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Fear And Trembling (French Oak Cabernet) - Hill Farmstead Brewery

Not Rated.
Fear And Trembling (French Oak Cabernet)Fear And Trembling (French Oak Cabernet)

Educational use only; do not reuse.

47 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 47
Hads: 84
Avg: 4.18
pDev: 8.37%
Wants: 139
Gots: 7 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Hill Farmstead Brewery visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
Baltic Porter |  9.30% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: 6DaysBottomOcean on 10-09-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Fear and Trembling is Hill Farmstead’s first collaboration – a Baltic Porter brewed with malt that was hand smoked over maple wood by our Danish friend, and former colleague, Anders Kissmeyer. This bottled version was aged in French Oak Cabernet barrels. As a student of philosophy and former resident of Copenhagen, it is fitting that our brewer named our first collaboration after Denmark’s great thinker: Søren Kierkegaard. All three contemplated absurdity, faith, and salvation while wandering the shores of the Baltic Sea…

“…continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling…”
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 47 | Hads: 84
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.73/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to GRG1313 for sharing this one at his tasting.

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, smoke, and wood aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa and smoke flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roast and smoke bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that doesn't really have any wine barrel aged characteristics at this point other than wood qualities.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a snifter.

Pours near black with a single-finger tan head with just a touch of lacing on the sides of the glass. The nose brings forward a good dose of smoke and oak barrel. The cabernet adds a really nice touch throughout.

The flavor pushes the cabernet barrels more toward the front with a really nice complexity. Smoke and oak combine really well with the fruit character. A bit of chocolate and roasted character sit there as well. Medium body with a really nice dryness in the finish. Just a bit of booze there. Drinks quite well. A really, really solid brew and I'm glad I got to brad some of these bottles.

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Photo of largadeer
3.8/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This rare tick was generously provided by bring. Thanks, Barry.

Dark brown, almost black. The body is nearly opaque, and the head retains solidly for several minutes.

The nose is smoky, meaty and oaky. There's a mild vinous character, though the smoke is most prevalent.

It's more vinous on the palate, tannic and oaky, smoky, somewhat meaty. The body is medium, carbonation is moderate. The finish brings roasted malt and more smoke. This is very enjoyable for a smoke beer, fairly balanced and drinkable for the style.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

stopped by on xmas eve and split this bottle with a good friend while standing around and just hanging out for a few moments for the holidays. his half in a snifter, my in nonic.

pour was jet black with a small tan head that kept a ring around the entire glass leaving a good bit of lacing up and down the sides of the glass that really looked to be quite nice to me. aroma is deep peat and smoke, much more then i really thought it would be, nicely done. warming brings up lots of oak and touches of vanilla in the flavor. the grape and vinous character from the cab barrels is not very noticeable until it really warms and by that time it is still quite light. rich and smooth, with a deep smoke flavor that leaves a long lasting oak note on the palate an a light, but enjoyable finish that really gives a nice rounded profile.

overall very solid and well deserved for the day. cannot wait to try the rest of the set.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.78/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Chris for sharing this, my first Hill Farmstead tick.

A: The pour is almost black in color with a finger or so of a sturdy, soapy, khaki colored head.

S: Lots of smoke to open up the nose, sort of what I expected. Like most smoked beers, I get a distinct salty and meaty aroma, though not as "bad" as some examples. The roasted malt and chocolate aromas are still pretty decent, and there's a bit of wine -bal character, too.

T: The flavor is still quite heavy on the smoke, but the other flavors are allowed to shine through. Good roasted malts, oak, vanilla, red wine, and a slight meaty character. Fairly good for a smoked beer...

M: The body is medium with the carbonation being a bit on the low end of medium.

D: I'm not the biggest smoked beer person, but this was pretty good. I don't think I'd rush out to drink it again, but wouldn't turn it down.

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Photo of Kegatron
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle into a couple of glasses.

Pours a black/deep brown, with a finger or so of frothy mocha head. This stays bubbly and rich, leaving back a decent amount of spotty froth down the sides of the glass. The smoke has been tamed a good bit and relegated to the background by the barrel here, especially compared to the bourbon version, with tones of fruit, oak and vanilla and more malty notes of chocolate and toffee helping bring that peat character down a notch or two.

The taste is similar, with that heavy smoke being cut by sticky notes of dark fruit, oaky vanilla, chocolate and caramel. Roast returns in the finish with a dry and lightly burnt feel, with some extra smokiness and barrel flavors lingering on the tongue. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with some prickliness on the tongue and then a mostly smooth and creamy feel as this works itself across the back of the palate. Like the bourbon version, the alcohol here is just extremely well hid, which aids in the overall accessibility of this.

