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

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Fade To Black (Volume 4 - Rocky Mountain Black Ale)Fade To Black (Volume 4 - Rocky Mountain Black Ale)

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BA SCORE
84
good

394 Ratings
THE BROS
69
poor

(view ratings)
Ratings: 394
Reviews: 72
rAvg: 3.7
pDev: 13.51%
Wants: 7
Gots: 24 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 394 | Reviews: 72
Photo of BEERchitect
3.56/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

Photo of StonedTrippin
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this has been a great series so far by left hand, and this one is a nice addition. it pours like a porter, dark brown with a mocha head about an inch tall, excellent retention and lacing on the glass. the nose is surprisingly smokey for a black ale, with some hop bitterness on the back end. big malt profile, burnt popcorn and coffee grounds. the flavor ties all that together, with a slightly smokey black american pale ale, thats about how i think of this. its got some sturdy hopping, which combined with the heavy roast malts gives a nice bitter edge, while some sweeter cocoa notes come in to mellow things out. this is a very complex beer, and one that isnt the easiest to describe, but one ill certainly buy again. it has bright carbonation and a full but not massive body, quite quaffable. props to left hand for this fall beauty!

Photo of zeff80
3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Poured out an opaque, jet-black color with a small tan head of foam. It left sticky patches of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled very piney with some chocolate notes. A touch of maltiness, too.

T - Lots of bitter, piney hops up front woth roasted malt and chocolate as a backbone.

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

O - THis is a good black ale. Not my favorite Fade to Black but still worth a try.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.54/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.94/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Lagunitas mason jar.

Something tells me Mr. Denver wouldn't have been quite as successful with "Rocky Mountain Black"... Anyway, this stuff pours a deep, dark black-brown topped by a finger of sandy ecru froth. The nose comprises mild pine needle, blackened pretzel, dark chocolate powder, and a few sprigs of flowers. The taste brings in more of the same, with some roasted malts really making their darkly-roasted selves known. Yeah, the bitterness is relatively high here, but all of the constituent parts work well together. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a fairly smooth feel. Overall, a very nice black ale, one that creates and maintains a healthy balance between sweet and bitter. Good times.

Photo of jlindros
3.61/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Best by 4/05/13

Pours a nice creamy darker colored 1 finger head that fades semi slowly with decent lacing, pretty much pitch black beer

Nose starts with darker malts, light black malt and cocoa dust, caramel and creamy toasty brown malts with hint of fluffy nougat. In there are light earthy grassy hops.

Taste starts creamy dark malts, but then quickly into hops. Light spicy earthy hops come through, with touch of pine and citrus, with fair bitterness. The malts bring dark creamy malts, light milk chocolate, caramel, light mocha, and fluffy nougat. Finish is drier, long lingering spicy earthy hops, a bit of dark malts. The hops and malts really clash and why I don't like hoppy black ales.

Mouth is med bodied, creamy, decent carb.

Overall unimpressed. This is almost the definition of what I don't like in American black ales, the malts and hops would be fine on their own, but completely clash together and I can't really enjoy this beer.

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.78/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Cool label. No clue what it means though. Just art I suppose.

Looks nice on the pour. Nose gives some berry tones at first. Flavor profile seems fairly one dimensional and not really giving any punch. Smooth feel. Overall a pretty pedestrian drinking experience.

Photo of mactrail
3.43/5  rDev -7.3%
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.

Photo of russpowell
3.41/5  rDev -7.8%
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...

Photo of smcolw
3.63/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours near black with a tan head. No light passes. There's some streaky ring lace but the head is quite modest, settling into only rim bubbles.

Mild smell of predominantly crystal malt--sweet and nutty. The color belies the smell.

The taste features dark chocolate and some background floral hop. The aftertaste reminds me of the experience of eating dark chocolate. Neutral body with ample bubbles.

Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 11/7/2012. Pours pitch black color with a 2 finger dense tan head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of big grapefruit, orange zest, dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, coffee, floral, pine, char, and floral/roasted earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of malt and hop notes; with good strength. Taste of grapefruit, orange zest, dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, coffee, floral, grass, light pine, char, and floral/roasted earthiness. Fair amount of pine/roast bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of citrus zest, dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, roasted malt, light pine, floral, char, and roasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice balance and complexity of hop and roasted flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a creamy, lightly sticky, and lightly chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is an excellent Black IPA style. All around great balance and complexity of hop and roasted malt flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

Photo of tdm168
3.99/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to brewdude1982 for this one.

A - black with a short-lived white head

S - faint citrus, some pine, some chocolate, some faint peppery spicyness

T - roasted malts at first followed by some faint citrus and a some spicy hops; the finish is a bit bitter with some underlying coffee notes

M - medium bodied, well carbonated

I'm not sure how I feel about this beer. It comes across as a somewhat porter-like beer with an above-average hoppiness. I wouldn't describe this as a Black IPA. The hops are present and some great character, but the roasted malts and coffee notes are most prevalent. I'm glad I tried this one. I'm not sure I'd seek it out again, but I'll never turn it down.

Photo of Zorro
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear black colored ale with a very slight tan colored head.

Smells strongly of patent malt with a sort of aqua velva aftershave scent from the hops. Chocolate and carrot stick with coffee and a little smoke. Slight metallic scent.

Starts out a bit sweeter than expected with a bittersweet malt flavor. Burnt toast and chocolate this gets more bitter as you drink it. Pine resin from the hops, really tastes a bit more like milk stout instead of an IPA.

Mouthfeel is good.

Tasty beer that is a little different for the style. A beer a little closer to the Stout side of Black ale than the hops side.

