1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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)

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

489 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 489
Reviews: 191
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 14.36%
Wants: 11
Gots: 29 | 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:
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 Raters
Ratings: 489 | Reviews: 191 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Jspriest


4/5  rDev +4.4%

11-14-2011 16:08:18 | More by Jspriest
Photo of MichaelBurns


5/5  rDev +30.5%

11-14-2011 15:06:55 | More by MichaelBurns
Photo of justintcoons


4/5  rDev +4.4%

11-14-2011 14:12:24 | More by justintcoons
Photo of jlindros


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

Very light fizzy head covering fades to nothing almost instantly, over pitch black thicker looking beer.

Nose brings nice roasted malts, dark chocolate, powdered cocoa, some smoked malts, light creamy porter aroma, a bit of a chewy malt and light oats, very light peppery aroma as it warms, hint of caramel and vanilla like.

Taste starts with chocolate milk, creamy lactose like with a big chocolate kick, hint of baker's chocolate and cocoa, light chalky cocoa too, with a bit of caramel and vanilla. Then a big spicy kick suddenly rings through, some pepper heat like a light cayenne stings the tongue, but not heavy, with a bit of a peppercorn like flavor. Behind all that is a hint of roast and chocolate malts, almost chewy but not quite. A bit of bitterness comes through, probably more from the malts and pepper than any hops, which brings the finish. It finishes slightly drier with lots of spicy pepper lingering, a nice heat, with some creamy chocolate and lactose lingering, hint of caramel.

Mouth is med to a bit heavier bodied, quite creamy, a spicy pepper heat, and lower but decent enough carbonation.

Overall interesting, a nice pepper flavor and heat kick without being overpowering, nice malts, plenty of chocolate and lactose like chocolate milk, very drinkable and a nice creamy.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2011 03:31:28 | More by jlindros
Photo of Rayek


3/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Fade to Black 1? Great beer. Fade to Black 2? Great beer. Fade to Black 3? Not so much. My sample is a mere eight days removed from the bottling line.

Volume 3 hits my glass with a near pitch-black hue and a fizzy tan head. The head fades quickly to the edge of the glass and leaves no lace.

Peppers, peppers and more peppers. The molasses, licorice and burnt bitter goodness of the first FTB beer are here, but over-matched by the hot peppers. The heat carries through the finish and lingers on the palate for a long time. Despite the ABV, the body is rather light and slick. The fizz is too great for my desires.

I guess I should avoid chili beers, because this is another one that's not working for me. The earlier FTB beers were much stronger efforts.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2011 21:56:11 | More by Rayek
Photo of Spider889


4.43/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On draft at the brewery on 9/25. Served in a tulip.

Vol. 3 is brewed with a mix of peppers. My notes indicate that the beer is really 7.2% but the bottles don't say at all...

The brew is black and thick for a porter. A tall creamy head floats atop the beer leaving some spotty lace.

The aroma is rich and malty. I love the Fade to Black series and vol. 3 is already off to a nice start. There's a nice earthiness to the brew that I attribute to the chiles. Roasty yet smooth. A nice chocolate aroma grows as the beer is given time to warm up a bit.

While the malt-driven flavor of this volume is tasty, at first the chiles seem to have checked out. There's still plenty to appreciate: clean and crisp flavors of coffee and browned grains. But over time the chiles make themselves much more apparent. They are mostly earthy, but do leave a mild residual smokiness on the palate.

The mouthfeel is smooth and velvety, but also very crisp and refreshing for the style. The heat, while never strong, definitely does grow with each sip until a mild tingling mounts in the back of the throat (but never grows into a burn).

While I did prefer last year's volume more, this year's is still awesome.

Serving type: on-tap

11-12-2011 07:03:37 | More by Spider889
Photo of billab914


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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Stone IRS glass. It poured black in color with a thin tan lacing scattered across the top of the beer. The head retreated to the edges of the glass after a minute or so.

The aroma has some roasty coffee and milk chocolate flavors coming out at first. The peppers seem pretty mild at first, but the more I get into it the more they seem to come out. I get some leathery notes mixing with a touch of chipotle heat. I get a little bit of a dark fruit presence to it at times as well. Great aroma, I was worried the peppers would dominate but instead they were a little more subtle. They added some very nice flavors and depth to it as well.

The taste shows more of the sweeter, milk chocolate flavors to it up front. Towards the finish I start to get more roasty coffee and bitter, dark chocolate. The peppers really start to come out in the finish as well with chipotle, smoke and a little bit of pepper heat to it. A little bit of the heat lingers with some of the bitter, burnt flavors.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side with carbonation being moderate. Overall I thought it was a very good beer and probably pretty easily the best pepper infused beer I've had. They really did a good job not letting the peppers dominate. The big roasty, bitter, chocolate flavors really worked well for it as well. I liked the little bit of heat I get in the finish as well. Very good and interesting beer overall.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2011 23:59:20 | More by billab914
Photo of rudzud


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

From notes taken during a tasting with a friend.

