Farm Hand French Style Farmhouse Ale | Brewery Vivant

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BA SCORE
82
good
118 Reviews
THE BROS
83
good
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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:
489
Avg:
3.61
pDev:
28.53%
 
 
Wants:
17
Gots:
49
For Trade:
1
User Reviews
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Reviews: 118 | Ratings: 489
Photo of TheStepChild
3.99/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Like the spicy (yeast?) and sweet malt flavor with a light bitterness to balance off. Finishes a little tart or astringent but not in an unpleasant way. I like pairing this beer with some gouda cheese.

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Photo of jasonpeckins32
3.53/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Earthy, quick-tasting beer. Yeasty. Spicy, grainy, estery, very "farm-like" up front but the flavor ends abruptly. Easy, sparkling water like finish. Decent beer. I'd like to try it again and see how consistent each batch of this is.

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Photo of Barnoloid
4.08/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a standby of mine. A lemony, tart, citrus forward farmhouse ale/saison style which pairs perfectly with food or on its’ own. Pours a deep orange with a small white head and a cloudiness that gives this a hazy quality on the eye. The nose is all lemon with a little hay. Does not veer into sour territory but stays lively enough to stay interesting. Nicely balanced carbonation and little bitterness.

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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 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 tjk545
3.74/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sour palate with a sour funky nose. I really enjoy this session beer. I like farmhouse beer and saisons, i like the funkiness. I get tired of pale ale. Good beer

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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 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 Ozzylizard
3.28/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

$ 2.50/16 oz can at Brewery vivant store
Unlabeled can at 45 degrees into pint glass
Aroma slightly sour
Head small (2 cm), white, frothy, rapidly diminishing to 2 mm layer
Lacing OK –small islands and broken rings, bubbles small to medium
Body medium yellow, cloudy
Flavor is somewhat sour, with, really, not much flavor. No hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl. Kind of like a weak fruit juice.
Palate medium, watery, lively carbonation.

This is Brewery Vivant’s interpretation of a French Farmhouse ale. Is it accurate? Don’t know. Is it good? Meh – it’s drinkable and not offensive. Would I seek it out or trade for it? No.

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Photo of fmccormi
3.99/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Straight pour from a 16oz can to a teku; no canning or freshness date visible, but I picked this up direct at the brewery about a week and a half ago. Oughta be plenty fresh.

Appearance (2.5): It pours out a hazy, bright yellow-gold body with about a finger of crackly, bone-white head that doesn’t stick around long at all. In fact it gets the hell outta town pretty fast, leaving almost no lacing. It’s generally really pretty, except that the head and lacing have almost no presence.

Smell (4.0): Huh, there’s some interesting stuff going on here. Cool, wet grass, a bit of honey and very fresh, aromatic, cracked grains (fresh-baked white bread, dusty oats and wheat corns), limeade and lemon zest, and apple-like esters. Lots and lots of dusty straw and light spice.

Taste (4.25): This is really a bright, vibrant continuation of the different pieces present in the nose: juicy, apple-like esters, citrusy limeade and snappy lemon zest, slightly herbal, grassy hops, modest but clear spice notes (black pepper, coriander, light clove), a touch of honey, biscuity, bready pale malts (common crackers, floury biscuits), and finally on the back end there’s a relatively strong, bright lemon character that’s tart, but not too bitter and not too sweet—just very clean, very bright, and zippy.

Mouthfeel (4.25): Exceedingly drinkable. It’s light and on the dry side from the very start, with an easy, swishy entry that dries out with a bready feel in the middle, followed by a clean, lemony finish. The carbonation is tingly and crisp from the start, and picks up moderately before washing out with a quick prickle and very smooth, soft foam.

Overall (3.75): This is a reaaally, really drinkable saison in the vein of classically bready, light, non-funky farmhouse ales. Crushable at 5% ABV with the easy, quenching mouthfeel, and the bright, full-character (but not taxing) flavor. My only serious gripe is the appearance—mostly on-point for the style, but without a lot of staying power. What can I say, I like lace. But other than that it’s pretty awesome.

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Photo of patre_tim
4.26/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Solid golden cloudiness with a cloud of pinkish yeast suspended in the middle of the glass, a little white foam but no real head, some large bubbles rising fast to the surface.

S: Lemon peel, five alive citrus drink, Belgian yeasts, umami, black pepper.

T: Light citrus like a lemon-citrus taste but its not very fruity, and not like my use of citrus in IPA’s or APA’s. It’s more of a white grapefruit that is taken to a less potent version, with some lemon juice added, then some black pepper and umami added.

M: Light body, medium high carbonation, very dry finish.

O: A great saison. I am really enjoying this one. Very light, not overly complex but keeps me wanting to drink it as a refreshment.

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Photo of Augusta3
3.97/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: hazy straw yellow color with light bubbles
Aroma: thick yeast- very sour with some hints of citrus. Very old school European
Taste: Smooth and much better than I expected- very full and hoppy with some tart flavor
Overall: I really like this beer. It is very pleasant and I will definitely buy it again

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Photo of MSUEmilie
3.69/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

This beer has a very light hazy yellow color to it and was served with no head or lacing on the glass.

There was quit a sour aroma to it that made the mouth water. You knew right away there would be some lemon flavor to this beer.

This beer turned out to be a sour malty lemon beer that finished very crisply.

One of the major contributors to this beers mouthfeel is its high level of carbonation. This gave the beer a very unique feel that I particularly enjoyed.

