Civil Disobedience #4
Hill Farmstead Brewery

Civil Disobedience #4Civil Disobedience #4
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Farmhouse Ale - Saison
4.18 | pDev: 13.16%
Hill Farmstead Brewery
Vermont, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Civil Disobedience #4Civil Disobedience #4
Notes: A blended black farmstead™. A blend of 5 beers from four select oak barrels.
Reviews: 31 | Ratings: 181 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of woosterbill
woosterbill from Kentucky

4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle, shared at a tasting. Huge thanks to Patrick for sending this one my way.

A: Clear russet body under an inch of creamy, pillowy tan head. Spectacular retention and lacing. Flawless.

S: Predominantly bretty, with earth, hay, and barnyard. Some vinous fruitiness and faint roast round things out. Very good indeed.

T: Tart fruit up front (grape, cherry, apple), funky brett midway through, and vinous oak on the finish. As it warms, the chocolate notes from the malt come through. Long, tart, dry finish. Terrific.

M: Soft, delicate body with lots of creamy carbonation. Terrific.

O: I've never been a big fan of dark Saisons in the past, but this one was truly excellent.


Jun 28, 2014
Photo of Alieniloquium
Alieniloquium from Florida

3.56/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - It's a slow gusher. Consistent, but slow, sludge-like flow of foam and chunks of sediment. A very careful pour yields a medium khaki head and nice lacing.

Smell - Tons of brett. Some lemony and orange-y citrus. Not really heavy on the dark malts.

Taste - Lots of brett. It has really taken over. More dark malts than in the nose, but it isn't really strong. Tart citrus. Lemon and orange. Yeasty. Slightly harsh bitter finish.

Mouthfeel - Dry, acidic, and bitter. High carbonation. A little harsh.

Overall - The brett has taken over, but it's still interesting. I expected more dark malts.

Jun 15, 2014
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rlee1390 from Indiana

4.39/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A-Black in the glass, deep ruby when pouring, three finger off white head that leaves some lacing.

S-Dark fruits, cherries, plums, oak and some funk.

T-Starts with roasted malt and darker fruits. Good deal of oak and nice funk as well. All balanced together very well.

M-Medium bodied, nice carbonation and rather creamy.

O-Another knock out from HF. Amazing balance, a great dark saison.

Jan 04, 2014
Photo of Skrip
Skrip from New Jersey

4.53/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle poured into a Noda snifter

A~ dark hazy brown with a head that keeps on giving all the way down.

S~ as soon as i opened the bottle i got a strong peppery, sour aroma. tart, pepper, citrus, and lots of oak. almost like really good smoked bbq.

T~ oh it just keeps getting better! lots of tartness up front followed by smokey roasted malts and tart citrus and pepper on the finish. theres a Twilight of the Idols thing going on as well. soooo damn tasty!

M~ nicely carbonated and oh so smooth.

O~ i really didn't know what to expect from this one, having never had any CD before. this is just fantastic. the perfect amount of tartness balanced out by roasted malts, how could you go wrong!? i've always been in love with darker sours. i'm so happy i have half a bottle left! =]

Mar 31, 2013
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starrdogg from District of Columbia

4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Beer pours a very dark brown/nearly black with a fluffy off-white head. The nose on this beer is incredibly interesting and unique - it's tart and vinous at first, but underneath is a bit of roastiness and even a little bit of smoke. The flavor follows the nose, but the elements don't come together quite as well as I hoped, but this is still a damn tasty and unique beer. It's tart with notes of oak red wine up front, but the finish is chocolatey with a nice amount of roast. It almost tastes like two different beers, and I wish the two distinct aspects of it blended together a little bit better. Mouthfeel is light-medium bodied with pretty significant carbonation. I honestly can't say I've had another beer quite like this - I've had sour stouts, but this one is different. It's not incredibly sour, nor is it super roasty, but it has elements of both and brings them together in a way I've never experienced before.

