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Fear And Trembling - Hill Farmstead Brewery

Not Rated.
Fear And TremblingFear And Trembling

Educational use only; do not reuse.

57 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 57
Hads: 315
Avg: 4.25
pDev: 18.82%
Wants: 103
Gots: 35 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Hill Farmstead Brewery visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
Baltic Porter |  9.30% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: MasterSki on 01-21-2013

Fear and Trembling was Hill Farmstead’s first collaboration—a Baltic-style porter brewed with malt that was hand smoked over maple wood by our Danish friend, and former colleague, Anders Kissmeyer. This batch was brewed with malt that was hand-smoked over a blend of native woods, then fermented in the traditional way, with lager yeast, and conditioned in stainless steel.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 57 | Hads: 315
Photo of Jmerril77
4.89/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

One of the best smoked porters I've ever had.

Appearance is dark, thick, and a dark caramel head
Aroma is very smokey...especially the first sniff
Taste is smokey, bitter, and chocolately

I enjoy many of Hill Farmstead's beers. This is one of my favorites.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.68/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Big thanks to Kyle for this one... and all things Hill Farmstead. 500ml capped bottle into a Brooklyn Brewery snifter. Shared with schen9303.

Pours a 1.5 finger frothy, coffee colored head with moderate retention. Beer is pitch black. Lacing is patchy and stringy with good stick. Thin legs. Great looking brew.

Nose is maple, smoked and roasted malt, liquorice, cocoa, and bittersweet chocolate. Very deep with the perfect balance of sweetness and smokiness. Aromatic too. Awesome!

Opens smoke, ash, and roasted malt. Maple and molasses sweetness creeps in to keep things balanced in the middle. Chocolate and liquorice coupled with cocoa powder and more maple towards the end. Sweet, sticky finish with a lingering, smoky, meaty aftertaste kind of like maple bacon. I don't like smoked beers for the most part but this is very, very impressive.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth and silky in the mouth and goes down slick and oily. Messy finish with a sweet, light, but lingering aftertaste. Really good.

I'm not a huge fan of smoked beers in general but again, this is just an outstanding brew that's been expertly crafted. Another extremely impressive Hill Farmstead offering. Now I have to find the barrel-aged variations!

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Photo of morebeergood
4.59/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A friend brought me back a growler from VT. Poured into stemmed glasses. Dark brown body with light beige head. Tons of smoke aroma up front. Taste was a great blend of smoke, chocolate, and wood. Very nice body, which was perfect for a Baltic Porter, but smooth enough to make an over 9% beer very drinkable. Overall, a pleasure to drink and quite a treat, so thanks to Joey G.

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Photo of Kinsman
4.53/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Holy smoke Batman! Fills the class with a dark and sexy black body and capped by a nice bit of dark mocha colored head. First whiff is beautifully smokey character thats more on the campfire side of things but has some bacon/meaty quality as well. The underlying porter comes across a bit sweet on the nose with chocolate and brown sugar notes.

First sip reveals a great balance of smoked beer and porter qualities. Most other smoked porters I've had seem to seriously lack on the smoked side of things but this one gets right up there with a big but not overpowering woody smoke flavor. And of course, as one would expect from HF, even without the smoked malt this porter would be among the best. Creamy and a bit sweet but not cloying at all. Chocolate and maple notes pair well with the smokey character. Nice full-bodied mouth feel but it's scary how easily this beer goes down at 9% ABV.

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Photo of flexabull
4.53/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of donfrap, thanks again!

Pours a dark brown color with a decent lightly tan colored head.

Aromas are quite nice. Nice blend of dark bitter bakers chocolate and light hints of smoked malts.

Taste really kicks it up more than I expected from the nose, and in a good way. Taste starts off with light cocoa, then kicks in a nice mixture of smoke flavors. I notice light peat, dark roasted coffee, smoked meats, char, and campfire which all join in, but don't overpower at all like these flavors often do. Finish is bitter, with a nice mineral note. This beer really does a wonderful job balancing the smoke flavors with the baltic porter flavors.

Mouthfeel is nice. Very smooth and full bodied. I like a touch more body, but that's a nit pick at this point.

Overall, this is outstanding. One of the best beers I have had in months, and at ths point it is easily my favorite from Hill Farmstead. The balance of flavors is done with a deft hand, very well crafted and delicious. I want another bottle or 10.

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Photo of AMCimpi
4.53/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark black with a nice tan head
S: Super smoky and some dark chocolate.
T: Some chocolate, a little roast on the back end and a whole bunch of smoke all the way through.
M: Medium to Full, creamy
O: Another great one from Shaun Hill, just a great smoky baltic porter. I'm not a smoky beer guy, but this one works so well

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Photo of cfrances33
4.51/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a Hill Farmstead stem.

