Valley Of The Heart's Delight
Almanac Beer Co.

Valley Of The Heart's DelightValley Of The Heart's Delight
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Wild Ale
Ranked #71
Ranked #622
4.35 | pDev: 6.67%
Almanac Beer Co.
California, United States
Valley Of The Heart's DelightValley Of The Heart's Delight
Notes: This sour ale is inspired by the agricultural history of the Santa Clara Valley. Long before it became Silicon Valley, it was known as the Valley of The Heart’s Delight, a fertile basin overflowing with fruit orchards. Brewed with foraged apricots handpicked by the Garden To Table non-profit, this collaborative beer celebrates and supports their mission to promote urban farming in San Jose.
Reviews: 112 | Ratings: 883 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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StoutElk_92 from Massachusetts

4.63/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours amber gold orange with a creamy frothy white foam head. Smells like strawberries, banana, apricot, stone fruit, tropical fruit punch, oak wine barrel, hint of leathery acetic vinegar, some caramelized bready malts, with earthy herbal grassy hops. Tastes like sour apricots, fresh strawberries, tropical fruit punch, banana, stone fruits, cherry, plum, nectarine, red berry, oak wine barrel, caramelized bready malts, hint of mild acetic leather, spice, with floral earthy herbal grassy hops. Feels medium bodied, creamy smooth with moderate carbonation. Overall a real nice sour blonde ale aged in wine barrels with apricots and strawberries.

Jul 04, 2020
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bubseymour from Maryland

3.93/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I’m not sure the high ratings on this one. Vinegar aroma, moderate/high sour scale. Minimal funk and complexity. Drinkable but very “amateur” IMO.

Feb 11, 2020
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brentk56 from North Carolina

4.32/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a cloudy goldenstraw with a thin cap that fades to a film; spotty lacing

Smell: Lactic apricot and strawberry tones with some cheesy funk; oaky and acetic

Taste: Lactic and acetic sour tones mingle, with the apricot and strawberry peeking through; acetic, funky and oaky, through the middle, with a distinctly sour finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate to high carbonation; puckery

Overall: It appears that the fruit for this beer varies year to year (not sure what year this one is but I just bought the bottle and it is apricot and strawberry); really enjoyed this one as all the elements work well

Aug 08, 2019
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thebeers from Pennsylvania

3.94/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a hazed, yellow-orange color with a wisp of soupy, off-white head. Decent lacing.

Tart, sour aroma that comes across like plum as much as anything, along with a hint of wood.

The taste follows. Strong, tart plum, white wine grapes, apricot, cherry, wood and a little raisin. Acidic finish.

Medium bodied with a slightly oily consistency and moderate carbonation.

The fruit is pretty well melded into just fruity tartness at this age. The wine barrel does add a nice undertone to it all. Decent, but not my favorite from the series. 1/25/18 bottling date.

Jul 03, 2019
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flagmantho from Washington

4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from 375mL bottle into a tulip. This is the 2018 vintage, 7.2%.

Appearance: rich golden hue with a hint of reddish tint and a little bit of haze. Head is minimal, and subsides quickly. It's a nice-looking sour.

Smell: lightly sweet and fruity; the cherry comes through the most with a little hint of sourness. Subtle and enjoyable.

Taste: a good tartness, a great cherry character, and just enough funk to keep everything balanced. I don't get apricot directly, but I'm sure it's contributing to the delightful fruitiness. I really like this beer.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a light carbonation and appropriate effervescence. It works.

Overall: this beer is very delicious indeed. It's just so flavorful and refreshing - I could drink a bucketful of this.

Nov 29, 2018
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Roguer from Connecticut

4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Big frothy head production with good retention. Brew is nearly opaque and dark orange.

Sharply sour and fruity nose: waves of tannins, vinegar, cherry pits, oak, vanilla, and apricots. Musty.

Surprisingly malty on the palate: brown sugar, wheat, pumpernickel; must and dust; pepper; oak, tannins, overripe fruit, cherries; moderately sour, balanced, good puckering; silky and moderately full bodied.

This is a surprisingly balanced sour, not over the top, and approachable. Not as fruity as you would expect, and the barrel influence is more restrained than expected - or perhaps more accurately, the wine barrel blends with the overall profile remarkably smoothly.