Feb 17, 2013
Photo of Luk13
Luk13 from Canada (QC)

4.53/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle 750ml. Pours a beautiful black with reddish highlights and a huge rocky beige foam. Aroma is brettamonyces, balsamic vinegar and sesame oil with light roasted malt. Taste is dark and ripe fruits with a nice lactic and slightly acetic sourness. Vinegary notes blends nicely with the ripe fruits and bugs. Very light roastiness adds another layer of complexity. Lively carbonation and light bodied. I've had this one many times now (6-7 times) from fresh to aged and this is definitly a prime example of its style and a personal favorite. A masterpiece considering how hard it is to craft succesfully a dark sour ale. 4.5+

Jan 09, 2013
Photo of BAstoutsNsours
BAstoutsNsours from Florida

3.55/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on 12/21/2012, served in a tulip.

A-Looks like a black lager with a high inch of white head which recedes slowly.

S-Very wine forward, smells like a spoiled red wine, but not so much in a bad way.

T-Very odd, I get roasted malt mixed with tart black cherries and a hint of bitter chocolate, somewhat sour.

M-the mouthfeel was consistent with other HF saisons I've had, not bad, nice and prickly.

O-Meh, I wasn't impressed at all, maybe I just don't care for black saisons. Although I would favor this over the others I've had.

Dec 27, 2012
Photo of Thorpe429
Thorpe429 from Illinois

4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks, Michael. Served in Hill Farmstead stemware. Pours a fairly-dark brown with a moderate tan head. Needs a bit of time. A bit too much oak. Light acidity. Dark fruit. Some currant. Slightly tannic. Touch of roast. Will have to revisit in a few months.

EDIT: December 16,2012. Doing much better now with dark fruits, some grape, and a light acidity to backup the dark saison. Highly enjoyable.

Original scores: 4/3.5/3.5/4/4

Dec 16, 2012
Photo of cfrances33
cfrances33 from Illinois

4.68/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle poured into a Hill Farmstead stem.

Pour: Deep, deep brown, almost black. Brown edges on the glass. Nice three finger tan head that hangs around for a while, and leaves really nice lacing.

Smell: Kinda light on the nose. I get some tart pears and musty red grape skin up front, followed by a light roast. Some funk. A light brett yeastiness on the end.

Taste: Wow. Beautiful tannic red grape skin up front, accompanied by a very nice funky tartness. A nice bretty funk next. More clean tartness, characterized by pears. Finishes with a lemon zest, and a really nice roasted malt. Amazing that this is a black saison, because while it has a deep roasted character, the saison and barrel qualities own the taste.

Mouthfeel: Beautiful carbonation, and with the tartness provides a nice prickle on the tongue. Super drinkable and light, despite the malt bill. Refreshing, astonishingly.

Overall: In my opinion, this beer redefines black saisons. Roasty yet light. The wine barrel character really takes this beer to another level.

Dec 07, 2012
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thagr81us from South Carolina

4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks goes out to cmrillo for sharing this one during the One Year Anniversary of My Wreck Tasting! Served from bottle into a Crooked Stave ‘Crooked Line’ tulip. Poured dark brown with a one finger off-white head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, spice, earth, brett, and funk. The flavor was of sweet malt, spice, earth, funk, and fruit. It had a light feel on the palate with high carbonation. Overall this was a good brew. I had heard good things about this brew, but never thought I would get the chance to try it. Really glad it showed up for this special tasting! This one really had quite a bit going on in it throughout each sniff and sip. A lot of it overlapped which is always welcomed, but I just wish that one or the other would have taken it to the next level as with some of the other HF brews I’ve had. This is a definite must try if you get the chance and I would definitely love to try it again in the future.

Nov 21, 2012
Photo of coreyfmcdonald
coreyfmcdonald from Georgia

4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle split, into a tall wide flute

A: Pours a very dark amber, almost pitch black. Two fingers of dense, long lasting head.

S: Lots of citrus and funk in the aroma, I smell sweet caramel and roasted malts behind the citrus and funk. The two main aromas mix well together.

T: The first thing I get out of the flavor is smokey sweetness. I get caramel and molasses sweetness that is accompanied by citrus. I get funk, light lactic acidity, and a fruity acidity that adds a lot to the flavor. The dark fruit sweetness and acidity remind me of a plum.

