Wake Up Dead | Left Hand Brewing Company

BA SCORE
87
very good
207 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Wake Up DeadWake Up Dead
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Left Hand Brewing Company
Colorado, United States
lefthandbrewing.com

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
207
Ratings:
1,018
Avg:
3.88
pDev:
12.63%
 
 
Wants:
80
Gots:
206
For Trade:
8
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 207 | Ratings: 1,018
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

 213 characters

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.

 156 characters

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

 520 characters

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!

 889 characters

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.

 434 characters

Photo of mjwellman
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Wonderful dark color, but not much of head. The aroma is very muted. Hint of coffee. Taste is smooth and silky. Definetly a coffee flavor but I don't get much else out of it. This has been in my fridge for about year so maybe that is the problem. Its good, but not as complex of aroma or taste than I would expect.

 319 characters

Photo of Jeffreysan
4.71/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12 oz bottle, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, completely opaque, pitch-black color with a half of a finger of chocolate –colored head that quickly dissolved away into a thin halo of foam that gripped the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Lots of rich, earthy, bready, roasted malt aromas, imparting notes of freshly, dark-toased bread, freshly ground espresso beans, dark molasses, brown sugar, dark cholocate and a touch of licorice.

Taste: Very similar to the aroma, with flavors of bready, roasted malt, up front, imparting notes of freshly, dark-toased bread and freshly ground espresso beans, followed by dark molasses and brown sugar-like sweetness, and some hints of dried stone fruit such as raisins, dates and figs.

Mouthfeel: Slightly chewy in body and very, very smooth and creamy as there is no carbonation what-so-ever. With an ABV of 10.2%, I’m, surprise at how little alcohol there is on the palate. The alcohol is really, really well masked.

Overall: This is a delicious beer, one of the best non-barrel-aged Imperial Stouts I’ve had in fact. Definitely up there with Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout, Founders’ Imperial Stout, Great Lakes’ Blackout Stout and Oskar Blues Ten Fidy. I’m definitely getting some more of this! Highly recommended!

 1,293 characters

Photo of Spipenger
4.62/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Excellent head. Deceptively mild, yet rich aroma. Beautiful color. High abv but doesn't knock you out. Excellent taste, look and aroma. Surprisingly good from a brand that has almost become a cliche.

 199 characters

Photo of clayrock81
3.92/5  rDev +1%

Poured a black body iwith no head or lace to really speak of.
A mostly dark fruit aroma, not what I was expecting, along with roasted malts and hint of sweetness.
A dark fruit taste pervades, like plums, raisins, a little figgy, also some black cherry and there is a light chocolate malt taste in this beer.
Slight roasted malt edge gives beer balance and more of a java than coffee edge in the beer.
Not the most well-crafted stout but it hit the spot.

 453 characters

Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 2/28/2013. Pours pitch black color with a 2 finger dense khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with some light streaming carbonation. Aromas of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toffee, biscuit, nuttiness, brown sugar, toasted oats, raisin, light licorice, light smoke/char, and herbal/roasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/roast/bready malt and light-moderate dark fruit notes; with great strength. Taste of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toffee, biscuit, nuttiness, brown sugar, toasted oats, raisin, light licorice, light smoke/char, and herbal/roasted earthiness. Fair amount of herbal/roasted bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toffee, biscuit, nuttiness, brown sugar, toasted oats, raisin, light licorice, light smoke/char, and herbal/roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Damn nice complexity and balance of dark/roast/bready malt and light-moderate dark fruit flavors; with a great roasted malt bitterness/sweetness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy, and lightly slick/chalky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent Russian imperial stout. All around great complexity and balance of dark/roast/bready malt and light-moderate dark fruit flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

 1,637 characters

Photo of SamN
3.13/5  rDev -19.3%
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.

 386 characters

Photo of pat61
4.35/5  rDev +12.1%

Opens with chocolate and light roast on the nose. Pours bright, deep chestnut under a ½” lightly tan tinted foam cap. A big palate starts with dark, bitter chocolate spiced with espresso with some fresh grain notes swimming through. Has a slight warming but the alcohol is smooth and not hot. Very creamy and chewy with medium low carbonation.

 346 characters

Photo of AdrianAltine
1.5/5  rDev -61.3%

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

 239 characters

Photo of delta490
4.09/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured a deep deep brown, only noticeable under direct light. There a light tan head that doesn't last long, but still manages to leave some small soapy lacing. The aroma is a little mild for the style, with lighter notes of raisin and licorice. The taste, though, brings big flavors that the aroma misses, adding coffee and chocolate and a nice earthy hops quality. The body has nice weight and a slicker mouthfeel.

