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Birth Of Tragedy - Hill Farmstead Brewery

Not Rated.
Birth Of TragedyBirth Of Tragedy

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

160 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 160
Hads: 1,033
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 160 | Hads: 1,033
Photo of Arbitrator
4.3/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from fridge -- I let it warm up for 30 minutes before opening and serving. Thanks!

A: Pours a semi-clear dark mahogany body with the slightest coalescence of tan bubbles on top of the beer. They never really materialize into a head. No lace or register marks.

S: Vanilla-forward bourbon barrels with an earthy, roasted coffee aroma. This has a strong cinnamon and possibly coriander nose that remind me immediately of pumpkin pie. I don't see any mention of spices on the label, so I'm assuming that's some artifact from honey impurities being left behind after fermentation. Roasted coffee and chocolate truffles, some orange, and light booze.

T: Birth of Tragedy comes off as a delicate vanilla chocolate-fudge experience. I say delicate because it's not overpowering in sweetness. Coffee lends a mild bitterness that accents the beer's other flavors. Bourbon is noticeable both at the front and at the finish, though the finish is mostly dominated by a spicy flavor (again, cinnamon and cardamom are my closest associations) that carries into the aftertaste, which is slightly drying and tannic. This is very well composed; I actually get the feeling there was more to it when fresh.

M: I'm surprised this is 11% and yet so dry. However, that seems to leave its ABV exposed on the back end, with a small booze sting (though I wouldn't call this solventy). I normally like carbonation on the lower end, but I feel that this one is a tad lower than even my preference, and it could use more bubbles.

O: This really is a fantastic porter; I'm not really surprised, given the brewery's other hits. I would caution against aging this one; despite the small heat, one thing that impressed me about the beer was how balanced all the flavors are. Aging it might temper the booze, but at the expense of that balance, causing the symphony of flavors to lose its rhythm. (1,878 characters)

Photo of prdstmnky
4.29/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Been really lazy and slacking on written reviews, so figured why not start here!

500 ml bottle into a tulip, aggressive pour yields a finger of creamy mocha head. Some light lacing on the glass. Very dark with some auburn hues when held up to the light. Big alcohol aromas when I popped the cap, which was a bit worrisome but after pouring the smell was much more pleasant in the glass - a nice combination of bourbon, coffee, hints of chocolate, and some honey / vanilla sweetness.

Taste is pretty much inline with the nose, definitely opens up as it warms. Bourbon is certainly prominant but balanced nicely by the coffee, and sweeter notes on the back end - tasty. I really like the mouthfeel of this beer, its not quite like a thick stout, but certainly coats the tongue. Carb is a bit low, but not to the point of taking away from the experience.

Another solid offering from the Hill. Dont think I like it more than Everett, and haven't reviewed Twilight yet (coming soon), but very enjoyable on a cold night! (1,017 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
4.27/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of aapp. Served in a Hill Farmstead long-stem tulip.

Pours black with a good tan-mocha head and nice retention. Lacing on the glass. The nose brings forward very smooth bourbon with a bit of roast and chocolate. Some coffee there as well. Flavor integrates bourbon and chocolate quite well. Nicely done, but nothing to really bring it over the top. Mouthfeel is ultra smooth without any trace of alcohol. Fantastic barrel usage, but lacking the final oomph to really make it world class. Still, a great beer. (525 characters)

Photo of DefenCorps
4.27/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle. 2012 vintage (9.0%) that I got from gn0sis. Thanks!

Pouring black with a slowly rising reverse-cascading head that falls off to a thin but choppy bubbly dark brown head, this looks pretty good. The nose is very, very good. Honey, caramel, dark chocolate and fresh coffee form the bulk of what this beer expresses on the nose. A moderate bourbon character is present with a blend of vanilla, coconut and a boozy accent. The base porter, which is an imperial version of Twilight, seems rich and strong enough to stand up to the adjuncts. The dark chocolate complements the vanilla, the honey complements the bourbon, and the medium-roasted coffee is wholly pleasant. I can see why people compare this beer to Eclipse.

