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Birth Of Tragedy - Hill Farmstead Brewery

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Birth Of TragedyBirth Of Tragedy

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

160 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 160
Hads: 1,029
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 9.15%
Wants: 1,024
Gots: 194 | 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:
Beer added by: s1ckboy on 11-20-2011

Imperial porter brewed with coffee and honey and aged in bourbon barrels.

2011 vintage - 11% ABV
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 160 | Hads: 1,029
Photo of fdig23
4.5/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased at the brewery December 2012. Consumed in August 2013.

Appearance: Deep dark black and a really tiny khaki head.

Nose: Super rich dessert. Almond liqueur, sweet vanilla oak, rich milk chocolate, frothy latte. Delicious.

Taste: Sweet and intense. Coconut milk, almonds, chocolate, frozen coffee drinks. Candied, luscious, delicious.

Mouthfeel: Silky smooth and perfectly thick.

Overall: This is great. A big improvement over an already excellent beer. This is an ideal dessert beer for me. (511 characters)

Photo of mdaschaf
4.51/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Paul for sharing this one.

A: Pours black with a small mocha colored head on top. A small head forms upon pouring, but quickly reduces to a thin ring on top. Very thin lace randomly forms on the glass.

S: Lots of dark fruit upfront, some cherry and plum. Underneath is plenty of chocolate, a little mocha, oak, and some bourbon. The spices and vanilla are rather faint.

T: Great cherry chocolate flavor upfront, the chocolate is quite rich, almost like brownie/fudge. The bourbon comes through very even and smooth, not overpowering at all, with some vanilla and a little oak.

M: Medium to full bodied with low carbonation.

O: A very good beer, the flavor profile was fantastic - the blend of dark fruit and chocolate was great. The flavors imparted by the barrels blended in very nicely. (807 characters)

Photo of yourefragile
4.51/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On tap at 2012 Harvest Festival.

Pours an opaque, still and ominous motor oil black with a trace mocha head that quickly dissipates. Aroma has a strong bourbon presence, blending with chocolate, molasses, vanilla, roast coffee, raisin, plum and cocoa (basically everything wonderful). Syrupy, oily thick body with gentle carbonation, little alcohol presence or cloying sweetness. Flavor of a robust porter, roast and chocolate malt, layered with molasses, burnt sugar, vanilla, bourbon. I've had good to great experiences with this (in bottle and draft) and this was one of the great ones. (590 characters)

Photo of woosterbill
4.53/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle into a Weyerbacher tulip. Huge thanks to the sharer at CdC.

A: Clear dark brown body, almost no head. Underwhelming.

S: Spicy, chocolatey, and rich. Vanilla, bourbon, cinnamon, oak, chocolate, and awesomeness. Wow.

T: Sweet and spiritous up front, with bourbon, vanilla, cinnamon, chocolate, and deliciousness. A little boozy, but that's a minor quibble.

M: Lively, creamy medium body. Great.

O: What a terrific beer. I absolutely loved Twilight of the Idols, and this is even better. The base beer and barrel pair beautifully, and it's just an absolute treat. By far my favorite dark beer from Hill Farmstead.

Cheers! (631 characters)

Photo of rodkin
4.54/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark, dark brown, small tan head, dissipates pretty quickly, minimal lacing.

The nose on this thing is phenomenal. Honey, chocolate, coffee, oak, vanilla, toffee, whisky, all melded together into this wonderful blend. Each sniff produces a new note.

Taste is big on honey upfront, followed by some coffee (though not overly bitter), oak, vanilla, chocolate. Really well done.

Mouthfeel is smooth, creamy, a little low on carbonation.

Wonderfully drinkable. Excellent. (479 characters)

Photo of BoldRulerVT
4.54/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into Hill Farmstead glasses.
Pours jet black with toffee colored head. Very minimal head, with great retention.
Smells...holy cow...coffee, chocolate, mint, roasted malt, sweetness, complex.
Taste was right in line with aromas, coffee, chocolate, almost some wintergreen, some mellow sweetness from the honey. Flat out amazing.
Mouthfeel was unique. It was velvety, silky, but not thick. It was refreshing actually.
Overall, this beer is extraordinary. It's balanced with sweetness and roastedness. It's complex. It's utterly delicious and skillfully crafted. (582 characters)

Photo of steeptrails
4.57/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark, thick body with thin head

S - Bourbon scent invites you in.

