Left Hand Barrel Aged Wake Up Dead

Oh Walking Dead, how we have a love and hate relationship. You started so well, lots of tension and action. You left…crazy. No joke, you were actually crazy. The whole Lori-Rick thing and seeing her ghost? Really? Totally not necessary. You had enough tension without that. This was my “zombie” selection to watch with the show. Kate’s selection was also zombie related.


ABV: 10.2%

Style: American Double/Imperial Stout

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “But don’t be discouraged. You are ripe for a revolution! Just like the Bolsheviks of the early 1900’s, our barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout doesn’t happen overnight. Patience is required. Wake Up dead hibernates in our cellars for over 12 months before being blended to woody perfection. Hints of raisins, cherry, licorice and toffee, followed by earthy, herbal hop notes that rise up, joining you in your fight for a better life. Don’t be afraid of the dark. All power to the stouts!”

Random: I don’t like Daryl being separated from the group. I’m down with the crossbow and general bad assery.

This poured with a hint of tan head that dissipated quickly and left some lacing on the glass. The body was a dark black color with heavy carbonation visible, despite the color. The nose was a lot of oak with roasted malt. Coffee and chocolate came along for the ride. The taste was really nice. I got coffee, oak, dark chocolate, vanilla and a bite at the end that was very reminiscent of bourbon. Booze made an appearance as well. The body was thick with moderate carbonation. The finish was long with lots of oak. This brew could have been a bit more balanced, but was generally enjoyable.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Left Hand Sawtooth Ale

As usual, I’m backed up on reviews. So, I figured while I was watching football this weekend, I could update the blog. Unfortunately, I don’t get the Philly game, so I’m relegated to watching the Eagles on gamecast and the Giants on TV. This was a beer that I picked up on a whim. I’ve seen it around, but I can honestly say that I didn’t even know what style this one was. So, onto the brew.

ABV: 5.3%

Style: Extra Special/Strong Bitter

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “It’s all you’ll ever need. Sessionable. Unpretentious. Our original flagship. Proof that a beer can be both complex and balanced. Malty chewiness slowly transitioning over to herbal, earthy hops with a dry finish. Brewed to be enjoyed with friends and to stimulate serendipity.”

Random: So, basically my house has the whole division covered. My sister is a Giants fan, I’m an Eagles fan and Kate is a Cowboys fan. Football season is going to be fun.

This brew poured with a half a finger of cream-colored head that dissipated quickly and left a hint of lacing on the glass. The body was a cloudy, burnt orange color with low visible carbonation throughout. The nose presented with some hops and caramel malt. Honestly, I got more hops than I expected. The taste was a lot of malt up front with some bitterness on the end. I got a bit of a mineral quality as well with a hint of smoke. The body was on the heavier side with moderate carbonation. The finish was quick with some bitterness. This brew was alright, but there are many better examples of the style. One thing that I did find interesting was that a brewery would make an ESB their flagship brew.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Left Hand Milk Stout

Have you ever picked up one of those beers that you know that you should’ve tried by now, but you just haven’t? Yeah, for me this beer falls into that category. I see this beer constantly at the beer store. For some really odd reason, I’ve just never tried it. It’s not that I don’t like the style…I mean, it’s not my favorite, but I definitely enjoy a good milk stout. I’ve just never gotten it. This version is the regular one, not the nitro bottle one. Although, if I found that, it would be interesting to review both and see a difference. So, time to pour!

ABV: 6%

Style: Milk/Sweet Stout

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Dark and delicious, America’s great milk stout will change your perception about what a stout can be. Preconceived notions are the blinders on the road to enlightenment. Udderly delightful.” This bad boy also packs about 25 IBUs.

Random: I really do like the label art of Left Hand. It’s definitely both creative and unique.

This beer poured with a one finger tan head that dissipated at a moderate pace and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, dark brown with moderate visible carbonation. I let this one warm up for about 20 minutes, so that I could get all of the flavors out of this. The nose had some chocolate, roasted malts and pronounced lactose in it. The taste was a bit different than the nose. I definitely got chocolate, but sweet cream took the forefront in the flavor department. Roasted malts pulled up the rear in terms of flavors. The more that I sipped it, the more I got milk chocolate specifically in the flavor. It was almost like thin chocolate milk mixed with seltzer. The body was on the thinner side with decent carbonation, although it was still creamy. The finish was long with a lot of lactose. This was one of the better milk stouts that I’ve had. Grab one!

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Left Hand Fade To Black Volume 3 – Pepper Porter

While most people were home today, enjoying their last day of Christmas vacation, I was stuck at work. It was one of those days that just dragged. I did make it to the gym to have my first workout of 2012, which needless to say, I’m going to feel tomorrow. So, now that I’m home and relaxing, I think it’s time to open a brew. I reviewed the Fade To Black – Volume 2 awhile back, so hopefully this one is just as enjoyable.

ABV: 7.5%

Style: American Porter

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Imagine Robert DeNiro sitting in your darkened parlour near the fire in his Louis Cyphre persona smoking a Tuscan cigar. This may be the beer with which to save (or lose) your soul. Dried fruit flavors entwined with smoky pepper and licorice embossed on roasty malt sweetness open on your tongue as the slow warmth of chilis creep up on your tongue and throat, finishing in an herbal smoke ring flourish.”

Random: I really would love to know why Guy Fieri’s goatee is two different colors. Like, seriously? It’s not a good look.

