Monday, October 15, 2012

Left Hand Wake Up Dead Imperial Stout

Type: Imperial Stout
Origin: Longmont, CO
Price: $5.99/22oz
ABV: 10.2%
NSP: 11.07

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I've been looking for a change of pace in my beer drinking, after a year or so of IPA after Belgian after IPA after Belgian.  I'd been thinking of digging into some stouts and porters, but it hasn't really been cool enough in San Diego for those styles to sound appealing.  But I'm back in Colorado for some beer-soaked shenanigans (more on that to come).  It's getting chilly around here, so stouts and porters it is.  I picked this one up because a) I've always liked Left Hand to begin with (as I said in the Boulder County Trilogy), and b) Left Hand has kept their beers at approachable prices instead of exploiting the ever-growing demand for craft beer for their own financial benefit.  $5.99 for a 22 of 10.2% beer is something I can get on board with.

Looks like stout, so that's a good start.  The smell is quite surprising.  There's the usual stout characteristics- roasty malt with coffee and chocolate.  But there's also a lot of dark fruitiness and licorice to it, enough that it kind of made me think of an American strong ale with a few drops of Chambord in it.  It smells syrupy, as far as syrupy can be a smell.

Yeah, it's syrupy.  Probably can't help but be with so much booze.  But the flavors are robust enough that you don't taste the alcohol right off the bat (it gains strength as it warms, as with any high-ABVer) even while the mouthfeel lets you know it's there.  The fruitiness and licorice aren't nearly as strong in the flavor, so the strong ale+Chambord thing doesn't really hold up.  It's actually a pretty straightforward stout, well made, nicely balanced flavor-wise, and easy to drink- so it keeps right in line with the usual Left Hand qualities. But it'll also warm you up at 10.2% ABV.  Perfect for a chilly winter night.

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