Elaborative #1 | Hill Farmstead Brewery

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Elaborative #1Elaborative #1

Brewed by:
Hill Farmstead Brewery
Vermont, United States

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Elaborative #1 was brewed in November of 2011 with our friends Brad Clark and Chad Yakobson. A brown ale brewed with freshly harvested Ohio walnuts. The beer was aged in oak barrels, each barrel with a different blend of wild yeast and bacteria representative of the participating brewers. After 18 months, the distinct threads were blended back together and refermented in the bottle.

The Elaborative: A brewing collaboration with like-minded friends. A fermentative experiment through thoughtful enquiry and discourse. A desire to further our understanding of the interactive complexities of our process while trying to abandon our preconceptions...

Added by MasterSki on 04-16-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 38 | Ratings: 280
Photo of KingdomBobcat
4.8/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A- Rich brown, almost black, with a tan head of about one finger with quite a bit of lacing.
S- Mild funk, some grape-like notes, roasted dark malt, some walnut, smells boozier than it is too.
T- Pleasantly sour, very pronounced walnut that pairs well with the oak barrel aging.
M- A little low in carbonation, very smooth, wine like character. Pleasant mixed aftertaste of roasted malt and slight funk.
O- Was surprised when I saw this for sale at the brewery since it was not listed on their website. Very glad that I got one bottle to try. Pairs very well with wild turkey meat.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.77/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle purchased and drank at Hill Farmstead Brewery in Rochester, NY.

This one pours a pretty dark brown, with an off white head, and no lacing.

Smells like toffee, caramel, and maybe a bit of chocolate, and tons of amazingly flavorful walnuts, with a slight tart aroma.

This has to be one of the most unique sours I've ever had. The walnuts are an awesome and dynamic flavor component, making a warm nutty flavor. There's some chocolate and toffee with a bit of caramel. This has probably the most interesting malt backbone of a sour I've ever had. The sourness is soft, more of a tartness, really, with some lemon, sour cherry and mild funk.

This is lighter bodied, with a normal level of carbonation.

This is so unique and wonderful. It feels kind of a like a really nice oud bruin.

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Photo of NuclearRich
4.73/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Finally tasting this bad boy, after a month from picking it up at the brewery. Served from the bottle into a Belgian snifter-type glass.

A. Deep brown burgundy, mahogany, cherry tints. Dark, but from what I can tell its pretty clear. Big off-white/tan head forms, slowly fades into a reasonable collar, and laces the glass very nicely.

S. Oak, funk, walnuts. A little tartness comes through as well. The first thing that really strikes me - the walnut aroma is really nice!

T. Tart, but lightly so. Frankly, out of all of the HF brews I've sampled, this one had me apprehensive. Walnuts? But yes, walnuts! They come through so smoothly and blend with the rest of the flavors. Brown ale malts come through subtly, underneath of the sour, the walnut, the funk.

M. On the lighter side of medium bodied, I would say. Crisp carbonation is a little sharp at first, but mellows as it warms into a perfect balance.

O. I am running out of ways to describe the goodness of Hill Farmstead. This beer in particular is really exquisite: just sour enough, nice brown ale base, and of course the walnut presence that is executed perfectly

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Photo of vonnegut21
4.72/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours deep brown, almost black. Thin head with minimal lacing.

S: Huge walnut notes, acetic sourness, caramel, vanilla and honey. Not overbearing at all with the acidity. An amazing smelling beer.

T: Nice acetic character, caramel, vanilla, bready malt. Tons of mellow walnut on the back of the tongue. Not overly sour, but nicely balanced. Extremely drinkable.

M: Nice, medium level of carbonation. Coats the tongue. Not too thin.

O: Wow, this is excellent. I usually like my sour beers to be over the top, but this is an example of moderate sourness and balance working beautifully together. The walnut lends a nice sweetness and depth of flavor. Hopefully it doesn't fade over time.

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Photo of facesnorth
4.68/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Elaborative has grown on me just sickly The aftertaste is so chewy I feel like I'm eating the essence of a walnut without any of the scratchiness and heaviness in actually doing so.

