Hill Farmstead Brewery

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Farmhouse Ale - Saison
Ranked #195
Ranked #3,771
4.11 | pDev: 9.25%
Hill Farmstead Brewery
Vermont, United States
Notes: Edith (1897-1992) was our grandfather’s sister, and Hill Farmstead Brewery rests upon the land that was once home to her and her 13 siblings. In her honor, this black saison is crafted from American malted barley, German roasted malts, European hops, our farmhouse yeast, and water from our well. Unfiltered and naturally carbonated, this is the ale that I dream to have shared with Edith.
Reviews: 71 | Ratings: 479 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of papposilenus
papposilenus from New Hampshire

3.71/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

From a 750ml bottle, ‘bottle conditioning since 09/09/29.’ Served in a tulip.

Pours acorn brown, maple syrup-black in the glass without highlights. A scant half-finger head of suds falls off quickly to a wispy cap and collar.

Aroma is somehow both sweet and grainy, and tart and funky, in turns and then both at the same time. Granola and mildew.

Taste sensations include millet roll and mildewing basement carpet, punky wood, cedar, cigar-leaf-blackberry-and-ashes tea, and diluted vinegar.

Feel is light and drying, thin bodied, with fine, sparse carbonation.

Overall, it’s alright but I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of this one. Somewhat reminiscent of Foundation’s Darkside Corruption which I really dug, but this seems sort of thin and watered down in comparison - good water, but still.

Monday at 12:16 AM
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5toutman75 from Illinois

4.08/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Purchased at the brewery in July. Looks really nice with a slight head that stays around. Very soft mouthfeel too. Taste wise I get lots more sour than coffee but not a lot of saison hops or other notes. For the price I paid, I guess I was expecting more from HF.

Jan 02, 2020
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jhavs from New York

4.45/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2014 vintage on tap at brewery April 2019.
Poured into globe, dark, dark brown. Barely translucent at edges when held up to light. Creamy tan head, tons of clingy lacing. Can smell a light tartness and roasted malts. Soft, tart and roasty flavors. Some citrus zest. Effervescent smooth carbonation and medium body. A very tasty brew,

Apr 10, 2019
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VelvetExtract from Massachusetts

3.9/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle. The bottle was probably about 5 years old. A cool beer that held up well. Dark saison. Funk and darker beer qualities. Almost reminds me of Zwet.Be from 3 Fonteinen. Not as robust. Unique.

Mar 25, 2019
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Hyptochrons from Massachusetts

4.75/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

on tap at the hill farmstead takeover at farmhouse tap and grill in burlington - 2016 batch enjoyed 3.20.19.

beautiful looking beer, pleasant aromas and a wonderful and interesting flavor profile. funky, lots of dark fruits and seedy tart character, blackberry, cherry, currants, hinting at plum, red grape and vinous quality, some dark bready notes and mellow sweet malty quality. wow!

Mar 21, 2019
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

a 2013 vintage bottle generously shared by a good friend. none of us were sure how this would hold up being about five years old now, but its killer, drinking really amazingly well right now. its a dark saison, with that moderate and distinct hill farmstead funk, super developed from a yeast standpoint and enormously complex at this age. deep brown in color with a little bit of visible sediment and an explosive airy white head, almost gushing, hard to control as we pour it around, the head is wispy and lasting, and i can see carbonation rising up frantically even though the dark liquid. the nose is sharp and sort of medically astringent right away, not necessarily bacterially sour so much, but with a cool acidity and tannin complexion, i get a ton of red wine, raisin and plum and blackberry, you would almost swear this was fermented or aged in red wine barrels, although im not sure that it is. slight oxidation doesnt bother me. a cool chocolatey but dry dark european sort of grain complexion, almost like a funky schwarzbier or something, bready in a cooked sort of way, even possible rye spice appreciable, all mature and well intertwined, mature to say the least. the yeast is bretty but its not run away, some saison character here too in at least equal proportion, winey again with a lot of dark fruit to it and a little bit of citrus as well. leathery sort of richness but no sweeness whatsoever. fizzy effervescence, medium light body, almost delicate for its color, and finishing with some tannins and just a bit of drying acidity. amazing beer, a relic at this point, but drinking mighty well. it is always a treat to drink beer from hill farmstead. they are truly one of the very best!

