Three Magic Letters
Hill Farmstead Brewery

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IPA - American
Ranked #72
Ranked #1,664
4.3 | pDev: 6.05%
Hill Farmstead Brewery
Vermont, United States
Notes: American IPA Brewed with Nelson Sauvin®, Riwaka™, and Simcoe®
Reviews: 19 | Ratings: 125 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of 2beerdogs
2beerdogs from California

4.01/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Thanks to Roy_Hobbs for this HF gem.
Turbid gold, fluffy head. Pretty solid retention with scattered lacing.
Aromas of grapefruit, orange zest, pine, and a subtle pissy Nelson note (often a turnoff for me, but subtle here), herbal pepper, and a dash of dank.
Flavor definitely starts assertively with a one, two punch of Citrus and Nelson. Then a dank resiny note chimes in followed by a mix of pepper, mango, wet grass, and some indistinct earthy tropical notes. There's also a very pleasing grain note that hints at oats in both flavor and feel.
Mouthfeel is lovely. Somewhat soft and fluffy yet not light. Carbonation is spot on. A drying bitterness brings it home.

Nov 23, 2020
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Roy_Hobbs from Connecticut

4.06/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Canned 10/27/20 and poured into a tulip. Appearance is nice, although it doesn't stand out in any particular way. Bright, glowing hazy yellow wiht not a ton of head / head retention. Lacing is solid. Aroma is really nice, although it's not exactly jumping out of the glass. Grapefruit, and I hate to say it, but a bit of cat pee on the nose (is it possible to say "but not in a bad way"?)

Taste is medium bitterness with maybe some mango / grapefruit notes? I'm not a big IPA guy, and find the taste good, but not great. Fairly pillowy feel.

Nov 15, 2020
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Sabtos from Ohio

4.66/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hazy straw yellow with a moderate off-white foam that dies to an airy froth leaving thin but spongy arms of lace.

Lovely lovely nelson aromas explode from the can immediately after the *pop* sound. On the palate, peppery nelson, which I do so love, pairs perfectly with the toasty crackery malt chosen for this brew. Riwaka provides dichotomously juicy and bitter mango skin and citrus rind, while simcoe gives a hint of that accenting stank. Despite being bitter overall, as it comes closer to room temp and the bottom of the pour, it all shockingly comes together in an expression of Spree candies.

The medium-light body has an airy froth that firms up before finishing paper dry.

Absolutely delicious.

Nov 03, 2020
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cbutova from Massachusetts

4.3/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A- The 12oz can pours into an 8oz becher glass with a golden yellow hue and a one finger white cap. There is a fairly thick and foamy, creamy texture to the head and it has good retention. Large webs of lacing form regularly on the glass.

S- Strong hops make up most of the aroma with a hop profile that is primarily stone/tropical fruits, citrus and dank with some floral, herbal and pine hints. Peach, ruby red grapefruit, orange, berries, dank weed, slight onion, mango and melon specifically. Light touch of cracker, honey and pale grains.

T- For me much of what was found in the aroma carries over to the taste and the Nelson gets a bit of a boost in the flavor profile with a pretty distinct spicy, dank, grape and citrus zest hop profile. Rounding that bouquet out are pine, floral, herbal, orange, mango and peach hops. Overall balanced between the zesty and juicy. Whole wheat bread, oats, honey and crackery malt notes.

MF- Light-medium bodied but smooth and soft on the taste buds with a creamy and foamy texture. The carbonation is on at a medium-high level and it ends with solid herbal, citrus zesty bitterness.

Juicy stone and tropical fruits lead quickly into bitter grapefruit, spicy, dank and herbal hops and all in all it finds a nice balance. No surprise and another six pack that won't last all that long.

Jul 15, 2020
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Holderness from Massachusetts

4.15/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Canned a week ago

L — Amber orange haze with 1.5 fingers of off-white head produced with moderate pour. Great retention and lacing, as usual
S — Yellow peach, white grape, blueberry, fresh pine, honeydew melon, spearmint
T — Vibrantly grassy and earthy upfront, followed by some creamy pale malt sweetness and a bit of rindy citrus character
F — Medium mouthfeel, medium carb. Somewhat fluffy and definitely more bitter than many of the other HF IPAs


Jul 09, 2020
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ovaltine from Indiana

4.49/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This hazy straw-colored beer props up a foamy off-white head that draws your nose to the citrus aromas that literally explode from this beer. Mandarin oranges, pineapple, passion fruit, mango - just a hop lover’s “spicy citrus” extravaganza.

