Fade To Black - Volume 3 | Left Hand Brewing Company

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Fade To Black - Volume 3Fade To Black - Volume 3
Very Good
523 Ratings
Fade To Black - Volume 3Fade To Black - Volume 3

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:
Pepper porter

Added by claytong on 09-28-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 523 |  Reviews: 192
Photo of tsauce2
4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

P: 12 fl oz bottle in to a tulip glass

A: SRM is black. Nearly opaque. Tan head, 1 inch, dissipates to cling the rim. Light carbonation. Medium/heavy lacing.

S: Medium roasted barley and subltle pepper notes are distinguishable. Slight smokey notes.

T: Very rounded malt profile initially, followed by slightly bitter roasted notes. Hint of carmel finished off by very earthy pepper notes. Negligible heat detected from either the smoked serrano or jalepeno (these smoked jalepenos become chipotles).

M: MF is slightly chewy, medium viscosity. Pepper adds a nice pep to the back end and contrasts nicely with the maltiness of this beer. Beer is slightly more carbonated than it apperas.

O: This is the first pepper beer I have ever liked, and I LOVE this beer. Fan-friggin-tastic use of ingredients, everything is well balanced and flavors are complimentary. Wish it was a little lower ABV so I drink more in one sitting.

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Photo of CampusCrew
4.17/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The appearance of this beer is deep dark black. Lacks head retention, some lacing bubbles. Smells like a normal porter, no hint of peppers. First sip I was like I don't feel the pepper, it defintiy hints on the bad end and gets more potent as you drink. The pepper flavor was well done and the best part of the pepper. It balanced, little taste, but the sensation is very noticeable. Body is weak, could of been more full. Overall, love it. Nice beer

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Photo of beerdrinker123
3.87/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a really dark black, not quite opaque. There are some dark brown highlights around the rims of the glass. Decent amount of head, not much lacing though.

Smell wise I can pick up on roasted coffee and chocolate notes, smells awesome. There is a very slight trace of something peppery/spicy but its barely there.

There is not much of a smokey flavor like I would have expected in this porter. I can pick out the coffee more than anything. On the finish, you get some of the spicy pepper that lingers on your tongue. After taking a couple of sips the pepper really starts to come forward.

Its pretty thick for a porter, reminds me more of a stout than a porter though. Given ABV, really drinkable. Not really as special as I was expecting it to be though.

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Photo of CRossi
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass.

A-Pours black and opaque with a dark tan/khaki head. Lacing is minimal, but a few swirls bring up a small amount of lacing clinging to glass.

S-Coffee aromas upfront, with some underlying chocolate notes underneath. No hop aromas detected.

T-Taste begins with a strong presence of roasted/coffee flavors. These flavors are soon replaced and overwhelmed by a spiciness that can be attributed to the pepper from which the beer derives it's name. The bite of the pepper lingers well into the after taste, begging you to drink more so that the roasted flavors can mask the pepper's spiciness. Of course, the pepper returns as soon as the roast flavors fade.

M-Medium to slightly full body. Carbonation seems fairly low. There is slight alcohol warming, but it can be masked a little bit by the spiciness of the pepper flavors.

O-A very interesting brew. Not one that I want to have a fridge full of, but definitely something I'd drink again if I wanted something unique. Definitely not something a non-beer enthusiast needs to try at first though.

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Photo of BeerLover99
3.87/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: blackish brown/cardinal shimmer body, trace khaki head,
zero lacing in glass

S: mild cocoa, toffee, nutty, licorice, malt

T: roasted nuts, malt, light toffee, long subtle
rumble of chili peppers finish

M: med body, slight tongue prick

O: Fascinating beer; AC/DC touring
with Red Hot Chili Peppers in your mouth.
Sweet raw roasted aggressive with funk chili
finish. I enjoyed it, but if it had a little
more malt/coffee/cocoa
to balance it out, would be amazing. The
alcohol is well hidden, sneaks up on you.
This beer is not for everyone.


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Photo of hefehead12
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into tupil glass. No abv info on bottle. Pours dark color with barely a finger of a mocha colored head. Smells of sweet roasted malt and a faint smoke. Taste is smooth with a transition from roasted malt to smoke to pepper. The smoke is not overpowering at all and adds a great deal to the flavor. The pepper is there but not to the point where it burns the mouth. This was a really good beer and I need to try more from left hand.

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Photo of bsp77
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Near-black ruby with thin tan head and minimal lacing.

Smell: Chocolate and molasses, with a touch of smoke. Expected a little more in the aroma department.

Taste: Smoky and roasted, with char, chocolate, molasses and coffee. The peppers are noticeable in the finish, proving a long, spicy, hot aftertaste. Other than the peppery finish, this is a fairly subtle and mild beer.

Feel: Creamy and full-bodied. Moderately low carbonation. Finish is mostly dry with some very light heat.

Overall: Nice Smoked Porter with the peppers providing a slight kick. Well balanced overall, and nothing is overdone. I wish I had tried the first two Fade to Black beers.

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Photo of projectflam86
3.33/5  rDev -13.1%
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 BEERchitect
3.97/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A well crafted American Porter with a little extra peppery bite and heat to balance against chocolate sweetness, coffee, and toast flavor.

