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Left Hand Imperial Stout - Left Hand Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Left Hand Imperial StoutLeft Hand Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

507 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 507
Reviews: 429
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 12.57%
Wants: 30
Gots: 14 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: UncleJimbo on 01-27-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 507 | Reviews: 429 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of meathookjones
3.73/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber. This poured out a lighter black color almost a dark brown with a light tan head. The head grew gradually as the bubbles cascaded to the top of the glass to form the head, it disappeared soon after leaving little lace or evidence it was ever there. Dark fruits stand out the most in nose with a bit of coffee and earthy hops mingling about. There are also notes of maple syrup. The flavor was of sweet malts with a bit of coffee and spice thrown in. Earthy hops were present as well along with a bit of sourness. The finish had a nice lingering coffee flavor. Mouthfeel was about medium a little thin for the style but still creamy. Drinkability is fairly good with no alcohol being present in the taste or smell but a warming effect is noticed after a few sips. Overall a decent imperial stout but not one that I would put high up on my list of favorites for the style.

meathookjones, Jul 26, 2004
Photo of Crosling
3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This was the first sample of an Imperial Stout tasting that I had a few days ago. It was followed by Stone Imperial Russian Stout, Great Divide Yeti and Bell's Expedition. It was by far the worst of the four.

Dark Brown.

The nose was dry, with a prominent cocoa base and other notes of chocolate, coffee and black currants.

Front is light and airy with dark fruits (blackberries and plums). Mid palate is mainly coffee and chocolate. Finish is rich and lingering with notes of cinnamon, toffee and hop resins. Slighty astringent and moderate sourness. Cloying. Too hoppy for the style.

Crosling, Jul 25, 2004
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown to black color, with a light brown head. A rich dry aroma of chocolate malt, espresso, and malt-balls wafts from my glass. Hmm, this is very malty in the taste, and not in the conventional way for an Imperial Stout. It does not have the roast character that one usually sees, instead there is a smooth malt ball / chocolate malt character that dominates. This is slightly on the thin side, though there is a certain creamy richness here. The bitterness from any hops is almost non-existant. This has a very chocolaty taste, and finishes with an alcohol note so that together I am reminded of a chocolated liquor. This just doesn't do it for me, there is somthing lacking here.

Gueuzedude, Jul 09, 2004
Photo of Winter
3.33/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Black, but not opaque, as auburn highlights poke through the body of this stout. Brown head that sinks to a surface covering after the first sip. Straight-forward aroma of chocolate malt that remains rather vinous. Full-bodied mouthfeel, but borders on medium at times. Not as consistent as other quality imperial stouts. The taste is very vinous upfront. Noticable alcohol makes is presence known midway, followed by a burnt malt and molasses flavor. Some husky grain thrown in there too. Finish is charred and alcoholic. Overall, this an above average imperial stout with some "oomph" behind it.

Winter, May 27, 2004
Photo of merlin48
4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
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.

merlin48, May 20, 2004
Photo of ppoitras
4.6/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle obtained via trade with BierReise. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" of slightly light brown head above the almost-opaque-but-not-quite dark, dark mahogany brew. Malty, somewhat sweet aroma, with a touch of cereal, I think. Taste is excellent, nice and malty, yet a bit of restraint on the sometimes bitter super-dark malts. Very tasty. Seems a bit low on the carbonation, but imperials sometimes have that tendency, so we'll overlook that today. Also ends with a nice warming down to the tummy, but at a pleasant "I'm here" level, not the "hit you over thead" level. Worth seeking out, for sure.

ppoitras, Apr 02, 2004
Photo of TripelJ
4.35/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Now Quaffing: Left Hand Imperial Stout ~ 650ml

Pours a thick and extremely dark, ruddy brown with an agressive tan head. Rings of lacing all the way down the glass as I progress. The aroma is sweet with hints of cocoa and faint licorice. The taste and mouthfeel is where this beer shines. Thick, smooth and creamy with a combination of milk and dark chocolate with just a hint of licorice. As the beer warms hops are detected in the finish, hiding behind the fading chocolate goodness. As the beer nears room temperature, it takes vinous characteristics, dark cherries, acidic, dry finish. There is a slight alcoholic presence in the taste, but it is shadowed by the wonderful symphony of roasted malts. Be careful, however as you will be reminded rather quickly of the 10% abv. Overall, the best offering from Left Hand yet, and a heavyweight contender in the imperial stout category.

