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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)

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

515 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 515
Reviews: 191
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 14.36%
Wants: 14
Gots: 44 | 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
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Ratings: 515 | Reviews: 191 | Display Reviews Only:
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!

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

so weird! pours a more stoutesque rich black color with a prominent mocha head. really super lively and lacey. smells not like black pepper really at all, but like a dry stout, almost burned and smooth. taste starts off like a porter normally does, satisfying, low key, and very very drinkable, but then comes the aftertaste... sharp resonant black pepper! or maybe even chili, it is warmin' up... boom! it lasts on the tongue for awhile and doesnt get hot like chili pepper, but has a pronounced warmth to it. extremely unconventional and perplexing. mouthfeel is amsolutely fantastic, with the layered smoothness of a well made dark beer and that interesting pepper thing happening at the end. im still tasting it (and enjoying it) 15 minutes after my last sip, hot on the lips a little bit like a well made steak au poivre, not like an indonesian curry. would never guess the higher abv either. well cloaked in black intrigue. awesome effort from lefthand, not my favorite beer, and i might not buy it again, but i certainly commend the originality!!!

Photo of Rutager
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance. Pours a deep dark brown, nearly black with a small tan head that fades quick and leaves almost nothing behind on ther inside of my glass.

Smell. Big dark chocolate, some roasty coffee and a hint of spicy peppers.

Taste. Sweet chocolate, roasty toasty dark malts, coffee and caramel. Chilli peppers don't come through until after a few sips.

Mouthfeel. Medium body with medium-low carbonation.

Overall. Nice full flavoured porter with a hint of chillis that are quite nice and not overdone.

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. This pours an almost pitch black color with a small tan head which quickly dissipates. The smells are of roasted malts with a little peppery smell in the back end. The feel is medium. The taste is initially of dark roasted malts but on the way down there is this nice peppery slightly spicy aftertaste, its pretty good.

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

A - Pours with one finger of medium brown foam on top of an opaque, black body. The head fades away quickly and leaves average lace.

S - Caramel, licorice, and herbal notes of chicory.

T - Dark sugar notes of molasses and burnt caramel up front. Some herbal character comes out in the middle with notes of chicory, smoke, and pepper. Some smoke, coffee, and chocolate in the finish with a bit of heat in the back of the throat.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a fairly dry finish.

D - A nice combination of dark malt, sugar, and pepper character. It is well balanced and while the heat in the finish would make it hard to drink more than one of these in a sitting it is a nice beer that would probably pair well with food.

Photo of drpimento
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pretty good beer. I let this warm a bit from the cooler first. Poured with a small to medium sized head that soon dissipated to an island, ring and a little lace. Color in the narrow part of the glass was a dark, deep, rich mahoganey; elswhere opaque. Aroma upon opening I caught a whiff of pepper, but later, malt, cocoa, roast, toffee, caramel. Flavor is like nose with a little of the pepper in the background and good bitter/sweet/tangy balance. Good body and carbonation. Finish is like flavor and has good length. Solid drinking beer for a session.

Photo of dball
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I went to the local Beer Run for a quick taco and a beer on a cold Saturday. I was planning on having a goblet of stout but the bartender recommended the Peppered Porter. Honestly it didn't sound good but I tried a sample and wound up ordering a goblet. The black pepper in the beer is subtle and comes at the very end. There isn't much extraordinary about the appearance or smell but this beer tastes great and has tremendous feel. I give the highmark on mouthfeel because of that subtle and delightful pepper finish. I tried a Kloyd, Virginia hot pepper stout once and it was disappointing. This one is good, really good.

Photo of indiapaleale
4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown to black. Porter colored, some reddish hues and an off white head.

Smell has some slight smoky notes and burnt meat aromas. Some hints at peppers and certainly some molasses and dark roasted malts. Love the smell of this beer - especially after it warms.

Tastes at first like a smoked porter but then the warming begins. Some slight smokiness in flavor, almost perfect as its not too much or too little. The warming from the peppers is about as a spot on as you can get. The peppers ADD something to this beer besides that bit of hear. The flavors mesh with the maltiness so well, wow, this is just an excellent exploration of what you can do with beer.

Overall I absolutely love this beer. I thought Volume 2 - the Smoked Baltic Porter - was amazing until I tried this. Do yourself a HUGE favor, when you pour this let it WARM up to almost room temperature. The flavors of this beer will really come out.

