Illumination (Farmhouse IPA)
Enlightenment Ales

Illumination (Farmhouse IPA)Illumination (Farmhouse IPA)
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IPA - Belgian
4.05 | pDev: 9.14%
Enlightenment Ales
Massachusetts, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Illumination (Farmhouse IPA)Illumination (Farmhouse IPA)
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Reviews: 17 | Ratings: 137 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of hreb
hreb from Washington

4.04/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

750 mL bottle (cap top only) served in oversize blue tinted plastic pint glass (stay classy, beer friends). Botched pour results in a massive glass full of sticky white foam, which appears to be quite durable. I'm going to say the color is pale yellow and hazy, but who the hell really knows. Aroma is mostly on the farmhouse ale side of the genre, but there's a little C-hop kick in the head too. The beer combines belgian blonde and hop flavors in a really delicious way, though I don't think I could quite call it IPA. The mouthfeel is on the watery side, which is a little disconcerting. Reading the brewers' notes I am reminded that this beer has wheat and rye in it, which makes complete sense. In reflection the dry, bitter grainy note is a dead giveaway for rye, and the thin mouthfeel suggests to me unmalted grain. I'm a big fan all of the constituent parts of this beer: rye IPA, Belgian ales, Saisons, as well as any beer brewed with a diversity of grains. It's not that this beer is less than the sum of its parts; it's just that these components combine in an unexpected (to me) way, which is challenging to my palate. And I'm impressed that my palate can still be challenged by a beer without the use of insane numbers of IBUs or crazy spicing. No, I'm really enjoying this.

Overall this is an excellent product, if transgressive, even within the very liberally defined Belgian IPA standard.

Enlightenment Ales No2, Batch #16.

Oct 24, 2014
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Flounder57 from Massachusetts

4.24/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Served in a snifter at The Glenville Stops in Allston.

Appearance: A one finger head was poured that reduced to a thin layer. It is a hazy yellow with no vision of anything. Nice lacing down the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: Floral, citrus, pungent, powdery yeast, green apple, pilsner, and pale malts.

Taste: Same as the aroma with mild tingly bitterness in the rear.

Mouthfeel: Mild tingly bitterness, light bodied, medium to high carbonation, a little dry, and a little chewy.

Overall: A good hoppy farmhouse ale. Enjoyed over the past few years and many more times in the future too.

Jun 09, 2014
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VelvetExtract from Massachusetts

3.77/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

ACBF pour

A-Hazy yellow in color. Big head fills up the remainder of my sample glass.

S-Tropical fruit hoppiness. Grassy hops as well. Funky, barny yeast complements the hops.

T-Hops are citrusy, herbal and grassy. I get some peach as well. The rustic Saison yeast is quite zesty and funky.

M-Medium bodied. Reasonably bitter. Alcohol hidden. Lots of carbonation.

O-A good blend between two styles of beer.

Jun 01, 2014
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hagbergl from Maryland

4.12/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is my first try of up and coming Massachusetts brewery, Enlightenment Ales (now a joint project with Idle Hands of Everett, MA, I hear). I'm excited to try it, as it comes well recommended from the Craft Beer Cellar Newton beer geeks. Let's pour Illumination into a glass and check it out!

Appearance (4.75/5): Golden and hazy, the head is massive (three fingers-plus), tightly bubbled, and snow white. It looks wonderful and it seems the carbonation is on point–I've found that hoppy Belgian pale ales really suffer when they don't have some vigorous carbonation to make their flavors "pop".

Smell (4/5): Grassy, earthy, lighter citric hops and a very noticeable saison yeast aroma. Fresh, clean, herbal, with a bit of interesting yeastiness that plays off the hop aromas nicely.

Taste (4/5): Illumination's taste is definitely hoppier than the aroma, but still on the milder side. It packs plenty of grassy and citric/grapefruit hop flavor, though lacks (appropriately in my opinion) the piney astringence of many straight-up IPAs. Its solid malt base is clean and lightly sweet–it serves to compliment the citric-grassy hop profile and yeastiness. This beer is highly drinkable. The bitterness is really in the mild to moderate sweet-spot, which seems just right for a beer that is supposed to be a Saison/American IPA hybrid.

