1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Fade To Black (Volume 3 - Pepper Porter) - Left Hand Brewing Company

Fade To Black (Volume 3 - Pepper Porter)Fade To Black (Volume 3 - Pepper Porter)

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

485 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 485
Reviews: 191
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 14.36%

Brewed by:
Left Hand Brewing Company visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  7.50% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: claytong on 09-28-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers
Ratings: 485 | Reviews: 191 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of scootpolute


3.13/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Presentation: 12 oz brown with a simple yet inviting label...b&w flames with bubbles...

Appearance: Jet-black with a clinging tan lace that seems to stay for a while.

Smell: Lots of malts, chocolatewith hints of charcoal, more roasted malts and a touch of marshmellow...

Taste: Pretty smooth start with a nice medium bodied mouth feel. After the luscious mouth feel come the flavour which is quite malty, followed by the spicy pepper tones...the spice of pepper lingers until the end there 'are' chocolate/mocha flavors (espresso) along the way from the malts, but with each and ever sip, the 'pepper' is what sticks out (hence the name) ... not many hops to mention...

Notes: This one is interesting...The pepper thing kind of killed it for me...if the pepper was left out, I think it would have been better...I'll give orininality though, but I think 'THAT' kind of stuff should be left for 'session' beer, or special 'tap-room' show-cases...chasin' cheers :~)

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2012 23:16:54 | More by scootpolute
Photo of tronester


3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a jet black with amber highlights. Thin tan head. Smells of some rich milk chocolate.

Now when I first opened this beer and drank it, I was a bit puzzled. I had drank Fade to Black before, and this tasted similar, but with a burning sensation in my throat. My initial impressions were that the beer had somehow gone bad and gotten infected. Then I looked closer at the label. I did not realize that there were actually 3 volumes, and this was a new beer that I had not yet tried. The fact that it is a pepper porter certainly explained the burning!

The taste begins with a dark chocolate start, followed by some molasses. The finish is a bit of earthy dried pepper flavor, followed by a not too intense burning from the pepper heat. Quite nice really.

Rich mouthfeel. Overall a very good beer. I like how it is not over peppered. That is, it does not scald your throat with pepper burning, but instead provide a nice mild heat.

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2012 00:18:19 | More by tronester
Photo of WastingFreetime


3.55/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes.

Very dark brown with a light beige head that doesn't last for long, smells like a standard porter (chocolate malt and light roastedness), only perhaps just with a bit more smokiness to it. The flavor has all of these elements and also has the expected chile heat, which rises up gently from the midsip onwards. I would call the amount of chile flavor somewhat understated, but than again, my palate is known to be rather jaded to chile heat so YMMV. Texturally, this beer stands on the lighter side of medium body and has appropriate carbonation. Not a bad brew, but nothing earthshaking either.

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2012 19:30:07 | More by WastingFreetime
Photo of secondtooth


3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep oil-black. Modest head of tan bubbles, and no lace.

Nose is a little roasty, with only a hint of peppery spice. Different and subtle.

Taste is chocolate roasty up front, followed by that hint of spiciness near the finish. The pepper tones are definitely muted (maybe my bottle was aged for some months), and this subtle and smooth porter is an easy and enjoyable one.

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2012 14:31:10 | More by secondtooth
Photo of thain709


3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark brown body with nice ruby highlights...the head was very thin, off white in color, and settled into a spider web head with a full ring...light lacing

S - Sweet vanilla, full roast, slightly smokey, dark chocolate...had to search pretty hard to find the pepper...a nice nose, but would have liked some heat

T - The vanilla and roasted malt work very well together as they are the first things that come out...notes of chocolate and coffee come through in the middle of the beer...there is a hint of heat towards the finish...a smokey presence is in full force for the finish

M - Medium bodied...some carbonation, subtle heat, smokey finish

O - This one was better than Volume 2, but I enjoyed Volume 1 a little better...it would have been nice to have more heat coming through, but overall it was a good porter

Serving type: bottle

07-17-2012 20:25:38 | More by thain709
Photo of Jeffo


2.45/5  rDev -36%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Got this at Geers in Gent last weekend.

