Left Hand Brewing Company

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Barleywine - American
3.73 | pDev: 13.94%
Left Hand Brewing Company
Colorado, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Reviews: 187 | Ratings: 407 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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BlurryVisi0n from New York

3.97/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Served in a tulip glass from a 22oz bottle.

Appearance: Semi to full hazy amber with medium bubbles creating an orange tinted white head rising roughly one finger's length off the body.

Smell: Sweet citrus scent coming off like pink grapefruits and light whiskey. Light but comes off potent especially after the brew warms a bit.

Taste: Sweet citrus with heavy hint of malts with a smooth bitterness. It's reminiscent of English Barleywine and it's American counterpart consisting of a light whiskey note to the beer.

Mouth: Medium carbonatkon, very sticky but not the stickiest. Comes off a tad dry and lightly (maple) syrupy finish.

Overall: personally I think it was a great find especially factoring in the price I would definitely buy again sense of compares to other American barley wines that I really like. One problem, is that this was the last one on the shelf.... So I know I'll stock up next time I see it. Always in a glass, salud!

Dec 11, 2018
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Pegasus from Texas

4.18/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Clear reddish-orange, with a modest tan-colored head, which fades to a scattering of foam on the surface. Thin, fine-beaded lacing lies scattered across the glass wall.

Aroma: Citric hops and abundant caramel vie with sweet, vinous alcohol, nuts and dark fruit are present as well, offering a beguilingly complex aroma.

Taste: Opens with strong caramel and dark fruit, Sweet alcohol is also present, with a mild warming sensation. There is also an undercurrent of toasted malt and nuts. Later in the taste, there are hints of bourbon and oak. Finishes with a mild, lingering note of oak and slightly earthy hops.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft, and velvety, exceptionally full.

Drinkability/notes: A quite exceptional example of the style, gracious and pleasant, well-suited to a feast or a winter's night.

Presentation: Packaged in a Belgian style 750 ml brown glass "bomber" bottle with cork and cage, served in a New Belgium Brewing chalice.

Jan 22, 2017
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

3.54/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

2013 edition, so this has had some time to mellow. i have never had the unoaked edition, nor have i had the beer fresh, so any comparison will be impossible. sometimes i forget these guys have been around awhile. this was probably groundbreaking in 2008 when it was added here on BA, i feel like the american made barleywine game has evolved very quickly, with everyone getting in on it. this beer may be left behind a little bit, but i still think it represents a pretty classic example of the style, even if it has a few flaws. its got a nice rich looking caramel color and more clarity than expected for a beer thats been in oak. not much head, but thats to be anticipated. nose definitely shows a bit of oxidation, but if that can work anywhere, its here in a big english style barleywine. i still do get some hops in the nose though, kind of cool, and i definitely smell the yeast, a high gravity burton type, robust at a time, but now dormant. the grain flavor is a little one dimensional for me, sweet caramel malt, middle of the spectrum, with little support from anywhere else. notes of molasses and golden raisin come out, and its not diabetic, but there is plenty of leftover sugar. the oak doesnt seem to bring a lot of flavor in. it serves more in a mellowing capacity it must be, because the alcohol is pretty tame for its strength. an easy glass of beer to sip on and enjoy, but i suspect this peaks at about a year in the cellar. i would like to try the unoaked, it didnt seem like that aspect made much of an impact...

Mar 01, 2016
SPLITGRIN from Kentucky

3.53/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Body is a pure rich amber tone that holds when held to light. A foamy cream grows on top equalling two full fingers of frothy, yeast colored head. Dots of lace are left behind. Nose is very soft with some malts wrapped up in a bit of subtle smokiness, that is really about all I get. The smoke was right on as that is the first thing you notice as you take the initial sip. the smoke is not big and overpowering but soft and well presented. Some bready sweetness gets mingled in mid palate. Towards the end and as you drink you get a bit of a hop bitterness on the back of the tongue. Complexity is lacking but it does come in layers. I will say this is a unique barleywine. Mouthfeel is a bit thick tingly and woodsy. Drinkability is very good its just not what I look for in a barleywine.

Oct 10, 2015
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DrDemento456 from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up for 10 bucks at Vintage Estate poured into my sniffer goblet.

A - Decent amount of carbonation on this on just a 1/2 inch that sticks around a bit. Color is a hazy yellow brown tint.
S - Surprisingly hoppy for a oak aged beer. Semi wood and vanilla with a bit of caramel and toffee sweetness. Slight alcohol esters.
T+M - Very chewy thick beer that starts out oaky, leads to sweet caramel and toffee malts and finishes with a bit of hoppy bite. Stingy acidic alcohol esters remind you of the high octane and in a way I didn't really expect it to be so bitter.

