Midnight Project #3 Oxymoron | Left Hand Brewing Company

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Midnight Project #3 OxymoronMidnight Project #3 Oxymoron

Brewed by:
Left Hand Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Pilsner

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.20%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
India Pale Lager

Added by Mavajo on 08-25-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 65 | Ratings: 91
Photo of Jadjunk
3.33/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

"Sometime around midnight in a city nobody can agree on, the idea for Left Hand and Terrapin to brew a collaboration beer was born. Oxymoron is the third in a series of one-time releases between our two breweries. A combination of contradictions embodied in liquid form, Oxymoron is an American-style IPA brewed with three German malts, six German hop varieties, and a lager yeast strain. Obnoxious yet reserved, elevated yet modest, it's the embodiment of blending two brewing philosophies together in order to achieve singularity. Consider it an expression of cruel kindness." Brewed in the style of an Imperial Pilsner.

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber to a pilsner glass. Served north of 48º Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a creamy white head that recedes at an average rate. Body color is a hazy copper amber with sediment in suspension. Carbonation is busy and excited. Overall it's a decent appearance although not reminiscent of a pilsner in terms of coloration or substance. The chunks of matter in the beer may not be appealing either. 3.5

(Smell) Creamy caramel malts, a touch of rye malt, some honey malt. Yeast presence is bready and robust. Hop character is faint, but earthy and pine trace remains. Still not like a pilsner, and not like an India Pale Lager either. Smells much like a rye lager, very forward on malt and less on hops. A very full flavor, pretty heavy in aroma but pleasing. 3.5

(Taste) Toasted caramel grain and some peppery rye malt. The murky hop flavors are far past their prime and have rapidly faded. A remaining buttery rye character is most dominant, plus a touch of caramel and a wet cardboard funk (oxidation). I wish I'd have found this a long time ago, because a full bouquet of hop character would certainly balance this beer out. It's still surprisingly decent but has faded significantly in the fragile hop character. 3

(Mouthfeel) Creamy textures, some mild slickness and resin. Heavy bodied amongst Pilseners and India Pale Lagers, and medium+ bodied overall. The texture is quite decent for a bready, malt heavy beer. Alcohol presence is mild. 3.75

(Overall) The malt character remained mostly intact and dominant in this beer but the six types of hops were all but faded with time, leaving this malt-heavy beer out-of-balance in flavor and bitterness. Still enjoyable even at this time, I would still recommend approaching with caution and the potential of being disappointed in the lack of remaining flavor this beer has to offer. 3.5

Left Hand Brewing Company's
Midnight Project #3: Oxymoron: A Teutonic India Pale Lager

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Photo of bigfnjoe
2.89/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a perfect pint

A- pours a cloudy shade of orangeish/yellow with a one finger offwhite head...the head is very thick. That looks nice at least

S- stale citrus hops....ugh

T- mild bit of citrus hops....they not very strong or juicy. Mild bite in the end. Bleh

M- thin body. Not too bad, actually

O- I'm sure this would be a lot better fresher, but it is what it is.

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Photo of JohnnyMc
3/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A very unique, once-in-a-lifetime brew. Terrapin and Left Hand have come together to create this "Teutonic India Pale Ale."

The aroma is like an IPA, fresh with a hint of citrus, but the taste is very different. As it first hits the tongue there is the light hop flavor which quickly changes to a sweet malt taste. Unfortunately, all that's left after a few moments is a strong, bitter aftertaste. Not a great beer, but not bad.

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Photo of kevosbob
3.21/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

In my own opinion, when breweries form friendships and collaborate it makes me proud to be involved in the craft beer culture. It’s what make this business better than any other. Lefthand Brewing Company and Terrapin Brewing Company have collaborated on a few different beers over the years. Oxymoron is their third beer in the limited “Midnight Project” series of beers. Oxymoron is an India Pale Lager that was brewed in the summer of 2010. Oxymoron has a 7.2% alcohol by volume and is brewed with German malts, six German hops, and with a cold fermenting lager yeast.

This beer pours a beautiful deep orange color with a mild haze. The head pours a creamy white color with a slight yellow tint. This beer smells complex and takes a second to decipher the malts, hops, and yeast profiles. I pick out notes of pine, wet-grass, berries, orange peel, and a mild iron-ish undertone. Definitely a hoppy beer, but smells less organized and more complex like an unfinished puzzle.

At first sips I recognize the similarities between the the lagered German malts in this and in traditional German lagers. Oxymoron has a light mouth feel with a slight alcohol burn but does not have the expected lager crispness. The complexity is nice but I feel like the lager yeast mutes the potential IPA intensity. I feel that less hops but with specific characteristics would have been better for a lagered IPA. The beer has a nice finish that has a dry citrus quality.