Nov 12, 2018
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SirSaucy from North Carolina

4.78/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Very fruity and delicious sour. Apricot and cherry very prominent in nose and taste without being overly sweet; I find most beers with cherries to be too sweet. Nice white grapey wine hint in there too. Great stuff, probably my new favorite sour. Maybe try an oakyer variant?

Aug 14, 2018
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snaotheus from Washington

4.39/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

375ml bottle served in a pair of small Cantillon glasses. 1/25/18 is on the shoulder of the bottle.

Pours mostly clear bronze color with a smallish head and a lot of very fine carbonation. Smell is tart and peachy, a little grassy.

Taste is quite tart -- and quite good. Still get some stone fruit; not as much grass. maybe a slight hint of funk.

Mouthfeel is dry and full at the same time. Overall, quite good beer.

Jul 12, 2018
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Hopheadjeffery from Illinois

4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Tasted in a snifter from draft at Consume on May 3, 2018. This sour ale is inspired by the agricultural history of the Santa Clara Valley. Long before it became Silicon Valley, it was known as the Valley of The Heart’s Delight, a fertile basin overflowing with fruit orchards. Brewed with foraged apricots, loquats and cherries.

May 30, 2018
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Bruno74200 from France

4.34/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L - clear golden colour for the first glass, then quite hazy from the yeast. Almost no head

S - as it warms up the strawberry is more and more present. Some stone fruits notes. Brett. Moderatly funky

T - very complex with some funk, a certain tartness, apricot acidity balanced with strawberry sweetness. Nice malt bill. Good drinkability

M - Champagne like carbonation, nice mouthfeel

O - Less funky than a lambic based beer, this wild ale shows a lot of fruitiness and complexity. It remains balanced at all times

May 12, 2018
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Ice_Cream_And_IPAs from New York

4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Look: Pours somewhere between pink and orange, completely murky. Almost no head, and whatever does form, dissipates immediately. Minimal lacing left on the glass.
Smell: Apricots dominate the nose, though cherries are also noticeable. The oak character is apparent on the nose as well. Fairly pungent.
Taste: Cherries dominate the apricots on the taste, slightly. This guy is quite tart, but not in the artificial way. Oak from the wine barrels is also noticeable in the taste. No alcohol is apparent, and overall the taste is extremely enjoyable. The aftertaste lingers for quite a while.
Feel: The body is quite light, carbonation is medium to low.
Overall: Very pleased with this. Naturally tart, fruity and tart, I'd buy this again at $12.50 (remember we are in California).

Mar 31, 2018
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DavidR_9 from California

4.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

On tap at almanac taproom sf

Awesome sour. Not overly tart but a little bit puckering with some slight drying mouthfeel. Beautiful reddish dark gold body and some white-reddish foam along the edge of the glass. Really nice balanced classic almanac sour aroma - lots of fruit, apricot followed by cherries, and the effervescent sourness, some definite sweetness. Taste follows the nose with huge notes of apricot and dark cherry, Some really light wine barrel notes and oakiness, and finished with a lingering but medium-light sourness that is not nearly too astringent for my palate. This sour is so balanced, bright and slightly dry, it lets the frutiness shine while also elevating every flavor. My only critique of this beer is that perhaps it’s too fruity and slightly too sweet - but that in no way makes it difficult to drink.

Feb 24, 2018
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Ciocanelu from Romania

4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy bright yellow color with white foam. Surprisingly, the aroma really delivers the fruit notes: unripe apricots and sweet strawberry puree. There are also hay, barnyard notes and other yeast esters but the fruits dominate. Taste starts sour, quite acidic, dry, with lots of unripe stonefruits, apricot skin, yellow mirabelle plums, light fruit pit bitterness on the finish. Light to medium body, medium plus carbonation. A very well made fruited sour with intense flavors.

Jan 30, 2018
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

4.09/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This might be my favorite of the Almanac sour series of beers. Pours a golden color with 5/9" white head. Aroma smacked hard on the apricot. Enjoyable as apricot almost always is and is my favorite fruit to be associated with a beer.

Taste, more deliciousness. Clean apricot, mild cherry and oak. Very crushable, alcohol not noticeable. Carbonation right where you want it, relatively light body that stays out of the way for the most part. The acidity is present but in normal ranges and not harsh. The fruit is legit. Blonde ale base and white wine barrel usually make for a good beer. Throw in the most minimalistic amount of vanilla and you have a winner. $10 a bottle, not good, not terrible, but worthy of picking this up every now and then.

