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

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

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BA SCORE
97
world-class

632 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 632
Reviews: 70
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 7.34%
Wants: 111
Gots: 119 | FT: 19
Brewed by:
Almanac Beer Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Wild Ale |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: largadeer on 01-30-2014

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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 632 | Reviews: 70
Photo of neurobot01
4.31/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

Photo of TX-Badger
4/5  rDev -8.3%
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.

Photo of Shaler_Tate
4.26/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Really good sour. Nice and tart, but not a lot of apricot.

Photo of mdfb79
4.15/5  rDev -4.8%
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.

Photo of VelvetExtract
4.18/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

Photo of atone315
4.38/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

Photo of unclejazz
4.36/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Nice apricot presence, and sour base does not overwhelm. Very good, but not worth the $/oz.

Photo of spoony
4.44/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

Photo of Tommo
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%
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

Photo of smakawhat
3.71/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass.

Flat simple orange body, minimal rising carbonation but a little bit manages to poke out through the middle. No collar, barely hanging on, looking like a fruited lambic of sorts, but a nice orange tangerine hue all seems to stand out.

Interesting and unexpected nose. Huge notes of pancakes and maple syrup. A spec and slight hint of butter. Ground white flour. Mild sensing tartness and peaches to apricot nose. Mellows out after a bit of time but gives to more fruit quality as time goes on. Very unique wild yeast forward brew.

Mild palate lacking very much in anything particularly interesting or grabbing attention. Slightly wet but little malt depth. Mid palate comes out neutral, borderline seltzery with hardly any fruit character at all. Moderate tartness and lemon character, not giving much fruit variety, sweetness, or anything memorable. Watery, with perhaps a little bit of tannic wood coming out in the aftertaste.

Surprisingly underwhelming, lacking in depth, fruit character, and far too light bodied for barrel aging. A decent wild brew, sure but doesn't come off as anything special let alone memorable.

Photo of Reedbrew
3.92/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Good not great compared to others in series. Apricot flavor is pretty overshadowed by sour ale base, it'd be hard to guess that its apricot if I didn't know beforehand.

Photo of HOP_HEAD_4_LIFE
4.85/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

GREAT SOUR A+ BEER GLAD I STOCKED UP!

Photo of blockdude
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is one of my favorite sours, and in my opinion far better than any almanac beer. The body has some very enjoyable floral notes with a lot of apricots and cherries. There is quite a bit of carbonation and acidity, but it is not overbearing. What I enjoy most about this beer is its earthiness and the fact that everything tastes so fresh particularly the apricots and cherries. I would say that the bottle version can be hazier than on tap and although it probably looks better on tap, it ages very well with more noticeable barrel qualities over time.

Photo of BobbyDigitali
4.51/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Aged bottle (Feb. 2013).. Oh so good. This one had Apricots, Loquats, and Cherries. The new batch (2015) has solely Apricots. Can't wait to taste the new batch after cellaring a year or two.

Photo of BowWowWowYippyYoIPA
4.18/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled January 2015

Look - Pours a hazy golden yellow with effervescent head that dissipates quickly. 4 paws.

Smell - Wonderful combination of yogurt, cheese, and apricot aromas. A bit buttery, but the apricot is crisp, clean and inviting. Since the buttery smell is there I'm going to guess Chardonnay barrels were used. 4.75 paws.

Taste - Very tart with nuances of yogurt and kefir. The apricot is there but drowned out a bit by the high acidity. The apricot becomes more of a peach or nectarine flavor. 4 paws.

Feel - Very bright and crisp, sharp tingle coats the tongue and becomes very apparent on the finish. Somewhat milky. 4 paws.

Overall - I think I've decided that stonefruit are my favorite fruits to be added to sour beers, and I had high expectations for this one. Those expectations feel just a bit short because the extreme tartness drowned out a lot of the apricot flavor. Don't get me wrong, it's still a great beer, but is similar to most Almanac sours I've had in that it is very good, but not remarkable. 4 paws.

Photo of Rocknrao
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy burnt amber color. Mildly fruity nose. Smells of pears and apricots. Tastes like a good sour ale should. Light bodied tartness like dried fruit from a bulk bin.

Photo of AgentMunky
4.48/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2014 vintage served at Ale Arsenal.

Beautiful semi-opaque golden yellow. Smells fruity (peachy?), but not tart. But it tastes VERY tart. Delicious. Puckery. Very much to my liking.

Photo of tom10101
3.01/5  rDev -31%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Bottle (375 ml). Split with the Quebec crew. Shared by mathieuc, thanks! Thanks to Marcus who also sent me a bottle of this.

Appearance: Clear bright pale golden with a medium white head and little lacing.

Aroma: Oh god, aroma is dominated by pumpkin puree. Light spices and brettanomyces notes are able to get through it a bit, but not enough to make it enjoyable.

Taste: A boatload of pumpkin puree again with light/moderate sourness, light spices, hints of brettanomyces and light cherry presence.

Palate: Medium body. Medium carbonation. Slightly dry finish.

Overall: Either we got a pretty bad bottle or I really don’t get why this isso highly rated. Completely one-dimensional so not really complex and not easily drinkable either.

Photo of Davepoolesque
4.01/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Woooo. Super up front sourness. Almost like sucking on a lemon. Faint hints of the apricot and whatever the hell a loquat is. Not getting much in the way of wine barrel. It's delicious.

Photo of adam42381
4.33/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 375ml bottle into a Spiegelau tulip. No date on bottle.

Appearance: Pours an opaque medium golden-orange with a 1 1/2 finger bubbly snow white head. Good amount of sediment floating around. Minimal lacing.

