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Damon (Double Barrel Aged) - Hill Farmstead Brewery

Not Rated.
Damon (Double Barrel Aged)Damon (Double Barrel Aged)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
99
world-class

116 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 116
Reviews: 19
rAvg: 4.56
pDev: 8.77%
Wants: 348
Gots: 25 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Hill Farmstead Brewery visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  ABV ?

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: MasterSki on 04-25-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

1 year in Port, 1 year in Van Winkle Bourbon.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 116 | Reviews: 19
Photo of doremite
4.84/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Amazing how both the port and bourbon both come through in this week almost separately with each and every sip. This is the best damon varietal to date. Drank this Christmas 2014 and damn I wish it wasn't both so good and so scarce.

Photo of Davepoolesque
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Smelling bitter dark chocolate, picking up the port. I honestly don't know what to think of this beer. I think it's so extremely balanced and the flavors are so incredibly harmonized that its hard to pick out any real standout flavors. The only bad thing about this beer it has very little to no carbonation. Don't really mind that though. Huge alcohol that I can only detect because it warms my chest up. Superb.

Photo of blabaer
5/5  rDev +9.6%

Review from 10/26/2014. Opened alongside the most recent batches of Bourbon Damon and Port Damon, alongside a bunch of other amazing stouts, including KBBS. Prior to this tasting, Bourbon Damon was my favorite non-adjunct stout. I suspect you can guess where this is going...

A: Jet black. Somehow marginally darker than Bourbon Damon. Port Damon was quite carbonated comparatively, but the carb here was a light hiss upon opening, equivalent to Bourbon Damon. Almost no head whatsoever. Viscous, as I like my stouts.

S: The depth of the barrel characters is astonishing. This completely blows the smell of Bourbon Damon out of the water. Possibly the richest layers of chocolate, coffee, bourbon, red wine, and slight vanilla imaginable. The perfect non-adjunct stout smell. By comparison, the nose on Port Damon was weak. Astonishingly though, compared to this, Bourbon Damon also feels sparse. Eye opening to smell them next to each other. Without tasting them, I can tell this is starkly superior.

M: Silk. Not overbearingly thick, nor thin whatsoever. The additional year in the barrels really mellowed this out perfectly. I can't help but think I am drinking this at exactly the right juncture in its lifecycle.

T: The taste begins with rich perfect bourbon, more intense than Bourbon Damon despite spending the same time in bourbon barrels. Somehow, this is immensely darker and richer. The profile continues with layers of molasses, espresso, chocolate, vanilla, caramel. Then, the port finish takes this to the next level. A perfect red wine acidity mellows the final gasp of flavor, not overbearing, as young Port Damon was for me. Didn't think this could be that perfectly balanced given my pre-disposition against red wine characters in stouts.

O: A masterwork. This beer is especially remarkable given that there are no other ingredients besides Malt, Hops, Yeast, and Water. This beer succeeds because it is significantly greater than the sum of its parts. Obviously, we had to blend regular Bourbon and Port together to see how it matched up. Not even friggin' close. Truly, this is Shaun at his absolute finest.

Photo of cpetrone84
4/5  rDev -12.3%

From notes. Drank next to bourbon Damon. Pour is black with chestnut reddish head. Nose has more bourbon and wood than bourbon Damon. More fudge and rich chocolate with a hint of astringency and some roasted malt behind. Taste is a bit sweeter and less bourbon notes. Fudgy malt with brown sugar and caramel, a bit sweet in the finish. Full bodied and softer carbonation with a lightly dry finish. After having port as well, this is my favorite but all are a bit too sweet.

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.65/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Damon trio. Thanks to ygtbsm94 for providing this awesome bottle.

The beer is dark brown with a faint hint of a brown collar. The aroma offers port, chocolate, red wine, oak. Delicious flavor. Complex and refined. Fantastic beer. Nearly absent carbonation, soft on the palate. A delightful beer to sip. What a treat.

