Ephraim | Hill Farmstead Brewery

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4.57/5
World-Class
1,044 Ratings
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Hill Farmstead Brewery
Vermont, United States
hillfarmstead.com

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Ephraim (1823-1913) was our great-great grandfather; Hill Farmstead Brewery resides several hundred feet downhill from the land that he and his father settled. In his honor, this Imperial India Pale Ale is dutifully crafted from American malted barley, buckets of American hops, our ale yeast and water from our well. It is unfiltered, naturally carbonated, and double dry hopped. Intensely aromatic and saturated with resinous hop flavor, this is the ale that I dream to have shared with Ephraim.

280 Theoretical IBU

Pale Malt; Dextrose; Centennial, Chinook, Columbus, Simcoe, and Warrior hops, Ale Yeast, and our Well Water.

Added by Kegatron on 09-28-2010

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#61
Reviews:
238
Ratings:
1,044
pDev:
8.1%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
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1,503
Gots:
44
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HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,044 |  Reviews: 238
Photo of Arbitrator
4.12/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Chilled growler into a glass. Thanks Kristin!

A: Pours a hazy golden peach body with not a ton of head. The growler has been in transit for a week and it was apparently filled right to the top; the paper towel wrapped around the neck showed that it might have leaked in transit, so I'm forgiving any carbonation issues in appearance or mouthfeel. This special is today only! Anyway, the foam is lightly beige in color; it slowly comes out of solution, then vanishes very quickly. Some spotty lace left behind.

S: Carbonation issues or no, it is not affecting the aroma at all. A nice, pungent blend of orange rind, candied grapefruit, pineapple, passionfruit, and a touch of mossy weed (I wrote this down as 'dank' to widespread mockery by the tasting group, but I stand by it). There's an expressive sugariness and booze.

T: Initially the taste is a rough bitterness. I'm unused to this, considering that I mostly drink West Coast IPAs with a lot of hop flavor but not necessarily a lot of hop bitterness. But the flavors come together pretty nicely: orange rind, passionfruit, pineapple. Grapefruit and substantial sugar cookie give the impression of candied grapefruit. The mossy, weedy flavors are particularly noticeable here; they pull into the finish with a sticky, resinous presence. This reminds me heavily of fresh Moylan's Hopsickle.

M: Full, expressive flavors abound. There's a touch of booze that I don't enjoy, but having had a 3-week old growler of Pliny the Younger that was boozier than the tap version, I'm attributing this change to the serving format. It's also low in carbonation, but again, I'm forgiving it. It has an enamel-peeling bitterness and stickiness that made it hard to taste anything afterward. I was a little stupid in opening it so early in the night.

D: I still find that Pliny the Younger takes the cake when you're talking about triple IPAs. I prefer the sweeter presence of that beer to the bitterness of this one. But I've also had the former under optimal serving conditions, and this one less so; I wouldn't be surprised if that makes a difference. This is a great beer. I'd love to have it again. But given most of the trade demands for it, I'd probably get some fresh Hopsickle on tap, instead...

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Photo of alpinebryant
4.55/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a nice caramel orange with a light white head of tiny bubbles. Smell of grapefruit citrus, caramel, sugar, cotton candy and well rounded as the sweetness and bitterness seem to equal each other.

Taste of delicious citrus. Possibly the strongest citrus I have had in an Imperial IPA. When drinking it, I could imagine biting into a fresh orange and having similar tastes. Sweet sticky sugar with nice caramelized flavors of pine, citrus and grapefruit with a great thick body. There is a very light carbonation to this coming out of a freshly tapped keg poured earlier in the day. The flavors all come together so smoothly that it is hard to imagine this being a 10.5% beer. In one sip you may find the sweetness coming out where the next you will be thinking about how bitter it is. Both complement each other to the point I could not determine which was more prevalent. Very well done and a treat to have.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.47/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Jason for procuring a growler of this highly regarded brew. Served in a Rodenbach tulip.

A - Not much hiss from the growler, which was literally filled to the brim. A hard pour yields a finger of big-bubbled orange-tinged foam that dissipates to a chunky ring, leaving behind spotty lace. Subsequent pours were normal, with a more smooth and creamy appearance to the foam. The body is a pleasant lightly hazed golden peach color.

