Fade To Black (Volume 2 - Smoked Baltic Porter) | Left Hand Brewing Company

242 Reviews
Fade To Black (Volume 2 - Smoked Baltic Porter)Fade To Black (Volume 2 - Smoked Baltic Porter)

Brewed by:
Left Hand Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: Baltic Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.80%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Rayek on 11-15-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 242 | Ratings: 359
Photo of sisuspeed
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to beerness for the bottle!

Poured into a Cigar City snifter. Nice black body, with a thin, light-tan, head. Still manages to leave some lacing.

Lots of smoked malts on the nose with a touch of bacon and salt. Bits of chocolate and light cherry with just a touch of alcohol. Smells like a smoked porter should.

The flavor mimics the aroma with well smoked malts, milk chocolate and just a hint of dark fruit. Has a nice sweetness to it, yet isn't overbearing. Nothing really stands out here, but the flavor is well executed.

Mouthfeel is average. For a smoked baltic porter there should be some more body to this beer. A bit too watery for my tastes. Yet it is still smooth and carbonation is about right.

Drinkability is above average. Left Hand has done a good job with the flavor and aroma of this beer. Not overly complex, but still tasty. I wish the body had a little more oomph, but all in all this is a fairly solid beer. Worth picking up if you like the style.

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Photo of Shrews629
3.82/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Black in appearance with some slight ruby highlights around the bottom. A small, thin, tan head with not much size or retention. Settled to a small ring and just left a scant amount of lacing.

Smell - More subdued aromas of coffee and espresso than what I have typically found with the Porters I have tried. A roasty, smokey type of aroma adds some complexity. A slight "woody" note that was somewhat pleasant. Chocolate notes are very mild.

Taste - The taste showed more of the burnt, roasted coffee. Some smoke is present and the chocolate is more up front in the taste. It's not a sweet chocolate, but a dry, dark chocolate. I think the taste is solid. I am enjoying it.

Mouthfeel - Medium to medium/full mouthfeel. Somewhat creamy. Left touches on the palate and it provided a bit of warmth also.

Drinkability - I rather liked the taste of this beer. Nice touches of smoke and coffee make this an ok example of a "smoked" Porter. I might pick this up again sometime. Worth a try for sure.

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Photo of jman892
3.83/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours black with some brownish highlights. Topped with a foamy 1 finger mocha colored head, which dissipates quickly

S - Smoke can clearly be picked up in the aroma. Very mild chocolate scent detected as well

T - Tastes is of old fashioned cocoa powder, the smokiness isnt as prominent in the taste as it is in the nose, but is still apparent. Some burnt toast

M - Pretty low carbonation with a medium body overall, but a bit thin for the style

O - Think they accomplished wht they set out to do with this one. To me the smoke is front and center. ABV is high but well hidden

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Photo of claspada
3.84/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

IMPORTANT: This is classified as a Smoked Baltic Porter, and for the record I HATE smoked beers, but I really enjoyed this, because it was barely smokey. On to my notes:
Aromas are initially roasted malts highlighted with dark chocolate and espresso notes; mild charred maltiness.
The tastes somewhat follow the nose but are less astringent. Initially you are presented with cocoa powder flavors that flip flop between sweet and mildly bitter. A strong full caramel malt presence continues to represent throughout but is never the dominant contributor; full mouthfeel as well that lingers pleasantly on the palate. Dark/milk chocolate are the main contributors here with underlying charred and espresso malts.
Overall this is a great showing from Left Hand, especially due to the fact that it is available in 6 packs, what a treat.

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Photo of GPHarris
3.84/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

a - poured a 1/2 finger thick tan head into a nonic that settled into a thin ring. the body was black with some brownish tints around the edges. i would have liked the head to stick around a little longer.
s - smokey with some chocolate malts underneath.
t - lighter smoke flavor with a nice malt balance with some coffee flavors.
m - medium.
o - very solid smoked beer.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Looks nice, poured into a goblet, black as night and virtually no head.

