Left Hand Imperial Stout | Left Hand Brewing Company

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Left Hand Imperial StoutLeft Hand Imperial Stout
Very Good
523 Ratings
Left Hand Imperial StoutLeft Hand Imperial 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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 523 |  Reviews: 434
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.

 1,113 characters

Photo of ybnorml
3.93/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Very dark brown color with deep mahogony highlights. Has a big foamy light brown head. There is a lot of chocolate in the aroma, kinda like a milk chocolate bar with a bit of coffee in the background. The chocolate character comes in up front with a bit of coffee like bitterness in the finish. The best aspect of this beer is its mouthfeel. It is good and thick on the tongue. Like melted chocolate.

 400 characters

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.

 375 characters

Photo of Mitchster
2.79/5  rDev -27%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2

Brewed with 2-row, Munich, Crystal, Chocolate un-malted barley, Roasted and Flaked Oats, and Black Patent malt. Hopped with Magnum and Kent Goldings.

65 IBU, 9.5% ABV, 22 oz. bomber.

Pours out to a clear nearly black dark brown, forming a small tan head with poor retention and absent lacing. Not quite as dark or thick as I was expecting for an Imperial Stout. Carbonation is mild to moderate. Aroma is pretty good, but certainly not as intense as the style mandates...some moderately roasted grains, milk chocolate, cocoa powder, faint coffee, faint black walnut. Mouthfeel is pillowy soft with a very smooth finish and medium-dense body. Taste starts with some herbal hops and then is quickly replaced by almost nauseatingly sweet dark malts and alcohol. Ugh...way too sweet. Sickly sweet, but not as disgustingly sweet as Black Abbot. Finishes with very mild herbal and woody bitterness, chalk and black walnut flavor.

I like Left Hand's brews, but I've got two words for the brewer of this here beer: "Alpha Addition". Even if this beer was balanced, it still would have a hard time calling itself an Imperial Stout. I'm gonna be hard pressed to finish this candy-in-a-bottle.

 1,190 characters

Photo of brentk56
3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark brown, a few shades to the light of black, with a rocky beige that leaves a few dots

Smell - Dark chocolate, with hints of coffee and citrus fruit

Taste: Opens with a bitter dark chocolate flavor that adds a bit of anise and citrus by mid-palate; after the swallow, the chocolate gets richer, but there is an underlying sweetness through the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A decent imperial stout that lacks a bit of complexity and mouthfeel

 503 characters

Photo of beerluvr
4.27/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a nice, slightly lacy light brown foamed head settling out over clear deep, deep ruby/brown liquid. Nose is showing aromas of chocolate, light coffee, subtle dark fruitiness and roasty malt notes. Decent hop additions balance the heavy/sweet side of this ale. The 10% alcohol is perceptable...but barely so. The finish is long and bittersweet, with more chocolate and maltiness...wonderfully balanced and due to the cloaked alcohol prescence, quite drinkable!

 470 characters

Photo of alexgash
3.73/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very dark brown—not quite black—with amber edges in the light. Cocoa-brown head; creamy, medium-sized.
Smells of very ripe fruit, plums, pudding, sweet sugary malt, vanilla, and alcohol. There’s some modest roasted bitterness as well.
Taste is very sweet, sugary malts with dark, ripe fruit up front. Roasted bitterness seeps in, fighting the sweetness. Alcoholic and sweet—almost cloying and cough syrupy. Finish is warming (almost burning) with sticky sweet malts and fading roasted bitterness. A little too sweet, but otherwise good. Big-bodied, chewy, and syrupy feel.

 578 characters

Photo of Rastacouere
3.23/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Blind Tasting, Thanks Hopsrus Almost black with a sticky light brown head. Aroma proposes some coffee and licorice, but this is totally dominated by grapefruity C-hops. Earthy and woody molasses in the palate, but once again, anihilated by agressive roasty bitterness full of green hops. Very dry and quite tart. Medium bodied with nice carbonation, but this was not close to being one of the best of the night.

 411 characters

Photo of arizcards
3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a 22 oz bomber at Papago Brewing for $4.99.

