Left Hand Imperial Stout - Left Hand Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Left Hand Imperial StoutLeft Hand Imperial Stout

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very good

512 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 512
Reviews: 430
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 12.34%
Wants: 33
Gots: 15 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Left Hand Brewing Company visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.40% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: UncleJimbo on 01-27-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 512 | Reviews: 430
Reviews by Drew966:
Photo of Drew966
3.93/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Left Hand Imperial Stout pours jet black with a tan head from a twelve ounce brown bottle with a bottled on date of October 12, 2004. The smell is dominated by malt at first, then the aroma gained more ester qualities, eventually coffee like aromas came out. This is not the most complex tasting beer, but there are numerous flavors fighting it out. Most noticeably malt dominates, with a coffee aftertaste. There are some wine like characteristics as well. The alcohol is noticeable, but not in a bad way. Definitely interesting, well worth a try.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.54/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep brown with some reddish hue when held up to the light with very fizzy non existent head wich was very unexpected in a bad way,the aromas were quite nice though rummy and buttery with an underlying milk chocolate note as well.Really a pretty thin mouthfeel for an Impy stout but a nice melding of flavors rum and bitter chocolate dominate upfront with a earthy,dry finish.This beer has some highs and lows a nice aroma and some flavor qualities but the thin mouthfeel and appearance left some to be desired.

Photo of brownbeer
3.87/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 vintage. I've had this in my fridge for almost two years and now I shall open it.

Pours almost black but has some reddish hues in the light. Not much for head either.

The nose is pretty complex, filled with licorice, dark chocolate nibs, smoke, and some dark fruit character.

Very dark and rich flavors of black licorice, fig, ash, black currant, and a little heat in the long, dry, chocolaty finish. Definately has a presence.

The body and carbonation have held up well. I would like to revist this in a couple more years.

Photo of hopsleeroy
3.3/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured very black with a touch of ruby on the edges of the glass. Poured a decent creamy tan head but dissipated quickly and some lacing. Smelled fairly nice-roasted barley and chocolate up front. The taste was fairly disappointing though. I expected to be blasted with chocolate but it tasted like unsweetened bakers chocolatem unpleasant bitterness and had an unexpected sourness on it. There was also a little hint of plastic flavor that was unexpected. The finish sweetened with pleasant caramel notes, and there was a fairly creamy mouthfeel. The alcohol crept up on you but was not a dominant flavor. Overallm I did not enjoy this beer. It had some decent characteristics, but I wouldn'y buy again. I prefered the left hand milk stout much more than the imperial.

Photo of blitz134
3.39/5  rDev -11%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A fairly dark brew, but not opaque by anymeans. Somewhat of a dark plum color. Head is just off-white. Never really formed though and only left a few pockets of bubbles on top.

Aroma isn't overly strong. Alcohol is prominant. Toasted malts and dark fruits work well together with the alcohol. Possibly some floral type hops as well.

10%...no kidding with this one, haha. Lots of sweetness. Again dark fruits, some plums and raisins. The toastedness comes up towards the end. Not much to it really. A good bit of alcohol and a lot of sweetness sums it up. The more I drink the less I like. I dunno...its just okay. It has RIS characteristics but just weak overall and too much alcohol that isn't backed up with anything overly tasty.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin, even for the style which I generally find thinner than most other stouts. Drinkability is okay really. Nothing offensive about this one, but nothing overly special either. Overall it goes down smooth and sits light, even with the alcohol.

Photo of Todd
3.78/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 1pint, 6oz brown bomber bottle. No freshness date. This is an unfiltered offering.

Appearance: Pours a black beer with ruby red edges. Head is a pillowy, creamy, tan head with excellent head retention.

Smell: Sherri, wet paper (oxidation), esters, rich malts in the nose and soft floral hop aromas.

Taste: Massive full-bodied brew with a smooth and ultra-creamy mouthfeel. Malt is the dominant character of this beer with a robust combination of chocolate, syrupy sweetness, burnt/roasted flavours, touch of caramel, juicy fruit / grape, raisin and more sherri and wet paper (oxidation). Hop bitterness is not really perceived, however their are tea-like hop flavours present. Actually as the beer warms a leafy hop character also pulls thru, maybe a touch of citrus too. Alcohol is very warming and imparts a spicy, near peppery, character. Finish is surprisingly clean, with just a touch of grain dryness.

