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Fade To Black (Volume 5 - Black Rye Ale) - Left Hand Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Fade To Black (Volume 5 - Black Rye Ale)Fade To Black (Volume 5 - Black Rye Ale)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

42 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 42
Hads: 240
Avg: 3.9
pDev: 9.49%
Wants: 10
Gots: 39 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Left Hand Brewing Company visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  7.80% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BB1313 on 10-30-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 42 | Hads: 240
Photo of undeadozzy
4.71/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Darkness in a glass. Pours pitch black with an enormous off-white head that sticks to the glass like glue. Extremely heavy looking.

S - Pumpernickel bread, chocolate cake, some coffee, hints of walnut. and some smoke.

T - Huge pumpernickel/marble rye slap in the face. Huge showing up front. Some coffee sweetness, a little salt bitterness, hints of brownie fudge and caramel thickness. On the way down hints of dark, dried fruit come to light. It leaves some slight a lingering hint of coffee and chocolate cake flavor in the throat. Very enjoyable.

M - Very chewy and thick. Sticks to my teeth and my tongue. Not too thick,but the perfect viscosity for a darker beer.

O - A delicious and devilishly dark beer. The flavors and look are wonderful, especially the dark bready highs and the earthy cocoa lows. A magnificent and heavy beer.

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Photo of Z_Borynack_PhD
4.71/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

First, let me qualify my review by stating that this is the 4th year that I have partaken of this Left Hand gem (please come up with a vol. 6 next year if this is even possible). These ales are seasonal and only available in late fall, which is perfect. Also, in appearance, I have to comment on the label artistry, which I think is so perfect for the beer, but also very creative and unique in its own right.

First, this is a porter to stout ale with a very dark, nay black, appearance...hence the name. It had a very nice head to it that is tan and medium in creamy thickness.

I noticed smoky, smooth light coffee, caramel and bitter-dark chocolate notes, both in taste and aroma. It has a smooth texture, some earthy/grainy aspects to it as well.

The abv is almost perfect at about 7.8, though I prefer an 8-9 abv for this kind of ale (which is the reason I did not give it a perfect score). However, I am not sure a higher abv would be best for this particular ale as it might mute some of the wonder flavors previously noted.

I think this is a very versatile beer. Pairing it with a smoked gouda cheese and crackers or with pecan halves and a double cream brie or just drinking it solo would be perfect. Other ideas for pairing from my view would be with summer sausage, spicy asian meatballs, or other similar hors d'eurves would be great.

Overall, if you enjoy dark, seasonal ales, I highly recommend this one. My only request is that you share and don't buy up all that you find.

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Photo of fr5ed
4.31/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Clear mahogany-brown-black with a dark khaki head. Aroma - sweet/dark chocolate, dark toast, coffee/espresso. Taste - touch of sweetness, not very bitter, coffee/dark toast/dark chocolate. Slightly heavy mouthfeel, though not like an imperial stout. Like a robust porter. Very, very nice. Definitely recommended.


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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.25/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I love Fade to Black series from Left Hand there's only Volume 4 that I've never tried this is the 5th rendition of dark liquid beauty since the labels conception a few years back. This one pours into a Chimay chalice pitch black body with a light khaki tight bubbled tan head fine even lacing. Aroma has toasted marshmallow aspects, dark roasted malt, hints of cocoa and toffee, and mild creamed coffee presence on the nose. Flavor creamy lactose infused sweet stout with a presence of dark roasted malts and spicy rye complements the overall depth of the malt profile. Again I can't help but think of cocoa, toasted marshmallow, maybe even a bit of s'mores on the palate, a very complex and frivolous sweet stout...I thought it may have been a black IPA...I'm pleasantly surprised that it wasn't excellent bigger sweet stout to add to their extensive lineup of great dark beers. Mouthfeel is upfront all over on the sides of the sweet palate, but as it graduates into the dark roasts and creamy textures it ends quite balanced and the lactose sweetness tends to clear off the palate. Even full on natural carbonation overall medium to full bodied. Overall, a beer I will revisit complex roasted malts and big flavor will sell me any day add to the fact that it's Left Hand and from the Fade to Black series is just an added plus.

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Photo of breadwinner
4.25/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Yet another installment in the Fade to Black series that doesn't disappoint, this one displaying the sort of well-balanced roasty features you'd expect from Left Hand, with a touch of rye spice to, er, spice things up.