Pulled this brew out of the 'fridge about an hour ago. Poured a black brew with a hint of ruby. Head was a bit dissapointing. Not noticing any overwhelming aromas. There is a beautiful creamy taste and texture but the high ABV provides a wine-like burn. This is a fairly well crafted brew but one is plenty for a sitting.

 378 characters

Photo of SheepNutz
4.12/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bomber poured into a snifter. It pours a deep ruby red, almost black color with one finger of light tan head. There is a little bit of lace. The smell has a good amount of molasses, sweet and malty. A touch of alcohol in there too. The taste is malty as well, with lots of burnt malt and coffee coming through. The body and drinnkability both fair well. A nice imperial stout.

 382 characters

Photo of clvand0
3.55/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark brown color with a small head that dies off quickly. The aroma has a dark fruit sweetness and coffee and some chocolate. The flavor is right on for an imperial stout. Dark malts, coffee, chocolate, a little sweetness, and alcohol. Thick mouthfeel and decent drinkability. This is a pretty good impy stout, but I enjoyed it better when I had it aged in oak barrels.

 377 characters

Photo of Guinness4me
3.23/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer poured a dark brown, nearly black with a sudsy tan head that retained nice, big bubbles.

At first smell, I noticed burnt coffee, fermented plums and malt. I also noticed a scent of rich, freshly-turned dirt. The longer it sat, the stronger the smell got.

The taste is indicative of an imperial stout with smoky malt and espresso flavors. The flavor almost rolled in my mouth...very unique but not entirely pleasant. A dark chocolate aftertaste permeated after I swallowed.

The mouthfeel was expectedly chewy and deep. It took a while for the 10% alcohol burn to hit.

Due to it's high alcohol, I'd find it hard to drink more than one or two at a time.

 672 characters

Photo of kmpitz2
4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer poured just a shde off black with no head. The nose was chocolate and malt sweetness. I like it. The taste is good as well, with a nice chocolate foundation and light coffee to support that. The feel is good and thick. Drinkability is also high on this one. Overall a nicely rounded beer.

 297 characters

Photo of edchicma
4.06/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I didn't realize this is such a strong abv offering. It poured a jet balck with a cascading head that faded beautifully into a lacy quality. Smell was mainly malt with some distinct plum/cherry notes. Taste follows the smell with fruity malty quality with definte strong alcohol overtones. Mouthfeel was heavy bodied with a syurpy quality that was fine, considering the abv. Drinkability for the high abv is fine...a definite sipper. For fans of stronger brews, a definte recommendation.

 487 characters

Photo of mntlover
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark dark brown almost black nice tan head that falls but leaves some lacing. Aroma is dark roasted coffee, chocolate, piney hops with alcohol in background. Taste is roasted malt with chocolate coming threw the most. Alcohol comes threw adds some spiciness that blends with the light hops. Overall not a bad beer but not as thick any chewy as an impy stout should be. But hell at 10% who can complain too much. Mouthfeel a solid medium but not as heavy as could be. Drinkability is good nice stout any way you look at it not quiet on par with the best but still good.

 576 characters

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

“Geez and Holy Cow Batman” what’s with the cork in these beers, took two boys and a small monkey to get that damn thing out of there? As the beer decamps the 750ml corked green bottle it fills the chalice with a very deep brown to almost black color also noticed some ruby high lights around the edge and under the creamy tan head that is portly in size with the resultant lace forming a thick and sticky sheet to obscure the glass. Nose is roasted grain, hints of coffee and chocolate, somewhat sweet, crisp and fresh to the senses, also a definite oak tone noticed with the start sweet and thick with malt, the top middling in its feel to the palate. Finish is powerfully hopped, the acidity moderate, also a hint of alcohol bitterness, the aftertaste is quite dry, a fine Imperial, and a brewer that has risen in stature in my eyes with their excellent brews as of late.

 876 characters

Photo of meathookjones
3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber. This poured out a lighter black color almost a dark brown with a light tan head. The head grew gradually as the bubbles cascaded to the top of the glass to form the head, it disappeared soon after leaving little lace or evidence it was ever there. Dark fruits stand out the most in nose with a bit of coffee and earthy hops mingling about. There are also notes of maple syrup. The flavor was of sweet malts with a bit of coffee and spice thrown in. Earthy hops were present as well along with a bit of sourness. The finish had a nice lingering coffee flavor. Mouthfeel was about medium a little thin for the style but still creamy. Drinkability is fairly good with no alcohol being present in the taste or smell but a warming effect is noticed after a few sips. Overall a decent imperial stout but not one that I would put high up on my list of favorites for the style.

