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

355 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 355 | Ratings: 907
Photo of semibaked
2.36/5  rDev -42.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured in one of my many pint glasses.

A - Poured aggressively into the glass and yield about 2 inches of beige head and this stuff is certainly black.

S - Kinda of an odd smell like beef roast or steak sauce but other than that has some roasted malts and some licorice maybe.

T - Bitter with some charred or burnt notes to it with some licorice and soy sauce, pretty unpleasant overall.

M - Light bodied and watery.

D - Sorry but I can't get this down, too many foreign elements for me to enjoy.

 501 characters

Photo of marvin213
2.73/5  rDev -33.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

It's sure'nuff black--not tar-black like some of the motor oils on here, but opaque in a true sense. The fizzy pour reminded me of Guiness and nitro stouts. The head, though, dissipates fairly quickly, leaving only a splotchy top on the cover with some hop-like stickiness around the edge. Without being extravagant, it looks genuinely good.

Smells like a foreign stout (read: Guiness). This one was obviously manufactured in Colorado, but what is it about these foreign stouts that smell like diluted and aerated? It's diluted in that it's like a watery malt smell and aerated like there's something else in there...problem is, that "something else" is like nothingness. It's like a malt ball with holes in it, or malt ball crumbs, or the dark matter that's empty mass in the Milky Way (I may have gone too far).

That light, airy vibe allows for a stout taste without an overbearing assault on the palate. The hop presence, however, bitterizes the beer. It's not, unfortunately, the yummy hoppiness-bite characteristic of IPAs. Instead, it's a dull, medicinal kick that tastes more like a Bayer than a beer. It's not exactly bad, but you're left wondering where's the chocolate? the licorice? the vanilla? the coffee? the ___? I realize it's not a double chocolate oatmeal or a vanilla coffee Russian Imperial, but is this what to expect from a "foreign stout?" It feels much drier than a Guiness (my template, obviously enough), and the watery stoutness with only a dry bitterness doesn't do wonders for the palate. On the contrary, the artist left something on the palette. (Ha!)

The puns and other literary devices I've used to describe this beverage might prove more memorable than the liquid itself. As I continue trying to decipher what's here, I detect a charcoal. There's a smoked quality without any food-worthy flavor. Liquid charcoal has its place, but nobody wants to drink it! It's not that bad, but I know I've enjoyed a foreign-style stout before; this one, however, you should leave on the shelf.

 2,016 characters

Photo of chugalug06
2.76/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Nice thick tan colored head filled with dense foamy froth. No much lacing. Thin-ish brew that black.

Awkwardly smokey. Kinda weird. Milky, chocolaty, smoke, brunt, crispy...

Hum, bitter, dry, weird, thin, watery. Definitely a Foreign stout and not bad on those premises. Could use more complexity and blending. The smoke is awkward and over taking. Not my favorite. I sure hope you like smoked brew, I hope they're not all like this one. The flavors come together like rotten fish...

No. 1 Would be much better without the rauch addition. I'm not a fan of smoked brews... weird. Can't recommend even at $2/12oz. Drain pour.

 627 characters

Photo of Minkybut
2.85/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I poured this beer into my tumbler at 45 degrees. The beer had a dark black color as the name implies. The beer poured a brown head. The beer really did not smell like anything. However the taste was coffee and chocolate that I think would have been great but the alcohol was just too high. It blew every nice flavor away. Not going to buy again.

 346 characters

Photo of GoldenVIKE
2.96/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served on tap at Kuma's Corner in Chicago

A - Pours pitch black with not a whole lot of head--maybe 1/2 finger. It did cling to the glass pretty well.

S - Not a very strong smelling stout. Some roasty, smoky, faint smells of old coffee. Not "bad" by any means but nothing special here. Pretty disappointing.

T&M - pretty much like it smells. it's a dry, smoky stout. leaves a roasty aftertaste. Average body for a dark stout, but good.

O - Underwhelming all around. Bear in mind I'm comparing this to GOOD stouts. I'd say that it's on par with a Guinness. Pretty good, but nothing to write home about.

 606 characters

Photo of Cubsfan1087
3.08/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Fade to Black is certainly black. It's a very dark beer, almost a little thick I thought. I didn't really care for this beer. I found it very hard to drink. It was certainly a flavorful beer, but maybe a little too flavorful; too much going on. Fairly bitter as well. Obviously, I'm in the minority here, but I probably wouldn't drink this again.

