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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.

132 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 132
Hads: 281
Avg: 3.27
pDev: 33.03%
Wants: 22
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 132 | Hads: 281
Photo of mverity
3.24/5  rDev -0.9%
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.

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Photo of John_M
3.08/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Great label, but this is otherwise a pretty weak effort from Left Hand Brewing. The beer is dominated by roasty malt and licorice, on both the nose and the palate, with little evidence of the barrel aging. The beer is otherwise pretty sweet, with a medium bodied mouthfeel. Alcohol is pretty well integrated into the flavor profile, so at least there's that.

This was given to me as a Christmas stocking stuffer, so I won't feel too bad about dumping most of the bottle that was given to me. In fairness, I had this beer after Fremont's KDS and Bbomb, and of course those beers beat this weak effort 7 ways to Sunday.

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Photo of GilGarp
4.22/5  rDev +29.1%

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.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.21/5  rDev +28.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

My, what a barrel does for stout! As if the standard "Wake Up Dead" wasn't already a fine Imperial Stout, the extra flavors that emerge from the use of bourbon barrel give the Stout some absolutely sublime and intangible flavors that excite the senses.

Creamy and inky, the ale pours with a viscous roundness as it settles in the glass. A smoldering tan head slowly rises from the ominously dark body beneath. Its coffee-like creme swirls about the rim, slowly folding back into the beer and only regenerates with a gentle swirl of the glass. The Stout defiantly takes on espresso appearances.

Emboldened aromas of chocolate and roast are highly mocha-like, even with the added notes of burnt caramel, charred toast, roasted nuts and heavy whipping cream highlight the malt contributions. As the beer warms, nuances of dark fruit, herbs and barrel bring about elements of tobacco and walnut brownies.

Its smooth and deviant taste wraps around the tongue with bittersweet chocolate and creamy espresso. Its lavish sweetness takes the shape of toffee and molasses even as the caramel and vanillans of the wood continue to sweeten its taste, even deep in its finish. But the middle is savory and fruit- plumb, blackberry and blackcurrant all seem of the grilled varieties as mature sherry and port offer savory, salty and tangy richness. Notions of fruitcake and rum meet obvious bourbon flavor as the beer's woody bitterness signals its closure.

And its milkshake-like creaminess leaves the same favorable impressions in the tactile sensations of the mouth as well. Silky and velvety, the strong ale is easy on the palate as its deeply embedded carbonation stays in the beer and ensures its creamy texture even late. Moderate bourbon warmth and light wood spices adds the most supple dryness in the finish even though its aftertaste lingers delightfully into the next sip.

The barrels have really brought out many of the "hard-to-put-your-finger-on" flavors that had largely gone missed in the origianal Wake Up Dead. This fruitier, more savory, more mature taste is sublime in every way.

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Photo of brother_kenneth
3.54/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

2012 vintage. Aged approx. 9 months. Pours a very dark brown, not quite black. Boozy alcohol legs crawling all over the fucking place. Nice bit of head/lacing. Nose is mostly dark roasted malts and bourbon. There is a nice kind of organic, earthy smell, which I attribute to the barrel. There is also a bit of a spicy, peppery aroma. On to taste. A decent amount of the barrel comes through, and it is somewhat soy saucey and sweet. Not Dark Lord or Nightstalker sweet though, thank god. It's not bad, especially for the price point. Kind of reminds me of a sweet RIS that has spent a short amount of time in bourbon barrels. I cannot imagine it holding up for 7 years, as indicated on the bottle. However, I would drink it again. Cheers!

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Photo of DelMontiac
3.92/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From the 22oz bottle this beer pours prune black capped by a brown 2 finger bulging layer of foam which lays down flat to a ring in a couple of mins. Aroma is nice, but a tad uninspiring - chocolate, black pepper, and smoke in small force. Flavors are great - dark chocolates, brandy, pipe tobacco, cherry mash, herbal hops, and fading vanilla on the finish. Feels a tad thin for a barrel aged stout with oats, but it's not a deal breaker by any means. Overall I think this beer is wonderful and might be worth storing. Highly underrated here on BA.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.05/5  rDev +23.9%
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.

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Photo of portia99
3.41/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

22oz bottle (bottled 12/18/12) poured into a Bruery tulip.

A - Pours nearly pitch black in color with a finger of frothy mocha colored head with decent staying power...also leaves webs of lacing on the glass - fairly impressive for a 10+% BA beer.

