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: 71 | Ratings: 412
Photo of Jmerril77
4.89/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

One of the best smoked porters I've ever had.

Appearance is dark, thick, and a dark caramel head
Aroma is very smokey...especially the first sniff
Taste is smokey, bitter, and chocolately

I enjoy many of Hill Farmstead's beers. This is one of my favorites.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.68/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Big thanks to Kyle for this one... and all things Hill Farmstead. 500ml capped bottle into a Brooklyn Brewery snifter. Shared with schen9303.

Pours a 1.5 finger frothy, coffee colored head with moderate retention. Beer is pitch black. Lacing is patchy and stringy with good stick. Thin legs. Great looking brew.

Nose is maple, smoked and roasted malt, liquorice, cocoa, and bittersweet chocolate. Very deep with the perfect balance of sweetness and smokiness. Aromatic too. Awesome!

Opens smoke, ash, and roasted malt. Maple and molasses sweetness creeps in to keep things balanced in the middle. Chocolate and liquorice coupled with cocoa powder and more maple towards the end. Sweet, sticky finish with a lingering, smoky, meaty aftertaste kind of like maple bacon. I don't like smoked beers for the most part but this is very, very impressive.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth and silky in the mouth and goes down slick and oily. Messy finish with a sweet, light, but lingering aftertaste. Really good.

I'm not a huge fan of smoked beers in general but again, this is just an outstanding brew that's been expertly crafted. Another extremely impressive Hill Farmstead offering. Now I have to find the barrel-aged variations!

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Photo of rjp217
4.66/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Not my favorite style but you gotta give it up to SH on this one. Just the perfect hint of smoke, not overpowering in the least. Smooth body, lots of chocolate and some robust roast. For the type of beer they're going for here, it really can't be made better than this.

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Photo of dar482
4.64/5  rDev +9.2%
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 jcoleMA66
4.63/5  rDev +8.9%
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 GreesyFizeek
4.59/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This one pours a pretty thick and creamy looking black, with a thick and persistent head, and lots of lacing.

Smells like rich woody smoke, very roasty coffee, slight powdery chocolate, vanilla cream, and really awesome roasted malt.

This is nearly flawless. It's quite smoky, so if you don't like that flavor, you might be out of luck. However, I really dig that sort of flavor. It's a very woody and dry smoke flavor, earthy and super tasty. There's lots of smoky chocolate flavor too, with roasted coffee bean, some light vanilla cream, and a definite nuttiness. It's got such a creamy and wonderfully smoky flavor.

This has a really creamy and full body, while remaining quite drinkable. It has a super decadent feel to it, without being very sweet, which is an interesting effect.

This is one of the best smoked beers I've ever had. It's absolutely wonderful.

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Photo of morebeergood
4.59/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A friend brought me back a growler from VT. Poured into stemmed glasses. Dark brown body with light beige head. Tons of smoke aroma up front. Taste was a great blend of smoke, chocolate, and wood. Very nice body, which was perfect for a Baltic Porter, but smooth enough to make an over 9% beer very drinkable. Overall, a pleasure to drink and quite a treat, so thanks to Joey G.

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Photo of Gatch
4.54/5  rDev +6.8%
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 Kinsman
4.53/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Holy smoke Batman! Fills the class with a dark and sexy black body and capped by a nice bit of dark mocha colored head. First whiff is beautifully smokey character thats more on the campfire side of things but has some bacon/meaty quality as well. The underlying porter comes across a bit sweet on the nose with chocolate and brown sugar notes.

First sip reveals a great balance of smoked beer and porter qualities. Most other smoked porters I've had seem to seriously lack on the smoked side of things but this one gets right up there with a big but not overpowering woody smoke flavor. And of course, as one would expect from HF, even without the smoked malt this porter would be among the best. Creamy and a bit sweet but not cloying at all. Chocolate and maple notes pair well with the smokey character. Nice full-bodied mouth feel but it's scary how easily this beer goes down at 9% ABV.

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Photo of flexabull
4.53/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of donfrap, thanks again!

Pours a dark brown color with a decent lightly tan colored head.

Aromas are quite nice. Nice blend of dark bitter bakers chocolate and light hints of smoked malts.

