Autumn 2011 Farmhouse Ale | Almanac Beer Co.

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Autumn 2011 Farmhouse AleAutumn 2011 Farmhouse Ale

Brewed by:
Almanac Beer Co.
California, United States

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed with 1,000 lbs of organic San Joaquin Valley plums from Twin Girls Farm in Yettem, California and organic wheat from Massa Organics in Glenn County, California.

Added by DaveHS on 11-18-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 22 | Ratings: 45
Photo of Falcon91Wolvrn03
3.95/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours an opaque dark golden color. Nice head and good lacing.

Smell: Smells of citrus (lime and grapefruit), bubblegum, and plum.

Taste: Bubblegum, plum, citrus, and oak.

Mouthfeel: The beer feels nice in the mouth; a good level of carbonation but smooth.

Drinkability: I like this a little more than their blackberry beer.

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Photo of vfgccp
4.64/5  rDev +28.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Very cloudy deep apricot.  White head has nice lace and retention.

S - Sweet grapefruit, plum, orange zest, and honey with floral overtones.

T - Beautiful flavor profile.  Dry, floral opening with delicious, fresh, clean, crisp plums loaded through the center.  The fruit character is fresh with just the right amount of sweetness; perfectly executed.  Lightly dry herbal hops accent honey through a semisweet finish.

M - Medium body with great carbonation.

O - A stellar saison that pushes the envelope of how much fruit you can load into a balanced profile, and does so with a well chosen and relatively uncommon fruit base.

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Photo of trxxpaxxs
3.95/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to leschkie for this bottle...
Limited Seasonal Release, Bottle # 1583 (9/28/2011)

A: Pours a wonderful translucent amber/copper with about two full fingers of bone-white head. The foam take a bit to settle, and there is a ton of spotting lacing left on the glass. Decent lacing as it drinks.

S: The nose is sweet and a touch malty, with some slight spice and a touch of alcohol. I get some lemon zest as well. It's not an overly pungent brew.

T: Sweet and wet right up front. I get huge plums, raisins, and mild caramel. There is a spiciness to this beer that comes on strong in the middle. I'm picking up lemon peel and coriander. The spicy dominates in the finish, and it dries out. The booze is there, but it's balanced pretty well.

M: Medium bodied beer. Sweet and wet. The flavors introduce themselves right up front and transition nicely. There is nothing cloying about this beer. The finish is a bit boozy.

O: Overall, I thought this beer was really well done. The plum was there, but I wanted this beer to be a bit more fruit forward. It's smooth, and fairly easy to drink, but the booze will get you in the finish. I'm happy to have tried this beer, but I don't know if I'll ever seek it out again.

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Photo of Barrelista
3.82/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Grew up in the Central Valley, with a plum tree (unsure which variety) in my backyard, and the aroma of this beer is right on target with the sun-ripened plums I would enjoy all summer. Jesse and Damian didn't skimp on produce quality. Tastes like they included the stems in the fermentation process. Did not catch the piloncillo as much as I would have liked, but it is a beautiful beer overall.

Color is reminiscent of the flesh of early summer plums, specifically, the area where it begins to lighten toward the pit. Low foam on first pour. Bottle label really utilizes the colors of the plum tree--particularly the white and silver of late spring blossoms. Brilliant. Also, love the tagline, "Farm to Bottle," and the concept of pairing up with regional farms. I am new to craft beer, but look forward to scouting out Almanac beers in the future. Satsuma Stout, guys?

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.2/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a slightly hazy golden-orange color with a finger of frothy slightly off-white head. The head fades down fairly slowly leaving behind some nice lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of Belgian yeast with some banana, coriander, and other spices, with a bit of other farmhouse smells with some hay and funk, and a some plums.

T - Starts off with some plums, Belgian yeast with coriander and other spices, and a bit of wheat. Through the middle, some banana flavor comes through with some farmhouse funk and hay and a touch of light citrus. The finish is a mix of plums, Belgian yeasts, some light citrus, and a touch of funk.

