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Fear And Trembling | Hill Farmstead Brewery

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Fear And TremblingFear And Trembling

Brewed by:
Hill Farmstead Brewery
Vermont, United States

Style: Baltic Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.30%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Fear and Trembling was Hill Farmstead’s first collaboration—a Baltic-style porter brewed with malt that was hand smoked over maple wood by our Danish friend, and former colleague, Anders Kissmeyer. This batch was brewed with malt that was hand-smoked over a blend of native woods, then fermented in the traditional way, with lager yeast, and conditioned in stainless steel.

Added by MasterSki on 01-21-2013

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Reviews: 66 | Ratings: 379
Photo of SABERG
4.06/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a recent release, bottle date of 9/13/2016 into a small goblet.
A - Dark and mysterious, lurking in the void is carbonation feeding a mocha colored cap of loose knit spheres supporting
an unstable structure of intrigue.
S - Madagascar chocolate, dark roast malts, at first the cocoa is strong and the smoked malts are in the background. Upon warming the smokiness smolders to the front. Gentle application of the smoked malts proves delightful. Dark fruit
fig and plum run between the chocolate and smoked malts.
T - Wonderful toasted malts, dark chocolate, a bit of sweet fruits, fig, raisin blend seamlessly with a bit of blond tobacco and pumpernickel. Dark grains and semi-sweet cocoa.
F - Incredibly soft on the palate, to start. A drying happens in great haste. The tongues side roll down in acquiescence, A short period of sweetness and then a finish as dry as cocoa powder leaves the calling card for another sip.
O - A Baltic Porter to be reckoned with, the alcohol is so well hidden in this complex and delightful offering. Worth every effort to be had. A brewers skill on display.

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Photo of TheDoctor
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Service: Bottle
Bottled on: Oct-28-2015

Pours a ruby-tinged jet black, impenetrable. Three big fingers of tan foam-mattress that slowly eases to a healthy film. Good retention; lots of droopy lacing. (4.25)

Rich, toasty coffee and cream, brown sugar, toasted wood, dark fruits, toffee, coffee grounds caramelized wood (?). As it warms the light campfire smell becomes more robust—not to sausage proportions, though, and a slight roast astringency tweaks your nose. (4.25)

Soft sweet beer with a malty wave at the end. Dark berries, baker's chocolate, roasty malts, smoky body—almost peaty, slight char in the finish. (4.25)

Smooth, full-bodied, light carbonation, a bit astringent, lingering peaty finish. (4.25)

Tasty, interesting, well-made beer. It is different, but not in a weird way.
The smoke and the sweet roastiness seem like a really natural fit. Neither takes over completely, but it is definitely a big, flavorful beer. The sweetness is well balanced by the smoke, and it really opens up as it warms. Taste was not as complex as the nose lets on, but very good nonetheless. Would have again; worth trying. (4.25)

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Photo of Zaximus
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark. Small foamy head with really nice lacing.

The smell on this is off the charts. It's so smokey. Smells like smoked almonds. It's fairly overwhelming.

The taste doesn't quite follow. I don't get much of the smoke but a lot of roasted malt. It's sweet too. Almost too much so. Still, the flavors are vivid. The mouthfeel is rich and creamy.

I've really been impressed with HF's porters. Maybe more so than even their IPAs.

This is pretty delicious and easily drinkable.

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Photo of Ciocanelu
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On tap. Dark brown color with brownish head. Aroma has sweet coffee and roasted malts. Taste follows with the same flavors plus some earthy hops. Medium body and carbonation. Well made beer but it's not a style I enjoy very much.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.5/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle tonight at the tasting at SteveOJ's.. Pours dark mahogany brown with red highlights when held to a light.. meaty smoky notes on the nose translate perfectly to the palate... beef jerky and peat smoky notes.. umami is the name of the game here.... Painfully average, nothing new here.

All 3.5

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Photo of dar482
4.64/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

The beer comes in a black color with a creamy mocha brown color.

The aroma offers licorice, spice, big caramel and toffee sweetness, milk chocolate, wood, nuttiness, coffee.

