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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.

75 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 75
Hads: 712
Avg: 4.26
pDev: 23.24%
Wants: 123
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: 75 | Hads: 712
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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Photo of siege06nd
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A. Hazy gold with a thin ring of white head. Head, while minimal, is persistent and leaves good lacing.

S. Apricots, lemon, peach, lacto, barnyard funk. Traces of cherry, strawberry, and slightly pungent cheese. Very good.

T. Fleshy apricot, tart peach flesh, dry white wine, hints of bittering hops, yeast. Fruity, dry, and nicely sour.

M. Moderate to high carbonation, good blend of fruit and tart notes...it's never overbearing or hugely puckering. Big dry, white grape finish.

O. An excellent wild ale and another awesome entry into Almanac's Farm to Barrel series. The complexity of flavors on display is quite impressive...absolutely loving the apricots in this. Not as sour as some, but presents a depth and well-roundedness that should be applauded. I really dig this beer and am glad to have tried it.

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Photo of BMMillsy
3.99/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

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Photo of vfgccp
4.52/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

A - Light haze on a soft yellow-peach body. White head settles quickly with little-to-no lace.

S - Fruity, restrained and well rounded. Red apple, cantaloupe, white cherries, apricots, and sour cranberries.

T - Smooth well balanced sourness, green grape, macintosh apple, sourdough, dried apricots.

M - Medium frame. Maybe medium-full to style. Strange, dry cream finish.

O - A deft balance of fruit and sour; fairly restrained for an American Wild ale.

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Photo of gueuzedreg
4.19/5  rDev -1.6%
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!

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Photo of dirtylou
4.38/5  rDev +2.8%
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

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Photo of jjdc
4.62/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Lovely golden yellow that just looks like summer. Ripe fruit nose that is solid, but not huge. This one is quite a bit more sour than most Almanacs, but quite amazing. The interplay between the fruit is superb. You get hints of tart cherries, citrusy apricots and perhaps loquats as the beer rolls over your tongue. The pucker keeps things taut and crisp. This is super refreshing. One of the best from Almanac.

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Photo of brianmandell
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

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Photo of SHODriver
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
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...

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Photo of rlee1390
4.31/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

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Photo of DovaliHops
4.53/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy, golden wheat color with a medium white head that goes down quickly. Scent is very fruity up front. Not sweet fruit, but the kinda fruit aroma you get when you walk through a field of trees or plants that grow fruit. Tart aromas with a hint of chardonnay. More chardonnay as the beer warms a bit. Taste is very tart up front. Loquats, lemons, and apricots provide a lovely fruity balance. The cherries are very difficult to find in the flavor. This one is pretty sour. A good amount of wine barrel...I'm assuming chardonnay barrels were uses. The fruit and sourness mesh so well with this one. Has a slight wheat flavor to it. Mouthfeel is dry and crisp. Somewhat puckering. Drinkability is extremely high. Overall, this beer is outstanding. To me, it drinks like a berliner. Perfect for a hot, summer day. You could tell me the ABV was 4.0%, and I would believe it. A lovely, dry, sour ale with a lot of stone fruit flavor.

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Photo of Tuckersmth
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Fat angel in SF.
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

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Photo of carmike813
4.48/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bought this when i was out west for vacation...

First off i have to give big credit to the bottle art. I love the Almanac font they use with the top-to-bottom sideways way of the label. The tree on the other side is cool looking with the "FARM TO BARREL" on the back side. I dont think anyone does better bottle art than Almanac, really cool.

I poored into a tulip glass.

Quick dissapating soda like head to the poor, it fizzed away immediately, but what you would expect form a sour

Sour funk, apricots, deep cherry. Very little wine barrel coming through the nose but pretty damn good to the senses

Big sour coming through with the wine barrel clearly coming through. Has the finish of a Reisling. The cherry is the most noticable with the apricot slightly behind. Excellent sour brew

Tangy carbonated acidic feel, ligh light body

Really enjoyed this sour, one that is easy to find and worth the try. High recommendation

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.88/5  rDev -8.9%
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.

