AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20Chad9976 (1529) - Orlando, Florida, USA - DEC 31, 2015
“Foreign Extra Stout” is a niche style that’s close to traditional
imperial stouts, but there’s a finite difference between them. I’d say
Left Hand Fade to Black, Volume 1 is a good example of the style and I
could tell it was a “FES” right away. Stylistically it’s on-point in all
aspects, and as a beer it’s really tasty and nice to drink.
I poured a 12oz bottle into a wine glass. It had a best by date of 10/27/16 and cost $2.29 ($0.19 per ounce).
Appearance: Despite the name it’s actually a deep dark brownish red hue.
Not completely opaque. Pours to a small, tan, foamy head which laces
and retains fairly well.
Smell: Plenty of dark roasted malt as well as sweet confectionery notes of toffee, treacle and molasses. No alcohol presence.
Taste: A bit mild up front, but plenty of roasted malt flavor and dry
coffee-like bitterness at the apex. The finish is the best part as it
changes on a dime from bitter to sweet. Just like the aroma, the palette
is pretty rich with toffee, treacle and molasses. It leaves an
aftertaste of syrup, though the hops linger as well. I get some dank
piney hop character throughout, which is nice. I would consider this to
be a pretty well-balanced brew.
Drinkability: At 8.5% ABV, Left Hand Fade to Black, Volume 1 is actually
bit big for the style, though it seems much lighter than the average
imperial stout. The alcohol never comes through in the aroma, taste or
body. The mouthfeel is not quite the sticky sensation you might think;
full-bodied for sure, but still quite crisp with a smooth finish. Not
quite a liquid dessert, though I’m sure it’d pair well with your
favorite chocolate or vanilla treat.