Barrel-Aged Wake Up Dead | Left Hand Brewing Company

133 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 133 | Ratings: 289
Photo of aasher
1/5  rDev -69.5%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

I had higher hopes for this one. When a bottle says barrel aged Imperial stout it should mean something. It poured a watery, thin and translucent raisin brown in color with no head. It looks like dip spit or even muddy mop water. It doesn't resemble a stout of any kind. The smell was very sweet, too sweet, and of caramelized brown sugar. That was it, no other characteristics and completely one dimensional. The taste was far too sweet as well. It tasted of brown sugar, raisins, and figs. Far too much fruit for an Imperial stout. Where's the coffee? Where's the roasted notes? Nowhere to be found! It was very, very thin. It didn't even coat the sides of the glass. It was like dirty water. This beer is an imposter. It is not imperial stout. It's a sugary sweet brown ale. Avoid! I deserve an apology and refund. This beer killed this brewery for me. I'll never go back again.

 881 characters

Photo of caskstrength
1.06/5  rDev -67.7%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Bomber bottled 10/26/10. Cool label, I must say. Ran into this randomly when visiting my local dealer, never heard of it before. Gave it a try, about 10 bucks.

Looked it up, Heaven Hill brandy barrel blended imperial stout. sounds great.

Pours dark brown, easy to see through. Limited carbonation, but still a thin head that quickly forms a ring.

Some spicy stale coffee smells, cinnamon for the spice. Roasted malts, but muted. Maybe some fruit, I don't know. Nothing interesting, really. I kept smelling and kept finding nothing.

I think the flavor died in this beer. There is nothing to be found, it's a shell of a barrel aged stout. Maybe some coffee grounds that have been used twice. Some roasted carmel malts? Everything is thin and superficial.

A terrible beer. There is no life here, so at least the name fits.

 829 characters

Photo of KeefD
1.31/5  rDev -60.1%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Pours a somewhat dark brown color that's pretty much see-through, with a small white head. WTF? This smells like burnt plastic. That's it. Burnt plastic. Awful. Taste isn't much better. All I'm getting out of the flavor is this odd chemical flavor with a hint of chocolate and roast, and a touch of barrel/wood, but there's really nothing good about this beer in any way, shape, or form. Mouthfeel is thin, vapid, and flat. This is just god awful. I drank maybe 5 ounces out of this bomber and dumped the rest. I'm sorry for doing that to you, drain, but that's the only place this beer belongs.

Too all the tickers that say -bal aging makes beers better, try this one. Ughghghghhhh...

Horrible, wretched stuff. How this has a B- is beyond me. Left Hand should refund my $9!

 778 characters

Photo of BarrytheBear
1.38/5  rDev -57.9%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Stout? Uh, no. Mahogany/amber pour with glass spotting. A pretense of a mistake.

Trojan condoms straight from the wrapper. Smells of youthful indiscretion.

This is NOT a stout. Just a mess: mislabeled, misconceived, misfire, misleading. As a barrel aged stout this does not work. Color gives the first hint, rubbery nose provides solid secondary support, and the body and taste fail to uphold their end as well. Barrel comes off as rubbery with some acrid fishy qualities. No real roast or RIS supportive malting. Not sure what happened here, but it didn't work. atrocious barrel aged stout. Misgivings galore.

Serving type: bottle

 646 characters

Photo of scifan
1.43/5  rDev -56.4%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours a a dark brown with a khaki head leaving some lacing along the glass. Its very thin looking you can almost see through it when held to the light.
Not much on the nose. Just a little bit of roasty malts and a hint of oaky woodiness. Also a strange plastic/rubber smell as well. I was hoping for alot more out of this one.
The taste isn't any better in fact I think its worse. Just some roasted malts and hints of the bourbon barrel aging. I thought the label said it spent a year in the barrel. Unfortunatley the most prominant flavor is this plastic/rubber flavor that lingers long after its gone.
Mouthfeel is very thin. You would think that this was a 5% porter not a 10% Imperial Stout, it has no backbone at all.
All in all a terrible beer. Maybe I got a bad bottle but I'm not spending another 9 bucks to find out.

