Fade To Black - Volume 1
Left Hand Brewing Company

Fade To Black - Volume 1Fade To Black - Volume 1
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Left Hand Brewing Company
Colorado, United States
Foreign / Export Stout
Ranked #9
Ranked #7,131
4.08 | pDev: 8.82%
May 06, 2022
Nov 13, 2009
Fade To Black - Volume 1Fade To Black - Volume 1
Notes: Volume 1 - Foreign Stout - Pours black with licorice, espresso bean, molasses, and black cardamom notes that give way to a feeling of self loathing, burnt opportunities and smoked relationships. 2010 Gold Medal Winner at the Great American Beer Festival in the Foreign Stout category.
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Photo of drewcole232
Reviewed by drewcole232

4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
An absolutely great beer. Probably top 5, any style, in Colorado for me. I’m not good at leaving descriptive reviews so I’ll just leave it at that
May 06, 2022
Rated: 3.75 by KT3418 from Colorado

Dec 04, 2021
Rated: 4.16 by DOCRW from Washington

Apr 10, 2021
Photo of Copperhead08
Reviewed by Copperhead08 from Missouri

1.84/5  rDev -54.9%
look: 5 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 2
Slammed three of these at party one night. Worst hangover of my fucking life. This is a beer hipsters buy to think they're "edgy." Would not drink again.
Dec 31, 2020
Rated: 4.18 by Archfiend from Illinois

Sep 26, 2020
Rated: 3.74 by Simiy9 from North Carolina

Aug 30, 2020
Photo of milkshakebeersucks
Reviewed by milkshakebeersucks from Maryland

3.99/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Totally dark with a small beige head and light lacing. Some smoke along side ripe fruit in the aroma. Earthy, bitter flavor of coffee and roasted malts followed by a sweeter aftertaste with hints of molasses and caramel. Full bodied, decently carbonated mouthfeel leads to a long lasting finish.
Jun 21, 2020
Photo of just1cho
Reviewed by just1cho from California

4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
*Poured into a Teku glass from a 12oz can*

Poured a pitch black color as the name of this beer would imply. Had an impressive two finger thick head which was khaki in color. It had a nice diversity of rocky and micro bubbles and had a good retention to it. Once the head subsided, it left a nice lacing around my cup.

On the nose, I got a bunch of black licorice upfront coupled with sweet roasted malts. There was also hints of sassafras roots, giving me a bit of a root beer, herbal, and earthy vibe to it. I can definitely see people either really enjoying these aromas or absolutely hating it. Unfortunately, I don't particularly like these aromas, but I think Left Hand does well on what they was trying to achieve here.

The taste follows the nose, so the same comments that I made about licorice in the aroma also applies here. There was an espresso-like mellow bitterness upfront which eventually developed into a sweet molasses profile that was complemented nicely with a bit of an earthiness from the licorice in the middle. The flavors then finished by showcasing more of the hop characters of the beer with some grapefruit bitterness and citrus, but were then quickly overshadowed by a deep earthiness from notes of yams, Sumatra coffee, and ash/char.

The feel was honestly a bit chalky for me. It left a bit of a ash-like coating around my mouth and left a very long and lingering bitter and earthy aftertaste, almost medicinal. This was pretty medium bodied with a light carbonation to it, these two things made this quite smooth and drinkable.

If Left Hand were trying to create a very dark, complex, earthy, and ash/char tasting beer, they have definitely succeeded. Personally, I'm not a fan of most of the flavor/taste profiles of this beer, but despite that I still enjoyed/finished this beer. Overall, this was an above average beer that I probably won't buy again, but like I said, I'm just not a fan of the profiles of this beer.
May 22, 2020
Photo of CTHomer
Reviewed by CTHomer from Connecticut

3.97/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
A: opaque; very dark brown in color; a 2 finger medium brown head that receded to a wispy cap; nice lacing;

S: deeply roasted grain and black coffee;

T: a balance between deeply roasted grain, black coffee, and licorice; moderate bitterness on the finish;

M: medium bodied; moderate carbonation; moderately dry finish; hides the ABV well;

O: nice flavor; smooth;
Apr 18, 2020
Rated: 3.59 by PatrickCT from Connecticut

Apr 08, 2020
Photo of TooManyGlasses
Reviewed by TooManyGlasses from Canada (AB)

4.04/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
A slightly aged can but seems to have held up ok!
Pours a clear very dark brown with finger of tan to mocha head.
Super roasty malt on the nose with coffee, molasses, and a bit of an earthy/herbal note.
Tastes of roasted dark malt, coffee grounds, molasses sweetness, and a touch of licorice before finishing with a bit of earthy, spicy bitterness.
Mouthfeel is medium - thinner than expected for 8.5%, but still a slightly creamy sensation and a hint of espresso bitterness lingers. The age is on me but this is still a quality beer!
Mar 28, 2020
Rated: 3.86 by stanale from Illinois

Mar 01, 2020
Photo of RaulMondesi
Reviewed by RaulMondesi from California

4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Well, this one definitely has flavor, that’s for sure. Son of a gun pops like a weasel. Question is: Is Raul into it? And I think the answer is: I think so. To be honest, I can’t put my pimp finger on what the flavor is. On the can it says that it pours black with licorice, espresso bean, molasses, and black cardamom. And, sure, why not?

