Hill Farmstead Brewery

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IPA - American
Ranked #1
Ranked #150
4.51 | pDev: 6.65%
Hill Farmstead Brewery
Vermont, United States
Notes: Susan (1891-1976) was our grandfather’s sister. In her honor, we offer this version of an American IPA brewed with hops from the Yakima Valley and Riwaka hops from New Zealand.
Reviews: 230 | Ratings: 2,082 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of cjgiant
cjgiant from District of Columbia

4.49/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Can dated 8/30; best by 9/27:
Loved this beer originally two weeks ago, but these had on the best by date aren't jumping out at me quite as much. I actually do not think it's because of age, just my palate being a little different when I did this review.

That aside, this is still a very good IPA, especially if I am patient enough to let it warm to the proper temperature from my cold fridge. The look is a quite highly hazed, near but not 100% opaque. As with many HF beers, the head and lacing are pretty strong.

Nose is a mix of tangerine, grapefruit, and some form of sweet fruit - I want to say a little pineapple. There's a light herbal note that comes somewhat as a muted mint to me, but is definitively a foreshadowing of some form of bitterness in the taste.

Medium heft, maybe a little less, with a prickly carbonation biting through the softer edges. More citrus rind and fruit - tangerine, orange, and some sweet ruby grapefruit, with a little huskiness from the barley and/or other grains. Not really any of the tropical fruit accent from the nose. The back end is bitter, but it has an interesting sheen of maltiness to it. Bittersweet leaning heavily on the first part, the latter keeps things from getting out of hand. As expected, a well constructed brew that brings both malt and hop to the experience.

Sep 28, 2021
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BikeChef from District of Columbia

4.61/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a fairly hazy yellow-light orange. Wonderful passionfruit and orange hop flavors on the nose. The palate follows through with plenty of citrus and tropical hop flavors. A very refined, well-crafted beer where everything just works.

Sep 27, 2021
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FBarber from Illinois

4.46/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a bright, completely opaque, orange color. Thick, sudsy off white head forms, then dissipates leaving a quarter inch of foam in the glass along with plenty of sticky lacing. Aroma has notes of tangerine, orange marmalade, grass, dried vegetation and a slight woody character to it.

Taste follows the nose with notes of citrus, orange, orange marmalade, and peach giving way to a grassy, vegetal, woody hop character on the back end. Clearly the Riwaka are coming through on the back end. Moderately bitter, mildly sweet, completely delicious. Feel is moderately bodied, smooth, and pretty easy drinking. Moderate carbonation.

This is a really nice IPA from Hill Farmstead - they get so much out of the hops both in the aroma and taste, its impressive.

Aug 30, 2021
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Roy_Hobbs from Connecticut

4.32/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Very, very attractive beer. Burned orange in color, but what really stands out is the gorgeous head. Dense, foamy & long lasting with extensive lacing. Aroma has lots of citrus & tropical notes, with orange being what jumps out at me the most.

Taste has more of the tropical / citrus notes with the hops working well together. The orange detected on the nose is not present on the tongue, although some hints of grapefruit do come through. Amazingly full mouthfeel. Good beer.

Aug 01, 2021
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DuaneL from Delaware

4.5/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this beer on tap at the Mule Bar in Winooski, Vermont, just outside of Burlington. Excellent! Another good one that day that is not listed here was called "William" and that was superb also. This is obviously a top class brewery, worth visiting the next time we are up here.

Aug 01, 2021
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brentk56 from North Carolina

4.49/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a rather cloudy orangeade color with a two finger head; solid persistence and streaks of lace

Smell: There are both grassy and floral tones here, with stone fruit and lemon in the mix

Taste: The flavors here are subtle but bring an interesting spectrum; stone fruit and passion fruit are featured, with a lemon aspect; the bitterness builds nicely but is held in check so that it doesn't overwhelm

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: A very nice IPA but the progeny has boosted this to the top of the IPA charts; not saying it doesn't belong there but I wonder whether the subtlety would shine as much in a blind tasting

Jul 31, 2021
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StanleysCup from Maryland

4.49/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received from a friend in exchange for a collection of Equilibrium DIPAs/TIPAs...

L: beautiful, rich golden maize color with a 3/4" of thick head that dissipated after a few minutes. Somewhat opaque, owing to the unfiltered packaging.
S: some clean, piney wafts along with a noseful of citrus and sugary-sweet hops (maybe the Riwaka?). Very appealing.
T: bright citrus scent on the nose makes its way down but is quickly subdued by dank and slightly bitter (WA state?) hops that make for a really interesting APA.
F: mild carbonation, very quaffable. Hop bitterness lingers nicely.
O: a near-perfect rating for good reason; this is a great take on a classic variety that has been overshadowed by the new shiny toy (NE/hazy IPAs). Fantastic beer.

