Birth Of Tragedy | Hill Farmstead Brewery

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Birth Of TragedyBirth Of Tragedy

Brewed by:
Hill Farmstead Brewery
Vermont, United States

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

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Reviews: 183 | Ratings: 1,190
Photo of wordemupg
4.44/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this one at a tasting a ways back, from notes
Cinnamon, nutmeg, more wood then bourbon, coffees late, honey comes through as maple, licorice, a little smoke in the mouth but it might just be burnt coffee, sticky on the lips…

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Photo of Furlinator
4.28/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2016.
Pours opaque and near black. A half inch beige head forms and settles as a thick ring on top and leaves strands of lace. The smell is of burnt wood and faint coffee. The taste is of roasted malt, honey, black cherries, coffee and subtle bourbon notes. Thick texture with medium carbonation. I was expecting more coffee presence. This is a world class porter nonetheless.

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Photo of KevSal
4.43/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

i've had this guy before and thought it was alright. this is the most recent batch

500ml poured into a perfect stout glass

looks good in the glass, completely dark with a khaki head. darker than expected

aroma brings forth bourbon, some sweetness, tasty malts, some more oak and alch at the tail end

taste follows the aroma, but the oak wallop is fantastic! much more vanilla in the flavor. finishes sweet with some alch. malts have some baltic porter notes

mouthfeel really carries this one. alch is still present, unusual for hf. but the velvet body really makes this nice

overall i wasn't expecting to enjoy this one so much. real tasty, i wouldn't mind having it again. a few steps behind gom tho

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Photo of troupos40
4.06/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This one was a slight disappointment, all honey, no coffee, maybe I should have drank it sooner but you figure a BA Porter would hold up with in 6 months of bottling. Not bad, but did not live up to its billing

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Photo of rabbott2
4.65/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

most recent batch (didn't note the date) drank on 3/4/2017

L-not overly thick, deep dark brownish black, tan head

S/T-BOOM! just fantastic combination of heavy oak, bourbon and milk chocolate, with some additional sweetness coming through from the honey and a hint of vanilla too and the coffee is subdued. Boy this is glorious

F-drinkable for sure. no booze

Overall-the smell and taste explain it all. Glad I have another one of these as this was just fantastic. Definitely underrated and I will seek out more of this.

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Photo of Hootie159
4.48/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

From bottle. Near black. Dark head dissipated to slicks. Smell is elegant. Good, clean malts. Surprised this isn't BA. Has a rich caramel and vanilla element. Sweet and smooth. HF feel never disappoints. Great beer.

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Photo of OleDixie
4.53/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Dark pour with a tan head that leaves a ring around the glass as you drink it. Roasted malts and coffee on the nose with some bourbon barrel. Honey sweetness blends nicely with coffee, oak, dark fruits, dark chocolate, and bourbon. My lips were sticky after the first sip. A nice, thick body on this beer. Overall, a very tasty beer.

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Photo of BeantownBrews
4.72/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Beautiful pitch black pour with a moderate khaki head
Smell of honey is up front, back end a hint of barrel and almost nutmeg
Wonderfully complex, a bit of vanilla, coffee and a spice I can't but my tongue on (maybe a touch of cardamom?) fades into sweet honey and a lovely bourbon finish with pleasant heat
For the style, the mouth feel is perfect not too thin, coating but drinkable
Overall, really glad I got to try this one and will certainly seek it out again

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

Drinks like a stout. Dark roast flavors, and a really nice vanilla and bourbon added from the barrel. Complex as a porter can be. Don't expect a huge BA stout, it is a porter after all, but if you want a well made example of an imperial with stout like characteristics, this is the one.

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Photo of edthehead
4.6/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This thing is way under the radar. Black pour, thick dense head, and lots of bourbon and vanilla to enjoy on the nose and palate. Smooooothness and Drinkability is the story on this one!

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

Pours black with tan head. There's some barrel aroma, vanilla and booze. It really is super balanced, delicate, and well finessed. The honey seems to subdue the barrel character or at least keep it from being as heavy handed as some other BBA stouts. There's some chocolate in there too. It's super smooth to the point where the bourbon punch is a pinch. BoT is just a phenomenal porter.

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

Nice complex taste with this beer. Really well done and I think underrated. Not too sweet at all and the coffee notes are perfect. Great smell and the body is amazing.

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Photo of YodersBeerEmporium
4.74/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Another fine offering from Hill Farmstead! Nice bourbon notes on this one right on the pour. Light bourbon notes and a very smooth drinker. A little bit light but its a porter so to be expected.

