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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:
173
Ratings:
1,130
Avg:
4.39
pDev:
22.55%
 
 
Wants:
1,065
Gots:
201
For Trade:
23
User Reviews
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Reviews: 173 | Ratings: 1,130
Photo of Bosoxfan20
4.15/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

10-2013 vintage pours near black with a light khaki head of less than a finger. Aroma indicates most the coffee has faded, but the honey seems to be hanging on. Stout like nose of roasted malts and dark fruits. Flavor and body are silky smooth. milk chocolate, caramelized malts, sweet and creamy. Hardly any coffee character remains, and I wish I could try fresh, but damn good none the less.

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Photo of mn_nuge
4.74/5  rDev +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.

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Photo of SportsandJorts
4.69/5  rDev +6.8%
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 chinchill
3.97/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Hill Farmstead Birth of Tragedy - bottled Oct. 2013.

Opaque; near black with a modest, sudsy head that has good retention.

Overall nearly on par with FW Parabola consumed just beforehand. Compared to Parabola, this was sweeter, had less coffee, and was smoother.

O: Rich but easy to drink and very well balanced. Tastes and feels more aged than just 1 year.

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Photo of Sammy
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

There was some coffee, not so much bourbon because the whole IP was so balanced and tasty and drinkable. One of the best porters I have had. Thanks Tomtom for the hookup.Thick mouthfeel.

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Photo of macrosmatic
3.64/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3.25

Thanks to ActonBrewer for this one. Reviewed from notes. Poured from 16.9 oz. bottle into a Cigar City snifter.

NOTE: The problems here started early. Upon removing the bottle cap, there was no noise, no "pfft" of releasing carbonation, nothing...

A: Dark - essentially black - and opaque. Other than a few stray large bubbles that formed briefly on the top, there was no head, and no visible carbonation at all.

S: Here's where the bottle really shined. Bourbon, roasted sweet malts, dark fruit, candied raisins and plums, chocolate, leather, oak barrel tannins, and an overarching coffee aroma that still let the other notes have their places. Very nice.

T: Bourbon, roasted malts, and barrel in a nice balance. Sweetness from the bourbon and dark fruits, coffee and cacao. Some hop bitterness mixed in with the rich mocha hang.

M: Body seems thinner than the other Hill Farmstead porters I've had. Alcohol seems well-integrated into other flavors. But the big loser here is the complete lack of carbonation.

O: I feel like this could have been a sample of a beer pulled of the tank, and I would have said, "Wow, that's going to be a really good beer when it's finished." Unfortunately, this was what made it into this bottle. I'd love to give it another chance, and if so I will update these scores. But the total lack of carbonation killed the mouthfeel, and didn't let the flavors come through as they should have. I guess this may have been a bad bottle? But I'm very disappointed.

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Photo of Pahn
4.58/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

22oz (?) bottle split 2 ways with BA morningthief.

Appearance: Pours black with a tan head and leaves a wall of lacing.

Smell: Coffee and some boozy malt notes.

Taste: Excellent. Coffee, raisin, bourbon soaked brownies, thin mints. I'm not a huge fan of the base beer, but the time in a bourbon barrel did the requisite magic.

Mouthfeel: Soft and creamy. Full side of medium bodied. No dryness, but still excellent.

Overall: Another great Hill Farmstead BBA beer. They're as good or better than Firestone Walker or Goose Island or Fifty/Fifty or the Bruery with barrel aging.

What's there to say? Lots of thin mint, dark fruit, coffee, vanilla. It's an excellent beer.

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Photo of wingwalker3
5/5  rDev +13.9%
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.

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Photo of blankenhoney
4.1/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle from Oct. 2013, poured into a snifter. Thanks, Erin, for this, my first HF beer!

A: very dark; soapy brown head

S: roasted coffee beans; chocolate-covered dark cherries; faint honey notes

T: dark chocolate, dark fruit, and coffee; nice vanilla from the barrel; very sweet at first, but stabilizes after a few sips; lots of flavor, yet mild

M: so smooth and creamy; this is the mouthfeel all porters should aspire to

O: A fantastic porter. The barrel adds depth of flavor, and doesn't scream out "barrel aged." Mouthfeel was perfect. Sweet, rich, and restrained.

