Madness and Civilization #9 by Hill Farmstead Merry Christmas indeed!

Madness and Civilization #9 Hill Farmstead

(C) 2017 popsonhops

Madness and Civilization #9

Tasting: December 31, 2017
Style: American Double / Imperial Stout
Beer #: 1,123
ABV: Not listed. My guess, 9.0% based ABV of components.

This bottle of Madness and Civilization was a surprise Christmas present. On the sight of the label, my eyes lit up like an eight-year-old. The only word I could utter out of my slack-jawed mouth was “wow”. Why wow? First, you have to appreciate that this is a beer that is only available at the brewery. Then you have to realize that this brewery is in the most remote area of northeastern Vermont. For persepctive, Hill Farmstead is about an hour from Stowe and about 25 miles from the Canadian border. On the drive to the brewery, you may spend a half an hour on unmarked dirt roads questioning your GPS. Lastly, you have to account that releases like this may only happen over a few days each month.

Notes from the brewery: This batch of Madness & Civilization is composed of Barrel-Aged Everett (PoH note: 8.0% ABV) and Birth of Tragedy (PoH note: 9.0%), each aged in our favorite bourbon barrels for 2 years, blended with fresh Genealogy (PoH note: 9.5% ABV), and then conditioned further with coconut and vanilla. After months of bottle conditioning, this beer is now ready for release and enjoyment.

This motor oil colored stout was a little cold at first pour and flavors were limited to a charred roasted flavor. Let it sit quite a bit, hoping that some of the adjunct flavors of vanilla and coconut would come through but I didn’t get any of those flavors. I shared this bottle with two others and they reported the same. I did pick up some cocoa, nuttiness and coffee. Mouthfeel is rich and decadent. Not as great as I was expecting but not as bad as getting underwear for Christmas. Madness & Civilization is a very good 92 points.

Read my thoughts on some other Hill Farmstead beer including Everett 97 points

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Careful Man, There’s a Beverage Here and Fall Saints, Exit 18 and Boris the Crusher Reserve

Fall Saints by Kane Brewing Company, Ocean, NJ
Exit 18 Baltic Porter by Flying Fish
Hey, Careful Man, There's a Beverage Here, White Russian Imperial Milk Stout by Pipeworks Brewing Company
BORIS the Crusher Reserve by Hoppin' Frog

Careful Man, There’s a Beverage Here by Pipeworks Brewing

Tasting: November 10, 2017
Style: White Milk Stout
Beer #: 1,117
ABV: 10.5%
Line from the movie, Big Lebowski. The reddish brown color of Careful Man, There’s a Beverage Here threw me for a minute but a double take on the label does say white stout. Looks more like a barley wine and tastes a bit like a barley wine. Boozy, caramel sweet, and mellow vanilla coffee flavor. This unique beer grew on me as I worked my way through but still a so-so beer, 86 points.

B.O.R.I.S. Reserve by Hoppin’ Frog

Tasting: November 11, 2017
Style: Russian Imperial Stout
Beer #: 1,118
ABV: 10.4%
Called a reserve for the use of better, darker grains. I guess regular B.O.R.I.S. uses crappy grains. Lots of roasted grains, mellow chocolate underneath. A tad boozy. All-in-all ,92 points.

Read about regular old B.O.R.I.S.

Fall Saints by Kane Brewing

Tasting: November 19, 2017
Style: Russian Imperial Stout
Beer #: 1,119
ABV: 9.4 %
A few sips in and I’m reminded why I don’t like pumpkin beer. Well in this case, butternut squash beers. Spices give this a chemical flavor. Not enjoying this at all, 70 points.

Exit 18 by Flying Fish

Tasting: December 9, 2017
Style: Baltic Porter
Beer # 1,120
ABV: 9.5%

Another release in the series named for New Jersey Turnpike exits. This time, Bergen County’s Exit 18. It’s noted that the Baltic reference is a tribute to the many Baltic residents in the county. That’s Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Finland, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, and Sweden. A pretty broad brush. Frankly, this beer should have been named for the Hudson River as it’s quite demure in watery flavor. Offers up some boozy burn. Very disappointing. 72 points.
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Bo & Luke Stout Against the Grain Just some good 'ol boys

Bo & Luke Stout, Against the Grain. An Imperial Stout made with smoked Corn, Rye and Barley aged in used Pappy VanWinkle Bourbon Barrels

(C) 2017 popsonhops.com

Bo & Luke Stout

Tasting: October 6, 2017
Style: Russian Imperial Stout
ABV: 13%
Beer #: 1,100

Originally an Against the Grain Brewery and Brouwerij De Molen collaboration beer. Here’s how the Against the Grain describes Bo & Luke Stout:

We took the ingredients in bourbon whiskey (Barley, Rye, Corn) and then smoked them with cherry wood and brewed a huge imperial stout with them. Then to top it off we aged it in Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Barrels. The resulting beer is rich, smokey and complex, with a bourbon character of caramel, vanilla and spice.