Muted smoke, a sweet malty smell, and burnt malt on the nose.

Solid porter. Lots of roasted malt and a tinge of burnt malt quickly followed by sweet malt nicely placed at the end.

Soft and creamy, light carbonation... sublime mouthfeel.

Overall a great beer. The smoke is subtle, just like "smoked" is written on the bottle. I like that.

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Photo of PhatAtUT
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into duvel tulip

A: very dark. looks like a cup of black coffee. virtually no head, no lacing.
S: sweet black licorice and dark chocolate.
T: tastes about how it smells. not quite as sweet as i guessed from the aroma alone. fairly bitter on the back end. pretty well balanced.
M: seems a little thin. very little carbonation.
D: pretty easy to drink but then its a fairly mild brew.

overall, pretty average. decent tasting beer but a little thin for my personal taste and just not too interesting.

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Photo of hmph
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into pint glass.

A: dark, black with bits of brown, head is moderate lacing is fairly prevalent

S: Smoked but not to a huge degree, a nice mix of smoke and sweet

T: pretty much same as the smell with a smoky taste along with a bit of sweetness

O: good beer, not the best and doesn't go above and beyond but all around solid beer, would be glad to have again.

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Photo of xnicknj
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into tulip glass - 12/21/10 bottling date

Pours a solid inky black with a mocha brown head. Fades out almost completely with some cloudy film and light traces of lacing around the glass.

A decently roasted malt scent with smoky undertones, coupled with light suggestions of dark chocolate.

Begins with a substantial dose of heavily roasted dark malt flavor. The smoke slices through with some cigar and leathery tones, but doesn't quite overpower the rest of the beer. Some notes of espresso and dark chocolate. Finishes with some hints of hoppy bitterness and further smoked edges.

Fuller medium body, mild carbonation, a little creamy and smooth on the tongue. The alcohol is masked well and while the smoke is still there, it tries to allow other flavors to come through. This isn't as good as some other smoked porters I've had, but it's definitely worth a try.

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Photo of GehenHerzog
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into Skull Coast Pint Glass.

A- As the name describes, pours very black with a thin tan head.

S- Smells like slightly burnt toast (smoke really comes out to me).

T- Taste of smoky malt, slight coffee and dark chocolate.

M- Medium-full

D- Drinkability is above average, not the best but I could drink a couple of them in a session.

Not a huge fan of the style, but I would drink it again.

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Photo of InsolublePancake
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark, dark brown with ruby highlights and a half-inch of tan head. The head dissipates over the course of a couple minutes and leaves behind small traces of lace.

S- Bitter chocolate and molasses with nice hints of smoke and charcoal. Not overly complex, but the aromas are very nice overall.

T- Sweet, chocolaty malt upfront segues into a dry, smoky burnt toast middle. Some herbal hops contribute to a dry, slightly bitter finish of unsweetened cocoa and tobacco.

M- On the full side of medium-bodied and somewhat syrupy. A good dose of carbonation balances things out nicely.

D- Quite nice. I can't detect any part of the 7.8% ABV, but it's clear that this is a pretty big beer given the body and flavor. Still, I could probably put down a couple of these.

I must say, this is quite a nice beer. The smoke character is definitely there but not overwhelming. The only problem is that I couldn't really distinguish this from a stout. It's a porter but I didn't really get any dark fruit notes and I still tasted a lot of roasted malt. Perhaps it's just my inexperienced palate, but I was hoping for a distinctive porter character that I could clearly differentiate from that of a stout. Still, I can't complain. It's a good beer. Recommended.

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Photo of EgadBananas
3.91/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This looks wonderful. Deep and dark, with maybe a hint of dark brown around the edges. Light mocha colored head adorns, laces nicely, retention is good.

Very smoky. Not quite overboard, but definitely one of the more smokier brews I've had. Bits of roasted malts and sweetness round it out.

Starts out smoky, then some nice sweetness, roasted malts, chocolate and even some roasted coffee.

Feel is full, creamy, and smooth.

