Birth Of Tragedy
Hill Farmstead Brewery

Birth Of TragedyBirth Of Tragedy
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Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
Porter - Imperial
Ranked #7
ABV:
9%
Score:
99
Ranked #213
Avg:
4.48 | pDev: 8.26%
Reviews:
198
Ratings:
1,287
From:
Hill Farmstead Brewery
 
Vermont, United States
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  1,060
Gots
  205
SCORE
99
World-Class
Birth Of TragedyBirth Of Tragedy
Notes: Birth of Tragedy is the imperial and oak barrel-aged version of our annual winter porter, Twilight of the Idols. Brewed with locally roasted coffee and Vermont honey, we age this beer for a year in personally selected bourbon barrels from our favorite distilleries.
Reviews: 198 | Ratings: 1,287 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by emyers:
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emyers from Illinois

4.45/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle poured into flute glass.

Black with little to no lacing.

Nose: bourbon and vanilla up front, coffee. Some chocolate undertones. Tons of depth and very rich

Taste: similar to the nose. Coffee and vanilla forward with undertones of bourbon. Finish is fairly sweet.

Feel: medium to fill body, low carbonation.

Oct 20, 2019
More User Reviews:
Photo of wingwalker3
wingwalker3 from Massachusetts

5/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Taste: beautiful, complex. subtle intermingling of flavors.
The bourbon and chocolate notes were both subtle and distinctive.
thick and substantial mouthfeel...The bourbon presence is perfection.
I absolutely loved this, from the moment I took my first sip,
and it immediately became my favorite beer of all time.
this is phenomenal! I cannot wait until the time I may be fortunate enough to have this truly special offering again.

Jun 29, 2014
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mn_nuge from Pennsylvania

4.74/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from 10/2013. An absolutely beautiful beer. Restrained coffee notes on this bottle but a very pleasant coconut aroma and flavor typical of a bourbon barrel aged beer. Better than Black Note, on par with BCS. Rich, but slightly drier than BCS.

Jan 19, 2015
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KickInTheChalice from Illinois

3.9/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From notes. Poured from a 500 mL bottle into a snifter.

Birth of Tragedy pours a mahogany, nearly black color with a small tan mocha cap.

Lots of espresso, somewhat bitter and a bit creamy, dark bitter chocolate, sweet milk chocolate, roasted malt, and a bit of spicy hops in the nose.

The flavor is full of a ton of espresso, a bit of cream, dark, bitter chocolate, deeply roasted malt, and a bit of spice toward the finish. There is a sweetness to some of chocolate notes, but overall it is fairly bitter. There is not very much bourbon character coming through.

The mouthfeel is fairly full, there is a creamy carbonation. It is a bit acrid in its bitterness, with a dryness toward the end. Even without the bourbon flavor coming through, it feels like the dryness from the oak barrel came through fairly strongly.

It was fairly nice, but I really noticed the acrid nature of it, which detracted from the experience.

May 16, 2012
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beenitty from New Jersey

4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

May 11, 2012
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Jones153 from Canada (QC)

4/5  rDev -10.7%

Jul 28, 2014
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Boston_Steve from Massachusetts

4.25/5  rDev -5.1%

Apr 13, 2014
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RNbeerfan from New York

4.64/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Dec 16, 2016
Photo of corby112
corby112 from Pennsylvania

4.44/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to a generous trading partner for sending this bottle. I wanted to share this but it's my birthday and I wants it.

Pours pitch black and completely opaque with a thin mocha head that immediately fades into a thin ring. Not much in the way of lacing.

Huge malt aroma that's bursting with roasted gourmet coffee, luscious chocolate and a strong barrel presence. Some prominent toasted oak along with sweet bourbon and vanilla notes followed by dark chocolate, oatmeal, coffee bean, dark fruit and toast. Complex and although the bourbon is strong, it doesn't overpower the other notes.

Slightly viscous mouthfeel with a really nice balance of bourbon barrel, molasses, luscious chocolate, dark fruit and boozy heat. Really well balanced even though there is quite a bit of bourbon flavor. Dry toasted oak along with some sweet vanilla flavor and tons of delicious, sweet bourbon. Underneath, there is a nice molasses character that adds fullness to the palate along with a strong dark malt presence. Bittersweet dark chocolate complimented by a slightly roasted, incredibly smooth coffee flavor that never becomes acrid, astringent or harsh. There's a decent amount of boozy heat in the finish but overall the high ABV is very well masked.

