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 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 corby112
3.83/5  rDev -9.9%
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 jlindros
4.29/5  rDev +0.9%
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 DaSolomon
3.59/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving type Bottle poured into chalice.

Poured black with a small 1cm tan head.

Nose full of smoke, like doing a line of some Zabar's Lox. Some malt notes push their way through but smoke cover's all.

Taste is all smoke again, with a hint of more smoke. again porter notes seep through every once in a while but they are smothered by the smoke. Little Char notes make an appearance. Its not HF best offering, but compared to the rest of the smoked porters out there its solid. Would I seek it out again? No. It's a one and done beer, had it and move on.

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Photo of joel66
2.81/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

flavor and nose was very smoky. tasted like everett and his first born child tragically got blazed off two dutchies jam packed with the sour diesel.. BOOOM.

all the porter characteristics were there, however i felt this was overwhelmingly smoky. by far my least favorite HF offering.

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Photo of rudzud
4.21/5  rDev -0.9%
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 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 EgadBananas
4.07/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark, not black, light brown head, finger, light edges.

Aroma: smoke, but a burning wood smoke, not a meat smoke, chocolate, nutty, caramel.

Taste: smoky and charred, woody, chocolate, caramel, sweet and bitter.

***quite good. Have grown to prefer a meatier smokiness, as opposed to a woody smoke, but its still great. Very drinkable.

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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 ThePorterSorter
4.24/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The beer pours a deep murky black with an inch of tan head that dissipates and thinly blankets. The nose is smokey, but sweet, reminiscent of a s'more (thanks tom for the analogy) minus the gram cracker. The taste presents an initial caramelized sweetness with a modest infusion of smoke, metal, and fruit. Err I'm not sure what "hand smoked over native woods" means exactly, but I'm hoping to try a beer aged on one of Darren's stellar looking chairs at some point. This is a very drinkable Baltic porter with great fruity/caramel sweetness, smooth, thick body, yet is supremely smoky and saturates your palate without dominating it. This is a great beer, but not a "definitely must try this" beer (and the 0.5L size is the perfect size for 2 healthy samples).

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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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Photo of oline73
4.27/5  rDev +0.5%
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 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 Skrip
4.31/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

550ml bottle poured into a Dogfish snifter.

A~ black as night with a sandy colored head.

S~ smokey up front, following with dark malts and a hint of vanilla.

T~ mmm...! and i'm not one for smoked brews. almost follows the nose, smoke and maple syrup up front, dark malts and some bitterness on the finish.

M~ i'm in love with how this feels (no homo lol) amazingly thick and syrupy with a crazy smooth finish.

O~ i haven't had too many darker brews from HF but this one is definitely my favorite so far. and thats really saying a lot cause i normally don't like a "smoked" beer. i would definitely drink again!

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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 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 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 Alieniloquium
4.16/5  rDev -2.1%
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 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 yourefragile
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
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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Fear And Trembling from Hill Farmstead Brewery
4.25 out of 5 based on 412 ratings.
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