Oak Aged Widdershins | Left Hand Brewing Company

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Oak Aged WiddershinsOak Aged Widdershins

Brewed by:
Left Hand Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.70%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Gueuzedude on 02-09-2008

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Reviews: 84 | Ratings: 192
Photo of boston2bburg
4.52/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at Union Brewhouse in Weymouth, Ma. Being the only tap offering served in a 10 ounce (tulip) glass, and it being my birthday, I of course had to try this one out.

This beer was fairly light for a barleywine and until looking it up I couldn't tell if it was a barleywine or just a strong ale of some sort.

The aroma was amazing and completely unexpected. The first thing that came to mind was opium; a very dense, floral, perfume scent, with malts providing a candy backbone. Superb.

Taste was similar, floral and malty with a spiciness. I probably could have stuck with these all night, but they would have been peeling me off the bathroom floor. Very intriguing and unique brew, hope to find it again.

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Photo of tpd975
4.35/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

07 Version

Thanks to Cigar City Brew for this one.

A: Pours a wonderful cloudy golden hue with a big foaming head. Retention is good with lace being noted.

S: Lots of fresh summer fruit like peaches and apricots. Hints of oak, vanilla, and booze come next. A bit of bitter orange zest as well.

T: Nice smokey flavor with the oak really coming out. The booze is there but not overthetop. Hints of caramel, roasted malt and a touch of fruit sweetness. No real hops noted in flavor, but very tasty.

M: Full in body, rich and smooth. The smoke plays well with this one.

D: Very for the style.

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Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.31/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

thanks to beerbeagle for the chance to try this great oak aged beer. 2004 vintage

A - crystal clear golden amber brown beer with a nice white head.
S - honey biscuit sweet malt notes with a light hint of oak
T - light caramel sweet malts, honey, biscuit malts, oak and a muted citric hop flavor and light residual hop bite.
M - medium full bodied, smooth carbonation, light sipping with a slight bitter note and a warm mouthfeel.
D - golden warmth. smooth sipping, mellow and sublime. This is a great example of what an aged barleywine can be!

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Photo of thekevlarkid
4.3/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Found several bottles of the 2004 Vintage stocked in Albuquerque, NM for $3.99 each. This happened on 12/18/08 so that $1 per year- what a deal! Out of the caged bottle this beer was a very cloudy copper color with a tan head. Retained as a skim and laced quite well. The aroma was incredibly pungent and notably sweet, lots of ripe peaches, pears and figs, alcohol esters and heat, hints of wood, and lots of caramel malt. The flavors were smooth, complex and well rounded. It started with a biscuity malt flavor before becoming more rich and sweet, caramel malt, ripened fruit, hints of spices, a slight citrus tanginess and a warming alcohol pleasantness towards the end. The sugars had been well tempered by the wood and age. The carbonation was very soft, partly the age again, the body medium/full and the mouthfeel smooth but a little watery. The years had truly done this one well, it was balanced, smooth, quaffable and rewarding with the punchy alcohol well blended in. Bravo!

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Photo of kindacold
4.23/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Like most of Left Hand's brews, I enjoyed this beer quite a bit.

The appearance was light and the head was quick to dissipate.

It smelled like a barleywine, but without the overpowering hops that some other breweries use.

I tasted this beer twice, once a bit above recommended temperature and once at about the right temperature.

When colder, the beer is quite refreshing and tasty. However, when the beer warmed up, the complexity could be truly experienced. Both have advantages. I loved the way the colder beer felt. I could drink it cold all night, and it was great for a hot day. The warmer beer tasted much more complex and interesting, but I could not drink much more than a glass this way.

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Photo of JayQue
4.23/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Corked and caged bottle. Served in a pint glass. This beer is a murky and dense orange/brown color with a medium size off white head. Head retention is good for this level of alcohol content. Lacing is thick and ladder-like.

Smell is pronounced - smoky and malty. Flavor is good and strong. There is a smoky element, flavor of the oak and strong malt presence, not caramel sweet malt like aged Bigfoot, just malt. The experience finishes off with some good bitterness.

Mouthfeel is rich as you would expect with a Barleywine. The alcohol provides a little bite but is not annoying or uncomfortable.

Drinkability is good for a beer of this strength and strong taste.

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Photo of Buebie
4.2/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 pour Courtasy of Boner Gibbs.

Reviewing based on notes, from yesterday.

Poured from a bomber into my 8 ounce sample glass. Head forming appx an inch of tan. Soft spotty lace that eventually drops back into the beer. Hazy golden amber color, glowing bright when held to light, still showing haze.