So, pretty much like at the end of the day, if I make out with a hottie and she tastes good, what does it matter if I don’t know what kind of toothpaste she uses?

Feb 23, 2020
Rated: 4.13 by chiefz1 from New York

Feb 19, 2020
Rated: 4.25 by mikerieder from South Dakota

Feb 15, 2020
Photo of jrc1093
Reviewed by jrc1093 from Connecticut

3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
Best before 10/17/20

Pours a clean, glossy black body with mocha brown accents capped with a few fingers of frothy dark khaki foam; great retention fades steadily to a paper-thin cap, slight, creamy collar, and a thin, comprehensive caking of soapy lacing covering the glass.

Aroma opens with a tempered burnt malt tone feeding into prominent highlights of bitter roasted coffee; anise and milk chocolate show a contrastingly sweet and spicy middle fading into a silky roasted malt close.

Taste of dehydrated coffee grounds and moderately roasted malt to start accentuate a brief toasted black bread interlude; dry cocoa sweetness touched by a crackling anise spice on the back end of the palate along with a touch of black licorice and herbal hops.

Mouthfeel shows a roasty medium body balanced with a light-moderate carbonation and a deeply ingrained oily bitterness fleeting in the background; dry and pillowy soft on the palate throughout, and with minimal alcohol presence, though the quick finish is airy and a touch too thin.

What initially appears rough and aggressive ends up calming to a plush, sweetly roasty stout featuring straightforward assertive malts and a sharper hop backdrop seldom giving way to sweeter nuances; a bigger beer executed for palatability and easy presentation of a developing flavor profile.
Jan 06, 2020
Photo of chinchill
Reviewed by chinchill from South Carolina

3.78/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
12 oz can with a BB date stamp on the bottom of October 2020.
Pours with an essentially black body that is topped by a short tan head.
This is a complex, smoky porter with a moderate amount of dark roasted coffee. The aftertaste has burnt toast, expresso, smoke, along with subtle hints of licorice, molasses and bitter chocolate and hops. Medium+ body with medium carbonation.
Dec 27, 2019
Rated: 4.07 by nasharm from New York

Dec 26, 2019
Photo of gentlystewed
Reviewed by gentlystewed from Georgia

4.6/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Poured this one into my big ass imperial nonic. The body is a beautiful inky dark ebony topped with a fluffy brown head that doesn't stay long.

The aroma is a cacophony of roasted barley malt, cookie dough, brown sugar, licorice, and just a bit of espresso.

The flavor is everything listed above, along with a healthy offering of cocoa notes. I'm not detecting any hop bite at all and that's just fine because this is fantastic as is.

The mouthfeel is light and somewhat oily in a good way, making this brew smooth like polished stone.

Overall, an incredible stout. This is something I could eagerly drink all damn night long, but would probably pass out on the couch rather early due to the 8.5 abv.
Dec 25, 2019
Rated: 4.44 by jmbeerdude91 from Arizona

Dec 16, 2019
Rated: 4.19 by nruhlig from Minnesota

Nov 29, 2019
Photo of HorseheadsHophead
Reviewed by HorseheadsHophead from Colorado

4.43/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
Pitch black, used motor oil appearance with a creamy brown head. Good retention and lacing.
Smells of bittersweet dark chocolate, black licorice, molasses, and soy sauce.
Huge flavors of dark chocolate, cacao nibs, espresso, and burnt toast. Huge bittersweet roasted flavors. Then black licorice, star anise, savory soy sauce, and then a powerful spicy hop bitterness.
Lightly fizzy carbonation with a slick, creamy mouthfeel.

A perfect imperial stout that flawlessly melds characteristics of American and Russian imperial stouts, and black IPAs.
Nov 27, 2019
Rated: 4.25 by funku2 from Colorado

Nov 17, 2019
Photo of Mindcrime1000
Reviewed by Mindcrime1000 from South Dakota

4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Poured from a can into a tulip.

Volume 1 has apparently returned for 2019 (labelled as "foreign stout).

Pours dark black and heavy, but not motor-oil viscous, with an excellent dark tan/cola head that gives way to sticky, clingy, persistent (need some more) lacing.

Aromas of roasted malts, coffee, chocolate, carob, barley, smoke, and char.

The brew straddles the line between an export/foreign stout and an RIS in its flavors. Solid roasted barley and caramel malts on the tip of the tongue quickly surrender to a variety of bitter flavors in mid-stream--espresso, dark chocolate, carob--as well as anise, smoke, and char. As the brew warms, the finish opens up with some additional malty dark fruit sweetness, and just a hint of earthy hops. There is a bit of booze in the background on this one, but very restrained.

The brew is initially medium-full bodied, but it never feels heavy or sticky. It is well carbonated for the style, and has a remarkably drying finish, with some ashy/chalky feel that actually meshes well with the faint malt sweetness. It isn't crisp (how could it be?) but it sure tries hard to get there. Remarkably drinkable for the ABV.

