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Fade To Black (Volume 2 - Smoked Baltic Porter) - Left Hand Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Fade To Black (Volume 2 - Smoked Baltic Porter)Fade To Black (Volume 2 - Smoked Baltic Porter)

Educational use only; do not reuse.

241 Reviews

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Reviews: 241
Hads: 358
Avg: 4.03
pDev: 9.43%
Wants: 24
Gots: 33 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Left Hand Brewing Company visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
Baltic Porter |  7.80% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Rayek on 11-15-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Fade To Black (Volume 2 - Smoked Baltic Porter) Alström Bros
Reviews: 241 | Hads: 358
Photo of dcloeren
3.71/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on 1/13/11. Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass

A: Pours inky black that no light can penetrate with 1 fingers worth of thick tan head. I poured it smooth down the middle of the glass and didn't get the result I was hoping for.... (We can chalk that up to user error I guess.) The head dissipated quickly but left some sparse lacing throughout the glass.

S: At first I got the basic, dark chocolate and coffee (nothing special) with a pretty strong hint of leather. But once the head went down on the beer the aromas were unmasked. Still catching some leather but I'm getting heavily roasted malt, rich dark chocolate (almost brownie like) with a faint coffee aroma.

T: A nice combination of roasted malt, coffee, rich dark chocolate and a smokey aftertaste. Not overly bitter but it catches you in the right spots on your tongue.

M: IMO its a lot thinner than I expected. It poured heavy out of the bottle but it was more of an optical illusion. To its credit this ends up being more of a positive than a negative. To top it off, its carbonated almost to perfection.

D: This was a great tasting beer. It went down smooth and made me want to grab another. Was it the best stout I ever had? No, but it is definitely worth picking up a six pack of and enjoying for sure

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.01/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Sprecher nonic.
Bottled on 11 29 10, no info available.

Thanks to Beerwolf77 for never letting me leave his house with either an empty hand or stomach.

A - I wouldn't say "Fade" to black as it pours pretty black already. Then again, as the firm, large tan head cascades up, I suppose it does fade. Slivers of clarity show through the beer but it's pretty hard to see through the incredibly dense lace.

S - Delicious notes of dark chocolate chink and fudge blend well with black silk coffee and undertones of molasses. Heavily roasted malt is all over here but it isn't bitter smelling. Very faint smoke.

T - Heavily roasted malts are potent, yet...bland and one-dimensional at the same time. Chocolaty with a faint smoke finish. While one-dimensional, it still tastes good.

M - Incredibly rich and thick, Fade to Black Vol. 2 is silky smooth with low carbonation but it doesn't feel flat at all. Soft dry bitterness on the finish.

D - You better believe I listened to Fade to Black by Metallica while reviewing this! Despite it's thick, heavy nature, it's still fairly drinkable. This beer feels much more like a traditional American stout as opposed to a Baltic Porter though. I also can't help but notice there are two Volumes of Fade to Black much in the same way the song can be broken down into two distinct parts.

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Photo of gfreed
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Looks lovely in a thistle; clarinet black with a one-inch mahogany head. The aroma of smoke is on par with the best of Bamberg-- Schlenkerla, anyone?-- but lacks the depth. The taste is nowhere near as smokey as the aroma, but there's enough to make this more interesting than it might otherwise be. The body is a bit thin; the taste is one-dimensional and slightly rubbery, but there's a drying effect at the end that works well and compels one to drink more. The ABV is lower than expected so this might be a Thing to offer someone new to smoked porters. I won't be climbing onto my roof to shout its name, but I also won't run screaming if offered another.

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Photo of claspada
3.84/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

IMPORTANT: This is classified as a Smoked Baltic Porter, and for the record I HATE smoked beers, but I really enjoyed this, because it was barely smokey. On to my notes:
Aromas are initially roasted malts highlighted with dark chocolate and espresso notes; mild charred maltiness.
The tastes somewhat follow the nose but are less astringent. Initially you are presented with cocoa powder flavors that flip flop between sweet and mildly bitter. A strong full caramel malt presence continues to represent throughout but is never the dominant contributor; full mouthfeel as well that lingers pleasantly on the palate. Dark/milk chocolate are the main contributors here with underlying charred and espresso malts.
Overall this is a great showing from Left Hand, especially due to the fact that it is available in 6 packs, what a treat.

