Notch Valley Malt BSA | Notch Brewing

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Very Good
33 Ratings

Brewed by:
Notch Brewing
Massachusetts, United States

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.40%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by jlindros on 11-03-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 33 |  Reviews: 14
Photo of BlueBombardier
5/5  rDev +29.9%

Photo of Maxwell
4.32/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a murky browned yellow like dying straw. The head is a finger width, fluffy white, and lasts forever, leaving thick sticky sheets of lacing on the edges of my glass. There are lots of carbonation bubbles racing up to replenish the head, though the beers body is murky enough that I cannot see through it at all, and would definitely classify it as opaque. On the nose, this beer smells fantastically saisony. Great spicy wafts of earth, biscuity malt, and saison yeast-funk caress the nose. Citrus hops and citrus esters are there in great helpings, with light piney notes also shining through. Slight hay comes through from the malt and esters, while banana esters are surprisingly there in amounts that make me think of a hefeweizen, especially as the beer warms. This smell is really alive with a great complexity, reminding me of lemon banana biscuits, spiced and buttered. On the taste, the beer is light but flavorful, slightly sweeter than the smell might suggest, though still quite pleasing. The taste begins with light hay moving into earthy hops, then opening into big citrus and biscuity buttered malts with hints of creamy banana. The malts, however, are eaten away rather quickly by the bitters from the hay-like and pilsner-feeling hops, which play with each other well into the after taste. Sweet citrus lingers in the mouth as light spicing. The more I drink of this the more I think of strongly citrus-zested bread with hints of banana, while the beer as a whole remains light and lovely on the stomach (just as any Notch beer must). Mouthfeel is smooth and velvety till it begins to slide down the throat and slight carbonation prickles tickle you. The beer is crisp and smooth, though a little thin, leaving the mouth wet on the sides and kind of hop dry on the top of the tongue. Overall, this is another great beer by Notch. In my mind, Notch does saisons right, with perfect amounts of biscuit, funk, and citrus. I could chug this beer all night, or sip it forever, and I would love to get a sixer of it. My one complaint is that the mouthfeel is oh-so-slightly off, but really this is a great beer, and definitely stands up to Notch’s regular saison. Try this beer. Drink this beer. Drink even more of it. Notch has done it again. All hail the king of sessionable beers.

 2,311 characters

Photo of DrewShal9
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: pumpkin-esque in color with a thinner creamy white head and constant effervescence. Pretty!
S: malty, pumpkin spices with a hint of funk. Spicy or Maison yeasts used?
T: just a hint of bitterness at the end of a sweet and spicy Belgian pale like brew with pumpkiny spices and hints of citrus and sour fruit. Totally confusing my tastebuds but awesome confusion!
M: lighter body with a plethora of bubbles tickling the tongue
O: very enjoyable and would definitely like to drink more of this beer as it's sessionable at only 4.4%. Definitely try this out!

 557 characters

Photo of busterthecat
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of SuperHop18
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of greenengineer
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz Bottle - "Bottled in October 2011"

Poured into my Chimay tumbler.

A - Lots of foam upon opening. Pours golden and clear - not hazy. Frothy head, and lacing. Head fades quickly
S - yeasty sweetness.
T - light, a little bitter, hints of citrus and spice. Yeasty, like a good farmhouse should. Dry. No real strong flavors here - light and mellow.
M - quenches my thirst, lots of body considering the alcohol content.
O - Nice, I could drink this again. Love the idea of Brewery Supported Agriculture. +0.5 for that.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.12/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into Portsmouth tulip. Thanks for this one Shawnm213!

A: This one was a gusher and I had to move fast to get a glass beneath the stream of foam. This beer pours a deep glowing amber with a huge fluffy off-white head that quickly faded into a thick film leaving patches and half-rings of lacing down the glass.
S: Dominant and strong notes of Belgian yeast. I get light bubblegum scents, mint, lemon zest, pepper, earth, herbal hops and a straw-like must. It’s a bit sweet smelling, and also dry.
T: Not as potent as the nose but all the flavors are there. I get more straw and hay flavors than the nose suggested, and the lemon and peppery Belgian yeast comes through nicely in the finish. The aftertaste is lightly chalky with yeast and full of sweet fruity notes and lemon.
M: Medium body, slick and drying mouthfeel, with soft full carbonation.
O: I love a good saison and this definitely hits the spot. Worth picking up. Great extra, Shawn!