Overall this beer isn’t bad but also isn’t too special ether. It’s nice to taste this beer and start to understand the qualities of lager yeasts. It makes me want to know what other ales would taste like if you lagered the brew process. It also makes me understand why you see hoppy beers brewed with a warmer, ale, brew process. If you like tasting beer I suggest buying a bottle but if you can’t find it anymore, don’t sweat it.

My Beer Rating: 3.5

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Photo of hopfacebrew
3.53/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 22 oz bomber to pint glass.

A - The beer pours a translucent copper color with a nice 1/5 finger of fluffy dark white head. Good retention and decent lacing.

S - Interesting blend of earthy/grassy/citrus hop character along with some malty sweetness and a bit of peppery spice.

T - The beer starts with a mild bitterness as well as the malty sweetness. The beer opens up to a grassy/earthy hop character with mild citric qualities. The peppery flavor on the nose is prevalent as well. The beer finishes somewhat dry with mild bitterness on the tongue and a decent blend of malt sweetness.

M - Medium bodied with adequate carbonation. Hides the alcohol well.

D - Fairly easy to put down.

Note: This review was a re-post from my former account, jmkratt, which was hacked and I lost all my reviews...sorry for the redundancy.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 03-01-2011 15:12:11

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Photo of legalpete19340
3.2/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Poured amber with a huge head. Lacing and retention were modest.

S: Mild grain with a hint of lemon and grass.

T: Is this an IPA? It comes on very strong with grain and bread flavors. There are some notes of grassy hops and maybe light citrus flavors. The grain and bread are truly overwhelming and leave a lingering iced tea flavor.

M: Medium in every way with recognizable fizz.

O: This is a big grainy beer. The grain and bread flavors push everything else out of the picture and render it quite difficult to drink. One was enough for me.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.59/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Single finger white head on a amber with golden hues cloudy body. Nice fruity and dark fruit aroma. Flavor is more bitter than expected. Plum and fig with a piney note. Semi dry finish. Medium
body and moderate carbonation. Overall not a vet special imperial pilsner. Had better.

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Photo of jsanford
3.18/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into a Pint Glass.

Pours a dark orange-amber with a thin, creamy off-white head that settles to a thin haze. Subdued aromas of crisp pilsner malt with some slightly pungent grassy hops. Taste is again sweet malt with some grassy, piney hops and a long bitter finish. Not bad. Fairly slick mouthfeel, with a medium body and moderate carbonation. Overall, not a bad brew, but tasted like a run-of-the-mill DIPA, not some special "Imperial Pilsner".

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Photo of ajwillys
4.42/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into 5 juice glasses

Appearance - Cloudy with light head.
Smell - Honey, honey, honey and some citrus. Smells good.
Taste - Initially tastes like Brisk Tea, then finishes like delicious beer.
Mouthfeel - Smooth. sticky from the honey. lightly carbonated
Overall - Could drink all night. Ten bucks; worth it.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.65/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a mug glass.

A: The beer is a bright amber color, with a thin off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains caramelized malts, lager yeast, a good amount of hops and some citrus.

T: The taste starts out with a mild sweetness from flavors of caramel and citrus along with some herbal tea notes in the background. Then a decent hops bitterness comes in. The malt character is a bit on the thin side but provides some balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: A little tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style, there are some better beers in the style but this is still a solid beer worth drinking for a while.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.7/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured out as a clear golden yellow color, the head was big and white. The lacing was pretty good looking too. The smell of the beer was a little grassy but had a good amount of hops to help cover it up a bit. The taste of the beer was a little bit like a pilsner but it was kind of sweet and had a good hop quality to it as well. I found it to be a little interesting. The mouthfeel was pretty light, medium bodied at most. Overall I found it to be pretty good but wouldn't have to try it again.

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Photo of bbeane
3.55/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Poured into an oversized snifter... starts with a white head that disappears quickly leaving some light lacing. Beer is crisp amber color with mild activity

S- Dry bready aroma with some hop presence

T- Bready biscuity taste to start, hints of malt, with a mild hop in the finish

M- Medium body with light carbonation

O- This one was just ok in my book. It tasted good and was easy to drink but was nothing to right home about


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Photo of ArrogantDeadGuy
2.58/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Cloudy yellow/copper pour with little head to speak of. Decent white lace. The nose is a bit acidic and metally. It even has a little stale water aroma to it. There is a bit of malt sweetness to the aroma when I take a huge deep breath inside of the glass. Nice hop bitterness upfront but anticlimactic on the finish, dry and bland. As I drink it gets sweeter and more metalic on my tongue. A little thin in body and a lingering bitterness at the back of my pallet is a very unwelcome attribute. I may have a little trouble finishing the bottle. Um, not a fan. I am left wanting more yeast and grass from my pils, maybe a little lemon and understanding that a lot of IPs tend to up their hop content this one fell a little short. I really wanted to like this as I have really come to adore the style, but I just don't feel they represented the style well at all.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.03/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

First had: on tap at Pinocchio's, Media, PA

A collaboration between Left Hand and Terrapin.

