Beyond Good And Evil
Hill Farmstead Brewery

Beyond Good And EvilBeyond Good And Evil
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American Imperial Stout
Ranked #26
Ranked #103
4.57 | pDev: 7.22%
Hill Farmstead Brewery
Vermont, United States
Beyond Good And EvilBeyond Good And Evil
Notes: Beyond Good and Evil is one of Nietzsche’s most powerful works, challenging conventional wisdom and urging us transcend good and evil while confronting the very nature of knowledge. This challenge both informs and inspires our work.

Beyond Good and Evil is also the name of our bourbon barrel-aged maple imperial sweet stout. Brewed in May of 2012, we crafted this beer with a touch of Vermont maple syrup and then allowed it to rest quietly and contentedly in hand-selected bourbon barrels for over 18 months.
Reviews: 76 | Ratings: 729 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of rodbeermunch
4.29/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This is a review of the 2015 version that was on tap in October 2019 @ Hill Farmstead.

Pours black, 1/3" brown head. Aroma reveals that both the coffee and maple have melded/faded into the bourbon notes. I like that sweet spot where things gel more than being led by one dominant aspect generally. Equal parts.

Taste, oh shit, now we're about to get heavenly up in here. This is why sometimes you ignore that "drink fresh" notion. Fresh maple dominates seeming too sweet sometimes, fresh coffee just dominates and that is largely all you taste. But here, 4 years later, you get this full fledged bourbon accentuated with maple and coffee. Again, the notion of equal parts, but it tastes even better than it smells. Of course the damn mouth feel is silky and luxurious, the maple seems to be best here, smoothing out double digit abv into a delight to drink, never oppressive, hot, bitter etc. . .

Shit man, this beer is a prime example of how a barrel aged stout w some adjuncts can get even better with age.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.5/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a large dark brown foamy head with good retention and good lacing. Aroma of intense notes of chocolate mix in with some maple syrup and bourbon with vanilla notes also noticeable. Taste is also a mix of sweet chocolate notes, maple syrup with some woody notes, bourbon and vanilla notes also perceptible. Body is full with nice creamy texture and good carbonation with some light warming alcohol notes. World-class imperial stout from a great brewery.

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Phyl21ca from Quebec (Canada), Feb 01, 2020
Photo of ArkyVaughan
4.6/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had been wanting to try this one for a long time and finally got to during FoFA weekend as on on-site offering at the brewery. Tremendous. Not too sweet - perfectly balanced.

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ArkyVaughan from New Jersey, Aug 05, 2019
Photo of oldmankoch
4.69/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Wow just incredible.

Pitch black darkest of nights.
*disclaimer that I'm a cologne man and a touch may be creeping into the nose* But I pick up honeysuckle, maple, chocolate, toffee, almond, fig, black coffee.

Taste follows nose very well.

Motor oil thick. very viscous. Love It.

Incredible barrel stout that blows many a mainstay out of the water.

I was fortunate to be in VT for work, but to not have to plan and hunt for such a beer was a real treat.

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oldmankoch from Tennessee, Jun 13, 2019
Photo of jheimbigner
4.46/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Look is classic stout - poured with an opaque head left minimal lacing. Nose is of chocolate, roasted malts/coffee, maple syrup. Taste follows the nose. Very, very well balanced between roasted malts, maple syrup. additionally, get notes of coffee and bakers chocolate. Feel has a good viscosity. Coats the tounge but leaves the pallet easily. Overall, excellent stout. This is what I wish stouts were moving towards - not something cloyingly sweet. Taste would be near perfect if I was able to get barrel.

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jheimbigner from Washington, Jun 07, 2019
Photo of Vidblain
4.08/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Quite sweet - maple tastes just a bit granular and overly saccharine. But, it tastes natural all the same. An odd conflicting mouth-experience.

It's just a bit thinner than I'd like, but drinks very easy. Barrel isn't all that present, if at all - my palate had trouble discerning any wood, bourbon, or dryness. It's just sweet!

A good beer, but up against the likes of Canuckley or Mornin' Delight even, this beer doesn't really shine. Again - good, but showing some age.

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Vidblain from Minnesota, Jun 04, 2019
Photo of dafla67
4.6/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2017 bottle, drank 2019. Pours dark. Aroma chocolate, bourbon & oak. Tastes amazing with the sweet chocolate, oak and bourbon. Barely taste the maple. Medium body. Incredible stout.

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dafla67 from Pennsylvania, May 18, 2019
Photo of gbiello
3.77/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

1/2 finger of head on a fairly aggressive pour. Pitch black, but effervescent bubbles give it a thin appearance. Aroma/Taste of rich roasted malt, bourbon and light maple syrup. Mouthfeel a bit thin but that is balanced by the good amount of carbonation.

