What Is Enlightenment? | Hill Farmstead Brewery

BA SCORE
96
world-class
114 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Hill Farmstead Brewery
Vermont, United States
hillfarmstead.com

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.40%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
American Pale Ale brewed in honor of our Second Anniversary. Simcoe and Amarillo hops.

Added by CliffBrake on 04-26-2012

BEER STATS
Reviews:
114
Ratings:
902
Avg:
4.39
pDev:
7.06%
 
 
Wants:
281
Gots:
51
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 114 | Ratings: 902
Photo of xnicknj
3.4/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

small growler poured into tulip - thanks alex

Pours a hazed pale yellow, with a thin head, leaving behind little lacing on the glass.

The nose is dry and biscuity with a nice dash of hops. There's plenty of dryness with a soft, light sweetness.

Light, oily hop presence with herbal tones. Bitter and dry with a nice leafy touch. Lemon peel, biscuit malts with grain. Touch of cracker with a pleasant, bitter dry finish.

Medium body, dry and lingering on the tongue. Solid pale ale, there's better from HF though - after reading some of these other reviews I'm wondering if this might have sat a couple days too long.

 623 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.49/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-draught @ Mug's Alehouse in Brooklyn, NY for $8 a pint (16 FL oz).

Currently on the top 250 list.

HEAD: Frothy and soft as can be, enticing the drinker with an impossibly long-lived head (~10+ minutes) that coats the glass' sides with thick lacing as it slowly recedes. ~3cm in height after the bartender pours off excess. In short, a near perfectly executed head for the pale ale style.

BODY: Seemingly unfiltered judging by its haziness. Body colour is a yellow-copper of average vibrance. Lively but not clean. Not as eye-catching as the head.

Appears well-carbonated. Appealing.

AROMA: Fruit-forward but subtly so. Lemon, delicate grapefruit, tropical fruit (mango, papaya, guava, lime). No onion from the Simcoe. No resins from the Amarillo (my favourite hop). Floral and fresh, with a hint of citrusy rind.

Any bitterness is softened by it's apt pale malt sweetness.

Aromatic intensity is average. I detect no off-notes. Suggests a balanced enjoyable pale ale, but not a world class vividly hopped beer. Definitely promising, but not on par with what I'd expect from one of the best 250 beers in the world.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Lemony, with a coating soft mouthfeel. Tropical notes of mango, melon rind, yogurty tang (a flavour Hill Farmstead seems almost uniquely able to coax out of the usually oniony Simcoe), floral and grassy hops, cream, some lime. Drifts increasingly rindy and bitter throughout its structure, culminating in a subtle grapefruit climax.

Depth of flavour is nice but not stellar; I've had far more expressive and vividly flavoured pale ales (Alpine's pre-Green Flash Alpine Ale comes to mind). Flavour duration and intensity are quite good for a pale ale.

The soft coating mouthfeel delivers on the promises of the frothy head; it feels like it looks. A little dry and a little coarse, but a creamy cushion on the palate takes that almost dragging edge off.

There's no doubt this is well built for a pale ale, and the yogurty tang Hill Farmstead gets out of Simcoe is enough to make this worth trying...but unique flavour aside, it's not a world class pale ale for me. A cleaner more refreshing mouthfeel and more vivid pungent hop flavours would help elevate this to the next level. Amarillo isn't anywhere near as well showcased as Simcoe, well chosen though both hops were for this fine ale.

Not as intricate as the Zombie Dusts of the world, but pleasingly delicate. Most (American) brewers are going big and bold with their hop profiles, but Hill Farmstead exhibits remarkable restraint.

OVERALL: Not a top 250 beer for me, and I do think the yogurty Simcoe flavour is better explored in other Hill Farmstead ales. If you associate Simcoe with an oniony/garlicky taste, this will blow your mind and show you Simcoe's heretofore untapped potential, but drinkable as this pale ale is, it isn't truly incredible. Well worth trying.

High B- (3.49) / WORTHY

 2,901 characters

Photo of cpetrone84
3.79/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Hazy golden amber, tight white head. Nose has fairly balanced grain notes, fresh, a lot like Edward. Hops have are herbal and grassy. light grapefruit, a touch light in the nose. Definitely the lightest on flavor, clean fresh grain, light cereal and dough, dry finish with more bitterness than some of the others. Grapefruit and orange citrus are light, hint of peach and grassy hops on a light body with strong carbonation.

 424 characters

Photo of Lochnessmonster
3.96/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

It's beautiful to look at, but overall it wasn't one of my favorite Hill Farmsteads. A solid pale, with some decent hops, but give me Edward over this all day long.

