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:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 196 | Ratings: 225
Photo of Lunch
4.02/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served from a 22oz. bottle (2009) purchased at City Beverage in Winston-Salem, North Carolina into my Brooklyn Brewery snifter at the appropriate temperature (02/14/10).

A: Pours an extremely dark shade of brown with some slight ruby hues capped with a slightly off-white head of about a finger. Some faint lacing is left on the inside of the glass.

S: Quite Interesting. Lots of dark fruits, chocolate, coffee, and vanilla surrounded in a robust blanket of oak and brandy.

T: Dark fruits and chocolate are swallowed in a river of vanilla, oak, brandy and booze. Still rather young and a bit hot, but very unique and flavorful.

M: Medium to fuller-bodied with some creaminess, but felt a bit thin at times.

D: I must say that this bottle took a couple hours to consume which is quite rare for me. The 10% is certainly in play.

Overall this quite an interesting take on an Imperial Stout and certainly one that has many features that make it stand out, but is a bit rough around the edges.

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Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.49/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter from a 22oz. bomber. 2009 vintage.

A - Pours a creamy dark brown with a nice tan head that is about 1 inch tall and is very dense. As it recedes it leaves a nice sticky lacing on the sides of the snifter. It recedes pretty slowly down to a thin film.

S - Wow! The smell is great. Mild chocolate and vanilla sweetness in the nose. Some woody spices at the beginning from the oak aging. Nice roasted malt and some mild hop hints at the end.

T - Woody up front followed by a nice smooth vanilla bean flavor. There are some mild roasted characters from the malt with bits of coffee and mocha. Very nice. Smooth. Alcohol sweetness and esters are noticeable but in a very attractive way.

M - Nice full body with some nice creamy carbonation. There is very little after taste compared to other stouts of this kind. but still very good.

D - Nice and drinkable in terms of flavor but higher ABV makes it a sippin' beer.

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Photo of skrib09
3.63/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2009 on the shelf for a year.

rich black with hints of ruby and brown. explosive imperial stout head up top.

sweet and musky aromas off the bat. rich chocolate and burnt flavors amongst coffee and roasted nuts.

sweet notes on the palate with a big follow of chocolate and coffee. plenty of sugar and a bit mellow on the flavor after a year.

rich and thick mouthfeel. oily almost.

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Photo of thryn
3.55/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 bottle. Been sitting on it since July or so, I think.

Super-dark opaque brown with hints of red and minimal tan head. Decent lacing.

Smells oaky! Surprise. Vanilla, coffee. No real booze on the nose.

I'd never be one to call something over-oaked, but this is a little too sweet and vanilla-tasting. It's very smooth and I really don't detect the alcohol at all, but honestly, I like my big beers to at least drop a hint about the amount of alcohol in them. This actually is hitting my palate the same way Avery Kaiser (I *think*) did the first time I had it ... there's a sweetness that tastes like the core of an Everlasting Gobstopper. It's a weird description, but there you have it. Maybe this is one that shouldn't be aged.

Feel is great: Nice slick and thick body, with enough carbonation to keep it from being a dead weight on the tongue.

Drinkability is pretty good; I like this beer, I just want it to kick my ass a little more. I think I ought to have consumed it younger.

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Photo of keifffff
4.85/5  rDev +20%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Frothy, aromatic, and exceptional taste. Left Hand continues to make some of the best brews out there. This one is one of their best. Tastes of cherry, licorice and toffee, it is one exceptional stout. I will most definitly be revisiting this offering.

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Photo of babaracas
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown, one finger offwhite head, spotty lacing. Smell: caramel, raisin, a little burnt sugar and wood smoke. Taste: lots of dark caramel, dark chocolate, dark fruit, wood smoke, earthy hops. Medium bodied, somewhat syrupy but could be a bit more carbonated. 2009 version. Liked it but probably won't look out for it in the future.

