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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

853 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 853
Reviews: 144
rAvg: 4.43
pDev: 9.93%
Wants: 907
Gots: 174 | FT: 24
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: 853 | Reviews: 144 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of eagles22
3.5/5  rDev -21%

eagles22, Nov 02, 2013
Photo of Pinknuggets
3.53/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at three penny taproom

A: dark dark brown but not quite black with literally no carbonation

S:reeks of bourbon very strong smell that pretty much over powers everything else

T:lots of bourbon there is some malt there but basically all I can taste is the whiskey which really isn't my thing there is no other porter flavors a little but of dark chocolate that complements well but still over powering

M: thick oily and very heavy definitely a sipper not super drinkable for sure

O: I don't like bourbon so my opinion is skewed but there isn't much porter to this beer not well balanced first hfs beer I didn't love and for that matter I have been less impressed withe their darker beers (accepting Everett) especially in comparison to their hoppy beers and saisons but ill blame it on the style this time.

Pinknuggets, Dec 16, 2012
Photo of macrosmatic
3.6/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3.25

Thanks to ActonBrewer for this one. Reviewed from notes. Poured from 16.9 oz. bottle into a Cigar City snifter.

NOTE: The problems here started early. Upon removing the bottle cap, there was no noise, no "pfft" of releasing carbonation, nothing...

A: Dark - essentially black - and opaque. Other than a few stray large bubbles that formed briefly on the top, there was no head, and no visible carbonation at all.

S: Here's where the bottle really shined. Bourbon, roasted sweet malts, dark fruit, candied raisins and plums, chocolate, leather, oak barrel tannins, and an overarching coffee aroma that still let the other notes have their places. Very nice.

T: Bourbon, roasted malts, and barrel in a nice balance. Sweetness from the bourbon and dark fruits, coffee and cacao. Some hop bitterness mixed in with the rich mocha hang.

M: Body seems thinner than the other Hill Farmstead porters I've had. Alcohol seems well-integrated into other flavors. But the big loser here is the complete lack of carbonation.

O: I feel like this could have been a sample of a beer pulled of the tank, and I would have said, "Wow, that's going to be a really good beer when it's finished." Unfortunately, this was what made it into this bottle. I'd love to give it another chance, and if so I will update these scores. But the total lack of carbonation killed the mouthfeel, and didn't let the flavors come through as they should have. I guess this may have been a bad bottle? But I'm very disappointed.

macrosmatic, Jul 15, 2014
Photo of alcstradamus
3.68/5  rDev -16.9%
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.

alcstradamus, Dec 04, 2011
Photo of BarrytheBear
3.68/5  rDev -16.9%
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.

BarrytheBear, Nov 03, 2012
Photo of stakem
3.7/5  rDev -16.5%
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.

stakem, Sep 20, 2012
Photo of Goblinmunkey7
3.71/5  rDev -16.3%
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.

Goblinmunkey7, Mar 26, 2014
Photo of leschkie
3.75/5  rDev -15.3%

leschkie, Apr 15, 2012
Photo of sarge27
3.75/5  rDev -15.3%

sarge27, Jun 11, 2013
Photo of ygtbsm94
3.75/5  rDev -15.3%

ygtbsm94, Apr 01, 2012
Photo of McNazz
3.75/5  rDev -15.3%

McNazz, Aug 05, 2014
Photo of Schmaltzy
3.75/5  rDev -15.3%

Schmaltzy, Jan 09, 2013
Photo of leftoverburrito
3.75/5  rDev -15.3%

leftoverburrito, Jun 25, 2014
Photo of eawolff99
3.75/5  rDev -15.3%

eawolff99, Feb 17, 2013
Photo of tripelhops
3.75/5  rDev -15.3%

tripelhops, Sep 06, 2014
Photo of LoveStout
3.75/5  rDev -15.3%

LoveStout, Jun 30, 2013
Photo of TheHumanTorch
3.75/5  rDev -15.3%

TheHumanTorch, May 26, 2014
Photo of Levich
3.75/5  rDev -15.3%
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.

Levich, Jan 29, 2013
Photo of deekyn
3.75/5  rDev -15.3%

deekyn, May 16, 2013
Photo of jrallen34
3.75/5  rDev -15.3%

jrallen34, Jan 09, 2013
Photo of mjn5036
3.75/5  rDev -15.3%

mjn5036, Mar 07, 2013
Photo of dheldman
3.75/5  rDev -15.3%

dheldman, Sep 16, 2014
Photo of Petcha
3.75/5  rDev -15.3%

Petcha, Jan 31, 2014
Photo of angrybabboon
3.79/5  rDev -14.4%
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.

angrybabboon, Mar 26, 2014
Photo of Ahappyhiker2
3.79/5  rDev -14.4%
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.

Ahappyhiker2, May 24, 2013
Birth Of Tragedy from Hill Farmstead Brewery
98 out of 100 based on 853 ratings.