Flora Blue/Black
Hill Farmstead Brewery

Flora Blue/BlackFlora Blue/Black
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Belgian Saison
not listed
4.36 | pDev: 9.63%
Hill Farmstead Brewery
Vermont, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Flora Blue/BlackFlora Blue/Black
Notes: Flora is the wine barrel aged version of Florence (1915-1967), our grandfather's sister as well as the name of our wheat farmstead ale. Only a few barrels were selected, and that beer was aged further on a blend of fresh, hand-picked berries from Greensboro and East Hardwick. The result is a complex, elegant, fruit-forward blend that both marries and highlights each of its constituent elements.
Reviews: 30 | Ratings: 253 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of jhavs
4.57/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into globe onsite. 375ml. Many Flora variants onsite on 3/15/18, celebrating the life of the beers namesake.

Appearance is a radiant and clear (with careful pour) ruby red. A brilliance shines through when held up to the sun shining through the window. Starts with a thick foamy just off white head that settles into a thin cap with a bit thicker collar.

Aroma is fresh tart blueberry, rich earthy barrel and some dark fruit.

The flavor is layered with moderate tartness, background of earthy funk with fresh blueberry flesh and skin. the currants come through as a layer of dark fruit depth that smooths the tartness into a very accessible level.

Soft and dry, a bit above medium body, moderate carbonation.

Complex, a great version of this base brew. The fresh berry flavor melds perfectly with the currants. Tartness of fruit and brew work great and the barrel adds just enough oomph to make this really special.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.68/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Beautiful reddish purple sunset hue with a thin collar that quickly dissipates. Lovely aroma. Tantalizing berry character. Awesome flavor and palate feel. Tart with subtle berry sweetness. Chuggable. Absolutely delicious beer.

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Photo of Kramerbarthomer
3.12/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3

Poured a reddish yellow color. There is fruit present, but the nose and the tasted are dominated by massive band-aid notes. This beer was off. Dissapointing.

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Photo of Kurmaraja
4.43/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful garnet, amber, sunset hues. Head fades to a ring. Aroma is blueberry, a bit og goat cheese, eucalyptus, rose petals. Flavor follows but with more depth of berry flavor, presumably from the blackberries. Finish is dry and a bit oaky

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Photo of PHBoiler
4.42/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wonderful deep red color. Smell is mostly microflora and hay. The tartness begins to hit your nose before it hits your lips. Bright acidity. The dry finish helps round the flavors. The fruit really just adds a bold acidity to the base beer.

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Photo of nsheehan
2.93/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Beer looked fine, but the nose was off a little. Some nice tart farmhouse character was being pushed to the side by something off. The taste was minty with some roughness in the mouthfeel, overriding what could've been a nice lightly funky, tart saison. As far as berries, there was only a light un-ripe fruit taste, possibly contributing to what I perceived as a mintiness. This was very disappointing, may have been an off bottle, but nonetheless.

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Photo of SadMachine
4.52/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Updated my rating after having this with over 2 years of age on it. It has improved tremendously, with beautiful blueberry/blackberry pie notes, a wonderful, soft mouthfeel, and still gorgeous to look at!

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Photo of LambicPentameter
4.53/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Thanks to BA Jordandid for sending this over as part of a great trade. Enjoyed out dark glass 375 mL bottle with a standard cap, but one that has some kind of plastic seal mechanism on the inside of the cap--something I don't think I've seen with beer before. Anyway... onto the beer: poured into a Duvel chalice.

Appearance (4.75) - Pours a striking color--a fabulous shade of bright magenta or fuschia that just seems to radiate out of the glass. It's mostly clear with a slight bit of haze, I imagine from the fruit particulate that was added to the base beer. Atop the body sits a rocky rose-colored head about two fingers thick, with a mix of bubbles large and small. Retention is moderate, dissipating to a film and ringlet with some strings of lace remaining on the side of the glass. Off to a good start, as this is an enchanting, unique-looking beer.

Smell (4.25) - A nice blend of tart fruit aromas, wild bacteria and light grain on the nose, and in typical HF fashion, it all blends together very seamlessly. Both the blackberry-like tartness of the black currant and the distinctive aroma of blueberry are present, but dry and muted, rather than in your face and juicy. I was also hoping to get a nice blast of oaky tannins to round this out, but they are hard to pick out. Some vinous undertones and musty funk seem to represent the oak in the smell. There is a lot to appreciate regarding the subtlety and nuance of the aroma.

Taste (4.5) - I'd heard/read a lot about this rendition of Flora lacking the juicy punch of fruit that many look for in great fruited sours and saisons. I'm not sure if it's my palate or if my bottle has developed and matured over the past eight months, but I get a ton of jammy fruit out of the taste. Blueberries and currants aren't the "juiciest" of fruits, and here that dry tartness works very well with the barrel-aging and wild microflora. Sour lacto, some of the tannins that I had a harder time picking out of the aroma and nice underlying woody funk are all present to balance out the jamminess. I love the fact that on the taste, the blueberry and black currant have sort of melded into a single fruit characteristic rather than coming through as distinct flavors.

