Holger Danske (with Kissmeyer)
Hill Farmstead Brewery

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Smoked Beer
Ranked #2
Ranked #3,196
4.16 | pDev: 9.62%
Hill Farmstead Brewery
Vermont, United States
Notes: Smoked Brown Ale
Reviews: 50 | Ratings: 224 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Gatch
Gatch from Massachusetts

4.63/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Armsby in Worcester. Can’t remember the last time I had a HF beer. This is incredible. Subtle smokiness on top of all that makes a brown ale delicious. Heavily roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, wood, earth, sweet sugary syrup. This is killer stuff.

Nov 08, 2018
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GreesyFizeek from New York

4.48/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This one pours a very dark brown color- it's very rich looking. There's a small foamy white head, and a little bit of lacing.

This smells like warm and toasty smoke, with caramel, rustic bread, rye, chocolate, and coffee.

There's a lot going on here. The malt is perfectly smoked- there's absolutely none of the off-flavors often associated with smoked beers- no plastic, no bandaid, no nothing. It's just warm and toasty and like a great campfire. The base brown ale is so rich. It feels richer than George- there's some definite dark roast coffee, lots of chocolate, a dark and spicy breadiness, and some very light caramel. This is so good.

This is creamy and rich, with a medium sized body, and a great level of drinkability. I could drink this all day, and I couldn't say that about most smoked beers.

Hill Farmstead has turned probably the least sexy style into an amazing beer. This is absolutely wonderful.

Oct 31, 2018
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npolachek from New York

4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Solid robust smoked brown ale. Taste of dark chocolate and smokiness. Clear color and smooth for a beer of it style. Definitely drinkable at 7% ABV.

Oct 10, 2018
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smcolw from Massachusetts

4.23/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This is a collaborative beer with Danish brewer Kissmeyer.

Near black in color but light shines through the very edge of the glass stem. Large beige head which leaves a many, many spots. It settles with a dome.

The smell reminds me of a Porter with only a hint of the advertised smoke.

The flavor starts dry with black patent malt notes like black coffee and burnt toast. From there the taste becomes drier and more like ash. The smoke is more pronounced but definitely not the major flavor. Moderate body with a higher carbonation than most stouts. This was advertised as a "smoked brown ale". It is far stronger in flavor than that style and is much closer to a robust Porter or dry stout.

Dec 02, 2017
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ManapuaMan from Massachusetts

4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Filled a growler with this mysterious brew on a whim; figured I’d try something other than familiar names or literary references. Not a fan of smoked beers but the thinking goes that, if I could be turned, HF would be the ones to do it.

Growler filled on Saturday, consumed Wednesday. Dark brown pour with a moderate off-white head that lingers.

Aroma! Couldn’t help myself; was expecting burning tire, chimney or campfire. What I got was a subtle campfire smokiness layered atop toasted malts, light cocoa and that ethereal earthiness. Whew.

Taste is fire-toasted malt, bitter chocolate, cocoa powder, char and, well, smokiness. The latter brings a different element of taste to the fore that sets this beer apart. Otherwise feels like an Irish Stout - dry with a balanced bitterness.

Nov 03, 2017
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SABERG from Massachusetts

4.16/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a fresh growler into the test glass.
A - Black walnut colored, dark and a bit intriguing, with some back lighting, small spheres move top side. An off white cap manifests and leaves lacing in small doses.
S - Roasted malts lead the way with some cocoa, and burnt sugar, All wrapped by a gentle smokey ribbon, a bit of earthiness, like fall woods adds to the complexity.
T - Flavors follow the aromatics well, roasted dark malts add the sweet start, then a touch of bakers chocolate bitter, and a hint of piney hops.
M - Soft tactile feel, carbonation is near perfect, a slight bitter thread keeps both the sweet brown malts and the smoke elements in perfect harmony. The finish is dry and includes the best parts of the offering.
O - This is a wonderful fall offering, robust enough as a brown ale, intricate in each aspect, The aromatic and the palate dance to the same tune, the feel is delicate to start, hearty in body and beautifully dry in the finish.
This is a draft offering only but what a treat, its a bit more complex with a rise in temperature, this only adds to the joy.

Oct 15, 2017
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Stevedore from Oregon

4.07/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

App- cola brown body, fairly minimal one finger head with minimal retention. No lacing.

Smell- smells like a sweet brown ale- caramel, molasses, brown sugar with a bit of chocolate. And a nice smoky presence that isn't overpowering but is definitely there.

Flavour- same as the smell but the smokiness is much more pronounced on the backend. Much more enjoyable than any other smoked beer I've ever had where it is smoked all day long like a campfire. Complex with the smoke being just another layer on top of all the other brown ale characteristics.

