Phenomenology Of Spirit (2010)
Hill Farmstead Brewery

Phenomenology Of Spirit (2010)Phenomenology Of Spirit (2010)
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Farmhouse Ale - Saison
4.26 | pDev: 8.69%
Hill Farmstead Brewery
Vermont, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Phenomenology Of Spirit (2010)Phenomenology Of Spirit (2010)
Notes: Our Dark Saison.
Reviews: 31 | Ratings: 113 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Skrip
Skrip from New Jersey

4.56/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml corked and capped bottle poured into a Carton Teku.

A~ dark oak like brown with a huge fluffy head and a lot of lacing. Very surprising for it's age.

S~ dark tart cherries rush the nose followed by roasty dark malts, finishing with oaky wine barrel funk.

T~ a little less tart here, otherwise it pretty much follows the nose. I get a little burnt coffee and a lot of charred oak mid palette. Finishes where it started with a nice tart black cherry after taste that I never want to end!

M~ perfect carbonation for a saison! Smooth as can be, a little thick and very refreshing.

O~ this is surprisingly drinking great right now! Any more age though and I can see this getting a little watery like the early CD's seem to be getting. So drink it now if you have it! Less tart than the newest version but the coolship would explain that haha. I believe this is the oldest HF I've had, maybe...? And the only beer that HF has corked? Absolutely amazing for it's age! I really hope they do this again but slightly different every time. I'd have to say that "dark saisons" have to be my favorite hard to come by style. CD4, Edith, and this have blown me away. I love the complexity!

Nov 07, 2013
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Huhzubendah from District of Columbia

4.24/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle shared by yourefragile. Thanks a lot Michael!

The beer is chestnut brown and fairly hazy. Small beige head. The aroma offers oak, malt, fruit, wild yeast. Funky with Flanders characteristics. Smooth with low carbonation. Currants and brown bread. Really tasty.

Oct 10, 2013
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danedelman from Pennsylvania

4.03/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bought this bottle at the release.

A- very dark brown with huge 3 finger tan head.

S- very acedic, dried fruits, cherries, figs. Oak tannins in the background.

T-tons of bitter almost harsh tannins. Tastes reminiscent of a cherry sour patch kid when swirled in the mouth. All other flavors from nose come into play. Very sour with no real balance. Not very complex of a sour. Really just tart with no funk. Hoping this will develop in bottle but heard that wine yeast was used to bottle condition so we shall see.

M- prickly carbonation with medium light body. Perfect for style to not allow the tartness to settle on the tongue.

O-good beer that needs to develop a bit more to reach that greatness I have learned to love about HF.

Sep 18, 2013
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brewandbbq from New Hampshire

4.16/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375ml capped bottle from June 2013.

Pours opaque dark brown with a quarter inch head of creamy tan. A few whisps on the surface with errant dots of lacing for the duration.

Aromatics lead off with a blast of roast and bakers chocolate. Shades of coffee beans, balsamic, and apples follow though.

Medium bodied with an oily, slickish mouthfeel. Creamy with a crisp edge.

Soured fruit dusted with burnt malt starts the palate. Tart apples, coffee grounds, singed chocolate, and a hint of rhubarb runs underneath.

Finishes with lingering roast and soured fruit.

The roasted, chocolaty character overshadows the funk and essence of a wild ale, and the beer could use a higher carbonation level to reveal it's true potential. Otherwise this beer comes off as a soured porter.

Aug 31, 2013
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GarthDanielson from Virginia

4.23/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle into a snifter, the beer is jet black, with a thin, clingy, filmy, off-white ring resting on the surface. Aromas of tangy, tart, and sour all at once. Roasty notes on further inspection, with some very richly sweet old world fruit flavors of date, fig, cherry, and grape. Very dynamic nose. Flavors are roast forward, with a blasting undertone of fruit sour and tart. Amazing juxtaposition of flavors, and well balanced at that. Chocolate and coffee notes provide a bittersweet backbone to support the grape and cherry tart and sour, with more rich date and raisin flavors present in the follow, and some earthy notes, also. Very layered flavors. The body is robust, but with a crisp, clean, tart finish. You get a sour build that provides some activity in the jaw muscles. The aftertaste is a hint of roast with an abundance of tart and sour. What a great beer.

Aug 27, 2013
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justforrazors from Missouri

4.57/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Consumed 8-13-13, whole bottle minus yeast poured into a HF glass. Reviewed from notes.

A- Pours black with a lingering 1 inch head. Noticeable carbonation bubbles rising to the top. The head falls over a minute leaving a thin layer of mocha head with decent retention. Looks like it has good clarity, but the color makes it difficult to tell.

