Vera Mae (Wine Barrel Aged)
Hill Farmstead Brewery

Vera Mae (Wine Barrel Aged)Vera Mae (Wine Barrel Aged)
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Farmhouse Ale - Saison
Ranked #29
Ranked #706
4.54 | pDev: 4.41%
Hill Farmstead Brewery
Vermont, United States
Vera Mae (Wine Barrel Aged)Vera Mae (Wine Barrel Aged)
Notes: Vera Mae was our grandfather’s eldest sister; Hill Farmstead Brewery rests upon the land that was once home to her and her 13 siblings. In her honor, this Farmstead® ale is crafted from Vermont organic spelt, American hops, Vermont wildflower honey, dandelion flowers from our fields, our farmhouse yeast and water from our well. Aged in French oak wine barrels and bottled conditioned, the result is an elegant, luminescent representation of spring in Vermont: lightly tart, bright, effervescent and delicate—passing quickly while leaving just the slightest, most pleasing memory of sunshine, warmth and the promise of more.
Reviews: 14 | Ratings: 67 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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SierraNevallagash from Maine

4.39/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2020 Vintage

750ml bottle - poured into a wine stem at 45°F. Purchased from Hill Farmstead

Pours a vibrant, deep, glowing orangey-gold, much like the dandelion flowers that are contained within it. Translucent and bright, shrouded by a faint chill haze. A frothy ring of loose white bubbles surround the ale and hold their ground. The occasion bubble is seen breaking the surface.

Nose: Beautiful tart, complex, funky native microflora, and a clear wine cask influence right off the bat. This may be a bit sharper than the average Hill offering, or at least it smells that way. An unbelievable presence of intensely musty, dank, damp wet oak and age, with petrichor notes leaping out. Wet dead leaves, old musty farmhouse, leather, stone cellar, drying grass, forest floor, stony minerality, and plenty of fruity accords. Ripe apricot, pear, peach, and unripe plum, and orange blossom honey, with some gooseberry and white grape. What sure what dandelions would lend, but they're apparent in the aroma. Flowery, herbaceous, powdery, and floral. This is gorgeous.

Palate: The aroma is so intense, I was certain this would be sour for Hill Farmstead. It's actually NOT sour for Hill Farmstead, and Hill ales aren't very sour to begin with. Extremely gentle acidity greets the palate, really allowing the beautiful grains to shine through. Rustic and crackery, with a buttery biscuit touch, lending this wonderful gentle sweetness. A subtle, young lambic-like funk emerges, bringing with it some candied lemon peel, apricot, crisp green apple, Bartlett pear, yuzu, gooseberry, neroli, and unripe mulberry all intertwine with the overall musty green grape element that the wine cask is lending. Rather than honey, i get a waxy honeycomb vibe, with a mildly bitter cling to it. This seems to go hand-in-hand with a true-to-life grass note and colourful floral nuances, so perhaps that's the dandelion speaking. A hint of grapefruit pith leads into a dense, musty oakiness, with some tannic barrel - laying to rest the vibrancy of the acidity, and allowing the earthy, woody, farmy notes to lead into a firm, composed, and dry finish, with some waxy honeycomb, bitter grass, damp tannic oak, and some wine tannins - all gently bitter, woody, and very clean, with the memory of oak lingering on well past the finish.

Mouthfeel/Body: Vera Mae displays remarkable balance between quenchingly crisp, snappy, and light, and round, soft, and fluffy. The ale is crisp, dry, and very refreshing, while also having presence, thanks to the soft fullness from the grains. Like some other Hill offerings, there's this smooth, almost waxy, oily coating sensation that lends some additional body, as well as adhere the flavours to the palate. Effervescence is lively, ample, but soft and unobtrusive. Very mild acidity, and finishes dry, clean, and ever-so-slightly tannic.

Overall: Vera Mae is simply a beautiful farmhouse ale, which manages to embody that quintessential Hill Farmstead spirit. She may be one of the more simplistic oak-aged offerings from the family, but not without her own unique character whixh prevents this from being redundant. The dandelion is subtle, but surept responsible for much of the personality, and complexity isn't mystifying here, but as a whole, Vera Mae is a wonderful, colourful, and supremely drinkable saison that delivers everything I've come to expect from the brewery. A beer for drinking, and enjoying the moment with.

