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Friday, February 25, 2011

Left Hand - 2009 Oak Aged Imperial Stout

Dead Soldier
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
Left Hand - 2009 Oak Aged Imperial Stout
Left Hand Brewing Company
1265 Boston Avenue
Longmont, CO USA
Est. 1994

Brain Damage Quotient = 10.0 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 22.0 

Postmortem Brew Review
Solid black color.
Malt, deep fruits, chocolate/toffee and trace alcohol on the nose.

Creamy, foaming two finger tan head leaves spotted lace on the glass.
Malty, chocolate and rich fruits in the taste.
Modest amount of carbonation.
Full bodied. Complex flavors and mellow alcohol taste at end of sip

Grim Reaper's Eulogy
This stout was a find. On a trip to Orlando, over one year ago, I noticed this bottle sitting on the floor in a corner of the bottle shop. There were other plain and ordinary beers around it; almost as if someone stashed it away with the intent of coming back for it at another time. Maybe they needed to get some money out of the ATM and didn't want anyone else to snag the last bottle in the store? Perhaps someone was going to buy it and found something else that caught their eye, so they jettisoned it at that point? No matter. It was mine, a-l-l mine, now!

This was one of the first beers I chose to put away with the intention of aging it for a year. Several others have followed since. And today was the day to de-cap-itate it and release the nectar held within. I took some time to look at other reviews prior to drinking this; something I almost never do. I don't like to know what is in it, or know what others experienced. Most times, I rarely even read the bottle label, lest the brewery notes influence my experience. But this time was different, having chosen to age the Left Hand Imperial Stout. Consider it 'research' necessary to see how the ingredients co-mingled in the bottle for nearly 18 months.

The bulk of the reviews I read from various blogs and beer gave it solid B to B+ ratings. As you loyal readers know, The Reaper no longer uses grading, (letters or numbers). You'll know from what I write if I like or dislike a beer, or even if I'm indifferent. Living within those parameters, I read beyond what might have given it off marks, in the areas of taste or complexity. Well, blah-de-dah, I'm not dragging it out any further. I found this extremely enjoyable.

This was super smooth and had a steady two finger head throughout the glass. Malty rich, with tones of oak shining through.  The bottle conditioning yielded modest carbonation and very herbal, earthy hop notes. Rich fruit flavors of raisin along with licorice notes were also detected. This was all served up nicely in my best tulip stem glass. It was a "wow" ale enjoyed on a cool winter's night. I think anyone would do well to age an ale such as this Imperial Stout. Give it a try if you can resist. Or better yet, buy two. Drink one early and take copious notes, then salt the other one away in a dark, cool spot for aging. You'll find the experiment fun and interesting, even rewarding.

As a closing note, I'm trying out something different on my blog today, by using dictation on my iPhone with an app called Dragon Dictation. Ironically, Left Hand Imperial Stout has a dragon on its label. Very cool when things come together like that!

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