The palate opens with a big, boozy, bourbon dark chocolate bite. Despite the fact that this is quite sweet with caramel and honey and without enough roast to temper the sweetness, the complexity and layered flavors do make this beer very enjoyable. Some molasses, some toffee, a little bit of brown sugar and buckwheat honey are layered here. There is, of course, chocolate and coffee. While the nose suggests dark coffee, the mid-palate brings to mind medium-dark chocolate. Faintly spicy, and while it isn't wholly clear that the spice character isn't from the alcohol, there's just a hint of cinnamon. With the sweetness and slight oiliness that the chocolate character has, it brings to mind a ganache. Medium in body with light carbonation, this beer is rather excellent on the palate. The finish is long and delicate, with a blend of honey, chocolate and coffee. Alcohol is well-hidden.

In short: imagine if Deschutes brewed The Abyss with an Eclipse-like base - rich, delicate and nuanced, but sweet. Highly recommended. (1,754 characters)

Photo of Jwale73
4.27/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

500ml courtesy of Ineedabeerhere (thanks Joe). Served in a tulip. Pours one shade shy of black and completely opaque. No head on this one, just a mocha-colored cluster of bubbles around the shoulders. What an incredible nose on this beer - Dark, roasted malts as well as red wine notes, followed by bourbon and traces of ethanol at the back. Taste follows nose with the barrel qualities being less intense, thus allowing some honey and perhaps coconut to come out. Mouthfeel is medium-light in body (perhaps a little thin) and virtually still; there's also a little bit of acidity. Overall, a complex and interesting beer. I'd even venture to say the best BA version of an American Porter out there. (699 characters)

Photo of mdfb79
4.27/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From 02/03/12

a - Pours a pitch black color with one inch of dark tan head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of roasted malts, sweet milk chocolate, coffee, vanilla, bourbon, sweet dark fruits, oak, and toasted malts. Very chocolatey and sweet, and the bourbon comex through nicely, but doesn't overpower. Really awesome nose.

t - Tastes of sweet chocolate, roasted malts, bourbon, coffee, oak, vanilla, and dark chocolate. A tiny bit hot, and a step down from the nose, but still pretty nice.

m - Medium to full body and low to moderate carbonation. A tiny bit hot but not bad at all. Smooth and creamy.

o - Overall a really nice porter. I think I pretty much liked this just as much as Everett, but for different reasons, as this one focuses more on bourbon. Would like to get a bottle of this. (809 characters)

Photo of axeman9182
4.27/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

500 mL bottle, 2012 vintage. Big thanks to notjustgc for bringing this back from VT for me. It was poured into my Brooklyn Brewery tulip.

Birth of Tragedy pours completely black, with caramel colored foam topping it that struggles to reach a finger in height. Head retention is decent, and lacing is somewhat spotty. The nose is very chocolaty, with vanilla is a strong secondary aroma. Honey and bourbon are both barely appreciable. The flavor profile is a bit more nuanced. It opens with a rich chocolate maltiness. Slightly woody bourbon notes come next, before a brief slightly fruity honey presence (which I'm shocked manages to come through) bridges to a subtle coffee finish. Meanwhile, a vanilla sweetness lingers throughout. The body, noticeably lightened by the honey, isn't too full. That's especially good given that the beer is essentially flat. The mouthfeel is still a little bit syrupy though.I absolutely love the barrel character Hill Farmstead got into Birth of Tragedy, if they tightened up the carbonation it would probably be pushing towards my top 10 beers. (1,081 characters)

Photo of Skrip
4.24/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

500ml bottle poured into a Deschutes teku.

A~ dark as night exactly like it should be!

S~ bourbon bomb! with a little bit of coffee, booze and roasty malts.

T~ lots of bourbon with a lot of sweetness. a little vanilla and caramel towards the end. no booze once so ever, very smooth all around.

