Big imperial stouts that are adequately hopped usually top my list of beers to cellar and see how they can age. Wake Up Dead is a beer that I've had on many instances, with each time being under different circumstances. The very first time I had it was during the brewer's reception after working a long, hot summer festival and the Left Hand rep opened a bottle. The second time was during the winter and I had it on draft. Between those two times, and every other time since, it has produced a variety of different flavors and my palate has received it differently each time. It's one of those beers that I put up with the argument that the taste of a beer is determined by your mood, the temperature, what beers you've had before it, and a bunch of other criteria. Now it is time to see what 2 years can do to it.

I've heard this beer has little to no head, but this one has produced decent carbonation and contrary to the name, has a fair amount of life to it.

The chocolate and coffee aromas in this beer have grown. The hops that are present when fresh have subsided a bit and some toffee and leather have come forth a tad as well. Malts dominate with a nod to the roasted side of things.

Cocoa, faint vanilla, and a sweet bread crust hits you right away. The remains of the hops hit you mid taste, but it's very brief. Coffee and roasted caramel bring up the rear. The flavor hangs more on the dry, robust cocoa/coffee/roasted malt than anything and there is little to no dark fruit that you might expect in an imperial stout. There is a slight nuttiness that you can pick up every now and then, usually after agitation.

It's thick, malty and good. Almost syrup-like. It's a full bodied stout that is smooth and rich the whole way. It's aged nicely and has become a great dessert beer. There isn't much of a cinnamon or nutmeg quality that I've experienced before, but I'm not complaining. This one is good and does well over time. At this point, I might even say that I prefer this beer with some time on it.


Our CELLARED series aims to explore the world of aging beer and sharing the effects of time in the bottle. Bottles have been kept away from light and at temperatures between 44-60 degrees. Individual experiences may vary depending on storage environments.

Posted on June 27, 2014 .