Madness & Civilization #4 - Hill Farmstead Brewery

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Madness & Civilization #4
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very good

121 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 121
Reviews: 19
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 23.24%
Wants: 33
Gots: 13 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Hill Farmstead Brewery visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  ABV ?

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ThatsThatDude on 03-11-2014

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Tragedy (et al) aged in Bourbon barrels for 24 months - with Cacao, Ancho, and Chipotle.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 121 | Reviews: 19
Reviews by travisdiener32:
More User Reviews:
Photo of lateralundertow
4.78/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Alright this was my favorite Hill porter/stout so far. Having had all the Damons, GoM, BoT, Everett, MC2..
Id have to say right off the bat I got this amazingly rich chocolate straight honey bourbon taste and nose. As it warmed the peppers came into play for me sort of mixing with the strong barrel presence at the end of the taste as well as the nose. Had great a coat your tongue and throat feel that left you with a little pepper burn. You can tell its been barreled for an extended period of time just in the amount of oaky bourbon that persists while very honey and chocolately to begin with it creeps to a warm bourbon pepper finish.
I noted that the honey lended it self to balance the peppers while this was chilled, making the cocoa more present and at the end, when the peppers for me were making this resemble something more like bourbon, taming the alcohol flavor and letting the peppers shine. Was honestly a fantastic drink.

Photo of Kevincredible
2.36/5  rDev -38.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Likely infected on this one.

Photo of RAKeeler
1/5  rDev -73.9%


Photo of Bosoxfan20
3.34/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Well, it was infected. The nose wasn't all that bad, but the flavor was definitely dark fruits and red wine. Hint of the peppers at the end, but basically no chocolate or bourbon.

Not all that terrible if you enjoy wine barrel aged beers, but not really my cup of tea but HF still finds a way to make it worth my while in what would normally b a drain pour.

Photo of Davepoolesque
3.25/5  rDev -15.1%

Yup, this def has a sour tang to it. Smells like milk chocolate, maybe a little vanilla. Getting a touch of chili spice on the back end. It's just ok. Kinda disappointed.

Photo of Deltoro
1.1/5  rDev -71.3%


Photo of Skrip
4.63/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

375ml bottle poured into a Hill Farmstead taster.

A~ pitch black with a tan, sand like head and no lacing.

S~ peppers upfront followed by a lot of chocolate and roasted malts. a little vanilla and caramel on the back end.

T~ changes a lot here! like straight Birth of Tragedy at first, a ton of honey. mmm...! followed by a ton of bourbon. that extra age has done this well! also a lot of cocoa which blends so nicely with the honey and bourbon. so well balanced and theres still more! slight pepper flavor and heat on the back end. honestly hard to tell what kind of peppers the flavor is coming from and this is coming from a pepper fein!

M~ super smooth and thick from the honey. refreshing and great carbonation. surprising? nope! haha

O~ this is incredible! definitely my favorite of the series so far! everything comes through perfectly! my only complaint would be with the peppers. a tad more would push this over the top. i also would have liked a little smoke from the chipotles.

Photo of jaasen64
4.46/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

375ml bottle poured into a HF wine glass, split three ways. Thanks Tom for grabbing this for me. Consumed side by side with '13 Birth of Tragedy.

A- Pours a dark brown that has an opaque black appearance in the glass with some light translucency around the edges. Thin mocha head forms that recedes fairly fast fading to a bubbly ring along the side of the glass. Fairly minimal carb but definitely not flat.

S- Dark fudge, sweet chocolate, light molasses, integrated bourbon, a touch of oak, and some very subtle spices lingering in the background that aren't the easiest to detect. Aroma wise this beer is very sweet and smells delicious however the peppers don't really come out much.

T- Chocolate fudge, sweet creamy chocolate, vanilla, very nicely integrated bourbon, some very light chilies on the finish that lend little to no burning and blend with the chocolate sweetness. This beer is delicious with the extra cocoa adding just the right amount of sweetness. The chili peppers don't add a whole lot to the beer, just some subtle complexity on the finish to balance out the sweetness.

M- Medium bodied, fairly low carbonation but definitely not flat, incredibly smooth.

O- If you are looking for a chili bomb that has intense heat this definitely isn't your beer. If you are looking for a sweet yet nicely balanced stout with a fairly subtle amount of chili peppers you will love this beer. Compared to Birth of Tragedy this was much more balanced with more of a creamy chocolate fudge presence. MC4 is probably my favorite of the Madness series so far and definitely worth seeking out.

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

375 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled 03/2014.

Appearance - Black and almost inky. Small khaki head. The thinnest collar.

Smell - Bourbon. Lots of chocolate. A hint of peppers. Vanilla.

Taste - Fudgy. Bourbon. Very woody and astringent. Light peppers. Bourbony and woody finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium low carbonation. Fudgy and thick.

Overall - Some nice flavors, but doesn't fully come together as a complete beer.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.03/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

A - poured pitch black with a thin layer of light brown head that reduced to a run around the glass.

S - loads of oak with some bourbon, spice and a light cocoa presence. Not a huge bourbon presence considering the 24 months in the barrels.