Notes: Even though my sample appears to be a bit oxidized, this is still a superb example of the style and an excellent brew.

Photo of sponberg
4.1/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle, poured into my nonic. Dark brown but not opaque, rather light colored head for an Impy. Aroma of brown bread, roastiness, and a smooth malt-alcohol mixture.

This is an Impy? So freaking smooth - yeah, there's alcohol subdued in the finish, but on the way there it's a milk chocolate and espresso kind of sweetness alongside dark sugared figs with a faint roastiness in the background. Ever have a Murphy's? Crank up that amp to about 9.5. Exceedingly drinkable and impeccably smooth - the 10+% ABV remains well hidden throughout. Nothing really grabs you with this beer - yet I wonder if that's by design? Hops? What are hops? The beer equivalent of a bigass chocolate malted.

I could have three of these. But then I'd fall down and have to be escorted from the premises. Don't do that.

Photo of Beaver13
2.8/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle. Pours a dark brown with ruby highlights. You can barely see some yeast floaties in there. It has a small fizzy brown head that quickly dissipates to a collar then completely diminishes.

The aroma is chocolate, figs, cherries, and wood with a slight hint of alcohol.

The flavor is bitter anise and some chalky chocolate and a touch of sweet dark fruit. There is a strong smokey alcohol flavor that is a little overbearing. The nouthfeel is thin to medium-bodied and not very carbonated with a sticky, bitter,chalky finish.

Overall, I did not like this nearly as well as the Oak Aged version. This was too sharp and biting in comparison to the mellowed out oak-aged version. I couldn't get past the chalky bitterness and the strong alcohol.

Photo of cschepers
3.58/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Left Hand Imperial Stout --> big stein.

A - Pours black. Aggressive pour leaves a bit of creamy tan head, that settles into a tiny cap on the beer.

S - Dark chocolate, some smoky roasted malts.

T - Alcoholic chocolate milkshake! Lots and lots of chocolate in this one. A good bit of bourbon or maybe vodka booziness, which increases as the beer warms. Some vanilla, coffee, more smoky roasted malts. Just the tiniest bit of hops here and there. This is really sweet for an IS. Tastes a lot like their milk stout, just stronger and heavier on the booze.

M - Pleasantly creamy and thick. Carbonation is just right for the sweetness, it really fills out the palate.

D - Pretty high, but this is definitely on the sweet side. If you're not into sweet stouts, than this will probably be a bit much.

Pretty decent IS. Not the greatest or most complex out there, but nice. Very accessible for a big beer.

Photo of Doomcifer
2.5/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a very dark brown with a nice 1/2 inch, light brown head that retains very well. Some lacing is left behind with each sip. Aroma is very nutty. Some hints of cocoa, lactose, and a slight roastiness. Taste is is ripe with dark fruits, much alcohol is evident, very sweet, and not much roastiness at all on the palate. This isn't my type of stout at all. Mouthfeel is sort of thin for the style and a little too much carbonation. Not very drinkable in my opinion.

Photo of Jason
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber with no freshness date.

A- Dense foam yields a very sticky tan head with web-like lace all the way down the glass. The brown color is very dark, two shades away from complete black.

S- Big roasted coffee aroma, faint smokiness with a soft malt sweetness and leafy hop in the back.

T&M- Very creamy with a light and smooth carbonation ... heavy body. Layers of roasted grain unfold showing suggestions of French Roasted coffee, dark bakers chocolate and black strap molasses. Nice chewy thickness of malt in the middle with ample sweetness that mixes well with the estery dark berry fruitiness. Sufficient handful of hops helps to balance, finishes a little sweet with a long lingering roasted character and a warming alcohol.

D- Easy to sip on a miserable sleet riddled Boston night. A good pairing with some candied pecans.

Photo of merlin48
4.08/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber pours an opaque, black body. Two finger, beige head of tightly knit foam hangs around for awhile. Patch and sheet lace clings all over the imperial pint glass.

