Fade To Black (Volume 1 - Foreign Export Stout) | Left Hand Brewing Company

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Fade To Black (Volume 1 - Foreign Export Stout)Fade To Black (Volume 1 - Foreign Export Stout)

Brewed by:
Left Hand Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: Foreign / Export Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by superdedooperboy on 11-13-2009

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Reviews: 364 | Ratings: 929
Photo of Scott17Taylor
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a khaki head.
The aroma is mostly dark roast and cocoa powder with some earthiness.
The flavor is dry and roasty with quite a bit of sweetness mid palate before finishing with a slightly dry earthy finish. It's good, but honestly I've had several better stouts around this abv.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I am still eradicating the Bottle Backlog here at Chez Woody but when I realized that I had (perhaps) done a disservice to a couple of Left Hand's Nitro beers, I decided to use a revisitation as the impetus to delve into Left Hand on a horizontal basis. This is the first of the newbies and a bottle/CAN side-by-side/head-to-head to boot!

And now for The CANQuest (tm) entry!

From the CAN: "Seasonal"; "Brewed on the banks of the mighty St. Vrain Est. 1993"; "Foreign Stout Fade to Black Pours black with licorice, espresso bean, molasses and black cardamom notes"; "30 IBU"; "Ingredients: Rocky Mountain water, malted barley, malted wheat, hops and yeast."; "Employee owned, righteously independent"; "Please recycle".

As to that last, I used to recycle my CANs until I met Jeff Lebo of York County. He now comes over a couple of times a year to pick up my rinsed, spent CANs for his collection which he keeps in a two-story five-bedroom house constructed specifically for that purpose.

Ah, the Crack! of a CAN is like music to my ears. This fiddling about with bottles has left me bereft of one of my pleasures. Unlike a bottle, however, I still indulge in the inverted Glug, which, properly executed, will bring forth enviable head. In this case, I created two fingers of dense, rocky, foamy, deep-tan/light-brown head with quite good retention which left nice lacing in its wake as it fell. Life is great at Super 8! Color was a deep, dense Black/Opaque (SRM = 44), allowing ZERO light penetration. Nose was redolent with anise/licorice, underlain by treacle/molasses with notes of dark chocolate, coffee & light smoke. Mouthfeel was medium-to-full, still slightly lacking, IMHO. The taste was riotous with the anise/licorice really holding forth! Everything else was a mélange of flavors with each elbowing its way to the forefront, only to be shoved backwards by the aggressive anise. Coffee/espresso, treacle/molasses, an unidentifiable spice, all made their way to the forefront, only to be subsumed and forgotten in the swirling mass. Beer as punk rock! Finish was dry, exhausting & life-affirming. If you CAN walk away after one of these CANs, then you are truly living!

Now, before we gleefully shout, "CAN wins, CAN wins!" let us bear in mind that mine was an aged, ancient bottle. It held up extremely well, but it was not a fair fight. Still, CAN wins, CAN wins! I'm putting some in a cooler & heading to the beach this summer.

First, from the bottle: "Brewed on the banks of the mighty St. Vrain"; "Fade to Black. That time of year when the light fades away. Brewed for the darkness, Fade To Black speaks in volumes."; "Ingredients: Rocky Mountain water, malted barley, malted wheat, hops and yeast."; "Please keep refrigerated[,] please recycle this bottle".

Trust me, I recycle or reuse everything that comes through Chez Woody. The cap, once Pop!ped off, is set aside for a local artist who uses them in her multiplicity of creations. Having accomplish this small triumph, I began a VERY gentle pour into the awaiting goblet. Once sufficiently decanted, an in-glass swirl was the next order of the day, raising a finger of foamy, fizzy, deep-brown head with limited retention, quickly falling away to wisps. Color was Black/Opaque, allowing ZERO light penetration. Nose was rich - smoky, chocolaty, anise-like. Phew! Mouthfeel was medium to full, not quite creamy, but dense on my awaiting tongue. It was definitely smoky, not quite burnt, but close, with a taste of espresso chocolates and treacle. My one complaint was that the anise/licorice was not as flavorful as noted on the nose or mentioned on the label. Everything else was as advertised & it was easy to see how this could have been a GABF Gold Medal winner. Finish was surprisingly semi-dry with enough residual sweetness to keep it from being outright dry. The tastes of dark chocolate and espresso lingered well after the swallow & I kept thinking of those espresso chocolates that someone brought to a party. I generally eschew sweets, but they were both interesting & memorable.