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Photo of mwilbur
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bomber into snifter. 2009 vintage.
A: Pours a dark black with hint of brown color on the edges with backlighting. The faintest hint of head quickly dissipates. Good for style.
S: Boozy raisin and yeast. Charred malt, wood, cherry, dry chocolate, and herbal hops. Quite nice!
T: Oak, chocolate, and alcohol soaked raisin bread. Yeasty herbal hops with hint of mineral. Phenolic note too. Good complexity with excellent balance.
M: Surprisingly smooth. Medium body. Lingers and matures nicely on the palate. Gentle warming alcohol feel.
D: Wow! Pleasantly surprised by this one. Will be interesting to see how this ages, but I'm glad I was impatient and popped this one open tonight. The herbal hops notes add a nice dimension and balance to this brew that might diminish with age. Extremely drinkable especially considering the style and ABV. A rewarding brew to take your time with and enjoy. Seek this one out!

Happy New Year's everyone! Cheers!

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Photo of minnunderground
3.76/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 edition, Bomber paid 5-6 bucks

Poured into a snifter, over aggresive pour, didnt expect it to foam up so much

A-Black lots of head dissipates slowly light tan, dare i say oak colored
S- Really right off the bat I get a oak smell, followed with cherry, hint of black licorice. not too impressivve.
T-Stars off with a classic oak bal taste, kindda earthy rooty taste, Then showing through we get some coffee toffee flavors. Really though for a big stout I was hoping for more flavor
D- Very drinkable maybe get sick of wood flavors

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Photo of sprucetip
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From notes. Almost black with ruby highlights when backlit, very attractive. Cream mocha head with good retention and patchy lacing.

SMELL Roasted grains and light malty sweetness. Not strong or complex at first. Boozy esters, licorice, and oak notes emerge later. Gets stronger as it warms, but complexity is buried.

TASTE Roasted grains, oak barrel dark fruit, mild bitterness, licorice, and molasses all contribute complexity to the smooth and balanced flavor profile.

FEEL smooth, rich, viscous sensation with some warming and a clean finish.

OVERALL wicked smooth, reasonably complex, and the booze is fairly well hidden. Pretty easy drinking for the size. Really good, but doesn't distinguish itself from the pack.

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

Had this on tap at the ITap, glad to have the chance to try it out. They noted it on the board as a 10% brew, matches the BA listing.

Came out in a standard Left Hand tulip glass, proper glassware here is a real plus for presentation. The pure black brew with a tan cap looked enticing, and I was not disappointed.

The oaked vanilla bean, coffee and sweet malt dominated both the aroma and the quaff. Even a bit of caramel slid into mix at the finish. Very easy to sip, no alcohol burn at all, but by the end of the glass, my cheeks were turning a rosy red. If not for the high alcohol, I would have had several glasses.

Would luv to find a bottle of this for the cellar and next year.

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Photo of homebrew311
3.77/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: pours black but appears a bit lighter than other imperial stouts, a little bit of lacing

S: woody oak notes on the front followed by oatmeal and molasses

T: rich malts, licorice, molasses, mellow oak, some bitterness on the end

MF: a little thinner than I like for the style, a bit of warmth from the alcohol, not silky

D: this is a great tasting brew, but it's body doesn't hold up the big flavors. In other words, something is slightly off IMO. Overall it is solid, but it lacks something in drinkability due to the incongruity between taste and body

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Photo of donniecuffs
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

At The Blind Tiger, NYC, a few weeks back: poured mahogany into an American pint glass, with a finger of tan head; little visible carbonation and good lacing. Sweet caramel and cocoa smell; even some feint vanilla. The taste was a delicious combination of maple syrup and chocolate syrup, which dissolved to a warm finish and after-feel. Aside from the latter, the alcohol is very well-hidden. Slick and smooth on the palate, but not overbearing. I wish that I had picked up more of the vanilla in the flavor as I had detected in the nose. A little more oak-induced vanilla and/or cherry would make this beer perfect. Nonetheless, a nice sipping beer for the winter.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I drank this on tap into a snifter.

The beer is medium black with lots of brown that has a disappointly light tan head that is gone way to quickly.

