Birth Of Tragedy - Hill Farmstead Brewery

Not Rated.
Birth Of TragedyBirth Of Tragedy

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BA SCORE
98
world-class

899 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 899
Reviews: 146
rAvg: 4.45
pDev: 8.99%
Wants: 933
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: 899 | Reviews: 146 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of beergorrilla
4.25/5  rDev -4.5%

Photo of Jeffo
4.47/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Have heard lots of good things about this beer, so stoked to get a chance to try it. This one came in a recent trade with jbeatty. Thanks again man. All these HF brews were top class!

From a 500ml bottle into a snifter
Brewed with coffee and honey and aged in bourbon barrels.

APPEARANCE: Dark brown pour, somewhat transparent, yields a small, medium looking, light tan head with decent retention. Fades to a light wisp and ring with some bubbles on top. Black body, opaque, with lower levels of carbonation evident. A ring and splotchy wisp remain until the end and leave some dots of lacing down the glass. Pretty solid looking.

SMELL: Big nose right off the pour. Roasted malts and burnt coffee beans for sure, with some light honey and a good dose of bourbon, oak and vanilla from the barrels. A light touch of pure, dark chocolate and molasses are detectible as well. Bold and impressive stuff, and everything balances wonderfully.

TASTE: Some bourbon barrel up front initially with some touches of sweet honey and caramel. More of the base beer comes through at the swallow, but it is still much more bourbon barrel forward than the nose had indicated. Bourbon, oak, vanilla and some sweet honey at the finish, with notes of roasted coffee beans and dark chocolate as well. The barrel dominant aftertaste is big and persistent, with just a touch of sweet honey and caramel and chocolate notes trying to push through. This is flavorful and delicious, but not quite as well balanced as the nose. Still, an absolutely decadent treat.

PALATE: Medium full body with medium levels of carbonation. Slightly creamy, though a bit prickly on the palate, goes down fine and finishes mouth-coating. A slight burn and some heat lingers after the swallow. Pretty decent feel, though a touch hot still maybe.

OVERALL: This was a really tasty treat. The nose on this thing is out of this world, with plenty of bold aromas and a fantastic balance between the base beer and adjuncts on the one hand, and the barrel on the other. The taste is also fantastic, but the barrel pushes the balance just a touch off center. In the end, this is a phenomenal brew and is another chapter in the brilliant imperial porters that Hill Farmstead seems to be brewing up. I would more than love to have this again at some point. Thanks again jbeatty. Whole-heartedly recommended.

Photo of mrebeka
4.75/5  rDev +6.7%

Photo of vonnegut21
5/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2012 Vintage bottle poured into a Bruery tulip.

A: Pours a deep dark black, with minimal head that fades exceptionally quickly.

S: Huge vanilla presence in the nose. Bourbon notes, caramel, a hint of port wine, maybe some sherry as well. Just a great smelling beer.

T: Vanilla, bourbon, port wine, caramel and touch of dark winter fruit. Bakers chocolate and roasted coffee linger in the background.

M: Undercarbonated, but exceptionally smooth. Nice body for a porter. Very drinkable.

O: I think the 2012 vintage is a bit less carbonated than the 2011 vintage, but I really feel like the flavor profile is fuller and more complex than last year's, which I didn't think was possible. Easily the best porter I've ever had. I truly love this beer. Shaun is known for his IPA's and Saisons, but his barrel aged dark beers are exceptional.

Photo of CRJMellor
4.25/5  rDev -4.5%

Photo of dfhhead25
4.75/5  rDev +6.7%

Photo of Satchboogie
4.75/5  rDev +6.7%

Photo of jzeilinger
4.75/5  rDev +6.7%

Photo of 22Blue
4.25/5  rDev -4.5%

Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.25/5  rDev -4.5%

Photo of greenspointexas
4/5  rDev -10.1%

Photo of seeswo
4.75/5  rDev +6.7%

Photo of twenty5
4.75/5  rDev +6.7%

Photo of Zach136
4.5/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of Brew33
4/5  rDev -10.1%

Photo of baybum
5/5  rDev +12.4%

Photo of WanderingFool
4.5/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of I_BYE_MI_BEER
4.5/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of Arbitrator
4.33/5  rDev -2.7%
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.