You need to drink 2 full bottles before you even begin to understand this beer. That may be the case for a lot of HF - the first bottle is simply to temper expectations and prepare your palette for the second.

I've had 3-4 bottles of this now. I still have another 4-5 in my cellar. I don't think I'll be trading this one for anything. edit: 6-7 bottles now, possibly my favorite beer ever.

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Photo of cfrances33
4.64/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a Hill Farmstead wine stem.

Pour: Body is a muddy brown, with some rusty hues included. A finger of khaki head forms and leaves mild lacing.

Smell: A rather subtle nose... there is some funk and hay, that mixes with a lactic character, light lemon, and caramel. A touch of roast. Finish highlights more funk and nuttiness.

Taste: Just wow. Immediately opens with a clean, forward funk and lactic tartness. Evolves into a subtle caramel roast, a touch of dried cherries, and a mild lemony lactic bite. As the glass warms the funk becomes more prominent and is, dare I say, reminiscent of Cantillon, in particular. Finish is lightly roasty, funky, and tart.

Mouthfeel: Perfect levels of tartness and carbonation. Finish lingers with a lactic aspect and funk.

Overall: I am beyond impressed with this beer. One of the best Hill Farmstead beers I have had to date. Awesome.

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Photo of nrs207
4.63/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark brown, not too murky. Slight head from a small pour. Looks inviting.

S - Nice slightly tart aroma. Can smell a bit of a brown ale and the walnuts as more of a generic nuttiness.

T - Taste is where the beer really elevates itself. I love walnuts and you can really taste them on the back end. Up front there's a light tartness. By no means is this an exceptionally sour beer. Very well balanced, but I love the walnuts at the end. Really enjoyable.

M - Smooth, well carbonated, no alcohol presence. Just like every other Hill Farmstead beer I've had the pleasure of trying.

O - This is a great beer that surpassed my expectations. The walnuts are really a great addition for someone who likes them, and I could drink this all day. Really great stuff right here, and another great beer from Shaun. Grab them if you can, none of us (6 people) were let down by it.

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Photo of unclejazz
4.62/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Happily enjoyed a few pours from brewers Chad and Brad at HF 3rd annual weather emergency. Being a fan of Crooked Stave and having visited Athens once, I was bind to enjoy this. What best stood out toe was the great smell of walnut, great funk tartness, and a clean crisp taste. I could drink and drink and drink this some more. I might jut drive back up when they release this in bottles. Cheers!

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Photo of SadMachine
4.57/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a deep, opaque brown with mahogany hues on the edges. A finger head that retains well and leaves good lacing.

S- Smells incredibly unique! Opens with a waft of tart funk and barrel character, but it is swiftly ushered away by walnut and some wood. As it warms the tart and funky aromas increase. There's also a bit of smokiness.

T- The flavor is incredible, and so different from anything else I've ever tasted! It's hard to even describe many of the flavors since it's so unique. It is only mildly tart and funky, but the walnut and barrel flavors are big and pronounced. There are many subtleties that make this beer a pleasure to explore. It has a nice smokiness and mild roast to add to the mellow feel of the beer.

M- The mouthfeel is medium, smooth, and just about perfect for the style.

O- Overall I am enthralled with and intrigued by this beer! I wish I could describe it better, but this will have to suffice!

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Photo of PsilohsaiBiN
4.54/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Rusty, brownish red with a small off-white head that recedes quickly to the perimeter.

Smell: Funky sourness, damn. There's an array of fruit there: cherries, pear, apple and lemon. Some faint strawberry notes are there as well.

Taste: Front of the tongue is all funk from the wild yeast. Middle of the tongue gives you that juicy fruit thing as described in the nose. The end of the drink gives you the walnut character and then it all just fades out so cleanly, it's insane. The finish of this beer pretty much makes everything, despite the insanity of it all, drop off a cliff, and leave you with nothing more than an extremely subtle walnut taste; pretty damn complex. The way this beer unfolds is just so nice; beginning, end and middle are just so different, and distinctly unique.

