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.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

68 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 68
Hads: 655
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 2.13%
Wants: 117
Gots: 117 | FT: 17
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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Reviews: 68 | Hads: 655
Photo of tom10101
3.01/5  rDev -28.7%
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. (749 characters)

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.51/5  rDev -16.8%
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. (472 characters)

Photo of SportsandJorts
3.59/5  rDev -14.9%
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. (939 characters)

Photo of smakawhat
3.71/5  rDev -12.1%
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. (1,182 characters)

Photo of thebigredone
3.75/5  rDev -11.1%

Wow, never had such a hazy, chunky, pour before. There are bits of pulp from the fruit, this looks almost looks like a runny fruit smoothie.

Taste is sharply sour and fruity, with a bit of oak. There is just a hint of plastic on the finish of some of the sips, but fortunately not all.

Mouthfeel is good, except for all the floating particles. This does become a problem as you near the finish of the beer.

Overall, a very solid beer. I would have rated this a 4+, but the particles really become a problem towards the end of the beer, and the small, occasional hints of plastic were off-putting. (600 characters)

Photo of DefenCorps
3.83/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottled Feb 2013. Thanks, Chris!

A hazy light peach with a dense white head that falls off leaving little lacing. The nose is bright with your cherries , apricots, peaches and a moderate lactic sourness. Funk is minimal , and there's a noticeable fleshy, pulpy fruit aroma, especially apricots. A little dough is present.

The palate opens sharply sour with a blend of lactic acid, raw apricot, peach skins and cherry sourness. This is followed by a lemony mid palate that enhances the acidity. Drying and sour on the finish with fleshy fruit and a sourness not unlike aged foufoune( read: heading in an unpleasant direction ). Minimal wine barrel character here, although a moderate grape character is present. Light in body and moderately carbonated, this is solid stuff. (776 characters)

Photo of cpetrone84
3.88/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour is deep golden amber in color with a fairly tight white head. Nose is fruity with a balance of dry wood. Peaches seem most prevalent of the fruits involved but there is a tartness in back. Taste actually has a lot more cherry. The wood is still present, light touch of alcohol in the finish with strong carbonation and a very dry finish. Cherries run through the back, fairly tart and sour. Light notes of brett underneath, nicely done. Really like this brewery. (467 characters)

Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.9/5  rDev -7.6%
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. (698 characters)

Photo of popery
3.9/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an orangey yellow color. It's quite cloudy. Some sediment chunks floating around. The head is white with fine bubbles. Lots of lacing, residue left behind on the sides of the glass. Very good retention, kinda odd for a sour. Lots of fruit in the aroma. Particularly big on apricot. From what I remember from trying loquats, that's also fairly strong. Cherries are a bit in the background, though definitely noticeable. Mild wine. Some oak. A bit of cheesiness. Could use some cleaning up but it's a step in the right direction for Almanac. Mild lactic note. Taste is medium sour. Lots of underripe apricot. Some oak dryness. Still fairly messy with a moderate amount of bile flavor - I really don't know exactly what the flavor is, but it bothers me in a number of American sours. Some pale malt character lingers in the background. Medium-light feel. Somewhat effervescent. Good sour. Near the top of Almanac's releases for me. If they could just clean up whatever causes that bile-ish taste, I'd be a much bigger fan. (1,025 characters)

Photo of MarioM
3.91/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz poured into a Delirium Tremens snifter

A: Slight cloudy orange with a white head that quickly dissipated in about 15 seconds after pouring to a thin rim of bubbles.

S: A slight woody almost bourbon vanilla like character with perhaps a tiny bit of fruit in the background but mostly bourbon vanilla notes.

T: Wow, very tart and acidic with the same vanilla notes from the notes but quickly dissipates into an almost bread like taste in the aftertaste but reminds me of something... I want to say a young Brett beer but not sure. Its almost rich and buttery but not from diacetyl, strange and hard to pi point. Regardless, its a very distinctive wood aged beer with an even more distinct tart acidic character that dries the mouth and feels like its stripping the enamel off my teeth.

M: Dry yet leaves a bread like sweetness in the mouth without much bitterness or sourness. I'm guessing its the Brett doing its thing but hard to tell. Most likely the barrel aging having a way with the beer.

O: I like this barrel forward vanilla bourbon brew. Its dry, tart and refreshing while still being mind boggling yet strangely familiar. Worth a try especially for ya'll Yay Area Brew fan boys like my self. (1,213 characters)

Photo of Reedbrew
3.92/5  rDev -7.1%
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. (169 characters)

Photo of nataku00
3.95/5  rDev -6.4%
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. (645 characters)

Photo of scottfrie
3.95/5  rDev -6.4%
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. (1,271 characters)

Photo of Rollzroyce21
3.98/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured on 6-Feb-14

From 375 mL bottle into Anchorage Teku glass.

It's got a nice soft, yellow-orange color with some fogginess to it.

Pick up some tropical fruit with some lemon zest on the nose. Oak barrel in the background. It just smells sour and I anticipate a sour punch.

