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Hill Farmstead Fear and Trembling Cabernet/Bourbon Blend, Infinite Resignation is the Last Stage of Fatih

Believe it or not, I have actually been trying to ratchet back my reviews of all these HF gems lately. No, it is not due to the confusion surrounding the Ephraim release, and no it is not due to my latent bitterness being unable to land an Ann (her?) I simply cannot forego reviewing some of these old school (relative to Hill Farmstead lifespan) treats.

This porter is suspending my universal beliefs for my individual understanding of what a porter can be.

Hill Farmstead Brewery visit their website
Vermont, United States
Baltic Porter | 9.30% ABV

A: Just like all well-done porters, this has that signature thin bodied nature to it that splashes into the glass without heft or massive sheeting. The carbonation is generous and looks like a Coffee Bean drink with khaki foam and microbubbles smaller than 3J’s role in Family Matters.

At a certain point you should at least try to mask your affection for something.

S: This is a bit smokier than I would have liked but imparts a nice char, super Charizard if you will. Then again I am not a fan of char in the first place so I guess take that with a grain of char limits. There’s chocolate, a slight red grape aspect that is more of a tannic dryness, and a bitter coffee aspect. I could have used a bit more of the refreshing porter aspects to this instead of toeing the imperial stout line but, you mess with the Baltic, you get the horns.

T: Thankfully this campfire session eschews the roasted wood and goes a ‘smore route with a deep chocolate, cocoa, vanilla and a touch of mallow foam. The dryness from the oak is present but doesn’t put both hands in your malt bowl, just enough to be noticed. There’s some plum and stone fruit aspects and a smoky finish at the verrrrry end that sneaks in like the littlest roast puppy in the litter. There’s a great complexity and it’s tough to knock any of the three variants of this beer.

If you don’t enjoy dark beer I could always serve you a baby sloth in a chalice, your decision.

M: The mouthfeel is slick and light, dead on to porter, but not quite going into an overweight stout territory. The carbonation is fine and feels like 700 thread count sheets, a sateen duvet in your mouth. But you drink beer so you probably have that Walmart all-in-one bedsheet that single moms love to tolerate. I liked this better as it warmed and the barrel characteristics became more pronounced. You want that deep dark fruit, go get it.

D: This is exceptionally drinkable and masks its ABV very well. The light body and huge flavor profile is a haymaker that clears your glass pretty effortlessly. I would say the imperial porters from Hill Farmstead are improving steadily as I would rank them as follows:

Birth of Tragedy > BA Everett > Fear and Trembling

For anyone who gives a shit about bottles that are nearly impossible to obtain. Me recommending a 300 bottle run of something limited beyond belief is kinda like polishing an apple on my shirt and talking about which of my Ornithopters is my favorite.

Some people think imperial porters are just stouts in disguise, haters gonna hate.

Narrative: “And go, take your last bottle, first born in your cellar and cast it into the Fedex truck, for a return blessing shall be forthcoming.” The anonymous message seemed suspicious, yet highly credible to Mark Wallerstein. He had been trading beer online for years, but never before had he received such a divine command. “Is this some kind of LIF or someth-” he thought and suddenly a message appeared “NO, this is not a lottery it forward, only when you sacrifice your most precious bottle can you obtain that which is truly worthwhile.” This was a bit creepy but Mark began solemly wrapping his 2007 Cable Car in bubble tape, aware of the intense burden laid at his doorstep. He was to suspend all belief in bartering and give up his most precious to become elevated to a state of fear and trembling. He would exchange rationalism for hope in the ultimate gesture of beer bonhomie. Just as Mark was about to ship his final and only Cable Car, a UPS worker stopped him. “You see Mark, only by knowing that you could give up this sick wale, could you demonstrate your right to receive this:” and on that very site, his bottle was spared and he was given a bottle of Dirty Horse, unblended, 1983. A divine blessing indeed.

