Biere De Norma
Hill Farmstead Brewery

Biere De NormaBiere De Norma
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Hill Farmstead Brewery
Vermont, United States
Bière de Garde
Ranked #1
Ranked #513
4.4 | pDev: 7.5%
Tuesday at 02:45 PM
Jan 12, 2012
Brewed on the day of my grandmother’s passing (Norma), this is an inspired Biere de Mars fermented entirely in oak and soured with our house spontaneous culture.

Norma (1939 - 2011) was my maternal grandmother, my Guardian Angel, and the woman that nourished the laughter and innocence of my youth. In her honor, we craft this Bière de Mars each February and condition it in oak barrels with our resident microflora, allowing it to develop indefinitely until it is ready for release. We realize the influence of those closest to us only after having left their presence. At Hill Farmstead, our spirit is forever defined by Norma and the memory of our loved ones.
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Photo of M-Fox24
Reviewed by M-Fox24 from New Jersey

4.37/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
A: Crated to stoneware transfer, for a residual calculation on the late suspensions. The draw is continuous across an 18oz move, as the basket rests on a 7oz infusion. This process depicts a garnet red body with a prismatic red ray broadcast, while concocting a medium vermillion hue. In this case, the scenario is played out to the glass, as the stoneware addresses the darker pigmentations. That being, a maroon to the barn red shadows. A staging through intermittent transfers – post the initial/continuous draw – which manipulates the ≤ two inch neck. Moreover, an interchangeable collar to steer a dye, from mint cream to rose white, as preservation is lessened over the small bubbly clings. Correspondingly, a tight latticework begins to show an elegance, across the periodic retreats, which comes with a margined longevity. In turn, there are timed reflections that have an incremental platform, for netting tears with a dripped velocity, when facilitating the molecule stabilizations

S: A native – microflora – imprint with a bacterial involvedness to undercard the starch fractions, while cautiously addressing the lupulin glands. The directive has an isoamyl octanoate motive, considering the Seckel pear backings to the cobwebbed kumquats. Secondly, an ethyl hexanoate pursuit on Bing Cherries aside Franklin Cranberries, as woodsy hops hover. All the while, malts accompany the fermentable aspects, by electrifying the dark fruits with a Medivnyk division. There is a signification on honey at the more temperate intervals, which coalesce an oak devotion, against the microbial densities. Correspondingly, an isovaleric acid habitat over bloomy cheese, which converges on brie, as derelict farmlands decay. The progression is welcomed with advanced oxidation, when reconvening over the hours, where a catacomb rawness matures. Furthermore, a Syrah characterization that accolades the later terminations on leather & licorice, while a tannin constitution builds around the spontaneous cultures. The evolution adopts a bacterial playground with a musty inference, beyond the zebrawood & creosote ignitions

T: The age supplies an oak escalation with a phenolic nature, as the organic acids depict the elderly esters above the hop effects. Respectively, a vintage that standardizes the complex polyhydroxy phenols, while a parchedness spreads over eugenols, before enabling the guaiacol settlements. Antecedently, the records reverberate a note on Baron Honey Mead, which neighbors Swiss Cenovis. A nuance that gradually builds towards classic – toasted – white nougats, as phenylethyl acetates counterpart. Simultaneously, caproates bind aniseeds to eugenols, which disperse on cloves, while ventilation stages obstacles. Namely, the ingenious acetate esters on turpentine that’s overshadowed through the Syrah associations. This steps forward with basked Buffalo leathers & drenched bulwarks, while aldehydes whisper behind the oak stave turnouts. In this case, a vanilla tenor to cotenant the wild yeast properties, which promotes damp vaults to short-bodied spiders. There is a lupulin crossover to kindle coniferous forests with fissured bark, when suggesting a pine to cedar to spruce direction. In addition, a microorganism webbing to the dry arrests over charred licorice, while an oxidized nuttiness emulates

M: A live effervescence with a sharp intensity that grades across time, where the aged causticity is steadied, along a semi-sweet diaphragm. Therefore, carbonation is cut, broken, and directed though intermittent transfers. This influence checks acridity under a refined malt sweetness, while a granular rusticity builds. Correspondingly, an aftermath that weathers severity, by adopting a crisp dryness, for clean attenuation

O: The saccharifications provide an elderly richness above the esterifications, which is mitigated through hourly breaths. As a result, wild microorganisms are chartered to the course with an oxidized influx, for cutting the effusions, to permit phenolic compounds. A decree that has an earthy necessity along the natural forming tannins, while oak supplies an environment upon the spontaneous cultures
Tuesday at 02:45 PM
Rated: 4.5 by bigred89 from Maryland

Nov 19, 2023
Rated: 4.49 by groleau from Canada (QC)

Nov 05, 2023
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Reviewed by mothman from Minnesota

4.46/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
2017 bottle. Khaki head. Amber copper color.

