Witchshark - Bellwoods Brewery

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WitchsharkWitchshark

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BA SCORE
89
very good

34 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 34
Hads: 126
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 7.6%
Wants: 18
Gots: 13 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Bellwoods Brewery visit their website
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: jrenihan on 04-15-2012

Generally an IPA is a beer that focuses on hop aroma and hop bitterness – and double IPAs, as you could imagine, are even more amplified in both bitterness and alcohol content. Our interpretation of this aggressive style, the Witchshark, is a bit of a favourite around here. Named after the elusive creature with the head of a shark and the body of a boy that first swooped in on a broom during construction of the brewery, this imperial IPA can elevate a bad day to good. The Witchshark is shy and mischievous, but once you let him into your heart you’ll see why this intense brew is a favourite among our patrons and brewers.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 34 | Hads: 126
Photo of Jeffo
2.97/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Got a couple of these from hopsolutely and peensteen. Thanks a lot guys!

From a 500ml bottle into a snifter

APPEARANCE: Pours a small, medium looking, white head with good retention. Perfectly clear burnt orange in color with medium levels of carbonation. Head fades to a faint wisp and ring. A splotchy wisp remains until the end leaving dots of lacing down the glass.

SMELL: A big nose of pale malts, sweet melon, some grapefruit and lots of pineapple. Some citrus lemon aromas, as well as some alcohol there too. Big stuff, and pretty good.

TASTE: Pale malts and melon sweetness, then some bitterness, alcohol and notes of hair spray at the swallow. A little off, unfortunately. Bold and lingering finish is bitter, boozy, with sweet flavors of pineapple and melon, as well as challenging hair spray flavors. Sweet and boozy, and somewhat unpleasantly bitter.

PALATE: Medium-full body with medium levels of carbonation. Creamy on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes slightly mouth coating. A touch of booze lingers. Really nice feel for the style.

OVERALL: Both bottles of this brew were the same. This is a solid effort that didn't quite work out. The nose was nice and the feel really well put together, but the flavor just didn't follow suit. The same situation as their Wizard Wolf actually. Bitter for the sake of being bitter, boozy, with an off-putting hair spray quality that just didn't sit right. I'd love to try another batch, as Roman Candle has shown that IPA's are one of these guy's strong suits. Cheers for the bottles guys! (1,560 characters)

Photo of DaveBar
3.58/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at the Bellwoods bottle shop for $6.50 for a 500ml bottle. Served at 6deg C in a draught glass

A- Opens well and pours a small white head that is gone in a few seconds. Medium gold color and nothing special.

S- Goodly amount of hops here. Like a DIPA. C hops o plenty

T- Pretty mild for a DIPA. Actually disappointing. So many better examples of an IPA let alone a high ABV IPA like this one. Sweet

M- Flat. Plain and simple it's flat and sticky

O- Ok at best. The scent is incredible but the flavor and mouth not so good. Will not buy again unless it's $3.00/ea

Food Pairing

This ok brew went well with..... Roasted pork sandwich

Enjoy (654 characters)

Photo of heebes
3.7/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours golden with tan foamy head. Nose is citrusy resin hops and a creamy buiscuit malt. Quite balanced auroma, taste is bitter with the hops flowing nicely over the palate. Caramel malt rounds out the finish, and seems quite balanced as well. This isn't a relatively fresh bomber now, but the beer is not a hop bomb or palate cleanser by any means of a dipa. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, creamy and smooth.

Overall a nice IIPA from Bellwoods and a welcome addition to the scene. Very balanced but don't expect the hoppiest brew just yet. Hopefully they decide to go that route one day.
Recommended. (601 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.73/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a medium amber color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of citrus and resin hops are quite power full with some bitterness discernable. Taste is also dominated by loads of citrus notes with some resin and some medium sweet caramel malt. Aftertaste is quite bitter with maybe not as much floral aromas as I would have liked. Body is quite full with great carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Well brewed though a bit too much Cascade for it’s own good. (504 characters)

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.73/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured on-tap and served in a shaker pint, the beer is a hazy, orange-gold coloring, almost opaque, with a clingy, filmy, white head. Nose of biscuit, mango and passion fruit sweetness, and floral hops. Flavors are rich caramel and biscuit forward, with a dark, resiny, bitter hops character at the end. Pepper builds with bitter hops, leading to a dry, spiced, and bitter aftertaste. Very rich and big in mouth, with a clingy, rich finish. Bitterness dries the beer out a bit. This one's heavy and tasty. (505 characters)

Photo of tbeckett
3.81/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle a friend brought from Toronto.