A - Poured into a tulip a deep brown, almost black one finger mocha head that fades to leave a nice halo and good clouding.

S - Very nice coffee and chocolate with some creamy roast malts and a very light spice note on the end of the nose.

T - More of the nose with the nice roast malts and chocolate. The spice is much more pronounced and lingers pleasantly.

M - Creamy and smooth, semi thin but with a nice spice finish on the tongue.

O - This is a good porter, could use a bit more chocolate and coffee, but with a nice light spice kick.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2011 19:39:43 | More by rudzud
Photo of Reaper16


3.08/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle served into a tulip glass

Pours a dark, dark chestnut color. It's practically black except when held to direct light. 1/4 of a finger of light beige head forms and quickly dissipates. Meh.

The smoke is no joke on the very first toke, not woodsy like oak, but more like alright I'll stop this joke it isn't even funny anyway. It's smoky. The label doesn't mention that this is "Pepper Porter" is a smoked porter, but the aroma makes it very evident. There's some brown sugar here, and some grilled meat like aromas. The pepper is here in similar to every other pepper beer in that it doesn't smell like chilies but instead like Big Red gum or something. You smell more of a sensation than you do a definite aroma.

The base smoked porter flavor is pretty average. There's milk chocolate, a quick pecan-like nutty sweetness, and a flush of grape jam. It's pretty underwhelming. The pepper heat and flavor, though, salvages the beer. There's a cinnamon gum sort of flavor, with a heat/tingling sensation that distracts me (in a good way) from the meh base porter.

This is watery, frankly. It feels insubstantial to me. There's no body for the porter flavors to latch onto. I'm scoring this a 3.0 because the peppery tingling sensation seems like it falls under the purview of mouthfeel.

This reminds me a lot of the Stone Smoked Porter with chipotle peppers. The base beer is not great and the peppers only make it mildly more interesting. Not bad, but I won't buy this again.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2011 04:07:31 | More by Reaper16
Photo of Jips


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

Poured black with a thin tan head, smelled of chocolate, black pepper, and dried whole peppers whose names I can't pronounce.

Medium bodied, average carbonation. Tastes overall sweet upfront: caramel, some chocolate, brown sugar, and a little raisin/plum action. On the back end is great blend of dry pepper flavor. Starts all leathery, transitions into slight acidic "heat", then finishes as a hint of fresh black pepper. The effect is a similar to a dry hopped beer with multiple hop varietals added.

Don't let the 'pepper' name scare you spice wimps! Just enough to make it interesting. This is an excellent spice beer, although the base porter is nothing exciting. Great brew, especially if you like molé.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2011 23:51:26 | More by Jips
Photo of MasterSki


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

Bottle from Binny's. Served in a Surly pint glass.

A - Hard pour rouses a thin tan foam that quickly settles to a thick collar and a few stray bubbles. Body is a dark brown with some transparency and reddish highlights to it.

S - Very smokey, with some bell pepper notes as well. As it warms up there are chocolate cake and cookie flavors present, as well as some nice roast character. Not much in the way of alcohol.

T - Taste is similar, with chocolate, caramel, cookie, and roasted malts mingling with smoke and peppers. There finish has some charry bitterness, and the aftertaste is entirely smoke.

M - Carbonation is medium-high, and a bit more than I tend to like from a porter. Finish has lots of lingering mouth-coating smoke coating and light stickiness. Medium body with a smooth texture.

D - This beer was a pleasant surprise. The pepper flavor is fairly mild and integrates with the smoked porter base. I had no problems drinking a 12oz bottle, and I'd consider grabbing this again. Definitely the best thing I've tried from Left Hand.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2011 01:19:52 | More by MasterSki
Photo of ccarney2


3.45/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Jet black pour with a small and quickly diminishing light tan head. Not a very distinct lacing, kind of spotty.

Smell - Very subtle aroma, not many specific attributes shining though. I was kind of worried at this point.

Taste - nice malty plum flavor to start off, but that pleasant flavor quickly turns fierce and surprising. As soon as you finish exhaling, a distinctive spicy flavor comes across the tongue. It was rather unique for me, and I was really awoken at this point. The smoked chili flavor lasts for quite some time. It really intrigued me. I could feel little bubbles of heat popping on my tongue after swallowing this beer.

Mouthfeel - As average as it gets i think. Medium carbonation, and an average consistency did not exactly impress.