The oranges and pineapple are the initial flavors on the taste, but the mango is what sets this hazy IPA apart from the proliferation of examples of this style of beer, and the way that flavor is subtly combined with the other flavors to yield this world-class beer.

It has all the juicy flavor, in balance, so you don’t get that “juicy burn” on the palate that leads to “premature palate fatigue” (Registered Trademark). A magnificent beer from an exceptional brewery, IMHO.

Feb 09, 2020
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DefenCorps from Oregon

4.39/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Canned 28 Oct 2019, received in trade with rodmanfor3. Thanks, Rick!

A hazy orange with a dense, off-white head with excellent retention and lacing, this looks great. The nose is juicy, creamy, fruity with honey, fresh orange juice, a little mango nectar, a touch of grapefruit juice, a little passionfruit, a little peach. Particularly clean, with no real grass notes. A mild oat like delicately doughy sweetness is present. The palate opens with a juicy sweetness, a blend of OJ, pineapple, passionfruit and a little mango. The sweetness brings to mind ripe clementines, and the light oat flavor also adds a little soft body to the beer. Sweet orange lingers on in the finish, mildly drying and particularly creamy. Delicious, lovely mouthfeel.

Dec 28, 2019
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DaveMaciolek21 from New Jersey

4.98/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

This New England IPA is subtle, even elegant. The taste transfer between New Zealand and Simcoe hops evolves on your palette slowly, luxuriously. Just when you think the flavor jam is over, Three Magic Letters strikes up the band again. Simcoe prevails with tropical fruit overruling NZ hop bitterness.

Sep 10, 2019
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rudzud from Massachusetts

4.27/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Enjoyed on tap at the Dive Bar.

A - Poured into a tulip a nice pale golden hue with a thick white head that fades to leave sticky lacing and a thick blanket.

S - Aromas of light malts, almost sweet honey, little citrus, tons of dank hops, loads of bright candied citrus peel. Almost marmalade like.

T - Taste is similar to the nose with loads of sweeter citrus peel and orange marmalade. Nice musty hops and passion fruit. Excellent flashes of tropical notes.

M - Mouthfeel is lightly carbonated, good clean finish.

O - Overall this was a solid enough ipa, nice use of southern hemisphere hops.

Serving Type: on tap

Jul 19, 2019
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kevanb from Illinois

4.16/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

750ml growler, freshly filled, poured into a Hill Farmstead oversized wine glass. Enjoyed on 9.19.17, reviewed from Tasting Journal.

The beer pours a bright golden color, very hazy and cloudy with a big foamy white head that has great retention and yields plenty of sticky lace. The aroma is excellent, very floral and herbal, a bit grassy and earthy with some hop spice, grapefruit peel and pine with a big burst of tropical fruits that really brightens up the beer with a nice doughy malt base. The flavors are excellent, fruity and juicy with loads of pineapple and citrus while the floral qualities serve as a nice layer of flavor with some earthier pine and grassy hops growing as it warms and a nice pale grain malt backbone supports this beer. The mouthfeel is great, coating medium body with a nice bubbly texture and a super smooth creamy finish that is lightly dry.

Verdict: A very good IPA from Hill Farmstead. Another killer beer in their lineup, bursting with hops but nicely balanced and shows the perfect amount of restraint. Complex, bold and refreshing, excellent beer.

Jan 31, 2018
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Lone_Freighter from Vermont

4.3/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Worthy Burger, South Royalton, Vermont.
This was poured into a tulip.
The appearance was a nice hazy to glossy burnt yellow color with a cap of a little white foamy head that slid off at a moderate pace. Not much lace, but the aroma makes up for it.
The aroma seemed to present an absolutely wonderful blend of sweet to stifled bitter juicy citrusy components roaming over some white pepper, a little bit of berry sweetness and then an ever so slight accompanying tartness at the very end. Some even lighter grassy hop notes afterwards.
The flavor was moderately juicy sweet with that really nice muted bitterness that seems to only want to be there only to compensate the balance of it all. Leans into the citrus rind in the aftertaste.
The mouthfeel was about medium bodied with a fair sessionability about it. Carbonation felt fine. ABV felt on par. Finish was moderately bitter with that juicy sort of "pull" of it in the aftermath.
Overall, really nice AIPA that I would love to have again.