Overall I guess it would have been better to be a tad sweeter I regret not having Insanity which is readily available for slightly cheaper. Still if you like bitter stingy Barleywines this beer is for you!

Edit: I had to go back and mark it all 4's since apparently my bottle was 2013 vintage and it was still very hoppy and bitter. Any brewery that can do that is worth praise!

Oct 02, 2015
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Jeffreysan from Maryland

4.85/5  rDev +30%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

22 oz bottle, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, almost opaque, golden amber color, speckled with reddish and orange highlights and a quarter of a finger of white head that quickly dissolved away into a thin lacing of foam that completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Very nice aromas of toasted malt, imparting notes of freshly baked French baguettes and biscuits, as well as tons of toffee and brown sugar. I also get aromas of stone fruit, such as peaches, nectarines, apricots, as well as a touch of black pepper and saffron, and finally, a touch of floral, grassy, hops.

Taste: Delicious ! Tons of bready, toasted malt up front, followed by tons of toffee and brown sugar. I also get flavors of stone fruit, such as peaches, nectarines, apricots, as well as a touch of black pepper and saffron, and finally, a touch of floral, grassy, hops, at the finish. Quite the delicious American-style barleywine.

Mouthfeel: Slightly chewy and very smooth, as there’s very little in the way of carbonation; just a hint really. Even with an ABV of 10.7%, there is surprisingly little alcohol on the palate. It’s extremely well masked.

Overall: This is another amazingly delicious American-style barleywine, and another amazingly delicious beer from Left Hand which is quickly becoming not only one of my favorite breweries from Colorado, but one of my favorite American breweries, period! Highly recommended!

Jun 12, 2015
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pat61 from Minnesota

4.13/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L: Pours hazy amber with a 1” off-white foam cap that provides good lace.
S: Fruit and malt aromas with orange, citrus.
T: The fruit is bigger on the palate than with some barleywines and it is more than moderately sweet. Malt driven with moderate to a less less on the hops.
F: Medium body and medium to medium high carbonation. A little alcohol warming.
O: A good barley wine but somewhat subdued with a little more sweetness and a little less body and bitterness than I would prefer.

May 27, 2015
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StoneTSR from Colorado

4.65/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

APPEARANCE: Slightly lighter than some Barleywines, more of an dark orange/copper color than the deep mahogany usually seen for the style. A quarter-inch head gently sits on top of the hazy beer for about 45 seconds before slowly beginning to fade into a couple of smell mounds of foam left on top.

SMELL: I could smell this all day. It has an intense molasses smell with figs, dates and cherries dancing around the edges. Some clove and cinnamon smells sneak their way in as well as a very faint hop aroma and a touch of peat. Highly complex, spectacular aroma.

TASTE: The peat comes through much more on the palate than on the nose and is just magnificent up against an earthy hop flavor and some citrus. The molasses is still present, but subdued compared to the nose. The spiciness, caramel, oak and dark fruit from the nose all comes through as well, adding even more layers to this complex beer.

MOUTHFEEL: Not as huge as I expected, but still medium to big. The carbonation provides a surprisingly large sparkle considering this a 10% beer. It goes down silky and smooth and a nice bitter, dry bite on the end keeps the palate thirsting for the sweeter start of that next sip every time. Very nice.

OVERALL: Of course it wouldn’t be such a treat if Left Hand made this beer every year, but I would certainly grab my few bottles every year if they did. As a Barleywine fanatic this has pretty much everything I’m looking for; complex, rich, malty flavors balanced by large doses of hops…plus that peat. Even though this beer is about a year and a half old the hop character still shines through. As it fades, as that incredible malt bill blossoms and the balance changes this will still be a fantastic beer for years to come. I’ve been lucky enough to drink vintages as old as ten years and it stands up beautifully. Can’t wait for this batch to develop into its own beauty.

May 20, 2015
Photo of Azbeergasm

3.42/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2013 vintage

A- Deep orange hazy from aging 13-5 on srm

S- Resiny slight oxidation medium candied smell with hints of oak

T- The candied malts are balance off with mild bitterness and notes of citrus and leaves an aftertaste of smooth oak and booze.

M- Medium body low carbonation resiny more astringent as it warms.

O - Overall it's a solid barleywine enjoyed the mild oak presence. Balanced well but lighter on the mouthfeel and candied sugars, it's a bit more hoppy than what I'm used to but. Very easy to drink.

