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

649 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 649
Reviews: 71
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 7.11%
Wants: 117
Gots: 114 | FT: 18
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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Ratings: 649 | Reviews: 71
Reviews by brother_kenneth:
More User Reviews:
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 rhoadsrage
4.42/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a tulip glass)

A- This beer pours a hazy light copper body wit a thin white film that is supported by a tight little carbonation. The body is a pretty cloudy and with each sip nice little foam clouds form on the glass.

S- The nice tart fruity aroma has some earthy stone fruit notes and a cherry skin finish with some delicate apricot notes.

T- The full tart slightly dry jammy fruit flavors has some earthy dark cherry skins underneath and a gentle tartness hangs on the tongue after the finish.

M- this beer has a light mouthfeel with no alcohol heat and a gentle astringency prick to the little crisp fizz.

O- The full dept of tartness blends with some more acidic fruit character that is bright and is nicely melded together. Very tasty.

Photo of Tuckersmth
4.22/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Fat angel in SF.
7%
Cloudy gold color
White thick head that dissipates after 30 seconds
Hints of apricot with crisp dryness
Tartness Opens up nicely as it heads towards room temp
Another solid sour performance from almanac.
Farm to barrel concept with local cherries and apricots

Photo of dirtylou
4.38/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

on-tap, Chucks Central District

Hazy peach body - lots of ripe fruit - apricot, peach, cherry, grapes. Vinous and oak notes from the wine barrels compliment everything nicely. Nice tartness, a bit of lemon citrus, dry finish. Good stuff - the best of the latest batch of almanac beers

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.51/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Hazy pale body. Not much of a head. Very thin collar.

Smell - Stone fruit. Smells like apricots. I don't get much cherry. Smells acidic. Light grain.

Taste - Wow, it's sour. Stone fruit. More of the cherry flavor. Pale malt and some grainy malts. Intense sour finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium light, but really sour. Medium carbonation.

Overall - Overly sour for me. Detracts from the fruit flavor, but amplifies the grain.

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

Photo of nataku00
3.95/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle poured into a tulip glass. Beer poured vigorously, hazy golden color with some red tints with a finger of loose off white head that dissipates quickly. Some tiny bubbles here and there but not overly carbonated.

Nose is sweet stone fruit, apricot and peach, sour cherry and citric acid, oak, mild earthy funk like wet soil and grass, biscuit malt sweetness.

Sweet apricot and sour cherry with astringent apricot peel, mellowing into biscuit malt, and a slight diacetyl buttered popcorn. Some oak in the finish rounding out the flavor.

Light body and mildly carbonated. The diacetyl knocks the flavor down a few notches unfortunately.

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 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 RaulMondesi
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Can Raul type right now? He almost cannot. This is simply amazing. Let's equate, shall we? In N Out after a bender; a bubble bath with Olivia Munn; Dodger Stadium at twilight... PERFECTION!

Glorious apricots that must have been picked by Aphrodite because Raul just cannot, he cannot...

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

A: pours a nice light and hazy orange with a finger of white head that is quick to fade to a collar around the edge of the glass
S: smells of fruity tartness, some nice malty aromas, and the slightest amount of funk
T: taste starts off with a nice smack of tartness, followed up with some apricot and cherry flavor along with some nice oakyness from the wine barrel. swallow brings a nice crisp lemony tartness and a bit of funk on the finish.
M: lighter side of medium in the mouth with adequate carbonation and a drying finish
O: Incredible, it's kinda like a fruity berliner weisse but they didn't mention the use of any wheat...

Photo of rlee1390
4.31/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

A-Cloudy deep yellow, one finger head that doesn't last long, not much carbonation either.

S-Very fruity. Apricots and other fruits. Slight cherries, oak and grapes as well. Mild tartness.

T-Fruits and citrus all over the place. Apricots, cherries and lemons. Grapes as well. Slight oak. Ends with a nice sour note as well.

M-Medium bodied, slight carbonation, nice sour finish.

O-An amazing citrus driven sour. There are beers that are more sour but the fruit flavor in this beer is amazing.

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 wethorseblanket
4.34/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

375ml, bottled Feb. 2013.

A: Pours a hazy light orange with a solid 1-finger thick white head which fades to a cap leaving spots of lace.