M~ very smooth, lightly carbonated. the "porter" aspect doesn't come over well, it feels more like a thin stout.

O~ definitely a treat! i usually like this style to be a bit thicker. come to think of it bourbon aged Fear And Trembling would be absolutely ridiculous! i would totally drink it again, its one hell of a dessert beer! (629 characters)

Photo of stx00lax
4.23/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Thanks Kevanb!

A- Pours fairly flat without any lingering head or lacing

S- Smell starts off with light booze and fudge. Sweet coffee notes and a bit of woodsiness.

T- Fudgy, boozy with obvious honey sweetness. The coffee is subtle but good. This beer advertises three flavors. Bourbon, coffee and honey. I taste all three and they are well balanced and work nicely with the porter.

M- The lack of carbonation is there. As a positive it allows for more subtle flavors to shine, hence the taste scores well. But it ultimately hurts the mouthfeel as it comes across a bit thin. Some say the lack of carbonation is perfect, but I think some more would help a la 2012 cherry adam compared to previous "flat" vintages.

O- A very nice and challenging beer. It has a lot of great things going for it and I cant wait to try again in the future. (841 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Review #2100. Bottle courtesy of AshleyMiller. Shared with Jason for "Polish" Christmas. Served in a tulip of some sort.

A - Quick-dissolving sliver of mocha foam settles to a thin ring, a few wisps, and tiny specks of lace. Black body with a glint of brown at the rim of the glass.

S - This was probably served too cold, so I was forced to let it sit and warm up over an extended period of time. The initial aroma was heavy in dry oak, bourbon, and a hint of solvent alcohol. However, as the beer reached an appropriate temperature more of the base beer's dark chocolate, roasted malts, and cinnamon joined the mix. Coffee and vanilla are present, but quite faint.

T - I find the taste to actually be superior to the aroma, as it cuts some of the harsh oak and bourbon cuts and amps up the rich dark chocolate, cake, fudge, and vanilla bean flavors. Perhaps I have a sweet tooth, but this just seems like a better balance of flavors to me. Alcohol is extremely well-hidden - I didn't realize this was so much stronger than Twilight of the Idols.

M - Medium-full body, low carbonation, chewy texture, and light tannic dryness in the finish. Pretty much what I like in a barrel-aged Imperial Porter.

D - I liked this beer quite a bit, but I think I prefer the base beer more, as I like the interesting mix of adjuncts and malt flavors and some of that is masked by the barrel-aging. Still, this is a high-quality and well-crafted beer that is well worth seeking out - but did anyone expect anything less from Hill Farmstead? (1,528 characters)

Photo of starrdogg
4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Chris for sharing this one.

Pours a very dark brown/nearly black with very little head and almost no lacing. Smell is very coffee and chocolate with very little bourbon or oak, but still pretty nice. Taste is excellent, a great mix of bourbon, oak, coffee and chocolate, the coffee stands out the most but doesn't take over the flavor, very smooth and incredibly easy to drink for such a big. Mouthfeel is a little thin for the style and it's a bit low on the carbonation, but it doesn't really bring down the experience of drinking the beer. Overall, this is an outstanding tasting beer, the only detractors are the mouthfeel and appearance, but pretty great overall. (683 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.21/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

a really interesting beer, courtesy of one of denvers great beer men, lucky me. It pours a really dense black, midnight or darker, with essentially no carbonation, a motor oil viscosity, and just a thin film of mocha bubbles around the rim of my glass. the nose on this is heavy bourbon, oaky and charcoaly, with spice notes of cinnamon and clove, a very intense roast, and a summery sweetness amidst all the black thick stuff. the flavor, just like the nose, is bourbon first. I also get really strong cinnamon from this, although I don't think that its an ingredient. I do pick up the honey through the bitter dark malt, and its sweetness is welcomed to lighten things up a little. this is a teeth coating brew, sticky and about as thick as any ive encountered in terms of body. I really wish it had a little more carbonation. not a ton, but enough to get it moving a little bit, but I understand that a barrel can reduce that quite a bit. more would aid its drinkability, but I don't think its trying to be a session beer of course. I love the aftertaste on this, with the bourbon, vanilla, and warming alcohol. this is a beer of impressive quality and depth, not one to be consumed frequently, but one to treasure and share. hill farmstead never ceases to impress me, and although this is amazing, its a level below some of their hoppy and farmy stuff. (1,356 characters)

