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Wake Up Dead - Left Hand Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Wake Up DeadWake Up Dead

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

188 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 188
Hads: 951
Avg: 3.87
pDev: 28.68%
Wants: 64
Gots: 172 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Left Hand Brewing Company visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: elgiacomo on 05-04-2011

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 188 | Hads: 951
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased at Colorado Liquor Mart in Denver, CO.

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a 1 inch tan head that fades to an oily film. Nice latticework of lacing forms around the glass on the drink down. Smells of dark fruits (raisins/plums), roasted dark malt, and slight chocolate syrup. Taste is of dark roasted malt, chocolate syrup, slight coffee, and even slighter black licorice. Very mild roasty bitterness on the palate after each sip. A nice carbonation level makes for a smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good stout from Left Hand. I am glad I picked this up in CO.

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Photo of metter98
3.69/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a short tan head that quickly died down, leaving only bits of bubbles on the surface and a thin ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: Initially, there are moderate aromas of licorice and raisins in the nose. These die down a bit and notes of dark roasted malts become apparent as the beer warms up.
T: The taste is similar to the smell but also has some notes of roasted malts and a light amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. Hints of warmth from the alcohol are detectable.
O: I thought this was an average beer compared to other Russian Imperial Stouts and could have used more roasted flavors and bitterness.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.27/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

whoa! pours thick syrupy black with a minimal tan head. smells really intense, smokey with notes of licorice and bourbon. flavor is absolutely massive. im picking up tobacco, candied sugar, molasses, raisins (post review ive been informed the bottle says raisins!), and that funny birch syrup characteristic that sierra nevada's life and limb has, really really unique. full bodied as can be, sticky residue left over. plenty of bubbles too, but maybe a bit thick, not too too sweet. overall this stout is something different. theres nothing like it out there as far as im concerned, and this has to be one of lefthands best beers. wow this is great, definitely worth a try!

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.06/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Riding on the heels of the "Fade to Black" series, this barrel aged imperial stout exemplifies all things that are both dark and beer. It embraces the dark deadness and revels in its depths. Wake Up Dead is aptly named.

Its inky, jet black and opaque pour is absolutely absent of light and sucks the like into a depth of dense oily ale. Riding just above is a rather lively dense blanket of foam- tan in its color that's in stark contrast to the beer buried beneath. As the beer recedes, left behind is pocketed lace for a rich and robust display. A swirl of the glass reveals brandy-like legging with a tawny stain that draws in the eye.

The strong presence of espresso, cocoa, and toffee reach the nose well before the snifter closes to the nose. High roast scents of burnt wood- just shy of smoke, burnt fruit, and a general earthy soil scent offers light wood spices and the mild scent of ash to rise from time to time.

A malty-sweet collage of slightly burnt toffee, rich earthy espresso, bittersweet chocolate, and roasty campfire flavors mingle on the tongue with a savory underlay of creamy starch that coats the mouth evenly and firmly. Complementing fruit compounds of black cherry, aniseed, raisins, and currants all seem charred by open fire, giving only a glimpse of smoke and ash to the roast underpinnings. Firmly bitter by both coffee-like roast and woodish hops, the beer balances beautifully to finish.

And with its certain full body, the beer isn't overly chewy or thick- instead the rich taste of malt and protruding alcohol wrap around the tongue with a lush velvety, silky, and sultry feel. It's truly the closes your tongue will ever get to a massage. An extended finish of roast, caramel, bold alcohol warmth, and wood-derived astringency accompany the balance in taste that gives the beer a fortified dessert-like effect.

Dead in its demeanor, the beer is certainly alive with taste and texture. It's "awake" attributes are inviting, invigorating, and highly satisfying. Its a delicious imperial stout that begs for the accompaniment of walnuts and fruited cheese.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

black as night. No light escaping this beast. A full two inches of tan foam rose up from the bottom of the glass, capping off the top very nicely and then settling down to a thin layer across the top with some nice side glass lacing.

The aroma was rich with roasted malts and chocolate. Some light hints of bournon and oak and a touch of dark fruits. As it warmed a very nice burnt carmale like note coming through as it starts to warm. The flavor was more of the same, though it took on a much coffee like bitterness that was very welcome. Rich and dark, forboding, this was a really intense stout. Led by bitter chocolate and coffee and a touch of an alcohol note, it was everything I had hoped it would be. Smooth, delicate profile with nice carbonation. For 10% it was remarkably drinkable and that was really a testament to how good this beer was.

