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Witchshark - Bellwoods Brewery

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Witchshark
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BA SCORE
93
outstanding

107 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 107
Reviews: 32
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 8.39%
Wants: 16
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:
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 added by: jrenihan on 04-15-2012)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 107 | Reviews: 32 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.83/5  rDev -8.2%
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.

Photo of BEERchitect
4.21/5  rDev +1%
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!

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.75/5  rDev -10.1%
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.

Photo of biegaman
4.45/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

The beer tastes strongly of roasted pineapple and so it's only fitting that it should look something like it too. The caramelized orangey-yellow colour is translucent and replete with highlights despite its coppered tone. Its froth is sturdy but covers only half of the beer's surface; it leaves lacing that hugs the glass like a lonely aunt at a family reunion.

Double IPAs tend to be, by their nature, very aromatic beers. Still, this bouquet reveals a fragrant and gargantuan hop flavour. The aroma is maddeningly citric, to the extent that one could name just about any tropical fruit (pineapple, lychee, mango, blood orange, lemon, grapefruit, etc.) and you'd jump up and scream “that’s exactly what I’m smelling!”

The mango, pineapple, grapefruit, papaya and passionfruit flavours are sure to put a smile on your face - they sure do put one on mine! Yet to be mentioned, though deserving of every the same credit as the fruit, is a pungent and earthy grassy-type element that is very redolent of pine. This sappy, resinous taste sticks on the finish like glue.

As far as the malt-to-hop ratio goes, the toasty, toffee-ish sweetness is a minnow among sharks, so to speak. Still, this beer is built like a Clydesdale, a true-to-form workhorse that has enough of a sturdy, bready malt-base to make the near double-digit alcohol seem like nothing; what should be a bitter as hell hop profile is somehow smooth as glass on the palate.

Californian brands may be the gold standard of juicy, vibrantly citrusy DIPAs but this Canadian offering may be one of the best examples of the style I've ever reviewed. It is a strong (9%) and intensely hopped ale that somehow - inexplicably - comes across as a gentle, social and pleasant drink. For a brewery that seemingly can do no wrong, this may be their best.

Photo of liamt07
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the brewery, into a branded tulip.

Lightly hazy darker orange with some red hues, a couple of fingers of white head with good retention and lacing. Nose is hoppy with sturdy malt support, sort of a sugar cookie type thing going on in the background. Clementine, mango anf a touch of pine later in the nose. Taste again features more malt with solid hop suuport - orange, tangerines, clemetines and relatively bitter into the finish. Again, perhaps a shred of pine. A balanced IIPA, with the alcohol being almost completely masked. Bitter with a generous amount of sweetness, and perhaps the malt could be dialed down just a bit, although I feel I'm being a bit nitpicky. Full feel with a somewhat low carbonation. Solid hop profile and an IIPA I'll definitely seek more of in the future.

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.74/5  rDev -10.3%
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.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.13/5  rDev -1%
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.

Photo of wordemupg
4.13/5  rDev -1%
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

Photo of avalon07
4.21/5  rDev +1%
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.

Photo of tbeckett
3.8/5  rDev -8.9%
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.

Photo of thatoneguymike
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of tom10101
3.75/5  rDev -10.1%

Photo of Rutager
4.49/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Liamt07!

Appearance. Pours a rich and hazy amber with a finger+ of thick cream coloured head.

Smell. Very perfume-like pine with oranges and red grapefruits, A little lightly toasted caramel malt is there backing all those nice hops.

Taste. Sweet ripe oranges complete with bitter rinds, juicy red grapefruit, a bit of cedar, and some nice sweet light caramel malts.

Mouthfeel. Medium+ body with medium-low carbonation.

Overall. One of the best IPAs I've had in a while. Very juicy and clean with a nice oily bitter citrus rind finish. My kind of IPA right here, thanks again Liam.

Photo of bobsy
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of jrenihan
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Bellwoods.

Beer is copper in colour with a white head of moderate size. Good lacing.

A big hop scent in the nose, lots of citrus, and a bit floral.

Taste is excellent. Very bitter, lots of citrus (grapefruit, mainly), some pine. Caramel malt backing it up. A very big flavour, and very good.

Moderate to high carbonation, full bodied, an oily feel. Very drinkable - if this is truly 9%, it has been hidden very well!

Overall, excellent. Bellwoods is a pretty exciting brewery for anybody in Toronto, and this is my favourite of their initial offerings. A really good DIPA that I could easily drink a lot of - but regret the next morning.

Photo of Jeffo
2.88/5  rDev -30.9%
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!

Photo of Molson2000
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of DaPan
4.75/5  rDev +13.9%

Photo of paulish
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of peensteen
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

Photo of Amalak
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

Photo of schnarr84
4.36/5  rDev +4.6%

Photo of papat444
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

Photo of Kmat10
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of JMBSH
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

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Witchshark from Bellwoods Brewery
93 out of 100 based on 107 ratings.