Pour: Splashy black with a nice two fingers of foamy tan head. Nice lacing, and the head hangs around for most of the glass.

Smell: Lots of roasted chocolate and coffee up front, and a clean char. Some smoke, but not a ton. Like burnt oak.

Taste: Not as smokey as the nose would lead you to believe. Lots of dark roasted coffee and some milk chocolate. Smoke comes through mostly on the finish, with vanilla, roastiness, and a clean smoke.

Mouthfeel: Very nice and creamy. Carb is just right on this one. The smoke isn't over powering, but half a bottle was plenty for me.

Overall: Well executed, and one of the few smoked beers I have enjoyed.

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Photo of davey101
4.49/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled January 2013, 500 ml bottle into a tulip glass.

A - Pours a dark, dark brown body. Just a shade below black. Two fingers of mocha foam settles to a one finger cap of long lasting foam. Excellent lacing and moderate retention.

S - Smokey malts, ham, chocolate, coffee and a nice mineral bite. The smell is just phenomenal, smokey and rich with just enough sweetness and bitterness to keep things in check.

T - Starts off smokey and savory. Smooth milk chocolate and bitter coffee beans come to the rescue to provide some balance. Finishes with lasting ash and sweetness. This is a top notch smoked porter. Very delicious with the perfect level of smoke.

M - Medium bodied and creamy. Moderate level of carbonation.

O - I'm not a big fan of smoked beers, but this is right up there with Alaskan Smoked as the best I've ever had. Really great stuff.

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Photo of BoldRulerVT
4.49/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured on tap at Farmhouse in Burlington.
Pours very, very dark almost black with no head.
Aromas are smokiness, roasted coffee, roasted malts, touch of chocolate.
Tastes incredible. FULL flavor of coffee, touch of chocolate, some caramel.
Mouthfeel is silky and smooth.
Overall, a flat out stunning porter by Shaun. Another masterpiece.

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Photo of BTVflatlander
4.48/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Waited in the February Vermont cold for two hours for this here brew.

A: As to be expected considering the type, Fear and Trembling pours a deep, silky black with a caramel head--even with the growler having been open for over 24 hours.

S: Overwhelming smoked malt overtones.

T: Taste is predominantly maple and smoke dominated. It is true to the style for sure, and is without doubt the best baltic porter I've had.

M: Neither especially syrupy or heavy nor weak or watery.

O: This masterpiece of Hill Farmstead was undoubtedly worth the numbingly cold wait in line and $18 it took to get in my possession--something I cannot say about many other beers.

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Photo of facundoCNB
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

A dark brown pour with a nice brown head. Smells fantastically smoky and chocolatey. Tastes fucking phenomenal, sweet smoky, with a distinct lager year flavor. Medium body chalky medium carbonation.
A wonderful beer, I'm trying not to be one sided with the whole HF thing, but this is my first offering from then and it's fucking mindblowing.

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Photo of Vonerichs
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black color with a low and tight beach sand colored head. Once the head dissipates it's left looking flat and tranquil with not even a hint of carbonation at the surface.

The smoke is subtle in the aroma and accompanied by coffee, chocolate fudge, and root beer.

The chocolate and coffee share the lead with the smoke, which pops a lot more than in the scent. It's a nice balance of sweet and smokey with just a touch of bitterness in the finish, like coffee grounds.

Mouthfeel is smooth and medium bodied. It drinks much lighter than a 9.30% beer, though.

Another great beer from HF, no surprise there. The smoke plays a big role in this one but doesn't dominate.

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Photo of nootch23
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a snifter.

A - pours a dark thick black, just like a stout. Had a small, soft white, vanilla head to it that disappears quick but hangs around at the edge of the glass.

S - right up front a heavy smokiness with coffee and notes of chocolate. a great smelling porter.

T - this is all smokiness. hints of coffee and chocolate barely come up behind all the smokey flavor to this. very smooth tasting, easy to drink. there is a little booze but very very small amount.

M - very easy, smooth porter. very refreshing and sweet and then a dryness comes up slowly. a really balanced beer.

O - very tasty porter, very enjoyable. I would put this in my Top 10 List of favorite porters. I really enjoy smokey porters and this one is kind of the ideal smokey porter. The smokiness is strong but I don't feel it's overpowering although i can see why people would think so. It's not one of the best HF beers but I definitely like this one and would buy it again. I can definitely enjoy this porter on a chilly or cold night.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Very dark brown/black pour with a thick dark toffee colored lacing ring.

S - Dark roasted chocolate and smoke fills the nose.

