James Black Ale | Hill Farmstead Brewery

58 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Hill Farmstead Brewery
Vermont, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.80%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
James was our Uncle (Edward James Hill Jr.). Hill Farmstead Brewery rests upon the land that was once home to him and his four siblings. In his honor, this Black Ale is dutifully crafted from American and German malted barley, American hops, our ale yeast, and water from James’ well. It is unfiltered, naturally carbonated, and dry hopped. Roasty and smooth, with accents of chocolate and a balanced hoppy finish, this is the ale that I dream to have shared with James.

Pale and Caramel Malt; Roasted Barley; Centennial and Columbus hops; Ale Yeast, and our Well Water.

Added by SFLpunk on 06-27-2010

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Reviews: 58 | Ratings: 399
Photo of corby112
3.88/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on draft at Capone's.

Pours pitch black and almost complety opaque with only the slightest hint of deep, dark mahogany edges when held to a light source and a one finger beige foam head that settles into a lasting ring. Sporadic chunks of lacing left behind.

Interesting aroma with hints of roasted malt as well as some sweet citrus and earthy pine hop notes. Slightly roasted with hints of chocolate and caramel but not as malty as I expected.

Medium bodied with a nice bitter blast of earthy hops up frotthat is immediately coutered by sweet citrus and tropical frut notes. The roasty malt is minimal and is actually used to counterbalance the hops. Subtle toasty bread, chocolate and caramel but this beer is all about the sweet citrus and tropical hop flavor. Only slightly bitter with some earthy pine as well as some grapefuit, lemon, pineapple and orane peel. This was a really interstig beer and one of the better black IPAs ibe had.

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Photo of mountsnow1010
4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Mount Snow 1/02/11

A - Hazy dark brown to black with a tan/caramel creme head. Some lacing but not much
S - Pine and toast with a citrusy kick.
T - The smell all over again - quite resiny and citrusy, loads of hops crammed into this with a nutty toasty malt backbone. Bit of a bite.
MF - Crisp and clean - refreshing after skiing all day. Goes down pretty smooth.
D - Could have 2-3 but the subtle hops flavors would be dominated by the bitterness at this point.

Very nice beer with some very interesting and complex flavors. Would definitely seek out again.

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Photo of Brad007
4.28/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a color blacker than night with a thin brown head.

Nose is greeted by grassy citrus hop aroma. Certainly a hallmark of the style. I would expect no less.

Visceral, hoppy and chock full of flavor. Hops have just a light touch of citrus. Lots of flavor from the malt. Do I detect a bit of toastiness?

Mouthfeel is kissed by lingering citrus and buttery malt. Mmmmm.

A toast to ingenuity of Vermont brewers is necessary. If not for folks like Greg Noonan and Glenn Walter, this style would have never come about. Cheers to a happy 2011!

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Photo of oakbluff
4.44/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Growler courtesy of Glouglouburp- huge thanks again to Dany my HF mule. Appearance- murky brown cola, nominal head, some light lacing. Nose- pungent dank hops intertwined with nuts and slight roast. Taste- very hop forward- solid bittering hops, citrus, then a back end wave of medium roast, caramel and dark chocolate. Lingering grapefuit pith leads a nicely drying finish. Carbonation is spot on and hasn't suffered from travelling all the way to Winterpeg. Very balanced hop forward beer if that makes any sense. Excellent stuff and another winner from the good people at Hill Farmstead.

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Photo of NoLiberty
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Great to see the Black IPA style gaining popularity and serious attention from brewers. Thanks to GrassrootsVT for brewing and sharing.

James pours completely black into my Euro pint glass. A thick, creamy head builds from the depths of the beer into a solid 2 finger oozing, cream-colored cap on top of the beer. This mellows into a persistent cap with sticky lacing dripping down the edges of the glass. James is completely black allowing no light through but clearly has a lighter, more athletic body.

The aroma is a wonderful blend of sticky, resinous hops - pine tar, ripe tropical fruit, citrus oil - with a backbone of mahogany - trim but deeply rich. There's a light alcohol kiss and subtle sweetness that softens the edges and entices a sip.

This is a completely hop-forward version of the black IPA, bordering on double IPA. Wonderfully clean, fresh, ripe, resinous, and addictive. Flavors of charred pine logs blend with ripe tangerine, grapefruit and Greek retsina wine. The hope forward biting front moves to a slightly more sweet middle that leads to a more roasted end that finishes clean with subtle lingering bitterness.

Carbonation is great, clean and effervescent. Body is light to medium with structural strength to mirror the dark complexion but light enough to make for an extremely refreshing and drinkable beer.

I would come back to this again and again, as long as it's available.

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Photo of kingcrowing
4.12/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

64oz growler poured into a Hill Farmstead wine glass.

Pours dark, dark black with a small brown head that quickly fades, thin lacings starts to slowly form. Nose is awesome, it's hoppy and fruity, wild fruit and pine nots come through strongly. There's a bit of maltiness but it's not over the top which is good.

Right off the mouthfeel is really nice, it's light and sharp and quite creamy, very similar to a good American IPA, with a nice sharp finish. The taste is quite roasty and a bit grainy - I get this from all Black IPAs, and I'm not a big fan of it, but it seems to just be inherent in the style. There hop flavors are well balanced with the dark malts, and the citrus and mango flavors come through well. I think this is one of the best examples of a Black IPA that I've had to date.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.27/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Hill Farmstead on November 4, 2010. Served in a Hill Farmstead wine glass. Thanks to Shaun for his incredible generosity for spending a good deal of time with us.

Pours a deep, dark color that verges on black. A single-finger tan head and some nice lacing. The aroma hits the parameters of the newly-formed style head on with some really resinous piney hops as well as some roasted malt. The taste is pretty hoppy with some mild roast. The feel has a great combination of roasted malt and pine-based hops. This drinks quite well and is a really well done hoppy black ale.

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Photo of SFLpunk
4.42/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Farmhouse Tap & Grill in Burlington 6/16/10.

This is a Black Ale, but there's no such BA category, so I put it under American Strong Ale.

Quick review: Poured into a 12oz tulip. Pitch black with tan head standing tall. Aroma is dominated by hops and pine resin. Some charred wood notes come through a little and maybe a note of roasted coffee, but it's all about hops and it's bright as hell! Palate is super crisp and bright for being so dark. Hops again dominate but some of that tasty black malt slides through a few notes of toast and coffee grounds. Bitterenss wins out.

A superbly crafted Black Ale. Hoppy as hell and eyes closed you might be hard pressed to say it wasn't a straight IPA.

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James Black Ale from Hill Farmstead Brewery
4.23 out of 5 based on 399 ratings.
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