Wake Up Dead | Left Hand Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
87
very good
203 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Wake Up DeadWake Up Dead
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Left Hand Brewing Company
Colorado, United States | website

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:
203
Ratings:
1,000
Avg:
3.87
pDev:
27.91%
 
 
Wants:
76
Gots:
201
For Trade:
7
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 203 | Ratings: 1,000
Photo of vickersspitfire
3.94/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

This stout is pitch black and covered with a thin light tan head, which quickly dissipates into a thin layer surrounding the stout. Fine bubbles make up the lacing, which is dense and covers nearly the entire glass area void of stout.
The aroma is light, but dark roasted malts and chocolate are present. I’m not picking up much else at the moment.
The roasted malts make up most of the flavor; mild hops and chocolate come through. Over all the flavor is sweet and this stout is really smooth, the alcohol content is well hidden.
This is a medium bodied stout and it really warms up your taste buds.

 608 characters

Photo of pBRale
4.09/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A-Pours black with mahogany hints. Very little brownish head that dissipates quickly.
S-Smells of deep roasted malts, coffee, slight licorice, hint of booze, a hint of dark fruit.
T-Taste is excellent, with the roasted flavors giving way and melding nicely with a significant raisin flavor in the finish. The raisin flavor lingers afterward, and is very pleasant.
M-Full bodied, thick, medium-low carbonation, smooth and delicious.
O-overall an excellent beer. Reasonably priced and glad I found this little gem.

 512 characters

Photo of WoodBrew
3.65/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Wake Up Dead is a decent Imperial Stout....but not my favorite....there is a weird twang on the back end. The beer poured an opaque dark with thin slightly off white head that is leaving a spotty lace. The scent carries some light roast. The taste is has touches of chocolate, roast and maybe a hint of espresso backed by an alcohol push. The mouthfeel is full in body with smooth carbonation. Overall this is a decent stout and should be tried with delight.

 458 characters

Photo of korguy123
3.51/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into tulip.

A- Pitch black, totally inky, oily pour. Two finger creamy dense beige head. Lacing is chunky.

S- Burnt coffee and some sweet dark chocolate. Sugar in the raw with a small amount of vanilla. There is a slight earthiness also.

T- Metallic taste hiding under some bitter dark chocolate and the burnt coffee and toast. Bitter aftertaste with a bit of black licorice. Sweeter than the nose leads on.

M- Medium body, creamy on the tongue, slight prickle afterwords.

 483 characters

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.06/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: about as dark and opaque as you can get. Some cola highlights around the edges when held to light. A slight tan head on the pour that recedes to mere wisps.
Smell: more to the dark fruit nose of an ris vs the raspy coffee dark chocolate type, though those hints are there too. Full and robust nose.
Taste: starts much like the nose, rich dark fruit. The finish is slightly bitter, a pleasant dry offset to the slightly sweet dark fruitiness.
Overall: nice ris. Not a wow experience IMO but a solid brew.

 517 characters

Photo of blindtiger24
3.97/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured vigorously into a pint glass.

A: They aren't kidding when they say pour hard. I love watching that "quicksand" affect that occurs with nitros. Opaque with a creamy, lacy head that clings to the sides of the glass.

S: Cocoa nibs, raspberries, and some spice on the nose.

T: Chocolate and malt right off the bat, followed by some anise and pepper that dissipate, but still lingers at the finish.

M: Creamy, creamy, creamy, and it's suppose to be. Really impressed with the nitro in a bottle.

O: A well balanced stout. The chocolate and spice characters don't get in each other's way, though the flavors don't explode on your tongue like other competitors in this category. That said, this is a very drinkable beer and at 10% it's rare to take something like this down and not feel dried out or like your mouth has been rampaged.

 855 characters

Photo of Radome
3.99/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a 22 oz bomber into a goblet.

A - Color is an extremely dark brown, but not quite black; it lets no light through. The head is light tan and not thick, even on initial pour. It consists mainly of a thick ring along the glass but only the thinnest layer on the beer's surface. Good lacing.

S - Great bready malt aromas. Molasses, plums, prunes. Spices, wet tobacco and alcohol in the finish. Moderately complex aromas.

T - Spicy, bready malt, like a good rye loaf. Strong earthy hops; chocolate, plums, prunes, molasses. Tobacco, slight smoke, rum. Complex.

M - Thick body. High hops bitterness. Slight alcohol burn. Low carbonation.

O - This is a big, assertive imperial stout, but it is not overly complex. A good sipping beer, but not among the best.

 769 characters

Photo of mntlover
3.79/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a black dark ruby notes around the bottom when held to the light. Head is dark tan thumb sized falls slow to scum some pretty decent lace left behind.

Aroma is roasted malts big chocolate notes light dark fruit hints. Pretty one sided nose not bad but not overly complex.

