Fear And Trembling (Bourbon) | Hill Farmstead Brewery

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Fear And Trembling (Bourbon)Fear And Trembling (Bourbon)

Brewed by:
Hill Farmstead Brewery
Vermont, United States

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 Bourbon 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…”

Aged in used Sam Adams Utopias barrels.

Added by SFLpunk on 10-19-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 40 | Ratings: 89
Photo of rodbeermunch
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Have had this 2 times now, each time, very good. Hit those at dark brown as you can get notes without being black kind of situation. Still brown head, 1/3". Aroma dropped smoke, bourbon, oak, black malts, plenty of char from both the smoke and the barrel.

Taste brought the smoke, booze and bourbon in that order. A strong f'n beer. Nice in small doses. Any sweetness from the Utopias barrels is lost on me.

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Photo of corby112
3.53/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark chestnut brown color with dark plum edges and a one finger beige head that quickly settles into a lasting ring. Spotty lacing left behind.

Spicy bourbon barrel aroma with an earthy green pepper presence, dry charred oak, sweet vanilla beam and toasted coconut. Subtle phenols but kind of tame with subtle hints of smoke, charcoal and bbqed meat. Some band aid and off notes but the nose on this beer has some nice bourbon character. Not as pleasant of an aroma as the French oak variant but still good.

On the fuller end of medium body with a spicy bourbon and damp oak/toothpick character. Spicy green peppers along with boozy bourbon and toasted oak followed by subtle phenols, barbecued meat and charcoal. Smoke is a bit overpowering for my preference and the green chili flavor is too strong but it has nice bourbon barrel flavors integrated into the smokier elements.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.89/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

500 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Dark brown body. Small off-white head. A bit of a collar.

Smell - Smoke is much more prominent than it is in the Blended version. Oak. Some dark chocolate.

Taste - Smoke is still pretty rich. Lightly sweet up front. Some light bourbon, but not a lot. Oak. Very slight red wine acidity. Oxidation is light, but creeping up.

Mouthfeel - Medium carbonation. Medium body, maybe lacking a little bit.

Overall - This one aged much better than the Cab/Bourbon blend. Less oxidized and the smoke is still very nice.

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Photo of Skrip
4.44/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle poured into a Funkwerks snifter.

A~ extremely dark brown with a small tanish head and minimal lacing.

S~ lots of smokeyness up front, followed by dark chocolate malts. all finishing with vanilla, caramel, and extreme sweetness from the bourbon.

T~ the bourbon sweetness really masks the smoke in this version. i mean don't get me wrong the smoke is definitely still there haha. other than the smoke, vanilla, caramel, and bourbon you get some leather, tobacco, and a bunch of burnt coffee.

M~ soooo smooth! nice carbonation but the bourbon definitely dumbs that down a bit. not boozy at all but still a little warming.

O~ this is the second one i've tried of the series following the cabernet version. definitely less smoke here then in the other version. the blend is next! and i seriously can't wait, the aspects and complexity that these both contributed can only lead to one of the most amazing blends in brew history. we shall see!

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.89/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A: Poured a deep, deep brown nearly jet black with a nice tan cap which left a slight foamy ring clinging to the glass

S: Nice smoke, chewy leather, chocolate, tobacco, oak, whiffs of vanilla with hints of bourbon and coffee. Out-damn-standing.

T: This beer demands respect from start to finish. I've had some pretty nice Baltic Porters including many Alaskan vintages and this just takes the cake on nose, taste and mouthfeel. Initial roastiness, smoke, leather, tobacco and cocoa blend right up front. Smacks you right in the kisser. A nice warming booziness courtesy of the bourbon peaks upfront and carries on with massive flavor profile from start to finish. The bourbon, wood, coconut, vanilla are very well balanced in this beer.

M: Medium bodied, spot on carbonation with a decadent layers of cocoa, sweetness, vanilla, and lots of other goodness just filling the mouth, coating the palate and providing a nice layers of decadence. Amazing.

O: Besides the head retention and the pour being less than perfect I would dare say this is the best Baltic Porter I have had. The appearance is the only reason why this did not receive a perfect score. It hits every BJCP mark for the style, tastes fine, perfect body, just as it should be and the barrel influence was spot on.

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Photo of Brad007
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I bought this when Hill Farmstead had their first Autumn Harvest festival 2 years ago. I wanted to save it for a later day. Well, it's cold out and I want something to warm up with.

Pours a dark brown color with a thin brown head into my glass. At first, there wasn't much carbonation but with a firmer pour, the head formed.

Malt still has that smoked maple characteristic that I vaguely remember from a sample pour along with the oak with a tiny hint of cocoa and cream.