Mouthfeel- medium bodied, creamy and a nice smoky and dry finish. Drinkable for sure.

Overall- certainly is the best smoked beer I've had as the smoke is masterfully woven into the rest of the beer. It's still a smoked beer, though..

Feb 13, 2014
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ClePaul from Ohio

4.39/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Holger Danske

Look 9/10
Smell 18/20
Taste 37/40
Feel 9/10
Drinkability 16/20

Overall 89/100

Had on tap at Prohibition Pig and Blackback. I always feel bad deducting points for a style I'm not crazy about. I like smoke... don't love it and had it up against a few other HF brews. Was still pretty amazing. Just felt like the smoke was out of place. More like an experiment, and yet still about a 90 in my book. Speaks volumes for HF~

Nov 27, 2013
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bonkus from Vermont

4.44/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at Whetstone Station in Brattleboro VT.

Damn good beer - thought about getting a side of bacon to go alongside it.

It looks like a dark beer. That's because it is one.

The strong smell of smokiness is due to the malts being smoked over beech wood I'm told - which explains the pleasant campfirey quality there.

The taste is complex, there's a fair amount of acridity, but it's well balanced by a light caramelly sweetness and nice clean hop bitterness... it's a taste reminiscent of a bitter dark chocolate in that way. The smokiness is powerful without being overwhelming or off-putting. I feel like this beer is getting away with something.

The mouthfeel is phenomenal - it's at once smooth as silk and a little stingy with carbonation - it's got some kind of funky chemistry going on too, it'll strip the enamel off your teeth (but you know, in a nice way).

Overall this is a great beer. I've had several from Hill Farmstead here at Whetstone, and up till now my experience has been that they're always very crisp & clean with no frills... This is the first one I've tried that had anything I'd consider a 'frill.'

The smokiness in this is strong enough that I can't say I'd drink it every day, regardless of the obvious quality of the ingredients and process... It's a great beer - but I don't think I'll have another, if that puts it in perspective a bit.

Nov 19, 2013
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Duane_Opfer from Virginia

4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On-tap at Hill Farmstead. Reviewed while in line for growler fills. Review written from notes. Consumed on 11/2.

A - Brown approaching black. Pour yielded 1 finger head of whitish head. Left lacing as liquid receded.

S - No doubt about it... smelled of smoke.

T - Also dominated by a smoky flavor with a lasting tart finish.

M - As with all HF beers, outstanding quality. Clean and crisp.

O - I say this with respect for HF products, but a "smoked beer" seems more of a novelty to me. The smoky flavor was clearly represented in the mouth, but not something I would seek out. It was worth a try though.

Nov 04, 2013
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REVZEB from Illinois

4.53/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap. Is there anything HF can't do? This is a fantastic smoke beer, right from the smell: artful wood, smoke, whole grain bread, toasted caramel, with slight light roast coffee. Taste really lets the smoke accentuate all the other flavors from the nose, wood is present but not stealing the show, bright even, malts contrast nice sweetness and there is a general robust bread that has been freshly baked. Feel is smoky, bready, full but sneaky airy. Look like something you should have at a fall campfire: dark brown with a tan cap and lacing.

Nov 02, 2013
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Skrip from New Jersey

4.06/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml growler poured into a Hill Farmstead oversized wine glass.

A~ very dark for a brown ale. you can definitely see the color in the light though. nice bubbly head and a little bit of lacing.

S~ not too much going on here. a little smoke, oaky wood and caramel.

T~ opens up a bit here. smoke up front, sweet roasted malts and caramel mid palette. with a smooth molasses finish. all followed by a smokey brown sugar after taste that lingers.

M~ kind of thick, definitely a molasses/caramel feel here which plays nicely with the overall flavor. nice carbonation and surprisingly smooth despite the thickness.

O~ very nice smoked ale, not overly smokey with an amazing balance. i was under the presumption that this was George based and i can totally see that now. the smoke just seems to take away the hop presence that George does so well but its all good! the balance is what really shines here!

Oct 30, 2013
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Alieniloquium from Florida

3.67/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Deep brown. Small khaki head. Gone quickly. Transparent.

Smell - Woody and smokey. Malty, but I can't smell any real sugary components.

Taste - More malty. Less intense on the smoke. Very woody. Deep caramel malt, but again no sweetness. Smoke gets stronger throughout. A little chocolate in the back. Ashyand woody finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium body. Medium carbonation. Very strong and bitter finish.

Overall - This is intense, but very strong. Much more caramel as it warms, but still strong verging on rough.

