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Farm Hand French Style Farmhouse Ale | Brewery Vivant

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
82
good
118 Reviews
THE BROS
83
good
Read the review
Farm Hand French Style Farmhouse AleFarm Hand French Style Farmhouse Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brewery Vivant
Michigan, United States | website

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
118
Ratings:
485
Avg:
3.61
pDev:
28.53%
 
 
Wants:
17
Gots:
48
For Trade:
1
User Reviews
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Reviews: 118 | Ratings: 485
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 StonedTrippin
3.35/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

i have heard so much good stuff about these guys so i was super excited to see one of their beers on a menu, but i was really let down by this. its loosely a saison, but it has a very generic white wine sort of yeast profile, a super light grain base, and unfortunately almost no carbonation at all. its real light golden in the glass, hazy and dead flat. the nose is that sharp 3711 type french saison yeast, but there isnt enough grain behind it to hold it up. i do like the lightness though for summer drinking, but without any bubbles its hard to get into it very much, and this yeast never warms up very well i dont think. dry and light, but also boring and a little sloppy in execution. i appreciate the mission of reviving rustic ale styles, but this is not something i care to have again. i will have to get my hands on some of their other stuff, as they do have an excellent reputation. maybe i just got the one bad egg...

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Photo of emerge077
3.98/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hazy pale orange, billowing head of creamy foam initially that settles down to a wispy skim with minimal lacing.

Smells a bit musty and minerally, faint fruity notes of sliced pears.

Taste has a pleasantly dry, fruity tartness reminiscent of Fantôme. Pear, orange, apple, and lemon splash against a dry wheaty backbone that lends some crackery, grassy dryness on the back end. Body is lighter and juicy, carbonation seems to ebb towards the end of the glass. Thankfully this isn't overly yeasty and phenolic as many american saisons can be. Very quenching and surprisingly easy drinking. Overall a saison I can get behind, and a solid Fantôme substitute (which we all need). The tartness is by design, and something one would recognize as a desirable quality once familiar with the style.

Thanks to Justin for the trade...

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.03/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Updated review (08-03-2014):

On tap at Vivant. Good semi-hazy straw-yellow pour with a good head and retention. Very light, some straw, and faint backing acidity. Nose is lightly fruit. Very easy drinking. Wish it maybe had a bit more funk, and was slightly lower in alcohol, but very good.

Original review (09-20-2011):

16-ounce can picked up at Siciliano's in Grand Rapids. Served in a Mikasa tulip.

Pours a clear straw color with a big, fluffy white head and nice lacing on the way down. The nose carried a bit of pilsner malt and that's about it. No yeast presence. No phenolics of fruit. Not very impressive. Flavor is similar with just a touch of pepper. Light body and high carbonation. A bit astringent and tannic. Not a big fan.

A: 4.0 / S: 2.5 / T: 2.5 / M: 2.0 / O: 2.5

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Photo of oline73
3.29/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a can into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours an opaque yellow color with a fist of white carbonation that fades to a layer on top of the pour.

Smell: Mild malt with some herbal and slightly tart hints.

Taste: This is a very light and crisp beer. Mild citrus notes and lots of herbal yeast notes. Just a bit watery with an herbal finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with tons of tingly carbonation and a slightly dry finish.

Overall: Nice and light, this is an easy drinking beer. Nothing wonderful about it, but it's not bad either.

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Photo of mactrail
3.57/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear pale golden in the pint glass. Rather sharp. Modest fragrance. Not the usual thicker, richer Saison. It has more of a clean, simple taste. Acidic fruits. Not much malt and apparently no yeastiness. Head is nice at first but dissipates. Not a star among so many interesting beers in this farmhouse style.

A tangy quaff. On tap at Monarch's in Grand Rapids.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

nice golden amber color with a huge, towering head of white that refused to part ways no matter what you did. Really just superb looking with tons of lacing down the sides of the glass and a rich and proper looking appearence. Nice elements of light clove, peach, hints of grain and fresh grasses and a nice little spicey punch to it. Warming brings out the wonderful light tart notes through the air that carry over so well into the flavor. Not over done at all, in fact it seemed to fit perfectly as the mellow sourness played off of the rich grainy and frsh flavo

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Photo of chinchill
3.65/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap in Ann Arbor, MI.
Hazy yellow gold with a good bit of visible carbonation. Smallish head.
Easy drinking with only a touch of funk.
T: lightly yeasty and fruity flavor with a clear apricot note. Has a nice sweet/tart balance but clearly leans to the tart side.

O: refreshing and very drinkable version of the style with a good bit of complexity.