Photo of osusullins
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I really enjoy this year's version of the Fade II Black. The beer pours a dark black with a soft head. The aroma is a strong smoke, similar to liquid smoke if you are a BBQ fanatic. The beer starts off with a strong smoke taste. The pepper starts to come through on the back end, however it is still subtle. If I could change one thing about this beer, it would be to make the pepper just a tad bit more pronounced. That said it is a very solid beer that I have enjoyed on more than one occasion. I think I liked last year's a little more, but both are very nice. Thanks again, Left Hand.

Photo of bbeane
3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Poured into a DFH laser-etched chalice... starts with a light head that completely disappears leaving some light spotted lacing. Beer is black in color, and almost not transparent when held up to the light, letting just enough light through to give it a hint of crimson

S- First whiff with no aggitation smells a bit sweet with some smoked qualities and hints of the black pepper. Second smell after some swirls of the glass produces sweet malts and dark fruits, with some smokey notes

T- Starts with some toasty burnt notes before becoming sweet with malts and some light dark fruit taste

M- Full body with light carbonation

O- A nice tasting porter, but nothing that different IMO... I didnt get much from the black pepper addition


Photo of Jimmys
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

served on tap at pizzeria paradisio in old town alexandria. review from notes.

A: pitch black. an unpromising looking beer considering the complete lack of head.

S: coffee, dark chocolate. a good bit of roast and definitely a little smoke in there too. good porter aroma for sure.

T: smokey. super peppery. a bitterness that is very similar to dark chocolate bitterness. very spicy finish! almost tabasco-like.

M: moderate carbonation on a medium bodied brew.

D: tasty. very unique palate. very different than most american porters. the smokey start with the spicy finish is unlike any porter i have had before. after a lacking appearance and average nose, the palate makes it much more enjoyable to return too.

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

The third iteration of the Fade to Black series, this "peppered porter" was brewed with Ancho, Serrano and Chipotle peppers. Enjoyed in a tall taster glass at Tops.

Dark chocolate brown, mostly clear, though the edges give up some partially translucent maroon highlights. Half a finger of silky khaki foam becomes a bubbly ring within the span of a minute.

In the nose: milk chocolate and cocoa powder, creamy milk, smoked brisket, hints of licorice. A lovely, smooth blend of aromas that reminds of a barbecue.

Hello, is that pepper? There's a good serving of vegetal pepper flavor, like a juiced green pepper or serrano without the spice. There is a hint of heat, but not much; as a hater of super spicy food, I'd call it the perfect amount. The dark chocolate and smoke from the nose are here as well and in equal amounts. Actually, a very interesting triumvirate, this blend of smoke, chocolate and pepper. It’s almost like a chocolate-dipped chipotle. Additional flavors range from anise to tangy molasses to dark grape. Long-lingering spiciness and smoke.

Soft, creamy medium body expands throughout the mouth. Mild, tingly carbonation. And of course, the pepper heat, which is at a perfect level.

After three rounds, it’s official: I love the Fade to Black series. Always impressed by the balance of these dark brews. Another one well-done by Left Hand.

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

The blackest shade of brown possible, inky with light barely penetrating the edges. The head is no more than a slumped shoulder of tan, and where it sticks around in stunted form it leaves a few streaks of lace.
Raisins-in-dark chocolate nose, augmented with earthy, herbal cigar smoke, liquorice, vanilla pod, Port, and burnt autumn leaves. The pepperedness is hinted at, but not expressed forthright. It smells delicious, regardless.
It rolls past the teeth with milk chocolate and raisin notes. The chocolate fortifies and migrates darker. Cocoa nibs show incredible legs and last long past the swallow. It cycles past burnt toast and espresso, with wafts of campfire and cigar smokiness, along with the meatiness of grill scrapings. For a while, this suggests Vol.2 with its smokiness, though I don't believe it's from the malt. The culprit arises as the distinct smoked bite of chipotle materializes. The heat, subdued and smoky initially, builds towards the potent seeds and chile oil and lingers past each gulp. A subdued Port sweetness adds a countpoint on the close.
Medium bodied, inching fuller as its nearly still in carbonation. It actually works well here, giving a cask-type feel, and letting the malt and the smoky heat play off each other.
This is a stunner. A girthy porter with a weighty addition of pepper seems like an overreach, but there's either a deft balance or a harmonious overload of both here.
My feelings on Left Hand are generally lukewarm, but the Fade to Black series has established itself as something I eagerly look forward to every year. This is its most idiosyncratic yet, and probably its best.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle - $1.89 at Olde Crabapple Bottle Shoppe in Alpharetta, Georgia. Bottled On: 09/22/11.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown, near black body with a tall, light tan, spumy head. No more than a few pencil-prick dots of lace on the way down.