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3 Floyd’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Alpha Klaus with Plums, Adjective Stacking FTW

I know what you are thinking “another rare Barrel Aged 3 Floyd’s beer? Give that shit a rest.” Alright, fair enough, but BA Behemoth was beyond amazing so I can’t stay away, the game needs me. This is another one of those 391 bottle, generic barrel aged bottle releases and so far, all the prior releases were amazing. Let’s see if this follows suit or IF IT DOESN’T HAVE THE PLUMS TO DO SO

Keeping it Alpha as fuck with Victorian literature.

Three Floyds Brewing Co. / Brewery & Pub
Indiana, United States
American Porter | 10.00% ABV

Oh shit, bottle number 221/391, .rar bonus.

A: This has that inky squid discharge look with the nimble porter wateriness that you’ve come to expect from those charming offerings. The splishy splashy cola notes give it a flat soda look with some moderate carbonation. It looks pretty legit, through and through, although some middle carbonation wouldn’t be a total turn off. But this isn’t a Hustler spread, so let’s leave these fictional dreams well enough alone.

Whenever I open a barrel aged 3 Floyd’s Beer: I HAVE THE POWER.

S: While it is plum, I get a deep grape and black cherry from the nose, mixed in like a Cordial with some chocolate and a marshmallow froth. There’s some booze holding this kraken back, but the whole thing seems sweeter and purple Flintstones vitamin more than chocolate rampage.

T: The plum kicks into a deep sweet grapitey grape rampage. Statutory grape, if you will. The plum comes across in more of a light tannin fairy dust sprinkled throughout the fracas like feathers in a sorority girl pillow fight and the chocolate and roast look inside through the malt window with visible erections. It reminds me of a purple fanta meets yoohoo outing that is neither suitable for hikes nor sitting by the hearth, discussing Roosevelt’s re-election. Like a plum bachelorette, neither classy, nor explicitly trashy.

This beer pulls of some strange stunts, which you appreciate but are not sure how to apply in a larger medium.

M: The mouthfeel is dead on and cartwheels into a nimble posture, tossing black cherry shurikens pell mell. It washes away clean but the booze hangs out on the way out, looking for trim on the way down. I would not suggest this to novice beer drinkers unless you want to hear a bunch of irritating adjectives that will denature your experience, “OH MAN IT IS LIKE A TAFFY BURNT TIRE BRO” see I can’t even make them shitty enough to impart realism.

D: This is exceptionally drinkable, but I am torn as to whether I like it more cold or warmer. Cold it is more chocolate with tame fruits, around 60 degrees this shit starts getting into Fruit Stripe Gum territory real quick, which is tasty and original, but maybe not as drinkable. If you focus on the lingering chocolate and cocoa phosphate aspect, it is fulfilling through and through.

Porterrr….plumssses…..bourbon….now….build me a dam sweet Indiana muses…

Narrative: William Goyette gripped his temples and popped another prune into his mouth. His status consistently garnered no showering of likes, thumbs, approval or otherwise. “GOD DAMNIT THIS GUY AGAIN!” he exclaimed and looked at his minifeed cluttered with “THE DOCTOR SAYD YOUR HAVENG A GIRL!” with 56 likes. Another status from a marginally attractive Mormon girl said “each day is a gift wrapped in a sunrise” that received 34 comments. “THIS MAKES NO FUCKING SENSE,” he thought to himself and took a bite from a juicy plum. William lives strictly off of Farmer’s Market food, did crossfit, read H.P. Lovecraft and thought that he was edgy as fuck. He still could not understand why the goldpan of life passed his pithy statuses by. “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what LPs Real Estate are going to release next fall” he could not understand how that gem of relevance and ultra ironic but self deprecating tone of metacritical commentary rolled in auspicious knowledge, somehow failed to elicit “likes.” Likes are the lifeblood and currency of the insecure. They feed the Williams of the world with a sweet succor of post-collegiate relevance. It is the sweet nectar for his race, the rare and relevant, the cloistered tiers of esoteric civilization. He popped a dried plum into his mouth from the Ronco food dehydrator and he began his 43rd screenplay, this time a SciFi re-imagining of Howard’s End. He was edgy as fuck.

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Southern Tier Mokah, Why Brew Coffee When You Can Brew Beer? Oh, DUIs.