From a bottle into a snifter

APPEARANCE: Pours out dark brown and yields a 1+ finger, medium looking, fizzy, light tan head with decent retention. Black body with medium levels of carbonation evident. Head fades to a splotchy wisp and ring but leaves no real lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Roasted and smoked malts, cocoa powder and some light peppery notes. A touch of caramel and sweet cream as well. SMells pretty nice really.

TASTE: Roasted and dark malts up front with sweet cream, dark chocoalte and a pepper bite at the swallow. Mild but lingering aftertaste of chocolate, vanilla cream and roasted notes are minor compared to the pepper burn that hits the back of the throat. The pepper component is rough here. Unballanced and somewhat offensive.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Creamy on the palate, goes down fine and finishes a touch dry. A big pepper kick tickels the back of the throat. Everything is fine, but the peppers make it like spicy mexican food. Fine for mexican, but tough for a beer.

OVERALL: This is fine, especially if you like spicy food. It has a big pepper kick for sure, but in my view, that pepper kick just makes the beer harsh as opposed to adding any real flavor or complexity to the beer. The base beer seems fine and perhaps this one would have been better without the chili peppers. Regardless, Left Hand can brew nice beer, but this one was a dud if you ask me. I dumped most of it. Skip it.

Serving type: bottle

07-09-2012 19:14:53 | More by Jeffo
Photo of TheCondor


4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Also included in the Mountain Mixer. Side poured aggressively from a bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance - As expected, pours motor oil black with a two finger dark tan head that dissipates fairly rapidly. The head does leave super sticky lacing on the glass though. Impressive looking porter.

Smell - Mostly controlled by the classic porter scents of dark chocolate and coffee, but there was a hint of peppery spiciness in there as well as some super strong coffee. Excellent

Taste - Similar to above, but with more complexity. Roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, and cocoa are the prime movers. At the end of the taste, however, there is an awesome peppery, chili powder like taste that zaps the palate.

Mouthfeel - The spicy pepper really moves the mouthfeel into rare territory, and the porter itself coats the palate and throat with a thick, rich flavor. I love it.

Overall - Too bad this was only brewed once. This is an excellent porter, and I think it is something that Left Hand should offer year round, or at least seasonally. Highly recommended, I will buy and drink again. Outstanding twist on my favorite style.

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2012 02:25:31 | More by TheCondor
Photo of Bfarr


4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black with a thin, tight, and tan head with okay retention. Chocolate and spice aroma with notes of roasted malt. Chocolate and roasted malts come out in the flavor with pepper coming on strong in the end. A pleasant hot (from the pepper) finish that lingers lightly. Smooth feel with a slick mouthcoating.

Flavors meld and balance with a sweet and spicy overall feel to it. It might not be for everyone and it certainly is not something to drink a lot of but this is done well for a unique ingredient beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-28-2012 23:27:04 | More by Bfarr
Photo of BMMillsy


3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Light pepper on the nose from a jet black pour. The black pepper seems to work much better than chile. This one had some roasted grain notes to it and a little hint of smoke. The pepper wasn't overpowering, which was nice. Tiny tinge of sweet keeps it drinkable. Nicely done.

Serving type: bottle

06-25-2012 21:31:18 | More by BMMillsy
Photo of barczar


3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque deep brown with garnet highlights and a fleeting half inch mocha head.

Chocolate, roast malt, and dark fruit open the aroma. There's a bit of peaty earthiness and a touch of alcohol. Smells sweet, with notes of molasses.

Flavor has a bit of pepper throughout, and the fruitiness observed in the aroma accents the pepper bite well. Roast malt and flavors of chocolate, cola, and a bit of coffee bitterness form the backbone. The pepper is spicy enough to be somewhat dominant. A bit of nuttiness emerges as it warms.

Body is moderate, smooth, with low carbonation. There's a peppery bite at the finish and a bit of alcohol warmth.

Overall, a decent porter, but the flavor is definitely masked a little by the pepper addition. Not for those who don't like a spicy kick!

