Bittersweet Nitro
Left Hand Brewing Company

Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
English Sweet / Milk Stout
ABV:
8.9%
Score:
90
Avg:
4.07 | pDev: 7.86%
Reviews:
33
Ratings:
118
From:
Left Hand Brewing Company
 
Colorado, United States
Avail:
Retired (no longer brewed)
Wants
  5
Gots
  32
SCORE
90
Outstanding
Notes:
Reviews: 33 | Ratings: 118 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of GuyFawkes
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"Best by 4/19/17"; drank 12/22/16 @ the Yarchives.

Black/brown appearance.

A violent pour yielded a nice khaki nitro head; minimal lace.

Light roast coffee bean, cream, mild raspberry & faint smoke notes in the nose.

Creamy medium mouthfeel.

Sweet cream & light roast coffee bean flavors up front; mildly bitter dark chocolate notes on the finish. No booze heat.

A big nose led to a mild, enjoyable flavor. Above average but not revelatory; perhaps the nitro effect dulled the flavor?

 496 characters

GuyFawkes from Illinois, Feb 19, 2019
Photo of jdhilt
4.09/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a one finger light tan head that fades slowly to a ring leaving no lace. Black color, no highlights. Medium carbonation and medium bodied. Coffee nose and flavor is baked chocolate and coffee. Higher ABV (8.9%) is hidden. $10.99 for a 4-pak 12oz bottles from Beverage Warehouse Winooski, VT.

 297 characters

jdhilt from New Hampshire, Jun 15, 2018
Photo of BeerAndGasMasks
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From the bottle, it pours a deep dark brown with a modest light brown head. Burnt malt and coffee in the nose. The mouth gets the burnt malt and coffee with a touch of bitterness.

 181 characters

Photo of Bitterbill
3.56/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a typical nitro serving pour. Black with 2 fingers of tannish foam.

Smells of dark chocolate, coffee, roasted/burnt malt. Lactose.

Coffee, semi sweet chocolate, burnt malt, lactose. Yeah, bittersweet.

Creamy mouthfeel, decent enough but when I finish the 4-pack, I'm done.

 284 characters

Bitterbill from Wyoming, Feb 06, 2018
Photo of Roguer
3.94/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Solid light tan nitro head. Clear dark body with garnet highlights.

Muted coffee, roast, and dark fruits on the nose. Toffee and brown sugar.

Chocolate, coffee, cream, pecans, grapes, prunes, plums. Wonderfully smooth profile. Very bitter rind finish.

 253 characters

Roguer from Georgia, Jan 27, 2018
Photo of craftbeersweden
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Dark brown, clear beer with beautiful, beige, creamy nitro-head.

Nose: Cold brew coffee, dark chocolate, brown sugar, dark bread, roasted malt and milk.
Taste: Sweet coffee, caramel malt, brown sugar, honey and lactose.
Mouth: Medium body. Smooth with almost no carbonation. Bitter ending an high sweetness. Sweet and bitter - bittersweet!
Pretty light for an almost 9% ABV stout.

This nitro version adds even more creamy feeling than the original stout.

I really like this stout! It's very easy drinking and light, still with many great coffee flavors (and I love that).

 580 characters

Photo of MikeWard
4.11/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle into glass. best by 4/9/18, so well within time here.

jet black body, medium creamy tan head leaving good lacing. looks like a guinness with a darker head.

faintly roasted malt on the nose.

On taste, hello, there's the coffee. a creamy smooth stout with very good coffee flavor and faint chocolate notes. the roasted malt is well in the background.

above medium mouth with a coffee finish.

overall, a really enjoyable coffee stout. nicely balanced. the 8.9abv is well nigh invisible.

 503 characters

MikeWard from Pennsylvania, Dec 30, 2017
Photo of DrummerJake57
4.77/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

It doesn't have quite the same creamy mouth feel as the other nitro milk stout of theirs...but it is phenomenal. So smooth like a coffee milk shake. The alcohol is pretty well hidden.

 183 characters

DrummerJake57 from Wisconsin, Dec 26, 2017
Photo of Dewsby
4.46/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L) Pours like a dark espresso with a khaki, pudding-like head.

S) Has an intoxicating, coffee forward aroma that is just a pleasure to sniff. Sweet caramels and toffees can be noted among the intense roastiness.

