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Valley Of The Heart's Delight | Almanac Beer Co.

85 Reviews
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Valley Of The Heart's DelightValley Of The Heart's Delight

Brewed by:
Almanac Beer Co.
California, United States | website

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
This sour ale is inspired by the agricultural history of the Santa Clara Valley. Long before it became Silicon Valley, it was known as the Valley of The Heart’s Delight, a fertile basin overflowing with fruit orchards. Brewed with foraged apricots handpicked by the Garden To Table non-profit, this collaborative beer celebrates and supports their mission to promote urban farming in San Jose.

Added by largadeer on 01-30-2014

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Reviews: 85 | Ratings: 780
Photo of Stevem68
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy mango color. Aroma is very tart and has soir fruity notes. Flavor is tart and funky with some saltiness. Finished with a nice acidic fruity tastes, reminded me of apricots and plums. Has a silky smooth feel and body is like a retesting glad of fruit juice. Overall I really like this a lot.

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Photo of pagriley
4.14/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

half bottle into snifter

pours slightly hazy straw gold with minimal head, but fine cascading carb
Huge apricots on the nose, a touch of lacto tart behind
More apricots and tart sour. No funk, and the dates and mulberries aren't really coming through, but it is fine - the apricot is awesome. Not getting much wine barrel either
Good carb and bright soft mouthfeel

Overall very tasty beer - more straight up apricot, so slight ding for not being what it says on the box, but otherwise excellent

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Photo of Fcolle2
4.24/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours hazy straw yellow with some orange hues. Aromas of white wine, apricot, citrus and some vinegar lacto aromas. Taste is moderately tart with plenty of apricot coming through and hints of berry flavor. White wine and oak play in the finish with more lacto tartness and a slightly dry fruity flavor. Mouthfeel is medium light in body with plenty of carbonation.

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Photo of laketang
4.27/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

poured into snifter hazy pineapple
retains a small bubble ring
I get a little funk(wine barrel )
citrus notes as well
very tart(also wine barrel)
I would say lemon tangy.
thin mouthfeel, prickly. pucker up!

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Photo of AnotherBrick00
4.43/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very little head. Golden straw with good clarity. Solid fine carbonation. Excellent nose, almost like a clean Viognier. One of the most complex blonde sours I have had in a while. Great finish with a great acid balance. Got a second to try in a few months!

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Photo of emerge077
4.16/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Feb 27, 2016
Smells amazing, looks and feels like juice though.
Fantastic barrel aroma, vanilla, oak, and apricot round it out.
Tart and juicy apricot flavor with ample barrel characteristics, vanilla and oak. Faint Brett in the aftertaste. Puckering and verging on sour, dry and not as acidic as many other Almanac beers.
Really nice, though a bit thin bodied and lacking carbonation. Overall it's very good.

April 20, 2016
Picked up a couple more bottles a couple months later. Barrel aroma seems diminished and more acidic. Taste is also more acidic, perhaps this grows over time. Still has a pleasant apricot flavor, tends to lose carbonation quickly. Overall it still tastes good, but not without minor flaws.

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Photo of intransitive
4.59/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bottle into a Night Shift glass. I love American sours, and this... yeah, this one is extraordinary. Looks: A pale yellow/orange and quickly fading head. Taste: Tart, but not overbearingly so. Stone fruit, grass, nicely balanced and subtle. Smell is apricot, mellow and inviting. Light effervescence. Just wonderful.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.11/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

thanks to my brother for sharing this with me, enjoyed chilled in a goblet.

The color is a very hazed looking golden with quickly dropping head of white to a ring. The smell is fruity with a tangy funky tropical scent with lemony lactic odor. The feel is super tangy with lactic acidic texture with mild sweetness and dry astringent pucker inducing feel with lasting acidity after the swallow.

This is very tart to the point of almost as acidic as lemon juice ( a small taste of lemon concentrate was sampled side-by side) with light fruity lactic acid and somewhat tropical tangy like pineapple flavor.
There is a drying astringency to the mix of bacteria and almost a spiced aspect in the finish.
This is a very sour wild ale -the kind you want to share rather than drink a whole 12oz of, but for what it is it is very tasty

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Photo of jzlyo
3.9/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Aroma is fruit, funk, slight sweetness and vinegar. The flavor is stone fruit, mild earthiness, a background of sweetness, malts and a tart/funky finish.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.39/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

375ml bottle served in a tulip. Pours a bright golden orange with a loose, 1/8th inch, bright white head that quickly dissipates. Digging the nose - tart, light stone fruit, yeast and a pleasant acetic quality. Taste consistent with nose - apricot is clearly defined and theres also a kiss of lactic sweetness towards the back. Mouthfeel is light in body with a bright acidity which overshadows the carbonation. There's also an tart dryness that lingers in the throat between quaffs. Overall, I'm pleasantly surprised at how much I dig this beer. My first from Almanac and I'm thoroughly impressed!

