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: 360 | Ratings: 921
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 kiddynamite920
3.83/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pitch black with a very thin tan head, can't see through this guy. Smells strong of sweet chocolate malts and some rich coffee, very nice. Crisp and clean for the higher abv, tastes more like a coffee stout. Alcohol is well hidden behind a huge amount of flavor. Very flavorful and robust. Extremely drinkable on this cold night, a great pickup.

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Photo of UGman958
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Very stout-like. Pours impenetrable black with a compact, light-mocha head.

S: Toasted bread with chocolate, coffee, and roasted wood.

T: Malty sweetness up front followed by burnt espresso beans and smoke. Decently complex and very tasty. The aftertaste is, well ... you know the smell of coffee brewing? This beer made my tongue taste kinda like that for whole minutes after drinking.

M: Thick but smooth like milk. Surprisingly drinkable considering the immense flavors.

A great stout all around.

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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.

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Photo of rowew
4.27/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2 caveats to this review. First, I thought Snowbound was one of the worst winter seasonals around, and the worst beer from Left Hand, so I was glad to see it go. Second, I'm on the rebound from a cold so some senses may be a bit muted.

Presentation: Label looks like tribal tattoo work, black and white. 12 oz longneck. Bottled on date was not readable. Only on the neck does it say this is Volume 1, Foreign Export Stout.

Appearance: Pours completely dark, average head that is mocha colored.

Smell: Roast, a bit of dark chocolate.

Taste: Nice combination of roast flavors and some bitterness, kind of like an espresso bitterness with a bit of the dark chocolate here too.

Overall impression: Nice beer for the cold weather we are having lately. This is much better than the beer it replaced, and is a nice addition to the winter beers out there.

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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 cokes
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nearly pitchless black, with a small outline of magenta when held to a light. The head is a healthy column of tan and leaves gobs of lace as it ebbs.
Coffee grounds and cocoa nibs on the nose, with backings from charcoal, toasted dark breads, and traces of anise, black cherry, and vanilla. It's a nice aroma, but a tad dialed-down given its overall potency.
Immediately and thoroughly roasted in the mouth. Espresso and smoke. Cocoa arises, first in a bitter dark sense, migrating sweeter and milkier as it progresses. A dab of dark fruit (cherry) and caramel offset the dark roastiness. The hops swing things back in the parchedly dry direction with their taut bitterness of dead leaves.
Medium plus bodied, slick and glossy. Texturally, its thinner than most big stouts, but it is well structured, hiding its alcohol almost entirely, as it repeatedly slams itself against the back of ones gullet.
Big or not big. This is just a damn nice stout.

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Photo of Vancer
4.02/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The new brew on the block from Lefty comes out, of course, opaque black in my Corsendonk tulip. Semi-rich tan head appears, but dies a quick death within a few minutes. Only drawback in the pour.

Full aroma of chocolate shake in this malty brew from the black lands. Quaff adds a bit of burnt toast, hint of coffee and a BBQ briquette, a crisp and dry finish to such a sweet malty start. A perfection addition of herbal hops balance this one out like the scales of justice.

One damn fine tasty brew, darn shame if it is brewed just one and done. No hint of a fairly potent brew at 8.5%, body is even on the light side.

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

12oz pour to mug at Mahar's in Albany on 12/4/09.

Notes taken directly from phone.

Fade To Black Volume 1 - Foreign Export Stout

A: pitch black, 1 inch head. Lacing down mug.

S: roasted malt, a slight hint of chocolate.

T: similar to smell. Roasted malts with hints of chocolate and coffee. Nice robust flavor profile. Good stout.

M: smooth taste without alcohol burn. Full flavor and full bodied stout.

D: highly drinkable for 8+%! Tastes good, drinks well, I'd have another mug.

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Photo of Urbancaver
4.36/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Beautiful solid black with a minimal white head. Completely opaque even in a thinner glass

Aroma- Strong coffee aroma with a hint of malt. The scent is actually less potent than I would like.

Taste- Very well balanced roasted coffee and malt flavours with a hint of chocolate and a smoky touch.

