Farmhand Ale | Driftwood Brewery

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89
very good
62 Reviews
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Farmhand AleFarmhand Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Driftwood Brewery
British Columbia, Canada | website

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
Reviews:
62
Ratings:
166
Avg:
4.01
pDev:
15.21%
 
 
Wants:
13
Gots:
19
For Trade:
1
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Reviews: 62 | Ratings: 166
Photo of grub
4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Viggo brought this one over. thanks eric!

22oz bottle. sampled july 16/09.

pours crystal clear dark amber with a big fluffy cream coloured head. the head seems to last forever and leaves a thick blanket of lace as it falls.

aroma is good. light alcohol. orange peel. light spice. nice yeasty character. bit of funky barnyard character, but very restrained. light caramel. white bread and cracker. bit of grain. big floral component too.

taste is good. light alcohol. the spicy character comes through even more than in the aroma. orange peel and a bit of fruit. nice floral character that never gets perfumey. white bread and cracker. grain. bit of slightly funky character, but again very restrained.

mouthfeel is good. medium-high carbonation level. under medium body with a fairly dry finish.

drinkability is great. very well balanced. certainly one of the better north american farmhouse ales i've had. good stuff.

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Photo of spoony
3.85/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Hapa Izakaya in Vancouver, BC.

A-Nothing special, but not awful, either. Light gold in color and very little haze. A one-finger off-white head dissipates quickly. Lots of lacing.

S-A little funky. Some sweet yeast and a little spice. A touch of banana. Not a hop-monster by my estimate, but there was a hop note or two.

T-Tastes much like it looks and smells, i.e., a little funk and a hint of spice with a pretty sweet, yeasty backbone. More banana bread notes in the taste than the smell. Some malt flavor with very little hops.

M-Not much in the way of carbonation. Had a bready, sweet quality that I would rate as heavy medium body (for the style, especially). An easy drinker.

O-Not a bad effort... One rung below my New World saison measuring stick that is Tank 7. It wasn't a complex show-stopper, and it was a touch sweet (and probably would benefit from a little more carbonation), but I would drink this again.

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Photo of chickenm
3.99/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours orange-copper and has an off-white head with low retention. Nice fruity aroma with spices and yeast. Spicy taste with citrus, pepper, sugar, and sweet malts. Mouthfeel is a little watery. Very drinkable though, this is another solid beer from Driftwood.

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Photo of SebD
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: It has a nice hazy golden/orange color to it. It has a nice off-white head that dies down moderately slow and leaves some nice lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitely give out hints of Belgian yeast, black pepper, cloves, banana and some breadiness.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has some Belgian yeast, black pepper, cloves, definite banana and some sweet bready malts.

Mouthfeel: It has a low-medium carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel. Body is definitely thinner than I thought it would be. I actually find it a bit watery.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied by good flavors and aromas. This is the first time I'm disappointed with a beer from Driftwood. Maybe it's because I had really high expectations but it's still a good Saison nevertheless.

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Photo of LampertLand
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Driftwood Brewery 'Farmhand Saison' @ 5.5% , served from a 650 ml bottle purchased for $5.60
A-pour is a gold from the bottle to a rich copper in the glass with a small beige head that is leaving a fine lace along the tulip
S-some fruityness like banana bread in the front with black pepper in the background , Belgian yeast
T-the mix of flavors follow the aroma fairly close , fruit followed by spices , saison done local
MF-ok carbonation , medium body , enters the mouth nicely then burst's with sweet , fruit , bitter , spice , a crisp finish that will slightly sour the longer its held in the mouth
Ov-a well balanced saison , pleasant to taste and very easy to drink , good beer
prost LampertLand

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Photo of BDTyre
4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A great Saison from Victoria's newest brewery. Nice cloudy burnt-orange colour with a foamy white head. Spicy, peppery malt and hints of citrus and fruit and hops. Good spicy and malty taste - the black pepper is fairly subdued but noticeable enough to be "felt."

Slight burn to the mouthfeel, probably from the pepper but a great beer and this would probably be excellent in the summer.

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Photo of kjyost
3.68/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Undated bomber acquired at Luxelune, Winnipeg. Poured into a weizen glass at around 4C.

