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: 362 | Ratings: 927
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.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Best by: 10/27/16.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. A foamy lattice of lace coats the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa powder, char, and earth aromas. Taste is much the same with dark roasted malt, cocoa powder, char, earth, and coffee bean flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with great roast and cocoa qualities all around.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

looks like they brought back volume 1 this year, which is great because i never had a chance to try it when it first came out. its big for even an export style, lots of booze in here, but you cant taste it. less black in color than some of the others in the series, but real dark and slick looking, holding an off white inch or more of light airy fluff. the nose and taste are the same, heavy dry roast, black espresso, and chalky textured cocoa. i like the deep dark complexity, and like how the beer is only a little fuller than medium body. it allows the drinker to experience the flavor without the density, uncommon for sure. longer lasting in the finish than i usually like, but its not due to sugar, that malt char character from the aroma is back on my tongue in the finish, mildly bitter and very earthy. great beer, maybe y favorite in the series. nice to see it come back around.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a really nice deep black color. The head was fluffy and fan colored. The smell was roasted and a little musty. The taste was rich with chocolate and roasted malts, it was a little sweet at first and then fell into a dry bitterness. The mouthfeel is very smooth and leave a nice creaminess in your mouth. Overall I was glad I picked this one, it was one of the better stouts I've had in a while.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A tremendously bold F/E Stout; it is actaully more akin to Russian Imperials with its 8.5% and serious roasty boldness. We are probably looking at a soft RIS with heavy Foreign Export influences.

As black as black can be, the beer pours like a lump of liquid coal. Great head formation, retention, and lacing with off white foam (would have expected darker).

Very roasty with a mix of espresso grinds, char, ash, and heavily caramelized toffees. The beer boasts a lot of malty sweetness up front and then blasts into the onslaught of roast/toast/burnt cocoa elements. These fade slowly and allow the beer to return to the caramelized sweetness later.

The textures of the beer are full, round, and robust early but the sweetness subsides just in time to enjoy the crisper, drier, and maltier finish. Increadibly easy to drink especially considering the powerful flavors early on.

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Photo of emerge077
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a single of this in WI for around $1.50 at Breeze-Thru.

As expected, a black body with some dark khaki foam leaving spotty lacing at the edges. Aroma of charred toast, woody tobacco, some light chocolate pastry sweetness.

Soft, roasty, and lightly bitter in the finish. Some vague raisin sweetness in the aftertaste, complimenting the smooth creamy feel. It's subtle and flavorful at the same time. Well balanced.

I'll pick this up again before it's gone, definitely worth a 6-pack purchase to enjoy in the cold weather.

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Photo of zeff80
4.29/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an opaque, black color with ruby highlights. It had a one-finger, bubbly, brown head of foam. No lacing.

S - It smelled of coffee, chocolate, toasted malt and hints of toffee.

T - It tasted of bittersweet dark chocolate, coffee, toasted malt and a touch of molasses. There was a slight citrus taste, too.

M - It was soft and creamy with a warm alcohol presence. A medium-bodied ale with a very dry finish.

D - This is a very good representation of the style. It delivers a nice spiciness with a bitter chocolate flavor.

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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.

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Photo of mothman
3.68/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into bell's tulip.

Pours 1/4 of a finger of light tan head. Fades to a thin later. Leaves a decent amount of lace. Color is black.

Aroma: Lots of roasted malts, chocolate, coffee up front. Also has some molasses and licorice hidden in the background.

Taste: Tons of roasted malts right up front. Very smokey. Then the coffee notes kick in with some dark chocolate. A lot more molasses here and the licorice is much more apparent. Grassy hops balance it out a bit. I didn't expect this to be so roasted. I am not a big fan.

Mouthfeel: Rich, smooth, creamy, and smokey. Full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends incredibly smoky.

Overall, just too much smoke and roasted malt in this beer. I don't mind a little when it comes to stouts, but this was over done. I don't think I would want to buy this again. If you like a lot of smoke and roasted notes, then this beer is for you.