M: Light mouthfeel with strong carbonation - appropriate for the style.

O: Great beer - obviously an odd beer with a sweetness and acidity that play well off each other. The smokiness also adds a complexity not typical for the style. I rarely like a dark Saison, but this is great.

Oct 20, 2012
Photo of ehammond1

4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle (2012)

Acquired via trade
Thanks, AdamJackson!

A very, very dark ruby body, but dark brown, and nearly black in the glass with a small dark brown head. Clinging dots of stick left down the glass. A very pretty beer, as are most Hill Farmsteads.

An interesting aroma with lots of elements combining fairly nicely: mild roast, some citrus, lots of oak and wine, some smoke, and some mild chocolate. Interesting, though there seems to be just a little too much going on.

The flavor is similar to the aroma: a black saison (roast, earth, mild citrus, yeast), combine nicely with oak, tannin, and wine characteristics. Interesting and certainly good, but not mind-blowing.

Medium bodied with creamy, moderate carbonation. Very well crafted.

An interesting saison experiment, but I'm glad I split the bottle with a couple friends. I couldn't drink a ton of this.

Oct 17, 2012
Photo of DaveHack
DaveHack from Pennsylvania

3.82/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a HF stem.

Poured extremely dark, basically black. Huge off white head with a lot of lacing down the glass.

Smells of roast and bitter chocolate. There is a little must in there as well.

Taste is a little acidic and roasty. There is a bit of plastic aftertaste, it's a little odd.

Mouthfeel is good. Carbonation is excellent. Considering how dark it is, I expected it to be heavier, but it is rather light bodied.

This isn't the best HF beer I've had. It is still a good beer, but definitely not my favorite from them.

Oct 12, 2012
Photo of drabmuh
drabmuh from Maryland

4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Hill Farmstead tulip glass. Beer is slightly over carbonated but very good overall. Beer is black with a tight brown head of small and tiny bubbles that has great retention, rests as a cap on the beer the entire time I'm drinking it. Carbonation is steady and high, head forms quickly and leaves some stiff peaks that persist. Looks great.

Aroma is a little sour, mild roast, mild lactic / succinic acid. It smells a little like a watered down consecration with some roast, I like it.

Beer is medium to light in body, the carbonation thins out the palate considerably and tartness is present in the back half of the palate. It is a little sour, a little acetic perhaps, not quite, lactic, oakiness, tannic finish with a mild roast, the palate drops off a lot at the end but the finish is nice, leaving the mouth clean and clear. I'd definitely have this again. I wish I could get more Hill Farmstead in general.

Sep 28, 2012
Photo of HuskyinPDX
HuskyinPDX from Washington

4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle opened on 9.1.12.
Bottled May 2012

A - Pours a dark coffee brown with a huge light brown, foamy head that lasts forever.

S - Sweet woody, maple, brown sugar, subtle floral notes.

T - Sweetness, then some tart wood, Belgian spice finish. Multi-layered.

D - Great carbonation with a lighter body. A nice tart and spicy finish.

O - This one hits you in stages, very good and multi-dimensional.

Sep 06, 2012
Photo of jaasen64
jaasen64 from Massachusetts

4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle purchased in person at the release. Poured into HF tulip. Split with one other person.

A- Can see some of it start to very slowly gush from the bottle before being poured, no where near as bad as the first bottle we opened about a month ago. Pours a hazy slightly reddish brown that at the beginning of the bottle looks more black. About two fingers of mocha caramel fluffy head that slowly recedes and leaves thick layered lacing coating the glass. Plenty of carbonation, can see lots of tiny bubbles rising along the sides of the glass.

S- Light sulfuric sour funk, light dark chocolate, some very light roasted malts hidden in the background, some tart dark citrus fruits. Not too much sour/tart funk going on, but definitely a little bit more then I'm used to in black saisons.