Mouthfeel: Good carbonation and medium bodied at most, but extremely drinkable.

Overall: This beer is like nothing I've ever had, but that alone doesn't make an outstanding beer. This brew is amazing because it unfolds like a well told story; with many distinct stages of the plot happening in waves that can't be ignored. A complex journey that I've found in few beers prior, this stands out. Thanks, Shaun and friends.

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Photo of Pinknuggets
4.53/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle to HFS Sniffer

A: dark brown but almost reddish mahogany in color with hues of bright red on the outside. It has a creamy tan brown head that leaves a heavy lacing that stays in the glass. It is pretty much completely opaque.

S: Upfront there are smells of oak and funk the wild yeast and long aging really makes its presence felt. There are some notes of walnuts and dark fruit with a little tiny bit of sweetness.

T: In the beginning it is pretty tart to the point its almost overwhelming, but immediately the brown and walnuts hit you and everything is smoothed out. The tartness does not disappear but becomes a lot more sweet as the walnut and oak flavor really stand out in finish that without being repetitive is completely smooth.

M: The carbonation adds to the tartness up front to almost burn your tongue but the aging and the brown ale parts come through making this beer really smooth and incredibly drinkable. The finish is probably one of the best I've ever had.

O: This is definitely the best brown sour I have ever had and is definitely an extremely high quality beer. The flavor is tart and sweet in the start but smooth nutty with a hint of oak in the finish. The transformation this beer makes in your mouth is amazing especially when coupled with the use of wild yeast and barrel aging if you can get this beer do so.

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Photo of mobius387
4.52/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured into hill farmstead stemware

appearance: dark oaky brown, thick vanilla bubbly head, opaque, few bubbles clutching the sides and bottom of glass. is this a stout? no, no, its a wild

aroma: nutty, oaky, charred, brett, very nice and robust

palate: medium body, minimal carbonation, soft on the tongue, easy to drink

taste: i get black cherries, oak, tart, some molasses, a hint of hops, so smooth

overall: i have to say, this is one of the best sours ive had by HF. i love them for their ipas and saisons, but this is fantastic as well. a superbly balanced wild, tart enough to be a quality sour, but robust enough to offer much more than just sour power.

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Photo of rlee1390
4.52/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

A-Clear ruby when pouring, black in the glass, with a two finger tan head and some lacing.

S-Mild funk, lots of oak and the nuts are present.

T-Amazing balance. Starts with mild funk. Then the walnuts and oak take over. The walnut flavor is outstanding. Even some grass.

M-Medium bodied, well carbonated, semi-crisp finish.

O-An absolutely amazing beer. One of the best. The walnuts had be concerned, but they flavor they give the beer was phenomenal.

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Photo of bahnfire
4.52/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle into HF stemware.

A: Pours a dark brown color with 1.5 finger head. In the glass it passes minimal to no light, but appears maroon around the edges of the glass.

S: Lots of good funk on the nose. Can't get enough of it. Also get some of the walnuts on the nose as well.

T: Not quite as sour as the nose may lead you to believe, but still properly sour. More of a balanced sour than a mouth puckering sour. The barrel comes through as well. The more it warms the more barrel you get.

M: Medium bodied. Carbonation level typical of the style.

O: A great sour brown ale. If you like sours I would recommend seeking it out.

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Photo of WTKeene
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 375ml bottle into a Hill Farmstead tasting glass.

Appearance: Dark maroon/brown at the base fading to almost black at the top. Hints of copper, mahogany in the appearance as well, especially as the bottle gets emptier. Head is thick and creamy beige, and coats the glass with lacing.

Smell: The nose is quite vinegary, with a hint of roasted nuts. Fruity, even a vaguely spicy quality, almost cinnamon. Remarkably complex.

Taste: Not nearly as sour as I thought it would be. I was expecting a vinegar bomb and was happily surprised. Lots of roasted walnuts with a hint of smoke. Hints of fruitiness, and lots of oaky vanilla. Incredibly complex, and ridiculously good. The aftertaste is a lot of molasses.