Jun 15, 2021
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

4.45/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Back before we needed to subvert success and comfort with shut it all down, there was this trip in the fall of 2019 to New England where I did a little splurging in rural Vermont. This is that $30/35 bottle.

Pours a relatively bright yellow for a saison. Good 3/5" white head on top, excellent retention. Like whoa. The aroma hits those obvious white wine french oak strides. Underneath that there is a pristine grain, citrus and floral greens like presence. Top notch.

Taste imparts a light rustic waves of grain alongside a tart but not quite sour wild ale meets saison broad strokes, this uses deftness alongside dopeness. Light citrus and green apple woodiness. Such levity in the mouthfeel for something with so many directions but still a beer in unison that is even better than the sum of its parts. Gotta believe dat honey makes this both dry and light at the same time, ferment that shit out!

So real talk, this might be the best saison I've ever had. I hope their beer gets easier to get now that the craft beer mafia has turned on them and shouting REEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! because things.

May 18, 2021
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Newbeergeek1 from Maine

4.34/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I find that, for me, it’s hard to review beers from the Hill. I know before I get there, which isn’t often, it’s reputation for being the best or close to the best brewery in the world. SO, DOES THAT INFLUENCE ME. You Betcha. BUT I still know what good, better and best beer should be so in that vein I think I can still give a reasonably impartial review. This is a great beer! I actually spent a LOT more for this beer full well knowing Its not available on a regular basis and these occasionally released beers are a great reason to go there. I lucked out. Yay for me!

Oct 04, 2020
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Sabtos from Ohio

4.16/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

We had a handful of Farmstead ales leading up to this and a couple of other more limited barrel aged versions. We hadn't planned it but the progression was unbelievably perfect, as they got slightly more funky and slightly more sour as we went along.

Of all the Hill bottles we opened this evening, Vera Mae was the most sour and funky of the bunch. Now if we'd have had other sour beers on hand, it'd be considered mild and balanced by comparison, but it's worth noting that this stands out amongst other HF beers.

The appearance is a slightly foggy pale gold, with an unevenly collapsing light, bubbly white head.

The funk here has a sort of peanut character to it, with a little dusty oak accented by pungent hops. The sourness has a sort of pickled green grape character and some white wine notes, while the fluffy light body has an airy quality before finishing dry with a green apple twang.

Oct 07, 2019
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Luscious_Malfoy from Illinois

4.56/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from a 750mL bottle into a stemmed bulb glass. pours a beautiful semi hazy orange yellow with a thick white foam cap. smells of white wine, oak, a touch of honey sweetness and that signature HF soapy, oak aroma. i suppose there’s a hint of wildflowers on the nose as well. at any rate, it smells tremendous. so inviting and lovely. taste has notes of honey, lemon, grass, oak, white wine. mouthfeel is full, lower on the carb as HF saisons tend to be. overall, this is fantastic. you get the usual BA HF saison qualities plus the honey sweetness and flowery, grassy aftertaste. a beyond-excellent BA saison.

Jul 26, 2019
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Stevedore from Oregon

4.49/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml capped bottle, 2018 vintage picked up at brewery during the anniversary week in May 2019. Served in a classic Hill Farmstead stemmed glass.

Bright lemon yellow body, unfiltered with mild haze. One and half finger white head, good retention, not much lacing. Bright crisp lemon that I smelled as soon as I opened up the bottle. Strong aroma for sure. White wine grapes, wheat, citrus zest, mild leathery brett, damp oak, decent bit of floral character. Bright citrus zest, wonderfuly complex without overwhelming the palate with acidity or sweetness. The white wine character is quite nice as well- adds a fair bit of dryness to it. Medium bodied, appropriate carbonation, crisp without being too dry, incredibly delicious.

May 28, 2019
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GreesyFizeek from New York

4.68/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is the '16 vintage, so it's been wine barrel aged, versus foeder aged in the past.

This pours a brilliantly sunny and slightly hazy golden yellow, with a large head and lots of lacing.

