Wake Up Dead | Left Hand Brewing Company

Wake Up DeadWake Up Dead
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Average: 3.9 | pDev: 12.31%

Reviews: 217 | Ratings: 1,057

Ranked #779 Russian Imperial Stout and #11,969 overall.

ABV: 10.20% | Availability: Year-round

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Left Hand Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Very Good
Wake Up DeadWake Up Dead
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Reviews: 217 | Ratings: 1,057
Photo of bbtkd
3.84/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Left Hand Wake Up Dead Imperial Stout, 10.2% ABV. Pours black with a slight brown head. Nose is roast malt, licorice, and cocoa. Taste is mainly roast malt and espresso, some dark fruit in the background, with moderate bitterness fading to heavy in the aftertaste. Decent mouthfeel, overall good, but a bit too bitter for me.

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Photo of Mindcrime1000
3.87/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a single bottle into a tulip.

Pours jet black with limited head and retention (not unexpected with the ABV) but a nice collar of lacing that endures throughout the drink. Seems a shade thin for the style on the pour.

The aromas are more evocative of a regular stout or milk stout, with cocoa powder, carob, and espresso, but limited toasted grain/malt presence. Somewhat astringent on the aroma. Very little, if any, booze is present on the nose.

The brew hits the tip of the tongue with espresso, chocolate/cocoa power, and char notes, and the ABV is rather well hidden. However, there are some issues after that. The finish has some metallic notes, and the middle of the brew feels a little hollow, lacking some of the toasted malt body that the best of the style provide.

The mouthfeel is medium-full and well carbonated for the style and ABV. Very well done here.

Overall, a decent RIS that hides its ABV well and offers some nice flavors and a very drinkable finish, but lacking the complexity and body of the best of the style.

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Photo of flipper2gv
3.68/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours pitch black with a beige colored creamy looking head. Not a lot of retention at all but definitely quite a bit of lacing and alcohol leg.

S: Figs, prunes and raisins dominate the smell. There is a little bit of vanilla and coffee too. Little to no alcohol smell. Rose petal and slightly medicinal.

T: Taste follows the nose with the fruit notes of figs, prunes and raisins. But, the coffee is much stronger than in the smell, same as the vanilla. But, the medicinal notes are still there and the weird rosewater too. It ain't too bad but those two notes don't benefit the beer at all.

M: Heavy and creamy with a medium to low carbonation. Very good for the genre.

O: This is a decent enough beer. I hoped to love it more considering the theme and the name of the brewery. Still, this is worth your time I think.

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Photo of animal69
4.02/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured on nitro at my local pub, beautifully poured, black with a thick creamy tan head and an in-between layer of deep brown; Smell is burning toast and coffee, dark fruits and "azz" in there as well; taste starts with sharp, bitter hops and burnt ends, smokey with some raisiny mineral in the finish; being on N2 it was incredibly creamy, not too thick however, just enough to slick up the tongue; overall a damn good brew

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Photo of jdhilt
4.18/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a two-finger brown head that fades slowly leaving some lace. Black color, no highlights. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Dark frui, chocolate nose and flavor is molasses and baked chocolate. $11.89 for a 4-pak 12oz bottles from Beverage Warehouse Winooski, VT.

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Photo of porters4life
3.67/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours black with some light coming out of the bottom of the tulip glass that I poured it into. The head came and went pretty quickly. A two finger head while it lasted, but was not very long lasting.
S: Actually smells pretty good. I get some cocoa, chocolate, light coffee, with some sweetness that smells like caramel with may be a little bit of vanilla as well. Very good smell to this beer
T: I get a bit of the cocoa and chocolate with a little bit of vanilla. This does not taste as well as I thought it would from the smell. A little disappointing honestly.
F: It was a pretty thin feeling beer sadly. It did have a bit of a creamy finish though that I did like.
O: Not that bad, not that great. A little disappointing I have liked the other beers I have had by these guys and this one just fell short of my expectations.

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Photo of Viaduck
3.89/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Almost black with with the typical late forming light brown head after a hard pour. Dark chocolate aroma. Tase is sweet dark chocolate with a bitter coffee finish. No alcohol flavor but some heat after the finish finish. . Feel is thin & on the flat side, too watery. I love the name.

