Birth Of Tragedy | Hill Farmstead Brewery

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Birth Of TragedyBirth Of Tragedy
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Hill Farmstead Brewery
Vermont, United States
hillfarmstead.com

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by s1ckboy on 11-20-2011

BEER STATS
Reviews:
170
Ratings:
1,112
Avg:
4.38
pDev:
8.9%
 
 
Wants:
1,065
Gots:
191
For Trade:
20
User Reviews
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Reviews: 170 | Ratings: 1,112
Photo of Huhzubendah
4.77/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The beer is near black with an inch of dense, beige foam atop the beer. Looks thick and a bit viscous. Fabulous aroma. Honey emerges more than coffee. Grandiose and lovely honey presence in both the scent and flavor. Beautiful blend of flavors here. Roast and honey marry up to form a slightly sweet, chocolaty beer with just enough bittering hops to balance it all out. Silky smooth on the palate. Long lasting aftertaste. Bourbon character is subtle. This beer is all about balance. If any one ingredient stands out, it is certainly the honey. Yet another fabulous brew from Hill Farmstead.

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Photo of Reagan1984
4.77/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Certainly the highlight of beers yesterday at Armsby Abbey. Of course, that is saying a lot as this line-up was truly unreal.

Served in a Hill Farmstead tulip glass with no head at all. No lacing to follow. A very shiny deep brown/black color. No light getting through.

Aroma was fantastic. Vanilla, bourbon, and an almost dank malty chocolatey aroma. (nice, not negative)

Before I had this, we had one of the Twilight of the Idols which someone said was the base beer for this. That was a very nice beer. This was a very special beer. Great balance and depth. Chocolate, bourbon and vanilla meld to create an awesome flavor. I get quite a bit of brown sugar from the malt bill here and really en joy it.

Silky smooth, satin like on your tongue. Medium to bold while not being as thick as Imp Stouts. Extremely light carbonation… if any.

Great beer. It’s just that simple.

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Photo of jkrug5
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2/15 bottle date. This isn't fair, they've already nailed the saison, and IPA styles up there. Add another notch to their belt, this is such a great beer. The honey, and coffee work wonders together, not too big of a beer either. I could enjoy this year round, time to go all in for HF offerings, you can't go wrong with anything from those VT boys.

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Photo of mn_nuge
4.74/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

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Photo of SubpoenaDeuces
4.72/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: The appearance has that classic imperial porter sheen to it, like the coat of an alcoholic panda bear. Black and slick in all the right places, it beckons to slippery asphalt and car crashes that New Englanders no doubt survived in obtaining this succulent potation. As a side note, my bottle had hardly any cabronation, wah wah, here comes the wahhhmbulance ready to pick some nits.

S: This has a crazy powerful bouquet that smells like melted chocolate, toffee, boozy vanilla extract, and a mild hint of bourbon heat. There is a sweetness that is perfectly balanced by mild alcoholic heat, just like your old bus driver.

T: This is an incredible porter and I know that I ride this brewery's jock like its jock will soon be discontinued, but it's really that good. Top 5 porter and guess what, one of the other spots is held by, that's right Barrel Aged Everett. I can't get over this brewery, like the haughty 14 year old girl, who just wont accept that her 22 year old boyfriend wasn't really in love with her. Ok so, it has a nice sweetness that enters and has a set allowing the alcohol waft to permeate and suddenly you forget that you are at a drive in, then a mild coffee pick me up before the bourbon mellows it all out. Just ridiculously pleasant, koala foot massage pleasant.

M: It is thin, like a porter should be, no fat ass imperial stouts up in this mix. It is just light and coats just enough to be rewarding but then hammers its point home. The alcohol is like a stage director in all black watching every movement, making sure that the pilgrim chocolate kids dont miss their entry cues. Holy mixed metaphors.