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Photo of billab914
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. It poured pretty close to black in color, with a sticky, tan head clinging to the edges of the glass. Some decent lacing was left as I drank it as well.

The aroma shows more of a sweet, malty flavor to it with some notes of caramel, chocolate and brown sugar. I get just a hint of the smoke, but it's very light compared to how well it comes through in the flavor. The Baltic porter flavors are pretty nice in the aroma though.

The taste starts out with more of the malty sweet flavors. It has some notes of caramel and chocolate coming through in that initial sweetness. Midway, a little of the smoke starts to come out. Towards the finish I get more roasty, bitter flavors, and the smoke really starts to make itself known. The smoke lingers for a bit as well.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied, but on the lighter side for a Baltic Porter. Carbonation is below average, and pretty nice for my taste. Drinkability was good, I thought they did the smoke flavor pretty nicely. It had some nice Baltic Porter character to it up front, and the smoke in the finish was very nicely done. Very solid beer overall.

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Photo of sisuspeed
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to beerness for the bottle!

Poured into a Cigar City snifter. Nice black body, with a thin, light-tan, head. Still manages to leave some lacing.

Lots of smoked malts on the nose with a touch of bacon and salt. Bits of chocolate and light cherry with just a touch of alcohol. Smells like a smoked porter should.

The flavor mimics the aroma with well smoked malts, milk chocolate and just a hint of dark fruit. Has a nice sweetness to it, yet isn't overbearing. Nothing really stands out here, but the flavor is well executed.

Mouthfeel is average. For a smoked baltic porter there should be some more body to this beer. A bit too watery for my tastes. Yet it is still smooth and carbonation is about right.

Drinkability is above average. Left Hand has done a good job with the flavor and aroma of this beer. Not overly complex, but still tasty. I wish the body had a little more oomph, but all in all this is a fairly solid beer. Worth picking up if you like the style.

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Photo of abuliarose
4.07/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter, revealing black body under half a finger of crema head. A little lacing. Smells sweet, a bit milky and slightly smoky over the malts. Traces of nuttiness. Smoke is less present than a rauchbier, but definitely there.

Tastes big and with more smoke on the tongue than on the nose. Hints of bacony meatiness, burnt caramel and traces of slightly acidic milkiness. Raw chocolate on the finish. Very nice flavors altogether and very well-composed. Mouthfeel is creamy with a small-nucleating carbonation and a just medium body. Decently drinkable and quaff-able for the wealth of flavor.

Overall it's quite nice. Not my favorite smoked porter or my favorite baltic porter but a solid offering of that combination.

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Photo of TheSarge
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Makes a good finger thick head, and has a pitch black colored body that allows no light to penetrate.

Smoky aromas are dominant upfront, with hints of coffee and some metallic aromas.

Smoke again is immediately upfront, and gives off chocolate and mild coffee notes.

More carbonated than I expected, a bit full in body with oiliness that lasts to the end of each gulp.

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Photo of alleykatking
4.11/5  rDev +2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Fiddler's.

A- Pours a dark as night black color. Has only a slight tan head that dies of course quickly. No real lacing on the glass as everything just falls back into the glass. Pretty much looks like a glass of soda.

S- Roasted malts in the front of aroma. Dark bitter baker's chocolate comes through as well. There is a distinct smoked aroma which is more of a burnt ashy aroma more so than a smoked meat aroma. A light smokey alcohol as well in the ending. No real hops are present maybe some earthy hops but really light.

T- A interesting blend of bitter baker's chocolate with a campfire smokey flavor in the front. This dies down a little bit by the middle showing some light caramel malts. The smoke flavor does come back in the ending with a little more smoked meat flavor with roasted malts. Alcohol does show itself but it is not as over the top as I thought it would be and a little smokey which I did expect.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style. Chocoalte malts and smoke fills the palate. Aftertaste is mostly smoke, alcohol, and chocolate malts. Flavors surprisingly are very well balanced for a smoked porter. No off flavors were present in the beer. Light alcohol drying on the palate.

