Wake Up Dead | Left Hand Brewing Company

very good
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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: 205 | Ratings: 1,016
Photo of Ethanol4one
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma is very nice, like a fresh bag of black movie liquorish, mild tic tac, or Good & Plenty with rocked fuel. Picture Choo Choo Charlie in handcuffs for DUI and negligent homicide when his train jumps the rails.

Deep dark color, nice spiced aroma, not hoppy, bitter coffee correcto flavor, like spiked Iced black coffee on a summer Roman afternoon to keep you "correcto" when some nerve wracking vacation event takes you temper from zero to P.O.'d in 30 seconds.

Mouth feel's thick, but also glycerine, like an odd table wine made from burnt sugars (black strap molasses) with a nearly Bourbon bitter finish. This stuff just taste strong... certainly a sipping beer.

Apart from watching a team I hate wine the superbowl, or some college friend egging me on for old time's sake, hope not to have too many occasion's to drink enough to "wake up dead". Word to the wise: go slow bros, punctuate with something lighter and H2Os.

This thing reminds me of Will Farrell in "Old School" after he's hit with that dart-- "I like you man, you're crazy, but I like you"...

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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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Photo of ColForbinBC
3.78/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into a snifter

The body sits an ink black underneath two fingers of dark tan head. Retention is ok. Some lines and dots of lace as you work through the glass.

On the nose, dark roast, bakers chocolate, char/ash, and some licorice. An underlying aroma of grassy hops spreads evenly.

Dark roast hits up front, with licorice and semi sweet bakers chocolate through the middle. The finish is a bit of licorice with a pronounced roast bordering on char. Some oak and vanilla creep through as it warms.

Full body. Big flavors, but lacking in overall complexity. Everything seems to come and go with no real transition to the next phase.

Above average Imp Stout. Some good things going on, but lacks in some of the finer areas to really make this a 4+ beer.

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

22oz bottle, poured into a tumbler glass.

A- Pours jet black with a small amount of light cream colored head.

S- Coffee and dark roasted malts are in the forefront here. I can also smell a sweetness reminding me of raisins, dates, etc.

T- Very bold and slightly smokey. Syrupy sweet up front and bitter on the finish. Coffee is abundant along with some chocolate. The alcohol is fairly noticeable, but it is not really bad, in my opinion; although it does seem to be getting worse as I drink it. Tiny amount of carbonation, medium body. Definitely not as thick as other similar stouts.

O- I would consider this to be a good imperial stout. I would not consider it a favorite, but would probably buy again.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Imperial Stout pours a black color, with a small creamy tan head. The small is smokey and malty, sweet hints of raisins, dark chocolate and coffee. The taste is very complex, first come chocolate that then mixes to a sweet raisin like flavor, strong coffee tastes that finishes with a boozy alcohol taste. Very complex taste very full flavor, but not the most drinkable. Overall a complex beer, enjoyable in slow sips.

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Photo of rapidsequence
3.82/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle from Pints O'Plenty. Bottled 7/12.

Appearance: A RIS needs to pour black and inky. This one pours dark brown (very dark brown). Lots of highlights around the edges. Medium brown head with acceptable retention, some spotty lacing.

Smell: Old coffee grounds, bittersweet chocolate, less milk chocolate, a little licorice, and some herbal hops. Its got the components of a good RIS aroma, but it doesn't quite work. A bit to much bitter aroma between the coffee and hops.

Taste: Well, the flavor integrates better than the aroma. There's still a lot of bitterness in the flavor between the roast and significant hops, but its balanced better than the aroma. Bittersweet chocolate, dates, licorice, some vanilla. Boozy. Bitter herbal hoppy finish.

Mouthfeel: Its reasonably full, but the bitterness cuts this a bit. Hops resin in the end.

Overall: I think this would be better if some age could calm the bitterness some. Its a good, not great RIS as is.

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Photo of Swim424
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into Proof Brewing 2012 Halloween pint glass.

A- Pours a dark black with a very creamy head.

S-Smells of dark chocolate and a hint of coffee and black licorice (which I dont care for much), but nonetheless smells very good.

T- Tastes of dark chocolate almost immediately and keeps a fairly sweet chocolately backbone throughout. It has a hint of maybe a licorice type flavor at the end, but still being very sweet.

MF-fairly thick. I could tell immediately it had a high ABV before I knew what it was. Very sweet and flavorful.

O-Overall this is a pretty damn good beer. I havent reviewed a beer in a while and when I tried this one it made me want to review it. I would recommend this beer to just about anyone. Even someone who maybe never tried something like it before.