This brew poured with a barely there tan head that dissipated right after I took the picture. Needless to say, it did not leave any lacing on the glass. The nose had coffee and some chocolate and I think I got a mild note of peppers. The porter started with a bit of roasted malts, not as much coffee as I got on the nose. The chocolate was also more muted on the taste than the nose. After the first sip, I couldn’t find any of the pepper. But, on the second sip, right after I swallowed, I got it right on the back of my throat. The body of the beer itself was very low carbonation and pretty thin, much thinner than any porter I’ve ever had. The finish lingers with a bit of heat. Honestly, I wasn’t thrilled with this beer. I’ve had much better pepper porters. I wouldn’t rush back to have it again.

Untappd Rating: 2.0/5.0

Left Hand Good Juju

I never remembered Memorial Day being this hot. I went outside today to do some yardwork and was dripping sweat after about 5 minutes. After that, I pretty much parked myself on the couch for a few hours to watch Food Network. I keep telling myself to get up and go out since it’s a holiday weekend, but I think I’ll crack open a brew instead.

ABV: 4%

Style: Herbed/Spiced Beer

Trivia: According to wikipedia, “Juju or Ju-Ju is a word of either West African or French origin used previously by Europeans to describe the traditional West African religion. The term Juju refers to the use of such objects and other things to perform a form of ‘witchcraft.’ ‘An object of any kind superstitiously venerated by West African native tribes, and used as a charm, amulet, or means of protection; a fetish. Also the supernatural or magical power attributed to such objects, or the system of observances connected therewith; also a ban or interdiction effected by means of such an object (corresponding to the Polynesian taboo).’ The term juju, and the practices associated with it, travelled to the Americas from West Africa with the influx of slaves and still survives in some areas, particularly among the various groups of Maroons, who have tended to preserve their African traditions.”

Random: I set up my smoker today. On the list for tomorrow, smoking two racks of ribs and a brisket.

The brew poured a clear golden-orange color with lots of visible carbonation. The head was only about a half a finger, but dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. I find that the herbed/spiced category of beers has a lot of variability.  Some that I’ve had, like Nogne O Underlig Jul have been really peculiar. I have slightly higher hopes for this brew. The nose is pretty light. I got a hint of sweetness, some malt and a little bit of ginger. On the taste, the first thing that strikes me is the lack of ginger. I thought that it would be a prominent flavor, but it stays towards the finish. The other flavors that I got were some malt, but not overwhelming sweetness up front, and then nothing else really apparent. There was a lot of carbonation and the finish had nothing to it. Although this was definitely an easy drinker, there wasn’t enough to this beer to make me have it again.

Untappd Rating: 2.0/5.0

Left Hand Stranger

I love the Spring. I really love the Spring living down in Monmouth County. I’m currently doing my first review while sitting in an Adirondack chair while watching the sunset. Life is pretty darn good right now. The only thing (well, one of the few), that would make it better is if I had a television out here so that I could watch the Phils. Anyways, onto the review.

ABV: 5%

Style: American Pale Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Sane or senseless? Harmless or harmful? Sometimes it takes awhile to get to know a stranger. Initial impressions are not always reality, so you must delve deeper. Beyond the initial floral hop aromas, malt sweetness is revealed, yet with a spicy undertone that exposes a very rye sense of humor. Take your time to get to know the Stranger. It’s strangely satisfying.”

Random: This beer was brewed using clean energy. Nice!

The brew poured with a one finger white head that dissipated really quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The brew itself was a clear, golden-yellow with moderate carbonation. Actually, a lot less than I expected. On the nose, I got a hint of citrus and pine, but it was more sweet and malty on the nose than I expected. The taste was definitely a lot of malt. Well, not like a malt bomb, but more than expected. I got a bit of caramel and grain which followed up with notes of citrus, grass and floral hops. This beer is definitely an easy session beer and I could put a few away. The finish was quick with a hint of bready malt. This wasn’t my favorite pale ale ever, but it was different than all the other ones that I’ve had. It also had one of the more funny names I’ve seen for a beer. Left Hand…Stranger…no? I guess I have the mind of a twelve-year-old…

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Left Hand Fade to Black Volume 2 – Smoked Baltic Porter

Woo hoo! Finally back online! Long story short, my sister was vacuuming and I had left my computer cord on the floor. It met the vacuum and needless to say, I was out of commission for a little bit. So, yet again, I’m backlogged. Expect a few posts and I’m hoping to get back on track within a few days. But, while I was offline, I did have a few really good beers…so without further ado…

ABV: 7.8%

Style: Baltic Porter

Trivia: According to the Left Hand website, “Fade to Black, that time of year when the light seems to fade away. We drift further into the darkness with each passing day. Volume 2- Smoked Baltic Porter is inspired by our collaboration with Nørrebro in Denmark. This mischievous cousin to Smoke Jumper has a penchant for pillaging and burning everywhere he goes. Smoked malts redolent of the burned thatched roofs in villages and towns all over Northern Europe impart flavors to warm the spirit of invading hordes far from home. You finally have something in your hand darker than the winter night sky.”

Random: This is the first Left Hand brew that I’ve reviewed.

This brew poured a dark brown that was almost black with a half a finger of tan head. The head dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. There was also no visible carbonation on the brew. The nose was very inviting with hints of smoke, chocolate and even a little tobacco. The taste also had very little carbonation. The flavors I picked up were smoke and roasted malts. The smoke really overwhelmed the taste. The chocolate that was apparent in the nose really didn’t come out much in the taste. There was also no booze on the flavor. The body was just thick enough for the style. This would make for a great winter brew. The finish lingered for awhile with the same smokiness that was apparent in the taste. I really enjoyed this brew and would definitely have it again. The label art is also pretty cool.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0