 963 characters

Photo of tigg924
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: ½ inch head, high carbonation, golden orange in color, clear

Smell: smokiness, wheat, and banana

Taste: wheat, lemon, banana, and light Belgian spice

Mouthfeel: light body, sweet, high carbonation

Overall: Not what I was expecting but wow is this a good beer. This may be Notch’s best to date. I love the light wheat taste. It tastes more like a nice and refined hefeweizen than saison. I will certainly get this again.

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Photo of SunDevilBeer
4.06/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As previous reviewer stated, this was a gusher for me too when I opened it. Put me in a bad mood as I was cleaning up the mess on the counter.

Fortunately, it pours medium copper with lots of head, but settles down quickly. Nice smell in the nose: can distinctly smell separate barley, hops, malt, and a bit of spice...a nice symphony.

Pleasant taste, a bit orange-y & can taste the subdued spice flavor from the yeast. Maybe even a bit of mint taste too. Very drinkable (as a lower alcohol beer should be). Tastes very fresh, even though I'm drinking it from an October bottling date...would've preferred to know the exact time of Oct though.

Overall, this is a nice beer that I was glad to try. I may try to get this again in the next few weeks to enjoy again. At $4.79/bomber not the greatest bargain in the world, but not outrageous either.

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Photo of BeerTerrain
4.06/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Spent quite a while trying to hunt this one down. Finally found it with dust on the bottle a full four months after it's release. Certainly this living beer had changed over time, but to my surprise, it was still quite good.

The pour was almost excessively foamy and I was worried, but once the five inch head settled down and I could finish filling my glass, I knew I was going to be alright. The aroma was obvious even without tipping it under my nose, yeasty toast.

the color was consistent as a light brown slice of toast. A tad chunky with bits of fallout dropping to the bottom and sending up trails of little bubbles. I liked it even more.

The foam really set the tastebuds in motion and I got fresh straw, flowering meadow and a funky, aged cheese hint at the end.

made with locally grown grains and malted at Valley Malt, this is about the best way to preserve the local harvest.

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Photo of trevorpost
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of polishkaz
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of Jeb37
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of MAbeerNE1
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of Fletch1dotnet
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of jongullotti
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of halfshell
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.97/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a cloudy gold color, with a large white head that fades slowly and leaves a spotty lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains wheat, yeast, light caramelized malts, bananas, citrus and some hops.

T: The taste starts out bready with flavors of Belgian yeast, wheat and a hearty but not too heavy malt character. Then some mildly sweet flavors of citrus, bananas and caramel come in. The hops presence is on the strong side for the style and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly bready.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, good representation of style, this is a solid beer worth sessioning with for a long time.

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Photo of jlindros
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

As soon as I pop the top, the beer starts rushing up the neck. Luckily, being experienced with gushers, I could hear the louder thwop sound as I cracked the cap and knew it was coming, so I could get a head start on pouring. When it pours it creates a large 3+ finger head that is all bubbles, and fades very quickly since its just bubbles, fades to pretty much no head anymore. When it settles it reveals a hazy golden orange honey colored beer.

Nose brings a decent malt character, light Belgian style golden malts and sweet Belgian malts, some pale malts, a little toasty and bready, almost a creamy corn like aroma but no real corn in it, I think that's from the yeast. The yeast brings a nice saison aroma, a bit of spices, some dry bready farmhouse aromas, a little bit of fruit like apple and pear, and hint of citrus. Very light grassy and almost spicy hops.

Taste starts with spices, not holiday spices, an interesting spices blend almost like a Belgian wit, hint of coriander, orange zest, etc. Then interesting fruits from the yeast as well, hint of apple, apricot, clementine, pear, etc. Then a juicy fruit flavor coming through with the nice malt flavor, definite Belgian malts, golden and sweet malts, and lots of wheat, with a slight sweetness that just dries off even as the beer is still swishing around my mouth. it also has a nice dry rustic saison farmhouse flavor, slightly gritty from the dryness and farmhouse. Hops are present but not strong, which is nice since they would probably overpower the saison and sessionability. They bring a light bitterness, with slight grassy earthy qualities, and hint of spicy citrus. The finish is very dry, pretty much bone dry almost sucking the moisture from my mouth, with an almost slight sticky feel, lingering of most of the flavors, the hops and bitterness come out a bit more, lots more farmhouse flavors, light citrus and wheat flavors, and some really long citrus earthy grassy hops, and a slight fruit.