 165 characters

Photo of WanderingFool
4/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What is Enlightenment? pours a cloudy, straw yellow with a thing white head on top. The foam fades quickly leaving behind a few spots and lines of lace on the glass.

The aroma is loaded with orange citrus and tropical fruit notes of mango and tangerine.

Each sip of this medium bodied beer is soft and light on the palate with mild carbonation. The flavor is sweet and nicely balanced. Caramel and toasted malt are followed by orange citrus and tropical fruit (tangerine). It finishes dry with lingering tangerine flavors.

This is a very tasty, easy drinking beer that is light in body and well balanced.

 607 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.05/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 mL growler poured into a Hill Farmstead glass.

Appearance - Very hazy golden orange. Small white head that lingers. Thin layer of foam rests atop the beer.

Smell - Bright citrus hop. Grainy malt. Mostly hops.

Taste - Strong citrus hop. Grapefruit and slightly tropical flavor. Grains behind it with almost no sweetness. The slightest hop bitterness. Oily hop flavor lingers on the palate

Mouthfeel - Light bodied and quite drinkable. Medium carbonation.

Overall - Another great pale. Very tasty, clean, and drinkable as hell.

 535 characters

Photo of BarrytheBear
4.05/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Growler courtesy of Camden. Thank you again!

Pours a cloudy yellow-orange with a substantial full finger's worth of white froth. Lace curtains adorn ye ole tulip.

Unmistakable whiff of Amarillo hops here, playing lemon-lime. A doughy sweetness from the malts hover over the proceedings as well.

Lemon pledge and lemon drop candy strong out of the gate. There's a caramel covered apple sweetness along with apple skin throughout the middle. The end is hop oils and catty with a light leafy bitterness and very dry finish. A saliva sucker.

I have been quite fortunate to try Edward, Abner, and this beer in the same week and while a nice beer, this is the weakest offering of the three. The term weak, however, is relative here. Appreciative for the chance.

 761 characters

Photo of cosmicevan
4.1/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another pleasant treat from the 7/27 Top Hops mini tasting! Filled a week and a half ago.

a - murky straw yellow with a foamy head. beautifully cloudy. doesn't look like an IPA at all, but still gorgeous. great lacing.

s - great hop smell. citric burst. little rubber in the background (from the rice?).

t - tastes like a rice ipa. doesn't compare to the kuhnhenn DRIPA. nice, but the rice definitely takes over on the flavor and drains some of the ipa goodness from the smell...still very solid.

m - easy drinker, very soft. a bit watery even.

o - overall very good. not something i'd trade my cellar for but very crisp. nice and different for an IPA. the lower abv gives it good sessionability. the finish shows the bittery hops which i wish were more prominent in the taste. enjoyable.

 793 characters

Photo of DefenCorps
4.15/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thank you, Mike.

Mildly hazy light orange with a dense, white head with excellent retention and lacing. The nose is a big, bright Citra and Simcoe nose, beautiful blend of citrust fruitiness with a touch of tropical fruit. This is mirrored on the palate, with no real malt character to speak or, and an ecxcellent fruity hop flavor. I know this is an APA, but even viewed on its own (the first hoppy beer of the evening), this was a little light, watery even, on the palate, without the kind of resin and bitterness I like in my hoppy beers. Still, this is fantastic.

 568 characters

Photo of cbutova
4.16/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brought back a few growlers over the weekend. July 7th notes, 2nd or 3rd time having the beer over the holiday weekend.

A- Light golden body in a pint glass with a creamy white head. The cap has nice retention. Lots of lacing webs.

S- A good orange citrus forward hop aroma with some tropical fruit from a bunch of Amarillo and Simcoe hops. Peach and zest in a hop forward smell.

T- More yeast bread and light grain/biscuit/caramel coming into play as a Pale Ale should have but the hop flavors are the main show here. Peach, orange zest, lemon, citrus and some floral hop characters. Reminds me of Sculpin in a way.

MF- Lighter end body with a nice creamy texture. Moderately carbonated with a light clean bitterness rounding it all out on the palate.

Compared to Walden this has more malt/yeast character but still packs a great citrus/fruity hop character, as it should for a Pale Ale. Hops just feel so clean and fresh in HF's beers.

 943 characters

Photo of ScaryEd
4.18/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a growler filled at the brewery.

Pours a hazy, super bright golden color with a finger of pure white head. The head settles nicely into a film that rests atop the beer, leaving pretty good lacing along the way.

The aroma is extremely floral and citrusy. Has some hints of pine and grass, with a sweet, bready malt backbone.

Lots and lots of citrus on the flavor. Has a faint potpourri-like floral hop character, with plenty of sweet malts and a piney finish.

