Birth Of Tragedy | Hill Farmstead Brewery

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Birth Of TragedyBirth Of Tragedy
BA SCORE
4.46/5
Outstanding
1,256 Ratings
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
Ranking:
#192
Reviews:
193
Ratings:
1,256
pDev:
8.3%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
1,059
Gots:
207
Trade:
21
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,256 |  Reviews: 193
Photo of Cynic-ale
4/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of Dicers
4.25/5  rDev -4.7%

Photo of jzeilinger
4.75/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of CharlesK
4.56/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of MasterSki
4.22/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Review #2100. Bottle courtesy of AshleyMiller. Shared with Jason for "Polish" Christmas. Served in a tulip of some sort.

A - Quick-dissolving sliver of mocha foam settles to a thin ring, a few wisps, and tiny specks of lace. Black body with a glint of brown at the rim of the glass.

S - This was probably served too cold, so I was forced to let it sit and warm up over an extended period of time. The initial aroma was heavy in dry oak, bourbon, and a hint of solvent alcohol. However, as the beer reached an appropriate temperature more of the base beer's dark chocolate, roasted malts, and cinnamon joined the mix. Coffee and vanilla are present, but quite faint.

T - I find the taste to actually be superior to the aroma, as it cuts some of the harsh oak and bourbon cuts and amps up the rich dark chocolate, cake, fudge, and vanilla bean flavors. Perhaps I have a sweet tooth, but this just seems like a better balance of flavors to me. Alcohol is extremely well-hidden - I didn't realize this was so much stronger than Twilight of the Idols.

M - Medium-full body, low carbonation, chewy texture, and light tannic dryness in the finish. Pretty much what I like in a barrel-aged Imperial Porter.

D - I liked this beer quite a bit, but I think I prefer the base beer more, as I like the interesting mix of adjuncts and malt flavors and some of that is masked by the barrel-aging. Still, this is a high-quality and well-crafted beer that is well worth seeking out - but did anyone expect anything less from Hill Farmstead?

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Photo of Gonzoillini
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%

Photo of epyon396
4.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Stevedore
4.49/5  rDev +0.7%
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!

 2,625 characters

Photo of tobelerone
4.53/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of fthegiants
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of rodbeermunch
4.31/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Came out a mostly black and brown liquid. Tiny ring of beige head on it. Falls off quickly.

Aroma was pretty sweet, honey, vanilla, roasted coffee malt. Solid.

Taste hits more chocolate and coffee, not massive. Complimentary. Some minor heat. Burnt sugar in a tiny amount. The bourbon was way in the background, just didn't pick much of it up, but still, an impressive beer, even if not holy grail type of stuff VT might want you to believe.

 452 characters

Photo of lupercmda
5/5  rDev +12.1%

Photo of drabmuh
4.42/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by yourefragile in my kitchen last night, served in a Hill Farmstead becher. If you didn't, you did it incorrectly. At the time of this reivew, this is #3 on the "Top Beers - American Porter" list on beeradvocate.com and on a side note, this is the last beer I haven't reviewed on the "Top Beers - Popular" list (currently #95) on beeradvocate.com. 100/100 tickers, I win beer!

Beer is black and thick with a thin dark brown head of large bubbles, seriously undercarbonated, low retention, no lacing, looks fine.

Aroma is fudge and heat, strong liquor, strong alcohol, lots of chocolate and fudge, nice aggressive nose. Smells dangerous.

Beer is medium to thin in body, not hot at all AT ALL on the palate, the nose is deceiving. This is a relatively easy drinking beer. The back palate falls away quickly and finishes a little thin but not dry. The forward is all sweetness and fudge, chocolate, oak and liquor. Not detectable alcohol on the beer. I love it. I'd have it again. Increase the carbonation in future bottles of this beer to increase the quality, otherwise don't change a thing.