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Photo of mactrail
3.25/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Doesn't really taste like a stout. Eventually there is a black burnt malt taste, but it's more of a really big Old Ale. A raisiny tang, more than a touch of sweet Vermouth flavor.

Dark brown in the glass with a modest head. Big malt with more tart than sweet in the profile. Some hop bitterness comes along in the aftertaste. Nicely carbonated on the tongue with a rich but not syrupy mouthfeel. Aroma of fruitcake and sherry. Kind of murky and a touch medicinal. Not so user-friendly as many other big alcohol beers. I would skip the second glass but it's a 22 oz bottle.

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Photo of LXIXME
3.61/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a little above the glass gives this clear dark brown to black colored beer a medium to big light brown head the falls into a nice lacing that lasts and lasts.

Dark roasted malts soaked in bourbon and blended with dark fruits aroma.

Dark roasted mocha malts, a light bourbon style alcohol, with dark fruits taste.

A light dryish aftertaste with lingering light alcohol on this full bodied beer.

A pretty decent imperial stout with a slight milkiness to it.

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Photo of russpowell
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Could've swore I reviewed this...

Pours mahogany with 3+ fingers of mocha colored head. Average lacing & head retention

S: Carob, slight smokeyness, charred grain a touch of salt water taffy & boozeyness

T: Dark fruit, carob & boozeyness up front, along with some charred grain & licorice up front. Some woody hops, raisins, prunes, black currant & more carob as this warms, some leafy hops as well & molasses & more charred grain in minute doses along with a little dark chocolate. Finishes dry, slightly smokey, along with pruneyness, & woody hops

MF: Very chewy, slight carbonation

This isn't bad, but there are beter ones out there for less money to be sure. Drinks fairly easy for the ABV & style

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 2/28/2013. Pours pitch black color with a 2 finger dense khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with some light streaming carbonation. Aromas of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toffee, biscuit, nuttiness, brown sugar, toasted oats, raisin, light licorice, light smoke/char, and herbal/roasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/roast/bready malt and light-moderate dark fruit notes; with great strength. Taste of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toffee, biscuit, nuttiness, brown sugar, toasted oats, raisin, light licorice, light smoke/char, and herbal/roasted earthiness. Fair amount of herbal/roasted bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toffee, biscuit, nuttiness, brown sugar, toasted oats, raisin, light licorice, light smoke/char, and herbal/roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Damn nice complexity and balance of dark/roast/bready malt and light-moderate dark fruit flavors; with a great roasted malt bitterness/sweetness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy, and lightly slick/chalky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent Russian imperial stout. All around great complexity and balance of dark/roast/bready malt and light-moderate dark fruit flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.62/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours pitch black out of a 22 ounce bomber, from Longmont CO, I literally like every beer I've had from Left Hand. Thick tan head forms nicely with a pitch black body glancing back at me. Aroma has dark fruit, coffee roasts, with vanilla bean creaminess. Flavor is great big roast, big dark malt character with more vanilla slipping in to the fun...That's when things get out of control with big alcohol and chocolate notes burping up a booze background at 10.2% abv I see why? Mouthfeel is full bodied with mellow carbonation slick oily texture that lasts throughout each sip, kind of hard to get through. Overall A beer that is worth it's credibility as a big stout in the bottle from Left Hand, I'm not sorry I tried it.

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Photo of smcolw
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Decent starting head, but settles to a single layer of bubbles. It leaves a blanket of lace after each sip. The color is near black--no light passes.

I smelled dark cherry initially. There's also a milk chocolate aroma. Here's an odd addition, but it's entirely pleasant, there's a touch of olive oil to the nose. There's no coffee or alcohol present, which is equally surprising.

The taste is altogether different. First, I noticed a strong alcohol presence. Second, there is a coffee with cream flavor. There's also stone fruit in the background, but the swallow features a hop, not malt, bitterness. The swallow and aftertaste is all alcohol warmth. The body is thin like most stouts, but the low carbonation makes it seem creamy.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From 12/16/12 notes. Thought I had had this but apparently only had the BA version. 8 oz. pour on nitro-pour at Pony Bar in NYC on the UES.

a - Pours a very dark brown color, almost black, with one inch of light tan head, and moderate carbonation evident. Looks pretty nice, like a nice stout.

s - Smells of sweet chocolate, roasted malts, sweet dark fruits, vanilla, cream, light coffee, and toasted malts. Nice and sweet, I like it a lot.

t - Tastes of sweet chocolate, sweet dark fruits, roasted malts, swete coffee, sweet cream, and vanilla. Taste is good but very sweet, a little bit too sweet for me. Slight step down from the nose.

m - Medium body and low carbonation, with a super smooth and creamy body. Awesome mouthfeel; the nitro-pour really lends well to this one.

o - Overall a pretty good milk/American stout. Very sweet but that is nice in the nose especially, and the mouthfeel was great. I think I like the BA version a bit better but would still have this one again.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.77/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours an opaque jet black in color with light amounts of gentle carbonation and some dark cola brown highlights. The beer has a two finger tall creamy tan head that quickly reduces to a couple of small to medium sized thin patch of medium sized bubbles with a small amount of very thin film mottling the remainder of the surface of the beer and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of dark roasted (almost charred) malts with some slightly lighter notes of dark fruit (raisin) and anise/licorice.