Jan 13, 2018
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mnj21655 from Massachusetts

4.21/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a hazy pale orange with a finger+ of white head that leaves behind very sporadic lacing. Aroma is generically tropical with red berry notes. Taste leans more tropical than the aroma with some mango, a melon/cantaloupe-like note, a bit of the red berry note from the aroma, and a bit of a floral note. Medium, maybe medium-light body with moderate+ carbonation. Overall this is a tasty beer but the red berry notes are a bit prominent for my taste.

Sep 24, 2017
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SomethingClever from Ohio

3.98/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

750ml swing top growler poured into shaker pint. Filled on 8/30.

A: a small soapy white head, body is a murky orange tan.

S: Earthy hops with some grapefruit rind.

T: Nice earthy almost Italian seasoning. Some light grapefruit rind.

M: Medium bodied light carbonation.

O: This is a nice beer it's a nice switch from the fruit bombs. It's earthy resiny. A little fruit but mostly a nice vine like Green taste and earthiness.

Sep 02, 2017
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Alieniloquium from Florida

4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle. Hazy orange. Fluffy white head. Smells of orange and strong garlic. A little bit of tropical fruit. Tastes of strong garlic hops, grainy malt, some grapefruit behind that builds into the finish. Moderate bitterness. Soft doughy sweetness lends a medium body. Medium low carbonation. Another IPA from HF that I would drink anytime it was available to me, which is, of course, almost never.

Jun 03, 2017
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GreesyFizeek from New York

4.57/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Excited for this one- the hop trio here (Simcoe/Nelson/Riwaka) sounds incredibly inviting and tasty.

This one pours a bright sunshiney light orange, with a half inch foamy head, and lots of lacing.

This smells like hops drizzled with honey- so nice. Definitely get some mango, grapefruit, and pineapple, with an interesting peppery aroma as well.

This is super killer, and super tasty. There's a really pleasant and unique white pepper-esque bitterness on the finish that really balances out the super sweet and juicy hop attack up front. There's not much malt character, but there that sort of classic Hill Farmstead IPA feel to it- like drinking a hop cloud that's simultaneously weightless but also rich and creamy. It seems like a contradiction, but I always get that feel from their IPAs. It must be the water?

This has that sort of oxymoronic mouthfeel I described above- so drinkable and light, but creamy and substantial all at once. It's carbonated normally for the style.

This is another juicy Northeast Kingdom banger from up the Hill- they are clearly and obviously the best brewery in the world for me.

Jun 02, 2017
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Skrip from New Jersey

4.17/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750ml growler poured into a Casey snifter.

A~ glowing hazy yellow with a nice fluffy head and a little lacing.

S~ golden malt with a slight cheese like aroma followed by some guava and earthy grass.

T~ evens out here with more citrus, mango, lemon, orange. finishing with a touch of vanilla and white pepper.

M~ smooth and refreshing. just a bit over carbed.

O~ a very different IPA! this mix of hops is like no other i've tried before. definitely worth it!

May 24, 2017
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Hyptochrons from Massachusetts

4.43/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

hazed straw color. dense bright white head, tons of lacing. excellent looking beer.

beautiful nose on this one, and the palate follows. some nice citric qualities balanced by light biscuit malt and herbal notes. getting orange, grapefruit, lemon/lime, hint of grape, peaches, and mango, fresh cut grass and minty herbs, finishes with a very mellow pine. really nice mouthfeel, light bodied but has some of that fluff to it. god this would be such an awesome easy drinker to have in cans for daily consumption. although I would likely be hammered because this is so flavorful and easy drinking.

Apr 23, 2017
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pants678 from California

3.94/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Milky yellow, white foam.


Still getting lime from, I think, Riwaka. Undercuts some spice and pine from the, I think, Simcoe. Not juicy but a tasty combo.

Light and dry pale ale.

Apr 21, 2017
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mothman from Minnesota

4.25/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap.
White head with lace. Hazy straw yellow.

Very juicy and tropical. A lot of citrus and floral hops. Mango and grapefruit. Earthy and hoppy. Not NE but not west coast.

Medium bodied. Smooth with a little bit of bitterness. Ends clean.

Very enjoyable IPA. I prefer TH and trill to this, but this is nice.

Apr 15, 2017
Three Magic Letters from Hill Farmstead Brewery
Beer rating: 94 out of 100 with 125 ratings