Fear And Trembling (Bourbon) - Hill Farmstead Brewery

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Fear And Trembling (Bourbon)Fear And Trembling (Bourbon)

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88 Ratings
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Ratings: 88
Reviews: 40
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 9.29%
Wants: 167
Gots: 9 | FT: 1
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: SFLpunk on 10-19-2010

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 Bourbon 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…”

Aged in used Sam Adams Utopias barrels.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 88 | Reviews: 40
Reviews by SFLpunk:
Photo of SFLpunk
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500mL brown glass pry-top bottle. Purchased at the brewery today.

Appearance: Pours a thick black with creamy cappuccino-colored head that cascades out and falls within a minute or so. Leaves nice spotting on the glass.

Nose: Smoky bacon and toasty American oak. Some whispers of vanilla and cream. Applewood smoked bacon is predominant.

Palate: Creamy up front with frothy carbonation and then the body drops out as the bourbon comes flying in. The palate goes a little weird for a second as the beer fights a little with the barrel but then a magical moment happens and it all comes together on the finish with lots of black vanilla bean, charred white oak, some light coffee notes and the finish goes on forever. Alcohol shows itself as a nice warming sensation in the throat but not on the palate.

Notes: Great tension in this beer and as it warms up a little more to room temp it becomes silky smooth and creamy. An excellent bourbon barrel brew with great integration of the oak and a judicious use of smoked malt (more aroma than flavor).

More User Reviews:
Photo of Mora2000
4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | 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 few brown bubbles, but no real head. The aroma is heavy on the chocolate, with some smoke notes mixed in as well. I also get some whiskey notes, but it is more similar to scotch than to bourbon.

The flavor is heavy on the chocolate, roasted malt and smoke. Once again the scotch-like notes are present and I also get some peet notes. The barrel aging definitely adds to the aroma and flavor, but you can tell the base beer is very nice as well.

Medium to thick mouthfeel and low carbonation.

Photo of kingcrowing
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle poured in a tulip.

Pours a dark brown to almost black with a small light brown head. Nose is smoky with a bit of bourbon but not as strong as it was fresh.

Taste has gone down a bit since fresh, the bourbon has really fallen out a lot sadly. Still quite good but it's mellow, creamy and a bit chewy. Mouthfeel is light and balanced.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to jh1982 for breaking this out during March Madness. Dark brown and black appearance. Beige head, great retention. Damn this smells smoky. Big time. Hints of the bourbon, but smoke and char dominant.

Taste is crushingly charred wood, smoke and alcohol. After a few more sips, the chocolate roasted malt slips in there, but has a tough time competing with the campfire and bourbon presence. Might be some more subtleties in there, but this one leads with power.

This was a challenging beer to drink, not going to be a crowd pleaser, but if you like big stouts/rauchbier/barrel aging, it should be up your alley.

Photo of glid02
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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 solid amounts of smokiness. Also present are smooth dark chocolate aromas and hints of vanilla and butterscotch.

Tastes similar to how it smells, though with more influence from the bourbon. Lightly roasted malts with strong smoked malt flavors kick things off. Subtle vanilla with spicy bourbon come into play shortly thereafter. Hints of dark chocolate come into play midway through the sip before fading out and allowing vanilla, smoke, and roasted flavors to carry through to a moderately bitter ending.

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

Drinkability is also very good. I finished my glass quickly and could easily have a few more.

Overall I thought the bourbon influence was more subtle than in 90% of other bourbon-barrel-aged beers. A very good base beer allowed this to happen and still produce a tasty beer. Well worth a shot.

Photo of nkersten
3.58/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into NB globe, black liguid with brown edges, small tan head that fades to a collar with no lacing. Smell is very smokey, camp fire, alder smoke, a bit of oak and bourbon. Taste is smokey as hell, slightly boozey, some harsh oak, spicy bourbon. Could use a bit of malt sweetness but not a terrible flavor. Heavy body with a medium carbonation slightly coating. Overall this beer wasnt bad, but it could use a little more balance to be considered highly drinkable.

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.89/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

500 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Dark brown body. Small off-white head. A bit of a collar.

Smell - Smoke is much more prominent than it is in the Blended version. Oak. Some dark chocolate.

