Jim | Hill Farmstead Brewery

Liked This Beer
4.27 w/ 117 ratings

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.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 117 |  Reviews: 53
Photo of s1ckboy
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of Aberration
5/5  rDev +17.1%

Photo of ColForbinBC
4.42/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500mL bomber poured into a pint glass

Pours a dark brown with reddish highlights around the edges when held up to the light. The cap is firm and thick, and has some great retention. A good amount of sticky lace all over the glass.

There is a nice balance in the aroma. Roast and smoke, vinous wine, oak, pine, orange peel and bit of an earthy aroma. Hops are bold, but so is everything else. The fruity notes from the pinot noir is readily noticeable.

This has everything you want in a black ipa. Roast and smoke up front with piney hops, while pinot noir and oak carry you through the middle. The wine lends a touch of fruity sweetness and the oak lends a welcome dryness. The finish is of pine, orange peel and a hearty burst of roast. Everything has its place in this guy.

The feel is medium to full. I found it to be a little prickly on the back end, or I would have rated this higher. It didn't hurt the drinkability, but detracted a bit from the overall smoothness.

This is the best black ipa I have ever had. It's a nice meld of roasty notes and hoppiness with the added kicker of being aged in pinot noir barrels. Everything works really well together.

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Photo of Sammy
3.88/5  rDev -9.1%
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.

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Photo of Reagan1984
4.43/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Special thanks to Mtardiff for providing this beer in what was an insane box of Hill Farmstead goodies. Bottle says one of 300. Wow…

What a nice looking beer. Pours like a big stout and the head even erupts from within the beer like an Imp Stout. The head is wonderfully creamy and thick. Like a thick shake it sits atop the brew and starts depositing clumpy lace all inside the glass. The beer is the darkest brown and lets no light through.

Aroma is also really nice. A touch of coffee, some pine a lot of fruit just below the surface.

Good beer. Light roast coffee note to start, some more pine a rounded soft dark roasted malt and then a nice pine bitterness again. The label talks about wine (pinot) barrel aging and I have to admit I would not have picked up any notes here if I wasn’t told. Even after looking for it, there isn’t much. Perhaps this is contributing to the complexity of flavor and the almost earthy tones. Smooth cocoa, light coffee and cream with pine accents rule the day for me here. Melds nicely.

Mouth feel is wonderful. Velvety and so smooth. I have to decide if mouth feel gets a 4.5 or perfect 5.0. It’s that luxurious as you drink it.

Based on the dates of the other reviews, this appears to have a little age on it. I’d say the effects of the dry hopping have probably faded, but this has held up quite well. Very soft and rounded. Nice. Not a hint of oxidation.

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Photo of WanderingFool
4.55/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I purchased my bottle of Jim at the Hill Farmstead harvestfest.

Jim pours black into the glass with a small light tan head on top. The foam fades slowly to a sheet on the beer, leaving behind lots of lacy spots on the glass.

The aroma has notes of oak. chocolate, and piney hops. Some roasty malt notes are also present.

Each sip of this medium bodied brew is slick and oily with light carbonation. The flavor is rich and malty. Chocolate, oak, toffee and dark fruits are followed by piney hop notes. Once gone the pine and oak linger on the palate.

This is an easy drinking, delicious beer. Get it if you can.

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Photo of andrewinski1
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

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Photo of 05Harley
3.78/5  rDev -11.5%
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.

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Photo of Bendurgin
4.03/5  rDev -5.6%
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.

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Photo of landhoney
4.3/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Eric for this one as well!

Appearance: Black, exceedingly dark brown/black, tan head

Smell: Roastiness, and hop aroma are first on the nose

Taste: Wow, a lot going on here: wine/wood sweetness up front and a dry roasty hoppy finish at the end. Excellent taste, that manages to be sweet upfront and dry on the finish.

Mouth-feel: More carbonated and dry than I was expecting, but overall very nice dryness and carbonation, that compliment the beer well.

Overall: What a nice/unique beer. I could see room for improvement, but it seemed just in the execution, good components that could be better integrated together. That said, a very enjoyable beer that is drinkable and complex.

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Photo of Ryan011235
4.13/5  rDev -3.3%
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!

