Birth Of Tragedy - Hill Farmstead Brewery

Not Rated.
Birth Of TragedyBirth Of Tragedy

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BA SCORE
98
world-class

899 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 899
Reviews: 146
rAvg: 4.45
pDev: 8.99%
Wants: 936
Gots: 173 | FT: 22
Brewed by:
Hill Farmstead Brewery visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
Imperial porter brewed with coffee and honey and aged in bourbon barrels.

2011 vintage - 11% ABV

(Beer added by: s1ckboy on 11-20-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 899 | Reviews: 146 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by CrellMoset:
Photo of CrellMoset
4.48/5  rDev +0.7%
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%.

More User Reviews:
Photo of wingwalker3
5/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Taste: beautiful, complex. subtle intermingling of flavors.
The bourbon and chocolate notes were both subtle and distinctive.
thick and substantial mouthfeel...The bourbon presence is perfection.
I absolutely loved this, from the moment I took my first sip,
and it immediately became my favorite beer of all time.
this is phenomenal! I cannot wait until the time I may be fortunate enough to have this truly special offering again.

Photo of tectactoe
4.5/5  rDev +1.1%

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4/5  rDev -10.1%

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5/5  rDev +12.4%

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4.5/5  rDev +1.1%

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4/5  rDev -10.1%

Photo of jamato3000
4/5  rDev -10.1%

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4.5/5  rDev +1.1%

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4.5/5  rDev +1.1%

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5/5  rDev +12.4%

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3.75/5  rDev -15.7%

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5/5  rDev +12.4%

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4.5/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of kingcrowing
4.05/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle poured into a hill farmstead tulip.

Pours a pitch black that's thick as oil. Nose is sweet, malty lots of vanilla and a bit of honey.

Taste is chocolate and roasty, sweet lots of oaky vanilla with a bit of a hot finish. Overall its really creamy and delicious. I don't quite taste it as an imperial twilight but its still very good.

Photo of JitsuBrew
4.25/5  rDev -4.5%

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4.75/5  rDev +6.7%

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4.5/5  rDev +1.1%

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4.5/5  rDev +1.1%

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4.75/5  rDev +6.7%

Photo of obiwan_k3n00bi
4.25/5  rDev -4.5%

Photo of ehammond1
4.05/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Bottle (2012)

Acquired via trade
Thanks, AdamJackson!

(Aged for ~9 months)

Black throughout. Shiny. Very little carbonation; nearly completely flat. Leaves the glass near clean on the way down.

Rich, complex aroma of chocolates, mild coffee, barrel notes of bourbon, oak, and mild vanilla. A bit of an alcohol presence on the aroma. A touch of nuttiness as well, interestingly.

The flavor is similar to the aroma, with tons of chocolate, coffee, barrel, and mild nut and alcohol components combining. Very drinkable.

Medium and slick in body, with basically zero carbonation. Could really use just a little bit of carbonation.

Fantastic aroma and flavors, but lacking in the body/mouthfeel department, unfortunately.

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4/5  rDev -10.1%

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4/5  rDev -10.1%

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4.75/5  rDev +6.7%

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Birth Of Tragedy from Hill Farmstead Brewery
98 out of 100 based on 899 ratings.