D- The appearance of this beer is the only downfall to it. I had multiple pours of it and it never really got much of a head to it. The ABV is a nice size which means you can get carried away if you are not careful. The flavors never get to over the top or dull for that matter so you can have more than just a pint or two.

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Photo of CuttDeez
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - This porter pours black as night with a nice woodlike light brown head

S - I can smell the smoke and the roasted notes of coffee and chocolate but it was not as strong as I thought it would be. Still this was a nice compliment to a cigar I had earlier in the night which enhanced the deep earthy tones and roasted coco.

T & M & D - Tastes are deep and roasted (common theme... I think so) I get coffee and coco. There is not a strong sweetness up front but a lingering taste with the deep fruits that are embedded in the beer. The smoke flavor is seen up front and in the afterthought in the back of your through. It is very low carbination, thick, but very smooth. As I reached the middle of the beer the back end burnt caramel notes became more evident.

-Extra notes - I am not sure if it is because of my cigar but there was a lot of earth in this beer. The taste of wood was very evident throughout and the notes of dark berries came through on the back end. I think my taste score might be a bit high because of my cigar (La Flor Dominican Air Bender Chisel if you are interested). That being said maybe this taste test should be repeated with a smoky beer like this.


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Photo of ebby82
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pitch black with very little head.

Aroma, as expected, is very smoky, with a little bit of the malt presence behind it. I really like the smoke smell.

The taste is also certainly smoky. It's like a normal, very nice porter, with a smoky flavor up front, and a smoky aftertaste. Very dark malt taste as well.

Because of the smokiness, this isn't a beer I'd want to drink extensively. However, it's really tasty, the smoke manages to be more drinkable than other smoked beers I've had.

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Photo of LiquidCucumber
4.07/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Courtesy of Bonis

A - Black as the best of em with a finger head of tan foam that doesn't stick around too long, but ends up a film on top of the brew.

S - Sweet, roasted malts and smoke followed by a little dark fruit scent.

T - Coffee, chocolate, smoke and soy sauce are the primary flavors here. This sucker is savory and I would love to have it with some BBQ ribs or similar. However, the smoke isn't as harsh as a few other smoked beers I've had.

M - Medium to heavy in body with low carbonation, pretty much spot on for the style.

D - Much better drinkability than other smoked beers I have had chance to partake. I don't know if this is because the smoke is subdued or not, because it surely doesn't seem subdued. If I see a six pack in the shops then I'll definitely pick one up.

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Photo of goalie33
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into 16oz pint glass. Bottled on 11/29/11.
A) Pours dark as night with a thin layer of tan head. Leaves some alcohol feet and decent lacing. Some fine bubbles can be seen in the beer if you look really carefully from very close.
S) The smoke is not overpowering, but it is easily detectable among with freshly ground coffee beans, some dark fruits and hints of dark chocolate.
T) This beer has lots of really great components, but they don't come together well. I get a strong smokiness in the beginning, dark fruits and alcohol in the middle, and coffee bitterness on the finish. Again, some really nice components, but I'd like to see them blended together better. Might be better with a year or so of age on it.
M/D) Full body with a rough feel from carbonation. This beer isn't a struggle to get down, but one would be enough for me.

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Photo of weizenbob
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This twelve ounce bottle was received as an extra in a trade with jmkratt. Thanks John! Bottle dated 11/11/10. I poured this into a Guinness "tulip" pint glass. The pour yields about a finger of mocha tinted head. Retention is moderate. Lacing lines the pint. The brew is very dark, closing in on black. There is no translucence.

The nose is balanced between roasted malt and chocolate. There is a mild smokiness in the aroma. Alcohol is strong but not overpowering.