T - Strong bourbon and honey; a very nice combo. Coffee wasn't very pronounced. Strong aftertaste that lingers.

M - Thick and sits well on tongue; very pleasant.

O - A terrific brew, one of my top 10. If you like Bourbon County you're gonna love this; it's better IMO. (342 characters)

Photo of ScotNH
4.58/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A - Pours a very dark brown, nearly black, with a half a finger of a fine mocha colored head that dissipates to a beautiful light swirl.

S - A slight hint of alcohol, very sweet, slightly roasty, and a very faint smell of honey.

T - Extremely well balanced. Begins with a very sweet and smooth coffee flavor, with a hint of honey. Finishes with a roasty, chocolate flavor with a very mild alcohol heat.

M - Medium-full bodied, with light carbonation. Perfect.

O - This is a fantastic bourbon barrel aged porter. It is so well balanced, there are no overpowering flavors. A very mild and smooth alcohol "burn", just enough to remind you this is a serious beer. (664 characters)

Photo of MissSmisje
4.58/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L: black with mahogany at the edges with a mocha head. S: roasted malts, coffee, honey. T: fruity chocolate, fruity coffee, some honey, red fruit, especially on the linger. Some bourbon, oak, and vanilla. Only slightly sweet - very well balanced with roastiness and bitterness. Some heaviness to the mouthfeel. Delicious. (321 characters)

Photo of Pahn
4.58/5  rDev +4.8%
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. (675 characters)

Photo of cdmillard
4.59/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Had the opportunity to try this. Had a 500 ml bottle, pored into a Duvel tulip.

This is one of the best tasting beers I have had the pleasure to drink. As previous posts have mentioned, my only issue with it is that it lacks any form of carbonation. Just felt like it was missing something. Otherwise, a fantastic beer. I would do it again...and again... (355 characters)

Photo of Resuin
4.59/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 500 mL bottle into a stemmed glass. This was bottled 10/2013.

Appearance: Pours a deep, deep brown/black and leaves a finger of brown/dark tan head, which lingers for a short while before fading to a tan layer atop the beer.

Smell: Rich dark chocolate, coffee, charred oak, vanilla, dark fruits, a hint of raspberry. Very well balanced.

Taste: Sweet vanilla, milk chocolate, coffee beans, cinnamon, honey, charred oak, a hint of plum and raspberry. Sweet, but to a nice level (not overly). Again, well balanced with really nice flavors.

Mouth-feel: Low to medium carbonation with a medium to thick, creamy body. Smooth finish - alcohol is masked well.

Overall: Really well balanced porter with a delicious, sweet profile. Really nice, creamy body and a great finish. One of the best porters I've ever had. (824 characters)

Photo of claaark13
4.6/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Brought this to a tasting and got to try an ounce. Intrigued, I was able to track down more. Thanks to the guys that have provided these bottles. Poured slightly too cold into a HF tulip. Warmed and consumed with happiness.

A - Very dark with a very, very slow rising low head. Slight lacing remains. Decent, certainly not spectacular. It sticks well to the side.

S - Coffee, a slight amount of sweetness, likely from the honey. The coffee is a smooth aroma, nothing burnt/harsh. Pretty well rounded. I can't tell if I am smelling the honey or faint vanilla.

T - Coffee, very light yet smooth vanilla. A little bit of dryness tries to come out towards the end but is subdued so well. The finish provides for the sweet coffee to return. There is almost a cocoa or cinnamon poking through the backbone. Chocolate comes out more as the tongue gets coated after a few sips. The barrel is pretty faint and seems to add a couple favorable notes. Great balance.

M - On the thicker side of medium. There is pretty low carbonation, but I somehow still really enjoy the feel. Any heaviness on the tongue seems to be due to the very low carbonation.

O - I love this beer. It presses the barrier between a Porter and a RIS. The barrel seems to be there just complementing and guiding along the base flavors. Very well crafted. I can't imagine a Porter getting any better. (1,365 characters)

Photo of JoshVandy
4.6/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes:

HUGE shout out to Patrickbrusil for hooking me up with a few of these. He's the man.

500mL bottle into a Hill Farmstead wine glass. Shared with Emmaus217 on Christmas Eve, December 24, 2011.