A - Light copper pour, bright with good carbonation. Two fingers of fluffy off white head. Spotty lace rings and half a finger of retention.

S - Grapefruit, sugar, sweet syrupy fruits, pineapple core.

T - Lot's of pineapple, syrupy and boozy fruits, pineapple core, grapefruit.

M - Good carbonation, medium to full body and a gripping bitterness with some alcohol.

O/D - Not my favourite offering from Bellwoods, but decent for the style. Probably too sweet for my tastes and not aggressively hoppy in the way that I prefer a DIPA to be. All in all, a good one. (607 characters)

Photo of swillmeister
3.81/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: poured into a pint glass. Slightly cloudy, light copper color with a creamy head that dissolves fairly quickly

S: tons of floral scent with a whiff of dried orange peel

T: slight bitterness and tang up front but mellows out. Strong flavours of citrus. Close your eyes and you could believe you were drinking a tart grapefruit juice

M: mouthful is on the flat side. Very minimal carbonization

O: this is a quirky beer that may not be for everyone, but if you like a beer with tons of up front floral hops flavour, this is the one for you. (544 characters)

Photo of Sammy
3.87/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at the brewpub. A very drinkable DIPA. Yes, emphasizing the bitterness, however complex melange of hops and the malt backbone is present. Great hoppy aroma. Orange coloured body with retained beige head of 3/8" plus some lace.Citrus taste and I would like more of it. (282 characters)

Photo of erha2
3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: Orangish amber caramel color and cloudy. Small head. Lots of lacing streaming down my glass.

Smell: Hoppy with more malt than I usually like in my IPAs. A little sour, ciderish, grassy too.

Taste: Bitter, citrus more muted (still delicious grapefruit), definitely more caramel malt. Love the candied fruit finish.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and rich. Still medium-bodied and not syrupy. Medium carbonation.

Overall: I've heard good things about Bellwood and was not disappointed with this very fresh, outstanding double IPA. Thanks Twelve Percent for getting this stuff here.

Bottled 5/22/2013
Purchased at Whole Foods Tribeca for $10.99 (but 20% off for their annual 20% off all beer sale so $8.79) (709 characters)

Photo of pksauce
3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Witchshark pours a deep amber with a sticky head that reduced to a small ring as I drank this beauty.

The nose was classic IPA - hoppy, malty and a hint of fruit at the end.

Tasted of hops, hops and more hops. Bitter, dry and spicy. Classic East Coast IPA. Felt sticky and smooth in the mouth.

Overall an awesome IPA - not the best I've had but definitely highly enjoyable. (378 characters)

Photo of hopsolutely
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Have thoroughly enjoyed this beer on tap at the brewery, but this is the first time have taken a bottle home - dated Feb 26/13. The hops would have been more powerful in March, but still an excellent DIPA.

Pours a clear and dark luminescent orange, with a limited white head that disappears pretty quickly. Beautiful aroma of tropical fruits with caramelized malts; mango, pineapple and citrus with a candied sheen. The taste starts with the sweet toffee and caramel of the malt base before the acidity of the 9% ABV hops, the alcohol in which is scarily well hidden. Lots of tropical fruits and west-coast elements - very nice.

A brilliant beer from an excellent new Toronto brewery. Congratulations! (703 characters)

Photo of safaricook
4.01/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Yes this is a good double IPA. If I could get this at home, I would look no further to make this my standard. However, it does not play on the same level as the big boys. The same can be said about all the beers that I had on this late spring night at the Bellwoods brewpub. Their beers are excellent representations of the respective styles. However, the do lack this extra special something to be extraordinary. If you are in Toronto you should definitely seek them out. (472 characters)

Photo of Amalak
4.04/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A. It has a caramel color, it was completely opaque. There's a slight foamy head with little lacing.

S. Very cidery with a grassy undertone.

T/M. It is extremely sweet. It is strong and hoppy. It has a very sweet taste, citrus with a tart apple taste in the back. Heavy with a long finish. There's a smokiness there, as well. Quite carbonated.

O. Very flavorful and strong. A great beer, even if it is a tad too sweet for my liking. (436 characters)

Photo of korguy123
4.04/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle into Bellwoods tulip.
Bottled Jan 29, 2013

Clear dark copper pour with a two finger, off white head. Lacing is sticky sheeting the glass.

Bitter pine and bright citrus, fresh cut grass, and some sweet candied sugar.

