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Elaborative #1 | Hill Farmstead Brewery

37 Reviews
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Elaborative #1Elaborative #1

Brewed by:
Hill Farmstead Brewery
Vermont, United States | website

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: 37 | Ratings: 276
Photo of BEERchitect
4.24/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Utmost complexity, yet impeccable ease in drinking lie at the precipice of this intriguing sour ale that bridges cultures, innovation and experimentation; fueled by the spirit of Hill Farmstead, Crooked Stave and Jackie O's breweries.

The sour brown ale shows a malty austere but its taste of toast, wood, dry toffee and walnut is short and scant. Strong on oak presence, the beer hurries into a winey, sour and earthy taste that simply blooms in the middle. Notions of game and mushroom are carried away along with its toasted sweetness.

Gaining in its intensity, tangy tartness of dry cider, merlot and balsamic are savory and sour. Still, the shell of malt remains- dry toast, walnut and weathered oak provide firm flavor but without the associated sweetness of those tastes. Lemon, lime, grape and berry tartness turns peppery while a briny taste rounds out the middle.

Its peppery finish is highlighted by the remnants of toast, walnut and wood. With glimpses of chocolate and coffee peaking through, the ale dries to nearly completion with a clean and palate-stripping sour character. A lightly powdery dryness lives on and leaves the mouth feeling as much of wine as it does ale.

Elaborative One is a highly distinctive ale that reels in influences from Flanders Belgium, American "wild" mindsets and a companionship among the brewing brotherhood. You can taste the love as the house flavor of each brewery is alive and well in the glass- all melding into an orgy in taste.

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Photo of jlindros
4.13/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Shared with rudzud.

Decent fluffy slight foamy head, fades at a med pace with nice lacing, super dark cola brown color.

Nose is very interesting, there is a definite toasted walnut aroma, almost walnut shell like, with toasty brown malts hint of smoke too, then a nice sour wild ale with light funk, a wild lacto like creamy sour funk. then a nice toasty oak, hint vinous must I think.

Taste starts with creamy sourness, lacto like sour funk and wild flavours. Then brown malts, creamy toasty brown malts and plenty of nutty flavours, roasted walnut and light nutty toffee candy like, mixed with the nice sour wild funk, light malt vinegar. Also a touch of vanilla toasty oak. Finish is flemmy with more malt vinegar light funk lingering, little nutty toffee like and walnut shell.

Mouth is med bod, little flemmy, decent but lighter carb.

Overall not bad, interesting and unique, not quite wild enough imo, and a bit too malty but maybe that's the way to blend the walnuts in, but pretty enjoyable.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
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 Alieniloquium
3.83/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

375 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Murky brown. Small khaki head. Nice surface wisps and retention.

Smell - Wow, it actually smells like walnuts. Sharp acidity. Lactic. White pepper.

Taste - Sharp sourness. A little bit of letdown. Malty. Nuts come out in the back.

Mouthfeel - Not as dry as Prolegomena. Better body. Nutty.

Overall - A unique take. I expected something similar to Prolegomena, but this has a totally different profile.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.07/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by some generous person at the Prairie event at West Lakeview Liquors. Served in a Cantillon taster glass.

A - Light tan foam settles to a thin cap, thick collar, and no lacework. Hazy turbid brown body; obviously agitated before serving but not much of a looker.

S - Very lambic-esque, with lots of mineral, mustiness, and lactic acidity. There's some mild vinous oak, and perhaps some faint nuttiness from the walnut addition. Very low sweetness; not sure I would have guessed brown ale beyond the color.

T - The taste is a bit more in line with my expectations, with a bit more toasted nut and light malt sweetness from the base brown ale. Less sour here, with more of a musky sweet funk rather than the earthy, dusty one in the aroma.

M - As usual, Hill Farmstead's carbonation is soft and on the lower end of the spectrum. Medium body, slightly tannic, with no discernible alcohol.

D - Seems less complex that you'd expect from description, but not necessarily in a bad way. I enjoyed my pour, but there are a number of Hill Farmstead beers I'd prefer to drink over this one. Still, it's a quality brew.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
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 SadMachine
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
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 rudzud
4.21/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Split with JLindros, poured into a Kate the Great tulip.

A- Poured a nice ruddy mahogany hue and a thin tan head, leaves thin wisps and light lacing.

S - Aromas of deep nuttiness, definitely walnuts, light oak, typical wild sour notes.

T - Taste is nicely sour, light almost sour cherry notes, tons of walnuts, rich almost acrid nuts, light vinegar notes.