M - Medium bodied with moderate-plus carbonation. Feels smooth with a sweet and dry finish.

D - Very drinkable. The plum is a nice touch on top of the Saison base and adds some nice depth to the beer.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.08/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Was excited when I heard about Almanac's new release and just as excited when I first saw it and picked it up. Based on its first release and this one as well, this brewery will be on radar for some time.

Looks nice. Nose is nice with subtle plum tones. Seems to be very mildly spiced? Flavor profile is smooth and very "wintery". There is a robust thing going on which I can only assume is from the plums, but it's masked by the overall Belgian ale tone and the standard sweetness that you get as well. It seems like a masterful mix of character. A bit robust and heavy in a winter seasonal kind of way, so I have a feeling it would turn some people off. But I think this is very well done. More high marks for Almanac.

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Photo of impending
3.87/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4


750ml into a tulip. Pours a hazy orange when back lite as if tang, orange cream colored head, frothy foam, nice lacing.

Wonderful sweet confectioner's scent, orange slices and candied apricots, spicy and floral, a trove of citrus and light skinned fruits. Light skinned plums apparently.

Taste surprises with sharp edges and pronounced hops. Little sweetness, abruptly dry with an aftertaste defined by mild bitterness heading towards zinc plus powdery yeast. Light to medium bodied crisp mouthfeel. The edges nicely smooth with warmth. Interesting

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Photo of nataku00
3.58/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into a wine glass. Beer poured a dark copper color, orange with hints of red and purple, with no head. Light lacing after swirling the beer around, but minimal head development. A few bubbles here and there, but rising slowly.

Nose is fruity esters mixing with plums and tarter plum skins. A bit of light grain sweetness comes through as well.

Taking a sip, plums come through more on the tongue, sweet plum fruit and slightly astringent plum skins, earthy and herbal flavors. Mid tongue, just fruity esters, bubble gum like continuing through to the finish.

Light to medium body with minimal carbonation, a few bubbles hitting the tongue every now and then. Pretty easy to drink saison, and the initial plum flavor was nice, but the yeast probably did too much work with the taste dominated by the ester flavor.

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Photo of DovaliHops
3.6/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on my 25th birthday...9/28/11/. Pours a hazy, bright golden-orange with a large white head that disappears at a moderate pace. Scent is initially a belgian pale or or strong pale ale. Slight yeasty funk with some sweet fruit aroma. It's hard to make out plums, specifically. As it warms though, it is detectable. Would not be able to pinpoint plums if I had not read the label though. A lot of pleasant spiciness in the nose as well. Taste is initially spicy...typical saison spices. Very nice, then there is an off-putting metallic taste. I let it warm up a bit, and it went away. More fruitiness and sweet Belgian yeast. The spice flavors are lovely in this beer. Mouthfeel is somewhat juicy with a crisp finish...kinda bitter bite at the end. Drinkability is high. Overall, I think people are a little harsh with this brewery. This beer is nowhere near a bad beer. They are new to the beer scene and just possibly doing too complicated/complex beers starting out. I see great things from this brewery if they keep doing their thing and learning from feedback and their mistakes. They're only going to get better IMO.

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Photo of Beerenauslese
4.32/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Orange-gold color and hazy body, poured into a tulip glass with a half inch head. After a few minutes, dissipated into a ring and a light veil of foam. Lacing is sticky at first, but gets more motile as time elapses. Label describes this as a Farmhouse Pale ale. So we are starting off bridging saison/farmhouse and belgian pales ales here. Well, let's see.

Smells of ripe plums and ripe plum fruit sweetness, brown sugar, a little farmhouse funk, vanilla, oak, light malt, green herbs, and orange rind. Some white pepper and saison spice notes (as in Dupont) and metal. The nose is strong and complex, but smells to me more like a belgian IPA than a saison. One could argue it borders both styles.