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Photo of Lochnessmonster
4.69/5  rDev +6.8%
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 Marius
4.7/5  rDev +7.1%
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 Fireman_RK
4.64/5  rDev +5.7%
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 M_chav
4.7/5  rDev +7.1%
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 danh53
4.27/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark reddish brown with no head to speak of. Not much to look at. Aroma is bourbon, vanilla, roasted malt, and honey. Its a nice aroma, but not very intense. Taste is the highlight of this beer and that's what matters most. This is about a year old so the coffee has faded, but everything else has blended together very well. The bourbon flavor is great and there's way more vanilla than expected. The honey is a nice addition and adds to the sweetness and sticky quality. The mouth feel is excellent for an imperial porter. Its not thick, but I almost forgot it was a porter instead of a stout. This beer is very well balanced, flavorful, and enjoyable to drink. I'm glad I traded for it.

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Photo of ragnar3
4.41/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle into a taster. Big coffee and chocolate, followed by a hint of honey and a slight barrel presence. Well balanced, enjoyable brew!

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Photo of fmccormi
4.39/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Straight pour from a 500ml pry-off bottle to a 10oz stemmed tasting glass. As with Twilight of the Idols, this beer was sitting in my basement for the past couple/three years, but made the long and treacherous journey to my fridge a couple of weeks ago.

Appearance (3.75): A fairly aggressive pour yields a half a finger or so of dark tan foam, capping a black as night body. It doesn’t hang out for too long, but leaves some light lacing here and there around the glass which is fairly resilient. It’s pretty, and while the head pales in comparison to that of Twilight of the Idols, it fits fairly well for a barrel-aged beer.

Smell (4.0): Cold brewed coffee, some chocolate syrup, dried apple slices, rich toffee, some vanilla and oak, and of course a little bit of bourbon come through. The barrel aging comes through mostly with the sweet, fruity aromas, like roasted apples and toffee. This barrel character is much better integrated and well-rounded than so many others like it.

Taste (4.5): Like the aroma, this is definitely dominated by the barrel, pushing out jammy, dark berry-like notes (some blackberry, buckwheat honey, and a bit of black cherry). Some vanilla, molasses, and treacle comes through after, mixing with a light coffee flavor, dark cocoa, and pumpernickel. The body is velvet-smooth, right up until the finish, when some of the bourbon heat and a slightly tannic, cocoa-forward flavor come up, behind the waves of jammy fruit and then dark, toffee-heavy malt. As barrel-aged stouts go, this is, again, incredibly well-built with a smooth, rounded structure and several diverse layers.

Mouthfeel (5.0): Smooth, smooth, smooth. The body is medium-full in weight and moderately syrupy in feel, showing only very modest carbonation underneath—sparse, fine, and smooth. It’s fudgy, really. There’s a tannic, slightly boozy texture that crops up after a while, lightening up the syrupy weight of the body before the carbonation finally foams up slightly, carrying the beer away in the finish. Fan-fucking-tastic.

Overall (4.5): If I had to choose between this and its base beer, Twilight of the Idols, I’d go with the latter. This is because I enjoy barrel treatments in some beers, but it can be distracting from what makes the beer underneath it so good to begin with—and that’s even if it’s done well. That said, this is done extremely well. The base is outstanding, the barrels used were outstanding, and the resulting beer is—shocker—outstanding. This beer comes off as 40% barrel, 60% base beer, but fortunately it’s so well balanced and blended that it’s not a distraction.

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Photo of Biggtriksta
4.81/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Picked this up at the brewery. Really a delicious beer. The honey stands out as one of the more dominant, yet subtle flavors, providing just enough sweetness to balance this heavy porter out. It was a bit expensive, but when at HF, you tend to spend a little more than normal!

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.31/5  rDev -1.8%
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.

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Photo of aleigator
4.7/5  rDev +7.1%
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 VelvetExtract
4.4/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. Pours a very dark brown. Leaves legs along my small sample cup. Looks like molasses. Surprised this isn't a double digit ABV brew. Aroma isn't all too stressed upon the coffee or the honey; it's more of a blend of all sorts of scents. Maple, dark fruit, and wood come into play here, too. Flavor is even better than the nose. I get more of the coffee but I think the honey adds more to the feel than the flavor. Chocolate syrup, fudge, dark fruit, molasses and maple. Bourbon and alcohol. Very complex. A lot of heat for a beer under 10%, especially with such a full mouthfeel. The feel is amazing. Thick and chewy. Yeah this was another great brew.

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Photo of Mini4x
4.46/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.75

One of the best porter out there. It's as black as a black hole, light does not even penetrate, Some excellent bourbon flavor from the barrel aging but it doesn't over power the honey and coffee. Worth the trip to Greensboro Bend just for this.

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Birth Of Tragedy from Hill Farmstead Brewery
4.39 out of 5 based on 1,190 ratings.
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