Oak Aged Imperial Stout - Left Hand Brewing Company
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Ratings: 220 | Reviews: 196 | Display Reviews Only:
3.95/5 rDev -2.2%
Got this last week so the beer is fairly new.
A: The body is dark black with a thick mocha head. Where the light gets through at the sides it shines a deep ruby color.
S: There are a bunch of different aromas from this beer. I get a bunch of roasted malt, a lot of sweet malty aroma, some oak, and some vanilla, as well as some alcohol aromas. There is a slight bourbony note to it all.
T: There is a very sweet malty note to this taste. It starts mid-sip and lasts into the aftertaste. There is a bunch of roasted malt and chocolate in there also. Everything is blended very nicely together into a very smooth package. I did notice that they used oats in this beer so that might explain the creaminess that I taste.
M: The body is actually a bit light for an RIS, but it is good. It seems like the alcohol thins it out.
D: This is a good beer. I will certainly get another to age and see how it is in some months or a year. It's a bit high in the ABV department to be a session beer, but a great beer to relax with.
04-18-2007 03:19:03 | More by drseamus
3.85/5 rDev -4.7%
at 12.99 a 750, i opted for the snifter instead of the pint glass.
a - looks good. very dark...can't see any light coming through when i hold it up to light. i poured it fairly slowly, but there wasn't too much head. decent lacing.
s - complex...mostly roasted malt, a light sweetness..maybe dried fruit, a little alcohol, and unsweetened chocolate...theres quite a bit more, i'm just not terribly good at discerning it all yet.
t - the taste has even more going on than the smell. also..much of the same as the smell, only intensified. again mostly roasted malt, kind of smokey..maybe thats the oak barrel, a little more emphasis on coffee or chocolate in the taste, and fairly bitter. i can still detect the alcohol in the taste, but i must say for being 10.4% abv, it does a pretty good job of covering up the taste of alcohol. there is a sweetness or something else to the flavor that makes this stand out to me compared to other imperial or double stouts...it lingers a bit too.
m - much like other imperial stouts...mild carbonation, fairly heavy stuff. as usual, leaves my mouth feeling a bit on the dry side.
d - definitely not something i could sit and drink all night! for what it is though, it goes down pretty smooth. due to the limited production and price, you aren't going to want to drink this one too fast anyway.
overall...i am enjoying this beer (drinking it right now) and plan on buying a few more to age..maybe pop open another one in the not too distant future. i haven't really tasted many oak aged beers though...the only one i can think of right now was the great divide yeti oais. personally, i think i liked the yeti a little more and found it a little more pleasant to drink.
04-13-2007 23:42:20 | More by xgrafcorex
4.15/5 rDev +2.7%
750ml bottle into 8oz snifter. Features jagged chain-linked art with a fierce red dragon in the middle. Mixed with 25% oak aged RIS.
Pitch black hue with a light brown one finger head that slowly settles to a thin cap. A thin rim of lacing is left from the head. As the beer lowers it leaves behind rings of webby lacing.
Deep roasted malt is met by a dark coffee aroma with hints of chocolate. The alcohol quietly makes itself known.
Ultra smooth and roasted malt flavors with a sweet chocolate note. A touch of raisin and vanilla (from the oak) comes in as well. Full bodied with medium carbonation. The feel is sticky and smooth, and coats your mouth with each sip. The alcohol makes its way out as the beer warms.
This is a very smooth RIS. Be careful, the alcohol can sneak up on you. Recommended.
04-13-2007 04:45:01 | More by BeerSox
4.03/5 rDev -0.2%
Pours a quite black color with a creamy half-inch of white foam. Appetizing arom
a of soft coffee malt with a hint of vanilla. Roasted malt flavor dominates, wit
h dark chocolate & coffee notes. Oakiness is prsent but restrained. Plenty of bi
tterness but no hop flavor. Finish features lingering roastiness. Soft, creamy b
ody with a big mouthfeel.
Good example of style, but it seems to lack excitement.
04-06-2007 18:47:32 | More by allengarvin
4.35/5 rDev +7.7%
Thanks to Bitterbill for this brew.
Poured into a chalice a nice clean/clear black color, some carbonation, a little fizzy tannish head, no lacing at all. The nose is of slightly sweet roasted/oaked malts, hops, vanilla, chocolate, and caramel. The taste is mostly of roasted/oaked malts, slight vanilla, and chocolate/caramel. The finish is slightly dry with a nice warming effect going down. Alcohol is hidden pretty well. Medium body. Very drinkable, a slight twist going on here, not as thick as other's I've had, but still very tasty. If you can get it, do it, recommended.