Taste really kicks it up more than I expected from the nose, and in a good way. Taste starts off with light cocoa, then kicks in a nice mixture of smoke flavors. I notice light peat, dark roasted coffee, smoked meats, char, and campfire which all join in, but don't overpower at all like these flavors often do. Finish is bitter, with a nice mineral note. This beer really does a wonderful job balancing the smoke flavors with the baltic porter flavors.

Mouthfeel is nice. Very smooth and full bodied. I like a touch more body, but that's a nit pick at this point.

Overall, this is outstanding. One of the best beers I have had in months, and at ths point it is easily my favorite from Hill Farmstead. The balance of flavors is done with a deft hand, very well crafted and delicious. I want another bottle or 10.

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Photo of AMCimpi
4.53/5  rDev +6.6%
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 cfrances33
4.51/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a Hill Farmstead stem.

Pour: Splashy black with a nice two fingers of foamy tan head. Nice lacing, and the head hangs around for most of the glass.

Smell: Lots of roasted chocolate and coffee up front, and a clean char. Some smoke, but not a ton. Like burnt oak.

Taste: Not as smokey as the nose would lead you to believe. Lots of dark roasted coffee and some milk chocolate. Smoke comes through mostly on the finish, with vanilla, roastiness, and a clean smoke.

Mouthfeel: Very nice and creamy. Carb is just right on this one. The smoke isn't over powering, but half a bottle was plenty for me.

Overall: Well executed, and one of the few smoked beers I have enjoyed.

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Photo of davey101
4.49/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled January 2013, 500 ml bottle into a tulip glass.

A - Pours a dark, dark brown body. Just a shade below black. Two fingers of mocha foam settles to a one finger cap of long lasting foam. Excellent lacing and moderate retention.

S - Smokey malts, ham, chocolate, coffee and a nice mineral bite. The smell is just phenomenal, smokey and rich with just enough sweetness and bitterness to keep things in check.

T - Starts off smokey and savory. Smooth milk chocolate and bitter coffee beans come to the rescue to provide some balance. Finishes with lasting ash and sweetness. This is a top notch smoked porter. Very delicious with the perfect level of smoke.

M - Medium bodied and creamy. Moderate level of carbonation.

O - I'm not a big fan of smoked beers, but this is right up there with Alaskan Smoked as the best I've ever had. Really great stuff.

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Photo of BoldRulerVT
4.49/5  rDev +5.6%
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 BTVflatlander
4.48/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Waited in the February Vermont cold for two hours for this here brew.

A: As to be expected considering the type, Fear and Trembling pours a deep, silky black with a caramel head--even with the growler having been open for over 24 hours.

S: Overwhelming smoked malt overtones.

T: Taste is predominantly maple and smoke dominated. It is true to the style for sure, and is without doubt the best baltic porter I've had.

M: Neither especially syrupy or heavy nor weak or watery.

O: This masterpiece of Hill Farmstead was undoubtedly worth the numbingly cold wait in line and $18 it took to get in my possession--something I cannot say about many other beers.

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Photo of facundoCNB
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
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 aquabears
4.46/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Dark, chocolate brown. Smells like roast, very slight hint of smokiness. Taste is a rich, full, sweet, smokey chocolate. Leaves a solid smoke taste after you swallow that fills your mouth and makes your breath feel "thick." Hint of bitter from the malt that grows as the beer warms and you keep drinking. No alcohol heat... super smooth and chewy, low carbonation.

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Photo of Vonerichs
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black color with a low and tight beach sand colored head. Once the head dissipates it's left looking flat and tranquil with not even a hint of carbonation at the surface.

The smoke is subtle in the aroma and accompanied by coffee, chocolate fudge, and root beer.

The chocolate and coffee share the lead with the smoke, which pops a lot more than in the scent. It's a nice balance of sweet and smokey with just a touch of bitterness in the finish, like coffee grounds.

Mouthfeel is smooth and medium bodied. It drinks much lighter than a 9.30% beer, though.

Another great beer from HF, no surprise there. The smoke plays a big role in this one but doesn't dominate.

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Photo of nootch23
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a snifter.

