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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 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 ffejherb
4.47/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hugs & Kisses to FooFa for sharing this uber-rare bottle on 2/8/11!

A - Emerged from its vessel as black as the depths of hell and as viscous as an oil spill under a 1973 jalopy Pinto that's been out in the driveway up on cinderblocks for about 17 years. On top is a burnt tan cap that settled into a bubbly patch, then a flimsy film, and some spotty lace.

S - Ooofa! This smells like a pig that got caught in a barn fire. Smokey? Yup. Charred? No doubt. Bacon-y? Uh-huh. A hint of dark fruit tang also emerged from the background to offer up a bit of deviation from the burnt meat-fest.

T - Flavor is really meaty, really smokey and really charred. However, there is a pleasant chocolate character somewhere down there in the depths of Fear and Trembling. Faint oaky notes emerge in the middle, followed by moderate earthy, herbal hop notes and a slight dark fruit tang in the finish.

M - Smooth, oily and actually silky for such a diabolical beer! Carbonation is very mild. Finishes with plenty of smoke, subtle bitterness and a hint of astringency on the palate.

D - Fear and Trembling is ridiculously smokey but it is so damn tasty that it retains its drinkability beautifully. This sucker is delicious!

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Photo of kingcrowing
4.69/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

500ml bottle poured into a tulip.

Pours a very dark brown to almost black with a small dark brown head that's really light and creamy. Nose is very smokey and oaky, very nice.

Taste is smokey and oaky, the cab flavors are light but there and subtle. Mouthfeel is really creamy, a bit sweet but not too syrupy. Really tasty slow drinker.

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

Opened on 01.28.2011.

After the long walk back home, Abraham likely settled down in his tent and drank some wine - after all, it had been a long day, and Melchizedek's profferance of wine (years ago!) had suggested that consumption was acceptable. Especially now. But for days Abraham could not strip the odor of the smoke from him or Isaac. It stuck, covering all, reminding him of the test, the lie to his son, and the subsequent promise that his descendants would number more than the stars in the sky or the sand on the beach. But Abraham didn't care much for the stars in the sky or sand on the beach, which now reminded him of the moment when he unsheathed the knife; he had only wanted his son. In fact, through all the smoke, Abraham usually only saw three stars as it was.

Pours a dark-brown, like charred wood, with mahogany hues about the edges. The bubbles on first pour are large, like arachnid eyes, clinging to the side of the glass.

Meaty smoke. Fresh leather. Some bittersweet chocolate. Sweet, vinous notes. As it opens, the smoke seems to accent and push the wild grape and black currant undertone more to the fore.

The smoke is lessened here. At this stage, the light oak, cocoa, smoke, and dark fruits really coalesce into a fine beer. This version may lack the raw complexity of the bourbon version, but the story it tells is no less interesting.

Slightly thin (medium-light) in body. Alcohol is almost non-existent.

Highly drinkable. Highly enjoyable. Thanks to a generous RB/BA for this.

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Photo of dougofthefuture
4.57/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks a ton to a kind trader for including this bottle as an extra! I have been staring at it for a while thinking I would share at a tasting, but tonight the temptation was too much.

A. Pours a dark brown/black with maybe a bit of amber. Minimum tan head for a short period. Seems a bit oily, but not in a bad way.

S. The grape-like wine is very present, with a bit of oak character and a nice helping of smoke. Smells delicious.

T&M. Wow, what balance! This is a beer that could convince anyone to like smokey beers. It fits so well with the oak and wine components. They blend together perfectly. Mouthfeel seems a bit off, as carbonation is a little low. Especially compared to something like smoke from the oak wine, which is the closest beer I have had to compare this to.

D. Balance is the highlight here, and alcohol is completely hidden. This is the best beer I have had in a while, and sipping on this before dinner is a perfect way to kick off a weekend!

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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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 Sean9689
4.37/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Thorpe429, thanks Mike!

A - Pours black, tan head, a nice head and a thick ring around the glass with some whisps on top. Some spotty lacing here and there.

S - Really nice smooth and rich smoke, some oak, chocolate, expresso. The smoke notes aren't overpowering, but you know what this beer is all about.

T - Smoke, oak, chocolate, dark fruits. The sweetness is there but the oak and smoke/roast doesn't make it overly sweet. What a wonderful job here.

M - Medium, smooth & rich, dry finish.

D - Wow, Shaun! I'm really digging this and I can't wait to tick the other two variants here shortly. Once again, HF kills it.