Overall this beer is complex, well balanced and extremely flavorful. It's refreshing to find a beer like this that isn't a complete bourbon bomb. Recommended!

Nov 28, 2011
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arcook11 from Missouri

4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Feb 12, 2014
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Mikeluzzjr from Massachusetts

3.5/5  rDev -21.9%

Mar 25, 2014
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EliotRosewater from California

4.3/5  rDev -4%

Oct 01, 2014
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sdeese21 from Louisiana

4.53/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Nov 08, 2015
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caskstrength from Minnesota

2.31/5  rDev -48.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

2nd batch. Pours a flat black. I was hoping holding off for a while would result in some bubbles.

Smells are vanilla, chocolate. Barrel not that strong. Lack of bubbles leads to lack of aromatics.

Heavy and dull on the palate. I'm being harsh here, had a GI BCBS before drinking this, and this paled in comparison. Would have had a hard time standing up if carbonated. Without carbonation, this beer fell flat.

Mouthfeel sucked. Needed some bubbles to move things around.

Twilight of the Idols was much better. Everett rocks. This batch of beer was a failure.

May 11, 2013
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ECoffey from California

3.01/5  rDev -32.8%

Dec 04, 2014
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WillieThreebiers from Connecticut

4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Dec 14, 2013
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N1Nkasi from Connecticut

4.25/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Feb 27, 2017
Photo of lemmy187
lemmy187 from Missouri

4.4/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Jan 12, 2017
Photo of Arbitrator
Arbitrator from California

4.3/5  rDev -4%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from fridge -- I let it warm up for 30 minutes before opening and serving. Thanks!

A: Pours a semi-clear dark mahogany body with the slightest coalescence of tan bubbles on top of the beer. They never really materialize into a head. No lace or register marks.

S: Vanilla-forward bourbon barrels with an earthy, roasted coffee aroma. This has a strong cinnamon and possibly coriander nose that remind me immediately of pumpkin pie. I don't see any mention of spices on the label, so I'm assuming that's some artifact from honey impurities being left behind after fermentation. Roasted coffee and chocolate truffles, some orange, and light booze.

T: Birth of Tragedy comes off as a delicate vanilla chocolate-fudge experience. I say delicate because it's not overpowering in sweetness. Coffee lends a mild bitterness that accents the beer's other flavors. Bourbon is noticeable both at the front and at the finish, though the finish is mostly dominated by a spicy flavor (again, cinnamon and cardamom are my closest associations) that carries into the aftertaste, which is slightly drying and tannic. This is very well composed; I actually get the feeling there was more to it when fresh.

M: I'm surprised this is 11% and yet so dry. However, that seems to leave its ABV exposed on the back end, with a small booze sting (though I wouldn't call this solventy). I normally like carbonation on the lower end, but I feel that this one is a tad lower than even my preference, and it could use more bubbles.

O: This really is a fantastic porter; I'm not really surprised, given the brewery's other hits. I would caution against aging this one; despite the small heat, one thing that impressed me about the beer was how balanced all the flavors are. Aging it might temper the booze, but at the expense of that balance, causing the symphony of flavors to lose its rhythm.

Sep 18, 2012
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Beerdy from Heard & McDonald Islands

4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Jun 16, 2013
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vonnegut21 from New York

5/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2012 Vintage bottle poured into a Bruery tulip.

A: Pours a deep dark black, with minimal head that fades exceptionally quickly.

S: Huge vanilla presence in the nose. Bourbon notes, caramel, a hint of port wine, maybe some sherry as well. Just a great smelling beer.

T: Vanilla, bourbon, port wine, caramel and touch of dark winter fruit. Bakers chocolate and roasted coffee linger in the background.

M: Undercarbonated, but exceptionally smooth. Nice body for a porter. Very drinkable.

O: I think the 2012 vintage is a bit less carbonated than the 2011 vintage, but I really feel like the flavor profile is fuller and more complex than last year's, which I didn't think was possible. Easily the best porter I've ever had. I truly love this beer. Shaun is known for his IPA's and Saisons, but his barrel aged dark beers are exceptional.

Dec 24, 2012
Photo of sblanton83
sblanton83 from Michigan

4.43/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Jan 02, 2015
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Mpontiakos from Virginia

5/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Feb 05, 2017
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davidtzeman from Georgia

5/5  rDev +11.6%

Dec 10, 2014
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tobelerone from New Jersey

4.53/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Apr 21, 2018
Birth Of Tragedy from Hill Farmstead Brewery
Beer rating: 99 out of 100 with 1287 ratings