A- Pours a deep black, mahogany color with a very little dark brown head. Thick and oily. No lacing, only sticky oil residue on the sides of the glass.

S- Sweet chocolate, roasted malts, bourbon, oak, vanilla, dark fruits. It's all here. Very nice.

T- Fantastic chocolate and bourbon flavors, followed by some oak and vanilla. Nice full roasted malt character in there as well. A slight warming from the alcohol is the only trace of it. Just flat-out fantastic.

M- Silky smooth, not too thick, but not too thin either. No heat to speak of. Seriously, this is levels above any other fresh bal-beer I've had in a long time. Absolutely mind-blowing.

O- Yep. Easily my favorite porter of all time, although it walks a fine line between a porter and a stout. One of the best of last year. Period. (1,010 characters)

Photo of rodmanfor3
4.6/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a fantastic beer that delivers simplicity in an otherwise complex barrel aged porter.

The flavor is full of chocolate, vanilla, barrel, and honey, with everything blending together nicely.

Nothing is overdone with this beer. (235 characters)

Photo of schmidtmattsays
4.61/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottled 11/13. Enjoyed side by side with Twilight of the Idols (base beer).

A: Poured from a 500ml bottle into a HF stemmed tulip. Even less carbonation than the base beer, thick oil-like. Reddish hue on the fridges.

S: Lots of mint, greenery from the base beer still coming through on this - to be sure the oak and the bourbon are definitely front and center. The vanilla from the taste in Twilight of the Idols comes through on the smell with the help of the bourbon.

T: Wood and bourbon from the barrel. Coconut, mint, chocolate, vanilla. Marginal roast.

M: Nice mouthfeel, not as thick and full-bodied as a (good) BA stout but definitely substantial.

O: Great base beer that turns fantastic after the barrel treatment. Would definitely seek out again. (764 characters)

Photo of HopHead84
4.62/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12/16/2011

Bottle courtesy of bring, thanks! Snifter.

A: Black with a finger of dense light brown froth. Retention is good.

S: Pronounced dark chocolate and oak blend with a subtle char and light spicy notes that almost remind me of chili peppers, though I don't think those were added. Vanilla wafts from the glass and I get a whisper of smoke which accompanies a firm bourbon presence, earthy coffee, and faint caramel notes. Roasted grains are pronounced. Smells great.

T: Sweet up front, reminiscent of brown sugar, with a lower earthy bitterness, moderately roasted malt, and pronounced bourbon. Vanilla is light, and coffee is pervasive yet well integrated. For 11% the booze is very tame in the flavor. Cocoa is powerful and I get lighter notes of caramel and vanilla. The finish shows an increase in bourbon character.

M: Full in body with medium carbonation that eventually becomes low due to me swirling the damn glass so much. The mouthfeel is silky, sticky, and smooth.

Overall: I've never had Twilight of the Idols, but Birth of Tragedy is a fine beer. (1,071 characters)

Photo of JAXSON
4.62/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Robert! Pours black with a medium, sticky mocha foam head. Nose is roasted malt, lightly charred, with a strange sweet liquor that's pretty interesting, blackberry like. Light coffee and bourbon, vanilla. Pretty tight and integrated with that weird spirit edge. Mouth is pretty thin, opens with dry cocoa powder, light char, unfolding into vanilla, this very unique fruity liquor quality, and a long finish with alcohol and vanilla. Soft up front with a sharp dark fruit quality as it lingers. Very unique brew here, the barrel treatment is awesome. (556 characters)

Photo of s1ckboy
4.62/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Very dark body, 1 finger head from aggressive pour that stuck around for a while

S - Oak, A lot of bourbon, a bit sweet, a touch of coffee.

T - At first a lot of bourbon, cinnamon, a touch of coffee and honey. A lot of roasty flavors. Reminds me of KBS, but I think this is better.

M - Medium to thick, with some nice carbonation.

O - An exceptional beer. My favorite so far from Hill Farmstead. (404 characters)

Photo of Gushue3
4.64/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A Pours dark ark brown into my Hill Famestead big bulb glass. No heat at all and no lacing to speak of. but I can already smell it.

