Wake Up Dead | Left Hand Brewing Company

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Wake Up DeadWake Up Dead

Brewed by:
Left Hand Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by elgiacomo on 05-04-2011

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Reviews: 207 | Ratings: 1,018
Photo of jzeilinger
3.96/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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 -2.8%
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 +9%
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 -2.3%
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%
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 +6.4%
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 +7.5%
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 -7.2%
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 +9.5%
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 +5.4%
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 +7.7%
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 +3.4%
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 -11.9%
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 +6.4%
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 -4.9%
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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Photo of LloydDobler
3.69/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Vintage 2013

Very dark, but a bit of light shines through at the thinner points of the glass. Almost zero head. Minimal aroma. Just a bit of sweetness. None of that comes through in the taste. Lots of tobacco and HEAT! Reminds me of the morning after a night of straight booze at the bar, and then waking up with a bad cup of coffee and bumming one of your roommates cigs. Yep, that's exactly it!

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Photo of MTLDOG
4.21/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured hard, jet black with a khaki 1 finger head. Good lacing. Smells of wood, prunes and bakers chocolate. Great mouthfeel, creamy and smooth. Thick and pleasant. Tastes of chocolate covered raisins and roasted malt. A little dry tartness which was surprising with how creamy the feel was. Just enough bitterness and dangerously drinkable. Hint of chocolate, hint of whole grain wheat, and small touch of booze. Surprisingly really good.

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Photo of GormBrewhouse
4.58/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark with a short white head. Lots of chocolate and roast nicely blended for a smooth easy drink. No heat or blast from the abv. Almost always available so a great stout whenever.

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Photo of scotorum
4.39/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the 22 oz. bomber into a Samuel Smith English tulip.

a: Opaque black with plenty of clear ruby highlights at the bottom. Inch thick tan head receded to moderate even surface foam and dense lacing.

s: Strong of chocolate, ripe dark fruit and alcohol.

t: Follows the nose, fpollowed by a pretty powerful hop bite. Alcohol is in the otherwise dry and slightly bitter aftertaste, but not objectionably so. Some throat burn follows as well.

m: Wickedly smooth "oily" texture, medium density with very good body and obvious carbonation tingle.

o: An excellent Imperial stout, highly sippable and tasty. Given the high ABV and drinkability, after a bomber of this one might indeed believe they woke up dead the next morning. But it would be worth it.

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

A - Mostly opaque, black-brown, with translucent edges, and a tan head, mild lacing.

S - Dark fruit, roasted malts. Strong alcohol note, burning the nostrils.

T - Plum and raisins mingles with bittersweet chocolate, roasted malts, tobacco and leather, a touch of soy savoriness, a bitter close of hop.

M - Slick and full, with a drying close.

O - Solid. A big, bold bitter hit, and a nice brisk close.

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Photo of coltonbrimhall
4.48/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

-black with thick light brown head
-mellow with a imperial oak loaded scent
-great oak and alcohol warmth
-thick not to carbonated but a flavorful thickness
-one of the best imperial stouts i have had hands down

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Photo of Davepoolesque
3.71/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours out black with a huge fluffy mocha head. More quad flavors than stout. Dark fruits. Hmmm. Smooth. Super dry from the oak. Thinner feel. Eh, its ok.

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Photo of mchegash
4.18/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - 4/5
Very dark red-brown, black for all intensive purposes. A thin half-finger layer of medium tan head.

Smell - 4/5
Vanilla, chocolate, bourbon,

Taste - 4.25/5
Sweet chocolate, vanilla, raisins, coffee, and a strong alcohol flavor (mixed with the various other flavors in the beer, it has a bourbon-esque taste). I really like the taste of this beer.

Mouthfeel - 4.25/5
Medium-full in body, smooth and creamy. There is a light amount of medium-light intensity carbonation. A good feel.

Overall - 4.25/5

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Photo of ThaneMcC
4.33/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a motor oil black with soapy, tan head (poured inverted as directed with plenty of agitation. Copious lacing that clings to the glass throughout. Don’t allow this beer to be too cold, as you really can’t appreciate the bouquet – the aroma of Nitro beers to be a bit muted, even more so when serve too cold. Smells of roasted malts, cocoa, fresh expresso, some dark fruits (fig?). Tastes sweet malty throughout, hint of cocoa, licorice, little bitter twang to even out the sweetness and clean finish. Alcohol hardly discernible. Mouthfeel is creamy, full bodied without any carbonation. Sweet yet not syrupy – faint bittersweet finish – quite pleasant.
Hands down, one of the best RIS (American) I’ve had – comparable to Oskar Blues Ten Fidy in taste and complexity. Thoroughly enjoyable sipper/winter warmer. Must buy and I’ll be stocking up on this tasty concoction!

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Photo of ColoradoPhil
4.11/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I am an IPA person. I love IPA's. this stuff is good, I think it is kind of great. Having it with a cheese pizza, and it is a perfect compliment. It tastes robust, refreshing, chocolate, with a nice not too carbonated mouth feel. I didn't look at the alcohol %, not a supermarket lager for sure, but the alcohol taste can't taste it for the rich flavor. This is yummy. I will stick with IPA's, but this is a wonderful change of pace.

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Wake Up Dead from Left Hand Brewing Company
3.88 out of 5 based on 1,018 ratings.
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