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

very good
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.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 242 | Ratings: 359
Photo of Sammy
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Steve in Warren. Smoked baltic porter nails it. Starts with licorice. Thick black pour. Smoke and roast aroma. Roast to near burnt. Big big mouthfeel. Some ice cream. Chocolate and coffee. Very tasty and lovely drinkability. Something special.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Single finger tan head on a jet lack background with no light getting through. Sweet chocolate and roasted malt, more like a stout, with coffee notes. Sharp coffee and roast up front which transitins to a sweet chocolate and vanilla finish. Intermixed bitter nd musty hips. Moderate carbonation and full bodied. Very smooth and surpisingly drinkable. More stout like than a porter though.

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Photo of metter98
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a finger high mocha head that quickly faded away and left faint lacing on the surface.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of roasted malts in the nose.
T: The overall taste has flavors of roasted malts and smoke along with some notes of espresso beans and oak. There is a light to moderate amount of bitterness in the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a light amount of carbonation.
D: The beer is a sipper but it's not too difficult to drink because the smoke is well incorporated into the taste (it isn't overpowering) and the alcohol is masked.

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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 brentk56
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a midnight black color with a frothy tan head that gets very rocky as it leaves clumps of foam behind

Smell: Chocolate and fireplace ash, with a hint of coffee

Taste: Black bread and chocolate, with a growing smoke and coffee character; a bit of fruit appears at mid-palate and fades just as quickly; the finish edges sweet, with a blast of smoke in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: Not really a Baltic Porter nor an overly smokey beer; still, I really enjoy the chocolate/smoke character present in this beer

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Photo of kojevergas
3.4/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into A & W pint glass (I know...) in high altitude Denver, CO in December 2010.

A: 2 finger, creamy head. Dark black colour.

Sm: Light but nice scent of roasted barley and some hops. Appealing.

T: Balanced body, with strange notes. Can't place them all; they're obscured by the smoke. They're balanced in that no particularly note is pronounced over the others, and the beer is built quite well. I rather fancy it.

Mf: Adequately coarse and dry for a porter.

Dr: I'd have it again at the right price.

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Photo of zeff80
3.78/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out an opaque, jet-black color with a one-finger, light brown head of foam. It has some nice retention and slowly receded to leave some nice ring so lace.

S - It smelled of smoked meats and woody notes. There was a mild roasty aroma.

T - It tasted of rich roasted malts with a mild smokiness - not as strong as the aroma. There is some grassy hop bite like Baltic Porters can have.

M -It was crisp, sharp and smooth. It is a medium bodied ale with a slightly dry finish.

D - This is a very nice beer. Although, I preferred Volume 1 - it was just easier to drink.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Cantillon tulip.

Pours near black with a single-finger light mocha head with pretty good retention and some spotty lacing as it goes down, eventually settling down into a thin collar. The nose has some roasted malt character as well as some nice chocolate and espresso notes with a bit of dark fruit backing. Dark chocolate is the predominant character.

The taste is pretty congruent with the nose, as there's some roast up front followed by some slightly-bitter espresso as well as chocolate, and then finishing up with some dry bitterness. Body is medium with moderate levels of carbonation. No booze is apparent. Very nice beer overall and I definitely prefer it to Volume 1 of the series.

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Photo of superspak
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle. Pours very dark brown color with a dense 2 finger dark tan head with very good retention that reduces to a lacing cap that leaves some nice lacing. Aromas of roasted malts, chocolate, burnt wood, and cedar. Taste of chocolate, roasted malts, smoke, and cedar. Some very slight bitterness, but not very much on the finish. Insanely creamy and smooth body, with some smokiness and roasted flavors lingering after the finish. Medium body and carbonation. Overall it is a great beer, and one of the few smoked porters I have had, and maybe the best one as well. I would love to have more of this, it has an great balance of flavors, and one of the best mouthfeels I have had. Excellent.