T- Light sulfuric funk mixed with tart citrus fruits and a little bit of light chocolate + roasted malts on the finish followed by more tart citrus that lingers on the palate for a while. A little bit of oak that smooths all the flavors out. More oak and chocolate come out as it warms up. Everything is very well balanced and quite tasty.

M- Medium bodied, nice carbonation, very easy to drink at a surprising 8% abv.

O- This was yet another great beer from Hill Farmstead. This is at least my 4th time having this beer (twice on draft, twice from the bottle) and each time I like it more and more. At 8% the abv is very well hidde. All of the flavors are very well balanced without too much chocolate or sourness coming out. I had the Sour Black from Weyerbacher last night, while I would say I enjoyed that one I would definitely take this one. I haven't had too many black saisons, but I'd have to say this one is my favorite so far.

Aug 31, 2012
Photo of MasterSki
MasterSki from Canada (ON)

4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Sean for sharing this offering. Served in a Bell's tulip.

A - A finger of tan foam lingers before slowly settling to a solid cap and splotchy lacing. Very dark brown body.

S - Very interesting blend of flavors here - vinous oak, mildly tart fruits, a touch of sulfuric funk, citrus hops, and a bit of smoke and roasted malt.

T - The taste is similar, but with a heavier emphasis on the smoke and roasted malt character - almost a touch a ham. Finishes with vinous acidity, lactic sourness, and dry oak. The smokey and sour combination is a pretty unusual one.

M - Medium-bodied with a juicy texture and a touch of grit. Finishes dry and tannic, with extremely well-hidden alcohol. Pleasant carbonation.

D - I enjoyed this beer a fair bit, but I imagine it will be polarizing - our tasting group was pretty evenly split. Much better than #2, but a bit worse than #1 & #3. I'd be interested to see which flavors 'win' with some additional aging. Not a beer that you'd want to drink in large quantities though.

Aug 28, 2012
Photo of brystmar
brystmar from Texas

3.64/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Mac = the man!

Beautiful pour is typical of a HF brew; dark brown/black body with copious tan head. Great retention.

Aroma smells infected. Phenolic and muddled, sour yet slightly riddled with infection. Hmm, not the greatest.

Dark fruits against the saison background. Still a touch phenolic, yet the blend of flavors seems to (kind of) work. Creamy body might be the best part of this beer.

Disappointing for a HF brew; everything else they make is among the best of style. Speaks volumes about your brewery when a better-than-average brew is a massive disappointment.

Aug 26, 2012
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
TheSevenDuffs from Canada (ON)

4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to David for this bottle. Poured in to HF stemmed tulip glass.

A - Dark black; completely opaque. Two fingers of fluffy light brown head that receded to one finger. Good lacing.

S - Big oak aroma up front with some lighter sour notes present. A pretty prominent vinous fruit aroma is present as well along with some Belgian yeast, roast and hints of chocolate. A complex aroma.

T - A big burst of oak up front that immediately gives way to a big roast profile and hints of semi-sweet chocolate and some lighter coffee notes. A good tartness is present throughout along with a fairly bold vinous fruit profile with a slight sourness at times. The various components of this beer come together very well. Complex.

M - Medium body, somewhat silky. Moderate carbonation.

O - The only complaint I have is that the saison flavors weren't really evident. That said, the flavours that were present were exceptional.

Aug 22, 2012
Photo of Dreadnaught33
Dreadnaught33 from District of Columbia

3.77/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared thanks to Huhzubendah, thanks Matt!

The beer pours a nice dark dark brown with very little lacing or head, nice look.

The smell is dominated by fruits, some yeast strains. Some dark molasses malts, not bad.

Sort of astringent fruity notes and powdered cocoa malts. Some decent taffy like sweet notes too, just ok. Some yeast and farmhouse like notes.

The feel is ok, the taste lasts a while, which is cool. Overall good carbo and not very boozy.

Not bad not great. This confirms my opinion of hill farmstead being a little overrated so far, at least in my opinion, still need to try a lot of their big beers. Kind of like the Dallas cowboys of breweries to me so far....