Overall solid drinkability. Very enjoyable, and I'll definitely be getting some if I can find it in TX later this month!

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.92/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark read amber appearing black in the glass. Minimal head and virtually no lacing. Smoky malt and dark fruit aroma. Rich smoked and dark malt flavor. An odd artificial smoke flavor in the middle and finish, but overall pleasant. Not as assertive smoke as a rauchbier or Smoke Jumper, but pleasant. A nice smoky porter. Better balanced than the first iteration.

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Photo of devilben02
3.92/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep tar brown color with a modest sand-colored head. The smoke dominates the aroma, but it is not overpowering. While some smoked beers can make you feel like you're being smacked in the face with a slab of beef jerky, this one give more of the impression of entering a room ten minutes after a good cigar was extinguished: you're not coughing from smoke in the air, but it is certainly apparent what was going on in here.

The flavor likewise features a dry, earthy, woodsy smokiness, but there is also a noticeable cocoa character on top of an expected roasty malt base. The texture is quite creamy, with only a fine, muted carbonation, but is somehow still manages to deftly conceal the alcohol content. Overall, the smoky aroma and flavor of this beer are comparatively light and pleasurable rather than challenging, but despite this mild character of the smoke, it still dominates the aroma and flavor, making the whole experience feel a bit one-note. That said, this one was still quite enjoyable.

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Photo of aasher
3.92/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This bottle was given to me by Preismj in a recent that requires a couple boxes. Thanks Matt!

This one pours between light and medium in body, a very, very dark brown in color that eventually pooling to resemble Coke. The aromas consist of slight smoked bacon, sweet roasted malts, both slightly sweet and bitter chocolates. The smoke is pretty nice. It's enough to push it past smoked ham and into bacon territory. That's a must. It's moderately complex. It features a nice mix of smoked malt, chocolate, coffee, milk chocolate, with a slightly bitter finish. Solid flavor through and through. The mouthfeel is a little sticky for the style, since this one is on the sweeter side of Baltic Porters. Overall it's a solid beer. I'm glad this one was good since they're often very hit and miss with me.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.92/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clever with the marketing campaign on these annual dark beers. Fade to Black hits home with another stellar beer.

Volume 2 begins with a heavy and creamy looking pour heading into the glass. As dark brown as it gets before going actual black and with complete opaqueness. A froathy/creamy tan head forms and sits properly on the beer for a soft and even coat across the surface. Both rings and a tapestry of lace adorn the surface of the glass as the beer falls.

A delicate aromatic blend of malted milk or cream tempers the smoke-heavy and roasty elements of the Porter. With low esters, the beer showcases roasted barley, mild peat, charred woods and true malt in the aroma.

Flavors follow the aroma profile to the tee. Creamy malt sweetness hits the front of the mouth with heavy cream, burnt caramel, and roasted grains. The mid palate turns to smoke, peat, and earthy hop notes. The taste finishes with a fleeting malt, sharpening roast, and hoppy bitterness that doesn't allow for much flavor other than bitterness. While certainly tasty and full of flavor, the beer is a bit simple in profile (except for the heavy flavor of charred smoked meats) leaving me wanting more dimensions of complexity and layering.

Creamy and full throughout, the early richness is tempered later by bitterness from both hops and from roasted grains, only to finish malty-dry and with a long roasty aftertaste.

The beer hits all of the high notes for the style with me wondering if the smoke is more a bennefit or detraction. Interestingly, without the fruity notes that sometimes accompany ale-fermented versions are missing, and the smoother lager-like mouthfeel and flavor do very well the beer doesn't tell me much, but the lable insists that it's indeed an ale. But I'll admit that a slightly fruity note could add to the complex makeup of the beer. I'd also like to see a better procession towards dryness in the finish to accompany the smoke for better scores.

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.92/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

#82. Very exquisitely designed label really caught this eye on the limited release (bummer) of this beer. Really sad is that I think I missed volume 1. This beer is good but heavy on the smoky accent, so unless you like a smoky beer it may be best to pass on this one. In my opinion, it's worth a shot regardless.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a pint glass at room temp.

