Wake Up Dead
Left Hand Brewing Company

Wake Up DeadWake Up Dead
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Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #789
Ranked #14,138
3.9 | pDev: 12.31%
Left Hand Brewing Company
Colorado, United States
Very Good
Wake Up DeadWake Up Dead
Reviews: 226 | Ratings: 1,074 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Delmarvabeer
Delmarvabeer from Maryland

4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle bought 9/2016, chilled and poured into a tulip glass 3/29/20.

Look: Pitch black, can't see any light through it when holding up to the light. No head. Slight lacing (maybe at peak 1/64th -1/128th inch) around the glass that is a bright white.

Smell: Balsamic, molasses, dried fruit, herbal, Espresso. brown sugar. Syrupy

Taste: Based on the smell you'd expect a syrupy sweet taste - you don't get that at all. Some dried fruit notes, minimal sweetness. More hop forward than I expected as I get a decent amount of bitter. Back end lacks the bite of a hoppier beer. Get notes of coffee and chicory that hangs around. 10.2% is a decent ABV but the beer doesn't taste boozy.

Feel: Much lighter bodied than expecting with a RIS. I would consider this either a medium or light bodied beer. Is very smooth. Possibly the aging played a role. I'd be curious to see how this would be off tap or in a recently bottled bottle. Minimal carbonation. Just enough to make this beer right. Again, I wonder what a fresher version would be carbonation-wise.

Overall: This is a pretty solid RIS. Probably a good introduction RIS for somebody who is more hop forward that would like to try something in the stout family. I personally consider myself a more RIS/Imperial Stout person and this hangs right there with what I consider a traditional RIS (see Old Rasputin, Stone's Imperial Russian etc.). Maybe a little more hop forward and less dried fruit than I like but I would definitely drink again.

Mar 29, 2020
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harrypowers from Massachusetts

3.83/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours black with a small short lived tan head.

Smells of coffee, chocolate and alcohol. Tastes of chocolate and coffee with a really bitter finish.

Medium body with light carbonation. Less syrupy and smooth tasting than most imperial stouts.

I found this brew to be more edgy than I would prefer for the type. They say it will age well so I am going to cellar the rest of the 4 pack for a while.

Mar 16, 2020
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Bitterbill from Wyoming

4.34/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle, best by April 2nd 2024, not a nitro.

Pours a pitch black with a fine layer of tannish foam. Lacing is not lacking.

Smells of black licorice, dark chocolate, coffee, wee bit of alcohol.

Lovely marriage of the aromas in the taste. Black licorice and dark chocolate seem to dominate but the coffee isn't far behind. Little bit of fruit going on which I reckon is raisins. Alcohol is there but not intrusive.

Body is close if not full, carbonation is on the gentle side.

I only picked up a single as part of a mixed 6pack. This is worthy of more than 1 bottle.

Feb 14, 2020
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michaelsmith11 from Illinois

3.4/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.25

I was looking forward to trying this but I was a little disappointed. This is a nitro beer so it had, as i expected, a nice smooth creamy mouthfeel. My main complaint was when it was cold it had a tinny taste to it and a bit of it int he smell. As it warmed the tinny taste started to dissipate but by that time I had moved on.

Dec 22, 2019
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LarryV from Massachusetts

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

Pours an inky black with a shortlived small head. minimal lacing going on. Aroma of roasted malt, enticing. Big and bold flavor, slightly charred malty with a big hint of licorice. Never overly sweet, a bit smoky. Mouthfeel is medium, a little creaminess. ABV is quite well hidden, dangerously drinkable. A nicely done stout by Left Hand, I really enjoyed it and would visit this one again. Paid $11.99 for a 4 pack.

Update - at the one year mark, this beer is delicious. Mellows out and the heat from the alcohol isn't noticeable at all. Quite delicious.

Dec 08, 2019
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GuyFawkes from Illinois

3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From old, undated notes. Poured from the bottle.

Pitch black liquid.

Khaki head; minimal lace.

Black licorice nose.

Thick, viscous mouthfeel.

Black licorice dominates the flavor profile.

Drinkable, but just too much.

Nov 30, 2019
Photo of Davidpolenz33

4.89/5  rDev +25.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

The best beer I can remember having besides possibly the xocoveza by stone. Smooth silky smooth nose and finish, my favorite nitro by far. So buzzed from two, I could barely drive home.

Nov 19, 2019
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sjdevel from Colorado

4.06/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Looks really dark / black. Low on carbonation. Didn't get much on the aroma - some hops, some charred wood, some chocolate maybe. Taste is pretty bitter upfront and hoppy - almost like a Black IPA here - rich with chocolate and coffee but not much on the caramel and brown sugar like I expected - not as full bodied as expected either. Overall a great beer but just not quite the RIS I was looking for.

Nov 16, 2019
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sjrider from California

4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle -inky black as night with quickly dissipating khaki head leaving minimal bubbly lacing. Nose is roasty malt with a hint of licorice and espresso.Taste follows with a bit of bitterness. Finish starts creamy and ends almost dry. ABV well hidden. Quite tasty.

Sep 14, 2019
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bbtkd from South Dakota

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.

Jul 07, 2019
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Mindcrime1000 from South Dakota

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.

May 27, 2019
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flipper2gv from Canada

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.

Mar 31, 2019
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animal69 from Louisiana

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

Nov 26, 2018
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jdhilt from New Hampshire

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.

Jun 07, 2018
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porters4life from Illinois

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.

Apr 30, 2018
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Viaduck from California

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.

Apr 14, 2018
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pizzabutt from Maryland

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.

Apr 13, 2018
Photo of RaulMondesi
RaulMondesi from California

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.

Mar 03, 2018
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jwilcox767 from Ohio

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.

Jan 14, 2018
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jzeilinger from Pennsylvania

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.

Mar 18, 2017
Photo of Jadjunk
Jadjunk from Georgia

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

Nov 24, 2016
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Wiffler27 from New Jersey

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.

Aug 29, 2016
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deltatauhobbit from Maine

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.

Aug 21, 2016
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Weixiaobao from Kansas

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.

Aug 05, 2016
Photo of Wasatch
Wasatch from Colorado

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.

Jun 14, 2016
Wake Up Dead from Left Hand Brewing Company
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 1074 ratings