Barrel-Aged Wake Up Dead - Left Hand Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Barrel-Aged Wake Up DeadBarrel-Aged Wake Up Dead

Educational use only; do not reuse.

280 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 280
Reviews: 136
rAvg: 3.43
pDev: 21.28%
Wants: 23
Gots: 42 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Left Hand Brewing Company visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: mcallister on 08-02-2010

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 280 | Reviews: 136
Reviews by ghengisflan:
Photo of ghengisflan
1.56/5  rDev -54.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

After taking a swig, I checked the expiration date to see if the beer had expired. Okay, it was brewed 6 months ago. I gave it the benefit of the doubt and tried again. It still tasted very oxidized and worse; the taste is like a cacophony of grass, old raisin, and sour licorice overwhelming the normal chocolate and coffee flavors I would expect from a stout. I had high hopes for this beer, but it more than disappointed.

It didn't smell great either.

More User Reviews:
Photo of mverity
3.24/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours a hearty black with 1/4 inch of medium tan head that faded fairly quickly into sparse wisps and med-thin collar. Pretty good legs, but only fair lacing. Aroma is warm woody bourbon, earthy/roasty/smoky malt, and black coffee. Taste is that roasty/smoky malt, bitter coffee, licorice, burnt hair and boozey heat. Not terrible, just unbalanced. Mouthfeel is a bit thin, that high alcohol definitely shows and it's a touch over carbonated.

Photo of Tabni
4.55/5  rDev +32.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber at TW for $8.99
Poured into a glass.
A- Dark black color with a small creamy yellowish head
S- Exceptional, barrels, this might be a strong one and I don't see anywhere the alcohol content.
T&M- Warm up my palate slowly, a strong barrel aged beer. I can taste chocolate, roasted and wooden malts. Great job Left Hand!
D- After sipping this beer, I assumed it had around 10 or 11% alcohol, to later on find-out that it was 10.20%. Great brew for a cold winter night, being close to a bong-fire, and enjoy a movie out with the stars. That's exactly how I had it and it was a great night to remember.

Photo of MattyG85
4.05/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice glass.

Appearance: Pours a pitch black color with a moderate amount of bubbles. About one finger of tan head that fades into a thin creamy layer. Leaves a solid amount of lacing around the glass.

Smell: A sweet and roasty aroma with noticeable barrel hints. Whiskey scent upfront with hints of oak, vanilla, and wood. Sweet dark roasted malts with hints of dark chocolate, coffee, caramel, toffee, biscuit, and smoke. Sweet scent of molasses and burnt sugar. Light hints of anise and some subtle undertones of dark cherry, prune, raisin, plum, and fig. Aroma is kind of laid back for the style.

Taste: Like the nose hints, a sweet and roasty taste with good barrel notes. Bourbon whiskey taste upfront along with some vanilla, oak, and wood. Sweet dark roasted malts with notes of chocolate, coffee roast, caramel, biscuit, toffee, yeast, and smoked malt. Molasses and burnt brown sugar sweetness as well as a little syrup and anise. Light dark fruit notes with some dark cherry, plum, prune, raisin, and fig. Tastes fairly good.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy and fairly slick and syrupy. Alcohol heat is tame for the style.

Overall: A decent barrel aged stout. Kind of laid back and light for the style but the barrel comes out pretty well.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.41/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured out a pretty thick black, big cherry cola style head on top of it. Mild notes of roast, barrel notes, nothing spectacular, but no offputting aroma either. At this point, I'm already wondering why people hated it so much, it was a good looking beer with nothing offensive in the aroma.

Taste, very mild barrel notes, creamy mouthfeel, decent thickness and mouthfeel. Fractional cherry in the mouthfeel. I didn't find the base beer to be thin like many said, I found the barrel flavor to be thin, but I'd take that any day over the ones that just taste like a boilermaker/car bomb type of situation. Relatively easy to drink, hid the alcohol quite well, although I felt it after completion.

Bought this beer in March 2011 from Sun Devil Liquors, aged it at room temperature until Feb 2012, everybody who drank it liked it. I think for less than $10 a bottle, right off the shelf, this is actually a nice option.