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Photo of StoneTSR
3.84/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

APPEARANCE: Absolutely dark as night. Not a single ray of light of any color will penetrate this beer. A surprisingly large head (about a finger and a half) foams up as I pour fresh from the growler (picked it up two hours ago at Left Hand in Longmont). The head doesn't stick around too long, however, and quickly collapses into just a thin, foamy cap over the sea of black. Some mild lacing sticks to the glass momentarily after each sip, but fades quickly.

SMELL: Roasty and woody malt greet the nose with a hint of chocolate lurking behind. A swirl of the glass kicks up an Earthy and grassy aroma as well, but the aroma could be stronger.

TASTE: Intensely sweet (almost to a fault) and chocolatey up front. Milk chocolate, not the same dark chocolate that I have experienced in a lot of other Left Hand brews. Very pleasant. Anyhow, the latter half of the sip does a 180 and reverses course finishing with a much more bitter and coffee-tinged taste. As it warms a hint of vanilla and a touch of oak creep in throughout the sip.

MOUTHFEEL: Silky and smooth with a fairly light body considering that this is an Imperial Stout. A light, tickling carbonation washes it all down.

OVERALL: Good stuff. Will drink again. Saying that this is just another dark beer brewed by Left Hand might sound like an insult, but when the boys in Longmont go for a dark beer they usually nail it and this is no exception.

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Photo of StaveHooks
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours pitch black with a tightly knit espresso head.

S - Old roasted coffee, some marshmallow and cocoa aromas, dark caramel, sharp licorice, cherry cordials, overly toasted brown bread, perfumy fruit and alcohol vapors.

T - Creamy milk chocolate, some bitter roast comes through, acidic grape and licorice character on the edges, roasted oats, dense nutty yeast, some coffee, cordial cherry filling, very sweet but plenty of roasted bitterness to even it out. Finishes fruity and semi bitter.

M - Full bodied, thick and viscous feel, warming, very smooth and low carbonation.

Very dense and smooth feel make for a pleasant sipper. Creamy chocolate, fruity, and warming.

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Photo of Danny1217
3.89/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Black with a small tan head.
I smell some chocolate, roasted malts, some dark fruits, and a bit of anise.
Taste is somewhat on the dark fruits and anise side. Some bittersweet chocolate. Very rich and thick mouthfeel. Low carbonation. Pretty tasty.
Not the best imperial stout in the world, but worth trying. I do like the label.

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Photo of gtermi
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This beer pours a dark black body with a thin tan head that quickly fades.

S: A nice amount of sweetness on the nose, sort of like chocolate. There is a tiny bit of roasted malt too.

T: There is a bit of booze, some syrupy chocolate malt flavor and a nice amount of roasted malt.

M: There is a nice full body with a nice amount of crispness on the back of the throat and the tip of the tongue.

O: This is a solid beer, but nothing amazing. For the price it is worth it. I would for sure try it again.

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Photo of johzac
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle, served in New Belgium nucleated glass. 2011 bottle, properly stored and opened on 9/26/2012.

Pours a fantastic looking black, with appropriate head following a hard pour. Tiny bubbles with a thin-ish head that quickly dissipates.

Smell: Heavy bittersweet chocolate, hints of vanilla, creme, slight coffee and licorice.

Taste: Appropriately matches smell, a nice coating of bittersweet chocolate, coffee, roasted grains, vanilla with a creme finish. ABV is subtle but present, discrete but lurking in the background, takes a few sips to settle down.

Mouthfeel: Proper to form, good carb level, not overly thick but coats the tongue with a blanket of dark wintery goodness.

Overall: Solid RIS, glad that I let it age for about a year, carb level is spot on, taste is completely appropriate for the style. An excellent offering by Left Hand, solid price point. ABV is hidden quite nicely. I like it, great example of the style, good value.

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Photo of Dave1999
4.35/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a solid black with a small tan coloured head.

The smell is roasted malts and dark fruits such as plum and raisins.

The taste is much the same as the smell but stronger,there's the plum and raisin with some roasted coffee and alcohol.

The mouth feel is quite heavy and syrupy with low to medium carbonation.

Overall a good beer, you can taste some alcohol but for its abv it's not much. This is a very good imperial stout with a big kick but is very reasonably priced.

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Photo of ahijevyc
4.65/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Was pleasantly surprised. I don't think of Left Hand when I think of big Imperial stouts, but this made me sit up and take notice. Will definitely be going back for more. I thought Lost Abbey's Serpent's Stout was a steal for $10. But this is $4 less and just as enjoyable. I knew it would be good because I tried it at the tasting room last week. But this is better than I remember.

