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Farm Hand French Style Farmhouse Ale | Brewery Vivant

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118 Reviews
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Farm Hand French Style Farmhouse AleFarm Hand French Style Farmhouse Ale

Brewed by:
Brewery Vivant
Michigan, United States

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
There was a time in old world France when nearly every family farm had a brewery. A necessary part of farm life was to provide a ration of beer to laborers, as beer was safer to drink than the water of the time. (Has to do with water carrying bacteria and alcohol killing said bacteria. Yay beer!) Farm Hand is our interpretation of what these rustic beers must have been like. It is slight in body, mildly sweet, and has a slight cloudiness from the simple un-malted grains similar to the period.

Added by jale on 01-23-2011

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Reviews: 118 | Ratings: 492
Photo of britbrew10
1.89/5  rDev -47.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This is a lemony saison with an almost offensive, polarizing taste.

I wanted to like it because I enjoy Vivant's other canned offerings and their beer at the brewery is great. This one however is a huge disappointment.

P.S. Gives me a real dirty Busch Light type of buzz.

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Photo of Wadsey
2.12/5  rDev -41.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Brewery Vivant's Farmhand

Served in New Belgium Tulip

A: Aggressive pour yields unacceptable head that looks nothing like a cloudy mountain, has no retention and leaves no lacing. Does not look like a Saison. Beer is hazy and pale gold with decent effervescence. 

S: Opens with a whiff of creamed corn, then lemonheads candy and earthy yeast. Sorry, no "horse blanket."

T: Sweet, toasted and crackery malts, a touch of spicy yeast, hay. A little tang. Definitely malt forward. There is something off in the malt bill that I find gross. It tastes stale. Finish is neither clean nor crisp. Still no horse blanket.

M: Medium body and low carbonation. Grainy and semi-dry. Mouthfeel is weak. 

O: I've been exploring Saisons lately, and that certainly cast the shortcomings of Farm Hand in sharp relief. Sloppy. 

Thanks hurfer for the opportunity. 

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Photo of wisrarebeer
2.18/5  rDev -39.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

$2.69 for a 16 oz. can from Siciliano's. Thanks Maddog for picking it up!

A: pale yellow color with slight cloudiness, poured with frothy head that dissipated to thicker veiled head with lively CO2
S: milder nose, grassy, hints of DMS
T: very light in taste, a bit of gritty malt up front with balanced bitter hop finish, hint of DMS in taste
M: very light bodied beer, has some American lager feel to it which is not pleasant for this style
O: I was expected more of a toned-down biere de garde style beer

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Photo of jwjon1
2.43/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

Can to glass. Pale yellow, some haze. Not a ton of aroma, but lots of carb.

Taste: here comes that carbonation. Overwhelming. Fizzy yellow beer overwhelming. Makes ot feel quite thin.

If this is a farm house ale, could have fooled me... all forced carb on this one. Yeast dominates the taste, but not standard farm house yeast. More like a whit. Very bready. Differentiated from a whit in that there are some hops there, but more of a hopped whit than a saison. And I the back end, this beer is fairly sweet. Totally misses the style mark.

Where is the farm house? Not here.

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Photo of litheum94
2.5/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

16 oz can. No canning dates.

Pours a very, very pale straw yellow. Looks almost like water. A billowy, bone white head fizzles out very quickly, leaving a thin cover.

Grassy smelling, with light pepper and citrus. Earthy hops.

Dry and grassy at first, leads into a spicy mid-palate with some chalky, earthy hops. Faint, fruity sweetness, berry-like. The sweetness does remind me of lower quality lagers, leaving a very weird, sweet taste in my mouth.

Crisp and pretty easy drinking, but that sweetness that is akin to cheap adjunct lagers is a turn off. I like the idea, but not the execution.

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Photo of olympuszymurgus
2.61/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Vivant, seriously guys. I love a saison, and this is not a saison.

It looks like a saison, it smells kinda like a saison, but it taste nothing like one. Way too sweet, no hay or barnyard smells, no fruity spice, just clover yeast bite.

I wouldn't order this again, it's not bad, but it's also not worth seeking out.

Vivant- make the beer as sexy as my server and I'll be back.

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Photo of LiquidBread219
2.61/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A= The appearance was a straw yellow in color it was light not really hazy. The head was really nice about the only good thing about this one retained well nice foamy head.