Smells pretty sweetly floral, with flowers, grass, honey, soft white wine, mild oak, and lemon.

This is such a gorgeous beer. I'm not share what dandelions taste like, but I definitely get a soft floral character, a little bit spicy on the finish. Otherwise, there's a nice warm honey character, sour citrus, light white wine, and hint of oak. It's all integrated super well- a perfectly balanced drink.

This is lighter bodied, with a soft pillowy mouthfeel.

This is yet another amazing beer from the hands of Shaun Hill and co. So refreshing but complex.

Oct 29, 2018
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yasky from Canada (ON)

4.44/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pale gold pour, larger head. soft aroma and taste - vinous, oak, white grape, light citrus. Soft carbonation, tart, lightly peppery, but with a significant but not overpowering wine barrel characterestic. Not re-inventing the wheel so much as giving it some extra tread to plow through mud season

Jul 11, 2018
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ArkyVaughan from New Jersey

4.52/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vera Mae is one of my all-time favorite Hill Farmstead beers. I'm not sure if the oak-aged version is an improvement, but it is really, really good. Wonderful earthy, flowery aroma and that incredible Hill Farmstead mild tartness and super clean, crispness. Tremendous.

Jan 24, 2017
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kevanb from Illinois

4.75/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

750ml bottle, 2016 batch of Vera Mae, poured into a Hill Farmstead oversized wine glass. Enjoyed on 10.12.16, reviewed from Tasting Journal.

The beer pour a bright golden color, hazy and cloudy with just a touch of clarity, a foamy white head sits atop the beer, two fingers high with great retention and lace. Really nice wine barrel, loads of tart and lightly acidic grape character, vinous and oaky, very floral with nice earthy counterbalance, funk, citrus, a touch of bright pitted stone fruits and some distinct mineral water from Hill Farmstead beers. The flavors really pop, super bright, delicate and really complex, tons of white wine grape, wildflower, musty oak, funk, Hill Farmstead cultures, citrus peel, a touch of fruitiness, lots of grassy earthiness comes out at the finish with some pale grain and light spice. The mouthfeel is great, light body, ample carbonation, coating, zippy, crisp, lively with a tart dry finish.

Verdict: A great barrel aged farmhouse ale from Hill Farmstead. Easily one of their finest beers ever made, bright, delicate, complex with great tartness and funk to it. Such a marked improvement over Vera Mae as a base beer, the wine aging just does wonders to this.

Dec 08, 2016
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Alieniloquium from Florida

3.88/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle. Hazy pale yellow. Big white head. Smells of flowers, lemon, a little bit of greenery, faint white wine. Tastes of more white wine. Balanced green and floral dandelion flavor. Just a bit of lemon tartness. A little sweet. Well carbonated. Nice.

Nov 22, 2016
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rodmanfor3 from Vermont

4.5/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

More dry and champagne like than previous versions of this beer. Overall, the barrel integrates nicely and softens the edges of an already clean and well rounded brew.

Oct 27, 2016
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Skrip from New Jersey

4.59/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle poured into a Hill Farmstead taster.

A~ really light yellow with a medium sized head and no lacing.

S~ crazy wine barrel funk! very floral and earthy with a ton of black pepper and brett on the back end.

T~ a little different here, more delicate with more funk if that makes any sense haha! get more of a white wine presence here as well. otherwise its pretty much the same as the nose where barnyard brett funk and black pepper tie it all together!

M~ great carb. smooth and i could definitely drink it all day, everyday!

O~ totally different than previous vintages of Vera Mae. this has always been one of my favorites and this wine barrel treatment has just put it way over the top! this and BA Dorothy were probably my favorite brews to come out of HF this year! but as you can tell thats my kind of thing so i might be biased =]

Sep 29, 2016
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JLK7299 from North Carolina

4.5/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was one of the bottles available for purchase when I made my initial pilgrimage to Hill Farmstead about a month ago. I lucked out big time! What a delicious and refreshing beer to enjoy on one of the many hot and humid days we had in the northeast this summer! Would make this purchase every time if I could!

Aug 31, 2016
Vera Mae (Wine Barrel Aged) from Hill Farmstead Brewery
Beer rating: 97 out of 100 with 67 ratings