Wake Up Dead - Left Hand Brewing Company

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Wake Up DeadWake Up Dead

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BA SCORE
87
very good

926 Ratings
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Ratings: 926
Reviews: 193
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 12.95%
Wants: 54
Gots: 159 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 926 | Reviews: 193
Photo of ksimons
4.09/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-almost back with a thin layer of tan head that leaves a ring of lace around the top

S-roasted malt, dark chocolate, roasted coffee, light molasses, and licorice

T-Dark chocolate with roasted malt and dark roasted coffee give this beer a big roasted profile. Alcohol is well balanced.

M-medium to full body, good carbonation, smooth, dry roasted mouthfeel

Overall a very good, and affordable RIS. Worth a revisit for sure.

Photo of mothman
3.44/5  rDev -10.9%
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.

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.36/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

22 oz bottle into a pint glass. 2011 vintage, I think.

A: Pours a dark ruby red color. Surprisingly, it's not completely opaque. The head is a one finger mocha shade with excellent retention for the style. Lacing is damn good, too. Apart from the minor "oh it's not pitch black" complaint, this looks damn good in a glass.

S: This is really sweet, and loaded with licorice - not my cup of tea. There are also some notes of brown sugar and dark fruits, which is more preferable to me. I also get some vanilla extract, which isn't. Also needs more roast. Not bad, though: I'm of the belief it's hard to screw up an imperial stout, and this certainly isn't screwed up. Just not great.

T: No bones about it, this one's sweet...and boozy. It opens up with a tart fruit flavor, augmented with licorice (yikes) and vanilla. The finish also has some notes of smoke and vanilla, and a kick of booze. Every once in a while, I get a wisp of chocolate which I really enjoy. There's also a taste of oatmeal here. It's pretty good, and better than the aroma...but imagine how good it would be if it had a roasted edge to it. This needs roast like Keira Knightley needs a sandwich or three. That, and some more complexity wouldn't hurt...

M: Nice and creamy with minimal carbonation. But, there could be some more body to help cover up the alcohol better. That, and it feels kind of boozy, thanks to the combination of oats and good attenuation. Still, I'll always take a minor alcohol bite over a flabby, bloated feel devoid of booze (see: Stone IRS) any day. This would make an excellent winter warmer due to the way it warms the orifices up.

O: I think this is two and a half years old...and at this age, it's just 'pretty good'. Not amazing, just pretty good. That could mean it was a mediocre RIS that improved marginally, or was a great stout that kind of deteriorated. Since the brewers say it has a 7 year life, and that the general flavor profile doesn't agree with me, I'll assume the former is true. Decent, but I probably won't buy again.

Photo of PicoPapa
3.52/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle with a Best By date of 02/28/2018. Pours a pitch black color with a thin layer of dark brown head. Some lacing. Aroma has lots of dark fruits along with caramel malts, earth, and hints of vanilla. The taste is more of the dark fruit flavors along with caramel malts, vanilla, licorice and even some marshmallows. Lots of raisin and figs. Booze with some bitter dark chocolate at the end. Creamy mouthfeel. This one's got a bit too much dark fruit flavor for me. Its not quite as balanced as I'd like it to be. Overall, mildly disappointing.

Photo of SeanDonahue
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Whenever I pour a stout, I just admire everything about it. How it looks, how it smells, and the amazing flavors that come out of it. The appearance on this beer is as black as night. In fact, I didn't get any head on this beer when poured. With this beer being at 10.2% ABV, you're going to see alcohol legs on the side and get big boozey quality to it, which leads to the aroma.

The aroma is interesting on this stout. There are big chocolate and caramel qualities to it. In the middle you do get an alcohol kick as well.I also get some toffee notes in it as well.

The taste is very thick, which is exactly how an imperial stout should be. RIght in the front, I get a hint of chocolate mixed with a bitter coffee bean quality. Middle of the mouth is when the alcohol starts to settle on your tongue. This beer has some interesting qualities but the alcohol takes over the other important flavors somewhat, which I am not a big fan of.

