Society & Solitude #2
Hill Farmstead Brewery

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Style:
American Black Ale
Ranked #2
ABV:
9.5%
Score:
95
Ranked #816
Avg:
4.33 | pDev: 7.16%
Reviews:
66
Ratings:
391
From:
Hill Farmstead Brewery
 
Vermont, United States
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  81
Gots
  22
SCORE
95
World-Class
Notes: Imperial Black IPA
Reviews: 66 | Ratings: 391 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of ScaryEd
ScaryEd from New Hampshire

3.64/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a growler into a tulip glass.

Pours a dark brown color with 2 fingers of effervescent tan head. Leaves a ton of lacing before settling into a thin sheet.

The aroma brings notes of charred leather, chocolate, and piney hops.

The flavor follows the nose. Very charred and smokey without notes of roasted chocolate, caramel, and pine.

The feel is medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Very soft, smooth and creamy.

Overall, a solid black ale. It's definitely less of a black IPA and more true to the style. It's very roasted and smokey. Not blown away by anything here but it's still well-made.

Dec 20, 2018
Photo of EmperorBevis
EmperorBevis from England

4.44/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a jet black body with rich thick chocolate milkshake foam head that stays around more than the foo fighters
black jack chew aroma
flavourtreacle, dark fruit and whoa

Apr 02, 2018
Photo of GreesyFizeek
GreesyFizeek from New York

4.72/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Growler procured from the source.

This one pours a thick looking dark black, with a big fluffy head, and lots of lacing.

This smells more black than IPA, which works for me, as it get a deep chocolately aroma, some smoke, charred pine, and floral hops.

Leave it to Hill Farmstead to make a great version of a mostly flawed style. It's not quite as hoppy as I expected- the orange and charred pine flavors are more subtle background characters. The base black ale is excellent- creamy, lightly smoky, and very chocolatey.

This is surprisingly thick and viscous, with a killer creamy feel to it, and a very slight lingering bitterness.

This works on all levels for me. It's probably the best black IPA I've ever had.

Jan 23, 2018
Photo of BradMacMullin
BradMacMullin from Massachusetts

4.38/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Wait for it....I like this Hill Farmstead beer. After waiting 2 hours at Treehouse I thought I deserved this at Armsby Abbey after all that hard work of waiting . Nice smoothness to this ....chocolatey initially, but this was lightly hoppy which made it distinctive from other more malty black IPAs. I think Hill Farmstead should keep making beer

Jan 12, 2018
Photo of yasky
yasky from Canada

4.41/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Black pour from a hill farmstead growler. Good head and lacing. Big roasty/hoppy aroma - Black coffee balanced out with grapefruit and pine. The flavor is every bit as big - Roasted malt and black coffee balanced with Pine, Grapefruit, some dark toffee. Medium body. A big beer - fair to call it a double Black IPA and a good one.

Jul 04, 2017
Photo of cbutova
cbutova from Massachusetts

4.24/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A- Pours from the 750ml into a becher with a black body that has some very dark nutty brown hues at the edges. A massive, thick and creamy deep tan cap rises to several fingers high with great retention.

S- Chocolate and hops. The grains are deep and roasted but still give off delicate cocoa nib notes that balance out with the hops to form the bulk of the aroma. Piney and citrus hops meld into the roasted grains.

T- Strays a bit towards the hops here with citrus and pine making up most of that hop bill. Grapefruit, resin, orange, floral and herbal notes. The cocoa again forms a strong base from the roasted grains along with slight caramel, toasted nuts, bread, licorice and toffee. No awkward caramelized sweets; the hops and chocolate are in harmony.

MF- Medium bodied with a slickness and a moderate level of carbonation. Silky smooth and crisp. Ends with a clean grapefruit zest bitterness.

A well balanced beer that is more hop focused than malt focused with a harmony between grapefruit citrus hops and cocoa nib grains.

Dec 31, 2016
Photo of Hyptochrons
Hyptochrons from Massachusetts

4.46/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was really excellent, great looking black ipa with good lacing. Strong roast on the nose with earthy pine and hint of citrus coming through. Tastes of roasted nuts, dark malts, cocoa, coffee, slightly citric hops are apparent, some peppery spice and dash of pine. Definitely and interesting flavor profile but the balance is incredible and mouthfeel on point. Overall this was really a great beer to try, gotta love vermont!!