Overall - Interesting is the first word that comes to mind. This isn't really a style that i have too much experience with, but i am very intrigued with the heat in the bitterness. It is definitely something i will talk about with friends, but may not be a beer that I passionately recommend. I do think it is worth a tasting though, especially if you are not used to/aware of beers that include a smoked chili taste. I probably won't forget this beer for a while, but i also probably won't buy another 6 pack of it for a while.

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2011 04:33:56 | More by ccarney2
Photo of hosehead83


4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a standard pint glass.
Dark brown in color, with ruby highlights glinting on the edges. Moderate head of tan foam.
Aroma-Subtle, but attention getting whiff of chili peppers mixed with chocolate and faint coffee notes.
Taste-Coffee-with-cream, dark chocolate, and a nice chili pepper bite that doesn't overwhelm, but dances pleasantly on the palate. Great flavor and balance. Smoky, spicy and tasty. Right up my alley! A perfect match for a grilled steak, chili, or any spicy fare. Nicely done!

Serving type: bottle

11-07-2011 17:44:49 | More by hosehead83
Photo of Beejay


3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Much thanks to RocPorterFanatic for this brew.

A: Pours a nice deep brown. In the glass it is black with a soft tan head.

S: Classic porter smells, roasty with hints of chocolate and coffee. There are some bready yeast notes in there as well. I am not picking up so much on the pepper note though.

T: There's the pepper. Pepper flavor comes out right away followed by roasted barley, and chocolate. The finish brings in more of the spicy note with peppercorns and a nice hint of coffee.

M: Medium in body, decent carbonation, a slightly slick feeling in the aftertaste.

O: Overall quite tasty, although I would be curious to taste this beer without the peppercorns. Seems like it would be a fine beer either way, but it would be interesting to compare the two.

Serving type: bottle

11-07-2011 03:43:23 | More by Beejay
Photo of match1112


3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured pitch black with a half inch of tan head that fades rather quickly but leaves some lacing. smell is of malts and barley, a little smoke but no pepper noticed. the taste is where the pepper comes thru ever so slightly. also has the usual porter taste with hints of roasted malts and some chocolate and caramel. mouthfeel is medium heavy, almost chewy. has good carbonation, but no spice from the peppers. overall this was more like a smoked beer to me rather than a pepper.

Serving type: bottle

11-07-2011 03:37:04 | More by match1112
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

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

Poured a deep chocolate brown with a thin beige head that was gone quickly.A great mix of smoke and pepper overtop of chocolate and roast,alot going on.Wow this os a pepper porter just like the label says,sharp smoky peppers mixed with dark roast with some light chocolate coming into play,the pepper spice is the real deal here.No holds barred here its a bold peppery porter...the way it should be.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2011 00:07:06 | More by oberon
Photo of tsauce2


4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

P: 12 fl oz bottle in to a tulip glass

A: SRM is black. Nearly opaque. Tan head, 1 inch, dissipates to cling the rim. Light carbonation. Medium/heavy lacing.

S: Medium roasted barley and subltle pepper notes are distinguishable. Slight smokey notes.

T: Very rounded malt profile initially, followed by slightly bitter roasted notes. Hint of carmel finished off by very earthy pepper notes. Negligible heat detected from either the smoked serrano or jalepeno (these smoked jalepenos become chipotles).

M: MF is slightly chewy, medium viscosity. Pepper adds a nice pep to the back end and contrasts nicely with the maltiness of this beer. Beer is slightly more carbonated than it apperas.

O: This is the first pepper beer I have ever liked, and I LOVE this beer. Fan-friggin-tastic use of ingredients, everything is well balanced and flavors are complimentary. Wish it was a little lower ABV so I drink more in one sitting.

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2011 07:15:30 | More by tsauce2
Photo of CampusCrew


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

The appearance of this beer is deep dark black. Lacks head retention, some lacing bubbles. Smells like a normal porter, no hint of peppers. First sip I was like I don't feel the pepper, it defintiy hints on the bad end and gets more potent as you drink. The pepper flavor was well done and the best part of the pepper. It balanced, little taste, but the sensation is very noticeable. Body is weak, could of been more full. Overall, love it. Nice beer

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2011 22:58:44 | More by CampusCrew
Photo of bens0n


3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a really dark black, not quite opaque. There are some dark brown highlights around the rims of the glass. Decent amount of head, not much lacing though.

Smell wise I can pick up on roasted coffee and chocolate notes, smells awesome. There is a very slight trace of something peppery/spicy but its barely there.

There is not much of a smokey flavor like I would have expected in this porter. I can pick out the coffee more than anything. On the finish, you get some of the spicy pepper that lingers on your tongue. After taking a couple of sips the pepper really starts to come forward.

Its pretty thick for a porter, reminds me more of a stout than a porter though. Given ABV, really drinkable. Not really as special as I was expecting it to be though.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2011 21:57:59 | More by bens0n
Photo of CRossi


3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass.