Jul 05, 2021
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jdhops from Tennessee

4.53/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Canned 6/8/21. Drink by 7/6/21.

L: Pours a deep orange with a fluffy white head that quickly dissipates to a thin film. Beautiful lacing.

S: Orange, peach, apricot. None of the dirty socks aroma that sometimes comes with Simcoe.

T: Follows the aroma up front, then pivots to grapefruit in the middle. Finishes quite dry with just a slight bitterness.

F: Super soft mouthfeel, appropriate carbonation.

O: An outstanding IPA. The aromas and flavors are subtle but distinct, and the mouthfeel is sublime.

Jun 14, 2021
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jheimbigner from Washington

4.46/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

canned 1/4/2021 drank on 1/24/2021

Pours a turbid slightly murky orange with a cream head that leaves a full lacing. (Murkiness could be caused by some minimal oxidation)

Nose of grass, tropical and citrus fruit, minimal grains.

Taste follows with bitterness up front followed by notes of tropical fruit and orange. Fruit and bitterness lingers on the pallet. Very clean - no heavy flavors.

Feel is medium light with nice carb on the pallet.

overall this is an excellent "NE" IPA that is clean, nice bitterness, and excellent flavor coming from a nice selection of hops.

Jan 24, 2021
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hops_for_thought from New York

4.71/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a can (01Dec2020) into a Teku

L: pours a translucent more dull yellow orange with a nice and thick white head. As it fades leaves great large rings of lacing, as does each sip ~30 minutes post pour

S: get this excellent and layered tropical/grassy/vegetal aroma, slightly sweet with a bit of bitterness toward the back cutting through. Get passionfruit, peach (white peach, candy rings), melon, some citrus, papaya, slight grass, berries?

T: follows the nose so well, delivers what I hoped with a bit more of an earthy flavor to complement the fruit notes. Tropical fruit leads, getting that peach and melon from the nose along with passionfruit and I want to say mango? Immediately playing against the fruit is this earthier/grassy flavor that adds excellent depth for me. Toward the finish get a slight pithy citrus bitterness, mixed with those vegetal notes. There’s something about the flavor of this beer I can’t get over, simply love it

F: medium+ carbonation, medium body, call it medium drying (I want another sip but not desert inducing), very drinkable

O: probably my favorite HF IPA - nose and swallow checks pretty much every box for me, mouthfeel is excellent and welcomes each sip. I can drink this again and again without hesitation

Dec 22, 2020
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FriedSlug from North Carolina

5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is an amazing beer. Pale gold, with a big sticky head. It smells like orange zest, lemon and pithiness with some floral notes and sweet malt. The taste is full of orange zest, tangerine and pith with hints of lemon and some spiciness. Nice creamy mouthfeel. Great bitterness with a clean finish. Just a really great beer.

Oct 30, 2020
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SierraNevallagash from Maine

4.23/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Enormous thanks to Jake for this one!

Pint can - dated 10/06/20 - poured into an ale tulip at 40°F.

Hill Farmstead - Susan

Pours a beautiful apricot orange - quite cloudy, but some translucency near the top, and capped by a finger of eggshell white head with good retention, leaving a tall collar as it recedes.

Nose: Oranges. Tons of oranges. Grapefruit, pineapple, mango, apricot, some grass, and a rather unique herbal element. Dank, slightly earthy, even slightly savoury, like leek or some kind of wild ditchweed. Planty. A good swirl reveals some lemon zest, gooseberry, white grape, and a hint of passionfruit, with this flower petal botanical note underneath, all atop a clean, rustic pale malt base. Quite expressive.

Palate: Much like the aroma, the flavours are unexpected, layered, and throw you for a loop. It greets the palate dry, with clean grainy malt, followed by nicely acidic squeeze of tangerine, grapefruit, and Meyer lemon. A good bit of pineapple, with some nectarine and ripe guava. It takes a shift into Riwaka territory, with notes of passionfruit, gooseberry, white grape, fresh cut grass, and a greeness, which manifests into bitterness - grassy, herbal, and leafy, and finishing with a peppery bite.

Mouthfeel/Body: The beer is bright in every possible way. It's medium-bodied, but very crisp and fairly snappy. The signature Hill water minerality really elevates the sparkling feel, and the lively effervescence cotributes to that. There's a touch of softness, but not at the expense of fluidity. Dry, crisp, and refreshing.

