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

very good
359 Ratings
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:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 242 | Ratings: 359
Photo of uabjeff
4.58/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've been wanting to try this beer for a while now. I have to say I was hooked by the description and the art on the container and the label. It pours, black, black, black. No light gets through it. It has a finger or so of tan head that dissipates pretty quickly and leaves some sparse lacing.

The smell is smoky and intriguing, roasted malt with hints of chocolate, coffee and caramel, but the smokiness dominates.

The flavor is pure smoky sweetness with layers of flavor. Chocolate, caramel, coffee, oak, possibly vanilla, but none of it overpowering, it has layers and some subtlety to it. The finish is really incredible: kind of a burnt caramel that lingers. Really quite pleasant.

This beer has a medium to medium heavy body with little carbonation. It has a somewhat milky feel to it, very smooth.

I have to say this is one of may favorite beers. I've had several porters, but never a Baltic porter, so I'm not sure how it compares to others, but it is a very enjoyable beer to drink. There is a local restaurant that has a white chocolate bread pudding that I would love to pair with this beer. I think the result would be a very pleasant vegetative state.

 1,171 characters

Photo of ngeunit1
4.32/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark black color with some hints of brown around the edges and a finger of brown-tanish head. The head fades down to a ring around the glass leaving behind some nice lace spots.

S - Aroma is a mix of deep roasted caramel malts and some oak and smoke. There is a bit of vanilla and chocolate. Also a touch of milk sweetness.

T - Starts off with nice roasted caramel malts and some smoke/oak. There is just a touch of coffee in the background. Through the middle, some chocolate flavors and a bit of vanilla and milk sweetness come through. The finish is a mix of deep roasted caramel and chocolate malts, some oak and vanilla, and some smoke that lingers nicely.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. A touch creamy and the smoke flavor really coats the mouth nicely. The finish leaves a slight dryness that mixes nicely with the smoke.

D - Very drinkable. Nice mix of flavors in a smoked porter here. The smoke flavor is at a nice level compared to the other flavors. Not weak enough to get over-powered, however, it also allows the other flavors to be known.

 1,082 characters

Photo of trappistlover
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(12oz bottle). Pours black with a nice tan head. Aroma of savory smoke, chocolate, pumpernickel and bacon? Taste is semi-sweet malts with some roasty bitterness following. Medium bodied with an oily texture. Smooth, dry finish. This is a very nice beer that balances the base beer with the smokiness. Good job.

 310 characters

Photo of falloutsnow
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours, from the bottle, a pillowy burnt-tan head that's composed of small bubbles. Head dissipates in a few minutes, but a fine layer of the bubbles remains atop the beer for the entire experience. I get a small amount of lacing, indicating the moderate stickiness and sweetness of this beer. Beer itself is black or dark brown in color, opaque, with minor visible carbonation.

Scent brings to mind, in order of notice-ability baked brown sugar, smoke, dirt, cacao nibs, and something I can only term "sourness."

Taste is dominated by smoke, which seems to replace the normal coffee or chocolate smells of the typical baltic porter. Quite nice/interesting. I still pick up some of the coffee and dark chocolate accents, along with a subdued sweetness. Quite nice.

This porter is medium to medium-heavy in body. Carbonation is rather mild, so that the beer sits on the palate pleasantly. I would really have liked a slightly fuller, stickier body with a slightly more aggressive amount of carbonation. This is still a pretty good drinking beer, though.

Overall, a quality smoked porter that I thoroughly enjoyed. Wish it was just a bit heavier body-wise.

 1,157 characters

Photo of morebeergood
4.17/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Dive Bar in Worcester for $6. Served in a standard pint glass. Dark black body, with surprisingly little head. Smell was peaty and smoky. Taste was a winner. Loads of smoke and roasted malt. Plenty to taste but not overwhelming. Mouthfeel was good, but would have loved a tiny bit more thickness for a baltic porter. Overall a great beer that I finally was able to have a pint all to myself. The menu board said it was kicked, but they crossed off the wrong Left Hand offering. Glad I asked!

 505 characters

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.

 685 characters

Photo of Daniellobo
4.27/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice smoked porter, subtle but with a nice long range.

Presentation: 12 oz brown capped bottle. Black and white label with an elaborate line illustration, almost a pattern-like range akin to some tattoo styles. Neck label notes style alongside brewery branding . Side narrative explains the charity memorial effort celebrated by the brew, and offers a brief description. Notes generic list of ingredients, and an empty bottled date section. Served in a snifter.

