Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Left Hand Oktoberfest | Left Hand Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
429 Reviews
Left Hand OktoberfestLeft Hand Oktoberfest

Brewed by:
Left Hand Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: Märzen / Oktoberfest

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.60%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
This is no festivus for the restivus, on the contrary, we start brewing in the spring and it takes a full two months to reach lagered perfection. Biscuity, malty goodness dominates upfront while the noble pedigree hops lend a properly spicy, dry finish.

Added by rowew on 08-22-2006

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 429 | Ratings: 1,189
Photo of BEERMILER12
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a bronze color with a fingers worth of head that fades down to pretty much nothing

S: Solid maltiness and grain up front, along with some caramel notes. Moderate fruitiness in there as well

T: Follows the nose. Starts off with some moderate grainy notes and caramel sweetness followed by some apple tones and general fruitiness. Finishes with light fruity sweetness and lingering toasted grain notes

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

O: An easy drinking Oktoberfest with good balance. Definitely a safe American alternative to the German/European versions out there. Worth a shot

 601 characters

Photo of arizcards
3.54/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a single at TW Arrowhead in mid-September for $1.99 Best by 11/14/15.

Beer poured copper with a small white head that dissipated quickly.

Nose is toasted sweet malts.

Taste is toasted caramel malts with a hint of noble hops. Flavor comes off more caramel sweetness then anything. Hop it up and this is a nice American amber red ale.

Mouthfeel comes off as smooth when I am expecting more of a refreshing lager finish.

Overall this is a tasty beer but the style mark has been missed here. If you like a mildly hopped caramel malt based brew this is the one for you.

 583 characters

Photo of Urk1127
3.67/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

-Ruby, orange. Head disappeared to nothing
-Toast, caramel
-Bread, toasted malts, caramel
-Robust, light side of medium

-tasty. Very strong willed beer. In your face.

 169 characters

Photo of allforbetterbeer
3.35/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Best by date clearly marked. Thanks Left Hand for the honesty! From a 12oz bottle into a goblet.

Pours clear ruddy copper under an slightly darker than cream head.

Smells of sweet mashed grain, cracked malted sweet barley, a light whiff or sweet corn and a grassy-weedsy earthy hop note. Smells perhaps a bit caramel-malt heavy, but good.

Smoother on the body than average, with flavors on the sweeter side of the spectrum. Malt, a bit of melted caramel and suger-crusted rolls. The hops don't snap the flavor to attention like I would expect a cleaner German version would, and the rich malty waves of aftertaste that the best oktoberfest beers showcase are not to be found.

Conclusion: I love Left Hand in general, and respect what they do quite a bit. This is not impressing me at all, and I think I am overall more generous than the typical cynical/snobby user of this site. However, this isn't as crisp, clean, malty, or noble-hoppy as the best out there. I really feel that the bar is just really getting high these days with so many craft brewers perfecting the art and science of really really good beer. This is in no way bad, and 10 years ago would have been a total winner (when the only thing I had tasted in this style were old and stale German versions or Sam Adams Oktoberfest). Now, there are simply better options brewed on both sides of the "pond".

 1,374 characters

Photo of Mike-Dean
4.49/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is the BEST version of this style I've had to day. Pours a rich caramel Amber color topped off by of for-white, creamy head. Good clarity. Aroma is wonderful, bready and toasted goodness. Medium mouthfeel with perfect hop balance to the malt forward, toasty flavor. A real treat to start the fall.

 307 characters

Photo of Jacobob10
3.81/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle. Deep amber/copper color with a large creamy head. Bready malts and caramel in the aroma. Light sweetness initially in the flavor, followed by toasted malt, that makes way for an overlying dry finish. Clean and crisp as a Märzen should be. One of the better American-made versions I've had in quite some time.

 323 characters

Photo of NickSMpls
3.99/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Smells of toasty malts rise from a dark amber pour. Light head and carbonation, dry for a marzen style and well done. Nice balance and the light touch on the hops makes for a very nice Oktoberfest. Now, where's my sauerbraten.

 230 characters

Photo of atr2605
3.92/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A-pours a reddish amber color that is clear and has an off white head with good retention and lacing
S-spice, caramel, nuttiness
T-caramel and nuttiness with spice throughout, toasted biscuit, nice hop balance without lending a lot of flavor
M-medium bodied and smooth
O-really tasty brew, great beer for the fall seaon

 319 characters

Photo of Czequershuus
4.33/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

This beer pours a brick red color with a solid and fluffy head. The aromas are of roasted oats, caramel. and peppery spice. The flavor leads with a caramel sweetness, followed by a toasted bread flavor, and a nice, mellow but bitter finish. The mouthfeel is expansive, the beer seems to turn to more foam as you drink. Overall this is a great beer that has plenty going on, but that you still don't need to think to hard about.