Mouthfeel (4.25/5): Medium-light body and a nicely spritely feel from the carbonation. It has the dry finish you'd expect from either a Saison or American IPA. The bottle conditioning does wonders for the feel, helping the flavors really pop.

Overall (4.25/5): Enlightenment Ales really has something good in Illumination. The smell, taste, mouthfeel, and appearance are all very good. I especially like how the beer artfully bridges the gap between IPA and Saison, bringing in citrusy American hops in the dry-hopping stage to compliment the restrained maltiness and characterful yeastiness of a traditional saison. What you get is a bold beer that is still refined and complex. This is a hell of a hybrid.

Jan 23, 2014
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smcolw from Massachusetts

3.81/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Lumpy and large head. Plenty of lumpy, webby lace. Extremely cloudy--it gives the beer a white hue to the otherwise straw to gold color.

Soured malt aroma, but I don't notice any hop. Unusual even for a Belgian style IPA.

The taste is more muted than the smell suggests, except for the presence of the hop. Still this is quite mellow for an IPA. Good body and the carbonation (slightly low) enhances this feel. The Belgian yeast flavor is dominant.

Nov 02, 2013
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cbutova from Massachusetts

4.37/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Been meaning to try this one for quite a while now... Batch 11.

A- Poured into a snifter-tulip glass with a semi-hazy golden-peach hue. Even on a side pour a creamy head starts forming instantly and ends up being over an inch out of the glass while still holding shape, looks like uber-whipped eggs whites or cream frozen in time. Retention is just as impressive as the texture. The head never falls down and lace is as thick as I have ever seen. Maybe the best looking beer I have ever witnessed, a new standard for Belgian styles.

S- Juicy hop aromas emanate from the glass upon pouring. Not quite modern IPA levels but fresh and strong. Tropical and stone fruits with a nice citrus edge. Pineapple, passionfruit, lemon zest and apricots come to mind. Just beyond the hops is a rustic, spicy Saison yeast profile with some fresh cracked wheat. Fades out a bit to Saison spice after a while but still nice.

T- Hops once again lead the way with a somewhat bitter stone fruit feel followed by notes of citrus peel, pine, spice, floral and tropical fruits. Hoppy but doesn't feel as bold or overbearing like massively hopped IPAs, maybe the yeast helps mellow everything out. More so than the aroma, the spicy Saison yeast blend rounds everything out nicely here. Hints of cooking herbs, orange zest, tangerine, white grapes, grass and pepper come to mind as well.

MF- Foamy and creamy texture to a light, moderately-dry body. Carbonation is super high but the super creamy feel to the body allows it to be very smooth overall. Slight bitterness in the finish.

I don't know if I have just hit a warm spell lately with my beer choices or have been in a great mood for some time but I gotta give this beer some major credit. The balance between juicy fruity hops and yeast is quite nice and both can be appreciated equally. Tons of complexity and the amount of flavors keeps me interested after each and every sip. Also the best looking beer I have ever seen.

Sep 14, 2013
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REVZEB from Illinois

4.01/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Can we talk about how the artwork on these bottles are gorgeous? The beer is too, with mist filled goldenrod appearance with plenty of white foam. Smell is grassy with decent hop bitterness, pine, lemon, little funk and hay. Taste is bright bready versions of the smell with that funky belgian yeast. A touch of herbal elements come into play on the finish. Hops are lighter in feel for style, but other a good sipper

Sep 06, 2013
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MacQ32 from South Carolina

4.22/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A - pours a yellow golden hazy straw with 3 fingers of near white head, great retention and lacing

S - tons of Mediciny honey, citrus/lemon and grain

T - grainy lemon citrus up front with a honey finish

M - light bodied and refreshing decently carbonated

O - fantastic light drinkable citrusy saison

Jul 11, 2013
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SABERG from Massachusetts

3.85/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a modified tulip glass, bottle #9.

