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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: 699
Avg: 4.26
pDev: 7.51%
Wants: 122
Gots: 127 | 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: 699
Photo of scottfrie
3.95/5  rDev -7.3%
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.

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Photo of SportsandJorts
3.59/5  rDev -15.7%
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.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.9/5  rDev -8.5%
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.

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Photo of Treyliff
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
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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Photo of thebigredone
3.75/5  rDev -12%

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.

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Photo of shadetree67
4.16/5  rDev -2.3%
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

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.83/5  rDev -10.1%
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.

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Photo of More_betterness
4.38/5  rDev +2.8%
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!

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.31/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.7/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A- Pours a pale orange or medium deep yellow in color with an average sized head. The head is very fizzy and more like a champagne head than a beer head. Retention is not very long on this head and it comes down to a wisp of bubbles on the edges of the beer fairly quickly. Not much lacing here.

S- This beer is fruity right up front in the scent before a bang of tartness. Fruitiness is primarily tart cherry in the scent, but a little bit of citrus and the apricot is in there as well. The back half of the scent is primarily tart and just a touch dry from the wine barrel.

T- Starts off with a bang of tart cherries and a fruity medley of the apricots and loquats. I have no idea what a loquat is, but I assume it has a fairly citrusy flavor that is mixing in with the cherries and apricots. The tartness picks up a little after the initial fruitiness, but never becomes too aggressive. A slight dryness comes after the tartness fades towards the end, and just a touch of wine flavor comes through in that dryness.

M- This beer has an overall feeling most similar to champagne. It is light and very carbonated on the tongue. The lower level of tartness makes this easy to drink, but not quite thirst quenching.

Overall, this is probably my favorite of the Almanac sours I have been able to try. It is fruity and tart, yet not so tart as to make you pucker. Just a very good beer overall.

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

The beer pours a hazy light golden yellow with noticeable carbonation, but minimal head retention. There are flocks of settling yeast and strands of pulp visible as well. The nose is tart and fruity with notes of dog's breath, honey, apricot pit, and hinting cherries and acetone. The taste is fruity and funky with lemony acidity, a grainy backbone, and lingering apricots in the finish. It's light bodied with approachable sourness, a recognizable fruit presence, ample carbonation, and a dry fruity finish. This beer, although pricey, is incredibly well-honed and drinks with minimal complaints - perfect for summer.

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Photo of draheim
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

375mL into a tulip. Pours a hazy pale golden straw w/ a 1-finger head that settles to a soft collar and film. Lively carbonation.

Aroma is sharply bright and crisp, lemony, acidic. Nice open sour character, not vinegary. Mildly bready. Similar to Berlinerweisse.

Taste is pleasantly tart and a touch grainy. Similar to Sanctification on the tartness scale. Lemon, grass, lacto. Puckering.

Mouthfeel is clean and dry, crisp. A little prickly, tickles the palate.

Overall a really nice, clean, refreshing sour. A step below some of the best gueuzes I've tried, but still enjoyable.

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Photo of RaulMondesi
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
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...

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Photo of abeeronthebeach
4.13/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

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Photo of jbaker67
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours hazy copper with a quickly dissipating, white head. Aroma of sour and tart notes, some apricots and cherry notes, pale malts, light wine notes and oak notes, and hints of spices. Flavor the same with a great blend. Average texture. A really cool beer.

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Photo of stakem
4.08/5  rDev -4.2%
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!

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.51/5  rDev -17.6%
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.

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

Bottle opnened on 2.28.14

A - Pours a hazy off-orange with a fizzy near white head that is gone fast.

S - Funky, lots of stone fruits, cherry, subtle wine.

T - Similar to the nose, but cherry and wine are sronger, and welcomed.

D - A light body with good carbonation.

O - Finally, I geat a good Almanac. Very nice fruit and funk.

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Photo of macrosmatic
4.48/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to eyebereej for sending this one. Reviewed from notes. Poured from 375 mL bottle into a Florida Berliner Bash snifter.

A: Hazy gold, with a thin white head but lots of bubbles forming streams up the sides of the glass.

