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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 drabmuh
4.43/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by yourefragile in my kitchen last night, served in a Hill Farmstead becher. If you didn't, you did it incorrectly. At the time of this reivew, this is #3 on the "Top Beers - American Porter" list on beeradvocate.com and on a side note, this is the last beer I haven't reviewed on the "Top Beers - Popular" list (currently #95) on beeradvocate.com. 100/100 tickers, I win beer!

Beer is black and thick with a thin dark brown head of large bubbles, seriously undercarbonated, low retention, no lacing, looks fine.

Aroma is fudge and heat, strong liquor, strong alcohol, lots of chocolate and fudge, nice aggressive nose. Smells dangerous.

Beer is medium to thin in body, not hot at all AT ALL on the palate, the nose is deceiving. This is a relatively easy drinking beer. The back palate falls away quickly and finishes a little thin but not dry. The forward is all sweetness and fudge, chocolate, oak and liquor. Not detectable alcohol on the beer. I love it. I'd have it again. Increase the carbonation in future bottles of this beer to increase the quality, otherwise don't change a thing.

drabmuh, Apr 19, 2012
Photo of oline73
4/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was able to try this during Night of the Barrels and during the EBF.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown, almost black with a layer of tan head that fades quickly to a ring around the cup.

Smell: This one has more roast than I expected. I'm picking up some bourbon, chocolate, and alcohol heat as well.

Taste: As in the smell, quite roasty. I'm picking up the wood from the barrel and a mild peppery flavor. Sweet, but the bitterness from the roast is the dominant flavor. Would have liked it to be a tad smoother.

Mouthfeel: Just on the thick side of medium with a tingle of carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: I would have liked this beer to be a tad thicker. I enjoyed the flavors that the wood added. I would have another.

oline73, Feb 10, 2012
Photo of mendvicdog
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

mendvicdog, Aug 12, 2013
Photo of mdfb79
4.25/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

mdfb79, Feb 10, 2012
Photo of DrunkinYogi
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

DrunkinYogi, Dec 14, 2013
Photo of Rochefort10nh
4.97/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Alright, every time I think I've found my favorite Hill Farmstead tipple Shaun releases a new beer that is at the top of it's class. Such is the case with Birth of Tragedy. A great thank you to jammalamma for allowing me the opportunity to try this in the bottle. I had this on tap at the brewery on Saturday and then again in the bottle tonight and in each occasion I was blown away.

This beer is dark roasted black in the glass with auburn highlights when held up to the light. A very slight head is formed on a vigorous pour.

Aroma is where this beer becomes otherworldly. Deep vanilla bean, caramel, toffee, candied cashews, clarified butter in the best sense. Fine expresso with a touch of sweet cream, honey, strong agave nectar (think fine anejo tequila) - so much going on!!

Taste is strong on the nuts, agave theme with mocha and honey notes. Outstanding! There more you sip the more you discover! Vanilla and toffee really come to the fore the more the beer warms.

Mouthfeel is spot on for a barrel-aged beer. Light to moderate carbonation with a moderately heavy viscosity that belies the beer's hefty abv.

Overall just a tremendous beer from the get go and here's hoping it becomes a standard yearly release. Well done!!

Rochefort10nh, Nov 24, 2011
Photo of beernads
4.25/5  rDev -4.1%

beernads, May 18, 2013
Photo of imperialking
4.25/5  rDev -4.1%

imperialking, Dec 19, 2011
Photo of InspectorBob
5/5  rDev +12.9%

InspectorBob, Jan 01, 2012
Photo of yourefragile
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On tap at 2012 Harvest Festival.

Pours an opaque, still and ominous motor oil black with a trace mocha head that quickly dissipates. Aroma has a strong bourbon presence, blending with chocolate, molasses, vanilla, roast coffee, raisin, plum and cocoa (basically everything wonderful). Syrupy, oily thick body with gentle carbonation, little alcohol presence or cloying sweetness. Flavor of a robust porter, roast and chocolate malt, layered with molasses, burnt sugar, vanilla, bourbon. I've had good to great experiences with this (in bottle and draft) and this was one of the great ones.

yourefragile, Jan 13, 2013
Photo of corby112
4.45/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to a generous trading partner for sending this bottle. I wanted to share this but it's my birthday and I wants it.

Pours pitch black and completely opaque with a thin mocha head that immediately fades into a thin ring. Not much in the way of lacing.

Huge malt aroma that's bursting with roasted gourmet coffee, luscious chocolate and a strong barrel presence. Some prominent toasted oak along with sweet bourbon and vanilla notes followed by dark chocolate, oatmeal, coffee bean, dark fruit and toast. Complex and although the bourbon is strong, it doesn't overpower the other notes.

Slightly viscous mouthfeel with a really nice balance of bourbon barrel, molasses, luscious chocolate, dark fruit and boozy heat. Really well balanced even though there is quite a bit of bourbon flavor. Dry toasted oak along with some sweet vanilla flavor and tons of delicious, sweet bourbon. Underneath, there is a nice molasses character that adds fullness to the palate along with a strong dark malt presence. Bittersweet dark chocolate complimented by a slightly roasted, incredibly smooth coffee flavor that never becomes acrid, astringent or harsh. There's a decent amount of boozy heat in the finish but overall the high ABV is very well masked.

