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Ephraim | Hill Farmstead Brewery

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

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

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Reviews: 228 | Ratings: 1,005
Photo of oakbluff
4.94/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Growler- pours a light tangerine with slight haze with a light head and soapy lacing. Nose- huge blast of tropical fruit (mango, pineapple, passion fruit). Taste- WOW- intense, wave after wave of hops attack the senses. Citrus, pine resin. Thick chewy hops interplay with cookie dough pale malts. Medium bodied. Carbonation spot (esp for a growler I've been sitting on for a few weeks). Booze is not apparent other then a warming heat as this hop delivery vehicle slides down the throat. Its a man among boys in the world of dipas. Drinkability is insance for the power of this brew. World class

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Photo of rorykanderson
4.28/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Big, beefy DIPA with a huge ABV that drinks incredibly easy. Hoppy, piney and floral aroma; taste of orange rind, mandarin orange, mango, apricot, grapefruit, tobacco and green tea. Outstanding citrus and bitter profile with a soft mouthfeel, but it's not a balanced beer - it's a big time hop-forward DIPA that comes on strong and doesn't let up. With a 10% ABV I'm not sure what else you could expect. Prepare your face. They've employed magic to make such a huge beer so palatable.

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Photo of jjdc
4/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The hallmark of HF beers is restraint, sophistication and a flawless execution. Ephraim is a bit peculiar by this standard. It is a bit too boozy, bitter and big. Distinctly lacking in those great tropical fruit/floral notes that the best HF hoppy beers have. I suspect another reason this is slightly disappointing is that the IPA game has consistently upped the bar since Ephraim stepped on the scene. Not a bad beer, but also not up to the considerable hype either.

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Photo of celticfutblclub
4.35/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml growler poured into a pint glass

A - inviting bright yellow body with a nice two finger foamy top. great retention and lacing.

S - big hop smells here and good grapefruit edge to it as well.

T - good hop presence here with some bread malts lying beneath. great grapefruit edge to this.

M - lots of carbonation medium bodied beer with good hop puckering.

O - a fine DIPA and well worth the ride out to pick it up.

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Photo of PeterIngemi
4.42/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ blackback pub in waterbury VT

A: hazy golden with a touch of amber, served with about a finger of white head that dissapates nicley and leavs some nice lacing. Looks delicious.

S: wow, this smells so good, loads of grassy and citrusy hops, pleanty of tropical fruit aroma, mango, pinneapple, passion fruit... Smells like citrusy juicy hop deliciousness. Amazing aroma.

T: tastes like biting into a tropical fruit hop salad, some much tropical citrusy hop flavor, oh my, a touch of caramel sweetness. So yummy and resinous and juicy. Loads of grapefruit and pinneapple, and no overly bitter, wonderfully balanced.

M: medium heavy body with a very lush an juicy feel, nice creamy moderate carbonation.

O: this an amazing dipa one of the best I've had hands down. So much hop flavor, so well balanced...

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Photo of Fireman_RK
4.62/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L: Bright golden hues reminiscent of barley straw with a 0.5cm soapy white head; copious amounts of lacing around the glass
S: Mango, oranges, tangerines and a multitude of tropical fruits on the nose that is met by a distinct piney dankness
T: Sweet crackery malt and citrus is evident upfront and immediately beset by strong pine and hops; the finish is sweet and dry
F: Thin to medium body with moderate carbonation
O: I can appreciate the musings of a few of the more recent reviews of this beer about how Ephraim perhaps embodies the bitter and less juicy IPAs en vogue a few years ago, but to me that is what I love about this beer. If I think back, it is the overloaded hoppy beers like this that drew me to the IPA style initially and in a sense drinking this beer takes me back a few years to an earlier time before juice bombs were all the rage. Of course this wasn't Shaun Hill's intention, but in the sense that some of his beers are a tribute to older family members, to me, Ephraim represents a best of breed from the 'old guard' of top IPAs from a few years ago. Overall this is an excellent beer and embodies the zeitgeist of an earlier era of craft beers - I'm glad to see it back and am privileged to have been able to enjoy it.

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Photo of BeerAndBourbon
4.55/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A. Pours clear orange with a two finger white head.

