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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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 344 | Ratings: 866
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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Photo of 60sFolks
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 16 oz bottle into my favorite sniffer. Mocha coffee fills my mouth. I know it is a beer but close to a bitter desert. Smell is burnt coffee beans. This bold stout deserves its export rating and deserves a try by you.

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Photo of BrownAleBollocks
3.96/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque black with very faint hints of deep brown around the edges and a one finger khaki color head that disappates quickly. Aroma is dark fruit, chocolate, coffee, and vanilla. Taste follows with dark fruit, vanilla, roast, coffee, and an almost medicinal roast coffee bitterness on the back end. Mouthfeel is smooth and medium. Overall, this is a pretty good foreign stout, not quite on par with Guinness however.

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Photo of BeernOnThe4thOfJuly
4.01/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown with tan head. Nose is dark fruits, cocoa, malt and coffee. Flavor is led by more dark fruits, with a mocha coffee quality backing them up. Dark fruits hang on until the end, accompanying the coffee finish. A very approachable stout, but still flavorful.

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Photo of neenerzig
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass out of a 12 oz. bottle, this beer pours a very dark, almost black color with a tan/light brown head along that's about 2/3 of an inch thick when first poured that eventually settles to a fairly thin ring lining the inside of the glass and not much lacing. Aromas of roasted malts with some chocolate and coffee notes along with some light hop notes. The taste is pretty much the same, with a big roasted malt flavors with chocolate and caramel follw d by some black coffee notes that are all rounded out with some earthy hop bitterness. Has a somewhat crisp, somewhat smooth, medium bodied mouthfeel with light to moderate carbonation. Has a clean and slightly dry finish. Easy to drink in the way good beer ought to be.

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Photo of Shippy
3.7/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle to a goblet. Pours deep reddish brown, almost black with a quickly dissipating head. Aromas of roasted coffee, molasses, chocolate. Taste follows along the same lines of roasty malts, molasses, and also some raisin sweetness, even some brownie when it warms up. Slick, medium feel with little carbonation. Overall, not write as good as I had expected, but a dark, roasty beer that is certainly very good.

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Photo of happenstance
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Overall: "Angry!" (the beer, not me; and in a good way)...

L: Love it. D-A-R-K.

S: Again, nothing here to complain about. Make it as dark as you want. I'll drink more. (Make it even darker, I don't care.)

T: One of my top three beers. After Avery's Czar and Founder's Porter, I love it. RICH. Thick. Good after-taste.

F: Maybe it's just me, but slightly acidic. Tongue stings afterward.

As I said, after Avery's Czar, one of my two favorite beers.

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Photo of dd43
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Ok so I've not had a foreign extra stout before that I was blown away by upon the first sip. This beer is the tits. Beautiful roasted coffee bean aroma, with a blend of molasses and licorice that makes it seem that much more decadent. Mouthfeel is superb for this style, if a little bit more crisp than what you might expect having a look at the inky opaque liquid in your glass. The only thing I'd ask for is a more aggressive and long lasting head.

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Photo of Jadjunk
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"Fade to black. That time of year when the light fades away. Brewed for the darkness, Fade to Black speaks in volumes." Brewed in the style of an Export stout, available in 12 oz. bottled 6 packs and on rotating draft. Volume 1 in the Fade to Black series, rereleased in 2014 after a multiple-year hiatus.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a snifter glass.

(Appearance) Pours a milk chocolate brown head of a creamy frothed consistency over a near black body. Retention is above average, lacing is light and patchy. 3.75

(Smell) Deeply roasted barley, toasted grains, light smokey malts, cocoa and subtle caramel bread body. Fairly clean and accessible. Its a rich, complex and promising aroma. Potency is moderate. 4.25

(Taste) The flavor largely follows the aroma of this beer. Rich toasted chocolate, bread malts and roasted grain flavors, smooth but rich with an appropriate level of malt sweetness underneath to compliment it. Incredibly enjoyable. 4

(Mouthfeel) Texture is slick, silky, smooth, mildly dry. Carbonation is modest, generating a mild frothiness and a mildly crisp finish. Body is medium+ for the style, medium/heavy overall. Balance is nearly even roast and earthy bitter to sweet. Alcohol presence is mild and there are no off characters. 4

(Overall) I started reviewing Fade to Black with the second entry back in 2010. I can easily see why this entry in the Fade to Black series deserved an encore the most, and let's hope that 2014's batch won't be its last appearance. Rich roasted and toasted malt characters with a lingering char finish, amidst subtle chocolate, bread malt body and a mild, but not drying sweetness. I'm kicking myself for picking up a single bottle of this, and at 10 dollars for a 6 pack, it's easily justified as a worthy buy. Solid stuff and one of Left Hand's most solid releases. I think this is the masterpiece of the series- they don't have to change it one bit. 4

Left Hand Brewing Company's
Fade To Black Volume 1: Export Stout

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Photo of Dinglehacker
3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into chalice. Abyssal noir. No head. No lace. Only black.