Overall, this beer is perfect for a cold winter night. I like to recommend beers and what time of the year they remind me of and all stouts would remind me of the winter. My only complaint is that there is too much of a boozey quality. If you're into that, then this is the beer for you.

Photo of smakawhat
3.22/5  rDev -16.6%
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.

Photo of Chickenhawk9932
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours dark as night with a caramel colored head that hangs around.

In the nose is coffee, dark chocolate, caramel malt, and raisin.

A nice burst of carbonation keeps flavors lively. The individual flavors are intense yet melded. Bitter coffee and bitter chocolate roll around the mouth and keep the sweet caramel and raisin/rum notes in check. Real nice flavor and mouthfeel but the finish lacks something - kind of leaves you hanging.

Photo of dbrauneis
3.77/5  rDev -2.3%
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.

Photo of VelvetExtract
3.25/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

A-Pours rather dark with a cap that pops away to nothing. Seems to be rather thick in body. Mild light penetrations.

S-Immediately not very happy with the nose. It smells a bit sticky and artificial. Dark fruit notes but they seem disingenuous. Then all the regular culprits are there too.

T-My nose did not deceive me. Its a bit metallic but not supremely offensive. Even so, the intended flavors are still not too appealing. Wake Up Dead is too sticky and artificial.

M-Full, not viscous. Tingly, soft bubbles. Boozy.

O/D-Was not impressed by this.

Photo of scratch69
4.01/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I poured a bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance- Black color with a fingers worth of tan head. Thin amount of lacing.

Smell- Dark roasted malt and dark fruit aroma.

Taste- Dark roasted malt flavor with dark fruit and licorice notes.

Mouthfeel- Full bodied and smooth. Fair amount of carbonation with just a hint of alcohol warmth.

Overall- A good example of the style. I really enjoyed this one.

Photo of CloudStrife
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled on 11/12/12.

A: Pours very dark brownish black with a half finger khaki head. Leaves some nice lacing. Light gets through about 3/4".

S: Chocolate and malt are present. Not overwhelming. Hints of dark fruit as well.

T: Roasty body with ample chocolate notes. Lots of fermented fruit as well. Booze is fairly well hidden. Good overall flavor

M: Medium to full body with a creamy mouthfeel. Isnt too heavy on the palate though. Easy drinking for the abv.

Overall a very smooth and tasty stout. Doesnt blow you away with flavors most stouts now days try to do but thats not the point of an RIS.

Photo of metter98
3.69/5  rDev -4.4%
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.

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
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.

Photo of Wheelzie
4.41/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

straight from the bomber into an oversized wine glass,

wow the appearance is all that it should be, i was suprised by the khaki 1 finger head....in fact it made me giggle a little bit....yes sir i am a beer nerd that got my jollys kicked liked a school girl,

but this is not a school girl beer, in fact it is manly as hell! its toasty and roasty and even gives me hints of some of those barrel stouts!!.. probably because the bottle says that it lurks in their cellars for 4 months! love this beer at the moment!

it is very filling be careful with this hairy beast

Photo of YoDude
4.42/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Black and poured with a short deep brown head. Head is slightly retained with a dark brown ring and about half inch of loose lacing.

Smell: The nose is dark roasted coffee with a hint of dried fruit, very pleasant and welcoming.

Taste: Rich roasted malt and coffee up front with lingering flavors of black licorice and dark chocolate. There is also a spicy finish that I accredit to the malt as the hops have long faded.

Mouth feel: It has a full body and light carbonation, with a nice finish of alcohol warmth and dark chocolate flavor. The use of oatmeal gives a smooth mouth feel that has you anticipating your next sip.

Overall: This is a wonderful version of an American Imperial Stout. Left Hand Brewing rarely disappoints. The hops have faded with age, but the combination of malts and other grains have married nicely to make this a wonderful beverage. I will definitely purchase again. Next time I will not age so long to make sure I include hop flavors.

Serving type: 22 oz. bottle aged 18 months in my beer cellar and poured into a Hamm's goblet

Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
4.4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.75

Bomber into 34oz mug. Black with a thick tan head. Smell is malty, a bit of yeast, and coffee. Taste is big, smooth coffee and chocolate at first, bittering out at the end and finishing relatively cleanly. Mouthfeel is full, could be a little smoother though. Still a great RIS, very drinkable for 10.2%. Love it!