Mouthfeel (4.75) - Very drinkable, but not boring. High carbonation and light-to-medium bodied. A nicely pleasant acidic pucker that doesn't overwhelm the tastebuds, but provides ongoing textural interest to the tongue.

Overall (4.75), a beer for which the whole exceeds the sum of its parts. I'm really wishing I had another bottle to see how it continues to develop over time. I continue to search for a Hill Farmstead beer that disappoints.

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Photo of popery
3.85/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

The beer is a rich, fairly deep shade of red. Light pink head. Somewhat cloudy. The aroma has some nice berry and yeast flavors bouncing around, but the black currant dominates somewhat and there’s a touch of sulfur. A bit jammy and well refined. A little bit medicinal. More medicinal flavor in the taste but I sorta think that I just don’t love black currants. Fairly tart, light to medium. Lots of berry skin. I really like the blueberry flavor and the saison base. Light feel. A bit tannic.

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Photo of kevanb
3.71/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

375ml bottle, 2014 vintage, poured into a Hill Farmstead white tasting glass. Enjoyed on 7.4.15, reviewed from Tasting Journal.

The beer pours a beautiful ruby red color, lightly hazy with a finger of pinkish head, low retention and little in the way of lace. The aroma is of tart dark berry fruits, red wine acidity, grapey, barrel char, strong smokiness, leathery with some tobacco as well. Surprisingly dark and smokey aroma. The flavors don't deviate from the nose, tart berries, nice estery saison base, tart wheat, oaky red wine, a bit jammy, it's certainly bright than the aromas at first, but then falls prey to a strong tobacco and leather flavor that produces a significant amount of smoke and charred barrel. The mouthfeel is nice, medium body, coating, crisp with higher carbonation, dry, tart with an easy finish.

Verdict: A decent fruited saison, not sure if the barrel got in the way here, but something is producing some very unpleasant smoke and tobacco flavors that just don't fit in with the berries or Flora base. I know that sometimes Blueberries can produce a flat rubbery and plasticy flavor, but this doesn't fall into that trap, but sadly, falls into another unpleasant trap. Perhaps I waited too long to try this, but I get the feeling that this wasn't a time issue.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.04/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pour is maroon to ruby red, completely clear, with a faint white pinkish head. Nose has a bit of an almost bile or harshness to it up front, moderate brett presence, fairly assertive fruity presence. Flavor has much less of the off flavor, still a hint, moderate brett, faint leather, light phenol towards the back, assertive dark berry flavor. Soft palate, light carb, nice feel.

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Photo of Davepoolesque
4.06/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Looks amazing. Very gueze-like aroma. Plastic, tart berry, and lemon. Taste is subtle blueberry, earthiness, grape skin, lemon brightness. Very faint wine flavor. Dry finish.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.77/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Bright red body. Clear. Small white head and a medium collar.

Smell - Surprisingly funky. Sharp white wine. Oak. Berry aroma. Not quite sure how to describe it. Maybe a little yogurt?

Taste - The berry flavor is not really the highlight here, although it's the first flavor. Light tartness. Very strange behind that. Funky and yogurty. Oak. White wine seems to linger into the finish with a funky flavor I can't pinpoint.

Mouthfeel - Medium light. Well carbonated.

Overall - This isn't quite up to the standards of other Flora treatments. Has some strange funkiness that I don't think helps, but still elevates it above most other saisons.

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Photo of putonyourwalkingshoes
3.68/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My brother acquired this in a trade and boy he gave up something pricey to experience a HF beer. I too wanted one and was excited to give this a go. I have to say this would be a great beer to integrate someone who doesn't enjoy sours or possibly get someone into beer that doesn't dig components like hard lactic notes, acidic tartness, or deep oak character.

Sadly for me, this beer missed my expectations. Don't get me wrong, it has qualities. Very crushable and delicate in many aspects. The blueberry however comes off like it would in an Italian soda very muted. The overall mouthfeel is nice for what comes out of the taste and that is the desire for more.

In short, I wanted something big like a Cascade with heavy oak, big blueberry, and a tartness that would leave me in a dry sweat but this is just so subdued. Really wondering if there is more behind this brewery.

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Photo of Stevedore
4.35/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

375ml bottle, dated 12/2014. Served in a Hill Farmstead stemmed glass, 5/10/2015.

Appears dark pink-purple body; a bit copper-orange hued. Two finger beautiful light pink head, great retention time, plenty of lacing and a thick collar. Beautiful beer. Smells of straight up champagne currants; very fruity with a fair amount of wheat and funk. Not as much of the white wine barrel as the base beer, but it's there. It's hard to pick out the blueberries, but man, the currants really pop out here! Flavourwise, I definitely get more of the tannic blueberry presence; it's brief in the beginning and gives way to plenty of currant fruit, but it doesn't pop as much as it did on the nose. Still a lot of fruit overall; there is wheat, more white wine and oak on the palate than there was in the smell; nice funk and complexity to it. Very nice tartness that isn't lactic, but balanced with the white wine. The fruit definitely popped more on the nose, but the flavour is excellent and has a nice complexity. Mouthfeel is excellent; medium bodied and soft; effervescent and refreshing. Nice crispness with a lot of currant shining through on the backend. Overall, another beautiful beer from Hill Farmstead with a strong currant presence and just enough blueberry to keep it interesting. Florence is a great base beer and I look forward to seeing more and more different takes on it.

