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

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Ratings: 294 |  Reviews: 133
Photo of jaydoc
3.75/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of kjkinsey
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of Knapp85
3.2/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer pours out as a really dark brown... For an imperial stout I was thinking more like pitch black. The head is tan and it goes away after a little while. The smell is sweet and earthy, it's also roasted and boozy. The taste is decent or average to say the least... I really thought this was going to be much more impressive. The mouthfeel was too light for an Imperial. This was pretty much a disappointment right from the beginning.

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Photo of spycow
3.25/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of djrn2
3.75/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of nmann08
4.5/5  rDev +30.4%

Photo of metter98
3.18/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: The beer is very dark amber (near black) in color and poured with a thin off white head.
S: There are moderate aromas of alcohol and brown sugar in the nose.
T: The taste lacks complexity and the flavors imparted from the oak barrel aging are very subdued. It has some flavors of roasted malts and bourbon in the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a bit thin on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: There wasn't anything exciting about the taste that would make me want to try this again.

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Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of oline73
3.47/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a snifter.

Appearance: Pours almost black, some light comes through. I expected this to be a bit darker. There is a tan one finger head, some of which remains throughout.

Smell: Some mildly sweet roast with hints of molasses, bourbon, and sweet fruit.

Taste: There is a mild sweetness to this one and then you pick up the bourbon. I'm not tasting very much roast, but I do find some molasses and maybe a bit of brown sugar. The finish is quite hot and tastes of bourbon.

Mouthfeel: I find this one to be a bit thin. The carbonation is fine and the finish is dry.

Drinkability: I enjoyed this one enough, but I would opt for other beers of this style before coming back.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.21/5  rDev +22%
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 emerge077
3.04/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Weak skim across the top, with a clustered ring of larger bubbles on the outer rim of the tulip glass. Body looks to be black, but shows some high clarity crimson red when backlit.

Really hard to pull out much from the aroma, even as it warms. After a sustained swirl there's a boozy note, sort of oddly phenolic. Some traces of dry roast at room temp, but nothing approaching Imperial Stout.

Fairly thin bodied, slightly creamy, dry, bitter, and very mildly tannic. Some astringent char in the aftertaste, very little barrel character or overall depth. Alcohol is perceptible. Fairly average and inoffensive overall. Not something i'd pick up again.

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Photo of zeff80
3.97/5  rDev +15.1%
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 Gagnonsux
4/5  rDev +15.9%

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 jlindros
2.74/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Pours a light creamy 1 finger head that fades semi slowly with a touch of lacing over dark brown molasses colored almost black beer with some light coming through.

Nose starts pretty bad, a dry bready funk, woody esthers, sawdust and that bad funky wild aroma that comes from a bad wild beer. That overpowers most of it, but under that is a slight toasty bready dark malt, and hints of roast.

Taste has lot more of the bad part, a dry sawdust thrown over vomit induced wild funk. The bad part of a wild gone wrong, mixed with sawdust and at least some decent dark malts, a bit of roast, a slight bitter earthy hop, fairly bitter that gets stronger on the finish.

The mouth is medium to a little heavier bodied, with decent carbonation and bit of warming booze.

Drink is not so great either, it's hard to scoff down something that barely keeps on the plus side of tasting better going down than coming up, which it almost seems that it wants to eventually do. If I didn't spend so much on this one I probably would let it go down the drain without passing through my liver and kidneys (or back up the esophagus the other way first).

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Photo of nickfl
3.36/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours with two fingers of light brown foam, resting on a black body with ruby highlights showing through. The foam settles slowly and leaves thick lace.

S - Lots of molasses, brown sugar, and caramel. There is some dark fruity as well, cherry and red apple mostly as well as a bit of rum.

T - Dark, sugary malt up front. Lots of plum and brown sugar and a deep molasses note. Some spicy sugar in the middle with notes of chicory and clove. The beer finishes with moderate bitterness and lots of sweet brown sugar soaked with rum.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a sweet finish.

D - This beer was a bit of a disappointment. It is cloyingly sweet with molasses and brown sugar serving as the primary flavor characteristics. The barrel aging seems to have had minimal effect with just a light note of rum that is heavily influence by the sugary malt. The beer is almost completely lacking in roasted malt character or chocolate notes, it is really all about molasses. Whatever the intention, this seems to be more of an imperial brown ale than anything else and it just doesn't work for me. A rare miss from lefthand.