T: Upfront there is a moderate to strong flavor of dark roasted, almost charred malts that give the beer a fairly strong amount of bitterness. There are faint notes of dark fruit (raisin) and anise licorice but without the normally associated sweetness. Slight hints of ash.

M: Medium to full bodied with slightly more than moderate amounts of carbonation. Light amounts of alcohol warming in the finish.

O: With the abundance of great beers in the Russian Imperial Stout style, I find this beer to be fairly pedestrian and not really doing anything interesting (compared with others). A little too much char and ash for my preference.

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Photo of mothman
3.44/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

On cask at grumpys

Tan head. Color is black.

Flavors of roasted malts and coffee. Chocolate and cocoa. Lots of alcohol. Dark fruits and molasses. Raisins.

Mouthfeel: thin feel with a lot of heat.

Overall, too much booze showing in this one. It'd be a lot better otherwise. Also a bit thin for an imp stout.

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am pretty sure this is the same beer as the regular Imperial Stout, only rebranded. But I will review it under this listing.

The beer pours a dark brown to black color with a tan head. The aroma is heavy on the roasted malt and dark fruit with quite a bit of anise mixed in. The flavor is mainly made up of roasted malt and chocolate, although there is some anise in there as well. The alcohol is well hidden but becomes more apparent as the beer warms up. Medium to thick mouthfeel and low to medium carbonation. A nice imperial stout.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.22/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass.

Very light nearly white head presented, and very small barely manages a pencil thickness while settling to a simple thin collar. Body is a dark brown walnut with some large red hues to it.

Bouquet is a bit sweet with a large hint of lactose and milky character. Powdered malt and whoppers like candy smelling chocolate, with hints of soda cola character, and some cherry warmth.

Palate improves with a large roast bitterness and some pine like matching flavor. Quite fizzy mouthfeel on this which has an almost mineral water carbonation. Matches a very minerally and dry finish to go with the palate. Cola mouthfeel and wet, with some fruity quality but also comes with a sweet lactose like palate.

Overall this just feels and tastes like an over-amped milk stout and I am not really getting into this at all.

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Photo of Gavage
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a black color with a 1" head that falls quickly to a spotty surface foam.

Smell: chocolate, roasted malts, and some hop bitterness comes through to the nose.

Taste: roasted malts, dark chocolate, prunes, and some coffee are the main flavors. Some floral hops arrive softly in the background. Alcohol is soft in the flavor too.

Mouthfeel: medium-heavy in body. Light crispness to start, smoother and velvety at the finish. Long lasting aftertaste.

Overall: a very tasty imperial stout that is a slow sipper but nicely satisfying.

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Photo of biegaman
4.18/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wake Up Dead is, appropriately, entirely and solemnly black. And relatively lifeless too - there's no bubbles and very little head save for a thin outlying of spongy brown foam. Given the amount of hoppiness brimming from the glass it's a slight surprise the beer isn't green, but then again the overwhelming presence of coffee does explain the ale's deep brown complexion.

I don't know that there's anything quite so satisfying to my senses as the smell of a Russian Imperial Stout. I don't drink coffee but those of you out there who need that cup of joe first thing in the morning, you know the kind of gratification I speak of. The way this bouquet combines leafy hops with mocha flavours is pure heaven for me.

And the taste is no less pleasurable. Rich chocolate notes and pine resins combine forces to make an ultra-rich, ultra-characterful taste. The whole palate is painted black and green. It has echoes of my favourite desserts (tiramisu, chocolate ganache) and fleeting notes of herbal tea. Between the prominent hoppiness and the heavy roast coffee flavour you can be sure it's bitter, but there's a dark caramel-type sweetness and tinge of vanilla that linger big time.

If you’re not salivating already at the thought of this rich, opulent stout, imagine it with some gooey chocolate-chip or white chocolate-macadamia nut cookies. Or better yet a bowl of summer berries drizzled in balsamic. Or overtop a big bowl of French vanilla ice cream. Any way you slice it, this beer is for de-ca-dents.