D: This is incredibly drinkable, I am trying to tame myself from powering through the entire 500ml bottle with little success. It is thin, hot, and sweet, oh wait here's a patently obvious female entendre. Nope, keeping it classy here. It is totally drinkable and I wish it came in sick sixers or at least tall boys to take up to the lake. PSYCHE. This beer is meant for hearths and post skiing discussions, luge comparisons and other highbrow Vermontean prose.

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Photo of GonzoHomebrewer
4.72/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

One of my favorites...

A- Jet black, but no head whatsoever, a few bubbles...maybe something you could call in passing, a "thin lacing" but no, no head.

S- Epic richness. Gobs of various layers of vanilla followed up by deep roasted coffee notes, some sweetened mocha...just fantastic

T- Doesn't seem quite as well rounded as the nose just yet; dominated by the bourbon vanilla sweetness with some signs of the coffee poking through

M- this is pretty flat and some bubbles would help make this more drinkable...but why would you want to drink it any quicker? Sip and Savor. I honestly think it doesn't detract really, just makes all the flavors stick to your palette.

O- I never get tired of this beer. I could drink it all day

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.71/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Thanks to David for this bottle!
2012 Vintage poured in to HF Stemmed Tulip.

A - Deep black with half a finger of light brown head and good retention.

S - Sweet bourbon, oak and vanilla up front from the barrel, followed by a big hit of espresso, chocolate fudge and molasses. A fantastic nose!

T - Charred oak, sweet bourbon and vanilla flavours give way to chocolate fudge, molasses and dark roasted coffee and a light dark cherry flavour. The finish is somewhat dry with a lingering vanilla sweetness and charred oak flavour.

M - Medium body. Creamy. Light carbonation.

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Photo of Marius
4.7/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Warpigs, pre-CBC. Pitch black with a tan head. Smells of bourbon, vanilla, cocoa, chocolate, toasted coconut. Medium body with a bitter-sweet aftertaste.

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Photo of Psychmusic
4.7/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased 12/20/12 after a somewhat stressful 4 1/2 hour drive through often treacherous snow covered roads.

Appearance: Pours a deep black... somewhat shiny and oily looking. No trace of a head at all, some bubbles around the edges from a relatively vigorous pour, but they disappear fairly quickly. Some dark brown around the edges of the glass.

Smell: Sweet chocolate, vanilla, coconut, complimented by nice warm round coffee notes. After a few whiffs I started getting excited again despite the apparent lack of carbonation- the smell is incredibly enticing.

Taste: Much as the nose would suggest, the taste starts with sweet milk chocolate and coconut, fading into a smooth bourbon followed by roasted coffee and darker chocolate. These flavors are precisely what I'd hope they'd be. The already incredible base beer is completely elevated by the barrel aging, and in the taste category this is one of my favorites.

Mouthfeel: There is some very slight carbonation here, but I think it's fair overall to say this is flat. The body is relatively light given the hefty flavors, not syrupy as I would have expected given the smell. Overall, I'm conflicted about the mouthfeel. The flavor profile can definitely stand up to very light carbonation, but I think I'd like more in the end.

Overall: If this beer had very slightly more carbonation, it would be in a league of it's own as far as I'm concerned. As it stands the aromas and flavors are such that it is still one of my very favorites regardless of the carbonation issues.

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Photo of DaveHS
4.7/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours pitch bloack with a thin, bubbly coffee colored head. Sticky lacing.

S-Big roasty coffee aromas, followed by bittersweet chocolate, toffee and toasted marshmallow.

T/M-Exceptional on every level. Thinner bodied than the base beer (Twilight of the Idols) with a concentrated, thin caramel sweetness. Round, oaky bourbon goodness washes over the palate, fading softly into a slightly phenolic, dry warming finish. For a beer with such a nice bourbon character, it's not all that sweet.

O-Every aspect of this beer is harmonious. Wouldn't change a thing about it. I don't even know that aging would do anything for it, as it is drinking perfectly now. Another winner from Hill Farmstead.

