Twilight Of The Idols | Hill Farmstead Brewery

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Twilight Of The IdolsTwilight Of The Idols

Brewed by:
Hill Farmstead Brewery
Vermont, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Twilight of the Idols is our winter porter. We brew Twilight each autumn, with a touch of locally roasted coffee and cinnamon, and age it on a blend of select vanilla beans. Originally conceived with a friend in 2009 while brewing in Denmark, the name of this annual release is inspired by the title of one of the last texts written by one of our philosophical idols, Friedrich Nietzsche.

Added by kingcrowing on 10-28-2010

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Reviews: 183 | Ratings: 1,030
Photo of Phyl21ca
4.48/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: Poured a black color porter with a nice large brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of roasted malt with nice floral coffee notes with some vanilla undertones. Taste is a great mix of vanilla undertones with some floral coffee notes with some light roasted malt and subtle residual sugar notes are also discernable. Body is about average but has a nice creamy texture with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Very flavorful with great attenuation. Probably one of the best example of the style I’ve had the chance to drink.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2015 vintage, poured from a bottle into a snifter. The beer is jet black, with an uneven, foamy, tan head. Aromas of roasted coffee, rich vanilla, subtle char and wood spice, hints of chocolate, and subtle earthy highlights. Flavors are heavily roasted coffee first and foremost, robust and rich, with accents of vanilla, chocolate, char, subtle smoke, and earthy undertones. Very robust and layered throughout, on a smooth, dry body. The aftertaste is bitter roasted coffee, with all of the other characteristics falling back into accent positions. Very robust and slightly charred coffee notes continue from the aftertaste through the smooth, slow, dry finish. This is a really solid, layered, delicious beer. Wow!

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4.26/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Hill Farmstead Twilight of the Idols

A: This variation on the brilliant and perfect Everett pours typical midnight black with a somewhat disappointingly small, mocha head of about a finger-and-a-half, and it is not long for this world, either. The carbonation is slow and lazy, but active enough. Lacing is brilliant, however, and the viscosity looks to be more than ample without wandering into sticky territory ruled by the imperial stout. 4/5

A: Coffee and cinnamon leap out of the glass in nearly equal measure (coffee takes the forefront), with the vanilla buried a little under the intense roast notes. There is ample dark fruit here, particularly fig and the very elusive black cherry. The dark fruit is a nice touch that hearkens back to English porters and is lost on many American versions of the style. Burnt caramel and Muscavado sugars lie at the back of the aroma along with bitter vanilla bean, heavily roasted barley (almost smokey), and plenty of baker's chocolate accompanied, of course, by more coffee. This seems very balanced, like most HF beers, and the additives do not take over what is an amazing base beer. 4.25/5

T: In a surprising turn of events, campfire smoke wins out in the taste along with a very hefty roasted coffee. Some cola, fig, and black cherry comes through in the middle along with a touch of fruity hops. The end is all rich, dark chocolate, fading darker and darker, more and more bitter, almost like chocolate-covered espresso beans. Cinnamon is largely absent, contributing perhaps an earthiness but nothing more. This is a wonderfully complex porter, but with the magnificent base to live up to, it falls a bit short in taste, the nuances of Everett covered up a bit by the additives. 4.25/5

M: It is almost boring to review this category for HF beers, as Shaun always nails mouthfeel. Here, a velvety creaminess dominates with just enough prickly carbonation to make the flavors pop. The roast drys the mouth wonderfully. The only complaint is that the somewhat modest alcohol content of 7.2% does creep up in a little bit of heat, uncharacteristic for the style and for HF in general. 4.5/5

O: While this is a great porter (with an even better name), it is darker than this beer when standing in Everett's shadow; Twilight simply cannot match its older, more nuanced, better-balanced brother. It is still a very tasty beer in its own right (and better than most other American-made examples), I will focus all my future trades on Everett itself, the apex of the American Porter. Do not scoff at this if it is offered, however, as it is always worth a drink and then some. Pair with Ihsahn's "After." 4.25/5

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Photo of leroybrown10
4.53/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours chocolate brown, not quite completely opaque. Touch of dark red highlights around the edges. 2 finger khaki head with fairly large bubbles, sorta frothy. Decent retention on the head and it leaves a layer of creamy bubbles once it recedes. Nice lacing left behind.

Aroma is a rich blend of coffee and vanilla. Roasted malt, dark chocolate, and caramel.

Coffee leads on first taste along with dark chocolate and roasted malt. Vanilla a nice complement. Just a hint of the cinnamon mentioned in the description. Earthy and just a touch of oak.