A - pours a dark thick black, just like a stout. Had a small, soft white, vanilla head to it that disappears quick but hangs around at the edge of the glass.

S - right up front a heavy smokiness with coffee and notes of chocolate. a great smelling porter.

T - this is all smokiness. hints of coffee and chocolate barely come up behind all the smokey flavor to this. very smooth tasting, easy to drink. there is a little booze but very very small amount.

M - very easy, smooth porter. very refreshing and sweet and then a dryness comes up slowly. a really balanced beer.

O - very tasty porter, very enjoyable. I would put this in my Top 10 List of favorite porters. I really enjoy smokey porters and this one is kind of the ideal smokey porter. The smokiness is strong but I don't feel it's overpowering although i can see why people would think so. It's not one of the best HF beers but I definitely like this one and would buy it again. I can definitely enjoy this porter on a chilly or cold night.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
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 PHBoiler
4.44/5  rDev +4.5%
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 TheSevenDuffs
4.43/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to David for this bottle! Bottled in Jan 2013.

A - Poured dark brown and settled black. One finger of mocha coloured head that reduced to a thin layer. Good lacing.

S - Roast, anise and a big hit of smoke up front. Some chocolate notes in the background. The smoke is dominant without overwhelming the nose.

T - A big roasty profile with a good dose of smoke and lighter anise and chocolate flavours. A fairly big bitterness is present throughout.

M - Medium body with a huge chew. Creamy and silky. Light carbonation. Perfect mouthfeel for the style.

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Photo of MDDMD
4.43/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-dark brown black color with a nice tan head and good lacing

S-dark roasted malt, smoke, brown sugar, chocolate

T-dark roasted malt, chocolate, hints of espresso, brown sugar, all beautifully enrobed in smoke.

F-medium to full body with moderate carbonation, silky smooth and creamy

O-not usually a huge fan of smoked beers, but this is so well-balanced and has a great flavor profile that I will be drinking more

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Photo of Gosox8787
4.41/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Presentation: 500 mL bottle from the brewery. I also had this on tap at the brewery as part of the sampler. Chilled and poured into a Russian River tulip glass. Enjoyed over an hour or so.

Appearance: Dark brown to black in color. A slow forming, medium brown head that holds well and turns into a nice lacing.

Aroma: Cocoa beans, caramel and really nice, subtle smoke tones throughout. All the flavor of the malt is there without any astrigency or burnt character. More sweet than bitter in the nose. Extremely well rounded.

Taste: Really rich, well rounded smoke character. Really imparts an almost smoked meat character throughout. Strong caramel backbone with a touch of coffee balances out the smoke and really makes this tasty and drinkable. The balance of smoke and sweetness is really on point.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a touch of creaminess. Surprisingly strong bite of carbonation.

Overall, another great porter from Hill Farmstead. So much flavor, complexity and balance in such a drinkable beer. The smoke is almost perfectly balanced with sweetness from the malt. It definitely fits into the category of a smoked beer more than a baltic porter for me. It is a great beer no matter how you classify it though.

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Photo of jaasen64
4.4/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle poured into HF stemmed glass.

A- Pours a dark brown that appears an opaque jet black in the glass. Fairly minimal mocha head that quickly recedes to leave a fairly still top and some light spotty lacing.

S- Smoked beechwood malt, a bit of smoked ham blended with rich chocolate and coffee. Very nice balance and fairly aromatic that you can smell while pouring the beer into the glass.

T- Creamy rich chocolate, espresso, finishes with a nice malty smokiness that isn't too overpowering. Not as smokey as the aroma. Extremely nicely balanced with a nice lightly smoky chocolate lingering aftertaste.

M- Creamy, smooth, very easy drinking, nice carbonation for the style, almost perfect feel for a baltic porter.

O- This was a fantastic baltic porter that definitely lived up to my expectations. This isn't the smokiest baltic porter but the balance between the smoked malt and the luscious chocolate is spot on in my opinion. This is another grand slam by HF and a must try for any smoked baltic porter fan.

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Fear And Trembling from Hill Farmstead Brewery
4.25 out of 5 based on 412 ratings.
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