Overall: When you've had a million IPAs, sometimes, you focus more on the little things, rather than the overall flavour. The overall flavour here IS good, and it's an interesting combination of hops, which throws a couple of curveballs, however, it isn't groundbreaking. What makes this beer great is not the flavour, but the little things that come together. The perfect malt balance, the careful hop acidity, the minerality, and the flow of it all. Its quality and heritage certainly show, and it's a great beer, if a little disjointed.

Oct 18, 2020
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jrc1093 from Connecticut

4.03/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Canned on 10/6/20; consumed on 10/12/20

Pours a deeply hazed, dark golden orange body topped with a finger and a half of fluffy, white foam; good retention yields a thin veil of cap, a creamy, moderate collar, and a vast array of soapy lacing draped along the walls of the glass.

Aroma opens atop a grassy, flowery undertone, with a neutral earthiness guiding to bright orange and subtle nectarine; a lemony acidity amplifies over time, though a creamy texture fluffs off in the distance for a naturally integrated sweetness to an soft bouquet dripping with citrus, catty tones, and flaky malt textures.

Taste features tart passionfruit in waves across the palate, accented with fresh grapefruit, musty grains, and cracked peppercorns; orange develops along the mid-palate, with a lingering catty character alongside brighter citrus fruits on the finish.

Mouthfeel brings a medium-light body with a fluffy, semi-creamy, moderate carbonation; flaky malts form a pillowy crispness, becoming plush and effortless across the palate as a minor hoppy acidity builds to a clean, semi-tart finish.

The expression of Simcoe here is beautifully tempered, and though the hop profile as a whole doesn't provide as much cohesion, Hill Farmstead's signature refinement offer ample comfort; this level character puts the quality of this NEIPAs construction at the forefront, bringing attention from a more subdued profile to the overall easy enjoyment it imparts throughout.

Oct 14, 2020
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folkstar from Rhode Island

3.77/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Muted smell .. flavor lacking too; mostly pine bitterness (though not unpleasant ) with a touch of bready malt but , and this where I’m disappointed. It’s really lacking any juicy flavors from other hill IPAs I’ve enjoyed . Feel is fine, approprsitely carbed, not sticky sweet

Sep 26, 2020
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Siriusfisherman from Vermont

4.45/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

L: Hazy yellow with a slight orange tint. Nice fluffy white head and decent lacing.

S: Peach, apricot, Ruby red grapefruit. A noticable malt aroma as well, clean and bready.

T: Moderate bitterness, smooth, moves into juicy citrus and peach/apricot with some mango as well. The malt is clean and bready.

F: Very soft and creamy while still managing to be dry and crisp. Perfection.

Overall: A fantastic IPA that delivers on big juicy flavors and high drinkability. Definitely worth getting some if you get a chance.

Sep 03, 2020
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Crowheadhopper from New York

4.68/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had this on tap at Henry's Taproom in Saratoga, ny on 2/21/20. As soon as I saw this on the chalkboard there was no other choice. This brewery carries the weight of Ages of brewing quality. Not my first draught of this however, already being in Burlington numerous times. That being said, this is an amazingly subtle NEIPA with so much complexity that you could write an essay on this elixir if you didn't devolve into a blabbering idiot after 3 or 4 of this. My friend met me for 1 beer and it turned into 3 each! THIS IS A MUST-HAVE BEER! The experience of drinking this will make you wax poetic about the ingrained vermont qualities of superior IPA's. Do find this and do enjoy it but please....give your keys to the bartender and Uber home.

Feb 29, 2020
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BillRoth from Maryland

4.54/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at HF and grabbed a 750 swing top growler as well.
Stunning looking full creamy head on an opaque hazy soft yellow base. Nose slightly understated but flavor was packed full of mango; pineapple and citrus. Modest dank as beer opened up a bit; but not distracting or overly bitter.
Body was just about perfect and incredibly smooth.
Overall one of the very best IPAs I’ve ever had.

Jun 09, 2019
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Vidblain from Minnesota

4.41/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I found Susan on tap at Armsby Abbey on a recent trip to Massachusetts - a bit of a detour, but well worth the drive (for food and beer both).

Susan is a tremendous warm day beer - I had no A/C in my car and was quite hot. Susan is tropical, with some pineapple and malt and hoppy bitter fruitiness. It's damned fine and refreshing - I wish that Hill Farmstead distributed or tapped in the Midwest.