S - Huge citrus rind and zest, light dank and catty notes, candied citrus and touch of tropical fruits, burnt sugary malt and a touch of alcohol. There's also a sugar character that reminds me of the Flossmoor beers that contain Jaggery - a quick trip to Ratebeer confirms the addition of dextrose.

T - This was the hardest category for me to evaluate. Around mid-palate the beer really takes off, with intense citrus and bruising bitterness in the finish that lingers well into the aftertaste. It's just the initial flavor seems a big unfocused and flaccid. If I could, this would probably get a 4.25, but I'm going to round up as I was a little hard on the appearance of a beer from a week-old growler sent by mail.

M - Body is big, thick, and juicy, but offset with some low carbonation tingle. There's a bit of warmth, but not an offensive amount by any stretch. Super enamel-melting and resiny residual feel.

D - I really liked this, even with the alcohol and bitterness mounting quickly after the first glass. Still, I couldn't keep myself from returning to the growler throughout the evening. I know this is supposed to be a "triple" IPA, but I prefer more medium and punchy DIPAs that have a bit less sugar character. Still this was a very enjoyable brew and I'd gladly have it again.

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Photo of AgentZero
4.32/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to jrallen34 for hooking us up with this.

A - An opaque orangish amber with a late rising head that had decent retention. Nice stick on the sides with some very fine lace.

S - Smells very light, an interesting citrusy flavor, smells something like a tropical fruit that I just can't place. Burnt sugar, and a nice malt backbone.

T - A nicely light drinking triple IPA. Citrusy hops, you can definately pick up on the added sugar in this one. The bittering hops in this is quite suble but picks up steam on the end and gives you a nice bite that really gets you. An interesting fruity taste that is also like the smell that I can't place. Alcohol is quite well hidden, only burn comes with the sugar at the end.

M - Lighter side of medium body with moderate carbonation. Good feel for this beer.

D - Very drinkable triple ipa, alchohol quite well hidden, a little sweet that keeps it at a 4.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.2/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

3/6/2011 Re-review thanks to Chris. This is batch 2, drank from a counter-pressurized growler. This batch is more hot, way too much alcohol on the finish. Still pretty good, just not the epic level of the first batch, still recommend trying.

Growler provided by sleepydave, drank into my Narke tulip...The top pops without an whiff and I'm a bit concerned, then I see theres only about a half centimeter of air, so I'm good. Pours a dark peach, nice color. At first it pours without any head, then as it settles about a full finger of light tope head. Pretty good retention, but really nice lacing; thin drops around the glass but super sticky...The aroma is not at as strong as expected, but in a good way; doesn't overpower. Very light grapefruit on the front, light sugar, and sweet pine hops. The backbone is light pine and alcohol but exactly what you are looking, makes me really want to drink it...The taste is a super nice perfect combination of sweet and bitter. The sweetness doesn't really show as fruits, but sugar and alcohol. The finish is hoppy, gives you want you want but not at all harsh or so much hops it distracts you from drinking. The finish is pine resin, sugar, alcohol and a little metal....The feel is outstanding. Sticks to your palate start to finish, its full, coating, makes you lick your lips, a smooth and lasting finish...Incredibly drinkable.

Another beer that was crazily hyped but actually lived up to expectations. Would LOVE to try this fresh.

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Photo of Sean9689
4.3/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Growler, thanks Jason.

A - Pours a clear orangish/yellow, white head that dissipates to a thin film, very sticky lacing all along the sides of the glass, and a thin ring around the glass.

S - Sweet burnt sugars, lots of malts, bitter citrus notes, dankness. Pretty damn solid combo of stuff going on here.

T - Sweet malts and sugars up front followed by an onslaught of bitter hoppy dankness. It's a transition from one to another, but holy shit, the hops are beating my palate into submission.

M - Medium bodied, syrupy feel, smooth, light carbonation.

D - Now on my second glass, I'm feeling pretty good. Really enjoyed this one and hopefully, I'll get to try some other offerings from this brewery.

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Photo of number1bum
4.42/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to mymrnngjckt for sharing this growler last night.

Poured a hazy orange amber color. Light beige head that kept a thin lace with moderate stick on the sides.