N: Bright citrus and fruits, some acidity in the aroma, faint cherry sweetness.

T: Tart and bracing, apricots noted along with lemony citrus zest, fresh and lively, with a trace of white grape.

M: Moderate body and medium carbonation. Finishes tart and fruity.

O: Refreshing and well done.

Photo of More_betterness
4.38/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Hazy light golden body topped with a fairly large, tight bubbled head for a sour/barrel aged beer. After a few minute the head recedes to a thin film with slightly thicker ring around the rim of the glass.

S: Big tart stone fruit and sweet cherry, followed by a mild acidic tartness. Floral citrus zest and a tick of barrel character make themselves known as it warms. Acidity is there, but is very restrained. Very balanced and inviting nose.

T: Tart cherries and citrus, followed by a bit of lactic tingle. A sweeter note of baked stone fruits and a slight graininess round out the flavor. Again very restrained acidity for a AWA, but a great showcase of fruit with a measurable tartness. Delicious.

M: Thin and effervescent, with a lingering tingle along the gumline. Standard for an AWA.

O: Not as aggressively sour as most AWAs in this class, but a great exercise in balance between acidity and fruit character. Love it and wish I had another bottle!

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 wakeuptothesun
4.43/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I absolutely loved this beer and am looking forward to getting a couple more. Definitely sour. Had it back to back with the sourdough ale and this one prevailed victorious by a long shot in my opinion. Thanks Almanac for this awesome beer. It was similar to Anderson Valley's Rosy Barl to me. Next up, the bourbon sour porter. Should be great!

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 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 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 Rick778
4.12/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This may be the best sour I have had to date. I definitely pickup the cherry. The wine barrel aging gives it a wine like character. Carbonation is very fine like a bubbly white wine. The sour is not over powering, but definitely there. This is perfect for a lazy afternoon drink. Need to rush out and pickup a couple more bottles!

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.31/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

375ml bottle sealed with signature Almanac pressure cap.

poured into SP wine Stem at fridge temp.

Appearance: light orange bodied beer that is slightly opaque. Lots of suspended chunks in this beer. A large 3 finger tall head that drops down to a ring around the glass.

Smell: Acetic sour and vinegar notes that are fairly mellow, but you definately know that they are there. Citrusy and musty funk, white wine, and dry toasty oak.

Taste: mild sourness 4/10. Acetic sourness and vinegar notes. Lots of apricot, stone fruits, and citrus(oranges and lemons) with a hint of cherry sweetness. Cracker malts. Mild musty funkiness and a hint of white wine with dry oak note. Slightly briney. Lingering acetic sourness that finishes clean after a while. The cherry flavor really explodes in this beer as it warms up! A Hint of vanilla sweetness also shows up when it warms up.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied beer with moderate carbonation. Semi dry finish. Creamy mouthfeel. Really balanced and drinkable sour beer.

Overall: Another great Almanac sour. They really know how to make great sour beers consistently! This is at the top tier of the Almanac sours that I have tried so far.

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 brianmandell
4.32/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Bottle dated February 2013

Pours a hazy peach color with no head - just a ring of white lacing. Lots of "floaties" and particles - obviously unfiltered. The last half of the bottle looks like a smoothie in the glass. Every sip leaves fruit sediment all over the glass.

Smells very interesting and fruity in the nose - sour peach nectar, apricot, cherry, and lemony citrus.

Taste is bright fruit up front - primarily apricot, some grape which is well integrated - vivid but not sweet. Bready malts and some cherry on the mid palate and finishes with a citrus lemony pop that fades back into the bready malt. Very dry, tannic finish. The taste is fairly sour. Minimal on the funk.

Mouthfeel is light and slightly oily. Carbonation is light to moderate but effervescent. Slightly creamy. I took off a little on the mouthfeel score due to the amount of sediment which is noticeable.

A very well done fruit sour. The fruits add to the experience and are very well integrated. The only real knock is some aftertaste of bready malt but it doesn't take away from the overall experience. The amount of sediment is also a little strange. The bottom half of the bottle was a beer smoothie. Was my bottle filled from the bottom of the barrel? Bottom line - easy drinking and tasty.

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.

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Valley Of The Heart's Delight from Almanac Beer Co.
97 out of 100 based on 649 ratings.