Imperial Stout | Left Hand Brewing Company

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Imperial StoutImperial Stout
Very Good
525 Ratings
Imperial StoutImperial Stout

Brewed by:
Left Hand Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.40%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 525 |  Reviews: 434
Reviews by SleepyMonk:
Photo of SleepyMonk
4.02/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Chilled 12oz bottle poured into a sniffer (on recommendation).

This pours dark and when I say dark I mean pitch black dead of the night black. Even when held to the light I couldn't get any sort of translucency. Only when a naked flame was held to behind the glass could I finally see a very deep stained oak hue.

Whilst pouring there is very little head, but when left to stand a rich dark creamy head begins to slowly develop to a two finger bulge that sits tight for until a few sips unsettle it to a thin layer.

The aroma is deep but simple, in a good way. The odors are deep and well clarified. Roasted coffee stands out with sweet sticky malt, dark fruit and crushed plums are a real treat.

Taste is the chewiest of chewing sweet and sticky malt. The roasted elements so evident in the aroma blaze through in the taste spectrum, it almost feel like there is actual smoke in your mouth.

Talk about contrast, this is a heavy and bold beast in the mouth but it also has the creamiest velvet smooth mouthfeel. Carbonation is low but the body is huge and the taste spectrum is dominating. This is a great Stout with many unique characteristics.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of stakem
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottled 9/19/07 poured into a tulip. The brew appears black in color with a khaki head that fades leaving patchy lace.

Smells delicious like decadent milk chocolate, coffee and slight rootbeer/anise spiciness.

Tastes sweet and boozy with licorice, chocolate, roast, leather, earth. Like the nose, there is a bit of a cola/root beer/birch beer spiciness to the finish that is peculiar but interesting and enjoyable.

Medium to full bodied, modestly carbonated and quite enjoyable.Talk about a sleeper of a beer. This was not tasting its age and I feel like it aged quite gracefully with some unique nuance.

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Photo of sponberg
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle, poured into my nonic. Dark brown but not opaque, rather light colored head for an Impy. Aroma of brown bread, roastiness, and a smooth malt-alcohol mixture.

This is an Impy? So freaking smooth - yeah, there's alcohol subdued in the finish, but on the way there it's a milk chocolate and espresso kind of sweetness alongside dark sugared figs with a faint roastiness in the background. Ever have a Murphy's? Crank up that amp to about 9.5. Exceedingly drinkable and impeccably smooth - the 10+% ABV remains well hidden throughout. Nothing really grabs you with this beer - yet I wonder if that's by design? Hops? What are hops? The beer equivalent of a bigass chocolate malted.

I could have three of these. But then I'd fall down and have to be escorted from the premises. Don't do that.

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Photo of Jason
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber with no freshness date.

A- Dense foam yields a very sticky tan head with web-like lace all the way down the glass. The brown color is very dark, two shades away from complete black.

S- Big roasted coffee aroma, faint smokiness with a soft malt sweetness and leafy hop in the back.

T&M- Very creamy with a light and smooth carbonation ... heavy body. Layers of roasted grain unfold showing suggestions of French Roasted coffee, dark bakers chocolate and black strap molasses. Nice chewy thickness of malt in the middle with ample sweetness that mixes well with the estery dark berry fruitiness. Sufficient handful of hops helps to balance, finishes a little sweet with a long lingering roasted character and a warming alcohol.

D- Easy to sip on a miserable sleet riddled Boston night. A good pairing with some candied pecans.

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Photo of oberon
3.54/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep brown with some reddish hue when held up to the light with very fizzy non existent head wich was very unexpected in a bad way,the aromas were quite nice though rummy and buttery with an underlying milk chocolate note as well.Really a pretty thin mouthfeel for an Impy stout but a nice melding of flavors rum and bitter chocolate dominate upfront with a earthy,dry finish.This beer has some highs and lows a nice aroma and some flavor qualities but the thin mouthfeel and appearance left some to be desired.

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Photo of brownbeer
3.87/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 vintage. I've had this in my fridge for almost two years and now I shall open it.

Pours almost black but has some reddish hues in the light. Not much for head either.

The nose is pretty complex, filled with licorice, dark chocolate nibs, smoke, and some dark fruit character.

Very dark and rich flavors of black licorice, fig, ash, black currant, and a little heat in the long, dry, chocolaty finish. Definately has a presence.

