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 nsabo
2.5/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Smokey, roasted grains, coffee, faint vanilla, and spicy cloves that mix for an instant with the pepper. The pepper is obvious after the first sip, and the more I drink the more the pepper takes over, coating the back of my throat. It brings a different (not bad) heat to the beer, but it also stunts my palate, I don’t think I could switch over to another beer after drinking this. Medium thin mouthfeel. About halfway through this beer, the pepper has almost completely taken over and I’m bored.
Years ago, I tried LH’s first FtB export stout. It was excellent, and just about everyone agrees it’s the best of this FtB series. Just like I said about Stone’s Belgo-Anise RIS, bravo for experimenting, now cross this experiment off your list and bring back the tastier beer you had before!

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Photo of Jeffo
2.54/5  rDev -34.2%
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.

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Photo of corby112
2.86/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours pitch black and nearly opaque with faint mahogany edges and a very thin beige head that immediately disappears without a trace of lacing.

Roasted malt aroma with a touch of smoke along with a prominent pepper presence. Hints of roasted coffee and dark chocolate along with licorice/anise but the chili peppers really come through especially as it warms.

Medium bodied with a decent amount of roasted malt up front with coffee, toast and chocolate notes followed by some light fruit and licorice before the peppers come in on the finish. Tastes kind of sweet with peppery spice up front with subtle vinous notes as well along with the anise/licorice character. The chilies aren't that noticeable until they come on strong in the finish. Plenty of lingering heat along with strong alcohol presence make this one a bit harsh. The pepper flavor isn't that bad but the alcohol and weird licorice notes clash resulting in a bit of a mess. I'm glad I got to try this one but finishing 12oz is proving to be a chore.

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Photo of Aml42000
2.98/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A- Dark brown, a bit translucent against a light.

S- A bit shy on the nose. Some smoke and roasted aromatics.

T- If you like smokey flavor, this is the beer for you. An interesting component, but at the expense of everything else, not so much.

M- Medium bodied and a bit thin for porter. High carbonation. Nothing special.

O- A decent porter, but not my favorite left hand offering. Would drink one if poured, but would not seek out in the future.

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Photo of Rayek
3/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Fade to Black 1? Great beer. Fade to Black 2? Great beer. Fade to Black 3? Not so much. My sample is a mere eight days removed from the bottling line.

Volume 3 hits my glass with a near pitch-black hue and a fizzy tan head. The head fades quickly to the edge of the glass and leaves no lace.

Peppers, peppers and more peppers. The molasses, licorice and burnt bitter goodness of the first FTB beer are here, but over-matched by the hot peppers. The heat carries through the finish and lingers on the palate for a long time. Despite the ABV, the body is rather light and slick. The fizz is too great for my desires.

I guess I should avoid chili beers, because this is another one that's not working for me. The earlier FTB beers were much stronger efforts.

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Photo of chugalug06
3.04/5  rDev -21.2%
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.

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Photo of Reaper16
3.09/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle served into a tulip glass

Pours a dark, dark chestnut color. It's practically black except when held to direct light. 1/4 of a finger of light beige head forms and quickly dissipates. Meh.

The smoke is no joke on the very first toke, not woodsy like oak, but more like alright I'll stop this joke it isn't even funny anyway. It's smoky. The label doesn't mention that this is "Pepper Porter" is a smoked porter, but the aroma makes it very evident. There's some brown sugar here, and some grilled meat like aromas. The pepper is here in similar to every other pepper beer in that it doesn't smell like chilies but instead like Big Red gum or something. You smell more of a sensation than you do a definite aroma.

The base smoked porter flavor is pretty average. There's milk chocolate, a quick pecan-like nutty sweetness, and a flush of grape jam. It's pretty underwhelming. The pepper heat and flavor, though, salvages the beer. There's a cinnamon gum sort of flavor, with a heat/tingling sensation that distracts me (in a good way) from the meh base porter.

This is watery, frankly. It feels insubstantial to me. There's no body for the porter flavors to latch onto. I'm scoring this a 3.0 because the peppery tingling sensation seems like it falls under the purview of mouthfeel.

This reminds me a lot of the Stone Smoked Porter with chipotle peppers. The base beer is not great and the peppers only make it mildly more interesting. Not bad, but I won't buy this again.

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Photo of neckbracesub
3.1/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

From a bottle, poured into a pint glass. The initial reaction to this "Pepper Porter" is a better one than the actual finish & lingering aftertaste, but the pros outweigh the cons enough to make it worth recommending.

Left Hand has developed into a solid brewery with decent value. I’d compare them to New Belgium in that way, with even a bit more variety (and a juggernaut called the Milk Stout). The Fade To Black is exactly as its title suggests, pouring pitch black and displaying a massive pepper taste that sort of overstays its welcome.

