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Holger Danske | Hill Farmstead Brewery

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Brewed by:
Hill Farmstead Brewery
Vermont, United States

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.

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Reviews: 43 | Ratings: 197
Photo of maximep
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

another banger from the HF brewery

looks blackish brown, clear around the edges but gets really dark in the middle

s- smokey, toffee, chocolate, coffee, bready

t- same as smell, but a little sweeter and more pronounced chocolate

m- thin yet pleasant. reminded me of Nils Oscar's stuff

o- delicious and wonderfully balanced, HF beers never cease to amaze me.

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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 jbertsch
4.76/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at prohibition pig in Waterbury.

Looks almost porter like. Very dark brown. Almost black. Light tan colored head is frothy and caps wells.

Aroma wasn't as smokey as I anticipated though I did gett a little. I mostly smelled a mix of roasted malts with a bit of meat and molasses.

Wow. I didn't expect it to taste so beautiful. To be honest I don't pick up on much of the smoke. It's faint for me. I mostly am enamored with the seamless blend of flavor notes that include caramel, coffee, chocolate, vanilla and roasty smoked grains that blend so well together that I can't ask for anything more. Yet none of those flavors overpower each other. Its an all for one kind of palate. So smooooth.

Mouthfeel is sublime. Velvet smooth. Reminds me of founders porter.

Overall I liked this more and more with each sip, and it paired incredibly with the beef brisket I ate. I know Shaun wins big with IPAs and Saisons but this shows he's got other talent up his sleeve. I didn't expect this to be one of my top favorite HF beers but it is. Wow.

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Photo of yourefragile
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clearing out my HF notes. On tap at Capone's 1/7/11.

Pours an opaque near black with a thick mocha head. Nice retention fading to a thick collar and with clumps of lacing. Smokey, mild burnt aroma with balance coming from toast and chocolate malt. Thick, chewy body with a dry, ashy finish. Dark chocolate, licorice, roast malt, tobacco and faint dark fruit balance out the intense bbq and smoke of the flavor. Smoke in a glass? yes, but more complexity than typical for this style if you get past the initial "shock".

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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 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 cbutova
4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Listed on-tap at the Dirty Truth as "Hill Farmstead Smoked Brown." Notes taken last night.

A- Dark brown with a nice creamy tan cap that has good retention. Tons of lace all over the glass.

S- Huge leathery smoked profile with notes of all things smoked, bbq, bacon, etc. Nutty brown malt with some coffee presence to it as well. Grainy hints.

T- Very, very, very smoky (bacon, leather, ash, charcoal) which works nicely in this case over a nutty/toasty malt profile. Caramel, slight roast coffee notes as well. Dark fruit just a bit.

MF- Fairly light body with silky smooth lower end carbonation.

DB- A true smoke bomb and in a very nice way. I could see how people would be turned off by the level of smoke in a beer like this but to me it is great, especially over the toasty malt profile. If you want your fix of BBQ in a glass, find a beer like this.

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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 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 corby112
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on tap at Capone's.

Pours pitch black and completely opaque without even the slightest trace of lighter color when held to a light source and a 1.5 frothy mocha head. Decent retention, only slowly fading into a lasting ring that leaves streaks and spots of chunky lacing.

Smokey malt aroma with hints of charcoal, BBQ and bacon but the smokey character isn't too intense. There still plenty of chocolate, oatmeal, toffee and burnt toast in the nose.

Chewy medium body with a lot of roasted smokiness up fentanyl that lngers troughout into a long dry finish. Smokier than the aroma suggest with lots of charcoal, butane, BBQ and bacon but there is still a lot of silky chocolate malt as well as some oatmeal, toffee and hazelnut. The smokiness becomes more dominant as it warms but like the other beers ie had frm this brewery it is well balanced and very quaffable.

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Photo of GatheringBrews
4.68/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I have to be honest, I don't have a ton of experience with smoked beers, but given that I usually can't stand smoke in anything anymore (a devastating house fire will do that), this is outstanding. Pours a rich brown with an off-white/khaki head from a growler. Smoke is evident in the aroma with some malt.