Photo of jaasen64
4.2/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Three Penny Taproom. Served in a HF stemmed glass. Initially served too cold, so I let it warm up in the glass a little bit until it was close to room temp. The '12 batch is only 9% abv. This review is from two pours (before and after dinner)

A- Pours an opaque jet black with a still top (1st pour had a little bit of a mocha bubbly top) and some consistent small carbonation bubbles, but not overly carbonated.

S- Sweet bourbon, molasses, honey, brown sugar, coffee, some dark fruits, fairly aromatic and definitely on the sweet side.

T- Molasses, honey, brown sugar, coffee, finishes with sweet bourbon that blends well with the porter aspects. Sweet lingering aftertaste of light molasses and bourbon.

M- Medium bodied, fairly low carbonation, slightly oily, very smooth, nice feel for a BA porter.

O- This was a very good barrel-aged porter but nothing overly mind-blowing. There was plenty of sweet bourbon and a nice sweet molasses taste that balanced well, but I was expecting a little bit more coffee and chocolate to come out. Overall this is very good, but I think there are a few barrel-aged porters out there that are slightly better. Definitely don't drink this cold, it dulls the flavors and makes it taste a little bit watery. I would love to see what a little bit of age in the bottle does to this beer. (1,335 characters)

Photo of birchstick
4.18/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours black without much of a head. As the description states, honey, coffee, and vanilla. Starts off chocolate that fades to some bourbon and heat. All of these flavors meld together really well and make a nice porter. Ends dry. Really good bourbon barrel aged porter. I am looking forward to trying more from this brewery. (324 characters)

Photo of Rhettroactive
4.17/5  rDev -4.6%
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.... (1,320 characters)

Photo of cfrances33
4.17/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

2012 bottle, poured into a Hill Farmstead stem.

Pour: Completely still, dark, dark brown body. Not quite black. A few bubble form on the surface, but carb is lacking here it seems completely.

Smell: Big roasted marshmallow up front, followed by some clean bourbon vanilla. A nice milk chocolate comes through, and closes the nose.

Taste: Again, big time roasted marshmallows and milk chocolate. A nice vanilla creamyness. Some bourbon sweetness. Finishes sticky with vanilla.

Mouthfeel: Dead still. There is absolutely zero carb to speak of, and it hurts the feel. Otherwise, clean bourbon flavors provide little to no heat. A sipper, and fantastically drinkable

Overall: A really great beer that I just wish had some carb. It's too flat for me. (751 characters)

Photo of sleuthdog
4.17/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

This one courtesy of franklinn
2012 vintage poured into Bruery tulip

Pour: Pours a deep black that a mirror like reflection in the glass. There was no head formation but there is a ring of small to medium bubbles along the edge of the glass. I have struggled to see alcohol legs on on other beers but let me tell you the legs on this were absolutely there! No lacing but wow the alcohol legs cling to the glass!

Smell: Bourbon and inciting vanilla jump up to my nose first. There is an obvious oak, subtle coffee and I do get the sweetness from the honey. Dark chocolate truffle candies drenched in sweet bourbon is the best way I can sum up this one.

Taste: A big sweet vanilla forward bourbon bomb and I'm loving this! Dark chocolate and roasted coffee noted as well. Some smoke and roasted malts mixed in with the background the honey creates is amazing. Alcohol is there but not overpowering at all.