S= I expected a "Farmhouse Funk" smell but it really smelled like a euro lager. There really wasn't any of the other scents that I normally pick up on a Farmhouse Ale.

T= Tasted just like the nose a euro lager and it tasted kind of like a weaker euro lager at that.

M= Nice Carbonation, Lighter beer.

O= Overall, I really was excited to try this beer and it was a huge let down for me glad my friend gave me this beer I wouldn't buy this beer. I will however sample some of the other beers that I have from them.

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Photo of cindiwindi1025
2.64/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

ordered a draft of this at Rockys in Grand Rapids. i have been to Bewery Vivant several times as i live close to it, but have never ordered this particular flavor because it is not a style I enjoy. thought i would give a shot.

a- light yellow, clear, no head or lacing, small amount of carbonation bubbles floating from the bottom to the top of the glass

s- smells good, very yeasty, malty, grassy...almost smells like a lager

t- nothing like the smell. bland straw is the big flavor here. theres a funky, earthy aftertaste that gets worse as the beer warms. not good. couldnt finish the whole glass, it was making me gag.

m- wet, low carbonation, almost flat feeling

o- not enjoyable, will not order this ever again

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Photo of ribby
2.66/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

My number one problem with this brew is that it doesn't look like beer, it looks like lemonade. My number two problem is that the taste is very mild; it is not unpleasant, just not very intense. Now I had this after the Wit, which has a much stronger flavor, so I could have been influenced by that, next time I'll chug a PBR before I try this one. Of course, there may not be a next time for this brew, due to the other problems. Finally, the carbonation seems awfully harsh and industrial, not creamy at all.

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Photo of centurian62
2.72/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I generally find it hard to rate local brews with low scores, but this one was not in my wheel house. I actually enjoy farmhouse style ales but this one was a bit too bitter for me. The aftertaste left way too much bitterness and lasted way too long. I had to choke down the pint as I paid for it and I wasn't going to waste it. Generally when I think of Saison or Farmhouse Ales I think of fruity or spicy beers but not this bitter. It was lackluster at best and not in the style of a good farmhouse or saison in my opinion. This was the 2nd time I tried it and there, unfortunately, won't be a third time.

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Photo of GRPunk
2.72/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

On tap poured into a becher glass.

A- Straw yellow with light carbonation. It started with a 1-finger, white head that left decent stick on the glass.

S- Reminded me somewhere between a decent pilsener and a euro pale. Lots of doughy, malt backbone with spicy hops and some peppery notes.

T- Much as the aroma suggests. Sweet, doughy malts combine with spicy hops and slightly peppery tones. Not very farmhousy.

M- There's a bit of a bite provided by the spicy qualities. Very dry with a clean finish.

D- It's pretty "meh." Presented as a "farmhouse ale," I'm thinking Saison or Biere de Garde. Even lighter on the spectrum, it doesn't fit these qualities. More of a Euro Pale Lager or Blonde Ale, maybe. While not a bad beer, it's very poorly categorized by the brewer or even misrepresented on the menu.

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Photo of Sammy
2.8/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Deep yellow, slight peppery but mostly yeasty smelling. Highly carbonated which subtracted from mouthfeel, salty and not so drinkable saison.Thanks Steven. Fairly poor saison, uninteresting. I think they got this one wrong, athough most of the elements are there.

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Photo of Thaddeus
2.95/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Appearance: Light yellow, with an average sized frothy head. Light bodied beer with a thin, lively mouthfeel.

Aroma & Taste: Citrus and "barnyard" notes to it with light malt. A sour beer with a slight sweetness to it. Light beer that would be good for a day in the sun, which is what it's styled after.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
2.98/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

(Served in a globe glass)

A- This beer pours a crystal clear lemon yellow that turns just a bit hazy with the last pour. There is a frothy white foam that pops away to a thick ring of foam and some strands of slow bubbles.

S- The full aroma of bread dough yeast has some slight bright bread dough note to it in the finish.

T- The bright tartness is followed by a bread dough yeast flavor that has some bitterness and earthy hops with a citrus zest note that lingers. The bread yeast is back in the aftertaste after the dry finish.

M- The light mouthfeel has a crisp fizz and no alcohol heat.

O- I love saisons but I just can't get past the Vivant yeast. It taste to much like raw bread dough yeast and it is the dominating flavor. This one is just not for my taste.

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Photo of ssimpson89
3.05/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Big, foamy, soapy head. Golden straw color with lots of small bubbles. Looks like a light beer.