Pouring as most Porters should with a deep and dark solid brown color with a mild haze. A dense, light tan head forms in most creamy fashion however short statured, before the light carbonation gives up on the regeneration of head character, allowing the foam stance to evaporate.

Porterish aromas carry a muted scent of chocoate, coffee, toast, and light roast. A hint of pepper can be detected but I didn't know better, I would have assumed the sharpness was from alcohol. Light vegital notes and an element of malty cream round out the nose.

Flavors of rich and creamy malt begin to shape the flavor profile, along with a quick rise of bittersweet chocolate, French press coffee, medium toast, light char, roasted walnuts, and burnt caramel. The finish brings about the rise mild heat and the bite of black peppercorns that are obviously not of alcohol origins.

Full bodied, but not chewy or rich- the early creamy carbonated and malted froathy texture makes a nice transition toward weighted malt at mid palate, before finishing roasty dry and with the complex bite of alcohol warmth and peppery sharpness.

A very good Porter with just a kiss of pepper for complexity and depth. Definately Fade to Black-worthy!

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

so weird! pours a more stoutesque rich black color with a prominent mocha head. really super lively and lacey. smells not like black pepper really at all, but like a dry stout, almost burned and smooth. taste starts off like a porter normally does, satisfying, low key, and very very drinkable, but then comes the aftertaste... sharp resonant black pepper! or maybe even chili, it is warmin' up... boom! it lasts on the tongue for awhile and doesnt get hot like chili pepper, but has a pronounced warmth to it. extremely unconventional and perplexing. mouthfeel is amsolutely fantastic, with the layered smoothness of a well made dark beer and that interesting pepper thing happening at the end. im still tasting it (and enjoying it) 15 minutes after my last sip, hot on the lips a little bit like a well made steak au poivre, not like an indonesian curry. would never guess the higher abv either. well cloaked in black intrigue. awesome effort from lefthand, not my favorite beer, and i might not buy it again, but i certainly commend the originality!!!

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

Appearance. Pours a deep dark brown, nearly black with a small tan head that fades quick and leaves almost nothing behind on ther inside of my glass.

Smell. Big dark chocolate, some roasty coffee and a hint of spicy peppers.

Taste. Sweet chocolate, roasty toasty dark malts, coffee and caramel. Chilli peppers don't come through until after a few sips.

Mouthfeel. Medium body with medium-low carbonation.

Overall. Nice full flavoured porter with a hint of chillis that are quite nice and not overdone.

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Photo of DavidST
4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. This pours an almost pitch black color with a small tan head which quickly dissipates. The smells are of roasted malts with a little peppery smell in the back end. The feel is medium. The taste is initially of dark roasted malts but on the way down there is this nice peppery slightly spicy aftertaste, its pretty good.

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Photo of nickfl
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours with one finger of medium brown foam on top of an opaque, black body. The head fades away quickly and leaves average lace.

S - Caramel, licorice, and herbal notes of chicory.

T - Dark sugar notes of molasses and burnt caramel up front. Some herbal character comes out in the middle with notes of chicory, smoke, and pepper. Some smoke, coffee, and chocolate in the finish with a bit of heat in the back of the throat.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a fairly dry finish.

D - A nice combination of dark malt, sugar, and pepper character. It is well balanced and while the heat in the finish would make it hard to drink more than one of these in a sitting it is a nice beer that would probably pair well with food.

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Photo of drpimento
3.94/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pretty good beer. I let this warm a bit from the cooler first. Poured with a small to medium sized head that soon dissipated to an island, ring and a little lace. Color in the narrow part of the glass was a dark, deep, rich mahoganey; elswhere opaque. Aroma upon opening I caught a whiff of pepper, but later, malt, cocoa, roast, toffee, caramel. Flavor is like nose with a little of the pepper in the background and good bitter/sweet/tangy balance. Good body and carbonation. Finish is like flavor and has good length. Solid drinking beer for a session.

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Photo of dball
4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I went to the local Beer Run for a quick taco and a beer on a cold Saturday. I was planning on having a goblet of stout but the bartender recommended the Peppered Porter. Honestly it didn't sound good but I tried a sample and wound up ordering a goblet. The black pepper in the beer is subtle and comes at the very end. There isn't much extraordinary about the appearance or smell but this beer tastes great and has tremendous feel. I give the highmark on mouthfeel because of that subtle and delightful pepper finish. I tried a Kloyd, Virginia hot pepper stout once and it was disappointing. This one is good, really good.

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Photo of indiapaleale
4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
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 osusullins
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I really enjoy this year's version of the Fade II Black. The beer pours a dark black with a soft head. The aroma is a strong smoke, similar to liquid smoke if you are a BBQ fanatic. The beer starts off with a strong smoke taste. The pepper starts to come through on the back end, however it is still subtle. If I could change one thing about this beer, it would be to make the pepper just a tad bit more pronounced. That said it is a very solid beer that I have enjoyed on more than one occasion. I think I liked last year's a little more, but both are very nice. Thanks again, Left Hand.