Mouthfeel: As is known this one has little carbonation and this is the only place this beer lets me down a bit. I would appreciate some more carbonation as it feels too flat but with the flavors this beer has I don't give a shit! It is flat but smooth with a medium body.

Overall: This is my first non IPA from HF and my first that has gotten the barrel
treatment and despite the lack of carbonation this is one enjoyable drinking experience. The flavors are all in perfect balance and perfectly complement each other. (1,429 characters)

Photo of kels
4.16/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to my fiance for bringing this home with him. Good man. 2012 vintage.

Pours a super dark chocolate brown, nearly black, only given away at the edge of the surface where the light can actually get through - barely. A little spittle of bubbles washes the side of the glass when tipped, but it disappears immediately into nothingness in the void where at least some sort of head or skim - nowhere to be found - is expected to be present. In fact, it looks almost flat and watery, with enough alcohol to leave what looks like an oil skim on top.

Fantastic aroma. Rich, creamy vanilla and a hint of earthy honey is nicely offset by a dry, roasted grain. Only a hint of the bourbon barrel. Just simple, straightforward, and delicious.

Taste is delicious, but walking the line on the cloying side sweet. Vanilla, honey, molasses all hit the back of the jaw a little hard, and the only thing offering relief is the roasted malt. It's dry and hearty and contends well with the sweetness.

The feel of the beer falls flat, and recalls milk stout or RIS more than imperial porter. It's thick, sticky, and viscous, like a syrup in the mouth. Carbonation is nearly undetectable, and everything coats the palate, sticking around for quite a while. It works, but it's heavy.

Overall, nice beer. Hard to drink, but that's okay, right? (1,333 characters)

Photo of Bendurgin
4.16/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

John's parents hooked this one up too! Man, they rock! Poured into a tulip. This one pours black with some brown highlights. No head on the pours even though we went right down the middle of the glass.

The aroma has hints of bourbon and toffee. Hints of dark chocolate and big roast malts. Vanilla and dark cherries linger in the background. Really a no nonsense in the aroma here. The taste is a lot like the aroma. Rich coffee and dark chocolate flavors on the pallet with vanilla adding a nice sweet finish. Good barrel aging here, really nice non-overpowering flavor.

The body is nice a full but this is pretty close to flat; very little carbonation.

Overall this one is pretty rock solid. Would really love better carbonation here. Maybe just a sub par bottle, but let's face it. Even a sub par bottle is pretty damn good. (831 characters)

Photo of Bosoxfan20
4.15/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

10-2013 vintage pours near black with a light khaki head of less than a finger. Aroma indicates most the coffee has faded, but the honey seems to be hanging on. Stout like nose of roasted malts and dark fruits. Flavor and body are silky smooth. milk chocolate, caramelized malts, sweet and creamy. Hardly any coffee character remains, and I wish I could try fresh, but damn good none the less. (397 characters)

Photo of davey101
4.12/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2012 Vintage - 9% abv. 500 ml bottle into a tulip glass. Thanks so much cfrances33!

A - Pours a very dark brown body that lets very little light through, not quite black. A small half finger of mocha bubbles forms and dissipates quickly. Some random edging but this beer sits mostly still. A swirl coats the sides of the glass with a staining brown coating and some very minimal lacing.

S - Fudge and bourbon heavy. Very sweet vanilla, chocolate ganache and some subdued coffee beans. A touch of woody oak on the finish.

T - Very fudgy and rich. Dense dark chocolate cake, sweet natural vanilla, smooth oak, and espresso beans. Finishes buttery and oily like a bourbon. A very decadent dessert beer. Seems to muddle the flavors of Twilight a bit.

M - A touch above flat. Does it hurt the beer? A little. I expect a lighter body in a porter and this one is coming off almost syrupy and thick. Its not a huge setback but a bit of carb would help this one out for sure.