This tastes more like a belgian IPA than a typical saison, with light bready and caramel malt tastes and the biggest impression is that the yeast is very dominant. A note of earthy metal (others have described it as copper penny), seems to structure the whole palate. The fruity richness of the plums is there especially in the midpalate and the hops are big in the finish with strong notes of orange rind and herbs. Once I give this beer the time it deserves, I'd say it is a nicely complex and fruity belgian IPA--and I've had my fair share of Piraat, which I could compare this with in terms of the base ale character. There are also light tannins from the plum skins that give this an additional layer of complexity and a more vinous character.

The body is moderate and it is delightfully carbonated, with a crisply refreshing feel when cold which evolves to a lightly creamy mouthfeel as it warms in the glass. The slight numbness in my tongue after glass 2 is certainly coming from the hops.

I think the base beer tastes fairly similar to the earlier, summer release, though it is a percent lower ABV and might have more wheat malt. The yeast has a vocal presence in the base beer in both releases, but the different fruit adjuncts take the beer in different directions. The plums take this release in a more vinous direction than the blackberries, and it understandably would do so, adding tannins from the plum skins. I think that the brewers made a wise decision in adding a little piloncillo to balance the tannins.

Debating styles is not to the point here. Generally, fruits are not added to Belgian saisons or golden or pale ales, nor are they aged in barrels. So the brewers are taking belgian style farmhouse and pale ales in a new direction. Overall, I find this beer balances tartness, sweetness, and bitterness quite well. It may not be perfect, but I appreciate what they are striving to do. It might also benefit from some cellar aging. This release, and the one that preceded it, are worthy contributions, crafting a niche in the intersection of the locally sourced sustainable and healthy foods movement (farm to table) and craft beer movements (farm to bottle or keg). I appreciate what they are doing, and I look forward to future releases which someday may use more ingredients that are locally sourced and sustainably farmed and hopefully even more delicious and healthy.

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Photo of XicanoBeerRun
3.95/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I picked this up at Bev Mo in Elk Grove, CA. It was a nice surprise as I did not find it anywhere else including the Davis Beer Shop.

Poured into a tulip glass. Very low carbonation so I was not sure what to expect. color was great. My friend described it as the exact color of a ripened plum flesh right inside the skin.

I detected a hint of bubblegum in the smell and initial taste on the palette, but not in an offensive way. It goes down smooth and you can appreciate the bready saison yeast. Also, you pick up the plum in the aftertaste.

The bottle is beautiful. this is a quality beer. I have to admit the price is a bit steep; however, it is worth purchasing a bottle seasonally.

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Photo of womencantsail
2.93/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

On-tap at Beer Revolution

Pours a hazy brownish-purple color with a big white head. Smells sickly sweet. Tons of plums and a bit of sugar. Maybe some mild grass, but overall just not very good or complex. The flavor is quite watery, doesn’t really taste like much other than a bit of sweetness and nutshells. I don't really get much in the way of plum, yeast, etc. Light bodied with medium to high carbonation.

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Photo of GRG1313
3.97/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewing this one so that it can get reviews sufficient for a score; otherwise I use "Hads."

Pours a dark lightly hazy orange ambe with a short thick white head that fades quickly but is back with a light swirl.

Nose is limes and plums with an underlying bright sweet tone. Nose develops a bit more complexity and white bread yeasty undertone as it warms and sits in the glass. Nose is very appealing and inviting.

Mouthfeel is medium body with a "half and half" feel and light but pleasing carbonation.

Flavor profile is quite nice with a fruity "green" stone fruit character and underlying fresh white bread. Nice balance of the fruit and bitter tones. Flavor profile is not complex but pleasing and works well with all kinds of food, fish, game, poultry etc.

Finish is a nice green bitter light pine/green stone fruit character that is long lasting. There's actually a lot going on here.

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Photo of Philousa
2.68/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

NOTE: I reviewed this originally in December of 2011 and gave it a terrible review. In retrospect, I shouldn't have posted such a negative review, as I was coming down with a sinus infection, unbeknownst to me. I posted it off of notes anyway, thinking that my notes don't lie. I decided to put that to a test by trying the beer again today. I kept the original review for posterity's sake.

