Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine and get 12 issues / year of fresh beer content delivered to your door each month.

Already subscribe? to manage your subscription.

Oak Aged Imperial Stout - Left Hand Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Oak Aged Imperial StoutOak Aged Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

196 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 196
Hads: 223
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 9.48%
Wants: 12
Gots: 13 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Left Hand Brewing Company visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Todd on 02-15-2004

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Oak Aged Imperial Stout Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 196 | Hads: 223
Photo of shapudding
4.87/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I got the end of this bottle at a tasting party, so my glass had tonnsss of oaky chunks a-floating in it. Deep brown in color, can't see through it. Small bubbles with a good head covering it with a khaki brown head. Amazing scents of oakiness, chocolate and coffee. I let the oak chunks settle so I could sip and enjoy this wonderful flavor. I love the oak flavors in this! They are not overwhelming at all, just perfect. Coffee and toffe in there also... Smooth and creamy mouthfeel, easy drinking for us stout lovers! sooo yummy! (532 characters)

Photo of keifffff
4.85/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Frothy, aromatic, and exceptional taste. Left Hand continues to make some of the best brews out there. This one is one of their best. Tastes of cherry, licorice and toffee, it is one exceptional stout. I will most definitly be revisiting this offering. (252 characters)

Photo of doubleipa
4.83/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This was bottled in 2006 and has been properly cellard since then.
Creamy, light brown head - fully dimished.
Aroma: heavy on the malt and dark bread, heavy smoke (yum), clove, and pepper. Even though it's four years old there isn't any of the raisin, port aroma that's so typical of cellared beers. Even after four years this beer has really gottenbetter. One of my best cellaring experiences. So many of the beers I've cellard have proven to be dissapointments. This goes down really smooth. Can't feel or taste the 10.5 ABV (526 characters)

Photo of Gratefullawyer
4.77/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A good after dinner or late night beer

I write as I finish drink this beer

To me a good late night beer or after dinner beer has a good choclately or sweet taste. My end of the evening or my dessert

The deep choclate taste resounds in this beer
The color is deep black
it goes down nice and smooth
a bottle to be shared
or as now im enjoying reading a great
Doc.Ford book and listening to the Angel Band
a lovely way to cap the evening off
I would highly recommend this beer (478 characters)

Photo of gbontrag
4.73/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

aged in french oak wine barrels, bottle conditioned.
I was a little worried about the 3 fingers of space under the cork. I was further worried about the cork not popping out (flat?), and I had come to this beer with no expectations because I've been disappointed with "aged" ales lately. Old is more like it. So I pour without excitement, but with a little cynicism.
Umm, that's good. A tall mocha froth issues forth with little effort. The resulting beer meringue results from irregularly shaped bubbles, and looks like the crumb of a long-risen, levain bread. There's a pleasant steady rise of carbonation barely visible in the burnt brown juice. The lace is like a quilt.
Smells like figs, tawny port, date pudding.
It has a surprising soft mouthfeel. It's more on the buttery, melt-in-your-mouth side of things although some tar from the burnt malt stickers the tongue. Layers of burnt fruit. The alcohol is present, but not at all invasive. That's just amazingly soft and supple. The aftertaste just melts away.... like a nice chocolate truffle.

In fact, that is the best way to describe this beer. It has an initial crunch of acrid malts and dark cocoa. Once into this there is big sweetness tempered with alcohol. Wonderfully fruited with ripe pit fruits, spiced with a small herbal presence. The fruitiness is both tangy and fresh, and rich and dried. Then it's gone. This melts on the tongue. It's not thin though, just beautiful: Like a delicious truffle. What a wonderful experience. (1,502 characters)

Photo of trkerrigan
4.6/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The Left Hand Oak Aged Imperial Stout is incredible. I expected this to be good but not this good. The appearance had good dark color completed by a rich creamy head as expected with a stout. The aroma is amazing and probably the best part of the brew. I got a rich grain aroma, which was a great surprise to go along with robust chocolate notes. Taste was also amazing. The taste was of expensive dark chocolate and was complemented with a peculiar sweetness. The complexity of the sweetness was mixed between vanilla notes and the sense of alcohol. Due to this complexity the high alcohol content of beer was hardly noticeable. The final result was a smooth finish that left me asking for more. Left Hand really surprised me with the Oak Aged Imperial Stout. I will most defiantly be looking for this brew again next year. (824 characters)