Overall this beer is complex, well balanced and extremely flavorful. It's refreshing to find a beer like this that isn't a complete bourbon bomb. Recommended!

corby112, Nov 28, 2011
Photo of drewone
4.25/5  rDev -4.1%

drewone, Apr 17, 2013
Photo of orangesol
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

orangesol, Sep 23, 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 dbrauneis
4.25/5  rDev -4.1%

dbrauneis, Mar 03, 2014
Photo of duceswild
4.75/5  rDev +7.2%

duceswild, Aug 13, 2013
Photo of BARFLYB
4.25/5  rDev -4.1%

BARFLYB, Mar 24, 2013
Photo of Huhzubendah
4.76/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The beer is near black with an inch of dense, beige foam atop the beer. Looks thick and a bit viscous. Fabulous aroma. Honey emerges more than coffee. Grandiose and lovely honey presence in both the scent and flavor. Beautiful blend of flavors here. Roast and honey marry up to form a slightly sweet, chocolaty beer with just enough bittering hops to balance it all out. Silky smooth on the palate. Long lasting aftertaste. Bourbon character is subtle. This beer is all about balance. If any one ingredient stands out, it is certainly the honey. Yet another fabulous brew from Hill Farmstead.

Huhzubendah, Jan 13, 2014
Photo of Gonzoillini
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

Gonzoillini, Dec 18, 2011
Photo of mdaschaf
4.54/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Paul for sharing this one.

A: Pours black with a small mocha colored head on top. A small head forms upon pouring, but quickly reduces to a thin ring on top. Very thin lace randomly forms on the glass.

S: Lots of dark fruit upfront, some cherry and plum. Underneath is plenty of chocolate, a little mocha, oak, and some bourbon. The spices and vanilla are rather faint.

T: Great cherry chocolate flavor upfront, the chocolate is quite rich, almost like brownie/fudge. The bourbon comes through very even and smooth, not overpowering at all, with some vanilla and a little oak.

M: Medium to full bodied with low carbonation.

O: A very good beer, the flavor profile was fantastic - the blend of dark fruit and chocolate was great. The flavors imparted by the barrels blended in very nicely.

mdaschaf, May 28, 2013
Photo of billab914
4.4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Rhettroactive for sharing a 500 ml bottle of this the other night. It poured Pitch black with a trace amount of tiny tan bubbles sticking to the edges of the glass. Pretty still looking, but the color is pretty good.

The aroma shows off the coffee and vanilla notes very well. Very light on the bourbon but I get a little brown sugar sweetness. The dark chocolate notes I get are very rich in it and really good.

In the taste I get more bitter sweet chocolate mixing with the roasted coffee favors. Vanilla, brown sugar and some honey sweetness come out in the finish with just a bit of bourbon as well. The roasted, bitter malts and the sweetness of the additions and barrel aging balance each other very well. Very drinkable with some very bold and delicious favors.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied for the style and slick. Carbonation is very low, but I like low carbonation in these type of beers. Overall it had some very good and unique flavors to it. The bold, bitter coffee really worked well with sweeter honey and vanilla flavors. Really good beer overall.

billab914, May 08, 2012
Photo of Kelp
5/5  rDev +12.9%

Kelp, Jan 04, 2012
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.3/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured out a mostly black and dark brown liquid. Very small ring of tan head on it, almost instantly wisps itself away. Head banished to the land of wind and ghosts.

Aroma is inviting, bourbon, vanilla, honey and tons of roasted coffee and malt. Pretty good.

Taste drops a good amount of coffee and chocolate up front, the barrel warmth and honey seem to produce a citrus like quality along with the others. Complex, but not overly. Pretty enjoyable. The booze is there, but far from distracting or problematic. Vanilla rolls along, mild sweetness. Mild carbonation throughout the experience. Leaves the mouthfeel heavy hanging. Might be some brown sugar along the way, but this is far from a diabetes beer (not that I have a problem with those either). Coffee is in the background, but you don't have to search for it either. What this beer does really well is have a multitude of flavors, but none of them dominate, they play well with each other.

Best bottle I've ever had from Hill Farmstead (although not as great as some of their 1L growlers of the hoppy stuff).

Thanks to jh1982 for bringing this one to March Madness 2013. No thanks to David Hurley at the El Dorado Casino (a normally really cool place supportive of craft beer). Don't tell us we can have a bottle share, and then renege on your word two days later. Sorry our money is not welcome at your casino I guess.

Beerandraiderfan, Apr 18, 2013
Photo of Zaphog
4.25/5  rDev -4.1%

Zaphog, Jan 09, 2013
Photo of HopHead84
4.6/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12/16/2011

Bottle courtesy of bring, thanks! Snifter.

A: Black with a finger of dense light brown froth. Retention is good.

S: Pronounced dark chocolate and oak blend with a subtle char and light spicy notes that almost remind me of chili peppers, though I don't think those were added. Vanilla wafts from the glass and I get a whisper of smoke which accompanies a firm bourbon presence, earthy coffee, and faint caramel notes. Roasted grains are pronounced. Smells great.

T: Sweet up front, reminiscent of brown sugar, with a lower earthy bitterness, moderately roasted malt, and pronounced bourbon. Vanilla is light, and coffee is pervasive yet well integrated. For 11% the booze is very tame in the flavor. Cocoa is powerful and I get lighter notes of caramel and vanilla. The finish shows an increase in bourbon character.

M: Full in body with medium carbonation that eventually becomes low due to me swirling the damn glass so much. The mouthfeel is silky, sticky, and smooth.

Overall: I've never had Twilight of the Idols, but Birth of Tragedy is a fine beer.

HopHead84, Dec 17, 2011
Birth Of Tragedy from Hill Farmstead Brewery
98 out of 100 based on 853 ratings.