1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Prolegomena - Hill Farmstead Brewery


Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

133 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 133
Reviews: 22
rAvg: 4.29
pDev: 9.09%

Brewed by:
Hill Farmstead Brewery visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
Flanders Red Ale |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
Aged in Wine and Port barrels. In friendship with Will Meyers from Cambridge Brewing Company.

(Beer added by: MasterSki on 04-25-2013)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers
Ratings: 133 | Reviews: 22 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of EMorgan


4.71/5  rDev +9.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-30-2013 03:15:29 | More by EMorgan
Photo of AdamF625


4.71/5  rDev +9.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2013 12:50:55 | More by AdamF625
Photo of cfrances33


4.65/5  rDev +8.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2013 02:31:00 | More by cfrances33
Photo of TychoNDC

New York

4.64/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

My first Hill Farmstead bottle release and my first full review! Gonna keep things short and sweet, as this beer was an all around delight.

375 ml bottle poured into HF stemware.

A- Dark caramel with a rich burgundy hue. Much darker than I had expected, but the color comes through in the right lighting. Delicate lacing and a thin light head provocative of that classic Hill Farmstead carbonation.

S- Tart cherries, spice, and oak in that order. Earthy and acidic, but not overpowering; the balance is that of a wonderful medium roast coffee.

T- Sour cherries with a touch of acid and some funk. The cherry profile lingers even as the oak takes charge. A touch of sweetness to balance out the carbonation. Is there really alcohol in this? You could have fooled me...the tartness and acid completely covers any hint of booze. No soy sauce in this one.

M- Medium body with a carbonated backbone that really lightens the profile of the beer, making it almost delicate across your tongue. As a result, its incredibly smooth to drink despite the tartness.

O- Full disclosure, I've only had a handful of Flanders Red Ales in my time. This one is by far the most balanced and easiest to drink of the style, despite being the strongest. The oak really shines. Prolegomena is another fantastic beer from Hill Farmstead.

Serving type: bottle

07-12-2013 00:23:26 | More by TychoNDC
Photo of justforrazors


4.63/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed while drinking, 7/5/13, poured full bottle minus 1 oz and yeast into a HF wine glass.

A- Pours a brilliant crimson red with a long lasting 1 inch beige head. Appears to have excellent retention and lacing. Carbonation appears to be high off the bat, also evidenced by the mini-gush, although all the beer stayed in the bottle until I chose to pour it. Surprisingly good clarity for a beer of this color. While the foam recedes slightly throughout the glass, a decent layer covers the beer until the very end.

S- Tart cherries, lemon, and some barnyard funk are apparent right up front. There is some pleasant lactic acidity hidden behind the oak aroma. This beer smells inviting, I've been sitting here simply smelling it for the last 5 minutes, I guess it is time to taste!

T- From the nose, I was expecting an almost overwhelming level of acidity, although this seems to be extremely well balanced between the two. There is a small amount of acidity before you swallow, but afterward your palate is taken over by a musty funk mixed with cherry and a strong oak flavor. A characteristic Hill Farmstead yeast character joins the rest to tie it all together. As the beer begins to warm, a lemon note is also present, although very subtle. The alcohol level is virtually unpredictable, I would guess around 5% if I didn't know better.

M- Low to medium mouthfeel with high carbonation. I think it may be slightly overcarbed, although it works. As soon as you swallow, the acid and oak mesh to leave a tannic and sour dryness that lingers for several minutes, although it isn't so dry that you are left feeling parched.

O- I am trying to be critical of this, but it is difficult to do so. Prolegomena is a well-made beer that is ready to drink right this second. There is a perfect balance between the acid and funk that makes this beer dangerously drinkable. I've found with some beers from this style, a 4 ounce pour is more than enough. I could easily drink a bomber of this by myself, and would only be detoured from continuing by the alcohol content. Another home run from Shaun and crew!

Serving type: bottle

07-06-2013 00:52:25 | More by justforrazors
Photo of TheSevenDuffs

Ontario (Canada)

4.51/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured a deep reddish brown colour with a thin layer of dirty cream coloured head.

S - Lots of oak and cherry notes in the nose. Some caramel and grape aromas are also present.

T - A massive oak presence with tart cherries, grape, caramel and even a bit of a toasted wood presence. Tart, but not sour. The ABV provides the perfect compliment to the natural sweetness.