S. Grapefruit, orange, lemon - very citrusy with floral hoppy notes. Almost hoppy.

T. Nice sweet malt presence with supreme hoppiness - floral notes, citrus, and delicious.

M. Thick and creamy. Delicious.

D. Great. Lovely.

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Photo of pmlondrigan
4.76/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up at the Harvest Festival. Great time. 750ml poured into my shiney new Hill Farmstead steam wear. Murky orange / tangerine color with a white one finger head. Lots o' lacing. Tropical. Papaya, passion fruit, citrus zest. Bam, explosion, nothing more to say. Huge tropical flavor, pinapple, passion fruit, papaya, citrus zest, a little pith and pine resin. Hoppy bitterness lingers on the finish. The finish is dry and there is absolutley no way of detecting that this is 10.5% abv. Slightly more carbonation would be nice. Really they only downside to this beer is the appearance. Don't know how they did this.

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Photo of BearsOnAcid
4.45/5  rDev -1.1%
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 greenmonstah
4.4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Growler picked up at the brewery yesterday, 10/8. Poured into their Belgian stemware glass.

A - Pours a typical light caramel-gold with a thin wisp of head. Head is retained at this wisp-level throughout. Nice clarity and a decent amount of carbonation. The head and carbonation levels make it look like a lower ABV beer-- it is impressive for a beer at 10.5% to look like this. A more aggressive re-fill yielded a larger, frothy head, which dissipated at an average rate.

S - Fresh tropical fruit sweetness, bitter hops, and a subtle caramelly malt base. One of the better-smelling east-coast IPAs I have had. You can smell the grains as if you were walking through the Hill Farmstead fields.

T - An initial sweetness transforms quickly into intense bitterness. The caramel provides the sweetness, but just can't compete with the hops. Strong notes of grapefruit and a hint of papaya. Finishes with a bomb of bitterness that only a hophead could enjoy. No booze at all, which is amazing.

M- Medium to full in body, this beer is a big one. It envelops your mouth and fires on every tastebud. Initially round, it sharpens very quickly. Finish dries out the mouth, but not too much.

O - Overall this beer is exceptional. While I don't think it gets any one category perfect, it exemplifies each to a degree that few other beers can. The bitterness is intense, and would overwhelm the unprepared, but at at "280 IBU" level, that makes perfect sense. I think I might still prefer Heady Topper to this beer as far as East Coast IPA whales go, but I wouldn't mind having this every day, either! I need to get my hands on some Abner, since that'll compare more closely to what Head Topper really is.

Is this the Pliny the Younger of the East Coast? Hard to say. I'm going to go with "Maybe."

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Photo of dubinsky
4.62/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Special thanks to jcojr72 who brought me a 750ml growler for an in person trade. No bottle date, but im drinking it a week after the trade date. Poured into a snifter.

A - Pours a nice hazy deep orange with a very thin wispy white head. The normal pour barely yielded a head and i'm worried this may be a somewhat flat beer. Whatever head there is seems to crawl to edges of the glass and just sits there leaving some spotty lacing behind.

S - Fresh tropical fruit sweetness. Huge tangerine, mango, pineapple notes are followed by light citrus wafts. Nicely bitter hops are present with a really nice caramel malt base. I’m not a huge fan of the way east coast ipa's smell but this is easily one of the best smelling beers from the east that I have had.

T – The taste really follows the nose closely. Huge tropical fruits with an initial sweetness quickly give way to a rather intense bitterness and citrus bite. The sweetness from the caramel malt is very evident and provides a good balance which is equally matched with the hop bitterness that I described in the smell.

M - Medium body, with low carbonation. I fear this was a tad on the flat side and would like to try it again to compare. My mouth went through some serious exercises with this beer with all the varied and complex flavors and textures that I provided.

O – This was a truly awesome beer that lived up to the hype for me. I think that this on par with the best DIPA's I have had, hoplsam and Pliny. Is it better than those, no. But is it close, hell yes. Very well done.

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Photo of nesarebad
4.99/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Last of my Hill Farmstead from my trip a few weeks back. 750 ml bottle style growler poured in to my Hill Farmstead stemware.

A - Pours a murky golden orange color, nice carb with a two finger effervescent head. Delicate lacing clings to the glass as I drink. Even though the beer is unfiltered, it is still a nice looking beer.

S - Sweet tropical fruits, blends of citrus fruits, some earthy notes peak through. Candied sugar and all the right notes, a nose that beckons you in to the first taste. Legit and all too intoxicating.

T - Sweet up front, with a pungent hop note. Sweet tropical fruits in melody with citrus-y hops. MIght be a tad sweeter than some would like in a DIPA, but the hops are blended so well in this one, it is punchy without being over bitter. A taste like none other, I can recollect only a few beers where I was like 'oh, ok' when I first tasted.

M - Despite being sweet up front, the balance in hop pungency makes this beer incredibly balanced. The sweetness is no factor in the drink-ability of the beer. Not much more can be said, this is a very easy to drink beer.