Poured a copper color with a small white head. Fairly balanced aroma with caramel malts and floral and citrus hops. Taste-wise, it started off ok, very earthy, bready, and amber ale-ish. But it didn't have much flavor and the aftertaste was kind of stale. Medium body, and not overly drinkable. Good, but overall, not very memorable.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.22/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a strange)
Bottled 8.18.10
A- This beer pours a reddish-copper body that is crystal clear with a sea of microbubbles racing to a thick creamy antique white head that last a good bit.

S- The sweet aroma of dry caramel, honey malt and raw grain has some biscuit malt notes that come through as it warms. This beer was fragrant even during the pour and has a nice complexity

T- The dry Munich and caramel malt flavor have an orange flavor that finishes with a pungent Noble hop finish that lingers for a moment in the dry finish. As the beer opens there is a light lemon herbal flavor to the hops in the finish.

M- This beer has a light mouthfeel with a crisp finish and a tight little fizz.

D- The bright crisp flavors of layers of malt are complimented by some good hops with some nice depth as well. This drinks like a session beer and hides the alcohol well.

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Photo of BrewCrew2010
3.85/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a copper orange body with a small white head. Little lacing.

S: Sweet caramel & toasted malt aroma followed by citrus & floral hops.

T: Earthy hops upfront with notes of grapefruit, followed by sweet bready malts. No high ABV detected.

M: Medium body; Moderate carbonation; Smooth and resin like texture.

O: Interesting combo of the two styles. Enjoyed it and it was very easy to drink. Could drink 1-2 of these.

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Photo of potownbill
4.1/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This was the perfect beer for the situation. Jumping between the NBA Playoffs, Mets game (Ugh!) and golf on a rainy Saturday. Appearance: Amber orange with a 1 finger white head. Leaves an oil slick on the side of the glass. Smell: earthy, bready, some citrus. Taste: Some hops bitterness, which shifts the style from Pilsner to Pale Ale, but then the sweet malt comes through. No apparent alcohol.
Mouthfeel: Here is the only true weakness. The beer tends to be a bit thin.
Overall: Tempting to drink another 22oz bottle, but, at 7.2%, that would not be a wise decision.

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Photo of rawfish
2.43/5  rDev -31%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Bought because the label looked cool and I've enjoyed everything else I've had from left hand. An imperial lager using german hops and lager yeast, interesting idea.

22oz. bomber pours hazy pale straw and orange with a small light head that travels well down the glass.

Nose is well average for a lager, not hop forward, yeast and bread frontal, slightly floral with a mix of pine and citrus.

German pilsner style predominates, very malty with slight sweetness but also some stale bread in there too. The hops are dull medicinal herbs and hay. Rather earthy and dry on the finish, even steely a touch. Not refreshing at all like both lagers and IPAs are.

Medium bodied, smooth but carbonation suffers and the bitterness doesn't fit the lager base well. Not a crisp or fresh dryness.

I initially thought the lager base could easily be overwhelmed by a more noble or American hop presence but I found this to be a plain lager with rather unpleasant bitterness and hard to finish.

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Photo of BamaViper1
3.53/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a beer mug. Bottle dated 08/18/2010.

This beer pours golden brown into the glass forming a thin 1/4 inch head that dissipates quickly. There seems to be little lacing as well.

The beer immidiately smells of florals and toasted malt. There is a hint of sourness, but it it incredibly faint.

The beer tastes of fruit mixed with roasted malt with a slight breadiness. This is all emphasized by a light, but crisp, hop presence with notes of citrus. The finish is long and bitter with hints of biscuit and grapefruit.

The beer has a medium body with nice carbonation and a lingering finish.

Overall this is not a bad beer. This lager is very easy to drink and I would say it is definitely sessionable. Knowing that this beer is a little bit old, I imagine a stronger hop presence when freshly brewed would only make it better. Even it's ABV makes it accessible. Although lagers are not my style, this collaboration is actually quite nice.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
3.53/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 3-18-10.
22oz bottle poured into a pilsner glass. A bright, clear red/orange color. Small, off-white head. A little bit of lace.
Citrus aroma. Sweet malt. Kind of outdoorsy.
Grapefruit taste mostly. Some other citrus. Biscuity.
A very hoppy beer. Not very pilsner-like.
Still, a decent beer to drink.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.7/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle into a couple of pint glasses.

Pours a crystal clear copper, with a rich frothy finger of off-white head. This retains well, with a robust foamy flare-up that leaves a good bit of spotty lacing behind. The aroma is grassy and citric, with a fair it of spiciness happening, as a peppery push of flavor sits in front of some tight malty notes of caramel and bread. I'm digging it for the most part.