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Photo of MarioM
3.91/5  rDev -8.2%
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.

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Photo of MarcWP
4.37/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle into Barrelworks Teku.

Pours a deep straw golden. Hazy with what appears to be flesh of loquat and apricot. Small white head that dissipates to thin ring.

Aroma is fruity with hints of cantaloupe, cherries, boysenberry jam, pink wine, and pear. Sweetened black grape juice and almost a strawberry bubblegum character as well. Candy to the nose. Also get a floral notes.

The taste brings about a big lactic sourness. You get white wine, underripe nectarine, young apricot, tart cherry, a blackberry like astringency, a little oak, and lemon rind for the finish. A puckering beer to say the least with a dry finale. There is sweetness mid palate but quickly gets consumed by the sourness and a drying out at the front of the tongue.

Mouthfeel is light with low to low-mid carbonation.

Overall a tasty sour with big lactic presence. Fruity but not very definitive. If the sourness was toned down a bit you would get more of the fruits. I like this plenty but I enjoyed Brandy Peche more. Farmers Reserve 3 would come next followed by this here. Nicely crafted sours coming out of Almanac!

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.24/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle I brought to share at Retsinis' tasting.

Bottled February 2013.

Pours a murky light orange with a foamy bone head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Tiny dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is sour with malt, cherry, apricot, and acidic aromas. Taste is much the same with sour apricot and white wine flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of acidity on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer that is quite tasty with its sour fruit and wine combination.

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Photo of rawfish
4.37/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours cloudy, brassy like apricot juice. A loose finger high head forms with decent retention and a good amount of lacing for a sour is left on the glass.

The effect of dry hopping with real fruit. Cherry and lemon juice tartness. Floral grassiness, white wine subtle stone fruit atop oak and a cracker-like malt bed.

Sweet music to my mouth, a symphony of juicy lemon and kumquat citrus, cherries and a bit of lactic acidity, lip smackingly sour. Fruit depth of peaches, apricot, green apple and white grapes. Oak tannins and acidity result in drying. Only knock on this one is the soggy grain/stale cookie malt flavor is left after the sourness and fruit fade.

Prickly active carbonation livens up this beer. Alcohol and body are non factors through the drink. Interesting dynamic in the war between drying feelings and the mouth simultaneously watering from the sourness.

This is a WOW beer, the dynamic of the fruit, sourness and wine barrels is captivating and lively. Very clean, features the fruit without the funk. Almanac sours do have a brand of tartness about them likely due to use of the same bacteria and yeast strains but this one is especially flavorful in comparison.

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Photo of wethorseblanket
4.34/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

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Photo of nataku00
3.95/5  rDev -7.3%
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.

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Photo of Beerenauslese
4.28/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Looks cloudy, golden in color. Not much head on the pour, but par for a sour.
Smells of fresh apricot and cherry notes over malt and oak.
Tastes of tart apricot and cherry fruit, some oak. Vinous and tart, well supported by the light malt. Has a long spicy finish.
Body is medium with slight carbonation. Refreshing.
A fruit forward sour that pairs well with food.

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Photo of Rick778
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
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!

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Photo of impending
4.63/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75


375ml into a delicate glass. Pours a fully hazed honey orange, pure white froth retains as a ring, minor lacing.

Handed this blind and asked to guess the fruits - the answers could be legion, everything advertised and so much more. Perfect balance of sweet to sour share an imagined cinnamon.

WoW this is tasty, a liquid sweet tart. Again the multitudes of fruits real and imagined. Exquisite sharp dry bite, white grape skins. Lip smacking goodness

Lively spritzy thin mouthfeel which so seeps into crevices it seems less is swallowed than was sipped.

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Photo of Rollzroyce21
3.98/5  rDev -6.6%
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.

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Photo of wakeuptothesun
4.43/5  rDev +4%
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!

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Valley Of The Heart's Delight from Almanac Beer Co.
94 out of 100 based on 75 ratings.