The body is medium-light, with moderate carbonation. Slightly crisp and fairly dry. Leaves a subtle, resinous coating around the mouth.

Overall, a very good pale ale. It's not quite up to par with Edward or Sumner, but definitely a worthy addition to the HF pale ale catalog.

 756 characters

Photo of stakem
4.18/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1-liter growler care of baconsausage, big thanks for the trade man. Poured into a tulip, the brew appears a clouded golden color with more than 2 fingers worth of pillowy white head. As the cap fades, it leaves a wall of lace sticking to the glass. A light swirl revives a finger of froth back to the surface fairly effortlessly.

The initial aroma includes hints of tropical fruit quality that is something along the lines of nectarines and as more sniffs are taken, more of a not-so-specific tropical fruited quality emerges. Having sampled this almost immediately after Harlan reveals a lot of similarities here to the aromatics. There is a mild cheesiness to the backend of this that takes this brew off in a different direction.

The taste has some zesty bitterness like orange pulp that blends into bitter herbal aspects mixed with a bit of grassy and then yeasty quality and faint straw-like grain inclusion. Like I noted about the aroma, there are a lot of similarities here with Harlan but maybe a bit more grain inclusion here with this brew. As it warms up, a bit of sulfur is noted and a classic "catty" quality typically found from simcoe that lasts into the aftertaste.

This is a light bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. It is light, refreshing and easy drinking. Having a 1-liter growler is perfect, I have no hesitation reaching for another glass and could easily take down several glasses of this in a session. To be picky, I found this to be just too similar to Harlan. If I wasn't paying specific attention to what was going on in my glass, I think these 2 brews could almost be passed off for one another.

 1,641 characters

Photo of Gregaroo
4.2/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

1-18-17 - On tap at the 10th Ave. Pony Bar in NYC. Served in a pint glass with very hazy straw color and just a bit of head, but not much. A quick swirl brought back just a bit of head, but again, not much. First taste was crisp and refreshing, as was the second. Fruity/citrusy flavors with a nice zing. So so good. I'll get this one again and again.

 351 characters

Photo of Hophead717
4.2/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Hazy, light straw-orange. Fluffy one finger head caps the beer. Nice.

S: Fresh, semi-sweet sweet citrus. Some grapefruit, but also sweeter mango notes. Lightly resinous. Delightful.

T: Tropical fruits and light citrus upfront, quickly yielding to a mild malt backbone, with a some grassy notes. The finish is lightly bitter. Definitely a less-intense experience than the nose, but it largely follows the scent.

M: Light-bodied, with medium levels of carbonation. I'd like this a little less carbed, but we're splitting hairs on this.

O: Well-done pale ale--definitely one of the better ones that I've had. I'll definitely have a second glass.

 649 characters

Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.2/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

What is Enlightenment? 12-ounce snifter at Bluebird Tavern in Burlington, Vermont.

Appearance: Classic Farmstead look, hazy-unpasteurized, one finger of bubbly snow-white head that lasts. Foamy lacing.

Smell: Reefer, quality skunk, naked hops, grass. Sniff deeper and get barnyard funk, stinky cheese. Citrus, pickled pineapple.

Taste: Super refreshing, light citrus, but not as good as smell. Smooth honey, clover, tad of spice at the end. Pollinated fields, fresh hops. For a 5.40% APA, this drinks more like a DIPA!

Mouthfeel: Nice spicy hoppy finish, well balanced all around. A little thin but fine.

Overall: Super drinkable, and as farm-fresh as always (more so here in Vermont!). A beautiful display of craftmanship and delicious hops.

 751 characters

Photo of silentjay
4.2/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

as with all Hill Farmstead hoppy pale beers, its hazy beyond hazy, with a huge pure white head that laces very well.

definite simcoe hop aroma of citrus and pine with a bit of the cat urine. lots of bitter citrus and grapefruit. all hops, very soft malt presence.

the pine and citrus notes are huge in the flavor with grapefruit being strong. definitely like Alpine Duet, some floral and spiciness in the middle with some tropical fruitiness behind that.

medium bodied with a fluffy carbonation and a juicy finish that's quite refreshing.

drinks very easy. for 5.4%ABV, they sure packed in a lot of flavor. another good, hoppy beer from Hill Farmstead (the best brewery going right now in my eyes).

 703 characters

Photo of Sammy
4.22/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml. growler from the brewery. Very floral hoppy, complex and fresh and welcoming. CLoudy grapefruit with fluffy head. Tremendous drinkability. Orange citrus, Simcoe? Seems to be a blend of American and British hops.Smooth drinker. An excellent pale, with perhaps the IBU of what used to be called an IPA.Thanks John.