Oct 09, 2017
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kitch from Hong Kong

4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A 375ml bottle, released in February 2017. Poured into a Lost Abbey teku glass.

Appearance: A hazy golden yellow orange colour with a one finger white head that dissipated fairly quickly to a ring around the glass that lingers and left some sparse lacing.

Aroma: Oak, strawberry, apricot, peach, tart mixed berries, with some funk, leather, straw and white wine.

Taste: Tart and tangy lemon, apricot and strawberry, followed by a touch of oak, vanilla, funk and leather.

Mouthfeel: Medium to light bodied with moderate prickly carbonation.

Overall: It was very tasty and complex. I’m not usually too fond of wine barrel aging, but the addition of apricots and strawberries matched it well, and probably took it up a notch. Very enjoyable.

Oct 09, 2017
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wedge from North Carolina

4/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy pale orange hue with a loose, bubbly head that sticks to the surface in soapy pools. Aromas of spicy wood, fuzzy peaches, tart earthy berries, hay, leathery funk, light champagne. Stone fruit and berry tartness in the mouth...apricot, peach, berries, lemon acidity. Medium-light, puckering feel. Fruity, funky, acidic.

Jul 24, 2017
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metter98 from New York

4.09/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is very hazy yellow in color. It poured with a short white head that died down, leaving some wisps of lacing on the surface and a narrow collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light aromas of tropical fruits and apricots are present in the nose.
T: The taste has lots of flavors of apricots and a moderate amount of sourness.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied and somewhat tart on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: I liked how the taste of this beer really exemplifies the flavors of apricots.

Serving type: bottle

Jun 11, 2017
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superspak from Ohio

4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

375 ml bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 1/18/2017. Pours lightly hazy/cloudy medium golden yellow/light orange color with a 1 finger fairly dense and fluffy white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of big tart/tangy strawberry, apricot, peach, lemon, pineapple, green apple, white wine, wheat, cracker, oak, hay, straw, and grass; with light vanilla, leather, musty funk, white vinegar, and yeast/oak earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of fruity/funky/acidic yeast, fruit, wine barrel, and moderate pale malt notes; with great strength. Taste of big tart/tangy strawberry, apricot, peach, lemon, pineapple, green apple, white wine, wheat, cracker, oak, hay, straw, and grass; with light vanilla, leather, musty funk, white vinegar, and yeast/oak earthiness. Light-moderate fruity/lactic tartness and yeast/oak spiciness on the finish. Lingering notes of tart/tangy strawberry, apricot, peach, lemon, pineapple, green apple, white wine, wheat, cracker, oak, hay, straw, grass, light funk/vinegar, and yeast/oak earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/funky/acidic yeast, fruit, wine barrel, and moderate pale malt flavors; with a great malt/tart/spiciness balance, and zero puckering/astringent flavors after the finish. Light-moderate dryness from tart/spiciness, lightly increasing through the glass. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, moderately bready/grainy/acidic, and fairly tangy/tannic balanced mouthfeel that is awesome. Zero warming alcohol for 7%. Overall this is an incredible fruited sour/wild ale! All around outstanding complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/funky/acidic yeast, fruit, wine barrel, and moderate pale malt flavors; very smooth and refreshing to drink with the balanced tart/acidic finish. Outstanding Brett complexity, with tons of fruit. Nice wine barrel presence, without getting too tannic. A highly enjoyable offering.

Jun 10, 2017
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danasofia from California

4.96/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Poured from a 375 mL bottle into a goblet glass.

Look - Beautiful hazy, cloudy orange/amber. Completely opaque when held up to light.

Smell - Lots of dry oak, complemented by white wine, sourdough bread, and a very floral mix of citrus and strawberry and light apricot. Also a bit of cool, earthy, and leathery brett flavor.

Taste - Amazing. Very tart, with a strong leaning toward lemon with a deep background of white wine, leaves a warm, earthy oak flavor in the finish. The tartness brings out strawberry notes, while the barrel flavors emphasize a woody, apricot pit flavor (also present in the brett aspects of the nose). More prominent apricot as it warms and I get further into the glass. Really rich, textural, and delicious fruit flavors all around.

Feel - Light, but with plenty of sediment and stickiness. Smooth, refreshing, and dry, but really leaves a strong aftertaste and thirst-quenching presence of saliva. Definitely makes you crave the next sip.

