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: 289
Photo of BretSikkink
3.5/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown with some highlighting - a little disappointing given the name...head is a tanned foam with decent stick and the lacing is solid enough. Updated: the retention is weak.

Nose is fairly sweet with some roasted bitterness. I get nothing from barrel-aging like woodiness or vanillin. Mostly caramel with the roasted barley edge.

Flavor is par for the course. Not bad but not very exciting either. One-dimensional in terms of black, roasted malts. Chocolate, fig, coffee, licorice. Hops are present for sure, but contribute some spiciness and blend in with the espresso bitterness.

Didn't realize it was barrel-aged until i looked at the profile on BA and subsequently read the bottle. Not an endorsement.

Moderate body, as the thickness doesn't keep up with the color and flavor. I do like how the bitter, aggressive flavor is couched within this silky sort of creamy body, but for a big-ass waking-up-dead kind of stout I'm looking for a bit more heft.

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Photo of n2185
2.79/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a dark brown with a finger of beige head. The head leaves a pretty nice layer, though no lacing to speak of.

S: Some caramel notes along with lots of woody and nutty aromas. Like candied pecans. It smells pretty good, but almost nothing like an imperial stout.

T: Similar to the aroma, there are some caramel and lightly roasted malt flavors up front. Wood flavors follow along with a nuttiness. The finish is slightly bitter and warming from the alcohol.

M: Medium-thick body with medium carbonation, this beer has a bit of an oily slick feel to it, but doesn't feel like much of an imperial stout.

O: Overall, a decent beer, but definitely NOT an imperial stout. I'd call it more of an imperial brown ale, if anything. I'd say as a brown ale, I'd probably give it a B, but rating it as an imperial stout it doesn't do so well. It doesn't look, smell, taste, or feel like any imperial stout I've ever had.

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Photo of PhineasGage
3.66/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

bottled 10-20-10 drank 4-6-11
poured into new belgium globe glass

a - pretty darn dark, traps the light. 1 finger head, pretty dense, no lacing.

s - nothing really there. little bit of malt, little bit of oak, nothing too impressive.

t - malty, tangy choclate. oaky vanilla

m - agressive carbonation. oak grips the mouth a little.

o - more of a winter warmer than anything. probaboly won't drink this one again.

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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.

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Photo of mwilbur
3.4/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 22 oz bottle into snifter. Bottle on 10 26 10 per bottle stamp.
A: Pours a very dark murky brown with almost no head. Decent lacing.
S: Raisin and other dark dried fruit, caramel malt, sweet bourbon, vanilla, fresh yeast, alcohol, and some hops.
T: Tries to follow aroma, but doesn't quite stack up. Wood, sweet bourbon, thick caramel malt, bitter alcohol bite, and dark dried fruit (fig, raisin).
M: Medium-heavy feel. Light and smooth at first, then turning heavier with a bitter burn at the finish.
D: There are times I wish we could review a beer without getting a peek at the overall score or recent reviews...and this is one of those times. Were my expectations too low...and thereby my review better than it would have been? Or perhaps I am drawn toward the crowd and reviewing this worse than I would had this been a blind review. I'll stop my philosophical rant now.
This is by no means a bad beer. It is also by no means a great beer. Don't avoid this one just 'cause you heard bad things...decide for yourself.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.73/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled at 1702; February 2011
The beer arrives with a frothy, quarter-finger thick, lightly browned, dark tan colored head; this is very light for an Imperial Stout. The beer is a dark, burnt amber hue that shows a clear, full, slightly concentrated amber hue when held up to the light. The aroma smells of light, toasted coconut, and vanillin up front, some bourbon like spice as well as a dark fruit character that becomes a bit more noticeable with some time (notes of raisin seem the most noticeable, but a touch of concentrated plum is also here). The nose is definitely dominated by the barrel notes, but it is actually fairly balanced for a barrel aged beer.

Medium bodied (or even more so) this viscously clings to the palate with a definite heft. The beer has some deeply caramelized malt sweetness to it up front, but finishes with a combination of spicy barrel character, some slightly bitter roasted grain character and a slight, but clean hop bitterness. Big flavors of vanillin, toasted sweet coconut and a definite spiciness contribute a barrel signature that reminds me of Bourbon. Fruity notes of raisins, prunes and perhaps some dried fig notes contribute a rich middle to this beer and help to balance out the barrel character. The lingering finish on this beer makes me think of a toasted wood plank (slightly caramelized, a hint of char, and just a spicy woodiness that has some earthy overtones). The combination of ingredients / techniques in this beer make me think of tobacco, some cedar notes, a touch of menthol laden wood, perhaps a touch herbal hoppiness.