Smell was very fresh and floral, with big citrus and pine aromas in particular. Very fruity, with grapefruit and sweeter tangerine aromas, plus the resiny pine. Really nice.

Taste really showcased some nice hop flavor without overwhelming the palate with bitterness. Citrus and pine were the dominant characteristics again, with some orange sweetness and more bitter, pithy grapefruit flavor as well. The bitterness was substantial, however, and I found that by the time I was done with a second glass it seemed much more bitter than when I started. Malt flavor was pretty minimal, some pale malt sweetness was all. A hop showcase for sure.

Mouthfeel was maybe not as creamy as you'd expect at this level of hoppiness, but was still quite smooth and clean in the finish. I did get a quick shot of alcohol burn at one point, as well.

Glad I got to try this as it's a really good DIPA. Tons of hop flavor with a sneaky, mounting bitterness that takes its toll on the palate before you realize it. So much flavor that it goes down awfully easy, however. One of the best DIPAs on the East Coast for sure.

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Photo of Damian
3.92/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Drank on-tap at the Blackback Pub & Flyshop, Waterbury, VT
Served in a cervoise

A creamy, light tan, one-finger cap of froth topped the hazy, amber liquid. As the beer sat, the head dissipated to a thin film and the body turned nearly transparent.

Loads of candied grapefruit peel came through in the aroma. Super dank and hoppy. Citrusy and rather sweet. Some brown sugar notes were apparent.

The taste started out fairly balanced but soon turned overwhelmingly hoppy and bitter. Pithy, dry, grapefruit peel dominated the flavor profile. Oily and resinous. Orange notes came through as well. The finish was outrageously piney, dry and bitter.

The mouthfeel was creamy and smooth with a fine, moderate effervescence. For a beer of this magnitude, however, I was hoping for a slightly bigger body.

Drinkability certainly was not this beer's strong point. It was so dry and bitter that I actually had a bit of difficulty putting down all twelve ounces.

Ephraim calls itself a "triple IPA" and it certainly lives up to its classification. If you prefer your IPAs abrasively hoppy and bitter, then you would likely enjoy this beer.

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Photo of krisandajt
4.79/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoying this brew with some friends to celebrate finishing up my first marathon. Courtesy of mymrrngjckt who received this from the brewer, I'm looking forward to trying this.

Appearance: Poured from a cool looking growler, the beer is a cloudy, rich honey color. Not a lot of head on this one, but I'll attribute that to being in a growler. The thin ring of head around the edge of the beer does leave behind some thick soapy lacing as I swirl it in the glass. Looks good so far...

Smell: Without a doubt, this is the best smelling, hoppy beer that I have ever smelled. Huge bitter citrusy hops without any of that pesky malt getting in the way.

Taste: A fantastic tasting, delightfully hoppy beer! Despite the lack of malt in the nose, there's actually a bit of malty sweetness to at least attempt some balance, but there's no countering the huge about of hops in this brew. Simply put, Pliney has bet it's match. Bitter grapefruit, and just downright awesome.

Mouthfeel: A little lacking in carbonation, but again I have to attribute that to being from a growler. The brew is full bodied and has an interesting sort of hoppy, oily sort of quality to it. Potent for sure.

Drinkability: I love this beer. Loaded with hops, and even though it's got a relatively high ABV you don't realize it while your drinking it. If you are a hop head, you need to try this beer. Highly recommend.

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Photo of jammalamma
4.92/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Was able to make it up to the Hill Farmstead release on sat last week and couldn't be more pleased with this find! Triple IPA...yes please!
Clouded orange-amber color with a decent white lacy head.
this thing smells like it going to be a bomb, piney hops and juiced citrusy fruits forward-
First taste is smooth upfront, then mid to back tongue the hops kick in. Hops leave your mouth with dry herbal piney stink- fairly bitter and resinous citric hop notes really lingering around with this one.
Finish is still lingering bitter hop resin... delicious!
Seems is was produced in Vermont-afornia by its style. MY favorite style IPA- american and intense! Hope this wont be the last time I get to have this great IIIPA

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Photo of BearsOnAcid
4.45/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this in tap at their autumn festival and thought it was too hoppy for me. Got to sit down with it again a few days later and now I can see what the big deal is about.

