Fear And Trembling (French Oak Cabernet) | Hill Farmstead Brewery

BA SCORE
90
outstanding
84 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Fear And Trembling (French Oak Cabernet)Fear And Trembling (French Oak Cabernet)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Hill Farmstead Brewery
Vermont, United States
hillfarmstead.com

Style: Baltic Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.30%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Fear and Trembling is Hill Farmstead’s first collaboration – a Baltic Porter brewed with malt that was hand smoked over maple wood by our Danish friend, and former colleague, Anders Kissmeyer. This bottled version was aged in French Oak Cabernet barrels. As a student of philosophy and former resident of Copenhagen, it is fitting that our brewer named our first collaboration after Denmark’s great thinker: Søren Kierkegaard. All three contemplated absurdity, faith, and salvation while wandering the shores of the Baltic Sea…

“…continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling…”

Added by 6DaysBottomOcean on 10-09-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Ratings:
84
Reviews:
47
Avg:
4.18
pDev:
8.37%
 
 
Wants:
137
Gots:
7
For Trade:
0
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 84 |  Reviews: 47
Photo of FosterJM
3.89/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

773rd Review on BA
Bottle to snifter

@Woodshop Classix

App- This was a very dark brown with a bit of amber around the edges. It poured similar to the barrels it came from, like a deep dark red wine. No head, no bubbles. A bit flat.

Smell- True to style this smelled quite nice for a baltic porter. Smoky, bacon, rye and a little bit on the oaky side and a little tannin note.

Taste- This was kind of all over the place for me. It started off with a smoky bacon like note and then moved to the roasty malts and finished with a ton of dark chocolate. A little bit of the oak comes through on the end of the drink. A little tannin as well.

Mouth- Medium bodied and a medium carbonation level. A nice smoky note remains.

Drink- I don't normally like the baltic porters but this had a few nice dimensions with the aging on it in the barrels. Not as harsh and bacony.

 867 characters

Photo of maximum12
4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to baconsausage for this bottle, from a brewery that I'm growing quite fond of. My second encounter with F&T, the first in a rather epic tasting with good BA friends from near & far. Now I get a whole bottle to myself, as my wife won't touch 'bacon beers'. Her loss, right?

Lovingly poured into my big Terrapin snifter, black-on-black with minimal carbonation. Smell is on the meek side: smoked malt, light chocolate, not much else.

Fear & Trembling from the vine is very nicely put together. Initially this feels like the smoke-trail off a campfire missle: smoked malts. More smoke. And yes, bacon, too. But there are subtleties in the mix, yes, my precious. A dusting of cocoa, a little rump roast, an eyedropper of dark fruits that are doubtless the cabernet. The finish is an exquisite shot of oak barrel that layers well with the smoke.

My only faint complaint is that this is a big, heavy, tummy-filler of a porter, a zing of bubbles would have been appreciated. Still, it doesn't do much damage, I'll have no issue wrapping this one up by myself.

This is a lovely beer. What starts out as a campfire jammed down your throat warms to reveal layer after layer of complexity, & not just for its own sake. Excellent beer. Can't wait to try the blend that's awaiting my pleasure in the cellar.

 1,309 characters

Photo of trappistlover
3.77/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(sampled from RBWG). Pours dark brown with a tan head. Aroma had a nice smokiness that imparted similar flavors including some savory bacon. Medium bodied with a dry finish. This was a nice beer and I'm lucky to try this. Thanks to whomever brought this.

 254 characters

Photo of mikeyv35
3.83/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Date: 05/11/2011
Type: 500ml. Bottle
Glass: Tulip
Vintage: 2010

Pours a motor oil black in color w/ a 1/2 finger creamy tan head that leaves medium amounts of sticky lacing. Aromas of bittersweet chocolate, molasses, smokiness(big, almost like a campfire), and peat. The taste was of chocolate and huge roasty peat up front, followed by a close of faint bitterness and red wine. Thin bodied, too thin for a Baltic Porter. Finishes pretty dry due to the wine barrel aging and roastiness. Well hidden ABV makes this pretty drinkable if smokiness is your thing.