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Photo of M_chav
4.7/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Thicky icky black and oily. It looks thicker than motor oil and there's unlimited black-depth (if that's a thing). The smell is stupid good, reminds me of another honey forward stout (event horizon) but this thing is massive with barrel notes and I could t ask for much more. It's bcbs with honey and extra depth, it's amazing. The taste does not disappoint, it's so damn smooth, this bottle is a 2011 vintage which might contribute to the smooth layers that seem to flow almost too in carbonated down the throat. But this thing is beautiful in every way, if you don't the super sweetness then you are gonna love it. An awesome stout that I absolutely need more of, really want to try it fresh, cheers!

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Photo of aleigator
4.7/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Birth of tragedy '15 vintage

Pours a night black color, with a decent beige head, which collapses to formable swirls of lacing, coating up the side of the glass.

Consists of a nose, which comes beautifully together, defined by earthy coffee, toffee malts, coconut and oaky, warm Bourbon. All the different aromas stand out on their own, while blending flawlessly together, with wild honey on top, adding a glazed, sweet aspect to the mix. Bourbon is certainly noteable, while not over the top at all, accentuating the other aspects of the beer.

Drinks amazingly smooth and fairly easy, based on its actual abv, while its lower carbonation opens up the palate to sweet honey very effectivly. Doesn't have a thick mouthfeel as bcbs, while it drinks almost smoother.

There is toffee, earthy, bitter coffee, gently wrapped up by wood embraced Bourbon, coconut and wild honey to complete the taste. I am honestly blown away by the outstanding balance of this, while every flavor is easily recognizable on its own, they all seem to benefit from each other, by enhancing each others appearance on the palate. The Bourbon provides a pleasant warmth during the beers finish, easily balanced by slick honey, producing a melting caramel, glazed sugar impression, adding to the toffee, creating the most enjoyable, natural sweetness you could ever wish for.

A real treat, much more than I expected it to be. The flavors come beautifully together, tied together by a balance and smoothness which almost puts Bourbon County to shame, and that at a considerable lower abv. Honey and Bourbon create a incredibly synergy, making up for the lack of roastieness by providing the most enjoyable sweetness I experienced in a beer so far, which makes this perfect for a cold winter night, as well as for every other night in which you want to drink an exeptional beer.

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Photo of SportsandJorts
4.69/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: pours black and thick. little to no brown in the color, even near the edges. thin creamy tan head with good retention and a solid lacing. opaque with darkness.

Smell: maple syrup, molasses, bourbon soaked oak, chocolate. hints slightly at a nice strong dark roast or espresso.

Taste: opens with a strong and sweet maple syrup, the sweetness is cut a little at the end by slightly bitter roasted malts. more sweetness comes through in the middle with notes of brown sugar, molasses and deep caramels. the end is rounded out by oak, dripping in bourbon and a kick of espresso.

Mouthfeel: ends fairly bitter after a sweet start. fairly creamy. viscous and full bodied.

Overall: this is my second of Hill Farmstead's barrel aged stouts/porters and I must say it is their most impressive category to me. This beer has a lot of complexity and the balance works out extremely well with a sweet start and a lingering bitter finish. The creamy but thick mouthfeel is tough to beat.

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Photo of Lochnessmonster
4.69/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Did side-by-side with Damon, and for me this blew Damon out of the water. The complexity of this beer is fantastic. I was worried about it maybe being a bit too sweet from the honey, but the coffee flavor mellowed it out nicely. Would love to repeat!

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Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.68/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Thanks to ravensdkr for sharing this at a recent tasting!

Th beer pours a dark brown to black, very littl carbonation to it at all. The smell explodes with flavor including a hefty dose of vanilla, coffee-espresso, cocoa, big malty chocolate milkshake as well. Very nice aroma!