A - Hazy, tropical, lemon drop, with a 2" merange of a head. Pillowing the entire time.
Refined gentle carbonation.

S - Tropical, guave, grapefruit, pineapple, lemon and white pepper, a touch of fresh cut hay in the rain.

T - The tropical part is all up front, a piece of bitter, some kiss of grain of paradise, Hop snap is present with the aroma hops piling on, sweet and tangy. The white pepper saison part resides in the background.

M - Coats the entire palate, tangy, oily, and a short linger across each sip. Balanced to the tropical, with some bitterness in the finish.

O - A wonderful "blend" of the saison/IPA model. The carbonation is special , very tight bubblng brings that aroma forward the entire time.
Well done and keep up the fine work.


Jun 07, 2013
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Jugs_McGhee from Colorado

3.32/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

6.8% ABV confirmed. 1 pint 9.4 fl oz brown glass bottle with intriguing label art and standard brass pressure cap acquired in a trade with the gracious ICCULIS and served into a conical Samuel Smith's pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are fairly high; I've not had a beer from this brewery yet but I find the label and description appealing. Batch number 7. Reviewed as a saison-come-IPA.

Served cold, straight from the fridge. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

As soon as I opened it, liquid began slowly surging upwards. Carbonation seems zealous.

A: Pours a healthy six finger head of beige colour. Soft frothy complexion. Good thickness. Light cream. Spotty uneven lacing as the head slowly recedes. Retention is quite good - around six minutes. Body colour is an unexpectedly murky hazy yellow-orange; I can see the "farmhouse" elements starting to emerge here. This is not your typical IPA in that sense. Appears unfiltered. No yeast particles are visible. Translucent but nontransparent.

Sm: Rustic lemongrass and estery lemon zest immediately betray its saison origins. Pale malts and light wheat lend it a light refreshing feel. Biscuity yeast notes are pungent. Lightly grassy. Little spice if any. No milky character. Hop character is floral but seemingly no more pronounced than most saisons I've had; I'm not detecting the alleged IPA hopping in this self-described saison-meets-IPA. Straw, fleeting graininess, light funk. A hint of pear fruit. Lemon is dominant. More a rustic aroma than a clean one. Mild in strength. Soft, approachable, and inviting. Alive and fleeting. I'm excited to try it. If you handed it to me blind and asked me to guess the style, I'd go with either saison or biere de garde - but I'd never guess IPA.

T: Lemon twang is nice here; lightly juicy without going overboard. The foundation is a rustic blend of pale malts, wheat, and more grainy malts. Some light residual sugars lend a bit more body without becoming overbearing or too sweet. Hop character is indeed a bit more pronounced than in most saisons - but still doesn't come off like the description suggests; this doesn't feel like half saison half IPA - more like 85/15. Some biscuity yeasty notes. No real spicy or milky character, nor any peppery character. It's quite tame in terms of conventional good saisons. I get lightly spicy rye when I look for it, but it seems quite limited. Balanced and enjoyable, but simple for a saison - and not really at all what you'd want out of a good IPA (Belgian style or not). It's nicely subtle. I quite like it, but I could go for more complexity and depth of flavour. Well built as an American attempt at a saison.

Mf: Soft and easy on the palate, presenting lightly yet subtly. Smooth and wet with some fizzy character from the crystal malt. Overcarbonated. Good thickness. Suits the flavour profile well. Clean and refreshing, if rustic.

Dr: A highly drinkable American saison from Enlightenment Ales. Make no mistake - this is no IPA. It's at best a somewhat highly hopped saison. I doubt any beer judge would dare call this an IPA of any sort. This is one case where the brewer's description seems more for marketing than for accurately describing the beer itself. I'd happily age this, for example - if I though it would develop with age (and I don't). But the hop character won't drop off noticeably; there's not much to start with. Hides its ABV well. I'd get it again. An interesting beer, and one that makes me more interested in the brewery. I look forward to trying more of their beers. I wouldn't recommend this to friends, but it's pretty tasty for what it is. Worth trying.

