Bittersweet Nitro
Left Hand Brewing Company

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Style:
Stout - Sweet / Milk
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
Reviews by spoony:
Photo of spoony
spoony from Colorado

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.

Jan 07, 2017
More User Reviews:
Photo of SawDog505
SawDog505 from New Hampshire

4.56/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a 16 oz Troegs tulip snifter best before 4/19/17. Pours a very attractive almost completely black, with a solid 2 inch light tan head that coats the glass with lace and takes for ever to settle into a thick layer of foam.

Smell is roasty coffee beans, vanilla, dark chocolate, and toffee.

Taste follows roastyness from start to finish, vanilla beans, dark chocolate, and heath bar.

Mouthfeel is above medium, creamy as hell with little carbonation, pretty dry from the roastyness, and drinks like a coffee drink with alcohol and you don't taste it at all.

Overall Holy coffee beer, this thing stands out as the most potent coffee beer I have had. Coffee front to back and creamy ass hell. Well done!

Nov 08, 2016
Photo of Dewsby
Dewsby from Kentucky

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.

Dec 24, 2017
Photo of jdhilt
jdhilt from New Hampshire

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.

Jun 15, 2018
Photo of Bitterbill
Bitterbill from Wyoming

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.

Feb 06, 2018
Photo of woodychandler
woodychandler from Pennsylvania

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.

Nov 09, 2017
Photo of Hellpop65
Hellpop65 from Kansas

3.5/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Feb 24, 2018
Photo of wafers
wafers from New York

3.71/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Feb 25, 2018
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BeerForMuscle from New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Jan 06, 2017
Photo of biboergosum
biboergosum from Canada

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.

Mar 05, 2017
Photo of trevorpost
trevorpost from Massachusetts

4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Feb 04, 2017
Photo of liquorpig
liquorpig from Massachusetts

3.65/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Mar 17, 2017
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swierczt from Connecticut

4.02/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dec 30, 2016
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atlbravsrno1 from Tennessee

3.75/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dec 27, 2017
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AGoodStout from Kansas

3.84/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dec 03, 2017
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bylerteck from Canada

3.65/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Jan 22, 2018
Photo of justintcoons
justintcoons from Pennsylvania

3.96/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz nitro-bottle poured into a pub-style pint glass.

Appearance
Near black with garnet highlights. Light penetration can be seen. Only a short nitro head forms.

Nose
Dark roast coffee, espresso, fudge, caramel, and raisin.

Taste
Dark roast coffee with cream and espresso. Dark chocolate covered raisins and chocolate fudge. Caramel with touches of toffee and a hints of vanilla.

Mouthfeel
Full bodied, smooth, silky, and lightly sweet.

Overall
The nitro kind of failed on this bottle...or maybe I didn't pour it hard enough. The resulting beer was still fantastic. A very well balanced Coffee Milk Stout.

Dec 21, 2016
Photo of BB1313
BB1313 from Ohio

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.

Jan 01, 2017
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krome from Illinois

4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nov 22, 2017
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djrn2 from New Jersey

3.75/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dec 14, 2016
Photo of Krajnyak
Krajnyak from Pennsylvania

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.

Oct 28, 2017
Photo of ryan1788a5
ryan1788a5 from Massachusetts

4.06/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz nitro bottle aggressively poured into a pint glass.

Aptly named. Very sweet, candy-like base of caramel, milk chocolate, confectioners sugar, lactose, and treacle. balanced with a fresh and deep coffee ground flavor and bitterness. milk chocolate dipped espresso beans is the overall impression. Sugary lactose is strong into the finish. Token velvety smooth nitro body. Dangerously drinkable for a 9% beer.

Dec 07, 2016
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Knapp85 from Pennsylvania

3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Nov 24, 2017
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Duff27 from Illinois

3.88/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Mar 19, 2017
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ItsBeer4Me from Pennsylvania

4.04/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mar 20, 2018
Bittersweet Nitro from Left Hand Brewing Company
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 118 ratings