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

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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 hardy008
3.03/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark black with a 1/2 finger tan head, with pretty good retention and spotty lacing. The aroma is nutty with coffee, dark roasted malt, and earthy hops. The aroma is nothing special. I hope the taste is better.

Tastes both sweet and bitter with coffee, dark roasted malt, earthy hops, a little bit of chocolate, and molasses. This is supposed to be an American Black Ale? Has way too much malt for the style, and the hops take a back seat, which is not what I look for in this style of beer.

Medium bodied with low carbonation. Has a earthy hop and coffee aftertaste. This is too malt forward for the style in my opinion. I'm glad I only bought one bottle.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%

12 oz. bottle poured into a can glass.

Appearance - Medium khaki head that lasts quite a while. Thick collar. Dark, viscous black body.

Smell - Rich chocolate. Rye becomes much more prominent as it warms. Molasses.

Taste - Molasses is the strongest flavor. Chocolate behind it. The rye isn't anywhere near what it is in the smell. Booze is strong and lends a bit of a fruitiness.

Mouthfeel - Medium heavy. A bit creamy. Medium low carbonation.

Overall - Not what I expected at all. But then again, I never know what to expect from a style as vague as "Black Ale." This drinks more like a stout than anything else.

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Photo of rangerred
3.54/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap in a pint glass.

Pours a clear very dark brown, nearly pitch black, with a small half finger tan head.

The aroma is very toasty with some coffee and char. Pine is present from the hops but it is not all that complex.

Mouthfeel has pine and earth and a fairly strong bitterness from the get go. The rye sort of lingers in the background and is not as prominent as I was hoping. Mouthfeel is quite chalky with a sticky finish.

Overall, the rye is just too suppressed in this beer and the hops are too up front. It lacks balance and is really not all that interesting. Oh well, glad I got to try it.

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Photo of mntlover
3.58/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a black but shows deep brown when held to the light. A thumb sized coco head falls pretty quick

Aroma is some light roasted noted most chocolate dominating this one. Light nutty aroma with hop hints.

Taste is like the nose lots of chocolate some nuts mingled through out with roasted hints. Hops are more evident in the flavor herbal grass like notes maybe a touch of rye. Not bad but not anything I would go buy more of.

Mouthfeel is medium lightly peppy carbonation and a little dry chalkiness in the finish.

Overall its worth a try but that be about it for me. Its not a bad beer just not good enough to be a regular choice.

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Photo of kkleu357
3.6/5  rDev -7.7%

From notes on 11/14/13

Dark black in color with a minimal cream colored head. Not much aroma, but what I do get is hints of roasted coffee. Very smooth drinking beer. I’m getting a roasty chocolaty flavor.

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Photo of HamdenHector
3.61/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: very dark brown; less than 1 finger khaki head that dissipated quickly; no lacing;

S: deeply roasted malt; bittersweet chocolate; a little earthiness;

T: chocolate up front, mixing with coffee on the finish; low to moderate bitterness;

M: medium bodied; low to moderate carbonation;

O: well balanced; a bit too chocolately for me and I would have liked a little more bitterness, but good none the less;

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Photo of tone77
3.63/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle. Has a black color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is pf roasted malts, some smokiness. Taste is malts, some coffee, smoke, a bit of chocolate, tasty and easy drinking. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall, while not as much hops as I would expect from this style, is a good quality beer.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Aah, the dark volumes of Left Hand Brewing Company roll on- this time with the fifth installment that boasts the title on "Black IPA" which leads with the promise of hop and a backing dryness of dark malt and hightly attenuated dryness. Most of these attempts turn out to be merely hoppy porters so, let's see...

With appearances of dark brown and medium haze, the beer's body is dark and roasted in its look. As its tall froth of sandy-tan foam builds, the ale shares mild IPA head retention but its color is inquisitively porter-like. Lacing lightly with specks of foam, the beer acts more like those porters than it does of IPA.

Once the beer touches the lips, its chocolate and coffee flavor come alive! Malty with toasty, nutty and woody elements- the beer is rich, milky and toffee-rich from the onset. Even with its late charge of hop bitterness, the beer is unwavering with its malty focus.

Its body is medium-rich as its sweet creaminess lingers well into that bitter territory that IPA's of any sort deserve. Lacing that malty-dry character of hop-forward beers severely limit the drinkability seen with Volume 4.

When it comes down to this newly forming genre of beer, they must lead with IPA character- meaning 70+ IBU's, bone dry malty status and just enough charred malt to exacerbate bitterness but without adding any sweetness. This Left Hand variety is a formidable hoppy porter but is no Black IPA. ...oh, and the rye character- its slightly spicy and grainy-earthy but really does little to bring better life to the ale.