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Photo of pizzabutt
3.68/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

appearance: dark brown, relatively small head. nice lacing but very little head retention.

smell: roasty, coffee, light chocolate

taste: roasted barley, chocolate, some coffee. has a lingering bitter aftertaste, although it's not unpleasant. hides the alcohol quite well for a 10%.

feel: closer to medium-bodied end of the russian imperial stout range. moderately carbonated but it remains pretty smooth.

overall: a fairly good russian imperial stout. a bit lighter than most other stouts. i'm a fan though. the bottle art is awesome too.

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Photo of RaulMondesi
3.48/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

For being 10.2%, this is pretty weak. It’s like Shaq showing up to the dunk contest and only doing layups. Light roast, light chocolate... light on light. If you are coming at me with a name like “Wake Up Dead,” you better come strong. And this effort is hella weak.

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Photo of jwilcox767
3.7/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A: Thin dark pour, a worryingly small amount of carbonation. Not much head.

S: Very strong coffee and roasted malt notes. A little bittersweet chocolate.

T: Taste follows the nose, but the coffee is even more pronounced. There's not a lot of complexity here, but what is present is "satisfactory".

M: The level of carb really kills this beer. It was almost nonexistent and ruined the whole experience since it was like drinking a bitter liquid that sat open in the fridge all day.

O: I didn't like this. The only saving grace is that I found this on a store shelf when it clearly says to refrigerate it. I don't know how this affects it's character or if it causes the nitro to come out, but it was an overall disappointing brew. Maybe I'll try a new one in a year or two.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.11/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Updated 1-19-19

On tap.

A - Pitch black, opaque pour with a thick, creamy, Guiness-like head. The creaminess is very sticky on the sides of the glass.

S - Dark roasted chocolate, cream, cocoa.

T - Cocoa, toasted chocolate, cream, some char, and a lingering dark roasted cocoa bitter-sweetness on the back end. The 10% is hidden extremely well.

M - Full bodied and silky, creamy on the texture. Lip smacking sticky on the lips.

O - This a very drinkable Russian Imperial Stout. Nice flavor and drinkability.

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.77/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

"Good morning, you've woken up dead. You're in ruins, but don't be discouraged. Here's a black ale to brighten your day. Wake Up Dead lurks in our cellars for over 4 months before being unleashed. Hints of raisins, black licorice, coffee and dark chocolate are followed by earthy, herbal hop notes. Any apprehensions about the rest of your day are quickly forgotten, for whatever the mind expect, it finds." Brewed in the style of a Russian Imperial Stout, available in seasonal 22 oz. bottles and on seasonal draft. 2014 vintage compared alongside a 2012 vintage.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle to a snifter glass.

(Appearance) Pours a creamy frothed head of a light brown color over a near black body. Retention is above average and lacing is light and spotty. 4

(Smell) Cocoa nibs, caramel syrups, dark fruit pulp, spicy licorice and gentle roast with a mild graininess and moderate sweetness. Potency is moderate. 3.75

(Taste) Flavor is similar to the aroma, with chocolate leading the way, through a subtle caramel bread and syrup body, dark fruit sugars, licorice and a moderate graininess. Finishes spicy, slightly grainy and moderately viscous. 3.75

(Mouthfeel) Texture is slick, mildly creamy, lightly oily, chewy, and mildly viscous, medium dry. Carbonation is modest, generating a mild frothiness and a medium crisp finish. Body is shy of medium for the style, shy of heavy overall. Balance is slightly grainy, fruity spiciness and roasted bitterness over sweet. Alcohol presence is moderate, and there are no off characters. 3.75

(Overall) While I'm not blown away by the flavor profile in this one, I can appreciate the balance it brings to the table, being a more European-influenced stout with richer dark fruit notes and licorice spiciness, the roast and even the chocolate takes a back seat at times. One of the better options in Left Hand's lineup, although based on a previous experience, I'd avoid the barrel aged version like the plague. 3.75

Vertical Notes:

2012 (4 Years Aged): Pours an equally frothy, creamy head of a light brown with soft caramel shades over a dark brown body, with similar retention. The aroma reveals more chocolate on the surface, sharper dark fruit notes, some slight oxidation and a more revealed grain alcohol pinch. The flavor amplifies the dark fruit characteristics, with gaining notes of raisin and fig, a sharper graininess and lighter roast and chocolate presence. The texture is slicker, more syrupy and frothy, a bit heavier bodied than the fresher vintage, with an equally frothy carbonation and dryness, slightly more exposed alcohol presence, and no off characters. Aging this beer does not do too much more to improve the flavor, although it has not been harmed much, as a great deal of the flavor is fruit based, and this beer is a bit more relaxed with nice fruit undertones, at the expense of natural oxidation and more exposed grain alcohol. Had this been in more session-worthy packaging, I would have recommended setting one bottle aside, but in its current format, I don't think it's an effort with a reasonable payout.

Recommended vintage: Fresh (er)

Left Hand Brewing Company's
Wake Up Dead Imperial Stout

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Photo of Wiffler27
4.23/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Vintage 2016, i bought this in February of 2016 and it's been in my fridge since then.

pours dead black with a thin head.

smells like vanilla/coffee/toffee yet reaks of creamy gasoline coffee.

taste is nice, has a mellow ring to it. full of flavor, lots of coffee notes with burnt chocolate.

worth buying and glad i bought 1 for consumption and 1 for cellar aging.

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.79/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Vintage 2016
Best by 1/14/21

Pours a dark brown color with a decent amount of head, fades quickly but leaves a slight cap on top, not much lacing on the glass though.

Smell is mostly roasted malt, not much else going for it, maybe a slight hop aroma if searching deeply for it.

Taste is a bit surprising after the ho-hum aroma, flavor is much more pronounced, roasted malt still leads the charge but there's a large cocoa presence, strength is quite noticeable, medium carbonation and body.

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Photo of Weixiaobao
3.84/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Great bottle art and bottle aesthetic. Vintage: 2014. Best by 7/21/19. Sitting in a dark corner of my basement for a couple years. Moderate head on pour. Tiniest shade of brown on the otherwise black body.
S: Complex but not strong. 72% or so dark chocolate and wet leather.
T: A bit different than the taste. Not getting a lot of he 10.2% alcohol, which is impressive. Has an herbal/medicinal hint in there.
F: Tastes a bit flat. Not carbonation flat, but overall a tad limp. Maybe the aging encouraged on the bottle doesn't do as much good as it touts. I'll knock it up a quarter point from 3.5 for the substantial buzz after just a few sips.
O: This one of the first brews I threw in my cellar a couple years ago. Was on sale for $6 or so and the bottle really encouraged aging. Doesn't have quite as much going on as some of the more world class imp stouts out there readily available, but a fun brew.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.13/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22 oz. Bomber
Vintage 2016
Best By: 1/14

Poured into a chalice a pretty nice dark brown color, nice carbonation, with a quick fizzy light tan head, with basically no sticky lacing at all. The nose is malty, with lots of chocolate/toffee notes, some vanilla. The taste is pretty nice malty, chocolate/toffee notes, nice touch of vanilla. Medium body, ABV is hidden very very well with this one. Overall, kinda a watered down RIS, but very tasty though.

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Photo of SawDog505
4.17/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a 16 oz snifter at near room temperature bottled on 1/14/16. Pours a very dark mahogany with a 2 finger lite tan head that leaves behind some lines of lace.

Smell is very tame cocoa, lite coffee, biscuit, and toffee.

Taste is much more pronounced roasty coffee, dark chocolate, vanilla, oak, biscuit, and toffee, very nice.

Mouthfeel is medium, very creamy, moderate carbonation as it should be, slightly dry, and excellent drinkability.

Overall I can't figure out how a beer with so much flavor could smell so mild. I really like this beer.

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Photo of larryarms847
3.6/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a silky smooth black with dark brown on the edges and a thin quarter finger of dark brown foam.

Nice roastiness, sweet chocolate and light vanilla aroma, some mild spice.

Hmm, flavor seems to be lacking in comparison to aroma, there is a nice roasted malt character, but the chocolate and spice I was getting in aroma is hidden.

Heavy-bodied, low carbonation, silky smooth.