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gbiello from Massachusetts, May 05, 2019
Photo of jhavs
4.54/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful dark and thick pour, thin tan colored head settles quickly into ring around glass.
Aroma and flavor consists of light bourbon, sweet and earthy maple, bittersweet baking chocolate and some deep, dark fruits.
Smooth, rich and creamy. Perfect mouthfeel for style.
Overall excellent and refined brew.

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jhavs from New Hampshire, Mar 10, 2019
Photo of Hyptochrons
4.63/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Nose is dark fruits and chocolate, rich oak. On palate is spice, plum, dark chocolate covered cherries, oak, sticky sweetness hinting at maple, dark roastyness, mellow vanilla and caramel, not a huge spirit quality but some mellow bourbon flavor in there to compliment the barrel notes, very rich and thick mouthfeel throughout.

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Hyptochrons from Massachusetts, Jan 12, 2019
Photo of grover37
4.31/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

375 bottle shared by Dan (@1up), thanks!

Not much head. Sweet flavor, but not a thick mouthfeel. Not a ton of barrel either. Good but not world class.

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grover37 from District of Columbia, Nov 26, 2018
Photo of wellsnb
4.74/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

On draft at Hill Farmstead. Reminds me of a more refined Morning Delight. It doesn’t smack you in the face with maple like MD. I am a really big fan.

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Photo of Zach_Attack
4.71/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

07/2015 - Bourbon, maple syrup, chocolate syrup, dark fruit, notably cherries; luscious, nice roastiness, super chocolaty, maple syrup for dayzzzz. Very tasty, very satisfied.

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Zach_Attack from Massachusetts, Sep 27, 2018
Photo of Radcpa
4.67/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Very dark appearance with nice tan head that dissipates quickly. Aroma is a nice bourbon maple. Taste is a slightly sweet bourbon and maple that is exceptionally smooth with a molasses touch

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Radcpa from Washington, Sep 10, 2018
Photo of Phineasco
4.49/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours Pitch Black with a medium khaki head. It has low carbonation. The beer smells of maple syrup, baker’s chocolate, molasses, caramel, and bourbon. It tastes of baker’s chcolate, maple syrup, molasses, caramel, with some bourbon heat. The feel is thick, but smooth on the back end. A good barrel aged stout from Hill Farmstead, pretty light on the maple.

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Phineasco from Massachusetts, Sep 09, 2018
Photo of raspy22
5/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Fantastic beer. Dark brown to black appearance. Aromas are of sweet cocoa/bourbon/maple stout. Flavors are same. Very sweet, but not cloyingly so. Super pillowy soft mouthfeel. Perfect dessert beer. Would certainly revisit this!

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raspy22 from Arizona, Aug 21, 2018
Photo of kevanb
4.22/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

375ml bottle, 2018 release, poured into a Hill Farmstead oversized wine glass. Enjoyed on 06.09.18, reviewed from Tasting Journal.

The beer pours a jet black color, thick and oily, very viscous with a thin tan head that has no retention nor any lacing. The aroma is pleasant, lots of rich maple, sweet and sappy, tons of fudge brownie, light stone fruits, oak, bourbon, toffee, dark grains with a lingering marshmallow vanilla fragrance. The flavors are very good, intense fudge brownie, lots of rich dark chocolates with some underlying sweet maple, oaky bourbon with a nice vanilla sweetness, char and roast with brown sugar that plays well with the maple and finishes warmly with a light fruity acidity. The mouthfeel is great, coating medium/full body, not quite chewy but very smooth and gentle, velvety with an effortlessly easy finish that has nice legs and a warming sensation.

Verdict: A very good barrel aged imperial stout from Hill Farmstead. Rich flavors, balanced well that is very easy going. The maple adds a nice amount of sweetness to the beer but it brings with it some nice depth and complexity.

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kevanb from Illinois, Jun 29, 2018
Photo of kylesobrien
4.14/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Shared with a friend while in Europe, bottle dated 2017, which I purchased in January 2018.

Pours an inky, thick opaque back, with coffee-and-cream head that dissipates relatively quickly. Some faint, light lacing on glass.

Aroma is earthy malt and dark bread, hint of molasses. Something very vaguely like tequila, which is probably woody character from the barrel aging, but a little spicier than most bourbon barrel stouts I've sampled.

Flavour is complex, incredibly smooth and balanced -- hit of dark malty goodness up front, slightly bitter, but immediately followed by a sweet undercurrent of maple and spice, which finishes with a hint of licorice. A big difference with this versus other big barrel-aged beers I've enjoyed is that even the barrel character seems balanced -- this is a pretty solidly crafted brew. No element is over the top.

I'm honestly pretty amazed that there is still a slight residual maple flavour here, often the taste of the syrup is lost when the yeast ferment it away.