A - Black pour with deep brown edges, short frothy head with small retention, faint surface memory save a thin surface ring and some splashes of lacing.

S - Sweet nose with a smoked hint. Malty, lactose dash, sweet malt... Smoked note... Subtle but nice.

T - Taste is longer and shows off its range with dexterity. Long roasted notes, sweet malt with a milky hint, coffee and chocolate rather gently with a nice soft smoked layer covering it all with a bitter insinuation.

M - Medium/full body with a creamy sense, feeling more full in the finish.

O - All flows rather beautifully together. Subtle but quite a nicely woven smoked porter.

Notes: Among the best, if not the best, offerings I've been lucky to try from Left Hand. Thanks Alberto for the treat!

 1,226 characters

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

 584 characters

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

I should track down the FES stout from this series, maybe it's in VA. Poured from a 12 ounce bottle dated in December of 2010 into a Russian River wine glass. I believe this came as an extra in a recent trade but I don't recall from whom.

Beer is black with a tiny head with low retention. The head is diffuse and breaks, pulling to the walls of the glass as quickly as it formed originally. Some lacing is left on the glass but overall the beer is undercarbonated. It looks like a Baltic porter.

The aroma has a mild air of smoke to it. By what is written on the neck of the bottle I assume this is intentional. The smoke is definitely present but it is not overwhelming. There is a mild yeast character to the aroma and perhaps some maltiness too. I like the aroma.

Baltic porters are an odd bird to me. They are often thin and have a watery aftertaste. This one is similar but the finish is more bitter from the smoked malt and the dryness of the finish is filled out with a kind of late smokiness. I am curious if this was in fact lagered as it seems to have some qualities that I associate with lagering. There is a yeastiness to the beer but not in the sense that a Belgian style ale would be, more in the sense that a kellerbier would be. If I were to hazard a guess I would say that this was made with lager yeast. Overall, it is a decent Baltic porter and I'd have it again if given the opportunity but I doubt I'd seek it out.

 1,440 characters

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

A - Pours pitch black with a 1 finger tan head that holds good retention. Diamond patterns of lacing.

S - Roasted coffee beans, rich chocolate, lots of malty lactose, campfire smoke.

T - Smoked meat, wood, and chocolate dominate. Dark ground coffee, bittering hops, subtle alcohol, black pepper, with a little sourness mixed in. Sweetness is in there to balance out the savory smoke. Finishes with small smokey hop bite.

M - Full bodied with low carbonation, very silky.

Fantastic! A well constructed smoked Baltic Porter. This provides exactly what you'd expect. Full on smoke mixed with the Baltic style. It's porter nirvana! Great mix of sweet, sour, and bitter. One of the best I've had from this brewery.

 713 characters

Photo of devinoconnor
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

First try from Left Hand Brewing Company, look forward to trying their other brews.

Pours a black color, like a stout, with some hints of gray.

Smell is smokey, woody, earthy...

Taste is a little more bitter than I like, but still enjoyable. Some hops and sweetness.

Not my favorite, but worth trying.

 309 characters

Photo of jessycho
3.97/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Black. What'd you expect?

S - Smells darker than a mocha. It's got a deep chocolaty aroma. Nothing too sweet, very subtle sweetness.

T - Good dark chocolate, mocha, black coffee taste. A little bitter finish, like a nice iced coffee. Also reminds me of my childhood and eating a packet of Swiss Miss hot chocolate powder without any water.

M - Good. I personally prefer lots of carbonation, but for such a dark and full beer, had a surprisingly adequate amount of carbonation!

O - Great porter. First Left Hand experience, and it was all right!

 553 characters

Photo of shand
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a nonic.

Fade to black, indeed! This is blacker than the blackest black. Times infinity. The head is a very creamy dark mocha that sticks around for quite some time. The smell is primarily of slightly overroasted coffee and malts, with the smoked aspect blending in with those fairly seamlessly. The roasted malts here are huge, and work together with some 60% dark chocolate and slightly too-roasted coffee that pairs well with the subtle smoke. Good. The mouthfeel is full, thick, and smooth, and the drinkability is quite alright for the ABV. A solid smoked porter.

 600 characters

Photo of Bouleboubier
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I dig their description of this beer on the website (http://www.lefthandbrewing.com/beers/fade-to-black-vol-2). I often visualize what I am tasting. Had I known what they had in mind...