Photo of glid02
4.05/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Taco Mac Metropolis in Atlanta.

Pours black with a half-finger light brown head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of smooth dark chocolate and roasted malts backed by mild amounts of oak. Also present are slight amounts of char and slighter amounts of toffee.

Tastes similar to how it smells although better integrated. Robust roasted malt flavors leaning toward the sweet side kick things off and are joined quickly by moderate amounts of semi-sweet chocolate flavors. Midway through the sip the flavor profile sweetens a bit with the addition of dark toffee, black cherry, and faint vanilla flavors. The sweetness then subsides near the end of the sip with slight hints of char and oak that rounds everything out nicely. The ending is moderately bitter.

Mouthfeel is OK. It's got a nice thickness however the carbonation was on the heavy side for a beer of this style.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my glass quickly and could have another with no problems.

Overall I wasn't sure what to expect from a BA beer from Left Hand but I was pleasantly surprised. A tasty beer that's well worth a shot.

Photo of GilGarp
4.22/5  rDev +23%

Bomber bottled on 12/08/2012.

Served slightly chilled into a goblet, barrel aged Wake Up Dead is basically black in color with thick khaki head. It has great retention too, barely settling even after five minutes.

Aroma is rich and roasty with a slight bourbon nose. I also get some of that characteristic vanilla common in barrel aged beers.

Flavor is sweet up front with chocolate and molasses. It turns to the bitter side midway through with coffee and dark roasted malts. Hops also contribute to the bitterness but I don't get much hop flavor. Finishes dry with a slight alcoholic burn.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and perfectly carbonated. It's got good balance and depth of flavors. Smooth and drinkable for a 10%+ ABV stout.

Overall a very solid barrel aged stout. I wonder if it gets low marks here from people expecting bourbon.

Photo of TheSupremeAJ
3.94/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep ruby chestnut, similar to a dark barleywine almost. Per the stated style this is poor, however it is OK in my books. Head is thick, luscious, and retentious. Aroma is smooth and oakey, not real strong. Some bitter cocoa is prevalent. The taste is actually kind of between a stout and a barleywine... it actually taste like a barleywine with cocoa and black coffee notes. This is unique, and seriously the only thing imperial about this is the ABV and not the taste, aroma, or mouthfeel. The carbonation is medium to high and may be a little high for the style, although enjoyable. Hops are certainly muted. Aftertaste is similar to quality black coffee and rich bittersweet cocoa, not real sweet actually despite what other reviewers say. Overall this was a really enjoyable beer although it really didn't fit into the mold of a style if you know what I mean. If this review was based on enjoyment and not style, I would have rated better.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Left Hand Wake Up Dead
Bottled on 10.26.10

With a little coaxing I was able to bring up a frothy head of (surprisingly subtly pinkish) tan that held quite well. When it eventually fell, it looked almost like wet yeasty dough. Lots of lacing was left behind, and although there was pretty much just a whispy surface covering throughout the remainder of the glass, the lacing remained strong. The body appeared black in the glass, but when held to the light you could see that it was a fairly clear, ruby-orange accented dark mahogany.

The aroma was fruity at first, revealing its chocolate and caramel notes later on. As my nose adjusted I found more of what appeared to be Bourbon. Ahh, but there's some woodiness there as well. Nice. There was just a hint of roastiness to it, almost like the ash and char of a camp fire the morning after, but not enough to make me think "Imperial" stout.

The wood comes through in the flavor, and it's not overdone. There's just enough there to give it some extra character. It's a bit like brown sugar on the tip of the tongue, followed by some fruit (berry-like with some cherry and a bit of dark fruit skins) and powdery cocoa-ish notes, and finally some golden caramel. A spritz of alcohol appears and then it shows its bitterness at the swallow, followed by chocolate notes. Dark bitter chocolate - nice. It's a surprisingly short finish until the alcohol starts to build on your palate, and then that lingers for seemingly forever. You really get that Bourbon barrel at that point. It's kind of like an alcohol soaked chocolate covered cherry.