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Photo of BB1313
3.78/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Best by 4/1/14. 12oz bottle poured into a tulip. Pours black with some brown hues that shine through; small khaki head that fades and leaves solid retention and decent lacing. The aromas are very roasty. Lots of cocoa malts. Lots of vanilla bean along with some roasted chocolate. Nice complex nose. The flavors are loaded with milk chocolate. There's also some maple in the mix. Hints of expresso along with some black coffee. Subtle earthy bitterness. Some black pepper. The rye is there, but it seems subtle. It's not as spicy as I anticipated. Mouthfeel is very creamy and fluffy with moderate carbonation; smooth and velvety. Alcohol goes unnoticed and it's very easy to drink. I never would've guessed this was almost 8% abv. It wasn't on the label, so I checked their website.

This is a very nice beer. Lots of stout/porter qualities going on. Not as much rye, but I really like the vanilla aspect. This is very fitting for the Fade To Black series. Definitely worth checking out.

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Photo of 57md
3.79/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark brown to black color with over a finger of beige head. The nose is quite roasty. Roasted malt flavors are upfront. A pleasant bitterness from both roasted malt and hops is evident on finish. The rye notes are definitely present, but very mild in this offering.

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Photo of wvsabbath
3.81/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Black, Dark tan with brown tint. Minor 1/8th inch head, decent lacing.

Smell - Chocolate, coffee, cocoa, roasted malts. Molasses, brown sugar. Slight hop citric note at the finish.

Taste - Very roasty, smoked and charcoal malts at first sip. Coffee, chocolate and cocoa is a main flavor. Sweet molasses, brown sugar and honey are the added sweet sugars. Some minor hops like grapefruit and orange add a little sweet citric note at the finish.

Mouthfeel - Huge smoked note nails the tongue. More malts, some sugars and faint citric fruits coat the palate. Aftertaste is smokey, chocolate and coffee sweet.

Overall - Rye ale? So much roasted malts and coffee I don't get any rye at all. I actually like this beer but if you don't like smoked, roasted heavy beers this aint for you. Maybe a little less malt and more rye? Either way, still enjoyable, just not what I was expecting.

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Photo of barnzy78
3.81/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - syrupy thick pour, dark brown body, very thin beige head fades to nearly nothing quickly
S - roasted barley, earth, chocolate, faint pine
T - nice flavors of roasted barley, chocolate, earthy rye, caramel, brown sugar, piny hops, nice balance
M - fuller, syrupy body, rye is drying on the palate but not overly. Modest bitterness on the finish
O - good ale, but I wouldn't get it again. I was hoping for better.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.83/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

The Fade To Black vol. 5 is another fine edition to a great series of beers from Left Hand. The beer poured opaque black with virtually zero head and no lace. The scent there is a little hint of rye in the scent....and perhaps some chocolate and roast. The taste has roast and some coffee and earth. The mouthfeel is medium in body with good carbonation. Overall....it was good and worth a sampling.

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Photo of ozark123
3.83/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A nice edition to the FTB Series. I love the peppery finish. Nicely layered flavors that morph from dark molasses to licorice. Firm rye backbone, but plenty of hops on the cleansing finish. Perfect quaff while hovering near the fire pit on a cool November evening.

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Photo of Brenden
3.87/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one definitely is black, very little by way of highlights showing at the edges even in the light. The tan head that forms off the tap is about a finger high but doesn't last particularly long. A strong foam does leaves some pretty good lacing.
Malts are pretty roasty, but there's actually more toast than I expect. There's bittersweet chocolate with a creamy sort of sweetness and barley grains along with a note of licorice and a nice smokiness underneath. Rye is evidenced by a certain bready/spicy combo and some earthy undertones.
The taste has slightly more char to it, with fruity esters building up a bit of tanginess. It's still roasty and toasty/bready, but the rye is limited to the earthiness, and I wish it had just a little more of the spicy thing going on. An almost lactic sweetness does come in, and it goes into a very interesting creamy/smoky finish.
The body is medium, and this beer is crisp with a nice flow to it.

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Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, best before 4/1/2014. Pours pitch black color with a 2 finger dense khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of big dark chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, cocoa, dark bread, rye, caramel, molasses, toast, light smoke, floral, light pine, and roasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good complexity of dark/roasted malt and light-moderate hop presence; with great strength. Taste of big dark chocolate, dark bread, roasted malt, cocoa, coffee, toast, rye, caramel, brown sugar, light smoke, floral, and roasted earthiness. Minimal bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, dark bread, roasted malt, cocoa, coffee, rye, toast, caramel, brown sugar, light smoke, and roasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt flavors; with great robustness and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very creamy and lightly slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very nice rye black ale. All around good robustness and complexity of dark/roasted malt flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. Did not have as much hops in the flavor as I expected, but was a very enjoyable offering otherwise.

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Photo of micromaniac129
3.91/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fade to Black vol.5 pours a dark auburn brown. The light mocha head that formed was small but quite dense and lingered quite awhile before fading.
The aroma had a rich deep roasted malt smell. Hints of earth and licorice is present too.
Taste is dry and bitter with an overall malty taste. A subtle roasted malt taste is present with that has subtle nuiances of earth and licorice like in the nose. Rye is quite subtle and is easily missed but you can detect slight hints of pepper spiciness in the finish.
Drinks reasonably smooth and creamy.
I like it but could use a dose of citrusy hops to brighten it up.

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