Pours the color of a refined honey. It glistens and sparkles in the glass. HUGE layers of dank herbal hops, piney grapefruit and candied hops greet your nose. Smooth sweet hoppy taste. Just layer upon layer of a brutal hop assault. The big alcohol burns this mammoth into your tongue. The only hop I could clearly make out was Simcoe. I'm also getting some mango and passion fruit. There's just an insanely complex hop profile in this beer. With all that is going on, it is incredibly drinkable for a beer of this caliber.

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Photo of Brad007
4.85/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Sampled this at the Autumn Harvest Festival. Now, it's time to review it.

Pours a mild blonde color with a one-finger head into my pint glass. It meets the colors.

Grapefruit encircles the olfactory nerves, followed by a slight hint of mint. Malt is sweet and toned down.

The taste? Grapefruit and apricot flavors from the hops mingle with sweet malt. As this elixir unfolds on the tongue, a slight hint of pineapple greets the taste buds.

Mouthfeel can only be described as full of lingering bitterness, especially pineapple.There's some malt underneath.

Obviously, this is all about the hops. It's beautiful, well-crafted and somewhat too drinkable for the amount of alcohol contained within. Top 10? For sure. Top 5 for Vermont? Heady Topper has some competition!

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Photo of Rochefort10nh
4.92/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Consumed numerous glasses of this at the Hill Farmstead Autumn Fest on Oct. 2nd.

Beautiful burnished gold with slight orange tinge. Moderate carbonation. Sticky lace is left on my tulip glass after each sip.

An explosion of citrus and pine on first nosing - tangerine, ruby red grapefruit, mango and orange zest.

Taste followed the nose with just enough malt to backup the hop assault on the palate. Certainly more of a West Coast IPA hop forward brew showcasing various hop varieties in all their glory.

Mouthfeel is near perfect and this beer finishes dry begging you to take another sip making the drinkability through the roof.

Get this if you can!!

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Photo of koopa
4.5/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours goldfish orange with honey folds. The crown is 1 finger deep, white in color, displays moderate retention and good lace.

Smell: Dank pine/resinous hops, grapefruit, pineapple, a hint of grass and hay, plus a touch of caramel malt.

Taste: Everything in the smell but magnified!

Mouthfeel: Medium body, juicy, the slightest bit chewy, with moderate carbonation and a nice hop bite in the finish.

Drinkability: Very high despite the IBU's and ABV. It has a serious kick though and gets an alcohol / slight ethanol note as it warms.

One of my new favorites of the style. Home Run Hill Farmstead! I had heard rumors of this one being over 200 ibu's (I heard 230 to be exact) and while I'm not sure upon tasting, it is defintely more on the bitter side than fruity side.

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Photo of SABERG
4.65/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Served at the autumn fest in Greensboro. Wine glass.
Appearance medium golden color, not cloudy at all.
Great lacing all around.
Smell was floral and wide,no big alcohol nose to it, lots going on.
Taste was even handed for a huge (3X)IPA, the most striking part IMO. Lots of hop profile while not to overwhelming pucker.
Mouthfeel was not to oily but fabulously complex for such a big IPA.
Drinkability, well that is a slippery slope, at 10+ ABV it should not be taken lightly.
Easily in the top tiers of IPA and yes, I know that is big talk for a big beer.

Well done Shaun

Cheers

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Photo of kingcrowing
4.74/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2l pop-top growler poured into a Hill Farmstead wine glass.

Pours a nice slightly hazy orange with very little head (growler is 48 hours old and has been in a fridge the whole time), looks like some light bubbles and carbonation up the side. Nose is amazing! fresh grapefruit and citrus, mango and orange, very fresh and effervescent.

This is criminally good. So fruity and fresh, it's one of the all time greats of the IPA/IIPA world. It's got that east coast sweetness (think 90 min IPA) but it's got such a fresh floral, piney and bitter hop profile that's it's very west-coast oriented as well. Even 2 days old the carbonation has held up very well, although I'll say it's gone down a bit (as to be expected) from the draft version I had the other day. That being said it's still got a nice light carbonation level (which I know many of my fellow BAs appreciate) which makes it damn easy drinking.

