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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Reviews: 23 | Ratings: 68
Photo of timjg14
3.96/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got a 750ml bottle as a gift. I don't usually like saisons. Generally I find them a bit too sweet and after one or two I'm done. With this, I found myself wanting more. Good carbonation and sharp flavor. Cloudier than most. Unique enough to be good.

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Photo of Vylo
4.69/5  rDev +30.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Deep amber ale with large head on it. Light smell, malty deep taste with good carbonation.

This drinks more like a belgian pale or dark ale, which is probably why it isn't liked as a saison, but is a great beer. If you like belgian beers, this is great, if you like saisons, you might be disappointed. If you like both like me you will just be surprised.

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Photo of Brenden
3.77/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Something of a beauty, this brew is a brightly shining orange gold. It begins with a light haze that clears up to give a very polished brightness and clarity, all the better with its unusual shade. The off-white head is foamy and rocky, coming close to one finger while keeping it up pretty well, falling pretty slowly, and leaving more than a modicum of patches and webbing.
The smell shows off a bit of the sour before the sweetness comes in, a bit of earthy yeast and some pale notes of very gentle spices coming in with pear, tropical fruits and sour apricot along with a bit of tanginess along with citrus, herb and a very light dose of white pepper.
It's pretty much the same in the taste, a really easy drinking brew, with a touch more funk to it, but very slight. The sour, bitter and sweet notes balance well. This is a brew that doesn't show off the complete mastery of the style and its complexities, but is by no means shallow.
The body is light to medium, a little soft and easing off at the end. It flashes between sweet and dry and finds a middle ground. Ultimately, it could use a little more bite in the finish.

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Photo of mikem0487
3.69/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

750mL bottle poured into Wicked Weed tulip glass. No bottle on/enjoy by date.

A-Burnt orange hazy body. Huge and dense foamy white head. Good lacing and retention.

S-Peach, pear and papaya fruitiness in the nose with mild pepper notes and a damp dankness smell throughout it.

T-The fruitiness in the nose is more subdued in the flavor. A slight tartness is present with the dank, musty spice flavor coming through in the back and leaving a after taste I am not crazy about.

M-Pretty full bodied for being a saison with a nice dry finish. Like the high carbonation. Very effervescent.

O-A good rounded saison. The flavor and taste are good but gets old and does not bring me back for a second round. As the beer warms that dankness becomes more pronounced into something that just lacks appeal. I would love to try this from the source and grab another bottle and see how it ages.

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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.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.62/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a dirty amber color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of grainy malt with light citrus notes and some dry hoppy notes. Taste is sweeter than expected with a large dose of caramelized malt with a dry finish which kind of clash with the sweeter malt notes. Body is full with limited filtration and great carbonation. Sweeter then I like my saison but the dry finish is quite enjoyable.

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Photo of superspak
3.78/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 7/9/2011. Pours hazy orange copper color with a 2-3 finger foamy and rocky off white head with good retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Spotty foamy lacing clings on the glass, with plenty of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of orange peel, pear, apple, grape, light banana, floral, grass, herbal, bread, clove, honey, light funk, and yeast earthiness. Nice aromas with good complexity of yeast ester notes with moderate malt presence; and good strength. Taste of orange peel, pear, apple, grape, light banana, clove, pepper, toast, brown bread, light honey, floral, grass, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Lingering notes of orange peel, light fruits, pepper, clove, toast, brown bread, light honey, floral, grass, herbal, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance and complexity of fruity/spicy yeast flavors; with very balanced malt sweetness and zero cloying flavors after the finish. High carbonation and medium bodied; with a lightly creamy, crisp, and lightly prickly mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a very good saison style. Good balance and complexity of yeast ester and malt flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink. A bit too malty, but a nicely enjoyable offering.

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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.

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Photo of Zorro
3.63/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Chill hazed orange colored beer with a small white colored head. Seriously dark for the beer style.

Smell is malty with a strong coriander aroma. Herbal hop that is a little soapy. Nice floral scent, but I have smelled better.

Starts out dry and flowery with a decent spice note and a yeasty after taste. A bit extra malt than usual but just a touch. Nice floral flavor. Nice cl;ean basic Saison flavor.

Mouthfeel is good.

Overall this is good. Not quite Hennepin though.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.92/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Iron Fist Brewing Company in Vista, CA.

Pours a clear honey orange with an off-white head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form randomly around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt/grain, spices, and yeast with a slight fruity aroma. Taste is of malt/grain, fruits, yeast and some spice flavors on the finish. This beer has a very high level of carbonation with very crisp and bubbly mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good saison with some nice aromas and flavors.

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Photo of MrTopher
3.95/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bought a bottle of this for the wife, and she was nice enough to share some with me.

A – Has that nice cloudy orange copper color and a nice off-white head that has amazing retention and appealing lacing. Head sticks around for a good 30-45 seconds.