Mouthfeel: The only negative point of the beer. A little thin, and carbonation is low. Molasses in the aftertaste really sticks to the mouth.

Overall: A pleasant surprise from Hill Farmstead. Was expecting this to be a lot less exciting, but I should have known better than to underestimate Hill Farmstead. A fantastic sour brown right here.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Lunch. Thanks Paul.

The beer is cola brown with a thin, fizzy head. I don't pick out walnuts, per se. Aromas of earth, musty funk, vinous notes, oak. Some cherry notes with a lovely sour quality. Piquant and delicious. Fairly light in body, though bold in flavor. Assertive without being aggressive. Quite tasty.

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Photo of Skrip
4.45/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

375ml bottle poured into a Hill Farmstead oversized wine glass.

A~ really dark brown with a redish hue towards the bottom. light tan head with a lot of lacing.

S~ very tart up front, lemons, grapefruit, and a little lime. all followed by roasty dark malts, a little nut aroma, and a good amount of oak.

T~ YES! the walnut flavor comes out soo nicely leaving a hint all the way through the after taste. first you get a lot of lemony tartness that immediately changes into a crazy walnut explosion! lots of nutty oak on the finish that really sticks with you. absolutely amazing!

M~ definite lighter then i expected. very smooth and nicely carbonated. the carbonation really plays a close role with the walnuts, once that carbonation hits the pallet its like a walnut orgasm (no homo lol)

O~ delicious! all around delicious! once again HF can do no wrong, they some how manage to exceed my expectations every time which should be hard by now because they're threw the roof haha. if you're into wild ales and love a good overly nutty brown this brew is totally for you!

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.43/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured in to HF stemmed tulip.

A - Deep brown with one finger of light brown head.

S -Some vinegar sourness up front that settle down and give way to a light nutty aroma and some sweetness.

T - Acidic sourness that gives way to a nutty/bready sweetness and touches of caramel and brown sugar. Not specifically getting the walnuts but there is a big nutty note.

M - Light to medium body. Dry. Moderate carbonation.

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Photo of jjdc
4.43/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I rarely think of brown ales as being beautiful in the glass, but this one is. It's a deep mahogany or cherry stain that wouldn't be out of place in grandpa's study. The pillowy head is a capuchino tan. The nose is delicate citrus and rubbery, dusty funkiness. The flavor profile is balanced and sophisticated, as you would expect out of any HF beer. There's Chardonnay grapes, a spritz of lemon, and a subtle nuttiness. The nut flavor evolves into something a tad more sharp and bitter like the skins on peanuts. The whole thing wraps up with a bit of pencil eraser and dustiness from the souring bugs. The sourness is present, but never veers into Tums territory. Very nice.

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Photo of MDDMD
4.43/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-dark brown color with mahogany highlights, decent off-hire head and some lacing

S-brown malt, sour cherries, walnuts

T-nice sour fruit up front and then the walnuts come through in a nice complementary fashion, good brown ale base

F-medium body with mild to moderate carbonation, crisp and tart

O-an interesting sour with walnuts which really worked nicely with this

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Photo of scottfrie
4.37/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

375ml bottle into snifter. Thanks again AutumnBeerLove!

A: Pours a deep brown color with a very soft and fuzzy looking light tan head. The head slowly faded into a very fuzzy and thick film that left a solid sheet of lace down the glass.
S: The nose is fruity, with woody notes of oak barrel coming through as well. Scents are tart and acidic, and the fruit is ambiguous. Slight funk, slight earth.
T: Woody and earthy flavors mix with a lightly acidic tartness in the finish. I get nutty notes as well, presumably from the walnuts, and there is a kiss of lemon in the finish. The aftertaste is peppery, earthy, and full of woody and dry oak barrel. There is a light amount of spice overall, and perhaps some unripe peach. More and more of the walnut comes out as this beer warms.
M: Medium body with a slick and greasy buttery-oak mouthfeel. I guess some of the greasiness could be coming from the walnut oil as well. Carbonation is fluffy and very smooth. Acidity is low, and tartness is perfect for the delicate flavors. Finish is buttery rather than tannic and dry.
O: A very enjoyable sour. Very smooth and slick body drinks very well. An interesting use of walnuts that worked very well. Thanks again Kevin!