(Appearance) Pours a fizzy 1 depth finger tan head of a very fizzy consistency and retains average. Beer is a dark brown/black and thick, letting some very light traces of light in on the side which come through in ruby tones. The occasional small carbonation bubble comes up around the edges but overall, they're small and scarce. The head on this one was quite unimpressive, but as a high ABV dark porter it's understandable; fares well. 3.5

(Smell) Some smoky wood chips, faint cocoa bean nibs and a touch of smoked licorice round out the nose with graceful balance. There could be more flavor, and the smell could be far more potent. What's here however is intriguing enough. It's a very light smell with no dominant aromas, aside from the smokiness which grows in intensity as the beer warms. 4

(Taste) Wow, did not get that smoky wave at all from the nose, but the name would have suggested it. Some wood taste and less emphasis on coffee or cocoa flavor, but this beer does well with the simplicity. The smoky taste is actually quite nice, blending later into a slightly thin but boozy finish. Lightly bitter and none of the flavors are going to shock anybody, save for the outright smoked sensation of this porter, which I'm all for. 4

(Mouthfeel) Slightly spicy up front from the smoky taste and the alcohol, but considerably smooth upon the tongue from that point forward. A medium to full bodied drink. 3.5

(Drinkability) Quite filling. The smoky taste is probably going to slow the majority of drinker's speed down a little bit and it should be good to let this beer warm as more hidden flavors seep out. There is good potential for a second or third of these as nothing is really going to drain the palate, but the smokiness can really impact the impression and desire for another of these. You really have to be in the mood. In terms of smoked porters, however, it's done well. 4

Verdict: Good for smoked porters. Some alcohol presence which may dictate worthy of only a few rounds but a really nice filling beer that plays its cards well. B+ (3.85)

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Photo of OtherShoe2
3.93/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours jet black with a big brown bubbly head. good lacing. Light won't go thru this.

Charred malt, bitter coffee, and a hint of woodsmoke. Just right.

Great balance between the sweet and bitter here. Initial taste is charred malt, with a punch of sweetness, even some vanilla. Some bitter chocolate and burnt, carbonized toast. As the palate clears, you get alcohol, fading bitterness, and a light smoky edge. Full flavors.

Fuller boded, appropriate carbonation. Just tingly enough on the tongue to keep this from being cloying.

Liked this alot, but this is a rich one. One or 2 and you need to move on. Very very good.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.93/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beer #2 from Tmoney2591 in Round 5 of the Blind BIF. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my Duvel tulip. Thanks Kyle.

a - Pours a deep brown color, almost black, with one finger of dark tan head and moderate carbonation evident. Head lasts for a minute before leaving one inch throughout drinking it and leaves no lacing on the glass. Looks like a pretty nice stout to me.

s - Smells of milk chocolate, roasted malts, vanilla, cream, light dark chocolate, and very light coffee. Smells a little bit sweet and lightly smokey. Still thinking this is a stout, leaning towards a Milk/Sweet stout.

t - Tastes of bitter chocolate, lightly bitter coffee, roasted and smoked malts, light sweet fruit and chocolate, and very light cream. Not as much cream/vanilla as the nose, but heavier on the bitter coffee and smokiness in the taste. Still leaning towards a stout but maybe a smoked stout now?

m - Medium to full bodied beer with low to moderate carbonation. Thick and smooth, very easy to drink.

0 - Overall I liked this beer. Lots of cream in the nose and bitter coffee and smoke in the taste, mixing with roasted malts throughout. The body was pretty nice and thick. I'm going to get this is a 7-8% ABV smoked stout, though the nose makes me think maybe a milk/sweet stout.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.94/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle pours black without highlighting. Small brown foam fades fast and leaves a nice collar.

Smoke is there, but not over the top. Smells a bit like putting fresh pine boughs on a campfire. Some molasses and caramel come through from the malt.

