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

BA SCORE
94
outstanding
91 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Valley Of The Heart's DelightValley Of The Heart's Delight
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Almanac Beer Co.
California, United States
almanacbeer.com

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:
91
Ratings:
812
Avg:
4.26
pDev:
7.28%
 
 
Wants:
124
Gots:
126
For Trade:
16
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 91 | Ratings: 812
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.

 1,175 characters

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.

 1,394 characters

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.

 619 characters

Photo of draheim
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

375mL into a tulip. Pours a hazy pale golden straw w/ a 1-finger head that settles to a soft collar and film. Lively carbonation.

Aroma is sharply bright and crisp, lemony, acidic. Nice open sour character, not vinegary. Mildly bready. Similar to Berlinerweisse.

Taste is pleasantly tart and a touch grainy. Similar to Sanctification on the tartness scale. Lemon, grass, lacto. Puckering.

Mouthfeel is clean and dry, crisp. A little prickly, tickles the palate.

Overall a really nice, clean, refreshing sour. A step below some of the best gueuzes I've tried, but still enjoyable.

 583 characters

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...

 287 characters

Photo of abeeronthebeach
4.13/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Hazy golden honey-orange. Paper-white head with impressive retention.

S - Similar to Dogpatch (i.e very sour and a little funky), yet with faint apricot presence underpinned by a thin layer of honey-sweetness.

T - Very sour (moreso than dogpatch). Refreshing, yet any true fruit presence is overwhelmed by the high level of acidity. A little funk is detectable as it warms.

M - Light body with medium carbonation. Fits nicely with the flavours.

O - If you prefer sourness over fruit presence, you'll love this. Not my thing, although I can appreciate its qualities.

 573 characters

Photo of jbaker67
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours hazy copper with a quickly dissipating, white head. Aroma of sour and tart notes, some apricots and cherry notes, pale malts, light wine notes and oak notes, and hints of spices. Flavor the same with a great blend. Average texture. A really cool beer.

 257 characters

Photo of stakem
4.08/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thank you anotherjoe for hooking me up with multiple bottles of this on more than one occasion, it is greatly appreciated. 375ml bottle poured into a wine glass, the bre appears a hazed golden copper color. An off-white cap appears and slowly fades leaving patchy lace sticking.

The smell is juicy like peach/apricot. Very fruity with vinous notes that get progressively more wild and tangy. A slight hint of brine and mineral aspect at first that blends to an earthy peach/apricot skin character. A very mild woody almost vanilla note is also present from the barrel along with a faint kiss of vinegar.

The taste is tart with peachy/apricot fruitiness and lactic tartness. It is juicy yet oak is present with minor vanilla aspects impart a sense of contrasting sweetness. A lingering sour fruit feel and raw oakiness blends to earth and fruity pith/pulp almost grassy with the skin of fruit filling out the rest of the profile.

This is a light bodied brew with modest carbonation. Plenty of tartness that gets minorly acidic when it warms up with a bounty of fruit and barrel character to balance it all out. I like this beer quite a lot, thanks again Anotherjoe!

 1,167 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.51/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Hazy pale body. Not much of a head. Very thin collar.

Smell - Stone fruit. Smells like apricots. I don't get much cherry. Smells acidic. Light grain.

Taste - Wow, it's sour. Stone fruit. More of the cherry flavor. Pale malt and some grainy malts. Intense sour finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium light, but really sour. Medium carbonation.

Overall - Overly sour for me. Detracts from the fruit flavor, but amplifies the grain.

 472 characters

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

Bottle opnened on 2.28.14

A - Pours a hazy off-orange with a fizzy near white head that is gone fast.

S - Funky, lots of stone fruits, cherry, subtle wine.

T - Similar to the nose, but cherry and wine are sronger, and welcomed.

D - A light body with good carbonation.

O - Finally, I geat a good Almanac. Very nice fruit and funk.

 334 characters

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.

 807 characters

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

Pours an orangey yellow color. It's quite cloudy. Some sediment chunks floating around. The head is white with fine bubbles. Lots of lacing, residue left behind on the sides of the glass. Very good retention, kinda odd for a sour. Lots of fruit in the aroma. Particularly big on apricot. From what I remember from trying loquats, that's also fairly strong. Cherries are a bit in the background, though definitely noticeable. Mild wine. Some oak. A bit of cheesiness. Could use some cleaning up but it's a step in the right direction for Almanac. Mild lactic note. Taste is medium sour. Lots of underripe apricot. Some oak dryness. Still fairly messy with a moderate amount of bile flavor - I really don't know exactly what the flavor is, but it bothers me in a number of American sours. Some pale malt character lingers in the background. Medium-light feel. Somewhat effervescent. Good sour. Near the top of Almanac's releases for me. If they could just clean up whatever causes that bile-ish taste, I'd be a much bigger fan.

 1,025 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a really awesome fruit beer here, not totally sure what a loquat is, maybe another asian citrus type? hard to pick it out, not knowing what it is. the beer is hazy pale orange colored without much head or visible carbonation, but its far from flat in the feel, just looks it. the nose is apricot heavy, thats the only fruit i really smell, maybe a little lemon, and also some hectic sourness, more than brett this is lacto heavy, clean though, and mouth watering. the flavor starts wight he fuzzy and ripe apricots, and then the sourness that starts with a lemony tartness and progresses to full blow caustic acidity. the finish finally shows the cherries in this, tart and red and juicy, which is an unexpected flavor for the color, and an even more interesting twist for the sourness to cling on to. a crockery malt base is basically irrelevant here, as the fruit and bacteria do all of the flavoring. this series of little bottle special farm stuff from almanac has been a pleasure to drink through so far, they seem to have a real grasp for getting authentic fruit flavors is dry sour beer, its real tasty, and aside from the sourdough, this may be my personal favorite. big thanks as always to drlovemd87 for sharing.