Bitter, dry pine. Bright juicy grapefruit and mandarin oranges. Sweetness of raw sugar?

Light body, quick dry finish. (344 characters)

Photo of mtomlins
4.09/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a stemmed tulip glass and shared with friends.

Pours an orangey, amber color with a creamy white head leaving nice lacing. The nose is a beautiful balance of malt and hops. The malts roll in with sweet caramel and doughy, bready notes. The hops hit with lots of citrus (grapefruit and orange), lemon and pine. The palate follows suit with the nose in flavors, but with a bit of a woodsy, musty hop resin. The body is medium-high with nice about of carbonation. This is a solid DIPA with a great nose and mouthfeel; the finish on the palate through me a bit, but this is a personal preference. (619 characters)

Photo of Digimaika2
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle from Bellwoods bottle shop. Bottling date: Feb. 28, 2013

(4.25) A: Very clear copper with a tangerine hue and a good-looking creamy and dense foam head.

(4.25) S: Pine, tart grapefruit, lush mango, toffee, rich and buttery bread. Definitely an overall fresh aroma with those great bold hoppy qualities coming through.

(4.0) T: As per the aroma, with juicy tropical and citrus fruits upfront that lead into a dry pine quality that emits a ton of bitterness. Toffee sweetness and a thick buttered bread taste appear towards the finish. Boozy warmth blankets this, perhaps a tad more noticeable than was expected.

(4.25) M: Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Appropriately, very oily and slick with a long lingering and heavy bitterness.

(4.0) D: This is a standout Imperial IPA that I’d purchase/order again in a heartbeat. Recommend giving this a try, and visiting that bottle shop of theirs! (911 characters)

Photo of WeedKing4
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to a buddy for picking this up from the brewery. This bomber pours a clear, light amber on the first glass, and a golden hazy amber on the second glass. Definately can pick up the tropical fruit flavours in this, with a nice bitterness with the malty finish. The 9.0% alc is well masked and it drinks down very smooth. This is quite a good beer from Ontario. An imperial IIPA! (383 characters)

Photo of wordemupg
4.14/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

341ml stubby poured into tulip 10/10/12 bottled Sept, 21 so its fresh... I guess, no really though cheers liamt07 for this little gem

A light amber orange with some tiny suspended particles being moved around by various sized bubbles, thumbs width of foam falls rather quickly and leaves just a random patch of lace

S tangerine, mandarin orange, and pineapple are quite strong faint floral notes but mostly citric, some sweet malts creating some balance smells strong and awesome

T pine resin and citric rind with a little brown sugar, not as tropical as the nose but still pretty darn tasty

M medium bodied with a sharp bite, gritty and loads of rind on the finish that lingers for ages, zero heat and that's impressive considering its 9% booze and its slick after the grit fades

O what I expect and like in a DIPA, nicely hoped up with a little balance and VERY well concealed booze, really though if you told me this was a 6%er I'd believe you. tropical citrus and a little pine with some sweet malts, right up my alley

I could have another as I don't think I got the chance to fully enjoy this one fully because I drank it to fast. I've only had a few brews from these guys and I predict good things in the future, keep your eye on Bellwoods these guys are going places (1,284 characters)

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewpub. Served in Bellwoods snifter.

A - Cloudy medium orange colour. Half a finger of bright white head formed with decent retention. Light lacing.

S - Huge fresh grapefruit aroma up front. Tangerine and pine also accompany a bitter hop presence. A slightly sweet malt backbone provides some balance.

T - Big grapefruit, pine and orange peel flavours up front that accompany a sharp bitterness. The malt backbone is fairly noticeable and provides a fairly good balance and enough caramel malt sweetness to give this beer the perfect balance.

M - Medium body. Light to moderate carbonation. Full of sticky hop oils.

O - A really good DIPA. Highly recommended. (681 characters)

Photo of peensteen
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy amber orange colour, about a fingers worth of white head, good amount of lace. Smell is very hoppy, citrus, tangerine and grapefruit, a good dose of sweet malt is there as well but this is very much a hop bomb, a bit of alcohol comes across as well but it is a nice mixture of hops and sweet bready malt. Taste is lots of citrusy hop, pineapple, tangerine and grapefruit, a bit of sweetness, mid palate the malt comes through and breaks up the hop assault a bit. Super oily on the palate, medium-full body with a light carbonation making this go down fairly quickly. Solid stuff here, very easy drinking IIPA, it will be quite a while before another Ontario IIPA gives this a run for its money. (699 characters)

Photo of FondueVoodoo
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Huge thanks to TheSevenDuffs for including this brew as part of the fall Canbif.

