Oak Aged Imperial Stout | Left Hand Brewing Company

196 Reviews
Oak Aged Imperial StoutOak Aged Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Left Hand Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Todd on 02-15-2004

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 196 | Ratings: 225
Photo of Sammy
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A very good tasting beer. Dark and nice head. Rich and yet still somewhat watery mouthfeel. Vanilla, roast, whiff of smoke, licorice, coffee, chocolate.
Barrel took edge off strength of imperial stout strength and colour. Yet still complex and nicely drinkable. Recommended.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ok. So it's a big imperial stout. It has all of the characteristics that other BAers talk about. But where is it different? Left Hand adds the Imperial Stout to Wine Barrels that adds to the complexity and creativity. Color-wise, it doesn't get any darker, or more opaque. Aromas show a currious tartness and hoppiness that you don't often get in an Imp. St. Flavors reconfirm this; showing a cherry-like tart derived (me thinks) from the vinious, wine, and oak character. A bit of muskiness and nuttiness also comes from the oak. The big hop aroma doesn't transfer to flavor. The aging really mellowed this out. Caramel and vanilla sweetness shows through, althought this is more common in Bourbon barrel aged beer. Nevertheless, a great beer with a creamy mouthfeel. Perhaps a bit too hot on the alcohol end and gets a tad rough. But, good enough. Go get one!

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Photo of brentk56
4.34/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a tootsie roll brown color with a surprisingly modest head that quickly fades to a ringlet and archipelago and leaves a few dots of lace

Smell: Boozy from the get-go, with a clear whiff of bourbon barrel; coffee, vanilla, milk chocolate and raisins underneath

Taste: Opens with a milk chocolate and rum-soaked raisin aspect that builds in the vanilla/bourbon barrel direction by mid-palate; after the swallow, the oaky flavors present themselves in a mellow fashion and blend everything together to a lingering and satisfying finish with some licorice at the very end; the alcohol is well-hidden

Mouthfeel: Medium to heavy body; creamy, but relatively flat; slight warmth on the finish

Drinkability: Given the variation in the carbonation noted by other reviewers, there is clearly a problem in the corking technique; having noted that, I would love to taste a properly carbonated version as the flavor profile is superb

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.63/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Turdfurgeson: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a big foamy head with some good retention and some nice lacing. Aroma of sweet and rich malt notes are dominating with some roasted notes from the malt. Taste is also dominated by some rich sweet malt with some light bitter roasted malt notes. The oak is not very apparent apart from maybe some very subtle vanilla notes. Body is a bit thin but has some nice creamy feature with good carbonation. Interesting but not as complex as I was expecting.

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Photo of zeff80
4.32/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 Edition

A - Poured out an opaque, jet black color with a three-finger, thick, rocky, bubbly, caramel-colored head head. It left sheets of sticky lace.

S - It smelled of dark chocolate and some bourbon.

T - It was roasty with sweet caramel and chocolate. Mild vanilla and oak flavors.

M - It was soft and smooth. A medium to full bodied beer.

D - This is a good imperial stout. The oak aging made it smooth and mellow.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.27/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. Poured into a snifter.

Body is very dark with a slight tan-mocha head and a small amount of lacing as it goes down the curved edges of the glass. The nose brings a really nice combination of oak, vanilla, light coffee, chocolate, and some roast. The taste brings some strong oak and chocolate with vanilla lingering in the background. The feel has a bit too much oak and has a bit of alcohol. Drinks quite well and might be the best beer I've had from Left Hand.

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Photo of nickfl
4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Two fingers of creamy, light brown head on a deep, black body with clear, ruby highlights. It has good head retention and leaves behind excellent lace.

S - Deep rich aroma of hops and dark malt. Velvety citrus hop aroma along with mild notes of chocolate and coffee. Leather and a bit of vanilla along with some higher alcohols.

T - Lots of caramel malt flavors up front followed by bitterness from both hops and malt. The leather note from the aroma is distinctly present here as well along with a bit of tobacco. The finish is peppery and alcoholic with a lingering coffee note.

M - Moderate carbonation with a smooth, slightly chewy body.

