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Birth Of Tragedy - Hill Farmstead Brewery

Not Rated.
Birth Of TragedyBirth Of Tragedy

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
98
world-class

799 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 799
Reviews: 142
rAvg: 4.44
pDev: 9.23%
Wants: 878
Gots: 172 | FT: 26
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: 799 | Reviews: 142 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of alcstradamus
alcstradamus

Washington

3.68/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours black with a thin cola-like head. Aroma is vanilla, toffee, alcohol, and sweet fudge. Flavor is dominated by the barrel flavor although not overpowering in booziness. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and appropriately carbonated.

My overall feeling about this beer is one of severe disappointment. I feel that Twilight of the Idols is probably the best porter I have ever had, and this barrel aged version is a clear departure from that wonderfully nuanced flavor and it is not a positive change at all. The barrel flavor here is not powerful like..say..a Bourbon County Stout, but it still masks almost all the underlying complexity.

It is a good beer when judged on its own merits, but it is not one I would ever want again.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2011 00:46:14 | More by alcstradamus
Photo of BarrytheBear
BarrytheBear

Wisconsin

3.68/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of GoGriz..thank you Cody! According to my notes I received this bottle in our trade last November. I am tired of looking at beer in my cellar, so here goes.

Dark black pour with an oily sheen across the surface and a few tiny rogue bubbles along the edges. Nary any lacing or head to speak of. Harrrumph!

Bourbon and honey play a prominent role on the nose. Neither are massive, but the bourbon imparts a spicy heat that reaches into my nostrils to fizzle any hair that may dwell within. Underlying dark chocolate is rich along with a drying bark quality I also found in Daybreak. Hops perhaps?

Rich melted dark chocolate truffle and warm butterscotch up front. Middle displays the rough and leafy bark from the nose. The coffee presence is light and mellow, whether from time passed or intention is uncertain. If pressed to hazard a guess, I'd choose the former. The finish is dry, tannic, and shockingly harsh.

The mouthfeel here is a real letdown. I always find myself frustrated when supposed, or actual, world class beers fail spectacularly to support the nuances and effort taken to create their beer. Adequate carbonation would do this a world of good.

This is a meaty stick to your bones porter that shockingly fails to hide any of its 11 percent. A bump in carbonation would certainly help, as the structure for a really nice beer are in place but a few support beams are shaky. It's hot as hell.

Having now dabbled more extensively in the HF portfolio, I'm left with mixed feelings. So far I have enjoyed their hoppy offerings more than their stouts and porters. I would think long and hard before trading away what this beer might command. Please don't sit on this beer any longer if you've got it.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2012 01:26:49 | More by BarrytheBear
Photo of stakem
stakem

Pennsylvania

3.7/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle into a couple of snifters. The brew appears black in color with a line of brown around the edges. Little to no head formation but a few bubbles make their way to the surface. Instead of lacing effect, there are some legs of alcohol noted that droop down the edges of the glass.

The aroma has some hints of cocoa minorly reminescent of brownie batter. A light touch of honey sweetness blends into some roasty grain quality. Some suggestion of coffee, solvent alcohol, vanilla, oak and a spicy hint of cinnamon.

The taste is boozy with a solent alcohol touch that blends into a roasty grain flavor that is akin to strong coffee. A trace of honey flavor without any residual sweetness. Somewhat musty that transitions into more fusel alcohol. The aftertaste is both roasty and nutty.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest to lighter level of carbonation. It is a boozy sipper that is unique. Big alcohol impact and minor barrel influence. I am glad to have tried this but wouldnt go through the trouble to have it again.

Serving type: bottle

09-20-2012 17:33:18 | More by stakem
Photo of Goblinmunkey7
Goblinmunkey7

Massachusetts

3.71/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to bilco for acquiring the bottle. Split with angrybabboon.

Appearance: Near black with a dark khaki head. Solid retention starts with a small head dropping to a constant small creamy cap and collar. Spots of lacing, but it's minimal. Moderate carbonation on the pour.

Smell: Deeply roasted and mildy burnt malts. Raw honey coupled with vaguely nutty coffee. Fresh coffee bean and some slightly burnt malts. Honey builds as it warms. Roasty. A touch sweet with some caramel and caramelized malt. Some char and a hint of smoke. Minimal hopping, adding a touch of an herbal finish. Bourbon barrel is a nice addition adding some vanilla, a hint of coconut, and some toffee almost butterscotch. A ton of cocoa and bitter chocolate.