This is a tasty chameleon of a brew. It delivers just a bit too much malty and boozy punch to be relegated to mere export stout status, but its remarkable ashy dryness says this isn't an imperial stout.

Fade to Black is deceptive and difficult to classify. It is a bit strong for an export stout; nevertheless, it exhibits the best attributes of that category. A tasty brew.
Nov 16, 2019
Photo of EnderFett11
Reviewed by EnderFett11 from Virginia

4.27/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Poured from a can into a snifter glass. Effectively black color with three fingers of brownish head that faded after a minute or so. Smells of barley and molasses mostly. Taste is a bit intense at first when it's cold, with more molasses and maybe licorice flavors. As it warms, more malt and molasses flavors come through. A tad bitter for my taste, but overall good. Medium mouthfeel and carbonation. A solid daily stout for a change of pace.
Nov 13, 2019
Photo of Agriverbear
Rated by Agriverbear from Texas

4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
Little too much licorice for my taste.
Nov 08, 2019
Photo of dfillius
Reviewed by dfillius from Iowa

4.49/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
Yum! This is stellar.
A: moderate to increasingly aggressive pour yields pitch black liquid with 1.5” of a lovely cocoa-colored head
S: coffee, cocoa, molasses, licorice for sure, but I don’t really get cardamom. Lovely nonetheless.
T: bitter malts, some hop bitterness. Nice sweetness and rich maltiness to balance it all. This is spot on for style.
M: Amped up bitterness with some mild astringency. Thick and creamy too. Love it.
O: wow, I took a chance on this one, knowing my BIL Graham’s love for it, and stumbled across a gem. Love it. Drinks way easier than it’s 8.5%.
Nov 07, 2019
Rated: 4 by craigbelly from Iowa

Oct 15, 2019
Photo of Peach63
Reviewed by Peach63 from New York

4.24/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
Pours black with a tan head. Nice lacing as you go. A 550 lumen flashlight couldn't penetrate the glass.

Aroma of roast malts & coffee. No noticeable hop aroma.

Tasted anise (licorice) right off the bat. Also, coffee, molasses, burnt malts.

Creamy mouthfeel with a little bite. Dry finish.

An excellent stout in my book. Another winner from Left Hand.
Sep 20, 2019
Rated: 4 by MonkeyPilates from Minnesota

Aug 20, 2019
Rated: 4.26 by JamesBondGA from Georgia

Jul 09, 2019
Rated: 4 by animal69 from Louisiana

May 18, 2019
Rated: 4.19 by DownyIsHungry from Minnesota

Apr 29, 2019
Rated: 3.77 by bylerteck from Canada (ON)

Apr 09, 2019
Rated: 4.16 by JuiceMan818 from California

Mar 24, 2019
Rated: 4.12 by robebo44 from Virginia

Mar 18, 2019
Photo of GuyFawkes
Reviewed by GuyFawkes from Illinois

4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
"Best by 10/27/16"; drank 8/14/16 @ the Yarchives.

Black appearance.

A rough pour yielded a nice, dark tan head; strong, frothy lace.

Bakers chocolate, cream & fresh earth notes in the nose.

Medium thick mouthfeel.

Dark chocolate, cream & fresh earth flavors up front; black coffee notes on the finish.

Robust but drinkable; this was like a palatable RIS. I'd have another...
Mar 18, 2019
Rated: 3.71 by chrisb53188 from Wisconsin

Feb 10, 2019
Photo of Ahypercube
Reviewed by Ahypercube from California

4.71/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
Alright, this is worlds better than the other two stouts I've found while living in Colorado. In fact, I'd gamble that this kicks the pants off of anything that's widely produced in the state besides Son of a Baptist, which I still do prefer slightly, but that's been a favorite for a while.

L: Super opaque dark brown body. Looks unfiltered. Head is minimal, but it leaves very nice bands of lacing on the glass. Can art is nice, but not impressive.

S: Spices are notable first, predominantly clove, black pepper and cardamom. A dark chocolate note presents almost simultaneously, followed by dark roast espresso, some black olives, and a hint of molasses and licorice sweetness. Charcoal dominates the finish but some woody tobacco comes through as well.

T: The first impression comes off like semi-sweet chocolate, which is significantly sweeter than the nose suggests (i.e. almost none). Coffee joins quickly, bringing in the black pepper and other spices. As they arrive, the toasted barley notes start to come up and mellow things out. There's a flash of salty black olive, and then charcoal takes over and dominates the finish on the palate as well.

F: Nice creamy texture and clean dry finish. A nearly ideal mouthfeel for a stout.

O: This might be a little tastier than Son of a Baptist. It's hard to say, since that's more coffee forward and this is more focused on the character of the roasted barley malt. Kinda depends on how much coffee you like in your stouts. Regardless, this is a delicious brew. I'd pair it with a fire grilled chicken dish of some sort. Fajitas could work; fettuccini alfredo would be even better.
Feb 03, 2019
Rated: 4.28 by mrcraft from California

Jan 30, 2019
Fade To Black - Volume 1 from Left Hand Brewing Company
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 1065 ratings