Aroma is unique for style, with a load of dark, rum soaked fruits in the initial whiff. Expected notes of coffee and chocolate follow up. Very enticing aromas.

Mouthfeel is coating, but seems thin for an Imperial Stout.

Very tasty! Chocolate and roasted coffee, with an alcohol kick. Some Kahlua notes here. Dark fruits, again enter the picture, with some rum soaked raisin. Hazelnut emerges midway, and adds some nuttiness. This stout is smooth and creamy, all the way down. Alcohol is well disguised, to be 10%. Black licorice comes into the profile toward the finish, and adds some excitement to the final couple of sips.

Very nice, very smooth, and deceptively strong. An excellent imperial stout here.

Photo of Billolick
4.2/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ouncer, pours jet black, low carbonation and limited tiny bubble head. Wispy lacing. Burnt malt nose. Tasty, strong, vinous Imperial. Notes of expresso beans, chocolate. Not quite as full bodied as some imperials, but this one is tasty and satisfying. Finishes minty clean with some drying hops to scrub the palate and keep the tongue wanting another jolt. Quality sipper.

Photo of tigg924
3.9/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: dark caramel brown, 1/4 inch head

Smell: malt, sugar, sweet cream, and chocolate

Taste: sugar, sweet cream, burnt malt, caramel, alcohol, and milk chocolate

Mouthfeel: heavy body, sweet all the way through, chewy, sticky, next to no feel of carbonation

Drinkability: This one almost feels like the beer equivalent of a boston cream donut. It is stronger sweet RIS. The alcohol is not as pronounced as it it could be. I could have one more..max

Photo of Byeast
3.82/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This impy poured a deep deep brown / almost black , with a tan head of an inch or so. Aroma is deep and roasty , esspresso , dark chocolate , sweet maltyness , and a tinge of alcohol. The taste is very rich and roasty , with a sweet edge to the finish. Flavors include : semi-sweet chocolate , roasty maltiness , sweet malt , bit of hop bitterness , and some alcohol. The mouthfeel is chewy and creamy. Overall i think this is a pretty good imperial stout , the 10% ABV is well hidden , and there is plenty of flavor.

Photo of magictrokini
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours deep mahogany with almost no head. Heavily alcoholic aroma with roasted malt, currants, and tobacco. Sweet, smooth taste of chocolate malt, licorice, cascade-like hops, and an alcohol burn. The one weakness is the alcohol is not masked very well and comes out strong in the end.

Photo of pat61
4.07/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours bright dark brown under a very finely bubbled 1” tan cap that hugs the side of the glass. The aroma is very muted and disappointing. Palate a little molassy sweet up front with roast and chocolate and hints of dark fruit that give way to a big bitter finish. It feel soft and luscious in the mouth with a big body and a little above average carbonation. This is a nice big beer but it is not as well balanced as some.

Photo of far333
4.29/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brownish black and opaque, a vigorous pour produces a very small soapy head that disappears quickly.

Inviting aroma of cocoa and cabernet, marshmallow and currants, some vinous port notes.

Rich flavor of dark chocolate, espresso, tangy cherry, charred bark and port. Hints of marshmallow and licorice. Not a lot of hoppy flavor, but some very sharp bitterness offsets the rich flavors. Smokey tannens linger.

Full mouthfeel, moderate carbonation, slight warming from the ABV strength.

Great RIS, very tasty sipper. Many thanks to joerodiii for sending this one my way.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured out a pitch black appearance, tan head, very slight. Aroma was burnt.

Taste, big huge beer, a little bit of everything in a stout. Burnt malt, chocolate, slight coffee, wood, molasses. Hid the alcohol decently, bitterness was definitely there. Gritty at times. Definitely enjoyed this more as it warmed up, do not drink anywhere near 'cold' it might go down faster, but so many of the nuances packed into one beer aren't as noticeable.