Southern Tier rolled out a whole line of these imperial stout monsters that tasted like other things, creme brulee, mokah, jahva, all kinds of things. You don’t see that in other formats, I have never seen a baker making cupcakes that taste like an imperial stout, I guess it’s a one way street for people with things to take care of. Anyway, let’s get coffee wasted and start cupping in today’s review.

I can’t be bothered to sort all these damn imperial stout pictures, but this one tasted like coffee. Big shocker.

Guess what, this tasted exactly like creme brulee and the girls lost their shit over it. I thought it was sweeter than the end of a Nicholas Sparks movie, but then again I have that XY chromosomal order.

Spoiler alert, this beer, called Choklat, tasted like a sweet kiss from Johnny Depp, psyche, it tasted like fucking chocolate. Duh, next beer.

I completely forgot what the fuck we were talking about. Oh yeah, this beer, which is TOTALLY DIFFERENT THAN ALL THAT OTHER SHIT. Just kidding, they are all awesome, haters gonna hate.

Southern Tier, Mokah 11.2% abv, Imperial Stout

A: Deep dark oily hues, not so black as Satan’s magic or straight up Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, but, still pretty black. Mild tiny bubbles, tiny carbonation, tiny everything. Get your mind out of the gutter.

Most people can’t afford to take down a series of Southern Tier dank ass stouts, pic related.

S: Very sweet milk notes, not unlike their crème brulee, with a solid coffee waft as the backbone. I am very intrigued by this penumbra between the two elements. “Oh wait, he is intrigued?” not a single fuck was given today, I know. But seriously, the dichotomy is amazing.

T: The taste is a spot on rendition between a sweet stout and a deep coffee stout. It is just amazing on both polar ends. At the outset you get an amazing caramel milky sweetness that subsides into a drying coffee dryness. It feels like a cuvee between a milk stout and a coffee stout. Again, just amazing on all fronts.

I love you forever Southern Tier, even though you put my nice things in the toilet.

M: This imperial stout is not overbearing but is incredible in the mouth feel. It coats and imparts some great sweet and bitter notes and fades quickly, not overstaying its welcome. The whole endeavor just smacks of value. This beer has a great breakfast stout character to it without any barrel aging, very impressive.

D: Very drinkable, incredibly silky in its body with a great mouthfeel and coating to it. I cannot believe that this is a simple off shelf beer and again, when it comes to stouts, the east coast is spoiled beyond belief. I feel like I just spoil this category but I seriously could drink this stout for days on end, it has an incredible balance. For reals.

Unlike facebook, I never rage at Southern Tier stouts, because they are sweet and amazing.

Narrative: Do you ever feel like someone is just controlling your every movement? Like Truman show? No like literally hedging every single one of your clips and turns. In what way? Ok, I don’t want to invoke the old deontological chestnut where we discuss pre-destination relative to a divine plan, I mean, in this earthly world, some people are destined to encounter some conflict and resolution, purely on the basis of man’s plight and have it resolved by the same anomalous factors. Well sometimes, like a flat tire and a serendipitous tow truck? That sort of thing? Exactly and now what those conflicting elements interplay so succinctly? Well usually something bad happens and then something pretty cool happens. The bitter and the sweet. Well, yeah. So who determines this balance, if it is determined, the interplay should be fairly evenly divided but who is the wholesale recipient of a load of bitter while others receive nothing but sweet. Well, to that I cannot say? It feels arbitrary and totally unfocused but at the same time, it is uplifting knowing that at any given moment a blast of splenda or carmelized sugar could come my way, sure it could be in the form of strippers or Magic: the Gathering cards, but the treats are nonetheless sweet. Well, I guess I feel you, but I can’t help feeling that this entire discussion was a paper thin pretense for both deontology and simple aromatics in food. Well, basically. Those two are pretty aligned.

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Deschutes Black Butte XXIII, Porters Don’t Get Much More Imperial Than This

I never really know how to straddle these imperial porters. Regular porters are often so far away in scope and execution, but imperial stouts are completely different beasts altogether. Suffice it to say, I enjoy this style a ton when they are executed well, but if it’s too big, it eats shit like a Korean gymnast. Lucky for us, this one sticks the landing, sticks it so hard.

Droppin twanky tres on em.