Photo of ArrogantB
4.6/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Black with a light white head in a standard pint glass. Smells good like chocolate. Tastes very good, more chocolate, different than all other RIS in my opinion just like the regular version (but way better, like comparing tootsie rolls and gourmet chocolate), excellent flavor. Drinkability is crazy despite the 10.4%, which was pretty much undetectable to the tongue. I really expected this beer to fall far short of expectations due to the price but it is very good and I got it on sale for $9 so...yes it was worth it and I am going to try and get some more. This beer was impressive and by far the best Left Hand beer I have ever had.

03/12/08

This is about a year old at this point and the wood has really started to show up. There is an astringent mouthfeel and a decent amount of carbonation. I think I liked this beer a lot more about 8 months ago.

07/20/08

The wood seems to have faded back in this beer. There is a hard-candy flavor and for a moment I tasted malted milk balls. Still, the alcohol has not been tamed much. Honestly I think this beer was better fresh and should not have been aged. Oh, well. (1,121 characters)

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.58/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage seems to be coming around a bit better than when it was released earlier this year, I had one then and I wasn't impressed enough to even write a review. Appears pitch black, abolishes all visible light spectrums, does form with a very nice sized tan head with excellent retention. Lacing definitely sticks to the sides and with the 10 percent alcohol by volume and oak brandy barrel aging I'm surprised that the head holds up so well. Aromatics offer up awesome complex fruit layers hidden amongst teh dark chocolate and roasted coffee edges from the loads of dark malts added into this brew. Hops in the nose range from mild pine to deep herbal tones, but you can tell there's a good amount of hops to stand up to the alcohol and the malts to equate to some balance. A nice even creamy dark chocolate tone really stands out, with maybe just a touch of charred vanilla the oaked aging effects are pretty minimal thanks to the blending of oak with non oaked imperial stout I believe the ratio is 25/75. Flavor brings on a collision of alcohol deep fruit, ripened fruit soaked in alcohol sherry notes with charred oak vanilla, a touch of soy sauce and deep anise notes as well. Dark roasted coffee with bitter dark chocolate, and bring on the earthy/pine hoppiness in there as well. Pure poetry I'm glad I snagged one of the surviving bottles from this past winter it's really making a mark on me, not a huge fan of oak aged beers this one is excellent. Mouhfeel glides and leaves you warm with hope that someday not all Oak aged beers will suck and be so overhyped, because my friends this one is the shit. Full bodied yet creamy textured all the way, simply rolls across the palate...not many other beer experiences to compare this to. Carbonation is dead on just barely makes an imprint on it slow moving bubbles that are sturdy enough to back up the big lucious malt profile. Drinkability, I'm enamored by the fact that I have come across an oak aged brew that is fanfuckin'tastic, forget sharing with friends enjoy or horde by yourself. Kidding break this one out with fellow beer enthusiasts and blow people away, another knockout beer from Left Hand. (2,168 characters)

Photo of Grafter
4.55/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Opened from a 750ml bottle this pours a dark black light does not pass though, it is topped with a thin whit head. The smell is immediate oak with a backing of coffee. Taste is a sweet coffee with some vanilla on the back of the tongue this is an excellent stout. Mouthfeel is a very smooth creamy texture you cannot feel the alcohol in this at all. Drinkability is the only issue here and only because it is 10.4% this stuff goes down smooth. i will definitely be heading to the store to pick up the few bottles that are still on the shelf. (541 characters)

Photo of CRichardsMN
4.55/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2009 22oz Bottle Split 3 Ways with Friends.

Appearance:
Pours a nice dark red brown, bordering on black with a very creamy off-white head that falls fairly quickly but rises if you swirl the glass. Leaves some lacing.

Smell:
Very full nose of oak, chocolate, roasted malts, caramel with alcohol hints.

Taste:
Huge and thick flavors of sweet roasted malts, caramel, chocolate and oak. The alcohol is very prominent being the only detractor from a perfect experience.

Mouthfeel:
Big, thick and smooth body with a light carbonation. Fills and coats the mouth. Goes down warm and fills you up.