The flavor comes in like a lamb and goes out like a slightly more intense lamb. A smooth pillow of roasted malt dances on the tongue, revealing flavors of chocolate, mild coffee and subtle smoke. I expected the smoke to be much more forthcoming as Left Hand chose to label this a smoked Baltic porter; it's actually a pretty low-key characteristic of the flavor profile. The finish is quite alcoholic with a mildly bitter hop presence. The overall impression is pleasant if unmemorable.

This porter is medium bodied. There is just enough carbonation to make it feel a little prickly on the tongue. The moderately high alcohol content contributes a velvety smoothness. It seems to feel fuller the warmer it gets, and thus better in the mouth.

Overall, this porter is pretty drinkable. The flavors are full and balanced without being overpowering. The feel is substantial and pleasant, especially at warmer temperatures. The 7.8% ABV doesn't seem to be doing this beer any favors, but that is only a minor detraction. It prohibits drinking a few of these in rapid succession, but putting this one away was a pleasant experience. I'm glad that I got to try it.


The Two-Schlitz Scale™: (see my profile for an explanation)
I give a Schlitz about Fade to Black Volume II. Fire bad; beer good.

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Photo of jbertsch
3.66/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appears black with a tan head that's not impressive in size. Reminds me of how their milk stout does not have impressive head. This one dissipated to an almost invisible film before the 1st sip.

Aroma is of roasted barley, chocolate malt, and coffee notes. Hops aren't present.

Tastes of charred grain, and dark chocolate mixed with a flash of dark fruit. Charred notes provide bitter, dry, sticky finish.

Mouthfeel is fairly heavy. It's smooth, and carbonated just fine which is weird because I'd think that would create more head on the pour.

Drinkability for the style is just fine.

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Photo of ScorpyX
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Very dark appearance, nearly black (how unexpected) with a tan, thick, finger-width head.

S: Strong coffee flavor with chocolate detectable underneath.

T: The coffee flavor definitely dominates. A smokiness follows after a few seconds. It also has a sweetness to it that comes in later.

M: Full-bodied and thick, but not overwhelming. Nice feel for a porter.

D: Not bad. The heavier sweetness is well balanced and the thickness doesn't linger too long. One or two are fine.

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Photo of TheSupremeAJ
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Very good pitch black hue. Medium head fades to thin tan layer.

S- Rich, sweet, robust, chocolate, coffee, smoke. Everything I would expect. Very balanced.

T- Rich bittersweet barley with heavy cocoa and loads of maduro smoke. A nice sweetness that is not cloying. Balanced, and unique smokey flavors. Upfront smoke that fades away.

M- Very nice heavy feel with rich bittersweet cocoa aftertaste.

D- Flavors are very rich and a little harsh, and it impairs the drinkability. The ABV is concealed will and it has a decent mouthfeel, however a sipper.

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Photo of superspak
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle. Pours very dark brown color with a dense 2 finger dark tan head with very good retention that reduces to a lacing cap that leaves some nice lacing. Aromas of roasted malts, chocolate, burnt wood, and cedar. Taste of chocolate, roasted malts, smoke, and cedar. Some very slight bitterness, but not very much on the finish. Insanely creamy and smooth body, with some smokiness and roasted flavors lingering after the finish. Medium body and carbonation. Overall it is a great beer, and one of the few smoked porters I have had, and maybe the best one as well. I would love to have more of this, it has an great balance of flavors, and one of the best mouthfeels I have had. Excellent.

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Photo of TheQuietMan22
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Straight pour into a pint glass. Only a half finger of creamy, tan head developed. The color is an opaque black; no light passed through when I held it to my lamp.

Smell: Creamy, roasted dark chocolate and coffee. Except for maybe a hint of smokiness, and a little dark fruit cherry, it smells a lot like oatmeal stout.

Taste: Mmm. The mouthfeel is very smooth and the smokiness is much more prominent than it is in the aroma. It has a charred flavor that masks just about everything else for the first couple sips. Roasted dark chocolate and coffee emerge after the palate becomes accustomed to the smokiness. The alcohol is completely hidden, and each sip leaves a burnt bitterness lingering in the back of the mouth.

Drinkability: It is a very easy drinking and tasty brew. Basically, it is smoky oatmeal stout. High quality.

