Left Hand Brewing "Wake Up Dead" Nitro Russian Imperial Stout

I've had many Left Hand Brewing beers before. The Milk Stout and the Nitro Milk Stout are a couple of my all-time favorites (even though I haven't gotten around to reviewing the regular Milk Stout yet). As a result, I'm very much looking forward to this one, even though I have not liked many imperial stouts in the past.

The color is a deep, deep red brown to the point of being (for all intents and purposes) black. The minimal head settles to a firm mattress of nitrogen bubbles floating gently on top of the oil black beverage. The aroma is sweet and chocolaty with a hint of coffee. I'm still trusting the LHB knows what they're doing.

First sip is very different than either of the Milk Stouts. Its got bitter chocolate and coffee with maybe some fig tossed in their for good measure. It is nowhere near the smooth sweetness of the Milk Stouts. Instead, it's still a smooth sip, but it also brings that bitterness with it. As a sipping beer, it isn't bad, but it's not knocking my socks off. So, why continue sipping?

Tip-in is light chocolate and coffee. As the middle unfolds, the coffee hits the back of the throat hard, and the figs and vanilla and some black licorice assert themselves right in the heart of the beer, and they keep on filling that void. I'm not sure I've had a beer with this complex of a middle with as smooth of a blend. the tastes compliment each other - all but that scraping at the back of the throat. The finish is a simple affair with the smokey, coffee taste leading the charge, but the bitterness subsides quite nicely.

Bottom Line: It's a good beer, but it won't replace either of the Left Hand Milk Stouts in my standby fridge.



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