 416 characters

Photo of DenverHopHead
4.15/5  rDev +7%

Poured from a 22oz bottle with a best by date of 7/21/19; into a snifter.
Appearance - black, but carbonation bubbles noticeable and just enough light comes in at the bottom of the glass. Very thin, beige head that leaves scattered lacing.
Smell - vanilla, cocoa, roasted coffee bean.
Taste - some nice espresso flavors up front; dark chocolate to round it out.
Feel - the 10.2% ABV is well hidden by the bitterness from the hops! Medium to heavy feel, though the carbonation is more noticeable than most RIS.
Overall - very enjoyable RIS that leans on hops and presents a lot like a black ale.

 594 characters

Photo of BigRedDog
4.06/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours black with a slight off white/beige head. The head doesnt stick around long, but there is some residual head on the side with decent lacing.

Smell is of raisins and dark fruit, some spices and herbs. Coffee and roasted maslt as well. Licorice on the nose becomes more noticeable as the beer warms up.

Taste begins with dark fruit and licorice. Mellows into a coffee bitter flavor and a slight earthy hop bitter. Finishes with a big dark chocolate flavor that lingers with some bitterness. As the beer warms the dark chocolate on the finish becomes more and more prevalent, as well as a fairly odd herb-y quality.

Mouthfeel is slightly creamy. About average for an RIS.

Overall it is a good stout. Good bitter dark chocolate and an interesting herb quality to it.

 774 characters

Photo of KYGunner
4.09/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This would appear deep ruby in the pour but it settles to a deep dark cola brown. The head was short lived but had a stiff thick film.

The nose is filled with dark fruits like prune, date and raisin. Some chocolate malt,Graham cracker, marshmallow and char can be found.

The aroma does not reveal just how diverse the flavors are in this. Cold, it starts rather boozy but that disappears with warmth. It has dry and milk chocolate qualities, Graham cracker maltiness, whipped cream, lactose-sweetness and molasses. These flavors change and evolve as the temperature settles. I also tasted dates and prunes along with a roasted coffee finish.

The feel is smooth, very easy to drink but only at a warmer temperature. It has a bit of alcohol heat at any stage.

Left Hand usually makes quality beers that are not earth shattering but quality. This US the first one that really got my attention and got me begging for more.

 922 characters

Photo of a0lbudman
3.81/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A-Black with no head
S - hoppy , roasted malt, and chocolate
T- nuts, chocolate, and hard hop aftertaste, and an alcohol warming that hits you hard but fades to a sweet chocolate finish
M- full body and no carbonation
O- the hops was overpowering and then the alcohol was over powering or otherwise it would have had a better grade
O-

 334 characters

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

Wake Up Dead is, appropriately, entirely and solemnly black. And relatively lifeless too - there's no bubbles and very little head save for a thin outlying of spongy brown foam. Given the amount of hoppiness brimming from the glass it's a slight surprise the beer isn't green, but then again the overwhelming presence of coffee does explain the ale's deep brown complexion.

I don't know that there's anything quite so satisfying to my senses as the smell of a Russian Imperial Stout. I don't drink coffee but those of you out there who need that cup of joe first thing in the morning, you know the kind of gratification I speak of. The way this bouquet combines leafy hops with mocha flavours is pure heaven for me.

And the taste is no less pleasurable. Rich chocolate notes and pine resins combine forces to make an ultra-rich, ultra-characterful taste. The whole palate is painted black and green. It has echoes of my favourite desserts (tiramisu, chocolate ganache) and fleeting notes of herbal tea. Between the prominent hoppiness and the heavy roast coffee flavour you can be sure it's bitter, but there's a dark caramel-type sweetness and tinge of vanilla that linger big time.

If you’re not salivating already at the thought of this rich, opulent stout, imagine it with some gooey chocolate-chip or white chocolate-macadamia nut cookies. Or better yet a bowl of summer berries drizzled in balsamic. Or overtop a big bowl of French vanilla ice cream. Any way you slice it, this beer is for de-ca-dents.

Left Hand seems to think this 2013 vintage will be good for three years. I'm inclined to agree. One year seems to have only helped things; there's still plenty of hoppiness, the maltiness is rich and roasty, and the overall impression is profound enough that it's conceivable it was made in oak (though it wasn't). Black licorice makes it into the aftertaste, adding another layer of depth.

Wake Up Dead reminds me of another Colorado RIS: Great Divide's Yeti (which is a tremendous compliment, and likely the reason my score is that much higher than the average). It similarly sees hop cones dipped in chocolate fondue and is sure to make an instant impression on beer geeks and casuals alike. As far as RISs go, this is an easy one to recommend.

