Barrel-Aged Wake Up Dead | Left Hand Brewing Company

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Barrel-Aged Wake Up DeadBarrel-Aged Wake Up Dead

Brewed by:
Left Hand Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: American Double / 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

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Reviews: 133 | Ratings: 290
Photo of BrianGT
4.82/5  rDev +47%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark cherry/brown in my pint glass. Minimal head, tan in color.

Has a sweet toffee/cherry/malty smell.

Fruity up front, with cocoa taste in the middle, finishing with a nice bitterness. Has a thick feel to it.

Is definitely a different approach to an imperial stout. Will be interesting to see how this is after sitting in the cellar for a while. Time to go pick up some more of this.

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Photo of misfit1034
4.58/5  rDev +39.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Nitro-Tap into tulip... amazingly creamy tan hed that lasted through the entire session on this (30+ minutes of savoring from cool to room temp) and left some amazing lacing that followed the deep, thick black/brown nectar to the bottom of the glass... Smell was everything you would want in a creamy stout with the perfect balance from the barrel aging and taste was nothing less than amazing... Mouthfeel was creamy and warm and overall one of the best of the best I have had and an amazing first nitro-tap experience...

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Photo of Tabni
4.55/5  rDev +38.7%
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 McNealc31
4.47/5  rDev +36.3%
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 Charlie_Hoss
4.28/5  rDev +30.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On Tap at Jacks Goal Line Stand in Long Branch NJ

A: Great dark, dark brownish black color.It pours with a decent brownish head and pretty great lacing as the beer leaves the glass.

S: The smell of oak is pretty prominent in this one. I get some vanilla and even a fruity fragrance in this one.

T: This brew has a great taste of chocolate and oak. It finishes with a taste of vanilla, oak, and dried fruit (cherries maybe).

M: One of the best parts of this beer is the mouthfeel...It is everything you would want in a stout creamy, silky, smooth, and thick. Great stuff.

O: I really enjoyed this one. I don't really understand how this beer has such a low rating as it was one of the better stouts I have had in a while. I have not had it from the bottle but I cant imagine it being too different from the tap. Great stuff, cheers!

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Photo of Kakaraht
4.25/5  rDev +29.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark brown with a thin tan head that has decent lacing.

S: Very sweet and alcoholic with roasted coffee and burnt molasses. There is hints of brown sugar and a faint sour oakiness and a tinge of vanilla toffee.

T: Very heavy and sweet, almost syrupy with a decent amount of oak quality. Very reminiscent of the smell, but with an astringent burntness that gives a good bitter balance.

M: Very heavy, light carbonation and a deep thick syrupy alcoholic finish.

D: Hard to drink a full glace because of its heaviness, but perfect to split between a few friends as a dessert beer.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.25/5  rDev +29.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Comes out of the bottle a dark, barely translucent chocolaty brown with a thick, fine-bubbled, fairly persistent tan head that leaves some decent lacing. Aroma is smoky with hints of chocolate, toffee and licorice and a noticeable alcohol nip. Flavor has tones of unsweet chocolate, licorice, bitter wood, caramel, coffee and toffee; unfortunately, the alcohol bite is a wee bit too strong - half a point off there. Texture is fiercely edgy and fairly fizzy, leaving behind a long-lasting tingle and a bit of a metallic tang, as well as just a whisper of sweetness.

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Photo of atsprings
4.23/5  rDev +29%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into a Hopus glass pours a not quite opaque black that shows ruby when held to light. The beer is topped by a nice frothy khaki head that lasts as a thin layer and leavers nice lacing on the glass. Aroma is oak in the front with a nice amount of roasted malts and cocoa. The taste is a nice amount of roasted malt and oak alongside vanilla, licorice, molasses, and baker's cocoa. The beer is on the heavy side of medium with smooth carbonation. This is an enjoyable beer, far from the best Barrel-Aged Imperial Stouts out there, but an enjoyable one nonetheless.

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Photo of GilGarp
4.22/5  rDev +28.7%

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 BEERchitect
4.21/5  rDev +28.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

My, what a barrel does for stout! As if the standard "Wake Up Dead" wasn't already a fine Imperial Stout, the extra flavors that emerge from the use of bourbon barrel give the Stout some absolutely sublime and intangible flavors that excite the senses.

Creamy and inky, the ale pours with a viscous roundness as it settles in the glass. A smoldering tan head slowly rises from the ominously dark body beneath. Its coffee-like creme swirls about the rim, slowly folding back into the beer and only regenerates with a gentle swirl of the glass. The Stout defiantly takes on espresso appearances.