D - This goes down pretty easy, despite the fact that you can easily detect the 10.5% alcohol. It kind of reminds me of the milk stout, if they dialed it way up and let it make friends with some oak barrels. There is a good bit of complexity to this beer, but no one element is overwhelming. The aroma is a little flat, but the flavor is excellent and remains enjoyable long after the beer is gone. The only real flaw is the alcohol presence but I have a feeling that would fade with age (in fact, this beer practically begs to be cellared).

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap 4/15/09 at Doherty's East Ave Irish Pub in Pawtucket, RI, served in a small snifter glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a large beige head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of dark fruit, chocolate, roasted malts and a touch of hops.

T: The taste is malty and very creamy with flavors of milk chocolate, coffee, and a little dark fruit. The hops presence is very mild but on-target for the style, especially for an aged beer. The creaminess tapers off a bit as you continue to drink it. The after-taste consists of the bitter-sweetness of chocolate.

M: Very smooth and a little crisp, medium-to-heavy body, medium carbonation, finish is sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down dangerously easily, slightly filling, strong kick, good representation of style, it's a good dessert beer but I couldn't see myself drinking it for a whole evening.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.4/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a dark brown, near black body with a dense, pillowy head.

Smell: Boozey aroma of chocolate and roasted grains. Strong notes of oak.

Taste: Flavor of dark roasted barley, with some chocolate, maybe even some anise. It's got quite a sour, vinous quality to it. A fair amount of warming alcohol is evident on the oaken, roasty finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Very warming.

Drinkability: The heck is this? It's a decent stout, sure, but it's no where near as lush and inviting as that 10th Anniversary version.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Mahogany with scarlet and orange accents along the edges. Just like the regular Imperial Stout, this Oak Aged version isn't opaque when even minimally backlit. It's strange to see light through an RIS, but it didn't seem to hurt the other beer at all. The appearance gets kudos for having an outstanding head and for depositing an abundance of great looking lace.

The nose is better from a distance than it is up close. Not that it's bad, mind you. The star of the show is roasted malt (natch), with more cocoa beans than coffee beans. Without having the standard version close at hand, it's difficult to tell what the 'French oak wine barrels' contributed. The label says that only 25% of the base beer was oaked, so that could be part of it.

For some reason, this version doesn't impress quite as much as the unoaked version did. Whether the oak/wine barrels had something to do with it or whether my palate has changed is hard to say. Batch variation is a possibility as well, especially since the beer doesn't seem as malty or as full-bodied as I remember.

The malt bill is pale, Munich, crystal, chocolate, roasted, black and flaked oats. The hops are Magnum and U.S. Goldings. There's nothing wrong with the relative percentages, but I'd like to see another few shovelfuls of barley. For a double digit ABV, the alcohol is amazingly well-buried.

The flavor profile is expanding a little bit as the beer warms: bittersweet chocolate, black licorice, blackstrap molasses, very little coffee with cream, and a moderate back end burst of citrus pulp and pine sap. A hint of concentrated Cabernet grapiness is probably nothing more than the power of suggestion. On a different day, I might have gone with the next highest taste score; it's that close. Drinkability is frighteningly easy.

I keep waiting for the mouthfeel to firm up and join the ranks of the world-class Imperial stouts, but it isn't quite getting there (and the beer is almost at room temperature). Age can't be a factor, since 2007 was only last year. Has to be a lack of malt.

Left Hand Oak Aged Imperial Stout (2007) is delicious beer and is worth $9.99. Having said that, I'd rather stick with bombers of the standard RIS (if I could get them, that is). If you enjoy the style and if you see this one on the shelves, it's definitely worth a single bottle purchase. Okay, maybe two.

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Photo of russpowell
4.07/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Corked & caged 07 offering purchased in Tulsa (either at Mid town or ranch ). Opened with a resounding pop!

Pours mahogany with a finger of mocha head. Good head retention & lacing

S: Vanilla & oak, plus some leafy hops, & semi-sour bourbon notes chime in as this warms

T: Roasty malt, vanilla & slight oaky sourness up front & a touch of mocha as well. Vanilla & oakyness lead as this warms, along with toffee & touch more bourbon sourness& dark fruits. Finishes dry with caramel, vanilla & semi-lactic sourness. Almost pulled a 4.5

MF: Medium bodied, semi-smooth carbonation & pretty good balance

Drinks very easy, none of the roughness I saw in the old non oak-aged version. ABV is well hidden. Not an upper tier Imp Stout, but worthy of your consideration on a cold Winter's night..

