Ambidextrous | Left Hand Brewing Company

16 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Left Hand Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: Milk / Sweet Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.20%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Spider889 on 01-28-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 16 | Ratings: 56
Photo of NilocRellim
3.69/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the tap.

The beer poured a very nice looking clear copper-ish colour.

There were clear notes of malts, cinnamon, and other earthy spices t the nose.

The beer tasted very balanced with malts, cinnamon, orange, with a spiced-hop finish. Very mild and pleasing.

Would I buy it again? Yes.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.33/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Served in a snifter at Firkin.

Apparently, Dave had kept this keg in his cooler for about three years. Fair enough, man. This stuff pours a midnight garnet-brown topped by a finger of sandstone foam. The nose comprises walnut, oak, very light roasted malts, and toasted malts. The taste brings in more of the same, with more toast, a touch more roast, lots of oak, some dark chocolate powder, and some light molasses in the background. That oak is certainly dominant. The body is a light-leaning medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a smooth feel. Overall, this stuff is just too oaky for its own good, perhaps a symptom of its greater-than-usual age. Still, not a bad beer, just one that doesn't seem to have held up.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
4.41/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap in a 10 oz chalice glass

Appearance – The beer is served a as a dark brown brew boarding on black with a small tan colored head. The head fades rather quickly leaving a nice level of lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma is heaviest of a milk chocolate and creamy smell. Notes of sweet caramel and vanilla mingle with the chocolate and cream, creating a sweet milk chocolate smell. Mixed with these sweeter aromas are hints of oak and some smoke which bring in a greater dimension of roastiness to the nose and balance out the sweeter smells quite nicely.

Taste – The taste begins with a strong sweet and roasted flavor. The sweeter flavors are a mix of caramel and lactose sugar with the roasted being of a chocolate, malt and light coffee taste. The flavors upfront produce a nice milk chocolate like flavor on the tongue that is soon meet with flavors of dark fruits and some vanilla. While the dark fruit and vanilla sweeten the taste even more, other flavors of oak and some smoke help balance out the sweet. These flavors take the taste to its end where the booziness of the brew becomes more noticeable (but never all overpowering). In the end a nice creamy roasted milk chocolate flavor is left to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the thicker and creamier side as might be expected for a brew of its strength and statute, with a carbonation that was rather low. The body and carbonation were fantastic for creating a creamy and smooth texture that very well complimented the milk chocolate flavors of the brew and made for one very enjoyable drinker.

Overall – A thick, sweet, roasty and tasty brew. All the flavors, smells and feel of the beer mix together in a great way to produce a sweet yet very drinkable and savory brew.

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Photo of weonfire
3.05/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Had this on tap in a 12oz snifter glass at The Beer Trappe in Lexington, KY.

A. Dark brown, somewhat see through. Snifter was filled to brim with out any head.

S. small hints of dairy, coco.

T. Hollow, watery, small milk taste, alcohol. Kept thinking to myself- why isnt this more full-bodied?

M. watery

O. Unimpressed. I would not order this again.

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Photo of Tone
4.38/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear, dark brown color. 3/4 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of smoke, sweet malt, alcohol, hops, and slight oatmeal. Fits the style of a Milk / Sweet Stout. Mouth feel is smooth and clean, with a low carbonation level. Tastes of smoke, sweet malt, slight roasted malt, slight hop, slight pine, and hint of pale malt. Overall, good appearance, aroma, body, blend, and feel.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.58/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Minimal head on a clear deep brown body with nice lacing. A lot of people are getting oak but for me it comes across as more smokey with caramel and toasted malts and only minimal sweetness. Flavor is more oaky but I still get smoked caramel malts as well with light dark chocolate and cream for sweetness, even a hint of orange and mesquite flavor. I thought at first I had been served the wrong brew but this wasnt the case. medium body and moderate carbonation. The booze is very well hidden in this one. The oak and smokey notes are excellent without overwhelming but definitely greatly alter the base beer's presence.

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Photo of Phelps
3.67/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed in a snifter at Tops.

Black as night, with no chance of light coming through. The head is thin and very light tan.

In the nose: dark chocolate and sweeter cocoa, a touch of anise, some vanilla, very vinous oak and mocha.

A little harsher in the flavor. Very young, fresh oak. In the front, it’s kind of rough, but there’s a different story at the swallow, when sweeter dark chocolate, a little vanilla and maybe some dark fruit roll in.