Deschutes xxiii Black Butte Imperial Porter 10.5% abv

A: This has a slippery BP black with mild wateriness and deep amber hues, great carbonation and a fantastic presentation. The legs do not show through that well and if this is an imperial porter, it’s a pretty fucking powerful empire because the maltiness toes the line into a stout-tranny, er, you know what I mean.

I won’t say I am afraid of this beer, but it is capable of some dangerous shit.

S: There is an orange rind smell with licorice light and smokiness. It smells amazing. This is one of the most aromatic porters that I have ever encountered and I still get jazzed every time someone busts one of these out. You get some nice vanilla, oak, and light waft of alcohol.

T; There is a great slickness with a little juniper herbal finish to it. The front is similar to dark chocolate notes but the mouthfeel is distinctly porter not stout. It has a finishing dryness with a lingering sweetness. Just fantastic all around on the tastey sesh. I really enjoy the interesting venn diagram that it creates between stouts and porters in that it is still distinctly huge and mildly watery, relative to an imperial stout, but still maintains its character very well. It’s the difference between a chocolate milkshake and some gourmet Yoohoo. Feel me?

There’s a bit of gentle lightness in this deep darkness that delivers the sweetness to your facehole.

M: The coating is huge, probably the thickest porter that I have encountered. This easily gives Victory at Sea a run for its money. I want more and alas, I cannot obtain it that easily after the run is done. I would stack this right next to Birth of Tragedy, albeit below it as a fine example of a beastly porter that delivers harder than a Ramen courier.

D: This is a split ticket decision. On one hand you have a big foamy, filling, high abv porter that imparts considerable dryness. On the other hand, it is so well balanced and delicious, you could drink this into a stupor. Ultimately I will side with the party that supports consuming delicious things at length. If you have soft little hands and a light stride, sure, have an 8oz taster and move on. The rest of us will engage in a bacchanalian festival of porters and rejoicing.

This is deep and dark but menacing at the same time.

Narrative: Mocha stared knowingly at the horizon, sensing a storm was coming. Her penguin bretheren were too busy diving for squid in the shallows to pay attention. However, deep in Mocha’s soul she felt that insightful knowledge, that looming storm. They would chastise her, call her serious and forlorn and continue with their gallivanting. Day by day the temperatures were steadily rising and no one seemed to care. Sage old Mocha wiped her brow and pecked at the shallow pools. No one believed her when she predicated the great migration, no one trusted her when she foresaw the epic enclosure and flock partition, but now, here they were, in the Cleveland Zoo, and things were getting worse. Some Browns fans had showed up to the habitat and were throwing pork rinds into the water. Their jowls shook violently as they guffawed at the penguins splashing playfully. Mocha lowered her gaze at these overweight humans and noted, “mom’s gonna fix it all soon, mom’s gonna drown us set back to the way it oughta be.”

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Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro, Finally a Beer That Sounds Like All of My Favorite American Gladiators

OH SNAP SICK 4-20 review BRO, NITROOOO. Anyway. So, here’s a gentle gem from Colorado sent to me from Sean Cloyd, hooking it up hard in the paint. The bottle says pour hard, sit back, and enjoy. I am expecting some crazy aleworks with sparklers and massive carbonation but, it’s a pretty chill affair at first, I mean just look below. It is hardly a picture of rage, the level of rally is sophmoric but fulfilling, like sophmores themselves.

I don't know the science behind it but, I am on board. Magnets, how do they work?

Left Hand Brewing Company
Colorado, United States
Milk / Sweet Stout | 6.00% ABV

So, after all the hubbabaloo about Guiness and their agitating widget, I was curious to see how this bottle would advance the nitro stout world. The result: POUR IT VERY HARD. I am not kidding, it tells you that right on the bottle. No fancy tech, no nanoagitation, or cellular meiosis to discharge nitrogen, just straight hard pours, the Colorado way. So I grabbed a big ass glass, Guiness appropriately enough, and poured it hard as fuck expecting a nice mess on my Left Hand. It hits the glass and just sits there for a moment and then goes into Snorolax cascade mode and evens out to what you see above. It wasn’t the most bad ass Bellagio foam show ever, but it was cool to be able to pour a beer like an asshole, on purpose, with good results.

