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Fade To Black (Volume 4 - Rocky Mountain Black Ale) - Left Hand Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Fade To Black (Volume 4 - Rocky Mountain Black Ale)Fade To Black (Volume 4 - Rocky Mountain Black Ale)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

72 Reviews
THE BROS
69
poor

(Read More)
Reviews: 72
Hads: 396
rAvg: 3.74
pDev: 11.23%
Wants: 8
Gots: 26 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Left Hand Brewing Company visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: bsp77 on 11-04-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Fade To Black (Volume 4 - Rocky Mountain Black Ale) Alström Bros
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Reviews: 72 | Hads: 396
Photo of chugalug06
2.62/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

A good appearance. Black as night brew, a bit thin. Head has lots of volume. Head falls fast and is made of thin loose foam. Lacing is nice, but uneven.

Roasty, toasty, and far from style... Lots of burnt chocolate. Not a bad aroma, just not on style.

Nice backend bitterness. Front flavors are wet, forward, roasty and dark chocolate flavors. Creamy, earthy, coffee, slightly dirty, and milky. Carbonation is much too high, sweetness is close to too much, and bitterness is absent for the most part. Again, far off style.

This is ABA needs more substance and needs to drink less like a Milk Stout. It's good, just not on style. Recommended, just not to style. (664 characters)

Photo of thlayli87
2.86/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Pours opaque black with one finger of head. Decent lacing on the glass.

S - Grassy hops, but not a real strongly aromatic beer.

T - Very hop forward brew followed by coffee flavors. Some bitter dark chocolate notes as well.

M - Creamy mouthfeel with good carbonation.

O - Well crafted brew but not really my thing. I think it would be better if they toned down the bitterness slightly. Overall I much prefer the Fade to Black vol. 3 (chili porter) to this. (464 characters)

Photo of ArrogantB
2.86/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I picked up a sixer of this because I liked the last installment, big mistake. This is just as black as you would expect, decent head, good lacing. Aroma is more burnt malts than roast malts, meh. Flavor is kind of burnt too, not quite a stout, certainly not a black IPA, just a below average porter I guess. Really disappointing, not sure how I'll drink the rest. (364 characters)

Photo of BeerAdvocate
2.95/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

From BeerAdvocate magazine Issue #72 (Jan 2013):

The next volume in Left Hand’s series of black beers, this dark ale is brewed with Rocky Mountain water, malted barley, malted wheat, hops and yeast. Personally, we’d like to see the wheat dialed back on this one. It’s very tannic and paired with a dry malt and hop-centric profile creates an unbalanced, harsh brew.

STYLE: American Black Ale
ABV: 6.5%
AVAILABILITY: Limited

LOOK: Opaque, pitch black, tan head and lacing

SMELL: Herbal, roasty, straw

TASTE: Smooth, crisp, bitter, pine, resin, light citric, roasty, coffee, earthy, bone dry, aspirin, astringent, husky, tannic (636 characters)

Photo of BB1313
2.96/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a tulip. Pours pitch black, barely any light getting through. There's a nice khaki head which eventually fades and leaves nice lacing and retention. The aromas are full of chocolate malts. The hops take a backseat in the aromas. It's basically all chocolate with a hint of smoke. The flavors are pretty roasty. Coffee/espresso in the mix. The hops still aren't really shining, although there's a subtle bitterness. Very grainy and has a mineral like taste. Tastes more like a stout and feels like a porter. Mouthfeel is very nice. It's light, smooth, creamy with moderate carbonation. It's a very easy drinking beer. Alcohol goes unnoticed.