It’s funny how this version took the exact opposite approach than the bourbon version, which much more of that French Oak barrel being on display here and much less of the smoked aspect of the base Baltic Porter. The dark fruit and oak flavor here actually gets fairly strong the more this warms. This was solid but isn’t quite there for me yet.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Thorpe429 for sharing a set of these. Served in a Chouffe tulip.

A - Pours with a finger of tan foam that settles to a thin ring, leaving behind a few spots of lace and some wisps of bubbles on top. The body is a very dark brown color that is a touch lighter at the fringes.

S - Very smoky, dark chocolate, espresso, light oak, and a vinous character that isn't overtly "wine-y" (a la Bottleworks XI), but instead imparts dark fruits, berries, and weight.

T - Taste is very similar, albeit a bit less smoked. Cocoa, smoked malt, and a dark chocolate finish. As it warms more of the dark vinous character emerges.

M - Some carbonation spritz, but thankfully not harsh. Body is surprisingly light for 9.3% and sits in the medium-light range. Alcohol is very well-hidden.

D - This was quite good, and I don't even like smoked beers all that much. It thankfully doesn't veer to much in the meatier side of the style.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another bottle shared by Thorpe, thanks.

Beer is brown with a tan head that doesn't stick around long, falls away leaving some lacing. Carbonation appears to be low.

This one has more smoke in the nose as well as some more oak. Much less booze.

Beer is oaky up front but gives way to a dryness and some smoke in the midpalate regions. The smoke and oak in this one is far more assertive than the bourbon, much of that character was covered up by the high alcohol. This one is much closer to the base beer with the tannic character coming through in this one.

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Photo of stakem
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Many thanks go to Kegatron for sharing all 3 Fear and Trembling variations during our recent gathering. Awesome experience to have these all back to back. 500ml bottle poured into some snifters following the bourbon edition. The brew appears dark brown in color with some lighter brown around the edges. A finger of mocha head sits atop and as it slowly fades, leaves some spotty lacing on the glass.

Just like the bourbon version, this is heavily smoked to then point of being beefy. Cured meat aromatics blend into a touch of chocolate grain, roast and mild raw barrel tannins that is a deviation from the other iteration of this brew. Some alcohol tang with mild dark fruit inclusion blends into an afterthought of smokey pete moss.

The taste is beefy with smoke and roast. A bit almost burnt and ashy with a raw (not necessarily harsh) barrel character that integrates fairly well with the level of bold smokiness. Some tangy alcohol is evident with an increased perception of fruity plum or raisin flavor. The aftertaste includes some earth and chocolate grain quality.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. Overall a slightly different example than the Bourbon version with a unique twist and focus on raw barrel character and a bit more depth to the fruity alcohol inclusion. I typically prefer a more mellow and blended barrel inclusion but in this case, the raw tannic nature of this version really worked well with the aggressive smoke profile. I liked this version slightly more than the bourbon one.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Thorpe429. Thanks Mike!

A: Dark brown hue with a thin, tan head that recedes rapidly, leaving but a little lacing.

S: Roast, bacon, smoke (rauchbier), hints of oak.

T: A very nice beer, though I think the aroma is better than the flavor. The beer has a nice tannic character, with the booze aspect the most hidden of the three variants.

M: Medium to thin bodied with moderately low carbonation.

D: Overall, this was my favorite of the Fear and Trembling beers.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to thirdeye11 for sharing this bottle. Drank alongside the other two Fear and Trembling beers.

The beer pours a black color with a tan head. The aroma is pretty nice. I get some oak and caramel notes, as well as some smoked malt. I don't get any real wine notes in the aroma.

The flavor is similar. I get some smoked malt, peet, oak, chocolate and roasted malt. I also get some dark fruit notes, which may be from the wine barrel aging. There is little detectable alcohol. Easy to drink.

Medium to thick mouthfeel and low carbonation.

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Photo of yourefragile
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

500 mL bottle. Sampled with the bourbon and blended versions. This was my favorite of the 3.

Pours a darker brown with thin, frothy mocha head that gradually fades away. Mild smoke presence in the nose, with the cab barrels dominating; vanilla, oak, chocolate, fruit, spice and roast. Bitter chocolate and roast malt start flavor with spicy smoke throughout. Slightly tannic finish of red wine and bitter chocolate. Excellent balance and loads of complexity.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.32/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Bottle opened by me at Oakquinox, thanks!

A: Dark brown in the snifter with a big creamy light brown head which shows nice retention and leaves lots of lacing.

A: Smoke is pronounced and dominant, redolent of apple wood bacon and beach wood with light oak notes. Roasted malt is restrained and there's a subtle yet complex dark chocolate profile beneath the smoke. There's a very faint vinous note. Smells great.

F: The flavor is noticeably less smoky than the aroma, allowing notes of cocoa, vanilla, and oak to play a bigger role. The smoke is bacon and beach wood, and it's quite delicious. Roasted malt is moderate. I don't pick up wine-like qualities from the barrel in the taste, but this is still quite good. Alcohol is well hidden.