This is not a bad beer, it is definitely a pale interpretation of an Imperial stout (both in color and in the light touch of roast here), and I am actually enjoying this quite a bit more than I would have expected.

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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 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.

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

Cast in full-on ebony, sizable tan head drifts down soon enough.

Rich aromatics, cocoa and coffee, with sweet bourbon notes just below, gets bigger and fuller as we go in. Vanilla and oak notes peeping up.

Tasting it: A full blast on the palate, all those flavors promised in the nose board together. There's licorice bumping up against molasses, vanilla hints and oakiness meet chocolate and caramel.
There is a nice imperial stout under here, hiding under a cloak of bourbon. Sweet stuff, probably too sweet for some, and potent, for sure. Cloying? Just a little. But for bourbon barrel lovers, like me, there's a lot to like. And maybe love.

It's easy drinking for an imperial stout, never gets near chewy, stays clear of viscous. Goes down smooth and brimming with stout-y and barrel-y flavors.

Here's one that's been unjustly maligned, I think. Maybe it needed a bit more time, or perhaps it's better in the keg?

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Photo of Phelps
3.04/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Enjoyed on tap at Papago in a snifter.

The beer looks deadly black, dark and absorbing. A minuscule, creamy head of light tan becomes medium ring.

The nose: bubble gum, powdered cocoa and a soft sweetness. It's hard to pick up any aroma at all, really.

This was barrel-aged? Molasses and lightly sweet black patent show themselves in the flavor, but there's no bourbon, no oak, no nothing. It's smooth and lightly sweet at the finish, but not as flavorful as expected.

Smooth, creamy medium body. Very lightly fizzy. Some alcohol in flavor and more in throat. Very light, prickly carbonation.

I need more flavor! This is weak even for a stout, let alone a barrel-aged one.

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Photo of yemenmocha
2.55/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Hmmm, starts alright with a decent b lack body and smallish head. Nose is quite a curve ball with band-aid plastic notes, touch of perfume, and a boozy vanilla oak like quality. Palate has a much lighter flavor than anticipated, almost as if it is not really an imperial stout at all. Some heat on the finish. Moderate roasty flavors here, maybe some wet coffee grounds.

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Photo of daledeee
3.08/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A 22 oz bottle that's been in the "warm" frig for a while.

Poured a very dark brown with tan head. No lacing.

Nose is vanilla and booze.

Taste is just not as thick and heavy as I am used to. There are notes of chocolate, vanilla and some bitterness.

Mouth feel is also not quite up to greatness. Not a lot of carbonation.

Drinkability suffers. Not the most balanced flavor and the alcohol is very warming.

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Photo of nickfl
3.36/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

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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.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
2.81/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

decided to try this beer since i had the fade to black Volume 2 smoked baltic porter and really enjoyed that beer.

Poured into a snifter.

Appearance: light black color with redish glow when held up to light. Nice lacing that stick well to glass, but head dissapates quickly.

Smell: Mellow smell of roasted malts and very faint oak. Tough to find the smell in the beer. Not much here.

Taste: sweet malts and a alcohol almost cough syrup taste with the cough syrup flavor dominating the aftertaste. Not at all what i expected.

Mouthfeel: I bit over carbonated and a thin body from this beer. Does not match up with what a stout that is barrel aged should be like.

Drinkability: not easy to drink because the beer does not taste right to me.

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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 BierFan
3.34/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Very thin light tan head. Dark brown/black body.

Smell: Alcohol is noticeable, faint roasted malts, and there's something else that is off-putting that I can't quite put into words. Nail polish remover? Definitely fusel-like.

Taste: Luckily this beer tastes a little better than it smells. Still has a weird chemical thing going on. Vanilla, butterscotch, dark malts, alcohol, fusel alcohol, and a moderate bitterness.

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Photo of carolinahophead
2.8/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Left Hand Barrel Aged Imperial Stout ...
Poured nothing like a big time stout.
Light in color ... almost like a brown ale .
The smell is very tight , a little dark malt does come out .
The taste has a good start with smooth dark cocoa and hops.
Mouthfeel is a light to medium approach , nothing special here .
Its a big beer and thats all . NO hype and does not it.
A big disappointment for me . Maybe better next year...

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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.

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Photo of jlindros
2.74/5  rDev -16.5%
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 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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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Barrel-Aged Wake Up Dead from Left Hand Brewing Company
3.28 out of 5 based on 289 ratings.
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