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Photo of AirBob
4.39/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Hazy, juicy, opaque golden body with a thin film of white head which quickly dissipates.

S -Barnyard funk and fruity brett notes. A touch of apple cider vinegar. A mix of juicy and tart apricot. Oak and vanilla underlying along with some biscuity malt characteristics.

T - Super juicy. Tart lemon and underripe stone fruit, followed by sweet, juicy apricot. A touch of vinegar and funk underlying. Tartness shifts over to white grape and stone fruit juice with a touch of oaky, vanilla barrel character with underlying sour notes. Outstanding balance.

M - Medium bodied and effervescent. Slightly sticky, juice-like finish.

O - As mentioned below, this finds a balance between the fresh, tart fruited wilds from Wicked Weed and the oaky, sour fruited wilds from Allagash.

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Photo of ichorNet
4.59/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, this is good. My second Almanac, following on the heels of my review yesterday for the Farmer's Reserve Blueberry, is the 2015 version of VOTHD featuring dates, mulberries and apricots. I don't know much about Almanac's base beers but I'm gonna go ahead and assume that all of their "blonde ale aged in wine barrels with _____" are based on the same original recipe and go from there to get my bearings.

A: Pours a beautiful orange-yellow/golden-tinged color with a few fingers of head that eventually melt down to a half-finger of bone-white head that retains forever. Hazy to the point of pure opacity. Absolutely great color and sits in the glass very nicely.

S: Tropical (mango and guava) with a lot of funky, horse blanket notes from the Brett and barrel-aging. Bright fruit behind that, probably the apricot from the label. Fleeting white wine and slight apple cider vinegar (appreciable amount of acetic acid presence, I'd say). Barrel brings in very ephemeral oak and tannic notes. Seems mild after a while, but it's just so damn enticing.

T: This is pretty much perfect to me. An immaculate blend of bright, fleshy fruit and sour pucker with some surprises here and there. Some help in rounding things out is provided by the vanillins derived from the barrels. Acidity is huge and hefty, but Almanac keeps things really well-balanced by providing some elements of dark fruit here and there as well with the inclusion of date fruit. It really is a genius blend of fruit flavors... the raw, syrupy sweetness of the dates brings up the rear guard here while the mulberry notes are found a bit more anonymously in the finish, playing along with the tartness and rich, full-bodied finish to provide a foil to the intense juiciness of the apricot that appears up front. This is absolutely delicious. As close to perfect as I can think of for an American sour, and I'm glad it uses a blend of added fruits because it helps keep the beer from being a bit one-note. The yeast profile is, obviously, very farmhouse-focused and adds some light baking spice and honey notes that also work well with the acidity and powerful, intense fruit flavors.

M: Great, puckering acid profile combined with medium carbonation with nice effervescence. Body is juicy and slick but closes out rather quickly in the finish. Still, it's quite complex and the fine, champagne-like bubbles help bring out lots of different, striking flavors all across the palate.

This is a real treat. I'm glad I picked up a few bottles of this while it was around. Looking forward to one day getting to try more, as my first two experiences have been spectacular!

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Photo of KMachHops
4.26/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Look: Not much head and opaque yellow.
Smell: I get the apricots and a clean smell that I know that I will be in for a treat.
Taste: Apricots and I do get the mulberry once the tart picks up at the end.
Feel: Almanac seems to always get this right. Carbonation with some chew.
Overall: Tasty. Another homerun for Almanac.

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Photo of rodmanfor3
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

One of the better beers from Almanac's lineup, this one falls somewhere between an Allagash and Wicked Weed sour in terms of flavor and overall appeal.

Standard Almanac sour with a slight hint of tart apricots on the finish.

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Photo of frasergrove
4.28/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

One of the tarter offerings from Almanac (but not nearly as tart as Cascade Apricot), the nose gets you ready for what your palate is about to experience. Hints of lemon smooth to fermented apricot, then finishes crisp. The apricot is melded in perfectly, a superior sour.