TripelJ, Mar 10, 2004
Photo of bewley
4.15/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber found in FL, drunk in MA.

During the first few sips the scent of alcohol seemed quite apparent, unpleasantly so in fact, but this dispersed within a minute. It has a coffee/chocolate/nut-like flavor and it's very smoooth on the tongue. Sort of creamy and medium thick and weird (in a nice way of course).

I only bought one and wish I had more of it. I'm now eyeing my fiance's glass in fact. Poor gal, having to marry an Indian giver . . . "Hey hon, you don't really like that awful beer I just poured for you, now do you?"

bewley, Feb 09, 2004
Photo of BitteBier
4.38/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear but very dark brown color with red highlights. Minimal but persistent head with a decent cling down the side of the glass. Rich, caramel/chocolate malts dominate the formidable nose, complemented by lighter scents of hops and alcohol. The mouthfeel is interesting--atypically clean for a stout but at the same time rich, with a powdery texture like instant hot cocoa that isn't fully dissolved. Rich, creamy malts dominate the taste, though hops and alcohol warmth show up in the long-lingering finish.

BitteBier, Jan 21, 2004
Photo of rkhaze
4.38/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a dark, dark murky brown just this side of black. Tan head that barely formed before becoming one with the body. Minimal lace. Heavy aroma of a dark chocolate malt with some coffee, cherries and alcohol.
Taste followed the aroma. A rich, creamy chocolate malt with hints of coffee, red fruit, licorice and alcohol. Nice spicy/tangy hop balance. Scrumptious!
Really creamy viscous mouthfeel. Definitly a dessert beer.

rkhaze, Dec 20, 2003
Photo of CRJMellor
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured black with red highlights, a thin white head is produced with staying power. Aroma of coffee, wheat bread and maybe some dark fruits (raisins or prunes ?). Feels great in the mouth, very chewy. Starts very sweet with some milk chocolate flavors and the switches to a real roasted, burnt coffee taste then finishes with a touch of bitterness and some more sweetness. I would almost classify as a sweet stout.

CRJMellor, Dec 15, 2003
Photo of Darkale
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Aroma is sweet milk chocolate with a whiff of hops. Black body and a fat-bubbled, cappucino-colored head.

Nice and thick and chewy in the mouth. Very full -- seems to blossom as it is chewed. Ends slick with a coat over the tongue and teeth.

Taste is sweet with burn around the edges. Slick, chocolatey, with a hint of cherries.

The aftertaste is more sour than I would like. It seems to leave something in the mouth that is not entirely pleasant.

Darkale, Nov 12, 2003
Photo of UncleJimbo
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

25 oz brown bottle, capped, no date.

This imperial stout poured a very dark, red-brown (almost black) color with bubbly, brown foam (with coaxing). The smell was a strong, sweet, dark-malty aroma with chicory-like, piney, resinous hops, and some hazelnut, and a hint of sherry. The taste was on the sweet side with dark malt, caramel, coffee, resinous hops, nuts (hazelnut), and some alcohol. The taste mellowed and improved as the glass warmed. The mouthfeel was smooth, and sweet on the tongue with medium-full body and modest carbonation. The flavors lingered on the tongue. It was slightly warming. This was a good imperial stout to be enjoyed slowly.