Black as night and looking poisonous in the micro-chalice it was served in. Foam eschewed on this pour, sadly. Slightly visually viscous. Boiled and pureed dark (drupe) fruit, singed grain, and oily chalk liqueur in the nose - booze weighed down but poking through. Complex, appropriate scent. Greeting: Medium-smooth, silty, toasty-smoky, subtly bitter-roasted malt. Excellent balance of flavor, restraint of smoked character. Tastes like a fine blend of English porter, dunkel-rauch, faint tiny bitter-berry fruity, with a clean lager feel all at the same time. The texture is appropriate, though I was left desiring a marginal degree more malt body...

Goddamn well done, all the same. I'll be hunting this down. Thanks Dan!

 914 characters

Photo of adam42381
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a nonic pint glass. Bottled on 1/25/11 printed on bottle.

Appearance: Pours a motor oil black with a 1 finger thick and creamy dark tan head which dissipates somewhat quickly. Decent lacing.

Smell: Dark roasted malt, milk chocolate, molasses and coffee.

Taste: Roasted malt and semisweet chocolate up front followed by coffee and a touch of alcohol in the middle and ending with somewhat bitter hops. There is a definite smokiness throughout. Aftertaste is coffee and burnt toast.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied and creamy with a decent amount of carbonation. Goes down very smooth.

Drinkability: Good drinkability. This is a sipper that goes down surprisingly easily. Enjoy one or two over the course of an evening and you'll be set.

Overall: Very good beer overall. This is my first Baltic Porter and I'll be having more in the future.

 871 characters

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.

 414 characters

Photo of mattgreger
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this brew at Capone's Bottle Shop in East Norriton

This brew poured a pitch black color with a 1/2 inch thick light brown head. It did have some nice retention, as well as a bit of nice lacing that follows the brew down the glass as it is drank.

This brew has some good aromas. First thing I smell is a sugary, molasses like aroma. Its not very strong, actually was hoping for a little more strength behind it. It did improve as the brew warmed. At that point there was some great roasted flavors, followed by some great smokey aromas that came to the forefront of this brew.

The flavors on thsi brew are great. It has a great balance between coffee and smoke flavors. They mix very well, blending well with the malts. Not a super complex brew, but a nice punch of flavor. The smokey flavors are strong, but not over done.

The brew feels like full bodied one, but its probably closer to medium brew. Its got a great mouthful, and nice intense smokey flavor. Its a great, very satisfying porter.

This brew an very easy drink, especially for a Porter. It has some great flavors and has an ABV that isn't to strong. Though it is not overpowering, its still a sipper of a brew. But I enjoyed it and would reach for it again.

 1,235 characters

Photo of Jips
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

"Smoked" "Baltic Porter" How can I not love this beer!?

Poured into a mug. Definetly motor oil-looking, hardly any fizz or foam formed as I poured. Still, about a 1cm dark tan head formed atop brown-black daaarkness.

Smell: Dominant campfire, coffee, chocolate, + a little fig and carmel. Ohhh man love those in stout/porters.

Taste: Brown sugaa, coffee, toffee, chocolate, dark fruits and a lingering pleasant campfire. Latter is not harsh at all (though I love harsh smoke taste in roggenbiers and O'Fallon's Smoke) despite what I expected from the smell. Have a lingering taste of chocolate similarly found in a proper s'more left on my tongue.

Mouthfeel is in between syrup and milk, definitely went down much easier than the pour indicated.

Oh man I'm sad it's a once only! Though I can't wait what Left Hand will do differently next year. Will definitely pick up more. Wish this came in breathstrip form so I can taste it all day

 940 characters

Photo of JayAre46
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

bottled on? dunno 12 oz poured into a DFH snifter 1 finger of tan head jet black body little carbonation, decent retention

S - smokey roasted malts immediately then some dark chocolates, vanilla maybe? for the most part its dominant aroma characters are the smokey scents and the dark chocolate

T - More of the same, smoked roasted malts, burnt wood flavors, more dark chocolate notes and the alcohol is nowhere to be found. the dark chocolate flavor lingers.

M - full bodied, next to zero carbonation, creamy and soothing on the palate

O - this was a pleasant surprise i didn't want to get it initially because of the loud label and packaging but the great salesman that was there talked me into it (hard)...and i believe i can say that it is one of my favorites from left hand, ill get it again next year...i think.