04-03-2007 23:06:42 | More by Wasatch
3.75/5 rDev -7.2%
Left Hand and I have a hit-or-miss kind of history--so their Big Mo beers, which come with awfully big price tags, have enough of an element of risk that I'm left crossing my fingers every time I buy their new release. The last few, Smokejumper and St. Vrain Tripel have both been solid, and their oak aged imperial stout is just as good.
It's not-quite-midnight black since, when held to light, it shows off hints of deep garnet. The head is lightly milked coffee, and it lingers and laces well. Vanilla dominates the bouquet, a function of the oak aging, and it's maybe the most obvious flaw in the beer, since it takes something away from the overall balance. With a good swirl, I can get whiffs of chocolate and currant.
Fortunately, the flavor is very well balanced, showing all the complexities of a great RIS. There's a nice sweetness up front followed by a burnt, tar flavor and a long, hoppy finish. There are hints of vanilla as well, but it's really in the mouthfeel that the oaking is most clear, imparting a fine softness to an otherwise heavy brew. By mellowing this beer out, it's lost some of the typical chewiness of an imperial stout, but I think this interpretation works, because the heft (replete with a light alcohol tinge on the back of the tongue) is still clear.
Overall, this is a solid offering from Left Hand that blows their regular imperial stout out of the water. Maybe now I can start uncrossing my fingers every time I open a new bottle from Left Hand.
03-31-2007 04:34:01 | More by benito
3.73/5 rDev -7.7%
Dark tootsie roll brown in color, somewhat dissapointing for a Double stout. A very large tan head with great retention leaves a thick layer of lace behind that also retains itself quite impressively.
Nose is of black currant, as well as some red currant, other black fruits as well, but the aromas lend more towards the feminine side considering again its a Double Stout. Milk chocolate, vanilla, and some slight anise.
Hmmm...well this beer is pretty tastey and quite drinkable but again it's lacking from the Double stout standpoint. More like a porter too me. Thin overall mouthfeel and a nice alcohol burn in the chest. Melted milk chocolate, and tootsie roll flavors lead into hints of vanilla, sassafrass, anise, and red currant. The finish is again milk chocolate, with a toasted oak flavor that is laid back and nicely integrated.
A good beer from a beer standpoint just not from a Double Stout standpoint.
01-04-2007 00:02:29 | More by mcallister
3.85/5 rDev -4.7%
Beer poured into tumbler at 50 degrees. Beer was light colored for a Stout, kind more brown than black. I really could not smell anything outstanding through the creamy head that went away fast. I was impressed with the creamy smooth tast, very drinkable and though this is a high % beer, it did not burn. Still, I most likely will not purchase again.
12-17-2006 18:05:57 | More by Minkybut
4.33/5 rDev +7.2%
Thanks to JeffKrenner for this beer. Yes, he's sent me a lot of beer.
A: Pours like cola, thinner than I expected. More translucent than I expected as well, light can be seen passing thru the as spots when held to the light. Head started out stunning but fell fast. Medium beige color made up of creamy bubbles, there's a ring and some minor wisps on top.
S: Milk chocolate, cafe au lait, vanilla and a touch of dark fruits.
T: Begins with silky milk chocolate really low on the bitter end. I can then isolate the oak, adding a coy pungentness and sly vanilla. Alcohol dances on the center front of the tongue and pools there. Roasted characteristics start to move out of the shadows, especially as the beer warms. These flavors do nothing to take away from the milk chocolate, I'd think of it more as a bitter bakers chocolate with just a touch of fresh ground espresso beans. Chocolaty roasted barley coasts this beer to completion.
M: Medium body, smooth and velvety. Bubbles spark on the lips and tongue to add a tickling sensation.
D: Beers this large need to be shared with people. A beer of this stature could easily be shared with three people. Only two of us split this one and it got a bit cloying towards the end. The tongue takes a beating from the sugar. But this beer is entirely enjoyable
12-11-2006 00:43:06 | More by Westsidethreat
3.9/5 rDev -3.5%
Black with deep auburn hues when held up to the light and a descent tan head. Aromas are of tart red wine, sweet malts, dark fruits, and espresso notes. The taste echoes much of the nose with notes of chocolate, roasted coffee, tart dark fruits. Waves of tart oak characters differ from taste to taste, some dryer some sweeter like grape juice, raisons, or plums. Alcohol is strong maybe even taking a little away its other qualities. Oaky vanilla notes increase as it warms. The finish is alcoholic with bitter nutty notes and dominated by a tart remnants . Mouthfeel is nice with a medium body that is slick and creamy around the edges. The only faults to this brew IMO is that sometimes the stout and barrel aging effects tend to remind me of cough syrup. The nuances in this are abundant and definitely merits this beer strong recommendation. I could have preferred something less sweet and the alcohol presence toned down somehow.
