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: 204 | Ratings: 1,014
Photo of AdrianAltine
1.5/5  rDev -61.2%

First drink of this beer is very good until the bitter ending. I have gotten use to the milk stouts or even some of Guinness products have less of a bitter finish. Having said that I'm still going to finish the beer so it can't be that bad

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Photo of homebrew311
2.06/5  rDev -46.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Well I've read mixed reviews about this brew, but I can never pass up an unticked impy stout, especially when its on sale for 6 bucks. Here we go....

A: pours very light for style, deep brown with ruby highlights, 2 finger head on pour, dissipates to a cm, decent retention

S: the nose features notes of grapes, vanilla, musty oak, artificial chocolate. This aroma smells more like an American Strong Ale, nothing like an imperial stout.

T: taste starts out with clashing malt flavors, some dark fruit, huge acrid bitterness, burnt chocolate. There virtually no balance and drinking this brew actually made me scrunch my face. Wow... this is bad

Mf: thin body for style, has a very dry finish

O: this beer is a mess. It misses the mark on style, and also misses the mark on tasting good. Do yourself a favor...pass this one up. Lefthand makes plenty of other tasty brews, this however is not one of them.

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Photo of zachary80
2.37/5  rDev -38.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Background: Poured into a Guinness Pint. 6/30/11 on the neck, nothing on the label.

Look: Brown with ruby highlights. Surprisingly not opaque. Looks thin while pouring. Small tan head rears up at the end of the pour. Looks like a lighter porter. Spots of lacing. Would blame my glass but it looked the same in my friend's as well.

Smell: Pretty malty, maybe a hint of alcohol. Not much going on, maybe slight fruitiness.

Taste: Hot from the alcohol, mellows as it approaches room temperature. Mild dark fruits. Not much roastiness even for a normal stout.

Mouthfeel: Thin, not full bodied.

Overall: Not a great beer. Not a good beer. Average would be kind. It just seems watered down.

Value: I thought it would be decent at 6.99 for a bomber, but it is not.

For some reason I fully expected this to be better than the Barrel Aged. I was wrong. Avoid this.

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Photo of biglite351
2.88/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Orange around the edges with a creamy tan head

S - Very mild raisin malt and an earthy soil like smell

T - Much deeper than the scent. Dark fruit, licorice and malt. Bitter

hit in the finish

M - Good coating but only a mild tingle on the tongue

O - Not bad but nothing special

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Photo of Sludgeman
2.9/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

22 oz bottle with "bottled on" date was missing. Purchased on January 13, 2013. Poured into a large wine glass.

A - Poured midnight black, opaque. Healthy pour resulted in half a finger of head that quickly disapated. Little lacing.

A - Alcohol, dark fruits and a little yeast.

T - Burnt coffee, rasins, bitter. Hoppy alcohol finish. No chocolate.

MF - Dry and almost antiseptic.

O - Possesses many of the individual attributes of an imperial stout, but when combined does not work for me. Will not purchase again.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.06/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Got this one at De Bierkoning in Amsterda. Always fun stuff at De Bierkoning. Glad to live close enough to perhaps the best beer store in the world.

From a bomber into a snifter
Best before March 2014 stamped on the bottle

APPEARANCE: A clear brown pour yields a two finger, medium looking, light tan head with very good retention. Transparent black body with higher levels of carbonation evident. Head slowly fades to a good wisp and leaves some foamy lacing down the glass. A splotchy wisp and ring remain until the end and leaves some nice dots of lacing down the glass. Head works well, but the body is too transparent and carbonated for the style.

SMELL: Very muted nose. A touch or roasted malts and grapefruit hops, but I might be reaching a bit here. Very faint and unimpressive.

TASTE: Roasted notes, smoky flavors and some sweet caramel up front. More flavor than the nose had inicated for sure, though that wasn't tough to accomplish. A roasted and caramel sweet aftertaste with some licorice, burnt malts and a touch of hop bitterness lingers nicely on the palate. Decent, but a little lacking on the chocolate and coffee flavors that define this style. Mostly roasted and burnt bitterness after the swallow.

