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Barrel-Aged Wake Up Dead - Left Hand Brewing Company

Barrel-Aged Wake Up DeadBarrel-Aged Wake Up Dead

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

254 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 254
Reviews: 129
rAvg: 3.4
pDev: 22.06%

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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: mcallister on 08-02-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 254 | Reviews: 129 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of angelmonster


2.98/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a half inch off white head. Body is an extremely dark brown. Head retention and lacing are pretty minimal.

Smell is of roasted caramel malts and caramelized brown sugar. I had read a review acouple days ago that said t here was a burnt plastic smell and I definitely get that mixed with raw alcohol. Not getting much from the barrel aging except for some slight booze.

Taste is not of typical Imperial stout. Its missing the chocolate/coffee roasted flavors that I love in stouts. The best way that I could explain it is an american strong ale with some off flavors of burnt plastic and booze. Hops are pretty muted.

Mouthfeel is probably the only quality of the beer that is above average. Carbonation level is good and body while by no means is rich, is somewhat syrupy. Unfortunately the head died halfway through the beer.

Drinkability of this beer was disappointing. I could drink the whole bomber but honestly I have about five other beers in the fridge that I'd rather drink right now. I have no idea what went wrong with this beer but if you're reading this save the 9 bucks or whatever it costs and buy some fade to black or even left hand's milk stout is way better than this one.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2011 02:07:10 | More by angelmonster
Photo of jds1469


3.78/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pored two months after bottling into a sniffer glass. Let me start off by saying that I had high hopes for this beer. Knowing all of the work put into the brewing, I am disappointed with the outcome.

Appearance - Deep dark glossy black in color. Even held up to a light, it is so dark and cloudy you cant see thought the glass. The head starts a dark camel color and lightens a bit after a few seconds.

Smell - This smells like you cut through a maple 2x4. This is the low point for this beer. The smell almost turned me off from trying to take a drink.

Taste - The taste is pretty good here, the smokey flavor present here helps to mellow out the alcohol. You can taste the fruits in the brew.

Mouthfeel - Creamy and/or oily. This helps to enhance the taste of the beer as it sits on your tong longer to help the flavors mature a bit.

Drinkability - The smell coming from the glassware makes this beer a little rough to drink.

Decent taste, but should be better.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2011 22:19:34 | More by jds1469
Photo of flexabull


3.58/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Very cool label.

Pours a deep dark black color with a thin white head.

Aromas are of chocolates, coffee, and light barrel aromas.

Taste is very cola like up front. Dark cocoa, coffee, light bakers chocolate. Decent barrel flavors and light bitterness on the finish.

Mouthfeel is ok, but too thin for this style.

Drinkability is good, it doesn't match up to others in the style . Still a pretty good beer though.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2011 00:25:41 | More by flexabull
Photo of JohnQVegas


3.88/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into The Bruery tulip; served at room temperature.

Pours deep brown venturing into black; initial fluffy tan head of about an inch settles fairly quickly into a thin ring.

Nose is nice, with the barrel being fairly reserved - roasty, a bit earthy, smooth, with a subtle bourbon character that doesn't really emerge from the roastiness.

Taste is a bit sweet; roasty malt mixed with a dash of burnt sugar, earthy tobacco offsets a fruity, brown sugar sweetness that lingers alongside the light residual burnt character from the sugar. Light alcohol notes as well. Barrel character is very subtle, light, oaky, spicy bourbon character peeking out in the commotion.

Mouthfeel is light, soft, fluffy carbonation over a medium-full body. Very easy to drink.

Enjoyable, to me. Not a world beater, certainly no Bourbon County, but I'm a fan. Heavy on the big roastiness, but balanced well.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2011 02:58:37 | More by JohnQVegas
Photo of Pencible


3.83/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: This poured a nearly opaque blackish brown with a little light tan head.
S: It smelled like fresh roasted coffee and sweet milk chocolate, with some brown sugar and a bit of earthy oak and alcohol.
T: It tasted like dry cocoa powder and bitter coffee, with molasses and earthy brown sugar and a bit of oak and alcohol. It had a mostly bitter and clean aftertaste that wasn't too sharp.
M: It was slightly thick with a bit of carbonation, and had some alcohol warming.
D: This started out a great stout, but the scent and taste got more harsh as it opened. Then, it mellowed out again as it warmed. Weird. The body was kind of weak, and the alcohol was pretty noticeable, so it wasn't super easy to drink. The bourbon and oak notes were barely there, which was disappointing too. Age may help, but I wasn't very impressed with this beer fresh.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2010 20:09:16 | More by Pencible
Photo of Pellinore1


3.53/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours deep brown, producing a finger of light tan head that dissipates fairly quickly.

