Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Hill Farmstead What Is Enlightenment

You may ask, "What Is Enlightenment?" Well, its one of the brewery's well known pale ale brewed in honor of their second anniversary and sticking around since. I went to their most recent anniversary a couple weeks ago to sample a couple different beers and hang out in the sun. I can't quite remember but the price was something like $10 to enter (included one sample) and $5 for a sampling glass (which must be a Hill Farmstead glass in order to get served). Tickets were also $5, which gave you a wine glass full of beer.

Alcohol Content: 5.4%
IBU: ?
Malts: ?
Hops: Simcoe, Amarillo

Price: $5
Medium: Hill Farmstead Wine Glass

Aroma: Floral hop notes with a moderate citrus quality – not quite as much as their Citra beer but still heavy for a pale ale. Supporting malt sweetness is very mild and reminiscent of caramel or crystal malt. Fermentation character is super clean - only the slightest bit of dried fruity ester. Small hints of sulfur/ chalkiness with occasional whiffs.
Appearance: Large white head with persisting bubbles on the surface. Steady streams of small bubbles continue up the rounded edges of the wine glass. Like many offerings from the brewery, this one possesses a super hazy or chalky/ cloudiness - possibly from dry hopping rates and water content. Color is orange to deep golden. The head dissipates after a few sips, which I assumed to be from oils on my lips. Leaves behind a thick, beautiful lace.
Flavor: Floral and citrus notes strike the palate immediately along with moderately sweet and clean malts. Hops lend moderately strong grapefruit and tangerine flavors. A clean bitterness is slightly favored and takes precedence in the aftertaste. The malty sweetness rounds off as the beer finishes super crisp, which is important in perceiving a favored bitterness. Aftertaste is also mildly chalky.
Mouthfeel: Moderately high carbonation with a cold, refreshingly clean finish. Body is moderate and malts round off. Some drying in the aftertaste. This is simply a great starting beer for a day of heavy sampling.
Overall Impression: I was determined to find out more about the quality of brewing water that leads to a similar profile for almost all of the pale ales and single hop ales I have sampled from the brewery. First of all, the water is simply taken from the remote wells where the brewery is located. Adjusting the mineral content is also probably an important role in these ales. I also found that Sean Hill is very particular about hitting his mash pH (which all brewers should be). This suggests that the water is moderately alkaline and that he acidifies the mash (via lactic acid). Malts naturally acidify in the mash but sometimes its not enough to hit a particular target, especially in these ales.

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