Sits a clear golden pale with a wispy head that sticks to the glass in spots. Lots of spices from the farmhouse yeast with some dense sweetness. Pepper, clove, cinnamon. Some jam flavors, mostly berry. Pale American malt is present and serves as the skeleton holding the aroma together. Very little hops are noticeable, despite the dry hopping. Starts light and mild. American and Belgian pale together seem plausible, since it's not too over the top on the Belgian malt. There is a hint of some sweet fruit such as cherry and Some spices come in after the malt washes away, like a ghost of allspice left on the tongue. This gives the impression of a heavy body, even though it's mostly the spice and Belgian malt. It's a bit off putting, but it just makes me want to take a sip quicker. A bit heavy overall with a dry finish.

This beer needs to pick a side. Either be a light Bier de Garde or a spicy, heady Saison. I think it would succeed either way, but it can't have it both ways. I think it needs to back down on the Belgian malt to start and let the plums shine. I still don't get any plums, but at least I can get some fruitiness from it this time. I'm glad I tried it again, but it's nothing too special.

Original Review on 12/13/11

Poured a light copper with good amount of off white head that stayed a while. Syrupy pale malt, caramel, banana and grapefruit ester aromas. A little licorice with a good sniff and a bit skunky. Thick caramel taste is pretty strong in this one. Citrusy notes, tart grapefruit, a bit of bitter hop oil, and some bitter fruit, which comes out about halfway through the 750ml bottle. Dark fruit taste, but no plum, oddly enough. I found this to be a bit too thick, but well carbonated to balance it out a bit. Dry finish.

I had my hopes up with this one. I couldn't find their aged summer ale, so when I found this at Bobby's Liquor I got two. Let's just say I have buyer's regret. There is no hint of plums. There is a weird anise/licorice flavor that came out of nowhere. They also didn't let the yeast shine though. Most of all, it was just too damn thick. I have yet to use the words "cough syrup" in a review... wait, I just did. And this beer is deserving of this milestone because I could hardly finish the bottle with my wife (who didn't have much for the same reason as I). Learn to balance your malt a little better, Almanac, and maybe I'll anticipate another of your beers eagerly again in the future.

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Photo of billshmeinke
3.59/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a goblet.

Dark golden hue with a finger of white head. Nice lacing and retention.

Smells of biscuity malt. Not much else to be honest. Some cereal, and perhaps a touch of funk, but biscuity malt is the main fragrance. Kinda lackluster.

Tastes follows smell. Biscuity malt, some plumb, cereal, a touch of fruity/citrusy tartness, quite yeasty and bread like.

Full bodied and super dry. A bit mineral-y as well, especially in the finish.

Definitely a good beer, but it's not quite as good as other releases from Almanac.

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Photo of seand
3.95/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a clear amber with a large amount of foamy off white head. Retains reasonably well, leaving a thin but solid layer on the surface, a bit thicker around the edge of the glass. Leaves sticky walls of lacing.

S: A lot going on; at first it kind of seems chaotic and even a little off putting, but it melds a lot better on closer inspection. Sweet fruit and damp barn. The tasting notes that came with the beer (from a beer of the month club) mention pink bubblegum on the mid palate, which I don't really get, but I can definitely pick up something like that in the aroma.

T: Fairly mild fruit, with the saison-esque yeast taking over from the mid palate through the finish. Very strong and lingering aftertaste, where the fruit is noticeable along with the yeast. Somewhat dry.

M: Fairly full body, medium smooth carbonation.

Overall, I can't say I love this beer. It shows some obvious skill, and is exceptionally well constructed, but the end result is probably nearly the perfect expression of a beer idea that I generally don't really want to drink. If you're going to try it, though, it's worth taking time to taste it carefully, especially since the first whiff and taste can be overwhelming enough to be off putting.

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Photo of elNopalero
4.05/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

These guys deserve all the praise they’ve been receiving lately. The second seasonal release from the good people at Almanac. This has a wonderful golden color, with some sour tart funky plummm-yummy notes to its aroma. All muted, balanced and layered so don’t expect, say, a plum-bomb here. You get the fruit on the tongue, delicately so. Slightly oily, bubbly, with a crisp finish, and just plain wonderful. Looking forward to seeing how this develops and what they follow it with.