Apr 29, 2015
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superspak from Ohio

4.1/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 12/3/2013. Pours fairly hazy/cloudy deep orange/copper color with a 2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with some light streaming carbonation. Aromas of big raisin, apricot, plum, fig, pear, apple, orange zest, caramel, toffee, toast, biscuit, oak, herbal, grass, light pine, light vanilla, and herbal/yeast/oak earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, earthy hops, and oak barrel notes; with great strength. Taste of big raisin, apricot, plum, fig, pear, apple, orange zest, caramel, toffee, toast, biscuit, oak, herbal, grass, light pine, light vanilla, and herbal/yeast/oak earthiness. Light herbal/pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of raisin, apricot, plum, fig, pear, apple, orange zest, caramel, toffee, toast, biscuit, oak, light pine, light vanilla, and herbal/yeast/oak earthiness on the finish for a while. Damn nice robustness and complexity of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, earthy hops, and oak barrel flavors; with a great malt/yeast/hop/oak balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy, and lightly slick/bready mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a small warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent oak aged English barelywine style. All around great robustness, complexity, and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, earthy hops, and oak barrel flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

Feb 16, 2015
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Mthom from Georgia

4.35/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice and chewy, though a bit cloudy in the presentation. I'm always a little scared of these big beers, but this is surprisingly drinkable. The oak definitely shows thru… when will this oak craze go away, and do we care? Will definitely buy again...

Jan 01, 2015
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MarkQ617 from Massachusetts

3.5/5  rDev -6.2%

I had this on tap at the Pint Room in Carmel on Left Hand night. Pretty good barleywine. Orange-copper color, surprisingly translucent. Taste has fruit, some malt, and pucker. The mouthfeel is a bit harsh, but not too bad.

Dec 10, 2014
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Huhzubendah from District of Columbia

3.5/5  rDev -6.2%

Amber / copper body with a small khaki head. Aromas of alcohol, malt, candied fruit. Sweet and boozy. Cotton candy, hard candies. A hint of bitterness in the finish. This is ok. A small sample is plenty.

Oct 30, 2014
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metter98 from New York

3.85/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is relatively clear orange amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high off white head that quickly died down, leaving only delicate lacing covering the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of toasted oak are present in the nose along with notes of smoked malts and hints of alcohol.
T: The taste has flavors of smoky peat malts along with notes of caramel malts and some toasted oak from the barrel aging. Unlike the smell, no flavors of alcohol are noticeable. There is a light amount of bitterness.
M: It feels a bit more than medium-bodied on the palate and has a bit of warming from the alcohol.
O: I found this beer to be very drinkable considering its strength as it hides its alcohol very well. There is also just enough in the way of malts to help cut through the maltiness, somewhat lightening up the mouthfeel and preventing any stickiness.

Serving type: bottle

Oct 23, 2014
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ksimons from Illinois

3.75/5  rDev +0.5%

A warm caramel color with just a thin layer of lace. Smells of caramel and some oak
Similar to the smell with a caramel and toffee backbone, grapefruit, and has an oaky finish. Flavor really improves as the beer warms.
Moderate to full body, light to moderate carbonation.
Very enjoyable, but a little hot.

Sep 13, 2014
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Roxie_B from Alabama

2.75/5  rDev -26.3%

Appearance: Cloudy amber with a low cream colored head.
Smell: Breezy slight floral hops.
Taste: Sweet, spicy and dry. Bit of fruit and nut to it. As it warms up I am getting an unfortunate combination from floral/citrus hop and alcohol that has morphed into an unshakable taste of nail polish remover.
Mouthfeel: Zesty and prickly with a bit of a burn.
Overall: Could be sweetly drinkable. If it wasn't for that nail polish remover thing.

Aug 25, 2014
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Vierenner from Ohio

4/5  rDev +7.2%

Smooth. Been awhile since I've had a barleywine and this one hits the spot. It's not overpowering in any way ... just crisp, smooth, and satisfying. I doesn't rock my world but I'm sure glad I gave it a try.

Aug 16, 2014
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PicoPapa from Connecticut

4.06/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22oz bottle. Vintage 2013. Best By 11/15/18. Note: The bottle says 10.7% ABV not 10%. Pours a murky dark brownish amber color with a small amount of head. Some lacing. Boozey aroma with floral hop notes, earth, oak, caramel and a hint of smoke. The taste brings out a lot more of the smoke. Earthy with lots of caramel and dark fruits.Vanilla and a touch of charcoal. Nice oakiness throughout with a finish of more of the smoke. Almost tastes like a boozed up Rauchbier or Smoked Beer in someways. Lightly carbonated. Pretty boozey but not overly hot. This is a very interesting Barleywine. Like I said it seems more like a Smoked Beer to me with some oak flavor but whatever they want to call it I dig it. Definitely one of the more unique Barleywines I have had in recent memory. Overall, I will buy one of these to age for sure.

Jul 18, 2014
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barczar from Kentucky

3.59/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a fairly clear caramel copper with minimal head. Sweet caramel malt and fruity specialty malt combine with toasted oak and booze in the aroma. Flavor is a bit fusel, then perfumey and bitter, with a little citrus at the base. The aftertaste is herbal and bitter. Could use some time to kill the alcohol, but there's not much else redeeming that's there.