 1,108 characters

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4.97/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Alright, every time I think I've found my favorite Hill Farmstead tipple Shaun releases a new beer that is at the top of it's class. Such is the case with Birth of Tragedy. A great thank you to jammalamma for allowing me the opportunity to try this in the bottle. I had this on tap at the brewery on Saturday and then again in the bottle tonight and in each occasion I was blown away.

This beer is dark roasted black in the glass with auburn highlights when held up to the light. A very slight head is formed on a vigorous pour.

Aroma is where this beer becomes otherworldly. Deep vanilla bean, caramel, toffee, candied cashews, clarified butter in the best sense. Fine expresso with a touch of sweet cream, honey, strong agave nectar (think fine anejo tequila) - so much going on!!

Taste is strong on the nuts, agave theme with mocha and honey notes. Outstanding! There more you sip the more you discover! Vanilla and toffee really come to the fore the more the beer warms.

Mouthfeel is spot on for a barrel-aged beer. Light to moderate carbonation with a moderately heavy viscosity that belies the beer's hefty abv.

Overall just a tremendous beer from the get go and here's hoping it becomes a standard yearly release. Well done!!

 1,237 characters

Photo of beernads
4.25/5  rDev -4.7%

Photo of eawolff99
3.75/5  rDev -15.9%

Photo of spinrsx
4.08/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

3000! Received in trade with Ian. The honey flavour grew on me.

63 characters

Photo of petermethot
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of mrn1ceguy
4/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of Sabtos
4.31/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Slick oily black with a seemingly headless, smooth silky surface that slowly develops a thin mocha film and a bubbly collar.

The aroma of spiked dark mocha pairs well with the charred oak and sophisticated bourbon that comes with the excellent aging Hill Farmstead has done here. Fire roasted marshmallow and vanilla add a new level of decadence, while some spiced, dusty cinnamon emerges as it warms.

Unbelievably deep, complex and luscious flavors of toasted coconut and nougatty yet dry and charred roasty wood mingle with some spicy, black peppery bourbon, while the cacao and cinnamon come out as light accents on the back end, with mocha becoming more apparent at room temperature.

Slick, smooth and round, the carbonation serves to thin it out a bit with a crisp sort of crunchiness, as the swallow becomes a little warm and then sharply dry.

Jesus Christ do they really know how to improve their base beers with bourbon barrel aging--I'm not sure any other brewery does it this well. I didn't really like Geneaolgy, yet found GoM to be great. The same was true for Twilight of the Idols, yet this was a complete knockout for me. Normally my preferences are often the opposite at other breweries, so major props, yet again, to HF.

 1,241 characters

Photo of rudzud
4.87/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Enjoyed on tap at the Hill Farmstead release. Sweet mother of mercy.

A - Poured into my Hill Farmstead wine glass a deep, dark black...as black as brown can get with a creamy one finger mocha head that leaves lots of thick, creamy side lacing.

S - Oh...my...god. My nose is assaulted with rich bakers chocolate, oak, carmel, burnt sugars, vanilla, and some of the smoothest bourbon I've ever smelled.

T - My goodness, this is...can BA go higher than a 5? Tastes of rich chocolate, complex oaks and vanilla and carmel. And this bourbon...my goodness. Stuff drinks like its already had 5 years on it to mellow and smooth out.

M - Almost no carbonation on the tongue. Its super creamy though and nicely thick. ALOT of mellow, smooth bourbon.

O - Overall this is one of the best beers I've ever had, easily the best porter by a landslide. This sure is a rare one and wish I could have bought more than 4 bottles. For those who didnt go and only have reviews/numbers to go off of, this really is THAT good. Be prepared to spend big if you missed this one!

 1,056 characters

Photo of outoffocus
4.75/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.71/5  rDev +5.6%
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 LoveStout
3.75/5  rDev -15.9%

Photo of dar482
5/5  rDev +12.1%
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.

 594 characters

Birth Of Tragedy from Hill Farmstead Brewery
Beer rating: 4.46 out of 5 with 1,256 ratings