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 10/9/2014. Pours fairly pitch black color with a 1 finger dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toast, dark bread, light smoke/char, light pine, and herbal/roasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt and earthy hop notes; with good strength. Taste of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toast, dark bread, light smoke/char, light pine, and herbal/roasted earthiness. Good amount of herbal/roasted bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toast, dark bread, light smoke/char, and herbal/roasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice complexity, balance, and robustness of dark/roasted malt and earthy hop flavors; with a great roasted bitterness/sweetness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a very smooth, moderately creamy, and lightly chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent Foreign stout style. All around great balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt and earthy hop flavors; and very smooth to drink for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of nickfl
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours with half a finger of brownish-tan foam that sits on top of dark brown body with some clear amber highlights showing through. The head settles quickly and leaves little lace.

S - A deep aroma of caramel and coffee with some light nutty notes.

T - Smoky notes of dark chocolate and coffee up front with a little bit of herbal, chicory tang. Mouth-coating dark chocolate notes in the middle slowly fade to reveal a tart, carbonized black coffee flavor that dominates the finish. Lingering notes of dark chocolate, charcoal, and smoke tease the palate and invite another sip.

M - Medium-thick body, moderately low carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish with just a hint of astringency to the bitterness.

D - This is a great, drinkable beer. The sugary sweetness of the aroma is a nice contrast to the bitter and roasty flavor. The body is silky and mouth coating and helps to keep the malt bitterness in check to create a drinkable and refreshing beer. I would love to see Lefthand try scaling this back to turn it into a dry Irish stout next time, I think they could pull it off.

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Photo of oberon
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This style of stout should be more popular,I hope to see more in the future.Poured at first seemed to be a jet black,after being held up to a strong light a ruby tint showed thru the darkness,a creamy one finger light mocha head atop that left one big drape of lace behind as it settled into a creamy mass.Awesome aromas,just complex as all get out,a mix of fudge cake and coffee,a slight alcohol dark fruit sweetness came thru as well.The flavors were just as complex, if not more,starting out with big coffee roast and dark chocolate,the alcohol lends some molasses and dark fruit,there is big earthy dryness in the finish that was just a great cap.The only thing that isnt great about this brew is just a little bit of a thinner feel,other than that its as good as it gets for the style in my opinion,not to sweet,just right!

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

A: Pours a rich creamy looking dark black color that lets a touch of light through when it thins. Even the rich thick head has some dark brown hue to it. Bigger bubbles scatter throughout the head giving it a nice looking pattern. It rises 1 finger and very slowly subsides.

N: Nose is loaded with coffee and roasted malts. Some nice caramel aromas adds a sweet touch. It's loaded with toasty roasted malts and sweet aromas. A light tough of chocolate adds to the loaded coffee. A very light touch of dark fruit plum like fruit finishes the nose.

T: Also starts with a spicy coffee taste right away. Some light bitter flavors come through, not sure if it's from an interesting hop taste or the charred flavors from the crazy roasted charred malts. It's very earthy bitter flavor. Some light creamy chocolate flavors mingle with a touch of plum. A touch spicy alcohol phenols and slight warming goodness comes through. Then its all surrounded by more charred bitter roasted coffee flavors.

M: Semi thick and creamy, slightly spicy and warming alcohol, and good carbonation.

F: Finishes very bitter again, some of it I think is hop bitterness, but a lot stems from the roasted charred earthy starched malts, and stoutness. A little fruitiness on the finish with more lingering coffee flavors and acidity/alcohol lingering sting. The semi thick almost syrupy stout like flavors seem to stick to the mouth and don't go away at all, like a big rich heavy stout. It does seem to finish clean otherwise, and is pretty drinkable surprisingly. I think the lighter body from a much heavier stout is nice, but the coffee and alcohol flavors, and the heavy starched malt bitterness are a little on the heavy side.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap @ the Capital Ale House (Richmond, VA) on 12/13/09. Served in a pint glass.

Pours black, with a finger of smooth & creamy mocha colored head. This stays nice and rich looking, leaving a strong smattering of spotty tan foam behind. The aroma is very dark smelling, with a lot of roasted coffee character, and bitter malts. A good bit of the sweetness comes from sticky notes of chocolate and molasses, while floral and herbal hops hang on the edges. The espresso and dark roast really put out most of the flavor though.

