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

Not Rated.
Fade To Black (Volume 3 - Pepper Porter)Fade To Black (Volume 3 - Pepper Porter)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

192 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 192
Hads: 523
Avg: 3.86
pDev: 14.25%
Wants: 18
Gots: 52 | FT: 0
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:
Beer added by: claytong on 09-28-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 192 | Hads: 523
Photo of barczar
3.83/5  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!

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Photo of Danny1217
4/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

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Photo of Sirwootalot
4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
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.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

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Photo of Dennoman
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

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Photo of PorterLambic
4.26/5  rDev +10.4%
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.

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Photo of JBHayden
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
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.

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Photo of ujsplace
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
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.

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Photo of metter98
3.97/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

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Photo of Billolick
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
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.

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Photo of StJamesGate
3.67/5  rDev -4.9%
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.

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Photo of jjanega08
3.36/5  rDev -13%
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.

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Photo of ColForbinBC
3.46/5  rDev -10.4%
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.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
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.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

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Photo of malty
4.07/5  rDev +5.4%
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.

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Photo of russwbeck
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer sits in my glass deep black with an initially bubbly light brown head. The head disappears pretty quickly, leaving no trace of its former self and therefore hardly lacing at all.

S: Really getting your typical porter characteristics from the aroma. Roasted malts dominate, with some chocolate hiding underneath. It seems like I am getting a little bit of spice as well, but it's being overwhelmed by the other, larger, aromas.

T: I found the peppers! They were hiding in the taste all along. Left Hand did a great job of having them lend themselves to the beer, instead of taking it over. What you end up with is a nice, robust porter including roasted malts, some molasses perhaps, and chocolate, with that spicy, peppery flavor that adds some heat to the finish.

MF: Medium to heavy body with an average to low amount of carbonation.The heat and dryness of the finish make this really drinkable and enjoyable.

O: I love what peppers add to this porter. I've really been a big fan of that as a whole (outside of Ghost Face Killah). If you can still find it give this bad boy a chance, you won't be disappointed.

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Photo of bob182
3.63/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Didn't even know what this was, really, when I picked it up. Just wanted to try something different. I used to be more into heavy, dark beers, but much less so now. This was too much for me. I taste too much of the sticky sweetness and bitter with these (overly) heavy dark beers, that coating of the tongue you get from 'em... But the very subtle heat (more a slight tingle at the back of the mouth) after taking a few sips -- it really worked for this beer.

I couldn't drink much of this, not sure I'll be able to finish the 6 pack any time soon. But I'm glad I got it and instantly thought I should share this with others (my boss loves heat). There's something pleasantly distinct about this one.

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Photo of denver10
3.63/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A nice black, thick looking appearance with a nice off white head. Decent lacing. A rich and toasty aroma of roasted malt, cocoa, espresso, bittersweet chocolate. Taste started off great with some coffee and chocolate mixed with roasted malts but the pepper comes in towards the end and just did not work for me. Not that its bad, just I did not like it. I didn't get any heat from it just tasted and felt like the beer was dosed with ground peppers. A nice thick, creamy mouthfeel but with with a bunch of prickly pepper mixed in. Overall, I would have rated this beer a lot higher were it not for the pepper, which is the star ingredient of this beer. Clearly, the issue is with me and my personal taste buds and not the actual beer. Going to have to give their Blackjack Porter a try in hopes that it is basically this beer minus the pepper. If so, that should be right up my alley.

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Photo of CHickman
3.66/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours pitch black, like motor oil, with a creamy 2 finger tan head faded and left good foamy lacing clinging to the sides and a creamy layer on top.

Smells of roasted coffee, burnt grains, licorice, chocolate, cocoa powder, caramel, faint vanilla, light herbs, biscuit and burnt wood; smells like a roasted porter with a hint of spice in the nose.

Taste is very different from the nose; while there are most of the same characteristics, there is a lot more heat and flavor sensations in the taste. Tastes of roasted coffee, burnt grains, licorice, toasted malt, chocolate, cocoa powder, caramel, syrup, faint vanilla, light herbs, biscuit, light floral hops, burnt wood or charcoal and then a blast of pepper, like a jalapeño, that brings a wave of heat and spices but does not destroy your taste buds. The pepper brings mild heat that lingers, but it’s flavorful and goes well with the roasted malts and grains and bordering on too hot – this beer is only for fans of hot peppers.

Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, with light carbonation that’s almost watery, a medium body and hot pepper finish that leaves the heat in the back of your throat. This beer hides the ABV very well, maybe because the pepper heat hides it, but it was very enjoyable if you knew what to expect.

This is not for everyone, but I recommend this beer for anyone who loves spicy food. It’s an experience, a beer adventure if you will. Try it if you dare…

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Photo of StaveHooks
3.17/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From notes: Poured into A Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass.

A - Pours almost black, with a fleeting head that dissipates into nothing. Not a trace of lacing.

S - Roasted malt, old coffee grinds, licorice, cocoa.

T - Roasted malt, has a slight smoked flavor, dairy and cocoa, minor chili heat.

M - Medium to moderate carbonation, medium body.

An average porter, not what I was expecting. Chili is muted at best and has very dull components. Seems a little forced and underwhelming. Dairy and cacao are present at the end but don't mix like milk chocolate would. It's a good drinker but it's not worth seeking out.

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Photo of neckbracesub
3.1/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

From a bottle, poured into a pint glass. The initial reaction to this "Pepper Porter" is a better one than the actual finish & lingering aftertaste, but the pros outweigh the cons enough to make it worth recommending.

Left Hand has developed into a solid brewery with decent value. I’d compare them to New Belgium in that way, with even a bit more variety (and a juggernaut called the Milk Stout). The Fade To Black is exactly as its title suggests, pouring pitch black and displaying a massive pepper taste that sort of overstays its welcome.

Overall I have to say that I did enjoy it, even if it is nowhere near one of the best porters.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Left Hand "Fade To Black Pepper Porter"
12 oz. bottle, no freshness date
$1.99 @ Joe Canal's, Egg Harbor Twp., NJ

I appears and smells like a standard porter. If there is a bit of pepper in the aroma it's not strong. I think I'm finding something, but I also believe my mind might just be suggesting it to me because I know there are peppers in there.

The flavor, however, is a bit different. It remains a fairly basic porter upfront, but some pepper flavor does become apparent at the swallow, and then lingers in the finish. There's a bit of smokiness as well, and of course, some heat. It's not overdone though, and I certainly wouldn't call it "hot"... perhaps it's got the heat of a mild salsa. It will build on your palate as you progress, however, and by mid-glass you should be feeling some tingling on your lips and in your throat.

That said, it remains quite drinkable. They've done a great job of adding a little bit of character and interest without stepping all over the rest of the beer. Nice.

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Photo of facundoCNB
3.89/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - a flat pour, small bubbles around rim of glass. opaque brown.

S - hint of spicyness (jalapeno?), chocolate, molasses, toasted grains, vanilla

T - lots of chocolate, don't taste much of the pepper but feel it on the roof of my mouth, bourbon, not much else there

M - very mellow for a spicy pepper beer! a hint of spicyness, mostly sweet, very easy to drink

O - this is actually really nice. the first taste didn't sell me but i'm halfway done and it grew on me. wish i picked up a few more bottles. although, not as awesome as i remember the 1st fade to black, it is definitely better than last year's

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Photo of dejrrma
4.17/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz poured into a pint glass. didn't check for freshness date.

a: pours a dark chocolate color with about a 1/4" inch of tan and creamy head. thin lacing.

s: coffee, slight soy sauce, roasted malts, and a little chocolate

t: chocolate and coffee, and that roastedness from the smell is definitely present. slightly sweet at first. i didn't detect the chili peppers at first, but i felt them on my tongue, lips, and throat shortly afterwards. It's spectacular and a very nice surprise. a nice warmth and spiciness have the edge over that light sweetness.

m- light carb, light-med body, leaning towards light, very balanced and exactly what i want in a porter.

o- solid porter. seriously delicious and out of the ordinary. thanks to my friend Jen for giving me one of these and getting me to try it.

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Fade To Black (Volume 3 - Pepper Porter) from Left Hand Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 192 ratings.