Mouthfeel- Not too thin, not too thick. Hangs around on the tongue for a bit with a bite of alcohol.

Drinkabilit-: Definitely a sipper with a strong taste. Fairly well balances though which gives it a pretty good rating

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Photo of Hullabaloo2
3.92/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Aroma - Strong roasted malt, and Black Patent malt. Slightly astringent. Slight alcohol.

Appearance - Black, but lets some light through. Nice deep red highlights. Tan head poured 1 1/2 fingerwidths, but dissipated to 1/2 fingerwidth. From what little I can see through the glass there is a fair amount of visible carbonation. Disappointing head retention. No lacing.

Taste - Strong, coffee like roasted malt; some chocolate. There is a surprising amount of bitterness, but it is very earthy. Little to no hop flavor, or aroma. Noticable alcohol. While this beer has a lot of roasted coffee like characteristics, I don't think that there is actually any coffee in the brew.

Mouth Feel - Medium/heavy body. Smooth, creamy. Medium carbonation. Again, a surprising amount of bitterness, but not out of balance. Noticable alcohol. Slightly astringent on the finish.

Overall Impression - This is a great beer, and I'm surprised becasuse I really don't care for Left Hand's beer. I find their regular production to be less than mediocre. I hope they keep making beer of this quality. This is one I will definitely buy again.

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Photo of KeefD
3.7/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Guinness glass, dark brown on the pour but completely black and opaque in the glass, small tan head, very light lacing and weak retention. Aroma has a nice mixture of chocolate, roasted barely, smoke and light coffee. Alcohol is also coming through on the aroma. Flavor is balanced chocolate and roasted caramel, but there's nothing that really stands out here. It's well balanced between the roasty malt and hops, but nothing really shines or sings. I usually like to see a little less bitterness in an export stout and more roastiness. Mouthfeel is near full, but doesn't quite reach there and the carbonation is there in a perfect amount. Not a bad Export Stout, but it can never live up to something like Lion Stout or Guinness FES. Not bad though.

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Photo of Gavage
4.32/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a black color with a short head that falls to a spotty surface foam.

Smell: roasted malts with mild coffee and chocoalte aromas.

Taste: big roasted malt goodness here with some milder coffee, chocolate, prunes, and a hearty bitterness. There is a bit of earthiness here along with warming alcohol.

Mouthfeel: medium-heavy in body. Lightly crisp to start but smooth at the finish. Aftertaste is very long as the flavors linger in the mouth.

Drinkability: this is a slow sipping beer that has a great flavor profile. Worth seeking this one out.

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

Picked this up from my favorite store. Hadn't heard about it before.

A: Decent looking although I may have screwed up because there isn't any head. Sometimes I don't pay attention.

S: Strong espresso/coffee notes. Lovely.

T: This isn't what I expected. A great stout with some good coffee notes shining through. This is actually a great beer and I'm loving it. This is what a stout should be.

M: Not as creamy I'd like it to be but still very good.

D: Not one for pounding but if that's how you judge drinkability then you're at the wrong place. This one will warm you up and keep your spirits high.

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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

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Photo of bluejacket74
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle, bottled on November 4th, 2009. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown with about a half inch brown head that went away pretty quickly. Lacing is good. The aroma is molasses, coffee, smoke/burnt/charred malt, and some bittersweet chocolate. Taste is similar to the aroma, but with a bit of licorice noticable too. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit slick and creamy with good carbonation. Drinkability is good, it's smooth and not hard to drink at all. Also, the alcohol is well hidden. Overall I think this is a good beer, I'd buy this again in the future. It's a good beer for a cold December day!

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Photo of Thur123
4.27/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a oil black with very little head or any kind of retention. The beer looks to be 99% opaque. The smell is roasted standard grade coffee, caramel, a bit of dark fruits and maybe some cream too.

Glug glug glug

The taste is big roasted malt that has tons of coffee, maybe even a little bit stale...the coffee. There is a hop backbone that complements the roasted quality well. The dark fruit taste is very faint and exists under the crushing weight of all that roasty malt. The mouth feel is fine. Overall this is good and somewhat standard Stout, but definitely well done and rather big for its style, so cheers to fade to black.

