Imperial Stout | Left Hand Brewing Company

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Imperial StoutImperial Stout
Very Good
524 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:
No notes at this time.

Added by UncleJimbo on 01-27-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 524 |  Reviews: 434
Photo of lurfMalderFulder
5/5  rDev +30.9%

Photo of Trueant1
4.97/5  rDev +30.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From 02-22-06 bottle date.

Pours a dark brown/black with a think billowing tan head. lacing is nice.

This is the most chocolate dominant stout I have smelled as of yet.
Smells of a chocoalte malt. After that, dark fruits and some moca latte come through. Light alcohol. Maybe even some smoke come through. Exceptional smell.

Taste is chocolate bitterness up front. Holy maltded stout grail! This is great! I am drinking a malted milk with alcohol! A nice oily hop bitterness burns the back of your tounge. I need not say any more...but let you try the taste of this.

Moutfeel is sweet and creamy. Like a whipped malted milk.

This drinks easy for a imperial stout..but then again..most imperial stouts drink easy for me....(i am biased with this style).

This is one of my all time favorite stouts now. I love it. Exceptional...SmMMMoooth!

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Photo of ultralarry2006
4.87/5  rDev +27.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle. Leaves a one finger biege head that fades slowly to long lasting surface skim, and it leaves some spotty lacing. Body is black.

Smell - strong scent of dark chocolate fills the nose, with secondary aromas of toffee, plums, maltbread, and with hints of coffee and hints of spicy and medicinal alcohol. Mouthwatering.

Taste - as promised by the smell. Dark chocolate with toffee, plums, maltbread, and coffee. Warm, slightly medicinal, spicy alcohol on the finish. Very hearty and delicious.

Mouthfeel - full bodied, chewy, quite dry.

Drinkability - this is a very good ale, its sessionability only being hampered by its high abv.

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Photo of Murph
4.77/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours black with a nice big brown head with some ruby hints around the edge. Huge roasted aromas mixed in with some nice chocolate tones. Nice big chocolatey tones start you off on this one Super sweet dark chocolate carries you through until the roasted maltiness takes over towards the end. Big roasted maltiness finishes the brew off with a touch of bitter roastedness and a lot of sweet maltiness. Big chocolate tastes make this brew a chocoholic's dream and defintiely worth me buying again for $3.95 a bomber. Very smooth and a nice heavy body make this extremely enjoyable. Highly recommended to those who can get it.

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Photo of Beer-Zombie
4.75/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Took me long enough to try this one. I used to sell it as a distributor!

this brew pours dark brown in color with a big tan head. Great lacing. Wow! the nose is dark malts, rich chocolate, sweet malts. the taste is the same as the nose but waaay richer tasting chocolate. A big Stout! chocolate out the ass! full bodied, low carbo, good ol' Left Hand...

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Photo of Indy
4.75/5  rDev +24.3%

Photo of Crowesaddict
4.75/5  rDev +24.3%

Photo of alfistheman
4.72/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle with no drink by date to be found
Got it Big Cs in Orlando, found bombers there with drink by dates of 2005! Guessing this is around 3 or 4 years since the original brew date.

Pours chocolate brown with same color head, as it settles it chunks up lacing to the sides, really nice. Its somewhat transparent wich is odd for an imperial stout

Smells of chocolate, cherries, dark fruits, hint of expresso, and a whiff of the 10% alcohol, its mellow and blends with the remaining scents. Absolutley loved the smell of this beer, found myself swirling and sniffing throughtout drinking which I rarely do.

The taste is same as the smell, grains and creamy chocolate dominating with each following sip, dark fruits complimenting it. This is one of the most well blended beers i've had. Reminds me more of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. This might be attributed to the age. I read several reviews stating the hop bitterness was out of balance, but mine had almost no hop presense what so ever.

Mouthfeel is creamy, rich, medium-full bodied, with a perfect amount of carbination. A bit of film is left in the mouth after each sip, but its welcomed as it keeps the flavors alive on the palate.
I found this dangerously drinkable because of the great flavor... at 10% its a sipper, but i found myself sipping in quick intervals.

Girlfriend and I really loved this beer! Honestly it doesn't fit the style exactly, but all I look for is good quality. Def recommend this for cellaring for those out there with the resources.

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Photo of greg202stewart
4.65/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this on tap at Pitcher's Pub. Very dark brown like most Imperial Stouts. Smells of malts and roasted goodness. I was expecting a bitter beer, but maybe because it was on tap this was a very smooth drinking imperial stout and it didn't leave much of the bitter alcohol taste in my mouth. I could drink this beer again and again on tap.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.62/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

02/19/08- Purchased at Sun Devil Liquors in Mesa, AZ.

Presentation- 22oz bottle with no freshness info on the bottle or label. Poured into a random pint glass.