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Photo of sisuspeed
4.54/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Hill Farmstead tasting glass. F&T Cabernet forms a thin ring of tan foam on top of a dark, dark brown body. Light lacing is left behind.

Mmmm... the aroma is exceptional! Smokey and meaty with fruity red wine. Oak and light vanilla mingle with a touch of alcohol. Chocolate, more Cabernet and smoke round things out. This was my least favorite of the three F&T at the release, but after revisiting this a second time with a few friends in a quieter setting I have to say that the nose is perfect.

On the tongue red wine soaked oak barrel infused with chocolate and vanilla mixes well with a good helping of smokiness. The smoke is actually very well integrated and not overbearing, which makes this a much more balanced smoked porter than most of the others I have tried. Fruity tannins add to the mix creating more complexity and deliciousness.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with some oaky tannins. A bit of warming alcohol, but not too much. On the dryer side.

Drinkability is great. Especially for a 9% ABV porter. Besides some light warmth, the ABV is essentially unnoticeable. Complex, tasty and easy to put back. Definitely an awesome cold weather brew. Really looking forward to revisiting the other F&T variations.

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

Purchased at the brewery two days ago. 500mL brown glass pry-top bottle. No date but recently released.

Let this one warm up quite a bit 60* or so before opening it, per Shaun's request. Pours a gloopy black with creamy cappuccino-colored head that stands up about an inch high

When I first opened it it smelled like someone was cooking applewood smoked bacon in my house! It blew off the beer after a moment a little and became a support aroma. Toasty oak is also present. More smoky on the nose than the bourbon barrel.

Palate is fat and wide with creamy, albeit light, carbonation. Chewy malt with whispers of different types of smokiness: applewood bacon, toasted oak, coffee. The oak seems to affect the mouthfeel more than flavor. There's some sparkly berry notes right up front, but as the malt body kicks in, it fades to the background.

Notes: This was my favorite at the Autumn Harvest Fest release for sure. I like the interplay with the berry notes and the chewy black malt and roasted notes. The bottle is just as good!

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

500ml bottle picked up at the Hill Farmstead release a few weekends ago and shared with some fine folks at the Copper Mine Pub yesterday.

Appearance: Pours black with a 1 finger brown crown that shows moderate retention and lace.

Smell: A great smoke punch that didn't really stand out as much when I tried this one off of the tap at the event. Perhaps the 50 degree temps outside at the release played a part in that. Nice roast malt notes, chocolate notes and earthy barrel notes make an appearance as well.

Taste: Same as nose but with a bit of sweetness and complexity added from the barrel aging.

Mouthfeel: On the light side of heavy bodied with nice creamy carbonation.

Drinkability: Good considering the boldness of this brew. Heck I'm surprised by how a brew this bold also retains some delicateness. Seems the two would be mutually exclusive but this brew proofs that wrong.

Maybe I was just in a smoke mood yesterday but I enjoyed this version slightly more than the Cab/Bourbon blend, yet I had the exact opposite reaction to the draft offerings at the release.

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Photo of jamie2dope
4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Many thanks to jleblanc and 6daysbottom ocean for grabbing me a bottle of this at the release. The pour is of a black colored beer, with a creamy, lightly tanned heading. The nose is very smokey and roasted, showing some earthy characteristics. Bitter dark chocolate is also present is the smell. Taste is very similar to the nose in the front, but becomes much more complex in the finish. Here is where the French Oak Cabernet Barrels really start to show their influence. It rounds out the smoke and somewhat acrid beginnings of the taste, and leaves it on a more fruity note. The mouthfeel is medium to heavy for this style, with the alcohol coming in waves. The maple is not very apparent, which surprises me somewhat. That being said, this is one tasty Baltic Porter, and smoked as well, which I love. I can taste the Danish influence in this beer, having had other similar examples. I am looking forward to trying more from this small brewery in Vermont.

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Photo of 6DaysBottomOcean
4.32/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a dark chocolate colored head that settles quickly to a cap. Aroma is big on the smoked malt, decadent smoked meats and mocha/chocolate, roasted malt character is also evident. Flavor starts out with sweet dark toffee which quickly gives way to multiple layers of thick smoked character. The smokyness is nicely balanced with oak/tannins from the cabernet barrel, really working well to complement each other. A solid but creamy texture holds the rich flavors together, very well integrated. Tough to say where the base beer flavor ends and the barrel character begins, to me thats always a good sign of a well crafted beer.

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