Fade To Black (Volume 3 - Pepper Porter) | Left Hand Brewing Company

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Fade To Black (Volume 3 - Pepper Porter)Fade To Black (Volume 3 - Pepper Porter)

Brewed by:
Left Hand Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by claytong on 09-28-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 192 | Ratings: 523
Photo of cmiley123
4.73/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark color with little carbonation. Smell's like a typical porter, but that is where the typical ends. The toasted malt tastes great with a perfect balance of pepper spice that stays with you for a minute or two. I love pepper beers, and I believe this one is the best one I've had. I hope Left Hand brings this back sometime.

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Photo of zachary80
4.62/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into a Globe.

Pours black with a large brown head, good retention, and good lacing. I would have expected the pepper to cause issues.

Aroma is amazing - rich chocolates, slight hint of capsaicin. Smokey.

Flavor is full and interesting. Slight sweetness is balanced by both the roastiness and heat. I can't distinguish the peppers, but everything blends together wonderfully.

Mouthfeel is full, slightly heavy for a porter, but works very well given the rest of the beer.

Overall the Pepper Porter is a great, unique beer. The peppers work great in the bolder porter.

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Photo of samie85
4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A-Pours a pitch black with a very small, light tan head that dissipates quickly.

S-Big hits of chocolate with some light roasted and almost smoky notes.

T-Roasted and chocolate notes with a bit of spicy chili on the finish.

M-I disagree here that this one is thick; I'd say it's medium-bodied and it creates a nice base for the chili to shine without overwhelming the beer. It has low carbonation and leaves you with a spicy warmth from the chili in the throat.

D-I really love that this beer has some pepper kick with a very good beer as its base. The issues I've had with Chili beers in the past is that they suffer from one of two problems: it's a spicy beer but the base is weak or just not solid, or else a very good base beer and not enough chili is used. This beer balances very nicely between the chili and the base.

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Photo of Sirwootalot
4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
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.

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Photo of cokes
4.42/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The blackest shade of brown possible, inky with light barely penetrating the edges. The head is no more than a slumped shoulder of tan, and where it sticks around in stunted form it leaves a few streaks of lace.
Raisins-in-dark chocolate nose, augmented with earthy, herbal cigar smoke, liquorice, vanilla pod, Port, and burnt autumn leaves. The pepperedness is hinted at, but not expressed forthright. It smells delicious, regardless.
It rolls past the teeth with milk chocolate and raisin notes. The chocolate fortifies and migrates darker. Cocoa nibs show incredible legs and last long past the swallow. It cycles past burnt toast and espresso, with wafts of campfire and cigar smokiness, along with the meatiness of grill scrapings. For a while, this suggests Vol.2 with its smokiness, though I don't believe it's from the malt. The culprit arises as the distinct smoked bite of chipotle materializes. The heat, subdued and smoky initially, builds towards the potent seeds and chile oil and lingers past each gulp. A subdued Port sweetness adds a countpoint on the close.
Medium bodied, inching fuller as its nearly still in carbonation. It actually works well here, giving a cask-type feel, and letting the malt and the smoky heat play off each other.
This is a stunner. A girthy porter with a weighty addition of pepper seems like an overreach, but there's either a deft balance or a harmonious overload of both here.
My feelings on Left Hand are generally lukewarm, but the Fade to Black series has established itself as something I eagerly look forward to every year. This is its most idiosyncratic yet, and probably its best.

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Photo of breadwinner
4.42/5  rDev +14.5%
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.

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Photo of stealth
4.42/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is an awesome beer. I love the peppers (chipotle, serrano, and ancho peppers I believe) in this porter. The peppers are there in the nose, and don't come out in the taste until the finish, adding a nice little heated finale. The porter itself would be pretty average (but in a good balanced way), however the peppers made it exceptional.