Smell: Already, I get a little sniff of the peppers emanating up from the glass as I pour. Forward notes of chiles, with the roasty, chocolate-scented malts coming in second. Light trace of smokiness, too.

Taste: Sweet, malty beginnings of chocolate bar, caramel, sweetened coffee, and toast. Very slight smokey character preceding a smooth albeit spicy chile quality with, thankfully, no more heat that needed. The hops, at best, add a light spicy hint to aid the peppers, but, for the most part, stay out of the way of the 'guest' flavoring agent. Faint dark fruitiness. Malty, drying, lightly chile-accented finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Overall: Well-rounded, it's note just a bland, no-thought beer with a gimmicky addition of chiles thrown in, but a fairly smooth, flavorful porter integrated with the heat-inducing peppers. Nice job.

Photo of zeff80
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an opaque, dark, dark brown color with a one-finger, tan head of bubbly foam. It left some sudsy trails of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of chillies and smoked meat. Some typical porter-like aromas, too.

T - It tasted of chocolate, toffee and a mild peppery spice. Some nice heat.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with dry finish.

O - This is a really tasty pepper porter. Another good edition of the Fade to Black series.

Photo of climax
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Volume III pours with nearly no head, which fades to nothing as my glass fades to deep deep brown. One more shade and it's black, but just doesn't quite make the cut.

I don't pick up a whole bunch of pepper at first whiff. I do get ripe fruit, vanilla, and a kiss of licorice. The alcohol is hidden wonderfully considering the mellow aroma.

The chili flavors begin to march in just before the finish, and then linger in the throat after all is said. A bit of roasted coffee and black pepper overpower any sweetness.

The base is very smooth, nice and slick in the mouth. Carbonation greets the mouth sharply and remains moderate throughout. It finishes with a dash of dryness, and a semi hot chili pepper tingle in the back of the throat.

I wasn't too optimistic after my first two senses had the privilege of assessing this, but what ensued was a pleasant experience. The chili flavors were subtle but clearly evident, and the body was done wonderfully. For that, I would drink it again but not go out of my way to make that happen.

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

A: This beer pours a black with a little dark red. The head is thin and barely there.

S: I pick up a lot of roasted malt and a little bit of spice.

T: The beer has a lot of roastedness along with some spicey flavors and a nice coffee finish.

M: The beer is very smooth and easy to drink. It is almost like water going down its so easy to drink.

O: This is one of the better stouts I have had in a while. It looks nice, tastes good and very smooth.

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

Pours a very dark brown/almost black with an inch of tan head. Bubbly lace throughout.

The nose is smokey with tobacco, leather and a chipotle finish.

The flavors of this brew are much similar to the nose. Leather, smoke, a bit of cocoa and a chili pepper finish that has a slight kick to it. I'm feelin' the heartburn already.

The mouth is carbonated nicely and has a creamy texture to it. The spice has a crispness to it that is enjoyable.

Overall, I enjoyed this brew and admire it for the flavors it holds. The peppers are present but not overpowering at all. This is a robust and kick ass porter.

Photo of ocelot2500
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep mahogany color with a small, off-white head that leaves little bits of lacing.

Smells of some deep roasted notes.

Tastes of varying roasted notes with the pepper coming on the end. Notes of brown sugar, cocoa, and roasted coffee come through. A bit of sweetness, but is still fairly dry. A bit of earthy pepper notes add at the end, but only to give a little heat.

Mouthfeel is medium with a smooth amount of carbonation.

Overall, a good porter worth giving a try.

Photo of silentjay
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pure black with a small head that quickly recedes to a thin film and leaves behind a bit of lacing.

malty, chocolate, black strap molasses, a touch of bitter coffee, and a tingle left on your nose hairs from the pepper. the aroma is enticing, but a bit subdued, unfortunately.

nice mixture of sweet and bitter up front and then once you swallow, BAM, pepper. not overbearing, and the pepper is only on the finish, but its there and its nice.

medium bodied with a low level of carbonation, but the pepper fills your mouth and lingers for a while.

nice. Probably the best Left Hand beer in quite a while. I only like pepper/chipolte/spicy beers when they are balanced, and this one is. great job!