UncleJimbo, Oct 20, 2003
Photo of beerguy101
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark black eclipse color. Small head. Aroma is very choclately, dark fruits and a touch of vanilla. A full bodied Imperial Stout. Malts are chocolate, with touches of dark fruit, rum, vanilla and smoke. Hops are mild and spicy. A very complex imperial stout. Nice and smooth taste, creamy and nearly silky. Hides the 10% alcohol very well. This is a very nice Imperial Stout. This beer get much better as it get near 55-60 degrees, more of the complex flavors come out at that temperature. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and very smooth. Aftertaste is slightly bitter with a touch of coffee and chocolate.

beerguy101, Oct 10, 2003
Photo of StevieW
4.18/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber bottles, oddly showing up in Florida now.
Dark as you would expect from an Imperial Stout. Lacked the purple to brown hues that ting the edges of some others. That's not a big deal, though. Medium color, thick, bubbly khaki colored head. Roasted bitter smells, just whiffs of epsresso, dark chocolate. Not a lot of roasted fruits etc. But it was roasted enough to keep you happy. Taste was very rich, smooth and balanced. Stiking roasted bitterness. Lots of coffee, and chocolate with just a hint of alcohol at the ends. Hops presence is clear. Nicely done, Full bodied, but not glug, glug, glug mode. A meal in a glass. I agree with BierRiese a very good find in Florida.

StevieW, Oct 08, 2003
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.4/5  rDev +15.2%
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!

WVbeergeek, Oct 05, 2003
Photo of Dogbrick
4.43/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz Bottle: Pours a nearly black color that kind of reminded me of a Porter the way a little light was let in. Thick beige head that did not last too long. Thin lacing. The aroma consists of sweet malt and caramel but with a strong roasted coffee presence as well. Full-bodied with a nice blend of coffee, chocolate, toffee and malt flavors. Alcohol is not very evident in the flavor. The finish is rich and satisfying and has some hops to it. This is a solid Imperial.

Dogbrick, Sep 19, 2003
Photo of BierReise
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bomber. Give me another one. Please?? This was a great find here in Florida. Fantastic Imperial stout. Mahogany colored with a frothy head which settled down but completely laced the glass. Aroma was like bitter sweet chocolate and reminded me of Kahlua. Also showing notes of espresso coffee and an overall excellent aroma. Mouthfeel is super smooth, soft and extremely easy to drink. Flavor also excellent, coffee, chocolate, roasted barley and again flavors similar to Kahlua. I'm extremely pleased with this imperial and recommend it highly.

BierReise, Sep 02, 2003
Photo of jcalabre
2.88/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Appearance: For an Imperial Stout, this is extrememly light bodied. It's almost translucent with some red bricking.
Aroma: The nose has some notes of coffee and chocolate
Flavor: I would characterize this as a beginner's Imperial Stout. It's pretty easy drinking, but certainly lacks the depth & richness of other imperials, like Stone, Alesmith, Avery & Bell's.

jcalabre, Aug 18, 2003
Photo of aracauna
3.65/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Surprisingly pale color. You can actually see through a good bit of the edges. Nice light khaki head. Light aroma where the hops actually stand over the malt. Pretty standard stout flavors leaning on the roasty side. The lingering hop bitterness has an oddness to it that I can't seem to place. The flavor is light for the style. It's a bit syrupy. Only the fruitiness suggests that this truly is an imperial stout instead of just a normal strenght sweet stout. It's sort of an Imperial Stout light. The sturdy, creamy body is a bit of a surprise after the color and and flavor. This is a surprisingly easy-drinking imperial stout despite the sweetness.

aracauna, Aug 08, 2003
Photo of JohnnyDuvel
3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This stout reminded me of the Bell's java stout. The same "burnt popcorn" taste, like coffee grounds were dumped in. Not as strong or dry as the Bell's, and I did enjoy the overall effect. Ultimately too bitter for me to really recommend this, but unique amongst most of the competition. You'll feel good when your done, but you may not enjoy getting there!

