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Birth Of Tragedy - Hill Farmstead Brewery

Not Rated.
Birth Of TragedyBirth Of Tragedy

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BA SCORE
99
world-class

896 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 896
Reviews: 145
rAvg: 4.45
pDev: 8.99%
Wants: 932
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: 896 | Reviews: 145 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DP34
4.25/5  rDev -4.5%

Photo of beenitty
4.5/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of jsvt
4.5/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of innuendobrewskiman63
4.75/5  rDev +6.7%

Photo of pepperfee
5/5  rDev +12.4%

Photo of billab914
4.4/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Rhettroactive for sharing a 500 ml bottle of this the other night. It poured Pitch black with a trace amount of tiny tan bubbles sticking to the edges of the glass. Pretty still looking, but the color is pretty good.

The aroma shows off the coffee and vanilla notes very well. Very light on the bourbon but I get a little brown sugar sweetness. The dark chocolate notes I get are very rich in it and really good.

In the taste I get more bitter sweet chocolate mixing with the roasted coffee favors. Vanilla, brown sugar and some honey sweetness come out in the finish with just a bit of bourbon as well. The roasted, bitter malts and the sweetness of the additions and barrel aging balance each other very well. Very drinkable with some very bold and delicious favors.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied for the style and slick. Carbonation is very low, but I like low carbonation in these type of beers. Overall it had some very good and unique flavors to it. The bold, bitter coffee really worked well with sweeter honey and vanilla flavors. Really good beer overall.

Photo of Rhettroactive
4.2/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

From 500mL bottle to Devil's Backbone glass on 5/5/12
*From notes

-- Gotta shout out to baconsausage for the swap. Cheers, Tucker --

A: Warm muddy brown in hue. A generous pour yields no head or lacing. The tiniest of creamy collars rims the glass.

S: Smokey, minty, herbaceous and much, much more. Extremely complex. Unlike any other bouquet I've encountered. Utterly unique.

T: The thing that I'm beginning to realize about HF is that they're literally blazing new trails within the craft brewing world. Sure, they may produce traditional styles and age in barrels, but what they bottle tastes unlike anything else in-style. This is no exception. Smokehouse smoke, rich unroasted coffee, dark and moody malts, mild bourbon, garden herbs and a touch of warm honey. Once you pick up on one of the flavor notes, it's immediately "on to the next one." Wild stuff.

M: Thin and a bit undercarbed. I'm gonna assume the barrels are guilty of this, yet it's still not quite right.

O: This is a pretty wonderful bottle of beer. You've got to go in with an open mind, folks. This isn't your Daddy's Porter. Rather it's pushing the limits and boundaries of the style, and really making you think about what you're consuming. I've got a lot of respect for what HF is doing.

Now if they'd only drop the hipster beer names....

Photo of Binger72
4.25/5  rDev -4.5%

Photo of speakorspasm
4.75/5  rDev +6.7%

Photo of drabmuh
4.43/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by yourefragile in my kitchen last night, served in a Hill Farmstead becher. If you didn't, you did it incorrectly. At the time of this reivew, this is #3 on the "Top Beers - American Porter" list on beeradvocate.com and on a side note, this is the last beer I haven't reviewed on the "Top Beers - Popular" list (currently #95) on beeradvocate.com. 100/100 tickers, I win beer!

Beer is black and thick with a thin dark brown head of large bubbles, seriously undercarbonated, low retention, no lacing, looks fine.

Aroma is fudge and heat, strong liquor, strong alcohol, lots of chocolate and fudge, nice aggressive nose. Smells dangerous.

Beer is medium to thin in body, not hot at all AT ALL on the palate, the nose is deceiving. This is a relatively easy drinking beer. The back palate falls away quickly and finishes a little thin but not dry. The forward is all sweetness and fudge, chocolate, oak and liquor. Not detectable alcohol on the beer. I love it. I'd have it again. Increase the carbonation in future bottles of this beer to increase the quality, otherwise don't change a thing.

Photo of largadeer
4.45/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Stupac2 opened this one. Thanks!

Appearance: Viscous dark brown - not quite opaque. A lower-medium level of carbonation produces a thin cap of foam that disappears pretty quickly.