Jul 18, 2014
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dbossman from Nebraska

3.94/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Clear, copper hue with a big cream-colored head and okay lacing

S: Lots of oak and citrus and dates; also, a bready, malty backbone

T: Not as complex and intricate as I would've thought from the aromas but this is six years old and I think the age has been pretty good on this beer: so smooth and fruity and woody

F: A touch thin--pretty good mouth feel

O: Like I said, this is a six-year-old bottle, and man, is it smooth and oaky and fruity and malty; I like this a lot more than I did when I tried the fresher version

Jul 10, 2014
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Zachtheporter from Wisconsin

3.75/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2014 Vintage.

Pours a pale pinkish sunset amber. Very fizzy sounding for a Barelywine upon being poured. Candied sugar smells along with Oak dominate the nose. There's a slight fruitiness present as well. The oak blends in very well with the malts and hops chosen and dose well to add to the flavor for the most part. The finish is where the oak itself seems the most present but in a subtler sense. Overall a lighter feeling barleywine in the mouthfeel compared to some recent ones I've consumed. Very drinkable, however this isn't necessarily go out of my way to buy again. Could be interesting to see how it cellars over couple of years but overall a rather forgettable Barleywine. Now if this were sold in 12oz 4packs or 6pks maybe id go out and buy more, but at 9.99$ for a bomber, there are other things id prefer to spend my money on. If it were sold cheaper like Wake up Dead that might also be a game changer, but whatever.

May 29, 2014
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ThickNStout from Georgia

3.21/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

22oz bottle from Sprayberry Bottle Shop (Marietta, GA). 7.99. 2013 vintage, best by 12/3/18- bottled 12/3/13? Served in a Microbrasserie Charlevoix goblet.

Pours a nice garnet russet hue with about one finger of pale head. A thin cap remains and leaves a decent bit of lace.

Smells of alcohol, burnt caramel, a vague spice nite and malted barley.

The booze hits early and unabashedly followed by burnt caramel, vanilla tinged oak, cheap toffee, bitter berries, a little pine, cereal grains and some soft floral notes. Tastes strong but disjointed. Every now and then I'd start to get some nice oaky or caramel notes but the unblended alcohol and ocassional off notes quickly lead the flavors in a different direction. Lacking the hop bite of an American barleywine and the rich toffee of an English barleywine, this comes across more like some kind of vague high octane strong ale.

Syrupy full body with fairly mild carbonation. Burnt sugar, malted barley and fusel alcohol finish.

Oak Aged Widdershins isn't bad at all but doesn't quite come together. I'm surprised by how harsh the alcohol seems given that I drink stronger brews on a regular basis. Perhaps some age would do this good but I didn't detect enough of what I look for in either American or English barleywines to spend any more money here.

Apr 14, 2014
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Gristle from South Carolina

3.43/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

3/3/14 Bottled

Note: To be fair, this is my first time tasting an Oak Aged Barleywine.

Look - Dark caramel brown on the pour, very little pure white head.

Smell - I'm picking up caramel with fruity undertones; apple maybe, very light bread aroma

Taste - Bready up front followed by big fruit flavors: apple, fig; followed by a bitterness not overwhelming with some alcohol that comes through in the finish as well

Mouth feel - full bodied, slick but smooth but a little heavy, well carbonated, warming alcohol

I would definitely drink this again, I a huge fan of IPA's so I'm accustomed to the bitterness but to me it's a mix of fruity flavors and bitterness that is oddly combined. I'll be trying other barleywines to compare for sure.

Mar 04, 2014
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snaotheus from Washington

3.77/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle poured at fridge temp (41 F) into large snifters. Bottle Vintage 2013 319:09:03, best by 11/15/18 28-29.

Pours slightly cloudy, orange, small head, slow fine carbonation. Looks thick. Smell is musty, oaky, slight floral undertones.

Taste is slightly lemony, oaky, slightly smokey, somewhat musty. Alcohol is noticeable, strong source of bitterness, but there's a nice fruity sweetness, too.

Mouthfeel is thick, a little sticky, not unpleasant. This is pretty good.

Feb 22, 2014
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TheBullsHorn from Florida

3.28/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

This beer starts in England and ends with an American finish. In the nose, peat overwhelms the senses with dried fruits and burnt sugar lingering behind. The palate is similar with flavors akin to that of an English barley wine, only with overtones of peat. It finishes abruptly with a sharp drying bitterness. Overall this beer has allot of bold flavors but just doesn't seem to harmonize maybe some age would help.

Feb 15, 2014
Widdershins from Left Hand Brewing Company
Beer rating: 84 out of 100 with 407 ratings