Emboldened aromas of chocolate and roast are highly mocha-like, even with the added notes of burnt caramel, charred toast, roasted nuts and heavy whipping cream highlight the malt contributions. As the beer warms, nuances of dark fruit, herbs and barrel bring about elements of tobacco and walnut brownies.

Its smooth and deviant taste wraps around the tongue with bittersweet chocolate and creamy espresso. Its lavish sweetness takes the shape of toffee and molasses even as the caramel and vanillans of the wood continue to sweeten its taste, even deep in its finish. But the middle is savory and fruit- plumb, blackberry and blackcurrant all seem of the grilled varieties as mature sherry and port offer savory, salty and tangy richness. Notions of fruitcake and rum meet obvious bourbon flavor as the beer's woody bitterness signals its closure.

And its milkshake-like creaminess leaves the same favorable impressions in the tactile sensations of the mouth as well. Silky and velvety, the strong ale is easy on the palate as its deeply embedded carbonation stays in the beer and ensures its creamy texture even late. Moderate bourbon warmth and light wood spices adds the most supple dryness in the finish even though its aftertaste lingers delightfully into the next sip.

The barrels have really brought out many of the "hard-to-put-your-finger-on" flavors that had largely gone missed in the origianal Wake Up Dead. This fruitier, more savory, more mature taste is sublime in every way.

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Photo of jamie2dope
4.12/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I haven't had anything from Left Hand in a while, so I am looking forward to trying this one. Wake up Dead? Pretty lame name if ya ask me, but what matters is whats in the glass. It pours a completely black (as expected) color, with a quick to fade white head, eventually becoming lacing. The nose is pretty deep with black currants, fudge, wood, and some char. Taste is different from what I was expecting....lots of juicy cherries, bitter chocolate and licorice. The barrel aging is more noticeable in the smell than in the taste. Mouthfeel is nice and chewy, with minimal carbonation, and a tiny hop bite at the back end. No mention of ABV here, though I am guessing it is in the ten percent range, maybe a bit more. The alcohol is there, though it doesn't taste hot at all. Sip this one slowly, and allow it to warm up so more the complexities come through. Overall this is a really nice cold weather treat from Left Hand. Also, a barrel aged RIS for ten dollars or so isn't too shabby. Cheers

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.12/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a snifter.

Appearance: This is black all the way through, with a small off-white head, the size of which may have had more to do with the bartender's pour than the beer itself. Some lacing sticks to the glass.

Smell: Brandy, a little smoke, dark chocolate, molasses, figs and raisins.

Taste: The taste starts sweet with some molasses, fig, and plum flavors. Roasted malt, some vanilla, and dark chocolate come in next. Smooth brandy really helps to round out the flavors and keep them flowing together but is not too dominant. Definitely more sweet than roasted. There is a little maple in the first second of the aftertaste. The ABV is mostly hidden here; the brandy was more flavor than bite.

Mouthfeel: Not as full of a body as I have experienced in other big stouts, and it does not drink as big as its body either. However, it is very smooth and creamy.

Drinkability: This is one I would definitely go back to, although from some reviews it looks like there are some bad bottles out there.

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Photo of b3shine
4.11/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nitro to pint. Looks good (but I don't consume for the looks). Smell is forgettable; fortunately, the taste isn't. It's delicious and the nitro accentuates the barrel-aged flavors. The NO2 doze the same form the mouthfeel. Overall, excellent, but I bet that has something to do with the nitrogen.

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Photo of Keffa
4.1/5  rDev +25%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a Duvel tulip. Served at fridge temp (40 F, give or take) and allowed to warm slightly.

A: Pours dark brown/black, nice 1 1/2 finger tan head that slowly settles to a small cap. Some fine lacing is left, and holds on with each sip. Surprising, given the ABV here. Some small legs on the glass when swirled. Swirling also brings back the head as well, and then it settles back down in a couple minutes. Nice looking beer.

S: Roast coffee, oak, chocolate, toast, roasted peanuts, and toffee are the first notes I get. Booze comes in slightly as well. Nice, big stout. I like it so far :)

T: Oak, dark fruit, coffee, chocolate, and a little warming alcohol. Some toast and roast flavors as well as some lingering bitterness, but the bitterness doesn't stay around for long. Not bad at all. Nice, matter of fact.

M: Creamy, thick, and nicely carbonated. Not too much, not too little. Good here as well.