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Photo of Hab11
4.92/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

500 ml in a tulip glass with Three Lions.

Appearance: dark very dark with a caramel head.
Smell and taste: almost perfect chocolate, light smoke, vanilla, clotted cream deliciousness. Can't say enough about it.
Mouthfeel: like the perfect woman...velvety smooth, mysterious without being pretentious, sultry without being dirty. What a beer!!!
Overall: A 10!! What did Travis Tritt sing about trashy women? This is that beer. A little dirty but in a respectful way. You feel guilty drinking it because it's above you. Like catching a 10 when you should only get a 4 or 5.

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Photo of gueuzedreg
4.04/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Had Twilight, this one maybe better; I feel like the nuances are not as pronounced through the barrel aging.

A- Dark, nice dark look to this porter. Thin lacing, nothing too special for me on the A

S- Charred dark fruit/ pretty standard for a HF dark brew here. Lots of belgian dark qualities. Fig, etc. Barrel is way in the back but more forefront than tiny microbrew's attempts.

T- Follows the nose with dark fruit and fig combined with barrel aging. It is a great porter; I gave it great grades, but nothing mindblowing. Pretty standard to HF belgian dark qualities

M- Mouthfeel is the highlight for me. Nice and smooth and creamy. Just the right touch of carb in this.

O- A great BA porter, but nothing that made me inch closer to me bowing to HF, which a few BA friends are nudging me to do.

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Photo of Resuin
4.59/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 500 mL bottle into a stemmed glass. This was bottled 10/2013.

Appearance: Pours a deep, deep brown/black and leaves a finger of brown/dark tan head, which lingers for a short while before fading to a tan layer atop the beer.

Smell: Rich dark chocolate, coffee, charred oak, vanilla, dark fruits, a hint of raspberry. Very well balanced.

Taste: Sweet vanilla, milk chocolate, coffee beans, cinnamon, honey, charred oak, a hint of plum and raspberry. Sweet, but to a nice level (not overly). Again, well balanced with really nice flavors.

Mouth-feel: Low to medium carbonation with a medium to thick, creamy body. Smooth finish - alcohol is masked well.

Overall: Really well balanced porter with a delicious, sweet profile. Really nice, creamy body and a great finish. One of the best porters I've ever had.

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Photo of Goblinmunkey7
3.74/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to bilco for acquiring the bottle. Split with angrybabboon.

Appearance: Near black with a dark khaki head. Solid retention starts with a small head dropping to a constant small creamy cap and collar. Spots of lacing, but it's minimal. Moderate carbonation on the pour.

Smell: Deeply roasted and mildy burnt malts. Raw honey coupled with vaguely nutty coffee. Fresh coffee bean and some slightly burnt malts. Honey builds as it warms. Roasty. A touch sweet with some caramel and caramelized malt. Some char and a hint of smoke. Minimal hopping, adding a touch of an herbal finish. Bourbon barrel is a nice addition adding some vanilla, a hint of coconut, and some toffee almost butterscotch. A ton of cocoa and bitter chocolate.

Taste: Honey bourbon. More cocoa than I've encountered in a porter. Bitter baker's chocolate and some sweeter milk chocolate. So much cocoa. A hint of vanilla, coconut oil, and toffee. Some caramel sauce with a nice compliment of caramelized malts. A touch of butterscotch and alcohol. A touch grassy with some herbal elements. More and more honey as it warms. Boozy with some mild alcohol esters. A touch of vague alcohol spiciness. Sweet sweet sweet.

Mouthfeel: Mostly creamy medium leaning to full body. Moderate carbonation.

Overall: Tragic sugar fat.

Sweet, too much so. Everything else is solid, but I has diabeetus.