The flavor smacks of the sweetness of burnt caramel, brown sugar, onto dark chocolate, roasted coffee, hints of underlying dried dark fig and date, hints of licorice and acrid woodiness linger on the finish. The beer shines with its clean lager finish.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep black color porter with a nice dark brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of roasted malt with light coffee notes is quite nice. Taste is a nice mxi between some roasted malt, light lactose notes with some nice dry floral coffee notes with light smoky undertones. Body is light with good carbonation. Great beer and nice balance to avoid the smoke notes form overshadowing the other flavours.

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Photo of Gatch
4.54/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Massive frothy brown head. Smoked and charred wood, deeply roasted malt, and some bittersweet dark chocolate. Smooth and easy drinking with massive flavor. And not at all boozy. A killer smoked beer and Baltic porter, distinguishing itself from a traditional porter. HF does it again. Every style, every time. Thank you Samuel T. Judkins for the thoughtful birthday gift!

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Photo of jcoleMA66
4.63/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Getting back to reviewing this beer after first trying it last Fall. I opened another bottle I've been cellaring for a 6-7 months for a bottle share this weekend, and still really love this beer. Pours black with 1/2 finger mocha head and it doesn't show any red tints at the edge of the glass. Roasted coffee jumps out of the glass and there's an underlying smokiness, which I'm glad isn't overpowering the aroma. Taste is bitter, unsweetened dark chocolate, some caramel, dark roasted coffee and very nice smoke undertone and finish. Mouth feel is velvety smooth. Still love this beer!

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Photo of rodmanfor3
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On the palate, the flavors of bitter dark chocolate and roasted malt dominate, with hints of coffee lingering in the back, finishing with a unique breath of wooded smoke.

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Photo of AMCimpi
4.53/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark black with a nice tan head
S: Super smoky and some dark chocolate.
T: Some chocolate, a little roast on the back end and a whole bunch of smoke all the way through.
M: Medium to Full, creamy
O: Another great one from Shaun Hill, just a great smoky baltic porter. I'm not a smoky beer guy, but this one works so well

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Very dark brown/black pour with a thick dark toffee colored lacing ring.

S - Dark roasted chocolate and smoke fills the nose.

T - Deep, dark roasted chocolate from start to finish, towards the end a little bit of milk chocolate/cocoa pops up for a brief moment, smokiness, wood, and a nice lingering bittersweet chocolate. No alcohol burn.

M - Big medium body with a velvety texture, and dry finish.

O - An outstanding porter with the 9% ABV dangerously hidden.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.05/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle served at 47 degrees in a tulip. Bottled January 2013. Pours the color and clarity of cola with a loose, tan-colored head that dissipates into a sudsy band around the edges while leaving a soapy slick across the center. Nose is vinous upfront with a suggestion a milk chocolate and a kiss of smoke at the tail end. Taste expresses a lot of smoke (think just shy of smoked meat), followed by dark fruits and cocoa. Finishes with a slightly medicinal character. Mouthfeel is light-medium in body with a consistent, even carbonation. Overall, a solid example of the style. The smoked quality adds an interesting element; however, it's a bit too assertive for my sensibilities.

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Photo of More_betterness
4.18/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Midnight black body topped with a quickly receding khaki head. Patchy lacing left on the glass.

S: Dark fruits and smoke upfront, layered with coffee and raw cacao. Not nearly as smoky as I was expecting, very well balanced.

T: Dark chocolate and macerated cherry, followed by an acrid drying finish and only a hint of smoke.

M: Per usual epic mouthfeel from an HF beer. Creamy and soft on the palate, with a medium body and a pleasantly dry finish.

O: I will preface this by saying that I absolutely hate smoked beers, but this was really enjoyable. I'm done doubting Mr Hill, the hype is justified.

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Photo of jbaker67
4.14/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours near black with a lacy, beige head. Aroma of roasted malts, a little coffee, a little smokiness, a little bit of dough, and floral hops. Flavor the same with a nice combo of dark and smoky malts. Smooth texture. A really well executed take on the style.

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Photo of BoldRulerVT
4.49/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured on tap at Farmhouse in Burlington.
Pours very, very dark almost black with no head.
Aromas are smokiness, roasted coffee, roasted malts, touch of chocolate.
Tastes incredible. FULL flavor of coffee, touch of chocolate, some caramel.
Mouthfeel is silky and smooth.
Overall, a flat out stunning porter by Shaun. Another masterpiece.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.23/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

There's just something about Hill Farmstead and Porter that just go ideally well. Their creamy dry marriage captures all the toasted and chocolaty glory of the roasted barley kernel in a way that's rarely tasted.

