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Oak Aged Imperial Stout (Brandy Barrel) - Left Hand Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Oak Aged Imperial Stout (Brandy Barrel)Oak Aged Imperial Stout (Brandy Barrel)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

33 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 33
Hads: 48
Avg: 3.85
pDev: 13.77%
Wants: 7
Gots: 9 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Left Hand Brewing Company visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: cjgator3 on 04-12-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
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Reviews: 33 | Hads: 48
Reviews by DUBinMIA:
Photo of DUBinMIA
3.82/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

served from a bottle into a tulip. Black with some transparency when poured. 1/2 in head with no foam. no lace.

smell is kinda bland... faint dark fruit notes and malt. some oak and alcohol aroma.

taste is malt with some coffee flavor. fig or date like flavor then alchol warming takes over. finished with a malt and vanilla flavor.... no hops noted for this Imperial Stout.

decent body that allows flavors to absorb on the palate

overall a good beer from a brewery that i am still iffy on.... doesn't match the style in my opinion due to lack of hops and complex flavor but its a good beer all in all.

 608 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of cjgator3
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Underground Bluz in Orlando, FL. Pours a dark black color with a light tan head. The aroma is dark roasted malts with hints of coffee and a touch of oak and a good amount of alcohol. The taste like the aroma is dark and roasty with a warming finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. This is a definitely a sipper. Worth a try.

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Photo of Gmann
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours the deepest of brown colors with an average tan head that settles into a sparse cap but thick ring. The aroma is of roasted malt, chocolate, and mocha. All of which are fairly mellow. There is kind of a boozy sweet aroma as well. Traditional RIS flavors with a nice robust roasted malt, bitter chocolate with some coffee notes. The RIS flavors are mellowed by the brandy influence which adds a honey like sweetness followed by a grapey tartness. Some harsh alcohol flavor from the brandy barrel. Could use some aging to mellow this out. Nice fully body with a chewy feel, tingley carbonation cuts the malt body making it more drinkable. It is sweet, yet bitter finishes sticky. A nice barrel aged stout. A little harsh in the booze factor. Good to age for a minimum of a year.

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Photo of Bung
4.07/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. Dark brown pour with a dark tan head. A little lacing. Aroma has nice roast malt, chocolate, molasses and a little booze. Body is a bit thin, as was hinted at by the less than motor oil pour. Flavors are nice however, with molasses, roast malt, chocolate, vanilla and some boozy oak. Finish with just a hint of coffee. The thinness really detracted from making this a great stout, but still worth trying. Drinkability is very good for such a large abv.

 459 characters

Photo of mdimeglio
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%

Photo of jsanford
4.09/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was one of the big Imperial Stouts that sparked my love of craft beers. Haven't had it in a bit, here's hoping it's as good as I remember. Poured into a tulip glass. 2009 vintage.

A - Very dark brown with slight red highlights. Limp-looking 1-finger khaki-colored head fades quickly, leaving a slight haze and a thin ring.
S - Dark roasted malt, raisins and prunes, brown sugar, vanilla, coffee and chocolate. There's a lot going on here, the brandy barrel aging brings much to the table.
T - Again, there's a ton of flavors in here. Dark roasted malt, coffee, bitter chocolate provide support while the raisins, figs, prunes and brown sugar provide the kick. You know what this tastes like? A Raisinet, the chocolate-coated raisin candy. Yum.
M - Slick, with a medium body and low carbonation. Thinner body then I'd like. Very dry finish, like eating a piece of chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa in it.
D - Despite the ABV, I'm having no issue sipping on this. I could see this pairing extremely well with various dessert offerings.

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Photo of guytyping
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%

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

consumed the eve of day two of the great flood of '09

a: brooklyn snifter serving, the pour generates a healthy mocha colored head, good retention and light lace, the beer itself is a very dark brown in color - chestnut with hues of red

s: charred roasts smoothed and sweetened with dark caramel and black malt, bitter chocolate chunks, it shows that this is a blend of both oaked and unoaked - as the aromatic wood is in great balance, much more would overwhelm the relatively light ris base, great brandy - far from too boozy, fruits include prune and raisin with spiced fruitcake at times, piney hops

m: light carbonation in a beer that straddles the boundaries of medium and full, smooth