Smells of dark fruit, perhaps vanilla and some oak in the background. A bit boozy.

Big malt presence, but not the roastiness I would expect from an imperial stout. This is sweet and fruity, with a bit of oak and smokiness shining through as well.

This is medium bodied, and smooth, even creamy in the mouth. Alcohol is clearly present, but not overwhelming.

I'm glad I tried this beer, but it isn't one I will seek out again. I'll sit on the other bottle I purchased, and see if/how it develops with time.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2010 01:22:23 | More by Pellinore1
Photo of Thorpe429


3.15/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle picked up at Rick's in Alexandria. Served in a snifter.

Pours black with a short tan head and a very thin collar as the beer goes down. The nose brings forward a really strong whiskey character along with a hefty dose of booze. There is some chocolate lingering in the background but this one is all about the barrel. The taste follows the same path with just a bunch of booze and whiskey. There's also a light chalky character present as well. The body is medium and boozy with a slightly-astringent dry finish. Overall, not a fan of this. Not sure if it needs more time or what.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2010 14:22:03 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of elgiacomo


3.88/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottled Oct 26, 2010.

Pours thin brown with a one finger tan head that leaves some spotty lacing and holds a small cap.

Aroma is some sweet dark fruits, cherries, raisins, anise, some vanilla, oak, brown sugar, caramel, a bit of chocolate and roasted malts, some alcohol. Moderate to good strength.

Flavor is on the sweet side for an IS, more dark fruits, some chocolate, caramel, brown sugar, molasses, some oak and vanilla, anise, touch of bourbon, touch of hops. Lingering sweet finish. Minimal alcohol considering the ABV.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, creamy, low to medium carbonation.

A unique Imperial Stout, not very roasted, definitely more on the fruity side and rather sweet. Far from the greatest IS I've ever had but still an enjoyable brew and I'm not quite getting all the hate on this one.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2010 03:43:44 | More by elgiacomo
Photo of KeefD


1.33/5  rDev -60.9%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Pours a somewhat dark brown color that's pretty much see-through, with a small white head. WTF? This smells like burnt plastic. That's it. Burnt plastic. Awful. Taste isn't much better. All I'm getting out of the flavor is this odd chemical flavor with a hint of chocolate and roast, and a touch of barrel/wood, but there's really nothing good about this beer in any way, shape, or form. Mouthfeel is thin, vapid, and flat. This is just god awful. I drank maybe 5 ounces out of this bomber and dumped the rest. I'm sorry for doing that to you, drain, but that's the only place this beer belongs.

Too all the tickers that say -bal aging makes beers better, try this one. Ughghghghhhh...

Horrible, wretched stuff. How this has a B- is beyond me. Left Hand should refund my $9!

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2010 00:16:01 | More by KeefD
Photo of emerge077


3.05/5  rDev -10.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2010 00:55:11 | More by emerge077
Photo of kiddynamite920


3.65/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 10-26-10, fairly fresh.

A: Pours a dark brown with a pretty thin and foamy beige head. Poured more like a darker brown ale.

S: Sweet, woody notes with plum and raisin like aromas. Deep and malty, but not necessarily roasty. More of a barleywine type malt base. Some sweet alcohol and a very faint vanilla aroma. Guessing this one is showcasing more of what the barrel lends to the beer, than the base beer itself.

T: Some roast comes through with an almost whisky, peat like flavor. Definitely woody with sweet, boozy dark fruits. I find some sweeter fruits in here as well like apples and pears. Definitely a great example of what a barrel can do for a beer, yet the base beer just doesn't have Imp. Stout characteristics.

M: Carbonation is on point and lasting. The body of the beer is pretty slick and medium in weight. Has a similar mouthfeel of some of Southern Tiers offerings. Nice, creamy mouthfeel.

D: Alcohol is only a smidgen hot and noticeable towards the end, but this one really drinks quite easily. If you are looking for a barrel aged Imperial Stout, you might not want to shell out the cash for this one. Definitely on the sweeter side, closer to a barleywine.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2010 04:36:43 | More by kiddynamite920
Photo of bort11


3.15/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 0z bottle poured into a Corsendonk Christmas Ale tulip glass. A thin khaki colored head drops down quickly, only spotty lacing. This is not completely out of line for a barrel aged beer, but is a little disappointing. The body color is a light black with a reddish hue. I see a lot of highlights that come through the center.

