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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: 67 | Ratings: 384
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 Knapp85
4.18/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This poured out as a nice rich black color with some dark brown hues around the edges. The head is tan in color with a light retention and lacing. The smell of the beer is definitely smoked, there is a light chocolate roasted aroma in there as well but the wood and smoke are most prominent. The taste is roasted, again the smoke comes out right away but doesn't linger or turn into a salty bacon-like flavor which is good. The smoked essence is minimal enough that I still enjoyed this brew but could see the path they were headed in. Very dark malt driven beer which is how it should be in this style. The mouthfeel was heavy and thick, with a good carbonation as well. Overall this beer is very, It's not one I would track down and go completely crazy over but still was a nice one to try.

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Photo of metter98
4.34/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is nearly jet black in color - slight traces of amber are visible near the edge of the glass when it is held up to a bright light. It poured with a thin head that died down, leaving a thin ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of dark roasted coffee beans are present in the nose. Light bits of smoke become detectable as the beer warms up.
T: Like the smell, the taste is dominated by flavors of coffee beans and dark roasted malts and also has a light amount of bitterness. Notes ofchocolate and smoke become noticeable as the beer warms up.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This is a complex yet relatively easy to drink compared to other Baltic Porters.

Note: Bottled January 2013

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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 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 oline73
4.27/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the growler into a tasting snifter.

The beer pours a dark mahogany with a layer of light tan head that leaves a thick ring around the pour. In the nose I'm getting smoke and dark fruit along with a malt sweetness and some roasted malt. The taste follows from the smell. I'm really liking the smoke and there is just enough sweet malt to back it up. The mild dark fruit notes and the roast work well with everything else. The finish is smokey and bitter. The body is medium with smooth carbonation and a dry finish.

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Photo of jlindros
4.29/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

It's now a week old, wish I had it earlier but I got sick all weekend last week, then had some growler IPAs to do first. THis is perfect though, it's a great beer to drink while snowed in, and get in my blood before having to go out and clean all the snow.

Pours a nice big creamy mocha colored almost 2 finger thick head that fades fairly slowly, nice sticky lacing, very dark just a step away from pitch black.

Nose starts with a nice smoked aroma, like smoldering log and smoking wood, little almost hickory like, touch of smoked meat, chewy malts and oats, some dark chocolate and cocoa powder, faint black malt maybe a hint of roast but hard to tell, could be black patent malt or carafa, mostly stuck behind the smoke, and faint earthy spicy hops in the back end.

Taste starts rich and creamy, plenty of malts, creamy oats, chewy malts, etc. Smoke out first, smoking wood again, little smoldering log but not really campfire, hint smoked meat. THen the chocolate, creamy milk chocolate but more like hot cocoa and lush semi dark chocolate. THen into black malts, not really roast but maybe hint of coffee, and some black malts almost chalky flavor. THe dark malts bring a hint of minerality and very faint char. BItterness not only comes from the dark malts but also earthy spicy slight even grassy like hops. Quite a nice profile with nice bitterness that doesn't overpower or get acrid. FInish is drier than expected, but a little stick mouthfeel, plenty of lingering bitterness with just a hint of smoke, more cocoa and black malt, oats too.

Mouth is fuller bodied, creamy and lush, thick, nice carb, just a touch of warming booze.

OVerall nice beer, good smoke, good black malts, nice hop profile, creamy and smooth, booze hidden well, a well done beer.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.37/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled January 2013.

A: Pours a mostly opaque yet clear very dark brown (approaching jet black) in color with light amounts of visible carbonation and some very dark amber + cola brown highlights. The beer has a half finger tall sudsy tan head that reduces to a medium sized medium thick patch of larger bubbles and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of dark roasted malts and roasted coffee. There are lighter hints of smoked malts and some light amounts of chocolate.

T: Upfront there are moderate to strong flavors of smoked malts and darkly roasted malts. Then there are some lighter flavors of roasted coffee and dark baker's chocolate. Moderate amounts of lingering bitterness in the finish.

M: Just heavier than medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth with some light dryness in the finish.

O: The alcohol is well hidden and there is a very nice amount of complexity in the smell and taste of this beer. Nice addition of smoked malts without getting into the medicinal flavors or aromas. Well balanced and one to enjoy.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.24/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

New Hill Farmstead beer. I so excite.

The beer is dark brown with a small beige head. The aroma brings a huge dose of malt, sausage, campfire. Baltic character. Rauchbier quality. Burnt sausage and bacon with smokey campfire flavor. Delicious. Not for everyone, but if you like smoked brews (and I do), this is for you. Just delicious.

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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 Alieniloquium
4.16/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

750 mL growler poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Pours a deep brown, almost black. Nice khaki head and good wisps that regenerate with every swirl.