Drinkability:
Great sipping beer but gets a little much with so much alcohol. A single bottle would last all night or make a couple good friends.

Comment:
I went on a Imperial Stout purchasing spree and knew before I opened it that this would be another great brew from Left Hand. (876 characters)

Photo of Dansting
4.55/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. Poured a blackish-brown color with a medium light-brown head. Pleasant but faint aroma of wood, malt, and chocolate. Excellent full mouthfeel. Flavor is nice, with strong dark malt and oak tones and a dark chocolate finish. Smooth beer. I wasn't that excited about this, but a nice offering from Left Hand. (314 characters)

Photo of Cheers
4.55/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Best stout I have had in long time. The bourbon is not at all overpowering like in some other barrel aged beers. Rather, it plays second fiddle to the bold malt flavors which lends to a great overall flavor. Although the taste of this brew is exceptional, the way it coasts your mouth and lingers is second to none, which in my book places this beer near the top of the list. All around an outstanding stout. Kudos to Left Hand!! By the way, my 4 for drinkability is a result of the high alcohol content in this beer. Just a couple will get the job done. (554 characters)

Photo of auxiliary
4.54/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance - Dark brown color, nice tan head on the first pour, but then after that it was a little smaller as it went on. Didn't stick around.

smell - Oak, dark fruits, chocolate, some alchol, very good smelling beer.

taste - Sweet chocolate malt , some bitterness at the end with a watm alchol kick that was not too strong.

mouthfeel - Medium body.

drinkability - Nice aged brew that i used to celebrate the 4th of July with. Very nice sipper, held up well. Was ad when it was gone. Nice sweet roasted malt taste with a alcohol taste. (543 characters)

Photo of Dogbrick
4.53/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I always have trouble getting the corks out of these bottles. What I usually do is break the top part off trying to take it out, then use a corkscrew. This beer is definitely worth buying a corkscrew if you don't have one. I am going to start oak aging everything I eat and drink if it turns out this well. The beer is a dark black color with a massively thick dark beige head. The aroma is roased malt, toffee and chocolate. Big rich and sweet body just how I like them. Abundant malt flavor, along with chocolate, coffee and vanilla. The finish has the perfect amount of hops and dark chocolate to balance it out. This is a truly great Imperial Stout. (653 characters)

Photo of HardTarget
4.52/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle Inspection: Left Hand Oak Aged Imperial Stout 2007. Corked and caged 750ml brown bottle. I picked it up a year or so ago and it's been sitting in my beer closet at about 68 F until I pulled it's reluctant cork on March 14, 2008. Notes: Malt beverage 25% aged in oak barrels. 10.4% abv., ingredients: Rocky Mountain water, malted barley, flaked oats, hops and yeast.

Aroma: Dark tar, like just dried coffee with a heady West Coast hop fragrance borne by alcoholic fumes. Hint of dark roasted barley and a slightly lactic sweet stout note.

Appearance: Dark black with a finger wide ruby edge showing fair clarity. Cap is mocha froth clinging and looping on the side of the glass. Bubbles slowly slide back to the bottom of the glass showing just wicked legs.

Flavor: Balanced by extremes. Deep wet barley malt roasted but far from burnt. As far as the malt goes down, the hops go up with a combination of earthy and citric flavors that complements the malt base perfectly. Dark chocolate creamy bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Liquid is smooth and soft like cream. Heavy body with a silky feel (presumably from the oats) with just prickles of carbonation and alcohol. Warms my throat and chest.

Overall Impression: Just an outstanding beer. I'm impressed with what I don't get a lot of here.
Cloying sweet malt bomb? Nope.
Bitter or faded hops? Nope.
Strong hot alcohol? Nope.
Heavy woody oak funk? Nope.
Off flavors or flaws? Nope.

A very nice blended beer that brings loads of great tastes, great feel, nice looks, and a pleasant nose. It's a monster with a wicked abv. It hides the knife with ease. Really hard to say anything unpleasant about this one, I wish I had snagged a few extras as this is truly a celebration beer.
Aged 1 year: Strongly recommended

Review #888. (1,784 characters)

Photo of coldmeat23
4.52/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 45 degrees

Pours super dark brown. Practically black. One-finger head of creamy light brown foam. Dissipates to a thin filmy layer. Lacing is spotty, and somewhat minimal, but what is there is sufficently sticky.

