Jim | Hill Farmstead Brewery

53 Reviews
no score
Send samples

Brewed by:
Hill Farmstead Brewery
Vermont, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Jim (1954-1998) is the name by which our Uncle was best known. Hill Farmstead Brewery rests upon the land that was once home to him and his four siblings. In his honor, we barrel aged our Black IPA (James) in a French Oak Pinot Noir barrel for four months and dry hopped the beer with Simcoe. Naturally carbonated and hand bottled, this is one of only 300 bottles.

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

Added by sisuspeed on 10-03-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 53 | Ratings: 117
Photo of SFLpunk
3.45/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

500mL brown glass pry-top bottle. Purchased at the Autumn Festival. One of 216 bottles.

Pours a thick black with very little mocha-colored head. Nose is a bit dough-y, some mixed berry fruit, and a little roasted coffee.

Palate is round and then snappy with hop bitterness. Roasted black coffee notes, some citrus from the Simcoe and a whisper of raspberry. Some charred notes too. 90% cocoa dark chocolate-like bitterness.

Very low carbonation level. Finish is long and bitter like coffee.

*I had this on draft at the festival and found that version to be more expressive. The wine barrel spoke more loudly on draft and the carbonation level was much higher which I preferred. This score only pertains to my opinion of the bottle.*

 736 characters

Photo of callmemickey
3.7/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Consumed January 2011

A: Pitch black body with a moderate sized off-white head. Decent lacing and a nice lingering skim.

S: Massive dark roasted malts, chocolate, pine and grapefruit from the hops.

T: As expected, the malts are quite dominant. A touch of earthy flavors as well as some oak. Unexpectedly though, the hops didn't contribute much in the way of flavor... mostly just bitterness. A little grapefruit creeps through.

M: Medium bodied with a nice effervescence and a lingering bitterness.

D: Eh. Just something wasn't clicking for me here. It might have been the fact that the malts and hops didn't play nicely for me.

 633 characters

Photo of kingcrowing
3.75/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle poured into a Hill Farmstead wine glass.

Pours jet black with a nice one finger dark brown head that slowly fades into a nice ring of sticky head. The nose is fresh and hoppy. a bit sweet, and certainly oaky.

Mouthfeel is a bit of a let down, the carbonation is a bit low, making it feel a bit flat in the mouth (but this beer is NOT flat, just not highly carbonated). It's quite juicy and hoppy without bring too bitter at all. The wood flavors are there and balance it out nicely.

 498 characters

Photo of 05Harley
3.78/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Purchased @ Hill Farmstead Brewery, Greensboro VT.

Price - $12.00/bomber

Pours near black with a moderate amount of lite tan foam and looks delicious. After sitting for several minutes a creamy film remains. Lacing is heavy and proves to be quite decorative.

The aroma is sort of mild at first, but after several minutes reveals citrus and pine followed by a very faint smell of smoked malt.

Wow, I can actually taste apricot, with out question. A piney resin is next followed by caramel, ash, burnt wood and alcohol. Individually I love all these flavors but for some reason together here somethings not right.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a lingering bitter finish. Carbonation is lite and in the end very dry which puts the smoothness to bed.

Overall finishing the bottle by myself took a little bit of effort. Not to say it wasn't good, just not my flavor I guess. By far this one is my least favorite from Hill Farmstead. I'm not sure if it's the wine barrels or what. Definitely a unique experience for the style.

 1,034 characters

Photo of womencantsail
3.85/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks for sharing this one, Nick.

A: The pour is a very dark brown color with very little foam/head to speak of.

S: A good hoppy aroma to start out with. It seems to be mostly pine with some grapefruit peel in there as well. I get some smoke and ash, too. A definite oak presence as well as chocolate and roast.

T: The oak and specialty malt flavors are the strongest ones here. Lots of wood, peat, and smoke, with maybe a touch of ash. Grapefruit hops along with a pine bitterness and a touch of bitter chocolate.

M: Maybe it's just me, but the body seems a little thing. The carbonation is low to medium.

D: Not entirely sure how to feel about this one. It's quite complex, which is nice, but for some reason, not all the flavors really work all that well.

 764 characters

Photo of Sammy
3.88/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

John S's bottle, recently acquired. The aroma is chocolate and orange (reflecting the Simcoe). all in a very dark brown to black appearance. very smooth and understated carbonation, even less than many cask ales. The wine barreling overcomes everything, so that the hops are understated as well. A rich worthwhile beverage more akin to a wine itself.

 350 characters

Photo of MasterSki
3.95/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Jason for sharing this last night. Served in a Rodenbach tulip.

A - Pours with two fingers of light mocha foam that settle to a chunky collar and partial cap, leaving behind spotty lace. Dark brown body that's slightly lighter at the fringes.