 828 characters

Photo of bedbug003
1.51/5  rDev -54%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

A- Pours dark with little head, no shocker there

S- Smelled like latex, with hints of oats

T- Tasted like latex too! Seriously, I thought I was crazy or my glass was tainted. Tried two completely different glasses, let the beer sit to open up, no difference. It tasted like it was served from inside a balloon. Poured the last 1/3rd of the bottle down the drain.

M- If you turn off your taste buds the mouthfeel was ok, but the same could be said of rotten eggs if you couldn't taste them...

D- I am truly hoping I got a bad bottle but don't plan on trying another one to find out judging by some of the other reviews.

My example was bottled on 10/26/10, bought from a reputable store in early Dec, refridgerated for 3 weeks, drank on New Years after rising to ~45 degrees. Tried again much warmer, no help.

 813 characters

Photo of ghengisflan
1.56/5  rDev -52.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

After taking a swig, I checked the expiration date to see if the beer had expired. Okay, it was brewed 6 months ago. I gave it the benefit of the doubt and tried again. It still tasted very oxidized and worse; the taste is like a cacophony of grass, old raisin, and sour licorice overwhelming the normal chocolate and coffee flavors I would expect from a stout. I had high hopes for this beer, but it more than disappointed.

It didn't smell great either.

 455 characters

Photo of beerman207
1.56/5  rDev -52.4%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1 I saw this on the shelf and thought "sweet!" then saw $8.99 for the bottle. Thought ok...not too expensive. The lady at the register rang it up at $4.99 and I thought I got a steal! Turns out after reading the review for this, that perhaps it was marked down :(

A: Pours a dark brown in the glass? WTH? No real head to speak of. The thing looks like a nut brown - not an imperial stout. Already pissed.

S: Nothing. Are you f'ng serious? I am furious right now

T: the taste isn't bad for perhaps an american strong. This is a review however for an imperial stout which is labeled as such on the bottle. As a result - F.

M: Mild - thin as water

D: WTH is this beer? Left Hand - you really dropped the ball with this brew. The only reason my drain isn't drinking this beer is because the american strong flavor is halfway decent. Wow.

 853 characters

Photo of ne0m00re
1.58/5  rDev -51.8%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Live review of a 22 oz bottle.
A: Poured black with a light brown or amber hue and a one-finger cream head that leaves a little lacing.
S: Very licorice and herbal/floral... not as oaky as you'd expect. It comes off like pine wood and a weird medicinal toffee. No, more of a bubblegum or an artificial sweetener. Imagine the spice of a saison, but stronger and in a barrel-aged RIS. Infection? There is no real roast. This is not very good. At all.
T: It starts out nice, with a chocolate... wait a second! What is this? Chamomile? Some strange medicinal herb again, which almost comes off like licorice root or artificial sweetener. Weird rum and cheap imitation vanilla extract alcohol. Strong "buttery" or irish cream as well, and not in a good way. Ugh. It gets a 1.5 because the taste isn't quite as bad as the smell.
M: Too thick and syrupy, with an awkward carbonation that doesn't really cleanse nor smooth it out.
D: I'd prefer not to have a full glass.

 962 characters

Photo of shir0043
1.63/5  rDev -50.3%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

I saw the left hand name + barrel aged imperial and thought this would be a sure thing.

Poor'd into the glass like a darker brown ale which I can see some light through. Minimal head and zero lacing. Oh Well, appearance isn't the most important attribute for me (and should warrant 20% of the score).

The smell is OK. Sweet matls, brown sugar ... again like a brown ale. Where is the barrel aging??? The smell takes a huge wrong turn if you swirl the glass around. It smells like band-aids. God awful.