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Photo of IHyphySF
3.27/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Poured into a tulip looked light brown almost an amber like color and it has a foamy head just like pouring a nice saison. It took awhile for the head to settle and was pretty carbonated.

S: Hints of pluot smell vs a straight up plum smell because it smelled a bit sweeter. Pleasant to smell not over fruity but can smell small hints of plum/pluot.

T: Starts out mild and then really yeasty and a small aftertaste of plums but the yeast was overpowering

M: Nice bubbles but leaves a chalky finish

O: Would not pick up a second bottle because of how expensive it was but was able to try it on tap and it was a little less yeasty than the bottle.

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Photo of Arbitrator
2.3/5  rDev -36.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Chilled bottle into a glass. $17 because I don't learn.

A: Pours a brown-amber body that is opaque in the center and hazy at the edges. The head pours a nice off-white foam that collapses into a thin film, which retains for the duration of the drink.

S: Bubblegum, plum, tannins (oak and plum skins, I guess). The aroma is generally of a fruit roll-up. Not well developed.

T: Mild flavors of grain, bubblegum, plum, and grape. I actually admire the initial flavor profile, but it becomes citrusy and spicy in the mid-palate and watery in the finish, which is a weird experience. Some tannins are noted in the aftertaste. Not a well-integrated beer, but it shows promise.

M: It's a little on the sweet side at first, and it's too spicy and chalky with a lot of yeast left over.

O: I want to support local breweries, but quality comes first. For $17 this really ought to be amazing. Period. Nonetheless, I'm hoping these guys will turn it around with a future release. We need more good, homegrown breweries.

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Photo of roodie
3.58/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a tulip

A: pours golden brown with a thin white head light retention and no lacing

S: hint of the plum tartness no real sweet aspect some wine flavor too Yeast and citrus round out the profile

T: under- ripe plums and yeasty wheaty flavor with a boost at the end from a light citrus

M: chalky and yeasty w a lingering spice

O: enjoyable. Would be better w more fruit

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Photo of largadeer
2.24/5  rDev -38%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Ruddy amber body that's almost opaque. The head is thin but lingers nicely.

Tons of bubblegum on the nose, which, combined with the fruit, makes me think of grape BubbleYum. Beneath that, there's a slight vinous character, some grain and citrus. Plum comes through a bit, but it's overwhelmed by the yeast.

Palate is grainy, vinous, with lots of bubblegum; very phenolic and intense yeast strain here. Citrusy dry hops are somewhat at odds with the yeast profile and semi-tart fruit. Strong tannins, but less abrasive than Almanac's summer beer (ie. it doesn't taste like I'm chewing on oak chips). Finishes with lingering bubblegum and oak. This might have been enjoyable with a different yeast strain.

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Photo of DaveHS
4.32/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours burnished orange with a slight haze and close to an inch of off white/khaki head. It deflates over the course of a minute leaving an intricate ring of lace.

S- Aromas of sweet plum and tannic fruit skin penetrate a layer of earthy sweetness. Less prominent notes of wet hay and fresh mulch provide a nice contrast to the fruit sweetness.

T/M-An incredibly subtle, delicate flavor profile. The fruit is used in an interesting way, creeping in and only fully revealing it’s fleshy, pulpy goodness on the back palate. The beer opens up under the guise of a simple, well made saison, but there’s more going on here. What especially impresses me about Almanac is their adeptness at combining flavors. The soft, juicy sweetness of the plums is an excellent foil for the slick, spicy shot of saison yeast that sticks in the back of the throat. A hint of pink bubblegum sweetness sneaks in mid-palate, undercut by dry, grassy hops. The body is soft and slick on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

O-Very nice stuff.

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Autumn 2011 Farmhouse Ale from Almanac Beer Co.
3.61 out of 5 based on 45 ratings.
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