Fade To Black (Volume 4 - Rocky Mountain Black Ale) | Left Hand Brewing Company

73 Reviews
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Fade To Black (Volume 4 - Rocky Mountain Black Ale)Fade To Black (Volume 4 - Rocky Mountain Black Ale)

Brewed by:
Left Hand Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by bsp77 on 11-04-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 73 | Ratings: 401
Photo of denver10
3.01/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.5

Pours black with a slight brownish hue and a nice mocha head. A nice deep roasty aroma filled will bakers chocolate and significant coffee and slight piney hoppiness. Flavor wise, the first half is fantastic with the deep roastiness filled with bakers chocolate and a buttload of coffee, second half introduces the hops and I am not as big a fan of that component and they totally kill this beer for me. A medium bodied, somewhat creamy mouthfeel. Overall, can't say I appreciate the hops inclusion on this one. Wish they made it a stout or porter because the malty side to this was great.

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Photo of jjboesen
4.39/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

During a January visit to Manhattan, I sought warmth in the cozy comfort of Rattle N Hum, where this substantial stout was on draught – apparently, I had luckily stumbled in during a “Colorado Tap Take Over.” Pity me.

As the name suggests, Fade To Black is pitch black in color; on top, there is a modest layer of creamy froth that dissipates into an equally modest laciness. The nose is immediately punched by a powerful cocoa powder fist adorned by several heavyweight rings consisting of molasses and brown sugar.

The palate becomes wrapped in a blanketed of malty licorice that finishes in a neat toastiness. As the mouthfeel is neither bitter nor cloying, there is a perfect balance of all ingredients here, which makes for a delicious dessert beer. Perhaps, next January, I can stumble around Colorado for a while.

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Photo of blakelive784
3.05/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

12 fl oz brown glass bottle served in a snifter, reviewed live:

A - Pours an incredibly dark, non translucent shade of brown with two fingers of bubbly khaki head. Retention is poor, but it leaves a bit of lacing as it recedes.

S - Light cream, roasted malts, hints of cinnamon and other indistinct spice. Light grassy hops. Simple, but seemingly balanced. Restrained.

T - Roasted malts and bitter chocolates steal the show. Thin. Bittering hops near the finish. Closely follows the nose. The roast is nice, but it's a bit one note. No yeast or alcohol present. Easy drinking but simple and restrained.

M - Over carbonated. Thin. Medium bodied.

D - It's not bad, but I've definitely had better (including Volume 3). A disappointment from a good brewery.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.05/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Dogfish Head pint glass. Pours a very dark brown, appearing black in the glass. One finger dark tan head with good retention and lots of lacing; looks good. Aroma of toasted malt, with hints of chocolate and grassy hops. Flavor follows with toaste malt, light chocolate, a bit of coffee; transitioning into a long charred coffee, toasted malt and grassy hop finish. There is an interesting suggestion of dark fruit after the first rush of malt. Pleasant medium creamy body. This has some of the body of the earlier porters in the series, but true to American black ale style in the flavor. I liked this a lot. Great series of dark ales.

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Photo of ThomasAWilson2
3.91/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This is not my first foray into black ales, that belongs to New Belgium’s Snow Day Ale. While I wasn’t a fan of Snow Day, Left Hand welcomed me back to the black ale party once again, taking a not so popular style of beer and showcasing it for those brave enough to venture off the beaten path of brew.

I liken this offering to a stout with the guts ripped out. The bold, robust flavors of a stout provide not just the base but the main stars of a dark beer; Fade To Black has a roasty base of malts and mid range grapefruitish hops that add the right amount of bitter, but there’s a whole range of “refreshing” that comes from the ale brewing style. You won’t get any coffee or chocolate like an imperial stout, but there’s a perfect amount of char and also no heavy alcohol burn to mask in this medium gravity (6.5%) ale.

Bottle into a pint glass

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Photo of mactrail
3.43/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Barley and wheat in the brewing is always intriguing to me, especially in a non-standard style of beer. This, whatever the category, is more tart than a stout. The wheat seems to add the rye-like biterish grainy flavor. Fairly hoppy with some resins. Rather winey taste. It's actually quite hoppy with more of an IPA finish.

I'd call this a Cascadian dark IPA, though it's a brighter flavor with less of the dankness. A cakey sweetness leaves hints on the lips. Quite dark, of course. Pleasantly carbonated. Overall, the big, harsh bitterness lowers the drinkability, but it's an interesting puzzle.

From the 12 oz bottle bought at Jubilation Fine Wines in Albuquerque.