Sour, but not over the top. Tart. A bit of vinegar. Oak. Maybe cherry. Spice, Belgian yeast notes, esters. Red wine notes and tannins. Very unique.
Sep 24, 2023
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Reviewed by drdiesel9483 from Ohio

4.38/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Look - lobe the auburn clear color with a slight off white head and stickiness
Smell and taste - nice tart plum woodiness
Feel - medium body dry crisp carb
Overall - Really nice biere de Garde!
Jul 24, 2023
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Reviewed by Rug from Massachusetts

4.45/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
Bottled 2/23/17

I haven’t had many Biere de Gardes, so when I saw the highest rated example of the style on MBC I knew I had to throw down for it. I also haven’t had much wild or funky stuff from Hill Farmstead, so I’m quite excited for this one. Let’s pop it open and see what it’s all about

Pours a slightly cloudy orange brown with 2 fingers of light beige head that slowly fades to a thin cap and leaves minimal lacing

It's quite punchy in the nose, but in a subtle way if that makes sense. I'm picking up on aromas of wildflower honey, orange zest, lemon juice, earl gray tea, wet hay, buttery oak, petrichor, tart cherry, white wine vinegar, and light apple skin

The taste leans a bit sweeter than the nose led me to believe, though there's still a bite to it and it's equally impressive. On the front end of the sip I'm tasting earl gray tea, lemon juice, tannic white wine, buttery oak, straw, crackery malt, earthy wheat, light orange zest, and pear skin. The swallow brings notes of wildflower honey, dark bread, earl gray tea, apple cider vinegar, honeycomb, wet hay, sharp oak, stone, light brown sugar, and orange zest

A medium body pairs with gentle carbonation, resulting in a sharp beer. Finishes a tad sticky but the funk dries things out

This is an insanely unique beer. A wild fermented Biere de Garde. I haven't had anything quite like it before. I need more Hill Farmstead in my life
Jul 16, 2023
Rated: 4.53 by Gkruszewski from New York

May 14, 2023
Rated: 4.4 by not2quick from Missouri

Feb 11, 2023
Rated: 4.76 by CraftFan5 from New Jersey

Jan 20, 2023
Rated: 4.5 by paulish from New York

Nov 05, 2022
Rated: 4.29 by Bhubbard34 from Pennsylvania

Oct 30, 2022
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Rated by npolachek from New York

4.38/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
Great beer and great history
Jun 29, 2022
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Reviewed by Sabtos from Ohio

4.48/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Largely clear, but the full bottle pour lightly hazes up the acorn red to brown-amber body. Its dense khaki head settles to a bubbly but persistent blanket with a curled ridge. It's quite beautiful, really.

Hints of cherry skin-like tannin accent the lightly toasted malt, even emulating a touch of char. A little ashy, leafy, and lightly horse blanket-esque funk meets a uniquely spicy bitterness layered within the oak. It's an almost a red wine tannin with a touch of cedar.

The medium body contains a firm fluff and finishes just barely dry.

It's like the most delicate Flanders red I've ever had, with no where near the acidity.
Oct 20, 2021
Rated: 5 by Yungcoolship from Wisconsin

Feb 05, 2021
Rated: 4.5 by Montanabeerz from Montana

Nov 14, 2020
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Reviewed by SierraNevallagash from Maine

4.54/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
750ml bottle - 2018 vintage
Split with jrc1093 in the car in the woods at a lake in the middle of nowhere Western Massachusetts.

The waxed cap is a project, and it took about 3 hours to open, involving a bait knife, a hairbrush, and some tenacity. Upon finally freeing the cap, that shiny aluminium bastard came flying off with a most impressive percussive *BANG* before travelling at a high rate of speed on a direct route to my forehead, drawing blood upon impact. Some very prolonged, but mimimal foamy gushing - perhaps a tablespoon of ale was lost.

Norma poured the most impressive deep reddish-goldish-amber colour, with a silky head of unevenly tan foam. Some lacing did cling. Streaming effervescence is very visible. 4.5

Nose: The deep, cavernous, complex aroma of this ale is hard to describe. Pale, slightly toasted crackery malt lays a subtle foundation for the explosion of aroma. Tons of fermented honey, waxy honeycomb, brown sugar, musty, old, wet wood, lemon zest, green apple, pear, ancient stone cellar, composting stone fruit flesh, a little apple cider vinegar, and some serious, serious wild bacterial funk. The funk is so intensely deep, earthy, musty, and wild, yet elegant and graceful. This is one you could nose for hours. 4.75

Palate: Biére de Norma greets the palate with a rush of intensity, and a level of acidity slightly above what I'm used to from Hill Farmstead, yet still very balanced and not at all sharp or acetic. Tons and tons of honey influence - fermented honey, honeycomb, raw honey, and what I would image ancient black honey dripping down cliff walls would taste like. This does lend a touch of sweetness, and hints of caramel, toasted sugar, and a whisper of molasses, all perfectly balanced out by the tart, apple cider vinegar zip. A very interesting savoury note appears - not allium, but like soil, sweat, and even a slight...saucy note? This ushers in a sharp turn from honey and tartness, to serious mature funk, with marmite, black truffle, way overripe cherry, and a hint of washed rind cheese, before pulling away, bringing honey back into focus, along with tons of old wet oak, leather, wildflower, lemon zest, apple, and white grape, finishing with perhaps just a touch of leafy hop character and lingering vinous tarntness. 4.5

Mouthfeel/Body: In line with the style, the beer is slightly more full-bodied than one may expect at 7% ABV, and the honey does a nice job of lending some roundness as well. The tartness just keep everything snappy, crisp, and insanely drinkable. Effervescence is racy, lively, and on-par with a good champagne. The oak lends a woody dryness, and the balanced acidity leads to a clean, dry finish. 4.25

Overall: This is simply a beautiful biére de garde. One of those rare beers that just has everything perfectly dialed in and rounded out. Like a stone smoothed over by years in the running river, there are no edges, and every element is flowing and seamless, with unfurling complexity and bold character. Do not hesitate to seek this one out.
Sep 23, 2020
Rated: 4.25 by von_kaiser from Connecticut

Jul 20, 2020
Rated: 4.24 by ScaryEd from New Hampshire

May 07, 2020
Rated: 4 by pepesylvia from Pennsylvania

May 01, 2020
Rated: 5 by pavpav12 from Pennsylvania

May 01, 2020
Biere De Norma from Hill Farmstead Brewery
Beer rating: 97 out of 100 with 657 ratings