Very nice, creamy, medium-full body. Moderate prickly carbonation breaks it into a little fizz. A hint of alcohol in the nose at the swallow.

Not bad. Not the best oak-aged stout, but not the worst. Could use more toast and stout flavor. Seems too weak to withstand the aging.

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Photo of russwbeck
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was under the impression there were more than one Ambidextrous, as this was labelled Ambidextrous #1. $4 for 4oz.

Alas, after review I was correct, and I quote: "The first twelve Ambidextrous beers will be known as Steps 1-12 in an irreverent nod to Alcoholics Anonymous, which shares the same initials as Ambidextrous Ale. After that, Lennart says, the brewery will identify them using the word "Relapse" in the names."

#1 is an Oak Aged Imperial Milk Stout, with the Imperial Milk Stout coming as a blend of a few of their offerings, including: Widdershins, Milk Stout, and Wake Up Dead.

A: Black pour without head, what does stick around laces a bit. No retention. 4

S: Very oaky aroma with some booze and sugar. It's even a bit smokey at times. Deep, but harsh. 4

T: It's very interesting to see how each beer plays into this. Definite oak and booze characteristics from Widdershins, roast from the imperial stout, and a ton of lactose sugars from the milk stout. It's blended very well, but I'm just not as big a fan of oak aged stouts, or milk stouts, so I can't say this had much of a chance. I will say that I'm impressed and happily drank my whole pour. 4

Medium body with some booze. The drinkability is hurt by the
sweetness. I will say the balance is there. 4

Glad I tried it, but I'd say you could probably skip it. Nothing
terribly special, but it was worth it once. 4

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.51/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Left Hand Ambidextrous Ale

Full-on ebony appearance, under a rich, cocoa-tan head of froth. A beautiful glass of stout.

Cream and oak in the nose, hints of vanilla

Wow, that's it, that's as far as I got. Because of the crazy dancing cursor, sometimes spinning a blue screen that erased everything I wrote.

But here are my memories of my thoughts of what I remember, so to speak. It was tasty, it was smooth, and it was strong. And although it was good, I didn't like it. Milk stouts should not be 10.2% alcohol. It was every bit good except for the BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, in the brain, without a fullness and richness of flavor and texture that prepares you for such an alcoholic barrage.

Instances where I actually like and enjoy and rave on about "imperial" version of lighter styles are a very small set indeed. This one did not break through that mold.

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Photo of claspada
3.53/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brown with some dark ruby highlights with a thin but persistent light tan head that leaves some decent lacing.

Aromas begin with the barrel, coconut, vanilla and bourbon oakiness. As it warms I can get more of the base beer highlighted by dark and milk chocolate, espresso, slightly burnt toffee and slight sweetness.

The tastes begin with roasty and sweet maltiness with dark toffee, lots of cocoa, a touch of oak, light vanilla, toasted caramel and more boozy dark toffee. The barrel oakiness and booziness increases more on your palate as it warms.

The mouthfeel is medium to heavy bodied with minimal carbonation. The finish is mildly creamy and smooth but not as much as I would like for a Milk Stout, the barrel/booziness adds a distinct dryness that counterbalances the potential smooth finish.

Overall this was a nice sipper and a good offering from Left Hand but by no means a good Milk Stout; barrel-aged stout, yes, but the creamy smoothness is thwarted by the oaky, dry Bourbon barrel flavors. Still good but not what I was expecting.

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Photo of LusciousJackson
3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A tip from PhineasGage put me in the position to try this little draft only within walking distance from home.  Gotta love great craft beer finding its way to the middle of Illinois.   

Poured from the tap into a English style Left Hand Nitro Milk Stout glass this beer is a deep dark brown with chestnut highlights when the light strikes it right.  A thin mocha head forms immediately but retreats quickly.  Lacing is minimal but considering the ABV it's still a looker of a beer.

Aroma is what I would expect in that I immediately get some of the same chocolate and roast that I'm used to from good old fashioned Milk Stout, but it's quickly backed up by vanilla and dark fruit.   It's a delight to sniff. 

Similar to the aroma, it tastes exactly like you would imagine an "Imperial Milk Stout" in that it's notes of roast and sweet are sharing the space with vanilla and oak.   Those dark fruit aromas come through with just a hint of tart.  As it warms, the ABV shows itself with a bit of a tingle on the exhale.  

The body is lighter than what I had expected, but seems to work for the beer.  If the heavy oak was too thick it may have been overpowering.  Despite the initial head not lasting, there's noticeable carb throughout.  