This is definitely my least favorite from the Fade To Black series. It's not really what I look for in a Black IPA, although it never really claims to be one. It's really not bad if you accept it for what it is, which is a "black ale". The craftsmanship is there. I guess I had higher expectations considering I love this series and the style. It's probably better than my score might indicate. It's just there have been alot of great Black Ales coming out as of late, and this one doesn't exactly stand out, in my opinion. (1,189 characters)

Photo of denver10
3.01/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.5

Pours black with a slight brownish hue and a nice mocha head. A nice deep roasty aroma filled will bakers chocolate and significant coffee and slight piney hoppiness. Flavor wise, the first half is fantastic with the deep roastiness filled with bakers chocolate and a buttload of coffee, second half introduces the hops and I am not as big a fan of that component and they totally kill this beer for me. A medium bodied, somewhat creamy mouthfeel. Overall, can't say I appreciate the hops inclusion on this one. Wish they made it a stout or porter because the malty side to this was great. (589 characters)

Photo of goochpunch
3.04/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours out almost black with a khaki frothed milk head. Smells strongly of crystal malt. Very toasty, with a bit of a roasted twang. Smells heavily of fruity esters. PNW hops in the nose, as well. Flavor is big on chocolate, toast, citrus/pine hops, and lots of jelly fruity esters. Mouthfeel is sticky. Could use more carbonation. Too sweet overall, and the flavors don't meld together well. Not a fan. (402 characters)

Photo of blakelive784
3.05/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

12 fl oz brown glass bottle served in a snifter, reviewed live:

A - Pours an incredibly dark, non translucent shade of brown with two fingers of bubbly khaki head. Retention is poor, but it leaves a bit of lacing as it recedes.

S - Light cream, roasted malts, hints of cinnamon and other indistinct spice. Light grassy hops. Simple, but seemingly balanced. Restrained.

T - Roasted malts and bitter chocolates steal the show. Thin. Bittering hops near the finish. Closely follows the nose. The roast is nice, but it's a bit one note. No yeast or alcohol present. Easy drinking but simple and restrained.

M - Over carbonated. Thin. Medium bodied.

D - It's not bad, but I've definitely had better (including Volume 3). A disappointment from a good brewery. (762 characters)

Photo of MrBoz21
3.19/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Color - black with copper hue. Thin white head quickly faded into light skiff. A bit murky.

Aroma: Diacetyl. Light nutty roast, hint of molasses.

Taste: Apple hiding behind roast. Molasses, resiny-grassy hops.

Mouth: Dry and tingly. Thin-ish ... not creamy.

Overall: Sorry to say I'm a bit disappointed. Not as much balance and interplay with flavors as I think should have. Astringent. (390 characters)

Photo of RWLawman
3.29/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A - Just about jet black, with a generous white head that sticks around for the majority of the experience. Scattered lacing left behind on the glass.

S - Some chocolate and roasted malts, but to me the piney hops stand out the most.

T - Chocolate, roasted malts, maybe a little grain, but finishes with a noticeable piney hop bite. I'm not a huge fan of pine hops, but it's not enough to absolutely kill the beer.

M - A little sticky, moderate mouthfeel, with a little creamy texture as well.

O - A "not bad" beer. Not something I'd seek out again, but it wasn't too bad. (578 characters)

Photo of eLOLzovic
3.34/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Poured from bottle to pint, with love. <3

A - Blacker than midnight on Broadway & Myrtle

S - Pastry, raisins. I kinda want a cinnamon roll right now.

T - drinking coffee in a pine Forrest.

M - Heavy flavored but not a heavy feel. I don't feel like I'm eating a slice of chocolate cake the way some dark beers do, which is good because it would hurt my girlish figure.

O - aside from the guido-esque Affliction t-shirt tribal pattern on the bottle it's a solid beer. Went down quick and smooth, didn't feel like I swallowed a 18th century cannonball. (559 characters)

Photo of Beaver13
3.36/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. Pours dark black with a smallish tan head that goes to a thin film and leaves some lacing.

The aroma is a bit subdued - heavily roasted chocolate malts and some piney hops.

The flavor is roasted chocolate malts with a good sized resiny, piney hop finish and some char in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation.

Overall, an OK black IPA. (382 characters)

Photo of DAllspaw
3.37/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Pours dark enough with nice mocha head, certainly looks the part of a proper black ale. A bit of pine and citrus in the nose ,but this is a malt forward beer for certain. It reminds me more of a belgian black than some other american black ales which are more hop forward (i.e., Black IPA or CDA).