M - Medium body. Dry. Moderate carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2014 21:48:01 | More by TheSevenDuffs
Photo of Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

4.5/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Lunch. Thanks Paul.

The beer is mahogany to crimson colored with a thin collar. Aromas of oak, cherries, vinegar, plums, wine. Very nice. The flavor follows suit, with sour cherries and an overall acetic character. Vinous and lightly sweet. Grapes and cherries. Some musty oak. An outstanding representation of the style. Delicious.

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2013 02:13:12 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of SadMachine

New Jersey

4.45/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a reddish brown with ruby hues around the edges and a finger of off-white head that retains well and leaves good lacing.

S- Wow! Wonderful aroma of tart cherries, red wine vinegar, oak, merlot and port. Some granny smith apple, molasses, caramel, and some earthiness as well. A very complex nose on this one!

T- The taste is similar to the aroma, though some flavors are not as pronounced as expected. There is a noticeable boozy presence that isn't in the nose at all. A ton of barrel character and tart apple on the front end. Only a touch of the cherries can be found, with a bit of acidity and earthy funk. Some red wine characteristics come through as well. This is extremely complex, though I wish some of the flavors were a bit less subtle.

M- The mouthfeel is excellent, smooth, somewhat creamy, with a bit of carbonation and booze at the finish.

O- Overall a very complex flanders red that I can't wait to try again with a year or more on it!

p.s. After dumping the yeast from the bottom of the bottle in the flavor improved noticeably.

Serving type: bottle

09-01-2013 17:15:22 | More by SadMachine
Photo of NuclearRich


4.41/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

poured into a HF stemmed snifter (oversized wineglass)

A. Pours a murky brown with deep red and purple tints. Very dark and opaque. Light colored head forms but fades rapidly, with just the faintest of a collar of bubbles. No lacing. As it gets to the end of the glass and the light penetrates better, it takes a brighter berry hue, less brown.

S. Tart, cherries, plum, wine barrel oak.

T. Tart cherries, with a nice light sweet plum to balance. Hearty wine-like oak flavor. Closely matches the smell.

M. Tart and light overall, but there is a thickness as it goes down that keeps it on the taste buds. Light carbonation, but certainly not inadequate.

O. A little lacking in the appearance, but the rest really shines: a beauty, otherwise. Great oak character.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2013 02:00:52 | More by NuclearRich
Photo of MDDMD


4.41/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A-tan burgundy color with a nice light tan head and good lacing

S-sour cherries, oak, musty, earthy, spices

T-sour cherries, oak, hints of brown sugar and dark fruit, slight funky character

F-medium body with nice lively carbonation, crisp and tart

O-the flavors in this beer were unique and complex, really like this style

Serving type: bottle

07-06-2013 14:40:27 | More by MDDMD
Photo of TotallyHosed


4.38/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From 375ml bottle. Released June 5, 2013. Thanks to zach60614 for a reasonable trade.

Pours with a thick foam head. The head is tan in color and rests easy at a finger. Lots of lacing is left on the glass. The brew is a dark brown-red and hazy. Very little to no light passes through the glass. It's not possible to make this look any better.

The nose is dominated by sweet and tart cherries. There are hints of vanilla and plum. The nose is complex, but the aromas all meld very well together.

The flavor is tart and slightly sweet. It is like a combination of sweet raspberries and tart cherries. The tartness is not overwhelming. Supporting the tart fruits is a mellow barrel character. The barrel provides just a bit of tannin and very subtle vanilla flavor. The alcohol is present, but well integrated and mellowed with age.

The feel is prickly with carbonation at the start. Medium bodied and somewhat slick. Coats the mouth nicely.

Overall, this is an excellent example of the style. I'm very impressed by how well the nose and flavor is balanced. I assume there was some blending involved, if so, it was done masterfully. The appearance is gorgeous due to the dark color and head that won't recede. How the alcohol has mellowed and integrated with the flavors is especially impressive. In my opinion, I would not age this brew. It's already spent two years in barrels and is ready to enjoy now.

Serving type: bottle

07-19-2013 01:50:37 | More by TotallyHosed
Photo of facesnorth


4.38/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This was a great beer. I missed the bottle release and a buddy of mine brought home 2 bottles and I had to trade him some pretty good stuff to get one. And I was not disappointed. Funny thing was when I went up for the M&C#1-2 & CD#6 release, a dude on the line said everybody was disappointed with this one. Well not sure what happened there but this is one great beer! Man did I enjoy it. Anyway enough story telling.

