Fade To Black - Volume 3
Left Hand Brewing Company

Fade To Black - Volume 3Fade To Black - Volume 3
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Porter - Imperial
3.87 | pDev: 14.21%
Left Hand Brewing Company
Colorado, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Fade To Black - Volume 3Fade To Black - Volume 3
Notes: Pepper porter
Reviews: 194 | Ratings: 526 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of maddogruss
maddogruss from New Jersey

3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Had this on draft.
A: pours black body with small, dark tan head with nice retention and lacing
S: roasted smelling beer; somewhat meaty
T: somewhat roasty taste with a spicy taste and burning aftertaste; spiciness
M: full bodied and pretty smooth
D: OK mouthfeel and taste; spicy tasting beer; I burped up slight fire

Nov 21, 2020
Photo of mothmanscott
mothmanscott from Georgia

4.01/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes 1/6/13: Pours a jet black producing slightly less than a finger of short-lived, mocha head that leaves behind runny flecks of lace. Aroma is roasted/burnt dark bready malt, dark chocolate,smoke and chili pepper with hints of coffee and molasses. Taste is semisweet dark chocolate, dark roast coffee and smoke before mid-sip where the pepper spice kicks in and rides through the finish into an aftertaste of chili pepper, roast and smoke. Very flavorful.

Jan 06, 2019
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breadwinner from California

4.42/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Really cool beer punctuated by the use of, not chili peppers, but black peppers, which gives a great, savory sort of spice note in the finish. Left Hand knows their dark beer, and here they show they know how to play with those beers to create something fun and interesting. Kudos.

Dec 22, 2014
Photo of dar482
dar482 from New York

3.91/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer comes in a dark brown/black color.

The aroma has tons of roasted malt and coffee.

The flavor follows with a roasted malt, loads of coffee, and then this rye spiciness on the finish. Some toffee sweetness in the middle.

The mouthfeel is medium.

The rye is a bit in this well made porter like beer.

Dec 31, 2013
Photo of Brianofthemarsh
Brianofthemarsh from Oklahoma

4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

a - dark brown, nearly black. Quickly dissipating head
s - roasty and coffee in the nose.
t- same on the taste with smokiness and subtle hints of chili.
m- medium
o- This is the first peppered beer besides Prairie bomb that works for me. I could enjoy a couple of these before moving on.

Dec 09, 2013
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chugalug06 from Colorado

3.04/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Slow rising and fast falling tan foamy head. Brew is light black. No lacing to speak of.

Chalky, lots of coffee, and milk chocolate.

Thin, watery, missing much complexity. For being a "pepper porter", I'm not picking up on any pepper other than extremely faint backend hints. Awkward high carbonation and funky chalky/dry bitterness. lots of weird chocolate flavors.

Not sure I can recommend as compared to the others in the series... Lefthand can surely do better.

Nov 13, 2013
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beerdrifter from Germany

3.31/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Picked this up while on vacation in PA. Dark brown, nearly black pour with a beige one finger head with great retention and lacing. Nice roasty, earthy nose with hints of cocoa, dark chocolate, and some subtle smoke. The taste follows suit with hints of mocha, tobacco, cocoa, coffee, dark chocolate, some subtle chili, and the smoke is even more prevalent. The mouthfeel is somewhat chalky and mouth-coating and very thin with a dry finish. Overall, a bit disappointing. Never had the base beer, but this didn't convince me to seek it out.

May 19, 2013
Photo of Jadjunk
Jadjunk from Georgia

3.14/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Left Hand Brewing's Fade To Black Vol. 3 Pepper Porter is brewed in the style of an American Porter brewed with Chile Peppers. No label information. Bottled on 1/14/12.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a snifter. Served north of 52ยบ Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a chocolate milk-tone head of a frothy cream consistency with an average retention and quality. Body color is a very dark brown, near black with deep orange highlights and a mild viscosity. Carbonation is not visible. Decent appearance for body color, but a little shallow in depth and the head quality suffers. 3.25

(Smell) Aroma consists of mild hints of roasted cocoa, a pinch of black malt, a bit of alcohol heat and some aromatic wet cardboard funk, likely from the age of the beer. Aroma is already a bit dated with most of the chili content gone and the remaining body soon to follow. Potency is medium at best. 3

(Taste) Flavor maintains better. Roasted chocolate malt and barley body with a scratchy chili spice on the mildly dry finish. Not a bad balance although it's certainly lacking a touch of balance against the sweet and dense malt body, perhaps a touch of earthy hop character that the chilis can't really counteract well. As such, the beer's flavor profile is very heavy without being equally complex. 3.25