Taste is similar to the look and smell. Starts off like a brown ale then gets worse as you swirl it around your mouth. Again like band-aid or rubber.

I let this one sit for an hour thinking it would get better once it breaths ... nope. Down the drain it goes.

This would be an OK strong ale if not for the band aid flavor. I have no idea where the imperial stout title comes from???

I used to trust the left hand name but now I'll think twice before trying a new brew from them.

 987 characters

Photo of Ryan011235
1.68/5  rDev -48.8%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured into a snifter on 1/7/11

Shared by Spider889

Dull, medium brown color; wooden hues. No proper head, just the slightest film. No lace.

It doesn't smell like an imperial stout, being much too bright, lively & lacking roastiness. Instead there are notes of cherries, plums & a myriad of juicy fruit esters; notions of candied malts; overtones of sugar & hints of booze. The taste is similar to the aroma. Very juicy - cherries, grapes, raisins. Sugary grit, though it isn't overly sweet. Musty, earthy notions. Again, no roasted notes. Coffee? Chocolate? Stout? Nah... Medium body with appropriately low carbonation. Finishes dry.

As a beer this is pretty decent. As an imperial stout it totally misses the mark. Docked to the max for style. I seem to recall Left Hand's regular imperial stout also lacking stout qualities.

 831 characters

Photo of jdaelhousen
1.87/5  rDev -43%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Dark brown colored body after pour, not quite pitch black. Some brown/amberish hues during pour. Little head collection, about 1/2" that quickly disappears. Aroma contains notes of chocolate and strong sweet malty notes. Roasted grain comes out in the trailing nose. Flavor contains a sweet center of chocolate. Grainyness in the body noticeable with poor mouthfeel for a RIS. Very fluid, not as thick as one would expect. Malt is a bit unpolished, with notes of smoked grain mixed poorly with the chocolate malt and oak from the barrel aging. A bit cloying, and the finish does not provide the abundance of hops necessary to counterbalance all of the sugars and smokyness. Alcohol fumes are very noticeable in the aftertaste. Definitely a bit hot. This beer needs a lot of cleaning up, definitely disappointing for a barrel aged RIS. Definitely disappointing as I consume 25 calories per sip.

 893 characters

Photo of Centennial
2/5  rDev -39%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

22oz bomber with nice wake up dead graphics

Smell- burnt chocolate and molassas

Taste- not much here, but alcohol at 10% is well hidden, i will give it that, but it tastes like a porter

Mouthfeel- thin, no body, minimum carbonation

Overall- a disgrace to be called a barrel aged stout. This does not fit the style, the artwork, or the marketing paragraph written on the side of the bottle.

 394 characters

Photo of womencantsail
2.04/5  rDev -37.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Thanks for this one, Jeff.

The pour is a fairly dark brown color with a finger of khaki colored head. What a truly strange aroma. There's a bit of coffee and chocolate in there, but also some butter and a definite grassiness. Maybe a bit of smoke in there, too. It smells quite dusty, too. Oh wow, that flavor is bad. Sort of sour and acrid with bad coffee and chocolate flavors. There's a hint of smoke, maybe some wood, and a bit of ash and cigarette. Not good at all. Medium body with a medium level of carbonation.

 519 characters

Photo of kzoobrew
2.05/5  rDev -37.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Poured into Darkness goblet.

Deep mahogany body, reddish hues can be noticed when held to the light. Fairly clear, falls well short of opaque. Light sandy colored head sits atop only momentarily. Lacing near zero. Appearance is lacking for an Imperial Stout, missed the mark here.

Strong caramel aroma, slight vanilla and subtle bourbon. There may be a chocolate aroma but it is a reach to say that. Where is the roasted malt?

Sweet, way too sweet. Caramel flavor and sweet brown malt. Give me some roasted flavor to balance this, I beg you. The bourbon is relatively subtle, which is nice. The flavors which are there are fine, they are just in desperate need of what is missing (roasted malt) to balance them.