T) Everything on the nose is on the palate. The coffee dominates the palate, and it comes across as a very dark roast, so be ready for the extremes of bitter roastiness that coffee can offer. It is very well balanced with the lactose and malts in this brew, so nothing comes across as astringent.

F) The beer has a very smooth and refreshing feel, but I do wish it had just a bit more silkiness for being a nitro imperial stout.

O) This is a must try for anyone who likes coffee stouts, anyone who likes milk stouts, and anyone who likes nitro stouts. Absolutely lovely.

 786 characters

Dewsby from Kentucky, Dec 24, 2017
Photo of Act25
4.06/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

You'll reach for chocolate chip cookies with this one.
a) Brown black with ruby highlights. the short nitro head lasts and remains a lunar film
s) Dark roast coffee, coffee milk, espresso, caramel, raisin, plum. Complex - a meditation beer.
t) Follows the smell, remains complex but smooth.
f) Full to mid-bodied, smooth, silky, easy, abv hidden.
o) nice last beer of the evening.

 382 characters

Act25 from New Jersey, Dec 23, 2017
Photo of andrewh995
3.78/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark brown with a creamy off white head. Smells of coffee, dark fruit, and roasted malts. Tastes of lactose, bittersweet chocolate, medium roast coffee, and semi-sweet dark fruits. Medium creamy nitro body. Overall a pretty good milk stout.

 248 characters

andrewh995 from Arizona, Dec 15, 2017
Photo of MinerBob
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Beer isn't as dark as most stouts pours a weak coffee color with a white head with a ton of lacing. The smell is coffee and roasted malts. The flavor is a perfect balance of bitter and sweet so good name. The feel is what really stands out the nitrogen makes it super creamy. Overall GREAT!

 290 characters

MinerBob from Oklahoma, Dec 10, 2017
Photo of Czequershuus
4.26/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This beer pours dark brown with a nice cascading nitro head. The aroma features layers of chocolate, with fudge, bittersweet and dark chocolate notes, as well as minor smoke, with dark fruit notes of fig, black cherry, and dried blueberry. The flavor starts sweet, with notes of prune, dried blueberry and milk chocolate, tobacco, dark chocolate, coffee grounds and fudge. The mouthfeel is classic smooth nitro brilliance. Overall this is an excellent stout - rich, sweet, with solid bitter tones and a strong fruit quality. It definitely melds well with the nitro aspect as well.

 580 characters

Czequershuus from Minnesota, Nov 22, 2017
Photo of OhioLimoncello
4.28/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a nitro tap into a 12oz snifter. Cascaded beautifully, and laced like a coffee milkshake.
Taste was satisfying, but the velvet feel took the prize.
Didnt even notice the 8.9% ABV effect: must have been the nitro that masked it. Could drink this all night long.

 276 characters

Photo of Hiram_McDaniels
4.87/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured hard from a 12 oz bottle in to a stout glass.

L - Didn't cascade quite as nicely as Milk Stout Nitro, but it was still a treat to watch the bubbles condense in to a beautiful, thick, even head of about four fingers thick. Below the head is a dark brown, almost black, beer that is nearly completely opaque.

S - Smells like straight Starbucks Frapuccino. Sugar, milk, and fresh brewed coffee. There's a bit of yeast and malt coming through, as well, to make it clearly beer and not coffee drink, but barely.

T - Taste follows the smell. I wish I was better at describing the sweetness here, because it's not usually something I like in beer too much, but it works perfectly in this. It reminds me of sweet cream, or high-quality milk chocolate. The coffee is less apparent than in Left Hand's most similar offering, Hard Wired, but it's still there. Feels like a bit lighter roast. The lactose make for a very creamy, rich, and milky flavor. Through all of that, however, there is still intense bitter flavor of roasted barley on the back end, keeping this just bitter and strong enough to still scratch the itch a stout should. The grains also impart some dark chocolate flavor, that obviously fits very well in this profile.

F - Indescribably creamy. Quite possibly the most velvety-smooth beer I've ever had from a bottle. The ABV is well hidden, but shows up as you get through. Despite being one of the most delicious things I've ever tasted, it became a little difficult to finish by the end due to the richness, sweetness, and alcohol coming together for some intensity.