 320 characters

Photo of Kinsman
4.22/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a 750 of this at the brewery this afternoon. Poured into Lawsons tulip.

Pale and cloudy orange body with a nice white head. Pungent aroma brings out the hops. Lemon and orange cover the citrus notes while the floridness of the hops covers the rest.

Hops dominate the palate as expected with loads of grapefruit and orange notes. Bitterness really comes through with little malt body to balance things out. It has the ABV of a pale ale but all other signs point you towards an all out hop-bomb. Nothing wrong with that, just catches you a bit off guard.

Mouthfeel has a medium-light body with a well-rounded and drying finish which only helps accentuate the bitterness of the hops. Overall, it's not small secret... Hill Farmstead knows how to use it's hops. Boatloads of flavor in a relatively light package but still seems to be lacking a certain something (can't quite put a finger on it) that would put this in the upper echelon of hop-centric beers with a few other HF beers and their peers across the country.

 1,030 characters

Photo of donkeyrunner
4.22/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

At double Windsor Brooklyn of all places. Hazy goldenrod color with a dense crescent of retention. Smells like citrus. Citrus hope with a big, expansive bitter bite. Dry finish.

 178 characters

Photo of ppoitras
4.22/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2L swing-top growler filled at the brewery.

First HFB glass pours with a 1/2" eggshell head, over the cloudy golden amber brew. Head recedes gradually down to an uneven layer, with lasting lace. Aroma is oranges and tangerines.

Taste begins with a peek of sweetness, quickly giving way to the dominant citrus hops character which holds on through the close, which is lightly chalky. Mouthfeel is soft and smooth, and drinkability is good. Nice thirst-quenching brew for a hot day. Reminiscent of Harlan, but with much less bitterness.

 538 characters

Photo of BranfordBound
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had at the Hill Farmstead brewery on Saturday, 9/26, poured into a wine glass. Pours a slightly hazy amber color with a smallish head. Nice floral aroma of hops of sweet malts. Overall this is a very well done Pale Ale by HF here, there is a nice malt backbone and the hops aren't crazy. Nice citrus and tropical fruit notes, definitely some grass, too. Not overly bitter. I would say this offers a little different hop profile than Edward, but I would still put Edward just a touch above this. Still great, though!

 515 characters

Photo of jmarsh123
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dirty straw with a finger of creamy white head and good lacing.

Aroma is dank citrus with a lot of grapefruit. A little more mild than the usual style.

Bright citrus and grapefruit up front. Big juicy tropical fruit flavors come in on the back end and it finishes with a pleasant mild bitterness.

Creamy with medium carbonation levels.

Good beer although I prefer several of HF's other offerings to this.

 414 characters

Photo of mtomlins
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Prohibition Pig.

A 'light' refreshing, easy drinking APA. Lots of citrus, pine and some tropical fruits in the nose and on the palate. One of those well balanced beers you could drink all night.

 207 characters

Photo of Gosox8787
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 2L swingtop growler chilled and split with a friend. Poured into pint glass. I had this filled straight from the brewery about five days ago, so it is still really fresh.

Appearance: Definitely on the lighter side for pale ales, a lot like Edward. Golden yellow to light orange in color with a nice creamy white head and good retention.

Aroma: Tropical fruit and pine notes right off the bat. A really nice pineapple sweetness with a resiny pine note in the back. Really nicely balanced.

Taste: Again, really hop forward. Tons of tropical fruit sweetness throughout. The amarillo and simcoe are both really noticable and play off each other well. Some bitter pine is there, but the pale malt and tropical fruit notes really balance it out well. Really drinkable and refreshing.

Mouthfeel: Manages to be both creamy and smooth. The carbonation is spot on and keeps this refreshing.

Overall, another awesome beer from Hill Farmstead where they really make a common style unique and great. One of the better pale ales I've ever tasted and the only one I can recall being better is probably Edward. I would definitely get this again.

 1,149 characters

Photo of JC333
4.27/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

This was my 5th HF beer from a recent trip and the only one I will review since they were all stellar and I couldn't add anything that hasn't been said.

But I felt compelled to write about "What is..." Because it uses my two least favorite hops, Amarillo and Simcoe. I usually have to power through a beer with those hops as the center piece.

Not here, the mouth feel on HF beers is a thing of beauty and even the bitterest and piniest of hops finish smooth.

This is a pale ale way ahead of anything else out there using these hops.

 535 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
What Is Enlightenment? from Hill Farmstead Brewery
4.39 out of 5 based on 902 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Subscribe