PALATE: Medium-full body, enough weight on the palate, with medium levels of carbonation. Creamy enough on the palate, goes down nice and finishes slightly sticky. Good feel with enough weight, and not nearly as carbonated as the look had advertised. This was probably the best part of the beer.

OVERALL: This one was alright. While the nose was lousy at absolute best, the feel was pretty solid and the taste was intersting enough to make this one worth-while. Not a must-try beer by any stretch of the imagination, but one worth giving a shot if it lands in your lap. Apparently there is a barrel aged version of this too...

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.07/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Wake Up Dead, on tap at Pony Bar in NYC, served in their eight-ounce glass.

Appearance: Beautiful crown, a lady's finger of mocha-colored head with soapy bubbles. Good retention, great lacing. The customary black-chestnut color of a big stout, with a shiny auburn tone when swirling.

Smell: Subtle, almost non-existent (aka: "underwhelming"). Chocolate powder, a hint of spice. Musty hops. Chock-full-o'-nuts kind of coffee, you know?

Taste: Strangely funky, with bitter cold coffee upfront and again a spicy backbone. Spoiled milk, soy sauce and Modena. Hoppy-dry aftertaste that lingers in the mouth.

Mouthfeel: Full body, medium flavor and carbonation. Not bad, but not great. Uncommon (for an Imperial Stout) dry, hoppy finish. Water, please!

Overall: Strange. Not so drinkable, not too pleasurable. More of a Black IPA, I would say...but it is at least better than the horrible barrel-aged version!

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Photo of scottfrie
3.12/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Mr Clean for sharing! Snifter.

A: Pours a dark woody brown with almost no lace or head. A minimal collar is present.
S: I get notes of coffee, dark fruits and some ambiguous roasted and sweet notes. Smells like a stout.
T: Rich chocolate, wood, caramel, roast, and hint of toasted coconut. I get a flavors of chocolate in the finish and tobacco in the aftertaste.
M: A tad thinner than it should me with a medium body and medium-low carbonation.
O: I thought this was a strange stout. It reminded me of a stout mixed with a barleywine. Not my favorite.

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Photo of beerdrifter
3.13/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked this up while on vacation in Denver. Dark brown, almost black pour with two finger head that fades quickly with pretty decent lacing. The nose is almost totally non-existent. A very subtle hint of roast, but that's it. It does open up slightly as it warms with a bit of smokiness. The taste is sweet and roasty with hints of cocoa, burnt toast, coffee, caramel, toffee, and just a touch of dark chocolate. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, but at the same time a bit thin for the style. Overall this is very average and a bit disappointing.

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Photo of SamN
3.13/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

Coal black, thick pour, sort of a frothy looking head, not quite as thcik or pillowly as I like.Smell is surprinsgly faint and distant; very heavily roasted malts, spiciness, anise, raisins., alcohol. More dried, dark fruits than chocolate and coffee. Taste is similarily unorthodox for the style; sweeter, more dark fruits, port, figs? Sort of simplistic RIS, not what I was expecting.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.22/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass.

Very light nearly white head presented, and very small barely manages a pencil thickness while settling to a simple thin collar. Body is a dark brown walnut with some large red hues to it.

Bouquet is a bit sweet with a large hint of lactose and milky character. Powdered malt and whoppers like candy smelling chocolate, with hints of soda cola character, and some cherry warmth.

Palate improves with a large roast bitterness and some pine like matching flavor. Quite fizzy mouthfeel on this which has an almost mineral water carbonation. Matches a very minerally and dry finish to go with the palate. Cola mouthfeel and wet, with some fruity quality but also comes with a sweet lactose like palate.

Overall this just feels and tastes like an over-amped milk stout and I am not really getting into this at all.