Smells delicious. Nice presence of sweet roasted malts. Almost cherry-like. Good hints of oak and brandy. Dark fruits with a light touch of brown sugar. Mild earthy notes. Very light traces af vanilla.

Man, that is nice. Sweet roasted dark malts. Hints of cocoa powder. Smooth sweet touch of vanilla. Dark fruits drizzeled in a light brown sugar glaze. Hints of butterey oak with a light touch of smoke. Light booziness of brandy with a slight warming charachteristic. Mild hints of caramel.
Being fresh this one is begging for some cellaring time, despite that it's delicious, already. I can't wait to see how this one opens up in a year or two.

This truly is representative of what I, personally, want my beer to feel like, in my mouth. It's so smooth and creamy. Like caressing your tongue with some weird liquid velvet and silk hybrid thing. This is absolutely wonderful in the mouth.
Ambrosia.

According to Left Hand Brewing's website, I'm going to assume that this brew has 10.2% ABV. Damned if I can taste it, though. This is truly a hit out of the park for Laft Hand. Super tasty and super drinkable. This one is a total keeper. (1,393 characters)

Photo of Ahhdball
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was payment for some major repairs done to my fathers computer. I tend to work fairly cheap – for family. So I’ve been storing this in my cellar for about 6 months waiting for the proper time to crack open the ultra-sweet bottle. My wife even bought a couple brandy snifters for the occasion.
The color was an extremely deep ruby almost black but the light penetrated the bottom and edges of the glass. The ½ inch head left a tiny circle around the edge which produced an oil slick in my mouth.
The smell was difficult to pick up at first but I eventually came to the conclusion of semi-sweet chocolate and cherries. Near the end I had a small amount of alcohol and oak aroma.
First sip was too cold so I let it breathe a little. Second time around subtle dark fruits and wood broke the palate followed by chocolate and molasses. An alcohol burn warmed as it went down.
Oily, chewy, and a faint effervescence gives this an overall decent score in the mouthfeel department.
This is a highly recommended and drinkable brew. Be forewarned though, with it’s high alcohol content it can leave one feeling a little drows………..
On a side note I don’t think I’ll buy this again just because of the $12.99 price tag, wait, I didn’t buy it. (1,250 characters)

Photo of clvand0
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This came in a 750mL bottle - nice label. Aged in Oak Barrels. Pours a very dark color with a very tall and dark head that dies off slowly and leaves some lacing. Hints of chocolate, coffee, and oak apparent in the aroma. The flavor has a lot of big, dark malts - just my style. Slightly bitter finish and lots of nice coffee flavors. Very well crafted. (353 characters)

Photo of rye726
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2003

Dark redwood with a silky tan head.

A big oaky vanilla over molasses, cocao, dried fruit, port drenched grapes, bready roasted malts and complex alcohols.

Hugely complex, this has aged very well. Lots of sweet fruits, dark chocolate and coffee surrounded by the well balanced oak. Alcohols have matured nicely.

Full body with suprisingly heavy carbonation.

Very nice example of a barrel aged stout. Like always, needs more time in the wood. (460 characters)

Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.49/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter from a 22oz. bomber. 2009 vintage.

A - Pours a creamy dark brown with a nice tan head that is about 1 inch tall and is very dense. As it recedes it leaves a nice sticky lacing on the sides of the snifter. It recedes pretty slowly down to a thin film.

S - Wow! The smell is great. Mild chocolate and vanilla sweetness in the nose. Some woody spices at the beginning from the oak aging. Nice roasted malt and some mild hop hints at the end.

T - Woody up front followed by a nice smooth vanilla bean flavor. There are some mild roasted characters from the malt with bits of coffee and mocha. Very nice. Smooth. Alcohol sweetness and esters are noticeable but in a very attractive way.

M - Nice full body with some nice creamy carbonation. There is very little after taste compared to other stouts of this kind. but still very good.