S- Brett, lactic acid. There is a sourness off the bat that reminds me of a flanders red. It presents with cherries, lemon and oranges intertwined, although cherries are the standout. A touch of vinegar as well. There is a phenolic note on the end, although it works well with the rest of the flavors. A touch of chocolate as well, but very subtle.

T- Cherry, raspberry, some coffee and chocolate too. Lemon-zest acidity. A touch of bitterness on the end.

M- Wow, this thing is dry. I feel like I just chewed on a chunk of chalk. Medium to high carbonation. Very drinkable on the get-go, but the insanely dry finish leaves you walking around shouting for water.

O- This stuff is awesome as is, no aging needed. Tons of fruit flavor, and very little phenolics. Definitely another hit from Hill Farmstead. Their wilds and saisons continue to blow me away one after the other.

Aug 14, 2013
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DonFrap from Massachusetts

4.56/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

375ml bottle poured into a Lawson's snifter.

A: dark, a little darker than a brown ale. Moderate carbonation, very nice lacing.

S: smells like tart cherries. Maybe a little vinegar smell but not offputing.

T: Tart cherries also. Not as sour as I expected, which is nice. No vinegar here.

M: Smooth, left a wierd numbness on my tongue, kinda wierd. This beer is carbed perfectly for the style though.

O: a great barrel aged saison from HF. This is not my favorite style, and I'm a little worried how this would age, but I enjoyed it. Get it soon, and enjoy.

Aug 02, 2013
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N17shelfside from California

4.53/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the second batch sent through the coolship. Potential to be a slight gusher upon opening, especially I imagine with a bit more age (I watched as the foam came close to spilling over before quickly making for the the pour. I consider this good for the style and a good sign for the yeast inside). The pour gives a short lived tan head that dissipates to a ring around the rim of the glass. Good carbonation overall for the beer. The beer itself is black with slight brown when held up to light. Smell is slight with aromas of dark fruit and horseblanket. When consumed those flavors really come through with real astringent tartness of raspberry mixed in with some serious barnyard flavors. This is layered in with the oak coming through heavily to give the beer a good backbone despite the relative thinness.

Overall a very nice beer.

I am not sure that it really matches a lot of dark saisons that I have had. I am thinking of Stillwater - Saison Darkly or JP - Bam Noire which match lighter saisons but with that maltier umph.

Instead this has perhaps more similarities to the Fantome Extra Sour Dark, except where that beer really is mostly that funky horseblanket, hay, etc. going on this has a lot more backbone and is a more substantial beer, not necessarily more complex, just has more substance.

Final thoughts: This will be a great beer to sit on for some time. My next move will be a side by side to compare to Beatification to make some more in comparisons of the natural yeasts on each coast. Looking forward to more spontaneity from HF.

Jul 28, 2013
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cpetrone84 from Pennsylvania

3.42/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

pour is dark brown with red edges and a tan tight head. Nose has a touch of roasted malt, fair bit of Saison note, touches of lemon. Taste is heavier roasted malt, very different, Saison and sweet in back. Some citrus and lemon. The malt is very strong, assertive carbonation, maybe a hint of dryness but not really.

Dec 10, 2012
Photo of Luk13
Luk13 from Canada

4.8/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Hill Farmstead Gathering. Wonderful mix of bretts, oak, vanilla and dark fruits. The wine barrel seems totally appropriate here. Rustic flavors from the bretts blends nicely with the oak sweetness and the wine barrel sourness. This is definitly my favourite black saison.

Oct 14, 2012
Photo of Florida9
Florida9 from Illinois

3.92/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: clear dark reddish brown. Forms a thin light tan head. Leaves moderate lacing.

S: A very nice aroma with a blend of bubblegum, dark malt, dark fruit, and just a touch of smoke. Slightly sour.

T: unfortunately the taste is thin and falls flat. Taste is of dark malts, raisin, light toffee, but then turns watery and slightly bitter.

M: on the heavier side of light with moderate carbonation. Moderate astringent bitterness.

O: a decent beer though taste really falls flat.

Jun 23, 2012
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yourefragile from District of Columbia

4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Capped and corked 750 mL bottle shared recently with who cares. Collaborative dark saison with McKenzie and Tired Hands.

Pours a cola dark brown with a few fingers of khaki, creamy head that leaves behind webs of lacing. Excellent, rich dark saison aroma, blending roast malt and burnt sugar with ripe, dark fruit and an oak presence which is starting to blend over time with the other flavors. Strong roast and burnt flavors throughout the palate with ripe fruit at the start and a dry, oaky finish. Spicy yeast lingers throughout adding a nice balance to the dry roast and oak. Medium light body with active carbonation. Becoming a little more balanced and less harsh as it ages, looking forward to whatever form this is revisited in (CD 5?)