Feat And Trembling kicks off with a dark, "bark" brown color that pushes black except for the sparkle of garnet ribbons that pierce through its body- showing off its brilliant clarity. Topped with a creamy, yet arid lightly tanned foam cap- the beer retains the session with ease, trailing with concentric lace in the beer's wake.

Its aromas are all about smoky chocolate, as found in premiere chocolate shops. Its roasted character nearly seems of stout, but its high toast scent is woven together with burnt caramel, nutty columbian blend coffee, obvious dark chocolate and walnut. As the porter breathes, a slim vinous note rises from the dark grain and ester complex.

Its taste is equally as captivating as a milkshake-type sweetness emerges, bringing with it toffee, vanilla and heavy cream. Its sweetness is quickly shed as the heavy campfire scent comes to life and creates a dry honeycomb structure of cocoa, charred toast, walnut oil, and french-press coffee. Its smoky aura simmers on the palate like smoldering embers as its dry and minerally finish ushers in remarkable drinkability.

Medium-full on the palate, the beer's early creaminess soon dissolves as the carbonation and residual malt sweetness disengage. What's left is an arid smoky dryness with cocoa-type bitterness and a mild roast-derived astringency that is prompted by a light plaster-like finish.

The inquisitive ale is highly characterful as it goes from smooth and creamy to dry, powdery and slight ash in a hurry. It takes quite a journey over top the palate in short order. Fear And Trembling is as much of an experience for the mind and memory as it is for the taste buds.

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Photo of facundoCNB
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

A dark brown pour with a nice brown head. Smells fantastically smoky and chocolatey. Tastes fucking phenomenal, sweet smoky, with a distinct lager year flavor. Medium body chalky medium carbonation.
A wonderful beer, I'm trying not to be one sided with the whole HF thing, but this is my first offering from then and it's fucking mindblowing.

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Photo of Jeffo
4.34/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this one from Rutager in a summertime box. You spoil me man. Cheers!

From a 50cl bottle into a snifter
20.3 Plato

APPEARANCE: A clear, dark brown pour yields a one finger, medium looking, light tan head with good retention. Head fades to a good full wisp and frothy ring. Black body with lower levels of carbonation evident. A splotchy wisp remains leaving some falling dots of lace down the glass.

SMELL: Roasted notes, smoked malts, dark chocolate and hints of coffee as well. Smoked malts are meaty but not overpowering, letting the chocolate and light cream notes play a roll as well. Nicely balanced.

TASTE: Roasted and smoked malts up front with caramel and dark, bitter chocolate at the swallow. Big and bold aftertaste of smoky, roasted malts, bitter dark chocolate, bitter espresso with hints of sweet cream and caramel. Very flavorful and interesting, as well as showing solid balance with the smoked elements.

PALATE: Medium body and medium levels of carbonation. Very creamy on the palate, velvety smooth, goes down and finishes slightly sticky. A touch light for the style and ABV, but very, very velvety smooth.

OVERALL: Another excellent porter from HF. Complex and interesting, with appreciated constraint with the use of the smoked malts here, too much of which can be off-putting. We had the three barrel aged versions a while back and those were outstanding as well. Finally nice to try the base beer as well. Fantastic stuff Rutager. Thanks again!

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Photo of MarcWP
4.34/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2013 vintage. Exactly one year old. Poured into Russian River glass.

Pours pitch black with little light coming through on the edges. Small, compact dark khaki colored head that lingers for a bit.

Aroma is major dark chocolate forward with campfire, coffee pot, and faint s'mores that rounds off the nose beautifully.

On the palate you get all that campfire, melted chocolate, coffee, toasted graham cracker, and sweetness almost like it was coming from lactose sugars. Perfect interpretation of the nose. And a lot more complex flavor than many other Baltic porters I've had.