Taste is big chocolate coming out of the roasted malts. Stays chocolate for quite a while then finish adds some dark fruit notes, anise hints, light alcohol burn that all mingles with some smokey earth notes.

Mouthfeel is big and smooth with fairly smooth carbonation levels.

Overall not a bad big stout, pretty one sided but worth a try and not overly pricey.

 642 characters

Photo of barczar
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours an opaque onyx with modest cocoa head that dissipates somewhat quickly.

Chocolate malt, light roast, and bourbon form the initial aroma. Oak and boozy vanilla round things out, along with plums and muted dark berries.

Flavor reveals boozy, rummy vanilla, and caramelly sweet malt, along with dark fruit (bruised cherries, prunes, raisins), finishing fairly dry, bitter, and roasty. Oak becomes more prevalent in subsequent sips. The balance is toward roast bitterness, though booze is no slouch.

Body is velvety, but on the thin side of full, with minimal carbonation and significant alcohol warmth.

Good balance of extremes between roast bitterness and booze. Lacks a bit in malt body. This may age really well. A little hot and harsh right now.

 756 characters

Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.24/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A- Pours black as night and appears fairly thick during the pour. No light escapes this black beauty in the glass. A medium sized, tan colored head forms and retains very well, leaving s sticky latticework down the side of the glass.

S- Big chocolate malts are the feature here. More creamy and chocolatey than most stouts that tout chocolate as their main feature. Dark malts are also in there, balancing out some of the chocolate sweetness with a hint of burnt bitterness.

T- Starts with a semisweet chocolate flavor that quickly moves toward a classic, dry, dark malt flavor. Remains here until towards the end if the drink, when the burnt bitterness returns a little stronger. Low to medium in overall bitterness, the burnt flavor lingers on the tongue, but still leaves you wanting more.

M- Thick and creamy and smooth as she goes down. No detectable alcohol heat or flavor until well after the drink. About a minute after a drink, you will find a slight warming in the throat.

Overall, a very good imperial stout with which to compare other impy stouts too. Good feel, standard, but very well done, dark malt flavors, and a slight warming from the booze.

 1,164 characters

Photo of ksimons
4.09/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-almost back with a thin layer of tan head that leaves a ring of lace around the top

S-roasted malt, dark chocolate, roasted coffee, light molasses, and licorice

T-Dark chocolate with roasted malt and dark roasted coffee give this beer a big roasted profile. Alcohol is well balanced.

M-medium to full body, good carbonation, smooth, dry roasted mouthfeel

Overall a very good, and affordable RIS. Worth a revisit for sure.

 427 characters

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.

 310 characters

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.

 2,040 characters

Photo of PicoPapa
3.52/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle with a Best By date of 02/28/2018. Pours a pitch black color with a thin layer of dark brown head. Some lacing. Aroma has lots of dark fruits along with caramel malts, earth, and hints of vanilla. The taste is more of the dark fruit flavors along with caramel malts, vanilla, licorice and even some marshmallows. Lots of raisin and figs. Booze with some bitter dark chocolate at the end. Creamy mouthfeel. This one's got a bit too much dark fruit flavor for me. Its not quite as balanced as I'd like it to be. Overall, mildly disappointing.

 555 characters

Photo of SeanDonahue
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Whenever I pour a stout, I just admire everything about it. How it looks, how it smells, and the amazing flavors that come out of it. The appearance on this beer is as black as night. In fact, I didn't get any head on this beer when poured. With this beer being at 10.2% ABV, you're going to see alcohol legs on the side and get big boozey quality to it, which leads to the aroma.

The aroma is interesting on this stout. There are big chocolate and caramel qualities to it. In the middle you do get an alcohol kick as well.I also get some toffee notes in it as well.

The taste is very thick, which is exactly how an imperial stout should be. RIght in the front, I get a hint of chocolate mixed with a bitter coffee bean quality. Middle of the mouth is when the alcohol starts to settle on your tongue. This beer has some interesting qualities but the alcohol takes over the other important flavors somewhat, which I am not a big fan of.

Overall, this beer is perfect for a cold winter night. I like to recommend beers and what time of the year they remind me of and all stouts would remind me of the winter. My only complaint is that there is too much of a boozey quality. If you're into that, then this is the beer for you.

 1,227 characters

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.

 858 characters

Photo of Chickenhawk9932
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours dark as night with a caramel colored head that hangs around.

In the nose is coffee, dark chocolate, caramel malt, and raisin.

A nice burst of carbonation keeps flavors lively. The individual flavors are intense yet melded. Bitter coffee and bitter chocolate roll around the mouth and keep the sweet caramel and raisin/rum notes in check. Real nice flavor and mouthfeel but the finish lacks something - kind of leaves you hanging.

