Archive for the ‘Left Hand Brewing Company’ Tag

Left Hand Brewing Company – Fade to Black Ale, Volume 2: Smoked Baltic Porter

Fade to Black Ale, Volume 2: Smoked Baltic Porter

Beer: Fade to Black Ale, Volume 2: Smoky Baltic Porter

Style: Baltic Porter

Brewery: Left Hand Brewing Company (Longmont, Colorado)

ABV: 7.80%

Serving type: 12-ounce bottle

Collaborative beer? Yeah, we had never heard of one either but that is exactly what Left Hand Brewing Company’s Fade to Black, Volume 2: Smoky Baltic Porter is, a collaboration between the Colorado-based craft brewer and the Norrebro Bryghus, a famous brewery and restaurant in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The collaboration began in 2009 with Pillage & Burn, a cerveza brewed and sold exclusively in Denmark. The partnership was so enjoyable and successful that, according to Left Hand, Anders Kissmeyer of Norrebro ventured to the arid confines of Colorado in September to help churn out this Baltic Porter. They decided to smoke their own malt for this concoction. It took a month to smoke the malt.*

We have to admit that we like Left Hand already. Why? They take their beer seriously but they don’t take themselves seriously. For example, here is their description of the Smoked Baltic Porter: “This mischievous cousin to Smoke Jumper has a penchant for pillaging and burning everywhere he goes. Smoked malts redolent of the burned thatched roofs in villages and towns all over Northern Europe impart flavors to warm the spirit of invading hordes far from home. You finally have something in your hand darker than the winter night sky.”** We also appreciate the fact that they list the IBU’s (International Bittering Units scale, a measure of bitterness provided by hops), Plato scale (the density of the beer), and they identify the malts and the hops they use in each of their beers on the website. At first glance this might appear to be esoteric information but it actually will help you figure out what you taste and why you taste it.

What is a Baltic Porter? The beer intelligentsia says it is a strong, malty dark brown beer, a pretty useless technical description since it could apply to about twenty different styles of beer, wouldn’t you agree?

So how is Fade to Black Ale, Volume 2: Smoky Baltic Porter?

Appearance: Dark, dark with a side of dark. Not quite as dark as Odin’s Tipple but close. No head at all, not even a slight trace. The handful of bubbles that do appear dissipate quickly like sea foam. The color and carbonation are similar to root beer honestly.

Smell: Wood smoke, tar, malt, vanilla with a slight alcohol aroma. A trace of hops dankness, which makes you think this might be a lighter beer than it is.

Taste: Burnt, bitter, charred wood, and caramelized sugar. Just a hint of hops. And surprisingly given its lower ABV (compare to what we have reviewed recently) a strong alcohol presence. There is a bitter pinch on the back of the tongue.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with slight carbonation. It is definitely not a “one after the other” drinker. We feel we should be eating something while we were drinking it – something like a strong potted cheese with crackers. It would also go well with French onion soup, rosemary pork loin or other strongly seasoned, low-acid foods.

Drinkability: Fade to Black, Volume 2: Smoky Baltic Porter is a good beer; it just isn’t the best beer we’ve stumbled across. Would we have another one? Maybe. There are a lot of beers out there in the world – even a lot of other Left Hand brews – we would like to try before we come back to this one.

*, accessed 1/17/11.

**, accessed 1/17/11.