The taste is burnt chocolate malts and coffee, which gives this a deeply roasted flavor. Blackstrap molasses adds a sticky tang and an extra layer of darkness to this. Hops are fairly strong, adding a prickly and bitter feel, while some citric and herbal character rides along with the bitterness. The mouthfeel is fuller bodied, with a big mouth-filling sharp creaminess to it that then thickens up some towards the back of the swallow. This actually goes down pretty darn well for the size of it.

This was a bit of a surprise. Packed with a ton of dark flavors, yet this stayed well balanced and very drinkable for a higher ABV Stout. A winner of a new beer here from Left Hand.

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

On-tap 1/27/2010 at Track 84 in Warwick, RI, served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep black color, with a short beige head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of coffee, chocolate, roasted malts and a very slight touch of hops.

T: The taste is loaded with black coffee and milk chocolate. There's a very hearty roasted malt character along with some lactose creaminess. The hops presence is very mild as you would expect from this kind of beer. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium-to-heavy body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, good kick, nice representation of style, this is a very good stout to drink for a long time.

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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 ChainGangGuy
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle - $1.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia. Bottled on: 11.04.09 (I assume, as the stamped mark is terribly smeared).

Appearance: Pours an appropriately black body with a fluffy, beige-colored head.

Smell: The nose starts quite dark and roasty with some humble chocolate and teeny notes of dark fruit doing their very best to temper the strongly burnt, creosote-soaked barley aroma.

Taste: Roasted, charred barley with some sweet layers of creamy, semi-sweet chocolate and dark caramel and unquestionably full-bodied coffee. Very small hint of carbonized dark fruits. Spicy, lightly earthy hops do what they can to counter the sweetness, but, really, that's already done with that deeply burnt black malt taste. Finishes dry with more than a fair share of well-roasted maltiness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Smooth, creamy mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Fade to yum! This year's FtB release is very roasty, sweet, and creamy -- a good nightcap for the evening a fine way to kick off this yearly series.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pupillary black with highlights of scarlet and orange along the bottom edge of the glass. Just short of a black hole. The pale caramel colored cap looks mighty fine and is starting to lay down a surprising amount of lace in shotgun-blasted sheets.

The nose is wall-to-wall roasted malt, which showcases the usual aromas of bittersweet chocolate and charred coffee beans. This is one pungent and powerful big stout, even though it's still on the chilly side.

Fade To Black does not contain coffee or coffee beans as far as I know. If it doesn't, it has to be one of the most java-centric, non-java-added brews in history. It's also tasty beer that fits the style to a 'T' and is easily distinguishable from an Imperial or American double stout.

Specific flavors include charred coffee beans, bittersweet chocolate, dark caramel, hints of vanilla and a few tendrils of wood smoke. Fade To Black tastes black in the same way that schwarzbiers taste black. Black patent malt perhaps? Anyway, good fit between name and beer. Volume 2 is a smoked Baltic porter, by the way.

The mouthfeel, like every one of the beer's characteristics, fits the style guidelines. It isn't huge and chewy, but it's medium-weight silky and (almost) whole milk creamy. The bubbles find that big beer sweet spot as well.

Left Hand is no stranger to high-ABV stouts. Their Imperial Stout is amazing stuff that deserves more love than it gets. Volume 1 of the Fade To Black series is delicious beer that can hold its head high when lined up alongside the heavy hitters of the style.

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Photo of billab914
3.89/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. It poured dark brown in color with a very thin tan lacing scattered across the top of the beer.

The aroma shows some very nice chocolate and coffee flavors to it. I get a good amount of malty sweetness to it with some notes of caramel and brown sugar coming through.

The taste shows a lot of dark, bitter-sweet chocolate to it throughout the flavor. It has a pretty bold, roasty, burnt like flavor to it as well. The sweeter malty, chocolate, caramel flavors come out more up front, while the bitter, roasty, burnt, coffee flavors come out more towards the finish.

The mouthfeel feels a little thin for the style, while carbonation is on the lower side. Drinkability is good, I really liked the roasty, burnt, dark chocolate, bitterness it brought in the finish. Pretty nice beer overall.

