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Wake Up Dead Imperial Stout brewed by Left Hand Brewing
Wake Up Dead Imperial
Stout brewed by Left Hand Brewing - Longmont, Colorado
happens once every two years… After hibernating in the Left Hand
warehouse for 12 months, the brewery has emptied its cellar and
released Barrel Aged Wake Up Dead for the winter season. This dark
and complex beer begins with the brewery’s infamous Russian Imperial
Stout and ages in whiskey barrels before blending it to woody
Bottle-conditioned for an authentic old-world experience, patience
is required for this black full bodied stout. Wake Up Dead begins
with Left Hand’s time tested Russian Imperial Stout recipe,
representing 15 years of brewing experience. But unlike its year
round predecessor, Barrel Aged Wake Up Dead is transferred to
Colorado whiskey barrels, where the beer develops its dark
complexities for months to come. A smooth and warming stout, Wake Up
Dead teases with hints of raisins, licorice, and toffee followed by
earthy, herbal notes.
Beer Review by Beer Advocte
Appearance: Absolutely dark as night. Not a single ray of light of
any color will penetrate this beer. A surprisingly large head (about
a finger and a half) foams up as I pour fresh from the growler
(picked it up two hours ago at Left Hand in Longmont). The head
doesn't stick around too long, however, and quickly collapses into
just a thin, foamy cap over the sea of black. Some mild lacing
sticks to the glass momentarily after each sip, but fades quickly.
Aroma: Roasty and woody malt greet the nose with a hint of chocolate
lurking behind. A swirl of the glass kicks up an Earthy and grassy
aroma as well, but the aroma could be stronger.
Taste: Intensely sweet (almost to a fault) and chocolatey up front.
Milk chocolate, not the same dark chocolate that I have experienced
in a lot of other Left Hand brews. Very pleasant. Anyhow, the latter
half of the sip does a 180 and reverses course finishing with a much
more bitter and coffee-tinged taste. As it warms a hint of vanilla
and a touch of oak creep in throughout the sip.
Mouthfeel: Silky and smooth with a fairly light body considering
that this is an Imperial Stout. A light, tickling carbonation washes
it all down.
Overall: Good stuff. Will drink again. Saying that this is just
another dark beer brewed by Left Hand might sound like an insult,
but when the boys in Longmont go for a dark beer they usually nail
it and this is no exception.
History of Left Hand Brewing
Left Hand began in December 1990 with a homebrewing kit founder Dick
Doore received from his brother. According to Dick, "it was all
downhill from there." By 1993, Dick had teamed up with college buddy
Eric Wallace and they resolved to start a brewery.
In September 1993, they incorporated as Indian Peaks Brewing
Company, and purchased a former meat-packing plant next to the St.
Vrain River outside downtown Longmont, Colorado. A few weeks after
beginning production, it was discovered that the name Indian Peaks
was already in use by another Brewery, so the name was changed to
Left Hand, in honor of Chief Niwot (the Arapahoe word for "left
hand") whose tribe wintered in the local area.
Left Hand's doors opened for business on January 22, 1994. Their
first batch of beer was Sawtooth Ale, which has since become their
most popular brew. In October of that year, Left Hand took home two
medals at the Great American Beer Festival, a Gold Medal in the
bitter category for Sawtooth Ale, and a Bronze Medal in the Robust
Porter category for Black Jack Porter.
1998 was a big year for the still young brewing company. In April,
Left Hand merged with Tabernash Brewing, and doubled the size of
their brewery. In June, they began packaging 12 oz. bottles for 6
packs (up to that point they had been bottling 22 oz. bottles and
kegs exclusively). In November, they started their own distribution
business, Indian Peaks Distribution Company.
By 2009, the Tabernash line has been phased out, and Indian Peaks
Distribution Company sold. In their thirteen years, they have
accumulated fifteen medals and one honorable mention at the Great
American Beer Festival, eight medals at the World Beer Cup, a Gold
Medal at the International Stockholm Beer & Whiskey Festival.
Left Hand produces approximately 35,000 barrels a year, and they
currently distribute their beer in over twenty-seven states.