O - This beer exhibits all the best qualities of an easy to drink DIPA. It is tropical punch, sweet but balanced and smooth as can be. One of my all time favorites; I pull no punches here.

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Photo of readbaron
3.92/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to KickInTheChalice for this one. Pour from a 750 ml growler into a Parra Duvel tulip.

Pours an unusual golden orange color. When held up to the light it's a light golden orange.

Lots of honey and caramel malt on the aroma - then it fades into dank hops and with a hint of citrus and tropical fruit. Really impressive.

Taste doesn't live up to the nose - bitter hops dominate - not as much malt and sweetness as the nose indicates. It's still sweet, but the sweetness is overwhelmed by piney, hoppy bitterness. It lacks the crisp clarity of sweet then hoppy that I appreciate in other sweet DIPAs that I've had.

Mouthfeel is good. Medium bodied, fairly heavy for a DIPA, decently carbed, but not as creamy or smooth as would be ideal.

Overall - a solid beer, but doesn't deserve it's top 100 status in my book.

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Photo of jeffthecheff
3.04/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a swing-top 750 that was bottled for VIP attendees at the harvest festival.

Pours a clear pale orange with a great white head. Aroma is fruity with pear and melon notes along with some peach. Minimal pine/green hop notes.

Flavor is strong and boozy with a nice candy-like sweetnes in the middle. Finish is overly harsh with high alcohol notes and in the end isn't all that complex.

Mouthfeel is smooth throughout with carbonation on the low side. Nice maltiness creates a substantial body mid palate while still having a dry finish. Definitely the high point of this beer. Overall, I feel the same way about this beer as I did when I had it on tap; booziness overshadows the hop profile. This beer reminds me a lot of hopslam, which I also think is on the wrong side of booze/hop balance. I prefer the less harsh/more aromatic character of HF's other hoppy beers.

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Photo of krisandajt
4.79/5  rDev +6.4%
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 spdyfire83
4.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

58th Review
Growler to Hill Farmstead glass...as it should be consumed.

From notes. Thanks to CharlieMurphy for sending this amongst other HF treats in a wonderful trade!

A: Dull copper. 1.5+ (pristine white) fingernail head on smooth, soft pour.

S: Piney. Massive hop aromas. More pine clouded by hint of citrus. Yummy!

T: Malty and sweet tropical fruit followed by an overwhelming brilliant burst of hops (mid-palate to finish).

M: Medium to full-bodied, but very, very smooth for such a high ABV brew. Medium carbonation.

O: Another excellent output from an up-and-coming brewery. A super drinkable and wickedly enjoyable DIPA that is not too over-the-top, but just right. Can’t wait to pay these folks a visit in-person!

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Photo of Sheppard
4.03/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a translucent gold with soapy white head. Some sweetness in the aroma. There is a lot of sweet malt up front. Like a fruit snack base sweetness. The piney hop finish arrives on the end, providing some nice complexity. The mouthfeel is thin though, which kind of takes away from that for me. Overall, this is a beer I would have killed for 3-4 years ago. Now, it's just a good imperial IPA.

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Photo of glazeman
4.07/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a growler into a snifter. Thanks goes out to gn0sis for sending this my way. Split with airohead2001 and z-pack.

A: Gold in color with a 1 finger white head that has pretty good retention and lacing. Typically, I prefer a little more amber in my DIPAs.

S: There's lots of tropical fruits and some citrus on the nose. Mostly I get pear, orange, and strawberry with a little bit of guava and banana. There's some earthiness at the back end.

T: When this one is very cold there's a lot of sweet fruit and citrus flavors, but as it warms it becomes chalkier. Actually it becomes quite chalky as it warms. I would really recommend drinking this as cold as possible, as that is when I think it's at its best. Also, while there are great fruit and some citrus flavors, this beer is slightly sweeter than I like for the style

M: I thought the carbonation and viscosity were appropriate and above average, although I wasn't a big fan of the aftertaste. It was just too chalky at the finish, and not as crisp and clean as I would have liked. Also, while the start of the beer is great, I like a little bit of hop bite at the end, and I feel that this beer doesn't have to much of a bitterness at the finish. In summary, it's a sweet, fruity, pretty good DIPA.

O: Overall, if this was on tap near me I would probably have it frequently. If I had to trade a difficult to come by beer for it, I most likely wouldn't do it. In terms of drinkability, this beer gets a lot of credit for going down easy and masking the 10.5% ABV.

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Photo of iadler
4.42/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another growler pour courtesy of Mista during Darkness Day. This has been a longtime want of mine.

A- Pours a slightly hazy orange with a thin head that leaves minimal lacing.