D - Nice and drinkable in terms of flavor but higher ABV makes it a sippin' beer. (938 characters)

Photo of mwilbur
4.47/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bomber into snifter. 2009 vintage.
A: Pours a dark black with hint of brown color on the edges with backlighting. The faintest hint of head quickly dissipates. Good for style.
S: Boozy raisin and yeast. Charred malt, wood, cherry, dry chocolate, and herbal hops. Quite nice!
T: Oak, chocolate, and alcohol soaked raisin bread. Yeasty herbal hops with hint of mineral. Phenolic note too. Good complexity with excellent balance.
M: Surprisingly smooth. Medium body. Lingers and matures nicely on the palate. Gentle warming alcohol feel.
D: Wow! Pleasantly surprised by this one. Will be interesting to see how this ages, but I'm glad I was impatient and popped this one open tonight. The herbal hops notes add a nice dimension and balance to this brew that might diminish with age. Extremely drinkable especially considering the style and ABV. A rewarding brew to take your time with and enjoy. Seek this one out!

Happy New Year's everyone! Cheers! (959 characters)

Photo of Douglas14
4.47/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very black color,obviously, with an incredible tan head. It doesn't leave much lace or have much head retention...probably due to the pour at the bar. In the nose there is lots of dark malt, chocolate, bourbon (not sure why...makes me think what kind of oak barrels this was in), and alcohol. The taste has similar characteristics. It's a super rich beer. 12oz is probably too much. I know it's sold in bombers, which would be nice to split. Anyway, ibthink the carbonation level is perfect. Silky mouthfeel. This beer is awesome now...I would love to try it in a couple of years (587 characters)

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.45/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml caged cork bottle

A - Dark black with a huge beige head that settled down some 3/4 through the pint, leaving thick lace all over the place.

S - Chocolate and date aroma hits the nose right away then the oak aroma comes around, very nice.

T - Bittersweet dark chocolate, raisin/date sweetness, coffee type of after taste, real good stout here.

M - A bit thin, I'm going to say medium/light body, but the overall mouthfeel is still good.

D - Very drinkable, 10.4% abv is very well hidden, even as the brew warms.

I have another bottle that I'm saving to see how well it cellars, but I may just go out and buy a few more to enjoy when I'm in the mood (cool spring nights are a perfect time) before my local beer distributor runs out of these (he had 24 bottles the other day and I bought the 1st two). (823 characters)

Photo of GIVEMEBACKMYSON
4.42/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I found the cork in this bottle not to be the slightest bit more difficult than any other cork i've ever removed in my life. I happened to read some of the reviews before I drank my bottle. Do not be frightened by them. If you are competent enough operate a corkscrew, you should be able to have a beer poured in about one minute's time. If not, shame on you.
So, on to the beer. This beer forms a nice big head on the pour. You'll want to pour it with an extra gentleness. Black, but not 'used oil' black like other imperial stouts. The head gives tons of lacing and really produces a nice aroma of dark chocolate and nuts.
The taste of this beer follows suit with a nutty flavor with a slightly astringent tone that reminded me of black walnuts. Subtle chocolate flavors follow the nutty body of the beer. The oak barrel aging gives this beer a very nice mellow flavor that is tough to pinpoint but easy to enjoy.
This is the most carbonated imperial stout that i've ever had. It gives it an uncharactreristically light mouthfeel. With that quality, the alcohol content is disguised very well. It drinks like a 5% ABV stout, basically.
Definitely worth drinking. They really went the mile to make a superb beer in celebration of 10 years. Also, this is one of the coolest bottles i've seen. Dark green glass, but no skunk whatsoever. I may be picking up another for some aging in a cool dark place. (1,407 characters)

Photo of Vancer
4.42/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at the ITap, glad to have the chance to try it out. They noted it on the board as a 10% brew, matches the BA listing.

Came out in a standard Left Hand tulip glass, proper glassware here is a real plus for presentation. The pure black brew with a tan cap looked enticing, and I was not disappointed.

The oaked vanilla bean, coffee and sweet malt dominated both the aroma and the quaff. Even a bit of caramel slid into mix at the finish. Very easy to sip, no alcohol burn at all, but by the end of the glass, my cheeks were turning a rosy red. If not for the high alcohol, I would have had several glasses.

Would luv to find a bottle of this for the cellar and next year. (689 characters)

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Oak Aged Imperial Stout from Left Hand Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 196 ratings.