Photo of WoodBrew
4.15/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The vol. 4 is a great porter....I look forward to this release every year. This vintage seems to be a bit more hoppy than in years past. The beer pour an opaque black with thin off white head that is leaving a spotty lace. The scent is happier than most Baltic porters...yet still has coffee and peat tones. The taste start bitter quickly followed by coffee and espresso which then a peppery spice settles in on the follow through. The mouthfeel is full bodied with subtle carbonation. Overall this is another good year for the FTB!

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.05/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Dogfish Head pint glass. Pours a very dark brown, appearing black in the glass. One finger dark tan head with good retention and lots of lacing; looks good. Aroma of toasted malt, with hints of chocolate and grassy hops. Flavor follows with toaste malt, light chocolate, a bit of coffee; transitioning into a long charred coffee, toasted malt and grassy hop finish. There is an interesting suggestion of dark fruit after the first rush of malt. Pleasant medium creamy body. This has some of the body of the earlier porters in the series, but true to American black ale style in the flavor. I liked this a lot. Great series of dark ales.

Photo of bluejacket74
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle, bottled on 11/07/12. Served in a goblet (like the label on the bottle says), the beer pours dark brown/black with an inch tan head. Head retention is good, and there's a lot of lacing, too. The brew smells like roasted malt, pine and citrusy hops, burnt/charred malt and a bit of coffee. Taste is pretty much just like the aroma, but there's the addition of some bittersweet chocolate. Nice balance between the hoppy and malty flavors. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's creamy and smooth, with a good amount of carbonation. I think it's a good overall brew, definitely worth a try at $9.99 a 6-pack.

Photo of Cyberkedi
4.51/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Comes out of the tap an opaque coffee brown with a thin tan head. Aroma had notes of roast malt and quality coffee plus a snip of hops. Flavor has rich mocha and hop notes, like the best stout mixed with the best IPA, plus caramel, nutty, earthy and licorice tones and a fruity hint. Not too sweet, not too bitter. Firm texture is quite smooth and quite fizzy, leaving a hoppy mocha finish. Don’t fade away, drink one!

Photo of barnzy78
3.73/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, bottled on 11/8/2012 pours pitch black with a frothy tan head; good retention & some lace is left on the glass. Aromas seem muted, roasty dark malt, a little smoky. Tastes are bolder with roasted barley, chocolate, smoke, piny hops on the finish give it some bitterness and a nice balance. Thin-to-medium bodied, nice carbonation. Overall, good but seems to be one note.

Photo of Darkmagus82
3.73/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Served on tap in a pint glass

Appearance – The beer is served a super deep brown, nearly pitch black color with a one finger of tan colored head. The head fades relatively quickly leaving a good level of foamy lace on the sides of the glass

Smell – The aroma is light overall, but consists of some roasted malt smells as well as a bit of a caramel sweetness. Rounding out these aromas are some very light vanilla, coffee, and chocolate as well.

Taste – The taste begins with a sweeter caramel and light chocolate flavor mixed with some roasted malt tastes. A vanilla sweetness quickly comes to the tongue as well as a creamier like flavor, producing a somewhat sweet and roast chocolate like taste on the tongue. A bit of coffee comes to the tongue more toward the end as well as a little bit of a more citrus hop taste with the combination bittering up the taste ever so lightly. In the end the mix of flavors leaves a rather present and smooth sweeter chocolate and roasted flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel –The body of the beer is average in terms of thickness and creaminess with a carbonation level that is rather average as well. Both are a nice for keeping it a very easy drinking brew, although a lightly thicker body may have accentuated the darker flavors a bit better in light of the sweeter flavors. Overall however it was quite enjoyable.

Overall – A rather nice and tasty black ale that is very porter like in my opinion. Tasty and one to try if you get the opportunity.

Photo of ArrogantB
2.86/5  rDev -22.7%
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.

Photo of StJamesGate
3.96/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Puffy, creamy, lumpy purple-tinged tan head that clings like mad over black body.
Orange oil, charcoal, plum and a bit of burnt rubber on the nose.
Black currant, ash, and black bread then pine sap, more orange oil and resin for hops.
Prune juice finish and charcoal bitter linger.
Medium, chewy, silky, some oil.

Snakey hops underneath a lot of black. Another way of saying this is surprisingly deep. Too many dark notes, but above par for LH.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
2.95/5  rDev -20.3%
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

Photo of FLima
4.09/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Very deep black color with a thick caramel head with eternal retention and leaving a wall of laces.
Delicious aroma of dark chocolate, not so hoppy relatively to its style.
Good flavor of roasted and smoked malts, but here with a decent amount of hops, though not aggressive. Notes of pines and coffee. Dry and bitter aftertaste with a long lasting coffee taste.
Full malty body with medium carbonation.
Excellent Black IPA, flavorful with a nice punch without knocking you numb.

Photo of arizcards
3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a sixer from Total Wine in early November for $8.99.

Beer poured black with an OK tan head that is leaving some lacing behind.

Nose is roasted malts, some coffee, and some northwest hops.

Taste is focused on the roasted malts which is strong up front and is balanced quite nicely by a decent amount of hops. Hints of cocoa and coffee linger in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied and satisfying.

Overall this is another nice brew in the Fade to Black series. Black Ales seem to becoming in vogue this time of year with several other brewers going to this as the seasonal style. Glad to have tried and would recommend

Photo of Beaver13
3.36/5  rDev -9.2%
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.

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Fade To Black (Volume 4 - Rocky Mountain Black Ale) from Left Hand Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 394 ratings.