Medium body with medium carbonation. Creamy on the tongue with very mild bitterness. Some coffee acidity. The roasty notes are what really lingers.

A really tremendous beer. Flavors blend well and no one aspect overpowers. My first HF and it did not disappoint.

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Photo of Myotus
4.22/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured at 46°F from a 500ml bottle (2015 vintage) into a nonic pint glass. Consumed on 24Jun16.
LOOK: One finger of cinnamon colored foam halves itself into a khaki foam head within thirty seconds. Black in color with a dark orange luster. Subtle amount of small, rising bubbles. Lacing is moderate in quantity and mostly thin with some areas of thickness.
SMELL: Massive waves of bittersweet  chocolate are backed by strong aromas of bittersweet coffee and vanilla along with mild aromas of oak and bitter roasted malts. Subtle aromas of caramel, cinnamon, and hints of alcohol elaborate the dark complexity.
TASTE: A bold statement is instantly made by very strong bittersweet chocolate and strong bittersweet coffee flavors. The intensity is immediately balanced by mild flavors of vanilla and oak. The balance between sweetness and bitterness is disrupted by mild bitter roasted malt flavors. Subtle caramel flavors attempt to restore balance with little success. Subtle cinnamon and hints of alcohol close the taste profile as all prior flavors maintain.
FEEL: Somewhere between full-bodied and medium-bodied. Carbonation is moderate. Goes down somewhat smooth and creamy. Finishes with a strong and unpleasant dryness. NOTE: A vigorous brew not for the faint of heart. More Stout than Porter, this robust delicacy boasted large quantities of bitterness that left me desiring a more sweetening balance. This was still another great offering from HF that I hope I can come across again in the future.

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Photo of Marius
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Warpigs, pre-CBC. Pitch black with an espresso head. Tons of chocolate in the nose and taste, soft chocolate and a bit of spice. Really nice.

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Photo of John_M
4/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a fairly dark brown color, with good head retention and decent lasting. No the nose, this really comes across as a robust porter, as I picked up considerable roasty malt on the nose, coupled with some light coffee and vanilla. The flavor profile replicates the nose pretty closely, though I was expecting a bit more vanilla. The porter is actually on the dry side, and finishes with some light coffee, cocoa and vanilla. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a moderately long finish. Alcohol is completely unnoticeable.

Nothing earth shattering, just a very solid, well crafted porter from the folks at HF.

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Photo of KVNBGRY
4.31/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Black, with a billowing brown head. Aroma is like mascarpone, coffee, vanilla, bitter roast. The taste is similar with a dry, cocoa note. Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied. Great porter!

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Photo of PVMT
4.14/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From a bottle dated 11.18.15. Dark pour with a tan head. Roasty aroma, with flavors of coffee and cinnamon leading the way. No vanilla to speak of. Very smooth, no bitterness. Decent, but not on par with most of the HF offerings.

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Photo of gustavmahler-09
4.49/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black, little head. Smells sweet, of spices, coffee. Taste follows the smell, sweet, vanilla, coffee, fruits. Feels lush and creamy. A great porter.

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Photo of FFreak
4.39/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to BoldRulerVT for this excellent gift. Bottle date is 11/2013 - cellared for 2.5 years. Poured into a willy glass.

Appearance is typical used-motor oil black with a fluffy tan head that leaves some lace.

Smell is roast malt combined with roast coffee - surprisingly aromatic considering the amount of time it's been cellared.

Taste is delicious, with brown sugar, coffee, vanilla, chocolate, and no bitterness to speak of. There is just a slight metallic taste, which I attribute to the age. Vanilla becomes more prominent as the beer warms.

Mouthfeel is perfect for the ABV - not overly sweet or viscous.

Overall, a finely crafted specialty porter.

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Photo of papat444
4.09/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown, thick unmovable head latches on. Cinnamon, cardamom and coffee in aroma. Flavor is very smooth, cold brewed coffee with a cinnamon bite at the end.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
4.28/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Black in color. Rocky coffee-colored head doesn't budge an inch. Stubborn and sticky rings of lacing.

S: Strong whiffs of cinnamon. Deeply roasted barley takes on espresso and dark chocolate characteristics. Good dose of vanilla bean.

T: Deep roast. Char and smoke. Burnt bread. French roast coffee. Bitter dark chocolate. Espresso. Cinnamon adds spiciness within the heavy burnt and roasted flavors. Acidic. Vanilla bean takes the edge off of it all and rides up on the back end. Metallic. Some hop bitterness and mild alcohol. Acrid and smokey finish is tempered by the vanilla.