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Photo of McNealc31
4.4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The color is perfect and the fragrance promises lots of smoked chiles. There is a lot more depth to the flavor than just chiles, though. There's bittersweet chocolate, anise, and the smoky chiles.

There is some subtle heat, and at just a touch under 2000 Scoville units, that puts it at about the same as a poblano. It's just enough that you know it's got chiles in it.

Smooth, complex, drinkable, and just enough heat to have you know this is something unique.

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Photo of Spider889
4.4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On draft at the brewery on 9/25. Served in a tulip.

Vol. 3 is brewed with a mix of peppers. My notes indicate that the beer is really 7.2% but the bottles don't say at all...

The brew is black and thick for a porter. A tall creamy head floats atop the beer leaving some spotty lace.

The aroma is rich and malty. I love the Fade to Black series and vol. 3 is already off to a nice start. There's a nice earthiness to the brew that I attribute to the chiles. Roasty yet smooth. A nice chocolate aroma grows as the beer is given time to warm up a bit.

While the malt-driven flavor of this volume is tasty, at first the chiles seem to have checked out. There's still plenty to appreciate: clean and crisp flavors of coffee and browned grains. But over time the chiles make themselves much more apparent. They are mostly earthy, but do leave a mild residual smokiness on the palate.

The mouthfeel is smooth and velvety, but also very crisp and refreshing for the style. The heat, while never strong, definitely does grow with each sip until a mild tingling mounts in the back of the throat (but never grows into a burn).

While I did prefer last year's volume more, this year's is still awesome.

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Photo of gshak
4.38/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - aggressive pour from bottle to an over-sized wine glass generated about 4 fingers' widh of mocha-colored head with tight bubbles. Couldn't get all of the beer in. Head subsides into a ring, leaving a sticky, impressive lacing all around.

S - milk chocolate, and capuccino right off the bat, followed by roasted malts, slight smokiness, and very mild peppery, tobacco notes.

T - follows the nose. Capuccino, milk chocolate followed by roastiness, finishing with smokey pepper finish. Just enough spiciness to cut the sweetness and prepare the palate for another sip. Slight lingering heat from the peppers as well. Remarkably well done; I really dig this one.

M - medium to medium-full, incredibly well-layered bringing out pronounced flavors of the above mentioned components.

O - this drink is an easy A for me. If I were to take the price point into consideration this is an A+. Easily the best porter for me, that comes in a six pack.

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Photo of uawildcat
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this beer into an English pub glass. Pours very dark with a decent off-white colored head that leaves lacing. The more I rate appearance of beer the more difficult I realize this is.

Smell is of sweet dark malts (brown sugar, molasses, coffee) mostly. Has an ever so slight pepper aroma to it thats masked by the malt.

As I sipped this beer I was surprised how full bodied it was and how creamy it felt. The taste is pretty extraordinary. Very dark carmel sweet upfront with a vanilla hint in it. The pepper in my mind is a back drop. You taste it more at the end. It is very subtle in my opinion, but then again, I eat lots of spice foods.

Overall, I wish that I bought a 6-pack of this beer rather than just an individual bottle since its never going to be brewed again ;(

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Photo of One2Remeber
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark black body with a dark brown hue. Creamy, coco, tan colored head. Bubbly and doesn't stay around too long as it fades after a couple minutes to a filmy ring on the edge. Sticky lace ring after each sip.

S: Chili peppers dominate the aroma off the bat. Rich chocolate malts in the undertone. Smells creamy like fluffy oatmeal. Not too familiar with different spice aromas but I can feel it burn my nostrils.

T: Creamy, milk chocolate taste up front. Chili peppers come in after swallow which is accompanied by a lingering burn. Not as intense burn as most chile beers but lingers longer than most.

M: Very light body, great for a porter. Mouth feel really distinguishes itself from a stout. The smooth, light malt backbone lets all the spices really shine.