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Photo of tophers
3.69/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.25

Appearance is of a billowing off-white head. Very thick and foamy. When I use Breiss' Midnight Wheat in my brews it looks similar to this head. Jet black in color.

Aroma is of a spicy nature with some roasted and chocolate malt notes in the background.

Quite roasty with strong hop bitterness. I'm not detecting a whole lot of hop flavor besides a slight pine taste. Slight chocolate and roasty malt flavor but the bitterness dominates.

I thought the mouthfeel was a good balance. Not to thick and a moderately light carbonation fit well with this beer.

Overall this one was a bit too bitter for me. Didn't get to taste much of the malt character. This beer is a very clean, bitter beer.

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Photo of LuDookie
4.72/5  rDev +26.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I poured this from the bottle into a mug.

Black, with no translucency, and very little head.

The smell is a little lacking in sweetness, but the lack of sweetness as you drink it more than makes up for this.

This is an excellent tasting beer. It is definitely one of my new favorite dark beers. It has a very nice roasted flavor without overwhelming chocolate sweetness.

the mouthfeel is perfect....just the right amount of carbonation and the burnt coffee aftertaste lingers.

Overall, this is one of my favorite dark beers by the Left Hand Brewery, which I am a fan of anyway.

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Photo of fps_dean
3.53/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a tan head, which doesn't stick around for long.black in the glass.

Smells somewhat like a porter, with a strong smell of malt.

There is a coffee, malt, chocolate, caramel and hops. No one flavor is greatly dominant. I would say this black ale, while clearly an ale, is on the stout or porter side and not the hoppy ale side.

It's moderately carbonated, and while it's heavy on flavors, it's not overly thick.

Overall this is a very good black ale, but not the best out there. I would recommend this as I would buy it again, but it would not be something I would go out of my way to get either.

However, for the price I paid for it, it's hard to beat it.

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Photo of bubseymour
4.2/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark stout pour with tan head that with aggressive pour left 1 finger. Retention seems decent.

Smells very pleasant with roasted nuts and chocolate.

Really like the flavor of this beer. It has some slight burnt nut flavor with chocolate and malt with some noticeable hop bite in the finish. Some linger.

Mouthfeel - A tad watery but nothing off putting

Overall - I prefer to call this beer "Old Raspy Light" if that is allowable on the site. Its the best way I can describe it and definitely worth trying if you like stouts with a mix of roasted flavors, chocolate and some hop presence.

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Photo of Flounder57
3.76/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle was poured into a nonic pint glass.

Appearance: This beer poured a small mocha head that reduced to a thin layer quickly. It is a pitch black color with no clarity or bubbles coming up through the glass.

Smell: Roasted coffee, chocolate, burnt molasses, pine, and citrus.

Taste: Smokey, roasted, and chocolate malts. Lingering bitterness with some slight pine and citrus notes.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, full bodied, medium carbonation, and some lingering bitterness.

Overall: A good ABA from Colorado. I would prefer less porter characteristics and more IPA characteristics, but I'll be happy with this.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.78/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Cool label. No clue what it means though. Just art I suppose.

Looks nice on the pour. Nose gives some berry tones at first. Flavor profile seems fairly one dimensional and not really giving any punch. Smooth feel. Overall a pretty pedestrian drinking experience.

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Photo of eLOLzovic
3.34/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Poured from bottle to pint, with love. <3

A - Blacker than midnight on Broadway & Myrtle

S - Pastry, raisins. I kinda want a cinnamon roll right now.

T - drinking coffee in a pine Forrest.

M - Heavy flavored but not a heavy feel. I don't feel like I'm eating a slice of chocolate cake the way some dark beers do, which is good because it would hurt my girlish figure.

O - aside from the guido-esque Affliction t-shirt tribal pattern on the bottle it's a solid beer. Went down quick and smooth, didn't feel like I swallowed a 18th century cannonball.

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Photo of macrosmatic
3.67/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Reviewed from notes. Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Russian River pint glass.

A: Dark brown, clear, with a thin light tan head and medium visible carbonation.

S: Roasty and caramel malts, sweet, with some pine and grass hops.

T: Coffee malt, roasted bitter hops, and a touch of pine and citrus hops. Mild hop bitterness in hang.

M: Medium body for style, carbonation sensation on the low side, and the alcohol is noticeable but doesn't quite reach the level of detracting.

O: Nothing outstanding here. Needs more hops, and/or a more interesting malt profile. Forgettable but not offensive.

