Oak-Aged Imperial Stout | Left Hand Brewing Company

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Oak-Aged Imperial StoutOak-Aged Imperial Stout
225 Ratings
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.

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 225 |  Reviews: 196
Photo of Blybloke
3.92/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

OK. My first review:

I was surprised and a little disappointed at the appearance. The bottle says "A Black Beer to Brighten Your Day" so I was expecting something on the order of tar but it pours more of a deep brown than black. There was about a 1/2 inch head the color of wet sand but it dissipated quickly. Little to no lacing.

The smell was inviting: licorice, molasses, a hint of oak, light alcohol. Taste is on par with the nose. Licorice, figs, and raisins up front with a hint of coffee that got more pronouced as it warmed.
This beer left an oil slick on my palate. Very slippery indeed. Wonderful mouthfeel.

Overall I enjoyed this - appearance notwithstanding. I can see myself buying another bottle or two just to be sure.

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Photo of ADR
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

For all intents and purposes, completely black and opaque. Head is very attractive, a bright tan color with tiny carbonation bubbles. Thick but widely-spaced laces. Aroma of roasted nuts and rich jam, musty wood tones. Mouthfeel is solid, thick but backed by better carbonation than some of the "motor oil" Imperial Stouts. Nice taste, senses of oak (its nice that the wine barrels really do come through, imparting vinous and vanilla character), turns slightly mocha mid mouth and hops are felt. Sherry-like fluidity, tannins, and alcohol are notable. Starts off with a slightly fuzzy sense on the tongue early, along with a lot of sweetness, a little strange and without a balancing point. A nice and well-done beer overall -- still seems a bit overpriced and the twist-off for the cage is too small and the cork is an absolute bear to wrestle out.

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Photo of dwvarner77
4.04/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep deep brown, nearly black, with a huge mocha-colored head that meanders its way down to about a quarter inch.
The aroma is that of roasted malt with hints of oak, and something light and sweet behind that, maybe some chocolate. Not a huge impression on the nose.
The flavor is much bigger than the aroma would indicate. Lots of dark roasted malt, with some chocolate and coffee, and woody hints. Exceptional flavor, not too strong or overpowering. Great balance. A hint of alcohol is picked up in the aftertaste.
The mouth feels thick with a slight carbonation. Maybe a little less full or chewy than would match the flavor, but pretty good nonetheless.
Easily drinkable for a double stout. Be careful, the 10% alcohol is well camouflaged. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of kmpitz2
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The brew pours a deep brown color, almost black, with a 2 finger head that falls to a coating oer the top of the beer. The nose is definately influenced by the wood aging. The wood is one of the dominant aromas, lits of vanilla and slight tannin. Behind that there is some sweet chocolate and puffs of alcohol. The flavor is different than the nose. Big chocolate and fig notes hit up front. Secondarily, there is the vanilla sweetness from the wood. Its nice. A bigger flavor than I had expected. Very enjoyable. The feel is uber-thick and almost syrupy. Just a light carbonation dances on the tongue. Wow. I dig this a lot. Drinkability is rather good. The 10% is not to be found in the flavor. The sweetness is not overbearing. Easy to quaff for a big bad beer. I gotta grab another of these.

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Photo of SheepNutz
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle poured into a snifter. It pours a deep ruby red, almost black color with three fingers of deep tan head. There isn't much lacing. The smell is sweet and malty, with lots of chocolate, caramel, and wood. It leaps right out there. The taste is sweet as well. Lots of roasted malt and caramel flavors. There's some oak and coffee on the finish. Just a touch of alcohol too. The mouthfeel is nice and thick, coating the tongue nicely. The drinkability is good for a 10% brew. Thanks to Kev for this awesome brew.

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Photo of Sammy
4.15/5  rDev +3%
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 CRJMellor
3.57/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown and maroon hue with a light off-white head that slowly disappears and leaves little rivets of lace on the snifter.
Aroma has a sort of malt, coffee and yeasty amalgamation with very little of the advertsied oak-aging.
Flavor has a very subtle almost imperceptible hint of wood. Dark malts, molasses and a hint of darker citrus with some chocolate notes.
Mouthfeel is lighter than anticipated, call it medium-bodied and light for style. Almost no bitterness present save for a hint of coffee or cocoa bittering.
Drinkability is good but body is too light for style and oak-aging didn't really appear and seem to add anything to the brew.