Overall - This is an outstanding beer from a consistently outstanding series. Almanac's sour blondes never disappoint, but the complexity and interplay between strawberry and apricot, as well as the amazingly precise expression of their flavors, really makes this a winner.

May 21, 2017
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Damian from Massachusetts

4.1/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank from a 12.68 fl.oz. (375ml) bottle purchased at Pemberton Farms, Cambridge, MA
Released February 2017
Served in a tulip

Hazy, brassy yellow appearance. The liquid was capped by a loose, soapy looking, bone white crown that quickly fell to a thick, bubbly collar. Patches of streaky lacing stuck along the glass.

The aroma was amazing. Strawberry notes dominated. Super fresh and bright. Good amount of bretty tartness. Some peach and apricot came through as well. White wine notes were also apparent. An oaky Chardonnay perhaps. Touch of citrus too.

The flavor profile was much more straightforward than the nose. Intense Bretty notes hit hard from the get go. Super sour and slightly funky. Citrus came through big time in the center. Loads of lemon. Strong oaky barrel notes as well. Touch of peach/apricot on the back end. Big lemon pith and oaky notes in the finish.

Nice frothy, lighter bodied mouthfeel. Really fluffy on the palate. The liquid contained a fairly aggressive, larger bubbled effervescence. Later, the carbonation settled to a more appropriate level.

Valley of the Heart's Delight had a terrific, strawberry forward nose but unfortunately lacked both fruitiness and complexity in the flavor profile. On a side note, it seems that this beer's fruit additions have changed repeatedly (this version contained apricot and strawberry, and past variations had cherries, mulberries, dates and loquat). Surprisingly, all these beers are listed under one heading on BeerAdvocate. Looking at past reviews, however, perhaps this should not be the case.

Apr 27, 2017
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nuggetlover from Pennsylvania

4.24/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a viscous haven't peed in 6 hours urine color... nose is barnyard in a bigly way, it is musty... taste is mild compared to the nose. Tart but not sour. Some mild dried apricot. Very refreshing. Crisp and tart.

Mar 17, 2017
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jrenihan from Canada (ON)

4.29/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Terrific nose. Tart citrus scents, lots of apricot, some funk and a touch of vanilla. The flavour is very complex- the first sip hit me with a variety of different flavours. Apricot stands out the most, but peach, vanilla and oak are there as well. The vanilla flavour lends a beautiful smoothness that softens the fairly aggressive sourness. Excellent.

Feb 10, 2017
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jlindros from Massachusetts

4.21/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Some bottle code, but can't tell if it's a date as it smudges and disappears.

Pours no real head, super murky sunny golden bright yellow color.

Nose big funk, sour funk, plenty of bacteria and some souring Brett too I think, apricot fruit, a little citrus, big peachy apricot stone fruit, soured stone fruit, acidic funk with some mild vinous wine notes, a little toasty oak, a little cheesy funk, and hint of berry.

Taste is very sour, incredibly tart and sour, plenty of acidity too, flemmy tart funk, cheesy funk, lots of souring bacteria and some Brett funk, a little bready malt on the back end, with big stone fruit again, sour apricot and peachy, a touch of citrus, dried apricots and maybe a hint of golden date , and just a touch of berry in the background if any, creamy bready wheat base, and a little gristy grain, a little raw woody oak and vinous white wine. Finish is flemmy but not much, quite acidic, big fruits lingering mostly apricot and stone fruit, citrus, and lemony sour funk lingering.

Mouth is med bod, super acidic, a bit flemmy, lighter carb.

Overall pretty nice, evn though it's prob a bit old tons of nice apricot and stone fruit, very sour and funky, enjoyable though, wish the mulberry and date were a bit more, but prob hard to get those out in a beer like this.

Nov 19, 2016
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stevoj from Idaho

3.94/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Medium golden, tiny bubbly head, slightly hazy. Tart, sweet nose. Fruity, apricots prominent. Taste is tart, nice soft, lingering pucker. Stone fruit sweetness. Tart, bitter and sweet. Nicely done.

Nov 14, 2016
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bnes09 from Illinois

4.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wonderful apricot aroma. Aggressive acidity with apricot and underlying berry flavor. Citric acid quality. Very well balanced. Like a dry, sour white wine. High carbonation. Dry finish. Excellent.

Jun 30, 2016
Valley Of The Heart's Delight from Almanac Beer Co.
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 883 ratings