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Wake Up Dead - Left Hand Brewing Company

Wake Up DeadWake Up Dead

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

677 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 677
Reviews: 165
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 13.25%

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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: elgiacomo on 05-04-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 677 | Reviews: 165 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of BEERchitect


4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2013 05:29:07 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of Greywulfken

New York

3.86/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: into a stout flute glass, black beer body (some slight translucence at the bottom), mid size head of medium dark foam slipped away shortly, leaving some milky froth and intermittent lace

S: nothing too remarkable here - espresso roast and bitersweet chocolate

T: nice tasting - but not exceptional - dark malts add roastiness and espresso coffee, some fennel-esque notes in the back; dry cocoa for sweetness

M: a little thin for my tastes, teeniest bit if abv noted; smooth and mellow otherwise

O: so many Imperial stouts, and I've had a respectable share, that this beer comes in as run-of-the-mill. I certainly enjoyed it enough, but it didn't do anything to distinguish itself.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2013 00:57:08 | More by Greywulfken
Photo of BlurryVisi0n

New York

3.71/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter glass.

Appearance: This is a thin imperial stout, with a dark brown tint on the pour it settles an opaque black with an easy tan head that rose to about a finger's length.

Smell: Light chocolate scent, coming off almost milky.

Taste: You know, for a beer with this high ABV level it stays hidden. Soft chocolate feel, heavy malt with a raisin feel that makes this brew a touch sweet. Feels almost like an imperial milk stout, which at this point is where I think it should be ranked with.

Mouth: This is easily the weakest property of the beer, with an after-taste that disappears as quick as the air you breathe. I mean I like it but just wish there was more.

Overall: I love imperial stouts doesn't mean I love this beer, it's well crafted and respectable. If you have a go-to imperial stout that is around the price range of this one, I honestly would say go for it. If you want to try something new and craving that smoother imperial than you might have found what you were looking for. Salud!

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2013 07:14:57 | More by BlurryVisi0n
Photo of AlCaponeJunior


3.33/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Average appearance, black and thick with not a whole lot of head or lacing.

Aroma is sweet, roasty, chocolate, dessert-like, with a little bit of hops bleeding through.

Taste is sweet, very dessert like. Roasty malts and plenty of sweet milk chocolate are accented by some coffee, dark fruits, alcohol, and some hop bitterness.

Body is very slick and sweet, thick and alcoholic.

It wasn't everything I had hoped, but it was still tasty.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2013 15:54:29 | More by AlCaponeJunior
Photo of Gavage

New Jersey

4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2012 22:53:23 | More by Gavage
Photo of BierStein711


3.93/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5


Nitro brew that was out of this world! Served in snifter: two finger head!

Very lovely!

Jet black with creamy off white head.

Smells of hop, ice, malt, and coffee, but with a little hint of cocoa

Tastes of coffee, fudge, cocoa, molasses, vanilla, grape, and a hop finish

Mouthfeel: Rich and smooth

Overall, perfectly creamy beer! A must have.

Serving type: nitro-tap

12-22-2012 07:07:46 | More by BierStein711
Photo of DrDemento456


3.93/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Grabbed this imperial stout for 7 bucks. Love the cover art!

A - A nice deep shade of pitch black even at the base. Head is a nice creamy 1/2 inch of mocha froth. Sticky lacing throughout the glass while sipping is also great!

S - First thing I get is a nice dose of premium coffee that reminds me of "Victory at sea" Under this I mostly smell sweet Hershey's chocolate telling me this is going to be a tasty sweet stout.

T - Bitter yet balanced with a hefty dose of burnt sugar, coffee, and sweet balancing chocolate in the finish. I actually kind of enjoy the bitterness in this one it hides the ABV well.

M - Medium to heavy with a slightly oily slick base.

Overall again nothing to run out and get again and I have better options I can think of but this Imperial stout has a taste of its own. Worth picking up for 7 bucks.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2012 03:26:13 | More by DrDemento456
Photo of King_KongDCO93


3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice dark motor oil appearance with finger of off white head. Has good Cocoa and toffee aroma. Smooth and creamy. Chocolatey . Some notes of coffee in the bitterness. I believe I got this beer for around 6-7 bucks. Worth the money. Good to drink at any occasion.!!!

