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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

850 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 850
Reviews: 144
rAvg: 4.43
pDev: 9.93%
Wants: 904
Gots: 173 | 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: 850 | Reviews: 144 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of beergorrilla
4.25/5  rDev -4.1%

beergorrilla, Jan 08, 2013
Photo of vonnegut21
5/5  rDev +12.9%
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.

vonnegut21, Dec 24, 2012
Photo of DonFrap
5/5  rDev +12.9%

DonFrap, Sep 26, 2012
Photo of mltobin
4.25/5  rDev -4.1%

mltobin, Aug 16, 2013
Photo of dar482
5/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The beer comes in a pitch black color.

The aroma is wonderful brilliant of honey, gentle touches of vanilla and bourbon character, a medium amount of sweet roasted coffee.

The flavor is sublime for a character aged beer. Definitely a "Hill Farmstead" style of restraint and complexity. Bourbon lingers throughout. Roasted coffee hits in the front. A honey and vanilla sweetness moves the beer through the palate. The mouthfeel is smooth and minus full, and not very sticky.

One of the best barrel aged beers I've had. Just a shocking amalgamation of flavors that dance wonderfully together.

dar482, Feb 12, 2014
Photo of jampics2
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

jampics2, Apr 14, 2013
Photo of jegross2
4.48/5  rDev +1.1%
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.

jegross2, Sep 16, 2012
Photo of Zach136
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

Zach136, Apr 20, 2014
Photo of jzeilinger
4.75/5  rDev +7.2%

jzeilinger, Dec 10, 2013
Photo of sholland119
4.43/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From the bottle into a Tripel Karmeliet glass.

A-deeply opaque cedary brown with a few bubbles of head that settle quickly into a thin ring.

S-lots of charred oak barrel goodness with a slight sweetness behind. Very nice.

T-oh yes this one has it all. Great oak character and a very pleasant underlying sweetness. Nice bourbon character, hints of marshmallow, rich but not overwhelming.

M-perfect. Rich but not too much. Sweet but not cloying. Hints of alcohol are nicely restrained.

O-pretty awesome overall. Great way to cap off a tough week.
HV

sholland119, May 11, 2013
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 CrellMoset
4.48/5  rDev +1.1%
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%.

CrellMoset, Apr 08, 2012
Photo of inlimbo77
4.33/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

500ml, Winter '12
HF wine glass

A: Pours almost pitch black. Didn't get much head, even after an aggressive pour. Only a little layer of light/dark tan head. Formed into only a ring of big bubbles around edges. Definitely some alcohol feet. No lacing.

S: Lots of vanilla right away. Caramel and toffee. Some roast coffee. Not as coffee forward as twilight.

T: Up front you get dark roast coffee. Dark bitter chocolate. Can't get past the lack of carbonation. Really sits heavier than it should. Getting that vanilla from the bourbon barrel and vanilla beans after the coffee. The finish linger and is long. Lck of carbonation makes it stick around for a while.

M: Full bodied. Carbonation would really help. It's basically flat. Docking a couple points because of it.

inlimbo77, Jan 14, 2013
Photo of WanderingFool
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

WanderingFool, Oct 01, 2012
Photo of Phelps
4.38/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

Phelps, Apr 16, 2012
Photo of MinorThreat
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

MinorThreat, Sep 25, 2013
Photo of Amalak
4.25/5  rDev -4.1%

Amalak, Nov 28, 2012
Photo of dfhhead25
4.75/5  rDev +7.2%

dfhhead25, Sep 23, 2013
Photo of waiting4lunch
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

waiting4lunch, Feb 05, 2012
Photo of mklisz
4/5  rDev -9.7%

mklisz, Dec 10, 2012
Photo of baybum
5/5  rDev +12.9%

baybum, Mar 28, 2013
Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.76/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip from a 500ml bottle.
2012 Vintage.

Pours a gorgeous viscous dark black liquid with a nice quarter inch tan head. The head is dense but recedes fairly quickly down to a nice thin film and a thicker ring around the glass. Head like a frothy espresso.

Aroma is simply marvelous. Perfect roasty notes of coffee and burnt malts mix in perfectly with a cocoa powder and milk chocolate sweetness with a tinge of dark cocoa. Some oat notes can be perceived as well in the nose. So perfectly layered like a rich chocolate cake. Coffee notes are present but not overdone exquisite nose. The back end of the nose leads you into the nice vanilla and caramel of bourbon barrels along with mild oak. Complex and well blended aromas.

Here goes nothing. Mouthfeel is rich and velvety. Amazing low carbonation lets you experience all the flavors with enough cleaning and bubbly power to leave you wanting more. Wow. Taste starts off with some mild boozy heat followed by an amazing coffee note that plays ever so slightly yet perfectly with great sweet honey notes. The honey is a robust sweetness that give the brew some oomph but isn't sugary or cloying. AS the brew progresses there is a nice blend of oat-like notes with milder roasted malts and of course a nice powdery dark cocoa note that has equal sweetness and bitterness. As the brew warms the sweetness of the honey starts to blend very well with all the notes as opposed to being a stand alone flavor. Complex, creamy and delicious brew.

Overal, this brew floored me. Its pretty amazing. The mouthfeel is legit. Amazing creamy, silky and velvety smooth. Pretty sticky too. Nice roasted malt notes fill the palette but play second fiddle to awesome honey and bourbon sweetness with some cocoa to boast.

JoEBoBpr, Jul 25, 2013
Photo of portia99
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

portia99, Feb 05, 2012
Photo of jaasen64
4.23/5  rDev -4.5%
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.

jaasen64, Dec 16, 2012
Photo of schnarr84
4/5  rDev -9.7%

schnarr84, Jul 01, 2014
Birth Of Tragedy from Hill Farmstead Brewery
98 out of 100 based on 850 ratings.