This is a pretty good beverage here. Mouthfeel is viscous and smooth. Smoke is plentiful yet restrained. There is just enough sweetness to compensate for the smoke and alcohol. Hops are piney and add plenty, a little more than I would like actually, of bitterness. Some licorice hints come in on the back end. Not bad, gets a bit old the more I sip on it. I think one six pack is enough for me.

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Photo of Duff27
3.94/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on date of 12/08/10

A- Very thin dark mocha head quickly receding atop a dark brown/black beer. Below average head retention and no lacing.

S- Dark chocolate immediately hits my nose.

T- Follows the nose with the chocolate, then coffee. Not getting much, just a little, of the smoke. Leaves the mouth watering for another sip.

M- Slightly syrupy, not much in the way of carbonation it seems.

D/O- A tasty beer. This one got better as it warmed, as far as the subtle smoke notes. Probably would only want to drink one of these per drinking period and would be a good one to keep a stash of to note differences in every few months. One hundredth different brewery reviewed.

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Photo of dbossman
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Black with a brown, thin head; little retention but steady; lacing is decent

S: Very meaty and smokey--almost more meat than smoke: ham, salt, bacon--all on top of a roasted malt and charcoal aroma--a bit of chocolate too perhaps

T: Pretty smokey and meaty: wow, do I get ham flavors here; some darker fruit and chocolate flavors persist as well; this is an earthy, ashy, roasty beer; it's good but maybe not quite balanced right--something seems slightly off

F: Good balanced body and carbonation

D: The alcohol does become fairly evident and the ham quality from the smoke becomes a bit wearing; but this makes a two for two in the Fade to Black series

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle, bottled on 12/7/2010. Served in a nonic pint glass, the beer pours dark brown/black with about an inch and a half tan head after an aggressive pour. Head retention and lacing are both good. Aroma is smoked and roasted malt and some chocolate. The brew tastes like smoked malt, dark chocolate, roasted malt and a bit of coffee. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's creamy and a bit slick. Drinkability is good, it's smooth and goes down easy. I think it's a good overall brew, not a bad choice at all!

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Photo of PEBKAC
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

$10.50 six pack from New Beer. Bottled on 11/29/10.

Can't remember the last time I bought a six pack of a brew I never tried before. Another customer was grabbing a few & mentioned it being a smoked Baltic porter & I was immediately sold. Two of my top three favorite styles, by your powers combined... :) Now while it didn't end up being the Holy Grail, it did end up being pretty tasty.

Took three bottles to really get a hold of it. Ended up enjoying it most when it was very cool, but not yet cold. (About the temperature it was a couple hours after taking it out of my shopping bag).

Charred black body. Bulbous, thin, dark tan head. Minimal lace.

Smell is hearty blackened malt, sharp with burnt bbq sauce & raisins. Coffee. Fumy alcohol & a bit of baking chocolate.

Taste is burnt bread, cocoa mix, woody soot, & a just a bit of caramel. Smoke comes through as meaty, if a bit too charred. Not bacon-y, but at least it's not barky/acrid like some lesser smoked beers. It's just lacking that one extra note to give it a 5.0. Finish lingers with leafy/earthy hops.

Feel is excellent. Creamy, but decently carbonated. A touch hot, but not difficult. Soothing.

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Photo of JayS2629
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep black with a creamy tan head that fades fast but leaves sea foam lace.

The aroma is of roasted malt, some dark fruit notes like black raisin, fig, and prunes, with some smokey elements coming through. Woody, nutty notes and some cocoa.

The taste follows with some strong hickory notes giving way to roasted barley, coffee tones, and some bitter cocoa. Hints of vanilla melt away for some woody, nutty notes. Earthy hops peek through with a touch of floral accents.

Overall, a very roasty edged, bitter beer, but very mild, balanced and drinkable.

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Fade To Black (Volume 2 - Smoked Baltic Porter) from Left Hand Brewing Company
4.03 out of 5 based on 359 ratings.
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