(Mouthfeel) Mildly viscous slick texture with low carbonation, a touch of chili heat and a mild dry finish. It's a bit lacking in carbonation, and doesn't really go for drinkability as much as it should. 2.75

(Overall) Chili-infused beers are definitely a product of 2012, but it's not a part of craft beer history I regret tasting. This was not a bad take on the style, and the chili managed to stay well preserved in the flavor over the past year, whereas the carbonation and aroma have either been always lacking or fallen out. I hope that in the future if chili porters are brewed again that they will keep in mind that these beers can stay drinkable and light while maintaining the chili kick just as well. 3.25

Left Hand Brewing Company's
Fade To Black Vol. 3 Pepper Porter

Apr 09, 2013
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thagr81us from South Carolina

3.62/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from tap into a shaker. Poured a massively dark brown with a one finger off-white head that subsided to a half finger slowly. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, smoke, smoked meat, milk chocolate, roasted malt, and dark fruit. The flavor was of sweet malt, milk chocolate, smoke, smoked meat, powdered chocolate, and chili pepper. It had a light feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a pretty decent brew. I really like what I found on the aroma as there was a nice balance of sweetness and smokiness going on throughout. I did like the chili pepper aspect that showed up on the flavor as this brew warmed up. It really added a nice touch of complexity to it. The smokiness was definitely the highlight of this brew as it was actually quite nice. A well put together brew, but it just fell a little short. Worth trying if you get the opportunity.

Nov 21, 2012
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mountdew1 from New Hampshire

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

Poured into an imperial pint glass. Color was a very dark brown, with next to no head. What little head there was was a light brown. Mostly opaque, but just looked a little watery. Aroma seemed like a smokey malt or grainy bread, that had just a tad of chilli hiding in the back. Flavor starts off like a well balanced porter, maybe a bit heavy on the malt, and then veers into crazy town with a kick of chilli. Not overwhelming or bad in any way, but enough that its a different flavor with a bit of a lingering kick. Felt good in the mouth. Coated well with just a tad of bubbles. The slight burn on the tongue kept it down a smidge. Overall, a fairly unique beer. Definitely something I was glad to try, but not high on the repeat list.

Nov 19, 2012
Photo of BigBry
BigBry from Canada (AB)

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

It is a cold, snowy day - perfect for catching up on some reviews from my notes.

This is one of those one-of's, must-try-now-as-I-will-never-get-the-chance-again beers.
No one in our group wanted to try it, and judging from the waitress's reaction - no one else in the bar did either. I really like Left Hand's other porter and stouts, so was excited to try it.
Very dark brown, nearly black with a tall, light tan head. Foam quickly faded leaving no lace.
Smell has some of the peppers right from the start, some roasted malt and chocolate also present. Taste starts with the malty sweetness and chocolate, caramel, coffee flavors in other porters. Slightly smoky finish, then the heat from the chili hits you right at the end.
Light chili pepper is an accent rather than the main focus, and it works well.
Mouthfeel and carbonation level is medium, smooth finish.
Nicely done, NOT to be compared to Crazy Ed's Chili beer.

Oct 21, 2012
Photo of GPHarris
GPHarris from Alabama

3.92/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

bottled 9/30/11

a - poured a one finger thick coffee-colored head into an english pub glass that left a thin ring which was gone halfway through. the body was dark brown bordering on black with reddish-brown tints.
s - chocolate malt with a hint of sweet tea.
t - sweet in front with a spicy pepper finish. the sweetness had an almost coca-cola like quality to it.
m - smooth and slick.
o - i would have liked a little more carbonation to this one but i'll chalk that up to this beer being a year old though it has been in my fridge the whole time.

Sep 21, 2012
Photo of DelMontiac
DelMontiac from Oklahoma

4.14/5  rDev +7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. Fade to Black Vol. 3 bottled on 11/28/11. Poured into an imperial pint glass.

I have to give this one a flat average on appearance due to the complete lack of head. A ring of bubbles formed around the edge of the glass. Snap, crackle, pop - done. Color is nice mahogany/black, but anyone can make that color. Lace - nada.

I do like the aroma from FTBV3. It's very sweet like dark fruits simmering in chocolate, molasses, and brandy. Not original, but good.

Flavor is well above par for me on this. Very dark chocolate malt, vanilla bean, mocha, almond, and a touch of smoke. Then there's the pepper. No added flavor really, but you get a very very mild blanket of warmth from the chilies.

Feel is moderate - very velvety and slightly oily maybe from the chilies.