 1,139 characters

Photo of billab914
3/5  rDev -13%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Stone IRA glass. It looked to be on the thinner side and more towards a brown color when pouring. Once in the glass it was darker brown with a half inch, frothy head covering the top.

The aroma kind of has a boozy, dark fruit, sweet thing going on. Raisins and figs are there along with some brown sugar and cocoa sweetness.

The taste mixes some cocoa powder with some darker, burnt and roasty flavors. I get some molasses coming out as well as some sweeter, dark fruits. A little bit of a boozy, woody flavor in the finish as well as some bitter chocolate.

The mouthfeel is thin for the style and carbonation is about average. Overall it wasn't a bad beer, but wasn't a standout in it's style either. It felt thin and light for the style, and the barrel aging didn't really seem to do much for it. It just felt a little boozy and without the nice barrel character that usually accompanies a barrel aged beer. Again, not a bad beer, but not one I'd say is above average in in either the Imperial stout or barrel aged categories.

 1,068 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
3.18/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle picked up at Rick's in Alexandria. Served in a snifter.

Pours black with a short tan head and a very thin collar as the beer goes down. The nose brings forward a really strong whiskey character along with a hefty dose of booze. There is some chocolate lingering in the background but this one is all about the barrel. The taste follows the same path with just a bunch of booze and whiskey. There's also a light chalky character present as well. The body is medium and boozy with a slightly-astringent dry finish. Overall, not a fan of this. Not sure if it needs more time or what.

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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 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 ChainGangGuy
2.18/5  rDev -36.8%
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.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.88/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 12/18/11 notes. I received one of these last year in the Birthday BIF that I hadn't gotten around to opening (was saving for a tasting), but got another recently as an extra from GoldenJet, so figured I would crack one. Thanks Cory. Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into my Bell's tulip. Bottled on 10/26/10.

a - Pours a deep brown, almost black color, with two fingers of light tan head and moderate carbonation evident. Some spotty lacing on the glass, and head lasts for about two minutes.

s - Smells of bourbon, oak, vanilla, roasted malts, chocolate, cream. A little sweet and boozy, but actually nice.

t - Tastes of bourbon, oak, coffee, vanilla,
roasted malts, chocolate, and sweet dark fruits. A step up from the nose; some really nice bourbon and vanilla mixing with the sweet chocolate and roasted malts...I really like the taste.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Pretty smooth and creamy.

o - Overall I was pleasantly surprised by this one. Was a little thrown off by the low score overall, but I think this one is much much better than a lot of the reviews let on. Maybe it's just gotten better over the last 14 months, or maybe there is bottle variation, but I liked it quite a bit. Lots of vanilla/cream mixing with bourbon and chocolate and a bit sweet. Interested to see what happens to it over time with my other bottle.

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

Too bad this brew isn't closed coffin black. It's more of a murky mahogany with generous edges of amber and orange. In other words, wimpy as American double stouts go. The toasted tan lid is on the short side, but looks pretty good from creation to dissipation. Shredded sheets of lace are almost enough to save it.

The nose is dark caramel-like and roasted malty. Trouble is, it doesn't gain enough power and depth with warming to earn the higher score. Magnum and U.S. Golding hops stay hidden... as does, oddly enough, any barrel-aged character whatsover.

Barrel-Aged Wake Up Dead does not blast the taste buds with stouty excellence. The flavor profile is not broad or deep or rich or complex... or anything else that the best versions bring to the table. That doesn't make it bad beer, just barely above average beer.

Black malt leads the way, which I've always found to be less desirable than chocolate or roasted malt in a double stout. Specifics include black licorice, blackstrap molasses, high cacao dark chocolate, burnt sugar, and an herbal spiciness from the still considerable lupulin load (50 IBUs to start). Alcohol is masked acceptably well, which helps a little.

The mouthfeel could use more ballast. It tastes like the brewers used a high percentage of the darker malts, but they needed to have used more barley overall. Well-calibrated carbonation gives the beer a lightly silky smoothness. However, style must be kept in mind when scoring.

There is precious little barrel-aged flavor in Barrel-Aged Wake Up Dead. More might have helped... and it might not have. If Left Hand is looking for year-round big stout, Fade To Black Volume 1 is where they should start. If the suggestion box is still open, there's no need for this brew to see the light of day again. Keep that casket closed.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.05/5  rDev +17.4%
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 smartassboiler
4/5  rDev +15.9%

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