Taste - Smoke is still pretty rich. Lightly sweet up front. Some light bourbon, but not a lot. Oak. Very slight red wine acidity. Oxidation is light, but creeping up.

Mouthfeel - Medium carbonation. Medium body, maybe lacking a little bit.

Overall - This one aged much better than the Cab/Bourbon blend. Less oxidized and the smoke is still very nice.

Photo of Kegatron
3.83/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

500 ml bottle into a couple of glasses.

Pours a black/deep brown, with a finger or so of frothy mocha head. This retains with a thin covering that flares up nicely into a ½ finger of rich foaminess that leaves some robust spotty lacing down the sides of the glass. The aroma is WOW, straight up smoked peat! It is very strong here in the nose, filling up almost the entire profile except for some light notes of cocoa, caramel and bourbon barrel notes that are all shoved way in the back. Damn, this is peaty smelling!

The taste is thankfully a bit more subdued with the smoke, as chocolate, toffee and light citrus have more of a presence here. That smoked meat character, while lighter here in the taste, is present though and spreads out into the finish where it lingers with some bourbon flavors that were hanging on the edges of the profile. The mouthfeel is medium to fuller bodied, with a creamy carbonation (which has just a bit of crispness to it) that flows nicely here in the mouth. There is a touch of alcohol warmth present in the body but the overall ABV here is extremely well hid for the size.

Wow. Well if you like smoked beers then this one is definitely worth a try, as it is pretty darn dominant in this. I mean to the point of taking even that bourbon barrel character and just shoving it aside. Things in the taste are definitely more balanced and honestly, I didn’t mind the assertive smokiness by itself but I would have liked to have had some other flavors present themselves a little more in the taste. This was a good start to this three beer series.

Photo of mfunk9786
4.68/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Capone's during PBW.

This beer pours a very dark ruby red. It smells of sour red wine, oak, and smoke. The flavor is incredibly complex - a lovely sweetness along with major smoke, chocolate, more tart red wine, sweet maple, and a hint of savory smoked meat (without being overpowering - looking at you, Dark Lord). This was an incredible beer to get to try.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Thanks again to Keith (Rochefort10nh) for sending these my way. Bottle #2!

A - Pitch black brew with nice clarity on the pour with much better head retention than the French Oak and a finger of thick foam. Nice lace adorns the glass.

S - Peat smoked chocolate malt doesn't add much beyond the smoke aroma present in the French Cab. barrel. Mocha undertones mostly, but what this beer has is the bourbon-barrel aroma! Mellow notes of vanilla and low fruit with bourbon. Awesome nose!

T - The bourbon that's so great and prevalent in the aroma fades back just a bit too much in the flavor. It's still there but the flavor is filled with more roasted malt and chocolate. Notes of vanilla and mellow smoke (surprisingly!).

M - Full-bodied and smooth with a creamy finish leading into a medium-dry and low acrid bitter finish. Mellow warming alcohol.

D - Good drinkability for the alcohol level and mild bourbon flavor that's going on. Note too far off from the French Oak version, but definitely a step above.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.62/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Rich and completely black with a huge towering head on the top that would not quit. Spilling over the sides it left everything just completely soaked and sticky with a thin chocolate covered film. A wonderful mess indeed. Rich notes of bourbon and Vanilla welcome you in on this one and play off each other nicely. Warming lets a touch of the chocolate underneath peak its head up but not as much as I would have liked, still, very nice. As I take a sip, it crashes over the palate. Richness that is well served to say the least. Creamy and full bodied the deep chocolate and roasted malts interact with vanilla and a leather and tobacco note making it all so smooth and full that it was absurd. Enormous flavor here that was simply hard to withstand. I really could have just sat there with a glass of this all day, it seemed to really come together quite well. Long and very sweet finish had nice hints of molasses and vanilla leaving me looking around to find out just what had happened.

Overall solid as could be. It appears they cannot go wrong with aging their offerings. Very impressed with what was going on here and rightfully so. A lot of time went into these and it really shows. Very well done.

Photo of Thorpe429
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter.

Pours a very dark brown with a thin tan head and a bit of a light ca throughout. A few bubbles here and there. The nose is a bit boozier than the other three versions, and it seems right from the start that this is the version that will benefit the most from aging. Strong bourbon slash Utopias character as well as a bit of smoke. Probably the least smokey of the bunch.

