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Notch Valley Malt BSA (2012-)


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Serve in Tulip


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RATINGS: 5   MEAN: 3.36/5.0   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.02/5   SEASONAL: Autumn   EST. CALORIES: 132   ABV: 4.4%
This year’s barley was grown in Northampton, at Slow Tractor Farm, harvested on July 22, malted in late August at Valley Malt and brewed that same month. The the Valley Malt BSA is a farmhouse ale, brewed with a pain in the ass yeast that has a long fermentation time, so from mash tun to bottle takes five weeks. So here we are at the turning of the season, and the beer is finally ready for release. As you can tell, this harvest beer is a bit later than the seasonal pumpkin beers that hit the shelves in July, and the primary reason we the changed the name. We discussed this last year, and it got some unexpected play in the beer-o-sphere. Rather than conjure the gods of the Massachusetts harvest to quicken the growth of our barley, our BSA Harvest is now Valley Malt BSA.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
ClarkVV (5862) - Boston, Massachusetts, USA - MAR 4, 2014
Draught at Lord Hobo on 2/23/14
Clear orange-golden body has just a touch of chill haze. White head atop is small and shows moderate to moderately low retention.
Sweet, lightly toasty and creamy-like malts in the nose are joined by soft Belgian yeast esters and floral, very mildly spicy hops. Peach and starfruit moreso than banana and orange, which is a nice change of pace.
The flavor has more maltiness than a typical Belgian saison of this strength, but the flavor is bready, sweet angel food cake and mixed well with the soft, lightly fruity esters. Lightly herbal/spicy hoppiness in the background helps clear the palate on the finish and prepare for the next sip of this very drinkable beer. More citrus as it warms and some light caramel malt sweetness. Carbonation is a little unfocused; rather large-bubbled and loose, but it certainly helps accentuates the malt, which is delicious. And it’s not like the beer is overly sweet or anything, just more malt forward/focused than your typical farmhouse ale. A nice change of pace and still very drinkable.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
thornecb (5545) - Marblehead, Massachusetts, USA - NOV 6, 2012
Pours clear gold into a Sam glass. Bright white head with good retention recedes to coat surface. Sweet tropical fruit and yeast aromas. Soft with sourdough and tropical fruits front to back. Abrupt sour marshmallow finish.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
auerbrau (3203) - Ithaca, New York, USA - NOV 19, 2011
22oz Bottle, purchased at Downtown Wine & Spirits - Somerville, MA. Again, another beer best suited for summer. Bubbly, juiyc, fresh Saison yeast aromatics. Flavors are clean, light and rather delicate. Clean, fresh, lightly spicy in flavor from the yeast, with a solid wheaty base. I quite like this for its quaffability and solid Saison foundations. Even better, it’s local!

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 11/20
MaBeer1972 (1839) - Taunton, Massachusetts, USA - NOV 3, 2011
A light hazy golden amber brew. Aroma is good. Mouthfeel is thin and slighty fizzy. A little underwhelming at first, but the flavor does begin to improve with each sip. Destinctive Belgian yeast flavors. Bready malts. A bittering, dry finish. An OK effort from Notch, but this one could use some improvement.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
SrSilliGose (3328) - pouring bus, New Brunswick, CANADA - OCT 29, 2011
Bottle. Aroma of toasty, herbal, bubblegum. Light allspice and doughy melon. Bright carbonation. Toasted herbal grassiness with some old wet grass on an autumn day. Pretty good. Not exactly what I would look for in a saison, but it works. Thank you so much hammer for the bubblegum note, couldn’t have rated it without you.

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