A: Amber-copper colour in the pour with 3 fingers of beige, off-white head. Crystal Clear brew with the most lazy carbonation slowly making its way to the surface, suggestive of a drink worth lingering over.

S: Smooth and creamy clean malts that let way to the hops, piney and bright lemons, and musky fruits . Intriguing notes of earthy wetness, like wet soil, but not at all off putting - somewhat mysterious.

T: Caramel malts and rock sugars wash over the palette that open up the way for the piney solid hops flecked with musky tropical fruit of mangos ,pineapples and musk melon. Lingering hops hold just long enough to pursued another sip without over powering. Worth noting is the woody notes towards the end, an oak quaintly similar to a French oaked wine. A delicate balance of hops, caramel, sugars and bitters.

M: Poppy carbonation on the front end in a medium syrup base. Just a slight alcohol ester at the end.

O: Witch shark is a delicious and expert balance of malts & hops. It's a mature version of imperial IPA offering a drink that sophisticated, approachable and unpretentious. The slightly higher alcohol content suggest a sipping drink, worth lingering over, rather than a brew to wash down. (1,303 characters)

Photo of avalon07
4.21/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Poured from a bottle to a tulip glass. Had a burnt orange color and a cloudy consistency. Some sediment. There was a small amount of foamy head that quickly dissipated. Pretty good lacing.

S: A solid aroma of hops, light fruit, and pine.

T: Tasted of hops (a lot of hops), some pine, citrus (a little grapefruit), and light malt in the finish. Definitely a hop-centric DIPA, but the fruity elements are apparent. A vibrant flavor.

M: A well-carbonated beer with a slightly bitter finish. Medium-bodied.

O: A well made version of a West Coast DIPA. Very much drinkable. (575 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
4.21/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Seeing all the citrus and tropical action to the south, Toronto's Bellwood Brewery gets on board with a boastful IPA that leans toward West Coast bitterness but with the teeth churning fruit acidity in aroma and taste.

Much like any well-built IPA, the body of the beer is burnt orange and with a mild dry-hopped haze. On top, a fluffy and creamy white cap gives the ale a confident look, even as it retains the session with ease of offering up concentric rings of lace.

Bright aromas of citrus and tropical fruit waft about the nose with impressions of ruby red grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, mangoes, passion fruit and apricot are all represented in the culminated scent that reminds me of Tropical Fruit Punch.

As the sweetness greets the early palate, its of light honey and caramel and with a grainy-sweet taste. As the hop flavor builds in, the sweetness seems of the fructose in those ripe citrus and tropical fruit varieties. Trailing sweetness allows for hop dominance to close the taste with the smooth bitterness as if biting into orange peels and an aftertaste of citrus-scented furniture polish.

Medium bodied to start, the beer's light residual sweetness folds in its carbonation for a creamy texture. But as the carbonation digresses, the bitter dryness of hops and alcohol close the beer crisply, cleanly and with a high level of refreshment.

I love that teeth-churning citrus coat that the beer beer lays on the mouth. Then following with acute bitterness and crisp dryness- only the light solventy taste of alcohol becomes exposed in this otherwise naked beer where no off flavor can hide. Its a masterful representation of the style! (1,660 characters)

Photo of Beelzebeer
4.24/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled January 29th, served in a Bellwoods tulip

A - Chewy darker amber, with 1" head that I had to pull semi-hard to get out

S - Pine! Smells delicious. Resin, a little fruit, some malt.

T - Some jackfruit, more fruit than on the nose. 9% is evident, but not overwhelming. Nice malt backbone.

M - A little bit too thick for my tastes. Good carbonation.

O - Maybe not my fav, but not far off. Would love to have again. (426 characters)

Photo of papat444
4.26/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to jrenihan for this one.

Poured from a 341ml. stubby bottle, bottled Sept. 21, 2012.

Appearance: A nice slightly hazy honey-colored body with circle upon circle of nice, hanging lacing.

Smell: Very grassy, citrusy, orange.

Taste: Fresh fruit, bit of brown sugar, lots of grapefruit, flesh and rinds combined. Really intense and good.

Mouthfeel: Very creamy, good bitterness, well balanced.

Overall: Very pleased with this one. Would love to have this on hand more often. (484 characters)

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Witchshark from Bellwoods Brewery
89 out of 100 based on 34 ratings.