Left Hand seems to think this 2013 vintage will be good for three years. I'm inclined to agree. One year seems to have only helped things; there's still plenty of hoppiness, the maltiness is rich and roasty, and the overall impression is profound enough that it's conceivable it was made in oak (though it wasn't). Black licorice makes it into the aftertaste, adding another layer of depth.

Wake Up Dead reminds me of another Colorado RIS: Great Divide's Yeti (which is a tremendous compliment, and likely the reason my score is that much higher than the average). It similarly sees hop cones dipped in chocolate fondue and is sure to make an instant impression on beer geeks and casuals alike. As far as RISs go, this is an easy one to recommend.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.65/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Wake Up Dead is a decent Imperial Stout....but not my favorite....there is a weird twang on the back end. The beer poured an opaque dark with thin slightly off white head that is leaving a spotty lace. The scent carries some light roast. The taste is has touches of chocolate, roast and maybe a hint of espresso backed by an alcohol push. The mouthfeel is full in body with smooth carbonation. Overall this is a decent stout and should be tried with delight.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a snifter)
A- This beer pours an opaque deep brown body with a thick head that is a mass of microbubbles that takes on a milkshake quality. There is a microcarbonation that fights its way to the surface. The head leaves rings with each sip.

S- The faint smoky note to the full char of black malt has a soft bacon note that grows and some nice roasted raw grain notes aswell.

T- The leather and vinous flavors to the black roasted malt has some dark raisin to it and a slightly dry finish. There is a bacon smoke and leather hint that lingers and becomes a bit inky as it opens up. The bitterness in the finish turns to a green wood note as it warms.

M- The medium mouthfeel has a nice alcohol warmth to it.

O- Big complex dry beer with a unique character to the black malt. Leather and smoke hints and some dark dried fruit really make this a great sipper.

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Photo of Evil_Pidde
3.34/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A: Pours dark reddish brown with a medium tall brown, very compact head. Decent lacings.

S: Tart; dark dried fruits, sweet. Some faint vanilla and smoky notes. A bit alcholic. Vineous and salty.

T: Loads of dark dried fruits, very sweet. Smoke and vanilla from the smell is still present. Some coffe and faint licorice.

M: Aftertaste fades quickly, mainly sweet. Chewy full body and very low carbonation.

O: Not bad, but not one of the better in this style. I lack a better balance; the sweetness dominates.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.97/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle purchased as a single from Spirit Haus, Amherst, MA.

Poured into a CCB pub glass, formed a 1/4" dark brown head over the almost opaque dark brown brew. Head is quickly down to a swirly layer of small bubbles, with average sheeting lace. Aroma is sweet, dark fruits and booze.

Taste follows the nose, dark sweetness to start, some peeks of fruit in the middle, and an alcoholic close. Mouthfeel is slickery smooth, and drinkability is good as well. Not bad.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled on January 9, 2012. It pours a very dark brown to almost black with a moderate, tan head and clinging lacing. Aromas envelope a wide array of dark malts, coffee grinds, and bitter hops but little in the way of sweetness or dark fruits. The body is around medium. The taste is also a combination of dark malts, bitterness, and coffee. No chocolate of note. There are better Imperial Stouts out there but this has its attributes.

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Photo of rudzud
3.69/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 8/8/11. I know I reviewed this beer before. Hmph...So this was meant to be drank on the Mayan Apocalypse but never got cracked. Sooo....

A - Poured into my Duvel tulip a deep dark brown almost black hue with a one finger mocha head that faded to leave a thin thin blanket and light side lacing.

S - Sweet roast, almost light licorice aromas hints of chocolate.

T - A bit on the sweet side for me. Perhaps thats what the aging has done here. Sweeter malts, older coffee and chocolate. Faint, faint metallic note along with some darker fruits (raisins/figs). That dark fruit kind of gets in the way for me a little.

M - Mouthfeel is nice. Good carbonation here.

O - Overall this wasnt a bad beer. Don't think age has done this well. Glad I got to rereview it, but I know my original review was 4's across the board. Oh well.

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Photo of pat61
4.35/5  rDev +12.4%

Opens with chocolate and light roast on the nose. Pours bright, deep chestnut under a ½” lightly tan tinted foam cap. A big palate starts with dark, bitter chocolate spiced with espresso with some fresh grain notes swimming through. Has a slight warming but the alcohol is smooth and not hot. Very creamy and chewy with medium low carbonation.

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Wake Up Dead from Left Hand Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 188 ratings.