 346 characters

Photo of alcstradamus
3.1/5  rDev -24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes

Near black pour with a finger of head. Initial aroma is an extremely off-putting in your face burnt popcorn. Below that is some sour cherry. Below that is some Carmex. Just not really appetizing at all.

The flavor is an improvement. Gone is the sourness and Carmex, and what is left is a roasty malt profile that is akin to a magnified version of whatever watery version of Guiness is tapped at your local bar. Some dry oak underneath. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, drinkability is average simply because the complexity is not there to justify the high ABV and the roastiness becomes grating about halfway through. Overall this does nothing to break the monotonous mold of the style.

 703 characters

Photo of stoutfiend27
3.13/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle poured into scaldis glass very slightly chilled

a-black..typical..small head..no lacing..kinda blah

s-roasty..hint of coffee...sort of dull on this one..nothing really pops

t-more of the same...a little roasty a little bitterness from he coffee taste..finishes dry and bland

m-watery and thin...not enough carbonation...

d-one and done..glad i got to try it but wont pick it up again

 400 characters

Photo of VTR
3.18/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Bottle poured into the Left Hand Stout Glass.

I was anticipating a lot from this stout. S/some roasted malts with some coffee notes very average. T/started off with roasted charred malts followed by coffee and a huge bitterness that just lingered. O/I was expecting a lot more from this stout. The coffee is nice and mild which is a welcome difference for me. It starts off great and just abruptly ends. It builds up without an exciting finish. The stout was kinda watery and thin feeling. The bitterness did subside as the stout warmed. Overall it was enjoyable but not memorable and I would not seek this out again.

 627 characters

Photo of BeerWithMike
3.32/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Sampled last night on 2/2/15. Bottle chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and poured in to a snifter glass.

Pours a pitch black in color with a thinner beige foamy cap. A little sediment was seen in the bottem of the bottle after the pour.. Some spotty lacing is seen when sipped. The aroma is of dark roasted malts and black espresso for the most part. More going on with the taste with the black coffee right up front followed by the roasted malts that leave a bitter dry finish with a good amount of smoke. Didn't last too long but it was there and a bit much for me. Really didn't taste the alcohol but you could tell it was in there. A heavy-bodied brew with perfect carbonation. It came out of the beer cooler at 36 degrees and on the side of the label it says: "Enjoy at 50-55 degrees F". I will say that it did taste better when it warmed up some.

 866 characters

Photo of wedgie9
3.35/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Tasted from a twelve ounce bottle. Pours an opaque black with a medium light brown head which dissipates quickly but leaves plenty of lacing. Smells of super dark roasted malt with dark chocolate, coffee, and a hint of molasses and plum fruitiness. The coffee and chocolate come through on the palate with the addition of anise. There is really no sweetness whatsoever in this beer. The alcohol is kept in check until the finish, where the heat lingers for quite a while. The body is surprisingly light considering color and alcohol content, due to the lively carbonation. It seems out of place. The finish is long. Overall, this is a solid beer, but the palate throws me off, and although the flavors are spot on, the out of balance alcohol is a negative.

 756 characters

Photo of KLHBB
3.36/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Off black color, smell of smoke and wood chips, tastes of coffee, but a little woody smoke there too. The feel is lighter than I expected. Overall, I think it's good, but I must admit I'm not a fan of this style.

 216 characters

Photo of jooler
3.43/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Smell and look are amazing. Initial taste is a big let down. Taste alittle watered down. There are better export stouts like saku that are a lot better

 151 characters

Photo of Sammy
3.48/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On tap at the Rattle 'N' Hum. Roasty aroma, roast coffee. Slight white head, yet lots of white lace. A yeasty part that I didn't expect or like. I normally really like this style, and others do too, but I just didn't get it today. On the too sweet side, with bitter coffee, not that well integrated.

 299 characters

Photo of jujubeast6000
3.48/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed 1/1/2010 (Bottled 10409):

Pours a nearly pitch black color body, average tan color head, diminishing. Strong dark chocolate aroma, sweet like a milk stout. Bitter chocolate taste. Sweet. Some bitterness on the end, but balanced pretty well. Some bitter coffee taste on the end. Thick, not as bitter as it warms. somewhat chalky or something.

 351 characters

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.