Overall, this is clearly right in the Left Hand wheelhouse, and seems like a culmination in all the things they've previously proven to be good at; a logical step forward of things like Wake Up Dead, Milk Stout, and Hard Wired in to a new level of greatness from a brewery that I assumed had already thrown the best it had out there. Stunningly good, and rivaled by almost nothing else you can easily find on a Total Wine or ABC shelf.

 2,024 characters

Photo of jkblr
3.99/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz nitro bottle bb 4/10/18 poured into a tulip pint glass at fridge temp 8.9% ABV. The beer pours with a nitro cascade and settles into dark brown with tight mocha colored head. The aroma is sweetened coffee. The taste is smooth dark chocolate and coffee giving way to a mildly boozy slick sweet finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, creamy from the nitrogen, and undry in the finish with unexpected alcohol heat. No apparent bitterness, just enough to keep this from drifting into cloying territory. Overall, very good in a unique way. I'm not sorry I tried it but believe there are better coffee stout options for the price.

 633 characters

jkblr from Indiana, Nov 18, 2017
Photo of woodychandler
4.01/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I must have missed this on its release last year, but when a bottle recently appeared at the FGBS, I was quick to scoop one up for drinking & review.

From the bottle: "Brewed on the banks of the mighty St. Vrain"; "Super smooth combo of coffee and our creamy Imperial Sweet Stout."; "Pour at: 40-45 F Drink at: 50-55 F in a Stout glass"; "1. Pour Hard 2. Admire & Enjoy"; "Ingredients: Rocky Mountain Water, Malted Barley, Lactose, Rolled Oats, Hops, Coffee and Yeast.".

I rarely invert a bottle of beer, but that is what I was directed to do. Thankfully, all of the inverted Glugs as a part of The CANQuest (tm) left me well-versed in how to pull this off. First, the cascade, as the N2 was driven off, led to the creation of a finger of dense, deep-tan head with good retention. Color was Black/Opaque (SRM = 44) with cola highlights visible only at the edges. Nose was very chocolaty with notes of black coffee and a touch of underlying smoke. Mouthfeel was big, full and creamy. The taste was really chocolaty, but cut with a bitterness from the coffee, making it very drinkable for this hophead. Milk/Sweet Stouts usually are not my bag, but as a retired navy sailor, I thrive on coffee in the morning. Finish was likewise bittersweet with a chocolatey-coffee taste. I would definitely have this as a dessert beer, if I was ever asked about a dessert beer.

 1,365 characters

woodychandler from Pennsylvania, Nov 09, 2017
Photo of Krajnyak
4.46/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Really like the balance of this one. The coffee is pronounced, but not overpowering. Smooth thanks to the nitro. Almost no head or retention. I’d recommend this one to any stout lover.

 192 characters

Krajnyak from Pennsylvania, Oct 28, 2017
Photo of Delmarvabeer
2.66/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a pint glass.

L: Dark black that will turn to an amber or brown color when exposed to light, Very little head that dissipates not much longer after poured.

S: Malty, brewed coffee, soy sauce, sweetness.

T: coffee notes, but it tastes a bit watered down. Like somebody put milk and sugar in the coffee and then melted some ice cubes in it. Very bitter on the backend with some licorice and maybe some evaporated milk flavors.

F: watery initially but then becomes thicker after the sip.

O: Well, it's bittersweet. I just didn't care for it. I don't think the Nitro element helped.

 596 characters

Delmarvabeer from Maryland, Apr 01, 2017
Photo of biboergosum
4.04/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

8oz glass at Beer Revolution YEGDT - glad to see this Colorado brewery's offerings available up here in Alberta, and at not overly insane US import prices.

This beer appears a clear, dark orange-brick brown colour, with some beautiful cascading effects, which eventually result in one thick finger of puffy, and essentially just creamy ecru head, which leaves a solid wall of London Fog lace around the glass as it very slowly abates.

It smells of bready and doughy caramel malt, sharp artisanal coffee, warm milk, bittersweet cocoa powder, some muddled black orchard fruitiness, a hint of anise spice, and some weak leafy, weedy, and somewhat perfumed floral green hop bitters. The taste is well-creamed coffee, grainy and bready caramel malt, a touch of free-range wet char, chocolate wafers, some bruised plum and cherry black fruit, vanilla extract, and more understated earthy, leafy, and floral verdant hoppiness.

