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Tag Archives: Colorado
It took a while to track this down, but I’m very excited to finally get my hands on Left Hand Fade to Black Volume 5. This year, a Black Rye Ale.
Pours like you would expect. More chocolate than expected in the aroma, still with plenty of roasted scents. The rye finally shows up in the flavor and lasts throughout the finish. Creamy and smooth. Finishes dry and bitter, but not much presence from the hops. Maybe a little bit of black pepper in there, too.
It’s very good, but maybe not mind-blowing as previous Fade to Blacks have been.
First off, I’m a little confused by New Belgium 1554. The label clearly says it’s an ale, but the only thing they have on the website is a lager. Interesting story on how it was created:
Born of a flood and centuries-old Belgian text, 1554 Black Lager uses a lager yeast strain and dark chocolaty malts to redefine what dark beer can be. In 1997, a Fort Collins flood destroyed the original recipe our researcher, Phil Benstein, found in the library. So Phil and brewmaster, Peter Bouckaert, traveled to Belgium to retrieve this unique style lost to the ages. Their first challenge was deciphering antiquated script and outdated units of measurement, but trial and error (and many months of in-house sampling) culminated in 1554, a highly quaffable dark beer with a moderate body and mouthfeel.
After just a little more research, there is a lager on the roster, too, so I’m wondering why the ale is no longer on the website. Anyway, it pours quite dark, not much head. Tight carbonation gives a little bite. Charred malt, marshmallows, black pepper, just a hint of yeast funk. Finish is dry and woody.
Quite nice: B
In a recent trip to Arkansas, I was fortunate enough to find some beers I can’t get here in Ohio, New Belgium Abbey being one of them. Although, new Belgium will begin distributing in Ohio soon.
Color is on the orange side of brown. Pleasant aroma with toffee and yeast funk. Round malt flavor with a hint of banana. Bit of mustiness in a dry finish, but it fits. Tight carbonation provides a little bite. As it warms a little, I’m getting some black pepper in the flavor and caramel in the finish.
One of the best American Dubbels I’ve had
This is a beer I have been trying to hunt down for a while, Left Hand Wake Up Dead Imperial Stout. This is the barrel aged version, which has me even more excited.
Pours black, of course. Sweet vanilla, charred oak, and currants in the aroma. Flavor is even more complex with bourbon, more char, and smoke added. The evidence of the barrel aging is more pronounced as it warms. I’m even getting a hint of cherry, which really works. Cocoa powder and anise in there, as well. Hops finally come in at the end to provide a bitter finish.
A big fan of this. Huge flavors, obvious impact from the barrel aging, complex, balanced, very smooth. And the name? You’d never guess it weighs in at 10.2% ABV!
Here is another season I look forward to every year, Left Hand Fade to Black. A different recipe every year, this fourth version is a “Rocky Mountain Black Ale”. Could fit into the Black IPA category as well.
Color certainly matches the title. Thin, creamy head floats atop a pitch black body. Very strong pine hops are noticed first. Charred wood comes through next, followed by sweet malt. Bitterness from the hops really linger. More than 60 IBUs almost make you pucker. Chocolate comes through as it warms.
The balance is what makes this so good. There is enough going on with the sweetness, bitterness, texture, and char to give it great flavor. This is why Fade to Black is so good!
LONGMONT, CO – Fade to Black. That time of year when the light fades away. In the fourth year of the renowned winter series, Left Hand introduces a Rocky Mountain Black Ale as Volume 4. Showcasing the duality of dry roasted malts and hop bitterness, Colorado Centennial hops take center stage of this pitch black ale.
Volume 4 looms overs its predecessors with a sharp bitterness and dry roast, celebrating the darkness and leering in the face of warmer days. The ale pours black as a winter night with an off white head. Your first inhale is dominated by citrus and roast, as slight sweet malt gets pushed back by initial citrusy hops followed by powerful Italian Amaro, Gentian and hop bitterness. The Rocky Mountain Black Ale finishes with a pleasant duality of dry roasted malts and hop bitterness.
Brewed for the darkness, Fade to Black speaks in volumes. Volume IV is the latest edition of Left Hand’s esteemed winter seasonal series. The Fade to Black family made its presence known beginning in 2009 with Volume 1, when the Foreign Export Stout won GABF Gold. The following years have presented our handsmoked Smoked Baltic Porter in 2010 and last year’s Pepper Porter featuring Chipotle, Serrano, & Ancho chiles, as Volume 2 and 3 respectively. This year’s Rocky Mountain Black Ale takes its place in the Fade to Black series, standing apart as the dry and bitter cousin. Perfect for those chilly winter nights, Left Hand’s Fade to Black is a cult favorite, as fans eagerly seek out each year’s offering.
About Left Hand Brewing Company
Celebrating nineteen years of brewing a well-balanced portfolio of craft beers, Left Hand Brewing Company is located at 1265 Boston Avenue in Longmont, Colorado. The brewery has received 18 medals at the Great American Beer Festival and 8 medals at the World Beer Cup, and its beers are now available in 25 states. “Sometimes you’re not in the mood for what everyone else is having.”
The rye style is one that’s been growing on me recently, so I’m excited to try Great Divide’s lager version, Hoss.
Pours a crisp, transparent amber, as expected. Floral and fruity hops come through most in the aroma. Loads of roasted, sweet malt are noticed first, followed by dark fruit,, spicy rye, and a very late bitter kick from the hops. As it warms, the flavors, especially the rye, become more pronounced. It’s rather fruitier than I anticipated, but it works.
Rye isn’t the foremost flavor here, but it’s there. Overall, it’s well balanced and tasty. Little higher ABV than you might expect from a lager with 6.2%. Definitely worth a try
The first thing that surprised me about Great Divide Claymore Scotch Ale is how dark it is! Most Scotch Ales fall somewhere between amber to ruby, but this is mahogany to brown. Mind you, that’s not a bad thing.
I always start Scotch Ales with a bit of apprehension that they’re going to be too hopped. Thankfully, Great Divide has used restraint in the right way here. Smoked peat, toasted malt with just a hint of sweetness, but it’s far from cloying. Chocolate, raisins, and some wood in the finish. Hops do add some bitterness but they are kept in check, just like they should be in this style.
Already a big fan of the “normal” Great Divide Yeti, I’m curious how the oak aging will affect the beer. The color is black, as expected, with some deep browns around the edges. The fluffy head might be the darkest I’ve ever seen. The aroma is mostly charcoal, chocolate, and toffee.
This is quite the big beer. More hops that usual with an Imperial Stout, keeping with the un-aged version. Lots of very bitter chocolate, toffee, and a bit of coffee. The oak aging shows up the most in the finish and the aftertaste. There are hints of vanilla along with a dry, woody aftertaste. Remarkably creamy for how much flavor and how aggressive this is, especailly when you consider it clocks in at 9.5% ABV.
It’s very, very good. But I’m not sure the oak aging will add enough for people who love that. I’d have to have the “normal” and the oak aged at the same time to compare. But you can’t go wrong with this one.
A dark wheat and tea offering here from Left Hand with TNT. Pours a rich, deep brown. Nose is a mix of tobacco, smoke, and cherries. Leather and smoke dominate the flavor. Cherries make an appearance, and the tea comes in late. There is a dry and bitter finish that I would associate with overdone unsweetened iced tea.
As I’m getting into it more and it warms, the smoke and leather are becoming more tame and the bad iced tea flavor is going away. More dark fruit flavors are coming out. And a hint of bacon.
I can’t say I love this, and I can’t say I hate it. But it’s different and worth trying. I don’t even know how to grade it.