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Holger Danske | Hill Farmstead Brewery

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
91
outstanding
43 Reviews
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BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Hill Farmstead Brewery
Vermont, United States | website

Style: Smoked Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Smoked Brown Ale

Added by Thorpe429 on 11-14-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Reviews:
43
Ratings:
197
Avg:
4.15
pDev:
10.12%
 
 
Wants:
52
Gots:
3
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 43 | Ratings: 197
Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.23/5  rDev -22.2%
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.

 626 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.67/5  rDev -11.6%
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.

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Photo of orangesol
3.77/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at Capone's into a sampler glass.

A - Pours deep, dark, brown with a strong half finger off-white head, dissipating to spotty patches of head, leaving streaks of lacing down the glass.

S - Lots of smokey darkness in this one for sure. A bit of chocolate and dark roasted coffee lend a bit of balance but the smokey ash permeates all aspects of the nose.

T - Lots of smoke up front giving way slowly to a mix of smokey ash and sweet roasty malt. Finish is, you guessed it, plenty of lingering smoke. I think this is what a beer would taste like if I brewed it in my fire pit. Soooo much smoke, if it was a little bit more balanced I think this could be an excellent smoked beer.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Nice soft feel on the pallet is a welcome addition to all that smoke. Finish is quite smokey becoming overpowering over the course of the glass.

D - Pretty good. I like smoked beers but this one was VERY smokey. I think I could still drink a few of these but the aftertaste would definitely get to me over time.

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Photo of sidetracked
3.81/5  rDev -8.2%
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.

9/23/2012

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Photo of deapokid
3.82/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank on tap at Capone's on 1-8-11. Reviewed from notes.

My first Hill Farmstead!

This "smoked brown ale" has a black body, no head or lacing and a light, still carbonation. The lack of carbonation and liveliness reminded me of a beer with a much higher ABV, which would have explained the dullness and lack of body.

Aroma is lightly smoked, packing in some dry fruit, fresh firewood and a touch of spicing. It's subtle and complex, which works to its advantage.

Flavor packs a heavy smokiness that one would expect from a well-cooked piece of brisket. Beechwood in the conclusion is rich, acting as a a nice counterpoint to the dry smoke. Bacon, apple and cinnamon also peak out, adding a pleasant spiciness to the raging fire of smoky flavor.

The mouth is a shade thinner than expected, but that allows the bold flavors to be more forceful. Surprisingly, the balance is still there and the flavor profile is varied.

For those seeking a smoky, nutty ale, this is a nice sipping beer for a snowy Winter's day.

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Photo of Kinsman
3.83/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a HF stemmed glass and fills it nicely with a dark brown body and light tan colored head. Fades a bit quickly but leaves some nice lace behind.

Smoke greets you first on the aroma but doesn't slap you across the face like some smoked beers. As it warms a variety of notes start to come out, especially from the non-smoked malts giving you the nice caramel and bready notes of a brown ale.

Like many smoked beers, I find the first sip isn't as smokey as the aroma but will make themselves known as you work your way though the grass. A nice caramel/toffee sweetness balances out the nice campfire notes. Rather light on the body with a nice smooth texture. Overall, a tasty smokey treat but falls just a bit short of the worldclass smoked beers coming out of Bamberg.

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Photo of FeDUBBELFIST
3.89/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On Tap at Blue Dog.

Holger Danske comes to me looking the brown color but not deep dark and bold brown, just a simple brown with a nice sturdy amount of cream colored foam on top leaving some spotches on the way down, healthy looking beer. Smell is smoky but a nice amount of caramel, roasted malt, cocco, and earth pop through in the scent, not smoked to the max. Taste is pretty well rounded and I got more out of it with each sip. The smoke sort of surrounds the other flavors mentioned above and dont take over the show. Taste is decadent, body is rich and medium and the carb is not a tounge lasher, this went down rather smoothly, with no intrusion from the 7.5% I could of drank a lot more of this beer, it did not bonk me over the head with ash and smoke. Would get again.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.96/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ,

A: Pours brown with a mild white head, no real lace, average head retention.

S: No kidding on the smoked beer aspect. Campfire, wood, an elegant but pungent aroma.

T: Smoke is dominant, but the caramel type malt flavour comes through, making it not as one dimensional as a lot of the smoked beers I've had. Not Schlenkerla, but good.

M: Medium-bodied, heavy smoke with a shaky but good balance of flavours. Long aftertaste.

D: One of the better smoked beers I've had for sure. I've never seen Hill Farmstead in the Southland before; I'll have to be on the lookout for more of their stuff.

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Photo of woosterbill
3.97/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

Cheers!

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Photo of Axic10
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Capone's during their Hill Farmstead event.

Appearance: Brownish black with no head.

Smell: Picking up on this is a very heavy smoky malt flavor, which is enjoyable, mixed with some chocolate and malt notes as well.

Taste: Heavy Smokey flavor at first mixed in with dark chocolate and roasted malt, finishing strong with some more smoke.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and smooth.