Smell - Quite smokey, but it has a sweet caramel aroma with it. Deep roasted malt blends with the smoke.

Taste - Pleasant amount of smoke. Caramel throughout snifter the darker malts come through in the back. Bitter and very Smokey in the finish. It gives it an interesting finish for a lager, but it's rough.

Mouthfeel - Overly bitter. Nice until the very end, but excessively bitter.

Overall - Missing the HF magic. Never been the biggest fan of smoked beers and while the smoke improves the Baltic Porter, it's rough in the end.

Edit: Had this out of the bottle and it was much better. Smoother finish.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.43/5  rDev +4.5%
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 Duff27
4.18/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Cap and collar of darker brown throughout. Darkest of brown in body.

Aroma of fresh ground fudgey coffee beans.

It's a battle of chocolate and smoke throughout with roasty notes pulling it all together. Drinks at around 7%

Velvety smooth mouthfeel, tight carb.

This was a well made (and drank!) beer from HF. I jump at any chance to tick a smoked/rauch beer. Thanks egrace84

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

750 mL growler.

Pours a dark, clearish brown with a light brown head. Nose of smoked malt, cocoa, vanilla; more sweet than bitter. Smooth flavor of a rich porter that is complemented by the smoked malt and not overwhelmed by it. I liked Holger Danske but I'd think if that was too much smoke for someone, this would be an agreeable compromise with the fuller, richer body and sweeter dark fruit and cocoa like flavor.

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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 corby112
3.83/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottled January 2013

Pours pitch black and completely opaque with a frothy, two finger beige head that slowly settles into thick, lasting ring. Really good retention with streaks of soapy lacing left behind.

Robust, slightly smokey aroma with hints of burnt wood, charcoal, smoked meat and campfire yet still retains porter characteristics. Not as intensely smokey as I expected but this allows hints of dark chocolate, toast, coffee and oatmeal to come through. Smoke stands out a bit more as it warms but it's nicely integrated and not a complete smoke bomb.

Viscous and full bodied with a slight creamy texture and a very nice, rich smoke flavor that's decently integrated into the roasted porter notes. Very dry and bitter up front with hints of charred wood, ash, charcoal and barbecued bacon countered by deeply roasted dark chocolate malt, burnt coffee and oatmeal. The ABV is well masked but the malt tastes more burnt than smoked. Lingering acrid bitterness hurts the flavor and drinkability a bit. There's is a touch of sweetness balancing things out but this beer needs more of that. I'm a huge fan of smoke beers but there's something slightly off here. Still, an enjoyable beer that I'm glad to have tried.

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Photo of rudzud
4.21/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a growler while up in VT with JLindros. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

A - Poured a nice deep, dark brownish black with a very creamy two and a half finger mocha khaki head that faded to leave very nice side lacing and a creamy blanket. Quite nice.

S - Quite smokey, to the point of masking alot of the other qualities of the beer. Lots of deep roasted/smoked malts. Thats pretty much it though.

T - Taste offers some more well roundedness though. The smoked, roasted malts are there but along with some nice faint sweet caramel. Some very faint alcohol along with vanilla. Tasty.

M - Mouthfeel is super rich, light but sharp carbonation. Quite drinkable.

O - Overall, a solid beer. Damn good baltic porter, though perhaps a hair too smokey for my liking.

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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 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 HuskyinPDX
4.16/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle opened on 4.23.13
Bottled Jan 2013

A - Pours a very dark brown with a one finger light brown clumpy head with good retention and lacing left on the glass.

S - Light smoke and roasted malts.

T - Smokey, roasted malt, chocolate.

D - Silky smooth - decent carbonation and a medium to heavy body.

O - Smokey and silky. Nice for the style. I really enjoyed this one.

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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 rlee1390
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A-Black in the glass, almost a black ruby brown when pouring, one finger off white/beige head with lacing.

S-Smoke, leather, beef jerky, oak and roasted malt.

T-Smoke, but isn't overpowering, oak and beef jerky/leather notes. Slight chocolate with roasted malt. More of chocolate as an undertone. Vanilla is there as well.

M-Medium bodied, nicely carbonated and creamy.

O-Easily the best smoked beer I've had, the smoke was not off putting and balanced nicely with the rest of the beer.

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Photo of Rutager
3.96/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thank you to Montrealbcr89 for this treat from Vermont.

Appearance. Pours black with over a finger of light tan head.

Smell. Dark malts and molasses, peaty smoke, chocolate and a slight brininess.

Taste. Nice dark malts and a little molasses, chocolate and water doused campfire log.

Mouthfeel. Medium body, medium-low carbonation.

Overall. The smokey aspect suits the style well. A decent beer but doesn't stand out from the crowd like most HF beers I've tried.

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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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Fear And Trembling from Hill Farmstead Brewery
4.24 out of 5 based on 384 ratings.
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