May 11, 2018
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kevanb from Illinois

3.71/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle, dated 6.19.17, poured into a Hill Farmstead oversized wine glass.

The beer pours a dark cola brown color, black hues with a bone colored head, two fingers tall that has good retention and plenty of lace. The aroma is nice, dark roasted barley, light funk, cherry stone fruits, a bit of black pepper and a light pine like scent. The flavors are nice, dark roasted grain, light chocolate, tart cherry, some plum with a nice funk and yeasty flavor and a but of a dull earthy finish. The mouthfeel is perfect, coating, lively medium body that is gentle but vibrant that finishes with a tart kiss.

Verdict: A nice dark farmstead ale from Hill Farmstead. Nicely balanced but a bit muted, the tartness and stone fruit flavors are appreciated but there is something earthy that kind of dulls the beer a bit. A nice, well made saison, but not my favorite.

Feb 02, 2018
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Sabtos from Ohio

4.22/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Appearing muddy opaque dark brown, under light, some visible bread dough-like yeast chunks settle at the bottom. While at the top, a large, creamy, light tan blanket persistently remains thick, and clings in ridges.

Edith has a very clean aroma, exhibiting light roast and wood, black pepper, red grape, and sour raspberry and cherry. I can not believe this isn't wine barrel-aged.

Super smooth, soft, clean and round on the palate, Edith has a lightly crisp but soft carbonation and a semi-dry finish. Flavors are insanely balanced, mature and very cooperative, melding light roast, tart grape, red wine, toasted sesame, and all sorts of small fruits, from cherry, raspberry and elderberry to marionberry.

This is made with an absolutely expert, deft touch. And again, with all of these developed qualities, I'm astonished this isn't wine barrel-aged.

Oct 29, 2017
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JackRWatkins from Alabama

3.67/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.75

A: pours black with chocolate brown and reddish undertones, khaki two-finger head
S: roasty, sort of in a weizenbock or doppelbock-ish way, clean sourness, some salty, yet somehow not briney characteristics, some definite coffee
T: the shocking thing here is there really is no dark fruit, it's almost like a traditional saison was blended with a bock beer, there is no chocolate, no dark fruit and the roastiness is more grainy, bracingly sour honestly, to the same degree as florence, and in a way similar to florence, i feel as though this sourness takes away from the expressiveness of the malt
M: distinctive and perfect for a hill farmstead beer
O: I wanted to love this more than I did, it's a very good beer, but its sourness eats away at its other flavors, I love sour beer, but this beer sacrifices its range for bite. Their other beers are worth the trip, this one, not as much.

Aug 19, 2017
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Sludgeman from District of Columbia

3.59/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at The Sovereign. Poured in to a stemmed tulip.

This beer may be brewed with saison yeast, etc. but it’s a sour, don’t let anyone fool you. 3.5

A – Pours brown to black. 4

S - Caramel with some underlying lacticness. 3.75

T - More lactic sour than tart. 3.5

MF- Medium light body with a dry finish. 3.5

Apr 10, 2017
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Mateo2699 from Texas

3.96/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour is a dark brown hue, off white colored big head with super sticky lacing. Typical Brett sour aroma, less musty and more crisp lemon and orange zest. Following the nose well, the taste has that same Brett funk going on, plenty of citrus with hints or roasted malts, dark cherries and a subtle hint of chocolate. Not bad!

Mar 16, 2017
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SomethingClever from Ohio

3.85/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

750 ml bottle poured into snifter.

A: Darkish brown caramel body with decent clarity. Head is a slightly off white Soapy big bubbled affair.