Aroma of biscuity malt, sweet maple brown sugar, toasted oak, summer sausage, well balanced aroma.

Taste is super rich and moderatly sweet, with a fresh buscuits flavor, brown sugar, honey butter. Bitter pine, just a touch of citrussy orange peel. Toasted oak at the swallow, mixing with cereal grains and a mild warming.

Mouthfeel is a bit more thick and creamy, mild carbonation. Very good beer,

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Photo of Deus1138
4.2/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard pint glass. Very hazy, cloudy deep, dark orange color. I see some yeast floating around. No complaints.

Smell is mild, hoppy and yeasty.

Taste is nice. I've been on a Barleywine kick this weekend. This is not as hoppy as the rest (Rogue and Sweetwater). Solid malts backbone, mostly sweet caramel. Somewhat bready. Hops and bitterness are there. Mostly grassy in piney hops. The oak aging really comes through in this one. Quite nice.

Mouthfeel is medium to medium-full bodied. Very light carbonation.

Drinkability is good. It's on the milder end of the spectrum as far as hops and bitterness go. It's not an all out assault on your palate, but there's just enough of all the good stuff to make this quite enjoyable. I'd buy this again!

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Photo of cbl2
4.2/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

3/1/2008 $12.49 750 mL 8.80% Brewed 2007.


Pours a hazed medium brown with orange highlights that is topped by an inch of pillowy tan head that has substantial staying power.


Loads of oak and vanilla notes dominate with subtler caramel, fruit and hints of hops as well.


Nice viscous chewy mouthfeel. Moderately sweet with fresh fruit notes suffused with oak highlights. Finish is very woody with vanilla present alongside a mildly bitter hop presence.

Alcohol is fairly well masked in this one, and this has to be one of the better oaked beers I've sampled. The oak elevates the beer here, it doesn't dominate it, as it does in so many other oaked beers.

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Photo of Pegasus
4.18/5  rDev +14.8%
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.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.12/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oak Aged Widdershins pours a rusty colored, murky beer with specs of protiens and yeast clinging to the inside of the glass. A sturdy frothy, lightly tanned head forms on the beer and slowly settles to an even sheet across the glass, leaving rings of lacing behind. A decent look but a lot of haze and particulates.

Barleywine through and through with a focus on caramel, toffee, nuts, and sweet breads. Yeasty esters bring on fruits from a lot of different directions: plumbs, dates, figs, prunes, grapes, apples, raisons, appricots... Could be a bit English-ish based on the sweetness and fruits. However those hops say otherwise. Resiny, bitter, and spiced with pine, orange zest, and grasses.

The oak aging makes a dramatic impact in the nose with a fresh woody cut of white oak. Light tannins provide dryness and light astringency but doesn't really take away from the beer. The oak seems to take the rougher edges away from the alcohols and hop bite while smoothening the malts into a cotton-candy whimsy. Oak also seems to amp up the notion of nutty and grassy a bit more than standard Widdershins.

Sticky sweet up front but the carbonation holds just enough to lift the heavy beer off the tongue. Alcohol and hops dry the beer first at mid palate and the oak finishes and lingers into the aftertaste.

This is one fantastic beer that lives just behind the Oak Aged Bastard in terms of quality.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.12/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

09/07/09- Purchased at Sun Devil Liquors in Mesa, AZ.

Presentation- 750ml bottle, caged and corked, vintage 2007. Poured into my St. Bernardus chalice.

Appearance- Deep mid range caramel-copper colored pour. Fluffy 3/4 inch white head, hangs around for a while leaving a nice rim for the duration. Some pretty good lace markings left behind.

Smell- As it warms the caramel really comes out in full force. Some really light hops mingle around as well as some light fruity notes and a touch of oak.

Taste- Drinks much better at room temp than straight out of the 50 degree cellar. Lots of caramel goodness, but not too sweet. The tropical fruits they talk about on the label (apricot and orange), finally come out long after the beer has had time to breathe. Hops play a decent role, but it by no means a hophead barleywine. Oak is very subtle and rounds out the beer nicely.

Mouthfeel- Medium to a bit lower on the carbonation level with a slight bitter bite in the aftertaste.

Drinkability- A really easy drinking barleywine as well as a nice change of pace beer. Not your tradtional barleywine.

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Photo of jjayjaye
4.12/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy orange amber color with a HUGE stiff light yellow head that resists fading. A reasonable amount of lacing left behind. The smell has a really nice complexity to it. Initially I got an earthiness that i wanted to equate to smoky, but as it warms up there is a unique fragrant fruity apricot nature. Visibly effervescent, the mouth feel is medium-full bodied with a very dry finish. Full flavored, the sweet malty caramel character is secondary to the piny resin hoppiness which lingers on with an earthy smoky texture. An interesting drink with a lot to consider. Recommended.

