Hypebeerst: 100th Beer - Wake Up Dead Imperial Stout
We made it guys. Admittedly, reaching 100 beers took a while overall with my dive into the beer landscape happening in 2005. I wasn't truly drinking beer beyond the macro Bud's and Miller's with a Sam Adams or Leinenkugel's sprinkled in until 2007 and I didn't take craft beer seriously, trying more than one beer every few weeks or months, until 2011. It has been my intention since that time to try a bit of everything both popular and not to find out exactly what it is I like about beer and why. I've sipped stouts and guzzled lagers, shared Witte's at Oktoberfests and hunted down wee heavy's, but the biggest lesson I have learned is that it's all about the beer and the experiences you allow it to enhance. Do yourself a huge favor and let a brew make you a new acquaintance after you read this, then let me know about it in the comments! Without further adieu, my 100th review!
Left Hand Brewing Company - Wake Up Dead Imperial Stout
Type: Imperial Stout
Left Hand caught my attention strangely with a cider, not a beer. After gobbling up bottles of Original Sin hard cider on a dinner date one evening, finding their imperial stout was high on the priority list. IS's are my favorite style of beer so Wake Up Dead got the proper treatment, poured into a goblet at the prescribed 55 degrees. This left a firm 2 1/2 finger head that slowly dissipated without too much lacing. As for the rest of the appearance, this is one dark stout. Black, opaque and very difficult to find light through even as my glass emptied.
Wake Up Dead has a pretty standard imperial stout nose; you can't miss the charred grains, dark fruits (mainly raisin) and deep, woodsy hops. Don't get suckered into being a label reader though. This stout may have the expected dark chocolate and dark fruit smells and tastes but the real surprise is in the black licorice which doesn't hide. You won't get the wormwood hints one expects with most black licorice flavored food and drink or the popular liquor absinthe, but the taste is recognizable and a welcome break from the imperial stout pack.
As the brew warms, Wake Up Dead's earthy hops, charred grains and the alcoholic burn of 10.20% ABV bully their way to the front and meld the other flavors together properly underfoot. Carbonation keeps things lively in the mouth and helps to create a thick and chewy mouthfeel. Overall, I am pleased with this one. What WUD lacks in strong flavors, it makes up in balancing the flavors it does have very well without the watered down characteristics of many a brewery's attempt at this style of beer. Not overly expensive and pretty available in my experience, coughing up a few bucks for a bomber won't hurt.
Availability: Year Round - No car chases or aisle fights here.