Deep copper body with substantial haziness and a light white head that leaves gorgeous lacing. A muted nose at first until the thick cap drops, leaving belgian barnyard esters and a hint of peppery spice to come out from beneath it. An odd body in a way as it is quite thick and sweet, but finishes with a light peppery dryness. Too thick for a saison, but with nice esters. A nice beer, just not what I was expecting. Worth having again.

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Photo of ritzkiss
3.79/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Edit: 11/06/09

Grabbed the last bottle from the shelf - good sign.

Still heavy carbonation out of the bottle but manageable, raises a couple fingers of nice rocky head. Leaves light, patchy lacing down the glass.

Looks great, clear burnt orange/ harvest orange color that has hints of brown. Tons of bubbles.

Smells has some vague fruity esters, lemons, a hint of pepper, almost a hint of tea leaves.

Taste is a light and springy: the lemons mix with a slight breadiness, pepper notes jive with a hint of earthiness, a herbaceous hops quality leaves a slight drying in the finish.

A little light on the body. Not too bad though. Upon re-drinking I can gladly up the score a bit but still feel there are better saisons out there. This is one is unique in coloring but I feel fails to deliver in complexity of flavors. Light drinking and an excellent option for summertime and decks. Another good brew from Driftwood.

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Photo of Bunman3
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yes please. This is an incredibly accessible saison. The grainy, malty, spicy edge comes alive in your mouth. This was the perfect beer to kick off my summer holiday!

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Photo of headlessparrot
3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours from a bomber into the glass an orange-copper colour, faintly hazy, and capped by two fingers of frothy white, large-bubbled foam. The head recedes to a finger fairly quickly but persists there decently, and leaves a lot of lacing on the glass.

Smell is peppery, yeasty, earthy. Slight fruity esters--apple in particular. Lots of malt, and a faint funky sourness. Orange peel, lemon zest, perhaps some clove. Slightly soapy, but not unpleasantly so. Grainy with a bit of smell I generally associate most with rye beers.

Taste is the smell, redux. Slightly soapy, though again not unpleasantly. A touch of funk, a bit of sour. Cracker, rye (is there rye here in the grist-bill?), slight clove, citrus. Peppery spice. Carbonation is high-moderate, and the body is quite full. Yeasty, slightly vinous, slightly milky? Drying on the finish.

As far as saisons go, this isn't revolutionary. But it is pretty enjoyable, interesting, and shows some complexity. I've heard it said by a few people that Driftwood is giving Bellwoods and Dieu de Ciel a run for their money as "best brewer in Canada." I don't know if I'd go *that* far on the evidence of this beer, but it's certainly a nice, delicious offering.

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Photo of ericj551
3.77/5  rDev -6%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Driftwood Farmhand pours a clear deep gold with a nice fluffy head that lingers. Thick lacing works its way down the glass. The aroma is dry and earthy with some light, fruity malt. The flavor is dry malt with more earthiness and fruity easters. The beer finishes crisp and dry. There may be a hint of pepper, but that could be the power of suggestion.

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Photo of ChrisCage
4.33/5  rDev +8%
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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Photo of FondueVoodoo
3.91/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Fantastic colour of deep super clear copper, very low head with only a minimal thin layer lasting. While not dealing with the beers appearance it's worth noting the simplicity and clarity of the label. Driftwood uses icons to lists the ingredients, for me it stirs a confidence in being able to see the minimal list of ingredients.

S: Sweet malts and yeasty high notes with a hint of pepper. Tiny bit of hops, or citrus fruits at the end. It's a great balance of malty earthiness and very subtle citrus after notes.

T: Balance of yeast and rich mildly sweet malts and after taste of citrus peel on account of the hops. After spending the majority of the day running errands this beer is the perfect cap to sit and enjoy with a hardy meal. It's the balance that is most striking and comforting.

M: Tiny bit of sting from the carbonation on this medium bodied ale, again it's the balance of airy carbonation and thin syrup mouth feel that stands out.

O: Well balanced easy drinking ale. I would pair this easily with a hardy meal intended to draw the day to a close. Whether it's steak and potatoes or roasted root veggies, this beer tastes like comfort.

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Photo of CanuckRover
4.77/5  rDev +19%
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!