12-04-2006 19:08:53 | More by cabsandking
4.28/5 rDev +5.9%
750ml bottle aged in French oak wine barrels. Pours from the bottle into my glass a nice black with a dark brown/red tint to it as well. A small light tan head appears and falls quickly with some spotty lacing. Aromas begin with dark roasty malts, light coffee tones and cocoa syrup. Some caramel is there as well with a nice mix of oak and vanilla tones as well. Quite nice.
First sip brings a smooth dark malty flavor accentuated by chocolate and a touch of coffee. There's a nice mellow oak presence in there along with some vanilla flavors as well. Goes down easily and is actually quite mellow while still having a nice full flavor. Finishes with lingering dark chocolate and vanilla....good brew!
Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth with a nice mellow carbonation. Has a big body without getting to be too much. Fairly easy to drink considering the abv. I could see myself drinkin a decent amout of this, but I think the 750ml bottle is best shared with friends. A solid brew from the folks over at Left Hand...here's to 10 more years of brewing!
11-24-2006 02:08:09 | More by orbitalr0x
4.4/5 rDev +8.9%
Deep deep brown... very nearly black. Barely perceptable ruby tinges on the edges. Nice, level, 1" head, which is light mocha in color. Quite nice.
Big malty notes hit the nostrils, quickly followed by the unmistakable aroma of oak. Caramel and chocolate entertwine themselves with a lucious, dank plum scent. Big and menacing, yet incredibly sexy.
YUM! Big chocolate flavours... the oak is still there, but more toned down than in the aroma. Bitter mocha finishes this one off. Tasty. Some lingering hops come through... nicely balanced.
Wonderfully thick with subdued carbonation... big and chewy and rich... deliciously sensuous.
Amazingly drinkable for a beer of this abv. Certainly no brewery could ask for a better 10 yr commemoration than this beauty.
Well done LH. Very well done, indeed.
08-18-2006 00:01:31 | More by nickss
3.78/5 rDev -6.4%
pours a deep black with no highlights and a light tan 1 inch head into a snifter glass. head drops quickly, but there's excellent lacing. first aroma is roasty and chocolatey. there's also immediately a note of fruit like grapes and black cherry. definitely vinous with a touch of alcohol. first taste is sweet with chocolate and roasted character followed by a mild bitterness and alcohol in the finish. vinous flavors intermingle with an oak bourbon character. this beer enters your mouth a little thin, but mysteriously thickens up when you swallow. very unique mouthfeel. a little alcohol burn, but carbonation is a tad light. this is fairly drinkable despite being an imperial stout. alcohol hinders just a tad, but otherwise a quick sipper. that's all i really have to say about this beer. i had to search for complex flavors as the oak, rich malts and hops are subdued. i'm a little disappointed and am left wanting more from this impy stout.
03-14-2006 04:32:43 | More by Px2GrafX
4.05/5 rDev +0.2%
Interesting beer. Thanks to mentor for the trade.
Pours fairly light for an Imperial Stout. Still shows through fairly clear in a dark amber color. The head is very short lived, but at least it's actually carbonated, unlike the non-oak-aged variety which tasted like wort.
The smell is good. Has a nice oaky undertone with some sweet chocolatey malts lying below. Almost has a bit of bourbon to it. Some dark fruits and alcohol.
The taste is very similar. Almost no roastiness to speak of, just a hint of coffee and smoke. A bit of burnt raisins and dates. The barrel flavor is really nice, and it smooths out the alcohol well.
The body is quite thin. This is one of the weaker Imperial Stouts I've ever tried, but it is head & shoulders above the regular Left Hand Imperial Stout.
03-09-2006 05:20:46 | More by neonbrown82
4.78/5 rDev +18.3%
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.
02-22-2006 23:16:00 | More by gbontrag
3.8/5 rDev -5.9%
Aroma is full of sweet chocolate malts, hints of the oak it aged in and whiffs of vanilla and alcohol. The beer appeared to be a dark brown coming from the bottle, but turned deep black in the glass. Never developed any sort of head just a thin mocha film. Rich chocolate malt in the fore followed by a tinge of oak, alcohol and vanilla. Lighter raisin notes that give it a baltic porter feel develop in the middle. Finish is oaky and alcohol laden. Palate is a lot thinner than most Imperial Stouts of this ABV, but I have noticed many of the Oaked Impys to be somewhat thin in comparison to non oaked ones so I assume it has something to do with the oak aging. It tastes very good it just doesnt feel like an Imperial Stout...more like a Baltic Porter.