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Photo of jlindros
3.61/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Best by 4/05/13

Pours a nice creamy darker colored 1 finger head that fades semi slowly with decent lacing, pretty much pitch black beer

Nose starts with darker malts, light black malt and cocoa dust, caramel and creamy toasty brown malts with hint of fluffy nougat. In there are light earthy grassy hops.

Taste starts creamy dark malts, but then quickly into hops. Light spicy earthy hops come through, with touch of pine and citrus, with fair bitterness. The malts bring dark creamy malts, light milk chocolate, caramel, light mocha, and fluffy nougat. Finish is drier, long lingering spicy earthy hops, a bit of dark malts. The hops and malts really clash and why I don't like hoppy black ales.

Mouth is med bodied, creamy, decent carb.

Overall unimpressed. This is almost the definition of what I don't like in American black ales, the malts and hops would be fine on their own, but completely clash together and I can't really enjoy this beer.

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Photo of nukem5
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a black color with a solid tan cap of 1 finger, and some very impressive lace on glass.

S: Aroma is of dark malts and molasses notes. Slight piney scent in the back.

T: Taste is of dark malts like chocolate and black patent with a great roasty taste and a piney after taste. Also is a burnt caramel and molasses taste.

M: Mouthfeel is a medium bodied drink with a good carbonation level.

O: Overall a down right great beer with a lot of character and style, this is a very drinkable beer with a bit of a bit of the few other black ales I have had. so on that basis I would say great beer in this style.

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Photo of brewdude1982
4.4/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This was a 12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass. I happen to enjoy this be arge with TDM168 and a good time was had by all.

This beer pours a dark black and has no sediment. It has a thin head with tiny bubbles with mild retention. It's aroma is that of warm roasted malts with a very faint amount of hops. This beer has a weird (weird good not weird bad) spice. Almost like gingerbread but not as sweet or as ginger. I also get a little bit of smokeyness in the taste upfront. It has a very pleasant hop finish that I enjoyed immensely. It has a good body that is well balanced and what I would consider great carbonation. I would highly recommend especially since this is a rare beer.

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Photo of tdm168
3.99/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to brewdude1982 for this one.

A - black with a short-lived white head

S - faint citrus, some pine, some chocolate, some faint peppery spicyness

T - roasted malts at first followed by some faint citrus and a some spicy hops; the finish is a bit bitter with some underlying coffee notes

M - medium bodied, well carbonated

I'm not sure how I feel about this beer. It comes across as a somewhat porter-like beer with an above-average hoppiness. I wouldn't describe this as a Black IPA. The hops are present and some great character, but the roasted malts and coffee notes are most prevalent. I'm glad I tried this one. I'm not sure I'd seek it out again, but I'll never turn it down.

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Photo of falloutsnow
3.95/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From: Friar Tuck's, Savoy, IL
Date: None on bottle, released fall-winter 2012
Glass: Standard US pint glass

Left Hand's Rocky Mountain Black Ale is a solid version of the style, hitting the major notes quite easily, with a little extra emphasis on the pine resin and bitterness underneath the roasted malt. I enjoyed the beer, and would get it again.

Pours a 1.5cm tall head of dark tan bubbles, mostly small in size, creating a very dense-looking effect. Retention is about average, lasting about a minute, before settling to a ring around the perimeter of the glass and a few spotty islands capping the beer. Lacing is very significant, appearing in all manner of shapes, ranging up to sheets of caked-on foam. The body is dark brown to black, with light bringing out the faintest hints of red-amber coloration along the edges of the beer. Carbonation is not visible due to the opacity of the beer.

Aroma is at first of roasted and chocolate malt with a touch of smoke, which effortlessly fades in to a bright, oily set of citrus, pine resin, and woodsy scents contributed by the hops. Enjoyable and right on target for the style.

The beer has a strong set of flavors, featuring bold roasted malt, citrus (primarily grapefruit), and pine resin, but uses some cocoa powder and smoke to add a bit of depth and accentuate the major characters. Front of palate is surprisingly sweet, with roasted notes, cocoa powder and smoke characters. Mid-palate has roasted malt with slight acridity, mild cocoa powder, and a seamless, though sudden transition to medium to medium-high intensity grapefruit bitterness and pine resin flavor. Back of palate continues the roasted flavors, with a higher emphasis on pine resin, but grapefruit and bitterness remain. Lingering aftertaste of pine resin, grapefruit, roasted malt acridity and hop-derived bitterness.