Appearance- Deep brown, approaching black in color. 1/2 inch pour which lessens quickly into a light rim. Lacing is light and streaky.

Smell- All the scents a good RIS should have. A bit of chocolate, a touch of coffee and some roasted malts. Could be a bit more forthcoming though. What is there is nice though.

Taste- Damn, this one is a chocolate lovers dream. Kinda of a mixture of creamy milk chocolate and bittersweet chocolate. Not really much dark chocolate. The smallest hint of coffee beans in the swallow. Malts are roasted, but not that heavily. Light...very light bitterness from either the hop of chocolate flavors. Like a carbonated milkshake. Damn tasty.

Mouthfeel- Lightly creamy with just a tad too high carbonation. Almost perfect.

Drinkability- I could drink this all night. Dessert beer all the way to have with a rich chocolate torte. Good beer for chocolate lovers, if you are the standard RIS lover (deep burnt malts and coffee), you may not like it quite as much. Superior tasting beer for me who likes both.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.55/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle obtained via trade with BierReise. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" of slightly light brown head above the almost-opaque-but-not-quite dark, dark mahogany brew. Malty, somewhat sweet aroma, with a touch of cereal, I think. Taste is excellent, nice and malty, yet a bit of restraint on the sometimes bitter super-dark malts. Very tasty. Seems a bit low on the carbonation, but imperials sometimes have that tendency, so we'll overlook that today. Also ends with a nice warming down to the tummy, but at a pleasant "I'm here" level, not the "hit you over thead" level. Worth seeking out, for sure.

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Photo of Skidz
4.55/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out deep crimson brown and sits nearly black, a few strands of crimson shine though. A large tan head is formed, fading to a light skim and offers a nice display of lacings around the glass.

Smells intensely roasted, rich coffee and chocolate aromas. Raisins and dates are abundant and mingle with the tangy aroma of alcohol, tickling the back of the nose. Light wooden character, some spiciness as well..

Tastes big and sweet up front, loads of rich malty goodness pours out over your toungue. Apples and raisins provide a nice fruity taste and deep roasted coffee balances it out. Some toffee flavors sweeten the deal and are paired with dark chocolate flavors as well. Alcoho provides a nice warming glow, and a dash of pepper. Finish is nicely bittered and laced with plenty of rich coffee flavors.

Sinfully smooth and creamy in the mouth, with light carbonation on the sides. Slides around the mouth like a pad of butter in a hot pan, goes down just as easy. Perfection in the mouth.

A solid Impy all the way. Quality breakfast material, you could eat this with a fork. Delicious...oh yeah.

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Photo of sterstar1
4.52/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Okay, I know mom works for Left Hand so I'm a bit biassed but I truly, honestly have never had a better imperial stout than Left Hand's. (and I've tried a lot of them) I think what sets this one apart is that it's got a great aroma, a nice, sweet taste and then levels out at the end. It doesnt bite you (in terms of bitters) like most imperial stouts will. Needless to say, there are several of these babies in my fridge. Great for drinking on a cold, winter day. It'll warm you right up. :)

Oh, I've also had it on tap and on nitro at the brewery. The nitro is amazing. Talk about smooth.

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Photo of YankChef
4.52/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: pitch black with a dark tan creamy head that was about 3/4 of an inch. Lacing really stuck down the glass.

Smell: Dark roasted malt with hints of chocolate, toffee and coffee. Also subtle aromas of fig and dried fruit like raisin and prune.

Taste: The first flavor i get is chocolate, i almost thought it was a chocolate stout at first. A slight hop bitterness on the end but this one on the overall i would certainly classify as being on the sweet side, still very tasty.

Overall: WHere is the 10% a/c! this beer is very delicious and deceptively easy to drink. I would say it tastes more like an american double stout than a RIS, but either way don't let the overall rating sway you! this beer kicks ass!

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Photo of AEK
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

355ml brown bottle poured into a Delirium Tremens branded snifter. BBE Date 03/09/10.

A. Deep black with a milky coffee coloured head.

S. Sweet malt, coffee, bitter chocolate, dark fruits and a slight hint of smokiness.

T. Strong coffee and liquorice with some chocolate. I can also detect a certain creaminess that is associated with some bourbons I really enjoy. A good hop finale.

M. Full bodied, chewy and oily.

D. A deliciously sweet stout that belies its 10.4%ABV. Deceptively drinkable, I personally think Great Divide's Yeti was better but will still be interested in how this stout fares against Avery's Mephistopholes Stout and Goose Islands Bourbon County Stout when I eventually get around to drinking them.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Poured a thick black, extremely opaque. A small tan head was evident immediatly. This faded very quickly but left behind a decent amount of lace in its wake.

S - The smell was very strong. Huge aromas of chocolate shake. Very big creamy full bodied smell. Lots of hints of milk and sugar, maybe some cookie dough, very very yummy smelling.