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2012 19:06:25 | More by King_KongDCO93
Photo of mdfb79

New York

3.85/5  rDev 0%
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.

Serving type: nitro-tap

12-17-2012 18:57:57 | More by mdfb79
Photo of Ethanol4one

New York

4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma is very nice, like a fresh bag of black movie liquorish, mild tic tac, or Good & Plenty with rocked fuel. Picture Choo Choo Charlie in handcuffs for DUI and negligent homicide when his train jumps the rails.

Deep dark color, nice spiced aroma, not hoppy, bitter coffee correcto flavor, like spiked Iced black coffee on a summer Roman afternoon to keep you "correcto" when some nerve wracking vacation event takes you temper from zero to P.O.'d in 30 seconds.

Mouth feel's thick, but also glycerine, like an odd table wine made from burnt sugars (black strap molasses) with a nearly Bourbon bitter finish. This stuff just taste strong... certainly a sipping beer.

Apart from watching a team I hate wine the superbowl, or some college friend egging me on for old time's sake, hope not to have too many occasion's to drink enough to "wake up dead". Word to the wise: go slow bros, punctuate with something lighter and H2Os.

This thing reminds me of Will Farrell in "Old School" after he's hit with that dart-- "I like you man, you're crazy, but I like you"...

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2012 00:15:48 | More by Ethanol4one
Photo of sirdrinkwell


3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-pours dark into my glass, coffee-like in appearance as one can rightfully expect from a RIS. Only mild head results, creamy bone color, dissipating to leave a ring of lace around the edges of the glass and some sticky residue along the sides of the glass as i sink my drink.

S-the aroma of my bottle's pour is ever so mildly boozy, but it mixes with an overpowering sugary sweetness and the end result is not unpleasant. Molasses and chocolate meets mild licorice.

T-drinks as an almost even mixture of sugary alcohol and peppery black licorice

M-rich in body, slightly chewy but this doesn't lose its overall smoothness. my bottle was a bit oily, but not so far over the top that it ruins the feel. I've been there, and it gets ugly to the point where some past offerings have ended up going down the drain rather than down my throat. thankfully this brew doesn't get too far out of control.

O-this is far from a favorite, and I probably won't hurt myself trying to locate another bottle after the two I recently purchased are gone. That being said, I am a fan of the style, and this is a decent, drinkable RIS for me as someone who is already initiated and into this end of the spectrum. Worth trying.


Serving type: bottle

12-13-2012 02:13:22 | More by sirdrinkwell
Photo of ColForbinBC

New Jersey

3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into a snifter

The body sits an ink black underneath two fingers of dark tan head. Retention is ok. Some lines and dots of lace as you work through the glass.

On the nose, dark roast, bakers chocolate, char/ash, and some licorice. An underlying aroma of grassy hops spreads evenly.

Dark roast hits up front, with licorice and semi sweet bakers chocolate through the middle. The finish is a bit of licorice with a pronounced roast bordering on char. Some oak and vanilla creep through as it warms.

Full body. Big flavors, but lacking in overall complexity. Everything seems to come and go with no real transition to the next phase.

Above average Imp Stout. Some good things going on, but lacks in some of the finer areas to really make this a 4+ beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2012 23:32:31 | More by ColForbinBC
Photo of brother_kenneth


3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle, poured into a tumbler glass.

A- Pours jet black with a small amount of light cream colored head.

S- Coffee and dark roasted malts are in the forefront here. I can also smell a sweetness reminding me of raisins, dates, etc.

T- Very bold and slightly smokey. Syrupy sweet up front and bitter on the finish. Coffee is abundant along with some chocolate. The alcohol is fairly noticeable, but it is not really bad, in my opinion; although it does seem to be getting worse as I drink it. Tiny amount of carbonation, medium body. Definitely not as thick as other similar stouts.