This stout takes me back to the old days, simpler times when stouts were something you could finish by yourself, and pr0n jpegs took 3 minutes to download.

So this is a Crystal Light thin stout but in a great way, the sweetness from the milk stout doesn’t need some big malty tail to swing around, it is content just being itself. The mouthfeel isn’t quite like a nitrotap but, come on, did you really expect some straight up UK pub foamdome experience? It isn’t disappointing, I guess just put on some Oasis first to set the mood. The taste is a bit watery and you think you got tricked into a Weight Watchers 3 Points Porter but then the milkiness of the mouthfeel gives a gentle coating and the roasty nutiness sets in. And like that man who touched your thighs in the grocery store, it is gone as quickly as that, without a trace or witness to testify on your behalf.

You too can finish 4 to 5 of these in one night and no one will be the wiser. Believe in your dreams.

The low carbonation makes this exceptionally refreshing (particularly for a stout) and highly drinkable. At 6% you can session these while watching your football matches, Manchester v. Chelsea, etc. You get the point. UK shit. Very enjoyable, but not a show stopper. If you aren’t jaded by barrel aged imperial everything, you’ll still enjoy this gentle daffodil.

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Hess Brewing Brunus Induresco Coffee Porter, Eh Tu Brunus?

I love seeking out nano’s and seeing what they are up to. Unlike girls at the gym with nanos, nanobreweries are downright approachable and can usually get up in the mix with stuff that bigger boys may not want to attempt. I don’t know if there is a smaller adjective but Funky Buddha fits this bill pretty well. When people started kicking up dust about this lil upstart, Eric generously hooked this up for me so I could get in on the SD reindeer games. Let’s see what is going down with Hess in today’s review.

It's a coffee drink for people who don't have shit to accomplish in the morning.

Hess Brewing Company
California, United States
American Porter | ABV 7.5(?)

One of the badass things about nano’s is that price is usually not a limiting factor since they are going to be making small runs with weird ingredients so you can try shit like a Durian Gose or an Ectocooler Saison, wait I think I already tried that last month, anyway, shit is cray. This is no exception, this porter has freshly roasted coffee beans from the coffee and tea collective and the nano notes are certainly there.

A: The pour is classic porter, nice Dr. Pepper looking wateriness with mild coating and a light sheeting that billows up a non-offensive amount of carbonation. The lacing is clumpy like 9’s in a club, you know what I mean. The result is lil spotty archipelagoes that cling to the glass like if Casper got hit with a proton pack. Don’t cross the streams with this porter.

At first I wondered if this would be mainstream and disappointing, but then it delivered some memorable moments. Pic related.

S: Easily my favorite part of this beer is the smell. It gets straight up Peruvian with some nice malty roast and an acidic coffee integration like light roasts that still have balls. The beans and dry roastiness trump the chocolate or sticky malt aspects, and for the porter base, I am liking what is going down. This has more coffee to the nose than even those other coffee heavy hitters like Peche Mortel of Founder’s Breakfast Stout, albeit with less complexity. The coffee hits like the Tyrant in Resident Evil with a huge left hook and little more than an aggro charge attack. However, I think it is better as a result.

T: The taste is acidic coffee and deep roasty malts through and through. It isn’t exactly on the smokey zone like some stouts that push the office jokes too far, but the coffee keeps it in line with clean Latter Day Saints coffee humor. The dryness works well with the light watery character and gives the whole beer this sort of morning beverage aspect that isn’t exactly filling but it knocks you down strictly due to the bitterness of the deep arabica character. In fact, if I didn’t know better, I would assert the use of high alpha acid hops like Tomahawk but it isn’t exactly like that, no Native Americans were implicated in the creation of this stout.

Some people complain that I need to take more beer porn pics of me pouring the beer at super high res so you can see the hair follicles in the malt and shit, go to a Spiderman thread, this is beer.