T - Deep, dark roasted chocolate from start to finish, towards the end a little bit of milk chocolate/cocoa pops up for a brief moment, smokiness, wood, and a nice lingering bittersweet chocolate. No alcohol burn.

M - Big medium body with a velvety texture, and dry finish.

O - An outstanding porter with the 9% ABV dangerously hidden.

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Photo of PHBoiler
4.44/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

I believe this was a 1/2013 bottle.

Minimal head with deep brown/black body and slight reddish brown hues when swirled in the glass.

Plenty of smoke on the nose with some roastiness as well.

Minimal smoke in the taste with smooth roast. Body shows the baltic porter style well. Smooth and easily drinkable cold or as it warmed. Mouthfeel is near perfect. The body is so well done like any HF beer I've had. Very refined. High end version of the baltic porter style. Smoke adds some complexity to the nose but little else. Very good beer.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.43/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to David for this bottle! Bottled in Jan 2013.

A - Poured dark brown and settled black. One finger of mocha coloured head that reduced to a thin layer. Good lacing.

S - Roast, anise and a big hit of smoke up front. Some chocolate notes in the background. The smoke is dominant without overwhelming the nose.

T - A big roasty profile with a good dose of smoke and lighter anise and chocolate flavours. A fairly big bitterness is present throughout.

M - Medium body with a huge chew. Creamy and silky. Light carbonation. Perfect mouthfeel for the style.

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Photo of MDDMD
4.43/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-dark brown black color with a nice tan head and good lacing

S-dark roasted malt, smoke, brown sugar, chocolate

T-dark roasted malt, chocolate, hints of espresso, brown sugar, all beautifully enrobed in smoke.

F-medium to full body with moderate carbonation, silky smooth and creamy

O-not usually a huge fan of smoked beers, but this is so well-balanced and has a great flavor profile that I will be drinking more

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Photo of Gosox8787
4.41/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Presentation: 500 mL bottle from the brewery. I also had this on tap at the brewery as part of the sampler. Chilled and poured into a Russian River tulip glass. Enjoyed over an hour or so.

Appearance: Dark brown to black in color. A slow forming, medium brown head that holds well and turns into a nice lacing.

Aroma: Cocoa beans, caramel and really nice, subtle smoke tones throughout. All the flavor of the malt is there without any astrigency or burnt character. More sweet than bitter in the nose. Extremely well rounded.

Taste: Really rich, well rounded smoke character. Really imparts an almost smoked meat character throughout. Strong caramel backbone with a touch of coffee balances out the smoke and really makes this tasty and drinkable. The balance of smoke and sweetness is really on point.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a touch of creaminess. Surprisingly strong bite of carbonation.

Overall, another great porter from Hill Farmstead. So much flavor, complexity and balance in such a drinkable beer. The smoke is almost perfectly balanced with sweetness from the malt. It definitely fits into the category of a smoked beer more than a baltic porter for me. It is a great beer no matter how you classify it though.

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Photo of jaasen64
4.4/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle poured into HF stemmed glass.

A- Pours a dark brown that appears an opaque jet black in the glass. Fairly minimal mocha head that quickly recedes to leave a fairly still top and some light spotty lacing.

S- Smoked beechwood malt, a bit of smoked ham blended with rich chocolate and coffee. Very nice balance and fairly aromatic that you can smell while pouring the beer into the glass.

T- Creamy rich chocolate, espresso, finishes with a nice malty smokiness that isn't too overpowering. Not as smokey as the aroma. Extremely nicely balanced with a nice lightly smoky chocolate lingering aftertaste.

M- Creamy, smooth, very easy drinking, nice carbonation for the style, almost perfect feel for a baltic porter.

O- This was a fantastic baltic porter that definitely lived up to my expectations. This isn't the smokiest baltic porter but the balance between the smoked malt and the luscious chocolate is spot on in my opinion. This is another grand slam by HF and a must try for any smoked baltic porter fan.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.37/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled January 2013.

A: Pours a mostly opaque yet clear very dark brown (approaching jet black) in color with light amounts of visible carbonation and some very dark amber + cola brown highlights. The beer has a half finger tall sudsy tan head that reduces to a medium sized medium thick patch of larger bubbles and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of dark roasted malts and roasted coffee. There are lighter hints of smoked malts and some light amounts of chocolate.

T: Upfront there are moderate to strong flavors of smoked malts and darkly roasted malts. Then there are some lighter flavors of roasted coffee and dark baker's chocolate. Moderate amounts of lingering bitterness in the finish.

M: Just heavier than medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth with some light dryness in the finish.

O: The alcohol is well hidden and there is a very nice amount of complexity in the smell and taste of this beer. Nice addition of smoked malts without getting into the medicinal flavors or aromas. Well balanced and one to enjoy.