The flavor is barrel plus smoke. The barrel does start to edge out the smokey character as well as the backing chocolate, roast, and light coffee. Definitely some booze making its way through, though this shines in the feel with the alcohol and smoke melding together nicely. Medium body with good carbonation. Not my favorite of the three, though I'm hopeful on the aging potential of this as the barrel character and accompanying heat die down a touch.

Photo of AgentZero
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Mike for providing the triumvate of F&T beers for 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. This looks exactly like the last two F&T beers, which is good.

S - Great smoke smell with some maple notes. Malt backbone that is nice and roasty. This smells very good.

T - Maple notes are not dominant, but when compared to the other versions it is much more present. Great smoke taste that is balanced out by a nice sweetness. I don't think it tastes a ton like bourbon, but the barrel aging is evident.

M - Smooth, appropriate carbonation.

D - Super good and easy to drink. Great beer.

Photo of womencantsail
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A big thanks to Barry for giving me this on my trip to Boston. I will have to find a way to thank you.

A: The beer pours a very dark brown color with a finger or so of tan colored foam.

S: As expected, there is a heavy dose of smoke. Although this is a Utopia's barrel, there is still a fair amount of barrel/oak character to it. As with many smoked beers, I get some aromas of almonds and an almost meaty aroma and light saltiness.

T: Strangely, this beer has an almost peanut butter flavor to me (perhaps the "salitiness"?). Anyway, there is also a bit of sweet malt (toffee), barrel/oak, and of course: smoke. Though, the smoke is not as powerful as expected.

M: The body is medium with low to medium carbonation.

O: Quite nice. I preferred this to the Cabernet version.

Photo of beerwolf77
4.07/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks goes to BeerFMAndy for another Fear and Trembling variation. Poured into a tulip.

A: Pitch black hue, small mocha tinged head, soapy lace.

S: Roasty malt, mild chocolate and coffee, just a hint of bourbon and smoke.

T: The bourbon really shines in the flavor. It blends seamlessly with the roast malt and dark chocolate flavors. The smoke is present but not too strong. Just a hint of wood can be picked up as well.

M:Medium to full body. Light carbonation.

D: Very nice combination of flavors. The smoke was present but nothing overpowering. The bourbon added a great layer of complexity.

Photo of BarrytheBear
4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Far and away my favorite of the three variants...a huge thank you to Mike for the opportunity

Photo of micromaniac129
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Even in the darken environment of the blue dog I could see quite clearly that this beer had a garnet brown hue with a light mocha head. The head was tall and dense and lasted along while leaving a fair amount of lacing.

Aroma was smokey of course with a roasted malt bill befitting.

Taste was most good with a smokey roasted malt bill. The smoke was just right in my opinion not overpowering and not weak. You knew it was there. I wasn't aware that it was barrel aged and to be quite honest didn't taste it either.
I did taste a kind of sweetness not like candied sugar just a sweetness of some sort.

It drink real smooth on the palette but also had a flat feel too.

This was good had a real earthy feel and taste that was quite enjoyable. the other aspects were pleasing too.
Pair this beer with a destructive huricane and it's sure to please.

Photo of stakem
3.71/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | 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. The brew pours a dark brown with clarity that lighter brown around the edges when held to the light. Some ruby clarity is noted and a khaki head sits atop. As the cap fades, it leaves a webby pattern of lacework.

The aroma is heavily smoked and peated with an overall impression of beef stock and camp fire. Bacon? Some roasty chocolate notes fight to make itself known along with a dark fruity quality like raisin and a hint of bourbon soaked alcohol. The aromatics are pretty much dominated by the smokiness and all other nuances are subtle at best.

The flavor is beefy with a solid smoked taste. Minor suggestions of chocolate roast and bourbon with an earthy tobacco character that is more ashy and tangy than anything. The alcohol is felt with a bit of raisony ester just like the nose slightly suggested. However, just like the aromatics, the taste is all about the smoke. As it warms up, there is a hint of molasses to fruity citrus quality towards the backend.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. This is actually surprisingly crisp for the smoked inclusion. It is a bit unbalanced in favor of the smoke but if thats what you are looking for, than this is pretty solid. The alcohol is integrated well. My only gripe is that the smoke is so brutal that it masks the nuance of the barrel and most of the base beer character. This honestly gives Schlenkerla a run for its money in the smoked beer cateogry.