Photo of uawildcat
4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this beer into an English pub glass. Pours very dark with a decent off-white colored head that leaves lacing. The more I rate appearance of beer the more difficult I realize this is.

Smell is of sweet dark malts (brown sugar, molasses, coffee) mostly. Has an ever so slight pepper aroma to it thats masked by the malt.

As I sipped this beer I was surprised how full bodied it was and how creamy it felt. The taste is pretty extraordinary. Very dark carmel sweet upfront with a vanilla hint in it. The pepper in my mind is a back drop. You taste it more at the end. It is very subtle in my opinion, but then again, I eat lots of spice foods.

Overall, I wish that I bought a 6-pack of this beer rather than just an individual bottle since its never going to be brewed again ;(

Photo of BARFLYB
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a snifter glass. Review #1200

Fade to black volume three goes in the glass looking sorta black, more like a darker brown. A inch of loose tan foam up top leaving nothing on the glass.

Smells the part with roasted/brown malt, some light coffee roast, pepper in the nose. Traces of vanilla and some bark. Has a old porter scent with english malt.

FTB is pretty good beer, as advertised some black pepper shows up but does not kill the base which is pretty tasty as well, might be my favorite porter from left hand to date. Some roast, coffee, pepper, faint vanilla, peat.

Very smooth beer here, the pepper does not linger out for long, medium bodied, lightly carbed, no trace of the alcohol. The old porter taste stays with me the most.

All around, a solid beer that is pretty simple and very easy drinking.

Photo of Sweasty
4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another fade to black release from left hand. This is also my 100th review! This time around we get a chile infused porter. This brew pours deep brown, practically black color. Things are topped of by two fingers of khaki head. Head settles to ring. A fair amount of lace is left coating the glass.

The aroma doesn't disappoint. Chile notes hit the nose first. Notes of ancho and chipotle chiles stand out. A fair hit smoke comes through behind the chiles. Dark roasted coffee notes flow beneath the smoke. A light dark chocolate note is present. Things are rounded out by a general earthiness.

The chiles in the nose are stronger on the palate. Smoke heavy chipotles dominate upfront. Earthy, raisin-esque, ancho notes hit next. Traditional porter notes flow beneath the chiles. Dark roasted coffee makes a strong showing. A light dark chocolate quality is present as well. The finish is earthy with a lingering mild chile burn.

Fade to Black is nice full bodied porter. The carbonation is good, and helps lighten the body a touch.

Combining chiles and beer can be a difficult thing to pull off. The folks at Lefthand have more than pulled it off. The chiles are ever present, but never clash with the classic porter qualities. The chiles compliment the dark roasted malts, and add a wonderful depth of flavor. This was a worthy beer to make my 100th review.

Photo of jera1350
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Charcoal colored with a ring of tan foam around the glass that leaves some fair lacing.

Awesome nose on this one. Big smoky and meaty nose. Smoked meat, ancho and chipotle pepper sweetness and smoke. The malt lends a substantial sweetness as well. Can't wait for the first sip.

Very nice taste. There is a very solid chocolate malt presence with plenty of sweetness as well. The smokey notes are also present. Not overwhelming at all. The pepper is very subdued, but it comes into play at the end and at the back of the throat. They add a warming feel as well.

Very slick feeling, but I feel this could use a carbonation bump to help the flavors along.

Really enjoying this beer. Last years smoked baltic porter was amazing and I really miss it. This though, is in the same zip code and really is a satisfying porter with a nice smoke presence. Give this one a try.

Photo of wvsabbath
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Dark black/brown, creamy 1 inch head, some lacing.

Smell - Malts, coffee, chocolate, sugars, cocoa, some dark fruits, no pepper though....

Taste - Smokey malts and coffee, with some pepper at first drink. Cocoa, chocolate and some sugars comes in after the pepper. Dark fruits like plum add some bold flavors.

Mouthfeel - Coffee and bitterness at first hits tounge, then the pepper and alcohol add some heat and sting to tounge. Palette gets alot of chocolate and cocoa, and minor pepper ting. Aftertaste is thin and malty.

Overall - Decent and easy enough to drink. Peppered beers seem to be catching on, this is the 3rd porter/black ale peppered beer ive had so this ranks as good compaired to them. It does have a decent amount of booze in it so i think that adds some heat to it. Pretty balanced, the pepper doesnt over power it, chocolate and cocoa add some mellow sweetness. This is worth a drink.

Fade To Black (Volume 3 - Pepper Porter) from Left Hand Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 515 ratings.