I was right. Pick up some peaches, cherries, and apricot up front, but quickly gets absorbed into a lemon sour rush. Puckering; definitely more tart than vinegary. Crispier-side of carbo. Zesty. I can tell its aged in oak... little earthiness in the end, but wouldn't have guessed wine barrels.

It's a little too lemony for my taste, but this is a nice sour. True sour heads should enjoy this one. Actually.. I think I might prefer this over RR Beat cause it's got a bit more layers of complexity. (781 characters)

Photo of BMMillsy
3.99/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 1.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle from my trip to Cali. Poured to a tulip glass. Strangely enough this looked like (even in the bottle) that it has about a 2.5 inch yeast sediment in the bottom. Shows in the pour. This one poured a cloudy yellow orange with lots of chunks--both white and reddish black colored (cherry skins?)--with no head at all. Weird. The aroma is amazing though. Lots of fruity apricots, tart fruits, some lightly sweet cherry, plenty of lacto sourness. Awesome. Flavor is tart and sweet apricots, definite vinous notes, lots of sour vinegar and lacto, dry oak finish. Mouthfeel is medium, maybe a bit heavy for the style. Honestly this reminds me a lot of Fou Fone with a little extra cherry and vinous sweetness. I don’t know if I got a weird bottle or what but it is an ugly brew. Nevertheless, pretty yummy and better than the rating shows since it is low from the look.

Hmmm...as this warms it begins to smell like latex. That can't be good. Had to drain pour the last 5 ounces because of the massive chunks floating around. (1,028 characters)

Photo of TX-Badger
4/5  rDev -5.2%
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. (218 characters)

Photo of Davepoolesque
4.01/5  rDev -5%
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. (185 characters)

Photo of stakem
4.08/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thank you anotherjoe for hooking me up with multiple bottles of this on more than one occasion, it is greatly appreciated. 375ml bottle poured into a wine glass, the bre appears a hazed golden copper color. An off-white cap appears and slowly fades leaving patchy lace sticking.

The smell is juicy like peach/apricot. Very fruity with vinous notes that get progressively more wild and tangy. A slight hint of brine and mineral aspect at first that blends to an earthy peach/apricot skin character. A very mild woody almost vanilla note is also present from the barrel along with a faint kiss of vinegar.

The taste is tart with peachy/apricot fruitiness and lactic tartness. It is juicy yet oak is present with minor vanilla aspects impart a sense of contrasting sweetness. A lingering sour fruit feel and raw oakiness blends to earth and fruity pith/pulp almost grassy with the skin of fruit filling out the rest of the profile.

This is a light bodied brew with modest carbonation. Plenty of tartness that gets minorly acidic when it warms up with a bounty of fruit and barrel character to balance it all out. I like this beer quite a lot, thanks again Anotherjoe! (1,167 characters)

Photo of Rick778
4.12/5  rDev -2.4%
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! (330 characters)

Photo of abeeronthebeach
4.13/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Hazy golden honey-orange. Paper-white head with impressive retention.

S - Similar to Dogpatch (i.e very sour and a little funky), yet with faint apricot presence underpinned by a thin layer of honey-sweetness.

T - Very sour (moreso than dogpatch). Refreshing, yet any true fruit presence is overwhelmed by the high level of acidity. A little funk is detectable as it warms.

M - Light body with medium carbonation. Fits nicely with the flavours.

O - If you prefer sourness over fruit presence, you'll love this. Not my thing, although I can appreciate its qualities. (573 characters)

Photo of mdfb79
4.15/5  rDev -1.7%
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. (487 characters)

Photo of shadetree67
4.16/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A. Very Cloudy and orange / copper in color. A 1 finger fizzy white head disappears quickly. I don't think I've ever seen a beer with so much sediment. There are lots of brown / red flecks and floaties in the beer. Almost look like strawberry seeds in size, but there arent any strawberries in here. I carefully poured half of the bottle which had been stored upright. Yeasty specks coat the sides of the glass as i drink.

S. Funk and Must. Apricot and orange. Some cherry.

T. Opens with apricots and citrus. The middle is cherry and hints of barrel. The finish is tart lemons. It is quite sour and dry. Not much funk in the flavor, just fruit.

M. Light body and medium carbonation. Very dry finish.

O. This is a pretty good AWA. The amount of sediment is a bit of a turn off as probably 1/3rd of the bottle is like drinking high pulp orange juice. Another solid offering from almanac (891 characters)

Photo of BowWowWowYippyYoIPA
4.18/5  rDev -0.9%
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. (1,049 characters)

Photo of VelvetExtract
4.18/5  rDev -0.9%
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. (431 characters)

Photo of gueuzedreg
4.19/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A- Golden sour with minimal head, medium retention to medium lacing. Schmedium.

S- Lemony, citrus, hay and funk. Some malty properties.

T- Mouth puckering sour. Lemon, peach sour. Tart with carbonation getting your mouth's attention. Earthy grains.

M- Thin like the style should be. Lots of carb.

O- Very good peach sour. Thanks Jeff! (342 characters)

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Valley Of The Heart's Delight from Almanac Beer Co.
93 out of 100 based on 68 ratings.