 1,222 characters

Photo of Powderhornphil
4.41/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours hazy orange. Soapy white head that recedes fast.

Aroma is tart candies. Funk. Excellent aroma.

Tastes of tart and sour candy, oranges, tangerines, apricots, wine notes.

Medium mouthfeel. Nice and dry.

Another great and highly drinkable wild from Almanac.

 264 characters

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

375ml bottle into a shaker

hazy orangeish yellow color with a slight head. smell has a lot going on and i get a good amount of peaches. you can tell this one is going to be sour. taste is massively lip puckering and by far their sourest beer to date. great fruit notes throughout and the finish is on point with a lasting fruit flavor. love this stuff. lip puckering sourness thoroughout.. great job

 400 characters

Photo of joe1510
4.33/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

375ml
$13

Valley of the Heart's Delight looks like pink champagne as it fills the glass. There's a touch of haze but it shows off it's blush very well. Streams of perfectly white carbonation rush up the glass to the snappy, crackling white head keeping permafoam® on the surface. When backlit it is the color of a perfectly ripe apricot. Damn fine looking beer!

The sniffer is immediately met with metallic and mineral notes from the funk. Iron, wet stone, damp forest, must, and cobweb heavy attic. Surprisingly, all the fruits used are noticeable along with the barrel. Vinous notes lead the way the softly sweet apricot following closely before even handed Rainier cherries enter the fray. I'm not fully sure of locquat but there is a deep floral undercurrent. The apricot slightly tart and sweet, the wine barrel acidic, and all over a clean shortbread maltiness. The apricot blossoms with warmth.

Almanac nailed the funk on this beer. There's bright fruity acidity that's brings a pucker before soft lactic sourness flows through mid palate. The lactic segues flawlessly, almost unnoticed, into a long, manageable barnyard funk. Again the fruits are all present in even handed amounts. Damp wood barrel notes add even more depth to this bottomless brew. He shortbread sweetness adds a flawless base. This is good beer!

The body, while still working well, is the weakest link. Light and slightly flaccid, a little more oomph whether it be carbonation or hefty would help. This is only slightly off. The tartness invades every nook and cranny leaving firm sourness down the throat. Long lasting finish and high quenchability.

Valley of the Heart's delight is one of the better, more complex American wilds I've had in recent memory. It's brightly acidic, fruity, lactic, and has that great sweet and sour give and take going. A really great beer I highly recommend.

 1,875 characters

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 notes...it'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.

 816 characters

Photo of BMMillsy
3.99/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 1.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle from my trip to Cali. Poured to a tulip glass. Strangely enough this looked like (even in the bottle) that it has about a 2.5 inch yeast sediment in the bottom. Shows in the pour. This one poured a cloudy yellow orange with lots of chunks--both white and reddish black colored (cherry skins?)--with no head at all. Weird. The aroma is amazing though. Lots of fruity apricots, tart fruits, some lightly sweet cherry, plenty of lacto sourness. Awesome. Flavor is tart and sweet apricots, definite vinous notes, lots of sour vinegar and lacto, dry oak finish. Mouthfeel is medium, maybe a bit heavy for the style. Honestly this reminds me a lot of Fou Fone with a little extra cherry and vinous sweetness. I don’t know if I got a weird bottle or what but it is an ugly brew. Nevertheless, pretty yummy and better than the rating shows since it is low from the look.

Hmmm...as this warms it begins to smell like latex. That can't be good. Had to drain pour the last 5 ounces because of the massive chunks floating around.

 1,028 characters

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.

 457 characters

Photo of gueuzedreg
4.19/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A- Golden sour with minimal head, medium retention to medium lacing. Schmedium.

S- Lemony, citrus, hay and funk. Some malty properties.

T- Mouth puckering sour. Lemon, peach sour. Tart with carbonation getting your mouth's attention. Earthy grains.

M- Thin like the style should be. Lots of carb.

O- Very good peach sour. Thanks Jeff!

 342 characters

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

on-tap, Chucks Central District

Hazy peach body - lots of ripe fruit - apricot, peach, cherry, grapes. Vinous and oak notes from the wine barrels compliment everything nicely. Nice tartness, a bit of lemon citrus, dry finish. Good stuff - the best of the latest batch of almanac beers

 285 characters

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.

 411 characters

Photo of brianmandell
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Bottle dated February 2013

Pours a hazy peach color with no head - just a ring of white lacing. Lots of "floaties" and particles - obviously unfiltered. The last half of the bottle looks like a smoothie in the glass. Every sip leaves fruit sediment all over the glass.

Smells very interesting and fruity in the nose - sour peach nectar, apricot, cherry, and lemony citrus.

Taste is bright fruit up front - primarily apricot, some grape which is well integrated - vivid but not sweet. Bready malts and some cherry on the mid palate and finishes with a citrus lemony pop that fades back into the bready malt. Very dry, tannic finish. The taste is fairly sour. Minimal on the funk.

Mouthfeel is light and slightly oily. Carbonation is light to moderate but effervescent. Slightly creamy. I took off a little on the mouthfeel score due to the amount of sediment which is noticeable.

A very well done fruit sour. The fruits add to the experience and are very well integrated. The only real knock is some aftertaste of bready malt but it doesn't take away from the overall experience. The amount of sediment is also a little strange. The bottom half of the bottle was a beer smoothie. Was my bottle filled from the bottom of the barrel? Bottom line - easy drinking and tasty.

 1,274 characters

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...

 632 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Subscribe