The taste is bitter with leafy green citrus flavors that are backed by a smooth malt backbone of grains and some slightly caramelized sweetness. A bit of a grassy feel sits on the edges of the profile. The spiciness of the hops definitely carries over from the nose and sticks in the finish along with some dry bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and generally easy feeling, with a silky crispness that glides along in the mouth. That 7% ABV is very nicely hid as well. I would have never guessed it was that high.

This was certainly interesting; with both IPA and Lager characteristics pulling this in both directions. I guess ultimately I enjoyed the smooth Lager body on this but I wish that the IPA flavors had been maybe a bit more forceful (since this is the way that the flavor profile seemed to be mostly directed). Maybe this was a bit underwhelming considering that I really enjoyed the last two collaborations between these breweries. I guess you can't knock them all out of the park but this was still decent.

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Photo of oberon
3.6/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured at the Mellow Mushroom from a bomber into a stadard pint glass a slight chill hazed copper with a thinner but well sustained white head.Vienna lager-like aromas in my opinion,caramel malt with a bit of spicy/herbal hop,the alcohol sweetness shows thru a little as the beer warms.A little thinner than expected in the mouthfeel department,not quite watery but nowhere near it should be.Sweet caramel doughiness is the main flavor component that I picked up,light herbal hops in the finish,again the alcohol sweetness does creep a little.Not a real bad beer, and its a bit different but not worth the hefty price tag it commands.

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Photo of farrago
3.53/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Frothy eggshell white head, close to a finger in depth with above average retention, extremely strong lacing, thick brush strokes. Bright glow to the reddish orange liquid, soft cloudiness but, on the whole, easy enough to see through, few scattered bubbles visible. Sweet orange and grapefruit citrus bubble through the nose, equally matched by pepper and a saline touch, lots of pretzel dough and rye bread, overall pungency and thickness in your nostrils helps the peach, apricot, apple, pear scents last, the hops bring out more green herbaceousness than may be preferred. Medium-bodied, tight carbonation scrubs as well as impels things forward. Dry with more bitterness than astringency, the rye, pumpernickel and salt give it energy but precludes much softness of texture. The orange, white grapefruit, lemon citrus keeps its juiciness start to finish, welcome presence. Pine resin, cut grass, tar and the generalized hoppy greenness play a large role. The peach, apple, apricot fruit average in length and depth. Okay beer, maybe trying too hard.

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Photo of avalon07
3.58/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pilsner glass. Had an amber color and a slightly cloudy consistency. There was an inch and a half of foamy, long-lasting head. Good lacing.

S: Definitely a different aroma than I was expecting. Very fruity and citrusy, with some maltiness.

T: Taste consisted of citrus, a bit of malt, and a nice dose of hops. I understand this was supposed to be a hybrid of two styles, but that does make things slightly unfocused in the flavor department.

M: A decently carbonated beer with a dry finish. Light- to medium-bodied.

D: This is a beer with some good attributes, but is definitely an uneven experiment. Not to say it's undrinkable, but the whole does not equal the sum of its parts.

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Photo of prototypic
3.38/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Oxymoron pours a very clear copper color. Backlighting gives it a slight garnet tint. A creamy, off-white head caps it. It's nearly two fingers tall and recedes slowly. Lacing is definitely sticky, but moderate in terms of volume. Not bad.

The nose is interesting. It kicks off with a sweet, caramel malt scent. They're followed by a rather strong hop aroma. They're floral, and perhaps a bit piney. Very noble-esque. I don't know what the hop bill consists of, but that'd be my guess. There's an interesting mix of spices that emerges late. Alcohol is blended well and isn't too strong. Eh. It's okay. Interesting, but just okay.

The flavor is a little better than the nose. Enough to warrant a score bump. It is very sweet initially. Caramel/toffee flavors are rather strong throughout, but do provide a sturdy, flavorful base. They are complemented by a blend of floral and spicy hops. They do seem noble in character to me, but I don't know that for sure. It's a little bitter, but is balanced to a large degree by the malts. Alcohol is blended pretty well, and isn't much of a factor. It finishes sweet, a little bitter, and very dry.

Oxymoron has a body that's on the light side of medium. Given the substantial amount of malty sweetness, I'm surprised it feels so thin. More body would be good. Drinkability is above average. The flavor's pretty good, but gets a little old. A bomber's probably a little much.

Oxymoron is an interesting concept that is pretty good beer. I've never had an India Pale Lager before. It's alright, but isn't a great success. It's a little too sweet and balanced for my taste. Less malts might be a step in the right direction. It's worth a try, but that's probably about it. Stick with a single bomber.

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Midnight Project #3 Oxymoron from Left Hand Brewing Company
3.52 out of 5 based on 91 ratings.
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