The body and carbonation have held up well. I would like to revist this in a couple more years.

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Photo of hopsleeroy
3.3/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured very black with a touch of ruby on the edges of the glass. Poured a decent creamy tan head but dissipated quickly and some lacing. Smelled fairly nice-roasted barley and chocolate up front. The taste was fairly disappointing though. I expected to be blasted with chocolate but it tasted like unsweetened bakers chocolatem unpleasant bitterness and had an unexpected sourness on it. There was also a little hint of plastic flavor that was unexpected. The finish sweetened with pleasant caramel notes, and there was a fairly creamy mouthfeel. The alcohol crept up on you but was not a dominant flavor. Overallm I did not enjoy this beer. It had some decent characteristics, but I wouldn'y buy again. I prefered the left hand milk stout much more than the imperial.

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Photo of blitz134
3.39/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A fairly dark brew, but not opaque by anymeans. Somewhat of a dark plum color. Head is just off-white. Never really formed though and only left a few pockets of bubbles on top.

Aroma isn't overly strong. Alcohol is prominant. Toasted malts and dark fruits work well together with the alcohol. Possibly some floral type hops as well. kidding with this one, haha. Lots of sweetness. Again dark fruits, some plums and raisins. The toastedness comes up towards the end. Not much to it really. A good bit of alcohol and a lot of sweetness sums it up. The more I drink the less I like. I dunno...its just okay. It has RIS characteristics but just weak overall and too much alcohol that isn't backed up with anything overly tasty.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin, even for the style which I generally find thinner than most other stouts. Drinkability is okay really. Nothing offensive about this one, but nothing overly special either. Overall it goes down smooth and sits light, even with the alcohol.

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Photo of freshflesh
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of Todd
3.78/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 1pint, 6oz brown bomber bottle. No freshness date. This is an unfiltered offering.

Appearance: Pours a black beer with ruby red edges. Head is a pillowy, creamy, tan head with excellent head retention.

Smell: Sherri, wet paper (oxidation), esters, rich malts in the nose and soft floral hop aromas.

Taste: Massive full-bodied brew with a smooth and ultra-creamy mouthfeel. Malt is the dominant character of this beer with a robust combination of chocolate, syrupy sweetness, burnt/roasted flavours, touch of caramel, juicy fruit / grape, raisin and more sherri and wet paper (oxidation). Hop bitterness is not really perceived, however their are tea-like hop flavours present. Actually as the beer warms a leafy hop character also pulls thru, maybe a touch of citrus too. Alcohol is very warming and imparts a spicy, near peppery, character. Finish is surprisingly clean, with just a touch of grain dryness.

Notes: Even though my sample appears to be a bit oxidized, this is still a superb example of the style and an excellent brew.

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Photo of Beaver13
2.8/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle. Pours a dark brown with ruby highlights. You can barely see some yeast floaties in there. It has a small fizzy brown head that quickly dissipates to a collar then completely diminishes.

The aroma is chocolate, figs, cherries, and wood with a slight hint of alcohol.

The flavor is bitter anise and some chalky chocolate and a touch of sweet dark fruit. There is a strong smokey alcohol flavor that is a little overbearing. The nouthfeel is thin to medium-bodied and not very carbonated with a sticky, bitter,chalky finish.

Overall, I did not like this nearly as well as the Oak Aged version. This was too sharp and biting in comparison to the mellowed out oak-aged version. I couldn't get past the chalky bitterness and the strong alcohol.

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Photo of cschepers
3.58/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Left Hand Imperial Stout --> big stein.

A - Pours black. Aggressive pour leaves a bit of creamy tan head, that settles into a tiny cap on the beer.

S - Dark chocolate, some smoky roasted malts.

T - Alcoholic chocolate milkshake! Lots and lots of chocolate in this one. A good bit of bourbon or maybe vodka booziness, which increases as the beer warms. Some vanilla, coffee, more smoky roasted malts. Just the tiniest bit of hops here and there. This is really sweet for an IS. Tastes a lot like their milk stout, just stronger and heavier on the booze.

M - Pleasantly creamy and thick. Carbonation is just right for the sweetness, it really fills out the palate.

D - Pretty high, but this is definitely on the sweet side. If you're not into sweet stouts, than this will probably be a bit much.

Pretty decent IS. Not the greatest or most complex out there, but nice. Very accessible for a big beer.