$10 for a 4 pack at John's in Iowa City, this beer is definitely drinkable at that price.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.4/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep black opaque almost incandescent but when held up to the light I was greeted by the darkest of dark amber brown tones. Head is tan a bit thin but I suppose this is due to the alcohol notes Full even ring of lacing and continues this way until the end. Aroma: Deep aromatic tones that send chocolate and coffee sensations due to the roasts used in these beers for certain there are fruit tones here meant to shock and awe. Simply amazing and wonderful the beers in Denver were amazing last summer and I expected this to be no different for the Imperial Stout style as labeled. Taste: Yep this one is treating me well with creamy alcohol infused vinous tones what an amazing beer very complex and oh so good. Thank you Left Hand for bringing it to the table tonight I really needed a flavorful stout. I get plum over ripened simmer in moonshine this is wonderful what a great beer. I need to find more beer like this again and again. Mouthfeel: Is full and viscous just the way I like it what a great beer, my god why can't this be a local brew in this area, certainly a fine ale that's lets every flavor speak it's peace. Drinkability: I wish I could force myself to drink another but something tells me it's one strong ass beer with mucho flavor awesome representation fo the style brings fullness in body and flavor ein prosit!

Photo of pwoods
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

12oz. brown bottle poured into a snifter. Notes.

A: Pours pitch black. Note quite a fingers worth of khaki head. Decent retention and a bit of lacing.

S: Big on the chocolate. Some alcohol is present and smells a bit like bourbon. Dark roasted malts.

T/M: big coffee flavor that's unexpected after the nose. Great bitterness, mostly from the coffee but a bit up front from the hops. Great, thick sweetness from some molasses and a softer sweetness from chocolate. A bit of burnt malt astringency. body is way too thin, I wouldn't even say medium.

D: Easy drinking for an RIS but that's probably from the off style body.

Photo of jbphoto88
3.6/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hmmmm, it pours awfully thin for a Russian Imperial Stout. The beer is dark but not the motor oil look I've come to expect from 10%+ ABV stouts. This is more of a dark mahogany clear beer with an all around ruby glow to the edges. A tan head climbs quickly and recedes twice as fast leaving almost nothing behind.

The smell is rich and malty, with a coffee hint mixed with moderate dark chocolates. Again a little short of what I've come to expect from a RIS but pleasing all the same.

Taste makes up for the weaker scent. There are some larger flavors here previously undetected by the nose. There is an oily slickness to the beer that is all RIS in flavor. Sweet black roasted malts with chocolate and espresso aftertastes. There are marginal dark fruit flavors with a boozy backbone mixed with a floral hoppy bitterness.

Medium to full bodied in its consistency, this beer makes up for lost ground with its flavor. Despite the weak look the character has all the major flavors that you would expect. Looking at it I feel like I'm drinking a light version of a RIS.

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

"A black beer to brighten your day" as the label says. Bottled on 2/22/06.

I picked this up at the Liquor Mart in Boulder, Colorado on my travels. I poured this into my Stone IRS goblet and then started thinking about Stone IRS. Ahh so good. Anyhow this was a fine beer too, not one to compete with Stone's but very few can.

The color was dark as can be with a cereal milk looking head. Coffee, chocolate and toffee dominated the aroma. The taste was much of the same with a slight single malt scotch flavor in the slick finish.

This did brighten my day.

Photo of mentaltraveller
4.38/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at, fittingly, the Tap House. This is an excellent brew. Served in a snifter.
Appearance: Black as night.
Smell: alcohol and dark chocolate
taste: excellent mix of dark chocolate, coffee and alcohol; each flavor is intense in its own right, but this is a well-balanced beer. Each flavor has plenty of room to breathe.
mouthfeel: thick as a brick, with just the right amount of carbonation
overall: a great imperial stout.

Photo of pge17
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

22oz bottle in a Sam Adams Boston Lager glass

Appearance: Very dark brown, almost black. Able to see through it though. A medium tan head. Lacing isn't great but it does leave streaks on the side of the glass.

Smell: A pretty nice sweet malt with an alcohol touch. A bit of coffee if you search for it

Taste: Starts with a roasted malt sweetness and alcohol up front (although the booze is covered up pretty well for a 10.4% brew. Some nice bitter balance to follow. It ends with some nice coffee notes, maybe a hint of roasted cocoa beans.

Mouthfeel: Typical stout thickness, but still very smooth and drinkable, not as syrupy as other imperial stouts.

Notes: A very solid imperial stout, pretty enjoyable

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Left Hand Imperial Stout from Left Hand Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 512 ratings.