t: a heavily caramelized structure holds up dark roasted barley and bitter chocolate, more caramel here than in the chocolate/coffee-heavy monsters that are all the rage these days, nice smooth oak balance with distant glimpses of vanilla - the brandy itself not very powerful but noticeable, pine hops move in as the dry roast develops coffee flavors, moderately bitter finish

d: a more conservative ris, but really well complimented by the brandy barrel aging, nice bomber to sit with over a few hours

bomber from Grape & Gourmet, Virginia Beach, VA

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Photo of DrBier
3.91/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of metter98
3.93/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a thin off white head.
S: Light aromas of brandy from the barrel aging process are present in the nose.
T: The taste has flavors of dark malts and brandy with some notes of roasted malts. There are hints of cherries in the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied and very smooth on the palate with a light amount of carbonation.
D: The beer goes down very easily because for the most part the alcohol is well masked from the taste.

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Photo of IronMickey
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 oak-aged russian imperial stout that had been in my closet for over a year

A: translucent, dark caramel, borderline chocolate. a finger-thick head, light khaki. held to light it's definitely translucent with carbonation visible

S: strong on the brandy, hints of caramel, raisins, and cherries

T: same as the smell, even stronger on the brandy and raisins... the hops definitely appear to have mellowed to a smoothness

M: very, very smooth. reflective of the aging. carbonation is present but not overbearing. slight alcohol finish

D: pleasant but powerful. not a mild side beer-- makes its presence known while drinking. enjoyable through-and-through but not something I would or could drink everyday due to the perks of aging

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Photo of auxiliary
4.01/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

2009 version, opened for news year 2013(notes)

Poured a nice brown head, still some carbonation here.
Smells of malt, dark chocolate, coffee.
Taste starts bitter, malt, and then chocolate, hints if brandy here too.
Thick mouthfeel, syrupy like.
Great beer, love stouts and strong beers, wish I had another one of these.

 321 characters

Photo of wethorseblanket
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of donkeyrunner
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of AW311
3.2/5  rDev -16.9%

Photo of jlindros
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bomber into large snifter.

A: Very dark brown color with very slight brown light sneaking through at the bottom, almost no head to speak of

N: Nose is complex with lots of chocolate, coffee, oats, a slightly sour yeastiness, a little roasted malt, slight hop, and touch of alcohol

T: Taste starts with roasted malts, chocolate, and coffee, creamy, a little sourness, some oatmeal, some toasted oats, lots of alcohol, some nice oak, but a slight taste of some off flavors maybe some diacetyl, or oxidation, not quite sure.

M: Mouth feel is very thick and sticks to the tongue, its also spicey and has some burn from the alcohol

F: Finish is a little spicey and alcohol burn with lots of finishing bitter hops and stout, it is partly sweet but evaporates off the tongue easily

Final thoughts: Its a very complex beer with lots of dark stout flavors and alcohol, oak, and very tasty, but there seems to be an off flavors that I can't exactly pinpoint. That's something I need to work on to get better at picking out the off flavors. I've tasted this quite a few times in my homebrew too, but aging it seemed to mellow it out or even get rid of it completely.

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Photo of wnh
3.2/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2009 vintage.
22 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours an opaque black topped by a large foamy khaki-colored head.

I'm not very familiar with brandy, but I can only assume that brandy is what I'm smelling on the nose, as the aroma(s) I'm getting I've never noticed in a stout before. Funky bloomy rind cheese (think Brie) on the forefront (off flavor? hard to say), turning toward sweet overripe apples, raisins, subtle oaky notes of vanilla and toasted coconut, and a faint whiff of dark chocolate and roast. Not a stout-forward imperial stout, and not an oak-forward oak-aged stout. Interesting, and quite complex, but I can't say that I particularly like it.

With all that is in the nose, this beer is disappointingly flat on the palate. A bit of sweet caramel on the entry, turning toward mushy, partially oxidized apples alongside dark chocolate, finishing earthy and dry and a bit flinty. Mild roasted barley undertones throughout. Full bodied and firmly dry, with little lingering flavor after the swallow, though a faintly sour cherry note is evident--more a feel than a flavor. Toffee flavor emerges as the beer warms.

An interesting (read: not particularly good) take on the style. Complex, to be sure, but seems to miss the mark on the whole. I'm not sure what to do with the Brie-like cheese note (which is in the nose only, not on the palate; and which, it should be said, fades about halfway through the 22 oz.), but it seems to meld with the apple and raisin brandy notes so perhaps they both come from the brandy barrels. Whatever the case, I think a smaller portion aged in the brandy barrels would have been better, as even 25% has taken over this beer, leaving little imperial stout character behind. As an imperial stout fan, this is disappointing, but as a beer fan I can give this some respect. Seems like it would fit better under the broad "American Strong Ale" category.