There is a slight alcohol bite here, but at over 10% that's no surprise. Event still, I hardly notice it in the mouth - I get more of a warming sensation down my throat into the stomach.

I thought this was damn good fresh at the brewery, but I'll be honest I was a bit overwhelmed at the time with the excitement of getting up to Hill Farmstead for the first time, getting to meet Shaun, see some buddies, and get to try all this new & crazy beer that although I really enjoyed it there, I didn't appreciate it as much as I do now at home slowly sipping it. I saw another reviewer who said PtY and Heady Topper have nothing on this, I can't speak for PtY (yet) but this is in my opinion of the same caliber of Heady Topper & Hopzilla (two of my all time favorite beers).

Keep up the great work Shaun!

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Photo of SFLpunk
4.7/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the brewery release today. Poured into a HF wine glass.

I'll start off by saying this is my favorite IIPA now.

Quick notes from my phone:
Crystal clear golden orange with HUGE creamy off-white head. Nose is barn-yardy, but not with funk, just hay and leather. Lots of angry citrus and bitter foliage.

Palate is obliteratingly bitter! Big orange, lime, bitter lemon, yellow grapefruit and lots of citrus rind. Good whack of residual sugar in the center helps support the MASSIVE amount of hop character/bitterness.

Finish is gripping and destructive!

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Photo of Pentastar
4.75/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark orange with a thin off white head.

Aroma: The aroma of this is very strong, with a powerful citrus and apricot kick. Just a lot of fruity and sweet essences here. Some pine comes through, but most of the scent is dominated by sweet fruity flavors.

Taste: There are notes of citrus and pine flavors which help to balance the overall effect of this beer. Apricot flavor is noticeable, orange and orange rind come through, but the biggest flavor here would be the grapefruit. Some maltiness too, along with a lot of hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Proper amount of carbonation, the high abv is noticeable.

Drinkability: Drinkeable but boozy.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.82/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I sampled this on tap at the brewery on 9/24/10 and knew that I immediately needed to grab a growler. 2 liter "genie" shaped swing-top growler into an oversized tulip glass.

Initially pouring hazy, this clears out nicely into a golden apricot color, topped with a rich foamy head that quickly settles down into a tight finger. This retains with a frothy ΒΌ finger or so which throws a robust spotty cascade of sticky lacing up on the sides of the glass. Really nice look here once this clears up. The aroma literally smells like a hop grenade went off in your nose. Grapefruit and pine cut through the nostrils like a knife, tempered on the edges by juicy tropical fruit notes (pineapple is especially strong) and sweet sugars from the malt. This is all wrapped up in a blanket of floral, herbal, dank, and spicy tones. This is just so fresh and powerful in the nose; I could literally just sit here and sniff this all night long.

The hop flavors in the taste are just unbelievably fresh and bright feeling, with a blast of bitter grapefruit and resins that stick in the mouth. The balance here is just impeccable though, with the sugary sweetness of the citrus and malts swooping in off the side to do their thing, leaving the fullness of the hop flavors behind but without a completely overly bitter bite up front either. The bitterness does come out to play big time in the backend though, with citrus rind, spice, and pine, all just smashing the finish of this and leaving back a resinous and dry feel that hammers the tongue and roof of the mouth. The mouthfeel is medium bodied in the mouth at first, with a combo of sharpness and smooth slickness from the hop oils, but the alcohol definitely adds some fuller feeling heft to this as well. Warmth hangs on the breath after each sip and gets a little borderline hot at times, especially when paired up with that intense dry-hopped finish.

With full and brilliant hop flavors, awesome balance, and an excellent drinkibility for a nearly 11% Triple IPA, it's hard to not want to compare this (and quite favorably I might add) to a certain similar beer out on the West Coast. The only drawback I could possibly find here is that there is maybe a little too much warmth coming out of the body at times but it's hard not to argue that the hop profiles here are just world class. I had the opportunity to try about five different hoppy offerings while visiting the brewery and to say that they've got a handle on these styles would be an understatement. Just awesome stuff here!

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Ephraim from Hill Farmstead Brewery
Beer rating: 4.57 out of 5 with 1,044 ratings
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