Prolegomena | Hill Farmstead Brewery

BA SCORE
94
outstanding
218 Ratings
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ProlegomenaProlegomena
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Hill Farmstead Brewery
Vermont, United States
hillfarmstead.com

Style: Flanders Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Prolegomena is our interpretation of the Flanders Red Ale - the Burgundy of Flanders, Belgium. In April 2011, we brewed out version of this classic style with the help of our friend Will Meyers. The beer has aged gracefully in oak barrels for more than two years, all the while slowly developing acidity and various layers of complexity and from the introduction of wild yeast and bacteria.

Added by MasterSki on 04-25-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Ratings:
218
Reviews:
28
Avg:
4.32
pDev:
8.33%
 
 
Wants:
166
Gots:
47
For Trade:
5
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 218 |  Reviews: 28
Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of kjkinsey
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of Knapp85
3.75/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of kojevergas
4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

BOTTLE: Brown glass. Unbranded pry-off pressure cap. Appealing simple label art.

Acquired: Via a trade orchestrated by a friend in my tasting group; thanks, Collins!

Reviewed live at low altitude in Austin, TX. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Vintage: ?
ABV: 8.5%
Style: Flanders red ale (per the label).
Serving temp: Cold. Allowed to warm over the course of consumption.
Serving vessel: Tulip.
Expectations: Sky-high given the style and brewery. I believe this is my first Hill Farmstead sour, and this style might be my favourite type of sour.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: ~1 finger wide. Adequate creaminess. Great thickness. Leaves no lacing as it recedes. Soft-looking.

Retention: Average. ~2 minutes.

BODY: Oddly, it looks like more of a caramel-brown than a deep red to me. No yeasty muck is visible.

It's a nice-looking beer in general, but doesn't nail the flanders red appearance at all.

AROMA: Has a nice tartness, with notes of tart cherry and cherry pie filling. I dig the pie crust. It's not as acetic as say, Rodenbach's best offerings, but it's adequate. Faint cream.

The barrel character is understated, subtly teasing out the mild sourness with hints of oak, and to a lesser extent, red wine.

I think I'm finding some fresh orchard red apple as well. Granny smith apple? It's crisp and inviting. Maybe a kiss of brown sugar in there too?

Aromatic intensity: mild.

The cherry pie crust is seductive, and the tartness right on the money for the style. Seems only modestly sour - maybe 3-4/10 in terms of intensity. In any case, this is mouthwatering and near perfect for the style. Brilliant.

No yeast character, alcohol, or off-notes are detectable.

TASTE: The red apple is a nice touch, blending well with the cherry pie filling I love so much about this beer. The pie crust notes are set off beautifully by the hint of brown sugar - another note you don't find in many traditional offerings in the style. Not quite as acetic as I'd like, but it's there.

Contrary to the best traditional offerings in the style, it has a younger more crisp taste instead of an obviously aged expression of flavour - which probably contributes to the understateness of its acetic character as well as the absence of much in terms of vinegary flavour.

Depth of flavour: Very good.
Flavour duration: Good.
Flavour intensity: Apt but modest.
Flavour amplitude: Great.

Sourness is a style-appropriate 3-4/10, but I'd like to see it dialed up a bit along with the tartness.

This build nails the fundamentals, hitting the cherry pie and acetic one-two punch of a great Flanders red beautifully. Its balance is stellar, and there's ample subtlety and here. What's impressive is its unique nuances, particularly in terms of the expressive brown sugar and apple.

Very cohesive. Certainly a gestalt beer, with plenty to offer the discerning drinker.

Constructively, the oak barrel is rather reticent. Still, the red wine lends this a nice subtle undertone of dry blackberry and a kiss of tannins.

TEXTURE: It's a bit thin on the palate, with inadequate body and presence. Needs a fuller body, a softer feel, and more of a refreshing smoothness and wetness. But it's near perfectly carbonated. Perfect acidity, coaxing out those crisp red apple notes and evoking apple skin.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, rough, or scratchy.

There's not a harmony of texture to taste, but it complements it nicely.