S - A bit fruity, touch of astringency over mild booze, some roasted malts, a touch of caramel sweetness and some faint licorice. Intensity of aroma is lacking a bit here...need to search for some of these.

T - Starts off rather cola-like with that distinct herbal and sweet flavor up front. Noticeable woodiness behind the cola and an assertive hop bitterness as well. Licorice and some burnt and dark roasted malt flavors round things out.

M - Medium body with a soft lower/middle carbonation level. Fruity,woody, roasty, herbal overall.

O - Not bad but doesn't distinguish itself at all in this style which is well populated with excellent examples. I wouldn't turn this down if somebody offered it to me, but definitely not one to go out of the way for.

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Photo of DRyan
3.87/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Held at 50 degrees, poured into a Jester King tulip

A: Deep inky black with medium tan head that is not too over the top, and doesn't stick around too long... it leaves some lacing but not overly so.
S: The nose is malty roastyness that you would expect from an imperial stout with some whiskey barrel aroma, almost in line with Rye-on-Rye. There's also a sweetness in the bouquet I can't quite put my finger on, like a caramel or toffee scent I'd expect from a barleywine, but hidden underneath all that dark roastyness.
T: Hits upfront with some immediate pungency, strong stout heaviness. It's got the heavy malt backbone I expect. It has some dark fruit, raisin, figgy flavors to it in the front of the palate. Then hits with the barrel, which I assume was a whiskey barrel but I'm not 100% sure about that. It ends with some hops and some alcohol sting/warmth that I think will round out nicely with some age on the bottle (this is pretty fresh).
M: Smooth and silky, a bit velvety, with light carbonation
D: Pretty damned drinkable for a big heavy beer

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Photo of Charlie_Hoss
4.28/5  rDev +30.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On Tap at Jacks Goal Line Stand in Long Branch NJ

A: Great dark, dark brownish black color.It pours with a decent brownish head and pretty great lacing as the beer leaves the glass.

S: The smell of oak is pretty prominent in this one. I get some vanilla and even a fruity fragrance in this one.

T: This brew has a great taste of chocolate and oak. It finishes with a taste of vanilla, oak, and dried fruit (cherries maybe).

M: One of the best parts of this beer is the mouthfeel...It is everything you would want in a stout creamy, silky, smooth, and thick. Great stuff.

O: I really enjoyed this one. I don't really understand how this beer has such a low rating as it was one of the better stouts I have had in a while. I have not had it from the bottle but I cant imagine it being too different from the tap. Great stuff, cheers!

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Photo of McNealc31
4.47/5  rDev +36.7%
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%

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Photo of BasterdInABasket
3.41/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

From 22 oz bottle, poured into a Snifter
A- Pour an opaque jet black with thick creamy head, decent lacing and retention
S- Roasted malts, sweet chocolate and caramel, really light smell, not much there
T- Starts off pretty good with smooth chocolate, caramel and vanilla flavors, On the end and going down however is a different story, overly sweet and alcoholic on the finish. Theres a slight oak taste mixed in too but not much for being barrel-aged
M- Smooth and creamy to start then overtaken by alcohol heat on the finish
O- A strange beer starts out like a nice Imperial Stout but ends up being pretty hot mixed in with a strange sweetness. I really can't believe its only 10.2% either, it tastes higher and I started to feel it after just half the bottle. I wouldn't have guessed this was barrel-aged either without looking at the label which disappointed

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Photo of denver10
3.87/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours black, pretty viscous, with a nice mocha head and good lacing. Aroma starts off with some of the barrel and kicks into some roastiness, chocolate, a hint of some dark fruits, and liquorice. Flavor offers brandy and its barrels, roasted malt, chocolate, caramel, liquorice. A good dose of alcohol is noticeable an not quite in a balanced way. A nice full, milky mouthfeel. Overall, a very solid and enjoyable barrel aged stout and quite suprised at how low the ratings for this one are. Not a beer that can stand up with the greats of the style, but its also not priced like one either. For $8.50 a bomber, I definitely feel as though I got my money's worth and would happily drink again.

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Photo of Gmann
3.43/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

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Photo of chugalug06
3.65/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Nice thick caramel colored foamy/soapy head. Brew is thinner black.

A slight iced tea scent. chocolate and the normal stout aroma... Bark, woody, vanilla aroma.