This beer has a definitely roasty quality that I can't quite describe, not as heavy or astringent as the heavier porters or stouts, but a more mellow roast quality, which is kind of a theme for this beer for me anyway, lacks a certain balance. (543 characters)

Photo of russpowell
3.41/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours mahogany with 3 fingers of mocha colored head.Very good lacing & above average head retention

S: Cocoa & not much else

T: Cocoa, roasted grain, woody hops & a touch of pears up front, along with some dryness. More roastyness as this warms, a touch of aspirin & a modicum of smokeyness, slight figgyness. Finishes dry, roasty with a whisper of astringency & herbal hops

MF: Light/medium body with slight carbonation

Easy to drink, but not a great example of the style. Easily the weakest of the Fade to Black series to date... (537 characters)

Photo of whoahwhat
3.42/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thin tan head when poured that dissipates almost immediately. Nutty coffee scent, does smell very much like a stout, and flavors like a stout. I feel like it's missing something but I can't put my finger on it. Not a very complex flavor, but not bad either. Strong coffee notes stand out the most, little bit of carbonation, hint of hops. It's alright. (352 characters)

Photo of mactrail
3.43/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Barley and wheat in the brewing is always intriguing to me, especially in a non-standard style of beer. This, whatever the category, is more tart than a stout. The wheat seems to add the rye-like biterish grainy flavor. Fairly hoppy with some resins. Rather winey taste. It's actually quite hoppy with more of an IPA finish.

I'd call this a Cascadian dark IPA, though it's a brighter flavor with less of the dankness. A cakey sweetness leaves hints on the lips. Quite dark, of course. Pleasantly carbonated. Overall, the big, harsh bitterness lowers the drinkability, but it's an interesting puzzle.

From the 12 oz bottle bought at Jubilation Fine Wines in Albuquerque. (671 characters)

Photo of GorgonSed
3.44/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A - Jet black and opaque. Head disappears quickly. Head is thin and light.

S - Smells like a stout. Roasted chocolate, nuts, grain.

T - Starts out like a stout but doesn't develop as much. Flavor stays the same, roasted chocolate, I want to say barley, nutty finish. Little bite as you take the sip.

M - Thinner than expected from it's look but still some weight to it. I'm expecting a stout mouthfeel every time and not getting it.

O - I like it. Like a stout but different. I tend to like Left Hand's offerings. (517 characters)

Photo of doubledteague
3.47/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured from a bottle into a frosty glass.

A- Very Dark Brown, Almost Black of course. Very small but a lingering light brown head, after several drinks little to no lacing or stikyness left on the glass.

S- Significant Coffee, coacoa, earthy malts.

T- Taste starts off slightly choclatey almost smooth, then hit hard with a coffee flavor, deep almost wooden flavor. Lingering burned coffee aftertaste.

M- Medium bodied, light to medium carbonation, rather filling.

O- This is only like the second or third American black I have ever tried, and of those i would put this at the top. (Now for my disclaimer.) I have a very hard time with the Blacks, porters, stouts and all around dark beers. I am not a fan of coffee or deep earthy flavors. However Im a huge fan of beer, want to try all that is available, and try very hard to have an open mind on these beers. I will be the first to tell you not to form your opinion of these beers based on my comments.

Others comment on this is not the best of the "Fade to Black" Series, but its the only one of the series I have tried. (1,079 characters)

Photo of bsp77
3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Near black with moderate tan head and light lacing.

Smell: Mostly milk chocolate, with some coffee and molasses. Don't detect much hops in the aroma. Fairly mild.

Taste: Strong roasted taste, with coffee, chocolate and molasses. Some light citrus and light to medium bitterness.

Feel: Moderately low carbonation with a smooth body that is a little thinner than expected.

Overall: Even though I just entered this as an American Black Ale (because Left Hand says it is), this is really a Porter. And not even one of the hoppiest Porters I have had. Even as a Porter, it is barely above average. (664 characters)

Photo of fps_dean
3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a tan head, which doesn't stick around for long.black in the glass.

Smells somewhat like a porter, with a strong smell of malt.