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Photo of jjamadorphd
4.26/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Another great offering from Left Hand Brewing...

Like most stouts, this one pours out a gorgeous black ink-colored liquid with an appealing tan-ish head, though no lacing to even mention. I was surprised at the lack of scents to my nose on this one. The can touted so many different flavors, not a one I could pull out. Though as boozy as it is, it does not overpower either by nose or mouth. Speaking of the taste, it is so smooth, so rich, so tasteful, you forget you're hitting it at almost 9%. This one comes up on your slowly, taps you softly, but leaves a distinctive mark. The mouthfeel on this beer is quite possibly one of the best if not best I have had - it is creamy, light on the tongue, and adds to its overall drinkability (but makes it a dangerous one, indeed.)

Overall, this is truly a special beer - I was not necessarily impressed with its smell, but the rest of attributes were top-notch.

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Photo of Sabtos
2.59/5  rDev -36.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Black with a kind of ridiculously massive tan head leaving thin, stained glass-like lacing.

Oh well another poorly aged shelf stout. Metallic Brillo pad, iron, rust, with hints of coffee, milk chocolate and roasted malt.

Taste is woody pine and rug, smokey roasted malt, baker's cocoa, very dark caramel in a medium to full tangy body with a dry finish.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.37/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Scored this down in Tempe, AZ during spring training. Man, Sun Devil Liquors has some dusty shelves.

Pours black, 1/2" tan colored head. Good retention. Aroma of bitter charred malt and some spice rack (American). Taste drinks like a heavily roasted, thick chocolate malt and two row for days stout. The licorice isn't as bad as it usually is in other beers. Minor ash feels. A little bit of raisin/dark fruit aspect. This ain't no sweet adjunct stout. Seems a little stronger than usual for style.

Nonetheless, enjoyable, but at the same time not something I'm clammoring to stock up on. Would not turn down.

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Photo of jkblr
3.99/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle BB 9/27/17 poured into a Sam Smith nonic pint at 50 degrees. Huge tan head(the glass is nucleated) with substantial lacing. Maintains a 3/8" head throughout consumption. Smell is dark roast. Taste follows with dark roast and an ashy(in a good way) bitterness on the end. There is just enough underlying sweetness to conform to style. Mouthfeel is smooth and adequately carbonated. Overall, very good. I prefer my FES a bit sweeter, but won't fault this beer for my preference.

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Photo of spursfaninla
4.43/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Really a nice stout, drinkable but flavorful. . Rich dark color, good smell. Taste follows smell. Espresso and burnt but not a strong aftertaste, subtle.

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Photo of tone77
3.71/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A thanks to the incredible woodychandler for this beer. Poured from a 12 oz. can. Has a black color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of coffee, licorice. Taste is coffee, roasted malts, some licorice, a touch of smoke. Feels medium/full bodied in the mouth and overall is a good quality beer.

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Photo of MinerBob
4.02/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours very dark with no head. Chocolate smell with a great smooth dark chocolate and dark coffee taste. Great mouth feel with an easy swallow but a dark chocolate aftertaste. Lefthand makes great dark beers.

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Photo of AZBeerDude72
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours jet black with a nice coffee colored head and mild lacing. Smells great, lots of coffee, chocolate, molasses, and little smoke. The taste is really nice, very solid expresso blend with nutty notes and a sweetness that just gives this a great balance. Was surprised how good this beer was, very good stuff. Noted that flavors got a lot better as the beer warmed up, so next one will be room temp and no chilling ahead of time.

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Photo of stlfatguy
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An excellent stout. Black as the night sky... in the middle of a lake...in a rural area... when it's cloudy out... and your boat battery is dead... and you have no flashlight. Smells like a roasted chocolate cream cola. Taste is not easily described... Not too sweet... Not too much carbonation... Not too dry... Not too much roasted flavor... not too much alcohol for a high abv...just right.