This is a very unique beer I really enjoyed.

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Photo of Tylergross1
3.85/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Overall a very good beer, a french styled ale with a little sweetness to it as well. It is a lighter beer that seems a little cloudy but is actually very smooth and very crisp. Well thought out recipe and very tasty. I liked the cans as well, has descriptions of the recipe and their interpretation of the beer.

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Photo of gogreen99
3.37/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Hazy light yellow in appearance with minor amounts of lacing when poured into the glass...minimal sour smell which make their way to your mouth in the pre taste but finishes clean with hints of lemon in there....overall one of my favorite beers. Highly recommend.

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Photo of WillKorn
4.25/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I have had this beer many times on tap and in the can from the store and it consistently tastes very good every time. It has a very unique flavor that is very difficult to explain, but to me it has a nice balance of a malty taste along with a subtle sweetness to top it off.

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Photo of Badger6
3.93/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at Vitale's Sports Bar in Comstock Park, MI, 21 Mar 2014.

A: Hazy, light yellow body. Almost no head, some lacing on the glass.

S: Sour smell, with grass, hay, and lemon. The yeasts are distinct.

T: Sour malts in the front, with a lemony note. Gives way to a grassy note, clean finish.

M: Light to medium body, prickly carbonation. Slightly dry.

O: Beautiful example of a saison. Nicely balanced feel, and distinct, yet not overpowering flavor notes. Not overly complex, and relatively straightforward to drink, but in that it is a really great and enjoyable beer.

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Photo of zeledonia
3.55/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On-tap 14 November 2013 at Ashley’s in Ann Arbor.

Pours a a very pale light straw color. 96% clear. Brought with little head, leaves no lacing on the edges.

Smell is faint. As in, I can barely smell it. There’s the faintest hint of grain. But mostly, I get nothing.

Taste is quite nice. I don’t know what this beer is, but it has a light tartness that reminds me of a Berliner weisse. The grainy, wheaty background support that. But there’s a spiciness that surprises me, reminiscent of a Czech pilsner.

Feel is outstanding. Light body, prickly carbonation that elevates the beer well beyond what it would be without that vibrancy.. Dries out and gone at tjust the right time.

Not sure where the smell is; otherwise this is a stellar beer. The feel adds as much as it does in any beer.

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Photo of Oscar_The_Rauch
3.32/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

16oz can poured into a tulip glass

A: Hazy golden yellow. Pours a good amount of head at first then fades to about a 1/2 finger.

N: Bright, sour yeasty notes with some grass/hay, lemon peel, and apple skin.

T: Confirms nose. Light to medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation and some fleshy white grapes followed by a grassy finish.

O: This is a simple, refreshing saison that is easy to drink, but has enough going on to give it the right amount of complexity for what it is. This is definitely NOT a "thinking man's saison", but I don't think that's what they are going for. Call it a "lawnmower saison". Call it a "front porch saison". Almost every beer has a time and a place.

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

Not my favorite Belgian Saison style beer crafted from the Belgian countryside. However, a decent and flavorful beer that I do look forward to after a day of working outside. I find this beer very refreshing.
Some reviews have commented on this beer being overly carbonated. I disagree. For the style, this beer is on the money for its balance of carbonation lending itself to refreshing. The authentic ales brewed locally in the Belgian countryside by farmers and their families often push the limits of alcohol content and consequently carbonation because of the process and ingredients used.
Brewery Vivant is expert at upholding the traditional brewing processes perfected through the centuries in the Belgian countryside and abbeys. I believe Vivant's Zaison is a better example of a traditional Saison. Farm Hand Ale is less complicated and a good example of an ale one may discover at any random Belgian farmhouse.

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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 Dave_in_GR
3.74/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 16oz can into a pint glass.

Appearance is a straw yellow with a huge foamy head that fades fairly quickly.

Smell is tart and sour, with maybe some lemon as well.

Taste is really crisp, with sour yeast and grassy flavors. A bit of a yeast aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is really clean and refreshing, light body with quite a bit of carbonation. Perfect for summer.

A great porch-drinking beer.

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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 PincheNorteno
4.45/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is my household's standard summer beer, I highly recommend it.
Appearance- Pours a golden yellow with a bit of haze. Low to moderate head. Carbonation works its way beautifully up the side of a pub glass.
Smell- Grapefruit, hay, crispness of Vivant house yeast, cereals.
Taste- Simple, fresh, straight forward grassy cereals and dry tart yeast. The nose of this beer is lively, it will make you smile. with As the beer warms, the batley flavor blooms in a good way. You will fully appreciate this brew if you are hot, sweaty, and thirsty.
Mouthfeel- Refreshing. There's decent carbonation here it's definitely not flat. It's balanced, not thin or thick. If you're parched this beer fits your palate like a glove.

Overall, this is a solid beer. Beginners will find it accessible and drinkable, experienced drinkers will appreciate the quality of Farmhand from start to finish.

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Photo of knepper
4.23/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours a gaudy straw yellow; very clear until the last two ounces are swirled around in the can to release the dregs into the glass. Smells musty and lemony. Taste is crisp, tart yet balanced with some sweetness, floral and grassy, and the yeast gives that musty quality that I really enjoy. Cereal grains also come through. Overall, a great beer and one I look forward to drinking in the spring time.

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Farm Hand French Style Farmhouse Ale from Brewery Vivant
3.61 out of 5 based on 489 ratings.
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