Well, life sure has a way of sneaking up on you. I did not realize that it has been close to two weeks since my last review. I am attempting to take control of the financial aspect of my life which has found me enrolled in a class offered through my church. The down side to getting “real” about my finances is that my fridge has been lacking in the normal amount of beer it holds. I’ve come to the realization, again, that beer should not control my life. I must control it! Sure beer can have a place in my life, but it must be a healthy addition to my life…not something that dictates my lifestyle.

With that said, let me get off my soapbox and explain this delicious liquid which I am consuming. Left Hand Brewing is a fine establishment which offers its followers a Russian Imperial Stout. As with most Imperial Stouts, it boasts a high ABV coming in at 10.2%. During the pour I noticed that the color was closer to a deep brown/mahogany than the motor oil black I thought it would be. Not letting that deter me, I focused my attention on the tight, tan head it produced reminiscent of a settling Guinness.

The smell was lighter than expected. There were aromas of chocolate, coffee, and black licorice as the website indicated, but I did not receive the strong alcoholic warmth I assumed would be there. The malts give off their roasted characteristics which were coupled by a dark fruit component of prunes and raisins. Hops were present with a light citrus addition that rounded out the brew.

The flavors fell in line with the aromas mentioned above. I was surprised and grateful to actually taste what I think is the black licorice flavor. Other stouts have claimed it in the flavor profile, but I have never been able to distinguish it. Understand that this is not a black licorice jelly bean or gumdrop taste. It is a smooth, refined, and natural taste. As the beer warmed the alcohol began to present itself.

The mouthfeel is medium to heavy and the carbonation allows for a clean palate finish. It does seem a little weak sauce in this category for an Imperial Stout, but overall the aftertaste is not astringent. I’m left with pleasant hop notes and some coffee ground goodness.

ABV: 10.2%

Grade: B