Very thin body, moderately carbonated. The sweetness becomes cloying as it digs into the tongue.

A poor example of the style, nothing resembling an Imperial Stout. It was not impressive but the first pour drink somewhat easily, the second pour became increasingly more difficult to manage. Left Hand completely missed the mark with this beer.

 1,060 characters

Photo of Beejay
2.06/5  rDev -37.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A: Dark brown with ruby hues when held to the light. Almost no head at all, what is there dissipates almost immediately.

S: I don't know how I feel about this... first I smelled a bit of salty brine scent. A second whiff smells like burning rubber.

T: Not impressed with this... Plastic continues a bit, as well as a touch of olive brine. There is a bit of oak, but the majority of the stout seems completely lost. There is an almost cloying flavor in the finish alongside some roasted grain. As it warms it gets a bit better, but this still doesn't taste like a barrel aged imperial stout.

M: Light on body, carbonation seems high for the style. This feels watery for the style, and comes off a little hot.

D: I have had other beers from Left Hand and have enjoyed them, but this is a huge miss for me. There are practically no redeeming qualities about this beer.

 873 characters

Photo of jsh420
2.16/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

bottled 10-28-10

pours dark caramel brown with a 2 finger tan soapy head that left no lacing

smell is very faint but i pick up sweet malt and some vanilla

taste - has some off flavor - this should not be called a stout imo maybe a brown ale - i do not pick up any barrel flavors either - light roast caramel malt some chocolate

mouthfeel is decent- medium full body low carbonation

drinkabiilty not good- poured out 75% of it

 431 characters

Photo of Allpe45
2.18/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

bottled 10-26-10
Appears reddish dark brown with very little rosy white head despite being poured aggressively. Doesn't look like a stout

Very unpleasant smell. Rotten fruits and medicinal booziness. Cherry cough syrup? The smell is offputting, makes me scared to drink this.

The taste isn't nearly as bad as the smell, but that's not saying much. Typical chocolate maltiness. No roast flavors. Barrel aging is not noticeable.

Disappointing mouthfeel for a stout. Way too thin

Tough to drink because of the smell. Nothing special in the taste to make up for it.

I hope this is just a one-off gone wrong, and not the product they were expecting to end up with.

 664 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.18/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

22 ounce bottle - $5.99 at Olde Crabapple Bottle Shoppe in Alpharetta, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours out a dark brown, near black body with a finger high level of beige-toned foam. Head recedes fairly fast.

Smell: Middling roastiness, spirit-soaked wood, and cheap, sugary chocolate in the aroma, though there's a faint, peculiar stink lingering in the background as well as some nostril and eye-stinging fusel wafts. A disheartening scent.

Taste: Woodsy, roasty and delivering a fair degree of sugar with a cloying sweetness to it. Very, very minor tastes of chocolate and light brown sugar follow by a spicy kick of anise oil and an odd, off-putting hint of baked rubber furniture feet. Sad fruits. Takes on a chalky tongue-coating quality and develops some boozy off-off-brand Baileys-like flavors. There's some astringency on the swallow and for the heated, bitter, drying finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus. Medium-low carbonation.

Overall: Maybe not exactly the peddled poison I see touted on here, but it's certainly not good or satisfactory. Okay, scratch that, as it grows rather grating as you work your way through the bottle, which I never saw as it ended up a drain pour. I wonder if there was any nervous hand-wringing or nail-biting at all as this stinker drove off in the delivery trucks. My opinion of Left Hand has taken a bit of a hit today.

 1,358 characters

Photo of barleywinefiend
2.21/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A: Poured dark dark brown with a nice tannish cap. So far so good.

S: Alcohol, some roasted notes

T: Bland chocolate notes, not much flavor or anything to this just sordove misguided. No real bourbon, wood, vanilla

M: Thinner body than I expected from the ABV, not much flavor

D: I drainpoured after three sips. Waste of money

 330 characters

Photo of ratedz
2.21/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a dark brown with a half inch off-white head. The head fades quickly and leaves behind a moderate amount of lacing.