 2,267 characters

Photo of Jacobob10
3.56/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bomber, Vintage 2013.

Recommended to me by the worker at the beer store and has been sitting in my fridge for about 6 months since then. Pours an opaque black color with almost no head on it. A vigorous swirl of the glass releases a small, dark tan head that quickly dissipates. Almost no lacing to speak of and no legs on the beer. Pleasant aroma of chocolate, raisin, port, and burnt malts. Full bodied with a slick texture. Long lasting flavor.

I generally like my beers on the colder side of what's recommended, but the flavor profile of this beer really comes through as it warms up. Not my first choice imperial stout, but not a bad option at all. An intense brew for sure, if nothing else.

 705 characters

Photo of thecheapies
4.04/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Looks great. Nice nitro cascade. Head settled neatly and holds like a charm. This beer is dark. Very dark.

The aromas are soft, but sneaky. Roasted barley, licorice, blackberry, raisin, caraway, cocoa nibs, and some vinous character.

Spicy flavors of charred grain bitterness, earthy hop concentrate, black licorice, and booze. Definitely a fruity RIS with notes of dried berries and fig. Has a woodiness, which could be hop bitterness. There are softer flavors underneath, like creamed coffee and bourbon vanilla. Really unique. That nitro gas gives great feel. I wish the body wasn't lightened as much. Still close to rich. Leaning toward traditional English approach. Great beer.

 684 characters

Photo of Kuaff
4.57/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Wake Up Dead from bottle into... small sort of pint glass-shaped glass. Around cellar temperature. Love that label art.

This is a black and shady beer, with a billowy three-finger cloud of mocha foam.

It smells like sweet cocoa, earth, coffee, and perhaps booze-soaked raisins. There's also some intense chocolate and dark fruits in here. And... I almost think I detect a hint of cinnamon!

In the flavor I first get a bit of tart dark fruits like cherries and prunes, followed by a flood of chocolate. It's almost like chocolate milk! A moderate roastiness rounds out the finish.

The feel is appropriately thick and full for an imperial stout. Sticky sweet, too.

Nothing to dread about waking up dead.

 706 characters

Photo of TTAmod
3.97/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12 oz nitro bottle poured in pint glass. No date on bottle.

Poured vigorously and straight down the middle, as suggested on the box.

A: Hard pour yields 1.5 finger tight, tan head. Beer is pretty much pitch black unless held to the light; otherwise, dark brown rays protrude through.

S: Chocolate and roasted malts dominate the nose. Hints of coffee are present, also. No alcohol perceived; this is interesting for such a strong stout.

T: Sweet, dark chocolate is the dominating taste. Bit of roasted coffee beans and tobacco come in a bit later. Metallic twang and bitterness is present near the end. Doesn't finish bitter at all...baker's chocolate is most prevalent at the end.

M: Very, very smooth and easy drinking. As expected for a nitro, the mouthfeel is very good. Alcohol perception is minimal.

O: Don't know if it would be amazing out of a regular bottle, but the nitro really makes this strong stout excel.

 927 characters

Photo of asaharyev
4.27/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Nitro Pour into tulip.

Expected nitro pour, great look with a solid memory foam like head. Black with no highlights.

The aroma is light, but when the head finally starts to subside, you can get some chocolate, twizzlers, a bit of bourbon and smoke.

The taste follows, with a big chocolate and strawberry twizzler flavor up front with plenty of alcohol presence, both warming and biting. The bitterness is reminiscent of bakers chocolate, and the smoke rounds out the whole beer. There is a fleeting pepper note as the beer passes on the tongue. Sweetness takes over when this warms up.

Overall, a very good beer, but it does leave a little depth to be desired.

 664 characters

Photo of fountainofyouth
3.52/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This is one of their nitro-bottles. I poured it into a pint glass.

Appearance: Sure as day, the nitro-technology works. I dumped this thing into the glass, and yet no head materialized at first. Slowly, the cascading happened and a small, persistent, foamy head appeared. The body is black and opaque.

Smell: Sweet fruits dominate, with some toasty grains and maybe a kiss of flowery hops. Pleasant.

Taste: Bourbon vanilla, some hops, a bit of alcohol. The rest of the malt is there but a little hard to define. I'm personally a little biased against beers that taste like a bourbon barrel, but I think a 3 grade is fair.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and smooth, as the nitrogen is supposed to be. Still a bit of carb. Medium bodied. Dry in the back.

Overall: Hey, nitro imperial is worth a try.

 790 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Subscribe