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Birth Of Tragedy - Hill Farmstead Brewery

Not Rated.
Birth Of TragedyBirth Of Tragedy

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

159 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 159
Hads: 1,022
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 9.15%
Wants: 1,021
Gots: 195 | 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:
Beer added by: s1ckboy on 11-20-2011

Imperial porter brewed with coffee and honey and aged in bourbon barrels.

2011 vintage - 11% ABV
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 159 | Hads: 1,022
Photo of vonnegut21
5/5  rDev +14.4%
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. (842 characters)

Photo of Jeffo
4.49/5  rDev +2.7%
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. (2,363 characters)

Photo of harrymel
3.95/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.75

2012 vintage

Dark brown, flat appearing beer. Smells decadent: vanilla, oak, nougat, more vanilla, bits of graham, some cocoa, a hint of dark fruits. A really nice nose. Flavor follows suite - really fine dark chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, oak, bits of minced licorice, some leather. The flavor is really nice also. Mouthfeel: this is where the beer falls apart. While full bodied with a silky feel, not even a swish through the teeth makes this bubbly, slightly wet. A real treat - with carbonation this would be hard to beat, honestly. (537 characters)

Photo of Arbitrator
4.3/5  rDev -1.6%
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. (1,878 characters)

Photo of jegross2
4.47/5  rDev +2.3%
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. (1,305 characters)

Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.95/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Josh for this one. 500ml bottle poured into a Founders snifter. Shared with schen9303.

Pours pitch black and viscous with no head. Very sparse, spotty lace and oily, thick legs. Average for the style.

Nose is booze, honey, molasses, roasted coffee, and fudge. Pretty subtle. Leaves me wanting a bit more here.

Opens sweet honey and molasses. Fudge, chocolate, and booze with some sweet prunes mixed in. Coffee presence is noticeably missing probably because of the age of this one. More booziness floats around at the end, complementing the robust honey, molasses and fudge flavors. Finishes sweet and bourbon-y. Aftertaste of sweet roasted malt, chocolate, and fudge. Tasty but a bit one-dimensional without the coffee.

Medium bodied and nearly flat. Viscous, slick, and oily in the mouth and warm and smooth going down. Messy finish with a long, lingering aftertaste. This might not be for everyone but I like my heavier beers a bit flat and this fits the bill for me.

Pretty sure this one is past its prime at this point. However, that doesn't mean its not good. Flavor is decidedly a bit one-dimensional but its still everything you could want from a barrel-aged porter. Warming and delicious. I'd love to revisit this fresh if its ever made again. (1,269 characters)

Photo of macrosmatic
3.64/5  rDev -16.7%
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. (1,493 characters)

Photo of sholland119
4.41/5  rDev +0.9%
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 (552 characters)

Photo of jvillefan
4.66/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Very black body with an extremely minimal mocha colored head that disappears very quickly.

S: Sweet roasted malts with notes of bourbon running throughout the aroma.

T: A dark chocolate flavor starts off the flavor nicely. It then transitions to a sweet bourbon flavor then finally becomes the flavor of deeply roasted malts.

M: Perfect viscosity and creaminess but this beer is under carbonated.

O: Amazing beer. My one problem with it is that it is not a porter. It's a stout. (485 characters)

Photo of jaasen64
4.2/5  rDev -3.9%
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. (1,335 characters)

Photo of CrellMoset
4.49/5  rDev +2.7%
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%. (3,479 characters)

Photo of inlimbo77
4.31/5  rDev -1.4%
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. (771 characters)

Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.77/5  rDev +9.2%
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. (1,772 characters)

Photo of Phelps
4.36/5  rDev -0.2%
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. (918 characters)

Photo of BarrytheBear
3.66/5  rDev -16.2%
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. (1,733 characters)

Photo of Chico1985
3.86/5  rDev -11.7%
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. (819 characters)

Photo of Damian
4.66/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank on-tap at Armsby Abbey, Worcester, MA
Served in a Hill Farmstead stemmed glass

Deep brown/black and slightly watery in appearance. The liquid was topped by a thin film of large, caramel colored bubbles.

The aroma was intense. Amazingly rich and smooth with super strong notes of bourbon. Loads of vanilla and brown sugar sweetness. Chocolate fudge. Dark roast coffee notes came through as well. Tons of caramel and roasted malts. One of the most amazing smelling beers I have come across in quite a while.

The flavor profile was similar to the nose. Bourbon notes were immediately apparent. Lots of brown sugar on the front end. Super smooth, French roast coffee notes came through strong. Tons of vanilla and sweet cream. As the beer warmed, the vanilla intensified. Just a touch of espresso on the finish. For such a bourbon-forward beer, the alcohol was remarkably well buried.