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Photo of superspak
3.78/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

16 ounce can into tulip glass, no canning date. Pours slightly hazy bright golden color with a 2 finger fairly dense white head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with some light streaming carbonation. Aromas of lemon, pear, apple, white grape, light banana, pepper, wheat, cracker, herbal, straw, grass, light clove, and herbal/yeast earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of fruity/spicy yeast, earthy hops, and pale malt notes; with solid strength. Taste of lemon, pear, apple, white grape, light banana, pepper, wheat, cracker, herbal, straw, grass, light clove, and herbal/yeast earthiness. Good amount of earthy yeast spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of lemon, pear, apple, white grape, light banana, pepper, wheat, cracker, straw, grass, and herbal/yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice complexity and robustness of fruity/spicy yeast, earthy hops, and pale malt flavors; with a nice crisp malt/yeast balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, crisp, and slightly bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very nice saison style. All around good robustness, balance, and complexity of fruity/spicy yeast, earthy hops, and pale malt flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink. A nicely enjoyable offering.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.5/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Lagunitas mason jar.

I didn't wanna have a free can hangin' around the homestead, so it's gettin' cracked right the hell now. It pours a cloudy pale straw topped by a finger or so of lightly off-white foam. The nose comprises coriander, dry wheat, lemon zest, light clove, and a touch of sweet flowers. The taste brings in more of the same, with the lemon coming through a bit stronger, the wheat coming through a bit funkier, and the slightest possible hint of earthy Belgian yeast. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a sorta/kinda dry-ish finish. Overall, a generally enjoyable little saison-ish brew, nothing really special or emblematic of the style, but a nice option for a canned farmhouse ale.

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Photo of Jason
3.69/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

16oz can, no freshness date.

LOOK: Mildly hazed pale yellowish straw, head suffers but some lacing stays

SMELL: Lemon zest, nutty yeast, grapenuts, bread crust, parsley, esters

TASTE: Crisp, snappy, rustic, grainy, dried hay, animal feed, lemon peel, nutty, bone dry, plums, estery

First few sips my palate was smack around a bit. The full depth of the grain used starts coming through, the unmalted grains really to make their mark on the palate. Very refreshing and something completely different from the normal to what "farmhouse" ales are commercially available right now.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.53/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Jon for this one.

A: Pours a slightly hazy, very light yellow color with a foamy white head that has pretty nice retention. Foamy lacing forms on the sides and reduces rather quickly.

S: Right away I almost get an apple juice aroma, followed by some wheat, honey, and some light spices.

T: Better than the aroma, none of that apple juice. Lemon and lemon zest, some light spicy yeast, and faint wheat/grainy malt.

M: Light to medium bodied, smooth and pretty easy drinking.

O: An easy drinking saison, but not overly amazing. Would be nice on a hot day relaxing though.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.52/5  rDev +25.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Today being New Beer Sunday and being unable to procure any new AMLs, I have decided to make it New MichiCAN Beer Sunday in honor of the day's founder, Malty, who resides somewhere in The Great Lakes/Wolverine State. These (among others) were sent to me by GrappyPunk and I have been waiting for an appropriate time to Crack & Glug them open.

From the CAN: "WHY USE CANS? We set out to build a sustainable brewery and found through our research that cans are a better option than bottles. Cans are much lighter in weight, contain more recycled content, are able to be up-cycled, and use less energy to produce. The canning line also has a much smaller footprint than a bottling line."; "If this was not enough, cans provide better protection from flavor degenerating oxygen and hop flavor robbing sunlight. This is the best package we can provide to bring our beer to you, tasting the way the brewer intended it. Enjoy."; "Belgian tradition. Local mission."; "FRENCH STYLE FARMHOUSE ALE 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. Farm Hand is our interpretation of what these rustic beers must have been like. It is light in body, mildly sweet and has a slight cloudiness from the use of simple un-malted grains similar to the period."; "COMPLIMENTARY FOODS Chicken, fish, pasta, Camembert or other soft cheeses. Visit our website for more."; "GLASSWARE Tall, slender glass which will show off the beautiful color of the beer and allows for pleasant sipping."