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

This was the pick up I was most stoked about yesterday

Pours a chestnut hued mahogany with 2 fingers of cocoa colored head. Average head retention & fantastic lacing

S: Charred grain & coffee

T: Dark fruit, cocoa, charred grain dryness & carob up front along with some dryness & leafy hops. Coffee & a bit of booze tinge as this warms, plus a touch of dryness & some baker's chocolate. Finishes with dryness, dark fruit, & coffee with touch of mocha

MF: Fairly lively carbonation somewhat of a detractor, medium bodied, but become oily & juicy once warm

Drinks incredibly easy for the abv, this a very well put together export stout, well done Left Hand!

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Huge thansk to Richbrew for the growler of this one. With Left Hand pulling out of SC there was no way I was gonna see this one. Served chilled nad poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 02/27/2010.

The pour was huge, dark brown, nearly black except for a few touches of light that seem to sneak around the sides of the glass. A huge head of tan then comes up and over the top of the glass, three fingers high and looks like a chocolate marshmellow. Just huge look, really nice to see here. Aroma is loaded with roasted and smoked malts. Hints of coffee and chocolate as it warms anda touch of light licorice, but I am getting that deep, almost campfire feel to this at times. Body was a bit thin for the style, very carbonated and it caused it to thin out a bit more at times. Rich dark malts roll across the tongue immediatly. Smokey with hints of bitter roasted coffee and a touch of light vanilla. Fleeting though as you are smacked hard with the full coffee and smoke flavor quickly. Clean finish was not as dry as it could have been but the abv was meticulously hidden,

Overall a very nice beer, not sure on the style but it was a nice drinker and I was able to put down several without much issue.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.23/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at Al's of Hampden on 3/21/11

The stout appears a deep coffee brown with medium tan cap and tight bead w/ caramel color at the base. The lace stickage is good and clarity is translucent. The aroma has a strong roasted nose w/ mild smoke and slightly nutty dry odor w/ mild alcohol scent. The feel is rich and roasty w/ dry medium body and moderately carbonated feel with a semi-dry finish.

The Foreign export stout has lots of roast as indicated by the nose w/ mild smoke in the flavor w/ gentle grain astringency and subtle yeast fruitiness. There is some coffee-like earthy qualities with a finish that is semi-dry. I really enjoyed this - a quality strong dark brew overall. It fits the style well and has nice malt layers w/ a very drinkable quality as it opens up. I could enjoy this beer repeatedly.

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Photo of womencantsail
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Jeff for this beer. From notes.

A: The pour is just about black with a short lived mocha head that starts off at about one finger in height.

S: Lots of roasted malts on the nose with a nice coffee aroma to it as well. Seemingly not as dry and acidic as a lot of export stouts can be. A slight char is present along with some bitter dark chocolate.

T: The roast is the dominant flavor and there's some slightly acidic coffee tones to go with it. Not as much in terms of chocolate but there is a good toffee character. A solid bitterness that lasts to the finish.

M: The body is medium with a moderate level of carbonation.

D: Not always my favorite style, but this was a pretty good example of it. Definitely higher in alcohol than I was initially anticipating, but it does not really show itself.

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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 orangesol
4.07/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on Nitro-tap at Al's of Hampden into a nonic pint.

A - Pours jet black with a small half finger tall light tan head, dissipating down to almost nothing, leaving sticky webs of lacing down the glass.

S - Smells of dark roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, light smoke, and a bit of dryness. A tiny bit of booze comes thru as it warms up to room temp. Nothing too over the top, just your typical dry export stout.

T - Lots of dark roast up front giving way slowly to a mix of coffee, light smoke, and earthy dryness. The flavors blend well to form a well balanced stout. Finish is dry with some lingering dark roast. It really isn't anything mind blowing but it is a very solid beer.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Big, dry, feel with plenty of lingering dark roast throughout the finish.

O - Pretty good. I liked this one, the flavors are well rounded and it is quite drinkable, but it really wasn't anything mind blowing, just a solid export stout. It fits the style to a T.

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Fade To Black (Volume 1 - Foreign Export Stout) from Left Hand Brewing Company
4.08 out of 5 based on 927 ratings.
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