The flavor is amazing, super huge flavor that follows those very well and adds vein more complexity. All the additions of the bourbon barrel and coffee as well as the nice earthy delectable sweetness of the honey shine through very nice, with a great helping of vanilla bean and chocolate bar as well. A beer that is on one end extremely flavorful but at th same time easily drinkable. THe feel is maybe slightly under carbonated, but this also allows the big flavors to shine though and mingle well, so I can't knock it too much. Juicy, long lasting aftertaste.

For me, this is actually up there with some of the best porters I've had and is almost like vanilla bean dark lord 'light', excellent beer.

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Photo of TWStandley
4.67/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at the Prohibition Pig (also from a bottle, thought they were close).

Appeared an oily black color with very little dark brown head. Very "dead" looking (ie. no carb).

Smell is great. Definetely some strong Bourbon scents, lots of vanilla and sugar. Some plum and raisin notes in the nose as well.

Taste is incredible. First sip is very much bourbony. Then comes in the sweetness. The taste is so rich and layered that even the smallest of sips produces a sensory overload. Wow. Vanilla, plums, raisins, bourbon, coconut...just delicious.

Loved the mouthfeel. Very smooth and soft. Barely any carbonation - both from the bottle and on draft.

Overall this is a treat. Glad I have a few bottles in the cellar to see what some additional time and blending will do. Very rich and complex - extremely sweet. The bottle was consumed while playing some trivia games while it snowed outside - perfect atmosphere for this one IMO.

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Photo of kidkarma1971
4.67/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This brewery simply has the most elegant and well proportioned beers, I have not had better stouts and porters anywhere. This one even in a bottle delivers essential expectations on what an American Porter needs to be. I love the way the deep undertones of malt and sugar linger, plus gorgeous smaller bubbles.

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Photo of Damian
4.66/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank on-tap at Armsby Abbey, Worcester, MA
Served in a Hill Farmstead stemmed glass

Deep brown/black and slightly watery in appearance. The liquid was topped by a thin film of large, caramel colored bubbles.

The aroma was intense. Amazingly rich and smooth with super strong notes of bourbon. Loads of vanilla and brown sugar sweetness. Chocolate fudge. Dark roast coffee notes came through as well. Tons of caramel and roasted malts. One of the most amazing smelling beers I have come across in quite a while.

The flavor profile was similar to the nose. Bourbon notes were immediately apparent. Lots of brown sugar on the front end. Super smooth, French roast coffee notes came through strong. Tons of vanilla and sweet cream. As the beer warmed, the vanilla intensified. Just a touch of espresso on the finish. For such a bourbon-forward beer, the alcohol was remarkably well buried.

The mouthfeel was lighter bodied (particularly for a beer of this magnitude) and contained a super fine and mild amount of carbonation. By the drink's end, the liquid felt nearly flat.

Birth Of Tragedy is a very sweet, rich and intensely flavored beer. Aside from the disappointing mouthfeel, this was definitely the most impressive porter I have ever tried.

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Photo of jvillefan
4.66/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Very black body with an extremely minimal mocha colored head that disappears very quickly.

S: Sweet roasted malts with notes of bourbon running throughout the aroma.

T: A dark chocolate flavor starts off the flavor nicely. It then transitions to a sweet bourbon flavor then finally becomes the flavor of deeply roasted malts.

M: Perfect viscosity and creaminess but this beer is under carbonated.

O: Amazing beer. My one problem with it is that it is not a porter. It's a stout.

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Photo of SadMachine
4.65/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Reviewed from notes from 2/7/14

A- Pours a deep black with brown at the edges. A light brown head leaves good lacing.

S- Huge amounts of oak and honey in the forefront, followed by bitter baker's chocolate and bourbon. Medium roast coffee and a slight tartness are also detected. I also get roasted grains and faint cinnamon. Lots of oaky tannins.