I wouldn't say I'm an expert on the style but I loved Cuvee des Jacobins. I'm not quite sure the difference between Flanders, Flemish, Red, Brown. But I didn't like their Bellegems Bruin. I also didn't like Ichtegem's Grand Cru. Other than this I'm a huge fan of sours in general. And this one definitely delivered.

What can I say, the taste of tart cherries sat on my palette for a half hour after I finished the beer. i couldn't stop thinking about it. The only thing I could possibly follow it up with was an Elaborative #1. there was nothing else in my cellar that would do it justice after this.

Serving type: bottle

07-19-2013 02:55:43 | More by facesnorth
Photo of rlee1390


4.34/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Black in the glass, clear deep amber, one finger slightly off white head that tries to leave some lacing.

S-Oak, funk, cherries, other sweet fruit, grapes.

T-More tart than sour, rather sweet with cherries, grapes and other fruit flavors, some caramel as well.

M-Medium to lighter in body, slight carbontation.

O-An amazing sour. What a good beer. Sean Hill can do no wrong!

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2014 00:38:45 | More by rlee1390
Photo of SpeedwayJim

New York

4.33/5  rDev +0.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2013 02:30:00 | More by SpeedwayJim
Photo of vonnegut21

New York

4.26/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

375ml poured into a HF wine glass.

A: Deep ruby-mahogany. A finger or so of creamy white head that dissipates quickly. Lots of glass lacing.

S: Oak, vinegar, grapeskin and overripe cherry. Lots of oak and acidity.

T: Mild and delicate at first. Light oak, cherry and musty notes. Huge acid and malt vinegar on the back end. Very deep and complex, but almost overpowering vinegar on the finish. No alcohol detectable.

M: Effervescent and clean. Crisp.

O: A very solid flanders red. Quite possibly the best American attempt at the style I've had. Much more depth and complexity than something like Oude Tart, but lacking in that refreshing cherry acidity that beers like Cuvee Des Jacobins Rouge possess. A nice beer. Glad to have another to sample in time.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2013 18:21:17 | More by vonnegut21
Photo of jaasen64


4.26/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

375ml bottle poured into HF over-sized stemmed wine glass. Flander's style beer aged in port and wine barrels for over two years, brewed in collaboration with Will Myers from Cambridge Brewing Company.

A- Pours a dark opaque purplish/brownish black, a little over a finger's worth of frothy bubbly slightly off-white slightly brownish beige head forms that has excellent retention slowly receding to a thin layer coating the glass with lacing, decent amount of carbonation with a very nice consistency.

S- Dark fruits, big grape notes, plums, lightly tart cherries, vinous qualities, raisins, dates, a bit of earthiness, hints of leather, oak, and a nice port balance. Overall nice slightly sweet fruity presence balanced with a faint tartness and well integrated port, decent aroma strength with nice complexity.

T- Tartness comes out a little bit more with lightly tart cherries, vinous grapes, earthiness, plums, dates, balanced malts, nice balanced port presence that brings out the fruit flavors from the flanders nicely. Lightly sweet, complex, subtle tartness, nice barrel presence.

M- Medium bodied, slightly acidic that tingles the mouth, a bit over-carbonated at first but after letting sit it's just right, very drinkable.

O- This was a very nice unique take on a Flander's. There aren't many breweries that make use of port barrels and I like how the port brought out a little bit more of the vinous dark fruit qualities of the beer while adding a nice barrel presence. I wish I had another bottle to experiment with cellaring for another year or two.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2014 23:15:41 | More by jaasen64
Photo of rudzud


4.13/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Split with JLindros, poured into a Kate the Great tulip.

A - Poured a murky, deep brown with a nice one finger tan head that fades to give nice side lacing and a thick blanket, very good.

S - Aromas of nice malts, sweet and sour notes, really nice flander notes, faint sweet fruits, sour cherry.

T - Taste is nicely sour and tart, light vanilla, faint chocolate, light almost metallic finish, slightly bitter dark sugars. Strong tannic/barrel notes really lend to an almost unpleasant finish. It's not bad, fairly straight forward.

M - Mouthfeel is really nice, light carbonation, very drinkable.