S – Lots of herbs in the nose; clove, all spice, and some orange with a little funky earth.

T – Nice balances earth notes, some citrus/orange, a little banana, and some of the spice also. This has a mild funk that gets you on the back of the tongue. The yeast they used sure makes this exceptional.

M – A little on the thicker side, but still not too chewy. The carbonation isn’t excessive and I think makes this perfect.

O – For being such a low ABV beer, it is really enjoyable. This is my first Iron Fist beer I have sampled and I have a Gauntlet waiting in the fridge to be enjoyed. Great to see some good Belgian’s coming out of San Diego to compete with Lost Abbey.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'd never heard of these guys before, but seeing some of their beers at K&L Wine Merchants, who I trust to make good beer decisions, I decided to pick one up.

This one pours a hazy copper colour, perhaps more golden when held to the light, with a frothy and rather vivid head of pure white. Actually, the head seems a little too light and bright compared to the body, but that's one of its charms, I suppose. Lacing is spidery and webbing. Nice static carbonation when tilted. Pretty good looking beer, all up.

Nose is mild, with slight Belgian spice and just the hint of acidity. It also has a dry, biscuity savoury character to it, which is a little odd, but certainly not unpleasant, giving it a little more depth and strangely a bit of refreshing twang. Interesting.

Taste is also mild, but it fits nicely in style without being over the top. Slight appleskin acidity streaks throughout, but it is tempered and balanced with light haylike grain notes, and a touch of pepper on the back. It's crisp and refreshing.

While it doesn't have the classic "funk" of a traditional Saison, it has the essence of it down nicely—the simple characters, the refreshment and the bright, rustic genesis. It's not going to stand up to the brilliance of the most complex and refined Belgian examples, but I'd say this is an excellent new world interpretation.

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Photo of Retsinis
3.83/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Just popped the bottle, split with a few friends.

A: The beer pours a cloudy orange copper, with a half inch of white head, that slowly settled leaving a nice coating of lace on the glass.

S: Coriander, orange peel, clove spice, mild hops, kiss of banana peel.

T: Citrus, bread or wheat malt, orange peel, mild dark fruits in the middle, coriander. Medium sweetness, and with a light belgian yeast finish.

M: Fairly well carbonated, though most bottle conditioned Belgian style beers are, and this one is no exception. Creamy, and smooth.

O: I like it. Another pretty solid beer from Iron Fist. I've visited the tasting room in the Brewery, and had this before, but waited to pop the bottle to actually post a review. I see good things from this brewery in the future.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of NickMunford
4.37/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Growler from Iron Fist on 3/5/11.

A: Pours a honey amber color with a thin head. Decent retention & spotty "lacing", same as the bottle.

S: This pour from the growler has a much richer aroma than out of the bottle. There is a sweet earthiness, much like the smell of spent grain at a brewery, which is very bold right off the bat. In my opinion, this is a wonderful smell. The floral, spicy notes are also there.

T: The heavenly aromas carry through in the flavor. I'm tasting some Belgian style spicing, along with the presence of yeast.

M: Feels smooth in the mouth, and goes down easy. There's a mild floral bitterness in the aftertaste, but not unpleasant in the least.

D: I could drink this all Summer!

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Photo of mactrail
3.66/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Yet another off-kilter take on the Saison style.

Attractive clear amber in the glass. Not much head retention but pleasant enough in the mouth. Wet cardboard smell. Belgian character very apparent at first sip. Definite candy flavor, thought beer is not too sweet. Has an odd perfumey taste, just a hint of plastic. Some hops, but within my sense of the style. I think it gets better as it warms up.

Seems a little pricey at $8.99. I would definitely try it again if I see it on tap. I have mixed feelings but Hired Hand at least gives you an interesting mix of flavors. A high five to Iron Fist. Ouch.

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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...

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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.

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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.

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to ericandersnavy for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a yellow color with a white head. The aroma is very spicy and citrusy. I get a lot of yeast notes, but I also get a lot of orange citrus, tropical fruit and white pepper. A nice smelling saison. The flavor is more of the same with a lot of wheat, orange citrus and Belgian yeast. I don't get much spicing in the flavor, but there is a little bit present. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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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.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.78/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Iron Fist

A: The pour is a fairly dark amber color with lots of orange highlights. Not your typical saison appearance.

S: Keeping with the atypical nature, there's a big spice character to the nose. Coriander is the most notable with some white pepper presence as well. Lots of orange peel and a sweet floral note that's almost honey-like.

T: Smooth with a fairly well balanced spice character. Lots of sweet citrus, a real orange juice kind of thing going on. Some hints of tropical fruit as well as a mild breadiness.

M: The body is medium with a moderate, smooth carbonation to the beer.

D: Very different for what you normally expect from a saison. Not quite as dry and refreshing as I prefer, but still some good flavors.

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Hired Hand from Iron Fist Brewing Company
3.59 out of 5 based on 68 ratings.
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