Dec 11, 2016
Photo of Phigg1102
Phigg1102 from New York

4.56/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black with a rocky tan head. The hop aroma is incredible, earthy, herbal, and spicy hop notes are beautifully balanced with a nutty roasted malt character. The beer takes on a great hop bitterness in the taste that is evened out with a hint of berry flavor. Rich, full body without any stickiness, and a dry semi-bitter finish.

Jan 29, 2016
Photo of JMFP
JMFP from Delaware

4.38/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Thought I had this once before, at Worthy Burger, but I was wrong. This may very well be the best Black IPA that I have ever had. Certainly, the only one I can say I would happily pour again. Kudos to the genius of Mr. Hill for making a brew I love in a style I generally dislike.

Sep 03, 2015
Photo of dar482
dar482 from New York

4.56/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An exceptional black IPA that separates itself from the other hoppy offerings from Hill Farmstead.

Citrusy and juicy up front, a medium roasted malt, a touch of chocolate and coffee bitterness, and then onto a piney and earthy bitterness on the back.

Apr 03, 2015
Photo of MDDMD
MDDMD from Pennsylvania

4.46/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A-dark brown black color with a nice tan head and good lacing

S-dark malt, citrus, pine, little coffee

T-dark roasted malt, citrus, little coffee, chocolate, licorice, nice moderately bitter finish

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, smooth

O-great black ale, smooth and easy drinking

Jan 23, 2015
Photo of BoldRulerVT
BoldRulerVT from Vermont

4.54/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The best black IPA I've ever had.
Poured on tap at Pro Pig.
Pours nearly jet black with a finger of deep caramel head.
Smells really roasty, just as I like it with a good load of hops as well.
Tastes so full and rich, the roastiness of the malts and the good bitterness playing with the higher notes from the hops is just perfect.
Mouthfeel is perfect. Just chewy enough to fill your palate perfectly.
This beer is fantastic.

Dec 31, 2014
Photo of Roguer
Roguer from Georgia

3.87/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Quick notes:

Beautiful black beer, clear at the absolute edges. Great head retention.

Aroma is a nice blend of hops and roasted malts. Flavor hits a poor spot for me: oddly heavy on liquorice notes, giving it an off kind of sweetness that stood out too much.

Least impressive mouthfeel I've ever had from HF, as well. The 9.5% is not particularly well hidden at all; you can feel every bit of it. Detracts from that normal creaminess HF has mastered.

Dec 24, 2014
Photo of cpetrone84
cpetrone84 from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour is black, faintly lighter on the edges, lots of tan head and leaves a huge lace. Nose has a light roast, hint of sweetness, loads of citrusy and peachy hops. Taste follows suit, roast is light, faint touch of chocolate, load of hops, citrus and peach flavors. Moderate bitterness, creamy light body, soft carbonation.

Dec 24, 2014
Photo of Davepoolesque
Davepoolesque from Massachusetts

4.24/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours out pitch black with a fluffy khaki head. God damn this is a good beer and I don't even like black ipas. So much better than James. Perfectly balanced roasted malt and hops.

