Farmhand Ale | Driftwood Brewery

BA SCORE
88
very good
171 Ratings
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Farmhand AleFarmhand Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Driftwood Brewery
British Columbia, Canada
driftwoodbeer.com

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our interpretation of this Southern-Belgian farmhouse ale uses a partial sour-mash and the addition of freshly ground black pepper. We use a very unique strain of yeast from Belgium to add further layers of spice and complexity to this rare style of beer.

Added by Derek on 12-20-2008

BEER STATS
Ratings:
171
Reviews:
63
Avg:
4
pDev:
9.5%
 
 
Wants:
13
Gots:
22
For Trade:
1
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Ratings: 171 |  Reviews: 63
Photo of Emmo26
5/5  rDev +25%

Photo of EskimoDave
5/5  rDev +25%

Photo of Torontoblue
5/5  rDev +25%

Photo of Mages64
5/5  rDev +25%

Photo of CanuckRover
4.77/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a lighter copper. Big pillowy head settles fairly quickly to a thin ring of film. Lacings are spotty. Loads of bubbles floating to the top.

Wonderful yeasty aroma with a really refreshing fruit character, almost pineapple-like.

Mmmm. Refreshing right up front with some very subtle hopping. Light biscuity malt takes over, given a bit of an edge by the lovely yeast flavours. Finally the black pepper comes through, really nice and a great contrast to the initial refreshing sweetness. Finished quite dry, peppery notes linger for a good while.

Excellent mouthfeel, carbonation really piques your interest and the smooth body doesn't disapoint.

A fantastic beer, should have brought back more!

 704 characters

Photo of markaberrant
4.77/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - deep orange glow, haze, white head gently floats on top, leaves some lacing behind.

S - peaches, apricots, herbal spice, earthy, fresh, but not in a bright floral way, more of a wet soil right after a rain kinda thing, I dunno. Different, but good.

T - dry, musty, earthy, herbal, damn... some really dry biscuit malt, I mean dry, lacking sweetness, but not overdone, fresh cut wood, well integrated flavours, pepper is really nice, not hot, hops don't jump out at you, but are firmly there, superb, lingering aftertaste

M - the carbonation isn't huge, but the mouthfeel is still quite lively and spritzy, dry, lip smacking finish

D - very quaffable, very thirst quenching, very flavourful, what more can you ask for?

I heard about this beer and new brewery months ago, and was intrigued, yet also cautious... new brewery in Victoria, pushing a session saison as one of their standard offerings... I'm thinking "lame wheat beer with some gimmick spices." WAS I EVER WRONG!!!

Most of my experience with commercial saisons has been of the heftier variety, which are very good, but lack that thirst quenching, refreshing quality that saisons historically had (supposedly, based on the reading I've done). Most of the lighter ones I had tried came off as poor attempts. NOT THIS ONE!!!

This beer rocks! It is world class! You need to taste this beer! It is truly satisfying! Exclamation mark!!!

Thanks to Canucklehead for sending me this very fine beer!

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Photo of trail77
4.75/5  rDev +18.8%

Photo of Gregg_Kawakami
4.75/5  rDev +18.8%

Photo of thefullpython
4.75/5  rDev +18.8%

Photo of PacificNorthWester
4.53/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a nice zesty orange-yellow color in the glass with little foam. Nose of the beer yields notes of pepper, grass, light hops, and a hint of spice (very faint). Upon sipping the beer one is exposed to a nice tango of tang and pepper, resulting in a refreshing first sip. Over the course of enjoying this beer I particularly thought that the grass and pepper characteristics never over powered the other. Buy this for a refreshing break from the IPA's crowding the shelf.

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Photo of darryletlesballons
4.52/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've been "checking in" on this beer every now and then for a few years now, as much a review of my partialities as of the beer itself. Still a favorite.

Visually appealing golden-amber beer with a full white head. I enjoy the gritty interplay of spicy clove and pepper on a sour base. Reminds me of a grassy Wit with more spice to bite, ending on the same dry "where-did-all-my-saliva-go" finish. Definitely the aroma of Belgian yeasts up front, setting the stage with a light sour grassiness and hints of tart apple followed by cloves. Not too much, not too little for flavour.

Until next time Madame Farmhand.