The Crack went as planned, but the Glug was perhaps a tad heavy-handed as I did not realize how active a beer this was going to be. Man, the foam came up MUCH more quickly than anticipated and even broached the lip of the glass, much to my chagrin. Once things settled to a state of normalcy, I had a finger-and-a-half of rocky bone-white head that looked like JacktheRipper's avatar - dense and smiling up at me. The color was a testament to truth in advertising - it was a cloudy lemon-yellow and the whole thing looked like a lemon meringue pie. The nose was quite musty, almost cheesy in its intensity. Me likee! I have yet to get onboard with Andrew Zimmern, but Anthony Bourdain and his lack of disdain for sharp, "stinky" smells and flavors and rubbery mouthfeel speak to me. I am a US Navy retiree and that kind of thing does not put me off, but Zimmern's grilled horse heads push my upper limits. The nose on this beer might be too much for some, but I dug it. Mouthfeel was big, full, even creamy and the initial slight tartness followed by a light wheat-like sweetness were like a palate cleanser. Look, Ma, new taste buds! Finish tended towards dry and it was an absolutely refreshing beer that would be phenomenal with some soft cheese on crackers under the umbrella on the beach. Put this in your cooler and give me a call! I'll be right over, honey honeys in tow.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.95/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap @ the brewpub

A - Cloudy pale yellow with a small amount of white head.
S - Belgian yeast, bready malts, clove. Slightly sweet overall nose.

T - Belgian yeast, clove, bready malts, some sweetness and a touch of citrus in the background.

M - Light body, moderate carbonation.

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Photo of liamt07
3.62/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can from the brewery, 473ml into a tulip.

Clear golden orange, very loose, soapy and quickly dissipating white head. Minimal lacing and retention. Nose has some grains, very mild spicing, saision yeast notes. Light pepper. A bit of wheat, lightly tart. Taste has some cookie and biscuit notes, wheat, somewhat tart/lemon-like flavours as well. A bit of zitrus zest. Tart and light, and a fairly quick finish. Medium low carbonation. Not a bad beer by any stretch, quite refreshing. Good on a hot day.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.58/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

16oz can picked up at Oades in East Lansing... poured into my slim tulip... the brew is very pale straw with a bunch of nucleation bubbles.. head is short lasting.

Nose shows bits of pear and underripe apple.. something that I associate with coriander.. grassy notes.

Flavor has not much of what I think of as a "European Model"... but the bones are there... wet hay... sorta dry lite toasty malt... a bit of lemon and cilantro stem .. very dry pear essence..

Body and carbonation are both light as should be..

Saisons can be all over the place... I think this one should be firmly stamped in the group that we should be paying attention too... I would buy it often if I had access.. if for no other reasons as it is refreshing and I expect the folks at Vivant to continually dial it.

Well done.

3.5/3/3.5/3.5/4.5

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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 beerthulhu
3.45/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

- pint can. duvel chalice.

A: Palest of straw pour exit from the can produces a glass consuming white foam monster that dominates the vessel for a lengthy period of time. Beneath, a crystal clarity of brass coloring reveals an even pace of effervesce filling the glass. Big sloppy, soapy patches of lace smoother the glass. Turns cloudy on second pour.

S: Sweet aroma, white grapes, fresh wet citrus, with some fresh pear and apple juice fruitiness. Nice level of commitment, lasting duration.

T: Flavor of apple juice, pear, lightly tart and acidic with a gentle dry finish. Spicy, fruity sweetness, with a increasing tart and funky finish upon warming. Some light wheat, berries with some stemmy and spruce notes.

M: Crisp mouthful, light bodied.

O: Overall an easy drinking french style farm house style ale that is refreshing, lightly tart perfect for a hot summer day. Clean, crisp, multiple drinker again for those hot summer days and and back yard affairs with light chatter. Not gonna blow you away, but is appreciable for its easy drinking nature and approachable for new to style and just kicking back.

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.56/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

16 ounce can. Served in a Unibroue tulip, the beer pours a cloudy straw gold color with about an inch white head. Head retention and lacing are both good. Aroma is nice, the brew smells like citrus (lemon peel), hay, apricots and some earthiness. I think the taste is similar to the aroma, but there's also some bready/grainy malt and a bit of an apple flavor noticeable. Mouthfeel/body is light/medium, it's crisp and easy to drink with a decent amount of carbonation. I thought this was an enjoyable brew, glad I got to try this! I got this for $3.29 a can, not sure how much the 4 pack was.

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Photo of scruffwhor
3.28/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Good head and strong foam for all sixteen ounces. Mild haziness to this pilsner colored ale. Hay and sunshine on a somewhat foggy morning.

Somewhat ripened green apples, unmalted barley, a little lemon zest, and barely malted barley. Smells like a farm house with an orchard a few acres away.

Taste starts tart with lemon and green apples. The middle is more of an umalted barley flavor. The palate is tart and twangy. Makes me think of a French beer. Somewhat tart and viney like winey, but lower in alcohol. Making it easier to drink a couple after a long day in the fields. Glad I tried it.