O- I would consider this to be a good imperial stout. I would not consider it a favorite, but would probably buy again.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2012 22:04:37 | More by brother_kenneth
Photo of vette2006c5r


3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Imperial Stout pours a black color, with a small creamy tan head. The small is smokey and malty, sweet hints of raisins, dark chocolate and coffee. The taste is very complex, first come chocolate that then mixes to a sweet raisin like flavor, strong coffee tastes that finishes with a boozy alcohol taste. Very complex taste very full flavor, but not the most drinkable. Overall a complex beer, enjoyable in slow sips.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2012 04:50:56 | More by vette2006c5r
Photo of rapidsequence


3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle from Pints O'Plenty. Bottled 7/12.

Appearance: A RIS needs to pour black and inky. This one pours dark brown (very dark brown). Lots of highlights around the edges. Medium brown head with acceptable retention, some spotty lacing.

Smell: Old coffee grounds, bittersweet chocolate, less milk chocolate, a little licorice, and some herbal hops. Its got the components of a good RIS aroma, but it doesn't quite work. A bit to much bitter aroma between the coffee and hops.

Taste: Well, the flavor integrates better than the aroma. There's still a lot of bitterness in the flavor between the roast and significant hops, but its balanced better than the aroma. Bittersweet chocolate, dates, licorice, some vanilla. Boozy. Bitter herbal hoppy finish.

Mouthfeel: Its reasonably full, but the bitterness cuts this a bit. Hops resin in the end.

Overall: I think this would be better if some age could calm the bitterness some. Its a good, not great RIS as is.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2012 02:08:08 | More by rapidsequence
Photo of Swim424


3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into Proof Brewing 2012 Halloween pint glass.

A- Pours a dark black with a very creamy head.

S-Smells of dark chocolate and a hint of coffee and black licorice (which I dont care for much), but nonetheless smells very good.

T- Tastes of dark chocolate almost immediately and keeps a fairly sweet chocolately backbone throughout. It has a hint of maybe a licorice type flavor at the end, but still being very sweet.

MF-fairly thick. I could tell immediately it had a high ABV before I knew what it was. Very sweet and flavorful.

O-Overall this is a pretty damn good beer. I havent reviewed a beer in a while and when I tried this one it made me want to review it. I would recommend this beer to just about anyone. Even someone who maybe never tried something like it before.

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2012 02:50:30 | More by Swim424
Photo of StoneTSR


3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

APPEARANCE: Absolutely dark as night. Not a single ray of light of any color will penetrate this beer. A surprisingly large head (about a finger and a half) foams up as I pour fresh from the growler (picked it up two hours ago at Left Hand in Longmont). The head doesn't stick around too long, however, and quickly collapses into just a thin, foamy cap over the sea of black. Some mild lacing sticks to the glass momentarily after each sip, but fades quickly.

SMELL: Roasty and woody malt greet the nose with a hint of chocolate lurking behind. A swirl of the glass kicks up an Earthy and grassy aroma as well, but the aroma could be stronger.

TASTE: Intensely sweet (almost to a fault) and chocolatey up front. Milk chocolate, not the same dark chocolate that I have experienced in a lot of other Left Hand brews. Very pleasant. Anyhow, the latter half of the sip does a 180 and reverses course finishing with a much more bitter and coffee-tinged taste. As it warms a hint of vanilla and a touch of oak creep in throughout the sip.

MOUTHFEEL: Silky and smooth with a fairly light body considering that this is an Imperial Stout. A light, tickling carbonation washes it all down.

OVERALL: Good stuff. Will drink again. Saying that this is just another dark beer brewed by Left Hand might sound like an insult, but when the boys in Longmont go for a dark beer they usually nail it and this is no exception.

Serving type: growler

10-16-2012 06:02:26 | More by StoneTSR
Photo of StaveHooks


4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours pitch black with a tightly knit espresso head.

S - Old roasted coffee, some marshmallow and cocoa aromas, dark caramel, sharp licorice, cherry cordials, overly toasted brown bread, perfumy fruit and alcohol vapors.

T - Creamy milk chocolate, some bitter roast comes through, acidic grape and licorice character on the edges, roasted oats, dense nutty yeast, some coffee, cordial cherry filling, very sweet but plenty of roasted bitterness to even it out. Finishes fruity and semi bitter.