Taste: Honey bourbon. More cocoa than I've encountered in a porter. Bitter baker's chocolate and some sweeter milk chocolate. So much cocoa. A hint of vanilla, coconut oil, and toffee. Some caramel sauce with a nice compliment of caramelized malts. A touch of butterscotch and alcohol. A touch grassy with some herbal elements. More and more honey as it warms. Boozy with some mild alcohol esters. A touch of vague alcohol spiciness. Sweet sweet sweet.

Mouthfeel: Mostly creamy medium leaning to full body. Moderate carbonation.

Overall: Tragic sugar fat.

Sweet, too much so. Everything else is solid, but I has diabeetus.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2014 20:00:17 | More by Goblinmunkey7
Photo of leschkie
leschkie

California

3.75/5  rDev -15.5%

04-15-2012 15:39:33 | More by leschkie
Photo of sarge27
sarge27

California

3.75/5  rDev -15.5%

06-11-2013 05:06:41 | More by sarge27
Photo of ygtbsm94
ygtbsm94

Virginia

3.75/5  rDev -15.5%

04-01-2012 08:36:40 | More by ygtbsm94
Photo of Schmaltzy
Schmaltzy

California

3.75/5  rDev -15.5%

01-09-2013 06:46:12 | More by Schmaltzy
Photo of leftoverburrito
leftoverburrito

Oregon

3.75/5  rDev -15.5%

06-25-2014 01:01:18 | More by leftoverburrito
Photo of eawolff99
eawolff99

Colorado

3.75/5  rDev -15.5%

02-17-2013 00:44:19 | More by eawolff99
Photo of LoveStout
LoveStout

New York

3.75/5  rDev -15.5%

06-30-2013 18:41:26 | More by LoveStout
Photo of TheHumanTorch
TheHumanTorch

New York

3.75/5  rDev -15.5%

05-26-2014 13:52:28 | More by TheHumanTorch
Photo of Levich
Levich

Massachusetts

3.75/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 500mL into a goblet.

Birth of Tragedy pours a deep brown with almost no effervescence. Even with a relatively aggressive pour, there is virtually no head. The aroma is sweet caramel and dates. There is a hint of vanilla as well. The flavor follows suit with the aroma. There is caramel and dates with hints of vanilla and coffee. There is almost no pronounced bourbon character with only a lingering booziness at the finish. The mouthfeel is where this beer really lacks. There is virtually no carbonation as foreshadowed by the lack of head, leaving this syrupy and relatively thick.

This beer would rate much higher if it just had a touch more carbonation. The flavor and aroma are there, but a bit of effervescence would really enliven this one.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2013 00:07:30 | More by Levich
Photo of deekyn
deekyn

California

3.75/5  rDev -15.5%

05-16-2013 04:06:35 | More by deekyn
Photo of jrallen34
jrallen34

Illinois

3.75/5  rDev -15.5%

01-09-2013 03:28:10 | More by jrallen34
Photo of mjn5036
mjn5036

New Hampshire

3.75/5  rDev -15.5%

03-07-2013 15:35:20 | More by mjn5036
Photo of Petcha
Petcha

Minnesota

3.75/5  rDev -15.5%

01-31-2014 04:04:23 | More by Petcha
Photo of angrybabboon
angrybabboon

Rhode Island

3.79/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Cheers to Bilco for acquiring this for both Goblinmunkey7 and me, cheers to Goblinmunkey7 for sharing this particular bottle

Appearance: Dark brown, pours with a light tan head, keeps a small cap, leaves some nice spots of lacing

Smell: Chocolate in abundance with a hint of bourbon - dark chocolate, cocoa, and milk chocolate - chocolate and caramel malts - roasty coffee in the aroma, but the honey is even more obvious - very sweet smelling, with milk chocolate and honey - bourbon rounds out the aroma - some dark fruits and vanilla as well

Taste: Big chocolate with some bourbon - almost like some kind of artisan chocolate bar - dark chocolate, fudge, cocoa, semisweet chocolate - sweet malts with a serious honey component - coffee and roasted malts, but these flavors are mostly overshadowed by the honey - bourbon flavor is quite potent without being overly woody, boozy, or intense - lots of malt sweetness with some vanilla

Mouthfeel: Somewhere between medium and full, smooth, nicely carbonated, finishes and clean

Overall: Birth of the Beetus

As one would expect, Hill Farmstead can make a great imperial porter. This has some remarkable chocolate notes, with some equally remarkable honey notes. The coffee is pretty nice, but overall it's a bit too sweet. This may improve substantially over time.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2014 19:57:39 | More by angrybabboon
Photo of Ahappyhiker2
Ahappyhiker2

New Jersey

3.79/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.75

Batch 1.