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Photo of DraconusDesanctus666
4.44/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz can,into a Funky Buddha snifter.Best by 11/29/2017.

Pours a deep dark brown,almost black color.Thick,creamy,dark khaki colored head,consisting of small to large bubbles,stands just under 1 finger tall.Moderate lacing on the side of the glass.Oily jet black in color,with no light showing through the glass.No visible carbonation.

On the nose I get dark roasted coffee,roasted malts,dark fruit,toffee,caramel,and licorice notes.Also getting some trace elements of vanilla.Smells very nice.

On the palate I get dark roasted coffee and roasted malts up front.In the middle I get dark fruits,and trace elements of alcohol with a smokey wood flavor.And on the back end I get caramel and vanilla,with hints of black licorice.

The body is heavy,sticky, and viscous with a slightly chewy mouth feel.You do get a little bit of oxidation on the tongue,and a slight alcohol warming on the way down.

This is a very good foreign stout,it almost even plays like an imperial stout.I would definitely recommend this one,and look forward to drinking it again in the future.

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Photo of dsa7783
3.49/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Twelve ounce bottle copped from Bonds Tavern in West Orange. Pours a jet-black, ebony hue with minimal frothing. Assertive aroma redolent of black licorice, espresso, and chocolate. Smoky flavor profile.

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Photo of akolb
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mild aroma: coffee and dark fruit
While the aroma was mild the taste is most definitely not! Lots of coffee, cream, brown sugar, and vanilla. A hint if licorice in the aftertaste. Sweetness gives way to a bitter and spicy finish with a bit of alcohol burn. Moderate-thick bodied. This is a great stout, drinks like a big imperial but it's only 8.5%.

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Photo of damndirtyape
4.12/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a tulip glass. Date stamp 2711616 5042. Best before 09/27/17.

Appearance: Black letting no light through. Thin light tan foam died back to a thin ring. Some sheets and strands of lacing.

Smell: Roasty - coffee, raisin, a hint of alcohol.

Taste: Roasted malt giving way to a bit of burnt sugar, chocolate (bittersweet), malt sweetness, and then transitioning into bitter flavors of black coffee, and a mild lingering bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Nicely thick, good carbonation, not too sticky on the teeth. Very smooth.

Overall / Drinkability: A very good stout that hits the style quite well. A slow sipping and savoring beer that I would not mind having another one of. All good by itself but this one I think would really pair well with a wide range of meals.

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Photo of jaketaz
4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from can to goblet, the design on the can is more intricate and wraps all the way around, looking like something a black metal band would drink. Combine that with the "left hand" imagery and I'm ready to summon some ancient Norse demons. Hopefully this lives up to its foreboding presentation and isn't the same old coffee/chocolate/vanilla/malt combo we get from every other American stout.

I'm in luck... it uses a familiar stout flavor profile to sneak in the more deviant flavors. Pours thick with a dark brown head that isn't tall, but leaves great lacing that lasts through the whole drink. It entices you to the dark side with a smoothness that barely tastes alcoholic, but about half way through I started feeling the impact. There's the requisite chocolate and roasted malt, but little coffee compared to others in this style. Licorice aftertaste brings absinthe to mind, molasses sweetness is another point of departure. Malted wheat lends a pumpernickel flavor and a smell of Scandinavian pastry.

Mouthfeel is lighter than my preference but I recognize that it's well done, smooth and perfectly carbonated. The bubbles hold up nicely even if it sits a while, and it's easy drinking for this style and weight. Quirky yet accessible.