M & T - Wow, soo creamy and smooth, like chocolate mousse going down, really very good. This was the pure defination of a dessert beer. Lots of flavors of chocolate cappucino, milk, sugar all are readily apparent and very enjoyable. The alcohol made its presence slighltly known with a small residual warming feeling that bottomed out in the belly.

D - Overall this was awesome, easily one of the best Imperial Stouts I have ever tasted. Very smooth, I could easily drink this all night long, highly recommended, Awesome!!

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Photo of Angryzen
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%

Photo of Tunoso
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%

Photo of Rambo
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%

Photo of Weebsjak
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.49/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2 1/2 years later, I review again, this time not from a bomber, but a 12 ounce bottle, not in the cold of winter, but the heat of June, and with more experience behind my belt...

Deep black color, with crimson highlights around the edges, very small head, if any...

Aroma is thick, rich and huge....dark rum, carob, molasses, massive coffee and chocolate, big-time roastiness...a cavernous depth, dark delights,...

Taste: vast feel in the mouth, coasts the entirety of the sense, paints the corners of the palate with decadent excellent Imperial Stout...yum, yum, yum, and alcohol says, "here I am", but it's welcome now, it holds our hand, and it hides iin the stairway, and it hangs in the curtain, and it sleeps in your hat.

Most notch IS, I'll gladly reach for more1

(thanks for the re-visit, Chaz!)

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Photo of gonger
4.48/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A-Almost perfect for style. Black as espresso, but LED backlight shows reddish hue. Pour (at 55F) produces a 2 finger beige head which dissipates to a thin pancake which lasts as long as the glass. Patchy lacing remains.

S-Fresh bread, Burnt caramel, brown sugar, licorice.

T-Rich. Tastes like it smells, only more complex, more complete. The expected sweetness is almost, but not quite balanced by hop bitterness.

M-Full, slightly syrupy, satisfying.

D- Very good. Easy drinkability belies its considerable alcohol content. This is a substantial brew, as much sustenance as it is beverage. Perfect for a bracer after a long day on the slopes, or after a couple hours spent shoveling out the driveway.

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Photo of jdhilt
4.47/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a two-finger light brown head that fades slowly and leaves some lace. Totally black color. Medium carbonation and heavy bodied. Nose is sweet chocolate/caramel. Starts with a chocolate/caramel flavor, finishes sweet and mellow. Easy to drink, alcohol is not noticeable their site has it at 9.5%. $2.75 for a 12 oz bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, MA. Bottled on 8/10/2004.

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Photo of blackjack000
4.47/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Black with some red-brown highlights when held to the light. A tiny layer of head that dissipates quickly and remains as a ring bordering the blackness. It has a heavy appearance to it, without being thick and syrupy.

Smell: Rich, oaky, brown sugar smell. Under that, baker's chocolate. As it warms a bit, the smell is really developing. I'm smelling warm molasses and black liquorice, fresh ground coffee beans.

Taste: Good deal of bitterness, like an oak-aged type. It lingers nicely afterwards for a great while. A warm alcohol feeling chases the flavor down. I feel the hops are more powerful than the malt, but it does really nice. As it warms, the flavor profile changes a bit. It feels sweeter and thicker; really great flavor. It feels like the rest of the beer is trying to fill in the gap left by the hops. Wow, I'm really enjoying this as it warms.

Mouthfeel: Just enough carbonation to highlight the intense flavor when it's sitting there. I feel like it's in the middle for a Russian Imperial Stout; it's not viscous and it's not thin for the style.

Drinkability: A lot of flavor. I wouldn't crave this in quantity, but I would definitely crave two of these. A pretty magnificent taste. I would really appreciate this with some food to complement it. It would definitely hold its own in flavor paired with any dish.

Addendum: I finished the last one-sixth of this with a bit of extra sharp cheddar left in the fridge, and it was wonderful. They both bring the flavor out in each other very well. Everytime I went from one to the other, it was great. Every nibble and sip was just perfect. Sorry to any of you cheese connoisseurs, but I am loyal to chunks of extra sharp cheddar. It's a throwback to childhood.

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Photo of jwc215
4.46/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours nearly black with a thin head that soon becomes a swirling patch that eventually disappears.

The smell is of chocolate, honey and coffee. Dark fruits and a touch of warming alcohol also present. Very inviting, to say the least.

The taste is of coffee and chocolate - mocha-like. Slight roastiness with a touch of charcoal smokiness give it a nice touch. Dark fruitiness adds to complexity and balance. Sweet, but with sufficient balance. Some hints of anise/licorice come through as it warms. It has a warming, long coffeeish finish.

It is full-bodied, silky/creamy, rich and heavy.

It is smooth despite noticeable alcohol and complexities. A great brew.

Thanks to jcwattsrugger for providing me a bottle of this treat!

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Imperial Stout from Left Hand Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.82 out of 5 with 524 ratings