Photo of NilocRellim
3.94/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle.

The beer poured a very dark brown, almost black. The smell is quite mellow, sweet malts, slight coffee, chocolate, and toasti-ness. The taste is not as strong as most imperial stouts. It was a little bitter with a very creamy, malty, slight coffee notes and hints of chocolate. Pretty modest for an imperial stout and quite drinkeable, despite the 10.2% ABV.

Would I buy it again? Yes.

Photo of joefuzz
3.77/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours deep brown with a tiny ring of bubbles surrounding the brim of the glass. Smells of raisins plums and black cherry. Tastes is dominated by dark fruit and mellows out to a nice cherry chocolate flavor. Mouthfeel is on the thin side with only slight carbonatin. Overall very good effort but not the best of the style.

Photo of MaximalC
3.79/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

*Note: This bottle was aged nearly a year before consuming.

Pours seal brown with a thin khaki head that dissipates in short order, leaving behind an uncommon microscopic froth. Aroma oozes dark fruit, with a thick, sticky raisin aroma complemented by caramel with a touch of chocolate and alcohol. The essence of raisin really is remarkably present in the nose.

The flavors are at least as audacious as the nose, with plenty of sweet, dark fruit, molasses, anise, cherry, and an alcohol that takes no prisoners. Herbal hops maintain a tentative detente with the huge malt flavors--a quaky balance to say the least. I'm sure the discerning palate could distinguish even finer complexities. The melange takes on a medicinal character that is only accentuated by the slick, oily mouthfeel, while the molasses lingers long into the finish. The alcohol becomes a little too ferocious as it warms, however.

Overall, this is a flavorful and powerful brew that keeps the palate on its toes. I wouldn't describe it as a traditional RIS however, as the body is a little lighter than ideal, and the mouthfeel a shade too slick. It almost comes off as more of a hybrid between a stout and baltic porter. With that said, you can't fault Left Hand for crafting a brew with some attitude.

Photo of JK4Stout
3.94/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'm keeping this short as I have to get on the road in meer seconds but here we go...Delicious as it warms, worth every penny, and very flavorful to enjoy on a quite night by the fire.
I am somewhat dismayed at the price depending on which location I visit. One place I see 8.99 another 6.75...i chose the later as I once learned math long ago.

Photo of RuEXP1
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours dark brown with a minor amount of coffee colored foam. Decent/slightly thin lacing.

S: Has a sweet and roasted malt smell. Also pick up on some chocolate/vanilla tones. Does not smell overly strong.

T: Not overly heavy. Strongest flavors are roasted malts and chocolate. Nothing is overpowering, but does taste more alcoholic than expected upon smell. Well balanced and smooth throughout sip.

M: Low to moderate carbonation. On the thin side of stouts, but still a very pleasurable feel in the mouth.

O: Overall a very solid stout. Well balanced flavor that is pleasurable throughout each sip. Light enough to enjoy at all times of the year, where a lot of stouts can be overwhelming (especially on hot days). Only real downside (for my preference) was the lack of head when pouring. Though this could be different on tap. Definitely recommended if you haven't had a chance yet.

Photo of Evil_Pidde
3.34/5  rDev -13.5%
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.

Photo of Moose90
4.37/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22oz Bomber
Dated 12/21/12
Tasted 2/19/13

A – Dark dark brown liquid that forms a very thin coffee colored head that leaves similarly thin lacing down the inside of the glass.

S – Big on the roasted malts. Chocolates and vanilla abound as well. Some light sweet fruit notes, figs, dates. But my favorite part is the strong black licorice tone, awesome.

T – Quite complex, but well balanced. Notes of rich dark cocoa and charred malts, as well as sweet fresh licorice and dark fruits. Some light hoppiness to keep things from being too heavy.

M – Moderate-to-low carbonation level, good sticky sweetness to this one, but not heavy like some others of the style. Leaves a nice long and lingering finish that allows the flavor complexities to develop. Quite smooth.

