Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Imperial Stouts — Left Hand vs. Full Sail

2009 Left Hand Brewing Co.
Imperial Stout
(Oak Aged)
ABV 10.2%

Dark Mahogany.
Brown sugar, chocolate malt and dried, dark fruit.
Massive, sweet, sugary, boozy.
Hops vs. Malts (Hoppy, Malty or Balanced):
Flat and boozy.
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad):
Good -

2010 Full Sail Imperial Stout
ABV 8%

Dark brown/black.
Bright, fresh coffee and chocolate.
Decadent bitter chocolate with some coffee acidity and slight smokiness.
Hops vs. Malts (Hoppy, Malty or Balanced): Balanced
Acidic with lingering bitterness.
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad):
Good +

Winner by unanimous decision
(with guest taster Tempa L.): Full Sail. These were definitely two completely different beers. The Left Hand was a huge beer that we thought was good, but didn't really taste like a Stout — it was far too sweet and the alcohol was too prevalent. The Full Sail on the other hand was extremely smooth and well balanced with classic stout flavors. Drink it on its own or pour it over some vanilla ice cream.


  1. Love this Blog concept!

    A little expansion of the beer descriptors would be a benefit.

    I had more beer questions, than answers:
    Left Hand is oak aged? Did you smell or taste oak? What was MASSIVE about the LH: Malt? Mouth feel? Was it Massive chocolate, toast, roast, coffee, sugar, brown sugar, syrupy, Butterscotch, prunes, plums, figs, etc? "Boozy" Does that mean it had some alcohol heat on the tongue? Alcohol aroma, fusel alcohols and the like or did it taste like Bourbon, Rum, etc.?

    This is a great idea and could be very informative for the beer drinking public. Just need a little more expansion on the beer descriptions.

  2. Hey Bob,

    Thanks for the kind words. The challenge of keeping our reviews simple, yet informative will be an ongoing process. We certainly could wax poetic about each beer, but we don't want to drive people away with obtuse descriptions. That being said, we don't want to leave people with a ton of questions either. Hopefully, we'll learn as we go and eventually settle into a format of descriptions that is helpful to both hard-core beer geeks and novice beer drinkers alike.

    In answer to your questions about the Left Hand:
    1) We did not taste much of the oak. Seemed like the beer leeched out a lot of alcohol from the barrels, but little oak.

    2) When we said massive, we meant heavy body with intense flavors.

    3) Boozy, to us means a beer in which the alcohol is very noticeable.

    4) It had no distinct alcohol aroma or taste, just the burn of big alcohol.

    Thanks again for your input.

  3. Vanilla ice cream? Now there's some thinking going on.........