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Photo of mactrail
3.25/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Doesn't really taste like a stout. Eventually there is a black burnt malt taste, but it's more of a really big Old Ale. A raisiny tang, more than a touch of sweet Vermouth flavor.

Dark brown in the glass with a modest head. Big malt with more tart than sweet in the profile. Some hop bitterness comes along in the aftertaste. Nicely carbonated on the tongue with a rich but not syrupy mouthfeel. Aroma of fruitcake and sherry. Kind of murky and a touch medicinal. Not so user-friendly as many other big alcohol beers. I would skip the second glass but it's a 22 oz bottle.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.25/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

A-Pours rather dark with a cap that pops away to nothing. Seems to be rather thick in body. Mild light penetrations.

S-Immediately not very happy with the nose. It smells a bit sticky and artificial. Dark fruit notes but they seem disingenuous. Then all the regular culprits are there too.

T-My nose did not deceive me. Its a bit metallic but not supremely offensive. Even so, the intended flavors are still not too appealing. Wake Up Dead is too sticky and artificial.

M-Full, not viscous. Tingly, soft bubbles. Boozy.

O/D-Was not impressed by this.

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Photo of neckbracesub
3.28/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From a 22 oz. bottle and poured into a pint glass. Left Hand certainly made a terrific first impression when I brought their now-legendary Milk Stout into my home a year or so ago, and now I have found their version of an Imperial Stout.

Wake Up Dead has a slightly different aroma than some of the great Imperials that I have grown to love, and this is also true with the taste. Although it goes down fairly nicely, there is something keeping Wake Up Dead from tearing into the ranks of the best Imperial Stouts out there. I can’t really pin down exactly what factors into the pungency here, but there seems to be notes of cherry or some kind of berry fruit, and that gives off a slightly disappointing finish.

This is still a decent Imperial Stout, though, and especially at the incredibly low price I purchased it for.

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Photo of StoutHunter
3.3/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I picked up a bottle of Left Hand's Wake Up Dead last week for $6.99 at The Lager Mill. The store had just got this in and the label art caught my attention so since this is one of my favorite styles I thought I should give it a try, so lets see how it goes. No visible bottling date. Poured from a brown 24oz bottle into a snifter.

A- I really like the label on this beer, it looks awesome and it's really eye catching, the name is also pretty cool. It poured a slight dark brown color that turned ruby red when held to the light and it had a finger and a half worth of tan head that died down to a thin layer that stayed till the end and left some lacing. The color is pretty light for an Imperial Stout that makes this beer pretty average looking.

S- The aroma of this beer is pretty light. It starts out with some some sweet malts that smell like they have a medium roast to them and they impart some caramel, coffee, and a slight butterscotch aroma with a little bit of cocoa powder. After that comes some sweet dark fruits that are pretty noticeable then comes some slightly earthy hops and a slight bit of alcohol. The aroma seems to be pretty average, there just isn't enough roasty aromas, for an Imperial Stout.

T- That seems to be pretty similar to the aroma but thankfully, it is a little more robust. It starts out with loads of dark roasted malts that have a high amount of medium sweetness that impart some roasty malt flavors and it had a pretty big cocoa powder flavor to it that seemed to take the place of the coffee that I picked up in the aroma. After that comes a pretty heavy dark fruit flavor with plums, prunes, and raisins sticking out the most. It had a sweet finish with a lower amount of bitterness with a roasty and dark fruit aftertaste, with the alcohol hardy showing up. The flavor was ok and with the heavy dark fruit aspect was a little different from most Imperial Stouts.

M- Smooth, a little dry, full bodied, and it had a lower amount of carbonation. The mouthfeel was ok, but I would have liked a little more carbonation.