02-09-2006 19:09:43 | More by Jredner
4.28/5 rDev +5.9%
The beer poured into the glass translucent black with a ruby highlight and a tan frothy head which rose tall and fell very slowly to coat the glass.
The aroma was strongly oaky with a musty character. As the head fell back, some of the strong oak character diminished. Behind that was a nice coffee aroma and a strong chocolate character. Also present was a notable vanilla and a decent fruitiness.
The flavor was nice with chocolate and coffee muted with aged oak flavors. Some vanilla smoothed out the chocolate and rounded the flavor. There was a notable alcohol component to the flavor and a good deal of fruitiness. The vanilla in the aroma was also present in the taste.
The finish was even with a lasting impression of vanilla, chocolate and oak into the aftertaste. The body was full, but not viscous and the beer was creamy on the palate which was quite nice. If this is what oak aging does, do it year round!
750 ml corked and bailed bottle. Thanks mentor!
01-12-2006 23:12:02 | More by GCBrewingCo
3.95/5 rDev -2.2%
Ok. So it's a big imperial stout. It has all of the characteristics that other BAers talk about. But where is it different? Left Hand adds the Imperial Stout to Wine Barrels that adds to the complexity and creativity. Color-wise, it doesn't get any darker, or more opaque. Aromas show a currious tartness and hoppiness that you don't often get in an Imp. St. Flavors reconfirm this; showing a cherry-like tart derived (me thinks) from the vinious, wine, and oak character. A bit of muskiness and nuttiness also comes from the oak. The big hop aroma doesn't transfer to flavor. The aging really mellowed this out. Caramel and vanilla sweetness shows through, althought this is more common in Bourbon barrel aged beer. Nevertheless, a great beer with a creamy mouthfeel. Perhaps a bit too hot on the alcohol end and gets a tad rough. But, good enough. Go get one!
11-23-2005 21:09:41 | More by BEERchitect
4.13/5 rDev +2.2%
Presentation: Large dimpled based 750 green glass flask. Sealed with a thumbed cork, red steel cap and cage. Red, white and green screen printed obverse looks impressive. The text describes this as Left Hand Brewing Company Imperial Stout Oak Aged Anniversary Brew Bottle-Conditioned A Black Beer to Brighten Your Day. No strength listed. The reverse side of the bottle explains the background to this special version of the Imperial Stout; it is a 10th Anniversary brew that was aged in French Oak wine barrels.
Appearance: Dark brown body, the Long Beach dusk offers little chance to examine this fine brew, but my desk lamp reveals with some ruddy ruby hues with strong hints of mahogany. Thin light tan head dissipates quickly
Nose: The roasted was apparent from the moment I struggled and pulled the firmly entrenched thumbed cork. In the glass, there is a hint of vanilla, I suspect from the oak-aging in French barrels. Soft woody aromas have a little vinous trait. Dark bitter baking chocolates and chew caramels.
Taste: Roasted dark chocolate entrance benefits from a little sweetness; the mild warming feel in the middle accentuates the bitter cooking chocolate in the back end. Coffee and milk chocolate are rich in the finish. Hints of oak and a woody breadcrumb wrap the exterior. The base of this brew is enriched with powdered cocoa which licks at the edges of a rich liquorices, raisin and fig encrusted mature alcohols.
Mouthfeel: Talcum soft palate that has a touch of oil so often found from brews aged in French Oak wine barrels. Feels like freshly melted cooking chocolate, bitter, slightly harsh, but incredibly smooth on the tongue.
Drinkability: The 750 is still half full, this is one to enjoy for an hour or so, it will accompany me for a while yet but the whole bottle will go down with no problems whatsoever. Scary from the bottle, but I bet this is very dangerous on draft.
Overall: A laid back Oak-Aged Imperial Stout which I found right up my street. So often the OTT versions are big but they are just wieldy in the long run. Its no shame to have sampled this one in my Stone IRS Glass. A very enjoyable IS that benefits from the *subtleties* of Oak-Aging as opposed to the droning that many get. Im partial to this one. Very nice, but you need to concentrate on the nuances.
A Massive Imperial Thanks to Sir Joe for this Oak-Aged Imperial Stout. This was a real treat indeed, very nice. I hope you have one of these stashed away BigHuge because this will most certainly develop into a very smooth offering in 12 months, or so, I feel. Recommended.