Overall, needs to be amped up in the flavor department but a smooth and easy drinking RIS.

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Photo of SuomiHobbit
4.25/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pleasant surprise at Still Hill. On tap. Smooth, almost nitro smooth. Delicious; nothing overwhelms but rather combines for a great concert of flavor.

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Photo of BEERMILER12
4.09/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a near pitch black color with 2 fingers of head that slowly fades down to a nice cap that leaves some good lacing

S: Moderate roast and some malt sweetness up front, with some dark fruit and anise in the back. Dark bakers chocolate quite prevalent as well

T: Follows the nose. Starts off with some decent roastiness and moderate sweetness and goes into dark fruits and dark bakers chocolate with a hint of anise. Finishes with light bitterness and lingering anise

M: Medium-full bodied with low-moderate carbonation. Smooth

O: A very good RIS with a good deal of complexity. A nice sipper and one that could age very well. Certainly worth a purchase

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Photo of whitetale
4.18/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a nonic glass at about 55 degrees.
Color is dark, almost black with a tan head. Both the head and lacing hold up very well.
Aroma is dark roasted malt with maybe a touch of dark chocolate and anise.
Taste is malty almost bread like. Very rich. Alcohol is well hidden. Flavor gets better as the beer warms.
Mouthfeel is very smooth with good, medium carbonation. Definitely full bodied.
Overall (and I must admit to preferring stouts) a very good imperial stout. Good job Left Hand.

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Photo of ivehadthatbrew
4.01/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Drinking from a sifter glass around 50-55°F

Look (3.75): Dark brown with minor carbonation. A small but creamy light tan head. Beer and carbonation doesn't cling to the class as much as you'd expect.

Smell (4): Licorice and roasted malt and toasted bready notes. There's some chocolate and coffee in there as well. Dried darker fruit notes hidden in there.

Taste (4): Chocolate, raisons or dried cherry flavors. Molasses and roasted coffee there. I may be making a coffee connection when it's actually more of floral bitter notes. Perhaps some cinnamon spice at the end.

Mouthfeel (3.75): Definitely full bodied brew. Middle of the road to dry at the end. A long lingering bitter aftertaste that lasts for about half a minute.

Overall (4.25): I'm a suckered for stouts and this is one that strikes my fancy just right. I may be being a little biased for the overall, but it's just sooo good!

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Photo of hophugger
3.42/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Big tan head. Aroma is somewhat subdued but I get chocolate, coffee and malt. Taste is decent, slightly watery as far as flavor, yet slick and coating in the mouth. Overall, bittersweet and milk chocolate, roasted coffee are the key players. Finished slightly above average.

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Photo of Tucquan
4.13/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had this on 2016-02-11 in Columbia, PA from a 12oz bottle

A - Opaque dark brown with an initial foaming nitro head that finishes with a 1-finger light brown head and good lace.

S - Molasses, chocolate, medium roasted grain, dried cherries and dried plums. Not real strong but inviting.

T - Lots of bitter-sweet chocolate, mild coffee, roasted / lightly charred grain. Lactose sweetness. Some alcohol heat. Finish is well-balanced reflecting all these flavors.

M - Medium-heavy body and light carbonation. Creamy and smooth.

O - Quite nice. This is an older bottle; more than a year and it still tastes good with little-to-no oxidation and very little umami flavor.

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Photo of colingaiser
3.69/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber bottled in 2014, poured into a snifter...

L: Dark brown-to-black, with a thick tan head that leaves gorgeous, bubbly lacing

S: The aroma is fantastic and complex ... licorice, caramel, dates, raisins, and a little dark-roast coffee

T: Unfortunately I don't think the taste measures up to the beautiful aroma ... up front are notes of baking chocolate, raisins, and alcohol with a hit of sweet molasses, and the finish is bitter black coffee ... very typical flavor profile for an imperial stout

F: The mouthfeel is thick and chewy with a creamy finish, and very little carbonation to speak of

Overall, this beer is decent -- and definitely a bargain (the bomber was $5.49) -- but it does nothing distinguish itself from the crowded market of Colorado imperial stouts. I'm sticking with the Nitro Milk Stout.

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Wake Up Dead from Left Hand Brewing Company
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 1057 ratings