Overall I liked this beer and I thought it was good but when compared to other Imperial Stouts it seems to be just slightly above average. It had good drinkability, it was smooth for the style and the alcohol was hidden nicely, I think I could take out the whole bottle but I am glad I am splitting this with my brother. What I liked most about this beer was the flavor, it had good balance between roasted malts and dark fruits and the alcohol wasn't that noticeable. What I liked least about this beer was the appearance and the lack of carbonation, it was just too light for the style and it needs a little more carbonation to it. I don't think I would buy this beer again, but it was a pretty good value for what it was, and I would only recommend this to people that like a big dark fruit aspect to their Imperial Stouts. This beer was ok for what it was but as a whole I thought it was pretty middle of road and it couldn't hold it's own against some of the best in the style. Left Hand is a pretty solid brewery but this beer fell short of being a great beer, but I still wouldn't mind trying the barrel aged version. In the end I could take or leave this beer.

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Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.32/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Average appearance, black and thick with not a whole lot of head or lacing.

Aroma is sweet, roasty, chocolate, dessert-like, with a little bit of hops bleeding through.

Taste is sweet, very dessert like. Roasty malts and plenty of sweet milk chocolate are accented by some coffee, dark fruits, alcohol, and some hop bitterness.

Body is very slick and sweet, thick and alcoholic.

It wasn't everything I had hoped, but it was still tasty.

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Photo of Evil_Pidde
3.34/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A: Pours dark reddish brown with a medium tall brown, very compact head. Decent lacings.

S: Tart; dark dried fruits, sweet. Some faint vanilla and smoky notes. A bit alcholic. Vineous and salty.

T: Loads of dark dried fruits, very sweet. Smoke and vanilla from the smell is still present. Some coffe and faint licorice.

M: Aftertaste fades quickly, mainly sweet. Chewy full body and very low carbonation.

O: Not bad, but not one of the better in this style. I lack a better balance; the sweetness dominates.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.36/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

22 oz bottle into a pint glass. 2011 vintage, I think.

A: Pours a dark ruby red color. Surprisingly, it's not completely opaque. The head is a one finger mocha shade with excellent retention for the style. Lacing is damn good, too. Apart from the minor "oh it's not pitch black" complaint, this looks damn good in a glass.

S: This is really sweet, and loaded with licorice - not my cup of tea. There are also some notes of brown sugar and dark fruits, which is more preferable to me. I also get some vanilla extract, which isn't. Also needs more roast. Not bad, though: I'm of the belief it's hard to screw up an imperial stout, and this certainly isn't screwed up. Just not great.

T: No bones about it, this one's sweet...and boozy. It opens up with a tart fruit flavor, augmented with licorice (yikes) and vanilla. The finish also has some notes of smoke and vanilla, and a kick of booze. Every once in a while, I get a wisp of chocolate which I really enjoy. There's also a taste of oatmeal here. It's pretty good, and better than the aroma...but imagine how good it would be if it had a roasted edge to it. This needs roast like Keira Knightley needs a sandwich or three. That, and some more complexity wouldn't hurt...

M: Nice and creamy with minimal carbonation. But, there could be some more body to help cover up the alcohol better. That, and it feels kind of boozy, thanks to the combination of oats and good attenuation. Still, I'll always take a minor alcohol bite over a flabby, bloated feel devoid of booze (see: Stone IRS) any day. This would make an excellent winter warmer due to the way it warms the orifices up.

O: I think this is two and a half years old...and at this age, it's just 'pretty good'. Not amazing, just pretty good. That could mean it was a mediocre RIS that improved marginally, or was a great stout that kind of deteriorated. Since the brewers say it has a 7 year life, and that the general flavor profile doesn't agree with me, I'll assume the former is true. Decent, but I probably won't buy again.

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Photo of blackcompg
3.37/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from their bomber into my beer glass -

Appearance - Poured about a finger of mocha head, color of the beer is dark cherry cola, somewhat transparent, light just gets through.

Smell - Hmmm, slight amaretto and cherry, dark chocolate, a little molasses.