Yeasty aroma with a slight ammonia smell.

Tastes of lemon zest. Light and funky, not sure this is a good thing. Missing the sweetness mentioned on the can.

Light, almost watery mouthfeel. I does have a nice crisp finish with good carbonation.

It was OK, but not in the same league with the best American brewed Saisons.

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Photo of pb9613
3.06/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Brewery Vivant has been getting a lot of hype in West Michigan so I was excited to try their take on a saison.

Appearance: Pale gold with a simple white head. There is very little cloudiness from the yeast

Smell: Malt overtones with a slight hint of hops.

Taste: Light malt flavor with a hint of hops. This has a very subdued pepper flavor with very little tartness

Mouthfeel: Light bodied and quite a lot of carbonation. The lack of tartness and pepper makes this saison uninteresting.

Overall: I was excited to try this saison but ended up disappointed. I think this recipe came from a middle class farmhouse in Belgium who could afford the better things in life and not have to make their own beer.

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Photo of morimech
3.08/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pale yellow color with slight haze. A massive head forms and settles to a thick cap. Some spotty lacing is left on the glass.

Does not smell Belgian or for that matter, interesting. Pale malt is all that is detected. Hate to say this but it smells like a pale lager.

Pale malt flavor with just the slightest hint of Belgian yeast. Not much for esters or phenols. It is dry so that much I enjoyed.

Light body with lively carbonation. A little too thin to warrant a good score.

An uninspiring attempt at a Saison. Nothing off-putting but not interesting in the least.

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Photo of StoutHunter
3.13/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I picked up a can of Brewery Vivant's Farm Hand a couple days ago for $2.59 at The Lager Mill. It's another unusually warm day in Michigan and a Saison sounds like a good choice to get the night started with so lets see how it goes. No canning date. Poured from a 16oz can into a imperial pint glass.

A- Just like all the other Brewery Vivant cans this one looks pretty good with some bright red highlights and a scene of a person working on a farm. It poured a slightly hazy pale straw yellow color with two and a half fingers worth of head that died down very quickly to a thin ring that eventually faded to nothing. The color was nice and true to the style, but i wish it had better head retention, it faded really fast like most AAL's, slightly above average looking.

S- The aroma starts out with a good amount of malty wheat aromas that are followed by a slight fruity aroma. After that comes a pretty noticeable hay and straw aroma and a half and half mixture of herbal and grassy hops showed up towards the end. It smells true to style but it was a little bland and not that interesting.

T- The taste isn't that similar to the aroma. It starts out with a good amount of pale malts that impart a light grainy and malty flavor after that I get a light lemon flavor followed by a pretty noticeable grassy flavor. At the end I get some herbal flavors along with some grassy hops, it had a very low amount of bitterness on the finish and was slightly tart with a grainy aftertaste. The taste was inline with how a Saison should taste, but it wasn't that interesting to me.

M- Smooth, crisp, dry, light bodied, with a higher amount of lively carbonation. The mouthfeel was pretty true to style and I didn't mind then higher amount of carbonation.

Overall I thought this beer was ok and I thought that it was a slightly above average Saison, it had a lot of attributes that a Saison should have but they just didn't blend and come together as nicely as they could have. This beer had pretty good drinkability, it went down pretty smooth and was light in body and in flavor so drinking a couple on a hot day wouldn't be out of the question, but the flavors doesn't do a great job at holding my attention. What I liked most about this beer was the mouthfeel I thought it worked well with this beer and it was pretty Saison like. What I liked least about this beer was the lack of complexity when it came to the flavor, to me that's what separates a good Saison from a mediocre Saison. I might buy this again if i need something in a can that is easy drinking for disc golf but I can think of more then a couple other Saisons that I would much rather have. This is worth a try for a fan of the style or someone looking for a lighter beer for a hot day, but the lack of complexity doesn't make it that memorable. This wasn't a bad Saison but it wasn't a great one either, it was pretty much right in the middle, if it had a little more flavor, more complexity, and was a little more rustic, it might be a pretty good Saison, but as it stands now I wasn't too impressed, this brewery is good but they have yet to wow me, but I still haven't tried their Belgian IPA, so I'll to wait till I try it to full form an opinion on this brewery. New Hollands Golden Cap is still my favorite Saison, I like it much more then this Saison.