 427 characters

Photo of colingaiser
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Moderately poured from bottle into a nonic pint glass...

L: I wasn't able to get much of a head, but there is still a beautiful, effervescent, deep caramel color

S: The aroma is faint, but I can get a little nuttiness and burnt toast, with maybe some butterscotch

T: Awesome malty notes, starts out sweet and almost buttery before caramel, toasted nut, and burnt marshmallow come through leaving a slightly bitter but clean finish ... dynamic and delicious

F: Carbonation is high, but complements the flavors well along with the light body and slight stickiness

Overall, this is a rich, dynamic, and delicious Märzen, one of the better examples of the style I've come across. Definitely worth seeking out, especially for the malt-heads out there.

 756 characters

Photo of 88caprice
3.92/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Mmm hmm. This one.

Poured from a bottle into a glass.

Look: clear dark copper color with a creamy head
Smell: a mild, clean, aroma. Grainy, but not heavy. A slight herbal lift.
Taste: Malty and grainy up front with a touch of alcohol. An herbal lift at the end before you are left with a toasty finish that lingers. All very pleasant.
Mouthfeel: A medium body that is smooth, but not thick.
Overall: Not too think or sweet, not thin or watery. A subtle hop brightness that does not distract from the malt. Great flavor that delivers on the style's promises.

 559 characters

Photo of BigDaddyWarbuxx
3.97/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

An incredibly good Oktoberfest beer. Great spice profile that accentuates the malts almost perfectly. Filling, but not overpowering. A great example of its kind.

 164 characters

Photo of Catracho5
4.16/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into a pub glass

Appearance, pours a copper color with a white creamy head, lots of tiny bubbles, beer is clear, color has different degrees of copper, decent amount of carbonation, on the nose, toffee and sweet, roasted caramel aromas, toasted nuttiness, slight honey, smells pretty good. Taste, up front there is an introduction of toasted nuttiness, some spiciness in the middle, finishes with toffee and sweet caramel, hint of honey at the end, finishes semi-dry. Mouthfeel, medium body, very drinkable and smooth. Overall, this is very good, has some different characteristics than other oktoberfest beers I've tried, but I think this is an excellent example of the style.

 701 characters

Photo of MaximalC
3.72/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours a burnt copper color with a solid head of cream-colored froth that evokes a milkshake. Aroma is par for the course, with some caramel, Bavarian hops, apple skin, and a slight nuttiness.

The taste follows the nose precisely, with the addition of lightly toasted bread from the malt. There is also an alcoholic presence that I’ve scarcely encountered before in an oktoberfest. It’s not disruptive; just unusual. Hints of milk chocolate emerge as the beer warms. Medium-light body and subtle carbonation make for a smooth, drinkable mouthfeel, albeit a little thin.

Overall, this is a full-flavored oktoberfest that bears all the hallmarks of the style, alcoholic character notwithstanding.

 704 characters

Photo of UrbanCaveman
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, poured into a shaker pint at ~40 degrees F.

Appearance: Pours a perfectly clear coppery red-amber, and forms a pale tan head with a shorter lifespan than a Taylor Swift relationship. Okay lacing.

Smell: Malt. Yeah, that pretty much covers it. There's toast, bread, and caramel, all sweet, with some vague nuttiness and shades of biscuit.

Taste: Malt. Yeah, that pretty much covers it here, too. Toast and bread get the marty (that's malt-party) started, with a heavy dose of caramel sweetness coming in like a crowd of already-drunk crashers bursting in and instantly raising the volume level to 11. Some faint hints of walnut and Brazil nut drift in behind that, like a handful of introverts clinging to the walls, keeping their heads down and not talking, even to each other. Towards the end of the marty, earth and dirt come trundling on in to put the kibosh on all that sweet, bready noise, not unlike a pack of cops in riot gear with tasers in hand.

Mouthfeel: Yep, that's a marzen.

Overall: I enjoyed this one - not too much hop presence, plenty of malt. Would repeat.

 1,093 characters

Photo of mynie
3.67/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Nice bottle--it's aesthetically pleasing and it announces what you're about to buy: a heavily Americanized version of a dark German Marzen.

Pours a dark, clear amber with a white head that dissipates quickly. Smells toasty with a little bit of nuttiness and a zippy yeast that's almost bockish.

Tastes straightforward up front, maybe even a little tame for the style. Roasty malt with some light nut and biscuit complexities. Ends even tamer than it begins, with straightforward American Lager flavors that almost seem a little adjuncty. As it warms, some booziness becomes present, but it's offset pretty nicely by grain complexities that are very similar to the aftertaste of Grain Belt.