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Photo of nickfl
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured with two fingers of off-white foam on an opaque, dark brown body. The head fades slowly and leaves nice lace.

S - Dark bread, molasses, and smoky caramel.

T - Dark caramel and sweet malt up front. Smoky chocolate comes out in the finish with more caramel, brown malt, and a lingering hint of chocolate.

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

D - Very well balanced and drinkable. The smoke is light but noticeable and adds nicely to the complexity of the beer.

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Photo of oberon
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep chocolate brown with a smaller mocha colored head that settled slowly leaving a few broken chunks of lace behind.A nice mix of stuff in the nose,the smoke is light but is there,some dark fruit,as well as some French roast coffee as well,as it warmed a detectable earthy/woodiness shows thru as well.Light to medium feel,its pretty smooth but maybe not quite as full as I would like.Flavors are complex and rich,the smoke is lighter but holds up well to the sweeter dark fruit,and alcohol flavors,there is a drying woodiness in the finish wich brings everything together nicely.Volume 2 is as good as Volume 1,hopefully Left Hand will keep making good "Volumes".

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Photo of jlindros
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A darker 1 finger fluffy head rises and fades semi slowly, light lacing, over pitch black color.

Nose is loaded with roasted barley, black patent malt, dark crystal, and more dark malts, a light bitterness coming from the scorched malts, some smoke aroma and a bit of smoked cured meat, a light fluffy nougat and chocolate, very light earthy hops.

Taste is similar, but the smoke comes out even more. A nice smoked malt flavor, some light smoked cured meat, a slight salty flavor, plenty of roasted malts again, a bit of coffee, light black patent, a bit of crystal, hints of fluffy nougat and chocolate, a little bit of a warming booze taste, fairly rich and a little creamy, light cocoa powder, a bit on the sweet side, and fairly bitter. The bitterness mostly comes from scorched malts, but a slight bit from earthy hops. It has a definite baltic porter like flavor. The finish is fairly bitter still, dries a bit, with more lingering earthy scorched malt flavors, tannic, light coffee and molasses, bit of chocolate and roast. The second half of the sip, after the smoke fades a bit, reminds me somewhat of Duck Rabbit Baltic Porter, which is an awesome beer.

Mouth is heavier bodied, a little thick and chalky, with decent carbonation and hint of warming booze.

Drink is decent, a bit of warming booze but on par for 7.8%, fairly smooth, the burnt and roasted flavors are there but don't get heavy, overpowering, or even unpleasant, a good middle of winter beer.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.32/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As might be expected, Left Hand's "Fade To Black Smoked Baltic Porter" lives up to it's name.

It's a bit dark for the style, appearing closer to 'black' rather than a very dark "almost black" brown, but the fluffy head of tan holds nicely. Unfortunately, I think the lacing could be a bit better.

In the nose the rich maltiness appears with just enough smoke to make itself known and add another note to an already complex mix that includes toasty grain, caramel, toffee, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, raisin and prune.

The flavor is fuller, tossing in a bit more chocolate, more nuttiness, brown sugar, and molasses. The fruitiness also comes through fuller with more plum than prune, and a bit of red berry and currant as well. It hints at the roastiness of coffee in finish, but it's nicely restrained. Some underlying hops follow that, along with a bit of dull bitterness (probably around 37 IBU's), and there's a subtle spritz of 'refreshing' alcohol that helps prep the palate for the next sip.

In the mouth it's full bodied with a distinct dextrinous edge, but balanced by a gently bristling carbonation. Some alcohol is most likely lending a bit of snap to it as well.

Overall it's fairly impressive that they've kept it so nicely reigned in, balanced, and finely polished. The hops are kept in check, the bitterness is perfect, the roastiness is held back, and the smokiness is just enough that it's noticeable without standing out. Really nicely done! Quite drinkable as well.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep black color, with a thin light brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains roasted malts, coffee, chocolate and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with creamy and sweet flavors of coffee and chocolate. Then a hearty roasted malt character comes in. There is some flavor of dark fruit in the background as well. The hops presence is mild but complementary and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, good representation of style, this is a solid porter to drink for a while.

