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Biere De Norma | Hill Farmstead Brewery

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Biere De NormaBiere De Norma

Brewed by:
Hill Farmstead Brewery
Vermont, United States

Style: Bière de Garde

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by MasterSki on 01-12-2012

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Reviews: 65 | Ratings: 593
Photo of largadeer
4.32/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Amber body with some haziness, topped by a thin clinging head.

Vinous funk on the nose. Tamarind, leather, barnyard. Slight oxidation, touch of caramel malt sweetness. Smells quite good.

Heavy on the wine barrel, which brings an interesting tamarind and currant quality. Plenty of barnyard funkiness, too. Feels pretty big - good flavors but a bit heavy on the palate. Acidity is moderate. Finishes with lingering tamarind and red wine flavors. Pretty damn good, one of the better farmhouse ales from Hill Farmstead.

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

750ml bottle 7,0% Abv.
Served chilled in an over sized wine glass.
2011 Vintage
Bottle number 110

Thanks to gn0sis for this bottle.

Appearance: Norma pours out quite a lot dark than expected - appearing a reddish brown in the glass. A standard pour yields a massive off-white head that lasts really well and coats the glass in thick lacing as it recedes.

Smell: I have only had one other Bière de Garde to date (3 Monts) and this certainly smells a whole lot funkier and more rustic than that. Big dusty brett notes dominate the initial aroma, with dry grass, a big lactic character (almost yogurty), tart white grapes, a little oak, some citrus, sweeter fruits (pineapple and peach), dry autumn leaves and a light vinous note all soon becoming apparent.

Taste: The flavour is lightly tart, quite dry and fantastically refreshing - perfect for a sweltering summers day (the temperature just hit 40 °C). As with the nose, the flavour is quite rustic, with dusty brett and tart fruits dominating the flavour. Flavour notes include: Dusty autumn leaves, dry grass, some lactic tartness, an earthy quality, tart white grapes, citrus, peach, green apple peel and a little oak.

Mouthfeel: Light-medium body, with a high level of expansive but soft carbonation.

Overall: Norma is a great rustic ale and I could imagine drinking it on some small farm in the middle of nowhere with fresh bread and homemade cheese. I do however think it is one of those beers that would have escaped notice had it not come from HF.

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Photo of cfrances33
4.96/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle #12, batch 1 shared generously by Shaun at Hill Farmstead. Served in a Hill Farmstead stem. Thank you so much Shaun!

Pour: A nice hazy orange, with some reddish notes. A nice crisp, fingers and a half off white head forms, and leaves some very, very nice, sticky lacing.

Smell: Lots of lactic tartness up front, followed by some red grapes and oak. Some light cherry and lemon juice. A very pleasant funk rounds everything out. This smelled unreal.

Taste: Follows the nose with a nice lactic tartness up front, with a light lemon and cherry tartness. Some pear skins. Nice wine tannins as well as a nice rustic funk. Lots of oak round this out, and it finishes dry and lactic with some lemons.

Mouthfeel: Supremely drinkable, and not overly sour. Very, very nice prickly carb compliments the tartness well. Juicy through the palate, but very dry on the end.

Overall: Wow, not only was this beer phenomenal, but everything about having it was perfect. A really clean and rustic beer, and borderline a wild ale. I would rate this just below Flora for taste. Thanks again Shaun, Dan, Phil, and Bob at HF for sharing!

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.4/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Huge, huge thanks to yourefragile for sharing this beer. Served in a Hill Farmstead wine glass. Pours a light reddish-brown color with a short tan head. Good retention and a good bit of lacing throughout. The nose carries some typical biere de garde character, with some semi-sweet malt and a touch of bread, followed up with a nice oak component. Also there is a bit of cherry alongside some faint acidity. The acid component grows through the flavor, leading the way to an exquisite mouthfeel -- dry, tart, and a nice bit of oak. Even after just having Ann, this was a beautiful beer and one of the better ones I’ve had in a long time. A great take on the biere de garde style, without being in name only.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.97/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pour is orangish red with an off white head leaving a decent lace. Nose is heavy red wine, juicy dark grape, notes of oak, very rustic and pleasant. Taste is a bit muted, the red wine is there but the finish is a touch empty. More Brett but not pronounced, leathery and dusty. Body is light, assertive carbonation, and a touch of dryness to it.

