Valley Of The Heart's Delight | Almanac Beer Co.

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Valley Of The Heart's DelightValley Of The Heart's Delight

Brewed by:
Almanac Beer Co.
California, United States

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by largadeer on 01-30-2014

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Reviews: 91 | Ratings: 812
Photo of CraftFan5
4.84/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

First time having this out of the bottle. 375 ml into a champagne flute.

A - A pale yellow-orange with plenty of streaming bubbles. White head consists of fairly large bubbles and fizzes away quickly. Inviting

N - Whoa, tons of tartness and funk with the requisite apricot aroma. This is one of the most aromatic sours I've ever experienced.

T - This is what wild ales are supposed to taste like. You get that strong foundation from the barrel-aging, and just a mind-blowing amount of apricot. Extremely tart and funky. Delici.

M - Almost painful on the tongue from the tartness and carbonation, and this is not a bad thing. Dry on the finish; I need some more.

O - A real winner. Best offering from Almanac I've had. Cheers!

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.7/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A- Pours a pale orange or medium deep yellow in color with an average sized head. The head is very fizzy and more like a champagne head than a beer head. Retention is not very long on this head and it comes down to a wisp of bubbles on the edges of the beer fairly quickly. Not much lacing here.

S- This beer is fruity right up front in the scent before a bang of tartness. Fruitiness is primarily tart cherry in the scent, but a little bit of citrus and the apricot is in there as well. The back half of the scent is primarily tart and just a touch dry from the wine barrel.

T- Starts off with a bang of tart cherries and a fruity medley of the apricots and loquats. I have no idea what a loquat is, but I assume it has a fairly citrusy flavor that is mixing in with the cherries and apricots. The tartness picks up a little after the initial fruitiness, but never becomes too aggressive. A slight dryness comes after the tartness fades towards the end, and just a touch of wine flavor comes through in that dryness.

M- This beer has an overall feeling most similar to champagne. It is light and very carbonated on the tongue. The lower level of tartness makes this easy to drink, but not quite thirst quenching.

Overall, this is probably my favorite of the Almanac sours I have been able to try. It is fruity and tart, yet not so tart as to make you pucker. Just a very good beer overall.

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Photo of impending
4.63/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75


375ml into a delicate glass. Pours a fully hazed honey orange, pure white froth retains as a ring, minor lacing.

Handed this blind and asked to guess the fruits - the answers could be legion, everything advertised and so much more. Perfect balance of sweet to sour share an imagined cinnamon.

WoW this is tasty, a liquid sweet tart. Again the multitudes of fruits real and imagined. Exquisite sharp dry bite, white grape skins. Lip smacking goodness

Lively spritzy thin mouthfeel which so seeps into crevices it seems less is swallowed than was sipped.

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Photo of jjdc
4.62/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Lovely golden yellow that just looks like summer. Ripe fruit nose that is solid, but not huge. This one is quite a bit more sour than most Almanacs, but quite amazing. The interplay between the fruit is superb. You get hints of tart cherries, citrusy apricots and perhaps loquats as the beer rolls over your tongue. The pucker keeps things taut and crisp. This is super refreshing. One of the best from Almanac.

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Photo of intransitive
4.59/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bottle into a Night Shift glass. I love American sours, and this... yeah, this one is extraordinary. Looks: A pale yellow/orange and quickly fading head. Taste: Tart, but not overbearingly so. Stone fruit, grass, nicely balanced and subtle. Smell is apricot, mellow and inviting. Light effervescence. Just wonderful.

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Photo of ichorNet
4.59/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, this is good. My second Almanac, following on the heels of my review yesterday for the Farmer's Reserve Blueberry, is the 2015 version of VOTHD featuring dates, mulberries and apricots. I don't know much about Almanac's base beers but I'm gonna go ahead and assume that all of their "blonde ale aged in wine barrels with _____" are based on the same original recipe and go from there to get my bearings.

A: Pours a beautiful orange-yellow/golden-tinged color with a few fingers of head that eventually melt down to a half-finger of bone-white head that retains forever. Hazy to the point of pure opacity. Absolutely great color and sits in the glass very nicely.

S: Tropical (mango and guava) with a lot of funky, horse blanket notes from the Brett and barrel-aging. Bright fruit behind that, probably the apricot from the label. Fleeting white wine and slight apple cider vinegar (appreciable amount of acetic acid presence, I'd say). Barrel brings in very ephemeral oak and tannic notes. Seems mild after a while, but it's just so damn enticing.

T: This is pretty much perfect to me. An immaculate blend of bright, fleshy fruit and sour pucker with some surprises here and there. Some help in rounding things out is provided by the vanillins derived from the barrels. Acidity is huge and hefty, but Almanac keeps things really well-balanced by providing some elements of dark fruit here and there as well with the inclusion of date fruit. It really is a genius blend of fruit flavors... the raw, syrupy sweetness of the dates brings up the rear guard here while the mulberry notes are found a bit more anonymously in the finish, playing along with the tartness and rich, full-bodied finish to provide a foil to the intense juiciness of the apricot that appears up front. This is absolutely delicious. As close to perfect as I can think of for an American sour, and I'm glad it uses a blend of added fruits because it helps keep the beer from being a bit one-note. The yeast profile is, obviously, very farmhouse-focused and adds some light baking spice and honey notes that also work well with the acidity and powerful, intense fruit flavors.