M: Medium in body with a lower moderate level of carbonation. Mouthfeel is smooth and dry.

Overall: A complex and enjoyable smoked beer. Definitely recommended if you're a fan of the style.

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Photo of corby112
3.84/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark chestnut brown color with dark plum edges and a half finger beige head that quickly settles into a thin, lasting ring. Some spotty lacing left behind. Nice color with decent retention but could use more lace.

Slightly smokey aroma with very strong phenols and prominent roasted dark malt notes countered by vinous fruit. Lots of phenol/band aid along with acrid smoke, charcoal and ashtray. Smoke flavor isn't pleasant but the oak and vinous wine notes are still holding up. Nice red wine character with dark grape, currant and other berries but the smokiness and phenols are overpowering.

Medium body and much more interesting than expected. Lots of interesting barrel character nicely integrated into the smoked porter notes. Sweet and vinous with dark grapes, cherry, fig and dark berries followed by dark roast and great smoke flavors. Charcoal and smoked meat along with a slight phenol presence but it's nowhere near as strong as in the aroma. Not harsh or tough or drink with a nice balance of complex flavors. Aside from the nose, this is a very enjoyable beer.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

In a well executed play Mike (Thorpe429) brought 3 versions of this beer to a little tasting, putting himself in a strong position in the MVP title battle.

This version was first to be tried, aged in French Oak Cabernet. It pours dark brown, opaque except at the edges, with a thin tan foam. Lots of smoked malt in the aroma, hints of oak, and deep sniffs give more oak. First and foremost a rauchbier, but the subtleties behind the malt make this really nice.

Smoked malts dominate the flavor too, but this is far from one dimensional. A little cocoa and oak mix in, with an extremely nice aftertaste of light liqueur or red wine. Low carbonation but that works just fine for this, the mix of rich malt and subtle oak really make this world class.

I wouldn't have thought that this type of beer could get much out the barrel but that shows how little I know. Inspired.

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Photo of glid02
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Grant - thanks! Tasted side-by-side with the other two in the series.

Pours black with a one-finger brown head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of smooth roasted malts with equal amounts of smoked malts and dark chocolate. Also present are faint dark grape aromas and spicy tannins from the barrel.

Tastes very similar to how it smells. Roasted and smoked malt flavors kick things off and are joined shortly thereafter by moderate amounts of dark chocolate. Midway through the sip lightly tart red grape flavors come into play. Near the end of the sip the flavor profile dries up a bit with the addition of spicy oak, carrying through to a moderately bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is very good. It's got a smooth thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I didn't have any problems finishing my glass and could have another.

Overall this was my least favorite of the three, the cab influence was nice but it was too mild. Additionally, I'm not sure the base beer was one that could integrate well with the barrel type. Still, it's a very good beer that's worth a shot.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.09/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks again to Thorpe...Looks like the other Fears, black with an ok head...A really awesome aroma of peat, smoke, and pork, balanced and just awesome. A hint of red wine is great...The taste doesn't translate as well, the front is tons of fresh oak ( a little too harsh for me), oak kills a lot of the smoke and pork, which is my favorite part. More chocolate than smoke. Still good just a disappointment of what I was expecting...This is very good, my 2nd favorite.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.17/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle split and poured into a Duvel tulip. 9.3% ABV, no date.

Big thanks to Rochefort10nh for surprising me with this trio of awesome brews! Beerwolf and I gave 'em all a go at once to compare them.

A - Black in the tulip with nice clarity on the pour but almost no head generation. A thin foam of tan bubbles with a well-retained ring. Spotty lace left over.

S - Great peat-smoked malt aroma with notes of chocolate behind the campfire aroma. There's wood in the nose but no real oak stand-out or French Cabernet, that's for sure. While I enjoy the bold smoke, it overwhelms any chance for the wine nuances I really hoped to see here.

T - Tart French oak Cabernet peeks in the very finish with a bit of grape but it's almost all a one-dimensional brew, full of peat smoked chocolate malt.

M - Slightly dry, a bit tart on the finish with a medium-full-body and mild acrid bitterness. Nice feel on this one.

D - Good drinkability for a high ABV barrel-aged smoke beer! Not too strong but I really wish that the French oak Cabernet would have been more present.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.42/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

pours dark brown with thin tan head. Nose ha smoke, chocolate, and light cab barrel. Smokey flavor, light chocolate, fair. Bit of malt sweetness and ovry cab sweetness flavors. Body is medium, smooth, a touch oily and thin compared to the blend. assertive carbonation.