D: For being 10.2%? Amazing. This one doesn't really seem like it's 10+% until the warmth comes in, and even then, it seems to fade as quickly as it came in.

Overall, I really, really like this beer. If I were to find another bottle, I'd buy it in a heartbeat. This one is a real winner, IMO. I don't understand the hate this one is getting, because this one tastes like an Imperial Stout should. Are the flavors perfect? Nope. Are they good? Yessir. For the money I gave for this bottle, I feel I got a steal.

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Photo of nevins
4.1/5  rDev +25%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beautiful pour from a bomber into my PBC tulip. Dark Chocolate in color ( and taste). Lots of tangerine and sweet fruit flavors. Not as " imperial "as I'd like. Cellar this for a couple and if all those fruit flavorsare fermentable this will be a richous beer.

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Photo of Mavajo
4.07/5  rDev +24.1%
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 MattyG85
4.05/5  rDev +23.5%
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 glid02
4.05/5  rDev +23.5%
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 mikesgroove
4.05/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

ark brown in color, nearly totally black with no light shine through on it what so ever. A huge tan head of foam came up over the top to a height of nearly three inches before settling back down into a thin film that coasted the inside of the glass and never fell to more then an inch in height. The aroma was rich, deep and dark chocolate notes with loads of coffee mixed in. Some light fruit notes are balancing it out now as well, really very well done here. As it warms it became very much sweeter. Such a really well done big stout. Smooth, rich and very creamy feel. Full bodied and loaded with carbonation with a high ABV that was nearly undetectable. Rich chocolate notes are the first things that we find here and they are anything but subtle as they meld into a wonderful coffee infused finish

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Photo of obywan59
4.05/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The brew pours thickly into my pint glass. Dark brown in color with a thin tan head (chilled too hard). Some highlights around the edges. When held to a very bright light, it reveals deep ruby and mahogany tones. Very thick and cloudy looking. The 2nd (warmer) pour gave up a nice, thick looking 1 finger head with decent lacing.

Smells caramelly and sweet with a bit of coffee and some woody undertones.

Pretty sweet upfront with a taste of bitter chocolate and hints of dark cherries and perhaps raisins as mentioned on the label. Heavy bitterness on the follow through.

Thick bodied. The brew leaves a syrupy stickiness in the mouth, while at the same time presenting a thick, smooth and creamy feel as well. Substantial alcohol burn in the throat.

The 10.2% ABV really started kicking in even before starting on the 2nd glass. This is one head-stompin' beer. Great for the first snowy night of the season.

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Photo of ncaudle
4.02/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

growler was filled about 2 hours prior to drinking; poured into snifter.

as it poured it was rather brownish letting a lot of light through but settled into the glass pitch black with a small head leaving only a ring around the top of the liquid.

faint bourbon, charred wood, chocolate and molasses hit the nose. surprisingly no boozy smell even at +10%. taste is the same - very nice balance going on.

maybe a touch thin for the style, but still pleasant; nice carbonation levels.

almost too drinkable due to high abv.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4/5  rDev +22%
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 csbinva
4/5  rDev +22%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this beer into a 16 ounce draft glass. Decent head, smell the barrel, not sure what type of barrel but in this instance, it's Left Hand, so I really don't care what type of barrel it is, i love their beer. Taste is really good, but i dont' believe it's a stout, more like a dark ale with a kick! Left Hand, I love you and what you have to offer but please don't do promise a bourbon stout without adding the bourbon.

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Photo of zeff80
3.97/5  rDev +21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an opaque, jet black color with a one-finger, tan head of bubbly foam. It had nice retention and left sudsy sheets of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of bourbon, oak and vanilla - like a barrel aged beer should. Also a nice roasty aroma.

T - It tasted of bourbon, oak and vanilla. Good roasted malt taste with chocolate and toffee.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A full bodied stout that is dry.

D - This is a really good barrel aged imperial stout. It was worth the price.

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Photo of smwesson500
3.95/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Very Dark Brown, probably closer to black

S: Smells of caramel, burnt hops, and oak

T: Syrupy, very malty flavors, burnt chocolate. Very strong. An acquired taste.

M: Bitter whole way through but not a task to try and drink.

O: I do enjoy this beer. The 10.2% ABV is nicely masked with various other flavors to make it not so much like a liquor. Quite Enjoyable.

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Barrel-Aged Wake Up Dead from Left Hand Brewing Company
3.28 out of 5 based on 290 ratings.
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