 203 characters

Photo of jsh420
3.52/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

bottled 11/02/09

pours dark brown almost black with a 1 finger tan head that left no lacing

smells of strong chocolate malts coffee some light hops

taste is a little hot - some spicy hops stacked next to the coffee roasted chocolate malts packs a punch

mouthfeel is light/medium well carbonated

drinkability is ok - @8.5% and you can taste every bit of it makes it a one and done for the session - good sipper though

 422 characters

Photo of kirok1999
3.52/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark currant black, hints of garnet around the edges of the glass. Minimal head or lace.
Smells sweet and creamy, almost like a latte with a good bit of sugar. A bit of chocolate as well.
Tastes much like the smell but a bit more muted. There is a palate coating dark malt bite but overall it's a bit watery. The mouthfeel is much the same; a bit watery and thin. There is a good beer here but it needs to jump out a bit more.
Drinkability is hurt by the taste, or lack thereof. Nice but not outstanding.

 514 characters

Photo of corby112
3.55/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep dark brown, almost black color that is completely opaque with only the slightest of mahogany edges when held to a light source and a two finger frothy light tan head that quickly settles into a thick lasting ring.

Slightly roasted chocolate malt aroma with hints of burnt toast, toffee, coffee bean, oatmeal and smoke. There's also a bit of sweet lactic creaminess present along with the deep roasted sweet bitter dark chocolate notes.

Deep roasty chewy body that's on the fuller end with a strong dark malt character, slight chocolate sweetness, lactic creaminess and a bone dry finish. Pretty complex with hints of roasted espresso bean, bitter sweet dark chocolate malt, lactic cream, burnt toast, oatmeal and toffee. Way too roasty and bone dry and not very well balanced. There's a lot going on but only a touch of sweetness. Too one dimensional for my liking but not bad.

 892 characters

Photo of ArrogantB
3.56/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black, oily surface, not much head to be found. Smells a little doughy, stouty, very subtle aroma. the flavor is hard to describe, its definitely a stout but the flavors are all melded together and nothing is really distinct, muddled but tasty. Nice mouthfeel.

 260 characters

Photo of heliosphann
3.58/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle. Served in a pint glass after a long, 14hour shift at work...

A: Minimal light brown head. Fades into a swirling whirlpool, which is moving from the carbonation. Pours black, but is somewhat brown. Lacing is fairly good, with a nice cascading look.

S: Dark roasty malts right in your face. Some faint chocolate lingering along with some molasses and brown sugar.

T: Much like the smell, dark roasted malts are in charge here. Some coffee, chocolate and vanilla are also present, with some fairly prevalent sweetness. There is some booziness and a slight bitterness on the finish.

M: Medium bodied, but feels a little lighter at times. Carbonation is solid and feels smooth on the tongue.

D: The 8.5% ABV seems a little high (and unnecessary). One bottle was plenty for me, but you could probably knock a few back if you wanted.

One of Left Hands better offerings and a good start to their "Fade to Black" series. I did think the brew suffered from not being that complex in the taste dept. That and the issues I addressed above about the ABV. Definitely worth a try though.

 1,091 characters

Photo of Mikus
3.58/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Midnight black with a hint of tan head (light lacing). Interesting notes on the nose... bit of rye, some chocolate, dark malts, some roastiness too. Tasting lots of rye, and balanced bitterness. Rather light flavor-wise, but refreshing for a stout. Could go for this in the warmer months... light to medium mouthfeel. Tasty, good, but not something I would chase down. Worth a go if you like stouts.

 399 characters

Photo of October
3.6/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A solid offering from left hand. Mouthfeel is wonderfully smooth. Full bodied and a nice hop kiss at the finish. Will have to compare this to their milk stout and/or other fade to blacks once I have a chance to try those.

 222 characters

Photo of Beaver13
3.62/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. Pours a brownish black with a thin tan head that quickly diminishes to a thin film that leaves a touch of lacing.

The aroma is sweet grains, lactose, chocolate, tobacco and roasted malts.

The flavor is roasted malts and chocolate with a little lactose and coffee. It has a tarry bitter finish that is almost mouth-puckering. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with smooth carbonation.

Overall, a decent foreign style stout. A little on the tarry side for me.

 471 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
3.63/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Poured into a tulip. The color is definitely pretty close to black with a nice head. The nose brings quite a good amount of dry, roasty malt characteristic of the style. There is some light chocolate and coffee behind that. Roasted malt comes back after those diminish. The taste follows the pattern of the nose with a really strong roast presence. Takes of the feel is well, that's for sure. Drinks pretty well as everything comes together in the end. A good beer but not quite what I was expecting after all the hype.

 541 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Fade To Black (Volume 1 - Foreign Export Stout) from Left Hand Brewing Company
4.08 out of 5 based on 907 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.