JohnnyDuvel, Jun 17, 2003
Photo of philipt
4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had a decision to make today -- faithfully good beers or a new beer (Left Hand Imp Stout). I was close to going with a beer that I've had before and enjoyed, but then I suddenly stopped and said, "NO! Do some thing new and different." So I did, and am rather happy with the result -- Left Hand Imperial Stout.

A very dark red-amber in color with a small or large head, depending on pouring style and preference. This beer would have gained substantial appearance points if it was abysmally black. Maly aroma, with some expresso and chocolate hints but not easily distinguishable. The taste is initially sweet followed quickly by a roasted malt/coffee flavor. The alcohol is present but not prominent. This beer is quite drinkable.

philipt, May 31, 2003
Photo of Wildman
4.13/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a dark ruby red color and formed a light tan foamy head that left circular lace as it subsided. Some carbonation was present. An aroma of malt, coffee and chocolate. A flavor of malt, coffee and chocolate. A bit of burnt chocolate is present in the finish with warm aspect of the alcohol present. A bit lighter than other imperials, but a good stout, nonetheless.

Wildman, May 17, 2003
Photo of marc77
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A shade shy of black, with brilliantly clear deep crimson when held to light. Initially thick beige head settles into a thin, dense layer that manages sparse lace. Deeply roasted, slightly burnt, unmalted barley and bittersweet dark chocolate malt dominate the aroma, with secondary notes of buttery diacetyl and raisiny dark caramel. Fruitiness in aroma is mild, consisting of understated notes of fermenting, alcoholic prunes. Solvent like fusels thankfully diminish as the beer breathes. Rich, milk chocolate sweetness hits the palate upfront, then is ensued by a brief surge of roasted grain bitterness, which in turn is superceded by notes of heaty alcohol and buttery caramel. Impression of bourbon soaked raisins and prunes emerges mid palate. Mild hop bitterness is overrun by malt sweetness, lending a sweet overall balance. Moderate in body, with a lightly dextrinous mouthfeel that could use a touch more viscosity to support the malt character. Finishes long, with hints of floral hops and toffeeish sweetness, but otherwise with lingering roasted grain bitterness and spicy, peppery ethanol on the tip of the tongue and lips. Ethanol spice widens into a throat enveloping warmth after a short deliberation. A delicious and rich brew, with a pronounced alcohol character. This imperial could use cellaring to smooth out the light, but perceptible harshness. Regardless it's highly enjoyable and a fine bellywarmer for this frigid plains winter night. Big thanks to Jaybeerman for the bomber!

marc77, Feb 24, 2003
Photo of comat0se
4.18/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Malts: 2-Row, Chocolate, Crystal, Flaked Oats, Munich, Roasted & Black Barley
Hops: East Kent Goldings & Magnum
Original Gravity: 22 Plato ( 1.092 )
IBU's: 65
ABV: 10%

Based on last weekend's tasting at the brewery, I'd be remiss not to re-review this. I had the chance to have this on tap on CO2 as well as Nitro. I'll have to say that I liked the CO2 version better, but it also almost seemed overcarbonated. The beer there was nice, rich, and smooth, not harsh at all, and in fact, you couldn't hardly detect the alcohol. Much different than the bottle I had earlier. I think this beer will definitely benefit from aging given my two experiences. I have readjusted the scores based on the beer I had on tap.

22 oz bottle

Very dark beer with red highlights, pours with a tan creamy head. Mild, unsweetened chocolate aroma. Thick, full mouthfeel, with roasted malt (needs a bit more I think), chocolate, and dark fruit, malt flavors with a fairly harsh alcohol finish. Reading others that say that they feel the alcohol is well hidden is definitely surprising to me. Perhaps since I live rather close to the brewery, I got a very fresh bottle that simply needed to mellow out some. I deducted the taste and drinkability scores here because the alcohol was so harsh in the finish and each sip becoming more and more sharp and harsh. I should get another bottle to age...

comat0se, Feb 03, 2003
Left Hand Imperial Stout from Left Hand Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 507 ratings.