I like it.  Quite a bit actually.  And it's more understated than it's loudmouth bourbon barrel aged brethren.  A quality beer from a brewery that I've yet to find a "miss" from.  Bravo Left Hand, very nicely done!

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Photo of adman08
4.12/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Taps very very deep brown, nearly black. A small amount of off-white head.
S-Very rich, chocolate aroma with some coffee/roasted malt and a slightly sweet aroma.
T-Excellent balance of sweet caramel malt flavor and roasted malt with coffee notes. There's a hint of chocolate with some woody smoothness and a distinct creaminess. Great balance.
M-Very thick and smooth with a slight sweetness and very creamy.
Overall, despite the high abv this is an extremely drinkable beer. Very smooth and very well balanced. Nice blend of rosted malt and sweet caramel malt flavors.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Strikingly rich and with a fruity-sweet complex notion, this oak aged Imperial Stout is a confident blend of the estery Sweet Stouts but at the strength of 10%+.

Ambidextrous pous with a deep brownish garnet color that's not quite black, and with a mild haze that restrains light impediment. A dainty off white head floats the beer but dissipates rather quickly and without much evidence of lace. Certainly lighter than expected for Imperial Stouts, but somewhat acceptable for Sweet Stouts.

Aromas favor a sweeter and fruitier profile of grapes, plumbs, and apples- all of the candied variety with a lighter roast character. Chocolate, mild coffee, and light smoke round out the aromas with the oak aging hardly detected. Low on hops and spice, the sweeter aromas prevail.

Delicious, once again, with a softer roast profile that shies away from the espresso, cocoa, and heavy toast flavor that Imperial Stouts usually provide. But the flavors of Sweet Stouts shine with the balanced sweetness of powdered sugar, dark fruits, and a slight sherry wine taste. A very succulent and sweeter Stout that balances heavy away from hop bitterness, citrusy taste, or bold roast notes.

Full bodied for sure, but with a lighter overall impression because of the lower rate of carbonation that impedes creaminess. Mouth coating with a sweeter cola-like taste, the beer provides a deep and lingering finish of fruit and sweetness instead of roasty dryness. Alcohol warmth is suppressed by the sweetness that rivals in finish and aftertaste.

Ambidextrous is a tasty Sweet Stout of imperial proportions. Although the alcohol is well hidden and the oak is seldom noticed, the Stout falls short of the expectations of Imperial Stouts in terms of espresso roast, bittersweet chocolates, and a drier finish. Similarities to Hitachino Lacto Sweet Stout come to mind with each sip.

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Photo of keytown
3.92/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark brown with a very thin tan head that fades quickly.

S - Chocolate, dark fruits & a hint of vanilla.

T - Taste follows the nose. Chocolate & dark fruits, specifically dark cherries. There are some mild coffee undertones & you get the oak once the beer warms up.

M - Very smooth, with little carbonation.

O - Overall a good beer, another solid beer from Left Hand.

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Photo of barczar
3.7/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours an almost opaque dark brown with minimal tan head that dissipates quickly into a faint ring of foam on the rim. Brown /garnet highlights indicate decent clarity. As the glass empties, the beer definitely is clear.

Chocolate and dark roast malts dominate the initial aroma, with vanilla creeping in later. A hint of phenol detracts slightly from the experience. Subtle dark fruit becomes evident as it warms, as does alcohol. No hop aroma to speak of. Caramel and malted milk balls reveal themselves eventually.

A slight sharpness from the dark roast malt overpowers the flavor somewhat, with heavy chocolate surfacing mid palate. Dark cherry sourness rounds out the profile, ending slightly bitter and oaky.

Body is moderate, perhaps a bit light, and carbonation is on the light side, though the acrid flavor gives an illusion of higher carbonation. The finish is somewhat warming.

Overall, a good beer, but not a standout. Wouldn't have guessed the abv to be so high. Easy drinking...just wanted more complexity.

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Photo of SawDog505
3.53/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a 8 oz snifter, at Picco in Boston right before EBF. Pours a slick black, with a one inch white head with nice lace. Smell is coffee, licorice, leather, and dark chocolate. Taste is similar, with a hint of tobacco and root beer. Body a little thin, easy drinking, good amount of life for the style, and lusher than dry. Overall nice, but was hoping for more body and heavy malts.

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Ambidextrous from Left Hand Brewing Company
3.76 out of 5 based on 56 ratings.
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