Drinkability: I'm not a huge smoked beer fan, but this was a good take on the style, which along the other Hill Farmstead beers I had was very good.

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Photo of Rifugium
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Hill Farmstead

Dark brown pour with a small beige head; minimal retention and lacing. Obvious smoked malts in the nose, ash, toasted bread, dark sugars. More of the same in the taste, smoke and charcoal, toasted bread, roasty malts, toasted grains, caramel and brown sugar, hazelnut candy. Pretty well-balanced for the style, though the smokiness is still fairly large and in charge. Medium body, lower carbonation, quite good overall. Snagged a liter growler for my buddy. Cheers!

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Photo of Sean9689
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at HF Harvest Fest 2012...into HF wine glass.

Pours a darker brown/black color, tan-colored head, bubbles, thin collar. Nose is smokey, toasted malts, light roast, chocolate. Flavor is similar, perfect balance of smoke and sweetness, nice level of roast, cream, and tobacco. Medium body, good carbonation, creamy finish.

This reminded me of Fear & Trembling with slightly more smoke (now) and a lighter body. I really enjoyed this beer even more then I was expecting, and might have been the surprise of the Harvest Fest for me. Great smoked beer that's very close to a smoked porter.

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Photo of rudzud
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
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.

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Photo of kingcrowing
4.04/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2L pop-top growler poured into a Hill Farmstead wine glass.

Pours a deep dark brown, perhaps a bit hazy but hard to tell because it's so dark. The head is really small, I'm a bit worried that the growler didn't hold the CO2 too well, but a small deep brown head does come and go quickly. The nose is great on this, very malty and sweet, but theres this strong smokiness to it that remins me of a backwoods BBQ, fantastic.

Phew, it's carbonated, albeit it bit light however that's fine for the style. Very smokey as the nose lead on, it's almost a bit like scotch in that peaty rustic smoke way. Theres a very velvety mouthfeel that is really mellow and smooth with just the lightest carbonation bite on your tongue that comes through when you hold it in your mouth. Some more caramel and chewy molasses starts to come through as you get through the smoke. Very unique beer, calling it an American Brown doesn't do it justice.

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Photo of Skrip
4.06/5  rDev -2.2%
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!

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Photo of Stevedore
4.07/5  rDev -1.9%
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..

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Photo of jlindros
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
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.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From 10/01/12 notes. Had 2 8oz. pours of this at Pony Bar in NYC on the UES.

a - Pours a dark brown color with two inches of medium tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of smoke, roasted malts, toasted malts, coffee, cream, vanilla, bacon, and bready malts. As first I didn't find it too smoky, but by my second glass of it I found it extremely smoky. Very nice nose; the coffee and cream/vanilla add something nice to it.

t - Tastes of of roasted malts, caramel malts, smoke, bacon, toasted malts, burnt malts, light coffee, and light cream. Taste doesn't have as much smoke as the nose; still very good, but a slight step down for me.

m - Medium body and low to moderate carbonation. Nice body, pretty easy to drink.

o - Overall a very nice smoked beer. Not my favorite HF beer but good for the style. Nose is super smokey, while the taste isn't quite as heavy on the smoke. Worth checking out, especially if you liked smoke beers, and I'd certainly have it again.

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Photo of brystmar
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Brouwerij Lane.

Dark brown, decent head, stubborn lace. Aroma wreaks of smoked malts and wood, smells dry and roasty too which gives me hope.

Strongly roasty; malt-forward, mildly smoked. Big hop profile takes over midway through, carrying me through the end without offensive amounts of smoke. Dry, delicious, impeccably balanced. Rare for a style (smoked porter) where brewers typically go overboard with the smokey profile.

Could use more body. I hate most smoked beers and thought this was excellent.

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Photo of Duane_Opfer
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

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Photo of cfrances33
4.15/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.17/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Hill Farmstead on November 4, 2010. Served in a Hill Farmstead wine glass. Thanks to Shaun for his incredible generosity for spending a good deal of time with us.

The pour is a moderately-dark brown with a light tan head. A good dose of lacing as the brew goes down my glass. The nose is really nice with a combination of some smoked malt as well as a bit of light malt and bread. The smoke pervades the entirety of the beer, but isn't a complete takeover. A really nice balance of that in the nose, and it lends itself well within the flavor as well. Feel is of a medium body with a nice smoky presence. A really nice beer that I was glad to try.

I thought I'd add this as an American Brown Ale, as I didn't know if it quite rose to the level of a rauchbier.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer appears dark brown with a small beige cap.

The aroma offers dark, roasted malts, Dense, crushed toffee, smoked malt. Different than a rauchbier for sure, this one is akin in some regards to a smoked porter.

The flavor offers smokey notes, but no meat, sauasage, or campfire character. Dense malt with a light BBQ flavor and brown ale tones. I like it. Whatever this is, it is tasty.

Medium bodied with fairly low carbonation.

A solid beer. Hill Farmstead can do no wrong it seems.

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Photo of MDDMD
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
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

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Holger Danske from Hill Farmstead Brewery
91 out of 100 based on 43 ratings.
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