M -Mouthfeel is stood, light tart carbonation, super drinkable.

O - Overall I enjoyed this beer, however, my expectations for this beer was much higher due to the brewers involved. Still, delicious.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.31/5  rDev -0.9%
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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Photo of Stevedore
4.05/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375ml bottle, poured into a Cantillon taster 7/7/2014.

A- Medium-dark brown body with an effervescent one finger off-white head with good retention. Looks like Rodenbach in some ways. Not much lacing.

S- Tart lacto, some white wine grape character, a bit of sweet brown malt and a bit of the signature Vermont funk. Missing the walnuts here, though this is a refreshing smelling beer.

F- Vinous character, Vermont funk, more of the sweet brown malt comes out but this is still quite tart. Fairly interesting, but again I'm not getting the walnut contribution here. Was expecting something more nutty, but I'm pleased with the tartness here. Reminds me a bit of Prolegomena but with more of a tart chardonnay-like character rather than port.

M- Medium bodied, well-carbonated, very easy and refreshing to drink. Not particularly complex but fairly interesting.

O- This is probably a bit over the hill considering it's over a year old, but this was still a nice treat.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.57/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pour is deep brown with dark ruby red edges and a tight light brown head. Nose is tart cherry, faint lacto, lots of oaky wood and vanilla. Taste is tart, the walnuts come through a bit. Medium body and fairly present carbonation. Taste leans towards a Flanders red with strong oak and vanilla. The nuttiness is through the finish.

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Photo of rlee1390
4.52/5  rDev +3.9%
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 scottfrie
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
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 MDDMD
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
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 vonnegut21
4.72/5  rDev +8.5%
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 SpeedwayJim
4.23/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

375ml bottle into Hill Farmstead stemware. Shared with schen9303.

Pours a 1.5 finger foamy cream colored head with moderate retention. Beer is a clear, dark brown-amber. Lacing is thick and layered with excellent stick. A great looking brew.

Nose is sweet off the bat with hints of vinegar and sour red fruit. Some nuttiness is apparent but if I didn't know it was supposed to be there, I'd confuse it with a sharper tartness. A woody funk too. Decent and moderately aromatic. Good balance too.

Opens tart red fruit with some nutty shell bitterness. Tart in the middle with a vinegary lean. Prunes and more red fruit at the middle. Funk and oak at the back end. Finishes dry with a light, prickly bitterness. Tart aftertaste. Very solid.

Light bodied with ample carbonation. Prickly and lively in the mouth and goes down aggressive and foamy. Finishes dry with a slightly puckering, but mostly clean aftertaste. Really good.

A very impressive offering from Hill Farmstead, Elaborative 1 leans more towards the Flanders style than an AWA but for what it is, its very good. Nice balance in the nose and palate with an outstanding feel to pull everything together. Definitely worth seeking out!

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Photo of jaasen64
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
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 facesnorth
4.68/5  rDev +7.6%
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 nrs207
4.63/5  rDev +6.4%
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 Etan
3.77/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A. Pours a murky mahogany with a large off-white head.

S. Big lactic aroma. Toasted grain, strawberry, and a nutty aroma that is quite unique.

T. Vinous, light acetic acid, walnut husk, lactic finish. Simple.

M. Between light and medium-bodied with moderate carbonation.

O. This was enjoyable, and the walnut flavor came through more than I expected, but it's a somewhat one-dimensional beer. For the length and variety of barrel-aging I'm not really picking up much barrel complexity.

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Photo of cfrances33
4.64/5  rDev +6.7%
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 Treebs
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

375ml bottle served in a Hill Farmstead oversized wine glass. Thanks to Colin for the share.

A: Pours a murky brown color dark yellow head forming on the pour. It recedes to a thin ring that leaves some splotchy lace.

S: Lots of great earthy funk on the nose. A little cherry with some oak and a little tartness. Sweet malts as well.

T: The walnuts come through on the finish. Definitive nuttiness combined with a lot of great funk. Earthy and musty with some oak and a cherry skins. Subtle tartness as well.

M: Light bodied with a dry mouthfeel. Medium carbonation.

O: Great funk on this one. The nuttiness on the finish provides a nice sweetness that pairs well with the funk.

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Photo of PsilohsaiBiN
4.54/5  rDev +4.4%
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 WTKeene
4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
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 unclejazz
4.62/5  rDev +6.2%
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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Elaborative #1 from Hill Farmstead Brewery
94 out of 100 based on 37 ratings.
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