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Photo of Mdog
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black, good head.

Smell: Roasted malts, coffee.

Taste: Lots of dry roasted coffee flavor with a little chocolate sweetness buried in there.

Drinkability: Went down easy for a somewhat big beer.

I enjoyed this beer but was a little let down by the lack of smoked flavor. It tasted like more like a stout with coffee and chocolate flavors than anything smoked. But Left Hand is 2-for-2 in tasty beers in the Fade to Black series in my book.

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Photo of tjsdomer2
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: One of the darkest beers I've tried. Pitch black, with only average lacing and not great foam.

Smell: I have to say there's not much of a smell overall. Some chocolate malt and that's about it. Nice smokey notes as well.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Nice thick chocolate syrup. Goes down nice and velvety.

Drinkability: A pretty enjoyable porter based on taste alone.

Overall: See drinkability.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.4/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into A & W pint glass (I know...) in high altitude Denver, CO in December 2010.

A: 2 finger, creamy head. Dark black colour.

Sm: Light but nice scent of roasted barley and some hops. Appealing.

T: Balanced body, with strange notes. Can't place them all; they're obscured by the smoke. They're balanced in that no particularly note is pronounced over the others, and the beer is built quite well. I rather fancy it.

Mf: Adequately coarse and dry for a porter.

Dr: I'd have it again at the right price.

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Photo of JDew
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle to a snifter

A - Deep and thick, not much light makes it through. Milk chocolate colored head about half finger, leaves a thin trace behind

S - Smokey and woodsy, some sweet nodes come through but the finish of the smell is all charred wood... mmm

T - The smell didn't lie. Chalky charred taste with smooth malts and a little bit of sweet caramel taste. Full and long aftertaste like smoke

M/D - Medium to heavy body, smooth and easy to drink, wet aftertaste that stays in the nose. I could get caught up in a six pack of these, the homey feel this one gives me is worth every penny

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Photo of Phelps
4.17/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The second in the Fade to Black series, brewed to signify "that time of year when the day seems to fade away, drifting further into darkness." Volume 1 was a foreign export stout, and the version sitting in front of me happens to be a smoked Baltic porter, inspired by a collaboration Left Hand created with Denmark's Norrebro brewery. It was enjoyed from the tap inside a snifter at Tops.

Pours a deep, inky black with a half-finger head of fuzzy tan foam that quickly fizzles to a bubbly ring and filmy top layer.

Smells: smoky. Tangy dark chocolate, toast and coffee. Strikes a great balance of smoke and chocolate tang. I approve.

The flavor is like a mix of smoky burnt campfire wood and bittersweet dark chocolate. A light tanginess emerges in the back along with a light earthy hop character. A dryish finish leaves lingering hints of acrid roast.

Light, prickly carbonation throughout a velvety medium-full body. I notice an alcohol burn in my throat, as an afterthought. Very smooth, like silk on the tongue.

Big but flavorful, Fade to Black version 2.0 is heavy but goes down easily. A balanced and flavorful Baltic porter.

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Photo of Seru1
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Thin Tan head with a dark blackish body. It has an attractive tan aura when held to the light.

Smell- Abit weaker than I hoped but Some Smokey coffee aromas waft up with abit of a watery aroma at the top of the glass. Sort of disappointing I really wanted more smoke.

Taste: A soft hop character fills the front and gives structure to the malt. The Malt itself which has a very pleasing gentle smoke character that builds in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: The taste is all encompassing it fills your mouth and has a great way of washing away any other tastes. For this reason I think it would be great with a barbecue or grilled food. The aftertaste is pleasing but doesn't overstay it's welcome.

Drinkability- Pretty easy to drink about 3 in a sitting, but it's not something I feel called to. With the right food I think this beer's drinkability would really improve.

If you like smokey flavors Fade to black is nice to try, I wanted more smoke but I think it's balanced for the average drinker. I'd really like to have this in the summer. I think this would be a great Back Yard BBQ Beer.

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Fade To Black (Volume 2 - Smoked Baltic Porter) from Left Hand Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 241 ratings.