M: Great, puckering acid profile combined with medium carbonation with nice effervescence. Body is juicy and slick but closes out rather quickly in the finish. Still, it's quite complex and the fine, champagne-like bubbles help bring out lots of different, striking flavors all across the palate.

This is a real treat. I'm glad I picked up a few bottles of this while it was around. Looking forward to one day getting to try more, as my first two experiences have been spectacular!

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Photo of bnes09
4.53/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

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Photo of pkalix
4.53/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

wow! nice pucker factor! sweet fruit flavor, this is easily the best of the bunch with the blueberry, I remember, coming in second. this is really nice!

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Photo of DovaliHops
4.53/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy, golden wheat color with a medium white head that goes down quickly. Scent is very fruity up front. Not sweet fruit, but the kinda fruit aroma you get when you walk through a field of trees or plants that grow fruit. Tart aromas with a hint of chardonnay. More chardonnay as the beer warms a bit. Taste is very tart up front. Loquats, lemons, and apricots provide a lovely fruity balance. The cherries are very difficult to find in the flavor. This one is pretty sour. A good amount of wine barrel...I'm assuming chardonnay barrels were uses. The fruit and sourness mesh so well with this one. Has a slight wheat flavor to it. Mouthfeel is dry and crisp. Somewhat puckering. Drinkability is extremely high. Overall, this beer is outstanding. To me, it drinks like a berliner. Perfect for a hot, summer day. You could tell me the ABV was 4.0%, and I would believe it. A lovely, dry, sour ale with a lot of stone fruit flavor.

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Photo of vfgccp
4.52/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

A - Light haze on a soft yellow-peach body. White head settles quickly with little-to-no lace.

S - Fruity, restrained and well rounded. Red apple, cantaloupe, white cherries, apricots, and sour cranberries.

T - Smooth well balanced sourness, green grape, macintosh apple, sourdough, dried apricots.

M - Medium frame. Maybe medium-full to style. Strange, dry cream finish.

O - A deft balance of fruit and sour; fairly restrained for an American Wild ale.

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Photo of BobbyDigitali
4.51/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Aged bottle (Feb. 2013).. Oh so good. This one had Apricots, Loquats, and Cherries. The new batch (2015) has solely Apricots. Can't wait to taste the new batch after cellaring a year or two.

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Photo of SHODriver
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: pours a nice light and hazy orange with a finger of white head that is quick to fade to a collar around the edge of the glass
S: smells of fruity tartness, some nice malty aromas, and the slightest amount of funk
T: taste starts off with a nice smack of tartness, followed up with some apricot and cherry flavor along with some nice oakyness from the wine barrel. swallow brings a nice crisp lemony tartness and a bit of funk on the finish.
M: lighter side of medium in the mouth with adequate carbonation and a drying finish
O: Incredible, it's kinda like a fruity berliner weisse but they didn't mention the use of any wheat...

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Photo of Stevem68
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy mango color. Aroma is very tart and has soir fruity notes. Flavor is tart and funky with some saltiness. Finished with a nice acidic fruity tastes, reminded me of apricots and plums. Has a silky smooth feel and body is like a retesting glad of fruit juice. Overall I really like this a lot.

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Photo of Rocknrao
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy burnt amber color. Mildly fruity nose. Smells of pears and apricots. Tastes like a good sour ale should. Light bodied tartness like dried fruit from a bulk bin.

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Photo of macrosmatic
4.48/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to eyebereej for sending this one. Reviewed from notes. Poured from 375 mL bottle into a Florida Berliner Bash snifter.

A: Hazy gold, with a thin white head but lots of bubbles forming streams up the sides of the glass.

S: Some nice barnyard funk, a mouth-tightening tartness, white wine, and fruity (though I'm not sure I would have called it apricots - just a fruity sweetness).

T: Tart apricots, white vinous character, tartness and a moderate amount of wet, funky barnyard. Dry and tart on the finish with woody tannins from the barrel.

M: Light champagne-like body with tons of carbonation sensation, and very low alcohol presence.

O: A really nice, well-done sour. Quite light, enjoyable and drinkable. This is one of my favorites of Almanac's small-bottle sour series. Excellent beer.

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Photo of carmike813
4.48/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bought this when i was out west for vacation...

First off i have to give big credit to the bottle art. I love the Almanac font they use with the top-to-bottom sideways way of the label. The tree on the other side is cool looking with the "FARM TO BARREL" on the back side. I dont think anyone does better bottle art than Almanac, really cool.

I poored into a tulip glass.