M - Full bodied, thick and viscous feel, warming, very smooth and low carbonation.

Very dense and smooth feel make for a pleasant sipper. Creamy chocolate, fruity, and warming.

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2012 23:05:18 | More by StaveHooks
Photo of Danny1217


3.91/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Black with a small tan head.
I smell some chocolate, roasted malts, some dark fruits, and a bit of anise.
Taste is somewhat on the dark fruits and anise side. Some bittersweet chocolate. Very rich and thick mouthfeel. Low carbonation. Pretty tasty.
Not the best imperial stout in the world, but worth trying. I do like the label.

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2012 20:59:29 | More by Danny1217
Photo of gtermi


3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This beer pours a dark black body with a thin tan head that quickly fades.

S: A nice amount of sweetness on the nose, sort of like chocolate. There is a tiny bit of roasted malt too.

T: There is a bit of booze, some syrupy chocolate malt flavor and a nice amount of roasted malt.

M: There is a nice full body with a nice amount of crispness on the back of the throat and the tip of the tongue.

O: This is a solid beer, but nothing amazing. For the price it is worth it. I would for sure try it again.

Serving type: bottle

10-07-2012 03:47:37 | More by gtermi
Photo of johzac


4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle, served in New Belgium nucleated glass. 2011 bottle, properly stored and opened on 9/26/2012.

Pours a fantastic looking black, with appropriate head following a hard pour. Tiny bubbles with a thin-ish head that quickly dissipates.

Smell: Heavy bittersweet chocolate, hints of vanilla, creme, slight coffee and licorice.

Taste: Appropriately matches smell, a nice coating of bittersweet chocolate, coffee, roasted grains, vanilla with a creme finish. ABV is subtle but present, discrete but lurking in the background, takes a few sips to settle down.

Mouthfeel: Proper to form, good carb level, not overly thick but coats the tongue with a blanket of dark wintery goodness.

Overall: Solid RIS, glad that I let it age for about a year, carb level is spot on, taste is completely appropriate for the style. An excellent offering by Left Hand, solid price point. ABV is hidden quite nicely. I like it, great example of the style, good value.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2012 04:41:44 | More by johzac
Photo of Dave1999

North Carolina

4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a solid black with a small tan coloured head.

The smell is roasted malts and dark fruits such as plum and raisins.

The taste is much the same as the smell but stronger,there's the plum and raisin with some roasted coffee and alcohol.

The mouth feel is quite heavy and syrupy with low to medium carbonation.

Overall a good beer, you can taste some alcohol but for its abv it's not much. This is a very good imperial stout with a big kick but is very reasonably priced.

Serving type: bottle

09-23-2012 03:26:44 | More by Dave1999
Photo of ahijevyc


4.68/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Was pleasantly surprised. I don't think of Left Hand when I think of big Imperial stouts, but this made me sit up and take notice. Will definitely be going back for more. I thought Lost Abbey's Serpent's Stout was a steal for $10. But this is $4 less and just as enjoyable. I knew it would be good because I tried it at the tasting room last week. But this is better than I remember.

Serving type: bottle

09-22-2012 03:00:40 | More by ahijevyc
Photo of Vierenner


4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had been getting discouraged ... all the Imperial Stouts were starting to taste the same to me ... and none were hitting the mark. Then along comes this one!

Slightly sweet, very little hop bite, robust flavor. I would age this in bourbon barrels, charge double the price, and watch the profits roll in.

Okay, absent the bourbon :( this is still a delicious beer.

Serving type: bottle

09-21-2012 21:24:55 | More by Vierenner
Photo of beerdrifter


3.18/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked this up while on vacation in Denver. Dark brown, almost black pour with two finger head that fades quickly with pretty decent lacing. The nose is almost totally non-existent. A very subtle hint of roast, but that's it. It does open up slightly as it warms with a bit of smokiness. The taste is sweet and roasty with hints of cocoa, burnt toast, coffee, caramel, toffee, and just a touch of dark chocolate. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, but at the same time a bit thin for the style. Overall this is very average and a bit disappointing.

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2012 15:24:51 | More by beerdrifter
Wake Up Dead from Left Hand Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 677 ratings.