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Photo of Rastacouere
3.65/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown hue, opaque. Light off-white head slowly disappears. Middle of the road nose where more yeast than most impys come out in a mostly malty medley. It is certainly woody, but not to the level I’d anticipated. Less fruits expression than the original left hand imperial stout, yet more anise and cocoa. Drier palate too. Medium body, moderately high carbonation. Interesting coffee beans, pepper, sand and earthy suggestions, lightly tart, not very hoppy. It’s not banal, but doesn’t manage to stand out for such a highly regarded product. Cheers Ringo!

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Photo of Ahhdball
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was payment for some major repairs done to my fathers computer. I tend to work fairly cheap – for family. So I’ve been storing this in my cellar for about 6 months waiting for the proper time to crack open the ultra-sweet bottle. My wife even bought a couple brandy snifters for the occasion.
The color was an extremely deep ruby almost black but the light penetrated the bottom and edges of the glass. The ½ inch head left a tiny circle around the edge which produced an oil slick in my mouth.
The smell was difficult to pick up at first but I eventually came to the conclusion of semi-sweet chocolate and cherries. Near the end I had a small amount of alcohol and oak aroma.
First sip was too cold so I let it breathe a little. Second time around subtle dark fruits and wood broke the palate followed by chocolate and molasses. An alcohol burn warmed as it went down.
Oily, chewy, and a faint effervescence gives this an overall decent score in the mouthfeel department.
This is a highly recommended and drinkable brew. Be forewarned though, with it’s high alcohol content it can leave one feeling a little drows………..
On a side note I don’t think I’ll buy this again just because of the $12.99 price tag, wait, I didn’t buy it.

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Photo of Beaver13
4.41/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle. Aged about 1 year since bought.

Pours a dark brown with a big light tan head that has great retention and leaves some lacing. Some yeasty floaties are present towards the bottom.

The aroma is a little subdued. There is some vinous, sherry alcohol. Also notes of chocolate, figs and woodiness.

This brew has a smorgasbord of flavors! There is anise, some light sweetness, roasted chocolate, well hidden alcohol, figs, wood notes, and smokiness. It has a light bitter roasted finish. Very well balanced and quite the treat! The mouthfeel is excellent as well. Full bodied and very smooth and creamy.

Overall, an excellent brew! Makes for a wonderful Thanksgiving treat!

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Photo of clvand0
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This came in a 750mL bottle - nice label. Aged in Oak Barrels. Pours a very dark color with a very tall and dark head that dies off slowly and leaves some lacing. Hints of chocolate, coffee, and oak apparent in the aroma. The flavor has a lot of big, dark malts - just my style. Slightly bitter finish and lots of nice coffee flavors. Very well crafted.

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Photo of maxpower
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown-black color, has a decent tightly bubbled brownish head. Sweet roasted chocolate, coffee and fruity aroma, sweet fruity smoky plum-chocolate flavors. Nice burnt wood bitterness in the finish. Medium body with a creamy smooth mouthfeel, alcohol is very well hidden.

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Photo of shapudding
4.87/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I got the end of this bottle at a tasting party, so my glass had tonnsss of oaky chunks a-floating in it. Deep brown in color, can't see through it. Small bubbles with a good head covering it with a khaki brown head. Amazing scents of oakiness, chocolate and coffee. I let the oak chunks settle so I could sip and enjoy this wonderful flavor. I love the oak flavors in this! They are not overwhelming at all, just perfect. Coffee and toffe in there also... Smooth and creamy mouthfeel, easy drinking for us stout lovers! sooo yummy!

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoying this sampling from Guezedude!
750 corked and caged bottle. Got the cage off pretty easy but that cork broke off when trying to open a la champagne bottle. With corkscrew inhand took 30 seconds.

