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

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
94
outstanding
87 Reviews
THE BROS
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Valley Of The Heart's DelightValley Of The Heart's Delight
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Almanac Beer Co.
California, United States | website

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
87
Ratings:
796
Avg:
4.26
pDev:
7.28%
 
 
Wants:
125
Gots:
132
For Trade:
18
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
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Reviews: 87 | Ratings: 796
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 Tommo
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Very sour, good fruit flavor. Its a very nice sour beer, however aurelian lure is my favorite beer, and this is MUCH less balanced that AL. The sour overwhelms the pallet leaving the apricots in its wake. Smell is good

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Photo of smakawhat
3.71/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass.

Flat simple orange body, minimal rising carbonation but a little bit manages to poke out through the middle. No collar, barely hanging on, looking like a fruited lambic of sorts, but a nice orange tangerine hue all seems to stand out.

Interesting and unexpected nose. Huge notes of pancakes and maple syrup. A spec and slight hint of butter. Ground white flour. Mild sensing tartness and peaches to apricot nose. Mellows out after a bit of time but gives to more fruit quality as time goes on. Very unique wild yeast forward brew.

Mild palate lacking very much in anything particularly interesting or grabbing attention. Slightly wet but little malt depth. Mid palate comes out neutral, borderline seltzery with hardly any fruit character at all. Moderate tartness and lemon character, not giving much fruit variety, sweetness, or anything memorable. Watery, with perhaps a little bit of tannic wood coming out in the aftertaste.

Surprisingly underwhelming, lacking in depth, fruit character, and far too light bodied for barrel aging. A decent wild brew, sure but doesn't come off as anything special let alone memorable.

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Photo of Reedbrew
3.92/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Good not great compared to others in series. Apricot flavor is pretty overshadowed by sour ale base, it'd be hard to guess that its apricot if I didn't know beforehand.

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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 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 BowWowWowYippyYoIPA
4.18/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled January 2015

Look - Pours a hazy golden yellow with effervescent head that dissipates quickly. 4 paws.

Smell - Wonderful combination of yogurt, cheese, and apricot aromas. A bit buttery, but the apricot is crisp, clean and inviting. Since the buttery smell is there I'm going to guess Chardonnay barrels were used. 4.75 paws.

Taste - Very tart with nuances of yogurt and kefir. The apricot is there but drowned out a bit by the high acidity. The apricot becomes more of a peach or nectarine flavor. 4 paws.

Feel - Very bright and crisp, sharp tingle coats the tongue and becomes very apparent on the finish. Somewhat milky. 4 paws.

Overall - I think I've decided that stonefruit are my favorite fruits to be added to sour beers, and I had high expectations for this one. Those expectations feel just a bit short because the extreme tartness drowned out a lot of the apricot flavor. Don't get me wrong, it's still a great beer, but is similar to most Almanac sours I've had in that it is very good, but not remarkable. 4 paws.

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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 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 tom10101
3.01/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Bottle (375 ml). Split with the Quebec crew. Shared by mathieuc, thanks! Thanks to Marcus who also sent me a bottle of this.

Appearance: Clear bright pale golden with a medium white head and little lacing.

Aroma: Oh god, aroma is dominated by pumpkin puree. Light spices and brettanomyces notes are able to get through it a bit, but not enough to make it enjoyable.

Taste: A boatload of pumpkin puree again with light/moderate sourness, light spices, hints of brettanomyces and light cherry presence.

Palate: Medium body. Medium carbonation. Slightly dry finish.

Overall: Either we got a pretty bad bottle or I really don’t get why this isso highly rated. Completely one-dimensional so not really complex and not easily drinkable either.

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Photo of Davepoolesque
4.01/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Woooo. Super up front sourness. Almost like sucking on a lemon. Faint hints of the apricot and whatever the hell a loquat is. Not getting much in the way of wine barrel. It's delicious.

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Photo of adam42381
4.33/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 375ml bottle into a Spiegelau tulip. No date on bottle.

Appearance: Pours an opaque medium golden-orange with a 1 1/2 finger bubbly snow white head. Good amount of sediment floating around. Minimal lacing.

Smell: Apricots, white wine and cherries are the most distinct aromas. There is just a hint of vinegar in the background. The aroma is somewhat tart, but not overpowering. Smells amazing.

Taste: Apricots with a touch of pears up front followed by pale malt notes in the middle before ending with a burst of puckering sourness consisting of lactic acid, tart cherries and wine grape hulls. Aftertaste is mildly sour and short-lived.

Mouthfeel: Light-to-medium-bodied with an very high amount of prickly carbonation.

Drinkability: Good drinkability. You could drink a couple of these before your palate screams for mercy from the tartness.

Overall: Excellent beer overall. One of the best American Wild Ales I've tried. I would highly recommend this one.

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Photo of Stevedore
4.24/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

375ml bottle from 2/2013. Poured into a stemless glass 12/11/2014.