All in all, I found it to be a really drinkable beer. It's certainly not a massive beer, with what I'd deem a medium body. Nor are the flavors overly rich, leaving it readily accessible. I thought the fruitiness was quite charming, and overall I found it really well-balanced and rounded. The only drawback to all of that is the fairly obvious alcohol note. How much of that is due to aging in Bourbon barrels, I don't know. Taking it as it is, hedonistically, I think it's a really solid, enjoyable beer. What I find missing, given the "Imperial stout" designation is more maltiness, body, and fuller flavors of chocolate and roast. It lacks depth, but not complexity.

Photo of McNealc31
4.47/5  rDev +30.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black, of course. Sweet vanilla, charred oak, and currants in the aroma. Flavor is even more complex with bourbon, more char, and smoke added. The evidence of the barrel aging is more pronounced as it warms. I'm even getting a hint of cherry, which really works. Cocoa powder and anise in there, as well. Hops finally come in at the end to provide a bitter finish.

A big fan of this. Huge flavors, obvious impact from the barrel aging, complex, balanced, very smooth. And the name? You'd never guess it weighs in at 10.2%

Photo of Mavajo
4.07/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark chesnut brown - never quite gives the impression of black. Mild brown head and very slight stringy lacing. All in all, not that remarkable in the "appearance" department.

Nose is rich and sweet. Loaded with toffee/caramel malt, very sweet, with hints of cherry fruitiness. The taste goes hand in hand which much of the same notes. Predominantly strong caramel/toffee notes supported by cherry licorice flavors. Nice mellow, woody undertones. No roasted notes at all - which is perfect in my book! I think too many breweries load their stouts up with massive roasty notes. While the brewery suggests herbal notes, I picked up none.

The mouthfeel is very thin for an RIS. Hurts the overall experience. Carbonation is appropriate.

This is a delicious beer, but really atypical for an RIS. The appearance and mouthfeel are especially unusual for the style, and even the taste is off the typical RIS path. Honestly, I would peg it more as an Old or Strong Ale if I was trying it during a blind tasting.

Regardless, this is a delicious beer. Don't hold it to a style - just enjoy it. Fantastic beer. I've never been that impressed with Left Hand in the past, but they hit a home run on this one.

Photo of russpowell
3.63/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an effervescent black with 3 fingers of mocha colored head. Sheets of lacing & above average head retention

S: Dark fruit, toffee & vanilla & booze once warm.

T: Dark fruit & chocolate, charcoal & coffee up front, the coffee is fairly faint. More chcolate, some woody hops, dryness, warming booze, faint bourbon notes & some caramel as this warms, plus some vanilla & oak notes. Finishes dry, warming with carob, dark cherries & caramel & some boozeyness, some roastyness & a touch of smokeyness

MF: Fairly chewy; fairly faint carbonation, pretty warming, starts thinning out as this warms, not the point of disappointment, but not helping the cause either

Drinks alright, not bad, needs more barrel character to really shine. This was better than the score I'm seeing IMO, but not one to make you blow off more established barrel age choices. Might pick some more up if on sale & see how it ages. I do believe another 6 months would've help with this bottle.... ABV is fairly well hidden...

Photo of seedsofchaos
2.22/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Found this recently at my local and the purchased was prefaced with the staff letting me know it's getting a lot of mixed reviews out there and some have been downright awful. An eight dollar bomber didn't dissuade me though and I shared the bomber with a buddy that same night.

Appearance does alright in of itself. As mentioned in other reviews, this brew isn't exactly black. Teetering on the SRM scale it probably bounces around the low 40s. Head is brilliant enough at a lingering 1/2 inch. Khaki in color, the head leaves plenty of lace. Not necessarily a thing of beauty by any means, but this isn't a bad looking beer either.