Dec 22, 2014
Photo of TheBrewo
TheBrewo from New York

4.74/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

We pop the cage on our reusable 750mL Hill Farmstead bottle, pouring a brew of the deepest impenetrable browns, letting virtually no light through around the edges. It holds a two finger head of medium brown cake batter, showing fantastic retention. Ridged forests of lacing are left around the glass as it slowly glugs away. No haze or sediment is appreciated, and carbonation appears to be moderate. The sniff finds syrupy and dark grain of brown, chocolate, and raw barley varietals, with notes of warming booze, fresh spearmint, grassy, soapy, and brightly herbal hops, clay and earthen mineral, must and dust, coconut, light roast of char, caramel sugars, creamy lactics, and spiced woodiness. Our first impression is that the flavoring is utterly tremendous, with beautiful interplay between the undeniable richness of the malts, and the fresh, slick, oiliness of the hop varietals. As we sip, the taste explodes with resiny hops, sticky sweet honeycomb, chlorine chemicals, Band-Aid phenols, light plastics, sweet bubblegum esters, herbal tea bite, basil and fresh mint leaf, deep chocolate malts, and spicy black pepper booziness. The middle peaks with authentic dark cocoa and buttery warmth, white sugar flashes, sticky toffee nougat, lime rind, clean citric and piney hops, irony metallics, gingerbread, milk chocolate syrup, vanilla ice cream creaminess, and cleansing boozy sweetness. The end comes with sweet apple and strawberry fruitiness, honey sugars, spicy black pepper, herbal hoppiness, wet clay, gravel, maple sugars, mossy tree bark, mineral earthiness, coiny metallics, and rich chocolate and brown malt oiliness. The aftertaste breathes of char and chalk, spicy medicinals, strongly earthy and herbal hops, warming chocolate, coffee, and brown maltiness, light vinegar acidity, raw coffee bean, heavy creamer, fusel booze, coiny yeast, mineral water, and vanilla buttercream sweetness. The body is full, and the carbonation is solidly medium. Each sip gives gloriously full and creamy slurp, smack, froth, foam, and pop, much like slugging back on a freshly whipped milkshake. The mouth is left coated, velvety, and happy, with final coolness, and the mildest astringent pucker of dryness across the posterior palate. The abv is appropriate, and the beer sips very, very well.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this beer was its taste, which was just no-nonsense amazing. It was unbeatably smooth, freshly hopped, and as deep, and as dark as night, with enough residual sweetness and booze to perfectly round out the flavoring. The aroma speaks much to the same note, but is comparably subdued in robustness, but to no real detriment. The sip is silky, creamy, velvety slick, causing the mouth to writhe in ecstasy, waiting for the next installment. Looking from a distance at the entire project, it is hard to find cracks. This is one of the best Hill Farmstead beers we’ve had to date, and one of the most exquisite representations of the style we…have…ever…had.

Aug 05, 2013
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
TheSevenDuffs from Canada

4.52/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Growler from the brewery purchased on June 28 and consumed on July 2.
Poured in to HF tulip.

A - Poured dark brown and settled black with two fingers of light brown head. Great retention and lacing.

S - Bitter hop profile up front - grapefruit, pine and peach notes are evident. Some roast and chocolate aromas are also present but very much secondary.

T - Bitter up front with grapefruit, pine and some lighter tropical fruit notes coming through. A good roast profile with hints of chocolate in the background. Overall a nice balance.

M - Medium body. Creamy. Light carbonation.

Jul 05, 2013
Photo of jaasen64
jaasen64 from Massachusetts

4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750ml growler poured into HF stemmed glass. Growler was filled almost exactly three weeks ago which is way longer then I usually take to open growlers but was refrigerated since purchased and seemed fresh when opening. Had first time at brewery when purchased, review from growler though.

A- Pours a pitch black with decent carbonation, light mocha head with slightly yeasty yellowish hue to it, head is just over a finger and has nice retention receding at a moderate pace leaving nice layered lacing along the sides of the glass and eventually setting to a thin creamy layer.

S- Aromas of greeny hops, pine, malts, a hint of baker's chocolate, fairly aromatic and very well balanced.

T- Greeny hops, pine, some light citrusy bitterness, baker's chocolate. Finishes with more baker's chocolate and citrusy bitterness. Nice balance between the IPA and dark beer aspects, alcohol extremely well hidden, full of flavor but I wouldn't say there is anything that really stands this out significantly compared to other black IPAs.

M- Extremely smooth, lightly creamy, nice carbonation, fits style and complements flavors very nicely.

O- This was a fantastic black IPA that easily lives up with the other beers in the Society & Solitude series. There was a ton of flavors that came out and was perfectly balanced with an incredible smoothness at a staggering 9.5%. This was easily one of the better black IPAs I've had but still doesn't even come close to Jimmy (one of HF's Barrel-Aged Black IPAs).

Jun 30, 2013
Photo of Alieniloquium
Alieniloquium from Florida

3.98/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 mL growler poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Black body with a nice khaki head. Almost mocha. Great retention and lacing.

Smell - Grapefruit citrus hops. Resiny pine too. Deep roast. Dark chocolate, but it's secondary.

Taste - More of a blend between the hops and dark malts. Bright citrus up front. Chocolate and some sweetness. Bitter. Dry and resiny hops in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium body, maybe too heavy. Medium carbonation.

Overall - It's a very good black IPA, which isn't an easy style. Even the best aren't great.

Jun 25, 2013
Photo of kevanb
kevanb from Illinois

4.21/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml growler poured into a Hill Farmstead Wine Glass.