A- Hazy, cloudy, opaque, whatever you want to call it- beige-yellow body with half finger white head with minimal retention, no lacing. It seems very pulpy, like orange juice but with chunks of pulp. A bit nasty in appearance, there is no getting around it.

S- Lots of lactic acidity, apricot sweetness, tropical fruit, a bit of mango, grainy pale malt, and a bit of vinegar. However I would not have known there were cherries in this from the smell alone, other than what it says on the label. Smells nice and lactic, with a nice complexity from the fruits. This smells great.

F- Jesus Christ, this one has gotten sour with age. Lactic acidity is at 9/10 with a stinging, dryness that leaves a distinct but distant impression of tart stone fruit sweetness. Dry, tannic finish that was probably from red wine barrel use. Very nice sour with good complexity, a bit oversoured at this point.

M- Medium bodied, good carbonation, dry and tannic on the finish with a lot of sour acidity that makes this slightly challenging. Very refreshingly sour.

O- Very nice AWA, I certainly liked this one even at its high price point at $17 for a 375ml. It lacks any kind of funk, but the acidity and fruit flavours is up to par with some of the other highly-regarded American Wild Ales out there.

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Photo of scottfrie
3.95/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 1.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 2/2013, poured into a snifter.

A: Pours an atrocious looking muddy shade of orange with an enormous amount of what looks like yeast mixed with citrus pulp. The head was frothy and foamed up nicely before slowly fading into nothingness leaving a network of chunky lace down the glass. This beer looks disgusting, but I’m sure will taste great.
S: Fresh, ripe, and juice apricots hit first and smell exactly like a ripe apricot just sliced in half. Loquat citrus follows, with maybe just a hint of tart cherry in there as well. Light acidity.
T: Apricot again dominates alongside bright, clean, and tart acidic flavors and loquat citrus. I wouldn’t know there was cherry in this if the bottle didn’t say so, but I there is the suggestion of cherry, along with the wine barrel, near the finish and aftertaste. Bready yeast or malt flavors are noticeable behind the fruit. The finish is full of citrus, and the aftertaste has lingering notes of apricot with a hint of oak.
M: Bright and tart medium-full body, clean and mellow carbonation, drying a scrubbing mouthfeel. Drinks well although pretty acidic.
O: Apricot and loquat all the way. A unique and delicious flavor profile with a solid tartness. There’s no avoiding the chunks with this one though.

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Photo of SportsandJorts
3.59/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a light orange to a yellowish honey. a big, three finger white head with strong retention and leaving behind a little bit of lacing. hazy and opaque.

Smell: wine, some sweet white wine quality with just a touch of red wine spiciness. some fruit and oak like components. mainly slightly tart apricots to some citrus and hints of berries.

Taste: opens up with a little bit of fruitiness. some apricots and citrus. mostly sweet up front. white grape, vinous, flavors play in along with some oak. backend is full of vinegar acidity and a more juicy darker fruit, almost berry like.

Mouthfeel: not very sour but highly acidic. very vinous.

Overall: I was really hoping this one would be more sour and fruity. the fruit is very subtle. the wine smells and flavors are a bit more than I look for in this type of beer. too strong on the vinegar, but that may not have been the case fresh. but overall a decent drinking beer.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.9/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Curran last night.

Pours a murky golden orange, with a one inch head, and a little bit of lacing.

Smells like apricots, lactic acid, and white wine. Smells only moderately sour, not too crazy.

The taste is similar, this is moderately sour, with some sour white wine flavors, lactic acid and such. I'm getting a bit of apricot, not really getting any cherry, and I have no idea what a loquat tastes like. I wish this was a bit fruitier, given the three different fruits, but it tastes really nice.

This one is light bodied, airy and spritzy in the mouthfeel, with a moderate to high amount of carbonation.

Not bad at all here, tastes great, but could be a little more, I think.

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Photo of Treyliff
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from bottle to teku glass

A- pours a hazy bright go;den orange color with a small fizzy and bubble white head that reduces to leave only a ring around the rim, some short lasting lace left behind when agitated

S- mouth watering tart fruit up front with aromas of apricot, grape skin & maraschino cherry. Slightly acidic with some citrus zest, followed by musty earthy tones & dry woodsy barrel notes, white wine and delicate floral hops close it out

T- apricot and stone fruit sugary sweetness hits the palate first, but is quickly followed buy a big punch of bone dry tartness with an acidic kick. Flavors of lemon zest, cherry skins, peach, white grape and zinfandel follow, completed by earthy and woodsy oak, bone dry finish with more fruit on the linger

M- medium body with low carbonation leads to a slightly foamy mouthfeel, and a puckering, bone dry finish that leaves the mouth wanting more

O- a mouth puckering ale that focus more on pure fruity sour notes, with not a lot of funk. The notes from the wine barrels are subtle, but compliment it nicely

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Photo of thebigredone
3.75/5  rDev -12%

Wow, never had such a hazy, chunky, pour before. There are bits of pulp from the fruit, this looks almost looks like a runny fruit smoothie.