Jan 03, 2019
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GinjaSlice from Connecticut

4.65/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Perfect pour from a growler, small fluffy head, lacing all the way down the glass, hazy amber.
Not a strong smell, mostly getting juice some orange juice scent, lots of fruit.
Taste is along with the nose. Lots of orange juice and tropical fruit taste. Extremely smooth and way too easy to drink. You get a little bit of the pine/bitterness at the very end.

One of the smoothest/easiest to drink ipas I've ever had. But it's missing that stone fruit/dank hop flavor that are in my favorite ipas.

Nov 18, 2018
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

4.33/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a classic from these guys that i am only finally getting to drink now. it may have been a game changer when it first came out, but it certainly isnt anything new anymore. this balance of heavy dry hopping over a hazy base with some substance is now everywhere, and even the hop profile itself seems somewhat classic, more northwestern than southern hemisphere, but its the degree of refinement that has me blown away, which is more manifest in the mouthfeel than anywhere else in this now famous ipa. it is both expressively carbonated and bone dry, while also being drinkable but substantial, round medium body but fast finishing, the right elements of the hops linger too, no vegetal bite or over bittered harshness. it does have some bitterness though, not all juice, and the grapefruity piney flavors, almost assuredly simcoe derived, do have some resolution, but its the between the lines nuances of pineapple, papaya, and juniper that turn me on here. so alive from the tap, almost chuggable for what it is, probably ahead of its time when it was introduced, not decidedly in the middle of whats hot, but this is a quality league or two above just about everything else, including the other ones the nerds all line up for and freak out about. from a flavor standpoint, its great but not revolutionary, but through the lens of quality, its as good as it gets!

Aug 27, 2018
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StJamesGate from New York

4.18/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap Mission Dolores, Brooklyn.
Deep haze; flowers + citrus; big orange juice with flecks of herb + resin; dead smooth.

4 4 4.25 4.25 4.25

Citra, Simcoe, and Riwaka

My first HF. One of these that’s so well-made that it’s tough to deconstruct, but maybe more impressive for being less flashy. And something very 2000s, 4 Cs about how the hopping plays out. An intriguing hint at what HF has to offer.

*reconstructed from notes

Jul 30, 2018
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Boto from Connecticut

4.53/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Draught: this one pours a murky, golden color. There was a wisp of a white head and some lacing. Nice nose! Grapefruit, tropical and citrus hops. The taste is very good. A faint bitterness, and lots of juicy hops. They blend together to make something that is just excellent!

Jul 24, 2018
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digboy from New Hampshire

4.59/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap. Pours cloudy bright gold color with one finger white head with ample lacing.

Modest aroma of citrus and pine. Very clean smelling.

Hop forward with pine and lemon notes. Super smooth with the lemon kicking in late alomg with a lingrring light sweetness.

Soft feel with a moderate to high bitterness.

Well balanced, clean and just the right flavor. This is a testament to the high quality coming from these guus

Apr 14, 2018
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NickandToni from New York

4.7/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Lucky enoug that Upright Brew House in the West Village (NYC) was pouring drafts of Susan. Never a surprise to be impressed by Hill Farmstead.

L: approachable orange haziness
S: dank sweet sugary peach pie with a doughy pleasantry
T: clean and easy fruit with peach in the forefront. Almost sessionable
F: hit all parts of my palate with good balance of fruit, slight pine, sugars, and just the right hop notes without being muddled
O: A top go to when I’m lucky enough to find

Feb 28, 2018
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Holderness from Massachusetts

4.46/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at the Whetstone Station, Brattleboro.

L — Pours an orangey amber haze with a small white head that dissipates quickly but laces well. Doesn’t look as murky as some NEIPAs can - the haze is more inviting
S — Dank new sneaker, orange, pine, chalky yeastiness, hint of weed. Definitely citra-dominant, smells a lot like Julius
T — Crisp, herbaceous, and rindy with nice undertones of tropical fruits, grapefruit flesh, and bready malts. Hop bitterness is more present than in many NEIPAs, but it’s not at all biting or resinous
F — Medium mouthfeel, medium carb. Very drinkable, with minimal bitterness in the semi-dry, fruity finish
O — First time trying a HF brew, and really digging how well put-together all the aspects are. Reminds me of a ‘softer’, ‘updated’ Heady Topper


EDIT (1/7/2018):

Trying this for a second time and was equally impressed with all aspects. The mouthfeel is right on the cusp of a 4.5

Dec 14, 2017
Susan from Hill Farmstead Brewery
Beer rating: 100 out of 100 with 2082 ratings