The aroma is light oak, bourbon and toffee.

The taste is light bourbon with a slight hint of coffee in the finish. Nice feel.

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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 BarrelO
2.41/5  rDev -40.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

22oz bottle poured into a goblet. 2009 vintage.

A: Dark brown body with reddish tints. No head or lacing.

S: Unpleasantly dominated by oak notes that throw everything out of whack and create an aroma reminiscent of overcooked vegetables.

T: Again, the oak ruins everything. Roasty and chocolatey flavors buried deep underneath make it barely tolerable.

M: Medium-bodied, not too thick.

D: This was a bit of an ordeal to try to get through. The oak is just too overpowering. Drain pour.

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Photo of CRichardsMN
4.55/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2009 22oz Bottle Split 3 Ways with Friends.

Pours a nice dark red brown, bordering on black with a very creamy off-white head that falls fairly quickly but rises if you swirl the glass. Leaves some lacing.

Very full nose of oak, chocolate, roasted malts, caramel with alcohol hints.

Huge and thick flavors of sweet roasted malts, caramel, chocolate and oak. The alcohol is very prominent being the only detractor from a perfect experience.

Big, thick and smooth body with a light carbonation. Fills and coats the mouth. Goes down warm and fills you up.

Great sipping beer but gets a little much with so much alcohol. A single bottle would last all night or make a couple good friends.

I went on a Imperial Stout purchasing spree and knew before I opened it that this would be another great brew from Left Hand.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.11/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had the 2009 edition. Aroma is not strong, but it is a bit smoky and has hints of coffee and molasses. It pours an opaque dark chocolate brown with a fairly thick pale tan head. Rich flavor is a pleasant surprise after the wan aroma - it is chocolaty with tones of molasses and nutty, toffee and coffee hints. There is a whisper of sweetness and a sharp alcohol bite. Texture is silky smooth yet fizzy and edgy. A good one.

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Photo of Rayek
4.17/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 2009 vintage bottle poured into snifter.

A: Deep garnet color borders on black. Small and fizzy tan head has poor retention, but leaves bits of lace.

S: Aromas of chocolate, coffee, oak, pine and black cherry greet the nose. The chocolate aroma is the strongest of the lot, but in general, balance is excellent.

T: Nicely balanced. Burnt oak, espresso and bakers chocolate start things off. Bitterness follows with a pine and lemon bite that's aided by a mild alcohol presence. Finishes warm and dry with a lingering woodsy bitterness.

M: The heavy body feels thick and chewy. Carbonation is just about right.

D: I really enjoyed this. Very well balanced rather than over the top bitter like some takes on this style. A nice sipping beer for a cold and snowy evening.

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Photo of drumrboy22
3.7/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2007 vintage. Poured from 750mL bottle into a Yeti chalice. Beer was a dark brown, nearly black color with a small, light brown head. Moderate lacing and soft carbonation.

Aroma was chocolate, raisins, rum and vanilla.

Taste was chocolate, roasted grains, malt, molasses and oak.

Good beer, but probably aged too long. Slightly tannic finish.

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Photo of mulder1010
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ML 2009 version

A-- poured black, not jet black but a lighter black. Left a 3 finger mocha color head that disappated to a 1/2 finger head. Good sticky lacing on the glass

S-- Coffee, roasted barley, and some chocolate. Swirl the glass a bit and get some of the oak. not a lot though. A little bit of a bitter smell to it also.

T-- Came across big right off the bat. A little bit of Alcohol taste. Oak is evident in the taste, fairly strong as well. Just a hit of coffee and chocolate. Much more of the oak for me.

M-- Get a burn every time I swallow but it mellows out quickly and has a good aftertaste. When the chocolate comes out. Also finishes a bit on the sweet side. Not overpowering but just enough to say hello.

D-- Man this will be good with some aging. Alcohol and wood is a little much but this is a good beer and finishes well. Really will be good once it mellows out. Think the alcohol taste will drop some in aging. It really does grow on me a lot with each sip.