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Photo of atr2605
3.67/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A-pours black with a tan head with good retention and nice lacing
S-roasted coffee, unsweetened cocoa, slight hint of licorice
T-more coffee, chocolate, sweet vanilla, roasted coffee in the finish, hops providing nice balance throughout
M-medium-full bodied and smooth
O-pretty solid brew, not sure I would have pegged it for the style but still worth trying

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Photo of DenverHopHead
4.19/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a can with a canned on date of 11/14/16; into a pint glass.
Appearance - very dark pour, but allows just enough light in to give off a deep reddish hue in spots. No head, only a trace formed from bubbles. Lacing is absent.
Smell - I pick up the black licorice and molasses described on the can, as well as robust coffee!
Taste - well rounded flavor profile that hits on the flavors hinted in the nose; roasted coffee bean gives it a brawny foundation; the licorice and molasses give it a sweetness, almost jagermeister like!
Feel - the body is broad and sturdy supporting a strong arrangement of roasted char, mild sweetness and alcohol!

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Photo of Oopssorryy
4.61/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black, and ultra thick. Didn't seem to want to leave the bottle. Even with a rather aggressive pour, I only got about an inch of dark tan head. This head fell down to a thin cap as I let the brew warm. Lacing is fantastic, some of the best I've seen in a while. I get a lot of coffee in the nose, along with hints of chocolate, caramel, and bread. There is a milky sweetness present that goes along well with the bitter notes from the roasted coffee.

Flavors are rich and thick. I get lots of chocolate, roasted malts, hints of coffee and caramel all playing off one another beautifully. The initial mouthful is somewhat subdued, with bready, roasted malts lightly flavoring the experience. Hold it there and the ABV will begin to warm you. It's on swallowing that this beer really opens up. You get a rush of dark bitter chocolate, with soft fruit, like plums and dates, adding a bit of sweetness. After this you get a wave of bitter coffee, with a caramel and milky sweetness helping balance the coffee out. The finish is roasted malts tinged with a great bread flavor.

Mouthfeel is perfect. It's rich, thick, smooth and velvet. Just the right amount of carbonation helps keeping this beer from getting too heavy for it's own good, keeping the beer highly drinkable despite hit's heaviness. Overall this is right up there with Founders Breakfast Stout for me as favorite beers. I will defiantly be seeking this one out again.

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Photo of ThaneMcC
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours black as night with scan khaki head.
Smells of cocoa, toasted malts, coffee, leather. Sweet malts forward, balanced by unsweetended cocoa - hints of coffee. Clean finish. Medium bodied
Overall, pretty solid stout for the style - very clean and well balanced.

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Photo of HotDogBikeRide
4.48/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Purple, dark brown-colored porter with a small head. Smells kinda like a roasted malty cough syrup. This fades to a dark mildly chocolate smelling malt as the beer warms out of the frisge. Everything considered it is pretty appealing in person despite what one might think from the syrup description. Light drink, goes down smooth even a little watery and has all the caramel and barley notes that the smell suggests. One of my favorite "porters" mostly because it retains many characteristics of an ale.

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Photo of Ciocanelu
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Really dark brown color with tan head. Aroma has nice fudge, milk chocolate and some fresh coffee. Taste starts with fudge, continues with bitter chocolate and finishes with roasted coffee. Medium body, carbonation is on the low side. Overall it's quite good, classic and tasty.

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Photo of Pencible
3.82/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

This poured an opaque cola with a bit of tan head.
S: It smelled like bitter dark chocolate, with some roasted coffee and cream and licorice.
T: It tasted like earthy dark chocolate and smoky espresso, with sugar and cream and licorice. It had a clan bitter aftertaste.
M: It was watery with a little carbonation. Light body.
D: This was a nice strong stout, but the scent and taste weren't anything special and the body was a little weak. The finish was smooth, so it was easy to drink. It might age ok. Fresh was good but forgettable.

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Photo of Vader444
4.62/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pour from bottle into tulip.

Pretty damn dark with nice tan head. Smell was muted as one might expect when straight from the fridge but developed into a complex herbal delight one at room temperature. Tastes divine and the mouthfeel is spot on. Great stuff once again from LH. Cheers!

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Photo of Georgedisrespectful
5/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is not your ordinary stout. Whoever on here said it's not as good as Guiness has no taste and should go see a doctor. Well thought out and flavor is perfect.

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Fade To Black (Volume 1 - Foreign Export Stout) from Left Hand Brewing Company
4.08 out of 5 based on 929 ratings.
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