Serving type: bottle

06-22-2012 04:47:52 | More by barczar
Photo of Danny1217


4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark color with a little bit of light shining through, creating some dark brown and red hues. Small tan head with decent lacing.
Smells of Roasted malt, chocolates, and coffee.
Taste a bit milky. Some chocolate and coffee. The pepper comes out with a lingering spiciness in the throat. Actually quite interesting and pleasing. As I continued to drink this I noticed more and more pepper. Very interesting.
A bit of a thick body with somewhat light carbonation.

The pepper is nicely balanced with the malty sweetness. A very good porter.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2012 06:52:22 | More by Danny1217
Photo of Sirwootalot


4.45/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Holy cow, I was NOT expecting this. I bought a Mountain Mixer on a whim (Also containing milk stout, polestar pilsener, and sawtooth ale), only quickly glancing at "black ale" and assuming I was in store for something like Arrogant Bastard.

My god was I wrong.

The first thing you notice is that it pours utterly pitch-black, with a hint of ebony around the edges and almost no head whatsoever. The nose is dominated by roasted barley with hints of bitter cacao, and is fairly mild.
The second it hit my mouth I thought "What? this is a porter, and a damn good one at that" - a heavy, malty backbone with hints of espresso foam and pumpernickel. After a few seconds, a subtle, insidious, and utterly divine rush of fresh-cracked black pepper washed through my mouth from front to back, bringing out almost fruity jalapeno-like notes from the yeast as it ever so gently ignited the back of my throat. The mouthfeel is unexpected - this is one of the more drinkable porters out there, lacking the all-too-common syrupiness that comes from too much chocolate or coffee used in some others.

Oh god, I need more of this beer in my life. It's hands-down the best surprise i've had all year, and a new favorite.

Serving type: bottle

06-01-2012 01:50:51 | More by Sirwootalot
Photo of Darkmagus82


4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a 10 oz chalice glass

Appearance – Served a nice black color with a very thin tan head. The head faded over a shorter period of time to give a moderate amount of lacing.

Smell – The smell was heaviest of roasted malt with some good semi-sweet chocolate aromas. Mixed within these was a light peppery-spicy aroma.

Taste – The taste starts out with some sweeter malt flavors with a good brown bread and milk chocolate base. This taste however begins to transition more toward the middle of the taste where some bitterness of dark cocoa and a light pepper flavor come to the tongue. As the taste advances further however, the pepper is not so light and really gains strength. The taste finishes huge with a black pepper tingle. This was quite heavy in pepper but fantastic for the roasted flavors. It really gave a nice balance to the malty and bready malt but yet enhanced them all the same. It was a very nice finish to the taste.

Mouthfeel – A slightly above medium body with a medium level of carbonation. The body suited the malty yet peppery flavors well with the carbonation just enough to sooth the pepper, but yet allow the malty to be fully sensed.

Overall – This was one nice intriguing and enjoyable brew to drink. I usually don’t care for really peppery beers, but this one was fantastic. If you get a chance definitely should give it a go.

Serving type: on-tap

05-31-2012 00:29:36 | More by Darkmagus82
Photo of Dennoman


4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a snifter.

I was very curious about this one, as I'd never tried a pepper beer before.

Pour isn't exactly black. Ruby red moves up a good while into the glass before going into a darker, almost bordeaux tinge. Nice brown head, lush and inviting.

Nose is coffee, molasses and dark chocolate. Also quite a bit of smokey roasted malts. Nothing extremely lush, but does the trick.

Taste is primarily coffee and dark chocolate, with the chili burn not manifesting until a good while after swallowing. Sits in the back of the throat and warms. Definitely nothing too strong. Drink with extreme moderation, because this warming, burning sensation does get more pronounced with every sip. Great mouth feel with very low carbonation.

I really think they knew what they were doing with this one. The chili burn doesn't really enhance the flavor as much as it makes for a very interesting tasting experience. Good thing I was sharing this with a friend, because I'm not sure if it would have remained as pleasant, were I to finish the whole bottle by myself.