Chilled sample pouring into a large Rapscallion snifter. Pours dark coffee borwn with a fluffy beige head foaming up nicely about 1 cm and hanging around. Aroma is brown sugar and some chocolate also a light woody scent (probably oak).
First sip, nice thick body with mild rolling carbonation.
Flavor is very rich chocolate roasted malt some coffee too. I actually find a hit of maple syrup too. Finish is a lingering mocha and some plum flavor that coats my tongue. Not sure of the ABV but I sure dont notice the alcohol until I finish the bottle :)
A very tasty brew that I would smooth and easy to drink.

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Photo of cokes
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep, dark mahogany, Blackish by most lighting, but translucent ruby under a powerful beam. The head is a steadfast greying tan, and endures for a long, long time.
Nose is lightly vinous, with jellied prune. Backed with 3/4th complete bourbon. That is to say, that there are boozy, woody, vanilla-and-caramel traits here. But it's not really the completed deal. Traces of roasted, smoked malts, and an ebbing grainy astringency rounds-out the olifactory experience.
Enters the mouth with a medium roast coffee and grilled white meats. Toasty caramel ventures in next. Oak barrels provides structured wood, tannins, and vanilla, but are not altogether explict. Except, maybe, for the tannic contributions. Pipe smoke lingers throughout. It is manifest from the get-go, and endures post-swallow. Plummy hues enter after the midway mark, and it gains some oxidized cardboard hues. Bourbon is hinted at, but never developed in full, it's mostly just brown sugar. Ends with a compacted wintergreen hop notation.
Medium bodied, at best. Steadily carbonation throughout.
The malt foundation seems lacking and the barrel fails to contribute much intrigue. This is a solid, and easily downed big stout. But in relation to others, it lacks significantly.
I think that their nonbarreled Imperial Stout is (was) better...and much more practical, cost-wise.

Underwhelming, but fairly decent.

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4.42/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I found the cork in this bottle not to be the slightest bit more difficult than any other cork i've ever removed in my life. I happened to read some of the reviews before I drank my bottle. Do not be frightened by them. If you are competent enough operate a corkscrew, you should be able to have a beer poured in about one minute's time. If not, shame on you.
So, on to the beer. This beer forms a nice big head on the pour. You'll want to pour it with an extra gentleness. Black, but not 'used oil' black like other imperial stouts. The head gives tons of lacing and really produces a nice aroma of dark chocolate and nuts.
The taste of this beer follows suit with a nutty flavor with a slightly astringent tone that reminded me of black walnuts. Subtle chocolate flavors follow the nutty body of the beer. The oak barrel aging gives this beer a very nice mellow flavor that is tough to pinpoint but easy to enjoy.
This is the most carbonated imperial stout that i've ever had. It gives it an uncharactreristically light mouthfeel. With that quality, the alcohol content is disguised very well. It drinks like a 5% ABV stout, basically.
Definitely worth drinking. They really went the mile to make a superb beer in celebration of 10 years. Also, this is one of the coolest bottles i've seen. Dark green glass, but no skunk whatsoever. I may be picking up another for some aging in a cool dark place.

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Photo of silenius
3.68/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Yes, it took a pair of pliers to get the cork out of this one. I consider myself a pro at getting corks out of bottles, and this one is the hardest champagne style cork ever. I used a wrench to hold the cork still while twisting the bottle. The bottle is pretty cool BTW.

The beer poured a much lighter color than I would have expected from an Imperial Stout. More of a dark brown that I could see through as it was poured. The head is thick, milkshake like, and long lived.

The beer has a lighter smell than most Imperials I've tasted. Yes, it does have some chocolate and raisins in it, but I don't get a big whiff of anything big.

Hold on now. The taste is much bigger than the smell! First it is rum soaked raisins and spiced rum cake which quickly segues into a dark coffee chocolate shake with considerable sweetness (maybe a little cloying after a while). The raisin taste comes back on the end and lingers lightly. Much deeper in taste than appearance and smell. A big beer for sure! The taste lasts a long time. This is a beer that must be drunk over time or it gets too cloying to me.

Mouthfeel is damn near perfect except for a slight carbonation tingle that is out of place with the smooth chocolate and rum character of this beer.

Due to its cloying nature, I had to dock points from the drinkability rating. Nice beer to share with friends after dinner.

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Photo of daledeee
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Recommended by the staff at one of my favorites stores. I was apprehensive because of the price and I have not been a fan of Left Hand.