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Photo of muscleonthewolf
4.4/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

First really cold, rainy day of the year, so its a pleasure to try this one out.

Pours pitch black like it should. A small, tan head that thins out after a bit.

Smell is good, chocolate aroma and a tinge of alcohol. Some elements of port or something of the kind. Some fruitiness, but difficult to define it, as my nose is stuffy because of the previously mentioned crappy weather.

The taste is creamy but with that alcohol tinge. Not too much carbonation, which is really nice. It makes the mouthfeel very smooth. One is not assaulted with hops. Really just a kind of smooth, almost dull. This is definitely one of the more drinkable RIS's that I've had. Not too much chocolate to it either. Each sip this beer grows on me. Though it does have that typical RIS aftertaste, a kind of sourness. All in all, the smoothness of this RIS is an achievement in itself. It's got all the elements there, and yet its more drinkable than most RIS's I've had.

This is the second beer I've had from Left Hand (the other being Jackman's APA on cask). The other, as I recall, had a similar kind of creaminess. Both times I've been pleasantly surprised.

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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 sisuspeed
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 Oak Aged RIS (25% aged in oak brandy barrels)

The color of this beer is essentially black. Maybe a slight reddish tinge, but basically black. A decent pour into a wide tulip glass produces a nice off white head that subsides to a large foamy ring around the sides of the glass.

The aroma first catches me with a strong wave of roasted malts and bits of cherry. Upon sniffing more I pull out some licorice and wood notes. The wood is a nice touch.

After taking a couple of sips I'm greeted by a fairly strong and warming alcohol presence. The 10% ABV is noticeable, but I don't mind it. After plowing through the alcohol flavor I taste a strong licorice presence as well as cherries and some vanilla flavoring, which is probably a product of the oak. Speaking of the oak, the wood aging is well done with this beer. There is enough there to notice, but it is not overwhelming. Some chocolate and roasted malt notes follow as well.

The mouthfeel of this RIS is pretty good. Thick, like it should be, but not as thick as some. However, the drinkability is not as good as other RIS's that I've had. Granted, all RIS's have a high ABV, but some hide it very well. Overall, I think Left Hand has done a good job with this beer. It's definitely better than your average beer, but in the field of RIS's it has a lot of competition.

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Photo of abuliarose
3.51/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2009, poured into a snifter to reveal pitch black body with coffee cream head. Smells a little roasty, touch of earthy, and chocolaty with fruity ester undertones. Noticeable alcohol presence here. I'm also getting a little rubber scent. Just washed the glass, so am not sure if that's normal.

Tastes pretty good. Bittersweet and smooth with frothy carbonation. Well-roasted. I'm still getting the rubbery aftertaste, but otherwise no complaints here. Finding this one's mouthfeel on the heavier end of imperial stouts, I might have mistaken it for a RIS. The rubber smell disappears as it warms, though bits of it come through in aftertaste. An astringency emerges over time as well.

Overall, a different sort of imperial stout than I'm used to. Except for the singular off flavor, it's quite enjoyable.

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Photo of gford217
3.6/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into a snifter.

Pours fairly light for an impy stout, a dark mahogany that looks almost black in the glass, but not quite. There is a short-lived off-white head that recedes to a small collar and leaves no lacing.

The aroma is very, very sweet - lots of vanilla, dark chocolate and more fruit than I'm accustomed to in this style. I also think I'm picking up some brandy in the nose, but I'm having to look for it.

The taste doesn't deviate much from the nose with the sweetness dominating from start to finish. There's vanilla, licorice, sweet fruits and chocolate with a modest roasted malt backbone that doesn't get in the way of the sugary sweetness much.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation and fairly slick. The booze starts to catch up with you on the palate and after a few sips, I can definitely taste the alcohol.

This is a decent stout, but not one of my favorites from Left Hand (mmm...SmokeJumper). It's a sweet barrel stout that's fairly drinkable but doesn't offer the depth and complexity I was hoping for.

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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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