Beer has a medium weight to it, with medium-low carbonation, leading to a smooth, creamy mouthfeel. The problem with this is that as the beer sits, the carbonation naturally lessens, leading to a somewhat placid beer on the palate by midway. Closes dry and astringent, with lingering bitterness in the throat and mild stickiness across the palate.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.56/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

As the gloom of winter settles in, we look for bright spots in what else?... a black ale! With hops piercing the dark malts the beer is a metaphor for shaking the dark and looking forward to brisk days with brisk taste.

But first, the beer matches the wintry essence with a dark, porterish brown color. As the beer settles into the tumbler, a dense and creamy mocha head reaches for the rim of the glass. Its strong staying power gives the beer a sturdy and confident appearance, which is further reinforced with it's blanketed lace left in its wake.

Cocoa and caramel malts align for a decidedly dark roast aroma. Citrus, wood, and grassy hops notes follow closely behind and offers a bright and zesty counterpart to the roast coffee, cocoa, and caramel notes.

Burnt sugar flavors of caramel, toffee, and molasses set the stage with the slight malty-milky taste that supports the roasted grains. Bittersweet chocolate flavors rise just as the citrusy taste of hops deliver a zesty grapefruit and grassy herbal middle palate. The procession through taste then results in fading malt flavor and sweetness and a developing hop bitterness with light leafy, stemmy taste.

Medium bodied, yet the creamy malt textures seem to give the beer a little more heft than is likely actually there. As the carbonation pulls from the malt, the beer develops towards a crisp, dryish, and roasty finish. An after palate reveals sharp grain and hop derived astringency that's easily mistaken for roast and hop bitterness.

Where the black ale has the taste and satisfaction of moderate porters and stouts, it's drinkability is much like an IPA- aided by the crisp citrusy taste of American hops and a dry finish. It's a great option when borrowing time, waiting for spring.

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Photo of DAllspaw
3.37/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Pours dark enough with nice mocha head, certainly looks the part of a proper black ale. A bit of pine and citrus in the nose ,but this is a malt forward beer for certain. It reminds me more of a belgian black than some other american black ales which are more hop forward (i.e., Black IPA or CDA).

This beer has a definitely roasty quality that I can't quite describe, not as heavy or astringent as the heavier porters or stouts, but a more mellow roast quality, which is kind of a theme for this beer for me anyway, lacks a certain balance.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.94/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Lagunitas mason jar.

Something tells me Mr. Denver wouldn't have been quite as successful with "Rocky Mountain Black"... Anyway, this stuff pours a deep, dark black-brown topped by a finger of sandy ecru froth. The nose comprises mild pine needle, blackened pretzel, dark chocolate powder, and a few sprigs of flowers. The taste brings in more of the same, with some roasted malts really making their darkly-roasted selves known. Yeah, the bitterness is relatively high here, but all of the constituent parts work well together. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a fairly smooth feel. Overall, a very nice black ale, one that creates and maintains a healthy balance between sweet and bitter. Good times.

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Photo of shand
3.91/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Fade to Black 4 pours ... black. The head is thick and leaves nice sheets of lace behind. The aroma isn't as strong as it could be, and only provides a generic chocolate and nondescript hop nose. The taste comes off at first as a standard hop and dark malt deal, but as the aftertaste comes on, the hop bitterness only gets stronger in intensity. Helped out by the roast, the bitterness gets very intense here on the finish. The mouthfeel is light and very drying, and the drinkability is solid. A nice beer overall.

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Photo of TheSeeker61
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Having not had this particular style don't know what to compare it to but I'm really enjoying this offering. Pours a one finger head and pitch black. Some good lacing on the glass. The nose is a nice chocoalaty, piney hops aroma. The tongue is kinda like the nose, a chocolaty, piney hoppy, balanced taste. Mouthfeel is medium. Overall I was pleasantly surprised at how I enjoyed it from the beginning to the end as I was planning to purchase something which kicked and advised to give this one a try. Much enjoyment.

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Photo of barnzy78
3.73/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, bottled on 11/8/2012 pours pitch black with a frothy tan head; good retention & some lace is left on the glass. Aromas seem muted, roasty dark malt, a little smoky. Tastes are bolder with roasted barley, chocolate, smoke, piny hops on the finish give it some bitterness and a nice balance. Thin-to-medium bodied, nice carbonation. Overall, good but seems to be one note.

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Fade To Black (Volume 4 - Rocky Mountain Black Ale) from Left Hand Brewing Company
3.73 out of 5 based on 401 ratings.
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