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Photo of waltonc
1.87/5  rDev -51.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Cracked open a bottle of this with bardwashrind. 2009 vintage. Unfortunately it hasn't held up well. It has gone downhill quite a bit in just one year. Pours dark brown with white head. Smell and taste are dominated by oxidation. There's a brandy quality here, but it seems to have made the beer worse, if anything. Some notes of vanilla. There's also an overwhelming quality to the taste that I can't describe better than to say it's almost like plastic. And that's what ultimately led me to pour this down the drain. Body is very thin for such a high abv stout.

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Photo of dqrull
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look really beautiful with a tan head that sticks to the glass in a really appealing way, the beer itself is black with hints of red at the edges. The foam doesn't dissipate entirely, but makes a sexy lid on top of the brew.

Smells really strong of roasted maltyness backed up by a very present cognac-like fruityness and vanilla, smells really massive, but good.

The same cognac-like fruitness is present in the taste as in the smell, a little more prominent here though. The strong malt prescense is made smooth and easy on the palate with the distinct presence of oats, there are also a fair amount of vanilla here, kind of a sweet vanilla taste that almost becomes too much, but just almost.

Creamy and nice, rather viscous in the mouth, foams up nicely with a swirl on the toungue.

Circumstances forced me to drink this beer faster than you should, so the sweet vanilla got a bit sickly, but I feel that it would be unfair to lower the grade because of that, since this beer really is a sipper, and a great tasting one, makes me glad since I haven't really enjoyed left hands brews much in the past.

 1,109 characters

Photo of Spider889
5/5  rDev +29.9%

Photo of irishpride
4.24/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of ktrillionaire
2.89/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - It pours a deep brown, capped with a light wispy tan froth.

S - Lots of toffee and raisin, not so much roast, and there is a strange vitamin smell that reminds me of the health food store.

T - The dark fruit is pronounced, the Brandy is apparent on the finish, and the hallmarks of the style are lacking or absent (i.e. chocolate, coffee, roast, etc.) There are some impressions of black cherry, almond and licorice that complement the raisin-toffee maltiness. Its okay.

M - A bit thin. And it dries your mouth out on the finish.

D - Mehhh. It is not a terrible beer, but it is not a good BA-RIS either.

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Photo of MrStark
4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 22oz bottle courtesy of EasyReader. Poured into a snifter glass.

Appearance is a fairly opaque dark brown brown with a one finger tan colored head.

Smell has hints of coffee and a bit of chocolate and the oak is fairly noticeable but overall not a prominent scent.

Taste is pretty mild and sweet for the style. The oak is present adding to the coffee, chocolate and some fruit as well I believe. There is also the nice touch of the brandy in there that sets it off quite nicely.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with minimal carbonation. It goes down pretty smooth with the alcohol lingering on the tongue for a bit.

Drinkability is pretty good. A little different than others I've had from the style with the nice touch of the brandy in it. Its pretty easy drinking for me but I'd say one bottle would be good enough for one time. Overall a nice and relaxing brew.

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Photo of jmdrpi
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

served on tap in a snifter.

appears black as coal, with thin tan head. very pleasant aroma of big roasty flavors, coffee, bitter cocoa, and hints of the oak aging. The taste is very similar, with a bit of boozy alcohol in there as well.

Unfortunately the body is a little thin for the style, a heavier body would match the bold flavors better I feel. Moderate carbonation level.

Overall - a very solid beer, if they thicken it up it would be among the best Oak Aged stouts.

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Photo of arvjunk
4.44/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bomber into a snifter

A - Dense black, slow forming thin head, looks & pours like molasses

S - Blackstrap molasses, raisins, cola, coffee, vanilla, chocolate, oak, and many many more things. Everytime I come back to it, it smells a little different

T - dense, rich coffee, raisins, molasses, oak, a little bitterness that adds some balance to an increbibly thick beer.

M - thick, dense, FULL bodied

D - Screams steak or a big fat juicy unadulterated burger. 10% alcohol not prominent hidden by the richness of this beer. Goes down very smooth (a little scary).

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Oak Aged Imperial Stout (Brandy Barrel) from Left Hand Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 33 ratings.