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Photo of bellce0
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

Photo of Doomcifer
2.5/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a very dark brown with a nice 1/2 inch, light brown head that retains very well. Some lacing is left behind with each sip. Aroma is very nutty. Some hints of cocoa, lactose, and a slight roastiness. Taste is is ripe with dark fruits, much alcohol is evident, very sweet, and not much roastiness at all on the palate. This isn't my type of stout at all. Mouthfeel is sort of thin for the style and a little too much carbonation. Not very drinkable in my opinion.

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Photo of merlin48
4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber pours an opaque, black body. Two finger, beige head of tightly knit foam hangs around for awhile. Patch and sheet lace clings all over the imperial pint glass.

Aroma is unique for style, with a load of dark, rum soaked fruits in the initial whiff. Expected notes of coffee and chocolate follow up. Very enticing aromas.

Mouthfeel is coating, but seems thin for an Imperial Stout.

Very tasty! Chocolate and roasted coffee, with an alcohol kick. Some Kahlua notes here. Dark fruits, again enter the picture, with some rum soaked raisin. Hazelnut emerges midway, and adds some nuttiness. This stout is smooth and creamy, all the way down. Alcohol is well disguised, to be 10%. Black licorice comes into the profile toward the finish, and adds some excitement to the final couple of sips.

Very nice, very smooth, and deceptively strong. An excellent imperial stout here.

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Photo of Billolick
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ouncer, pours jet black, low carbonation and limited tiny bubble head. Wispy lacing. Burnt malt nose. Tasty, strong, vinous Imperial. Notes of expresso beans, chocolate. Not quite as full bodied as some imperials, but this one is tasty and satisfying. Finishes minty clean with some drying hops to scrub the palate and keep the tongue wanting another jolt. Quality sipper.

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Photo of tigg924
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: dark caramel brown, 1/4 inch head

Smell: malt, sugar, sweet cream, and chocolate

Taste: sugar, sweet cream, burnt malt, caramel, alcohol, and milk chocolate

Mouthfeel: heavy body, sweet all the way through, chewy, sticky, next to no feel of carbonation

Drinkability: This one almost feels like the beer equivalent of a boston cream donut. It is stronger sweet RIS. The alcohol is not as pronounced as it it could be. I could have one more..max

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Photo of olradetbalder
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of Byeast
3.82/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This impy poured a deep deep brown / almost black , with a tan head of an inch or so. Aroma is deep and roasty , esspresso , dark chocolate , sweet maltyness , and a tinge of alcohol. The taste is very rich and roasty , with a sweet edge to the finish. Flavors include : semi-sweet chocolate , roasty maltiness , sweet malt , bit of hop bitterness , and some alcohol. The mouthfeel is chewy and creamy. Overall i think this is a pretty good imperial stout , the 10% ABV is well hidden , and there is plenty of flavor.

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Photo of magictrokini
3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours deep mahogany with almost no head. Heavily alcoholic aroma with roasted malt, currants, and tobacco. Sweet, smooth taste of chocolate malt, licorice, cascade-like hops, and an alcohol burn. The one weakness is the alcohol is not masked very well and comes out strong in the end.

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Photo of MikeDive
4.35/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of pat61
4.07/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours bright dark brown under a very finely bubbled 1” tan cap that hugs the side of the glass. The aroma is very muted and disappointing. Palate a little molassy sweet up front with roast and chocolate and hints of dark fruit that give way to a big bitter finish. It feel soft and luscious in the mouth with a big body and a little above average carbonation. This is a nice big beer but it is not as well balanced as some.

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Photo of bpfrush
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of far333
4.29/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brownish black and opaque, a vigorous pour produces a very small soapy head that disappears quickly.

Inviting aroma of cocoa and cabernet, marshmallow and currants, some vinous port notes.

Rich flavor of dark chocolate, espresso, tangy cherry, charred bark and port. Hints of marshmallow and licorice. Not a lot of hoppy flavor, but some very sharp bitterness offsets the rich flavors. Smokey tannens linger.

Full mouthfeel, moderate carbonation, slight warming from the ABV strength.

Great RIS, very tasty sipper. Many thanks to joerodiii for sending this one my way.

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Photo of jmbraxton
4/5  rDev +4.7%

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Imperial Stout from Left Hand Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.82 out of 5 with 525 ratings