I love the way the smoked malt interacts with almost heavenly cocoa and cream flavors. Very chewy. Makes me crave smoked meats. Alcohol has mellowed so much that you can barely tell that it's there.

Finishes surprisingly clean with just the right amount of lingering flavors. Alcohol heat? Nonexistent. Creamy mouthfeel too.

So glad that I waited 2 years to sample this. I'm hoping for a similar outcome for the Daybreak and another porter of theirs. Some beers just taste better with a little age on them. So worth the purchase!

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Photo of micromaniac129
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Even in the darken environment of the blue dog I could see quite clearly that this beer had a garnet brown hue with a light mocha head. The head was tall and dense and lasted along while leaving a fair amount of lacing.

Aroma was smokey of course with a roasted malt bill befitting.

Taste was most good with a smokey roasted malt bill. The smoke was just right in my opinion not overpowering and not weak. You knew it was there. I wasn't aware that it was barrel aged and to be quite honest didn't taste it either.
I did taste a kind of sweetness not like candied sugar just a sweetness of some sort.

It drink real smooth on the palette but also had a flat feel too.

This was good had a real earthy feel and taste that was quite enjoyable. the other aspects were pleasing too.
Pair this beer with a destructive huricane and it's sure to please.

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Photo of stakem
3.71/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Many thanks go to Kegatron for sharing all 3 Fear and Trembling variations during our recent gathering. Awesome experience to have these all back to back. 500ml bottle poured into some snifters. The brew pours a dark brown with clarity that lighter brown around the edges when held to the light. Some ruby clarity is noted and a khaki head sits atop. As the cap fades, it leaves a webby pattern of lacework.

The aroma is heavily smoked and peated with an overall impression of beef stock and camp fire. Bacon? Some roasty chocolate notes fight to make itself known along with a dark fruity quality like raisin and a hint of bourbon soaked alcohol. The aromatics are pretty much dominated by the smokiness and all other nuances are subtle at best.

The flavor is beefy with a solid smoked taste. Minor suggestions of chocolate roast and bourbon with an earthy tobacco character that is more ashy and tangy than anything. The alcohol is felt with a bit of raisony ester just like the nose slightly suggested. However, just like the aromatics, the taste is all about the smoke. As it warms up, there is a hint of molasses to fruity citrus quality towards the backend.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. This is actually surprisingly crisp for the smoked inclusion. It is a bit unbalanced in favor of the smoke but if thats what you are looking for, than this is pretty solid. The alcohol is integrated well. My only gripe is that the smoke is so brutal that it masks the nuance of the barrel and most of the base beer character. This honestly gives Schlenkerla a run for its money in the smoked beer cateogry.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.83/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

500 ml bottle into a couple of glasses.

Pours a black/deep brown, with a finger or so of frothy mocha head. This retains with a thin covering that flares up nicely into a ½ finger of rich foaminess that leaves some robust spotty lacing down the sides of the glass. The aroma is WOW, straight up smoked peat! It is very strong here in the nose, filling up almost the entire profile except for some light notes of cocoa, caramel and bourbon barrel notes that are all shoved way in the back. Damn, this is peaty smelling!

The taste is thankfully a bit more subdued with the smoke, as chocolate, toffee and light citrus have more of a presence here. That smoked meat character, while lighter here in the taste, is present though and spreads out into the finish where it lingers with some bourbon flavors that were hanging on the edges of the profile. The mouthfeel is medium to fuller bodied, with a creamy carbonation (which has just a bit of crispness to it) that flows nicely here in the mouth. There is a touch of alcohol warmth present in the body but the overall ABV here is extremely well hid for the size.

Wow. Well if you like smoked beers then this one is definitely worth a try, as it is pretty darn dominant in this. I mean to the point of taking even that bourbon barrel character and just shoving it aside. Things in the taste are definitely more balanced and honestly, I didn’t mind the assertive smokiness by itself but I would have liked to have had some other flavors present themselves a little more in the taste. This was a good start to this three beer series.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.12/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle pour at Woodshop 7 held at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach, CA.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, smoke, cocoa, wood, and some slight bourbon aromas. Taste is much the same with an alcohol kick and a slight woody finish. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with a great aroma and a really solid set of flavors.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.3/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

same pour, a bit less smokey than the others. This has done neat in the nose with light bourbon note. The flavor is a bit better, has the same smokey notes with some chocolate and a fair bit of sweet malt. Medium to thin and oily feel with assertive carb.

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Photo of Jeffo
4.37/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A big thanks goes out to jbeatty for hooking us up with this delicious three beer set. I had almost given up on ever seeing any of these, so I'm absolutely stoked to finally get a chance at the threesome. Cheers man!

From a 500ml bottle into a snifter
This was the second bottle we opened.