Overall, for what it is this is a very well put together brew. Way to roasty/smokey for me, but I am not a huge fan of Rauchbiers, which to me this is essentially what this is. Also, would have liked this a little less smoke dominated, and had the red wine notes more pronounced. Anyway, solid brew and worth seeking out if you enjoy Rauchbiers.

 906 characters

Photo of jale
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Bearsonacid for this.

A: Pours dark brown with two quarters of tan head.

S: Smoky peaty with a hint of wine.

T: Sweet malt upfront followed by generous amounts of smoke. Slight wine and mild alcohol heat. A little hops in the finish. When you swish the beer around in your mouth you get all the cab flavors.

M: Medium body with good carbonation.

O: This is my favorite of the three. IMO this is the smokiest and hopiest of the three.

 452 characters

Photo of HopHead84
4.32/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

4/17/2011

Bottle opened by me at Oakquinox, thanks!

A: Dark brown in the snifter with a big creamy light brown head which shows nice retention and leaves lots of lacing.

A: Smoke is pronounced and dominant, redolent of apple wood bacon and beach wood with light oak notes. Roasted malt is restrained and there's a subtle yet complex dark chocolate profile beneath the smoke. There's a very faint vinous note. Smells great.

F: The flavor is noticeably less smoky than the aroma, allowing notes of cocoa, vanilla, and oak to play a bigger role. The smoke is bacon and beach wood, and it's quite delicious. Roasted malt is moderate. I don't pick up wine-like qualities from the barrel in the taste, but this is still quite good. Alcohol is well hidden.

M: Medium in body with a lower moderate level of carbonation. Mouthfeel is smooth and dry.

Overall: A complex and enjoyable smoked beer. Definitely recommended if you're a fan of the style.

 945 characters

Photo of gford217
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle.

Pours dark, dark brown with a small head that leaves only a trace of lacing and little retention.

Aroma is heavily smoked malts with hints of chocolate underneath. The wine notes definitely come through with a light dry fruitiness and spicy oak.

The taste is very smooth with the smoked malts and chocolate dominating until the finish which is dry and oaky, vinous and slightly tart really which isn't surprising given the barrel I suppose.

The mouthfeel is smooth with solid carbonation and drier than the other treatments.

This is a really nice smoked porter though the straight-up cab version is probably my least favorite.

 645 characters

Photo of EgadBananas
4.32/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nearly black, thought the pour appeared the darkest brown. Head was a nice tan color, with nice spotty lacing.

Aroma was lightly sweet, pleasantly smoky, with touches of tart wine notes fighting for a piece of attention.

Taste is fairly predominantly smoky, with some nice sweetness, chocolate notes and maybe some bitter espresso notes, and a slightly dry, tart wine-like finish. Intriguing taste, interestingly tasty.

The feel is medium in body, a bit creamy, smooth, and nicely carbonated.

Drinkability is good. Finishing the whole pint+ will be a breeze, but smoky beers are one of those things that make for challenging sessionables for me, despite my love for them.

 679 characters

Photo of beerwolf77
3.85/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to BeerFMAndy for busting out the Fear and Trembling trio. Bottle split into tulips.

A: Pitch black, tiny wisp of beige head. A few flecks of soapy lace.

S: Mild smoke, roasted malt, black coffee, just a hint of the cabernet. Traces of barrel wood.

T: Nice rich maltiness. Dark chocolate and black coffee. The smoke is just right. Not too powerful. Slightly bitter finish. Just a hint of the tartness from the wine barrels.

M: Medium to full body. Light carbonation.

D: Overall a very nice Baltic Porter. Smoke is usually something that I can live without. Yet in this beer it fits nicely. I sort wished for more wine flavor but I won't let that affect the score.

 678 characters

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.17/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle split and poured into a Duvel tulip. 9.3% ABV, no date.