Lots of light iced tea flavors. darker chocolate flavors, vanilla, lemon, oaky, light, drinkable. Carbonation is near perfect at heavy. Not overly sweet and no bitterness.

Nice smooth well balanced trainer BA Stout.. Recommended, but not for the well trained palate. Underwhelming at $10/22oz. Glad I tried it!

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Photo of BeerDawgs
3.95/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pitch black, with 2 fingers of head, and sticky lace left all over the glass

S - Sweet, lots of alcohol on the aroma, they don't hide it.

T - Like the smell, sweeet. Alcohol is very heavy, in your face. Some fruits, but dark coffee like malt backbone and alcohol overwhelm

M - full bodied, smooth, well balanced.

O - A damn good DIS. Love to try this one on draft.

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Photo of ghengisflan
1.56/5  rDev -52.3%
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.

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Photo of BostonHops
3.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bottle served in a snifter.

pours a dark mahogany, sits a borderline black tone while yielding a short-lived finger of light tan head; spotty lacing. nose is pretty tame for a barrel-aged imperial stout. subdued notes of coffee, roasted malt, and maybe a touch of dark fruits. average aroma.

flavor is decent. on the sweet side with some roastiness, dark chocolate, and a little coffee. a bit astringent. not drainpour territory by any means but very underwhelming. thin on the palate with average carbonation.

overall, for a barrell-aged imperial stout i'm walking away fairly disappointed. again, it's not terrible, i just expected a lot more. proof that simply throwing an imperial stout into a bourbon barrel for some time isn't necessarily a sure-fire route to a world class beer.

(originally reviewed: 07-19-2011)

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.21/5  rDev -1.8%
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.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.41/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

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Photo of womencantsail
2.04/5  rDev -37.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Thanks for this one, Jeff.

The pour is a fairly dark brown color with a finger of khaki colored head. What a truly strange aroma. There's a bit of coffee and chocolate in there, but also some butter and a definite grassiness. Maybe a bit of smoke in there, too. It smells quite dusty, too. Oh wow, that flavor is bad. Sort of sour and acrid with bad coffee and chocolate flavors. There's a hint of smoke, maybe some wood, and a bit of ash and cigarette. Not good at all. Medium body with a medium level of carbonation.

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Photo of SHODriver
2.75/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: 2010 bottle poured into a nonic pint glass. Beer is black with ruby edges on the bottom. pours light with a half inch of fluffy tan head with decent retention
S: Smells of bitter hop aroma, some phenolic aromas from the alcohol, and a bit of sweet vanilla and caramel. Odd for a barrel aged stout.
T: tastes oxidized but some roast malt flavor, coffee and chocolate comes through. slightly woody/cardboard and alcohol flavors on the back end. unpleasant aftertaste. for a 10% stout this one hides the ABV poorly
M: thin with adequate carb
O: hopefully this beer was better fresh, I don't plan on buying another to find out.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.88/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 12/18/11 notes. I received one of these last year in the Birthday BIF that I hadn't gotten around to opening (was saving for a tasting), but got another recently as an extra from GoldenJet, so figured I would crack one. Thanks Cory. Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into my Bell's tulip. Bottled on 10/26/10.

a - Pours a deep brown, almost black color, with two fingers of light tan head and moderate carbonation evident. Some spotty lacing on the glass, and head lasts for about two minutes.

s - Smells of bourbon, oak, vanilla, roasted malts, chocolate, cream. A little sweet and boozy, but actually nice.

t - Tastes of bourbon, oak, coffee, vanilla,
roasted malts, chocolate, and sweet dark fruits. A step up from the nose; some really nice bourbon and vanilla mixing with the sweet chocolate and roasted malts...I really like the taste.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Pretty smooth and creamy.

o - Overall I was pleasantly surprised by this one. Was a little thrown off by the low score overall, but I think this one is much much better than a lot of the reviews let on. Maybe it's just gotten better over the last 14 months, or maybe there is bottle variation, but I liked it quite a bit. Lots of vanilla/cream mixing with bourbon and chocolate and a bit sweet. Interested to see what happens to it over time with my other bottle.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.05/5  rDev +23.9%
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

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Photo of smwesson500
3.95/5  rDev +20.8%
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.

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Barrel-Aged Wake Up Dead from Left Hand Brewing Company
76 out of 100 based on 132 ratings.