 616 characters

Photo of SithDarkLord11
4.51/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Photo of BCborn
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of adhallick
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%

Photo of findango
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%

Photo of ThirstyDutchman
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%

Photo of Angelhair
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%

Photo of Molson2000
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%

Photo of D-HopSupreme
4.43/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours a hazy orange body with a pearly white head, no lacing. The scent is very strong with floral, yeast, and fruity flavours, a bit like LFM. The taste has a great deal of spice to it from the black pepper, along with great ester flavours. It's overall pretty smooth, though I think the carbonation could be better contained. Very pleased by this.

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Photo of bobsy
4.4/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I split this bomber (cheers Eric) with my lovely wife. She's not very good at pouring beers (having somehow obtained a skill for slow low-carb pours), but even she gets a good three fingers of head atop a bright orange liquid. Great lace. The aroma instantly marks this beer out as a winner, with a complex mix of pear, pepper, grass and barnyard. I'd wear this as an aftershave. The initial flavour hit is a spicy pepperiness, followed up by citrus, earth and some mild barnyard funk. Moderately bitter, but hugely refreshing. The body is spot on, in my opinion... nicely crisp and ever so drying.

For a new Canadian brewery to open and offer a saison in its initial slew of offerings is very encouraging. For them to completely nail the style is remarkable. I think Driftwood holds a lot of promise and I'll happily hunt down the rest of their lineup. This is great stuff from Ritzkiss!

 889 characters

Photo of Graham5161986
4.39/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This Belgian style saison pours a brilliant copper orange colour with a frothy, slightly rocky white head that dissipates into a bubbly film but leaves some nice lacing on my glass. I do, however, miss the classic Belgian yeast that this one just doesn't seem to have.

Smells of classic Belgian candied fruit and caramel with banana and spice (I definitely pick up the black pepper added to this one). A really nice buttery aroma wafting off this one as well.

Taste is actually quite bready up front with the spice and candied dark fruit coming through mid-sip. The finish displays caramel, bread, nuts and a hoppy bitterness that balances out the sugars. Awesome.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, very crisp and clean with a spicy finish that leaves my mouth watering.

At 5.5%, this is a very drinkable belgian style ale. It's full of complex flavours and is not too sugary or spicy. Overall, a well-balanced saison that I could see myself drinking all night long. Excellent, excellent stuff. Kudos to the guys at Driftwood for another stunning beer.

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Photo of jcubz
4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Mack
4.37/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of xuptygm
4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a brownish orange, very thick soapy head which recedes quickly leaving some lace but not much. I have to admit I was congested when drinking this so I do not have much to say for aromas. I gave it the benefit of the doubt with a four. A very complex and unique beer when it comes to taste. Coriander, tea, lemon, a touch of honey sweetness. A very unique malt flavor. Spicy pepper taste compliments the higher level of carbonation. A well balanced beer. Carbonation leaves a prickly sensation in the mouth yet the beer is very smooth. Overall a very easy drinking complex beer. My second favorite find from my trip to Victoria. I brought home a few bottles of this stuff. Well worth it!

 692 characters

Photo of ChrisCage
4.33/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured into a pint glass, though it's my wide topped Heineken glass....was met with a super nice foamy head that was at least three fingers thick, eggshell in color and with excellent retention! The lacing is super plush on the side of the glass as I drink this down! The beer itself is a yeast hazed rusty orange color and has fine looking bubbles rising to the top! Very enticing upon first glance!!

S- There is a lot going on in the aromas....right upfront, I detect the black pepper that was used in making this. On top of the fresh ground berry scent, there is a blend of funky yeast, banana peel and clove spice. The sweet malt is present too and helps to counter everything else....the finish has a dry spice/bitter hop aroma that ties everything together!

T- The flavors follow the aromas fairly close...banana fruit, cloves, a very modest peppery flavor, lots of rich Belgian yeast/bread like qualities....it really delicious. Overall, everything is toned down from the aroma, and I find it dry on the palate, especially at the end...a really nicely balanced and flavored brew! Just as a note, as this warms up, the peppery character becomes much more noticeable and even leaves a little zing on my tongue, just like freshly ground black peppercorns would do on my food!

M- This is, in my opinion medium-full bodied, and is smooth as silk on the palate! The richness of the yeast is really prominent, and the balancing act between sweet/fruit/spice/bitter is really great. At the same time, this is a really crisp finisher and keeps my palate yearning for more.

D- I've never had a Saison that was brewed in Belgium but this is a world class beer in my opinion and I just know that this would rank right up with the authentic varieties! Another great pick up by my wife, who got this in Victoria for me and I would definitely get this again if given the chance! Highly recommended!

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Farmhand Ale from Driftwood Brewery
4 out of 5 based on 171 ratings.
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