Bouquet? Where is that bouquet? Hello? Echo... echo... echo... Nostrils pressed deeply into my snifter, I inhale yet again. Ah. There's something. A touch of chocolate, earthy hops, a bit of oak (this reminds me of fresh oak from a tree quite honestly), some roast and just a touch of raisins. Flavor doesn't come through quite as muted as the nose but it's not in its "Sunday Best" either. A bit of roast mixes with very earthy hops. The bitterness doesn't play well with what I'm guessing is the oak. The oak, as in the nose, tastes very "green" and my tongue feels as if I am licking this beer off the wood itself. The label on the bottle mentions cherry, licorice and toffee. I find none of these things. Especially absent is any creaminess typically offered by the use of crystal/caramel malts. Simply speaking, this is a bitter and earthy/woody tasting black beer. Period.

What happened, Left Hand? For a barrel aged Imperial Stout this misses on just about every mark. I can honestly say that Wake up Dead is definitely a beer that I'm considering six feet under.

Photo of Gmann
3.43/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a black color that is brown towards the edges. The khaki colored head is creamy and settles into a light ring.

The aroma is of light roast and perhaps some dark cherries. A touch of char and caramel. With that said, the aroma is very light for a big stout, it was hard to pull these aromas.

The aroma is sweet. Tastes like a milk stout base with some scant bourbon flavor. Some mellow caramel and vanilla flavors give the beer a dessert characteristic to it. A hint of bitter roast in the end but not much. Some light woody flavors and an overall generally fruitiness but nothing like what you would find in most RIS/imperial stouts. The flavor is a bit too smooth, nothing really pops.

Moderate body with soft carbonation. Sweet on the palate but not cloying. A touch sticky on the finish. Drinks very smooth and the ABV is well hidden. Drinks easy but missing some body.

Nothing wrong with this beer, no real flaws, but it just doesn't pop for the style and ABV. Its smooth and drinks easy but if you want a good BA stout look elsewhere.

Photo of aepb1
3.16/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark brown/black body, brown foamy head

S- Sweet malts a little booze

T- Sweet chocolate malts, roasted, some bitterness in the finish. No evidence of the ABV

M- Full-bodied, creamy, good carbonation and a little warming

D- Decent, I don't get any real evidence why this would be labeled an imperial stout as it's not all that big of a beer

Photo of emerge077
3.04/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Weak skim across the top, with a clustered ring of larger bubbles on the outer rim of the tulip glass. Body looks to be black, but shows some high clarity crimson red when backlit.

Really hard to pull out much from the aroma, even as it warms. After a sustained swirl there's a boozy note, sort of oddly phenolic. Some traces of dry roast at room temp, but nothing approaching Imperial Stout.

Fairly thin bodied, slightly creamy, dry, bitter, and very mildly tannic. Some astringent char in the aftertaste, very little barrel character or overall depth. Alcohol is perceptible. Fairly average and inoffensive overall. Not something i'd pick up again.

Photo of bluejacket74
2.53/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

22 ounce bottle, bottled on 10/26/10. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown with about a half inch tan head that went away quickly. Average amount of lacing left on the glass. Not much to the aroma, it smells like charred malt, a bit of dark fruit and some licorice. I have no idea what kind of barrel this was aged in, but I don't notice anything in the aroma that would make me think this was aged in one for long. It tastes like bitter roasted/burnt malt, licorice, and also an overall herbal flavor. Some sweet flavor (molasses) does come out as the beer warms up more. Like the aroma, there's nothing in the taste that would make me think this is a barrel aged beer. Mouthfeel/body is medium with moderate carbonation, but for the style I think the mouthfeel is light. Drinkability is a little below average, but I did finish the bomber so it can't be that awful. Overall, I just don't care for this brew.

Photo of jsh420
2.16/5  rDev -37%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

bottled 10-28-10

pours dark caramel brown with a 2 finger tan soapy head that left no lacing

smell is very faint but i pick up sweet malt and some vanilla

taste - has some off flavor - this should not be called a stout imo maybe a brown ale - i do not pick up any barrel flavors either - light roast caramel malt some chocolate

mouthfeel is decent- medium full body low carbonation

drinkabiilty not good- poured out 75% of it

Photo of BierFan
3.34/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Very thin light tan head. Dark brown/black body.