Smell: Apricots, white wine and cherries are the most distinct aromas. There is just a hint of vinegar in the background. The aroma is somewhat tart, but not overpowering. Smells amazing.

Taste: Apricots with a touch of pears up front followed by pale malt notes in the middle before ending with a burst of puckering sourness consisting of lactic acid, tart cherries and wine grape hulls. Aftertaste is mildly sour and short-lived.

Mouthfeel: Light-to-medium-bodied with an very high amount of prickly carbonation.

Drinkability: Good drinkability. You could drink a couple of these before your palate screams for mercy from the tartness.

Overall: Excellent beer overall. One of the best American Wild Ales I've tried. I would highly recommend this one.

Photo of Stevedore
4.24/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

375ml bottle from 2/2013. Poured into a stemless glass 12/11/2014.

A- Hazy, cloudy, opaque, whatever you want to call it- beige-yellow body with half finger white head with minimal retention, no lacing. It seems very pulpy, like orange juice but with chunks of pulp. A bit nasty in appearance, there is no getting around it.

S- Lots of lactic acidity, apricot sweetness, tropical fruit, a bit of mango, grainy pale malt, and a bit of vinegar. However I would not have known there were cherries in this from the smell alone, other than what it says on the label. Smells nice and lactic, with a nice complexity from the fruits. This smells great.

F- Jesus Christ, this one has gotten sour with age. Lactic acidity is at 9/10 with a stinging, dryness that leaves a distinct but distant impression of tart stone fruit sweetness. Dry, tannic finish that was probably from red wine barrel use. Very nice sour with good complexity, a bit oversoured at this point.

M- Medium bodied, good carbonation, dry and tannic on the finish with a lot of sour acidity that makes this slightly challenging. Very refreshingly sour.

O- Very nice AWA, I certainly liked this one even at its high price point at $17 for a 375ml. It lacks any kind of funk, but the acidity and fruit flavours is up to par with some of the other highly-regarded American Wild Ales out there.

Photo of scottfrie
3.95/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 1.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 2/2013, poured into a snifter.

A: Pours an atrocious looking muddy shade of orange with an enormous amount of what looks like yeast mixed with citrus pulp. The head was frothy and foamed up nicely before slowly fading into nothingness leaving a network of chunky lace down the glass. This beer looks disgusting, but I’m sure will taste great.
S: Fresh, ripe, and juice apricots hit first and smell exactly like a ripe apricot just sliced in half. Loquat citrus follows, with maybe just a hint of tart cherry in there as well. Light acidity.
T: Apricot again dominates alongside bright, clean, and tart acidic flavors and loquat citrus. I wouldn’t know there was cherry in this if the bottle didn’t say so, but I there is the suggestion of cherry, along with the wine barrel, near the finish and aftertaste. Bready yeast or malt flavors are noticeable behind the fruit. The finish is full of citrus, and the aftertaste has lingering notes of apricot with a hint of oak.
M: Bright and tart medium-full body, clean and mellow carbonation, drying a scrubbing mouthfeel. Drinks well although pretty acidic.
O: Apricot and loquat all the way. A unique and delicious flavor profile with a solid tartness. There’s no avoiding the chunks with this one though.

Photo of SportsandJorts
3.59/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a light orange to a yellowish honey. a big, three finger white head with strong retention and leaving behind a little bit of lacing. hazy and opaque.

Smell: wine, some sweet white wine quality with just a touch of red wine spiciness. some fruit and oak like components. mainly slightly tart apricots to some citrus and hints of berries.

Taste: opens up with a little bit of fruitiness. some apricots and citrus. mostly sweet up front. white grape, vinous, flavors play in along with some oak. backend is full of vinegar acidity and a more juicy darker fruit, almost berry like.

Mouthfeel: not very sour but highly acidic. very vinous.

Overall: I was really hoping this one would be more sour and fruity. the fruit is very subtle. the wine smells and flavors are a bit more than I look for in this type of beer. too strong on the vinegar, but that may not have been the case fresh. but overall a decent drinking beer.

Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.9/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Curran last night.

Pours a murky golden orange, with a one inch head, and a little bit of lacing.

Smells like apricots, lactic acid, and white wine. Smells only moderately sour, not too crazy.

The taste is similar, this is moderately sour, with some sour white wine flavors, lactic acid and such. I'm getting a bit of apricot, not really getting any cherry, and I have no idea what a loquat tastes like. I wish this was a bit fruitier, given the three different fruits, but it tastes really nice.

This one is light bodied, airy and spritzy in the mouthfeel, with a moderate to high amount of carbonation.

Not bad at all here, tastes great, but could be a little more, I think.

Photo of Treyliff
4.32/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from bottle to teku glass

A- pours a hazy bright go;den orange color with a small fizzy and bubble white head that reduces to leave only a ring around the rim, some short lasting lace left behind when agitated

S- mouth watering tart fruit up front with aromas of apricot, grape skin & maraschino cherry. Slightly acidic with some citrus zest, followed by musty earthy tones & dry woodsy barrel notes, white wine and delicate floral hops close it out

T- apricot and stone fruit sugary sweetness hits the palate first, but is quickly followed buy a big punch of bone dry tartness with an acidic kick. Flavors of lemon zest, cherry skins, peach, white grape and zinfandel follow, completed by earthy and woodsy oak, bone dry finish with more fruit on the linger

M- medium body with low carbonation leads to a slightly foamy mouthfeel, and a puckering, bone dry finish that leaves the mouth wanting more

O- a mouth puckering ale that focus more on pure fruity sour notes, with not a lot of funk. The notes from the wine barrels are subtle, but compliment it nicely

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Valley Of The Heart's Delight from Almanac Beer Co.
97 out of 100 based on 632 ratings.