Smells almost exclusively of roasted malt. Faint pepper.

Tastes of roast malt, burnt wood, coffee, cola, the air of a breakfast-stoking kitchen, a surprising hint of floral hops, even.

Mouth is full, but incredibly smooth.

The Platonic absolute of a heavy stout. Delicious when enjoyed at the recommended temp range (50-55 degrees Fahrenheit). High in the pantheon of stout beer. Essential.

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Photo of weaselface89
4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L- as I pour into my new rogue brewing glass that I got from tmac last week, I see only darkness.... and alittle 1/2" tan colored head on top that fades after about a minute.
S- smells like roasted malts, molasses, and licorice.
T- charred, roasted flavors, with alittle malty sweetness present. also getting hops
F- lighter and more carbonation than I expected
O- a good beer I picked up in my 32oz growler. very good.

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Photo of MaximalC
3.83/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours dark brown with a modest cap of soapy froth that soon recedes into a veil of frogspawn. Appealing aroma smells of charred, roasted malt, toffee, and coffee, along with hints of molasses and noble hops.

The taste features massive, acrid roastiness up front--almost like charred barbecue--while black coffee and burnt toast manifest toward the middle and back. Gentle, peppery hops play a supporting role beside the intrinsic bitterness of the malt. Whatever sweetness exists is closer to burnt sugar than anything. Medium body and fairly high carbonation make for a smooth, perky mouthfeel, although a bit more substance wouldn't hurt.

I picked this up on a whim and didn’t know quite what to expect, but I must say I was very pleasantly surprised. The roasted character is well executed and impactful without ever becoming cloying. One of the finer beers I’ve had by the reputable Left Hand.

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Photo of SaltofOH
4.07/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle BB 11/06/16 - is that for real? DFH Snifter.

A: Pours a completely opaque black, zero light penetrates, except along the very edges, where only barely so. Despite a fairly aggressive pour, little head to speak of, and that fades to nothing quickly.

S: Even straight out of the fridge, this smelled of an intense earthy/grainy roast character. It does not smell sweet initially, but sweetens as it warms. It is a complex and heady mix of roast and grain, with an overlay of malty sweetness. Never really smells like coffee or chocolate, but really like roasted barley and perhaps carob. Very nice.

T: A very light and drinkable stout. Does not overdo things with sweetness, but definitely is a sweet-ish beer. Roasted grain and robusta coffee notes; maybe roasted carob; not really "chocolate." Lingering bitterness, with an earthy/woody twinge.

M: A very smooth, surprisingly lighter than expected (truly mid-weight). Virtually no carbonation. Surprisingly clean finishing.

O: A very roast-driven, slightly sweet, highly drinkable higher-ABV stout. The sweet edge is there, but not overdone. This reminds me a lot of Great Lakes Blackout Stout, which I love. At 8.3%, this beer is absolutely dangerous for how drinkable it is.

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Photo of Myotus
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured hard at 50°F from a 12oz bottle (best by 28Sep16) into a goblet. Consumed on 05Feb16.
LOOK: Pours with a fingers worth of khaki foam that shrivels into a line after 1 minute and 15 seconds. Black in color with an orange tint. I do not see any rising bubbles. Lacing is thin and moderate.
SMELL: Strong aromas of coffee and vanilla are backed by mild bitter roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate, and cardamom aromas.
TASTE: Strong cardamom and mild bittersweet chocolate flavors first strike the palate. Strong flavors of coffee and bitter roasted malt along with mild vanilla flavors immediately follow as chocolate flavors grow stronger. Subtle molasses flavors (weren't perceived in the smell) enter lastly as all previous flavors press on.
FEEL: Full-bodied with moderate levels of carbonation. Goes down somewhat smooth while also clinging to the back of the throat like syrup. Ends with a mildly dry finish. A slight alcoholic warmth can be felt as it goes down the throat.
NOTE: Only my second of its style. Huge on the roasted malts, which I don't normally like. But these were balanced well with the sweetness from the beer.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.52/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Stoneyard Brewing Company in Brockport, NY.

This one pours a fairly dark black, with a 1.5 inch head, and a good amount of lacing.

Smells really good, and unique for a stout, definitely some earthy roast, licorice, something kind of like birch wood, and dark roasted coffee.