S: Some nice barnyard funk, a mouth-tightening tartness, white wine, and fruity (though I'm not sure I would have called it apricots - just a fruity sweetness).

T: Tart apricots, white vinous character, tartness and a moderate amount of wet, funky barnyard. Dry and tart on the finish with woody tannins from the barrel.

M: Light champagne-like body with tons of carbonation sensation, and very low alcohol presence.

O: A really nice, well-done sour. Quite light, enjoyable and drinkable. This is one of my favorites of Almanac's small-bottle sour series. Excellent beer.

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Photo of popery
3.9/5  rDev -8.5%
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.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a really awesome fruit beer here, not totally sure what a loquat is, maybe another asian citrus type? hard to pick it out, not knowing what it is. the beer is hazy pale orange colored without much head or visible carbonation, but its far from flat in the feel, just looks it. the nose is apricot heavy, thats the only fruit i really smell, maybe a little lemon, and also some hectic sourness, more than brett this is lacto heavy, clean though, and mouth watering. the flavor starts wight he fuzzy and ripe apricots, and then the sourness that starts with a lemony tartness and progresses to full blow caustic acidity. the finish finally shows the cherries in this, tart and red and juicy, which is an unexpected flavor for the color, and an even more interesting twist for the sourness to cling on to. a crockery malt base is basically irrelevant here, as the fruit and bacteria do all of the flavoring. this series of little bottle special farm stuff from almanac has been a pleasure to drink through so far, they seem to have a real grasp for getting authentic fruit flavors is dry sour beer, its real tasty, and aside from the sourdough, this may be my personal favorite. big thanks as always to drlovemd87 for sharing.

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Photo of Powderhornphil
4.41/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours hazy orange. Soapy white head that recedes fast.

Aroma is tart candies. Funk. Excellent aroma.

Tastes of tart and sour candy, oranges, tangerines, apricots, wine notes.

Medium mouthfeel. Nice and dry.

Another great and highly drinkable wild from Almanac.

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Photo of Axnjxn
4.31/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

375ml bottle into a shaker

hazy orangeish yellow color with a slight head. smell has a lot going on and i get a good amount of peaches. you can tell this one is going to be sour. taste is massively lip puckering and by far their sourest beer to date. great fruit notes throughout and the finish is on point with a lasting fruit flavor. love this stuff. lip puckering sourness thoroughout.. great job

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Photo of joe1510
4.33/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25


Valley of the Heart's Delight looks like pink champagne as it fills the glass. There's a touch of haze but it shows off it's blush very well. Streams of perfectly white carbonation rush up the glass to the snappy, crackling white head keeping permafoam® on the surface. When backlit it is the color of a perfectly ripe apricot. Damn fine looking beer!

The sniffer is immediately met with metallic and mineral notes from the funk. Iron, wet stone, damp forest, must, and cobweb heavy attic. Surprisingly, all the fruits used are noticeable along with the barrel. Vinous notes lead the way the softly sweet apricot following closely before even handed Rainier cherries enter the fray. I'm not fully sure of locquat but there is a deep floral undercurrent. The apricot slightly tart and sweet, the wine barrel acidic, and all over a clean shortbread maltiness. The apricot blossoms with warmth.

Almanac nailed the funk on this beer. There's bright fruity acidity that's brings a pucker before soft lactic sourness flows through mid palate. The lactic segues flawlessly, almost unnoticed, into a long, manageable barnyard funk. Again the fruits are all present in even handed amounts. Damp wood barrel notes add even more depth to this bottomless brew. He shortbread sweetness adds a flawless base. This is good beer!

The body, while still working well, is the weakest link. Light and slightly flaccid, a little more oomph whether it be carbonation or hefty would help. This is only slightly off. The tartness invades every nook and cranny leaving firm sourness down the throat. Long lasting finish and high quenchability.

Valley of the Heart's delight is one of the better, more complex American wilds I've had in recent memory. It's brightly acidic, fruity, lactic, and has that great sweet and sour give and take going. A really great beer I highly recommend.

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