Mouth is lighter bodied, gritty and super dry, with good carb.

Overall pretty good, sessionable for the most part but the super dryness gets tough to keep drinking and even multiplies the bitterness late on the finish making it a bit more difficult. The FG must be below 1.000 or something crazy. Nice malts, hops, fruits, spices, saison flavors, etc. It's kinda like a Belgian saison blended with a Belgian wit and dried forever. Tasty though. Also not infected, just over carbonated.

 2,470 characters

Photo of smcolw
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark golden color, bordering on amber. Light haze. Good two-finger head. Not much lace, just a couple of spots.

Starts with an earthy malt aroma. Mild hop in the background.

Far more hoppy in the taste. The earthiness is muted on the tongue even if the malts have toasted touch. Light Saison flavors in the swallow and aftertaste (blending with some bittering hop). Prickly. It's almost a mix of Saison and Pale Ale. predictable body, above average carbonation.

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Photo of pburland23
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I like that I'm seeing more and more sessionable craft beers on the shelf. I like big beers just fine but more often than not I'm looking for something I can drink and enjoy with a high ABV.

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into my Great Divide tulip glass.

Appearance: As others have mentioned this one is a bit of a gusher. Fortunately, thanks to BA, I was prepared. Beer pours a hazy, rust orange. Carbonation created two fingers of clean white head. Very nice head retention and lacing.

Smell: A little sweet and yeasty with some delicate fruit notes with the most prominent being banana and orange.

Taste: It's described as a farmhouse ale but it's a beer that defies style definitions. There's some nice spiciness up front and a touch of bitterness. The finish is dry and there's a very Belgian yeast aftertaste. Seems like there is a lot going on here and it seems slightly out of key to me. Something is missing but I'm not sure what.

Mouthfeel: Very sharp prickly carbonation. The drinkability us very high at 4.4%. As the bottle says, "Low Gravity, High Flavor, Long Drinking."

Overall: It's an interesting brew. Lots going on here but I'm not sold on it in its entirety. I definitely dig the low ABV and the idea of Brewer Supported Agriculture (BSA) is pretty cool.

 1,282 characters

Photo of jondeelee
3.77/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

BSA Harvest opens with a Saison-meets-Belgian nose, full of bananas and cloves, with heavy emphasis on fruits (berries, oranges, pears, in addition to bananas) and peppery spices. Yeasty baguettes and rising wheat bread dough add a sense of earthiness and help balance things out. Touches of lemon from the hops add a citrus zest that nicely pairs with the fruits and spices. The aromas are quite strong, and as a whole are finely balanced between bread, fruit, and spice.

On the tongue, the taste is heavily Saison-oriented, with a peppery banana and clove body made sweeter by berry, orange, pear, and just a smidgen of pineapple. Touches of brown sugar add additional sweet layers, and a bottom of toast crust, rye bread, and yeasty, floury baguette helps offset the sweetness, and a lemon layer adds pucker and pizzazz. The aftertaste is mainly spicy fruits, with smaller touches of bread, and lingers for a time. In subsequent sips some of the nuance of the beer diminishes, but enough remains that the beer continues to be very drinkable and flavorful. Mouthfeel is medium-light, and carbonation is extreme--to the point that my unshaken bottle foamed over for two to three minutes after opening, removing a good one-tenth of the beer by the time it was done.

Overall, this is very tasty beer--surprisingly so, considering the low 4.4% ABV. It’s also nicely balanced, the spiciness perfectly offsetting the fruits and breads. The carbonation was too much, however, and the way the flavors diminished over several sips was disappointing, making the beer seem watery. Still, this would make excellent hot weather fare.

 1,626 characters

Photo of mrovelli
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of dmachado
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of mjstacker
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

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Notch Valley Malt BSA from Notch Brewing
Beer rating: 3.85 out of 5 with 33 ratings