This is possibly the best beer I've had from Left Hand, it's super complex and nice. There's some chocolate for sure, and earthy roast, with caramel, licorice, dried fruit, birch wood, and smoky ash. There's a bit of dark roasted, burnt coffee, almost like used coffee grounds left behind after brewing. There is a nice sweetness from the caramel and chocolate, which balances out the bitterness of the roast character. This just screams "black" in the best way.

This is medium bodied, pretty rich and creamy, with a normal level of carbonation.

This is an absolute stunner, really quite, quite good.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Pours an opaque yet still clear jet black in color with moderate amounts of active visible carbonation along the edges of the glass and faint dark cola brown highlights. The beer has a finger tall sudsy foamy dark tan head that reduces to a large patch of very thin film covering 70% of the surface of the beer and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of roasted and charred malts with lighter aromas of bittersweet chocolate and espresso beans. Hints of licorice.

T: Upfront there is a slightly stronger than moderate flavor of roasted and charred malts with a hint of ash. That is followed by moderate of flavor of bittersweet chocolate and espresso beans. Finally there are light flavors of licorice towards the finish. Moderate to strong amounts of roasty bitterness in the finish which lingers for quite a while.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly crisp.

O: Easy to drink and really enjoyable with very nice roasted and charred malt flavors + aromas. Alcohol is extremely well hidden. Nice complexity to the flavors and aromas. Definitely worth grabbing again.

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Photo of TheElectricOne
3.93/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at Slow Rhode in Providence. 16oz can glass:

Appearance: pours a deep, inky black, with a thinnish tan head that lingers for a solid few minutes. Eventually leaves a ring of mocha colored foam around the edge of the glass.

Aroma: got mostly roasted malt here, and not much else, but it is very pungent to say the least. I did get a little bit of cocoa, and a touch of milk chocolate, but otherwise, it's mostly roast.

Taste: starts with roast, and perhaps a little bit of nuttiness, and moves into some sweeter flavors, like the aforementioned cocoa and milk chocolate, and finishes, again with roasted malt. No one flavor is overwhelming, but it's a solid, complex flavor profile as a whole.

Feel: a little bit thin for my tastes; drinks more like a lighter milk stout than an export stout, but it's solid for sure. Creamy.

Overall: it's not the greatest stout, but I'd be happy drinking it most of the time in lieu of the common stouts available on tap (Guinness, etc.). It was one-note in some areas, but I enjoyed it overall.

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Photo of cjgiant
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle dated BB 10/2016 (it looked):
Pour offered little head. At one point it actually seemed that I had more head at the edges after walking across the room with the glass. The pour was, however, a nice inky black, and only looks like it doesn't reach full blackness at the very edges.

Nose is anise, spice, and roasted malt that leans unsweetened chocolate. There is a little woody bitterness as well that reminds me of a porter.

Taste shows the export portion of the beer up front when cold. That anise-like nose comes across to me as being an attribute of the alcohol bite/heat, almost. Roasted malts lean chocolate in the taste as well, but there is a malty sweetness to the beer to keep it from being "unsweetened". A rooty earthiness turns the beer to the bitter and I get a woody-bitter porteresque impression going in to the end beer. Things did smooth out with warmth, and the beer was a bit more cohesive malt and spice mainly.

A little heat stays throughout. More carbonation on the feel than I would've expected from the look. Bold but light on the tongue, the liquid washes through and leaves a lingering anise/wood bitterness to linger.

Better than I expected given my other experiences with Left Hand brews. Thanks, BAs, for posting about this and making me try it.

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Photo of ccg
3.94/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Jet black, thin khaki head that fades quickly. Smells highly roasty and somewhat cocoa-like with a hint of coffee. It also has a nutty smell, almost like peanut butter. Flavor is similar but not as bold as the smell would suggest. Low carbonation with a slightly watery feel. A solid expression of a quality stout without gimmicks.

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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

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Photo of MacMalt
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into stout glass. It's jet black in color with a thick, frothy, two-finger khaki-colord head and lacing. It smells of coffee, chocolate, and roasted malt. The taste features burnt coffee, dark chocolate, some very subtle vanilla, and char. It finishes quite bitter. For a stout, it's rather thin. It's lightly carbonated and it masks its 8.50% ABV quite well. Overall, this is fine stout from a good brewer. It's a more bitter version of Left Hand's Milk Stout. The only thing that's missing is some dark fruit, which I really enjoy in a stout.

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Fade To Black (Volume 1 - Foreign Export Stout) from Left Hand Brewing Company
4.08 out of 5 based on 866 ratings.
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