O – Just awesome, has an unmatched balance and is quite easy to drink considering it's imperial nature. Best part of this one is all the licorice, chocolate, and roasted notes.

Photo of BeerNinja007
4.68/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

22oz bomber from Provisions in Northampton, MA. I forget how much I paid but it was reasonable... $6-7? "Vintage 12/21/12 356:16:18 153-54" stamped on the bottle. FINALLY, a code that makes sense!!!! So this is only a couple months old.

Served cold in a tulip, but I intend to make it last well long enough for it to warm up significantly.

A: Pitch black brew puts up 1/2" of thick creamy taupe head from a vigorous pour. The foam condenses into ever-larger bubbles before settling to a whispy layer across the surface. Large bubbles cling to the glass. When held to a bright light, the brew reveals minimal very dark cherry red highlights. Some nice thick creamy lace, but not a ton.

S: Super thick biscuity malt and warm dutch chocolate backbone. As it warms some bright candied cherry aroma develops, along with dried figs or prunes, a little charred malt, and a good clean dose of black licorice. The licorice note is very true and distinct, no mistaking it. Warming further develops a really unexpected note of cantaloupe . This stuff is awfully dynamic, that's for sure.

T/M: First impression is very well balanced: it has a lot of everything, but not too much of any one thing. Thick enough to have a great viscosity, but not too thick to be syrupy or overly filling. Black but not acrid. Sweet but not cloying. Just enough hops, just enough carbo, and just enough EtOH burn to let you know that it's there without being overpowering. This is a supremely well balanced brew.

I have a hard time holding this in my mouth long enough to analyze it without letting it slide down and reaching for another sip. Taste starts with rich cocoa and biscuit, bready sweetness on the tip of the tongue. Then a nice dose of bitter charred malt and bitter chocolate mid-palate, mixing with a bit of dried fruits (prunes, figs?), then generic hoppiness, licorice, cola, and some welcomed EtOH heat on the back end. The charred malt kind of lays under everything from the mid-palate backward. Licorice and EtOH blend in toward the very back and it all lingers very long into the finish. As it warms a bit of melon and menthol develop in the mid-palate and finish as well.

O: Superb, stunning, superfluous. So well balanced, goes down so smoothly, that it's hard to just sip this even though it should be a slow sipping brew. A good dose of black charred malt and licorice lingers long into the finish with a healthy portion of slow burning EtOH. I find it appealing, but those with more sensitive palates might feel overwhelmed.

Update: the LH website informs me that this brew is aged on site for at least 12 months before bottling. Nice!

Photo of ThomasAWilson2
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Left Hand caught my attention strangely with a cider, not a beer. After gobbling up bottles of Original Sin hard cider on a dinner date one evening, finding their imperial stout was high on the priority list. IS’s are my favorite style of beer so Wake Up Dead got the proper treatment, poured into a goblet at the prescribed 55 degrees. This left a firm 2 1/2 finger head that slowly dissipated without too much lacing. As for the rest of the appearance, this is one dark stout. Black, opaque and very difficult to find light through even as my glass emptied.

Wake Up Dead has a pretty standard imperial stout nose; you can’t miss the charred grains, dark fruits (mainly raisin) and deep, woodsy hops. Don’t get suckered into being a label reader though. This stout may have the expected dark chocolate and dark fruit smells and tastes but the real surprise is in the black licorice which doesn’t hide. You won’t get the wormwood hints one expects with most black licorice flavored food and drink or the popular liquor absinthe, but the taste is recognizable and a welcome break from the imperial stout pack.

As the brew warms, Wake Up Dead’s earthy hops, charred grains and the alcoholic burn of 10.20% ABV bully their way to the front and meld the other flavors together properly underfoot. Carbonation keeps things lively in the mouth and helps to create a thick and chewy mouthfeel. Overall, I am pleased with this one. What WUD lacks in strong flavors, it makes up in balancing the flavors it does have very well without the watered down characteristics of many a brewery’s attempt at this style of beer. Not overly expensive and pretty available in my experience, coughing up a few bucks for a bomber won’t hurt.

Wake Up Dead from Left Hand Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 926 ratings.