O: Impressed:) I was blown away with Vol 2 Smoked Baltic last year and this Pepper Porter is by far Left Hand's best offering IMO. You can tell a lot research went into each pepper in how to compliment each other. Lots of unique flavor mixing together yet not over the top making me come back for more. I had a six pack awhile ago and was satisfied but draft is where it is at! Relatively smoother and peppers are more accentuated.

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Photo of indiapaleale
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown to black. Porter colored, some reddish hues and an off white head.

Smell has some slight smoky notes and burnt meat aromas. Some hints at peppers and certainly some molasses and dark roasted malts. Love the smell of this beer - especially after it warms.

Tastes at first like a smoked porter but then the warming begins. Some slight smokiness in flavor, almost perfect as its not too much or too little. The warming from the peppers is about as a spot on as you can get. The peppers ADD something to this beer besides that bit of hear. The flavors mesh with the maltiness so well, wow, this is just an excellent exploration of what you can do with beer.

Overall I absolutely love this beer. I thought Volume 2 - the Smoked Baltic Porter - was amazing until I tried this. Do yourself a HUGE favor, when you pour this let it WARM up to almost room temperature. The flavors of this beer will really come out.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: 1.5 finger thick head on a near jet black body. Very nice lacing.

S: nice smokey with vanilla note

T: smokey and peppery. Just the right of peppercorn flavoring. Mild dried fruit flavor as well. Nice bite in the finish.

M: full body and moderate carbonation.

Overall this is a nice peppery porter with just the right amount of people. Well made

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Photo of Mora2000
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a very dark brown to black color with a very small tan head. The aroma is classic porter with a lot of chocolate and roasted malt notes. I also get a hint of smoke in the aroma. The flavor is more of the same. There is a ton of chocolate in the flavor, as well as some roasted and nearly burnt malt. There is a little bit of heat from the peppers as the beer is swallowed and some earthy pepper notes in the flavor as well. Medium mouthfeel and low carbonation.

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Photo of diamondc
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Almost black, tan mocha colored head. About half a fingers worth of foam left over from the pour.

S: Dark chocolate, coffee roast, licorice, a hint of pepper at the end. After warming up a bit the chiles really come out, almost fruity and smokey.

T: This beer really needs to warm up for the spiciness to come through. Poured straight out of the fridge, you get the standard chocolate roast flavors from a typical porter. Warmed up after 10 or so minutes, the spiciness tickles my tongue and back of my mouth. Subtle, but different.

M: Creamy, yet not very heavy. Carbonation is spot on for the style.

O: A well done porter. Doesn't hit you the head with the chile peppers. Only found this one in singles, worth a six pack purchase.

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Photo of TippySelenoid
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

This beer pours black with a tan head that leaves a nice ring of suds. Very nice lacing.

This beer smells a bit of chocolate. There is also some smoky notes.

This beer doesn't really taste like pepper and at first that was disappointing. The beer has a pretty strong smoke flavor. As the beer warms there are a lot of chocolate flavors that come out.

The beer is pretty thick. It's carbonation is adequate. There is a dry finish. This beer also leaves a warm feeling from the pepper (there it is!), it reveals itself as heat.

This beer's really nice. I'd like more pepper flavor, but what I did get was still an enjoyable pour.

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Photo of hosehead83
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a standard pint glass.
Dark brown in color, with ruby highlights glinting on the edges. Moderate head of tan foam.
Aroma-Subtle, but attention getting whiff of chili peppers mixed with chocolate and faint coffee notes.
Taste-Coffee-with-cream, dark chocolate, and a nice chili pepper bite that doesn't overwhelm, but dances pleasantly on the palate. Great flavor and balance. Smoky, spicy and tasty. Right up my alley! A perfect match for a grilled steak, chili, or any spicy fare. Nicely done!