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Photo of _--TAD--_
4.21/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Overall this is a very smooth black ale with a good after taste that lingers on the back of your tongue. Though I currently have only had this beer by itself, with its flavoring I can see this pairing very well with beef or a fish such as salmon. One thing I have noticed is that their isnt much carb to it, not even having a 1 finger head when poured. But if you were to pass by this in a store I would recommend picking up a case if you are willing to pay a bit more than for a typical top quality commercial beer (ex. Sierra Nevada), I got my 6 pack for $10. I love dark ales of all kinds, so I couldn't complain too much about the price.

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Photo of DenverHopHead
4.14/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle with a best by date of 4/1/14, into a pub glass.
Appearance - aggressive pour yields a dark black hue, but with the slightest bit of light coming in to reveal carbonation bubbles and a hint of mahogany. Big, creamy vanilla head with sheets of lacing!
Smell - not as hop forward in the nose as I'd like. Chocolate, coffee, rye bread.
Taste - drinks more like a stout than a black ale. Flavorful, roasted malts, barley and coffee, some bitter chocolate.
Feel - not much in terms of hop bitterness, medium body, easy to drink at 7.8%.
Overall - a really good beer, one I'll enjoy a few more times; just not in the same class as Wookey, Sublimely and Mountain Standard.

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Photo of brentk56
4.06/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a burnt caramel color with a decent tan head that leaves a swirling pattern of lace

Smell: Malt-forward aromatics, with toasted brown bread, caramel, a hint of molasses and an earthy quality; just a touch of smoke

Taste: Much the same on the tastebuds as in the aroma, with the malts really making a statement in the front and the hops balancing things out in the back; a bit spicy and earthy in the finish from the rye, perhaps, but well balanced, overall

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: Not what I was expecting given the stated style and a bit more like a hoppy porter than an ABA; I really like the balance in this beer, primarily because of how the malts add complexity

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Photo of barczar
4.06/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque black with a frothy mocha head that slowly dissipates, leaving sheets of lacing.

Roast malt, nuttiness, and chocolate are evident when the bottle opens. Cocoa dominates, but there's a hint of rye spiciness adding complexity. Hops are eclipsed by chocolate.

Flavor unveils a subtle grassy and citrusy hop combination underlying a huge roast and chocolate malt character. The backbone is rich, slightly sweet, but becoming a touch burnt and bitter at the spicy rye finish. Malt is certainly the star, but the hops do balance a bit.

Body is a touch full, with low carbonation and moderate alcohol warmth.

I expected more hop character, but I like the malt profile. Rye is not overpowering and plays well with other flavors. The balance is chocolatey and roasty, and that's fine with me!

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Photo of tillmac62
4.06/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

BBD 4/29/14. Black pour with a reasonable head and lacing. Light nose of roast and chocolate, somewhat less than a typical porter, although this is a black ale. Almost medium body coupled with an almost slick mouthfeel. Normal carbonation. The flavor profile is complex, interesting and quite nice. Roast and chocolate comprise the forefront against a slight malt sweetness. This is followed by a burst of light bitterness against a slight rye spiciness and smoke. Smooth finish that is accentuated by the rye spiciness and a slight lingering bitterness. My first Left Hand offering, and it is outstanding.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle, best before 04/01/14 stamped on bottle. Served in a nonic pint glass, the beer pours dark brown/black with a 2 inch tan head. Head retention is good, and there's also a lot of lacing. The brew smells like roasted malt, dark/rye bread, nuts and some coffee. It tastes like roasted and burnt/charred malt, bittersweet chocolate, dark/rye bread, nuts, and a bit of molasses and coffee. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit slick and coating, with moderate carbonation. I think it's a good brew, definitely worth a try at $9.99 a 6-pack.

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Photo of ocelot2500
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cola color with a tight, off-white head that leaves rings of lacing.

Smells of roasted malt with a big cocoa component.

Tastes of solid roasted notes with some rye. Cocoa notes lead off with some coffee and brown sugar. Toasted bread notes come through as well as rye. A bit of earthy hop and a touch of spiciness rounds everything out.

Mouthfeel is medium with a smooth amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is tasty and definitely falls in line with my expectation.

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Photo of Gryphon69
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle
best by: 4-29-14

A- Dark Brown, nearly black. A slight tan colored head with light lacing. Under the light it has a lot of sediment throught the glass.