APPEARANCE: All of these variants look the same. Pours transparent brown and yields a small, medium looking, light tan head with decent retention. Head fades to a slight wisp and bubbly ring. Black body, relatively clear, with no carbonation evident. Only a ring remains until the end and leaves no lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Much like the Cabernet version with definite smoked meat up front with an accompanying force of roasted malts and dark chocolate. Bourbon is there, with some oak and vanilla notes as well. Good stuff and still quite smoke heavy, though it’s in better balance than the Cabernet version.

TASTE: My goodness this is awesome. Roasted and smoky malt, smoked meat flavors, dark chocolate lead into a big and flavorful bourbon barrel. Oak, bourbon, and lots of roasted goodness moves through the middle into the finish. A bold, persistent and decadent aftertaste of oak barrel, bourbon, smoked salami and dark, pure baker’s chocolate all work really well together. This is phenomenal stuff. It doesn’t get any better really.

PALATE: Medium body and somewhat higher levels of carbonation compared to the cabernet version. Lighter on the palate, still plenty creamy though, goes down fine and finishes slightly mouth-coating.

OVERALL: Too bad the feel was a little lighter than I’d hoped, as the flavor in this beer was world class. The smoked malt base had plenty of great complexities, just as the cabernet version did, but the bourbon barrel added a level of flavor that really put it over the top. The barrel and base beer went really well together, both complimenting each other in ways every bourbon barrel beer wishes it could. This was my favorite of the series, though the whole three beer set was just great. It’s not going to get any better with more age, so drink it sooner rather than later. Stellar stuff.

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

A big thanks to Barry for giving me this on my trip to Boston. I will have to find a way to thank you.

A: The beer pours a very dark brown color with a finger or so of tan colored foam.

S: As expected, there is a heavy dose of smoke. Although this is a Utopia's barrel, there is still a fair amount of barrel/oak character to it. As with many smoked beers, I get some aromas of almonds and an almost meaty aroma and light saltiness.

T: Strangely, this beer has an almost peanut butter flavor to me (perhaps the "salitiness"?). Anyway, there is also a bit of sweet malt (toffee), barrel/oak, and of course: smoke. Though, the smoke is not as powerful as expected.

M: The body is medium with low to medium carbonation.

O: Quite nice. I preferred this to the Cabernet version.

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Photo of koopa
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle picked up at last years Autumn Festival.

Appearance: Pours a super dark brown black with a 2 finger brown crown that displays very good retention and lace.

Smell: Straight up fatty greasy bacon over smoked malt. Hints of bourbon and vanilla round this one out nicely.

Taste: Same as the nose but more bourbon and vanilla than I smelled. The bourbon has mellowed beautifully. I like this much more now than fresh. I'd give it a 4.25 if I could so I'm rounding up a bit.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with very creamy head retention and soft carbonation.

Overall: Such a solid beer that has plenty of flavor yet is incredibly drinkable at this point in time.

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Photo of grotonmarketguy
4.95/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Sooo good. Liquid bacon. Pours dark brown not quite black. Big but not incredibly viscous, you won't have to chew it. Still slurpable. Aromas are intoxicating and so is the liquid itself. Pure breakfasty bliss. Bacon strips + Bacon strips + Bacon strips. Thank you Hill Farmstead.

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Photo of baggio
3.8/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

[email protected] place (Thanks to Weine for sharing his bottle!)

A: Dark brown with a small, beige, head.

S: Smoke, Chocolate, Roasted malts and a wee hint of vanilla.

T: Bacon, Milkchocolate, Vanilla, Caramel and hint of dark fruit.

M: Quite smooth with tiny bubbles and ends dryish with a hint of alcohol.

A very drinkable beer but a bit too sweet for my taste. Worth a try for sure!

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Photo of mfunk9786
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Capone's during PBW.

This beer pours a very dark ruby red. It smells of sour red wine, oak, and smoke. The flavor is incredibly complex - a lovely sweetness along with major smoke, chocolate, more tart red wine, sweet maple, and a hint of savory smoked meat (without being overpowering - looking at you, Dark Lord). This was an incredible beer to get to try.

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Photo of jale
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to bearsonacid for this.

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

S: Smoked malt.

T: Sweet smoky malt upfront. I get some bitter coffee but very little bourbon. Not as much smoke or hops as the cab. Just a hint of oak.

M; Medium body with good carbonation.