A- Dark brown/black in color. Thinner than expected, almost no carbonation present. The appearance is pretty cool though, there's a shade of red on the outside of the glass. The only other beer I remember having a similar effect was Hunahpu's.

S- Cinnamon, honey, a hint of coffee, molasses, smoke, some booze. Nice, complex aroma.

T- A lot of flavors come through in this one. Bitter dark chocolate, coffee, sweetness from the honey, smoke, cinnamon, coconut. It's very, very smooth. Aftertaste is espresso/coffee and roasty flavors. Not much barrel character.

M- Very flat, almost no carbonation.

O- This beer has lots of complex flavors in the taste and the nose, but it falls short because of how flat it is. Also, it has such a lack of barrel character. I was expecting more of a bourbon/vanilla taste and it just isn't there. Honestly I like Everett so much better than this. I've read that batch 1 blows away batch 2, so I'm not going to try to hunt down another bottle or vintage. The complexity is there, but it is a bit of a letdown in my book. I'm glad I got to try this, but I'd recommend going after other beers if this is a whale for you.

Serving type: bottle

05-24-2013 16:26:32 | More by Ahappyhiker2
Photo of spicelab
spicelab

Australia

3.83/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

500mL bottle with props to MrKennedy. 2012 I think. Reviewed from notes.

Inconspicuous black with a small mocha head that animates nicely with agitation.

Nose has a quite delicate bourbon canvas supporting notes of fennel, liquorice, rich molasses, tar and some mild phenolics.

Similar but sweeter from the honey and appreciable vanilla barrel contingent. Choc-caramel slice, cola, maple syrup and dried figs.

Light to medium with restrained carbonation and slight booze warmth on the back end. Would barely have guessed this was 7% let alone 9%

This is really well crafted, but lacks a little punch and complexity for a large-ish BA stout/porter.

Serving type: bottle

10-05-2013 03:23:26 | More by spicelab
Photo of scottfrie
scottfrie

California

3.85/5  rDev -13.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2012 00:45:15 | More by scottfrie
Photo of cpetrone84
cpetrone84

Pennsylvania

3.85/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Batch 2 (flat batch). pour us jet black with no head even with a vigorous pour. The nose is very nice, rich chocolate cake with a strong bourbon note and lightly scorched barrel. Taste has all the chocolate cake, dry chocolate through the finish, faint bourbon much less than the nose, virtually no carb with a burnt finish and a medium silky body.

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2013 15:44:09 | More by cpetrone84
Photo of callmemickey
callmemickey

Pennsylvania

3.85/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by Koopa

A: Dark black with a minimal brownish head. A few stray stands of lacing.

S: Bourbon, caramel, molasses, honey sweetness.

T: Like the nose there is a healthy dose of bourbon and sweet malts. Definitely some caramel, dark fruits, and a little smokey/roasty malts.

M: Medium-full bodied. Light carbonation. A tad too much residual sweetness in the finish.

O: An interesting effort, but a bit too ambitious.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2012 03:01:14 | More by callmemickey
Photo of afksports
afksports

New York

3.85/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nails the porter side, but the bourbon barrel is very weak. It's messy, the oak doesn't come through as strong as you'd hope, and the final product seems a little thin. Especially for an 11% beer.

Looks great though, and it smells on point. But ultimately it was a little disappointing. Especially when 2010 Olde Hickory Imperial Stout was opened on the same night and absolutely blew it out of the water.

Reviewed from notes, shared with alalvarez75 before Birth of Tragedy hit the hype machine!

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2012 04:20:08 | More by afksports
Photo of Chico1985
Chico1985

Massachusetts

3.86/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

First choice at Stoutfest 2013, Armsby Abbey. ~10 oz. pour into a tulip glass.

Pour is black with a thin bubbly tan ring for a head, sticks around as such.

Smell is good - chocolate and bourbon forward, with roast and vanilla there as well. Not extremely potent, but definitely a nice scent.

Taste is a slight improvement, opens up more with warmth. Chocolate brownie, bourbon oak up front with light vanilla, roasted malts, toasty malts. Just a hint of spices here. Sweet and kinda boozy.

Carbonation is pretty low, feels a bit thin and boozy for 9%. Not bad, but could've used some more heftiness.

Good beer, nothing that blew me away though- felt a little disjointed. I actually wound up enjoying the base beer (Twilight of the Idols) more, the spices here were a little too smothered by bourbon and sweetness.

Serving type: on-tap

04-14-2013 17:44:19 | More by Chico1985
Birth Of Tragedy from Hill Farmstead Brewery
98 out of 100 based on 799 ratings.