It's quite smooth and drinkable for its somewhat elevated ABV, but it doesn't quite come together well enough to enter into the top tier of American marzens. Still, pretty good.

 880 characters

Photo of tekstr1der
4.21/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Clear copper pour with thinnest of tan on top. Aromas are malty toast and caramel. Flavor is more of the same. Simple, tasty, though slightly too carbonated. Great for the style - glad I got six. This is a winner.

 213 characters

Photo of johnnnniee
3.37/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Bert's
Deep copper color off white head.
Big bready caramel maltiness. A bit too much caramel for the style. Earthy spicy hops to counter. Middle of the road American attempt at a classic German style.

 214 characters

Photo of TLWalsh
4.29/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep bronze color with a creamy head. Has a malty toffee aroma with a medium density mouth feel. There's plenty of rich smooth full flavor, toasty and well balanced. In my opinion this is one of the better marzen/octoberfests available.

 244 characters

Photo of MarkQ617
3.77/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Had this poured into my mug. Color is outstanding, rich transparent syrupy brown with a malt head and orange highlights. The aroma is some maple, brown sugar, and malt, a bit light though. Mouthfeel is very nice for a marzen, super smooth.

 239 characters

Photo of HamdenHector
3.69/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: crystal clear; bronze in color; 1 finger khaki head that receded to a thin collar; nice lacing;

S: brown sugar, toffee, a sweet dark bread;

T: nutty up front; slightly metallic from mid-palate through the finish; mild bitterness on the finish;

M: medium bodied' light to moderate carbonation; dry finish;

O: flavor was disappointing; otherwise, this was really good;

 373 characters

Photo of TooGood
4.21/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark amber with 2 inch head and excellent lacing. Smell is slighty sweet (caramel) with a hint of spice. Taste is sweeter than smell with caramel and bready malt dominating. Terrific beer.

 199 characters

Photo of Prager62
3.9/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up this single recently to sample more of this style. There is a best by date of 11/26/15 stamped on the bottle. I'm pouring it into my 12oz. Comrade tulip glass.

Look- A very dark amber color with a finger of light colored tan foam.

Smell- A spicy yeast aroma to begin, followed by caramel and baked bread.

Taste- Caramel sweetness up front with some spice following. Perhaps a bit of nutmeg? It finished like fresh bread.

Feel- Crisp and clean albeit a little on the sweet side.

Overall- It's pretty much on par with others of the style. A refreshing cooler weather, easy drinking beer that I would have scored 4 across except for the bit of sweetness in the flavor.

 685 characters

Photo of teromous
3.43/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: A darker shade of brown without reducing any visibility through its very transparent body. The head is an eggshell white that stands very well and leaves ample lacing. It looks great. It's the type of beer that would get attention sitting on the table.

Aroma: There isn't a lot of aroma. There is a bit of a yeast aroma and to me it smells a bit like pet food. I'm not a huge fan of the aroma.

Taste: There is a nice caramel sweetness followed by a bold grain flavor. A hop bite with just an edge of spice follows on the palate. The hop character is very nice but overall this beer has quite a bit of flavor. It's hard to relay this but although the array of flavors is small they are huge.

Mouthfeel: It has far too much body for an Oktoberfest. I never thought I would ever say that about an Oktoberfest. The carbonation is good but drinkability is reduced on this beer because of the huge body.

Overall: I find myself at a cross-roads here. On one hand there is an extremely full flavored beer that delivers a fantastic flavor and full bodied experience. On the other hand there is a beer that has so much body and flavor that a person could end up nursing a mug of this. In the end I can't fault a beer for having so much flavor and character but I can't say that is perfect because it lacks restraint. It is an outstanding beer and if you are looking to kick up your Oktoberfest a bit then this beer is for you. If you find the average Oktoberfest too light or flimsy then this beer is for you. If you prefer the more classic lighter approach to an Oktoberfest then this could be a bit much for you.

 1,621 characters

Photo of KonigObHops
4.07/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This beer pours a nice penny colored copper with an almost tan head that was about 1 1/2 finger widths.

The aroma is earthy with a hint of toasted malt. Not what I was expecting for this style.

The initial taste is gives off the caramel toasted malt that you would expect from an Oktoberfest. The moddle is complex... Earthy, malty, and a bit bitter. The beer finishes with a mellow hoppiness.

The mouthfeel is rather thick. The carbonation is minimal.

This was not your standard Oktoberfest. It was on the heavy side as far as lagers go, but had enough of the characteristics of an Oktoberfest to be an interesting interpretation of the style. A good Beer if you are looking for an Oktoberfest that is a bit more complicated than the standard fare.

 759 characters

Left Hand Oktoberfest from Left Hand Brewing Company
3.74 out of 5 based on 1,189 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!