S- Roasted malts, cocoa, bread, slight earthiness.

T- Much like the nose, except nothing jumps out, it has a nice balance throughout. Has a dryness right from the first drink to the finish, also has a decent bitterness in the finish. Not noticing a lot of pine, but a definite hop kick.

M- Light to medium with a smooth, slick dry in the back of the throat.

O- I very much like the taste and drinkablility of this black ale. Hope to get more.

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Photo of smcolw
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Near black color but light does shine through the edge. Minimal lace (spots) on the glass. The head is light beige although it settles quickly.

Deeply toasted malt aroma. Borderline burnt but there's a sweetness that creates balance.

The flavor is more burnt with a definitive hop presence. Thinner body than expected but the low carbonation balances it well. Definitive alcohol in the swallow and the aftertaste.

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Photo of Dope
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best by 05/24/14.

A: Pours black with a tall, fizzy/frothy light brown head. Head fizzes out moderately quickly. Tiny little splotches of lacing. Decent retention.

S: Some charry, lightly smoky roasted malt with spicy rye. Nice combination. A little bit of sweet chocolate in the mix once fully warmed.

T: More chocolate here than in the aroma. Sweet chocolate up front especially, joined by a nice spicy rye malt. Light char and smoke, mainly in the finish. Just a hint of umami too. Lingering chocolate and charred wood in the aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied, lightly spicy. Slight, slight chalkiness in the aftertaste.

O: Pretty simple, moderate roasted malt character mixed with some spicy rye. Kinda tastes like a nice porter with a little bit of rye in it. Nicely balanced and complimentary (spicy chocolate is my favorite, after all). Drinkability is quite good too.

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Photo of Abra
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A solid, well-crafted, transitional black ale.

Pours flat black in color with a complementing off white head.
Smell starts off sweet, ending on a refreshing note.

Taste begins with a mild sweetness, chased out quickly with the hops, leaving a smooth bitter finish that mellows back into a subtle sweetness. Fuller bodied, with undertones of chocolate, toffee, and molasses.

A very enjoyable beer perfect for the early nights of winter.

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Photo of oberon
3.99/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard pint a dark chocolate brown color with ruby highlights,a thin quick to fade lighter beige head atop.Aromas of roasted nuts and bitter chocolate stood out most with a little spiciness from the rye as well as some dark roast.Flavors are roasted and on the dryer side with the spicy rye coming into play more as I drank more,a nice firm nuttiness was also there.Not a bad beer,the rye played a role but wan't in your face,and there subtle malty complexities.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.99/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Seattle Beer Week pint glass. Pours a very dark mahogany brown with very little light transmission in the glass. Half finger tan head with good retention and lacing. Aroma of mild toasted dark malt, molasses, rye spiciness. Flavor is dark toasted malt with slight char, molasses, hints of chocolate and coffee, rye spiciness shows up in the finish which leaves a light lingering grassy hop bitterness. Exceptionally creamy medium body. A very nicely made black ale where the creamy mouth feel enhances the flavor of the malts to almost resemble an imperial porter. The rye and other flavors bring things back to black ale territory. Nicely done and perhaps one of the better ales of this style I've tried. This Fade to Black series has been uniformly well executed and interesting.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.99/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle - $1.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Ahh, the beer series I almost nearly always forget as the bottle label never changes (admittedly, their new labels are quite eye-catching).

Appearance: Pours a black body with a lean, light khaki-colored head that doesn't stick around too terribly long.

Smell: Roasty, sure, but, there's also a strong Munich toasty note present. Nice chocolate scented accent. Incorporated dark fruitiness, maybe a sliver of licorice. Minor rye. A very thin trace of smokiness. And all of the creamy, milk notes you'd expect from a milk stout, 'cept this isn't!

Taste: Roast, deep toasted barley, and a coating of chocolate and whipping cream. Fair sweetness, some additional caramelized sugars. Modest rye character. A singular drop of smoky molasses. A light touch of dark fruits. Huh. You know, for a beer that isn't supposed have an infusion of lactose, for me, it definitely has a great milky/creamy quality to it. Faint, faint herb, citrus imparted by the hops. Sweetish, roasty, and still so smooth and milky on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Overall: I was actually expecting something a bit more along the lines of their previous Volume 4. Thankfully, that wasn't the case. V5 is the best non-milk non-stout I've had in quite some time!