T - Oak and chilli flavours are dominant. There's an astringency that detracts from the palate overall. Light bourbon and vanilla notes in the finish. There's also a cola-like flavour present at times. The flavour is don't come together all that well.

M - very thin for the style but creamy. Light carbonation.

O - maybe the least impressive HF beer that I've had. I had high expectations for this one and it missed the mark.

Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.1/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

Bottle shared by Curran, thanks man!

Pours a deep, dark black, with a 1/4 inch (barely even that) head, and no lacing.

Smells like chocolate, a bit of chili peppers, and some dark fruit aromas.

Upon first sip, it's evident that this one is probably infected. It has a really strong tangy dark fruit flavor, almost like red wine. It tastes like this is red wine barrel aged, or port barrel aged, so much so the underlying stout flavor is lost. There's some sour green apple flavors as well. There is no chocolate or bourbon flavor evident, and the peppers are only noticeable by a slight tingling on the lips- I don't actually taste them. As dark sours go, this one is ok, not spectacular, but as Mexican-style stouts go, it's entirely wrong.

This one is medium bodied, with a tangy, slightly syrupy mouthfeel, and basically no carbonation.

It's clear that 24 months in a barrel was a bit too long, as unwanted flavors have developed. It doesn't seem like all bottles have this problem, but this one was certainly not right. It's quite unfortunate, this is the first quality problem I've encountered with Hill Farmstead beers.

Photo of SadMachine
4.45/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes from 8/14

A- Pours pitch black with a small khaki head that slowly recedes to a film that leaves decent lacing.

S- The aroma is sweet chocolate, honey, and brown sugar. A good bit of spice and cinnamon. The honey is very prevalent.

T- Very sweet with loads of honey, chocolate, berries, and cinnamon. There's a lot of oak and sweet bourbon. Some tartness as is typically found in HF barrel aged beers. The honey and the berries are super prevalent, and the berries are very surprising. There's also some nice brown sugar notes.

M- The mouth feel is medium, lightly carbonated, and mildly tart.

O- This was a very unique and tasty beer. The mouth feel was not as thick as I'd like, but it doesn't hurt the beer too much.

Photo of Kurmaraja
2.21/5  rDev -42.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 1.75

One bottle was subtle tartness but still drinkable. The other, consumed 6 or so months later, was undrinkably foul.

Photo of cpetrone84
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pour is dark brown, almost black, with a very small amount of caramel colored head. Nose is a bit light, a nice mix of bourbon and some peppery spice. The malts and chocolate make a soft presence in back. Taste is much bigger, tons of flavor, lots of bourbon, heat is a bit stronger than in the nose but very mild, which I prefer. Malts mid palate are brighter, finish gets a bit sweet and sugary. Lots of malty berry sweetness through the back. Soft carb and a full body, very inviting palate.

Photo of WTKeene
4.34/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle shared courtesy of Abbbp, and opened alongside Gunch52 and TheReal_Adam.

Appearance: Looks like a stout. Dark dark brown/black with a small, coffee-milk head. No lacing to speak of.

Smell: Dark chocolatey malts, smoky chiles and a good portion of dark fruits too. Unique for a Mexican stout.

Taste: The light smoky char of the chiles is more prominent than the burn, which is still present just a bit. A large amount of dark, almost tart fruits. A good amount of cherry, really. Perhaps a barleywine-like character almost from the fruits.

Mouthfeel: On the thinner side, but still sticky. Carbonation is low, which works.

Overall: Unique take on the Mexican stout style. I like the fruity, tangy aspect which is nice. Another great offering from Hill Farmstead, of course.

Photo of GreenMind
3.41/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Bottle procured from Hill Farmstead in the last few weeks. Thanks friends.

Pretty sure this is a dark sour...whatever that is.

Looks good. Slightly roasty. Sour. Dark malts. No bourbon/barrel character. Chocolate. Black licorice. Slight vanilla. No heat.

Not for everyone...

Handle is misleading. Overall, drinkable, but not of the quality most have come to expect from Hill Farmstead. Still glad I got to try this.

Photo of kscaldef
3/5  rDev -21.7%

An okay chile beer, but pales in comparison to 1 & 2.

Photo of Guzzle_McBrew
1.41/5  rDev -63.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

This was the worst infection I have run into. I don't like sour dark beers in general, but this was just punishment.

Photo of oldmankoch
4.55/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought a bottle from HF on a trip into VT last month.

Pours a pitch black dirty motor oil with a thin British Khaki head that leaves behind minimal lacing.

The smell is robust and inviting. I immediately pick up the bourbon and oak followed by butterscotch, mallow, dark chocolate, and vanilla bean with a faint pepper/spice backing.

Taste follows the nose for the most part. I pick up espresso notes which aren't terribly present in my nose and the chili is more pronounced as well which produces a finishing pucker on my palate. Great all around balance found here.

The mouth is surprisingly a tad thin for a beer of this magnitude but that makes it all the more drinkable. There is still an overlying lushness and just enough carbonation that lends to keeping things interesting.

As I expected another winner from HF.

Madness & Civilization #4 from Hill Farmstead Brewery
86 out of 100 based on 121 ratings.