S: Light funk, lemons, light maltiness

T: More gradual sour funkiness nothing too sour and a light roasted malt character and slight bit of lemon.

M: Lighter with fairly high catbonation.

O: This is a great saison, but its not mind blowingly good either. A little bit of a disappointment for how hard it is to get.

Dec 25, 2016
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Jwale73 from Rhode Island

3.88/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

750ml bottle served in my HF tulip. Bottled 09/27/2016. Pours one shade shy of black with a rocky, half inch, khaki-colored head embedded with tiny ringlets. Nose is complex, yet subtle - brett, vinous notes and a light grassiness. Nothing particularly dominates. Taste follows nose with the addition of some roast and chocolate malt. Mouthfeel is light in body with a pleasant, even carbonation. There's also a light oiliness and a slight astringency. Overall - I'm not a huge fan of dark sours. Those I do enjoy tend to be a little less subdued. All and all, not bad but not really what I'm looking for.

Nov 12, 2016
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ManapuaMan from Massachusetts

4.24/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A visual contradiction. Pours out of the bottle looking like a porter - black body with a frothy head that stays for the full session. The aroma is all saison - brett funk, green apple, hay and lemon zest. The taste is a reconciliation of the two - funk, hay, tart apple, sour cherry, pepper and rich roasted malt. It works and it's delicious. Finishes crisp and dry.

Nov 09, 2016
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Marius from Netherlands

4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Warpigs, pre-CBC. Very dark ruby. Tart smell, balsamic vinegar and fruits. Tastes sour and bitter-sweet, with notes of grapes, gooseberries, brewed coffee.

Jun 19, 2016
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imonhiatus from New Jersey

3.87/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

December 2015 bottle

a style I am not wild for but nicely executed w a soft tartness. opens up rat her nicely and is a crisp enjoyable winter saison.

Jan 31, 2016
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MadScientist from New York

4.41/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A tart beeer with a lively balance of flavors. It's got the dryness and fruity flavors in a Saison with a moderate funk that I love. There dark malt imparts a sublte nuance of roast to the nose a flavor.

Jan 21, 2016
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GreesyFizeek from New York

4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Umberto the day, thanks man.

This one pours a fairly dark brown-ish black, with a one inch head, and a bit of lacing.

This one smells like black cherry, chocolate, Brett, lemon, and citrus.

A black saison is pretty tough to pull off, but they nail this one, unsurprisingly. This has flavors of cherry and chocolate, lemony and funky Brett, a bit of citrus, and some slight grassiness from the hops. Not my favorite Hill Farmstead saison, but still quite good.

This is medium bodied, slightly creamy, with a normal level of carbonation.

Excellent stuff, as usual.

Jan 18, 2016
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Stevedore from Oregon

4.11/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

750ml bottle. Bottled 11/2014. Served in a Hill Farmstead stemmed glass.

This bottle gushed. Hard. It was difficult to get the cap off, and as soon as there was a hole, brown head started gushing out, and kept doing so while I was trying to pry off the bottle cap. Whoops.

Pours a black body, three finger (whilst gushing) brown head, very nice retention, lots of lacing. Points taken off essentially for gushing. Smells of tart cherry, oak, roast, some dark chocolate, caramel, lemon zest, mild funk. Not too complicated, but pretty good. Pretty good. Flavour is a bit better and a more complex blend of tart cherry, dark chocolate, sweet caramel, lemon. It's a nice blend of tart fruit, roast and chocolate. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, substantial, creamy yet evanescent on the palate, leaving you with a nice lasting tart cherry finish. You could say it's the cherry on top. Overall, I did enjoy this beer quite a bit despite it being a major gusher, mostly because it's got a nice balance of tart/sour, sweet caramel and roast, with a mouthfeel to match.

Jan 12, 2016
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ArkyVaughan from New Jersey

4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black saison is one of my least favorite beer styles and I generally avoid them. Yet, it comes as no surprise to me that Hill would be able to pull of this style. Other than the color, this smells and tastes like a classic Hill saison.

