark, reddish brown with a finger of tannish, rusty head. Head recedes to a rim rather quickly, yet leaves some lacing. While no light can be seen through the glass, if held up to a light, it is surprisingly crystal clear.

Smell: Big tannic fortified wine presence, with some plums and a touch of caramel/brown sugar. Typical Hill Farmstead funk. Some tart cherries come out on the nose, especially as it warms. Warm, it develops an cherry pie like quality, with some oak, a touch of cinnamon, and more tart cherries.

Taste: Similar to the opening on the nose, with a distinct port quality and sour cherries. More sour than the nose implies. Oaky and funky. Some caramel sweetness and brown sugar gives this a nice body. As it warms, more of the tart cherry pie flavor comes through. Finishes dry and sour.

Mouthfeel: Sour. One of the more sour Hill Farmstead beers I've had yet. Medium heavy body. Very dry on the finish.

Overall: A very impressive Flanders Red from Shaun and company. I'm not typically a fan of this style, but this was executed very, very well. Age not needed on this one... it's amazing now.

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Photo of kojevergas
4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

BOTTLE: Brown glass. Unbranded pry-off pressure cap. Appealing simple label art.

Acquired: Via a trade orchestrated by a friend in my tasting group; thanks, Collins!

Reviewed live at low altitude in Austin, TX. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Vintage: ?
ABV: 8.5%
Style: Flanders red ale (per the label).
Serving temp: Cold. Allowed to warm over the course of consumption.
Serving vessel: Tulip.
Expectations: Sky-high given the style and brewery. I believe this is my first Hill Farmstead sour, and this style might be my favourite type of sour.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: ~1 finger wide. Adequate creaminess. Great thickness. Leaves no lacing as it recedes. Soft-looking.

Retention: Average. ~2 minutes.

BODY: Oddly, it looks like more of a caramel-brown than a deep red to me. No yeasty muck is visible.

It's a nice-looking beer in general, but doesn't nail the flanders red appearance at all.

AROMA: Has a nice tartness, with notes of tart cherry and cherry pie filling. I dig the pie crust. It's not as acetic as say, Rodenbach's best offerings, but it's adequate. Faint cream.

The barrel character is understated, subtly teasing out the mild sourness with hints of oak, and to a lesser extent, red wine.

I think I'm finding some fresh orchard red apple as well. Granny smith apple? It's crisp and inviting. Maybe a kiss of brown sugar in there too?

Aromatic intensity: mild.

The cherry pie crust is seductive, and the tartness right on the money for the style. Seems only modestly sour - maybe 3-4/10 in terms of intensity. In any case, this is mouthwatering and near perfect for the style. Brilliant.

No yeast character, alcohol, or off-notes are detectable.

TASTE: The red apple is a nice touch, blending well with the cherry pie filling I love so much about this beer. The pie crust notes are set off beautifully by the hint of brown sugar - another note you don't find in many traditional offerings in the style. Not quite as acetic as I'd like, but it's there.

Contrary to the best traditional offerings in the style, it has a younger more crisp taste instead of an obviously aged expression of flavour - which probably contributes to the understateness of its acetic character as well as the absence of much in terms of vinegary flavour.

Depth of flavour: Very good.
Flavour duration: Good.
Flavour intensity: Apt but modest.
Flavour amplitude: Great.

Sourness is a style-appropriate 3-4/10, but I'd like to see it dialed up a bit along with the tartness.

This build nails the fundamentals, hitting the cherry pie and acetic one-two punch of a great Flanders red beautifully. Its balance is stellar, and there's ample subtlety and here. What's impressive is its unique nuances, particularly in terms of the expressive brown sugar and apple.

Very cohesive. Certainly a gestalt beer, with plenty to offer the discerning drinker.

Constructively, the oak barrel is rather reticent. Still, the red wine lends this a nice subtle undertone of dry blackberry and a kiss of tannins.

TEXTURE: It's a bit thin on the palate, with inadequate body and presence. Needs a fuller body, a softer feel, and more of a refreshing smoothness and wetness. But it's near perfectly carbonated. Perfect acidity, coaxing out those crisp red apple notes and evoking apple skin.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, rough, or scratchy.

There's not a harmony of texture to taste, but it complements it nicely.

OVERALL: One of the best American-brewed Flanders Red Ales I've had. Its uniqueness will impress the discerning drinker, and it's absolutely worth trying. This is more great work from Hill Farmstead, but it still fails to surpass the traditional paragons of the style (e.g. Rodenbach Caractere Rouge). I could drink this by the growler, and already want more.

High B+ (4.0)

 3,863 characters

Photo of tectactoe
4.06/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of lateralundertow
4.4/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of thetommo
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of warnerry
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of Cynic-ale
4.02/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of doremite
4.43/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of williamjbauer
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of stereosforgeeks
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of AdamF625
4.71/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A- pours a brown/ruby color, tall fizzy tan head
S- grapes, red wine, plums, cherries
T- dark fruits, oak, tart cherries, slight acidity.
M- thin to medium body with generous carbonation, warm alcohol, crisp and clean finish. A bit dry but pleasant.
O- honestly I have not had many Flanders red's so I don't have much to compare to, but it was surprisingly drinkable and tart. No harshness at all with a subtle oak dryness.

 425 characters

Photo of mdaschaf
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of leschkie
3/5  rDev -30.6%

Photo of RyanOooh
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of bconsidine
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of Gonzoillini
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of hooliganlife
4/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.65/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

375 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Murky reddish brown. Nice khaki head. Great surface retention.

Smell - Hint of acetic acid. Dark malts. Some cherry.

Taste - More sour. Much more cherry. Oaky. Kinda chalky. Sourness lingers. Very dry.

Mouthfeel - Almost too dry. Moderate sourness. Well carbonated.

Overall - Decent flanders. A little too dry for me.

 374 characters

Photo of Keith_R
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of sfr26
4.34/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of waddellc2
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of innuendobrewskiman63
3.75/5  rDev -13.2%

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Prolegomena from Hill Farmstead Brewery
93 out of 100 based on 28 ratings.