Taste is sharply sour and fruity, with a bit of oak. There is just a hint of plastic on the finish of some of the sips, but fortunately not all.

Mouthfeel is good, except for all the floating particles. This does become a problem as you near the finish of the beer.

Overall, a very solid beer. I would have rated this a 4+, but the particles really become a problem towards the end of the beer, and the small, occasional hints of plastic were off-putting.

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Photo of shadetree67
4.16/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A. Very Cloudy and orange / copper in color. A 1 finger fizzy white head disappears quickly. I don't think I've ever seen a beer with so much sediment. There are lots of brown / red flecks and floaties in the beer. Almost look like strawberry seeds in size, but there arent any strawberries in here. I carefully poured half of the bottle which had been stored upright. Yeasty specks coat the sides of the glass as i drink.

S. Funk and Must. Apricot and orange. Some cherry.

T. Opens with apricots and citrus. The middle is cherry and hints of barrel. The finish is tart lemons. It is quite sour and dry. Not much funk in the flavor, just fruit.

M. Light body and medium carbonation. Very dry finish.

O. This is a pretty good AWA. The amount of sediment is a bit of a turn off as probably 1/3rd of the bottle is like drinking high pulp orange juice. Another solid offering from almanac

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.83/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottled Feb 2013. Thanks, Chris!

A hazy light peach with a dense white head that falls off leaving little lacing. The nose is bright with your cherries , apricots, peaches and a moderate lactic sourness. Funk is minimal , and there's a noticeable fleshy, pulpy fruit aroma, especially apricots. A little dough is present.

The palate opens sharply sour with a blend of lactic acid, raw apricot, peach skins and cherry sourness. This is followed by a lemony mid palate that enhances the acidity. Drying and sour on the finish with fleshy fruit and a sourness not unlike aged foufoune( read: heading in an unpleasant direction ). Minimal wine barrel character here, although a moderate grape character is present. Light in body and moderately carbonated, this is solid stuff.

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Photo of More_betterness
4.38/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Hazy light golden body topped with a fairly large, tight bubbled head for a sour/barrel aged beer. After a few minute the head recedes to a thin film with slightly thicker ring around the rim of the glass.

S: Big tart stone fruit and sweet cherry, followed by a mild acidic tartness. Floral citrus zest and a tick of barrel character make themselves known as it warms. Acidity is there, but is very restrained. Very balanced and inviting nose.

T: Tart cherries and citrus, followed by a bit of lactic tingle. A sweeter note of baked stone fruits and a slight graininess round out the flavor. Again very restrained acidity for a AWA, but a great showcase of fruit with a measurable tartness. Delicious.

M: Thin and effervescent, with a lingering tingle along the gumline. Standard for an AWA.

O: Not as aggressively sour as most AWAs in this class, but a great exercise in balance between acidity and fruit character. Love it and wish I had another bottle!

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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.

 760 characters

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.31/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

375ml bottle sealed with signature Almanac pressure cap.

poured into SP wine Stem at fridge temp.

Appearance: light orange bodied beer that is slightly opaque. Lots of suspended chunks in this beer. A large 3 finger tall head that drops down to a ring around the glass.

Smell: Acetic sour and vinegar notes that are fairly mellow, but you definately know that they are there. Citrusy and musty funk, white wine, and dry toasty oak.

Taste: mild sourness 4/10. Acetic sourness and vinegar notes. Lots of apricot, stone fruits, and citrus(oranges and lemons) with a hint of cherry sweetness. Cracker malts. Mild musty funkiness and a hint of white wine with dry oak note. Slightly briney. Lingering acetic sourness that finishes clean after a while. The cherry flavor really explodes in this beer as it warms up! A Hint of vanilla sweetness also shows up when it warms up.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied beer with moderate carbonation. Semi dry finish. Creamy mouthfeel. Really balanced and drinkable sour beer.

Overall: Another great Almanac sour. They really know how to make great sour beers consistently! This is at the top tier of the Almanac sours that I have tried so far.

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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 ThePorterSorter
4.39/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a hazy light golden yellow with noticeable carbonation, but minimal head retention. There are flocks of settling yeast and strands of pulp visible as well. The nose is tart and fruity with notes of dog's breath, honey, apricot pit, and hinting cherries and acetone. The taste is fruity and funky with lemony acidity, a grainy backbone, and lingering apricots in the finish. It's light bodied with approachable sourness, a recognizable fruit presence, ample carbonation, and a dry fruity finish. This beer, although pricey, is incredibly well-honed and drinks with minimal complaints - perfect for summer.

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Valley Of The Heart's Delight from Almanac Beer Co.
94 out of 100 based on 87 ratings.
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