Nov 16, 2015
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scottfrie from California

3.8/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 03/28/13.

A: Pours a dark cola brown with a super frothy head that faded into a lasting fuzzy film leaving wispy lace down the glass. Very frothy carbonation really foamed up in the glass.
S: Smell is greasy, tart dark fruits, mildly sweet dark fruits, caramel, and dry tannins.
T: Very tart and acidic dark fruits and caramel mixed with mild chocolate. Like a tart Porter. Very tart and acidic. Dark fruits and cherries up front, mild sweetness and chocolate in the finish. Roasted aftertaste.
M: Frothy carbonation, drying mouthfeel with a balancing bit of greasy chew to it, medium body.
O: One of my least favorite HF beers overall, but as a standalone beer, it's a solid sour dark saision, albeit a bit over-carbonated.

Oct 06, 2015
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barczar from Kentucky

4.02/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fairly tart and sour aroma, with light funk and roast. Floral character adds complexity.

Flavor is lactic, with underlying roast and chocolate notes.

Aug 22, 2015
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Rutager from Canada (BC)

3.7/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

First of all, the biggest of thank you's to the man David for sending me the craziest box of HF I've ever seen. So awesome to drink this stuff on the west coast of Canada (though it seems to be a regular thing with all the beer bros in this town ;-) ).

Pours dark brown but thin looking for the colour (colour, go Canada and fuck you, spellcheck!). Near black in the (HF balloon ...montrealbcr89) glass. Two fingers of light khaki head.

Smell is dark toasty malts with dat hf signature mineral note ...which is a bit strange tbh. A light vinous note as well, again a bit strange with the other stuff.

Taste is much better. Like a nice hf saison, lemony tart but with a light roasty dark malt. Maybe not a combination that was born of starlight and rainbows, but not terrible by any means.

A bit below medium in body with soft and smooth, medium-strong carbonation.

Interesting and different but not the best beer ever made by these guys for me. The relativity must be considered here, of course. ;-)

Aug 10, 2015
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brentk56 from North Carolina

3.72/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: A slow gusher, but I didn't lose any beer; pours coffee brown with a buoyant beige head; rings of lacing

Smell: Tart and vinous; funky, with burnt toast and a hint of chocolate

Taste: Berry, burnt toast and chocolate tones, up front, with growing tart flavors building, charred, vinous flavors build underneath and, ultimately, dominate the finish; herbaceous elements in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: I see a lot of reviewers saying this is a Brett beer but Brett alone would not account for the sourness here; I think there are other wild yeast things going on and, ultimately side with those who say that the combination of flavors that result does not produce a cohesive whole; glad to try it but would not likely seek it out again

Thanks, bittermestupid, for the opportunity

May 29, 2015
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cbutova from Massachusetts

4.06/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Second time around this block. Chico1985 shared a bottle generously a few months back.

A- Black bodied ale to many glasses at a meet up with a pale mocha head. Frothy and creamy cap dies over time to a hazy belt. One large web with plenty of drizzle.

S- Roasty grains rather prominent with some months on it with dark cocoa, coffee, slight char and heavily caramelized toasty sugars. Juxtaposition provided by semi tart farmhouse yeast with lemon and spicy tones.

T- Tartness becomes an integral part of the balance here and it acts to bring the roast influence down a bit. Hints now of cocoa, caramel, toasted nuts and roast barley. Hard to pick out obvious notes from the yeast but pepper, cooking herbs, lemon and vinous grapes come to mind.

MF- Dried out for the most part with a medium tartness and a silky, frothy consistency to the medium body. Carbonation lands on the high side.

Darker than the last time I had it seems but the blend of tart yeast and roastiness stands tall. Dark Saisons are always an interesting take on the style and throwing some tartness in actually works well for me.

May 15, 2015
Edith from Hill Farmstead Brewery
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 479 ratings