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Photo of PorterLambic
4.26/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black (duh) with but a thin film of dark tan for a head. No lace. No light penetration.
Smell is roasted malts, smoked pork, teriyaki with hints of molasses and maybe vanilla. Great complexity and balance.
Taste is similar with coffee, roasted malts, molasses and pepper coming in later. Balance is very good.
Mostly full body, quite light effervescence. A slight coating of the palate. Really good and just what I expected. Worth savoring. If it wasn't so good to drink, this would make an excellent marinade for beef or pork.

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Photo of Arithmeticus
4.26/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured at the White House in ale glass.

A: solid black; two-finger head; good carbonation
S: sweet stout; espresso prominent
T: wow, the pepper is strong; complex porter with a deep flavor profile; espresso notes come through, too

Very interesting beer; if you haven't had a spicy beer before, check this one out.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.24/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a very dark brown, appearing black. Thin film of a head, little carbonation, leaves a thin ring around the glass, faint lacing. Aroma of toasted malt, light chocolate. Flavor is dark roasted malt, coffee and chocolate with a rapidly developing hop pepper zing. Finishes with a light pepper and hop bite. Flavor seems somewhat subdued, but the pepper component makes itself evident just in time to completely redeem the flavor. Medium bodied with a surprising carbonation tingle, because there was little evident carbonation or head. The hop pepper lingers pleasantly on the palate. Nicely done.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.23/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark opaque body with a light tan head with fine speckled lacing. Aroma has an earthy chile pepper noted about amongst the dark malts. Flavor has the dark roasted malt sweetness with a perfect amount of heat coming from the peppers even a hint of smokiness a really creative interesting take on the porter style. Fade to Black has been an excellent by the six pack specialty release series so far. Mouthfeel is medium to fuller bodied dry spicy finish with some linger heat that warms the belly quite a bit. Overall an enjoyable pepper/chile beer that caught me by surprise I didn't inspect the neck label to determine what style this beer was so it was a surprise with my first sip to catch the heat.

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Photo of gtermi
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: This beer pours a black with a little dark red. The head is thin and barely there.

S: I pick up a lot of roasted malt and a little bit of spice.

T: The beer has a lot of roastedness along with some spicey flavors and a nice coffee finish.

M: The beer is very smooth and easy to drink. It is almost like water going down its so easy to drink.

O: This is one of the better stouts I have had in a while. It looks nice, tastes good and very smooth.

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Photo of ujsplace
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

Pours a near jet black colored brew with faint amber hues along the edges of the glass. Tan colored head that is about 1/2 inch thick and fades pretty quickly. Modest lacing is left behind.

Smells of deep smokey, roasted malt, chocolate spicy with maybe a hint of anise.

Tastes of nice roasted malts up front, chocolate and finishes with a pepper spice - maybe chilies...not too overwhelming - adds nice spice to the brew. Good stuff.

Medium mouth, slick and creamy.

This is a really good porter. The pepper definitely sets this one apart. It's definitely not over the top in terms of being overly spicy - it's subtle, but makes it's presence known in a good way. I'd love to get to know this brew better, but alas I have only one.

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Photo of beerhan
4.21/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Almost no head with a thin faint tan lacing. Blackish brown body.

S-Smells very muddy and earthy. Very chocolatey nose with some old italian spice smell.

T-The best way to describe the taste of this beer is a poor man's hunahpus. It is seriously the closest thing (besides zhukov) to huna. It has a lot of chocolate with this peppered aftertaste that is fantastic. It gets a lot of point for being so unique and I am shocked by how good this was. It is still a bit hoppy which is kind of weird. There are some bitter notes in the aftertaste that contribute to the spice

M-A little spicy from the peppers but the little carbonation added to the bitter aftertaste makes this a real sipper.

O-Price, taste, and uniqueness make this one worthy beer. I was shocked by how good this was. I intended on only getting this for a friend (to preface he is a hugmetaliicae fan) to drink with but we ended up really enjoying it. I recommend.

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Fade To Black (Volume 3 - Pepper Porter) from Left Hand Brewing Company
3.86 out of 5 based on 523 ratings.
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