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Photo of Vonerichs
4.43/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bright hazy yellow. Fizzy head with good retention.

The apricot really shines. Fruity with a little bit of orange and vanilla. Funky and pungent, sour.

Very sour and the apricot finishes strong. White wine.

Medium body with high carbonation. Crisp and clean.

I really enjoyed it. The apricot tastes so good and sticks around long in the finish after the pucker is over.

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Photo of pkalix
4.53/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

wow! nice pucker factor! sweet fruit flavor, this is easily the best of the bunch with the blueberry, I remember, coming in second. this is really nice!

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Photo of neurobot01
4.31/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle dated January 2015, served at fridge temp.

Predominantly sour, but there's obvious fruit, and even a strange vanilla/cracker element that is really pleasant. The major downside for me is that it's a bit too sharp, but still worth seeking out, and one I'll get again if I'm lucky enough to see it.

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Photo of TX-Badger
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a lighter hazy golden color with white fizzy head. Light fruits, apricots, cherry tartness, funk, and oak on the nose; follows onto the palate. Finishes tart and dry with just a hint of fruity sweetness snuck in.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From 04/01/15 notes. On tap at Gingerman in NYC.

Pours a hazy, bright deep yellow color with one inch of bright white head and low carbonation evident. Super sour, especially in the taste, with a lot of vinegar, citrus hops, lemon, white wine, apricots, earthy notes, and funk. Acedic, moderate body and low carbonation.

Overall a very good beer, super sour, especially in the taste. Lots of fruit and vinegar; kind of reminded me of some Bruery sours. A 4 oz. pour was perfect for me.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
4.18/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

EBF sample. Pours a hazy yellow/orange color. Smell is a pretty intense sourness. This beer is brewed with apricots and after finding this out, I can totally get it. Flavor is very bright and tart. A mixture of various unripe fruits. White wine, lemons, acidity, apricots. Finishes with some oak. The flavor lingers and lingers, leaving tart, bright fruits. A nicely concocted sour brew with a fresh, pale fruity flavor. Memorable.

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Photo of atone315
4.38/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very opaque golden yellow with a finger to finger and a half of nice, white head. Smells like lemon, I had a real hard time picking up the apricot. Taste followed and agreed with my nose, this one is at my upper limits of sourness.....which is a good thing. Will definitely seek out and drink again, and again, and again.

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Photo of CraftFan5
4.84/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

First time having this out of the bottle. 375 ml into a champagne flute.

A - A pale yellow-orange with plenty of streaming bubbles. White head consists of fairly large bubbles and fizzes away quickly. Inviting

N - Whoa, tons of tartness and funk with the requisite apricot aroma. This is one of the most aromatic sours I've ever experienced.

T - This is what wild ales are supposed to taste like. You get that strong foundation from the barrel-aging, and just a mind-blowing amount of apricot. Extremely tart and funky. Delici.

M - Almost painful on the tongue from the tartness and carbonation, and this is not a bad thing. Dry on the finish; I need some more.

O - A real winner. Best offering from Almanac I've had. Cheers!

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Photo of spoony
4.44/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

From a 375 ml bottle (no date) to a teku.

A-The beer is a dull orange color with a light haze. I can see a few streams of fine carbonation in there, but the white head fades quickly to a thick collar. No lacing.

S-The aroma is moderately funky (more lactic than brett) with a nice dose of sour fruit. I get apricots mostly, but also some peach, and a little bit of lemon and orange. Very sour, but very clean smelling.

T-The taste is similar to the smell: it is clean, but sour. The apricot fruit is delicious and pure tasting. I also taste some peach and lemon and I get a little hit of dry oak. The finish is drying and sour. Nice.

M-The body is on the light side with fine carbonation of average to above-average volume. A great fit for the beer.

O-This may be my favorite Almanac beer. It is easily one of the best sour beers I have had in a while. It doesn't have the complexity of other sours and that may be OK because the fruit flavor here is very clean and pure. No bourbon or tequila or whatever barrel intrudes. It is just fruit and it is delicious.

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Photo of Tommo
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Very sour, good fruit flavor. Its a very nice sour beer, however aurelian lure is my favorite beer, and this is MUCH less balanced that AL. The sour overwhelms the pallet leaving the apricots in its wake. Smell is good

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Valley Of The Heart's Delight from Almanac Beer Co.
94 out of 100 based on 85 ratings.