The smell is a straight up stout. Lots of dark roasted notes, mostly coffee and dark bread. I do not get any of the char flavors that usually come with a barrel aged beer. Taste does recover the char flavoring, but it is still very light.

Mouthfeel is a lot thinner than what I would expect of an Imperial Stout. It drinks very smooth, I do not get the feeling that this is a beer over 10% ABV. This is not a bad beer in general, but I don't think it lives up to the expectations of a barrel aged Imperial Stout. I think I am more impressed with the label than the beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2010 16:09:13 | More by bort11
Photo of ColdPoncho


3.33/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - For an imperial stout, this is surprisingly light in color, being a translucent reddish-brown. There's a small ring of tan head around the edge of the glass.

S - There's a big roasty malt aroma, coupled with an astringent alcohol/woody mix and a bit of rawhide.

T - The biggest taste here is the booze, with a light smoked malt backbone. There is some coffee and chocolate afterwards, and some woody notes, which come out more as the beer warms.

M - Pretty good medium-full body, that's verging on creamy.

D - It's not difficult to drink, not heavy, and not unpleasant, but being as it's not particularly tasty, it's not particularly drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2010 06:12:29 | More by ColdPoncho
Photo of caskstrength


1.05/5  rDev -69.1%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Bomber bottled 10/26/10. Cool label, I must say. Ran into this randomly when visiting my local dealer, never heard of it before. Gave it a try, about 10 bucks.

Looked it up, Heaven Hill brandy barrel blended imperial stout. sounds great.

Pours dark brown, easy to see through. Limited carbonation, but still a thin head that quickly forms a ring.

Some spicy stale coffee smells, cinnamon for the spice. Roasted malts, but muted. Maybe some fruit, I don't know. Nothing interesting, really. I kept smelling and kept finding nothing.

I think the flavor died in this beer. There is nothing to be found, it's a shell of a barrel aged stout. Maybe some coffee grounds that have been used twice. Some roasted carmel malts? Everything is thin and superficial.

A terrible beer. There is no life here, so at least the name fits.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2010 01:43:36 | More by caskstrength
Photo of aasher


1/5  rDev -70.6%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

I had higher hopes for this one. When a bottle says barrel aged Imperial stout it should mean something. It poured a watery, thin and translucent raisin brown in color with no head. It looks like dip spit or even muddy mop water. It doesn't resemble a stout of any kind. The smell was very sweet, too sweet, and of caramelized brown sugar. That was it, no other characteristics and completely one dimensional. The taste was far too sweet as well. It tasted of brown sugar, raisins, and figs. Far too much fruit for an Imperial stout. Where's the coffee? Where's the roasted notes? Nowhere to be found! It was very, very thin. It didn't even coat the sides of the glass. It was like dirty water. This beer is an imposter. It is not imperial stout. It's a sugary sweet brown ale. Avoid! I deserve an apology and refund. This beer killed this brewery for me. I'll never go back again.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2010 06:20:24 | More by aasher
Photo of scifan

North Carolina

1.4/5  rDev -58.8%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours a a dark brown with a khaki head leaving some lacing along the glass. Its very thin looking you can almost see through it when held to the light.
Not much on the nose. Just a little bit of roasty malts and a hint of oaky woodiness. Also a strange plastic/rubber smell as well. I was hoping for alot more out of this one.
The taste isn't any better in fact I think its worse. Just some roasted malts and hints of the bourbon barrel aging. I thought the label said it spent a year in the barrel. Unfortunatley the most prominant flavor is this plastic/rubber flavor that lingers long after its gone.
Mouthfeel is very thin. You would think that this was a 5% porter not a 10% Imperial Stout, it has no backbone at all.
All in all a terrible beer. Maybe I got a bad bottle but I'm not spending another 9 bucks to find out.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2010 04:06:28 | More by scifan
Photo of wisrarebeer


2.78/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottled 26 Oct 10.

A: deep copper color, very little head
S: very mild, roasted malt with EtOH, pretty one-dimesional
T: from the label I was expected a lot more, roasted malt, strong bitter finish, no really noticeable good barrel qualities, needed more malt
M: OK but too bitter finish
D: drinkable but one dimensional

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2010 01:06:20 | More by wisrarebeer
Photo of ncaudle


4.03/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

growler was filled about 2 hours prior to drinking; poured into snifter.

as it poured it was rather brownish letting a lot of light through but settled into the glass pitch black with a small head leaving only a ring around the top of the liquid.

faint bourbon, charred wood, chocolate and molasses hit the nose. surprisingly no boozy smell even at +10%. taste is the same - very nice balance going on.

maybe a touch thin for the style, but still pleasant; nice carbonation levels.

almost too drinkable due to high abv.