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Photo of homebrew311
4.37/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured 12 oz bottle into NB globe.

A: Pours a somewhat thin looking black with a light brown head. Opaque in the glass, nice head retention.

S: huge roasted profile, coffee, chocolate, some toffee, a slight sweetness on the finish.

T: huge roasted profile just like the nose suggests, lots of bold coffee notes, bitter chocolate. roasted barley all over the place. This is a concoction of stouty deliciousness and I am glad that Left Hand decided to release it.

MF: a little thinner than I'd like for the style, but the carbonation seems to be where it should

D: Wow, there is nothing I like more than a big stout that is a new release and sold in 6 packs. What I like even more is when the product inside the bottle is delicious. Fade to Black accomplishes both feats. A nice example of the style and a delicious malt profile! Also hides its alcohol content dangerously.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
4.19/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- The appearance isnt anything to write home about. It looks pretty much just like an ordinary old dark beer. Its really really black, the head that rises with a pour is small and off white, there is really no retention at all, no lacing.

S- French vanilla coffee and chocolate. and roasted malts.

T- Bitter and sweet. Nice balance. Coffee, unsweetened chocolate and some faint alcohol. Its really nice.

M- Creamy, low carbonation. Slightly hot at times.

D- On the heavy side and kinda hot for an 8.5% abv. Still this is a really good stout. It falls in between a milk stout and a RIS.

This style is starting to become one of my favorites. I just wish there were more export stouts being crafted. Maybe Left Hand will start the ball rolling with this one.

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Photo of fropones
4.32/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Had this on cask at the Blind Pig in Champaign tonight.

A - Nice and dark, half a finger of mocha head.

S - Lots of unsweetened chocolate and coffee as well as some roasted and caramel malt.

T - More toasted malt and coffee, with a bit of sweetness in the back. Some dates and raisins. Nice warming from the alcohol. As it warmed, some more sweetness came out and more fruit flavors.

M - Nice carbonation, but it could be much bigger bodied. It was a little to watery.

D - Good. A very deicious brew that drinks a little too easily for 8.5% alcohol. Alcohol is very well masked.

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

Pours a beautiful thick and rocky head. Roasted overtones and sweet aromas. Very very smooth stout, wonderfully balanced sweetness and bitterness. Smoky, roasted and very tasty maltiness reigns. I really recommend this one, especially at the low low price of $1.60 a bottle at my local beer store. A winner for sure. Can't wait for Volume II!

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Photo of DIM
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a: This was black as...(insert your own spooky/gothic analogy) It poured with a large, foamy head that quickly faded to moderate lace.

s: I haven't had many examples of this style, but they all seem to have something i can't quite describe in common. They remind of imperial dry or milk stouts I think. Anyway, I smelled plenty of roasty cocoa and milk chocolate.

t: This tastes familiar. I'm reminded of Lion or Guiness Export, and that is a compliment. Gentle, roasty malt flavors of chocolate with some faint bitterness at the end. I couldn't find 8.5% abv anywhere.

m: Gently foamy carbonation and a lush, creamy body.

d: Great beer and a bargain at $35 a case.

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Photo of SiphonKing
3.76/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a nice tan head atop a dark, almost black body. A nice balance with good mouthfeel and a tasty, malty finish. I look forward to v. 2 and what Left Hand may be releasing in the near future. A delicious offering and also very sessionable for a foreign extra stout.

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Photo of tpd975
3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap Varga Bar.

A: Pours a lighter shade of black with a nice solid off white head. Okay retention with some nice lace.

S: Nice toasty aromas. Toasted bread, dark malt, chocolate, and coffee.

T: Black Black roasted malt. Strong notes of coffee and bitter chocolate. Mild dark fruit and a hint of smoke.

M: On the fuller side of medium. A pretty damn good beer at a pretty damn good bar.

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Fade To Black (Volume 1 - Foreign Export Stout) from Left Hand Brewing Company
4.08 out of 5 based on 921 ratings.
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