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Birth Of Tragedy | Hill Farmstead Brewery

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BA SCORE
4.46/5
Outstanding
1,229 Ratings
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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:
#183
Reviews:
190
Ratings:
1,229
pDev:
8.3%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
1,061
Gots:
205
Trade:
22
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,229 |  Reviews: 190
Photo of alcstradamus
3.65/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours black with a thin cola-like head. Aroma is vanilla, toffee, alcohol, and sweet fudge. Flavor is dominated by the barrel flavor although not overpowering in booziness. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and appropriately carbonated.

My overall feeling about this beer is one of severe disappointment. I feel that Twilight of the Idols is probably the best porter I have ever had, and this barrel aged version is a clear departure from that wonderfully nuanced flavor and it is not a positive change at all. The barrel flavor here is not powerful like..say..a Bourbon County Stout, but it still masks almost all the underlying complexity.

It is a good beer when judged on its own merits, but it is not one I would ever want again.

 728 characters

Photo of Amyliz4
5/5  rDev +12.1%

Photo of theellebee
5/5  rDev +12.1%

Photo of yeahnatenelson
5/5  rDev +12.1%

Photo of SubpoenaDeuces
4.72/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

 2,095 characters

Photo of jammalamma
5/5  rDev +12.1%

Photo of corby112
4.44/5  rDev -0.4%
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!

 1,411 characters

Photo of Bendurgin
4.16/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

John's parents hooked this one up too! Man, they rock! Poured into a tulip. This one pours black with some brown highlights. No head on the pours even though we went right down the middle of the glass.

The aroma has hints of bourbon and toffee. Hints of dark chocolate and big roast malts. Vanilla and dark cherries linger in the background. Really a no nonsense in the aroma here. The taste is a lot like the aroma. Rich coffee and dark chocolate flavors on the pallet with vanilla adding a nice sweet finish. Good barrel aging here, really nice non-overpowering flavor.

The body is nice a full but this is pretty close to flat; very little carbonation.

Overall this one is pretty rock solid. Would really love better carbonation here. Maybe just a sub par bottle, but let's face it. Even a sub par bottle is pretty damn good.

 831 characters

Photo of andrewinski1
4.48/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a wine taster. the color is very dark brown and appears black. There is no head, and a couple bubbles appear from a bit of agitation.

The aroma is full of vanilla, raisins, fig, chocolate, with a touch of bourbonesque booze. Pretty much the perfect barrel aged beer aroma.

The taste is sweet vanilla and chocolate, with a nice bitter chocolate finish that leaves a lingering bourbon sting. This is the only barrel aged Hill Farmstead beer that picked up a strong component of the barrel, most are a bit more subtle. This makes me happy.

This is thick and heavy. This is probably undercarbonated by most people's standards, but I don't think it lowers the drinkability at all if any. I enjoy the smoothness.

Another top notch beer by Hill Farmstead. I'm hoping my other bottle at least pours a bit prettier.

 822 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 nathanjohnson
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%

Photo of Gushue3
4.64/5  rDev +4%
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.

 689 characters

Photo of Gosox8787
4.89/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: Bottle poured into a Cigar City snifter at cellar temperature. Huge thanks to phingdong for picking up a bottle for me at the release. As a huge fan of basically everything Hill Farmstead brews, I am beyond excited to try this, especially after seeing early reviews.

Appearance: Pours the anticipated midnight black in color with almost no discernable head. I thought the ABV might cut into the pour a bit, but this almost looks flat on the first pour.

Aroma: Nice roasted coffee beans, sweet bourbon, caramel and vanilla bean are all in balance in the nose. The coffee is nice and in the forefront and the bitterness of the beans is perfectly offset by the honey. Not much burn at all from the alcohol. Really complex and pleasant.

Taste: Coffee beans and espresso upfront. The bitterness of the beans are balanced with vanilla, caramel and the sweetness of the honey. I usually don't care a lot for honey in beer but it works as good as I've had here. The bourbon is expertly blended into the base beer and gives almost no additional burn. Really balanced and tasty. Flawless.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and creamy. Just a touch of carbonation, but it works here. Goes down so smooth.

Overall, a really outstanding barrel aged porter and just a terrific overall beer. Really complex and balanced. The coffee is outstanding and this definitely is drinking great fresh. Pop this open if you have it and enjoy.

 1,426 characters

Photo of koopa
4.25/5  rDev -4.7%

Photo of bwmichaud
5/5  rDev +12.1%

Photo of Patrickbrusil
4.89/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The real deal in a bottle. Look no further.

This one oozes with bourbon, coffee, and honey. A combination that would make a fine cocktail and rallies into an unprecedented porter.

What truly puts this ahead of other dark barrel aged beers is that it had that slight smokey characteristic and lighter body than a viscous stout - and god damn that is AWESOME.

The smell is heavenly. If I could make it into a cologne I would wear it daily. I'd shower in this stuff.

Bravo hill farmstead

 492 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 rpstevens
5/5  rDev +12.1%

Photo of GatheringBrews
5/5  rDev +12.1%

Photo of RSchaeffer
5/5  rDev +12.1%

Photo of RCL
5/5  rDev +12.1%

Photo of GoGriz
5/5  rDev +12.1%

Photo of Cakanator
5/5  rDev +12.1%

Photo of steeptrails
4.57/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark, thick body with thin head

S - Bourbon scent invites you in.

T - Strong bourbon and honey; a very nice combo. Coffee wasn't very pronounced. Strong aftertaste that lingers.

M - Thick and sits well on tongue; very pleasant.

O - A terrific brew, one of my top 10. If you like Bourbon County you're gonna love this; it's better IMO.

 342 characters

Photo of Turbojet307
5/5  rDev +12.1%

Birth Of Tragedy from Hill Farmstead Brewery
Beer rating: 4.46 out of 5 with 1,229 ratings
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