Birth Of Tragedy - Hill Farmstead Brewery

Not Rated.
Birth Of TragedyBirth Of Tragedy

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BA SCORE
98
world-class

900 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 900
Reviews: 146
rAvg: 4.45
pDev: 8.99%
Wants: 936
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: 900 | Reviews: 146 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of billab914
4.4/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

Photo of HopHead84
4.6/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

Photo of atrocity
4.63/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Zaphog
4.25/5  rDev -4.5%

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.08/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

500 mL bottle poured into a snifter. 2011 bottle. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Viscous black with brown edges. No head. Big mocha bubbles, though.

Smell - Bourbon and coffee blend nicely. Vanilla. The coffee has a nice earthy character. Not a lot of porter comes through, but it doesn't matter much.

Taste - Nice bourbon and vanilla. Lots of coffee. Reminiscent of KBS in its earthy coffee flavor. Milk chocolate with a slight winey finish.

Mouthfeel - Heavy. Viscous for a porter, although that's arguable. Very low carbonation.

Overall - So it isn't as magical as I had hoped, but it's still damn good. Remarkably good, but the bar that Hill Farmstead has set for itself makes me feel the slightest disappointment when the beer isn't perfection.

Photo of Cynic-ale
4/5  rDev -10.1%

Photo of Rhettroactive
4.2/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

From 500mL bottle to Devil's Backbone glass on 5/5/12
*From notes

-- Gotta shout out to baconsausage for the swap. Cheers, Tucker --

A: Warm muddy brown in hue. A generous pour yields no head or lacing. The tiniest of creamy collars rims the glass.

S: Smokey, minty, herbaceous and much, much more. Extremely complex. Unlike any other bouquet I've encountered. Utterly unique.

T: The thing that I'm beginning to realize about HF is that they're literally blazing new trails within the craft brewing world. Sure, they may produce traditional styles and age in barrels, but what they bottle tastes unlike anything else in-style. This is no exception. Smokehouse smoke, rich unroasted coffee, dark and moody malts, mild bourbon, garden herbs and a touch of warm honey. Once you pick up on one of the flavor notes, it's immediately "on to the next one." Wild stuff.

M: Thin and a bit undercarbed. I'm gonna assume the barrels are guilty of this, yet it's still not quite right.

O: This is a pretty wonderful bottle of beer. You've got to go in with an open mind, folks. This isn't your Daddy's Porter. Rather it's pushing the limits and boundaries of the style, and really making you think about what you're consuming. I've got a lot of respect for what HF is doing.

Now if they'd only drop the hipster beer names....

Photo of johnnnniee
3.5/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3.5

Brought back from the north by a friend, thanks for the hookup Matt.
Pours a solid black color with about forty bubbles eventually making their way to the surface. Yup this one is flat. Smells of chocolate brownie batter, coconut, light bourbon, coffee, a bit of oak tannin and some sugary sweetness to tie this all together. The flavor is sweet and chocolatey with a bit of coconut, caramel, roast, warming alcohol, tannin, and earthy hop to provide some balance. This tastes like an alcoholic mounds bar really. Medium to thick body with a non existent level of carbonation and a sweet syrupy sugary mouthfeel. This honestly smells wonderful, tastes good, but the lack of bubbles messes with the mouthfeel a bit leaving a syrupy feel to it. I'd love to try this with bubbles.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.3/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

Photo of chippo33
4.25/5  rDev -4.5%

Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.4/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle thanks to shawnm213

500ml poured into a Bruery Tulip glass.

A - Pours a dark brown with a small dark brown head that slowly fades to the edges.

S - Sweet coffee, almost like soy sauce.

T - Whiskey, chocolate, coffee, lots of carmel and vanilla. So very good.

D - Avearage carbonation and body for the style.

O - A wierd smell, but the taste is just so nice. My wife was fighting me over this one. Thanks so much Shawn for this one.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.71/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Thanks to David for this bottle!
2012 Vintage poured in to HF Stemmed Tulip.

A - Deep black with half a finger of light brown head and good retention.

S - Sweet bourbon, oak and vanilla up front from the barrel, followed by a big hit of espresso, chocolate fudge and molasses. A fantastic nose!

T - Charred oak, sweet bourbon and vanilla flavours give way to chocolate fudge, molasses and dark roasted coffee and a light dark cherry flavour. The finish is somewhat dry with a lingering vanilla sweetness and charred oak flavour.

M - Medium body. Creamy. Light carbonation.

Photo of drummermattie02
3.5/5  rDev -21.3%

Photo of Lare453
4.25/5  rDev -4.5%

Photo of xnicknj
4.5/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of jrallen34
3.75/5  rDev -15.7%

Photo of claspada
4.5/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of kscaldef
4.5/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of aasher
3.25/5  rDev -27%

Photo of Axnjxn
4/5  rDev -10.1%

Photo of bsuedekum
4.5/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of DefenCorps
4.26/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle. 2012 vintage (9.0%) that I got from gn0sis. Thanks!

Pouring black with a slowly rising reverse-cascading head that falls off to a thin but choppy bubbly dark brown head, this looks pretty good. The nose is very, very good. Honey, caramel, dark chocolate and fresh coffee form the bulk of what this beer expresses on the nose. A moderate bourbon character is present with a blend of vanilla, coconut and a boozy accent. The base porter, which is an imperial version of Twilight, seems rich and strong enough to stand up to the adjuncts. The dark chocolate complements the vanilla, the honey complements the bourbon, and the medium-roasted coffee is wholly pleasant. I can see why people compare this beer to Eclipse.

The palate opens with a big, boozy, bourbon dark chocolate bite. Despite the fact that this is quite sweet with caramel and honey and without enough roast to temper the sweetness, the complexity and layered flavors do make this beer very enjoyable. Some molasses, some toffee, a little bit of brown sugar and buckwheat honey are layered here. There is, of course, chocolate and coffee. While the nose suggests dark coffee, the mid-palate brings to mind medium-dark chocolate. Faintly spicy, and while it isn't wholly clear that the spice character isn't from the alcohol, there's just a hint of cinnamon. With the sweetness and slight oiliness that the chocolate character has, it brings to mind a ganache. Medium in body with light carbonation, this beer is rather excellent on the palate. The finish is long and delicate, with a blend of honey, chocolate and coffee. Alcohol is well-hidden.

In short: imagine if Deschutes brewed The Abyss with an Eclipse-like base - rich, delicate and nuanced, but sweet. Highly recommended.

Photo of tectactoe
4.5/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of eawolff99
3.75/5  rDev -15.7%

Photo of LoveStout
3.75/5  rDev -15.7%

Birth Of Tragedy from Hill Farmstead Brewery
98 out of 100 based on 900 ratings.