Saturday, August 25, 2012

Left Hand Oktoberfest Märzen Lager review

Left Hand Oktoberfest Märzen LagerOccasionally, I'll dip back into the list of beers I've had before and try them again. In this case, I was sent some complimentary sample bottles of Left Hand Oktoberfest Märzen Lager to try. I knew that back in August 2008 during the Big Beer Run to DaveCo Liquors I had purchased a six-pack of this brew. Yet, to my surprise, I had failed to post a review of this beer after six different tastings. Shame on me. Well, now is as good a time as any to review it as we are now getting into the 2012 Oktoberfest season here in Colorado.

This year's batch weighs in at 6.6% ABV and a modest 24 IBU. Left Hand Oktoberfest is available in 12oz six-packs where ever LH brews are sole. This beer was brewed with Munich and Pilsner malts and bittered with Magnum and Spalter Select hops. This beer was actually brewed during the Spring and it took months to fully lager out. This beer has won 3 previous medals at the GABF since 1997 and is a Colorado seasonal staple.

Appearance: This Oktoberfest lager had good clarity and poured a dark gold to near Amber in color. There wasn't much of a head when poured, perhaps nearly a finger width of big white bubbles, but that didn't last very long. Not much on the lacing as well as when swirled the foam quickly slid off the glass. There seemed to be an adequate amount of carbonation in the pour.

Aroma: Left Hand's Oktoberfest had a modestly toasted German malt aroma with just a trace of hop in the nose. The smell seemed to match the BJCP profile very well.

Left Hand Oktoberfest Märzen Lager 2008Taste: Up front, I got the taste of slightly sweet toasted malts. The beer wasn't very bitter and was tilted more towards the maltier side than hop side. It was also reminded me a bit of bread. This beer was drying on the finish as well. Not sure if I could call the malts caramelly, but it was sweet in the way I'd expect an Oktoberfest to taste without being overly sweet. The beer left a slight reminder of itself well after the taste was done. The noble hops came out at the end when I exhaled through my nose.

Overall: I certainly had no trouble polishing off both 12oz samples back to back. This was an enjoyable lager. It had just enough toastiness that it made for a good brew to drink during those late Summer / early Fall days when it's not too hot, but not yet cold enough to put on a long sleeve shirt. The ABV is higher than the BJCP guidelines calls for (4.8 - 5.7%) yet was still enjoyable as a sessionable beer in my opinion.

I included a picture of Left Hand Oktoberfest from 2008 (above right) as well back when I originally tasted it. The label has changed significantly, but luckily the quality of the beer has maintained itself over the last 4 years.

Disclosure: I was offered some samples from Left Hand Brewing Company during their 2012 release promotion for this beer. I was not paid to do a promotion, rather, this is an independent review.

Video showing the pour of a Left Hand Oktoberfest Märzen Lager:

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Related articles:
- 2012 Colorado Oktoberfest Celebrations.
- Left Hand Brewing releases Oktoberfest for the Fall season.
- Left Hand Smokejumper Smoked Imperial Porter review.
- Left Hand Wake Up Dead Imperial Stout review.

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