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Photo of JasonA
4.11/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007 Bottle Conditioned

Pours a light amber, maybe some reddish hues. Ample carbonation, thin, off white almost beige. Ample lacing, with some thickness. Awesome, pure awesome bottle conditioned appearance.

Medium malt, little booze. Might be some earthiness. Some fruit presence. The caramel malt is very nice. Light hop character, which puts it in the rear. As an English BW lover that would be my choice.

Some bitter, malty goodness with a wicked caramel malt finish. Im getting some tartness here, but its quite subtle.

Explosion in the mouth. Love the carbonation level. Reminds me almost of a Belgian Quad with the temperature and bottle conditioning.

Overall it might be a tad hoppy with the finish. While you will have that with an American BW, it feels just a tad out of balance with the malt.

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +12.6%
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.

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Photo of BeerSox
4.03/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into 8oz snifter.

Hazy orange-red hue with a thick and fluffy light tan head that slowly settles to a thick rim along the glass. Rings of solid lace are present.

This is a very aromatic beer with plenty of light fruit notes swirling around. Some coffee and a little bit of chocolate are in there, along with hints of vanilla and alcohol.

The malts are tame but sweet, mostly allowing the hops to come though. They aren't as bitter as expected, mostly because of the blending with the aged version of the beer, so you get a good mix of flavorful hops with fresh bitter flavors. There is a touch of vanilla in there. The alcohol is somewhat well perceived. Thick and smooth in the mouth with a mild amount of carbonation. The hops linger for a while after each sip.

These barleywine blends are interesting because you get the sharp hops that develop up front along with the duller hops that have been around for a while. This isn't a vanilla bomb since it's a blend. Some of the more complex notes you find in an aged beer are in there as well. It's a pretty solid and interesting beer. Recommended.

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Photo of auxiliary
4.03/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance -Medium brown with a nice tan head.

smell - Smells of fruit, oak, and some hops here.

taste - Roasted malts, some vanilla snd oak present here. Plus some hops at the end. Seemed like a barleywine up front and then some hops are the end. Was well balanced though.

mouthfeel - Medium body.

drinkability - Not a bad tasting beer, interesting taste I think.

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Photo of GbVDave
4.03/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a corked and caged 750ml bottle into two pint glasses. Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist.

Vintage 2007

A: Pours a lovely looking opaque, burnt-orange/copper color with a meringue-like light-orange colored head. Lots of droopy rings of lace left behind.

S: Big nose of caramel, tart apple, fruit laced tobacco, oak, cocoa, toasted malt, citrus, and a touch of alcohol.

T: Spicy oak, tart fruit, and sweet juicy caramel are the big players here. Also noticed were tobacco, cherry, lemon, charred wood, vanilla, alcohol, and prickly hops. Toasted malt and fruit loom large in the finish.

M: Big, sweet, and sticky with an interesting bit of earthy dryness/bitterness. Perhaps due to the massive oakiness?

D: i expected this to be a chore to drink but was rewarded with a smooth and easy drinking barleywine that's big on flavor. The alcohol flavor, while noticable, was relatively well contained.

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Photo of homebrewhawk
4.02/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2007 Vintage. 750 ml bottle, corked and caged. Served in a snifter. Bottle conditioned. I had a tough time getting the cork out for some reason. Poured a hazy, reddish gold with a couple of fingers of white bubbled head. Pretty good amount of carbonation. Great aroma, lots of fresh piney/citrusy hops. Also some burnt sugar. I didn't get much oak from this. There was a pronounced smokey note. Medium bodied with good amount of hop bitterness. Long, hoppy finish with a little pucker. A little overpriced in my opinion.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A two year vertical of a 2007 cork and caged Widdershins, properly cellared all these many years and a brand new 2013 crown capped bomber.

2007: Poured into an Elysian snifter. Pours a slightly hazy medium coppery amber with a fine one finger ivory head with great retention and lots of lacing. Aroma is classic barleywine; fresh and dried dark stone fruit, caramel malt and moderate cardboard from aging. Flavor follows with caramel malt, fresh and dried plums, a bit of butterscotch and butter, and the expected moderate cardboard, although the latter is covered pretty well by the flavors. Flavor drops off fairly quickly to a slightly over the hill caramel malt and cork flavor, but an unexpected lingering hop bitterness. I probably aged this one a bit too long, but it held up pretty well. Not the best balanced or well preserved barleywine I've aged, but still a quite satisfactory, warming aged ale with good barleywine character. Would have liked a bit more oak than the light butteriness, but enjoying it as it is.

