Barrel Aged What Is Enlightenment?
Hill Farmstead Brewery

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Pale Ale - American
Ranked #24
not listed
Ranked #1,140
4.46 | pDev: 5.61%
Hill Farmstead Brewery
Vermont, United States
Notes: Originally brewed to celebrate our second anniversary, What is Enlightenment? is an American pale ale crafted with Simcoe and Amarillo hops. We aged a small portion of freshly brewed beer in a variety of French oak barrels for over 8 months, dry-hopped with Simcoe and Amarillo and then bottle conditioned. The result: a bright, enlivening and aromatic beer that dares one to be wise and seek reason.
Reviews: 12 | Ratings: 64 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of BillRoth
BillRoth from Maryland

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

750 ml bottle from HFB picked up Spring 2019.
Classic HF styling of pale ale that is enhanced by lagering in French oak, dry hopping and further conditioning. Marvelously refreshing while subtle and complex.
Beautiful honey yellow with plumy whipped cream head. Soft dank and funk highlighted by oak. Nice touches of lemon, biscuit, hay, pepper. While still characteristic HF soft carbonation this brew is a bit more bright carbonation forward that enhanced refreshing quality.
Overall a stellar saison from a PA base.

Aug 25, 2020
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kevanb from Illinois

4.12/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle, Batch 2, poured into an oversized Hill Farmstead wine glass. Enjoyed on 06.09.19, reviewed from Tasting Journal.

The beer pours a bright golden color, slightly hazy and cloudy with a foamy white head that rises nicely with strong retention and lots of lacing clinging to the glass. The aroma is nice, very oaky and earthy with green and dank hops, quite piney and grassy with soft dough, mineral water and a lingering citrus peel profile along with modest funkiness. The flavors are good, dry, dank and bitter, reminiscent of the base pale ale, very oaky as it warms with a nice backbone of pale grains and soft dough, a more vinous wine character builds out of the oakiness with some fruit and funk and a more bitter citrus rind flavor washes the palate at the finish. The mouthfeel is good, coating and crisp with a medium body that offers lively carbonation and a lightly tart and dry bitter finish.

Verdict: A very nice take on What is Enlightenment?. The barrel aging brings some new dimensions to the beer without losing the spirit of the base beer and it becomes transformed into something new and unique.

Oct 23, 2019
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Chuckdiesel24 from Illinois

4.79/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 750 ML into snifters. We had this after quite a few stouts at a share, so maybe the change of pace had something to do with it, but I loved this beer!

L: Golden color with a white head.
S: Lemon and orange with some wood in the background.
T: Again, lemon, orange and oak with maybe a little bit of pepper that made me think "Hill Farm pale meats Hill Farm saison" - all with some barrel character. Not overly acidic.
F: Medium to high carbonation, so a bit bubbly.
O: An amazing, complex beer.

Aug 19, 2019
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StoutElk_92 from Massachusetts

4.67/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Hoppy notes of lemony orange citrus, tropical mango, pineapple, peach, mild tartness, oak barrel, dill, slight vanilla, pale honey malts, floral, earthy, resinous, peppery

Jun 19, 2019
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Stevedore from Oregon

4.31/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750ml capped bottle. Bottled 28 February 2019. Served in a Hill Farmstead stemmed glass.

Bright lemon yellow body, one and half finger white head, good retention, plenty of lacing.

Aroma is crisp leafy mint-like floral notes, grapefruit and a touch of pine. Mild lemon tartness, slightest touch of leather, damp oak, more grapefruit zest, a touch of herbal resin as well.

Flavour is a nice combination of floral, grapefruit, light crackery pilsner malt, leafy greens, a bit less of the mint-like floral notes found on the nose but which still shows up a bit on the finish. Wet oak, a bit of leather as well. Fairly mild tartness evoking citrus and a touch of lemon. 

Medium lighter bodied, good carbonation. Refreshing, crisp with a nice floral and leafy finish.

Bottom line- if you’ve enjoyed dry hopped saisons (e.g. Casey dry hopped saison is the first comparison that comes to mind), this is one worth going after.

