FIVE BEERS INTO their annual Fade to Black seasonal series, Left Hand has finally come round to rye. This robust and spicy grain is a perfect fit for the precedent Fade to Black has established—black IPA, pepper and smoked porter, export stout—and lands among the better beers Left Hand has brought to market.
Vol. 5 has a molasses nearly-black body, reflecting a generous dosing of patent and chocolate malts as well as rye, but not quite enough to make it opaque. The aroma has a subtle interplay of Centennial and Mt. Hood hops, which show their spicier and earthier sides on the palate—a little more of the grapefruit’s pith here than the meat. Some anise emerges around the midpalate and a 7.8% ABV pushes a touch of fume into the finish. Carbonation is moderate and the body a touch more than. This is a malt-heavy brew, to be sure, but never in sweetness: the roast of the grains leaves few sugars behind to fatten the mouthfeel. Thus Vol. 5 is more like the marshmallow left over the flames a little overlong—but with a purpose. This sounds rather harsher in description than Vol. 5 is on the palate, but fading to black was never supposed to be easy.
Served: 12 oz bottle