The mouthfeel on this is what really showcases the mastery at HF. Definitely a heavier side of medium mouthfeel with an incredible silkiness that carries the flavor well over into the aftertaste. Perfect carbonation with a prickly pickup at the end that contradicts the silkiness but makes the pair harmonious in its affect.

Overall a great beer. I'll be honest, I've never been a big fan of Baltic porters and haven't had more than maybe 6 to 8 beers in the style. But this will stand out in my memory as one that expressed great balance and an incredible mouthfeel. Maybe the year of age on it toned down the typical roasty, smokey characteristics of Baltics and brought out an underlying sweetness that played well with the other nuances. Baltics by nature (at least the ones I've tried) are really dry. This had a milky sweetness that made it more enjoyable for me.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

big thanks to franklinn for the assist on this one. enjoyed from a hf taster wine glass.

a - brew poured an attractive lush black with a finger and a half greyish tan head that had solid staying power. as i sipped the beer nice chunky streaks of lacing were left in the wake.

s - nose is quite smokey...almost peaty, but not in a bad sense. char rounds it out keeping the campfire, but extinguishing most of the grease.

t - taste is quite incredible. i'm not a huge smoke beer fan, but don't mind smokey beers and this one is really nice. some chocolate and roast behind the char and smoke.

m - all hill farmstead beers seem to have an amazing feel. drinks really easily and is simply smooth and refreshing.

o - overall i dug this beer more than the barrel treatments i had a while back. really enjoyable baltic porter.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.77/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle pour at Woodshop 8 held at The Hermosillo in Los Angeles, CA.

Bottled 1/2013.

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, smoke, and cocoa aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa and smoke flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with a nice smoke presence that is slightly better in the aroma.

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Photo of Thehuntmaster
4.27/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

500ml bottle 9,0% Abv.
Served chilled and split between a snifer and a wine glass.
Bottled Jan 2013

Thanks to Futura for this one.

Appearance: Fear & Trembling appears pitch black in the glass, however a back light reveals the beer to infact be an ultra deep red, with beautiful deep golden edges. A rough pour yields a massive dark tan coloured head that lasts well for the Abv. and leaves some good looking lacing as it recedes. A swirl results in light alcohol legs.

Smell: The aroma is not as smokey as I was expeting, but it still smells delicious. Cocoa and dark chocolate combing with some smokey campfire, charred wood and a little roasted malt. As the beer warms, the nose opens up with the campfire notes increasing and some caramel an earthy quality and some darker fruit notes also becoming apparent.

Taste: The flavour is a little smokier than the nose suggested, with big campfire notes, roasted malt and some charred wood dominating the flavour. Dark chocolate, cocoa, a creaminess, underlying caramel and a touch of meatiness. There is no trace of alcohol noted in the flavour.

Mouthfeel: The body is medium-full and there is a high level of carbonation. The carbonation is fairly smooth, but has a distinctly lager feel to it and this makes the beers ridiculously drinkable for nearly 10%.

Overall: Fear and Trembling is a great Baltic porter and another great beer from HF. I hope to have it again soon.

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Photo of PHBoiler
4.44/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

I believe this was a 1/2013 bottle.

Minimal head with deep brown/black body and slight reddish brown hues when swirled in the glass.

Plenty of smoke on the nose with some roastiness as well.

Minimal smoke in the taste with smooth roast. Body shows the baltic porter style well. Smooth and easily drinkable cold or as it warmed. Mouthfeel is near perfect. The body is so well done like any HF beer I've had. Very refined. High end version of the baltic porter style. Smoke adds some complexity to the nose but little else. Very good beer.

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Photo of Chaney
4.21/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Shared at a recent tasting by Huzuhbendah. Thanks Matt!

Served in a Hill Farmstead glass.

A: Poured a dark mocha color with a dark mocha head as well. Looks pretty amazing: Dark, dark brown.

S: About as smokey as it gets. We had a Yazoo "Sue" earlier and this was even smokier IMO. Really bacony.

T: Bacon grease, fried egg, burnt toast, and some coffee. Possible theme: Breakfast beer?

M: Even though this was moderately bitter, it wasn't bitter at all. No French Toast in here, in case you're wondering.

O: This was my first HF beer and it didn't disappoint.

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Fear And Trembling from Hill Farmstead Brewery
4.24 out of 5 based on 379 ratings.
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