iowaherkeye (2703) - Ocean Beach, San Diego, California, USA - MAR 3, 2011
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
500mL bottle, picked up at the release. Also have some other notes somewhere, but here is my present (aged) bottle rating. Black body with a one finger creamy beige head. Big red wine and berry nose, followed by pine resin and tangerine hops and a bit of wet oak, some dry hopping still present, as well as moderate roast and a bit of minerals. Flavor follows suit with the citrus hops and lovely red wine oak barrels. Dry finish with just a tinge of alcohol, bitterness peaking at a 6, and dry. Medium body with light to moderate carbonation. Wow, even ~4 months old, this is still in the top two or three black IPA’s that I’ve had, and those better were probably HF beers anyway. Very close to fantastic.
JoeMcPhee (9244) - Toronto, ON, Ontario, CANADA - MAR 1, 2011
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Brown-black pour. The aroma is really lovely and hoppy. Roasty and very oaky as well. A nice vineous with a rich dark sweetness. Chewy, rich and very delicious. The oak really adds a lot to what is a great black IPA as the base.
Verecund (82) - North Carolina, USA - FEB 24, 2011
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
500ml. Thanks to a generous trader for this. Opened on 2/24/2011.
Pours a very, very dark brown with dark purple hues. A huge two finger mocha brown head recedes to a half finger in width. Thick lacing. Just about perfect.
Surprisingly, after all this time, the nose still features a complex bouquet of hop aromas: grapefruit, resiny. An oakiness shines through, making me think of my grandparent’s Tsuga covered in snow in the winter. A sweet, almost vinous note is present as well.
Citrus and resiny up-front with lots of roast, like burnt wood, mid-palate. Tons of woody pine, grapefruit pith, and oak (tannic) dissolves into the roasted barley, smoky finish. The Pinot Noir sweetness is barely there, but shows on the tip of the tongue on the finish.
Medium-low carbonation, but fairly light in the mouth. By and large the most "raw" (dare I say: "gutteral") of the American Black Ales/Black IPAs I’ve had to date. I wish it had a little more of the vinous sweetness I see in F/T, since the finish can be a bit ashy/acrid, but overall, quite unique and enjoyable. I do wish I could have tried this fresher as well.
DaSilky1 (2606) - San Diego, California, USA - FEB 12, 2011
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle via Glouglouburp. dark pour settling close to black, i suppose...big frothy dense tan head. Hoppy nose with those subtle roasty tones that good black ipas seem to have. Flavors were balanced enough...some hoppiness, some roasted malts...nothing out of place...but then again, nothing there to blow my mind either. After drinking the Hill Farmstead/Cigar City collaboration "OR"..i was hoping this would knock my ass off...but no such luck...i guess it was the Cedar character in "Or" that made that beer for me...this is just a decent Black IPA, but nothing spectacular....though maybe i get a bit of the Pinot barrel in there taking it a little out of the ordinary..but not enough.
dnstone (2516) - Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - FEB 3, 2011
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
A really nice balanced roasty, hoppy aroma. Deep brown-black in color with a nice tan head. Taste is roasty like a porter and balanced with a nice hoppiness. Light sweet notes with wood hints and a slight earthiness in the finish.
jtclockwork (13507) - , New Jersey, USA - JAN 23, 2011
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bottle shared by beerloco. Pours black with tan head. Nose and taste of smoked chocolate malts, pine, Simcoe hops, light vinous notes and light wood. Dry pine finish.
brokensail (15468) - Dublin, California, USA - JAN 23, 2011
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
A: The pour is a very dark brown color with very little foam/head to speak of.
S: A good hoppy aroma to start out with. It seems to be mostly pine with some grapefruit peel in there as well. I get some smoke and ash, too. A definite oak presence as well as chocolate and roast.
T: The oak and specialty malt flavors are the strongest ones here. Lots of wood, peat, and smoke, with maybe a touch of ash. Grapefruit hops along with a pine bitterness and a touch of bitter chocolate.
M: Maybe it’s just me, but the body seems a little thing. The carbonation is low to medium.
D: Not entirely sure how to feel about this one. It’s quite complex, which is nice, but for some reason, not all the flavors really work all that well.
nickd717 (4059) - San Francisco, California, USA - JAN 20, 2011
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
500ml bottle thanks to grassrootsVT. Pours darkest brown with a small but lasting tan head and very good lacing. The aroma is great, roasty with a hint of dark chocolate, coffee, and big hops, mainly of the piney variety. Slight dark fruit and oak notes from the barrel. Really tasty with a great malt base to it, with roast, coffee, charcoal, and dark chocolate. Big piney hops, and a nice red wine and oak character to it. Very crisp and resinous on the palate, medium bodied with an intense charcoal-like dryness. Really excellent mouthfeel on this one. Well, looks like we’ve got a hype-liver-upper-to here, or however you say that. Hopefully this one comes back with a bigger bottle count.
MiP (15158) - Sønderborg, DENMARK - JAN 20, 2011
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 19/20
Bottle, 7.5%. Great grassy and piney hop aroma. Black colour, seems unclear. Small stable light brown head. The flavour is nicely roasted, soft but distinct. Lots of coffee notes, dark bitter chocolate. The mouthfeel is good with a nice carbonation, but slightly watery considering the powerful flavour of the beer. On top of the roasted notes, there is a nice layer of hops. Perhaps bitter, but that is hard to tell because of the roasted bitterness. But nice and refreshing, grassy and piney, though not as much as in the nose.
tyler_mn (1475) - SLP, Minnesota, USA - JAN 3, 2011
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: JAN 4, 2011 First off, let it be known that Black IPA’s are one of my least favorite styles. Too often, the roastiness of the malt clashes with the green/resin hop flavors and aromas. Although... I do love a good wine barrel aged beer. This being my first Hill Farmstead bottle, I really hope it lives up to how good I want it to be.
500ml bottle. There aren’t a ton of hops in the aroma. Being that the bottle is ~2.5 months old, the malt and the barrel are much more prevalent. What hops there are seem to be leaning more toward the sticky, resinous and dank. Malt profile shows some leather, charcoal, tobacco, bitter baker’s chocolate and a hint of asphalt. Soft red wine influence is quietly lurking in the background on the nose. Gorgeous black pour capped by a sustained, one-finger dark khaki head. Hops are slightly more active and resinous on the tongue. Wine influence tastes like they were aged in a more full bodied wine barrel rather than a Pinot Noir. Wood tannin is a nice compliment to the leathery, slightly smoky and pipe tobacco malt flavors. Hops and oak bite a bit more on the finish. Lush, supple and creamy texture. Prefect amount of body for this type of beer. Finish is fairly lengthy with a good dose of drying wood and dank hops. A very unique take on the style. Thanks a ton Dany!