Low B-

May 21, 2013
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AlexFields from Tennessee

4.09/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Dope for sending this!

Pours an intensely cloudy golden yellow with a massive effervescent head, a steady rush of bubbles rushing up from the bottom of the glass.

Nose is dominated by an intense, zesty lemon and tangerine citrus, just tons of orange peel; some spicy yeast and pepper and lavender.

Taste is pepper and farmhouse yeast, citrus peel again, less hoppy in character than I expected and more like a particularly zesty Belgian pale.

Lots of carbonation not surprisingly, effervescent almost to the point of distraction. Good body too though, and good drinkability.

This beer is pretty unique stylistically, not exactly an IPA really but very good.


Apr 05, 2013
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NiceTaps from New Jersey

4.24/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bomber poured into a stemmed tulip glass.

A- Hazy, unfiltered looking dirty-orange color. The 3 pours from this bottle resulted in massive, fluufy white heads that revealed rings of lace as soon as it began to fade. The head woundup looking like a scoop of vanilla ice cream plopped down in the middle of the brew. Wow.

S- Citrus hop IPA up front. Some grapefruit and orange. Then, after a few minites, the Belgian wheat and light fruit esters come to life. The aromas do get along.

T- The citrus hop flavor hits first then the Belgian wheat ,barley and rye. Peppery.

M- Unmistakenly IPA, unmistakenly Belgian ale. Tart and tangy from the hops and good carbonation, not too bitter. Wet and dry, start to finish.

O- There's a lot to like in this beer, plenty of flavor and body. It works for me.

Mar 10, 2013
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MasterSki from Canada (ON)

4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Todd. Served in a taster pint glass.

A - Big white foam that eventually settles to a thick cap and splotchy lacework. Hazy peach flesh body.

S - Quite hoppy, with a hefty dose of tropical fruits and citrus, some zesty herbs, mildly peppery yeast, and some pungent catty notes. Some grain and wheat provide a malt backbone, but this is all about the hops and yeast.

T - Again, a mix of hops and farmhouse yeast, with tropical citrus, stone fruit, and herbal flavors. Finish is a mix of hop bitterness and spicy yeast notes, with no discernible alcohol. Perhaps a touch of wheat and grain husk. Farmhouse IPA is pretty much a spot on description.

M - Medium body, gritty and dry texture, pleasant moderate carbonation, and a clean, crisp finish. No alcohol presence.

D - A nice hoppy farmhouse ale that I'd happily drink again. It's perhaps a bit sweeter than I'd want from this style, but otherwise quite enjoyable. I'd never heard of this brewery, but I'll have to keep my eyes out for future offerings from them.

Dec 03, 2012
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jlindros from Massachusetts

4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My first from them since the brut was so expensive.

A huge fluffy head that takes up almost half the snifter glass, almost 3 fingers, fades semi quickly at first with lots of spotted lacing, hazy honey orange colored.

Nose is nice, plenty of farmhouse saison like funk, little barnyard like, earthy hay, straw, lemongrass, light lemon zest like, some light floral grassy hops, hint of pine, earthy grassy hops mostly with light bitterness it would seem, a light golden malt, chewy bready malts I think, plenty of Belgian yeast with light floral spices and citrus like, as well as the aforementioned funk.

Taste starts with more farmhouse funk, earthy straw and wet hay, plenty of grain flavors, a bit bready and chewy almost, with light sweet golden malts and a hint of wheat. There is plenty of citrus, lemon zest, lemongrass, light clementine from the hops I think. The hops bring a grassy floral hop flavor, some citrus hence the clementine and a light grapefruit bitterness, light lemony hops as well, little earthy and herbal but not much, with a touch of pine and fresh hop resin. There is a juicy fruity flavor as well, besides the citrus, a light pear like fruit flavor. Yeast brings light esters, plenty of that funk, and a bit of the saison like spices, fluffy and airy as well as there's plenty of carbonation and effervescence, and light bitterness with the esters. It's a little bitter but not much, although that picks up a bit on the finish. A long dry finish, with lots of saison funk, lemon rind grassy hops, lemongrass and straw, farmhouse funk and spices, all linger for a while.