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Photo of Vierenner
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had been getting discouraged ... all the Imperial Stouts were starting to taste the same to me ... and none were hitting the mark. Then along comes this one!

Slightly sweet, very little hop bite, robust flavor. I would age this in bourbon barrels, charge double the price, and watch the profits roll in.

Okay, absent the bourbon :( this is still a delicious beer.

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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 smcolw
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Decent starting head, but settles to a single layer of bubbles. It leaves a blanket of lace after each sip. The color is near black--no light passes.

I smelled dark cherry initially. There's also a milk chocolate aroma. Here's an odd addition, but it's entirely pleasant, there's a touch of olive oil to the nose. There's no coffee or alcohol present, which is equally surprising.

The taste is altogether different. First, I noticed a strong alcohol presence. Second, there is a coffee with cream flavor. There's also stone fruit in the background, but the swallow features a hop, not malt, bitterness. The swallow and aftertaste is all alcohol warmth. The body is thin like most stouts, but the low carbonation makes it seem creamy.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard pint glass.

The beer is an espresso coffee bean black with faint cola-brown showing through the light. A mocha colored head dissipates to a fine film. Light lacing is present, very light.

The beer smells burnt, dark roasted malts and bitter chocolate come through, as well as a sweeter vanilla aroma.

The beer tastes really flavorful, considering the ABV. Really rich fudge-like chocolate notes hit first, as well as roasted malts. A dry, bitter hop presence fills out the end.

Mouthfeel is dry, rich.

Overall, I'm pretty impressed at how well they hide the alcohol in this. Oh, don't get me wrong -- it's there, but for a 10% beer, this is as tasty and rich as I could ever want. Really lovely brew, this.

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Photo of WastingFreetime
3.55/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes.

Very dark brown with a flash head and minimal lacing, smells very faintly of roasted malt and a tiny bit of ash. Could really use some amplification of aroma. At least the level of flavor is adequate. I taste semi-charred malt, black coffee, licorice, baking chocolate, and little flashes of star anise. Gains dark fruits / raisins as it warms up. Medium body and carbonation levels. If only the aroma was more robust to match the strength of the flavors contained within...

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Photo of ppoitras
3.97/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle purchased as a single from Spirit Haus, Amherst, MA.

Poured into a CCB pub glass, formed a 1/4" dark brown head over the almost opaque dark brown brew. Head is quickly down to a swirly layer of small bubbles, with average sheeting lace. Aroma is sweet, dark fruits and booze.

Taste follows the nose, dark sweetness to start, some peeks of fruit in the middle, and an alcoholic close. Mouthfeel is slickery smooth, and drinkability is good as well. Not bad.

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Photo of peabody
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out like really dark root beer but still opaque. Two fingers of brown suds adorn the glass and leave lacing.
Aroma is nutty malty and sugary with a slight alcohol hint.
Taste is caramel and dark chocolate with dates and a slight nuttiness. Some alcohol is here in the mouth.
Mouthfeel is a little fizzy but the alcohol keeps it mellow and sweet. The chocolate notes stick around as does the coffee bitterness. Finishes clean after the alcohol wafts away from the back of the throat.
Overall this is pretty good. For the price it's pretty good. Should be stored for a year or two.

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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 LXIXME
3.61/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a little above the glass gives this clear dark brown to black colored beer a medium to big light brown head the falls into a nice lacing that lasts and lasts.

Dark roasted malts soaked in bourbon and blended with dark fruits aroma.

Dark roasted mocha malts, a light bourbon style alcohol, with dark fruits taste.

A light dryish aftertaste with lingering light alcohol on this full bodied beer.

A pretty decent imperial stout with a slight milkiness to it.

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Photo of stampfler07
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Bomber, pours a very dark brown with a substantial amount of frothy brown head that lingers and leaves some light lacing

S- Sweet notes, raisin, light cocoa

T- Sweet cocoa flavor initially, light raisin, dark roasted malt, finish is warming and slightly sweet without the overly strong alcohol feel of a 10.2%

M- Light carbonation, heavy body, nice warming aspect

O- Pretty solid overall, nice imperial stout

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Photo of Spider889
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on nitro at the brewpub on 9/25/11.

Arrives with an awesomely thick creamy head.

Smells sweet - chocolate with a hint of bourbon-soaked vanilla bean.

The taste is full on semi-sweet chocolate and malty goodness.

Overall Left Hand sure knows how to do a beer on nitro... actually, this was the first time I had ever tried the base Wake Up Dead beer, and I like this better than the barrel-aged version. Very good.

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Wake Up Dead from Left Hand Brewing Company
3.87 out of 5 based on 1,016 ratings.
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