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

Not Rated.
Valley Of The Heart's DelightValley Of The Heart's Delight

Educational use only; do not reuse.

74 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 74
Hads: 705
Avg: 4.26
pDev: 23.24%
Wants: 122
Gots: 128 | FT: 15
Brewed by:
Almanac Beer Co.
California, United States | website

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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Reviews: 74 | Hads: 705
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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Photo of smakawhat
3.71/5  rDev -12.9%
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.

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Photo of Reedbrew
3.92/5  rDev -8%
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.

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Photo of blockdude
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

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Photo of BobbyDigitali
4.51/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

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Photo of BowWowWowYippyYoIPA
4.18/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

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Photo of Rocknrao
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.48/5  rDev +5.2%
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.

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Photo of tom10101
3.01/5  rDev -29.3%
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.

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Photo of Davepoolesque
4.01/5  rDev -5.9%
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.

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Photo of adam42381
4.33/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

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Photo of Stevedore
4.24/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

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Valley Of The Heart's Delight from Almanac Beer Co.
94 out of 100 based on 74 ratings.