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Photo of TychoNDC
4.37/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Reviewed from notes! Consumed 7/29/2013.

Poured into a stemmed HF glass.

A- Pours a rich coffee colored brown. It's not quite a porter in color but its darn close. The beer keeps a thin creamy head with some nearly translucent lacing.

S- Intoxicating! Acid and oak dominate up front. Tart and sweet follows, like a sour warhead. An amazing smell.

T. Sour and acidic up front. As it warms the tongue, the walnuts come into play, and lastly the oak really shines. It's almost 3 different beers! A very unique flavor profile, but possibly a bit too acidic to remain balanced.

M. Fleeting effervescence gives way to a bold, wine-like body. This beer has a weight which exceeds its flavor and alcohol content.

O. The sourness of this beer is completely refreshing and nicely complements the rich body of the beer. The oak unfortunately is a little less present than I might like. All in all, it's a wonderful beer and I'd love to see how it mellows over time.

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Photo of jaasen64
4.37/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 375ml bottle poured into HF fest glass. Two 375ml bottles cracked at once and split five ways. One bottle was purchased the week it was released and the other was purchased during a surprise Wednesday release more recently.

A- Pours a translucent slightly reddish brown with a slight off-white foamy head that leaves layered lacing. Maybe not the most appealing beer I've ever seen but what do you expect from a wild brewed with walnuts.

S- Tons of funk, very lambic-like, fairly musty with some cheese, slight pepper, and some walnuts balanced in. Reminds me a lot of a 3F gueuze with a little bit of a walnut characteristic. The beer is very aromatic with the walnuts actually coming out nicely and blending with the funk. Very unique and interesting.

T- A bit on the sour side with some nice cheesy funk, mustiness, cherry skins, light pepper, and walnuts that come out a bit more on the finish and balance nicely with the funk. Complex, interesting, unique, definitely the funkiest HF I've had (albeit haven't had CD7 yet).

M- Acidity cuts through the palate decently strong but doesn't effect the flavors too much, carbonation adds a fitting tingly sensation to match the funk, a little bit on the dry side.

O- This is easily one of the more unique american wilds I've had, but it was very nicely done. The extended aging of 18 months definitely shown through bringing out a considerable amount of mustiness and funk and a decent amount of acidity on the palate. The walnuts came through nicely in both bottles but the one that had been at HF longer had noticeably more walnut- which most likely shows that HF's cellaring is probably superior to ours and that cellar conditions definitely can play a factor on this beer. I think it would cellar fine but probably more optimal to drink now then later.

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Photo of Kinsman
4.36/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Fills the glass with a rich mahogany color and a big and fluffy tan head. First whiff gives you a healthy dose of fruity tartness overlaying a more subtle sweet malty note. Hard to pick up on any nutty notes at this point.

Refreshingly tart on the first sip without being too sour. Lemony citrus notes come through alongside a bit of a sweet white wine note. As it warms, it opens up a bit to show the maltier side of things. FInishes nicely with just a touch of the woody barrel flavor.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and rather crisp. Carbonations seems to be spot on. Overall, and excellent wild ale, though the walnuts seem to be hidden by all the wild yeast and barrel flavors.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.31/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle opened on 1.16.14

A - Pours a cola brown with a fizzy darker tan head that bubbles down slowly.

S - Earthy, walnuts, oak, tobacco. Smooth.

T - Tart oak, nutty, cherry and vanilla in the finish. Very layered and complex.

D - Good carbonation with a medium body.

O - Lots going on here. Walnuts, oak, funk, fruits.

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Elaborative #1 from Hill Farmstead Brewery
4.36 out of 5 based on 280 ratings.
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