Mouth is med bodied, plenty of carbonation. Very dry finish.

Overall quite nice, great farmhouse flavors as they presented that as the main ingredient instead of the hops, and the hops accentuate the farmhouse flavors well, nice lemony citrus, spices, funk, hay, straw, earthy flavors, etc, light but decent bitterness, drinkable and tasty. I don't mind finishing the entire 750ml by myself, and help myself to a bit of stinky cheese while I'm at it for a nice Sunday afternoon of work on the house.

Oct 28, 2012
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Dope from Massachusetts

4.13/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

No date, just lists Batch #2. I believe this to be super fresh however.

A: Pours a very cloudy pale straw. Huge fizzy white head. Looks a lot like a witbier to be honest. Fades slowly, excellent head retention. Nice fluffy tufts of lacing on the glass.

S: Pungent and sharp citrus. Actually caught me by surprise. Lots of grapefruit, orange and lemon. Some wheat to boot and a touch of belgian yeast spiciness. Kinda smells like a hoppy witbier. Not super hoppy like a west coast style IPA, however.

T: Whoa, lot going on here. Smooth and sweet citrus up front. Not super strong and in your face, but it's there. Wheaty malt behind it continues into the middle and then there's a BIG hit of spicy rye and black pepper. It has sort of an astringent character to it. Lingering belgian sugar and citrus in the aftertaste. Big drying effect between sips. What an unusual beer.

M: Smooth and slick up front but astringent and drying in the finish. Medium bodied otherwise. Higher carbonation.

O: I'm not really sure how I would classify this beer. It's sort of a belgian IPA, witbier and saison hybrid. It's hoppy and sweet, yet wheaty and super spicy with rye and pepper. Smooth in parts and very drying in others. Great complexity at least, though balance of flavors seems a little sketchy. The spiciness of the rye and black pepper definitely dominates once it kicks in towards the finish. I give it bonus points for just being so unique.

Oct 27, 2012
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NEhophead from Massachusetts

3.67/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

25.4 fl oz brown bottle served in a chalice.
Batch #1; note alcohol by volume is listed at 6.8%.

Dirty straw in color beneath a carbonation-heavy, foamy, white head that holds for a few moments before thinning to an intact sheet. Condensed lacing with pretty good strength.

A variety of aromas going on here that match the Saison-American IPA hybrid description. Sweet Belgian candy sugar that just slightly outweighs the earthen must and spicy clove character. Wet, oily citrus hops; mild to moderate pine aromas as well.

The initial sweetness is assertive, yet short-lived. Almost immediately, the Saison-like flavors take over: earthen must with somewhat non-descriptive floral hops; mild pepper and coriander. The 'west coast' hop profile is present in its sweet-citrus flavors; however, it feels almost thin compared to the candied sweetness and muddy-earthen 'Saison'-driven flavors.

Medium bodied. Pretty delicate flavors propped up by a smooth, rounded body.

Overall, a pretty creative offering that just doesn't fire on all cylinders. Worth a try from such a small start up, but not a must buy.

Oct 16, 2012
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Dmuney15 from Massachusetts

4.95/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Serving type: 1 pint champaign style bottle poured into tulip style glass
Appearance: hazy golden color with a thick and lasting white head.
Smell: wonderful grapefruit and citrus aromas all intermingling with the smells of a beautiful saison
Taste: like biting into a fresh juicy grapefruit however unlike most ipa's with similar quality the bitterness is subdued to the beginning if the sip and it finishes with a wonderfully fresh and crisp aftertaste reminiscent of some of the most decadent saisons I have ever had
Mouthfeel: the perfect amount of carbonation balance with a crisp mouthfeel that makes you long for more
Overall: up there with some of the most beautifully crafted ales I have ever had the pleasure of drinking. With the price being under $10 I would happily add this to my weekly rotation. I just hope it remains available!

Oct 12, 2012
Illumination (Farmhouse IPA) from Enlightenment Ales
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 137 ratings