Smell: Sweet bourbon paired with earthy, bitter coffee, toasted coconut, dark chocolate, caramel candies. Really nice nose, heavier on the chocolate and bourbon than coffee. 4.5

Palate: Lots of bittersweet chocolate up front. The barrel has integrated pretty nicely with the base beer, lending caramel, vanilla and oak flavors that don't overwhelm the malt. Coffee is present but somewhat subdued. Alcohol is at a noticeable but mellow and pleasant level. Sweet and rich with a big chewy body. Fantastic stuff.

Photo of Phelps
4.38/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Shared by the always generous ejyoung at a recent Cooters tasting. Poured into a Russian River glass.

No head at all, even after a pretty aggressive pour. Deep black, with maroon at the edges.

Great aroma. Espresso, dark chocolate, honey, smoke, tangy fig, vanilla bean. Bourbon is in the background, as it should be. A perfect blend of all of them.

More sweetness and fruits in the lead in the flavor. Vanilla beans, figs, prunes, smoke, dark chocolate, honey, coffee beans, bourbon. Kind of like a Baltic porter. Sweet throughout with a little heat in the back. Rich.

Very nearly dead flat, with just a hint of tingly carbonation. The body, however, is a thick, viscous medium-full. Swallows like syrup. A touch of tongue-numbing heat, but nowhere near what you’d expect from 11 percent ABV.

A very smooth and tasty blend. It’s thick, but I could drink it all night. Hill Farmstead knows what it’s doing.

Photo of leschkie
3.75/5  rDev -15.7%

Photo of furthurgone
4.75/5  rDev +6.7%

Photo of vissai
4/5  rDev -10.1%

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%.

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.75/5  rDev -15.7%

Photo of wesley14
4.75/5  rDev +6.7%

Photo of scottfrie
3.85/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle into Block 15 snifter. Thank you for giving me this, Michael.

A: Well, there’s no head. I get a few bubbles, but even those quickly disappeared. The color is a deep dark woody/raisin brown.
S: The nose makes up for this beer’s meager looks. The coffee really shines through and mixed well with spicy scents of bourbon and oak. The coffee is fresh and roasted smelling unlike some stouts that smell like burnt coffee ground. I detect some sweet vanilla as well.
T: Follows the nose with rich notes of roasted coffee and dark roasted malts, vanilla and moderate bourbon. Flavors are smooth and syrupy. Finish is full of dark chocolate, and the aftertaste and a few notes of roasted coconut and caramel.
M: Flat as hell but the thick body helps it out. Man this is flat. The mouthfeel is very slick and greasy, so at least the beer isn’t watery.
O: This beer would kill if it had a few bubbles. Flavors were rich and well integrated. A roasted bal-aged porter all around. The flatness saddens me, and I knocked the score because of it. Thanks again, SneezyAchew.

Photo of JoshVandy
4.65/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

Photo of fehrminator
4.5/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of bhollas
5/5  rDev +12.4%

Photo of MADhombrewer
4.33/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks ramnuts

Appearance- Black body with a tan head. Slight lacing.

Smell- Vanilla is first rounded out by dark chocolate

Taste- The Alcohol is a big part. It move right up to your sinuses. Dark chocolate, roasted malts, and bits of vanilla.

Mouthfeel- Nice and thick. Just the way I like it.

Overall - Good beer. I would drink this more often if it was readily available to me, alas it is not. Didn't realize till just now that this is classified as a porter. That seems to make it more interesting for some reason.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.38/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to BrianTheBrewer30 for sharing this one while waiting in line for Churchill's Renaissance at Churchill's Pub & Grille in San Marcos, CA.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy tan head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. No lacing on this one. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, vanilla, wood, and bourbon. Taste is of dark roasted malt, cocoa powder, vanilla, bourbon, and a woody flavor on the aftertaste. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a medium body. Overall, this is a very good barrel aged porter that is quite tasty and drinkable.

Photo of TheSamsquanch
5/5  rDev +12.4%

Birth Of Tragedy from Hill Farmstead Brewery
99 out of 100 based on 896 ratings.