No indication of its strength on the label, but going on taste alone I'd say it's well north of 8-9%. My guess is 10% ABV. The price of the bottle was a bit steep for 375 mL, but this stout was years in the making and I'm glad to have shared it with a friend.

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kylesobrien from Quebec (Canada), Jun 02, 2018
Photo of gcamparone
4.6/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500mL June 2017 bottle poured into a Hill Farmstead balloon glass. Thanks Ryan for sharing this with me.

Pours a deep brown body, once it’s in the glass it’s opaque and black, thick. Small brown head reduces fairly quickly.

Aromas are sweet and fudgy, cocoa and dark fruit, biscotti, vanilla, and subtle maple. On the tongue it’s quite sweet but not cloying or “pastry”-like, more malty that sugary with rich chocolate fudge, vanilla-maple liquor, bourbon, dark fruits, molasses and roasty coffee on the follow through. Maple shows up as it warms up. The finish is roasty as well, bittersweet chocolate / charred malt sticks on the tongue for a bit. Mouthfeel is rich and thick with low carbonation. Definitely a sipper.

A fantastically crafted beer. More complex than similar stouts. The barrel works wonders here.

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gcamparone from Rhode Island, May 21, 2018
Photo of RAlmeida77
4.6/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a HF bulb. Brownish/Black in color with a small mocha head. Smells of dark fruit, some maple, oak and bourbon. Taste is exactly as the nose but more prominent. Not as much maple as one might think but it’s there. Just a treat to sip on. Feel is slick and mouth coating, almost chewy. Overall, this is really great. HF just makes everything well and this is no exception.

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RAlmeida77 from Massachusetts, May 21, 2018
Photo of rabbott2
4.66/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fresh batch drank at dark lord day 2018. Really a special beer. The barreling is perfectly done here. The maple was strong but balanced at the same time. The base stout is simply fantastic and the sum of all parts was exquisite. Heck of a beer here.

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rabbott2 from Illinois, May 21, 2018
Photo of nfedas
4.8/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

HOw is this not higher on the list? THis is literally one of the best stouts I have ever had. Very smooth with a slight maple flavor and bourbon. Amazing beer

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nfedas from Massachusetts, May 10, 2018
Photo of pmarlowe
4.64/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2018 release (bottled June 2017).

A: Pours black, viscous, with a thin ring of tan colored head. Some dots of lacing. Decent retention for what’s there.

S: Big, rich dark cacao chocolate, vanilla bean, light roast, and a bit of coconut and bourbon. Wisp of blackcurrant as it warms.

T: Liquid, mouthcoating dark chocolate, oak, light roast which offsets some of the desserty-ness, and a bit of bourbon and vanilla. Hint of plum as it warms to room temp. Medium-light sweetness really ties the dessert-like flavors together.

M: Full bodied and chewy with medium carbonation. Medium alcohol warmth.

O: Really delicious and drinkable for such a big beer. Pretty good complexity. The oak treatment is fairly light but well integrated. Alcohol is not terribly prominent.

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pmarlowe from Virginia, Apr 23, 2018
Photo of PDXAmbassador
4.91/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2014 batch enjoyed in 2017 and it was still amazing. Huge oaky bourbon aroma, maple still strong, fairly nice mouthfeel and plenty of sweetness. Absolutely delicious sweet stout.

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Photo of Sabtos
4.3/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The pour is stark black and fills identically, building only a thin but surprisingly persistent dark tan bubbly fizz that finally settles to a thin ring after five minutes.

Smell is delectably toasty and bruleed oatmeal with maple and syrupy bourbon all the way. There is a hint of dark chocolate and waxy nougat in the oakiness.

On the palate, a thickly velvety, moderate to full body glides across the tongue with a deep dark maple sweetness that is just present enough to say hi without being too sweet. This is paired with a nutty wet oak and a bourbon tingle. These components combine to bring a raisin, prune and sassafras accent to a vanilla, amaretto-khalua richness. A slight astringent hop presence sneaks in here or there.

This has a cola-like carbonation, but to a minimal degree, swallowing semi-dry with a tingly heat. With time, it becomes sweeter, but also numbing, and sticky on the lips.

A great beer, to be sure, but not the total knockout I was expecting.


On January 4th, 2020, I had the pleasure of sharing a 10/20/2018 bottle with friends, and found it to be the best batch of BG&E I've had, by far! On the one hand, I find it weird that there's such drastic variation between batches, but on the other, I'm really impressed by it.

This vintage seemed to be much more thick and chocolatey, and just ultra rich and viscous. I got absolutely zero astringency, and also a much less overpoweringly splintery woodiness than I've gotten in the past. This was enough to change my rating, as the good aspects mirror the ones I described in the past, without any of the bad.

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Sabtos from Ohio, Feb 14, 2018
Beyond Good And Evil from Hill Farmstead Brewery
Beer rating: 100 out of 100 with 729 ratings