1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Witchshark - Bellwoods Brewery

Not Rated.
Witchshark
No picture uploaded.
Have one? Upload it now.
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: 12 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 107 | Reviews: 32 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of KeKeKumba
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

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 monitorpop
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of beerhunter13
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of kelvarnsen
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of tom10101
3.75/5  rDev -10.1%

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 CurtisD
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of mattsander
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of Brewtardius
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of phirleh
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of timeo
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of timiskin
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of yancot
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of Digimaika2
4.09/5  rDev -1.9%
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!

Photo of Beelzebeer
4.24/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

Photo of korguy123
4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
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.

Photo of DaPan
4.75/5  rDev +13.9%

Photo of HATS4BATS
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of Groulxsome
4.63/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Bottled on January 30th, 2013 and bought from the brewery, Witch Shark pours a copper amber with orange hues and a slim white head (4.25). The boozy, pine, and grapefruit aroma (4.5) is followed by a rich sweetness and light caramel malt taste which is cut through by lots of big, sharp, almost acidic citrus and resinous hops (4.75). The strong bitterness is followed by a fair bit of alcohol heat, a syrupy body (4.25), and a lingering grapefruit rind taste. A wonderfully balanced beer between the big piney hops, the brown sugar sweetness, and the brazen booziness. This is a DIPA for those who really enjoy pine and resinous flavours that cannot help but remind me of Hercules DIPA by Great Divide Brewing Company (a somewhat polarizing interpretation of the DIPA, but one that I am particularly fond of). While not the tropical fruit combination which now seems to be emblematic of the style, Witch Shark is not to be over looked and is, at least in my opinion, one of the very best beers being brewed in Ontario (4.75).

Photo of heebes
3.66/5  rDev -12.2%
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.

Photo of Vyronian
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%

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 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 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

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