S - Barrel, earth, smoke, some light vinous notes, a sweet indistinct hop note that mingles with the vanilla from the oak, and a black patent malt backbone. It's quite unique and I kept returning to the aroma.

T - Taste is not quite as successful for me. There's the motley assortment of wine, sweet malt and cocoa, and a light smokey finish that features hoppy bitterness as well. The aftertaste is a little off-putting and reminds me of playdough.

M - Medium-light body, medium-low carboation, no alcohol, dry finish. Quite pleasant.

D - This was definitely unique, and I'd like to try it again in a slightly more relaxed setting (i.e. not immediately after Ephraim). That being said, I'd probably dig James more than Jim...or maybe El Jefe.

 1,001 characters

Photo of thagr81us
4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to nickd717 for sharing this one on my recent trip to Cali. Served from bottle into a goblet. Poured a massively dark brown with a minimal off-white head. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, citrus, and citrus hop. The flavor was of sweet malt, citrus, smoke, and slight citrus hop. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this brew wasn't that bad, but it also wasn't that great. To me, the smoke drowned out a lot of the flavor and might have covered some up in the process. Just wish that aspect of the brew was a little more mellowed out. With that said however, this is a brew that you must at least try if you are a fan of smoked brews or Cascadian IPAs.

 747 characters

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

Pours pitch black with a big, tight, creamy head. Nose is first pine, spruce, perhaps some light citrus. Behind that are nice toasted malts, crackers, grains. Behind that still, smoked ham, quite subtle, but nice. Mouth is a bit darker than the nose, focuses on the toasted and smoked parts, thankfully. I thought I wouldn't like this and that the bright hops would clash with the darker malts, but it's quite nice. Barrel aging is subtle and well done. Really this comes across as a fairly hoppy imperial stout more than anything else. The finish is the only part reminiscent of an IPA, with a long hop bite. I like it.

 620 characters

Photo of Bendurgin
4.03/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip. Pours dark brown with two fingers of light tan head. It settles leaving a coat of lace and a solid cap of foam on top.

The aroma is grapefruit with some sappy pine. Bitter on the finish with lingering white grapes in the background. A little bit of a roast character on the flavor with a citrus grapefruit hop character. Bitter and piney in the finish with a woody flavor.

The body is light and the carbonation is good. The flavor really sticks to the pallet. Overall this is one of the better black IPAs I've had.

 537 characters

Photo of largadeer
4.05/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks, Nick. 500ml bottle.

Dark, perfectly clear brown with an opaque black center. A thin off-white head quickly recedes.

The nose is layered, complex. Sharp resiny hops, evergreen, grapefruit. More digging brings out smoke, roasted malt, tar. Vinous notes come out as it warms, along with oak, earth. Complex and nicely balanced.

Citrusy, resiny hop flavors hit the palate first, leading into a mid-palate that's more roasted and and smoky, slightly vinous. Bitter grapefruit, tannic oak, pine and burnt malt linger on the tongue.

Despite the many layers of flavor, this is light and easy to drink. Unique and enjoyable.

 627 characters

Photo of MADhombrewer
4.05/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks ramnuts.

Appearance- Black with some brown hightlights around the edges. Tan head and decent lacing. 4

Smell- Pine tree hop aroma and a small amount of dry Pinot Noir grape aroma. 4

T- Pine and some coffee flavors. Good bitterness. It finishes with a Chardonay dryness. 4

M- Good. Style appropriate.

O- An interesting beer to be sure. I am not a big fan of barrel aged IPAs, but this has an interesting twist with the wine barrels. Even though this is a black IPA I would enjoy it in the summer. 4

 517 characters

Photo of AgentZero
4.1/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to jrallen34 for busting this out.

A - A very dark brown that looks black if you don't hold it up to the light, reddish tint on the edges when you do. Nice tan one+ finger head that dissipated to some spots and chunks on the sides.

S - Truly unique, and unlike anything I've ever smelled. I wish I were more of a wine drinker so I could pick out some of the subtleties here, I know it's red, and a little bit sweet. It's very nicely layered onto a not-overpowering malt backbone with some light hops. The smoke really stands out to me, also not dominating, but the strongest note on this one, and it combines nicely with some oak.

T - I like this beer quite a bit, while not as good as the nose, it is exceptionally unique and complex. Smoke is again the strongest characteristic, along with a wine finish. The malts are not overly biscuity or sugary like I've come to expect from black IPAs, and the hops are present, but subtle. I honestly would not have thought this was an IPA unless someone told me. I'm not going to say it's the best beer I've tasted, but it is multi-dimensional and nicely complex, and it tastes good.

M - Lighter side of medium, carbonation seems appropriate for the style and doesn't overpower the wine flavor.

