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 DrJay
2.92/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

As others have noted, be careful with this one because it's a gusher. A couple inches of fluffy beige foam topped the beer and left lots of clumpy lacing on the glass. The beer was a bit hazy and amber/orange in colour. Spicy aroma, notes of white pepper and lemons, grassy and earthy, coriander, bready yeast and slight caramel. The flavour and texture didn't keep up though. The carbonation exited the beer quickly, leaving it feeling a bit dead and thin - though there were still some very fine bubbles present. The flavour felt thin as well, with a bit of sweetness up front followed by bitterness and spices in the finish. A bit grassy, some citrus, and fairly dry with a slightly slick mouthfeel. I was left feeling disappointed, particularly due to my initial enjoyment of the aroma.

 790 characters

Photo of kevgod
3/5  rDev -22.1%

Photo of OtherShoe2
3.06/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a lighter dirty brownish with a slight head. No lace.

Cardamon nose and some yeast and spice. A little funk and wet newspaper.

Lean watery flavors with some yeasty and tart notes. Some spice, white pepper, cardamon. Feels weaker and thinner than it is. Some boiled grain as this comes to the finish with some mild watery bitterness.

Carbonated but thin.

Not a fan. Why waste time on this when nearly everyone else makes a better version of this style. Too many undeveloped and off-flavors. The hook is low alcohol? Who could session this?

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Photo of wesley14
3.25/5  rDev -15.6%

Photo of dmachado
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of mjstacker
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of Streetcore
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of jkeefe1800
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of jbertsch
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of CP20
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of mrovelli
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

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 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 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 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.

 798 characters

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