Smell: Alcohol is noticeable, faint roasted malts, and there's something else that is off-putting that I can't quite put into words. Nail polish remover? Definitely fusel-like.

Taste: Luckily this beer tastes a little better than it smells. Still has a weird chemical thing going on. Vanilla, butterscotch, dark malts, alcohol, fusel alcohol, and a moderate bitterness.

Photo of n2185
2.79/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a dark brown with a finger of beige head. The head leaves a pretty nice layer, though no lacing to speak of.

S: Some caramel notes along with lots of woody and nutty aromas. Like candied pecans. It smells pretty good, but almost nothing like an imperial stout.

T: Similar to the aroma, there are some caramel and lightly roasted malt flavors up front. Wood flavors follow along with a nuttiness. The finish is slightly bitter and warming from the alcohol.

M: Medium-thick body with medium carbonation, this beer has a bit of an oily slick feel to it, but doesn't feel like much of an imperial stout.

O: Overall, a decent beer, but definitely NOT an imperial stout. I'd call it more of an imperial brown ale, if anything. I'd say as a brown ale, I'd probably give it a B, but rating it as an imperial stout it doesn't do so well. It doesn't look, smell, taste, or feel like any imperial stout I've ever had.

Photo of Beejay
2.06/5  rDev -39.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A: Dark brown with ruby hues when held to the light. Almost no head at all, what is there dissipates almost immediately.

S: I don't know how I feel about this... first I smelled a bit of salty brine scent. A second whiff smells like burning rubber.

T: Not impressed with this... Plastic continues a bit, as well as a touch of olive brine. There is a bit of oak, but the majority of the stout seems completely lost. There is an almost cloying flavor in the finish alongside some roasted grain. As it warms it gets a bit better, but this still doesn't taste like a barrel aged imperial stout.

M: Light on body, carbonation seems high for the style. This feels watery for the style, and comes off a little hot.

D: I have had other beers from Left Hand and have enjoyed them, but this is a huge miss for me. There are practically no redeeming qualities about this beer.

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.21/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from 2/2011 notes. Poured into a Black Raven pint glass. Pours a dark red amber with a thin tan head and decent lacing. Aroma of roasted malt and a solvent like element. Taste is unusual. Starts with roasted and almost smoked malts, then several medicinal and phenolic flavors assert themselves. Finishes with a nice smoky malt flavor, but with some of the odd off flavors mixed in. Not like any stout I've had before. Wish there was more oak. Not very well balanced. An interesting beer, but misses the mark.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.05/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

ark brown in color, nearly totally black with no light shine through on it what so ever. A huge tan head of foam came up over the top to a height of nearly three inches before settling back down into a thin film that coasted the inside of the glass and never fell to more then an inch in height. The aroma was rich, deep and dark chocolate notes with loads of coffee mixed in. Some light fruit notes are balancing it out now as well, really very well done here. As it warms it became very much sweeter. Such a really well done big stout. Smooth, rich and very creamy feel. Full bodied and loaded with carbonation with a high ABV that was nearly undetectable. Rich chocolate notes are the first things that we find here and they are anything but subtle as they meld into a wonderful coffee infused finish

Photo of smwesson500
3.95/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Very Dark Brown, probably closer to black

S: Smells of caramel, burnt hops, and oak

T: Syrupy, very malty flavors, burnt chocolate. Very strong. An acquired taste.

M: Bitter whole way through but not a task to try and drink.

O: I do enjoy this beer. The 10.2% ABV is nicely masked with various other flavors to make it not so much like a liquor. Quite Enjoyable.

Photo of metter98
3.18/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: The beer is very dark amber (near black) in color and poured with a thin off white head.
S: There are moderate aromas of alcohol and brown sugar in the nose.
T: The taste lacks complexity and the flavors imparted from the oak barrel aging are very subdued. It has some flavors of roasted malts and bourbon in the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a bit thin on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: There wasn't anything exciting about the taste that would make me want to try this again.

« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Barrel-Aged Wake Up Dead from Left Hand Brewing Company
78 out of 100 based on 280 ratings.