Photo of huddyball
4.89/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Ok, so I held onto this long enough. Bought this bottle at the release in September on my first ever trip to Hill Farmstead. Bottle is dated 5/2013. Poured into a stemmed Hill Farmstead glass.

A) Jet black with no head and no carbonation whatsoever. Obviously this comes to no surprise , after all we're talking about a brew that had needed over 2 years before it was put in a bottle.

S) WOW. You get the bourbon and the wine, a slight edge to the wine. The booziness of both port and bourbon are there too.

T) OK, I'm a novice at this but I'll do my best. The bourbon hits first with vanilla, chocolate, caramel, and oak. Next you get the port which when blended with the bourbon gets a bit of raspberry/wine combo, this aspect seems to really shine as it warms. Quite exquisite and surprising. The booze is still prevalent here too.

M) Not overly thick, but a nice coating as I sip. It allows for the flavors to linger between sips (which is nice since I'm nursing this puppy).

O) Hands down one of the amazing beers I've ever had the privilege to try. Super complex and something that will be hard to beat.

Photo of Jeffo
4.83/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Tommy brought the whole set to our latest Moeder Lambic tasting a few weeks ago. Cheers man! Lots of fun for sure.

From a 375 into a tasting glass.
Vintage: 2013

APPEARANCE: Just like regular Damon. A sludgy black, thick pour yields a small, tight, tan head with very good retention. Head fades to a good wisp and ring. Pitch black in color with no carbonation evident. A swirling wisp and ring remain until the end and leaves dots of lacing down the glass. Thick and nasty looking with a perfect looking head for the style. Top notch.

SMELL: Closer resembles the bourbon Damon, though notes of the port are definitely in there. Plenty of bourbon barrel, with oak, vanilla and coconut on the nose. A bit of port wine and grapes in there, with hints of chocolate, molasses and roasted malt from the base beer. Really good.

TASTE: Follows the nose nicely, with an accent on the bourbon over the port. Lots of barrel with vanilla, coconut, oak, with a touch of tart wine and dark grapes at the swallow. Just enough of the port to give it extra complexity. Big finish of bourbon barrel, oak, sweet vanilla and coconut, a touch of port and some roasted malt, bitter dark chocolate and molasses from the base beer all linger in very nice harmony. Very well balanced and incredibly flavorful. Doesn't get any better than this.

PALATE: Full body, thick and heavy on the palate, with lower levels of carbonation. Creamy on the palate, goes down fine with a bit of a bite at the swallow, though well measured, and finishes slightly sticky. Some heat lingers. Could be a touch smoother, but it's full, heavy, and plenty dominating.

OVERALL: It's a complete toss up between this one and the regular bourbon Damon. They might be the best two BA stouts in the world as well. Loved every drop of this. The bourbon character is more prevalent than the port here, which suits my preferences for sure, though the wine does add another layer of complexity to the experience. The look and feel of this one resembles the bourbon variant more as well, which is world class for sure. Perhaps the best to date. Thanks again for bringing these Tommy, and cheers to everyone for a fun filled weekend.

Photo of portia99
3.99/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Armsby Abbey during Stout Fest 2014. Poured into a stemmed wine glass.

A - Pours a deep brown color. No head, just faint bubbles on the edges of the glass...looks still. Nice legs on the glass, coating the glass entirely on a swirl. Clear mahogany highlights around the edges.

S - Quite boozy on the nose - bourbon, ethanol, vanilla, caramel, cocoa powder, roasty malt with a toffee-ish sweetness.

T - Vanilla, sweet and smooth. Noticable bourbon, rather boozy. Only faint traces of time in the port barrels. Bourbon dominates the profile. Caramel, toffee, molasses, nougat...a bit candy bar like. Roasty with cocoa backed by bourbon.

M - A bit thin and watery, definitely doesn't rate any higher than a medium body. Practically still - hardly any carbonation at all. Boozy, oaky, vanilla-y.

O - Good, but a bit of a let down. Had huge expectations for this when I saw it on the tap list. Definitely happy to try it, but really wasn't that impressive. Lack of carbonation was a true flaw, combined with a watery, thin mouthfeel. Flavors were good but nothing special.

