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The Beer Circle » Baltic Porter, Beer, Left Hand Brewing Co. » Left Hand Brewing Fade to Black Volume 2 – Smoked Baltic Porter

Left Hand Brewing Fade to Black Volume 2 – Smoked Baltic Porter

Left Hand Brewing Company’s Fade to Black series is a beer line embracing the joys of dark beer. Currently on its third iteration, the beers release so far have been a foreign stout, a smoked porter, and a pepper porter. Unfortunately, I missed the release of the foreign stout volume, but was able to grab this on a trip to a great beer store in Ohio!

Left Hand Brewing Fade to Black Volume 2 – Smoked Baltic Porter
As the name aptly suggests, this beer is essentially more black than the darkest winter night, and all light essentially fades into this vortex. There's a big, 2-fingered, tan head that has the appearance of a crater-filled moon, and it has good retention. The lacing is pretty good as well, with a thin layer of film that covers most of the glass.
The smell begins with a pretty big smokey note; not like a ham, pulled pork, or barbecue kind of smoke, but a fireplace or campfire kind of smoke. It's smooth like the smell of your clothes long after you go home, or your hair after you shower after a long night of sitting around the campfire. Next comes the chocolate and coffee, which are both pretty sweet, and the malts almost give off the impression of some dark fruit in here as well. At first I wasn't a big fan of the aroma, but it definitely grew on me.
The first taste brings a lot more smoke than was in the nose, and I'm a bit disappointed as it throws the synergy of the aroma askew. All the things that were in the nose are present, but the smoke takes the lead and the chocolate, coffee, and fruits are almost in the audience watching. It's still pretty sweet, but the coffee now turns slightly acrid. The fruits come through stronger than in the aroma, and give off a pleasant taste.
Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with moderately low carbonation. It's surprisingly light given the appearance and it goes down smoothly. The smoke and chocolate are the lasting tastes here.
Drinkability is moderately high. Although I was a little disappointed that the taste is so much more smokier than the nose, it is still a great beer. It balances the smoke with a nice sweetness, and the chocolate and fruit are a nice complement as well.
At under $2 a bottle, this beer brings a lot of depth and flavor without breaking the budget.
Overall, this is a pleasant beer that mixes the characteristics of a porter with a nicely smoked beer. This isn't an intense smokiness like Schlenkerla, so this could serve as a great introduction to smoked beers.

Beer Stats
Style: Baltic Porter
Serving: Bottle
Size: 12oz
ABV: 7.80%
BA Score: 90
RB Score: 98

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Written by Greg Bruce

While studying at Penn State, Greg learned that beer could serve a much better purpose than a means to an end for a good party. Delicately brewed Belgians acted as a stark contrast to the almost watery beer that had been so popular and began the journey towards craft beer. From that launch point he always seems to land on something new. Greg approaches each beer, whether it is an aggressively-hopped West Coast IPA or an English bitter (and everything between), with a clear mind and open opinion, ready to analyze, compare, and ultimately, enjoy. While always fond of stouts (especially barrel-aged) and IPAs, Greg is slowly but surely drifting towards various soured beers. Find Greg Bruce on Google Plus

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