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Photo of mactrail
4.07/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Tasty and interesting dark beer.

Beautiful ruby chestnut color in the stubby chalice. Head is unremarkable but good carbonation flows well on the tongue. Excellent smoke flavor-- just a touch. Should be required drinking of any brewer contemplating a smoky style. Slightly woody, lots of burnt caramel flavors, hops evident but restrained. Definitely not an "Imperial" version, but very full of flavor.

Sharpness increases with a few sips. A hint more of malt wouldn't have hurt. But it does achieve a nice rich black flavor without any sourness or charcoal in the roast. Definitely a must taste for anyone who likes a different dark.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.97/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle - $1.89 at Olde Crabapple Bottle Shoppe in Alpharetta, Georgia. Bottled on: 11/11/10.

Appearance: Pours out a black body topped with a medium-sized, tan-head that quietly slips out of existence, leaving behind a skimpy ring.

Smell: The Smoked Baltic Porter smells of chocolate, espresso powder, roasted malts, dark German rye bread, a bit of dark fruitiness, meats cooking over a campfire, and ground-up Whoppers candies.

Taste: Malty tastes of dark chocolate squares, callously burnt sugars, and scorched bread crusts given a generous sip of Italian roast coffee. Charcoal and smoked currants follow. Medium sweetness. Some underlying earthy hop character brings about a slight bitterness. Takes on more dark bready character as it warms. A chew of smoky beer jerky nearing the roasty finish with a bit of tangy Hershey chocolate bar in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Light creaminess.

Drinkability: It's a good, well-crafted smoky brew. Sufficiently smoky for me, though some might consider it a bit too restrained. A nice addition to the burgeoning FtB series.

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Photo of billab914
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. It poured pretty close to black in color, with a sticky, tan head clinging to the edges of the glass. Some decent lacing was left as I drank it as well.

The aroma shows more of a sweet, malty flavor to it with some notes of caramel, chocolate and brown sugar. I get just a hint of the smoke, but it's very light compared to how well it comes through in the flavor. The Baltic porter flavors are pretty nice in the aroma though.

The taste starts out with more of the malty sweet flavors. It has some notes of caramel and chocolate coming through in that initial sweetness. Midway, a little of the smoke starts to come out. Towards the finish I get more roasty, bitter flavors, and the smoke really starts to make itself known. The smoke lingers for a bit as well.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied, but on the lighter side for a Baltic Porter. Carbonation is below average, and pretty nice for my taste. Drinkability was good, I thought they did the smoke flavor pretty nicely. It had some nice Baltic Porter character to it up front, and the smoke in the finish was very nicely done. Very solid beer overall.

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Photo of russpowell
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review based on notes, consumed about 2 weeks ago...

Pours chestnut/mahogany with a pinky of brown head. Good head retention & lacing

S: Dark fruit & roastyness

T: Roasty malt, chcolate, & dark fruit up front. Molasses notes & slight smokeyness as this warms, plus dryness & more roastyness, plus woody hop notes. Finishes dry & roasty with plums & dark cherry in abundance

MF: Medium bodied, smooth carbonation, nice warming quality to this

Drinks very easy, one of the better Baltic Porters out their if you not completely obsessed about style guidelines...

Given the chance, I will happily get more of this..

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Photo of smcolw
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A minimum of light passes through a near black beer. One finger thick beige head that sticks around. Leaves some streaks.

Faint burnt wood smell, otherwise a relatively mild smell of toasted malts.