 438 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
3.77/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours an opaque jet black in color with light amounts of gentle carbonation and some dark cola brown highlights. The beer has a two finger tall creamy tan head that quickly reduces to a couple of small to medium sized thin patch of medium sized bubbles with a small amount of very thin film mottling the remainder of the surface of the beer and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of dark roasted (almost charred) malts with some slightly lighter notes of dark fruit (raisin) and anise/licorice.

T: Upfront there is a moderate to strong flavor of dark roasted, almost charred malts that give the beer a fairly strong amount of bitterness. There are faint notes of dark fruit (raisin) and anise licorice but without the normally associated sweetness. Slight hints of ash.

M: Medium to full bodied with slightly more than moderate amounts of carbonation. Light amounts of alcohol warming in the finish.

O: With the abundance of great beers in the Russian Imperial Stout style, I find this beer to be fairly pedestrian and not really doing anything interesting (compared with others). A little too much char and ash for my preference.

 1,204 characters

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.

 554 characters

Photo of scratch69
4.01/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I poured a bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance- Black color with a fingers worth of tan head. Thin amount of lacing.

Smell- Dark roasted malt and dark fruit aroma.

Taste- Dark roasted malt flavor with dark fruit and licorice notes.

Mouthfeel- Full bodied and smooth. Fair amount of carbonation with just a hint of alcohol warmth.

Overall- A good example of the style. I really enjoyed this one.

 401 characters

Photo of CloudStrife
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled on 11/12/12.

A: Pours very dark brownish black with a half finger khaki head. Leaves some nice lacing. Light gets through about 3/4".

S: Chocolate and malt are present. Not overwhelming. Hints of dark fruit as well.

T: Roasty body with ample chocolate notes. Lots of fermented fruit as well. Booze is fairly well hidden. Good overall flavor

M: Medium to full body with a creamy mouthfeel. Isnt too heavy on the palate though. Easy drinking for the abv.

Overall a very smooth and tasty stout. Doesnt blow you away with flavors most stouts now days try to do but thats not the point of an RIS.

 641 characters

Photo of metter98
3.69/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a short tan head that quickly died down, leaving only bits of bubbles on the surface and a thin ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: Initially, there are moderate aromas of licorice and raisins in the nose. These die down a bit and notes of dark roasted malts become apparent as the beer warms up.
T: The taste is similar to the smell but also has some notes of roasted malts and a light amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. Hints of warmth from the alcohol are detectable.
O: I thought this was an average beer compared to other Russian Imperial Stouts and could have used more roasted flavors and bitterness.

 748 characters

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a snifter)
A- This beer pours an opaque deep brown body with a thick head that is a mass of microbubbles that takes on a milkshake quality. There is a microcarbonation that fights its way to the surface. The head leaves rings with each sip.

S- The faint smoky note to the full char of black malt has a soft bacon note that grows and some nice roasted raw grain notes aswell.

T- The leather and vinous flavors to the black roasted malt has some dark raisin to it and a slightly dry finish. There is a bacon smoke and leather hint that lingers and becomes a bit inky as it opens up. The bitterness in the finish turns to a green wood note as it warms.

M- The medium mouthfeel has a nice alcohol warmth to it.

O- Big complex dry beer with a unique character to the black malt. Leather and smoke hints and some dark dried fruit really make this a great sipper.

 875 characters

Photo of Wheelzie
4.41/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

straight from the bomber into an oversized wine glass,

wow the appearance is all that it should be, i was suprised by the khaki 1 finger head....in fact it made me giggle a little bit....yes sir i am a beer nerd that got my jollys kicked liked a school girl,

but this is not a school girl beer, in fact it is manly as hell! its toasty and roasty and even gives me hints of some of those barrel stouts!!.. probably because the bottle says that it lurks in their cellars for 4 months! love this beer at the moment!

it is very filling be careful with this hairy beast

 567 characters

Photo of YoDude
4.42/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Black and poured with a short deep brown head. Head is slightly retained with a dark brown ring and about half inch of loose lacing.

Smell: The nose is dark roasted coffee with a hint of dried fruit, very pleasant and welcoming.

Taste: Rich roasted malt and coffee up front with lingering flavors of black licorice and dark chocolate. There is also a spicy finish that I accredit to the malt as the hops have long faded.

Mouth feel: It has a full body and light carbonation, with a nice finish of alcohol warmth and dark chocolate flavor. The use of oatmeal gives a smooth mouth feel that has you anticipating your next sip.

Overall: This is a wonderful version of an American Imperial Stout. Left Hand Brewing rarely disappoints. The hops have faded with age, but the combination of malts and other grains have married nicely to make this a wonderful beverage. I will definitely purchase again. Next time I will not age so long to make sure I include hop flavors.

Serving type: 22 oz. bottle aged 18 months in my beer cellar and poured into a Hamm's goblet

 1,077 characters

Wake Up Dead from Left Hand Brewing Company
3.87 out of 5 based on 1,000 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.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!