Poured into a Reuben's Brew snifter. Pours a clear medium coppery amber with a thin film of ivory head dissipates to a ring around the glass and light lacing. . Aroma is fresh caramel malt; fresh dark and light stone fruit, slightly sweet and floral; a hint of oak. Flavor is caramel malt, toffee, dark dried fruit, particularly figs and dates, a nice balance of fruit and caramel. Flavor drops off a bit in the finish, exposing a moderate lingering floral hop finish and bitterness. Medium bodied with mild creaminess. This is more of an English barleywine profile to my taste, but the hoppy finish is definitely American. I liked the balanced malt and fruit flavor of this much more than I expected and will get this barleywine again. The oak is almost undetectable in this, which is the only element that was less than expected.

I think the 2007 is over the hill, but I do think the 2013 could well improve well with a few years on it. It drinks quite well right now. An unexpectedly enjoyable barleywine. Review rating is for the fresh Widdershins; the aged one would grade about a half point lower on taste because of the thin finish and effects of oxidation. The appearance gets a few decimals extra because the aged one has such a creamy, good looking head.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep orange color with good carbonation and a nicw hite head. Nose is oak, musty, horse blanket.Taste is citrus, apricot, earthy, caramel, oak, must. Mouthfeel is light boozze, earthy, oak, musty. Drinkability is good and unique overall. Musty try.

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Photo of Vierenner
4/5  rDev +9.9%

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.

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Photo of beerman207
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown/orange with a decent head that leaves moderate lacing in the glass

S: Definite hop presence (floral), some citrus comes through with a decent malt, some caramel

T: Hoppy, citrus, caramel, great malt presence - wow. Impressive for a Left Hand brew

M: Good - moderate - not to heavy

D: I have a half growler of this and will definitely polish it off. Pretty impressive. Glad to have found this at Party Town in Florence, KY on Growler.

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.98/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

Oak-Aged Widdershins 2007, corked bottle bought at New Beer Dist. in Manhattan, NY, for $9.95.

Appearance: A vigorous, loud pour (glug, glug), with tons of foam and an almost three-finger head that slowly recedes into one and remains throughout. Great retention and good (but not great) lacing. Color is hazy straw/clear copper, with lots of sediment.

Smell: Yum! Very barleywine-like, with yeast aromas, sourness, Granny Smith apples freshly sliced, some hops and lots of mellow citrus. Hot booze, like cooked and spiked orange juice. Reminds me of a farmhouse ale, also in the color. Unfortunately, a barnyard funky whiff comes through at the end, not bad but not great either. Reminds me of the swine pens my friend's family had in Northern Spain where I was born. Intense and strangely attractive despite the malodorousness. As it warms up, however, the barnyard becomes almost too much. Beware, if you're no fan of farm smells.

Taste: A little thiner than nose, and bigger in the barnyard department, but still good. Here I can finally get a hint of the oak, but not much. Hard to tell this is an oak-aged barleywine. Some sweetness and yeast, lots of malts, breadiness. Dry-pear feel at the end, as well as smoke and dark fruit.

Mouthfeel: Sad. A 2007 barleywine should be heavier, more intense and rounded. This beer is thin, a little watery. Taste and smell are good, but the mouthfeel is disappointing. Low body, medium carbonation, medium-to-low flavor. Some sticky sweetness at the end.

Drinkability: Damn high! At 8.8%, it's not exactly a gigantic barleywine, I know, and the mouthfeel is way thin, I know... but still, I enjoy drinking this and think it goes down easily and pleasant.

Sure, for an almost four-year-old oak-aged barleywine, this ain't what should be (really, where is the oak??) But it is still good and enjoyable.

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Photo of LordAdmNelson
3.96/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a treat--my first from Left Hand. Pours a nice caramel color with about an inch of tan head that laces nicely as the brew goes along. Smell is a bit lacking, boozy, with some caramel and sweetness. Taste, however, is great, big oaky notes coupled with some grassy hops, sweet caramel, and a bit of booze (but it works in this case). Nice piney burps following... gotta love that. MF is a bit lacking in the creamy department, full bodied and oily, but I would like some more creaminess. I moved through the bomber pretty quick, definitely a nice, enjoyable OA barleywine. Definitely will revisit this.

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Oak Aged Widdershins from Left Hand Brewing Company
3.64 out of 5 based on 192 ratings.
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