Hired Hand | Iron Fist Brewing Company

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Hired HandHired Hand

Brewed by:
Iron Fist Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by womencantsail on 11-14-2010

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Ratings: 69 |  Reviews: 24
Photo of peensteen
2.25/5  rDev -37.3%

Photo of magictacosinus
2.71/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This was one of the many beers poured at the December Albany Taproom bottle share. Not sure who brought this, but thanks! Poured out of a 750ml bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a golden amber color with frothy white head that dissipates rather quickly. Doesn't seem too cloudy, so my assumption that there's minimal bottle conditioning at play here. Bubbles are good, almost in a pilsner type manner, but it loses a lot of gas over time. Remains pretty modest, but doesn't strike me as something rustic or glimmering enough that tends to make up the realm of these types of beers.

Smells pretty bizarre, however - and, this is coming from a saison, no less! Big notes of musty apple cider, green apple skins, funky pears, and then some banana, clove, golden cereal grains, white pepper, and lots of candi sugar. In terms of making a starter's kit saison, I suppose this is one common result you'd expect, but the results are less than flattering. Pilsen malts are becoming more common in domestically made saisons, and a lot of these yeasts they're using tend to be bulk Belgian yeast strains that produce banana and pear phenols with light spiciness, yet no assertive dryness when melded with with the malts. Apparently they're "domestic" malts, and while I'm pretty convinced these are not ones of the pilsen variety, they awfully resemble it. Very unbalanced, and lacks creativity that I usually approach farmhouse ales for.

Yeah, they weren't joking about this being malty - but nevertheless, there's no way that this is a farmhouse ale in its representation, and pretty much everybody at the table agreed. The cider notes come at full force, with a tart green apple flavor being most predominant, with some pears and melon that turn into a one-dimensional grainy, husky flavor with notes of pepper, banana, and cereal grains. Finishes with a light husky astringency, as well as a little bit too much carbonation. Feels wet, sweet, and cracker-like, but lacks the vinous, yeasty, dry elements that I prefer the most in the style. Not the worst, but definitely not memorable at all, with all things considered.

Not sure if this is really a saison (it's more like a Belgian-style pale ale out of whack), but in the end it's a semi-mediocre, slightly expensive offering for what it's aiming to be. By far the most forgettable offering of the night. I'll gladly try other beers from this brewery, but it looks like a lot of aspects concerning their yeast and malt profiles are kind of at conflict with each other overall.

 2,525 characters

Photo of Dijeriduster
2.73/5  rDev -24%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

had the bottle with dinner into a tulip

A - Slightly cloudy in the glass with a foamy head. Maybe one finger, not as dense as a real belgian saison

S - Bready malts with the classic funky saison yeast coming thru.

T - While this has an ok malt profile and the yeast is true to style, something is just not quite there. Its somewhat watery and the balance of the malts to yeast are lacking. Spices are there as well, but not as forward as it can be in a saison. This is like a saison lite.

M - Not bad, carbonation could be a little more but more or less right and has a little malt backbone. Like the taste it can also come off as slightly watery.

D - While this is increasingly seen around town (distributed by Stone) I'm not rushing out to but $10 bottles of it. Like their other beers this seems like it was a stock recipe found on the internet with little experimentation on the part of the brewer. With all the new breweries in town I don't see this beer ( their flagship) holding up. I wouldn't be surprised if these guys fade away after the initial buzz...

 1,069 characters

Photo of leodarko
2.75/5  rDev -23.4%

Photo of beagle75
2.8/5  rDev -22%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a half-pint chalice.

A: Slightly hazy, light orange-amber color with less than one finger of diminishing white foam head. Scant lacing remains on the glass.

S: Stone fruit is focused on apricot in the smell that stands above bitter almonds and weak butterscotch.

T: Begins off-dry, with a combination of early flavors that seem mired in chemical diacetyl that is only partly successful in generating fruity flavors when married with the malt and sugar. Drying nuttiness is observed into the middle, still apparently derived from the yeast. Bitterness is mild and stale, with lingering fruit that is clean compared to the rest of the profile.

M: Thin to medium viscosity, slightly syrupy on the palate, with low carbonation that seems to accumulate and lodge in the throat.

D/O: Inconsistent is a fair word to describe this beer, in the way it shows some appealing fruit alongside distracting yeast qualities. It could benefit from a more faithful Belgian yeast presence, rather than whatever it does have.

 1,043 characters

Photo of domtronzero
2.86/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - Hazy orange with a short lived, fizzy whitish head. Little lacing.

S - Sweet malts, tons of fruity esters. More like a Belgian triple, with tons of bubblegum (weird).

F/M - Sweet bready malts, spicy and earthy hops. Fruity esters increase as the beer warms. medium bodied with moderately low carbonation. A little thick for a saison, with too little carbonation.