Taste - Much like the nose, taste is semi-sweet dark cherries, amaretto & cognac, dark chocolate, some black coffee in the background. There is alcohol heat throughout the entire sip.
I get just a touch of bittering hops and a little dryness long into the finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium mouthfeel, carb seems too high, adds quite a bit sharp tingle on the sides of the tongue, but I don't want this at all for this style. There is a creaminess and mouth coating that begins...but is suddenly broken up by the higher carb.

Overall - I'm kinda bummed. There are really some great flavors here, but the alcohol gets pretty hot, and the mouthfeel is broken up by the higher carb. I wanted to like this alot more. I'll finish this bomber, but I won't likely purchase it again.

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Photo of kawilliams81
3.37/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a 16 oz. snifter.

A- Pours a thin dark brown, near black. Almost no head, and no lacing at all.

S- Sweet chocolate, dark fruits, and pine hops.

T- Sweet dark malts, some dark fruit, and big pine hop bite.

M- Medium body, pretty thin. Low carbonation.

O- This is not a imperial stout! More of a double black ipa if anything. Not a terrible beer, but had to downgrade it because of the style.

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Photo of MoreThanWine
3.39/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a 2" light mocha head and appears to exhaust all the effervescence in the first pour. Dark as coffee. Smell is almost nonexistent until a little warm and then only mildly of roasted malt. Flavor has coffee and malt and I don't personally pick up the label's own descriptors of raisin or licorice. Aftertaste does express dark chocolate. And I really don't get any hops. An enjoyable beer but not the most complex nor the poster child of Imperial Stouts.

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Photo of hophugger
3.42/5  rDev -11.6%
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 mothman
3.44/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

On cask at grumpys

Tan head. Color is black.

Flavors of roasted malts and coffee. Chocolate and cocoa. Lots of alcohol. Dark fruits and molasses. Raisins.

Mouthfeel: thin feel with a lot of heat.

Overall, too much booze showing in this one. It'd be a lot better otherwise. Also a bit thin for an imp stout.

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Photo of YouSkeete
3.48/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Deep brown with a lighter mocha-tan colored head. Thick molasses, coffee, malt, sugared plums and dates and smoke all present themselves in the nose. Really great aroma. Boozy, sour molasses and bready coffee malts on the initial sip. Bittersweet chocolate, dark sugared fruits (plums, cherries dates) and alcohol through into the finish, which is quite bitter and dry. Lots of strong, boozy aftertastes that linger for a very long time. Mouthfeel remains bitter and dry. Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation. Lots of flatter tastes and alcohol flavor than i was expecting. A big fan of Left Hand brews, and an even bigger stout fan, AND the true greatness of it's aroma, it hurts to say that this really wasn't very good overall.

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Photo of sirdrinkwell
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-pours dark into my glass, coffee-like in appearance as one can rightfully expect from a RIS. Only mild head results, creamy bone color, dissipating to leave a ring of lace around the edges of the glass and some sticky residue along the sides of the glass as i sink my drink.

S-the aroma of my bottle's pour is ever so mildly boozy, but it mixes with an overpowering sugary sweetness and the end result is not unpleasant. Molasses and chocolate meets mild licorice.

T-drinks as an almost even mixture of sugary alcohol and peppery black licorice

M-rich in body, slightly chewy but this doesn't lose its overall smoothness. my bottle was a bit oily, but not so far over the top that it ruins the feel. I've been there, and it gets ugly to the point where some past offerings have ended up going down the drain rather than down my throat. thankfully this brew doesn't get too far out of control.

O-this is far from a favorite, and I probably won't hurt myself trying to locate another bottle after the two I recently purchased are gone. That being said, I am a fan of the style, and this is a decent, drinkable RIS for me as someone who is already initiated and into this end of the spectrum. Worth trying.


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Wake Up Dead from Left Hand Brewing Company
3.87 out of 5 based on 1,014 ratings.
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