This beer pours black with a tan out of control head. Stays around quite a while. Aroma is mostly chocolate and a little smoke. You would never know this beer is so strong. There is no evidence of alcohol in the nose, warming with the drink, or taste. I notice mostly chocolate in the taste and quite a bit of hops in the finish. The only drawback might be that it is not very heavy bodied and thick tasting for an imperial.

I like the taste. Very enjoyable beer. Very unique tasting and special. This beer tasted like no other I have had to date

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Photo of comat0se
4.32/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had no trouble with the cork and cage on this beer, unlike other reviewers. I simply glanced at the bottle and the cork magically flew out and landed gracefully in my palm. Seriously though, I guess having an opposible thumb really does help sometimes.

Smells like someone is barbecuing a hog... Thick, greasy, sweet smoke. First few sips taste of smoke and roasty notes with some restrained alcohol popping its head up. Dark sugar sweetness, saltiness/oily, roasty, milk chocolate/cocoa, coffee, with notes of wood intermingled, dominating winyness dancing in harmony with the roast flavors, with a slight astringent, smoke/wood finish. The alcohol in here is sometimes noticable, but tends to blend in well with the flavors in the mix and is not overbearing. Could age a little bit to mellow this down, but still quite good now. Great beer and I hope to see more endeavours like this from Left Hand.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.42/5  rDev +9.7%
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 Gusler
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

“Geez and Holy Cow Batman” what’s with the cork in these beers, took two boys and a small monkey to get that damn thing out of there? As the beer decamps the 750ml tightly corked green bottle it fills the chalice with a very deep brown to almost black color also noticed some ruby high lights around the edge and under the creamy tan head that is portly in size with the resultant lace forming a thick and sticky sheet to obscure the glass. Nose is roasted grain, hints of coffee and chocolate, somewhat sweet, crisp and fresh to the senses, also a definite oak tone noticed, start is sweet, thick with malt, the top middling in its feel to the palate. Finish is powerfully hopped, the acidity moderate, also a hint of alcohol bitterness, the aftertaste is quite dry, a fine Imperial, and a brewer that has risen in stature in my eyes with their excellent brews as of late.

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Photo of Dogbrick
4.53/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I always have trouble getting the corks out of these bottles. What I usually do is break the top part off trying to take it out, then use a corkscrew. This beer is definitely worth buying a corkscrew if you don't have one. I am going to start oak aging everything I eat and drink if it turns out this well. The beer is a dark black color with a massively thick dark beige head. The aroma is roased malt, toffee and chocolate. Big rich and sweet body just how I like them. Abundant malt flavor, along with chocolate, coffee and vanilla. The finish has the perfect amount of hops and dark chocolate to balance it out. This is a truly great Imperial Stout.

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Photo of Wildman
3.73/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

After fighting with this so called champagne style cork, I finally poured this into my Expedition glass for closer examination. It poured almost a pitch black, extremely dark ruby red color and forme a huge medium tan foamy head that left laticed lace as it subsided. A medium amount of carbonation is present. An aroma of malt, chocolate and a heavy aroma of coffee. A flavor of malt, coffee, chocolate is present. Fairly light in body for this style and a bit of bitterness in the finish.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.36/5  rDev +8.2%
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 Crosling
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Corked and Caged Left Hand 10th Anniversary Oak Aged Imperial Stout. Very expensive at $ 12.49 a bottle. Apparently this ale has been oak aging since the winter of 2002-2003.

Lets go....

Unbelieveably difficult to open. Caged was sharp and mishapen and took way to long to open. The cork was a bitch. It took almost 10 minutes just to open this bastard.

Pours unusually light for the style. A dark brown with purple highlights and a light tan dense and creamy head that laces very well.

Some citrus notes in the aroma (quite odd), bittersweet chocolate, molasses, dry chocolate and vanilla.

Very solid flavor. Flavor is quite sweet with dry chocolate, dark fruits and black licorice. This is pretty poorly hopped for the style and it also seems to be quite "light" for the style. 10% but you can't tell at all. The oak did not contribute any flavor that I noticed but did serve to mellow this out quite a bit.

This was pretty tasty.

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Oak-Aged Imperial Stout from Left Hand Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.03 out of 5 with 225 ratings