Wake Up Dead - Barrel-Aged | Left Hand Brewing Company

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Wake Up Dead - Barrel-AgedWake Up Dead - Barrel-Aged
294 Ratings
Wake Up Dead - Barrel-AgedWake Up Dead - Barrel-Aged

Brewed by:
Left Hand Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by mcallister on 08-02-2010

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 294 |  Reviews: 133
Reviews by ShortyTahoe:
Photo of ShortyTahoe
4.5/5  rDev +30.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

More User Reviews:
Photo of mverity
3.24/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours a hearty black with 1/4 inch of medium tan head that faded fairly quickly into sparse wisps and med-thin collar. Pretty good legs, but only fair lacing. Aroma is warm woody bourbon, earthy/roasty/smoky malt, and black coffee. Taste is that roasty/smoky malt, bitter coffee, licorice, burnt hair and boozey heat. Not terrible, just unbalanced. Mouthfeel is a bit thin, that high alcohol definitely shows and it's a touch over carbonated.

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Photo of JakerLou
3.93/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of gibgink
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Tabni
4.55/5  rDev +31.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber at TW for $8.99
Poured into a glass.
A- Dark black color with a small creamy yellowish head
S- Exceptional, barrels, this might be a strong one and I don't see anywhere the alcohol content.
T&M- Warm up my palate slowly, a strong barrel aged beer. I can taste chocolate, roasted and wooden malts. Great job Left Hand!
D- After sipping this beer, I assumed it had around 10 or 11% alcohol, to later on find-out that it was 10.20%. Great brew for a cold winter night, being close to a bong-fire, and enjoy a movie out with the stars. That's exactly how I had it and it was a great night to remember.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.05/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice glass.

Appearance: Pours a pitch black color with a moderate amount of bubbles. About one finger of tan head that fades into a thin creamy layer. Leaves a solid amount of lacing around the glass.

Smell: A sweet and roasty aroma with noticeable barrel hints. Whiskey scent upfront with hints of oak, vanilla, and wood. Sweet dark roasted malts with hints of dark chocolate, coffee, caramel, toffee, biscuit, and smoke. Sweet scent of molasses and burnt sugar. Light hints of anise and some subtle undertones of dark cherry, prune, raisin, plum, and fig. Aroma is kind of laid back for the style.

Taste: Like the nose hints, a sweet and roasty taste with good barrel notes. Bourbon whiskey taste upfront along with some vanilla, oak, and wood. Sweet dark roasted malts with notes of chocolate, coffee roast, caramel, biscuit, toffee, yeast, and smoked malt. Molasses and burnt brown sugar sweetness as well as a little syrup and anise. Light dark fruit notes with some dark cherry, plum, prune, raisin, and fig. Tastes fairly good.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy and fairly slick and syrupy. Alcohol heat is tame for the style.

Overall: A decent barrel aged stout. Kind of laid back and light for the style but the barrel comes out pretty well.

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Photo of wo87810
4.25/5  rDev +23.2%

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.41/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured out a pretty thick black, big cherry cola style head on top of it. Mild notes of roast, barrel notes, nothing spectacular, but no offputting aroma either. At this point, I'm already wondering why people hated it so much, it was a good looking beer with nothing offensive in the aroma.

Taste, very mild barrel notes, creamy mouthfeel, decent thickness and mouthfeel. Fractional cherry in the mouthfeel. I didn't find the base beer to be thin like many said, I found the barrel flavor to be thin, but I'd take that any day over the ones that just taste like a boilermaker/car bomb type of situation. Relatively easy to drink, hid the alcohol quite well, although I felt it after completion.

Bought this beer in March 2011 from Sun Devil Liquors, aged it at room temperature until Feb 2012, everybody who drank it liked it. I think for less than $10 a bottle, right off the shelf, this is actually a nice option.

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Photo of glid02
4.05/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Taco Mac Metropolis in Atlanta.

Pours black with a half-finger light brown head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of smooth dark chocolate and roasted malts backed by mild amounts of oak. Also present are slight amounts of char and slighter amounts of toffee.

Tastes similar to how it smells although better integrated. Robust roasted malt flavors leaning toward the sweet side kick things off and are joined quickly by moderate amounts of semi-sweet chocolate flavors. Midway through the sip the flavor profile sweetens a bit with the addition of dark toffee, black cherry, and faint vanilla flavors. The sweetness then subsides near the end of the sip with slight hints of char and oak that rounds everything out nicely. The ending is moderately bitter.