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Photo of sweemzander
3.88/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz. can poured into a pint glass.

(A)- Pours a slightly hazed yellow color. Some good white froth and lace. Solid retention.

(S)- A good combo of a biscuit-like yeasty hay and a kiss of lemon sweetness.

(T)- Similar to the smell with the mild biscuit-like yeast. Bits of straw and lemon peel. Finishes with the tiniest hint of tartness.

(M)- A big & crisp carbonation level. A solid balance to it as well with just the mildest bitterness on the finish.

(O)- Overall, while its not earth shattering, it really is a solid Saison. Especially considering the price point to value of what is in the can. Very happy to see this coming to IL. I also think this is a year-round offering by Vivant, so I am sure this will see my fridge again.

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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 BeerFMAndy
4.35/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

16 oz can poured into a Brewery Vivant can glass.
5% ABV,

A - Farm Hand's fleeting white head sinks to a thin skim of foam above the still and hazy pale straw yellow beer, leaving it an attractive beer to sip.

S - Tart lactic acidity almost comes across the nose as a sour mash process (as opposed to yeast) giving way to cracker-like dry maltiness with a complimentary dry earth undertone and suggestions of bubble gum and lemongrass from the yeast.

T - Hoppier than expected, Farm Hand brings a lemony citrus twang to the delicately yeasty saison. Underlying biscuit-and-cracker malts pave the way for a refreshingly tart finish of lactic acidity.

M - Vibrant tartness starts and finish this delicate and refreshing saison while in between lands a kiss of hop bitterness that dials everything in just right.

O - Brewery Vivant's Farm Hand puts a truly unique spin on the saison style with a forward lactic acidity-like tartness that steals the show as opposed to the bigger Belgian overtones. The yeast nuances are there but subdued and soft, making this one hell of a good beer!

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Photo of tectactoe
3.71/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Saison from a can? Yes, please! Farm Hand pours a golden apple juice color; a vibrant shade of yellow casts over it with a transparacy all throughout while a mild chill haze abducts the center of the brew. Very volatile on the pour - a big, soapy, bone-white cap froths up quickly and shows decent retention, albeit poor lacing.

The aroma is "farm-y" indeed, with a nice collage of scents coming together; musk, cheesy funk, light apple skins, thick yeast, bready malts. Seemingly effervescent and crisp, although I wish there were a larger fruit compontent. The funk of the brew isn't on par with Brett, it's more muted, less tart, and actually a little bit more damp and musty. Nothing super powerful or robust, but still a solid collection of refreshing saison aromas.

Farm Hand is a little more vibrant on the palate, esepcially when talking about the fruitiness. Funky apples, lemon zest, and white grape skins are the first things to hit my tongue. They're far from sour, but still provide a subtle, yet sharp hint of tartness that only gets stronger as the beer gets warmer. The taste confirms the fact that this beer is definitely a nice, refreshing choice for a hot day.

More bouts of musty funk hit immediately after the fruit spike, along with some wet woody (though I don't believe this ever touched wood), faint, spicy esters, and even a touch of barnyard. Again, not quite reminiscent of Brett, but this brew still has a decent funk to it. It's dry as hell in the finish, like licking a cactus, with a highly carbonated, thin body and a crisp mouth feel.

In a market that's saturated with tons of great saisons, this one doesn't quite stack up. It does, however, still provide a nice, simple example of the style with a pleasant amount of yeast, funk, and fruit, while remaining readily available (in Michigan, at least) and highly affordable. Nothing excellent, but a great choice for what it is.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
4.26/5  rDev +18%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

16 oz can courtesy of mseguin pours a slightly hazed yellow color with a surprisingly fizzy head that fades in a matter of seconds...I don’t remember the other two cans of this doing that.

Nose seems to do a nice job of displaying lemony, tart yeast over a delicate and grainy malt backdrop. Just a touch of grassy hop aroma.

Taste is nice...sharp yeast and lively hops along with an earthy, biscuit maltiness. It is definitely at its best when fresh to give it the added complexity the hops bring. It is super drinkable...and I think it is my favorite of the 4 Vivant offerings I have had thus far. I could easily throw a 4-pack of this down without getting bored with it. In fact, there is a good possibility this is my favorite saison in a can! I really like how the malt is a touch earthy and the yeast is the main character that is on display...and the best part: no spice additions!!

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Farm Hand French Style Farmhouse Ale from Brewery Vivant
82 out of 100 based on 118 ratings.
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