The mouthfeel was lighter bodied (particularly for a beer of this magnitude) and contained a super fine and mild amount of carbonation. By the drink's end, the liquid felt nearly flat.

Birth Of Tragedy is a very sweet, rich and intensely flavored beer. Aside from the disappointing mouthfeel, this was definitely the most impressive porter I have ever tried. (1,250 characters)

Photo of Devman171
4.31/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle, fresh, pour is black with low tan head. Aroma is bourbon, pal, roast, chocolate. Taste is bourbon and oak that gives to roast, and a light sweet and floral roast finish. (178 characters)

Photo of jmarsh123
4.1/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Pours pitch black with no head at all. Slight beige cling around the edge of the glass.

Aroma features a ton of vanilla along with a bourbon kick, some roasted malts and sweet chocolate.

Thankfully not quite as sweet as the nose would indicate. Lots of good roasted coffee mingle with the vanilla to produce a good milk chocolate flavor backed up by a kiss of bourbon. Gets a bit boozier as it warms, but very well integrated and never gets overpowering, but complements the base beer. A little residual sweetness although the roasty and sweet flavors balance supremely well.

And here is the bugaboo. I don't think I've ever had a HF beer that did not ace the carbonation test. Whatever the style, they all seem to be perfect and that's what makes this even more disappointing. Good creamy texture, but almost no carbonation. I'm talking near HOTD & Kuhnhenn levels of nothingness. I think a style like this should have lower carbonation, but this level almost mutes the flavors and make it taste almost like stale Irish coffee despite the excellent flavors and great barrel integration.

What could have been. These are some of the most outstanding flavors I've ever had in a porter, but the mouthfeel just makes this a good not great beer for me. That said, it's still pretty impressive that I completely hate one aspect of this and it's still a solid beer. If you like extremely low carbonation levels then you'll love this one as the flavors are great, but if you don't you'll end up just a bit disappointed. (1,515 characters)

Photo of Vonerichs
4.06/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pitch black color. There's a gathering of a dozen large bubbles in the center, but otherwise no trace of carbonation whatsoever. I'm a little concerned about the flat appearance.

Ok, aroma takes it up a few levels. Robust scents of vanilla, oak, tobacco, leather, and coffee. I'm more encouraged now.

The flavor is vivid and displays good bourbon qualities of charred oak, vanilla, and leather. Coffee and chocolate, but...

Very flat. The consistency is right where it should be but there's no carbonation.

Wow, what a roller coaster. I guess they got it right in the two most important categories, but the mouthfeel is a bummer. This is a really, really good beer that could be great with just a little carbonation. (723 characters)

Photo of Hugonaut13
4.37/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

500ml bottle poured into HF stem. Thanks to cfrances33 for this bottle!

A - Pours a deep black with minimal head. Bubbles retain around the edge of the glass.

S - Smells of roasted coffee and vanilla. No scent overpowers the other. Smells good.

T - Immediately thrown into a pool of chocolate, caramel, vanilla, sweetness. Like a chocolate brownie. All the flavors meld together very well as it warms up. Finishes with some coffee bitterness. Very tasty BA porter.

M - This isn't completely flat anymore. Quite smooth. Low alcohol presence.

O - This is a beer that definitely should be consumed at 50 degrees or higher. At lower temps, the coffee aspect was a bit off putting and seemed like it tried to rush the delicious brownie taste out of your mouth. This beer drinks like BBPt5's little brother. (809 characters)

Photo of kingcrowing
4/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle poured into a hill farmstead tulip.

Pours a pitch black that's thick as oil. Nose is sweet, malty lots of vanilla and a bit of honey.

Taste is chocolate and roasty, sweet lots of oaky vanilla with a bit of a hot finish. Overall its really creamy and delicious. I don't quite taste it as an imperial twilight but its still very good. (347 characters)

Photo of Goblinmunkey7
3.74/5  rDev -14.4%
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. (1,367 characters)

Photo of GonzoHomebrewer
4.72/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

One of my favorites...

A- Jet black, but no head whatsoever, a few bubbles...maybe something you could call in passing, a "thin lacing" but no, no head.

S- Epic richness. Gobs of various layers of vanilla followed up by deep roasted coffee notes, some sweetened mocha...just fantastic

T- Doesn't seem quite as well rounded as the nose just yet; dominated by the bourbon vanilla sweetness with some signs of the coffee poking through

M- this is pretty flat and some bubbles would help make this more drinkable...but why would you want to drink it any quicker? Sip and Savor. I honestly think it doesn't detract really, just makes all the flavors stick to your palette.

O- I never get tired of this beer. I could drink it all day (733 characters)

Photo of angrybabboon
3.79/5  rDev -13.3%
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. (1,318 characters)

Birth Of Tragedy from Hill Farmstead Brewery
96 out of 100 based on 159 ratings.