The carbonation is quite low-key in its very cozy frothiness, the body a solid medium-heavy weight, and dead smooth, baby, with an obvious creaminess in there from the get-go. It finishes well off-dry, the coffee contending with a strongly lingering caramel malt and robust vanilla sweetness.

Overall, this is one heck of an enjoyable and slick Nitro Imperial Coffee Milk Stout - everything in near-perfect balance. And those near 9 points of booze? Damned near invisible. Good, good stuff.

 1,414 characters

biboergosum from Alberta (Canada), Mar 05, 2017
Photo of delta490
3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A hard pour gets just less than a finger of creamy light tan head. It has great retention and leaves sheets of lacing. The aroma is quite good, with earthy hops in the background of coffee, cocoa, and dark roasted malts. The taste is good but doesn't quite have the same oomph as the aroma until it warms and even then it's a little washed out. The body has a nice silky feel and is very smooth.

 396 characters

delta490 from Virginia, Feb 26, 2017
Photo of craigbelly
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Silky smooth. Left Hand is killing it with their nitro stouts. Each one is on point. Coffee and sweetness is suttle not over powering. Almost tastes like a candy bar.

 166 characters

Photo of BIGPOPPAS
4.34/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Absolutely delicious nitro poured from 12 oz bottle into a tulip glass .
Surprisingly not a huge head, but it slowly builds and leaves a nice foamy coating on the sides of the glass .
Held up to the light it is totally opaque.
It smells of coffee, chocolate , milky bittersweet goodness ;)
The taste is exactly like the smell and I'm sipping it too make it last as long as possible. Leaves a nice creamy coating on your tongue. I drink mostly high abv brews, so I don't feel this one at all, but it does feel. Ice and warming in the belly .

Overall it is fabulous in most every way and I must have forgot to rate it last time as I was surprised that I hadn't reviewed it last time .
Highly recommended !!

 706 characters

BIGPOPPAS from New Jersey, Jan 27, 2017
Photo of spoony
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

From a 355 ml bottle (best by May 21, 2017) into a snifter.

A-The hard pour suggested by the bottle produces a nice, cascading mocha head that starts at about two fingers tall. The foam is dense and creamy as you would expect from a "nitro" beer. The liquid below is nearly black and opaque. Head retention is pretty good, but I don't get much lacing.

S-The aroma is milky sweet suggesting a Milky Way candy bar at times. Layered into the sweet chocolate and caramel notes is a healthy dose of coffee and a mild bitterness. Very smooth.

T-This is one of those rare (for me, anyway) beers that tastes better than it smells. The chocolate is smooth and creamy, the roasted coffee suggests good drip coffee instead of espresso bitterness, and the sweetness from the lactose notes integrates nicely. As the beer warms, I pick up some dried fruit like raisins or prunes, and just a light hit of fusel alcohol notes.

M-The body is medium to heavy on the palate with smooth fine, nitro carbonation. It doesn't quite match a true keg-poured nitro beer, but this is a pretty good approximation.

O-Not every beer needs to be jacked up to 9% or 10% ABV and I wouldn't think a milk stout would respond well to the "Imperial" treatment, but this beer proves me wrong. It is tasty and the added flavors from the coffee and extra ABV make it quite enjoyable. I can take or leave the nitro, but otherwise, nice stuff.

 1,408 characters

spoony from Colorado, Jan 07, 2017
Photo of BB1313
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz nitro-bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours a dark brown with some brown hues; creamy nitro head. The aromas are full of roasted black coffee. Hints of vanilla and caramel. Some chocolate in the mix. Malts do their thing. The flavors are very nice. Lots of rich coffee and milk chocolate notes. Hints of dark chocolate. Roasted and cocoa malts are there. More subtle hints of vanilla and caramel along with some toffee. It's on the sweeter side with a very mild touch of bitterness. Mild warmth in the finish, but it's not hot or boozy at all. Alcohol basically goes unnoticed. Mouthfeel is exactly what you would expect from a nitro brew. It's very smooth and easy to drink. Dangerously drinkable.

This is a great nitro stout. The coffee flavors really shine. Nice depth and richness while remaining balanced. Well crafted and recommended.

 847 characters

BB1313 from Ohio, Jan 01, 2017
Bittersweet Nitro from Left Hand Brewing Company
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 118 ratings