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

Thanks Michael, beer served in a Hill Farmstead glass. Beer is ruby and mostly clear with an off white head of small and medium bubbles, some lacing, moderate retention, moderate to low carbonation.

Aroma is good, a little oaky, woody, earthy, sweet, yeast comes through nicely.

A very nice beer, delicate and complex with hints of oak, esters, yeast, mild funk, sweetness as well. An overall great beer and I'd have it again.

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

Had this about 3 months ago and lucky enough to split a bottle last night with my friend who went to the release with me. Cheers, Eric!

A opaque ruby red with an off white head that lasts for hours, literally. Great lacing
S super fruity, much more than I remember. Some brett dancing in the background but dominated by juicy, tart, fruits. A bit of oak too.
T A bit of a letdown from the intensely fruit forward nose, but still quite good. Citrus fruits, some pineapple and kiwi come to mind, all balanced by a nice bready backbone. Pretty funky and musty, just a bit of sourness coming around.
M Fantastic light and airy. Not super carbed like some bretty AWA's, but it did gush a bit after opening.
O A fantastic beer from HF as usual. This has developed some serious fruit notes and is starting to get a bit more sour.

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Photo of Mbrown44
4.78/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Been waiting to post this review, had this the day after the release.

Biere De Norma tastes like a cross between a super oaky flanders red and a citrusy, funky, tart wild ale. This is super complex, finding balance between the lacto of tart apple skins and funky yeast. Sean Hill can do no wrong and this beer is why. The hype is worth it for this one, can't wait to try other sours from Hill Farmstead.



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Photo of yourefragile
4.55/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL 2011 bottle. Thanks Tucker. Shared shortly after the Ann release.

Pours a generally clear ruby brown with a large off white head. Long retention and sticky, thick lacing. Nose is a complex blend of sweet bread, malt, woodsy and earthy oak, vanilla, and yeasty spice. Flavor is more of the same as the nose, funky and earthy, spicy yeast and oak, mild vanilla and malt sweetness. Medium thick body, prickly carbonation, mild tartness in the finish. Just wow, as nice as Ann was, this was the standout for me. Edit: Early sample of the 2012 batch was equally special, with a little more barrel (port like) and fruit presence than I remembered from the 2011 bottle.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.45/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle thanks to yourefragile. Thanks! Served side by side with HF Ann. Like a boss.

Served in a Hill Farmstead wine glass.

The beer is hazy and dark orange with a half inch of off white head.

The aroma brings oranges, citrus, malt, grass, light spice. Smells great.

The initial flavor is malty, followed by some earthy citrus. Again, very well done. Light spice, grass, tangerine.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

Another winner from Shaun and Hill Farmstead. More confirmation that HF is one of the best breweries on the planet.

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Photo of Luk13
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. Hazy dark gold pour with white head, very pretty, almost glowing orange. Aroma has some brett, peach, lots of oak, vanilla, light buttery aroma, honey. Taste like TDD Dulcis, grape peel, honey, grain, butter, vanilla, very tasty. Not really sour but has a nice funk and a tart, citric finish. Palate is well carbed, and full bodied. Delicious.

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Photo of Sean9689
4.38/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared at Fountainhead.

A - Pours a burnt reddish/orange color, off-white head, sticky lace, thin cap, nice collar.

S - Tart fruit, oak, funky farmhouse notes, citrus zest. A nice mix of tartness, funk, and oak really work well together. It has just enough tartness and just enough sweetness to really capture everything.

T - Really nice oak & tart notes mixed with the funk from the base beer. Some tart fruit, oak, citrus, cherry yogurt, touch of malts. Hard to put everything into words, so I'll just say "try this".

M - Medium body, good carbonation, refreshing, dry finish.