The beer pours a deep black color, hues of dark brown when struck by the light, quite opaque, with a big 2 finger khaki head that has great retention and leaves lots of soapy lacing. The aroma is nice, lots of resinous and piney hops with some lightly roasted coffee and bitter bakers chocolate and faint citrus with some softly toasted grain and alcohol. The flavors are right in line, lots of piney hops, chocolate covered orange that has a nice bitterness and a touch of tang, with some coffee roast and smooth dark grain and a lightly astringent alcohol touch at the finish. The body is nice, coats the mouth well, moderate to low carbonation but just enough lively zip to keep things interesting with a solidly dry finish.

Verdict: Yet another quality brew from Hill Farmstead. While rather tame at times, this beer is quite balanced and showcases the full range of flavors a well made Black IPA has to offer.

Jun 18, 2013
Photo of Stevedore
Stevedore from Wisconsin

4.24/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750ml fliptop growler. Thanks Dustin. Darker cola brown body, one finger offwhite head. Smell is light caramel, touch of toasted grain, moderate citrus and grapefruit hop aromatics, a bit of resin as well. Balanced on the palate, big hop aromatics with an equally appropriate caramel and grain malt backbone. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, good carbonation, moderately bitter citrus and grapefruit on the backend. A solidly executed black IPA, although it's not particularly great when compared to the other S&S beers.

Jun 17, 2013
Photo of AdamF625
AdamF625 from Massachusetts

4.69/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A- Pours black with a khaki brown head. It has excellent head retention and lacing. Poured from a growler that is 2 days old.
S- Fresh citrus hop aroma and roasted malts.
T- Roasted dark coffee and malts, dark chocolate, and resinous hops.
M- This beer is very smooth with medium carbonation. Sticky hops linger on the palate but not long enough to influence your next beer.
O- This is the framework for a black IPA. Perfect balance between roasted dark malts and sticky citrus hops. Its not going to blow you away with any flavor in particular, but that is what makes it so good.

Jun 16, 2013
Photo of DaveHack
DaveHack from Pennsylvania

4.26/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a growler into a HF stem

Pours dark, pretty much black. Huge, tan colored head fills the glass, slowly settling but leaving tons of reminders down the sides of the glass

Smells of faint chocolate and coffeesque roast. There is a bit of earthiness and some fresh hops

Taste is similar...slight chocolate and roastiness. There is a bitterness that mixes with the hops at the end

Feels really good in the mouth. Carbonation is about perfect and it is slighty dry, but in the perfect way for this beer.

Black IPAs aren't my thing, but from the ones I've had...this is a stellar example. Certainly worth a try either way, but if you dig on Black IPAs...it's a MUST try

Jun 13, 2013
Photo of Skrip
Skrip from New Jersey

4.46/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml growler poured into a Three Floyds Teku.

A~ extremely black, huge tanish head, and lots of beautiful lacing.

S~ dark roasty malts, a good amount of coffee, bitter dark chocolate, earthy pine, and some citrus from the abundance of hops.

T~ pretty straight forward, just like the nose. a little more bitterness here as to be expected. i love how much coffee flavor comes out. theres also a little tart toffee on the finish, which is a really nice surprise.

M~ extremely well carbonated, very smooth and sort of has a stout feel. well rounded and crazy enjoyable on a hot day like today.

O~ i'm very impressed by this black IPA, its one of my favorite styles and not too many brewers do them... right! super well balanced, the coffee aspect seems to push this one over the top for me. definitely one of those must try HF's!

Jun 12, 2013
Photo of cfrances33
cfrances33 from Illinois

4.67/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Growler poured into a Hill Farmstead wine stem.

Pour: Pours a dark, deep brown body. Nearly black. Almost looks more like a stout than a Black DIPA. Two fingers of frothy, khaki head forms and leaves some really nice sticky lacing.

Smell: Lots of roasted malts up front, mixed with a nice resinous pine, bright flora hops, and a touch of citrus hoppiness. Finish is a combination of roast and piney hops.

Taste: Incredible. So roasty, yet balanced perfectly with juicy hops. Slick, and decadent. Hop character is a fusion of pine, citrus, and floral notes. Roast is pronounced and forward throughout the entirety of the sip. Finish is bitter with a linger roasted coffee.

Mouthfeel: For a beer that is so flavor forward and higher in ABV, it is surprisingly drinkable. Roastiness lingers very nicely. Medium bitterness.

Overall: Easily the best Black DIPA I've ever had. Drinks almost like a very hoppy stout, and I really enjoy that. Awesome.

Jun 10, 2013
Society & Solitude #2 from Hill Farmstead Brewery
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 391 ratings