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Photo of metter98
4.34/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is nearly jet black in color - slight traces of amber are visible near the edge of the glass when it is held up to a bright light. It poured with a thin head that died down, leaving a thin ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of dark roasted coffee beans are present in the nose. Light bits of smoke become detectable as the beer warms up.
T: Like the smell, the taste is dominated by flavors of coffee beans and dark roasted malts and also has a light amount of bitterness. Notes ofchocolate and smoke become noticeable as the beer warms up.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This is a complex yet relatively easy to drink compared to other Baltic Porters.

Note: Bottled January 2013

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Photo of Jeffo
4.34/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this one from Rutager in a summertime box. You spoil me man. Cheers!

From a 50cl bottle into a snifter
20.3 Plato

APPEARANCE: A clear, dark brown pour yields a one finger, medium looking, light tan head with good retention. Head fades to a good full wisp and frothy ring. Black body with lower levels of carbonation evident. A splotchy wisp remains leaving some falling dots of lace down the glass.

SMELL: Roasted notes, smoked malts, dark chocolate and hints of coffee as well. Smoked malts are meaty but not overpowering, letting the chocolate and light cream notes play a roll as well. Nicely balanced.

TASTE: Roasted and smoked malts up front with caramel and dark, bitter chocolate at the swallow. Big and bold aftertaste of smoky, roasted malts, bitter dark chocolate, bitter espresso with hints of sweet cream and caramel. Very flavorful and interesting, as well as showing solid balance with the smoked elements.

PALATE: Medium body and medium levels of carbonation. Very creamy on the palate, velvety smooth, goes down and finishes slightly sticky. A touch light for the style and ABV, but very, very velvety smooth.

OVERALL: Another excellent porter from HF. Complex and interesting, with appreciated constraint with the use of the smoked malts here, too much of which can be off-putting. We had the three barrel aged versions a while back and those were outstanding as well. Finally nice to try the base beer as well. Fantastic stuff Rutager. Thanks again!

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Photo of neophilus
4.34/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Served from capped bottle, label indicates stainless lagering. Dark brown ale with a foamy tan head on top. Aroma has complex layers of malt, semi-sweet chocolate mixed with brown bread and just a hint of ash from the smoked malt.

Very smooth and rich on the palate, the flavor leads with a creamy sweetness that is somewhat cut by the edge of the roasted grain and more subdued smoke flavors. The smoke is definitely way in the background of this bottle. As it warms the chocolate malt flavors coalesce into a luscious malted milkshake flavor.

Went in expecting an acrid brew showcasing smoked malt but instead found a decedent dessert porter, pleasantly surprised.

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Photo of MarcWP
4.34/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2013 vintage. Exactly one year old. Poured into Russian River glass.

Pours pitch black with little light coming through on the edges. Small, compact dark khaki colored head that lingers for a bit.

Aroma is major dark chocolate forward with campfire, coffee pot, and faint s'mores that rounds off the nose beautifully.

On the palate you get all that campfire, melted chocolate, coffee, toasted graham cracker, and sweetness almost like it was coming from lactose sugars. Perfect interpretation of the nose. And a lot more complex flavor than many other Baltic porters I've had.

The mouthfeel on this is what really showcases the mastery at HF. Definitely a heavier side of medium mouthfeel with an incredible silkiness that carries the flavor well over into the aftertaste. Perfect carbonation with a prickly pickup at the end that contradicts the silkiness but makes the pair harmonious in its affect.

Overall a great beer. I'll be honest, I've never been a big fan of Baltic porters and haven't had more than maybe 6 to 8 beers in the style. But this will stand out in my memory as one that expressed great balance and an incredible mouthfeel. Maybe the year of age on it toned down the typical roasty, smokey characteristics of Baltics and brought out an underlying sweetness that played well with the other nuances. Baltics by nature (at least the ones I've tried) are really dry. This had a milky sweetness that made it more enjoyable for me.

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Photo of Seanniek91
4.31/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From a 500ml bottle into a Woodcock Brothers Brewery pint. Holding on to this since February.

Appearance- Pitch black. Half finger of off-white head that stuck around for a while. Some pretty nice lacing.

Smell- Chocolate, coffee, some bitter vanilla and licorice, very light smoke, no booze.

Taste- Medium smoke up front, but turns into bittersweet chocolate, licorice, and light coffee notes. A slight metalicy taste. No booze for 9%.

Mouthfeel- Full bodied with medium-light carbonation.

Overall- A real solid baltic porter. I liked it a lot from the tap at the brewery, but the bottle lost some of the creaminess.

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Fear And Trembling from Hill Farmstead Brewery
93 out of 100 based on 57 ratings.