11-07-2005 01:33:42 | More by TheLongBeachBum
3.5/5 rDev -13.4%
Clear dark ruby. Foamy tan head leaves good amounts of lace. Aroma is milky sweet, chocolatey and caramelly. The nose is absent of roasted, bitter, alcholic tones, which is a little curious for this style. Palate is fruity first. Passion fruits. Melons soaked in rum. Also some figs and dates notes. Some whiskey heat is noted. Oak notes are very, very subtle. An alcoholic bitterness remains on the aftertaste. Not exactly what I look for in an Imperial Stout, but it's not bad. Mouthfeel is easy going, laid back, low on CO2. This one is kind of a letdown for what I was expecting, but maybe that's 'cuz I've been drinking Town Hall barrel beers all week. Not many can compare to those. So my frame of reference (perspective) may have taken a "shift" this week.
11-02-2005 04:53:02 | More by Bighuge
3.93/5 rDev -2.7%
OK. My first review:
I was surprised and a little disappointed at the appearance. The bottle says "A Black Beer to Brighten Your Day" so I was expecting something on the order of tar but it pours more of a deep brown than black. There was about a 1/2 inch head the color of wet sand but it dissipated quickly. Little to no lacing.
The smell was inviting: licorice, molasses, a hint of oak, light alcohol. Taste is on par with the nose. Licorice, figs, and raisins up front with a hint of coffee that got more pronouced as it warmed.
This beer left an oil slick on my palate. Very slippery indeed. Wonderful mouthfeel.
Overall I enjoyed this - appearance notwithstanding. I can see myself buying another bottle or two just to be sure.
08-23-2005 05:19:01 | More by Blybloke
4.1/5 rDev +1.5%
For all intents and purposes, completely black and opaque. Head is very attractive, a bright tan color with tiny carbonation bubbles. Thick but widely-spaced laces. Aroma of roasted nuts and rich jam, musty wood tones. Mouthfeel is solid, thick but backed by better carbonation than some of the "motor oil" Imperial Stouts. Nice taste, senses of oak (its nice that the wine barrels really do come through, imparting vinous and vanilla character), turns slightly mocha mid mouth and hops are felt. Sherry-like fluidity, tannins, and alcohol are notable. Starts off with a slightly fuzzy sense on the tongue early, along with a lot of sweetness, a little strange and without a balancing point. A nice and well-done beer overall -- still seems a bit overpriced and the twist-off for the cage is too small and the cork is an absolute bear to wrestle out.
07-06-2005 00:35:40 | More by ADR
4.1/5 rDev +1.5%
Pours a deep deep brown, nearly black, with a huge mocha-colored head that meanders its way down to about a quarter inch.
The aroma is that of roasted malt with hints of oak, and something light and sweet behind that, maybe some chocolate. Not a huge impression on the nose.
The flavor is much bigger than the aroma would indicate. Lots of dark roasted malt, with some chocolate and coffee, and woody hints. Exceptional flavor, not too strong or overpowering. Great balance. A hint of alcohol is picked up in the aftertaste.
The mouth feels thick with a slight carbonation. Maybe a little less full or chewy than would match the flavor, but pretty good nonetheless.
Easily drinkable for a double stout. Be careful, the 10% alcohol is well camouflaged. Very enjoyable.
06-16-2005 01:37:55 | More by dwvarner77
4.38/5 rDev +8.4%
The brew pours a deep brown color, almost black, with a 2 finger head that falls to a coating oer the top of the beer. The nose is definately influenced by the wood aging. The wood is one of the dominant aromas, lits of vanilla and slight tannin. Behind that there is some sweet chocolate and puffs of alcohol. The flavor is different than the nose. Big chocolate and fig notes hit up front. Secondarily, there is the vanilla sweetness from the wood. Its nice. A bigger flavor than I had expected. Very enjoyable. The feel is uber-thick and almost syrupy. Just a light carbonation dances on the tongue. Wow. I dig this a lot. Drinkability is rather good. The 10% is not to be found in the flavor. The sweetness is not overbearing. Easy to quaff for a big bad beer. I gotta grab another of these.
06-16-2005 01:27:40 | More by kmpitz2
4.28/5 rDev +5.9%
750mL bottle poured into a snifter. It pours a deep ruby red, almost black color with three fingers of deep tan head. There isn't much lacing. The smell is sweet and malty, with lots of chocolate, caramel, and wood. It leaps right out there. The taste is sweet as well. Lots of roasted malt and caramel flavors. There's some oak and coffee on the finish. Just a touch of alcohol too. The mouthfeel is nice and thick, coating the tongue nicely. The drinkability is good for a 10% brew. Thanks to Kev for this awesome brew.
06-16-2005 01:20:27 | More by SheepNutz
Oak Aged Imperial Stout from Left Hand Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 220 ratings.