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.88/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Bottle pour at Dave's tasting.

Pours a thick black, with no head and no lacing. No visible carbonation either, even if there was I wouldn't be able to see it through the abyss that is the body of this beer.

Smells like chocolate, port, bourbon, and vanilla. So good, so rich, and just awesome.

The port comes through stronger in the taste than the bourbon, which is interesting, given it was more recently in bourbon barrels. Strong vinous port flavor is folded very nicely into the body of the beer. Some great chocolate flavors as well, along with cookie dough, bourbon, oak, vanilla. Not much roasted malt flavor left after the extended double barrel session, but it's a little noticeable near the end as it warms up.

Velvety, creamy mouthfeel. Don't know the ABV, not stated on the bottle, but I'm guessing it's 11-12%. At that estimated ABV, it drinks incredibly well. There are strong pure bourbon and port flavors, but there is no alcohol presence, really. Hidden so well. Medium body, slightly thin, maybe. Completely flat, no carbonation.

I feel incredibly lucky to have tried this beast of a beer. This one wrings a hell of a lot of flavor into your mouth, with just a regular, well crafted stout and two barrels, and no adjuncts. F'in amazing beer.

Photo of jegross2
4.92/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Reviewing the Double Barrel Damon from the Hill Farmstead Brewery out of Greensboro, Vermont. This Russian Imperial Stout is Damon aged one year in port barrels, and then one year in van winkle whiskey barrels.

Score: 99

2013 vintage bottle served in a stemmed Hill Farmstead bulb glass and enjoyed on 02/22/14.

Appearance: Pours a dark, rich syrup color that is almost black in color with some bubbles that quickly and completely dissipate. No head really, nor any lacing. There is a nice browning to the sides of the glass from swirling with solid legs too. 4.5/5

Smell: Hot fudge, dark chocolate, bourbon, and light vanilla, with the port character beginning to come through as it begins to breath. A kiss of a generic hop aroma too. So much chocolate/fudge, which only amplifies as it warms. I could smell this beer all day! 5/5

Taste: Port and sweetness upfront following by a fudgey bourbon finish and a mild bitterness that cuts through the upfront sweetness. The fudgey finish is long lasting, and intensifies as it warms up. Caramel, molasses, vanilla and a hint of fruit too. Near-perfect mix of bourbon and port and chocolate here. 5/5

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, minimal carbonation. Full/full-medium bodied; amply thick, but not the most viscous stout that I have encountered. Dry finish. Great balance of sweet and bitter characters here. 4.5/5

Overall: Masterfully blended! I was shocked by how much I enjoyed this, considering that I was not a big fan of Port Damon. The bourbon and port characteristics mingle nicely, with chocolate notes for days. The bitterness on the finish imparted a nice balance, and made it all too drinkable. All-in-all, this beer took a personal favorite (bourbon Damon) to a whole new level of excellence. This one is absolutely worth seeking out!

Cost: $35 for a 375 ml bottle.

Photo of SadMachine
4.96/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Reviewed from notes from 12/31/13

A- Pours a thick, viscous black with almost no head whatsoever, but that's expected with this spending 2 years in barrels! Nice alcohol legs when swirled.

S- Wow, the aroma is incredibly broad and deep! The bourbon is in charge at first, with oak, char, molasses, honey, and vanilla. This is followed by red wine, burnt sugar, coffee, and a mild tartness. Though I'm tipsy right now, I feel this aroma is perfect!

T- This tastes very similar to the nose, though there's significantly more roast/coffee than expected. This is a super complex and delicious brew! Sweet and chocolaty at first, followed by, coffee, oak, dry red wine, tart and sweet cherry and raspberry. There is also some moderate warming booze. The chocolate is both bitter (like baker's) and sweet (like dark raspberry chocolate). Honestly, if I wasn't tipsy I would expound, but this is incredible, and I just want to drink it!

M- The mouth feel is thick, creamy, and velvety smooth. Amazing!