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Grabbed this bottle up at Brawley's late last year and have had it sitting in my cellar ever since. I decided to open it up for a tasting the other night. Served in a snifter. Consumed on 08/23/2008.

The pour was very nice with a rich dark chocolate color coming forward immediately. Nice smallish tan colored head of foam quickly folded into a crown, but left behind copious amounts of side glass lace that more then made up for it.

The aroma was decadent, rich notes of cocoa and bourbon, with hints of vanilla and molasses swirling around in here as well. Lots of subtle smells in here, maybe a touch of smoke? Hard to say, but very nicely done. The flavor was less evident of barrel aging then I would have hoped, but then again only 25% of it was actually done. Still though it was decent, with more of a big Impy stout feel to it then anything else. Nice touches of coffee and cocoa, slight bourbon flavor on the finish and a vanilla flavor that lasted long after the others had faded. Nice full bodied feel, not as big as I would have liked, but still nicely done. Good carbonation and no dullness or slickness to it at all. A smooth sipper, the big ABV was covered up very well, in fact I could barely find any at all.

Overall this was a solid entry from them, nothing mind blowing, but still very nice. I would have no issues with try thing this one again any day.

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Photo of smcolw
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thick, dense light beige head. Lots of chunky lace on the glass

Graham cracker and cocoa aromas. Slightly chalky with a touch maple sugar and chocolate milk.

Oily and thick, the body has definite elements of a fortified wine like a port or brandy. Light carbonation, given the richness. The flavor is weak in the beginning. But the swallow and aftertaste are powerful. Strong burnt toast with a honey sweetness. Small level of bittering hop. Lots of alcohol warmth throughout. The aftertaste lasts a very long time with a strong notes of a fine brandy.

This is a potent beer. It's easy to sip, but hard to drink an entire 22 ounce bottle.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.58/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage seems to be coming around a bit better than when it was released earlier this year, I had one then and I wasn't impressed enough to even write a review. Appears pitch black, abolishes all visible light spectrums, does form with a very nice sized tan head with excellent retention. Lacing definitely sticks to the sides and with the 10 percent alcohol by volume and oak brandy barrel aging I'm surprised that the head holds up so well. Aromatics offer up awesome complex fruit layers hidden amongst teh dark chocolate and roasted coffee edges from the loads of dark malts added into this brew. Hops in the nose range from mild pine to deep herbal tones, but you can tell there's a good amount of hops to stand up to the alcohol and the malts to equate to some balance. A nice even creamy dark chocolate tone really stands out, with maybe just a touch of charred vanilla the oaked aging effects are pretty minimal thanks to the blending of oak with non oaked imperial stout I believe the ratio is 25/75. Flavor brings on a collision of alcohol deep fruit, ripened fruit soaked in alcohol sherry notes with charred oak vanilla, a touch of soy sauce and deep anise notes as well. Dark roasted coffee with bitter dark chocolate, and bring on the earthy/pine hoppiness in there as well. Pure poetry I'm glad I snagged one of the surviving bottles from this past winter it's really making a mark on me, not a huge fan of oak aged beers this one is excellent. Mouhfeel glides and leaves you warm with hope that someday not all Oak aged beers will suck and be so overhyped, because my friends this one is the shit. Full bodied yet creamy textured all the way, simply rolls across the palate...not many other beer experiences to compare this to. Carbonation is dead on just barely makes an imprint on it slow moving bubbles that are sturdy enough to back up the big lucious malt profile. Drinkability, I'm enamored by the fact that I have come across an oak aged brew that is fanfuckin'tastic, forget sharing with friends enjoy or horde by yourself. Kidding break this one out with fellow beer enthusiasts and blow people away, another knockout beer from Left Hand.

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Photo of jwc215
4.07/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle, poured into snifter:

Pours dark brown/almost black (cola-ish) with a thin tan head that disappears to a few thin wisps. A few dots of lacing slide down the glass.

The smell is of anise, tar, oak/vanilla, and a hint of dark fruit in the back.