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Photo of huddyball
3.69/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This brew looked amazing when I poured it. Beautiful, almost cranberry juice like color, with a nice head. The smell was barnyard funk with, sadly, almost no fruit in the nose. The flavor was tart with just the slightest fruit notes. I really expected the fruit to pop. Mouthfeel was nothing exceptional. There was a slight dryness. Overall I was pretty disappointed.

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Photo of blockdude
3.89/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I was very excited to try this, especially after seeing the gorgeous color. What was disappointing was the flavor though, and I felt like this was more or less identical to supplication. Worst of all, the supposed blueberry flavor was nonexistent and the beer had too much of an herbally essence to it with an acidic/syrupy finish. This was my first hill farmstead beer and may very well be my last.

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Photo of MissSmisje
4.4/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: deep pinkish red
S: not getting a big nose on this
T: blueberries upfront, red berries, heavy on currants in the mid palate, peppery linger. Fruity but not juicy, more tart

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Photo of dar482
4.49/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The aroma is of bright berries, some hay funk, tart lemons.

The flavor offers an intense barnyard funk and hay. Then onto medium amount of berries, fruit, and lemon tart flavor. The mouthfeel is medium minus.

A good improvement on the underwhelming Flora.

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Photo of rowingbrewer
2.96/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Had high expectations, and I love to love HF beers, but this one was just subpar. Florence and flora are better IMO.

The beer pours a nice red color with little head and it quickly fades.

the aroma is hints of sourness and fruit but nothing prominent

Taste is slightly tart with very little fruit flavor at all.

feel is watery and dry

overall this tasted more like a berliner than a saison.

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Photo of tylerk88
4.9/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

L: Cranberry, little white head
S: Oak and blueberry, some acidity, peppery
T: Lots of oak up front, when the beer warms a bit the blueberry really shines. Dry, not too sweet. A little tart.
F: Light mouthfeel, while maintaing a really rich complexity
O: Stellar. A real pleasure.

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Photo of zoober911
4.79/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

L - Looks awesomely delicious when poured, pouring the color expected of blueberry juice. A small head forms and lingers eventually that fades away.

S - Blue berries with a lot of barnyard funk.

T - Blueberry sweetness with a slight funk in there. Black currants follow and finishing with sour warhead pucker power. Back of your jaw puckering and makes your mouth water.

F - Real nice mouthfeel. Right where you would expect it to be carbonated.

O - Overall it is very good and just another great HF offering.

edit: I drank a bottle on 6/12/15 and it has improved tremendously. Both smell and taste are improved yielding something even more unbelievable.

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Photo of jaasen64
4.33/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a very nice bright purplish red color, about a fingers worth of head with a red hue to it, and ample carbonation.

S- Aroma of light barnyard funk and some underlying tart fruit presence.

T- Tastes a bit funky with an underlying tart currant/berry presence that isn't overly jammy but lends a nice complexity that balances with the wine barrel and comes out more as the beer opens up.

M- Definitely on the tart side (probably slightly more so then regular Flora), crisp with sharp flavors, maybe a tiny bit on the dry side which adds to the wine presence, nice carbonation.

O- While I wouldn't say I definitely prefer this over the base, the fruit (like the other fruited Floras) doesn't really have a ton of jamminess but adds a nice unique complexity that fits with the base. I'd definitely recommend letting this open up for 10-15 minutes as I found the fruit came out a bit more and had an overall better balance then right out of the bottle.

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Photo of Mikecap
4.28/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a beautiful reddish maroon with a short fizzy head. Absolutely gorgeous to look at.

S: Berry fruitness, oak, wine barrel and sour notes. Doesn't shine in the aroma but opens up more as it warms.

T: Fruit, tart funkiness, definite berry notes but not a ton. Tart fruit flavor is what dominates, a bit of oak. Perhaps a bit young but again, more comes out as it warms. I do wish I got more blueberry/black currant.

M: Light to medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

O: Definitely funky and enjoyable, but I feel like the fruits might develop more as it ages. I'd definitely let the pour sit for a bit to open up. A great beer, but the base Flora is still better to me.

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Photo of Davelucas88
5/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This was phenomenal. Starts off with a crisp, tart blast followed by a rich, intense blueberry pucker that fades quick and finishes with a tart currant flavor that you feel in the back of your jaw. Has a soft, slight oak character with a very mild wine presence as well. Very complex and gorgeous color. Once again, another amazing saison from Shaun Hill.

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Flora Blue/Black from Hill Farmstead Brewery
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 253 ratings