As a brown ale, it's exceedingly well conceived, and the addition of the smoke works surprisingly well; it's not gimmick, it balances the other flavors well.

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Photo of nickd717
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Ginger Man NYC.

A beautiful beer; very dark brown in color with a lasting, clingy two finger beige head.

Intense aroma of applewood smokiness, roast, dark chocolate, and anise.

The flavor is great. My little sister tried it and said it was like "drinking a fireplace." I agree, but to me this is a good thing. Very ashy and smoky with roasted malt, licorice, dark chocolate, and earth.

Very full-bodied and silky smooth on the palate, with a good soft carbonation level.

You've done well with this one, Shaun. A unique and tasty beverage this one is.

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Photo of Neffbeer
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Blind Tiger:

A: Hazy brown with an off white head. There is limited head retention and no lacing.

S: Oh man is this a smoke bomb. I feel like I just walked into a smoke house in full effect. There is a hint of chocolate and burnt caramel until the smokey bacon and campfire resurfaces.

T: This holds up well to any rauchbier that I have had to date. Great smoke malt presence with enough sweetness to balance the roaring fire.

M: Smooth and creamy, just delicious.

D: I would have to limit myself to one at a time due to the overpowering flavor. That said, it was a great brew that I would love to try again.

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Photo of 05Harley
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Picked up two growlers at the brewery after having more than my share on tap. This small brewery up in Vermont just continues it's onslaught of top notch offerings.

Price - $15.00/growler re-fill

A big thanks goes out to Anders Kissmeyer for putting up with my shenanigans for most of the night at Shauns.

Appearance: Pours dark brown with a creamy white head leaving behind a column of lacing through the finish. When held up to the light some sediment is evident but not a concern. This beer looks tastey!

Smell: A near perfect aroma of smoked malt with a fair amount of bacon and some chocolate hidden in the backround. Smells like a summer campfire.

Taste: Smoked malt and bitter chocolate. No doubt the brown ale adds to the sweetness which results in an overall balanced flavor.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and silky smooth with a medium body. The balance between the smoke, sweetness and bitterness is amazing.

Drinkability: Very easy to consume glass after glass. I wouldn't hesitate to put this up against any beer in the smoked category where I think this beer would certainly shine. Too bad it's a limited brew :(

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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 Jdiddy
4.88/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at La Laiterie in Providence. Holy, mother of god, Farmstead rocks! As I always knew, Shaun is a master of brewing. Easily, one of the smoothest beers I have ever tasted. The head on this is like molten, smoky foam. Perfect smoke, perfect brown, perfect beer. Nuff said. Exceptional smoked beer. Gives any smoked beer I have had a run for the money.

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Photo of Rochefort10nh
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at the brewery and then again out of a growler a few days later. Once again Shaun has taken one of my favorite styles and created a fantastic interpretation.

This beer is dark brown, borderline black, with a hazy appearance when held to the light. A moderate foam tops my pour. Another of Hill's beers that features a great Brussel's Lace.

Smoke is front and center in the nose. I believe the assistent brewer said the woods used to smoke the malt were beechwood and applewood which were handsmoked by Anders Kissmeyer outside over the course of a day. A sweet maltiness is also present as are distinctive notes of maple, caramel and stone fruits.

Taste is a full-on assault of maple cured bacon. A smoky breakfast beer that was perfect at 11:30 a.m.! There is enough malty sweetness to keep the smoke in check. Bitterness is well in the background and thankfully the malt used wasn't over roasted which can give a smoked beer an ashtray note that is terribly unpleasant.

Mouthfeel was nice with the slight sweetness giving it some viscosity.

Drinkability is high for a smoked beer that has a tinge of residual sweetness.

Overall a great smoked brew that gives Aecht Schelenkerla a run for it's money.

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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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Holger Danske from Hill Farmstead Brewery
4.15 out of 5 based on 197 ratings.
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