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Photo of barnzy78
3.15/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

16oz can shared with my father-in-law, pours a super pale straw color, hazy, with a bubbly white head that fades very quickly. Aroma is fruity, tart, a bit sour, grassy. Tastes are interestingly different, tart & refreshing, not much for flavor, faint peach & grape perhaps, lemon, grassy hop, peppery finish with some astringency to clean the palate. Thin body, higher carbonation helps it a bit. Overall, I'm not sure what to think of this, with nothing to compare it to other than its Belgian counterparts. Good for a hot day, but I probably wouldn't get it again.

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Photo of Lillenk
3.16/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had on tap at Grill One Eleven.

Appearance was nice. A lot lighter in color than I was expecting but very clear (no haziness) with a nice white head.

Smell was pretty average. When I think of a saison, I usually think of very earthy, robust wheaty, grassy smells and there wasn't much of that going on at all.

Taste was pretty light. Not a ton going on. A little bit of the earth tones that one would expect but very dim and light.

Mouthfeel was very light. Quite a bit lighter than expected. It was very easy to drink but I don't think very typical of the style.

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Photo of spointon
3.16/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I poured this one from a tall can into a stemmed Belgian tulip style glass.

A= This ale poured a clear yellow color with a fairly minimal white foam head that dropped super fast. Nice effervescent bubble release.

S= The aroma was full of odd notes such as lemon grass, white grape skins, and bready yeast.

T= Started off with a grainy malt character that was soon overwhelmed by the bready yeast notes, white grapes, and a citrusy lemon character. Dry finish.

MF= Light body with a firm, crisp carbonation level.

D= This had promise but was ultimately a disappointment.

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Photo of Bjohnston
3.18/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Another one received from jrbrukt in Cuzco's NOOB BIF. This one pours a cloudy pale golden color similar to a Belgian wit. It had a thick white three finger head that disapated quickly. Aroma is somewhat muted exhibiting faint malts, some slight pepperiness and citrus. Taste follows the aroma with a somewhat of a citrus rind at the front of the mouth, punchy carbonation cleans the palate and invites another taste. I like it alot, just wish the yeast was more expressive.

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Photo of lucasra1
3.26/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Overall this is a good beer because of the drinkability, but the flavors are hardy discernable. Lots of yeast on the nose making it stand out as a farmhouse ale. Crisp, light and refreshing. A very uncomplicated beer that most would enjoy.

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Photo of mikereaser
3.26/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Brewery Vivant Farm Hand
A - Pours a clear pale yellow with an inch of bright white foam that faded fairly rapidly. 4
S - there is an aroma of lemon and light grains, not alot else going on 3
T - Bready, grain, lemon zest, there is a bit of pepper and its sort of soapy 3.5
M - crisp carbonation, light bodied to medium bodied 3
D - I'm just not a fan of this one at all. Its ok, but not one I would pick up again. There seems to be some sort of astringency in the flavor. 3

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Photo of SometimesIfart
3.27/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Brewery Vivant Farmhouse Saison.

Haven't had a whole lotta saisons in my day so it's always nice to pick one up from a local brewery. Admittedly , Vivant has never really blown me away but I haven't had a whole lot outta them. Hoping for the best, but likely expecting something a bit above average.

Look - From the pint sized can poured slowly into a dimpled pint glass. Beer pours a slightly murked golden with a big frothy sticky and thick white head that sticks around and leaves immediate lace amongst slight decay. Carbonation appears to be about moderate with this brew. Lacing is sparse, though still thick and soapy.

Smell - The nose isn't overly prevelant. It does have the typical farmhouse character with a bit of a berlinner like twang but there isn't much in the way of funky ness. The yeasts are clearly Belgian with a bit of the mustard seed.

Taste - Taste follows the nose almost 99%. Mostly moderate amounts of Belgian style yeastyness with a quick and moderately present shot of tartness. A bit of hay and Belgian whorehouse. Again, not a huge flavor so this review likely won't be all that long.

Feel - Feel is the best part of the beer. The body is moderately full with a supremely creamy over all mouth feel. The flavors remain much the same and the brew swallows with a moderate Belgian funky factor.

Overall - A pretty average brew that won't blow anybody away and certainly isn't even the top ten in the style. Needs the flavor amped up a touch or three. At $2.99. Pint I wouldn't buy it again, but it's fine as a lower abv session drinker. As always, try it for yourself and come to your own conclusion..

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Farm Hand French Style Farmhouse Ale from Brewery Vivant
3.61 out of 5 based on 492 ratings.
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