OVERALL: One of the best American-brewed Flanders Red Ales I've had. Its uniqueness will impress the discerning drinker, and it's absolutely worth trying. This is more great work from Hill Farmstead, but it still fails to surpass the traditional paragons of the style (e.g. Rodenbach Caractere Rouge). I could drink this by the growler, and already want more.

High B+ (4.0)

 3,863 characters

Photo of oline73
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of WillieThreebiers
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of Thorpe429
4/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of nickfl
4.52/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Acidic aroma of tart cherry preserves and red wine with a touch of caramel in the background. The flavor is milder, with a rounder acidity than the aroma would imply with the same dark sugar and fruit notes as in the nose. Like that acidity, the sweetness is a bit less pronounced than in some examples of the style and it balances nicely. Complex, balanced, and subtle this is perhaps the first HF beer that I have had that fully lives up to their substantial reputation, and it is one of the best beers I have had in quite a while.

 536 characters

Photo of jlindros
4.08/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared with rudzud.

Nice creamy thick but small head, lacing galore, super murky slime brown color. The ugly color makes it hard to give a good rating, but the head is so nice for an 8.6% beer... tough choice.

Nice Flanders aroma, nice sour malt aroma, almost tart berry like, sweet syrupy brown malts with molasses like, fermented candy sugar toasty brown malt, all soured, light yeasty aroma, but if an earthy woody like aroma, light acidity on the nose even.

Taste starts creamy and sour, big soured malt, tart berry like and bit tannic berry seed, touch sour cherry. Also brown malts, little toasty, caramel, molasses like but syrupy sweet with mild warming booze, again all soured. some malt vinegar and acidity, little yeasty too. Finish is sticky semi sweet but drier, little flemmy, bit of a sweet brown sugar and bitter tannic sour earthy root flavor, and light make vinegar lingering.

Mouth is med bod, nice carb, light warming booze light tingly acidity, little flemmy and little syrupy.

Overall quite nice to start, nice nose, nice initial flavor, but the finish gets a little icky.

 1,099 characters

Photo of Rifugium
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of mendvicdog
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of mdaschaf
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of duceswild
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of millerbuffoon
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.65/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

375 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Murky reddish brown. Nice khaki head. Great surface retention.

Smell - Hint of acetic acid. Dark malts. Some cherry.

Taste - More sour. Much more cherry. Oaky. Kinda chalky. Sourness lingers. Very dry.

Mouthfeel - Almost too dry. Moderate sourness. Well carbonated.

Overall - Decent flanders. A little too dry for me.

 374 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Lunch. Thanks Paul.

The beer is mahogany to crimson colored with a thin collar. Aromas of oak, cherries, vinegar, plums, wine. Very nice. The flavor follows suit, with sour cherries and an overall acetic character. Vinous and lightly sweet. Grapes and cherries. Some musty oak. An outstanding representation of the style. Delicious.

 352 characters

Photo of BMart
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of dfhhead25
4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of chippo33
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of SadMachine
4.47/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a reddish brown with ruby hues around the edges and a finger of off-white head that retains well and leaves good lacing.

S- Wow! Wonderful aroma of tart cherries, red wine vinegar, oak, merlot and port. Some granny smith apple, molasses, caramel, and some earthiness as well. A very complex nose on this one!

T- The taste is similar to the aroma, though some flavors are not as pronounced as expected. There is a noticeable boozy presence that isn't in the nose at all. A ton of barrel character and tart apple on the front end. Only a touch of the cherries can be found, with a bit of acidity and earthy funk. Some red wine characteristics come through as well. This is extremely complex, though I wish some of the flavors were a bit less subtle.

M- The mouthfeel is excellent, smooth, somewhat creamy, with a bit of carbonation and booze at the finish.

O- Overall a very complex flanders red that I can't wait to try again with a year or more on it!

p.s. After dumping the yeast from the bottom of the bottle in the flavor improved noticeably.

 1,059 characters

Photo of Dicers
4.37/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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Prolegomena from Hill Farmstead Brewery
4.32 out of 5 based on 218 ratings.
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