Photo of Stevedore
4.49/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle from the recent 2013 vintage (date 11/2013), thanks FleetwoodMatt for sending this one over. Poured into a Hill Farmstead stemmed glass today, 1/2/2014.

Looks stout-ish in its appearance. Pours a dark black body, not viscous like motor oil. With a one finger dark brown head that retains quite well for a barrel aged beer. Eventually, after a few minutes, it becomes a thick brown collar and thin mocha film. Bits of lacing remain on the glass as the beer goes down. Looks very nice and dark.

Smells great. I just had Twilight of the Idols a few days ago and this reminds me of a very dark chocolatey version of it. Some sweet bourbon but not a ton; but plenty of dark chocolates, dark fruits (kind of like Surly Darkness) and espresso. A small bit of toffee, green mint and cinnamon in the background, with a dry oakey finish. There's really a lot going on in this beer for sure, and it deserves some time on its own to savor the nose.

Damn! This beer is bourbon chocolatey on top of the winter porter characteristics that Twilight of the Idols has. It also brings more dark fruit characteristics into the beer, I almost want to say port-like, but it's not quite that sweet- more akin to raisins and dried figs. Dark chocolate bitterness and flavours, freshly made espresso bitterness, toffee sweetness, bourbon sweetness (and accompanying heat which is most apparent on the backend). A dry oakiness is apparent on the finish. There isn't as much of that "mint vanilla ice cream" flavour that I get from Twilight of the Idols, but rather more of the dark chocolate bourbon flavours. In fact, it doesn't really remind me at all of Twilight of the Idols- this is an imperial porter with bourbon barrels imparting a lot of character on it to make it unique.

Medium bodied, on the thicker side. Creamy, silky smooth and well-carbonated. Back end is a slick, oakey bourbon chocolate sweetness that makes it simultaneously a sipper and a quaffer. Leaves a nice warm sticky sweetness on the palate with each swallow. Just the right amount of retrosternal heat that is very enjoyable and great during a winter snowstorm like this one that's going on outside right now. I had no problem drinking the entire 500ml bottle on my own.

Delicious BA imperial porter. I definitely like this one over Twilight of the Idols, especially for a cold, windy and snowy night like this one. Both are phenomenal beers, but this is another case where the bourbon barrels transform an excellent base beer into an even better, more complex and more enjoyable beer. The smell is still remniscent of Twilight though. Highly recommended!

Photo of jampics2
4.5/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of DonFrap
5/5  rDev +12.4%

Photo of Wowcoolman
4.48/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of CTJman
4.75/5  rDev +6.7%

Photo of jegross2
4.48/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewing Birth of Tragedy from Hill Farmstead Brewery out of Greensboro Bend, Vermont.

Score: 95

2012 vintage bottle served in a taster glass and enjoyed on 02/23/13. Review is from iPhone notes. I reviewed this beer blind (and then later assigned the name to the review).

Appearance: Jet black in color. Pours a thin layer of bubbly, dark khaki head that settles to a pencil thin ring around the glass. No lacing or retention to speak of. 4/5

Smell: Maple, vanilla, coffee and chocolate. Brown, sugar hint of raisin and cinnamon. Wow. 4.5/5

Taste: Bourbon and maple galaore. Less coffee than nose with a nice vanilla backbone. A touch of boozy hotness. Brown sugar and a nice "non-malty" sweetness too. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: Not quite full bodied. Low carbonation. Nice sweetness, but not "sweet." Syrupy mouthfeel. 4.5/5

Overall: I had this beer at a blind tasting and it was one of my favorite of the night. Reminded me a lot of CBS, though it was apparent that this was not CBS from the bottle size. Barrel aged breakfast in a glass, this beer was very maple, coffee and vanilla forward. The 2012 vintage has a lot of bottle variation, as I have had some nearly undrinkable bottles that were nothing more than flat, sweet syrup. Thank you Fitz for bringing this one!

Cost: $15 for a 500 ml bottle.

Birth Of Tragedy from Hill Farmstead Brewery
98 out of 100 based on 899 ratings.