O - This is more wild then Bière de Garde, no doubt. One of my favorite beers that I've had from HF (and I've had most all of them). I have one bottle left that I'm going to cellar for a year or so and revisit...hopefully, I'll run into another during that time. Recommend.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.37/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle generously shared by Sean. Served in a tulip.

A - White foam settles to a thick collar, near-complete cap, and fingers of lace. Opaque dark orange body.

S - Tons of tropical and dusty brett, spicy and tangy oak, vanilla yogurt, light sourness, and a the bready malts you'd expect from a bière de garde. There's a mildly savory dill note.

T - The taste is a little malt-forward, with the bread and yeast flavors mingling with notes of stone fruit, vinous oak, earthy brett, green apple skin, and a lightly acidic lemon finish.

M - Smooth, medium-full body, with pleasant moderate carbonation, no alcohol presence, and a dry and mildly oaky finish.

D - Shaun's barrel-aging prowess and spontaneous culture have transformed a style I don't generally love into a very enjoyable experience. The oaky, earthy, and vinous notes balance out the malt character of the base quite nicely. That being said, it's not a beer I'd crave often - this may be too sophisticated for my palate.

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Photo of jlindros
4.57/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks a ton to shaun for this one, REALLY thanks Shaun. 2011 vintage, bottle number 43 of 300

Gorgeous fluffy head fluffy and rises up to over 1 finger, nice sticky lacing drops down the sides slowly. The beer is a mostly clear golden tan slight honey orange colored.

Nose, yup thats funky alright, a light horsehair wet blanket funk but not overpowering, then nice tart fruit, plenty of sourness with a definite lacto, hints of reddish berry like sour fruit.Under that is a nice saison, light saison malts, wheat like and hint of yeast spices. Touches of barrel aroma.

Taste starts rick and smooth, creamy and malty actually, with light saison malts, light toasty reddish malts as well, with a nice light buttery today oak. So much creamy milk like lactose sugar... So much creamier than I expected. Then funk, just a bit of horse blanket funk, but plenty of sourness. Tart berries almost wild berry like but not quite that much berry just fruit, a juicy tartness but dry bready malt juxtaposition. Tons of carbonation helps to keep the palate from getting too bogged down in tartness and creaminess. Finish is dry but slightly sticky, just a touch phlemy, light bready malts, more creamy lactose, some lingering funk, and tart fruit, and a light bitterness comes through with earthy fruit stem like and a bit of floral hops.

Mouth is ridiculously creamy but plenty of carbonation to offset the sour and creamy.

Overall awesome, I would call this an American wild over biere de garde, or saison, but delicious. Great wild funk, sour fruit, saison like malts, hunts of barrel, light biter hops late in the finish, and delicious delicious lacto.

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Photo of rudzud
4.6/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A huge thanks to Shaun Hill for the bottle of Norma. Bottle number 43/300. Poured into an Ommegang tulip.

A - Poured a hazy golden amber that resembles a legitimate piece of Jurassic park style amber. A great head of off white cream that spontaneously former a two finger blanket later slumps to a half finger dense creamy pillow. Light side lacing.

S - Aromas of horse hair blanket and sour dense lacto dominate the nose in such an enjoyable manner. Wonderful barrel notes are faded into with some slight alcohol coming through. Slight Carmel sweetness is there too. Most aromas are dominated by the lacto and barnyard funk.

T - Wow. This is amazing. I've never had a beer with this much lacto flavour in it! Its like drinking a glass of heavy creamy with sour tart berries and funk. So much lacto, my goodness. Sour tart berries (raspberry) and nice strong barnyard funk. Great funky yeast here. Almost like a wild. Really really different.

M - Mouthfeel is just awesome. Enough carbonation to keep this from being well, too creamy and milky. Tart and sour in the mouth the alcohol isn't even remotely noticeable. Crazy drinkable.

O - Overall this beer was one of the hardest I've had to review. It transcends styles and is so damn lacto. Its just delicious. Really outstanding. All areas of lacto in this with wild ale style funk and tartness. Really enjoyable beer. Like nothing I've ever had before and will probably never have again.

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Biere De Norma from Hill Farmstead Brewery
4.33 out of 5 based on 593 ratings.
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