Feb 08, 2012
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starrdogg from District of Columbia

4.17/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Michael for sharing this one.

Pours a light brown with a pretty solid white head. Smells somewhat oak-y and vinous with a bit of maltiness in there. Taste is pretty heavily malty (brown ale malty) with some wine and oak notes in there. Mouthfeel is light-medium bodied with pretty significant carbonation. This is a pretty nice dark saison, oddly it kinda tastes like a vinous brown ale, which actually works as a nice experiment, but isn't my favorite beer.

Jan 26, 2012
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vfgccp from New York

4.78/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A – Beautiful, especially in direct sunlight. Bright black/brown body with cola highlights. Bone-white, creamy head sticks with nice lace and solid retention.

S - This is everything I’m looking for in dark saison – darker notes of toffee and burnt caramel are held in balance by bright orange zest and bridged by a field of chamomile, honey and hay. A little more intensity and this is a 5.

T – Stellar. Bright acidity and tart white peach clear your palate for a gentle, sweet, burnt caramel. A memory of roast laces in and out of the profile, and a kiss of floral chamomile and lavender soften the on the backend. Stunningly balanced.

M – Super smooth with a nice carbonation.

O – Simply fantastic. One of the best saisons I’ve ever had.

Sep 30, 2011
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womencantsail from California

4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The pour is dark brown in color with a tall off-white/khaki colored head.

S: The oak really dominates the aroma. There's a mild roastiness as well some hints of pepper. Fruit notes of apple and pear, maybe some lemon peel, too. A touch of tartness along with bready malts.

T: Pretty oaky flavor, too. Pepper, banana, and citrus peel make for an interesting flavor. There's a decent level of roast and some of the same fruit flavors that were present on the aroma. Just a touch of tart lemon.

M: Medium bodied with medium to high carbonation.

O: This was good, but it was pretty much just as good as the regular version and that was easier to get.

Sep 04, 2011
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mikesgroove from South Carolina

4.03/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

dark amber with minimal head and side lacing leads to a ruddy, lightly hazed look.

deep notes of oak and fig, light sourness, but not over the top in any way, really just nice and mellow. warming brings more balance to the profile with caramel malts and lots of dark fruit notes. very nice. clean with light aftertaste and nice touches of oak that seem to pop up at just the right time. a very well done beer here.

Aug 19, 2011
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Verecund from Texas

4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 1, 750ml. Opened on August 15, 2011. Held six months, per the brewer's instructions. Consumed in celebration of PEH's life, since he will likely pass tonight.

Pours a tar near-black with a pillowy three-finger head. Bubbles stream upwards toward the surface, revealing rust-red hues.

The appearance of Phenomenology of Spirit is quite at odds with the nose, which is prototypical of Shaun's saisons in many respects. Somewhat floral, with a beautiful grassy and earthy brett presence. So clean and "fresh" on the nose, even after these six months the bottle has spent waiting. There's a light caramelized sugar note that plays alongside a hint of chardonnay/white grape vinousness. Brett's the main motivating force here though.

Indiscriminate saison-like floral and earthy attributes on the front of the palate giving way to the "dark" elements of the beer: toasted wheat; dry, chalky chocolate; burnt sugar; subtle roast/pepper; and lightly-vinous dark fruit that lingers on the tongue. Quite different - while the transition doesn't work perfectly for me, the brett has dried out this beer to a great enough degree that the nontraditional elements actually work quite well with the saison base.

Medium, medium-light bodied with good carbonation. Fairly dry; a hint of acidity on the long finish.

I'm far from a Hegelian, but I can appreciate the synthesis here. This is, unsurprisingly, a very nice saison. Once again, Shaun's saisons tell stories.

Aug 16, 2011
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thagr81us from South Carolina

4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Massive thanks goes out to cmrillo who shared this one with the group at the "Evening Wood" tasting graciously hosted by cmrillo as well! Served from bottle into a Mikkeller flute. Poured a deep red brown with a half finger off-white head that subsided to a minimal amount slowly. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, wood, tart, and funk. The flavor was of sweet malt, wood, and funk. It had a light feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a good brew. I never would have guessed that this was a saison without looking it up or knowing it. I would have guessed more along the lines of a Wild Ale due to the funkiness I got in this one. If there were any saison spices present, the funk aspect of this one definitely covered them up. With that said, this was still a good tasting brew despite its lack of complexity. Really glad I got the chance to try this one at an awesome tasting with some good friends.