Serving type: bottle

05-28-2012 09:04:41 | More by Dennoman
Photo of PorterLambic


4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black (duh) with but a thin film of dark tan for a head. No lace. No light penetration.
Smell is roasted malts, smoked pork, teriyaki with hints of molasses and maybe vanilla. Great complexity and balance.
Taste is similar with coffee, roasted malts, molasses and pepper coming in later. Balance is very good.
Mostly full body, quite light effervescence. A slight coating of the palate. Really good and just what I expected. Worth savoring. If it wasn't so good to drink, this would make an excellent marinade for beef or pork.

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2012 19:24:46 | More by PorterLambic
Photo of JBHayden


3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a dark almost black color with a light tan head that disappears quickly with little lacing left behind.

S - Definite pepper aroma mixed with chocolate.

T - Nice chocolate flavor in the front finishing with a roasted peppery aftertaste. Spice is subtle.

M - Little carbonation that rolls nicely on the palate.

O - Not typically a fan of pepper or spicy beer but this one is one I will have again. The pepper spice is very subtle and finishes well.

Serving type: bottle

05-15-2012 01:25:43 | More by JBHayden
Photo of ujsplace


4.25/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

Pours a near jet black colored brew with faint amber hues along the edges of the glass. Tan colored head that is about 1/2 inch thick and fades pretty quickly. Modest lacing is left behind.

Smells of deep smokey, roasted malt, chocolate spicy with maybe a hint of anise.

Tastes of nice roasted malts up front, chocolate and finishes with a pepper spice - maybe chilies...not too overwhelming - adds nice spice to the brew. Good stuff.

Medium mouth, slick and creamy.

This is a really good porter. The pepper definitely sets this one apart. It's definitely not over the top in terms of being overly spicy - it's subtle, but makes it's presence known in a good way. I'd love to get to know this brew better, but alas I have only one.

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2012 01:09:52 | More by ujsplace
Photo of metter98

New York

3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is essentially jet black in color; traces of amber are visible near the near the edge of the glass when it is held up to the light. It poured with a very thin tan head that quickly died down, leaving only a thin collar of bubbles around the edge of the glass and a few bubbles on the surface.
S: There are moderately strong aromas of chocolate and roasted malts in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and has spicy flavors of pepper in the finish, which particularly lingers through the aftertaste.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a low to moderate amount of carbonation. The peppery spices in the finish tingles your tongue.
O: This is a very flavorful porter and the pepper adds some interesting qualities to the beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-09-2012 23:32:56 | More by metter98
Photo of Billolick

New York

4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Growler filled at the Green Growler Grocery in Croton-on-Hudson, NY.

Pour is very dark amber, long lasting dark mocha head, and leaving dense low sheeting, bits and some larger strands and blobs of lacing here and there.

Moderate nose of chilis, with some dark chocolate mixed in.

Flavorful porter with ample chili notes and character. More then a hint of chili heat and flavor hitting me in the back of the throat. Quite enjoyable for a chili head such as myself. Nice dark chocolate, and smoke notes as well.
Complex and well crafted with multiple flavors combining nicely.

I'll be on the lookout for bottles of this one. Chili heads unite and go get some of this one.

Serving type: growler

05-02-2012 01:41:41 | More by Billolick
Photo of StJamesGate

New York

3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dense viscous black with only the slightest tinge of garnet and a ribbon of off white foam that's gone instantly in spite of a vigourous pour. Molasses, kielbasa, and caramelized sugar on nose.
Cola, muscavado sugar, some smoke, with hints of anise and prune then chili heat creeps in and buries all but a hint of woody hops.
Root beer barrel finish and some lingering chili heat. Medium, chewy, round.

Chili not overdone, and balanced overall. Still, not sure it was a great base porter to begin with. Bears a disturbing resembles to black pepper beef jerky. Sweet-hot is interesting, but not for more than one.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2012 21:57:20 | More by StJamesGate
Photo of jjanega08


3.35/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No freshness dating I could see.

A= Pours a nice black color with a finger of head on it that holds some decent retention and the lacing is about average.

S= The pepper is evident which I find to be a little strange. We will have to see how it tastes. The smell isn't a bad thing yet but it is an interesting aroma. The porter base is coming through great with a nice roastiness to it and a smigit of chocolaty sweetness.