Big thanks to Rochefort10nh for surprising me with this trio of awesome brews! Beerwolf and I gave 'em all a go at once to compare them.

A - Black in the tulip with nice clarity on the pour but almost no head generation. A thin foam of tan bubbles with a well-retained ring. Spotty lace left over.

S - Great peat-smoked malt aroma with notes of chocolate behind the campfire aroma. There's wood in the nose but no real oak stand-out or French Cabernet, that's for sure. While I enjoy the bold smoke, it overwhelms any chance for the wine nuances I really hoped to see here.

T - Tart French oak Cabernet peeks in the very finish with a bit of grape but it's almost all a one-dimensional brew, full of peat smoked chocolate malt.

M - Slightly dry, a bit tart on the finish with a medium-full-body and mild acrid bitterness. Nice feel on this one.

D - Good drinkability for a high ABV barrel-aged smoke beer! Not too strong but I really wish that the French oak Cabernet would have been more present.

 1,073 characters

Photo of glid02
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Grant - thanks! Tasted side-by-side with the other two in the series.

Pours black with a one-finger brown head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of smooth roasted malts with equal amounts of smoked malts and dark chocolate. Also present are faint dark grape aromas and spicy tannins from the barrel.

Tastes very similar to how it smells. Roasted and smoked malt flavors kick things off and are joined shortly thereafter by moderate amounts of dark chocolate. Midway through the sip lightly tart red grape flavors come into play. Near the end of the sip the flavor profile dries up a bit with the addition of spicy oak, carrying through to a moderately bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is very good. It's got a smooth thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I didn't have any problems finishing my glass and could have another.

Overall this was my least favorite of the three, the cab influence was nice but it was too mild. Additionally, I'm not sure the base beer was one that could integrate well with the barrel type. Still, it's a very good beer that's worth a shot.

 1,140 characters

Photo of callmemickey
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed January 2011.

A: Black body with a medium sized khaki cap. Nice spotty lacing.

S: Mellow. Smoked, roasted, and charred malts. Some oak and dark, vinous fruits.

T: Similar to the nose, there is quite a bit of smoky roasted malts. The barrels do a bit more here to contribute some complexity and depth of flavor. Dark fruits, oak, chocolate, coffee, and all the malts.

M: Mellow, medium bodied. Smooth throughout with light carbonation. Clean finish.

D: Quite pleasant. The best of the Fear and Trembling series.

 524 characters

Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to thirdeye11 for sharing this bottle. Drank alongside the other two Fear and Trembling beers.

The beer pours a black color with a tan head. The aroma is pretty nice. I get some oak and caramel notes, as well as some smoked malt. I don't get any real wine notes in the aroma.

The flavor is similar. I get some smoked malt, peet, oak, chocolate and roasted malt. I also get some dark fruit notes, which may be from the wine barrel aging. There is little detectable alcohol. Easy to drink.

Medium to thick mouthfeel and low carbonation.

 547 characters

Photo of ffejherb
4.47/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hugs & Kisses to FooFa for sharing this uber-rare bottle on 2/8/11!

A - Emerged from its vessel as black as the depths of hell and as viscous as an oil spill under a 1973 jalopy Pinto that's been out in the driveway up on cinderblocks for about 17 years. On top is a burnt tan cap that settled into a bubbly patch, then a flimsy film, and some spotty lace.

S - Ooofa! This smells like a pig that got caught in a barn fire. Smokey? Yup. Charred? No doubt. Bacon-y? Uh-huh. A hint of dark fruit tang also emerged from the background to offer up a bit of deviation from the burnt meat-fest.

T - Flavor is really meaty, really smokey and really charred. However, there is a pleasant chocolate character somewhere down there in the depths of Fear and Trembling. Faint oaky notes emerge in the middle, followed by moderate earthy, herbal hop notes and a slight dark fruit tang in the finish.

M - Smooth, oily and actually silky for such a diabolical beer! Carbonation is very mild. Finishes with plenty of smoke, subtle bitterness and a hint of astringency on the palate.