O- This is the best stout, and probably the best beer I've ever had! So complex, yet perfectly balanced!

Photo of jaasen64
4.74/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

375ml bottle poured into HF oversized wine glass. Thanks Don (DonFrap) for sharing during our big Damon tasting.

A- Pours a dark black, some slight bubbles but not really any head, not much carbonation, some slight alcohol legs.

S- Nice balance between port and bourbon, fudge, dark chocolate, decent amount of oak, slight booze, light dark fruits. Awesome complexity, great balance, fairly aromatic. The barrels balance phenomenally while still letting the base beer come through despite the extended aging.

T- Nice chocolate fudge from the base beer meshes with dark fruits, silky chocolate, nice oak presence, port, with waves of bourbon, vanilla, and oak coming through. Phenomenal balance, awesome barrel presence, overall fantastic and better then its components.

M- A little bit on the thicker side, velvety, slightly creamy, not much carb but perfect for style- not slightly overcarbed like port barrel was, very smooth.

O- This beer was fantastic and I definitely preferred this over port, Damon b2, or Damon b1. The balance was phenomenal and I loved how both the barrels added their unique presence while still letting the base beer come through. The only downside of this beer is that there were only 191 bottles made, it's definitely worth waiting another two years for though.

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.22/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

375 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Viscous black. No head. A little glass staining.

Smell - Port dominates. Sweet smelling. Vanilla and oak reminiscent of bourbon. Chocolate.

Taste - Bourbon blends really well with the port. Vanilla, oak, and red wine. Coffee. Sweet. The slighest sharp wine flavor in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Low carbonation. Medium body.

Overall - This is really tasty. Port barrels do magical things, but the bourbon really adds to it.

Photo of vonnegut21
4.86/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

375ml bottle poured into a HF oversized wineglass.

A: Pours a deep, dark nearly black shade, with hints of ruby as the light catches the edge of the glass.

S: Very nice port/sherry character, chocolate, burnt sugar, perhaps a touch of fig.

T: Port barrel shines through on the first sip. Light coffee and chocolate. Caramel and vanilla notes, a touch of alcohol and then a lingering sweetness. As it warms, the coffee and chocolate open up, the port fades slightly and light bourbon notes are apparent.

M: Viscous. Thick and sticky. Lightly carbonated. Decadent.

O: Just a phenomenal beer. The port character really shines in this beer. Very different from bourbon Damon. Really glad to tick this one.

Photo of Skrip
4.83/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

375ml bottle poured in a Hill Farmstead oversized wine glass.

A~ beautiful dark red towards the edges and dark as night in the center. Not much of a head and no lacing.

S~ sweet red wine followed by dark bitter chocolate, and burnt coffee. Caramel and vanilla from the bourbon. No boozyness at all!

T~ yup officially blown away! Sweet chocolate followed by amazing burnt coffee that Shaun seems to pull off so well. follows the nose with sweet red wine barrel funk and some nice oak qualities. So complex and balanced. Vanilla and caramel from the bourbon are just the icing on the cake. Wow!

M~ not super carbonated but right in the range where I like a stout to be. Smooth and crazy drinkable! And I can't stress this enough, NO BOOZYNESS!

O~ just crazy all around. A seriously amazing blend! The Port barrel dominates slightly here but in a good way. I believe it takes over the boozyness from the bourbon a bit leaving all the amazing vanilla, caramel, oaky aspects. Let's just say I wish I has a case! Yeah I know... But I can dream! Haha

Photo of jlindros
4.37/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to Ricky for donating his share for our sampling so I could save my bottle, and 3-way split with rudzud.

Pours no head but motor oil thick and black as tar, nice long legs. Strains the glasses dark yellow.

Nose is so much awesome, tons of chocolate layers, cocoa, syrupy heavy dark malt base, some sweet barrel with little vanilla barrel, hint of sweet bourbon nice soft bourbon, so much great choc.

