Oak Aged Imperial Stout (Brandy Barrel) - Left Hand Brewing Company
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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
3.25/5 rDev -17.1%
22oz bottle, 2009 vintage (Brandy barrel). Served cool room temp in a Duvel tulip.
Pours brown with a good beige head that doesn't maintain much of a cap and leaves only a few spots of lacing. Thinner and lighter colored than many for this style.
First aroma is pretty strong on the vanilla and oak, but it fades over time, also features caramel malts, brown sugar, bread/toast, a little chocolate and coffee.
Flavor is caramel, vanilla, brown sugar, a little chocolate and coffee, rather sweet overall, a bit of alcohol burn at the end. More toasted than roasted and more caramel than chocolate.
Mouthfeel is medium/thin with low carbonation, oily.
Hmmmm, kinda a strange beer for an imperial stout, it reminds me more of the Backwoods Bastard I've been drinking the crap out of than other imperial stouts. Enjoyable overall, but taking style into consideration hurts this one somewhat.
04-06-2010 02:37:13 | More by elgiacomo
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
3.18/5 rDev -18.9%
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.
01-31-2010 22:16:30 | More by wnh
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
4.03/5 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
4.35/5 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
4/5 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
3.9/5 rDev -0.5%
A: This beer pours a deep dark chocolate brown with slightly lighter brown edges when held to the light. Two finger of khaki head that recedes to a 1/4 inch film that retains the length of the beer, some spotty wispy lacing is left on the glass.
S: Nose is of brandy, booze, and a touch of chocolate. The brandy really overpowers the nose even once thoroughly warmed.
T: Taste is brandy and caramel malts up front, which paves way to a gentler chocolate and toffee flavoring, hints of roasted malts, finish is of molasses and another strong boozy kick.
M: Medium body with moderate carbonation, a somewhat sticky feel to the beer with an uber dry finish.
D: This is definitely a sipper that is nicely done.
11-05-2009 22:45:31 | More by Jayli
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
3.9/5 rDev -0.5%
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.
08-01-2009 01:48:20 | More by Gmann
3.18/5 rDev -18.9%
A really nice looking pour. Dark, slight ruby hints, and a good billowing head. A bit soapy, but nice retention and lace for the strength.
Wet prunes, vanilla, slight oak, alcohol and coffee make the aroma a bit divided. Nothing strong here. Perhaps vanilla sticks out more.
Chocolate and coffee taste at first. Mild oak and raisins in the middle. The alcohol is not covered very well, but the burn is stopped by a mild, wet, vanilla. Rounded out with a bit of dull chardonnay.
1/2 pint was it for me. good to try, but won't have it again.
07-25-2009 09:22:06 | More by Mebuzzard
3.88/5 rDev -1%
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.
07-23-2009 22:02:33 | More by jlindros
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
4.1/5 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
4.28/5 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
4.43/5 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
3.53/5 rDev -9.9%
Pours nearly opaque with tan head that dissipates to a thin rim layer.
Nose has a dark fruity-caramel boozy quality, with a background nougat candy component. Some raisins too. Maybe some faint chocolate in the background.
Alcohol is apparent on the palate as well, with a spirity fruit element up front, light roasted malt quality midway, and herbal but boozy on the finish.
This is one of the most spirit-like beers I've had in a long time. Don't let it warm too much.
05-06-2009 03:10:32 | More by yemenmocha
3.68/5 rDev -6.1%
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.
04-12-2009 02:00:16 | More by cjgator3
Oak Aged Imperial Stout (Brandy Barrel) from Left Hand Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 44 ratings.