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Old 03-15-2013, 10:35 PM   #1
Mr_Pear
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I was having this discussion with someone recently and I am curious to know what others think. What are the defining features of an American Farmhouse style or at least what come to mind when you hear the term? Maybe specifically what differentiates it from French/Belgian Farmhouse style ales?

 
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Old 03-15-2013, 10:39 PM   #2
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Old 03-15-2013, 10:43 PM   #3
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That was indeed what started our conversation, just curious what other people thought about the style.

 
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:03 PM   #4
urbanmyth
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Having not read the above article yet, the farmhouse style to me is not so much a style, but a brewing ideology. For me, it includes the idea of what would be available to a farmer/brewer from your region. Although not essential, that is, I would think, the purest sense of the term "farmhouse." A mixture of locally available grains, water, adjuncts, and hops, which I would venture to say should be balanced toward spicy. Another factor almost synonymous with the farmhouse style for me is the use of characterful, "wrangled" yeast. Whether or not this is a Brett strain, a saison strain (arguably just a recaptured and mutated red wine yeast), or a mixture of the above with bacterias, I believe the spicy, phenolic, rustic character is paramount to creating a good example of a farmhouse beer, wherever you are from.

In regards to the differentiation between European and American styles, I don't see a huge distinction in theory. Commercially, there certainly is. Spotted Cow from New Glarus was one of the first American beers to be labeled with the farmhouse moniker. It really is just an unfiltered cream ale sort of thing, brewed with flaked barley and corn to roughen the edges. On the other extreme, an example such as Jolly Pumpkin's Dark Dawn is a relatively big, rich, sour stout. Who is to say that this is not a farmhouse style as well?

But what do I know? I am just a piddly homebrew.
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:45 PM   #5
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Probably like everything else, take the base style, increase the alcohol and add a bunch of cascade hops.
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:46 PM   #6
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A co-worker and I were trying to decide this exact thing yesterday. We decided there is no such thing as Farmhouse beers. Well no exact ruling on what is a farmhouse beer besides something that you would serve at a farmhouse made from local ingredients.

Smaller batches using local ingredient with little concern over trying to have the exact same taste as the last time you made beer, trying to be close if you really liked it is OK. To me that is farmhouse, where American, Belgian, French. The difference between the location is the malts, hops, and yeasts used( whatever is convenient at the time). From my little understanding of the style, Kentucky Common couldn't that be called an American Farmhouse beer when judged off of the rules I have placed on farmhouse beers?
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Old 03-16-2013, 12:14 AM   #7
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I think it could be! I think when I think of the style, I think of something with yeast driven flavors and using local as possible ingredients (fruit, spice, water, ect.) and possibly the use of american hops being the biggest difference between classic farmhouse ales.

 
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