Oak Aged Imperial Stout (Brandy Barrel) - Left Hand Brewing Company
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Ratings: 44 | Reviews: 33 | Display Reviews Only:
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
3.83/5 rDev -2.3%
Poured from a bottle into a snifter. It pours a solid brown and forms a 1/4 inch very light tan head leaving a mild lacing.
The aroma is solid with a nice blend of oak and a touch caramel sweetness with the brandy presence lurking and the smacking you in the face. Not overly complex, but good.
The taste is more stout than the nose, with a evenly mixed oak, brandy, caramel malt, and dark chocolate flavors. The is a cherry sweetness toward the end. A nice vanilla backdrop.
The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a low level of carbonation. It goes down smooth and leaves a lingering velvety texture at the back of the palate.
Overall, this is a solid beer. Some of the components could be stronger and others could be a little less stiff, but overall has that stout goodness combined with some of the finer components of brandy.
10-27-2011 04:50:35 | More by SykDoc
3.85/5 rDev -1.8%
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.
09-18-2011 00:36:41 | More by DUBinMIA
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
4.22/5 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
3.95/5 rDev +0.8%
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.
03-06-2011 15:07:23 | More by metter98
3.53/5 rDev -9.9%
This stout has a kind of brownish tint to its otherwise black appearance, meaning that it is opaque but not so stygian so as to look overly daunting. Quite on the contrary. Given that its head is so plump and pillow-y, I'd say it's rather inviting. It's like something out of a mattress commercial and, indeed, I bet I could get a great night's sleep on that thing!
The smell of brandy rises above all other scents - mind you, that couldn't have been hard to do considering how emasculated the base beer seems to be. There's no cocoa or coffee for it to compete with. Only the (pleasant) nuance of tart cherries and a trace of sweetness. The aroma is coy and not the least bit forward, surprising given the beer's specs.
The fact that it tastes like it's only 5% is both good and bad. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy my throat isn't scalded. Who wants that? But when I sign up for an imperial stout that's been aged in barrels that formally held an 80 proof spirit, let's be real, I expect at least some alcohol by way of character or flavour. This is certainly underwhelming.
Chocolate, vanilla, coffee, licorice, cigar - in other words, most all the usual flavours found in a barrel-aged RIS - should have their pictures put on the milk carton. They're nowhere to be found. How a beer so strong, brewed to a style so distinctively lavish, aged in the dwellings of such an intense spirit, can turn out to have so little flavour is a mystery.
One missing piece to the puzzle was heat; some beers benefit from a little warmth - this required it. Raisins, wood, tartness and even the brandy came to the surface but all were still ineffective at adding much complexity. (And this coming from someone who doesn't have a stomach for spirits, so imagine how underwhelmed a true brandy lover must feel!)
Left Hand's 2009 vintage of the brandy-barrel Imperial Stout didn't really live up to its billing. I don't regret buying the one bottle but I'm happy not to have grabbed a second, and am very glad that I didn't leave it in the cellar any longer than I did. As for the purchase of any future vintages, I think I'd be happier just to try something else.
02-02-2011 16:54:43 | More by biegaman
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
4/5 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
3.08/5 rDev -21.4%
A - a good bit of orange red around the edges. Creamy off-white head leaving some lacing.
S - fruits up front, mild brandy and malt. Maybe just a touch of the oak.
T - bitter stout with a taste of brandy. Mild malts and caramel.
M - good coating with a slight tingle on tip and on back of tongue.
D - not bad but I would not want mote than one bottle.
12-21-2010 22:43:08 | More by biglite351
3.73/5 rDev -4.8%
A - Darker Tan/Brown, Quit Limpid, with about 1 Finger of mixed Large and Small bubble Tan Head. The Head also disappears quickly.
S - Smells of Vanilla, Alcohol, Oak, Raisins, All Spice, Chocolate, Cherry, and Brandy.
T - Tastes are really good, with Chocolate, Brandy, Raisins, Vanilla, Coffee, and some Fruitiness that is a little off. The Alcohol is not as harsh in the mouth as it is in the throat.
M - Nice Creaminess, a little Chalky, and also a little too bitter for an aged Stout.
D - Drinkability is very good and for the Alcohol Content, even better. I drank a whole bottle by myself and don't even have a buzz. Where is the Allcohol content on the Bottle?
It is not too Dark/Thick or Light/Thin for a Porter but too light for an Imperial Stout. Bought 2 bottles from different places but didn't scrutinize the label to tell if I got more than one of the Brandy.
12-01-2010 07:16:43 | More by SanDiegoBeerLove
2.9/5 rDev -26%
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.
11-10-2010 19:35:51 | More by ktrillionaire
3.48/5 rDev -11.2%
Head was on the foamy side, tan, two fingers. Black with auburn highlights, gentle carbonation and sheet lace. Good retention. Smells of cherry brandy but not very pronounced. The taste also underlines the brandy presence with a hard candy sweetness. Alcohol initially was not overbearing and, I thought, well handled but with warming there was more alcohol without an equivalent revelation of flavour, which I found to be sorely lacking. A bit of raiisin but not a lot happening in terms of taste. Body was thinner than I expected too . Overall, I was disappointed with this offering from a darn good brewery, I'd like to try it again sometime to see if this was just a one-off downer bottle.
11-04-2010 02:54:18 | More by ThatWineGuy
1.85/5 rDev -52.8%
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.
10-02-2010 13:59:23 | More by waltonc
Oak Aged Imperial Stout (Brandy Barrel) from Left Hand Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 44 ratings.