Doesn’t that sound amazing?

Here we are at beer number 1,100.

Very active carbonation, bubbles out of the bottle and no matter how careful I pour, it leaves a very active khaki-colored head. Even my first few sips are fizzy.

First flavor impression is a lot of peat and damp moss flavor. I assume whiskey influence here. Some cherries, smokey. Unique flavor for sure. Not your typical imperial stout. I’m not getting any of the advertised caramel, vanilla or even spice. A bit of a let down for me, but still interesting enough to call it at 89 points.

As I usually do, here are some of my milestone beers…

Beer # 1,000 The Bruery Black Tuesday
Beer # 900 Goose Island Cherry Rye
Beer # 800 DeStruise Black Albert
Beer # 700 Three Floyds Dark Lord
Beer # 600 Alesmith Speedway Stout
Beer # 500 Fifty-Fifty Elijiah Craig Esclipse
Beer #400 Founders Bolt Cutter
Beer # 300 Mother Earth Trippel Overhead
Beer # 200 Theakston XB
Beer # 100 Sierra Nevada Beer Camp # 37
Beer # 1 Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye

October 6, 2017 is beer # 1,100 and 342 days since #1,000
October 29, 2016 is beer # 1,000 and 225 days since # 900
March 18, 2016 is beer # 900 and 172 days since # 800
September 29, 2015 is beer # 800 and 228 days since # 700
February 14, 2015 is beer # 700 and 163 days since # 600
September 5, 2014 beer # 600 and 300 days since # 500
November 9, 2013 was beer #500 and 340 days since # 400
December 4, 2012 was beer # 400 and 182 days since # 300
June 5, 2012 was beer # 300 and 195 days since # 200
November 23, 2011 was beer # 200 and 134 days since # 100
July 12, 2011 was beer # 100 and 244 days since # 1
November 10 2010, was beer # 1

How about another beer from Against the Grain?

Love the label art? Visit the website of the artist, Robby Davis.

And lastly, visit the brewery website here.

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Solstice Stout, Kuhnhenn Brewing Company Also...Bourbon Barrel Aged American Stout and some talk of druids.

Kuhnhenn Solstice Stout and Bourbon Barrel Aged American Stout

(C) 2017 popsonhops

Early man lived by the cycle of the seasons. They marked time through the position of the sun and other celestial bodies. Stone circles like Stonehenge acted as seasonal clocks marking the positions of the sun on days of significance. The summer and winter solstice were particularly important because it signaled the beginning of the ascent or descent of daylight hours.

The solstice was celebrated by pagan cultures for centuries. These celebrations are often connected to a mysterious group known as druids. Druids were said to be Celts from areas of what is modern day France and Great Britain. They were thought to be the communal repository of the wisdoms of the age. They were philosophers, teachers, priests and they were present throughout Europe. However, most of what we know about druids is very clouded. Julius Caeser noted that the druids preferred oral teachings versus written teachings so, it may be that we may never know more than we do today.

While druids are often connected to Stonehenge, written records show the first evidence of druidism comes more than two-thousand years after the construction of the ancient site. After a couple thousand years of existence, druidism was ultimately overshadowed by Christianity and pretty much disappeared in about the 9th century. I recall reading that December 25th was chosen by early Christians as the date for Christmas in order to overshadow the pagan winter solstice celebrations.

Solstice Stout
Tasting: October 6, 2017
Style: American Strong Ale
ABV: 16%
Beer #: 1,098

Solstice Stout is a blend of Kuhnhenn’s Fourth Dementia (4D) 96 points and Solar Eclipse (sorry haven’t had this one) that is further aged for three years. This is the 2014 release, so it was originally brewed and blended six years ago. While the name of this beer suggests a stout, this is more like a strong ale. The pour is cola brown and very still. I get massive flavors of molasses, raisin, cherry, fudge and sherry. A tad bit hot but not surprising for a whopping 16% ABV. Solstice Stout is absolutely delicious. 96 points.

Bourbon Barrel Aged American Imperial Stout
Tasting: September 30, 2017
Style: American Imperial Stout
ABV: 12.9%
Beer #: 1,099

This stout is aged in used bourbon barrels for two years. This happens to be a bottle from 2014, so this stout was originally brewed more than five years ago. Not to worry as the ABV is a robust 12.9% and should have matured nicely. However, I would say we’re running out of time.

Any of the advertised coffee flavor has disappeared. I get sherry, rich raisin, some damp wood. After five years, it’s still a tad boozy and astringent. Has some fudge and a very nice syrupy mouthfeel. Considering the pros and cons, I’ll still put Bourbon Barrel Aged American Imperial Stout at 92 points.

Visit the brewery website

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