O - Overall not a bad beer, fairly straight forward. Not a fan of the finish.

Serving type: bottle

08-09-2013 21:03:34 | More by rudzud
Photo of Stevedore


4.13/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

375ml bottle from the recent 2013 release. Poured into a GLBC snifter today, 1/12/2014.

Pours a dark ruby-burgundy-mahogany (pick one) body, small amount of white head that dissipates quickly into a thin collar. Not much lacing to speak of. Looks like a typical Flanders Red.

Smells interesting. It does smell like a Flanders Red, but there is something particularly different about it- it's tarter and dry in the nose, like a red wine almost. Some oak, vinegar and cherries are there as well.

Flavour profile is mostly oak, cherries and a good bit of lactate and vinegar. Sourness is about 4/10. The finish reminds me of a red wine- tart and dry. Very strong flavours, depth and complexity in comparison to others.

Good mouthfeel- medium bodied, good carbonation. A sipper still. Aftertaste is a oakey cherry flavour that sticks for quite a while.

Decent Flanders Red. There was something odd about this one that is different from the others I've had. It might be the strong dryness on the backend that threw me off. Still, this is a well-put together beer that may interest you if you enjoy the Flanders Red style.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2014 15:10:45 | More by Stevedore
Photo of Skrip

South Carolina

4.11/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375ml bottle poured into a Hill Farmstead oversized wine glass.

A~ very dark red that shimmers in the light. nice head and no lacing at all.

S~ a lot of sweetness going on here. tart cherrys, cherry pie, some plums, molases, and brown sugar. all followed by a wonderful abundance of oak.

T~ pretty much follows the noise, extremely close to biting into a piece of cherry pie, with unripe tart cherries. also very close to Griffon Brux but obviously not as sour (that is seriously the most sour brew i have ever had) definitely more spices on the palet as well, brown sugar once again, cinnamon, and tad of nutmeg. yup... its a pie! lol all followed by amazing wine barrel oak funk, that is just all around amazing! oh and not even a hint of booze.

M~ extremely smooth, and nicely carbonated which is to be expected from HF. also some honey like thickness.

O~ all around perfect 4. not the best Flanders Red i've ever had but i love the spices that come out even if they may not really be there. not overly tart which is nice as well in this type of brew and a lot of barrel characteristics that HF seems to be really good at with their wild ales. now that its getting warmer i'm boosting the "taste" up a bit, so yeah... let it warm up quite a bit.

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2013 03:26:22 | More by Skrip
Photo of jlindros


4.06/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared with rudzud.

Nice creamy thick but small head, lacing galore, super murky slime brown color. The ugly color makes it hard to give a good rating, but the head is so nice for an 8.6% beer... tough choice.

Nice Flanders aroma, nice sour malt aroma, almost tart berry like, sweet syrupy brown malts with molasses like, fermented candy sugar toasty brown malt, all soured, light yeasty aroma, but if an earthy woody like aroma, light acidity on the nose even.

Taste starts creamy and sour, big soured malt, tart berry like and bit tannic berry seed, touch sour cherry. Also brown malts, little toasty, caramel, molasses like but syrupy sweet with mild warming booze, again all soured. some malt vinegar and acidity, little yeasty too. Finish is sticky semi sweet but drier, little flemmy, bit of a sweet brown sugar and bitter tannic sour earthy root flavor, and light make vinegar lingering.

Mouth is med bod, nice carb, light warming booze light tingly acidity, little flemmy and little syrupy.

Overall quite nice to start, nice nose, nice initial flavor, but the finish gets a little icky.

Serving type: bottle

08-10-2013 22:43:54 | More by jlindros
Photo of cpetrone84


3.73/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour is dark copper brown with a thin tight tan head. Nose has a hint of dark malt base with some sawdust and sour cherry. Taste is similar, a little watery and less bright than the nose. There is a stronger dark malt component than a normal Flanders red, fairly sour with notes of tart sour cherry but a bit thin in flavor through the finish. Very strong carbonation on a lighter body. No glaring flaws, not acetic at all but not bright and a bit watery.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2014 00:29:11 | More by cpetrone84
Photo of Alieniloquium


3.68/5  rDev -14.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-02-2013 00:35:22 | More by Alieniloquium
Prolegomena from Hill Farmstead Brewery
95 out of 100 based on 133 ratings.