Oct 26, 2013
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blackie from Oregon

4.21/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Draft at Blackback, Waterbury. HD is a deep brown in color with a nice cap of beige carbonation. The base structure brings out a lot of robust malt character on the brown ale end of the spectrum, in a balanced complexity - browned bread, toffee and caramel, chocolate malt, and deep toast. Alongside runs an implanted and balanced beechwood smoke - meaty and very pleasant, backs up well to the firm malt back. On the fuller side of moderate in body with a moderate, gentle carbonation. Unique from any other smoked beer I’ve had, very nice.

Oct 08, 2013
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sidetracked from Illinois

3.81/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at the Prohibition Pig.

Pours a clear deep mahogany with a bubbly light brown head. Nice lacing.

Aroma is a light smokiness mixed with some caramel sweetness.

Taste upfront is slightly sweet--caramel, brown sugar, and toasted malt backed with a light smokiness. Slightly sweet toasted malt finish with a little smokiness still coming through. Lingering mix of brown sugar sweetness and bitterness.

Medium body with moderate/high carbonation makes this an easy drinker. Very clean finish.

Good, but somewhat boring. However, the smoke is nicely integrated and compliments the base beer--which to me has a lot of the qualities of a scotch ale--without overpowering it.


Jun 27, 2013
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MDDMD from Pennsylvania

4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A-medium to dark brown with a smallish tan head and some lacing

S-dark roasted malt, smoke, coffee, hints of chocolate

T-smoky dark malt, coffee, light chocolate, hint of pine and slight bitter finish

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, smooth and silky, creamy

O-a great beer with barbecue, this had a great smooth feel and good flavor, but not as much smoke as I anticipated

Jan 20, 2013
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cfrances33 from Illinois

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

On tap at Prohibition Pig, served in a half pint.

Pour: Dark brown and mostly clear body with a finger+ of tan frothy head. Leaves some lacing, but not a ton.

Smell: Big roasted smokey malts up front. A bacon-like aspect. It smells like a bbq pit sans the meat.

Taste: Again big roasted smokey malts up front, followed by some really nice caramel and a light coffee. This beer really reminds me of George in every way, except that they just smoked the malts. Some bitter floral hops and a smokiness finish.

Mouthfeel: Really nice medium to light body, but this is a sipper for the full face smokey assault that it is.

Overall: Easily the best smoked beer I've had yet, but my half pour was more than enough.

Jan 07, 2013
FeDUBBELFIST from Pennsylvania

3.89/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

$6.00 for 16oz, served in a pint glass
Sampled 08NOV12

[A] Served with a finger high head, light chocolate milk in color and creamy in texture. Retention is a notch above average. The color of the body is dark chestnut brown, much lighter than your average porter, and a good deal of transparency can be seen through the bottom of the glass. The top two thirds of the glass are hazy - murky even. The film on top lasts long and deposits some drooping strands of lace with each sip.

[S] The nose is milder than expected. Peated malts are the most distinguishing factor, providing a musky, soily, smokey aroma. Damp earth. A bit one-note perhaps.

[T] Starts off with the peaty smoke flavor with faint notes of chocolate malts deeper in the background. Completely manageable heat is displayed on the follow through. Overall the flavor comes across extremely clean. If I didn't know any better, I'd guess that this one approaches Baltic Porter territory, with hefty lager-like smoothness.

[M] Stunning mouthfeel. But that is one of the many consistencies you can expect from Mr. Hill. Thick, smooth, velvety. Just big, round and full-bodied in every way imaginable. You can literally feel the beer being 'pulled' through your mouth on the swallow. Impressive.

[O] For me, the exceptional mouthfeel took this beer from 'good' to 'very good.' More impressive scores on the front end would have elevated Holger Danske to 'great.' And pretty easily. But, as always, the experience is always a pleasure.

Dec 31, 2012
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woosterbill from Kentucky

3.97/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Blackback Pub in Waterbury.

A: Clear deep garnet body; 1/2" head of off-white foam. Pretty good retention, spotty lace. Ok.

S: Pure smoke - cherry wood? Really clearn, light, fruity smoke, but nothing but smoke. Nice.

T: Smoke up front, smoke in the middle, and smoke on the finish. Some dark fruity adn malt in the background. BItter, smoky finish. Tasty.

M: Creamy, lively medium body. Good.

O: Quite a nice smoked beer, but honestly not quite as good as a classic Aecht Schlenkerla.


Nov 18, 2012
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drabmuh from Maryland

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

Reviewed from notes. At the time of this review, this is #1 on the "Top Beers - Smoked Beers" list on beeradvocate.com. Served in a Hill Farmstead stemmed tulip. Growler shared by yourefragile. Thanks. Long time want, finally obtained. Loved it too.

