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Witchshark - Bellwoods Brewery

Not Rated.
WitchsharkWitchshark

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

100 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 100
Reviews: 32
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 8.65%
Wants: 16
Gots: 9 | 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: 100 | Reviews: 32 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Boozecamel
4/5  rDev -3.8%

Boozecamel, Oct 17, 2013
Photo of valianes
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

valianes, Oct 16, 2013
Photo of Jeffo
2.88/5  rDev -30.8%
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!

Jeffo, Oct 13, 2013
Photo of FondueVoodoo
4.19/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

FondueVoodoo, Oct 12, 2013
Photo of FEUO
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

FEUO, Sep 30, 2013
Photo of gloryhole
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%

gloryhole, Aug 16, 2013
Photo of Freeod
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

Freeod, Aug 04, 2013
Photo of mick303
4.41/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

500mL bottle into a tulip glass. Colour is a lovely dark orange amber, quite hazy, with a nice big white head that recedes slowly and has really good lace retention.

S - a big explosion of citrus and piney hops. Lime/grapefruit, and crisp herbally pine, some caramel sweet backdrop. Also a bit floral, with a cool interplay of hop aromas over a firm malt base. Really nice.

T - starts with an refreshing gummy citrus note, and pine needles, leading to a super-smooth creamy body and crisp finish, then a lingering dry herbal and peppery aftertaste. The palate shows off some rich hop character, dry grapefruit citrus balanced with pine and firm malts. Then a zing of citrus acidity kicks in to wake it up. It is so well balanced and drinkable. Has a full upfront profile but goes down very subtly.

M - some moderate carbonation, only minimal of the 'slick' feel often in DIPAs. This is very refreshing and quenching and smooth through the body and then lingers on in a slightly herbal-oily aftertaste. Very full rich feel. Crisp and rewarding finish.

One of the more refreshing and smoothest DIPAs I've tried. Definitely has a big American hop profile with all the flavour and complexity you would expect, the bitterness here doesnt feel as overpowering and there is definitely a firm malt support. I love the combination as it is one hefty and satisfyingly tasty IPA. Seek it out.

mick303, Aug 02, 2013
Photo of vishnyc
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%

vishnyc, Jul 21, 2013
Photo of pksauce
4/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

pksauce, Jul 19, 2013
Photo of BEERchitect
4.21/5  rDev +1.2%
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!

BEERchitect, Jul 15, 2013
Photo of erha2
3.99/5  rDev -4.1%
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)

erha2, Jul 07, 2013
Photo of avalon07
4.21/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

avalon07, Jul 03, 2013
Photo of Amalak
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

Amalak, Jul 01, 2013
Photo of hopsolutely
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
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!

hopsolutely, Jul 01, 2013
Photo of GarthDanielson
3.74/5  rDev -10.1%
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.

GarthDanielson, Jun 28, 2013
Photo of Timmy13T
3.5/5  rDev -15.9%

Timmy13T, Jun 23, 2013
Photo of JxExM
4/5  rDev -3.8%

JxExM, Jun 20, 2013
Photo of KeKeKumba
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

KeKeKumba, Jun 17, 2013
Photo of Rutager
4.49/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

Rutager, Jun 15, 2013
Photo of monitorpop
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

monitorpop, Jun 02, 2013
Photo of beerhunter13
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

beerhunter13, May 23, 2013
Photo of kelvarnsen
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

kelvarnsen, May 20, 2013
Photo of tom10101
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%

tom10101, May 19, 2013
Photo of biegaman
4.45/5  rDev +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.

biegaman, May 02, 2013
Witchshark from Bellwoods Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 100 ratings.