T= The flavor is interesting. The pepper is very evident and makes for an interesting flavor. I've never been a fan of mixing hot spice with too much and this is a step outside of my comfort zone. I never really understood throwing pepper on things that just weren't suppose to have pepper. This I feel like is one of those things that just shouldn't have pepper on it. The porter is wonderful. It's a nice roasty porter with an underlying sweetness that works out but then the pepper comes into play. It starts as a surprise and eventually takes over the pallete. The smoke is wonderful in it and that portion pairs well with the porter.

M= Too much lingering heat for me.

O= Not a bad beer. Viewing this for what it is I would say it did it's job. There is an eerie smokiness in the flavor that I actually enjoy quite a bit. The pepper I don't quite understand. The did manage to play it somewhat calm with the pepper I'm just not a fan.

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2012 03:15:49 | More by jjanega08
Photo of ColForbinBC

New Jersey

3.48/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint

Sits a deep ebony in the glass with some chestnut brown highlights around the edges. A small light tan cap rose about a finger and fell to a thin collar. Some straggling lines of lace.

The nose is of milk chocolate, roast malt and a touch of cayenne pepper. Straightforward, slightly robust albeit lacking some depth.

On the palate, this guy follows the nose. Smooth milk chocolate with a little lactose sugar sweetness up front before roast pushes through the middle and fades to a mildly bitter roast finish. In the finish, some cayenne pepper peeks through, adding a nice little wrinkle and a faint burn.

Smooth and creamy, medium bodied with low carbonation. Nice feel on this one, probably its best attribute.

This is a nice little porter with a little added kick.

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2012 23:23:01 | More by ColForbinBC
Photo of ArrogantB


3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a single bottle for $1.79 which was cool. Dark black, slight head. Smells like peppers, smoky sort of. Strong pepper flavor, smoke like serrano or something, and a hint of porter to balance everything. Alcohol was unnoticeable. Honestly I think I am really starting to like beers with peppers, yum.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2012 02:31:03 | More by ArrogantB
Photo of Slatetank


3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

picked this up at Brass Rail, enjoyed chilled from a tulip.

The color is black with an opaque clarity and thick 3 finger tan cap that settles to a crust of tiny beads. The smell is very malt focused with nice chocolate malt aroma which is nutty and has a nice element of caramel with only a hint of spice as it warms. The feel is mostly roasted with slight char and a nutty body with slight creamy and sweet middle. The carbonation is moderately high with subtle spice which seems to increase near the end of the bottle.

The taste is nice and roasty with substantial dark malt bitterness and a hint of toast crust edges adding to the subtle caramel malt and light biscuit flavor. The pepper is there if you look for it, but not so obtrusive that it stands in the way of the base. The finish is more bitter with dark malt and is fairly dry with a nice lingering heat from the pepper. The overall impression is that this is a nice beer to pair with food. I enjoyed the chance to dry this and it went well with some tacos for dinner.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2012 16:55:46 | More by Slatetank
Photo of malty


4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on 12-19-11

Poured into my stemmed tulip glass pitch black, no highlights or edges. The creamy khaki head dwindled to around 1/2". It sits very still, almost hauntingly so.

Such a nutty smelling ale. Seriously, if I didn't know this wasn't a nut-based beer, I'd swear it definitely was. Hazelnuts. Nutella. Chocolate goodness. Some slightly acrid malt scents in the background, but this baby is all nuts & cocoa. Handsome dripping rings of lace all the way down.

The flavor of cocoa is dominant, but the nuttiness to whence I was spellbound is but a mere ghost. Wait...here comes some heat. It starts in the middle of my chest, then rises to my throat. The warmth of the peppers is a completely pleasant element, but there is no deliberate taste to the pepper/s - which is fine by me. Just warmth and burnt, chocolatey malts. A little malted milk to round things off.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and relatively low (but very fine) carbonation. Burnt chocolate and bitter cocoa powder on the finish.

Overall a very well executed pepper beer. Not at all novel, but well balanced and pepper heat you could feel, and not taste (big plus in my book). As close to smokey without being smokey. This beer takes you very close to the edge and them welcomes you back with a handshake.

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2012 19:00:46 | More by malty
Fade To Black (Volume 3 - Pepper Porter) from Left Hand Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 485 ratings.