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Photo of angrybabboon
3.79/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Cheers to Bilco for acquiring this for both Goblinmunkey7 and me, cheers to Goblinmunkey7 for sharing this particular bottle

Appearance: Dark brown, pours with a light tan head, keeps a small cap, leaves some nice spots of lacing

Smell: Chocolate in abundance with a hint of bourbon - dark chocolate, cocoa, and milk chocolate - chocolate and caramel malts - roasty coffee in the aroma, but the honey is even more obvious - very sweet smelling, with milk chocolate and honey - bourbon rounds out the aroma - some dark fruits and vanilla as well

Taste: Big chocolate with some bourbon - almost like some kind of artisan chocolate bar - dark chocolate, fudge, cocoa, semisweet chocolate - sweet malts with a serious honey component - coffee and roasted malts, but these flavors are mostly overshadowed by the honey - bourbon flavor is quite potent without being overly woody, boozy, or intense - lots of malt sweetness with some vanilla

Mouthfeel: Somewhere between medium and full, smooth, nicely carbonated, finishes and clean

Overall: Birth of the Beetus

As one would expect, Hill Farmstead can make a great imperial porter. This has some remarkable chocolate notes, with some equally remarkable honey notes. The coffee is pretty nice, but overall it's a bit too sweet. This may improve substantially over time.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.34/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

thanks to pjl44 for this bottle!

poured into a tulip glass.

bottle on date of 10/2013.

drank this side by side with Everett! 8oz pour of BoT and 8oz pour of Everett for comparision of base beer with the barrel aged verison and it adjuncts! Sounds like a fun beer experiment to me!

Appearance: black bodied beer with 1 finger of white head that drops down to a thin head on the beer.

Smell: A fairly mellow nose. Bourbon and honey sweetness. Nutty coffee notes. Oak barrel.

Taste: The beer starts of sweet and barrel forward with bourbon and honey. Milk chocolates. Mild nutty coffee. And the beer nears room temperature, molassess and hints of black licorice begin to emerge. Lingering honey, oak, and bourbon in the finish.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with low carbonation. Super smooth and creamy mouthfeel. This beer drinks rediciously easily like its a 7% abv barrel aged porter! thats impressive.

Overall: You all are going to think that I am crazy, but i like regular Everett better that Birth of Tragedy. This even shocked me as I came to this conclusion... Great complexity and balance are found in this brew. i wish that a more roasty coffee was used in this beer, I think that would have made this beer even better. Its another great Hills Farmstead beer.

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Photo of brentk56
4.49/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a fudge brown color with a one inch cap of beige foam that leaves some strands of lacing behind

Smell: Dark chocolate, with hints of Bourbon, dark fruit and coffee

Taste: Dark chocolate, up front, with growing elements of Bourbon, dark fruit and coffee through the middle; really big flavors, that reach a crescendo after the swallow

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body, somewhat creamy, with moderate carbonation

Overall: We don't see many Hill Farmstead beers here in NC but when someone has one, it is always going to be a treat

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Photo of dar482
5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The beer comes in a pitch black color.

The aroma is wonderful brilliant of honey, gentle touches of vanilla and bourbon character, a medium amount of sweet roasted coffee.

The flavor is sublime for a character aged beer. Definitely a "Hill Farmstead" style of restraint and complexity. Bourbon lingers throughout. Roasted coffee hits in the front. A honey and vanilla sweetness moves the beer through the palate. The mouthfeel is smooth and minus full, and not very sticky.

One of the best barrel aged beers I've had. Just a shocking amalgamation of flavors that dance wonderfully together.

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Photo of BoldRulerVT
4.54/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into Hill Farmstead glasses.
Pours jet black with toffee colored head. Very minimal head, with great retention.
Smells...holy cow...coffee, chocolate, mint, roasted malt, sweetness, complex.
Taste was right in line with aromas, coffee, chocolate, almost some wintergreen, some mellow sweetness from the honey. Flat out amazing.
Mouthfeel was unique. It was velvety, silky, but not thick. It was refreshing actually.
Overall, this beer is extraordinary. It's balanced with sweetness and roastedness. It's complex. It's utterly delicious and skillfully crafted.

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Photo of stephens101
4.86/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Black with a sturdy, burnt sienna froth that falls off quickly.

Smells of burnt sugar, caramel, oak, black licorice, brown bread and faint cherry notes that mingle at the end.

Smooth, rich and sweet with a perfectly offsetting bitterness deep down. Caramel, milk chocolate, coffee beans, and dark fruits flourish above notes of bourbon, oak, honey and distant peppercorn.

HF make the smoothest, most consistent beers I've ever tried.