Taste is very complex too, mostly dark malts, chewy malts, dark black malt but not roasty or burnt at all. Lots of syrupy dark choc, little bakers choc, etc. Nice port barrel flavor with a tawny port like flavor, little sweet bourbon too, and bit of vanilla barrel too, bit fudge, thick creamy like chewy syrupy malt, mild warming slight tingly booze, nice balance. Nice layers between the choc and two barrel characters. Finish is drier with hint more warming booze, but syrupy but not super thick mouth coating like, more dark choc and fudge, light port and bourbon still blending.

Mouth is very thick and a bit syrupy, lighter carb but typical for this kinda beer, just a bit of warming booze, little underwhelming.

Overall amazing as expected.

Photo of rudzud
4.34/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Split with Ricky and JLindros.

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a nice super dark brown nearly black hue with no head at all, super crazy legs that stain the glass a thick brown.

S - Aromas of chocolate, soft bourbon, and faint alcohol. No port though.

T - Taste is port right off the bat, followed by chocolate rich and deep, then bourbon. Nice sweet vanilla bourbon finish. Chocolate lingers after the bourbon, light faint roasted makes, tons of chocolate through out, tasty.

M - Mouthfeel is lightly carbonated, not quite as silky as I'd like, somewhat watery. Boozy too.

O - Overall this beer was very nice, I think I preferred fresh 2011 Damon much, much better. Still though, a damn tasty beer.

Photo of nrs207
4.87/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

A - The appearance had a slight knock because of the lack of head and visible carbonation. It's quite dark, nice looking stout other than that.

S - Amazing smell. Got some port flavors mixed with bourbon flavors. It had a nice oak flavors as well. The barrels blended this beer masterfully. I just had bourbon Damon, and there was definitely a port wine influence. The bourbon was also blended into the overall flavor more, but still added some bourbon notes without adding any sharpness. Some dark fruits as well. Not a very roasty stout.

T - Followed it up well. It pretty much matched the nose exactly. Was so smooth and no alcohol heat to be found. Just a nice mix between a traditional RIS with some very smooth bourbon notes and some port notes. I've never had port wine, but I can tell there's some port notes because of the depth of complexity compared to straight bourbon Damon. One of the smoothest beers I've ever had as well. Just went down so silky.

M - Perfect except for a lack of carb. It was almost flat, but it didn't detract too much. With such a huge body and bold complexities, the carb didn't detract much at all. Someone I shared it with found the lack of carb nice in fact. That's why it's only losing .25 points. Also, after 2 years in multiple barrels, I'm not surprised there's a lack of carb.

O - This was phenomenal. Overall, the only thing I could say is that it lacked a bit of carb. It doesn't detract too much, however, and the bold well integrated flavors made up for it. Looking forward to splitting another bottle with a friend. Hill Farmstead seems to do classic styles in a phenomenal way. This reminds me of a classic RIS perfectly made, with very smooth bourbon barrel flavors along with some port barrel flavors.

Photo of cfrances33
4.61/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a Hill Farmstead stem.

Pour: Pours a black body without any real head to speak of. There are a few bubbles that form, but they dissipate to a light film rather quickly. Lots of coating on the glass.

Smell: Lots of chocolate and roast on the opening of the nose, that mixes with a predominant port barrel. Quite tannic and oaky. Some vanilla and bourbon gently sneak in. As the beer opened up, these aromas became very integrated. Really just smelled incredible

Taste: The same fudgey chocolate from the nose, with a forward roast character. Port barrel tannins and oak throughout. The bourbon barrel adds a level of complexity onto the finish, with a touch of sticky vanilla and caramel. Lingers for a long time with port tannins, chocolate, and oak.

Mouthfeel: Very gently carbonated, but that in no way detracts from the beer... I think it actually was more pleasant. Alcohol is well hidden, except for a light burn on the finish. Thick and sticky, yet still quite drinkable.

Overall: This was a real pleasure to finally have. One of the most complex stouts I've had the opportunity to enjoy. Perhaps our paths will cross again one day.

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Damon (Double Barrel Aged) from Hill Farmstead Brewery
99 out of 100 based on 116 ratings.