S- Tropical fruit upfront with mango, passion fruit and pineapple followed by citrus zest, floral notes, fresh herbs, peppery spice, caramel malt, pine and a touch of heat.

T- An abundant amount of tropical and citrus fruit mixed with pine needles, peppery spice, herbs, floral hops, caramel malt and some heat.

M- Low carbonation with a creamy mouthfeel and a slightly boozy finish.

O- This is one big DIPA. Plenty of dank tropical and citrus hops similar to other HF IPAS. I preferred Abner a bit more, but that doesn't really say much since both are fantastic.

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Photo of mavbrew
4.82/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Picked up a growler yesterday when we made the 3.5 hour drive up.

A: Pours a pale golden color with a nice frothy head that slowly, slowly dissipates and leaves some solid lacing down the side of my Hill Farmstead glass.

S: The scent is a massive explosion of citrus hops right up front with some sweet malts. Fruity undertones (mangos).

T: The upfront flavor is a huge burst of floral/citrus hops that completely coat the palate. The bitters stick around throughout the drink, well after the beer is gone. The sweet/caramel malts come through in the middle to balance out the bitters nicely. The finish is bitter, very bitter and exceptional.

M: Medium bodied with nice tingly carbonation on the tongue. There is a very bitter feel throughout.

D: Got my first sip of Ephraim at EBF, decided to make the trek up north to get a little more. This beer is everything you need from a IIPA and more. It's incredibly hoppy, yet very well balanced with bits of sweetness from the malts poking through the bitters nicely. This is without a doubt the best East Coast "IIIPA" I've ever had (sorry Heady Topper) and dare I say...better than PtE? I think it might be, but that is up for debate. A must try for any beer connoisseur.

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Photo of mschantz
4.85/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Sampled pour from a fresh 32 oz growler That indicated Amarillo hops were highlighted. Pours bRight, nearly lemon yellow and slightly hazy with a solid 2 fingers of dense head. Nose is lemongrass combined with grapefruit and a hint of bubblegum sweetness. The taste presented the sweet fruitiness apparent on the nose but was beautifully balanced by resinous hop bitterness. This is definitely one of the best IPAs I've had the pleasure of tasting.

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Photo of thegoon55
4.74/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75


A- orange, golden color white fluffy head

S- citrus, pine, orange peel, and grapefruit

T- following the nose, really nice hoppyness followed by orange and a nice bitter ness. not syrupy at all. perfectly balanced.

M- medium carb, medium mouth feel.

O- fucking fantastic, another wonderful ipa from hill farmstead

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Photo of TheDudeRules
4.95/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Hooked up with this from Sonicwaveofbees.

Growler to an imperial pint glass.

Nice looking copper color. Big giant 3 finger head. Lacing is prevalent. It's like a big beautiful bouquet busting out of the top of my glass. The smell is like a tropical rainforest. Pineapple, mango, melon, and cotton candy. This is seriously intense. I'm waiting for a monkey to come crawling out of my glass. My olfactory nerves are making love to my brain right now. Jeebus I hope this smell translates to taste. And...it does in a big way. Just awesome. You get the sweet citrus almost honey loveliness and then it's cut with dry bitterness. Brilliant. This was waltzing on my tongue. I didn't think it was too sticky but essentially almost perfect. A nice carbonation like you want your dipa to have.

I strive to try beers like this. The trading price was well warranted for this beer. In fact I would do it again over and over. Was it the best I've ever had? I think yes. This unknown is king of the hill in my opinion. Seek it out, you won't be disappointed.

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Photo of abuliarose
4.85/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at the Farmhouse. Poured into a goblet tasting glass, hazy deep amber-gold body under a lacy white head. The hop smell wafts across the table: sweet, sappy, grassy and with a heavy dose of floral honey. Fresh and mouthwatering IPA smells.

Tastes just less potent than I remember, but with a huge grapefruit presence that dominates the bitter profile and an appealing slight sweetness under the hop backbone. Mouthfeel is slightly syrupy but drying and smooth, medium-bodied. For how bitter this beer is, it's extremely well-balanced and very, very drinkable. Delicious!!

I hope to have this on tap fresh if it comes out again. Definitely an experience to look forward to.

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Photo of Mojua
4.12/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I don't generally love hoppy beers that are over 8.5% because they're too heavy and sweet, and this one is just those things. Hill beers have unrivaled mouthfeel and elegance, and this is just overdone. Intended I'm sure, given that it's 10%, but I'd take most of the Hill single and double IPAs over Ephraim.

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Ephraim from Hill Farmstead Brewery
4.5 out of 5 based on 1,005 ratings.
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