Mouthfeel is OK. It's got a nice thickness however the carbonation was on the heavy side for a beer of this style.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my glass quickly and could have another with no problems.

Overall I wasn't sure what to expect from a BA beer from Left Hand but I was pleasantly surprised. A tasty beer that's well worth a shot.

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Photo of AlexChillton
4.25/5  rDev +23.2%

Photo of GilGarp
4.22/5  rDev +22.3%

Bomber bottled on 12/08/2012.

Served slightly chilled into a goblet, barrel aged Wake Up Dead is basically black in color with thick khaki head. It has great retention too, barely settling even after five minutes.

Aroma is rich and roasty with a slight bourbon nose. I also get some of that characteristic vanilla common in barrel aged beers.

Flavor is sweet up front with chocolate and molasses. It turns to the bitter side midway through with coffee and dark roasted malts. Hops also contribute to the bitterness but I don't get much hop flavor. Finishes dry with a slight alcoholic burn.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and perfectly carbonated. It's got good balance and depth of flavors. Smooth and drinkable for a 10%+ ABV stout.

Overall a very solid barrel aged stout. I wonder if it gets low marks here from people expecting bourbon.

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Photo of seavercm
4/5  rDev +15.9%

Photo of alamode
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of LeeW
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of TheSupremeAJ
3.94/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep ruby chestnut, similar to a dark barleywine almost. Per the stated style this is poor, however it is OK in my books. Head is thick, luscious, and retentious. Aroma is smooth and oakey, not real strong. Some bitter cocoa is prevalent. The taste is actually kind of between a stout and a barleywine... it actually taste like a barleywine with cocoa and black coffee notes. This is unique, and seriously the only thing imperial about this is the ABV and not the taste, aroma, or mouthfeel. The carbonation is medium to high and may be a little high for the style, although enjoyable. Hops are certainly muted. Aftertaste is similar to quality black coffee and rich bittersweet cocoa, not real sweet actually despite what other reviewers say. Overall this was a really enjoyable beer although it really didn't fit into the mold of a style if you know what I mean. If this review was based on enjoyment and not style, I would have rated better.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Left Hand Wake Up Dead
Bottled on 10.26.10

With a little coaxing I was able to bring up a frothy head of (surprisingly subtly pinkish) tan that held quite well. When it eventually fell, it looked almost like wet yeasty dough. Lots of lacing was left behind, and although there was pretty much just a whispy surface covering throughout the remainder of the glass, the lacing remained strong. The body appeared black in the glass, but when held to the light you could see that it was a fairly clear, ruby-orange accented dark mahogany.

The aroma was fruity at first, revealing its chocolate and caramel notes later on. As my nose adjusted I found more of what appeared to be Bourbon. Ahh, but there's some woodiness there as well. Nice. There was just a hint of roastiness to it, almost like the ash and char of a camp fire the morning after, but not enough to make me think "Imperial" stout.

The wood comes through in the flavor, and it's not overdone. There's just enough there to give it some extra character. It's a bit like brown sugar on the tip of the tongue, followed by some fruit (berry-like with some cherry and a bit of dark fruit skins) and powdery cocoa-ish notes, and finally some golden caramel. A spritz of alcohol appears and then it shows its bitterness at the swallow, followed by chocolate notes. Dark bitter chocolate - nice. It's a surprisingly short finish until the alcohol starts to build on your palate, and then that lingers for seemingly forever. You really get that Bourbon barrel at that point. It's kind of like an alcohol soaked chocolate covered cherry.

All in all, I found it to be a really drinkable beer. It's certainly not a massive beer, with what I'd deem a medium body. Nor are the flavors overly rich, leaving it readily accessible. I thought the fruitiness was quite charming, and overall I found it really well-balanced and rounded. The only drawback to all of that is the fairly obvious alcohol note. How much of that is due to aging in Bourbon barrels, I don't know. Taking it as it is, hedonistically, I think it's a really solid, enjoyable beer. What I find missing, given the "Imperial stout" designation is more maltiness, body, and fuller flavors of chocolate and roast. It lacks depth, but not complexity.

