Oak Aged Imperial Stout (Brandy Barrel) - Left Hand Brewing Company
Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
Ratings: 44 | Reviews: 33 | Display Reviews Only:
4.47/5 rDev +14%
Poured from 22oz brown bomber into a clear oversized wine glass. 2009 vintage. Purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $9.49.
A: Brown-black, opaque, with solid, tightly-bubbled and creamy 1-finger head with good retention for the ABV and lacing all around the glass.
S: Wonderfully complex aroma with oak, vanilla, liquor, roasted dark malt, chocolate, and coffee all there and pretty aggressively hopped in the nose with a nice mix of leafy and floral varieties
T: A superb oak-aged stout. The brandy barrel blending really works in this beer to deliver another flavor punch without overwhelming the palate with liquor and/or alcohol. The roasted malts stop short of char and deliver semisweet chocolate and dark roasted coffee flavors that play very well off of the vanilla and oak followed by the fruity, alcohol of the brandy barrel aging. Alcohol warmth is pleasant and background. The hops are really artfully done with leafy, herbal, and floral touches with a bit of weak orange in there too.
M: Outstanding body, slightly lighter than most high ABV RIS brews, which works well with the low, creamy carbonation. Aftertaste is old ale-like with a bit of the cherry-berry brandy liquor in the finish along with roast.
D: I really like this beer a lot, mainly for the carfeul craftsmanship that shows in the subtle touches. The blending concept works well in their current proportion of 75/25. I am going to buy more of this and put it away for a few years to see what transpires, but this is a very good oak aged imperial stout.
04-15-2010 01:03:09 | More by argock
4.43/5 rDev +13%
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).
05-07-2009 18:04:49 | More by arvjunk
4.4/5 rDev +12.2%
appearance: deep dark black, nearly ebony, loaded head and creamy dark froth.
smell: definitly smell the brandy and brown sugar aroma. some coffee, and chocolate aromas
taste: sublte brandy. perfect not overpwering. rich and slight chocolate roasted flavors but had a smooth rich taste
mouthfeel: thick, creamy, good carbonation and very tasty
drinkability: amazing, first brandy barrell beer and I wasnt let down. world class RIS
01-17-2010 02:26:24 | More by CampusCrew
4.35/5 rDev +11%
Size: 22oz. Bottle
Glassware: General Lafayette Pint Glass
This one poured a dark brown mahoghany, w/ a one-finger tan head that dissipated quickly, leaving a skim coat of froath that lingered. Little to no lacing present. Appears thin for an imperial stout, looks more like a Belgian quad. The nose was fabulous, w/ aromas of strong oak, dark fruits, and light brandy. Taste was mostly the same, woody/oak up front w/ a finish of cherry cordial, brandy, and mild hop bitterness. Mouthfeel was medium bodied resembling a quad. Brew was dangerously drinkable - could not even taste the 10.3% ABV.
Overall, this brew pleasantly surprised me! I had average expectations and this brew far exceeded them. A job well done by Left Hand Brewing - would recommend. Only knock on this brew was I feel it should have been much fuller bodied and viscous, if it was, it would be world-class.
12-17-2009 19:52:19 | More by mikeyv35
4.28/5 rDev +9.2%
Good beer, lacks some of the comlexities found in the earlier vintages. Pours a rusty black with a nice tan head. Nose has big malts, pitted fruits, piney hops and a nice brandy presence. Brandy character is well noticed in teh taste as well. Good balance with the bitter hops and sweet roasty malts. Medium body could use a bit more depth. Nice offering from left hand.
05-09-2009 06:26:11 | More by rye726
4.22/5 rDev +7.7%
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
03-22-2011 23:53:28 | More by IronMickey
4.13/5 rDev +5.4%
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.
02-02-2011 04:20:58 | More by jsanford
4.13/5 rDev +5.4%
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.
03-06-2010 02:19:57 | More by MrStark
4.13/5 rDev +5.4%
Was fairly surprised to see this down here - I picked it right up.
Pour looks sufficiently evil as the bottle label suggests - a nice ruddy brown, some decent foam.
Doesn't smell too boozy. Some roastiness evident, even a little grape. Chocolate-covered cherry, I thought.
My first few sips were way too cold; I didn't taste a whole hell of a lot. When it warms, though, you really get grape spirits coming through. Let it warm all the way up to room temperature. Roast coffee and some vinous overtones. Big beer for sure, but that's why you bought this. The spirit and barrel quality leaves this beer finishing pretty dry, so have a glass of water nearby.
Feel is thick and substantive as you would expect.
Not a quick drinker by any means, but I could sip on the contents of this bomber for a couple hours.
08-15-2009 02:43:08 | More by Patrick999
4.1/5 rDev +4.6%
Poured 22oz bottle into a pint mug, repeat as needed
A: completely opaque bottle brown nearing black, good head, carbonation remains visible in my glass mug. very nice
S: malty dark, smooth some fruit hints, STOUT
T: starts very bitter, strong malt, comes around more chocolate than coffee. brandy is a good pairing with a strong stout
M: thick syrupy, STOUT but a little carbonation remains, nicely done
D: quite rich but remains faintly bitter. take it slowly
I prefer the Full Sail burbon aged imperial stout, but this had a very good price for the ABV and didn't dissapoint. The bitterness makes it hard to share with friends. I'll definitely have this again in a snifter.
Next morning: average after-effects, not too hard for a dark beer
05-11-2009 05:32:57 | More by karlthepagan
4.08/5 rDev +4.1%
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.
05-18-2009 03:11:24 | More by Bung
4.03/5 rDev +2.8%
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.
12-27-2009 20:22:05 | More by dqrull
4.03/5 rDev +2.8%
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.
08-28-2011 21:29:04 | More by jmdrpi
4.01/5 rDev +2.3%
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.
05-16-2014 02:40:32 | More by auxiliary
4/5 rDev +2%
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
11-14-2009 04:49:08 | More by blackie
4/5 rDev +2%
JustinA1 whipped this one out last night. Thanks dude!
2009 bottle poured into a Cigar City snifter.
Appearance: Black body shows a fair amount of light around the edges. A thick layer of creamy, khaki-tan froth sits on top and retains well, eventually descending to moderate-sized crown. Solid lacing all the way down. I'm a little disappointed with the coloration of this beer, but otherwise it looks great.
Smell: Red currants and brandy sharpness jump out to me immediately. The second whiff brings dark chocolate and a honey-like note (from the brandy?). The brandy oak barrel plays a large role in this beer's aroma, although the alcohol is still kept in check. Intriguing. I don't think I've had a brandy barrel-aged beer before.
Taste: Dark chocolate, char, caramel, and brandy are all readily apparent. Wholegrain wheat bread and oats find their place as consistent background flavors. Roasted barley and brandy combine in the finish, but as with the smell, the alcohol is essentially kept in check.
Mouthfeel: Pretty thin for the style, but it offers a very creamy, and even fluffy, feel that's quite enjoyable. Finishes warm and dry, but not to a point of being harsh. Feels a lot like a regular American stout with extra warmth.
Drinkability: Solid throughout and certainly interesting. This wouldn't be a regular purchase for me, but it'd be fun to share again.
01-28-2011 01:50:00 | More by ThreeWiseMen
Oak Aged Imperial Stout (Brandy Barrel) from Left Hand Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 44 ratings.