D - Fear and Trembling is ridiculously smokey but it is so damn tasty that it retains its drinkability beautifully. This sucker is delicious!

 1,214 characters

Photo of kingcrowing
4.69/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

500ml bottle poured into a tulip.

Pours a very dark brown to almost black with a small dark brown head that's really light and creamy. Nose is very smokey and oaky, very nice.

Taste is smokey and oaky, the cab flavors are light but there and subtle. Mouthfeel is really creamy, a bit sweet but not too syrupy. Really tasty slow drinker.

 338 characters

Photo of Verecund
4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Opened on 01.28.2011.

After the long walk back home, Abraham likely settled down in his tent and drank some wine - after all, it had been a long day, and Melchizedek's profferance of wine (years ago!) had suggested that consumption was acceptable. Especially now. But for days Abraham could not strip the odor of the smoke from him or Isaac. It stuck, covering all, reminding him of the test, the lie to his son, and the subsequent promise that his descendants would number more than the stars in the sky or the sand on the beach. But Abraham didn't care much for the stars in the sky or sand on the beach, which now reminded him of the moment when he unsheathed the knife; he had only wanted his son. In fact, through all the smoke, Abraham usually only saw three stars as it was.

Pours a dark-brown, like charred wood, with mahogany hues about the edges. The bubbles on first pour are large, like arachnid eyes, clinging to the side of the glass.

Meaty smoke. Fresh leather. Some bittersweet chocolate. Sweet, vinous notes. As it opens, the smoke seems to accent and push the wild grape and black currant undertone more to the fore.

The smoke is lessened here. At this stage, the light oak, cocoa, smoke, and dark fruits really coalesce into a fine beer. This version may lack the raw complexity of the bourbon version, but the story it tells is no less interesting.

Slightly thin (medium-light) in body. Alcohol is almost non-existent.

Highly drinkable. Highly enjoyable. Thanks to a generous RB/BA for this.

 1,523 characters

Photo of dougofthefuture
4.57/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks a ton to a kind trader for including this bottle as an extra! I have been staring at it for a while thinking I would share at a tasting, but tonight the temptation was too much.

A. Pours a dark brown/black with maybe a bit of amber. Minimum tan head for a short period. Seems a bit oily, but not in a bad way.

S. The grape-like wine is very present, with a bit of oak character and a nice helping of smoke. Smells delicious.

T&M. Wow, what balance! This is a beer that could convince anyone to like smokey beers. It fits so well with the oak and wine components. They blend together perfectly. Mouthfeel seems a bit off, as carbonation is a little low. Especially compared to something like smoke from the oak wine, which is the closest beer I have had to compare this to.

D. Balance is the highlight here, and alcohol is completely hidden. This is the best beer I have had in a while, and sipping on this before dinner is a perfect way to kick off a weekend!

 974 characters

Photo of thagr81us
4.52/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Review #400! Bottle shared by mikesgroove early on Christmas Eve in a gas station parking lot (hobo style!), thanks Mike! Served from split bottle into a Delirium Tremens snifter. Poured a deep murky brown almost black with a minimal very light tan head. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, caramel, brown sugar, smoke, and subtle alcohol. The flavor was of sweet malt, caramel, slight brown sugar, toffee, subtle spices, oak, and a touch of vanilla. It had a medium feel on the palate with low carbonation. Overall this brew was quite excellent. I could honestly see myself getting in trouble with this one at this ABV. Has an excellent aroma and great well balanced flavor going on here. This is a definite must try if you are fortunate enough to do so or track down. I'm sure Mike and I looked like a bunch of hobos drinking this one, but it was totally worth it, plus we had proper glassware. Thanks again Mike for sharing this rare gem!

 991 characters

Photo of womencantsail
3.78/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Chris for sharing this, my first Hill Farmstead tick.

A: The pour is almost black in color with a finger or so of a sturdy, soapy, khaki colored head.