D - Could do a bottle, but couldn't session this, flavors are too unique and could start to get a little much after a lot of this. Good beer though, wouldn't mind having it again, very different.

 1,445 characters

Photo of TurdFurgison
4.12/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A gift from Thorpe429, thanks Mike!

The label says only 300 bottles: "we barrel aged our black IPA (James) in a French Oak Pinot Noir barrel for four months and dry hopped the beer with Simcoe." It pours a dark brown color , transparent at the edges, with an off-white wet looking foam.

This has a lot going on in the nose, most notably smoke and the pinot noir character I got in one of the Fear and Trembling versions earlier this month. I actually like the smell a lot, this isn't the roasty IPA I expected. The Simcoe is there but isn't overly assertive.

It tastes complex too, the barrel seems to add so much to the beer (although I've never tried the James before, but it seems pretty evident that the barrel is responsible for a lot of what's here). Smoke and oak, a little roast, more bitter hops in the aftertaste than previewed by aroma.

Light body, about right for a dark IPA. Another winner from Hill Farmstead, and another bottle in my deficit against Mike.

 976 characters

Photo of Ryan011235
4.13/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an E&J Cask & Cream glass on 2/27/11

Much appreciation to Nickd717

Pours a dull drown. It's dark in the glass - muddy brown at the stem and slight ruby highlights throughout. One and a half finger head that thins after a few minutes leaving impressive swaths of clumpy lace. Wispy retention but a solid wall of lace.

The aroma is rather subtle but offers equal complexity. Dry, vinous overtones of grapes and berries; musty oak; soft hints of coffee beans and a spot of roastiness buried deep down. Simcoe adds a subtle citric blend to the fruit notions imparted by the Pinot Noir barrels. A tad earthy.

The wine characteristics are first with dry, dark fruit. Earthy, piney hops shy from sheer bitterness. Roasted coffee, espresso and bittersweet chocolate manifest toward the finish. Modest hits of wood linger, too. Each aspect seems a bit disjointed initially but really comes together as it warms and opens up.

Medium body with gritty underpinnings, almost to the point of having a dirt-like feel (fine with me). Despite the initial cap of foam, carbonation is reasonably low. Slightly coating feel.

At first I thought this was ok. Now, after most of the bottle, I'm really digging it. This is definitely one to let warm up a bit. I added this to my wants because it sounded interesting; never thought I'd actually get to try it. Thanks, Nick!

 1,366 characters

Photo of mdfb79
4.13/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From 10/13/12 notes. Big thanks to whoever brought this to the Top Hops tasting in NYC; second new HF beer of the day.

a - Pours a pitch black color with two inches of dark tan head and moderate carbonation evident. Looks great.

s - Smells of roasted malts, pine hops, wood, light smoke, peat, dark fruits, and light chocolate. Some decent pine with lots of roasty notes...pretty nice.

t - Tastes of roasted malts, chocolate, pine hops, dark fruits, oak/wood, smoke, toasted malts, and a tiny bit of sourness almost. Nice taste; very heavy on the roasted notes again.

m - Medium body and low carbonation. Very easy to drink; pretty smooth.

o - Overall I thought this was a pretty good Black IPA. Tons of roasted malts to it and some decent pine hops, and I thought the wood came through a decent amount, and added a little smokiness to it. Very nice and worth checking out.

 878 characters

Photo of ororke5000
4.16/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

first review! thanks to Jon for a surprise package!

French oak aged black IPA, then dry hopped with simcoe and bottled by hand. (from the label)

pours dark brown/black, when held up to light it is a nice brown/red sienna edge. thin tan head of tiny bubbles. smells of oak, earth, sage bush and hops, with rich earthy leather/sage being the most noticeable.

tastes of resiny hops and the soft earthy leather upfront, melds with a dry sage/smudge (all the hippies know what i mean) coming in last, with some roasted malt bitterness hitting the back of the tongue. with a soft and clingy mouth feel.

this beer if great! i was skeptical of the the whole thing but i love this beer. wouldn't mind having another bottle and sharing it with friends.


 755 characters

Photo of billab914
4.17/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks for sharing IrishColonial. Poured from a 500ml bottle into a tasting glass. It poured black in color with a thin, creamy head sticking to the sides of the glass.

The aroma shows a lot o citrusy hoppiness to it. I get a good dose of smoke to it along with the roasted malts. The wine barrel gives it a little bit of a fruity and oaky quality. Really nice aroma to it, lots of complexity to it but it comes together well.

The taste show a little more bitter roasted favors to it with a good amount of smoke still showing up. The hoppiness is pretty bold in it as well with some juicy citrus qualities. It tastes a little like burnt, smoky hops, which sounds bad but I'm really kind of liking it. A little bit of the oaky fruity wine barrel smooths it out an brings it together.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and seems fitting for the style. Overall I really liked it, especially the smoke. The hoppiness seemed to work pretty well for it as well, which is impressive to me as I usually think hops and roasted favors clash. The wine barrel was a little reserved in the taste but did seem to smooth it out with the oak and fruit favors. Very good version of the style.