O: My least favorite of the three. Would like a little more of the bourbon.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.62/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Rich and completely black with a huge towering head on the top that would not quit. Spilling over the sides it left everything just completely soaked and sticky with a thin chocolate covered film. A wonderful mess indeed. Rich notes of bourbon and Vanilla welcome you in on this one and play off each other nicely. Warming lets a touch of the chocolate underneath peak its head up but not as much as I would have liked, still, very nice. As I take a sip, it crashes over the palate. Richness that is well served to say the least. Creamy and full bodied the deep chocolate and roasted malts interact with vanilla and a leather and tobacco note making it all so smooth and full that it was absurd. Enormous flavor here that was simply hard to withstand. I really could have just sat there with a glass of this all day, it seemed to really come together quite well. Long and very sweet finish had nice hints of molasses and vanilla leaving me looking around to find out just what had happened.

Overall solid as could be. It appears they cannot go wrong with aging their offerings. Very impressed with what was going on here and rightfully so. A lot of time went into these and it really shows. Very well done.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to jh1982 for breaking this out during March Madness. Dark brown and black appearance. Beige head, great retention. Damn this smells smoky. Big time. Hints of the bourbon, but smoke and char dominant.

Taste is crushingly charred wood, smoke and alcohol. After a few more sips, the chocolate roasted malt slips in there, but has a tough time competing with the campfire and bourbon presence. Might be some more subtleties in there, but this one leads with power.

This was a challenging beer to drink, not going to be a crowd pleaser, but if you like big stouts/rauchbier/barrel aging, it should be up your alley.

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Photo of gford217
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle, alongside the other two versions.

Pours like the others, a dark, dark brown, almost black, with the biggest head of the different treatments, a thick mocha head that shows good retention and lacing.

The nose is the sweetest of the three with the bourbon and vanilla from the barrel standing out on top of the lightly smoked malts.

The taste is also sweet with chocolate, vanilla and dark fruits coming out with the smoked malts underneath. The finish is the booziest of the three with the bourbon leaving a slight burn on the palate.

The mouthfeel is smooth with medium carbonation and the least dry of the three.

This one is a step above the cab version for me but probably a notch below the blend. I do think the bourbon mixes better with the underlying beer than the cab alone.

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Photo of beerwolf77
4.07/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks goes to BeerFMAndy for another Fear and Trembling variation. Poured into a tulip.

A: Pitch black hue, small mocha tinged head, soapy lace.

S: Roasty malt, mild chocolate and coffee, just a hint of bourbon and smoke.

T: The bourbon really shines in the flavor. It blends seamlessly with the roast malt and dark chocolate flavors. The smoke is present but not too strong. Just a hint of wood can be picked up as well.

M:Medium to full body. Light carbonation.

D: Very nice combination of flavors. The smoke was present but nothing overpowering. The bourbon added a great layer of complexity.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Thanks again to Keith (Rochefort10nh) for sending these my way. Bottle #2!

A - Pitch black brew with nice clarity on the pour with much better head retention than the French Oak and a finger of thick foam. Nice lace adorns the glass.

S - Peat smoked chocolate malt doesn't add much beyond the smoke aroma present in the French Cab. barrel. Mocha undertones mostly, but what this beer has is the bourbon-barrel aroma! Mellow notes of vanilla and low fruit with bourbon. Awesome nose!

T - The bourbon that's so great and prevalent in the aroma fades back just a bit too much in the flavor. It's still there but the flavor is filled with more roasted malt and chocolate. Notes of vanilla and mellow smoke (surprisingly!).

M - Full-bodied and smooth with a creamy finish leading into a medium-dry and low acrid bitter finish. Mellow warming alcohol.

D - Good drinkability for the alcohol level and mild bourbon flavor that's going on. Note too far off from the French Oak version, but definitely a step above.

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Photo of glid02
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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 solid amounts of smokiness. Also present are smooth dark chocolate aromas and hints of vanilla and butterscotch.

Tastes similar to how it smells, though with more influence from the bourbon. Lightly roasted malts with strong smoked malt flavors kick things off. Subtle vanilla with spicy bourbon come into play shortly thereafter. Hints of dark chocolate come into play midway through the sip before fading out and allowing vanilla, smoke, and roasted flavors to carry through to a moderately bitter ending.

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

Drinkability is also very good. I finished my glass quickly and could easily have a few more.

Overall I thought the bourbon influence was more subtle than in 90% of other bourbon-barrel-aged beers. A very good base beer allowed this to happen and still produce a tasty beer. Well worth a shot.

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Photo of callmemickey
3.91/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed January 2011.

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

S: A hint of bourbon, as well as the same smoked malts that were in the other two Fear and Tremblings.

T: Smoky, roasty malts. Chocolate, a little bourbon and oak. Very mellow, but plenty enjoyable.

M: Medium bodied. Ever so slightly boozy in the finish. Moderate carbonation.

D: My least favorite of the Fear and Trembling series.

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Fear And Trembling (Bourbon) from Hill Farmstead Brewery
4.16 out of 5 based on 89 ratings.
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