Overall I have to say that I did enjoy it, even if it is nowhere near one of the best porters.

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.14/5  rDev -18.7%
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 52º 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

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Photo of scootpolute
3.15/5  rDev -18.4%
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 :~)

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Photo of StaveHooks
3.17/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From notes: Poured into A Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass.

A - Pours almost black, with a fleeting head that dissipates into nothing. Not a trace of lacing.

S - Roasted malt, old coffee grinds, licorice, cocoa.

T - Roasted malt, has a slight smoked flavor, dairy and cocoa, minor chili heat.

M - Medium to moderate carbonation, medium body.

An average porter, not what I was expecting. Chili is muted at best and has very dull components. Seems a little forced and underwhelming. Dairy and cacao are present at the end but don't mix like milk chocolate would. It's a good drinker but it's not worth seeking out.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.22/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The volume 2 fade to black was AMAZING...so hig hopes going in on this one. Unfortunetly this is not as good as #2. The beer poured black and opaque with slight ecru head that is slightly lacing. The smell is weak than desired...some roast and peat. The taste starts as a typical porter with roast and peat and then the pepper takes control. The mouthfeel is a good medium body with mild carbonation. Overall its decent.

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Photo of beerdrifter
3.31/5  rDev -14.2%
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.

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Photo of projectflam86
3.33/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle.

A- Pours a deep brown/black color with a thin head that leaves some lace.

S- Smoky roast and some faint spiciness in the nose. Maybe a touch vegetal.

T- The initial taste is very much like a standard porter. Dark roasted flavors with some coffee and charr. As it warms up there is a touch of spicy pepper that comes through and adds some heat to the finish.

M- Medium bodied with medium/low carbonation.

O- Overall a decent brew that had a light pepper spice. Thankfully this wasn't overdone.

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Photo of bpw28
3.33/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Two finger mocha head, very deep brown (when put up the the light, it can be seen lightly.), nice lacing.

Smell: Big coffee, milk chocolate, maybe some cream.

Taste: Coffee, milk chocolate, light smokiness, light spiciness (physically, like a chili), light sweetness, on the aftertaste there is a light fresh banana flavor like I just ate a banana. Medium body.

Final Thoughts: Kind of basic. The light heat in the porter is a nice element, but other than that it seems basic. I would have liked a bit more complexity on the nose and a bit more of a full mouthfeel. There's room for improvement from the basic porter that this is, but it isn't a bad porter overall. If it's offered or you can get a glass of it, its worth it but I wouldn't get a sixer or go ape looking for this one.

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Photo of jmdrpi
3.35/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle. there' s a spot on the label for a date, but it's blank. doh!

pours black, but light gets through the edges. thin cream colored head that fades fast. aroma is smokey and peppery, like chipotle. but not too strong.

pepper is subtle in the taste. mostly standard roasted malt flavor typical of a porter. but instead of coffee or chocolate notes - it's just sorta smokey. medium body and carbonation that works well.

overall - interesting, but nothing special. one was enough.

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Photo of Mdog
3.35/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Black, but reddish in the light, virtually no head.

Smell: Ok chocolate aroma.

Taste: Initial tingle, then settles into roasted and mildly sweet chocolate. A little pepper heat can be detected, but is mild.

Mouthfeel: Interesting tingle I believe from the pepper.

I enjoyed the previous fade to black offerings, so I picked up a single of vol. 3. It is a pretty standard tasting porter, with a very mild hot pepper tingle to it. I'm not a big hot pepper guy, but it could have used a little more in that department to make it stand out some more. Other notes: weird that it had so little head.

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Photo of jjanega08
3.36/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No freshness dating I could see.

A= Pours a nice black color with a finger of head on it that holds some decent retention and the lacing is about average.

S= The pepper is evident which I find to be a little strange. We will have to see how it tastes. The smell isn't a bad thing yet but it is an interesting aroma. The porter base is coming through great with a nice roastiness to it and a smigit of chocolaty sweetness.

T= The flavor is interesting. The pepper is very evident and makes for an interesting flavor. I've never been a fan of mixing hot spice with too much and this is a step outside of my comfort zone. I never really understood throwing pepper on things that just weren't suppose to have pepper. This I feel like is one of those things that just shouldn't have pepper on it. The porter is wonderful. It's a nice roasty porter with an underlying sweetness that works out but then the pepper comes into play. It starts as a surprise and eventually takes over the pallete. The smoke is wonderful in it and that portion pairs well with the porter.

M= Too much lingering heat for me.

O= Not a bad beer. Viewing this for what it is I would say it did it's job. There is an eerie smokiness in the flavor that I actually enjoy quite a bit. The pepper I don't quite understand. The did manage to play it somewhat calm with the pepper I'm just not a fan.