 1,176 characters

Photo of oline73
4.18/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I was lucky enough to be invited over to try batch 1 and 2 side by side. Poured into a goblet.

Batch 1 - The smell is rather smokey with some wine notes as well. I'm getting some bacon and bbq sauce notes. The flavor it quite smokey as well. This is like a wine barrel rauchbier. There is a slight roast bitterness that builds towards the finish. Just a touch of cardboard due to the age. The body is smooth and dry with a ton of carbonation.

Batch 2 - This one is missing the smoke that made batch 1 so interesting. There is more of a hop bitterness to this one. Just a hint of roast with a higher bitterness level.

I enjoyed both of these, but the older version won the night in my opinion.

 696 characters

Photo of Verecund
4.18/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml. Thanks to a generous BA for this. Opened on 2/24/2011.

Pours a very, very dark brown with dark purple hues. A huge two finger mocha brown head recedes to a half finger in width. Thick lacing. Just about perfect.

Surprisingly, after all this time, the nose still features a complex bouquet of hop aromas: resiny (accompanies by a cedar woodiness), grapefruit, small amounts of citrus. An oakiness shines through, making me think of my grandparent's Tsuga covered in snow in the winter. A sweet, almost vinous note is present as well.

Citrus and resiny up-front with lots of roast, like burnt wood, mid-palate. Tons of woody pine, grapefruit pith, and oak (tannic) dissolves into the roasted barley, smoky finish. The Pinot Noir sweetness is barely there, but shows on the tip of the tongue on the finish.

Medium-low carbonation, but fairly light in the mouth. By and large the most "raw" (dare I say: "gutteral") of the American Black Ales/Black IPAs I've had to date. I wish it had a little more of the vinous sweetness I see in F/T, since the finish can be a bit acrid, but overall, quite different and enjoyable.

 1,128 characters

Photo of yourefragile
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Harvest Festival. Waited until opening a bottle from this release before writing up both.

Dark, near black with a creamy tan head. Nice retention and a large amount of sticky lacing. Extremely hoppy aroma, pine and wood, with light roast that easily overwhelmed. Flavor is similar, a robust, creamy body with light roast and chocolate malt but the pine hops dominate every aspect of the flavor. Very little oak or wine present in this version. A very pleasant dry hopped black IPA, but lacking the complexity of fresh or aged versions in the bottle.

 564 characters

Photo of drabmuh
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Mike, thanks! Beer is black with a big tan head of small and medium bubbles. Good retention and lots of lacing.

Beer smells a lot like hops, pine hops to be exact. Pretty overwhelming, lots of stuff going on in there. Some coffee / roasted malt character as well.

Beer is medium in body and very bitter. The pine hops are a good choice I think, the flavor stands up well with the bitterness from the coffee and roast as well as the hop bitterness seems to play well in this beer. Beer is a little herbal up front but overall a nice BIPA.

 557 characters

Photo of koopa
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle purchased at the Hill Farmstead Autumn Festival earlier this month.

Appearance: Pours an attractive opaque dark mahogany to black. The crown is 1.5 fingers, khaki, shows moderate retention and nice lace.

Smell: Wow here is a really interesting nose...Floral and citrus notes from the Simcoe dry hopping jump out first but strong earthy French Oak barrel notes and smoke are soon to follow.

Taste: Good but a bit of a let down after smelling that awesome nose. The French oak and the hops just aren't properly jiving for me. I do like that the smoke only appears in the finish though.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with good carbonation.

Drinkability: Pretty high but a better flavor profile would make it even more drinkable.

 739 characters

Photo of jzeilinger
4.21/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours dark brown/black with a MASSIVE billowy, creamy caramel colored head.

S - Dark roasted malt, dark fruit, light smokiness, and some pine.

T - Mild roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, pine, light hints of wine, some light oak and char.

M - Medium body.

O - The overall blend is delicate roasty bitterness.

 314 characters

Photo of andrewinski1
4.25/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a wine taster. The color is black with a light tan head that has a lot of sticky lacing.

The aroma is chocolatey with some nice notes of pine and mint.

The taste starts out sweet and chocolatey with a lot of vegetable-like hop flavor. There is a good fruity hop finish with a dose of bitter pine.

the body is medium and the mouthfeel nice and creamy.

Very good stuff. The barrel aging comes across subtlely in the flavor. I would have to do a side by side to be sure the effects.

 495 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Jim from Hill Farmstead Brewery
4.25 out of 5 based on 117 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.