I bought this as a single, but it's proven to be worthy of another visit. I'll buy six next time.

Sep 14, 2012
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scootpolute from Texas

3.15/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Presentation: 12 oz brown with a simple yet inviting label...b&w flames with bubbles...

Appearance: Jet-black with a clinging tan lace that seems to stay for a while.

Smell: Lots of malts, chocolatewith hints of charcoal, more roasted malts and a touch of marshmellow...

Taste: Pretty smooth start with a nice medium bodied mouth feel. After the luscious mouth feel come the flavour which is quite malty, followed by the spicy pepper tones...the spice of pepper lingers until the end there 'are' chocolate/mocha flavors (espresso) along the way from the malts, but with each and ever sip, the 'pepper' is what sticks out (hence the name) ... not many hops to mention...

Notes: This one is interesting...The pepper thing kind of killed it for me...if the pepper was left out, I think it would have been better...I'll give orininality though, but I think 'THAT' kind of stuff should be left for 'session' beer, or special 'tap-room' show-cases...chasin' cheers :~)

Jul 28, 2012
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tronester from Oklahoma

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

Pours a jet black with amber highlights. Thin tan head. Smells of some rich milk chocolate.

Now when I first opened this beer and drank it, I was a bit puzzled. I had drank Fade to Black before, and this tasted similar, but with a burning sensation in my throat. My initial impressions were that the beer had somehow gone bad and gotten infected. Then I looked closer at the label. I did not realize that there were actually 3 volumes, and this was a new beer that I had not yet tried. The fact that it is a pepper porter certainly explained the burning!

The taste begins with a dark chocolate start, followed by some molasses. The finish is a bit of earthy dried pepper flavor, followed by a not too intense burning from the pepper heat. Quite nice really.

Rich mouthfeel. Overall a very good beer. I like how it is not over peppered. That is, it does not scald your throat with pepper burning, but instead provide a nice mild heat.

Jul 24, 2012
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WastingFreetime from Wisconsin

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

Reviewed from notes.

Very dark brown with a light beige head that doesn't last for long, smells like a standard porter (chocolate malt and light roastedness), only perhaps just with a bit more smokiness to it. The flavor has all of these elements and also has the expected chile heat, which rises up gently from the midsip onwards. I would call the amount of chile flavor somewhat understated, but than again, my palate is known to be rather jaded to chile heat so YMMV. Texturally, this beer stands on the lighter side of medium body and has appropriate carbonation. Not a bad brew, but nothing earthshaking either.

Jul 21, 2012
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secondtooth from Indiana

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

Pours a deep oil-black. Modest head of tan bubbles, and no lace.

Nose is a little roasty, with only a hint of peppery spice. Different and subtle.

Taste is chocolate roasty up front, followed by that hint of spiciness near the finish. The pepper tones are definitely muted (maybe my bottle was aged for some months), and this subtle and smooth porter is an easy and enjoyable one.

Jul 21, 2012
Photo of thain709
thain709 from Pennsylvania

3.92/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark brown body with nice ruby highlights...the head was very thin, off white in color, and settled into a spider web head with a full ring...light lacing

S - Sweet vanilla, full roast, slightly smokey, dark chocolate...had to search pretty hard to find the pepper...a nice nose, but would have liked some heat

T - The vanilla and roasted malt work very well together as they are the first things that come out...notes of chocolate and coffee come through in the middle of the beer...there is a hint of heat towards the finish...a smokey presence is in full force for the finish

M - Medium bodied...some carbonation, subtle heat, smokey finish

O - This one was better than Volume 2, but I enjoyed Volume 1 a little better...it would have been nice to have more heat coming through, but overall it was a good porter

Jul 17, 2012
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Jeffo from Netherlands

2.54/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Got this at Geers in Gent last weekend.

From a bottle into a snifter

APPEARANCE: Pours out dark brown and yields a 1+ finger, medium looking, fizzy, light tan head with decent retention. Black body with medium levels of carbonation evident. Head fades to a splotchy wisp and ring but leaves no real lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Roasted and smoked malts, cocoa powder and some light peppery notes. A touch of caramel and sweet cream as well. SMells pretty nice really.

TASTE: Roasted and dark malts up front with sweet cream, dark chocoalte and a pepper bite at the swallow. Mild but lingering aftertaste of chocolate, vanilla cream and roasted notes are minor compared to the pepper burn that hits the back of the throat. The pepper component is rough here. Unballanced and somewhat offensive.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Creamy on the palate, goes down fine and finishes a touch dry. A big pepper kick tickels the back of the throat. Everything is fine, but the peppers make it like spicy mexican food. Fine for mexican, but tough for a beer.