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Photo of ccarney2
3.38/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Jet black pour with a small and quickly diminishing light tan head. Not a very distinct lacing, kind of spotty.

Smell - Very subtle aroma, not many specific attributes shining though. I was kind of worried at this point.

Taste - nice malty plum flavor to start off, but that pleasant flavor quickly turns fierce and surprising. As soon as you finish exhaling, a distinctive spicy flavor comes across the tongue. It was rather unique for me, and I was really awoken at this point. The smoked chili flavor lasts for quite some time. It really intrigued me. I could feel little bubbles of heat popping on my tongue after swallowing this beer.

Mouthfeel - As average as it gets i think. Medium carbonation, and an average consistency did not exactly impress.

Overall - Interesting is the first word that comes to mind. This isn't really a style that i have too much experience with, but i am very intrigued with the heat in the bitterness. It is definitely something i will talk about with friends, but may not be a beer that I passionately recommend. I do think it is worth a tasting though, especially if you are not used to/aware of beers that include a smoked chili taste. I probably won't forget this beer for a while, but i also probably won't buy another 6 pack of it for a while.

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Photo of rangerred
3.42/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours an opaque black with a tiny amount of carbonation that is quick to fade to nothing.

Smells of cocoa and dark chocolate with a small hint of pepper evident.

The heat from the peppers is immediately evident upon tasting. There is also cocoa along with some roasted malt. Hop bitterness is there as well on the finish. A nice lasting warming in the throat from the peppers.

Overall this is a pretty unique beer. I thought it was just ok, though.

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Photo of TheWhiskerReview
3.45/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a 1-finger tan head. Lace and retention are minimal, just a tiny ring, but they last through the whole brew.

The nose carries the typical elements of a porter with dominant chocolate and leather tones, dark toast and coffee with a muddled fruity/raisiny/nutty character from the added chilis. They're also a touch herbal, and there's some spicy notes of cinnamon and woodsy anise tucked into the whole thing.

Palate is med-full bodied with a sweet, silky chocolate vibe joined by the malty dark toast- bitterness is mild and yields quickly to the moderate chili spice before returning to the sweet chocolate on the finish.

Overall, I like that it's not too spicy yet the spice doesn't get lost either, although there's still not enough bitterness to balance the sweetness. And while the beer is flavorful, the flavors are really muddled and hard to pick apart. It's the best chili beer I've had so far, but still not enough to convince me that this style is nothing more than the latest fashionable flavor of the month.

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Photo of ColForbinBC
3.46/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint

Sits a deep ebony in the glass with some chestnut brown highlights around the edges. A small light tan cap rose about a finger and fell to a thin collar. Some straggling lines of lace.

The nose is of milk chocolate, roast malt and a touch of cayenne pepper. Straightforward, slightly robust albeit lacking some depth.

On the palate, this guy follows the nose. Smooth milk chocolate with a little lactose sugar sweetness up front before roast pushes through the middle and fades to a mildly bitter roast finish. In the finish, some cayenne pepper peeks through, adding a nice little wrinkle and a faint burn.

Smooth and creamy, medium bodied with low carbonation. Nice feel on this one, probably its best attribute.

This is a nice little porter with a little added kick.

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Photo of TATURBO
3.49/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into New Glarus Pint Glass.

Apperance: Pours a dark solid black with very minimal head.

Smell: I ranked this kind of low but I just didn't get much out of it. Just a bit of Chocolate scent. Could be due to using a pint glass instead of a snifter...

Taste: Dark Chocolate, no hops. Bit of tang from the pepper which leads to a mild heat/kick in the aftertaste. Can feel it a bit in the back of my throat. Minimal carbonation.

Mouthfeel: Average +. Really about right for a porter. Not too thick or thin.

Overall: Solid Porter base with nice flavor. The Pepper adds it's own flavor to the beer that I like. Really like this beer. Definitely would buy again. Bottle I used for this review was not dated but I'd had it a few months in my cellar before finally getting to it.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle without the bottled on stamp, surprisingly. Pours a near-black color with a modest cap of tan head. Not overly great for retention or lacing.

Pepper is abundantly evident in the nose, rich and spicy. Sweet and chocolaty malt background provides a nice compliment to the pepper. Also, a fair amount of alcohol makes it through.

Pretty decent base beer with a sweet and viscous malty flavor. Chocolate and roasty coffee shine pretty bright. The pepper notes are interesting, with a little bit of zest up front and some heat creeping in on the finish. I think it is cool they made sure the pepper aspect of the beer was prominent. It is interesting, but I cant say I like it more than the first two installments of the Fade to Black series. Worth a try, but I wont be going back to the store for any more.

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Photo of BigBry
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
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.

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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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