Serving type: growler

12-19-2010 00:07:30 | More by ncaudle
Photo of atsprings

North Carolina

4.25/5  rDev +25%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into a Hopus glass pours a not quite opaque black that shows ruby when held to light. The beer is topped by a nice frothy khaki head that lasts as a thin layer and leavers nice lacing on the glass. Aroma is oak in the front with a nice amount of roasted malts and cocoa. The taste is a nice amount of roasted malt and oak alongside vanilla, licorice, molasses, and baker's cocoa. The beer is on the heavy side of medium with smooth carbonation. This is an enjoyable beer, far from the best Barrel-Aged Imperial Stouts out there, but an enjoyable one nonetheless.

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2010 23:07:43 | More by atsprings
Photo of jamie2dope


4.1/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I haven't had anything from Left Hand in a while, so I am looking forward to trying this one. Wake up Dead? Pretty lame name if ya ask me, but what matters is whats in the glass. It pours a completely black (as expected) color, with a quick to fade white head, eventually becoming lacing. The nose is pretty deep with black currants, fudge, wood, and some char. Taste is different from what I was expecting....lots of juicy cherries, bitter chocolate and licorice. The barrel aging is more noticeable in the smell than in the taste. Mouthfeel is nice and chewy, with minimal carbonation, and a tiny hop bite at the back end. No mention of ABV here, though I am guessing it is in the ten percent range, maybe a bit more. The alcohol is there, though it doesn't taste hot at all. Sip this one slowly, and allow it to warm up so more the complexities come through. Overall this is a really nice cold weather treat from Left Hand. Also, a barrel aged RIS for ten dollars or so isn't too shabby. Cheers

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2010 23:11:22 | More by jamie2dope
Photo of Cyberkedi


4.28/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Comes out of the bottle a dark, barely translucent chocolaty brown with a thick, fine-bubbled, fairly persistent tan head that leaves some decent lacing. Aroma is smoky with hints of chocolate, toffee and licorice and a noticeable alcohol nip. Flavor has tones of unsweet chocolate, licorice, bitter wood, caramel, coffee and toffee; unfortunately, the alcohol bite is a wee bit too strong - half a point off there. Texture is fiercely edgy and fairly fizzy, leaving behind a long-lasting tingle and a bit of a metallic tang, as well as just a whisper of sweetness.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2010 00:46:18 | More by Cyberkedi
Photo of rka758


3/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bomber poured into tulip glass.
Paid $9

A: Poured a chestnut brown with zero head.
S: Smells of sweet malts and dark fruits.
T: I get a lot of raisins and dark fruits.
M: A little thin.
D: While I generally enjoy imperial stouts, this is really not my cup of tea (or glass of beer).

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2010 04:26:11 | More by rka758
Photo of glid02


4.05/5  rDev +19.1%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

12-13-2010 03:04:51 | More by glid02
Photo of Mavajo


4.1/5  rDev +20.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2010 22:47:22 | More by Mavajo
Photo of ratedz


2.2/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a dark brown with a half inch off-white head. The head fades quickly and leaves behind a moderate amount of lacing.

Nose is full of sweet caramel and chocolate. Some earthy/wood notes hide in the background.

Taste starts out with some chocolate and dark fruit. Some wood notes are in there too. As it hits the back of the tongue, there is some kind of weird plastic/rubber taste. That same off-putting flavor stays on the tongue even after the sip is gone.

Mouth feel is very thin for a barrel aged imperial stout...it's so thin that I could see light through it when I held the glass up to a light. Low level of carbonation, which isn't terribly uncommon for an imperial stout.

Drinkability was low due to the off flavor. It didn't exactly make me crave that next sip. Maybe I got a bad bottle given that the other reviews (only 4 so far) are all positive. Very disappointed in this effort from Left Hand...their other beers that I have tried have always been solid, nothing exceptional, but solid.

Edit - my second bottle was even worse than the first. The plastic/rubber taste was much more dominant and even appeared in the nose this time. Two sips of it and down the drain it went.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2010 01:12:16 | More by ratedz
Barrel-Aged Wake Up Dead from Left Hand Brewing Company
78 out of 100 based on 254 ratings.