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Photo of iowaherkeye
4.32/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500mL bottle, picked up at the release. Also have some other notes somewhere, but here is my present (aged) bottle rating. Black body with a one finger creamy beige head. Big red wine and berry nose, followed by pine resin and tangerine hops and a bit of wet oak, some dry hopping still present, as well as moderate roast and a bit of minerals. Flavor follows suit with the citrus hops and lovely red wine oak barrels. Dry finish with just a tinge of alcohol, bitterness peaking at a 6, and dry. Medium body with light to moderate carbonation. Wow, even ~4 months old, this is still in the top two or three black IPA's that I've had, and those better were probably HF beers anyway. Very close to fantastic.

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Photo of JAXSON
4/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

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Photo of Verecund
4.18/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

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Photo of callmemickey
3.7/5  rDev -13.3%
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.

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Photo of nickd717
4.42/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle thanks to grassrootsVT.

Pours darkest brown with a small but lasting tan head and very good lacing.

The aroma is great, roasty with a hint of dark chocolate, coffee, and big hops, mainly of the piney variety. Slight dark fruit and oak notes from the barrel.

Really tasty with a great malt base to it, with roast, coffee, charcoal, and dark chocolate. Big piney hops, and a nice red wine and oak character to it.

Very crisp and resinous on the palate, medium bodied with an intense charcoal-like dryness. Really excellent mouthfeel on this one.

Well, looks like we've got a hype-liver-upper-to here, or however you say that. Hopefully this one comes back with a bigger bottle count.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.89/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

prepping myself for hobo tasting number 3 or 2.5, i sit here eating pizza with a bottle of Jim(somneone please send me more!) served in a pint glass and enjoyed on 1.16.11.

the pour is dark as night, black with a nice little head of dark tan that falls to a quarter inch and hangs there throughout the entire session, just sitting and mocking me as i drink.

then i take a whiff, one of the best smells i have ever come across, deep pineapple and citrus hops, roasted malts, ash and campfire, tobacco, leather, and a wonderful warming alcohol. my god this is what dreams are made of. the flavor does not dissapoint. creamy and luscious feel is spot on not too heavy at all. first flavor to hit is pineapple and ripe citrus which folds into heavy smoke and ash. roasted malts everywhere with tons of wonderful favors, dark fruits, rich leather like back lash, amazing beer. i am not sure what to call this except amazing. finishing with a smack of grapefruit and smoke that dries the palate and leaves a smokey flavor at the same time, this was quite simply an amazing beer,

overall honestly one of the best beers i have ever had. every sip was better then the one before. each smell better then before, just simply awe inspiring and amazing. top notch in every way.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.85/5  rDev -9.8%
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.

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Photo of largadeer
4.05/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

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Photo of Gobzilla
4.32/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a very dark brown in color with brown highlights when held up to the light that had a half finger of head and left plenty of lacing sticking to the glass. Lots of piney earth hops pop out on the nose with some nice roasty sweet malts alongaside subtle oak notes and faint coffee. The piney hop flavors dominate the palate with oaky roasted malt accents that did add some sweetness but had slight caramel notes and a touch of smoke with mild coffee character. The brew was medium in body with a good amount of carbonation which had a very piney hoppy, roasted, slight sweet but bitter finish. I was digging this intresting beer and drank good but I'm starting to like how roastiness is adding dimension to hop forward brews.

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Photo of thagr81us
4/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

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Photo of GatheringBrews
4.73/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pitchy black color with a khaki head that holds well and laces nicely. Abundant hop aroma and a hint of resin from the dry hopping. Definitely a Vermont black IPA in both body and flavor with plenty of hop bite and a nice sharpness in the finish. Not a lot of the barrel comes through initially, but as it warms, more of the character of the barrel emerges.

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Photo of kingcrowing
3.75/5  rDev -12.2%
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.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.12/5  rDev -3.5%
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.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.32/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Thorpe429. Thanks Mike!

A: This black IPA appears well...dark brown. The beige head is about an inch thick and leaves plenty of lacing on the glass.

S: I can tell that this is going to be a good beer. The aroma is a delicate balance of pine, hops, and roasted malt. Very enticing!

T: This beer is excellent. Roasted malt, meet piny hop resin. Absolutely delicious. Hill Farmstead nailed this one!

M: Medium bodied with a present hop bitterness and somewhat of a dry finish.

D: A great example of the style. I would be excited to have this again.

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Jim from Hill Farmstead Brewery
Beer rating: 93.2% out of 100 with 117 ratings
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