Biere De Norma
Hill Farmstead Brewery

Biere De NormaBiere De Norma
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Hill Farmstead Brewery
Vermont, United States
Farmhouse Ale - Bière de Garde
Ranked #1
Ranked #578
4.39 | pDev: 7.52%
Oct 20, 2021
Jan 12, 2012
Biere De NormaBiere De Norma
Notes: 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.
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Photo of Sabtos
4.48/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by Sabtos from Ohio

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
5 by Yungcoolship from Wisconsin on Feb 05, 2021
4.5 by Montanabeerz from Montana on Nov 14, 2020
Photo of SierraNevallagash
4.54/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
by SierraNevallagash from Maine

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
4.25 by von_kaiser from Connecticut on Jul 20, 2020
4.24 by ScaryEd from New Hampshire on May 07, 2020
4 by pepesylvia from Pennsylvania on May 01, 2020
5 by pavpav12 from Pennsylvania on May 01, 2020
Photo of Hyptochrons
5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
by Hyptochrons from Massachusetts

beautiful looking beer. opens up with an awesome cherry flavor reminiscent of cherry sweet tarts and musty cherry skin, complimented by red apple and grape, there is a pleasant sweetness with hints of honey and vanilla dancing in there to balance things out. some funky hay and spice characters rounding this one out. excellent offering here - zippy level of tartness cut just perfectly by some mellow sweetness - complex and funky throughout.

Mar 14, 2020
4.49 by RollTide7 from New Jersey on Dec 23, 2019
4.49 by Duffman79 from Connecticut on Dec 22, 2019
4.41 by mattreitz49 from Florida on Sep 08, 2019
Photo of grover37
4.24/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by grover37 from District of Columbia

Dan shared a 750 at Nates house.

Sep 03, 2019
Photo of StonedTrippin
4.21/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by StonedTrippin from Colorado

really unique example of the style here, generously shared for a special occasion this past weekend. i believe the bottle had a couple of years on it, and the maturity here was insane. i didnt expect this to be sour, as the style rarely is, but this ended up being one of the more acidic hill farmstead beers i can recall. medium amber in color with a rising and settling into patchy tan head, decent clarity until the bottom of the bottle, and an amazingly dynamic nose. i get the sourness right away, a little red wine vinegar, brown sugar and toffee sweetness from the malt, chestnut and almond earthiness, huge vanilla and tannins from the oak, some of the usual hill farmstead funkiness in the yeast profile, and fruity layers of raspberry, red apple, tart cherry, and even cranberry. the sourness is striking on the first sip but my palate gets used to it pretty quickly, i just didnt expect the sharpness. definitely has some of that flanders red vinegar character to it, which i think kind of pushes this more into that style realm than a traditional biere de garde, but its a cool fusion of saison, red malty beer, and sour. some biscuity notes to the grain, a honey character, big vinous elements and a lot of wood, this is really well developed and rather rustic and complex. a fun one to share, especially with long lost friends and family in celebration. thankful to have had this shared with me, its another very unique beer from these guys and really unexpected!

Aug 01, 2019
4.44 by Luscious_Malfoy from Illinois on Jun 14, 2019
4.17 by Mikexw from New York on May 28, 2019
4.35 by hopley from Massachusetts on Mar 31, 2019
Photo of jhavs
4.37/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by jhavs from New York

Crisp and clean flavors balanced nicely with earthy wood. Nice tartness level with flavors or sweet and zesty citrus and white grape.
Moderate carbonation and just under medium body.
Fruit flavors balanced nicely with some light grain and tiny bit of bready dough.

Mar 10, 2019
4.56 by moltch from Massachusetts on Mar 01, 2019
4.04 by argock from Virginia on Feb 24, 2019
Photo of EMV
4.46/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
by EMV from Pennsylvania

Poured from a wax-topped bomber into a Dogfish Head tulip. 2014 vintage.

L: Cloudy golden chestnut pour. Two fingers of fizzy white head. Great lacing.

S: Oak and funk... tart unripened fruit and chardonnay.

T/F: Tart up front... some lemon and green apple. Grape must and dry white wine... lots of oak/barrel character shines through. Mild honey sweetness mid sip with a crisp tart dry finish. Acidic/apple cider vinegar. Medium bodied... sticky and coats the tongue. Leaves you wanting another sip.

O: A complex and delicious Hill Farmstead Saison... outstanding barrel character... a gorgeous sipper, and on par for Hill Farmstead's expected level of excellence.

Jan 13, 2019
4.5 by Uconnelmo from Connecticut on Dec 22, 2018
4.25 by Dizzy242 from Massachusetts on Dec 18, 2018
4.66 by Run4theRoses from South Carolina on Nov 28, 2018
4.41 by Shaun_S from Maine on Oct 19, 2018
4.5 by MakeBeerGreatAgain from North Carolina on Sep 16, 2018
4 by Bunuelian from Minnesota on Aug 25, 2018
4.25 by coz from Illinois on Jul 26, 2018
Photo of JLK7299
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by JLK7299 from North Carolina

Just had a few hours ago on site at the brewery. They were out of Ann which I was dying for so I went with this. One of those first world problems for sure as this is a winner ALL day!

Jul 21, 2018
4.39 by Chuckdiesel24 from Illinois on Jul 03, 2018
4.72 by lochraneg from New Hampshire on Jun 30, 2018
4.43 by Beerbom from California on Jun 13, 2018
4.39 by vfgccp from New York on Jun 03, 2018
4.4 by MDDMD from Pennsylvania on May 26, 2018
4.44 by johnlatona from New Jersey on May 25, 2018
4.25 by CharlesK from Pennsylvania on May 16, 2018
4.03 by Phurley2 from Massachusetts on May 09, 2018
4.43 by xtonytx from Connecticut on Apr 29, 2018
Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.69/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75
by GreesyFizeek from New York

2018 release.

This one pours a mostly clear medium amber, with a small head, and lots of lacing.

This smells like bready malt, light caramel, grape, berry, wine, spicy oak, and honey funk.

Like most Hill Farmstead beers, this is unique and thoughtful. The malt character is nice, and becomes a stronger flavor component as it warms. There's warm toasted bread and a just a hint of caramel, with some dark fruit and a bit of grape character. The oak character is also great, with a bit of spice and woodiness, and a nice honey sweetness. It's a bit less funky than most Hill Farmstead, but that citrusy Farmstead funk is still present.

This has a moderate acidity that slightly lingers on the palate, with a good level of carbonation, and a high level of drinkability.

I imagine this would age very well, but I'm also happy I had it so close to the release. It's a supremely well-crafted beer, and probably the best Biere de Garde I've ever had.

Apr 24, 2018
Photo of BeerLubber63
1.92/5  rDev -56.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5
by BeerLubber63 from Vermont

At 30 dollars a bottle this is pissing money down the drain. If you filled a beer glass with 1/2 apple juice 1/2 cheap champagne and two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar you would have a cheap alternative to this anything but tasty beer.

Mar 24, 2018
Biere De Norma from Hill Farmstead Brewery
Beer rating: 97 out of 100 with 645 ratings