The taste is of anise/licorice that's pretty forward at first, but gives way to oak/vanilla and vinuous notes that become dominant. There is an acidic touch, but not in an astringent way. Chocolate/cocoa comes through, as does some dark fruitiness, as it progresses, though the woodiness/oak/vanilla still holds strong. Only 25% is aged in oak, according to the label, but it shows more than that. Finishes a bit abruptly for the style.

The body is medium. Almost got a lower score because of a certain thinness, even as it warms, but there is a silky smoothness to it. And, it's certainly not thin.

Alcohol is very, very well-hidden here. I thought this would be a slow-sipper. Nope. This is dangerously drinkable. I even thought of giving this a perfect "5" for drinkablity, as it disappears so well, but...though I wanted "more" after it was done...I don't know if it was for this or for a fuller, more complex RIS. Overall - very enjoyable, VERY drinkable. But, I do remember liking the non-oaked version more (and looking at the score I gave the latter confirms)...This reminds me of cask for its smoothness and drinkability, though it lacks a bit in depth and fullness. Very good for an easy-drinking, deceptively so, RIS.

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Photo of Billolick
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ouncer, $9.99 @ DeCiccio's Market, Ardsley, NY. Pours darkest shades of brown/near black. Dark tan frothy head, long lasting, then disolving to a film and leaving strands of fine lace. Nose of lite smoke, ripe fruit and lite chocolate. NOse follows thru into the flavor profile, more smoke/wood, ripe fruits, dark chocolate, and moderate drying hops later on. Nice stuff, seems a bit lite on the dark malt notes for the style, but I am not complaining, this stuff is mighty tasty and well worth a try.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.42/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An enormous 750ml, corked & caged bottle, with a silkscreened label, complete with a dragon and the slogan, "A black beer to brighten your day." If that's the intention, why'd they make it so hard to open? I opened this in the company of fellow BA truthbrew who commented that he'd never seen anyone have to use a wrench to unscrew a wire cage from a bottle. I'd never had to, either...
But, about the beer...dark brown with rosey tints, thick cushion of delicate pinkish brown foam, quite a unique color, this.
Aroma: a mellow, vinous character pervades, and dominates the nose, enormous and expansive, lush and lovely, very sweet and uplifting.
Taste: slight bitterness jumps the tongue, then steps back, and allows for a tender, tasty flavor to ensue. Wholly unique in my esperience, really, with gentle carbonation and a just flat-out gorgeous winey character that remains throughout the long duration of the bottle. A beautiful marriage of what might be two incompatible flavors.
Ultimatley, a light body and palate for an Imperial Stout, but considering what they did to it, I say, "bravo for the wine barrel", for this is just scrumptious...I love me my Imperial Stouts, but this became another creature and one just as well admired. Invested with an utterly uncanny flavor, with a long, lingering finish.
Very nice accomplishment, a worthy way for LH to salute their 10 years of business!

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.27/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Review from 2/2010 notes. 2007 vintage bottle, poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a very dark brown, appearing nearly black. One finger brown head with good retention and lacing. Aroma of dark and toasted malt, oak, dried fruit. A full, tasty start to the flavor; oak, dark and toasted malts, coffee, toffee. Middle and finish not as smooth or intense as other imperial stouts. Body slightly thin than expected, but a satisfying medium body. An interesting well made imperial stout.

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Photo of Gavage
3.83/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours a black color with a fluffy two finger tan colored head. Some spots of lace stick to the glass.

Smell: malt, chocolate, and hints of vanilla are most prevelent.

Taste: hearty malt base with chocolate, vanilla, hints of molasses, mild bitterness, and a hint of alcohol. Another nice oak barrel stout that hits the belly just right.

Mouthfeel: heavy in body. Smooth from start to finish. Relatively short aftertaste as the flavors linger a bit on the tongue.

Drinkability: despite the high alcohol levels, the alcohol is not overwheling in the flavor profile. Decent quaffability, but one bomber will be enough to get your fix of the style.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.32/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Bitterbill for this brew.