 823 characters

Photo of WoodBrew
4.65/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Winters last kick here outside the Windy City...what do you need to break the winter blues...a AWESOME PORTER...BABY!!! YEAH! You are not able to see through this delightful treat! Its black...almost navy. The tan creamy head gives way to a very nice lace! The aroma is roasty, earthy, and coffee. Which feeds right into the taste! I love the creamy body on this beer....make you aware you are drinking a porter! The high ABV would make it tought to Session...but I might try!!! Enjoy!

 485 characters

Photo of DaveBlack
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Totally opaque and completely black, though bubbles do stick to the side of the glass. The edges have the thinnest layer of brown when the glass is held up to the light. The head is just a very thin layer of tan with little retention.

S: The aroma on this are big, and hit my nose straight out of the bottle; I didn't even have to pour it to pick up dark roasted coffee malts and a nice smoke. After pouring the smell is a little smoother and sweeter, like dark chocolate, along with the coffee malts and smoke. Great smell.

T: The flavor is, if anything, too dominant. The dark roasted malts kick you in the teeth before giving way to bitter chocolate and smoke. The flavor that it leaves in your mouth is a little too much like ash for my liking, but it just makes me want to take another sip. Actually kind of hard to stop drinking once you start.

M: Heavy body, light on the carbonation. Feels heavy and a little sticky.

O: A drinkable beer, the smoke is nice, the malts are aggressive but pleasant and bring a nice balance of sweet and bitter. Worth a look if you are big into dark roasted malts and smoke.

 1,119 characters

Photo of n2185
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours black with a finger of dark tan head which recedes into a thin ring with a little lacing.

S: Smoky roasted malts followed by some semi-sweet chocolate. The smokiness dominates the aroma, though the sweet chocolate manages to peek through some.

T: Thankfully the smoke is a bit more balanced here than in the aroma. The smoke hits first, but is followed by a slightly sweet and creamy chocolate flavor. The smoke returns on the finish along with a light, charred bitterness.

M: Medium-thick body with light carbonation, this beer is fairly creamy.

O: Overall, a pretty decent beer. It's a bit one-dimensional with the smoke overwhelming any subtleties that might be found, but is still good for what it is.

 718 characters

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

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #48 (Jan 2011):

A hint of smoke hits the nose even before it's done being poured; bubbles appear within the darkness and jockey for position. A firm smoke with a roasty sweetness akin to dark chocolate and espresso coffee in the nose all make the mouth water. Silky smooth on a stodgy cream body. Sweetness in front of smoke, though the smoke does lay it on pretty thick. Roastiness wraps around the taste buds with suggestions of bitter dark chocolate, burnt sugar and fresh espresso. Smokiness coats all; warming alcohol drops a burnt currant flavor middle to end. Finishes quite roasty. An all-night sipper here.

 657 characters

Photo of daliandragon
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoying a few brews on the porch on a warm, mild St. Patty's Day. Always up for a Baltic Porter. This one pours smooth as silk and whips up a good cocoa colored head with copius lace remaints. Looks jet black to me. Nose is roasted and coffee and smoke. Not as strong as I'd prefer but getting a little better as it sits.

Interesting. Roasted barley and smoked and baker's chocolate are the main flavors but I'm daft if I don't get some balancing hops in there somewhere. Late dark fruit tones as well. Very smooth but maybe a touch too much carbonation.

Dry and very drinkable for the abv. If you didn't tell me, I''d have guessed under 6%.

 647 characters

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

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a Duvel tulip. Bottled on 120710 stamped on label. Single purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $2.

A: Very dark brown with healthy 2-finger soft beige tightly bubbled head with very good retention and more than a few scraps of lace around the glass.

S: Heavy roasted barley note with some dark fruit and light tobacco hops note. No smoke detected. Alcohol is also not present.

T: The flavor is a well-blended collection of roasted barley with mild burnt qualities, chocolate, burned black coffee, and a subtle cured, meaty flavor which is really well-done, as compared to the obnoxious, overbearing, artificial, chemical smoked flavor in some beers (cough, Immortale). The hoppiness is background but is earthy and tobacco and supports the overall robust profile. Despite the ABV, alcohol is well-hidden.

M: The mouthfeel is hefty and medium-bodied plus. Carbonation is suitably low and this drinks very easily because of the creamy, smooth feel.

D: I definitely enjoyed this brew. I wish it had a bit more malt complexity and power in the flavor. But this is a really good Left Hand beer, up there with their Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout and Brandy Barrel Aged Widdershins barleywine.

 1,240 characters

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

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

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

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.