Aug 18, 2012
Photo of cosmicevan
cosmicevan from New York

4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

thanks to Joeybones3, shared this with the local crew on 8/8.

a - poured brown with a thin foamy head ans streaky lacing that slid down the glass.

s - oak, some sour cherry. smells really nice.

t - sour, saison, black malts. oak. some earthiness in the background. sour cherries with a hint of chocolate.

m - pretty smooth. even balanced tart. finishes off nicely.

o - overall, wonderful sour dark saison. some saison qualities, but mostly black malts soured.

Aug 13, 2012
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Gosox8787 from New Hampshire

4.47/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 750 mL bottle opened by myself. I got this at the release a month or so back. Served chilled and poured into my Kate the Great tulip.

Appearance: Apparently chilling this so thoroughly worked well as I got zero gush (as can be the case with some HF beers I have found). Not quite black, more like dark brown. Pours a substantial three finger head that holds very well. Extremely light and cloudy.

Aroma: Some coffee and char upfront, but really nice fruit, green apple and tart lemon in particular, breaks up the monotony nicely. There is definitely an oak component in here as well. Some earthy and funky tones really balance this out well.

Taste: The dark malt notes hot first, but the sour kick of green apple and lemon really brighten this up quickly. Plenty of oak tannins throughout. The earthy quality from the yeast really brings this together. This is definitely a Hill Farmstead saison. The balance of sour and funk really reminds me of a lot of Shaun's other beers.

Mouthfeel: Light, full carbonated and smooth. Very refreshing.

Overall, black saisons can be hit or miss with me, but this one is probably my favorite of that style. Great balance of the dark malt and saison yeast plus really nice oak notes. Incrediby balanced and really refreshing. This was a really pleasant surprise. I could drink this all day and not get sick of it.

Aug 09, 2012
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gory4d from Texas

3.91/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Mac for the trade.

Pours dark brown with a high tan head, translucent - no floaties. Smell is subdued, some notes of grass and minerals but not much more; opens up a little as it warms, but stays mild. The taste also seems a little one-note at first, just some mild sourness with a tannic, fruity finish, but as it warms there's more depth, with a faint savoriness to it as well as the more evident herbal and vegetal notes. It's well carbonated, a little oily. A very nice wild beer, in some ways reminiscent of an oud bruin.

Aug 05, 2012
Photo of Huhzubendah
Huhzubendah from District of Columbia

4.53/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Hill Farmstead wine glass.

The beer is opaque, a deep, dark shade of chestnut brown. The head is over an inch thick, receding quickly and settling in at around a half inch. Copious lacing all over the vessel.

The aroma is funky, earthy. Notes of wine are evident from the start. Tart fruit, perhaps currants.

Great flavor. Everything comes together beautifully. Delicious. What a complex and fantastic beer. Lots of tartness and wine barrel notes. Dark fruit character.

Medium bodied and smooth. Lingering sour, lactic, tart feel on the palate.

Overall, yet another fantastic brew from Shaun and the folks at Hill Farmstead.

Jul 31, 2012
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Verecund from Texas

3.95/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2012. 750ml opened on July 29, 2012.

Slow gusher. CD4 pours dark brown, with faint burgundy hues on the edge of the glass when held up to the light. It yields four to five fingers of lightly tanned head. A little overcarbonated, but settles down after a few minutes.

Features a disobedient nose of jammy cabernet grapes, tannic oak, eucalyptus, some miscellaneous plummy dark fruit, and Belgian saison yeast. Subdued sourness.

The front of the palate is a little flabby, featuring a hint of roast, currant, cabernet grape, lemon, and substantial oak. Fruity, with a pleasant sourness — you have to search a little bit to find the saison base. The mid-palate reintroduces the heavy, tannic oak found on the nose, and CD4 finishes dryly, curtly, with just a pinch of pepper.

Medium, medium-thin in body with middle-of-the-road carbonation.

This grows on me over time, but I wish I had held my one bottle a little longer. An ambitious beer that just misses the mark for me, if only because of the quality of Shaun's other saisons.

Jul 30, 2012
Civil Disobedience #4 from Hill Farmstead Brewery
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 181 ratings