S: Lots of smoke to open up the nose, sort of what I expected. Like most smoked beers, I get a distinct salty and meaty aroma, though not as "bad" as some examples. The roasted malt and chocolate aromas are still pretty decent, and there's a bit of wine -bal character, too.

T: The flavor is still quite heavy on the smoke, but the other flavors are allowed to shine through. Good roasted malts, oak, vanilla, red wine, and a slight meaty character. Fairly good for a smoked beer...

M: The body is medium with the carbonation being a bit on the low end of medium.

D: I'm not the biggest smoked beer person, but this was pretty good. I don't think I'd rush out to drink it again, but wouldn't turn it down.

 871 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

stopped by on xmas eve and split this bottle with a good friend while standing around and just hanging out for a few moments for the holidays. his half in a snifter, my in nonic.

pour was jet black with a small tan head that kept a ring around the entire glass leaving a good bit of lacing up and down the sides of the glass that really looked to be quite nice to me. aroma is deep peat and smoke, much more then i really thought it would be, nicely done. warming brings up lots of oak and touches of vanilla in the flavor. the grape and vinous character from the cab barrels is not very noticeable until it really warms and by that time it is still quite light. rich and smooth, with a deep smoke flavor that leaves a long lasting oak note on the palate an a light, but enjoyable finish that really gives a nice rounded profile.

overall very solid and well deserved for the day. cannot wait to try the rest of the set.

 922 characters

Photo of largadeer
3.8/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This rare tick was generously provided by bring. Thanks, Barry.

Dark brown, almost black. The body is nearly opaque, and the head retains solidly for several minutes.

The nose is smoky, meaty and oaky. There's a mild vinous character, though the smoke is most prevalent.

It's more vinous on the palate, tannic and oaky, smoky, somewhat meaty. The body is medium, carbonation is moderate. The finish brings roasted malt and more smoke. This is very enjoyable for a smoke beer, fairly balanced and drinkable for the style.

 523 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Thorpe429. Thanks Mike!

A: Dark brown hue with a thin, tan head that recedes rapidly, leaving but a little lacing.

S: Roast, bacon, smoke (rauchbier), hints of oak.

T: A very nice beer, though I think the aroma is better than the flavor. The beer has a nice tannic character, with the booze aspect the most hidden of the three variants.

M: Medium to thin bodied with moderately low carbonation.

D: Overall, this was my favorite of the Fear and Trembling beers.

 482 characters

Photo of drabmuh
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another bottle shared by Thorpe, thanks.

Beer is brown with a tan head that doesn't stick around long, falls away leaving some lacing. Carbonation appears to be low.

This one has more smoke in the nose as well as some more oak. Much less booze.

Beer is oaky up front but gives way to a dryness and some smoke in the midpalate regions. The smoke and oak in this one is far more assertive than the bourbon, much of that character was covered up by the high alcohol. This one is much closer to the base beer with the tannic character coming through in this one.

 561 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a snifter.

Pours near black with a single-finger tan head with just a touch of lacing on the sides of the glass. The nose brings forward a good dose of smoke and oak barrel. The cabernet adds a really nice touch throughout.

The flavor pushes the cabernet barrels more toward the front with a really nice complexity. Smoke and oak combine really well with the fruit character. A bit of chocolate and roasted character sit there as well. Medium body with a really nice dryness in the finish. Just a bit of booze there. Drinks quite well. A really, really solid brew and I'm glad I got to brad some of these bottles.

 625 characters

Photo of jrallen34
4.09/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks again to Thorpe...Looks like the other Fears, black with an ok head...A really awesome aroma of peat, smoke, and pork, balanced and just awesome. A hint of red wine is great...The taste doesn't translate as well, the front is tons of fresh oak ( a little too harsh for me), oak kills a lot of the smoke and pork, which is my favorite part. More chocolate than smoke. Still good just a disappointment of what I was expecting...This is very good, my 2nd favorite.

 468 characters

Fear And Trembling (French Oak Cabernet) from Hill Farmstead Brewery
4.18 out of 5 based on 84 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.

    Learn More
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.

    Learn More
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Learn More