A-Pours black and opaque with a dark tan/khaki head. Lacing is minimal, but a few swirls bring up a small amount of lacing clinging to glass.

S-Coffee aromas upfront, with some underlying chocolate notes underneath. No hop aromas detected.

T-Taste begins with a strong presence of roasted/coffee flavors. These flavors are soon replaced and overwhelmed by a spiciness that can be attributed to the pepper from which the beer derives it's name. The bite of the pepper lingers well into the after taste, begging you to drink more so that the roasted flavors can mask the pepper's spiciness. Of course, the pepper returns as soon as the roast flavors fade.

M-Medium to slightly full body. Carbonation seems fairly low. There is slight alcohol warming, but it can be masked a little bit by the spiciness of the pepper flavors.

O-A very interesting brew. Not one that I want to have a fridge full of, but definitely something I'd drink again if I wanted something unique. Definitely not something a non-beer enthusiast needs to try at first though.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2011 20:57:43 | More by CRossi
Photo of BeerLover99


3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: blackish brown/cardinal shimmer body, trace khaki head,
zero lacing in glass

S: mild cocoa, toffee, nutty, licorice, malt

T: roasted nuts, malt, light toffee, long subtle
rumble of chili peppers finish

M: med body, slight tongue prick

O: Fascinating beer; AC/DC touring
with Red Hot Chili Peppers in your mouth.
Sweet raw roasted aggressive with funk chili
finish. I enjoyed it, but if it had a little
more malt/coffee/cocoa
to balance it out, would be amazing. The
alcohol is well hidden, sneaks up on you.
This beer is not for everyone.


Serving type: bottle

11-03-2011 16:37:07 | More by BeerLover99
Photo of hefehead12

North Carolina

3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into tupil glass. No abv info on bottle. Pours dark color with barely a finger of a mocha colored head. Smells of sweet roasted malt and a faint smoke. Taste is smooth with a transition from roasted malt to smoke to pepper. The smoke is not overpowering at all and adds a great deal to the flavor. The pepper is there but not to the point where it burns the mouth. This was a really good beer and I need to try more from left hand.

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2011 05:00:59 | More by hefehead12
Photo of bsp77


3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Near-black ruby with thin tan head and minimal lacing.

Smell: Chocolate and molasses, with a touch of smoke. Expected a little more in the aroma department.

Taste: Smoky and roasted, with char, chocolate, molasses and coffee. The peppers are noticeable in the finish, proving a long, spicy, hot aftertaste. Other than the peppery finish, this is a fairly subtle and mild beer.

Feel: Creamy and full-bodied. Moderately low carbonation. Finish is mostly dry with some very light heat.

Overall: Nice Smoked Porter with the peppers providing a slight kick. Well balanced overall, and nothing is overdone. I wish I had tried the first two Fade to Black beers.

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2011 23:00:07 | More by bsp77
Photo of projectflam86


3.35/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle.

A- Pours a deep brown/black color with a thin head that leaves some lace.

S- Smoky roast and some faint spiciness in the nose. Maybe a touch vegetal.

T- The initial taste is very much like a standard porter. Dark roasted flavors with some coffee and charr. As it warms up there is a touch of spicy pepper that comes through and adds some heat to the finish.

M- Medium bodied with medium/low carbonation.

O- Overall a decent brew that had a light pepper spice. Thankfully this wasn't overdone.

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2011 22:27:29 | More by projectflam86
Photo of BEERchitect


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

A well crafted American Porter with a little extra peppery bite and heat to balance against chocolate sweetness, coffee, and toast flavor.

Pouring as most Porters should with a deep and dark solid brown color with a mild haze. A dense, light tan head forms in most creamy fashion however short statured, before the light carbonation gives up on the regeneration of head character, allowing the foam stance to evaporate.

Porterish aromas carry a muted scent of chocoate, coffee, toast, and light roast. A hint of pepper can be detected but I didn't know better, I would have assumed the sharpness was from alcohol. Light vegital notes and an element of malty cream round out the nose.

Flavors of rich and creamy malt begin to shape the flavor profile, along with a quick rise of bittersweet chocolate, French press coffee, medium toast, light char, roasted walnuts, and burnt caramel. The finish brings about the rise mild heat and the bite of black peppercorns that are obviously not of alcohol origins.

Full bodied, but not chewy or rich- the early creamy carbonated and malted froathy texture makes a nice transition toward weighted malt at mid palate, before finishing roasty dry and with the complex bite of alcohol warmth and peppery sharpness.

A very good Porter with just a kiss of pepper for complexity and depth. Definately Fade to Black-worthy!

Serving type: on-tap

11-01-2011 19:10:00 | More by BEERchitect
Fade To Black (Volume 3 - Pepper Porter) from Left Hand Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 489 ratings.