Birth Of Tragedy - Hill Farmstead Brewery
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Ratings: 807 | Reviews: 143 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by CrellMoset:
4.48/5 rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
500 mL bottle courtesy of new trading partner as part of a recent trade - thanks! Poured in to a 22 oz. brandy snifter.
Appearance: A vigorous pour - a really vigorous pour, I'm talkin' straight vertical, 180 degree, glug-glug-glug vigorous - creeps and crawls out of this bottle like used engine oil, smashing and sloshing in to the snifter. It's obscenely thick, viscous, and you can tell right away this one's gonna be a sugar bomb. Even that most extreme of pours only coaxes (gradually, very gradually) three-quarters of a finger of dark tan but not-quite-cocoa head out of depths, settling in to a creamy, meringue-like foam for about a minute before it relaxes to a loose, bubbly collar, much like chocolate milk when you aerate it (you know, like if you were to shake up one of those half pints that you used to get in grade school before pouring in to one of those crappy little poly-plastic glasses you used to get in grade school). Despite the relative lack of retention (which, of course, is forgiveable given the barrel aging and abv%), there are still dribs and drabs of lace that cling to the side of the snifter, quickly drying and leaving patterns throughout the drink.
Aroma: The honey is very prominent in the nose, a sweet, vaguely fruity presence, hinting at tropical and spicy notes, sort of like the cane sugar you get out of processed canned fruits but without any of the negative connotations that very approximate simile is encumbered with. The sweetness rolls in to the underlying malts, bringing the earthy, toastiness around to creamed coffee, the cocoa around to milk chocolate, and the handful of lighter roasted notes around to well-kilned toffee. The barrel presence is definite, too, with hints of char, vanilla, and caramel all being augmented by the added sweetness in different ways. The caramel and vanilla overtones, in particular, combine to take on the obligatory crème brûlée gestalt when cast over the honey notes.
Taste: A thing of beauty. The thickness and richness of the nose don't prepare you for the delicate balance of the mouth, which is sweet, sure, but has a ton of fruity esters, malty overtones, and earthy underpinnings to balance the whole thing out. Up at the very top of the range are bright fruits, hints of grapes, apricots, and slightly heavier notes like cherry all the way down to plump, juicy, sweet raisins and dates. The sweetness also augments the malts in ways similar to what I described above in the aroma. The barrel notes are a little less forward than in the nose - sweet, caramel bourbon is strong, and the oak sort of slides behind the other "extracted" barrel notes, each of which lends itself well to being "sweetened." All in all, the flavor is incredibly well-rounded, showcasing a little bit of everything.
Mouthfeel: Smooth, slick, slimy, and s-mildly effervescent. It works pretty well given the flavor components here - the sweetness is balanced by the persistent and slight carbonation, but none of what otherwise be fairly abrasive notes are augmented by excessive carbonation.
Overall: A really excellent beer from one of the biggest "up and coming" breweries out there. A definite treat, as it is on the sweeter side. Dry this out a smidge - either by adding less honey or letting it attenuate a little longer - and you'd have a true world-class brew here. As it stands, it's merely excellent, a whole greater than the sum of its parts, and surprisingly easy to put away at 11.0%.
Serving type: bottle
04-08-2012 04:50:41 | More by CrellMoset
More User Reviews:
3.6/5 rDev -18.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3.25
Thanks to ActonBrewer for this one. Reviewed from notes. Poured from 16.9 oz. bottle into a Cigar City snifter.
NOTE: The problems here started early. Upon removing the bottle cap, there was no noise, no "pfft" of releasing carbonation, nothing...
A: Dark - essentially black - and opaque. Other than a few stray large bubbles that formed briefly on the top, there was no head, and no visible carbonation at all.
S: Here's where the bottle really shined. Bourbon, roasted sweet malts, dark fruit, candied raisins and plums, chocolate, leather, oak barrel tannins, and an overarching coffee aroma that still let the other notes have their places. Very nice.
T: Bourbon, roasted malts, and barrel in a nice balance. Sweetness from the bourbon and dark fruits, coffee and cacao. Some hop bitterness mixed in with the rich mocha hang.
M: Body seems thinner than the other Hill Farmstead porters I've had. Alcohol seems well-integrated into other flavors. But the big loser here is the complete lack of carbonation.
O: I feel like this could have been a sample of a beer pulled of the tank, and I would have said, "Wow, that's going to be a really good beer when it's finished." Unfortunately, this was what made it into this bottle. I'd love to give it another chance, and if so I will update these scores. But the total lack of carbonation killed the mouthfeel, and didn't let the flavors come through as they should have. I guess this may have been a bad bottle? But I'm very disappointed.
Serving type: bottle
07-14-2014 23:35:52 | More by macrosmatic
4.6/5 rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
22oz (?) bottle split 2 ways with BA morningthief.
Appearance: Pours black with a tan head and leaves a wall of lacing.
Smell: Coffee and some boozy malt notes.
Taste: Excellent. Coffee, raisin, bourbon soaked brownies, thin mints. I'm not a huge fan of the base beer, but the time in a bourbon barrel did the requisite magic.
Mouthfeel: Soft and creamy. Full side of medium bodied. No dryness, but still excellent.
Overall: Another great Hill Farmstead BBA beer. They're as good or better than Firestone Walker or Goose Island or Fifty/Fifty or the Bruery with barrel aging.
What's there to say? Lots of thin mint, dark fruit, coffee, vanilla. It's an excellent beer.
Serving type: bottle
07-06-2014 04:24:04 | More by Pahn
Birth Of Tragedy from Hill Farmstead Brewery
98 out of 100 based on 807 ratings.