chibuck (3513) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - MAR 29, 2011
Thanks to sleepydave, bottle into my Narke tulip...A beautiful pour, dark brown with the slightest hint of purple has me really excited. An equally nice really nice tan head, decent retention but good lacing...The aroma is outstanding, complex and keeps me guessing. At first you get a lot of smoke and pork (salt), making me wonder where that came from, the barrel? That smoke really settles and a distinct pinot noir wine flavor really comes through in a great way. Oak, vanilla, smoke, pork, and wine mixed superbly....The taste sadly doesn’t live up to the aroma, and totally reverts to an ipa. Light smoke on the front, most of the wine disappears. The finish is strong, full and lasting, but that’s not a good thing here as its a little chalky. Mostly hoppy, still drinkable, a good ipa, just not what I expected after an awesome start so I’m a little disappointed.
A beer worth drinking and trying, just slightly disappointing in the taste and execution. Glouglouburp (6103) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - MAR 16, 2011
In short: A different, chocolaty, very fruity and slightly vinous Black IPA. A different beast.iowaherkeye (2703) - Ocean Beach, San Diego, California, USA - MAR 3, 2011
How: Bottle 500ml. Consumed relatively fresh a little over two months after the beer release (first bottling)
The look: Near black body topped by a medium dark beige head with medium retention
In long: A good amount of fruitiness on the nose with both fruity hops and “normal” fruitiness backed by chocolate fudge notes. Taste starts with a chocolate cake with a whole lot of dark fruits (dark berries, dark grapes, blueberries, etc.) with vinous notes. Then the fruity hops join in with tropical fruits and citrus fruits. The hopping has a resinous character that I didn’t get from the non-barrel-aged version (James) so the resinous sensation has probably more to do with the barrel aging than the hopping itself. Oak adds an astringent dryness in the finish as well as soaked wood, earthy and leathery notes. The bitterness is never aggressive and if anything it is a little too soft and leaves a bit too much residual sugars and caramel in the after-taste. This beer was fun because it is very different from any other Black IPA out there but to me it is a far cry from the regular James. There is a lot going on and I would agree that it is more complex than the James but it is far less drinkable than the James. In fact I preferred the first half of my bottle over the second half. And I could drink 2 growlers of the James. Not my favorite Hill Farmstead creation this but Jim is yet another beer I would love to have access to. I’d go down on a dude named Jim to have unlimited access to Hill Farmstead bottles. In fact, the list of things I wouldn’t do for Hill Farmstead beer just keep getting smaller and smaller everyday.
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 (9451) - Toronto, ON, Ontario, CANADA - MAR 1, 2011
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
500ml. Thanks to a generous trader for this. Opened on 2/24/2011.
DaSilky1 (2606) - San Diego, California, USA - FEB 12, 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.
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 (3442) - Kansas City, Missouri, USA - FEB 3, 2011
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 (16857) - , New Jersey, USA - JAN 23, 2011
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 (16609) - Dublin, California, USA - JAN 23, 2011
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 (4772) - San Francisco, California, USA - JAN 20, 2011
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.