The flavor is more powerful than the smell. Lots of burnt malt along with a touch of smoke. In that way, it is well-balanced. The finish has enough hops to create bitterness. The body is below average with a moderate level of carbonation. Overall, a smooth porter with just enough smoke to make it interesting.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.47/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

big thanks to rich for sending me down the sixer. i cracked this one open with lunch today.

very dark pour, nearly totally black with nice hints of brown around the edges and a head of light tan that sat on top throughout the entire session really quite nicely. aroma of roasted malts and peat, campfire smoke and a rich chocolate note.nice mixed of flavors here with loads rich campfire smoke. lots of caramel and hints of dark notes as it warms. smooth and lightly sweet in the finish i was quite impressed with it overall.

nice and solid beer, not sure about the baltic porter as the style, but very nicely done.

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Photo of womencantsail
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The pour is a very dark brown color with a bit of amber in there too. A small khaki colored head goes with it.

S: Definitely smokey, but at least there are other things going on here. Some creamy vanilla and roasted malts along with a slightly sweet caramel note and maybe even a little bit nutty.

T: Again, it's smokey, but not overwhelmingly so. Moderately sweet with some caramel, toffee, and a bit of creaminess. There's a nice nutty flavor along with the roasted malts.

M: The body is medium with a somewhat low and smooth carbonation.

D: Not a bad smoked beer. Pretty well balanced with a lot of different flavors going on.

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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 TMoney2591
4.23/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Chicago Bears shaker pint glass.

I went to Half Acre seeking a trade and some Hugs, came away with both and a sixer o' this. Not a bad afternoon, really. It pours a nice obsidian topped by a finger of dark tan foam. The nose comprises roasted malts, light charcoal, molasses, dark chocolate, and a touch of dark cigar (you know the ones). The taste does not want to deviate much, save for an increase in the molasses and a shift from charcoal to peat. Me likey. The body is a strong medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a fairly smooth feel. Overall, a lovely little smoked Baltic, another win from the Fade to Black series!

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Photo of woodychandler
4.07/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Another entry from the Bottle Backlog here at Chez Woody! There are just so many bottles, but the end is growing nearer.

From the bottle: "Ingredients: Rocky Mountain water, malted barley, malted wheat, hops and yeast."; "Please keep refrigerated[,] please recycle this bottle"; "Design By Moxie Soto Artist: Nate Dyer".

Mine was an aged bottle, so a Pop! of the cap followed by a slow, gentle pour was as much as I dared. Once sufficiently decanted, I conducted an in-glass swirl which raised over two fingers of foamy, rocky, deep-tan/light-brown head with decent retention, leaving modest lacing in its wake. Color was Black/Opaque (SRM = 44), allowing ZERO light penetration. Nose had a smoky, charcoal quality like the aftermath of a house fire, along with a dark chocolatiness that signaled a good time ahead. Mouthfeel was thick & full, very condensed. The taste was not as smoky as on the nose, but it still had a meaty, Lebanon bologna-like flavor to accompany a chocolate & anise bitterness. Mmm. I really like the way that the flavors had kind of melded over time since I had one of these fresh and it was over-the-top smoky. Finish was dry, but more towards bitter than sweet. The anise/bittersweet chocolate taste was what lingered followed by a smoky aftertaste. I CAN only hope that they also bring this one back.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark pitch black hue with a full tan head forming thick with fine even lacing between sips. Aroma has a back end of smoked malts with a creamy dark chocolate/mild coffee dark roasted malt layer. Flavor is full of smoke/dark fruit/dark chocolate creamy roasts with hints of vanilla in the finish. Very bitter smoked malt finish actually works within this complex awesome one off seasonal series. Dark chocolate bitterness smoked malt brightens my day, yet the beer is called Fade to Black...isn't life ironic? All fucked up comments aside, I'm enjoying the dark roasts I bought a whole six without hesitation at 9.99, because last years volume one export stout was just as heavenly. I'm glad their keeping the dark/black/stout/porter theme alive, and there's definitely more to life than just milk stout. Mouthfeel is creamy, carbonation is mellow, body if full this, my friends this is a baltic porter lover's cream pie. Drinkability overall is wonderful, not as heavenly as some formerly brewed baltic porters but amongst the best of the current widely available versions out there.

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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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