Jul 12, 2011
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renegadeburger from New Jersey

3.58/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

only beer from the hill i got to try from the bottle so far all others from the brewery or on draft or in growlers from local area ok here we go

pours nice big hazy straw color and a big ole white fluffy head i like this so far

smell intense spice here some black pepper but some crazy nutmeg too

taste is in the same route here except some banana in the end too finishing with some nice herbal hops and grassy bitterness

nice mouthfeel definitley more pop and feel here than the other saisons i had from them

this is the best saison i had from the hill i still think their ipas are the best but this was pretty good

Jul 10, 2011
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stakem from Pennsylvania

3.45/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes taken on my phone back in March. This brew appears a clouded dark brown color. A fingers worth of thick head forms across the top and leaves a webby pattern of lace across the glassware.

The aroma has hints lemon zest and some spicy Belgian yeast notes before turning a bit funky. Across the back there are notes of sulfur mixed with a lightly fruity sweet character. Not bad.

The taste unfortunately falls apart, initial flavors of plastic are a bit off-putting. More sips reveal a musty character, lightly earthy with lactic indications of sourness coming across with lemon zest. The plastic flavoring is constant exaggerated with a big fusel alcohol flavor and warmth through the back of the throat. The aftertaste is lightly smoked and roasty which starts to make things interesting,

This brew is a bit puzzling and disjointed. It didnt really meld well. It is a light bodied brew with a high amount of carbonation that gives it a fizzy and bubbly feel yet at times seemed watery as well. It was not an issue finishing my glass but I don't think I'd care to pay the cost of admission on this offering again.

Jul 09, 2011
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abuliarose from New Hampshire

4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a rich red-brown with thick and lightly tanned head. Smells sweet and slightly roasty with earthy undertones. Hints of molasses.

Tastes as it smells: barely sweet with a pleasant and refreshing roastiness and light molasses qualities. Carbonation is quick and small-nucleating on the light body. Some savory edges to the flavor, dry and tannic. Totally quaffable. An awesome table beer.

Overall I really like this offering. Would love to serve it up with just about anything, even a rich smoke.

Jun 21, 2011
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Thorpe429 from Illinois

4.17/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served from the bottle at the Night of the Funk 2011 forum. Reviewed from notes.

Pours a very dark brown -- bordering on black -- with a good, thick tan head that lasts a bit before leaving some spotty lacing and falling to a collar. The nose is really complex and the wine-aging really comes through. Some red wine and moderate saison funk. A bit of roast there as well. The flavor melds wine, oak, and roast really well, taking it up a notch with the saison yeast. The finish is where the yeast really shines, combining with the roast for a spectacular finish. Really well done. A highlight for me.

May 17, 2011
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JAXSON from Pennsylvania

3.7/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown with deep red edges and a billowing off white head. Nose is a fairly robust collage of grass, yeast, baker's chocolate, and some kind of fruits. Very fresh and interesting, well-melded. Mouth is grassy, lightly oaky, some faint wild yeast, bitter chocolate, hops. Seems immature in the mouth, as the flavors are not quite there yet. Reminds me of some recent Jolly Pumpkin bottlings. Still, pretty interesting, soft stuff, balanced despite being too young.

May 02, 2011
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youbrewidrink from Vermont

4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep brown color with a khaki head

The aroma was of dried fruit figs & raisin with a little straw. The his is where the barnyard showed the most.

The yeast funk was right up front with some yeasts more distinctive than others. The malt was present but not over powering.

This beer was a little to hot in the alcohol department for me to give it a fair review. The brewer indicated that this really should be put away for 6 months or so. So to be fair I will revist this beer after an aged bottle has been consumed.

Feb 24, 2011
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AgentZero from Illinois

3.73/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Jason for the hookup.

A - A surpringly almost black beer that poured with a frothy white head that had great retention. Nice lacing throughout the drink, really a superb looking beer.

S - Caramel, good funk, some nice floral and grass notes. It smells like a nice saison with a pretty present malt backbone (for the style).

T - Tastes better than average, a solid saison with good grass and floral notes surrounding a stronger than normal malt backbone. There is a bit of belgian funk to it. Not bad.

M - Approriate dry finish on a light and moderately carbonated beer.

D - Very solid drinker and pretty easy for the ABV. Not mindblowing, but this is a good beer I could drink again.

Feb 22, 2011
Phenomenology Of Spirit (2010) from Hill Farmstead Brewery
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 113 ratings