Nose is full of sweet caramel and chocolate. Some earthy/wood notes hide in the background.

Taste starts out with some chocolate and dark fruit. Some wood notes are in there too. As it hits the back of the tongue, there is some kind of weird plastic/rubber taste. That same off-putting flavor stays on the tongue even after the sip is gone.

Mouth feel is very thin for a barrel aged imperial's so thin that I could see light through it when I held the glass up to a light. Low level of carbonation, which isn't terribly uncommon for an imperial stout.

Drinkability was low due to the off flavor. It didn't exactly make me crave that next sip. Maybe I got a bad bottle given that the other reviews (only 4 so far) are all positive. Very disappointed in this effort from Left Hand...their other beers that I have tried have always been solid, nothing exceptional, but solid.

Edit - my second bottle was even worse than the first. The plastic/rubber taste was much more dominant and even appeared in the nose this time. Two sips of it and down the drain it went.

 1,197 characters

Photo of seedsofchaos
2.22/5  rDev -32.3%
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.

 1,708 characters

Photo of babaracas
2.47/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

See-thru dark reddish brown, thin khaki head, couple spots of lace. Smell: oak, milk chocolate, char, cherry. Taste: milk chocolate, slightly burnt caramel, earthy hopping, booze, artificial cherry coke. Mouthfeel: thin for the style which makes the carbonation come through more than it should. Left Hand's latest mid-80s thrash metal reference started off with a fantastic label and went downhill rapidly. This is pretty awful and should probably be labeled as an ASA.

 470 characters

Photo of DoubleSimcoe
2.52/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3.5

Barrel-aged Wake Up Dead, bomber bought at New Beer Distributors in Manhattan, New York, for $8.25.

Appearance: Served in a Sierra snifter (what did you expect?), pours thin, with a chestnut color as it comes out pretty atypical of an Imperial Stout. Some glug and gurgle, and a classic one-finger head with a ton of big bubbles on top. Head dies quickly, though, leaving only a white rim around the glass and some of those impressive bubbles. Beyond the chestnut color, this is a very dark, almost black beer.

Smell: Glue, wood, spice, booze, gasoline, bourbon (I assume? Don't know what the barrel they aged this in contained). Weird and not very inviting.

Mouthfeel: Extremely thin and disappointing. Low carbonation, body, flavor and overall profile. Sad, sad. Thinner than many single stouts!

Taste: Very woodsy and dry, makes me think of being in the hold of a boat traveling from London to Calcutta circa 1836. Again that glue/chemical taste, as in the nose. Some vanilla notes, very faint, and sweetness. Not much else. Very unimpressive.

Drinkability: OK. The alcohol really is not noticeable, and I could pound this. But it is so thin and underwhelming... I wouldn't want to drink again.

I agree with most reviewers that this is not an Imperial Stout. Old Ale? Maybe... but whatever the case, a sad beer. Truly sad.

 1,333 characters

Photo of bluejacket74
2.53/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

22 ounce bottle, bottled on 10/26/10. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown with about a half inch tan head that went away quickly. Average amount of lacing left on the glass. Not much to the aroma, it smells like charred malt, a bit of dark fruit and some licorice. I have no idea what kind of barrel this was aged in, but I don't notice anything in the aroma that would make me think this was aged in one for long. It tastes like bitter roasted/burnt malt, licorice, and also an overall herbal flavor. Some sweet flavor (molasses) does come out as the beer warms up more. Like the aroma, there's nothing in the taste that would make me think this is a barrel aged beer. Mouthfeel/body is medium with moderate carbonation, but for the style I think the mouthfeel is light. Drinkability is a little below average, but I did finish the bomber so it can't be that awful. Overall, I just don't care for this brew.

 919 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Barrel-Aged Wake Up Dead from Left Hand Brewing Company
3.28 out of 5 based on 289 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.