S The majority of the smell I get is bourbon but doesnt kill everything. Some chocolate and a tiny roast but I'm getting bourbon. nice scent

T Wow.. bourbon is present upfront but somewhat subdued. Light vanilla, chocolate, and sweetness from the malt? Lots of stuff going on and this beer is nice and complex. very well done.

M Medium mouthfeel with small carbonation which makes this really smooth and easy to drink.

O I cant take it, this is so good. Taste is perfectly balanced and so easy to drink. I wish I grabbed more of this. Thank you Shaun. (689 characters)

Photo of SadMachine
4.65/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Reviewed from notes from 2/7/14

A- Pours a deep black with brown at the edges. A light brown head leaves good lacing.

S- Huge amounts of oak and honey in the forefront, followed by bitter baker's chocolate and bourbon. Medium roast coffee and a slight tartness are also detected. I also get roasted grains and faint cinnamon. Lots of oaky tannins.

T- This opens up very sweet, highlighted by honey and molasses. The middle is dry and spicy, highlighted with cinnamon. Vanilla, sweet bourbon, oak, and again honey all finish this out. There is the slightest hint of tartness. As it warms I also get some dark chocolate notes. This is complex and wonderful!

M- The mouth feel is medium/thick, with a creamy feel in the middle, and dry at the finish.

O- Overall this is just a delightful barrel aged porter! I enjoyed every minute of drinking it! (848 characters)

Photo of Damian
4.66/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank on-tap at Armsby Abbey, Worcester, MA
Served in a Hill Farmstead stemmed glass

Deep brown/black and slightly watery in appearance. The liquid was topped by a thin film of large, caramel colored bubbles.

The aroma was intense. Amazingly rich and smooth with super strong notes of bourbon. Loads of vanilla and brown sugar sweetness. Chocolate fudge. Dark roast coffee notes came through as well. Tons of caramel and roasted malts. One of the most amazing smelling beers I have come across in quite a while.

The flavor profile was similar to the nose. Bourbon notes were immediately apparent. Lots of brown sugar on the front end. Super smooth, French roast coffee notes came through strong. Tons of vanilla and sweet cream. As the beer warmed, the vanilla intensified. Just a touch of espresso on the finish. For such a bourbon-forward beer, the alcohol was remarkably well buried.

The mouthfeel was lighter bodied (particularly for a beer of this magnitude) and contained a super fine and mild amount of carbonation. By the drink's end, the liquid felt nearly flat.

Birth Of Tragedy is a very sweet, rich and intensely flavored beer. Aside from the disappointing mouthfeel, this was definitely the most impressive porter I have ever tried. (1,250 characters)

Photo of jvillefan
4.66/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Very black body with an extremely minimal mocha colored head that disappears very quickly.

S: Sweet roasted malts with notes of bourbon running throughout the aroma.

T: A dark chocolate flavor starts off the flavor nicely. It then transitions to a sweet bourbon flavor then finally becomes the flavor of deeply roasted malts.

M: Perfect viscosity and creaminess but this beer is under carbonated.

O: Amazing beer. My one problem with it is that it is not a porter. It's a stout. (485 characters)

Photo of TWStandley
4.67/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at the Prohibition Pig (also from a bottle, thought they were close).

Appeared an oily black color with very little dark brown head. Very "dead" looking (ie. no carb).

Smell is great. Definetely some strong Bourbon scents, lots of vanilla and sugar. Some plum and raisin notes in the nose as well.

Taste is incredible. First sip is very much bourbony. Then comes in the sweetness. The taste is so rich and layered that even the smallest of sips produces a sensory overload. Wow. Vanilla, plums, raisins, bourbon, coconut...just delicious.

Loved the mouthfeel. Very smooth and soft. Barely any carbonation - both from the bottle and on draft.

Overall this is a treat. Glad I have a few bottles in the cellar to see what some additional time and blending will do. Very rich and complex - extremely sweet. The bottle was consumed while playing some trivia games while it snowed outside - perfect atmosphere for this one IMO. (937 characters)

Photo of kidkarma1971
4.67/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This brewery simply has the most elegant and well proportioned beers, I have not had better stouts and porters anywhere. This one even in a bottle delivers essential expectations on what an American Porter needs to be. I love the way the deep undertones of malt and sugar linger, plus gorgeous smaller bubbles. (310 characters)

Birth Of Tragedy from Hill Farmstead Brewery
96 out of 100 based on 160 ratings.