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Photo of thagr81us
4.52/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Review #400! Bottle shared by mikesgroove early on Christmas Eve in a gas station parking lot (hobo style!), thanks Mike! Served from split bottle into a Delirium Tremens snifter. Poured a deep murky brown almost black with a minimal very light tan head. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, caramel, brown sugar, smoke, and subtle alcohol. The flavor was of sweet malt, caramel, slight brown sugar, toffee, subtle spices, oak, and a touch of vanilla. It had a medium feel on the palate with low carbonation. Overall this brew was quite excellent. I could honestly see myself getting in trouble with this one at this ABV. Has an excellent aroma and great well balanced flavor going on here. This is a definite must try if you are fortunate enough to do so or track down. I'm sure Mike and I looked like a bunch of hobos drinking this one, but it was totally worth it, plus we had proper glassware. Thanks again Mike for sharing this rare gem!

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Photo of maximum12
4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to baconsausage for this bottle, from a brewery that I'm growing quite fond of. My second encounter with F&T, the first in a rather epic tasting with good BA friends from near & far. Now I get a whole bottle to myself, as my wife won't touch 'bacon beers'. Her loss, right?

Lovingly poured into my big Terrapin snifter, black-on-black with minimal carbonation. Smell is on the meek side: smoked malt, light chocolate, not much else.

Fear & Trembling from the vine is very nicely put together. Initially this feels like the smoke-trail off a campfire missle: smoked malts. More smoke. And yes, bacon, too. But there are subtleties in the mix, yes, my precious. A dusting of cocoa, a little rump roast, an eyedropper of dark fruits that are doubtless the cabernet. The finish is an exquisite shot of oak barrel that layers well with the smoke.

My only faint complaint is that this is a big, heavy, tummy-filler of a porter, a zing of bubbles would have been appreciated. Still, it doesn't do much damage, I'll have no issue wrapping this one up by myself.

This is a lovely beer. What starts out as a campfire jammed down your throat warms to reveal layer after layer of complexity, & not just for its own sake. Excellent beer. Can't wait to try the blend that's awaiting my pleasure in the cellar.

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Photo of AgentZero
4.39/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beer provided by Mike, awesome contribution to the Bachelor Weekend tasting.

A - Nice black stout with a small off-white head on the hard pour. Faded to a ring, no lacing or drag on the sides.

S - Smells amazing. Great smoke smell in a roasty porter. The cabernet barrels ad a nice touch of balancing sweetness. Don't think you can get much better smelling than this.

T - The oak age comes across in the beer, and the cabernet definately makes it's presence felt with a nice sweetness. Great smokey taste on this porter, just a touch too sweet for me, but I love this beer and could drink a lot of it.

M - Solid, smooth, full, great.

D - Great beer, I recommend this to anyone. Easy to drink for something at this ABV and body.

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Photo of gford217
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle.

Pours dark, dark brown with a small head that leaves only a trace of lacing and little retention.

Aroma is heavily smoked malts with hints of chocolate underneath. The wine notes definitely come through with a light dry fruitiness and spicy oak.

The taste is very smooth with the smoked malts and chocolate dominating until the finish which is dry and oaky, vinous and slightly tart really which isn't surprising given the barrel I suppose.

The mouthfeel is smooth with solid carbonation and drier than the other treatments.

This is a really nice smoked porter though the straight-up cab version is probably my least favorite.

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Photo of FosterJM
3.89/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

773rd Review on BA
Bottle to snifter

@Woodshop Classix

App- This was a very dark brown with a bit of amber around the edges. It poured similar to the barrels it came from, like a deep dark red wine. No head, no bubbles. A bit flat.

Smell- True to style this smelled quite nice for a baltic porter. Smoky, bacon, rye and a little bit on the oaky side and a little tannin note.

Taste- This was kind of all over the place for me. It started off with a smoky bacon like note and then moved to the roasty malts and finished with a ton of dark chocolate. A little bit of the oak comes through on the end of the drink. A little tannin as well.

Mouth- Medium bodied and a medium carbonation level. A nice smoky note remains.

Drink- I don't normally like the baltic porters but this had a few nice dimensions with the aging on it in the barrels. Not as harsh and bacony.

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Photo of EgadBananas
4.32/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nearly black, thought the pour appeared the darkest brown. Head was a nice tan color, with nice spotty lacing.

Aroma was lightly sweet, pleasantly smoky, with touches of tart wine notes fighting for a piece of attention.

Taste is fairly predominantly smoky, with some nice sweetness, chocolate notes and maybe some bitter espresso notes, and a slightly dry, tart wine-like finish. Intriguing taste, interestingly tasty.

The feel is medium in body, a bit creamy, smooth, and nicely carbonated.

Drinkability is good. Finishing the whole pint+ will be a breeze, but smoky beers are one of those things that make for challenging sessionables for me, despite my love for them.

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Fear And Trembling (French Oak Cabernet) from Hill Farmstead Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 47 ratings.