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Photo of bbeane
3.62/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Poured into a DFH laser-etched chalice... starts with a light head that completely disappears leaving some light spotted lacing. Beer is black in color, and almost not transparent when held up to the light, letting just enough light through to give it a hint of crimson

S- First whiff with no aggitation smells a bit sweet with some smoked qualities and hints of the black pepper. Second smell after some swirls of the glass produces sweet malts and dark fruits, with some smokey notes

T- Starts with some toasty burnt notes before becoming sweet with malts and some light dark fruit taste

M- Full body with light carbonation

O- A nice tasting porter, but nothing that different IMO... I didnt get much from the black pepper addition


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Photo of Jimmys
4.06/5  rDev +6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

served on tap at pizzeria paradisio in old town alexandria. review from notes.

A: pitch black. an unpromising looking beer considering the complete lack of head.

S: coffee, dark chocolate. a good bit of roast and definitely a little smoke in there too. good porter aroma for sure.

T: smokey. super peppery. a bitterness that is very similar to dark chocolate bitterness. very spicy finish! almost tabasco-like.

M: moderate carbonation on a medium bodied brew.

D: tasty. very unique palate. very different than most american porters. the smokey start with the spicy finish is unlike any porter i have had before. after a lacking appearance and average nose, the palate makes it much more enjoyable to return too.

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Photo of Phelps
3.97/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The third iteration of the Fade to Black series, this "peppered porter" was brewed with Ancho, Serrano and Chipotle peppers. Enjoyed in a tall taster glass at Tops.

Dark chocolate brown, mostly clear, though the edges give up some partially translucent maroon highlights. Half a finger of silky khaki foam becomes a bubbly ring within the span of a minute.

In the nose: milk chocolate and cocoa powder, creamy milk, smoked brisket, hints of licorice. A lovely, smooth blend of aromas that reminds of a barbecue.

Hello, is that pepper? There's a good serving of vegetal pepper flavor, like a juiced green pepper or serrano without the spice. There is a hint of heat, but not much; as a hater of super spicy food, I'd call it the perfect amount. The dark chocolate and smoke from the nose are here as well and in equal amounts. Actually, a very interesting triumvirate, this blend of smoke, chocolate and pepper. It’s almost like a chocolate-dipped chipotle. Additional flavors range from anise to tangy molasses to dark grape. Long-lingering spiciness and smoke.

Soft, creamy medium body expands throughout the mouth. Mild, tingly carbonation. And of course, the pepper heat, which is at a perfect level.

After three rounds, it’s official: I love the Fade to Black series. Always impressed by the balance of these dark brews. Another one well-done by Left Hand.

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Photo of cokes
4.42/5  rDev +15.4%
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 ChainGangGuy
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle - $1.89 at Olde Crabapple Bottle Shoppe in Alpharetta, Georgia. Bottled On: 09/22/11.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown, near black body with a tall, light tan, spumy head. No more than a few pencil-prick dots of lace on the way down.

Smell: Already, I get a little sniff of the peppers emanating up from the glass as I pour. Forward notes of chiles, with the roasty, chocolate-scented malts coming in second. Light trace of smokiness, too.

Taste: Sweet, malty beginnings of chocolate bar, caramel, sweetened coffee, and toast. Very slight smokey character preceding a smooth albeit spicy chile quality with, thankfully, no more heat that needed. The hops, at best, add a light spicy hint to aid the peppers, but, for the most part, stay out of the way of the 'guest' flavoring agent. Faint dark fruitiness. Malty, drying, lightly chile-accented finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Overall: Well-rounded, it's note just a bland, no-thought beer with a gimmicky addition of chiles thrown in, but a fairly smooth, flavorful porter integrated with the heat-inducing peppers. Nice job.

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Photo of zeff80
3.97/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an opaque, dark, dark brown color with a one-finger, tan head of bubbly foam. It left some sudsy trails of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of chillies and smoked meat. Some typical porter-like aromas, too.

T - It tasted of chocolate, toffee and a mild peppery spice. Some nice heat.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with dry finish.

O - This is a really tasty pepper porter. Another good edition of the Fade to Black series.

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Photo of climax
3.62/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Volume III pours with nearly no head, which fades to nothing as my glass fades to deep deep brown. One more shade and it's black, but just doesn't quite make the cut.

I don't pick up a whole bunch of pepper at first whiff. I do get ripe fruit, vanilla, and a kiss of licorice. The alcohol is hidden wonderfully considering the mellow aroma.

The chili flavors begin to march in just before the finish, and then linger in the throat after all is said. A bit of roasted coffee and black pepper overpower any sweetness.

The base is very smooth, nice and slick in the mouth. Carbonation greets the mouth sharply and remains moderate throughout. It finishes with a dash of dryness, and a semi hot chili pepper tingle in the back of the throat.

I wasn't too optimistic after my first two senses had the privilege of assessing this, but what ensued was a pleasant experience. The chili flavors were subtle but clearly evident, and the body was done wonderfully. For that, I would drink it again but not go out of my way to make that happen.

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Photo of gtermi
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
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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Fade To Black - Volume 3 from Left Hand Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.83 out of 5 with 523 ratings