Beer is brown and mostly clear with a wispy tan head of small and large bubbles.

Aroma is smokey but also sweet, hickory or something similar if I were to guess.

Beer is medium in body, a nice balance of smoky and sweet on the palate with a really great finish. The roast and smoke lingers in the mouth / palate for several seconds, making the beer seem dryer than it is. Definitely smoke forward without being over the top, by far the best smoked beer I've ever had.

Nov 13, 2012
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garuda from Pennsylvania

4.27/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Deep ruby, khaki head that recedes to a thin layer of bubbles, but leaves thick lacing.

S/T - Wood smoke up front, nice backed up by roast malt, dark chocolate, smooth coffee roast and finishing with a pine hop bite at the end. Underlying wood smoke throughout the flavor profile.

F - Medium body, maybe a little thin, velvety, but a little astringent in the finish.

O - Depths of malt flavor with the smoke nicely complimentary throughout the drink and never overwhelms the other aspects.

Nov 12, 2012
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DoubleSimcoe from Pennsylvania

3.23/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Hill Holger, on tap at Pony Bar, served in their eight-ounce glass.

Appearance: Shiny ruby-chestnut-fancy wood color. Classic head that doesn't last, thick lacing.

Smell: Weak nose for a big, smoked brew. Chocolate, bacon, fireplace, smokehouse in Alaska.

Taste: Sweeter than I expected, and again- weak. A tangy/funky (almost sour) touch at the end. Some peated whiskey notes, umami. Maybe some chicory. Wood. Not very impressive.

Mouthfeel: Medium body and flavor, low carbonation. Thin all around. Astringent at the end.

Overall: Drinkable and pleasant enough, but unremarkable- more so coming from the mighty Hill.

Oct 28, 2012
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rudzud from Massachusetts

4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler from Hill Farmstead poured into my dogfish head tulip.

A - Poured a deep dark brown hue with a two finger khaki head leaving nice sticky side lacing and a very nice thin blanket.

S - Aromas of lightly roasted smoked malts here and nice and subtly smokey.

T - Taste though is much different than the nose in that much more smokey than the nose with more sweet notes with some light chocolate notes as well.

M - Mouthfeel is nice with lots of carbonation very sharp and crisp in the mouth.

O - Overall this was a very tasty smoked beer with very nice richness going for it. Another good brew from Hill Farmstead.

Oct 24, 2012
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jlindros from Massachusetts

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

Light 1/2 finger creamy head fades at a med pace with decent lacing, over dark molasses colored beer with a ruby hue.

Nose has a big smoke, not much campfire smoke but more smoked cheese like, a chewy smoke, with a bit of wheat I think, some caramelized sugars, caramel, slight burnt toffee, light roasty quality, some earthy hops somewhere under that, and a touch of cocoa.

Taste starts a little creamy, but quickly turns to smoke, again not really campfire smoke more like a smoldering log smoked cheese, light toasted quality. Again light caramelized molasses like sugars, smoked wheat, light bitter roast and some earthy hops, light creme brulee with a bit of sweetness, and a light creamy cocoa. Finish is a bit drier, long lingering tasty smoke with a bit more dark chocolate, smoked cheese, little creaminess feel, and a big bitter kick at the end with more earthy slight grassy hops.

Mouth is med to slightly fuller bodied, decent carb, no booze.

Overall interesting, a decent smoked beer without over bitter or campfire, nice flavors, long tasty finish. Despite being a good beer, not quite as high caliber as most of the other Hill beers.

Oct 16, 2012
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Pahn from New York

4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Ginger Man in Manhattan. Reviewed from notes taken in the first week of October.

Appearance: Opaque dark red brown. Half inch tan frothy head that sticks around longer than most.

Smell: Cocoa, roasted malt, smoky highlights. Good but could be more pronounced.

Taste: Subdued roasted malt and cocoa, with a smoked malt finish. All the elements are subtle, but together they form a really full flavored beer--and the amazing body really helps. Delicate hand with the smoke, makes the beer soar.

Mouthfeel: Perfection. What does Hill Farmstead understand about mouthfeel that other people don't? Medium bodied, crisp finish, and smooth as silk.

Overall: Refined but straightforward. Doesn't do much, but what it does is delicious and unique. Provides a great fix for the smoked malt lover, and the mouthfeel is to die for. I'm not a big fan of saying "to die for," but it's something you say about perfect, decadent things with the smoothness of world class chocolate.

Oct 14, 2012
Holger Danske (with Kissmeyer) from Hill Farmstead Brewery
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 224 ratings