T- This opens up very sweet, highlighted by honey and molasses. The middle is dry and spicy, highlighted with cinnamon. Vanilla, sweet bourbon, oak, and again honey all finish this out. There is the slightest hint of tartness. As it warms I also get some dark chocolate notes. This is complex and wonderful!

M- The mouth feel is medium/thick, with a creamy feel in the middle, and dry at the finish.

O- Overall this is just a delightful barrel aged porter! I enjoyed every minute of drinking it!

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Photo of Fireman_RK
4.64/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L: Jet black opaque hues with a thin sandy head
S: Honey, bourbon, mocha, and a bit of cinnamon
T: This is a 2012 bottle, but the bourbon barrel is evident from the first sip; the taste is not 'hot' with alcohol, but rather the delicious residual flavors are apparent; this flavor recedes into thick honey, coffee, and a bit of vanilla
F: Medium mouthfeel (when compared to Twilight it feels measurably thicker however) with mild carbonation
O: This was an incredibly tasty and complex stout. Despite the age on my bottle the beer has held up incredibly well and enhanced the sweetness and bourbon, while softening the coffee notes. Very enjoyable!

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Photo of Gushue3
4.64/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A Pours dark ark brown into my Hill Famestead big bulb glass. No heat at all and no lacing to speak of. but I can already smell it.

S The majority of the smell I get is bourbon but doesnt kill everything. Some chocolate and a tiny roast but I'm getting bourbon. nice scent

T Wow.. bourbon is present upfront but somewhat subdued. Light vanilla, chocolate, and sweetness from the malt? Lots of stuff going on and this beer is nice and complex. very well done.

M Medium mouthfeel with small carbonation which makes this really smooth and easy to drink.

O I cant take it, this is so good. Taste is perfectly balanced and so easy to drink. I wish I grabbed more of this. Thank you Shaun.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.62/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12/16/2011

Bottle courtesy of bring, thanks! Snifter.

A: Black with a finger of dense light brown froth. Retention is good.

S: Pronounced dark chocolate and oak blend with a subtle char and light spicy notes that almost remind me of chili peppers, though I don't think those were added. Vanilla wafts from the glass and I get a whisper of smoke which accompanies a firm bourbon presence, earthy coffee, and faint caramel notes. Roasted grains are pronounced. Smells great.

T: Sweet up front, reminiscent of brown sugar, with a lower earthy bitterness, moderately roasted malt, and pronounced bourbon. Vanilla is light, and coffee is pervasive yet well integrated. For 11% the booze is very tame in the flavor. Cocoa is powerful and I get lighter notes of caramel and vanilla. The finish shows an increase in bourbon character.

M: Full in body with medium carbonation that eventually becomes low due to me swirling the damn glass so much. The mouthfeel is silky, sticky, and smooth.

Overall: I've never had Twilight of the Idols, but Birth of Tragedy is a fine beer.

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Photo of JAXSON
4.62/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Robert! Pours black with a medium, sticky mocha foam head. Nose is roasted malt, lightly charred, with a strange sweet liquor that's pretty interesting, blackberry like. Light coffee and bourbon, vanilla. Pretty tight and integrated with that weird spirit edge. Mouth is pretty thin, opens with dry cocoa powder, light char, unfolding into vanilla, this very unique fruity liquor quality, and a long finish with alcohol and vanilla. Soft up front with a sharp dark fruit quality as it lingers. Very unique brew here, the barrel treatment is awesome.

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Photo of s1ckboy
4.62/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Very dark body, 1 finger head from aggressive pour that stuck around for a while

S - Oak, A lot of bourbon, a bit sweet, a touch of coffee.

T - At first a lot of bourbon, cinnamon, a touch of coffee and honey. A lot of roasty flavors. Reminds me of KBS, but I think this is better.

M - Medium to thick, with some nice carbonation.

O - An exceptional beer. My favorite so far from Hill Farmstead.

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Birth Of Tragedy from Hill Farmstead Brewery
4.38 out of 5 based on 1,112 ratings.
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