Jun 09, 2019
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jheimbigner from Washington

4.71/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is such a sleeper - go find one.

Pours a beautiful golden hue with a robust white head. Lacing across the whole top of the beer. Nose is of Hill farmstead yeast, fruitiness from the hops - primarily orange, lemon peel, slight pepper, and oak character. Taste follows the nose, great lemon, orange, pepper, oak, and a nice hop bitterness. Feel is soft and pillowy. Nice acidity and thirst quenching. Slightly over carbonated. Overall, this is fantastic! Way better than E. It is very complex.

Jun 08, 2019
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Jwale73 from Rhode Island

4.28/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a hazy yellow with a bright white head. Nose is light and lemony; spicy and floral. This beer tastes amazing! Consistent with nose; however, the oak aging really comes out and creates a complex, flavorful beer. Mouthfeel is light in body with a pleasant carbonation and a light acidity. Overall, a spectacular beer. I can't believe what the barrels have done for this beer.

Jun 01, 2019
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Alieniloquium from Florida

3.8/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle. Hazy golden body. Smells of citrus, lemon acidity, oak, and light grain. Tastes of herbal hops, lemon and lime tartness, oak. Slight bitterness. Light body. Very nice.

Jul 12, 2018
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Phyl21ca from Canada (QC)

3.75/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle: Poured a hazy blonde color beer with a medium size foamy head with limited retention and not much lacing. Aroma of lemon notes with some oak and light Brett presence is nice. Taste is a mix of dry Brett notes with some lemon notes, some oak and light citrusy presence. Body is full with good carbonation. Interesting sour but Brett is really taking over and hops presence is hard to distinguish.

Dec 11, 2017
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GreesyFizeek from New York

4.68/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This one pours a slightly hazy orange/yellow, with a small head, and lots of lacing.

This has a pretty cool herbal funk to it, with funky grass, citrus, grapefruit, and stone fruit.

This has a killer herbal character to it, almost like a funky gin flavor, along with delicate citrusy hop flavors, a hint of oak, floral hops, grassy funk, and some sour hay musty flavors. This is so bright and funky- it evokes the feeling of sunshine.

This is light bodied, crisp and super clean, with a good level of carbonation.

I love these new funkified pale ales/IPAs that Hill Farmstead- it really hits the spot for me.

Nov 14, 2017
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ManapuaMan from Massachusetts

4.4/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Split the 750ml bottle with a friend; picked up from the brewery earlier in the day. Such a complex beer that changes and shifts and dances throughout the session. It feels like a pale ale entwined with an oak-aged field beer. Nuanced flavors throughout.

Beautiful golden hue that’s closer to slightly hazy than clear; mostly cloudy with some sunshine. Soft white cap of foam lingers for a few.

Aroma is where the complexity begins. The aromatics by way of the hops - green pine, citrus, a touch of tropical fruit - are there but so is a woody, earthy and graininess just beneath. Wonderful mix of smells that recalls different beers. Slightly floral; is that geranium?

I’m not making this shit up. The beer is complex.

Citrus up front - grapefruit, passion fruit, dried apricot - followed by toasted grain, oak and a faint peppery spiciness. Slight electric shock of tartness zips to the back of your mouth and livens each sip.

Dry as a bone. Lingering mix of flavors but no noticeable bitterness. Crisp and delightful.

Oct 29, 2017
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Hyptochrons from Massachusetts

4.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

beautiful looking brew, slightly hazy glowing golden straw color with a thin but fluffy bright white head, minimal lacing. on palate and aroma are typical farmstead style notes throughout... hay, earthy, grassy slightly funky and tart, hint of lemony and floral character, some oaky notes. but this is playing beautifully with the base beer, which brings herbaceous qualities, pithy grapefruit and orangey notes, some soft breadyness, maybe even a touch of soft nectarines, and a hint of danky pine on the finish. overall this is a really beautiful and interesting beer, so complex and bold but also mellow, balanced, soft, rounded, delicate... this is what Hill Farmstead excels at. what a unique and well crafted offering, world class!

Oct 21, 2017
Barrel Aged What Is Enlightenment? from Hill Farmstead Brewery
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 64 ratings