There is a coffee, malt, chocolate, caramel and hops. No one flavor is greatly dominant. I would say this black ale, while clearly an ale, is on the stout or porter side and not the hoppy ale side.

It's moderately carbonated, and while it's heavy on flavors, it's not overly thick.

Overall this is a very good black ale, but not the best out there. I would recommend this as I would buy it again, but it would not be something I would go out of my way to get either.

However, for the price I paid for it, it's hard to beat it. (676 characters)

Photo of Alcorn
3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a super dark, inky jet black. It literally seems to absorb light. Nice kind of tan/khaki head. Decent lacing.

S - Roasted coffee, almost char burnt toast instead of a nice gentle brown smell. Hints of dark chocolate and faint pine notes.

T - Solid coffee and dark (like 70% dark) chocolate. Resinous piney, hop notes come in on the finish.

M - Nice and smooth. Flavors come across cleanly across the palate. Finish is nice and dry.

O - A very tasty black ale, one of the better black ales I have tried. However, not my favorite of the Fade to Black Series. I may very well grab another in my next mix-a-six but I doubt I would want a whole 6 pack. (660 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.54/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle - $1.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a black body with an inch worth of khaki-colored froth.

Smell: Roasty nose with touches of charred bread crust, coffee, and bitter dark chocolate with a nice, cleansing citrus scent.

Taste: Heavy roastiness, slight burnt quality. The palate is almost soothed by the sweetish caramel, toastiness, and chocolate, but that's when the citrus, resins, and hop bitterness aid the astringent blackened maltiness. Resinous, bitter, but also bitter chocolate in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Overall: A solid though not scintillating beer. (648 characters)

Photo of chefhatt
3.55/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I poured this beer into a glass, it is black as night with a small tan head that quickly dissaperead. The smell has a roasty, chocolate aroma to it. The taste has a roasty malt taste and chocolate up front, then followed by a little bit of hops, not to much just a hint of them. This drinks more like a stout than a black ale.
The mouthfeel is very nice, rolls off the tonuge good and overall a pretty good beer. (412 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
3.56/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

As the gloom of winter settles in, we look for bright spots in what else?... a black ale! With hops piercing the dark malts the beer is a metaphor for shaking the dark and looking forward to brisk days with brisk taste.

But first, the beer matches the wintry essence with a dark, porterish brown color. As the beer settles into the tumbler, a dense and creamy mocha head reaches for the rim of the glass. Its strong staying power gives the beer a sturdy and confident appearance, which is further reinforced with it's blanketed lace left in its wake.

Cocoa and caramel malts align for a decidedly dark roast aroma. Citrus, wood, and grassy hops notes follow closely behind and offers a bright and zesty counterpart to the roast coffee, cocoa, and caramel notes.

Burnt sugar flavors of caramel, toffee, and molasses set the stage with the slight malty-milky taste that supports the roasted grains. Bittersweet chocolate flavors rise just as the citrusy taste of hops deliver a zesty grapefruit and grassy herbal middle palate. The procession through taste then results in fading malt flavor and sweetness and a developing hop bitterness with light leafy, stemmy taste.

Medium bodied, yet the creamy malt textures seem to give the beer a little more heft than is likely actually there. As the carbonation pulls from the malt, the beer develops towards a crisp, dryish, and roasty finish. An after palate reveals sharp grain and hop derived astringency that's easily mistaken for roast and hop bitterness.

Where the black ale has the taste and satisfaction of moderate porters and stouts, it's drinkability is much like an IPA- aided by the crisp citrusy taste of American hops and a dry finish. It's a great option when borrowing time, waiting for spring. (1,759 characters)

Photo of mattkoon
3.59/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

fade to black from left hand pours very dark, even opaque. there really isnt much of a smell at all. the taste is a very bitter kick, with a slight barley flavor at the finish. this is a powerful dark beer but i wish there was more spices or sweetness going on. if you just want the intense kick of a black beer this one is for you. also, it has the right amount of carbonation, so the mouth feel is pretty good. just a sucker punch of bitterness in your mouth- (461 characters)

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Fade To Black (Volume 4 - Rocky Mountain Black Ale) from Left Hand Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 72 ratings.