M: The mouthfeel is crisp and dry. There was not a barrel involved here but the roast can trick you into thinking maybe some kids were painstaking working as coopers for Hess, and while I am not an advocate of child labor, if that is the case, so be it if coffee flavor is the price. Anyway, so there’s a nice crisp dryness but not a huge malty body to support it, so you get the porter analog of a west coast IPA, with different palate profiles. I am on board for that shit like crunchwrap supremes at 2:45 a.m.

D: This is exceptionally drinkable and I merked an entire 1 liter growler with the utmost urgency. This isn’t my favorite porter of all time but it does put an interesting spin on those non-BA non-imperial porters like Edmund Fitzgerald that hold a special place in my heart. If you like those but want more coffee on bean sex, this will get your oils all grinding. I would go ahead and assume that this is only as exceptional as noted when sampled extremely fresh, it also helps to sample 32oz at a time for maximum boost gauge omnislash potential.

You wouldn't steal a coffee, you wouldn't download a girlfriend, don't rob nanobreweries by accepting subpar replicas. FEELINGS.

Narrative: Carl Glauber kicked the obsidian sand in front of him and exhaled deeply. He was resigned to his fate, an untimely death on a deserted volcanic island with nothing but the sweet succor of hundreds of pounds of fresh coffee beans to abate his pain. The sweet irony of dying a slow death in the south pacific with only coffee beans to live on was, he was awake for every moment of it. “Go follow the Kopi Lowak coffee beans” they said “it’s the modern day gold rush, with coffee beans!” they said. Now he was here jittering harder than an asian biochem student wondering where it all went wrong. Maybe it was the jumping in the single prop plane, maybe it was the sacks and sacks of decadent coffee, maybe- ah, who we Carl to speculate as he stared out upon the deep, black, obsidian fragments. His hands shook violently from a coffee induced dehydrated rage as he tried to insert a piece of paper inside of an empty Frappucino bottle with a plea for mercy. The bottle floated against the stern of a nearby Seattle’s Best barge and a crewmate ambled up the ropes with the message in hand. “SIR! There is a Kopi Lowak poacher writing in barely legible handwriting begging mercy for his coffee transgressions!” The captain of the Seattle’s Best barge lowered his brown solemnly, “if he chose to exist outside the coffee parameters of gas stations and dorm rooms, he deserves whatever fate the java gods have served him.” Authorities would later express amazement when Carl fashioned a helicopter entirely out of coffee beans and byproducts, only to escape weeks later and learn that he had the coffee all along. He is currently shopping his story to William Morris Endeavor for movie rights.

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BONUS REVIEW: New Glarus Smoke on the Porter, the beer is much harder to make than the guitar riff is to play.

I love New Glarus and I don’t care who knows it. We all know my civil objection to Red and Tart, but quite literally every other beer is amazing without qualifier.

Now we come to this crossroad. I hate smoked beers, I dislike smoke, and even a flint and dry kindling makes me nervous. So here we go, don’t let me down Wisconsin.

So sticky, so rauchey.

Unplugged Smoke on the Porter
New Glarus Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States
American Porter | 6.10% ABV

Let me start by saying that every. single. beer. In this unplugged series has been amazing. Seriously. I will also qualify that with the fact that this beer IS AMAZING, but I absolutely did not enjoy it. How is this possible? Well, did you ever see Tree of Life, and you know something incredible is going on but you just refuse to embrace the artistry and amazing deliberate moves set forth. Enough sophistry, is it good? Yes, but not to me. This is not to say that people are “wrong” if they enjoy this. I just cannot stand smoke in my beers unless it they buttress the balustrade with some elaborate railings. So the base beer is amazing, if you can breathe through the smoke and inhale into blankets like that movie The Negotiator, you’ll survive.

I guess I just don’t like my amazing porter tasting like beer jerky [sic] anymore than I would cure a delicious cut of meat with a porter. “I WOULD!” the masses resoundingly announce. Well, intersubjectivity rules again. Some people dress in Furry suits and dome one another up, I am not saying it is wrong, my intercourse is just less elaborate.

The Verdict: This is a great base beer, amazing taste, very drinkable, clean, on to style, great chocolate and slight mocha wash, if you can somehow ignore the HUGE smoke presence, another win for New Glarus.

There are some bad ass elements going on in this beer, but you aren't sure if they should be combined.