Photo of HopHead84
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4



A: Somewhere between deep brown and black with a slight crimson tinge near the edges and a big creamy beige head. Good retention and scattered lacing.

S: Strong smoke character, reminiscent of bacon and beachwood, but mostly beachwood. Bourbon is faint, and smoke is quite strong. I get a decent amount of heat and vanilla, but the smoke character subjugates those notes. I also get some chocolate.

T: Light chocolate, a bit more bourbon than was in the aroma. Flavor is strong smoked beachwood with notes of oak. Alcohol heat has a modest presence. The finish is chocolate smoky applewood beachwood bourbon with warming.

M: Upper medium body, moderate carbonation, and a creamy, sticky mouthfeel.

Overall: An enjoyable beer and well crafted. I wish I'd known that this was aged in Utopias barrels that formerly held bourbon when I was drinking it, rather than thinking it was aged in normal bourbon barrels, I might have approached it differently. Hopefully I'll get to try it again. Looking forward to trying other two versions.

Photo of grotonmarketguy
4.95/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Sooo good. Liquid bacon. Pours dark brown not quite black. Big but not incredibly viscous, you won't have to chew it. Still slurpable. Aromas are intoxicating and so is the liquid itself. Pure breakfasty bliss. Bacon strips + Bacon strips + Bacon strips. Thank you Hill Farmstead.

Photo of cpetrone84
3.3/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

same pour, a bit less smokey than the others. This has done neat in the nose with light bourbon note. The flavor is a bit better, has the same smokey notes with some chocolate and a fair bit of sweet malt. Medium to thin and oily feel with assertive carb.

Photo of Brad007
4.68/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I bought this when Hill Farmstead had their first Autumn Harvest festival 2 years ago. I wanted to save it for a later day. Well, it's cold out and I want something to warm up with.

Pours a dark brown color with a thin brown head into my glass. At first, there wasn't much carbonation but with a firmer pour, the head formed.

Malt still has that smoked maple characteristic that I vaguely remember from a sample pour along with the oak with a tiny hint of cocoa and cream.

I love the way the smoked malt interacts with almost heavenly cocoa and cream flavors. Very chewy. Makes me crave smoked meats. Alcohol has mellowed so much that you can barely tell that it's there.

Finishes surprisingly clean with just the right amount of lingering flavors. Alcohol heat? Nonexistent. Creamy mouthfeel too.

So glad that I waited 2 years to sample this. I'm hoping for a similar outcome for the Daybreak and another porter of theirs. Some beers just taste better with a little age on them. So worth the purchase!

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.12/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle pour at Woodshop 7 held at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach, CA.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, smoke, cocoa, wood, and some slight bourbon aromas. Taste is much the same with an alcohol kick and a slight woody finish. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with a great aroma and a really solid set of flavors.

Photo of domtronzero
4.12/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Clear very dark brown with a big, quickly formed and long lasting tannish head. Little lacing left throughout.

S - Smoky phenols, sweet dark fruity esters, dark malts and a slight roast. Light alcohol also detectable, but pleasant.

F/M - Rich smoky dark malts, light roast, chocolate. Full moderate caramel and sweet malts, with a moderately firm bitterness. Medium full bodied with moderate carbonation. Lingering smoky chocolate malts.

D - Quite good. This is a well balanced, nicely smoked Baltic Porter. Full, rich and delicious, its also quite easy to put down.

Photo of callmemickey
3.91/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed January 2011.

A: Black body with a medium sized khaki cap. Nice spotty lacing.

S: A hint of bourbon, as well as the same smoked malts that were in the other two Fear and Tremblings.

T: Smoky, roasty malts. Chocolate, a little bourbon and oak. Very mellow, but plenty enjoyable.

M: Medium bodied. Ever so slightly boozy in the finish. Moderate carbonation.

D: My least favorite of the Fear and Trembling series.

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Fear And Trembling (Bourbon) from Hill Farmstead Brewery
93 out of 100 based on 88 ratings.