 882 characters

Photo of Crosling
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This was the first sample of an Imperial Stout tasting that I had a few days ago. It was followed by Stone Imperial Russian Stout, Great Divide Yeti and Bell's Expedition. It was by far the worst of the four.

Dark Brown.

The nose was dry, with a prominent cocoa base and other notes of chocolate, coffee and black currants.

Front is light and airy with dark fruits (blackberries and plums). Mid palate is mainly coffee and chocolate. Finish is rich and lingering with notes of cinnamon, toffee and hop resins. Slighty astringent and moderate sourness. Cloying. Too hoppy for the style.

 595 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.72/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown to black color, with a light brown head. A rich dry aroma of chocolate malt, espresso, and malt-balls wafts from my glass. Hmm, this is very malty in the taste, and not in the conventional way for an Imperial Stout. It does not have the roast character that one usually sees, instead there is a smooth malt ball / chocolate malt character that dominates. This is slightly on the thin side, though there is a certain creamy richness here. The bitterness from any hops is almost non-existant. This has a very chocolaty taste, and finishes with an alcohol note so that together I am reminded of a chocolated liquor. This just doesn't do it for me, there is somthing lacking here.

 695 characters

Photo of Winter
3.3/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Black, but not opaque, as auburn highlights poke through the body of this stout. Brown head that sinks to a surface covering after the first sip. Straight-forward aroma of chocolate malt that remains rather vinous. Full-bodied mouthfeel, but borders on medium at times. Not as consistent as other quality imperial stouts. The taste is very vinous upfront. Noticable alcohol makes is presence known midway, followed by a burnt malt and molasses flavor. Some husky grain thrown in there too. Finish is charred and alcoholic. Overall, this an above average imperial stout with some "oomph" behind it.

 597 characters

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.

 893 characters

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.

 657 characters

Photo of TripelJ
4.3/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Now Quaffing: Left Hand Imperial Stout ~ 650ml

Pours a thick and extremely dark, ruddy brown with an agressive tan head. Rings of lacing all the way down the glass as I progress. The aroma is sweet with hints of cocoa and faint licorice. The taste and mouthfeel is where this beer shines. Thick, smooth and creamy with a combination of milk and dark chocolate with just a hint of licorice. As the beer warms hops are detected in the finish, hiding behind the fading chocolate goodness. As the beer nears room temperature, it takes vinous characteristics, dark cherries, acidic, dry finish. There is a slight alcoholic presence in the taste, but it is shadowed by the wonderful symphony of roasted malts. Be careful, however as you will be reminded rather quickly of the 10% abv. Overall, the best offering from Left Hand yet, and a heavyweight contender in the imperial stout category.

 888 characters

Photo of bewley
4.17/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber found in FL, drunk in MA.

During the first few sips the scent of alcohol seemed quite apparent, unpleasantly so in fact, but this dispersed within a minute. It has a coffee/chocolate/nut-like flavor and it's very smoooth on the tongue. Sort of creamy and medium thick and weird (in a nice way of course).

I only bought one and wish I had more of it. I'm now eyeing my fiance's glass in fact. Poor gal, having to marry an Indian giver . . . "Hey hon, you don't really like that awful beer I just poured for you, now do you?"

 543 characters

Photo of BitteBier
4.35/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear but very dark brown color with red highlights. Minimal but persistent head with a decent cling down the side of the glass. Rich, caramel/chocolate malts dominate the formidable nose, complemented by lighter scents of hops and alcohol. The mouthfeel is interesting--atypically clean for a stout but at the same time rich, with a powdery texture like instant hot cocoa that isn't fully dissolved. Rich, creamy malts dominate the taste, though hops and alcohol warmth show up in the long-lingering finish.

 516 characters

Left Hand Imperial Stout from Left Hand Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.82 out of 5 with 523 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.