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Photo of MtnBiker
4/5  rDev +15.9%

Photo of McNealc31
4.47/5  rDev +29.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black, of course. Sweet vanilla, charred oak, and currants in the aroma. Flavor is even more complex with bourbon, more char, and smoke added. The evidence of the barrel aging is more pronounced as it warms. I'm even getting a hint of cherry, which really works. Cocoa powder and anise in there, as well. Hops finally come in at the end to provide a bitter finish.

A big fan of this. Huge flavors, obvious impact from the barrel aging, complex, balanced, very smooth. And the name? You'd never guess it weighs in at 10.2%

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Photo of Mavajo
4.07/5  rDev +18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark chesnut brown - never quite gives the impression of black. Mild brown head and very slight stringy lacing. All in all, not that remarkable in the "appearance" department.

Nose is rich and sweet. Loaded with toffee/caramel malt, very sweet, with hints of cherry fruitiness. The taste goes hand in hand which much of the same notes. Predominantly strong caramel/toffee notes supported by cherry licorice flavors. Nice mellow, woody undertones. No roasted notes at all - which is perfect in my book! I think too many breweries load their stouts up with massive roasty notes. While the brewery suggests herbal notes, I picked up none.

The mouthfeel is very thin for an RIS. Hurts the overall experience. Carbonation is appropriate.

This is a delicious beer, but really atypical for an RIS. The appearance and mouthfeel are especially unusual for the style, and even the taste is off the typical RIS path. Honestly, I would peg it more as an Old or Strong Ale if I was trying it during a blind tasting.

Regardless, this is a delicious beer. Don't hold it to a style - just enjoy it. Fantastic beer. I've never been that impressed with Left Hand in the past, but they hit a home run on this one.

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Photo of freewill35
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of russpowell
3.63/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an effervescent black with 3 fingers of mocha colored head. Sheets of lacing & above average head retention

S: Dark fruit, toffee & vanilla & booze once warm.

T: Dark fruit & chocolate, charcoal & coffee up front, the coffee is fairly faint. More chcolate, some woody hops, dryness, warming booze, faint bourbon notes & some caramel as this warms, plus some vanilla & oak notes. Finishes dry, warming with carob, dark cherries & caramel & some boozeyness, some roastyness & a touch of smokeyness

MF: Fairly chewy; fairly faint carbonation, pretty warming, starts thinning out as this warms, not the point of disappointment, but not helping the cause either

Drinks alright, not bad, needs more barrel character to really shine. This was better than the score I'm seeing IMO, but not one to make you blow off more established barrel age choices. Might pick some more up if on sale & see how it ages. I do believe another 6 months would've help with this bottle.... ABV is fairly well hidden...

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Photo of seedsofchaos
2.22/5  rDev -35.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Found this recently at my local and the purchased was prefaced with the staff letting me know it's getting a lot of mixed reviews out there and some have been downright awful. An eight dollar bomber didn't dissuade me though and I shared the bomber with a buddy that same night.

Appearance does alright in of itself. As mentioned in other reviews, this brew isn't exactly black. Teetering on the SRM scale it probably bounces around the low 40s. Head is brilliant enough at a lingering 1/2 inch. Khaki in color, the head leaves plenty of lace. Not necessarily a thing of beauty by any means, but this isn't a bad looking beer either.

Bouquet? Where is that bouquet? Hello? Echo... echo... echo... Nostrils pressed deeply into my snifter, I inhale yet again. Ah. There's something. A touch of chocolate, earthy hops, a bit of oak (this reminds me of fresh oak from a tree quite honestly), some roast and just a touch of raisins. Flavor doesn't come through quite as muted as the nose but it's not in its "Sunday Best" either. A bit of roast mixes with very earthy hops. The bitterness doesn't play well with what I'm guessing is the oak. The oak, as in the nose, tastes very "green" and my tongue feels as if I am licking this beer off the wood itself. The label on the bottle mentions cherry, licorice and toffee. I find none of these things. Especially absent is any creaminess typically offered by the use of crystal/caramel malts. Simply speaking, this is a bitter and earthy/woody tasting black beer. Period.

What happened, Left Hand? For a barrel aged Imperial Stout this misses on just about every mark. I can honestly say that Wake up Dead is definitely a beer that I'm considering six feet under.

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Photo of hiphopj5
3.25/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of atlbravsrno1
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Kevincredible
3/5  rDev -13%

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Wake Up Dead - Barrel-Aged from Left Hand Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.45 out of 5 with 294 ratings