D - Okay, but a bit thick with too little carbonation. A little out of whack, and a little challenging to drink.

 482 characters

Photo of Kramerwtmf
3/5  rDev -16.4%

Photo of portmand1ngo
3/5  rDev -16.4%

Photo of HopHead84
3.08/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3


On tap at Iron Fist.

A: Dark golden with a creamy white cap.

S: Rich malt with prominent coriander and orange peel notes. I don't detect hops and there's a little alcohol. There might be some clove in there as well. Pretty light on the phenols and not that spicy.

T: Rich and malty with some dark fruit notes. Coriander is noticeable and an upper low bitterness is evident. Alcohol is noticeable in the lightly spicy orange laden finish.  Pretty tame flavor. Lightly sour in the finish.

M: Lower medium bodied with a nice level of carbonation and a creamy mouthfeel.

Overall: A pretty straight forward saison and not that spicy. Iron Fist loves the orange and coriander it would seem.

 700 characters

Photo of augustgarage
3.11/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 750mL bottle into my Troubadour tulip.

App - Cloudy flame body with a gradient of orange to amber highlights. An ivory finger of dense creamy foam rests on top, leaving cakey rings of lacing behind. Excellent retention.

Candy-like fruit aromatics, which while pleasant and light, come across as somewhat artificial. Backlit by a nice floral malty sweetness.

Very malty palate entry with a touch of freshly chilled wort - a dark sweetness suggests Karo syrup, and toasted bread. Mild clean bitterness with hop flavor being light to none. Wet wood (cedar?) in the finish, which dries out fairly well. Some phenolics present as a mix of nutmeg, band-aids, and paper (suggesting some faint off flavors are present). Decent profile over all, but not particularly what I think of when the style comes to mind.

Creamy, soft, effervescent body - with a vague astringency.

A poor value, and a mediocre example of the style, even among domestic examples.

 965 characters

Photo of Ashleenicole901
3.24/5  rDev -9.7%

Photo of Schlais
3.25/5  rDev -9.5%

Photo of Adamah_Adonai
3.25/5  rDev -9.5%

Photo of PsychicBubblegum
3.25/5  rDev -9.5%

Photo of Devinph
3.25/5  rDev -9.5%

Photo of Mtooman
3.3/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.32/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

A solid pour into my Lost Abbey Teku glass produces a two-finger thick, lightly tan colored head. The beer is an amber color that shows a brilliantly clear, rich copper color when held up to the light. The aroma smells of honey-like malt, some musty, spicy and quite fruity fermentation derived notes that suggest of white pepper, honeydew melon, floral pear and a touch of phenolic character in the finish. The fruit & sweet malt character plays the biggest role in the nose, which means this is quite a bit different than the archetypal Saison Dupont.

Perhaps not quite as sweet as I was expecting, but it definitely has a sweetness to it, especially towards the finish where it tastes of honey, floral fruit nectar, pears, honey-dew melon and tart, floral apples. There actually is a touch of tartness to the finish, this is definitely not a sour beer, but the hint of tartness helps to balance the chewy body and sweetness; though truthfully there is not enough of it to really balance this beer out. The finish has a spiciness that suggest of pickled ginger, black pepper, some turpene like clove and an ample earthy spiciness that has hints of grassy coriander to it. While this beer is not overly heavy, it is definitely chewy and viscous for a Saison. The finish has a touch of hop bitterness to it that adds a hint of a bite that lingers just a bit on the palate.

This is definitely not my type of Saison, I prefer dry, spritzy and light. This beer does have a complex spiciness and yeast character, but it just seems to be overtaken by the chewy malt body and sweetness. For some reason I was expecting quite a bit from this beer (given that I have never had anything from this brewery and it is a style that American brewers seem to mess up so often), but this definitely didn't scratch my Saison itch. Having said that, I am a completely stickler for Saison's, and because I love the style (in all its breadth) so much, I often can be a bit hard on examples; this really isn't a bad beer and I can definitely see that many will enjoy this.

 2,053 characters

Photo of Rick778
3.33/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of mdfb79
3.46/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 01/02/11 notes. Shared by argo0 (RB) at a local tasting; thanks Aaron.

a - Pours a clear golden color with one inch of white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of bananas, wheat, citrus, and some slight metallic notes, which bring it down in my opinion.

t - Tastes of bananas, spice, wheat, fruity malts, and citrus. A step up from the taste.

m- Medium body and low carbonation, smooth body.

d - A decent saison. Something seemed off in the smell, but the taste was pretty good. Would give another shot.

 528 characters

Photo of mrelizabeth
3.5/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of nitter
3.5/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Idrankitall
3.5/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of davegray
3.5/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of NorthSideSean
3.5/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of marqoid
3.5/5  rDev -2.5%

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Hired Hand from Iron Fist Brewing Company
3.59 out of 5 based on 69 ratings.
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