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Photo of afi4lifer
4.96/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to Todd @respirologist for this one. A true BA if ever one lived.

A - A perfect, viscous black with a beautiful khaki head.

S - roasty perfection.

T- bourbon perfected. Balance is a word I've heard used a lot. I finally get it. Harmonious symphony of chocolate, fruit hints and woody bourbon.

M - wish I was a poet

O - just get one and drink it

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.77/5  rDev +8.7%
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 schmidtmattsays
4.61/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottled 11/13. Enjoyed side by side with Twilight of the Idols (base beer).

A: Poured from a 500ml bottle into a HF stemmed tulip. Even less carbonation than the base beer, thick oil-like. Reddish hue on the fridges.

S: Lots of mint, greenery from the base beer still coming through on this - to be sure the oak and the bourbon are definitely front and center. The vanilla from the taste in Twilight of the Idols comes through on the smell with the help of the bourbon.

T: Wood and bourbon from the barrel. Coconut, mint, chocolate, vanilla. Marginal roast.

M: Nice mouthfeel, not as thick and full-bodied as a (good) BA stout but definitely substantial.

O: Great base beer that turns fantastic after the barrel treatment. Would definitely seek out again.

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Photo of hillvt4me
3.92/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- darkest of brown and blend of black with tinge of red. Minimal head with little lacing.
S-toffee, coffee, waft of cherry bourbon; sweet/honey aroma throughout.
T-Sugar laced Coffee, the cinnamon is fairly present. Minimal bourbon on back.
M-Low end of a medium thickness.
O-solid brew, complex flavor, balanced; though a bit sweet for my preference.

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Photo of Stevedore
4.49/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle from the recent 2013 vintage (date 11/2013), thanks FleetwoodMatt for sending this one over. Poured into a Hill Farmstead stemmed glass today, 1/2/2014.

Looks stout-ish in its appearance. Pours a dark black body, not viscous like motor oil. With a one finger dark brown head that retains quite well for a barrel aged beer. Eventually, after a few minutes, it becomes a thick brown collar and thin mocha film. Bits of lacing remain on the glass as the beer goes down. Looks very nice and dark.

Smells great. I just had Twilight of the Idols a few days ago and this reminds me of a very dark chocolatey version of it. Some sweet bourbon but not a ton; but plenty of dark chocolates, dark fruits (kind of like Surly Darkness) and espresso. A small bit of toffee, green mint and cinnamon in the background, with a dry oakey finish. There's really a lot going on in this beer for sure, and it deserves some time on its own to savor the nose.

Damn! This beer is bourbon chocolatey on top of the winter porter characteristics that Twilight of the Idols has. It also brings more dark fruit characteristics into the beer, I almost want to say port-like, but it's not quite that sweet- more akin to raisins and dried figs. Dark chocolate bitterness and flavours, freshly made espresso bitterness, toffee sweetness, bourbon sweetness (and accompanying heat which is most apparent on the backend). A dry oakiness is apparent on the finish. There isn't as much of that "mint vanilla ice cream" flavour that I get from Twilight of the Idols, but rather more of the dark chocolate bourbon flavours. In fact, it doesn't really remind me at all of Twilight of the Idols- this is an imperial porter with bourbon barrels imparting a lot of character on it to make it unique.

Medium bodied, on the thicker side. Creamy, silky smooth and well-carbonated. Back end is a slick, oakey bourbon chocolate sweetness that makes it simultaneously a sipper and a quaffer. Leaves a nice warm sticky sweetness on the palate with each swallow. Just the right amount of retrosternal heat that is very enjoyable and great during a winter snowstorm like this one that's going on outside right now. I had no problem drinking the entire 500ml bottle on my own.

Delicious BA imperial porter. I definitely like this one over Twilight of the Idols, especially for a cold, windy and snowy night like this one. Both are phenomenal beers, but this is another case where the bourbon barrels transform an excellent base beer into an even better, more complex and more enjoyable beer. The smell is still remniscent of Twilight though. Highly recommended!

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Photo of SadMachine
4.65/5  rDev +5.9%
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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Birth Of Tragedy from Hill Farmstead Brewery
4.39 out of 5 based on 1,130 ratings.
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