Quick dissapating soda like head to the poor, it fizzed away immediately, but what you would expect form a sour

Sour funk, apricots, deep cherry. Very little wine barrel coming through the nose but pretty damn good to the senses

Big sour coming through with the wine barrel clearly coming through. Has the finish of a Reisling. The cherry is the most noticable with the apricot slightly behind. Excellent sour brew

Tangy carbonated acidic feel, ligh light body

Really enjoyed this sour, one that is easy to find and worth the try. High recommendation

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.48/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2014 vintage served at Ale Arsenal.

Beautiful semi-opaque golden yellow. Smells fruity (peachy?), but not tart. But it tastes VERY tart. Delicious. Puckery. Very much to my liking.

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Photo of RaulMondesi
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Can Raul type right now? He almost cannot. This is simply amazing. Let's equate, shall we? In N Out after a bender; a bubble bath with Olivia Munn; Dodger Stadium at twilight... PERFECTION!

Glorious apricots that must have been picked by Aphrodite because Raul just cannot, he cannot...

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Photo of blockdude
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is one of my favorite sours, and in my opinion far better than any almanac beer. The body has some very enjoyable floral notes with a lot of apricots and cherries. There is quite a bit of carbonation and acidity, but it is not overbearing. What I enjoy most about this beer is its earthiness and the fact that everything tastes so fresh particularly the apricots and cherries. I would say that the bottle version can be hazier than on tap and although it probably looks better on tap, it ages very well with more noticeable barrel qualities over time.

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Photo of siege06nd
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A. Hazy gold with a thin ring of white head. Head, while minimal, is persistent and leaves good lacing.

S. Apricots, lemon, peach, lacto, barnyard funk. Traces of cherry, strawberry, and slightly pungent cheese. Very good.

T. Fleshy apricot, tart peach flesh, dry white wine, hints of bittering hops, yeast. Fruity, dry, and nicely sour.

M. Moderate to high carbonation, good blend of fruit and tart's never overbearing or hugely puckering. Big dry, white grape finish.

O. An excellent wild ale and another awesome entry into Almanac's Farm to Barrel series. The complexity of flavors on display is quite impressive...absolutely loving the apricots in this. Not as sour as some, but presents a depth and well-roundedness that should be applauded. I really dig this beer and am glad to have tried it.

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Photo of spoony
4.44/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

From a 375 ml bottle (no date) to a teku.

A-The beer is a dull orange color with a light haze. I can see a few streams of fine carbonation in there, but the white head fades quickly to a thick collar. No lacing.

S-The aroma is moderately funky (more lactic than brett) with a nice dose of sour fruit. I get apricots mostly, but also some peach, and a little bit of lemon and orange. Very sour, but very clean smelling.

T-The taste is similar to the smell: it is clean, but sour. The apricot fruit is delicious and pure tasting. I also taste some peach and lemon and I get a little hit of dry oak. The finish is drying and sour. Nice.

M-The body is on the light side with fine carbonation of average to above-average volume. A great fit for the beer.

O-This may be my favorite Almanac beer. It is easily one of the best sour beers I have had in a while. It doesn't have the complexity of other sours and that may be OK because the fruit flavor here is very clean and pure. No bourbon or tequila or whatever barrel intrudes. It is just fruit and it is delicious.

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Photo of Vonerichs
4.43/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bright hazy yellow. Fizzy head with good retention.

The apricot really shines. Fruity with a little bit of orange and vanilla. Funky and pungent, sour.

Very sour and the apricot finishes strong. White wine.

Medium body with high carbonation. Crisp and clean.

I really enjoyed it. The apricot tastes so good and sticks around long in the finish after the pucker is over.

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Photo of wakeuptothesun
4.43/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I absolutely loved this beer and am looking forward to getting a couple more. Definitely sour. Had it back to back with the sourdough ale and this one prevailed victorious by a long shot in my opinion. Thanks Almanac for this awesome beer. It was similar to Anderson Valley's Rosy Barl to me. Next up, the bourbon sour porter. Should be great!

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Photo of AnotherBrick00
4.43/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very little head. Golden straw with good clarity. Solid fine carbonation. Excellent nose, almost like a clean Viognier. One of the most complex blonde sours I have had in a while. Great finish with a great acid balance. Got a second to try in a few months!

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a tulip glass)

A- This beer pours a hazy light copper body wit a thin white film that is supported by a tight little carbonation. The body is a pretty cloudy and with each sip nice little foam clouds form on the glass.

S- The nice tart fruity aroma has some earthy stone fruit notes and a cherry skin finish with some delicate apricot notes.

T- The full tart slightly dry jammy fruit flavors has some earthy dark cherry skins underneath and a gentle tartness hangs on the tongue after the finish.

M- this beer has a light mouthfeel with no alcohol heat and a gentle astringency prick to the little crisp fizz.

O- The full dept of tartness blends with some more acidic fruit character that is bright and is nicely melded together. Very tasty.

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Valley Of The Heart's Delight from Almanac Beer Co.
4.26 out of 5 based on 812 ratings.
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