OVERALL: This is fine, especially if you like spicy food. It has a big pepper kick for sure, but in my view, that pepper kick just makes the beer harsh as opposed to adding any real flavor or complexity to the beer. The base beer seems fine and perhaps this one would have been better without the chili peppers. Regardless, Left Hand can brew nice beer, but this one was a dud if you ask me. I dumped most of it. Skip it.

Jul 09, 2012
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TheCondor from Missouri

4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Also included in the Mountain Mixer. Side poured aggressively from a bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance - As expected, pours motor oil black with a two finger dark tan head that dissipates fairly rapidly. The head does leave super sticky lacing on the glass though. Impressive looking porter.

Smell - Mostly controlled by the classic porter scents of dark chocolate and coffee, but there was a hint of peppery spiciness in there as well as some super strong coffee. Excellent

Taste - Similar to above, but with more complexity. Roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, and cocoa are the prime movers. At the end of the taste, however, there is an awesome peppery, chili powder like taste that zaps the palate.

Mouthfeel - The spicy pepper really moves the mouthfeel into rare territory, and the porter itself coats the palate and throat with a thick, rich flavor. I love it.

Overall - Too bad this was only brewed once. This is an excellent porter, and I think it is something that Left Hand should offer year round, or at least seasonally. Highly recommended, I will buy and drink again. Outstanding twist on my favorite style.

Jul 04, 2012
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Briken from Washington

4.17/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black with a thin, tight, and tan head with okay retention. Chocolate and spice aroma with notes of roasted malt. Chocolate and roasted malts come out in the flavor with pepper coming on strong in the end. A pleasant hot (from the pepper) finish that lingers lightly. Smooth feel with a slick mouthcoating.

Flavors meld and balance with a sweet and spicy overall feel to it. It might not be for everyone and it certainly is not something to drink a lot of but this is done well for a unique ingredient beer.

Jun 29, 2012
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BMMillsy from Florida

3.58/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Light pepper on the nose from a jet black pour. The black pepper seems to work much better than chile. This one had some roasted grain notes to it and a little hint of smoke. The pepper wasn't overpowering, which was nice. Tiny tinge of sweet keeps it drinkable. Nicely done.

Jun 25, 2012
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barczar from Kentucky

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

Pours an opaque deep brown with garnet highlights and a fleeting half inch mocha head.

Chocolate, roast malt, and dark fruit open the aroma. There's a bit of peaty earthiness and a touch of alcohol. Smells sweet, with notes of molasses.

Flavor has a bit of pepper throughout, and the fruitiness observed in the aroma accents the pepper bite well. Roast malt and flavors of chocolate, cola, and a bit of coffee bitterness form the backbone. The pepper is spicy enough to be somewhat dominant. A bit of nuttiness emerges as it warms.

Body is moderate, smooth, with low carbonation. There's a peppery bite at the finish and a bit of alcohol warmth.

Overall, a decent porter, but the flavor is definitely masked a little by the pepper addition. Not for those who don't like a spicy kick!

Jun 22, 2012
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Danny1217 from Florida

4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark color with a little bit of light shining through, creating some dark brown and red hues. Small tan head with decent lacing.
Smells of Roasted malt, chocolates, and coffee.
Taste a bit milky. Some chocolate and coffee. The pepper comes out with a lingering spiciness in the throat. Actually quite interesting and pleasing. As I continued to drink this I noticed more and more pepper. Very interesting.
A bit of a thick body with somewhat light carbonation.

The pepper is nicely balanced with the malty sweetness. A very good porter.

Jun 16, 2012
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Sirwootalot from Minnesota

4.45/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The first thing you notice is that it pours utterly pitch-black, with a hint of ebony around the edges and almost no head whatsoever. The nose is dominated by roasted barley with hints of bitter cacao, and is fairly mild.

The second it hit my mouth I subconsciously nodded in approval - a heavy, malty backbone with hints of espresso foam and pumpernickel. After a few seconds, a subtle, insidious, and utterly divine rush of fresh-cracked black pepper washed through my mouth from front to back, bringing out almost fruity jalapeno-like notes from the yeast as it ever so gently ignited the back of my throat. The mouthfeel is unexpected - this is one of the more drinkable porters out there, lacking the all-too-common syrupiness that comes from too much chocolate or coffee used in some others.

Oh god, I need more of this beer in my life. It's hands-down the best surprise I've had all year, and a new favorite.

Jun 01, 2012
Fade To Black - Volume 3 from Left Hand Brewing Company
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 526 ratings