M: Medium-thick body. Slightly coating. Full and velvety smooth with a gently pressing weight. Slight alcohol warmth. Stiff, prickling carbonation.

O: Delicious. A perfect holiday season fireside sipper. Very much in the spirit of the season.

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Photo of pagriley
3.57/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

500ml into snifter. About 3 months old

Pours black with huge foamy mocha head
lots of coffee and roast on the nose, but no sign of vanilla or cinnamon
more of the same on the palate - vanilla is completely AWOL. Ashy on the finish - too much black patent malt for my tastes
medium to lighter bodied given the ABV

Overall disappointing. When you tell me to expect vanilla, well... I expect some vanilla. nothing happening; not so much as a whiff.

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Photo of sposter4
4.17/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22 oz into a sam adams glass. Pours dark with toffee colored head. Seemed light on both smell and taste but to be fair Ive been drinking a lot of higher ABV and BA beers recently. Vanilla is present upfront with some coffee floating around in there. Nice lacing. Good beer to drink if you want something dark and drinkable.

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Photo of larryi86
4.38/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to bstyle for this!
500 ml bottle, dated 11/18/15, poured into teku

A- Black with a three finger khaki head.

S- Roasted coffee, some dark chocolate, vanilla, some mild cinnamon, nicely balanced.

T- Roasted coffee, bittersweet chocolate, some caramel malts, vanilla, hints of cinnamon, fairly coffee heavy.

M- Smooth, medium body.

O- A solid coffee Porter with a nice touch of vanilla and hint of cinnamon. Worth seeking out, definitely need more HF in my life.

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Photo of pkalix
4.4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

guy below nailed it- subdued aroma and very settled and balanced flavors. slight on the coffee although it is present. cinnamon follows in on the coffee's heels and a blanket of soft vanilla throughout. very little bitterness. the pour is beautiful with a nice creamy topping and some cinnamon color. around the edges. very nice; i should have been more prepared to enjoy this.....

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Photo of fmccormi
4.52/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Straight pour from a 500ml pry-off bottle to a 10oz stemmed tasting glass (TH small stemware). This beer is about three (possibly four?) years old. It was sitting in my basement for the past couple of years, but it recently migrated to my fridge, where it’s been for the past week or so.

Appearance (5.0): This pours a very dark, translucent mahogany brown/nearly black body, capped by a good three fingers of cappuccino-colored foam, which dies down at a slow pace to leave a cookie-like platform of bubbles. It leaves a collar all the way around the glass, linked to the head with little stalagmites of thin, lacy foam. This is unbelievably attractive.

Smell (4.25): Molasses, pumpernickel, dark cocoa, a light espresso note, and raw cacao come through in the nose. The malt body is most obvious, driven by the dark, molasses-like sweetness, balanced out by the cocoa and espresso aromas. This smells great—richer and deeper than the average porter, and more like a stout.

Taste (4.5): Compared to the nose, this is more driven by the dark (but surprisingly soft, not acrid) cocoa, with a drying coffee flavor, like what you get in cake made with espresso powder. There’s an almost jammy, nimble, underlying sweetness propping up the drier cocoa and coffee flavors. This is bright and surprisingly fruity (a little strawberry and sweet raspberry, even), but does a great job maintaining a balance between the lighter and darker notes. Unbelievably drinkable.

Mouthfeel (5.0): Whereas the aroma and flavor reflect more of a stout profile, the mouthfeel is more porter: the body is on the light- side of medium-weight, slick and smooth, but also somewhat dry. The carbonation comes in quiet as a mouse, propping up the body with velvet-smooth bubbles before foaming up with a plush feel just before washing out. It manages to be light but rich at the same time, and generally full of character.

Overall (4.5): There’s not a bad thing you can say about this beer—it’s rich, full, light, soft, dark, somehow fruity . . . I honestly don’t know how they fit all of this into one beer that still manages to be flexible, nimble, and thoroughly drinkable. And, I’m amazed at how well this has held up after so much time. Shawn Hill’s talent has, evidently, been clear for a long time.

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Photo of LambicPentameter
4.12/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Received as part of a trade from fellow BA AnthonyB123. Enjoyed out of a brown 500 mL bottle with a bottling date of 10/25/15 and enjoyed on 1/2/16. Poured into a curved pub-style pint glass.

Appearance (4.5) - Off to a good start, this one pours brown-black with a slightly viscous look to the liquid. Once it's all settled in the glass, it's black enough to prevent any kind of light penetration through the glass, even around the edges. Atop the body sits a healthy three fingers of mocha tan foam consisting of tight, smaller bubbles and a pockmarked, meringue-like surface. Retention is moderate, leaving curtains of heavy looking lace shellacking the sides of the glass after foam slinks down to a permanent half finger of hefty-looking foam.