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Photo of Brutaltruth
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Left Hands Fade to black from a 12 oz bottle pours a thick blackish brown with a light tan
head that dies down to a thin pool of foam and nice lacing. Nose of chocolate, caramel, dark
rye, molasses, and deeply roasted goodness. Flavors are light sweet up front fading to a nice
roasted profile of molasses, dark chocolate and a nice dryness from the rye. Most excellent
mouthfeel, thick and full with a pleasant chocolate/black coffee like aftertaste.


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Photo of arizcards
3.94/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Picked up a sixer from Total Wine in early December for $8.99. Bottled on 10/31/13, best by 04/29/14.

Beer poured dark brown with a one finger head that is leaving some lacing behind.

Nose is malty, with some hints of roast.

Taste is well crafted; light roasted coffee and chocolate give way to dark fruits that sweetened things up a bit but the hops balance the sweetness. Rye adds an additional touch of spice. It all comes together nicely!

Mouthfeel is medium bodied that is fairly smooth.

Overall this is a very tasty brew. Give it a try if it is still on shelves.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.93/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle pours a near-black color with a few brown highlights around the edges. Retention is just ok and lacing spotty.

Nose is whole grain bread and chocolate....almost like a Nutella sandwich on whole wheat. In other words, the rye and dark malt are both prevalent. I dont get much hops here though.

Taste is much smoother than I thought it would be, the rye and chocolate malt flavors compliment each other well. There is a bit of raisin fruitiness that is nice. Roast comes out as it warms...got a nice complexity thing going on here. Good stuff, another good offering in the FtB series.

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Photo of Nickcal
3.93/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Don't know why the liquor store I bought this at still had it. Last 6-pack on shelf and says it is best by 05/24/14. My first beer from the Fade to Black series. Looking forward to trying the next addition to come out. Tastes of rye, molasses and caramel. Great mouth feel and flavor.

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Photo of metter98
3.92/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a half finger high dense tan head that quickly died down, leaving a collar around the edge of the glass and bits of lacing on the surface.
S: Light to moderate aromas of roasted and chocolate malts are present in the smell.
T: The taste mostly follows the smell and has lots of flavors of roasted malts along with bitter notes of chocolate and some spices from the rye.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a little crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The taste of this beer has a nice mix of roasted, chocolate and spice flavors. It's not that bitter compared to other beers in the style.

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.92/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

"Fade to Black. That time of year when the light fades away. Brewed for the darkness, Fade to Black speaks in volumes." Brewed in the style of an American Black Ale. Released as the fifth entry in the Left Hand Fade to Black annual rotating seasonal series. Brewed for the 2013-2014 winter season. Available in 12 oz. bottled 6 packs and on draft.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a Left Hand tulip glass. Served above 53 degrees Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a frothy cream head of a medium mocha brown over a dark brown body with mahogany highlights. Retention is very good and lacing is light and patchy. 4

(Smell) Moderate roasted barley malts, mild chocolate malt, black patent and a light touch of bready rye body. Light earthy and piney hop notes, but this is a beer that is majority led by the malt profile. Potency is medium. 3.75

(Taste) Black patent, earthy cocoa and toasted rye grain up front, finishing with a nice cap of creamy roasted barley. Low hop flavor, moderate earthy hop bitterness combined with the moderate grain and malt bitterness of the rye and blackened malts. The ample body really provides a filling and enjoyable drinking experience. 4

(Mouthfeel) Texture is silky smooth, slick and moderately dry. Carbonation is moderate, generating a medium frothiness and a light crispness. The body is medium+ for the style and medium/heavy overall. Balance is nearly evenly sweet to bitter. Alcohol presence is low and there are no notable off flavors. 3.75

(Overall) Left Hand delivers the fifth installment in the Fade to Black series as one of the finest yet. While not dominant in rye flavor, it thickens the body just enough to pull together an enjoyable, well-rounded roasted and chocolatey malt body that delivers a signifigant malt body to strongly counter any chance of a bitter edge. I'd categorize this ale as falling closer between a porter to stout than a Black ale or even a Black rye ale. Regardless, this is a reputable kickoff beer in the Fade to Black line for anybody looking for an opportunity to sample the series. 4

Left Hand Brewing Company's
Fade to Black Ale Volume 5: Black Rye Ale

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Fade To Black (Volume 5 - Black Rye Ale) from Left Hand Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 42 ratings.