750ml Caged/Corked

Poured into a chalice a nice clean/clear black color, some carbonation, a little fizzy tannish head, no lacing at all. The nose is of slightly sweet roasted/oaked malts, hops, vanilla, chocolate, and caramel. The taste is mostly of roasted/oaked malts, slight vanilla, and chocolate/caramel. The finish is slightly dry with a nice warming effect going down. Alcohol is hidden pretty well. Medium body. Very drinkable, a slight twist going on here, not as thick as other's I've had, but still very tasty. If you can get it, do it, recommended.

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Photo of WesWes
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a deep, dark black color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a warm black and chocolate malt scent along with a nice oak barrel accent. It's got a wonderful roasted character. The taste is great! It has a smooth black malt flavor that goes down easy and finishes warm with some oakey bitterness. It's got a roasted feel, as well as a little chocolate malt sweetness. The mouthfeel is awesome. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a terrific brew. It's a solid IS, but the oak aging adds some extra complexity. It's highly drinkable, even at 10.4 %.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.36/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This 750ml bottle had the hardest damn cork to remove, I had to break out a cork screw to remove the champagne style cork. The beer itself is pitch black in color, it is very well carbonated, which generates a huge, creamy, light brown head. The predominant aromas are of soft vanilla, butter, and a woodiness all from the oak. The oak is subtle in the aroma, which I definitely prefer, too much oak is a turn off for me. There are some notes of alcohol but the rest of the typical Imperial Stout aromas are hidden in the nose.

My first sip, I think, Wow, this is a serious beer. Thick and viscous, the bubbles from the carbonation are actually slowed down as they rise because this beer is so thick. The taste is sweet, with notes of vanilla, alcohol, buttery oak, a hint of smoke, and roast malt. The roast character comes through in the finish of the beer. This beer is quite malty, which seems to be the biggest hold over from the base beer before the oak.

This beer is definitely a vehicle for the oak flavor, unlike many though, the oak is not overkill. It melds very well with this beer. The oak does dominate, but this is a very tasty oak beer, that is the best interpretation of oak in beer that I have had. Having said that, the character of the base beer does not shine through like it should. This is no doubt, partially due to the amount of age (put in oak for more than a year) that is on this beer.

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Photo of John_M
4.02/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a fairly dark dark brown color with good head retention and lacing. The nose is impressive, with something of a milk dud, chocolate, coffee and vanilla aroma. Flavors replicate the nose, but the flavor profile is a bit more restrained. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, with fairly good length on the finish. Booziness detacts just a bit from the beer's drinkability, and there's no doubt a little bit goes a long way.

A nice beer, but not overwhelmingly impressed with this one.

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

A: Pours a dark coffee color with a thin tan head.

S: 10.4% abv is hiddenly nicely on nose and flavor. Some dried cherries, oak hints with just a boatload of cold sweetened coffee for flavor that is very rich and dark.

T: Flavor is very light roasted malt, rich chocolate, and black licorice which is then overpowered by the massive coffee flavor. dry pine with some earthy hop bitterness. This beer starts out with some good woody character and dried fruit but doesn't last long as the massive coffee palate soon drowns out all the other flavors.

M: Big mouthful with only a slight alcohol detection upon warming of the tongue.

D: A good hearty stout maybe a little over the top coffee wise which hurts the complexity of this brew. A good brew for those hearty stout and coffee lovers.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.58/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Served in an snifter)

A- This beer has a black body but not really dense just opaque enough to block the light. There is a creamy light tan head that has a layer of big bubbles sitting on top. The head last for a good bit and makes rings on the glass after each sip. There is a strong carbonation of tiny bubbles that can be seen as they bump into the side of the glass and slide up to the top.

S- This beer has a smell of dark roasted malt with a brown malt and dates note to it. There is some hints of cream and milk chocolate that become stronger as the beer warms.

T- The taste of dark roasted malt has a hint of burnt taste with a chocolate nougat filling along with it. The flavor of prunes has a slight tang that hangs on to the finish. There is a light hint of wood that comes through as the beer warms but it is pretty faint.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with clean finish but no real alcohol heat.

D- This beer is smooth but doesn’t have much depth. The malt flavors are nice for a porter but it was pretty creamy and sweet for an Imperial Stout. The wood was also very subtle and a little more flavor could have helped this beer.

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Oak Aged Imperial Stout from Left Hand Brewing Company
4.04 out of 5 based on 225 ratings.
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