O - An extremely decadent and tasty desert beer that's a bit too flat. I really liked this one, but its not as great as Everett or even Twilight. (1,118 characters)

Photo of kevanb
4.11/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle. 2012 vintage poured into a stemmed Hill Farmstead.

The beer pours a very viscous motor oil texture, jet black in color, massively opaque, touches of dark brown around the rim of the glass, no head, only a few bubbles, and no lacing to be found. The aroma is really amazing, big notes of bourbon and charred barrel, bitter baker’s chocolate, vanilla, some slight roast, hard to believe coffee is in this beer, alcohol is definitely present as well. It’s a very intriguing nose, heavy on the barrel and bourbon but the bittersweet chocolate and sweeter alcohol and rich notes play so well together. The flavor is wonderful, balanced to perfection, bourbon, charred oak that lends some sweetness, toffee, bitter dark chocolate, vanilla, roasted coffee definitely has a bigger presence here which really lends a hand to balance this better than the nose, rich malt and smooth warming sweet alcohol at the finish. The body is a bit thinner at first, carbonation is much lower than many other barrel aged stouts or porters, but it is certainly full bodied, thick, viscous, a bit syrupy with a nice smooth finish.

Verdict: A really delicious barrel aged porter from Hill Farmstead. It is certainly on the lower end of the carbonation spectrum, but it is by no means flat or still. A little bit more carbonation would definitely help prop up the flavors and help with the body, but it’s still quite creamy and the balance of flavors is tremendous. (1,462 characters)

Photo of jmarsh123
4.1/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Pours pitch black with no head at all. Slight beige cling around the edge of the glass.

Aroma features a ton of vanilla along with a bourbon kick, some roasted malts and sweet chocolate.

Thankfully not quite as sweet as the nose would indicate. Lots of good roasted coffee mingle with the vanilla to produce a good milk chocolate flavor backed up by a kiss of bourbon. Gets a bit boozier as it warms, but very well integrated and never gets overpowering, but complements the base beer. A little residual sweetness although the roasty and sweet flavors balance supremely well.

And here is the bugaboo. I don't think I've ever had a HF beer that did not ace the carbonation test. Whatever the style, they all seem to be perfect and that's what makes this even more disappointing. Good creamy texture, but almost no carbonation. I'm talking near HOTD & Kuhnhenn levels of nothingness. I think a style like this should have lower carbonation, but this level almost mutes the flavors and make it taste almost like stale Irish coffee despite the excellent flavors and great barrel integration.

What could have been. These are some of the most outstanding flavors I've ever had in a porter, but the mouthfeel just makes this a good not great beer for me. That said, it's still pretty impressive that I completely hate one aspect of this and it's still a solid beer. If you like extremely low carbonation levels then you'll love this one as the flavors are great, but if you don't you'll end up just a bit disappointed. (1,515 characters)

Photo of blankenhoney
4.1/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle from Oct. 2013, poured into a snifter. Thanks, Erin, for this, my first HF beer!

A: very dark; soapy brown head

S: roasted coffee beans; chocolate-covered dark cherries; faint honey notes

T: dark chocolate, dark fruit, and coffee; nice vanilla from the barrel; very sweet at first, but stabilizes after a few sips; lots of flavor, yet mild

M: so smooth and creamy; this is the mouthfeel all porters should aspire to

O: A fantastic porter. The barrel adds depth of flavor, and doesn't scream out "barrel aged." Mouthfeel was perfect. Sweet, rich, and restrained. (579 characters)

Photo of CADMixes
4.09/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.75

Hill Farmstead is great at porters in general, and 2012 BoT follows the template. The barrel effect is really nicely done--very evident on the nose, and a big part of the overall taste without overpowering the base beer, which still tastes as fresh and lively as a nice bottle of Everett.

All this is why it's such a shame that the carbonation isn't there. It's a well-known fact about this beer and despite my respect for what HF does it's not really something I can look past. 500 ml of flat beer, no matter how good it tastes, gets tedious over time. (554 characters)

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