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Photo of cratez
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

650ml bottle purchased by my dad at The Brewery Creek Liquor Store in Vancouver, British Columbia. Pours a hazed amber gold with two fingers of bubbly, eggshell white froth and strands of lacing on the stemmed wine glass. Smell and taste are fresh oranges, lemon, faint nuttiness, clove, dried mango, a tad earthy and resinous, jujube candy, marmalade, smooth and tart maltiness, green banana, mildly citric orange peel bitterness, fleeting finish. Mouthfeel is crisp and peppery spiciness upfront, prickly tang on the tongue, passing dryness to end. The black pepper is evident in the aftertaste. This reminds of Black Oak Saison, but with a few more nuances due to the beefier grain and hop bills and higher ABV. Seems like a pretty versatile beer, good for sessioning after a hot day or pairing with a light meal. Overall it's a nice quaff in the summer season.

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Photo of HipCzech
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Serving: 650 mL bottle poured into a 0.3 L tulip glass (bottle "07.05.13").

Appearance: Slightly hazy, warm golden copper hue. Lush, bubbly off white head that slowly recedes with thick lacing.

Smell: Belgian yeast and spice (clove) dominate with a bit of malt, sweet citrus (mandarin) and funk as well.

Taste: Sweet and slightly toasty malt opens with tarter fruit, yeast and overall earthiness following. Finishes quite dry, with herbs and spice and bit of bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium body and carbonation.

Overall: Fuller bodied, malty and hearty while more restrained on yeast and spice; overall a balanced and satisfying saison.

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Photo of markaberrant
4.77/5  rDev +19%
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 scott451
4.23/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a Duvel tulip glass. A slightly hazy apricot with a massive bubbly light tan head. Great head retention and strong lacing.

Fresh malt smells with hoppy hints. Pepper overtones. Slightly fruity up front. Actually fairly mild tasting overall. Slightly hoppy pepper finish. Very well done.

Medium body with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is very good. Refreshing and very pleasant overall. I had no problem finishing the bomber by myself.

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Photo of Graham5161986
4.39/5  rDev +9.5%
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 Siriusfisherman
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice Saison with a great peppery yeast character and nicely carbed body. The hops are not a dominant as some of their other beers, but they do lend a nice herbal presence to go with the yeast spice. The brewers here seem to know how to make great beer, haven't had anything I did not find great.

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Photo of D-HopSupreme
4.43/5  rDev +10.5%
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 Hornet2003
4.18/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

650mL bottle.

Appearance: Golden-amber in colour with a creamy white head that laces well.

Smell: Lots of fruity yeast aromas. Musty bread notes as well. Very pronounced aromas remind me of a good solid Belgian.

Taste: Nice hoppy bitterness with a fruity tang bite. Orange, banana, and lemon notes.

Mouthfeel: Nice and light. Perfect for a refreshing summer saison.

Drinkability: Extremely high. They should sell this in 5L mini kegs because it's low-ish alcohol and ridiculously refreshing. Great for a hot day thirst quencher.

Overall: I had this on-tap at Alibi room a while ago and am reviewing this from a bomber I bought after the initial taste. Such a smooth drinker and one of the most thirst quenching beers I've had in a long time.

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Photo of IllNate
3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - a very clear amber with a heap of off white head. Very appealing.

S - malty and hoppy, but mostly yeasty, with a bit of funk.

T - caramel malt, with a balancing bitterness.

M - medium bodied, smooth. Well done.

O - well done beer, I imagine drinking this after a day on the farm.

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Photo of Trosevear
4.09/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 650ml bottle

L: Amber Yellow Orange colour with a nice white head leaving lacing down the glass as it dissappear.

S: Citrusy sour smell to it with almost a sweet bubblegum tone.

T: Coriander and a slight bitterness to it with a tart taste.

F: Light bodied with a nice mouth feel.

O: A very nice easy drinking beer. Although not my favorite saison.

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Photo of EspressoGuy
3.85/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: amber with orange hints; low carbonation; transparent
S: low intensity grapefruit rind, pine, nutmeg, bread dough
T: clean, broad, malty, well-balanced; more spicy maltiness than hoppy character; bitterness is there from the start and builds till it's prominent --but not excessiveness-- in the finish. Leaves a nice rich lingering aftertaste.
M: medium-modied
O: not particularly complex but rich and enjoyable. Very nice with simple hearty country food (ploughman's lunch, lentil soup or salad...)

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Farmhand Ale from Driftwood Brewery
89 out of 100 based on 62 ratings.
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