Smell (4.25) - I have to admit I'm a little disappointed. On the positive side, nothing reaches out of the glass and smacks you in the face, with the various profiles melding together into a more cohesively balanced aroma. On the negative side, nothing reaches out of the glass and smacks you in the face, so it comes across as a little bit muted and polite. With flavor profiles like coffee and cinnamon, you expect a certain aggressiveness to the aroma, even though most of the HF beers I've had admittedly exhibit a great deal of balance and restraint (in a good way). Here, the cinnamon and coffee are present but just so, and the vanilla's presence seems to be indicated more by how it impacts the other elements than by making a stand itself.

Taste (4.0) - Unfortunately, the politeness of the aroma belies a similarly toned down collection of flavors on the tongue. It does allow the base porter to shine through with gentle roasted malts and light bitterness, as well as some light roast coffee and chocolate sweetness. The coffee presence is restrained enough that it's honestly hard to tell the difference between the natural coffee-like flavor profiles that are common in some darker beers and the actual addition of coffee. While I can appreciate balance as much as the next guy, it is not good to use an additive and leave drinkers wondering whether it was the additive itself or the inherent nature of the style that they tasted. The cinnamon is much less present in the taste than it was the aroma, and the vanilla is the exact opposite, providing a nice rich sweetness on the finish. The cinnamon's primary contribution to the beer is aroma and some impact on mouthfeel.

Mouthfeel (4.25) -Medium-bodied with moderate carbonation. The cinnamon also imparts that feel that is common for the spice--coming up just shy of feeling chalky on the tongue. Finish is semi-sweet.

Overall (4.0), a beer that, while delicious, I can't help but be a little bit disappointed by. A classic case of over-expectations based on an ingredient list that speaks directly to me and a brewer with a stellar (and deserved) reputation. The sad thing is that I would probably pick this porter up off the shelf over the vast majority of standard porters out there, but the beer doesn't quite match the effort it takes to acquire.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle received in a recent trade.

This one pours a dark glossy black, with a quarter inch mocha-reddish head, and a little bit of lacing.

Smells like bitter earthy roasted coffee, roasted malt, light cinnamon, and some chocolate. Not really getting any vanilla bean.

The taste run fairly similar to the aroma. The dominant flavor is a refined, elegant bitterness from the earthy coffee, along with the roasted barley. There's a light touch of cinnamon, and just the smallest smidgen of vanilla bean. It's delicious and runs counter to the usually super sweet adjunct stout game most breweries play when presented with this ingredient list.

This is medium bodied, very creamy, with a normal level of carbonation.

This is another slam dunk from Shaun Hill.

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Photo of ArkyVaughan
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On draft at Blind Tiger on New Year's Eve. This is really incredible. Perfect feel; the cinnamon, coffee, and vanilla beans are perfectly balanced. I actually think I like this more than the barrel-aged version (Birth of Tragedy).

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Photo of Holden
4.16/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Small but sustaining head, totally opaque, dark brown. Sweet roastiness aroma from the coffee. Vanilla and coffee come through lending a flavor sensation similar to Star Anise. Nice brew.

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Photo of rodmanfor3
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The 2013 release was fantastic. It had vibrant vanilla, cinnamon, and coconut notes on the palate and drank very well.

The 2015 release seemed to lack most of those tasty characteristics, falling far short of my expectations.

Here's to the hope that time in a bottle will make the most recent batch taste like the beer I remember having a few years ago.

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Photo of Dustin_Sallitt
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Nose is all vanilla and coffee. First sip hits you with some really tasty coffee, an ever so slight touch of cinnamon and a nice touch of sweet vanilla! The aftertaste has more noticeable cinnamon and still a nice amount of vanilla, with the coffee just still noticeable. The mouthfeel is good, about what you would expect for a porter in this alcohol range, with medium light carbonation. A very good porter, but probably not world class.

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Photo of reds2harleys
4.66/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, this beer impressed me. Most of the brews I've tried from HF have been lighter - sessions or IPA's - some have been good - some great - none bad. With this in mind I tried this because I trust HF but being my first Porter from them I wasn't sure what to expect. This is a wonderful brew. Def a cold weather sipping style - meant to drink slowly and enjoy all the flavors going on. Aroma is just what you'd expect and the flavor hits your with a nice subtle coffee note and then gets complex from there. Easily in my top 3 from HF. Cheers

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Twilight Of The Idols from Hill Farmstead Brewery
4.29 out of 5 based on 1,030 ratings.
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