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Widdershins - Left Hand Brewing Company

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173 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 173
Reviews: 98
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 12.9%

Brewed by:
Left Hand Brewing Company visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Jarod on 09-22-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 173 | Reviews: 98 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Gristle

South Carolina

3.4/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

3/3/14 Bottled

Note: To be fair, this is my first time tasting an Oak Aged Barleywine.

Look - Dark caramel brown on the pour, very little pure white head.

Smell - I'm picking up caramel with fruity undertones; apple maybe, very light bread aroma

Taste - Bready up front followed by big fruit flavors: apple, fig; followed by a bitterness not overwhelming with some alcohol that comes through in the finish as well

Mouth feel - full bodied, slick but smooth but a little heavy, well carbonated, warming alcohol

I would definitely drink this again, I a huge fan of IPA's so I'm accustomed to the bitterness but to me it's a mix of fruity flavors and bitterness that is oddly combined. I'll be trying other barleywines to compare for sure.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2014 04:02:16 | More by Gristle
Photo of hardy008


2.1/5  rDev -43.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Clear light amber with a small off white head which fades quickly, and leaves no lacing. The aroma has caramel, candied orange peel, oranges, and oak.

Tastes is both bitter and sweet, and not very complex. Has oranges, orange zest, caramel, oak, sugar, and alcohol. Sounds better than it tastes or smells, because these ingredients don't come together the way they should. Seems very disjointed and unappealing to me.

Medium bodied with low carbonation, and an alcohol and orange zest aftertaste. Not a beer that I would recommend, or try again.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2014 02:05:32 | More by hardy008
Photo of alpinebryant


3.1/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

2009 Bottle Opened 2/2/2014

A: Cellared for at least three years , pours a heavy thick white head and a medium amber orange body.

S: Aroma of candied sugar, American Oak and two row malt.

T: This is a lot more subdued than I had thought it might be. At this point, I assume it has gone downhill slightly from its original self, but aging has definitely made it less flavorful and more subdued. Currently I think it tastes like a light cardboard flavor with hints of aged hops, and pale malt. I would say in its current state , this is much more English barleywine than American barleywine. Pale malt, subdued hops, esters that are barely there.

M: Mild body , carbonation is still present after 5 years in a bottle.

O: There really is not a whole lot to this one that I can pick up. This is more pale ale meets English barleywine than American barleywine at this juncture in time. I will need to possibly revisit a younger version of this to see how they stack up to each other.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2014 18:48:03 | More by alpinebryant
Photo of smcolw


3.14/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Beautifully clear with a light amber color. Decent bar-pour head. Leaves some initial ring lace. Less as you get to the bottom.

Sweet smell of raisins with a strong alcohol warmth. I noted some butterscotch and band aids.

Smooth start, harsh finish. This isn't as well blended as most barley. The medicinal smell leeches into the flavor. Less alcohol warmth than most. The finish is astringent without any complex hop. The aftertaste is warming.

Serving type: on-tap

01-18-2014 19:58:12 | More by smcolw
Photo of tdm168

North Carolina

4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Tasty Beverage on 8/22/12. Served in a snifter.

A - dark caramel brown with a little, soft, white head

S - very fruity; pear and apple, faint bread

T - bready up front followed by big fruit flavors: pear, apple, fig; some alcohol comes through in the finish

M - full bodied, smooth, well carbonated, warming alcohol

This is a decent beer though a bit fruity. I prefer a more malty Barleywine or perhaps a bit more hoppy. This wasn't bad by any means but the fruits dominated that flavor. I wouldn't turn this down though.

Serving type: on-tap

08-25-2012 14:33:49 | More by tdm168
Photo of Rifugium


3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at TJ's, Paoli, PA (I think?)

Hazy, ruddy-brown pour, with a small whitish head; not much in the way of lacing or retention. Aroma of caramel, sweet malts, phenols, woody, with a bit of indistinct fruit. Similar taste, bready and malt-driven, sugary sweet with a vague medley of cherry juice, dried apricot, light citrus, notes of phenol and bitter hops, with a little heat from the alcohol, but not at all overbearing. Medium bodied, fairly smooth and a bit sticky. Not bad overall.

Serving type: on-tap

08-23-2012 04:15:44 | More by Rifugium
Photo of quirkzoo


3.85/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Trinity while waiting for Younger. I actually didn't know this was an American Barleywine when i ordered it so it was kind of fun to try to place the style of beer.

Pours a really nice deep amber with a whisp of off white head. Smell is heavily caramel malts just barely accented by some hops. Pretty straightforward smell nothing too complex but still nice. The taste is a bit more complex than the nose. I get some nice dark fruity esters that complement the caramel maltiness, figs, peaches. Strong bitterness but the malt is still the center of the show. The mouthfeel was good but nothing special. Overall it is a solid, malt-centric American barleywine. Not very hoppy compared to Stone or even Old Ruffian but very good. If I see a bottle of this I will definitely pick it up to try with a bit of age on it.

Serving type: on-tap

03-13-2012 16:04:27 | More by quirkzoo
Photo of cosmo4u

New York

3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tap takeover at holy smoke

Pours a hazy rubied medium amber with a thick, sudsy tan head. The head looks like it might have grain husk and hop leafs knocking around in it--really chewy-looking stuff. Nice earthy and piney nose; you get big blasts of malt and hops at the same time. Body’s on the high side of medium, with soft carb. Clean, easy-drinking mid-palate with grain nusk, nuts, toast, and then some light resin and pineyness. This is pretty damn tasty. Curious what some age might do for it.

Serving type: on-tap

01-29-2012 14:52:51 | More by cosmo4u
Photo of jayhawk73


3.43/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On draft at rustico:

Pours a very clear amber color with a thin white head. Minimal lacing and clear in appearance. The nose is somewhat disappointing, very weak, with oak, caramel, and malt in the forefront. The taste is slightly better, with oak, vanilla, citrus, hops, fruit, caramel malt in the mix. Feel is medium, with ok carbonation... Very dry finish as well. Overall, a decent brew for the style, but there are better examples.

Serving type: on-tap

01-05-2012 02:43:00 | More by jayhawk73
Photo of Knapp85


3.35/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured out as a brown color with some amber highlights to it. the head was decent looking and white in color. The lacing was sticky along the glass. The smell of the beer was sweet with malts and caramel aromas. The taste was also sweet with some bitter hops in the mix along with a light herbal flavor in there. The mouthfeel was thick and pretty heavy actually. Overall this is a decent Barley Wine to me, I'm not the biggest fan of the style but I feel there are better ones out there.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2012 06:20:21 | More by Knapp85
Photo of The1WineGuy

New Jersey

4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Left Hand Widdershins 2009 / Drinked ;-) 12-30-2011

Cellared for over a year then another 6 months in my fridge. No visible abv% on label.

Oaky-malt nose with twisting fruit ester sweetness.

First sip is a classic barleywine with a subtle tannic oak finish. The flavors switch from mid to back palate with each sip. Sweet fruit up front to Oak finish. The Widdershins doesn't come off as overly hopped and bitter. The malts and oak flavors fold over each other to hide the high abv%. It's stated that this is aged in Brandy casks, there is not much of a brandy flavor, maybe a touch, but more of an impression of clean white oak.

Nice flavorful medium-full mouthfeel of good carbs aids in disguising the alcohol content.

Happy to have found this beer and have tried it. Overall worthy of the purchase and redux.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2011 00:02:33 | More by The1WineGuy
Photo of endincolorado


3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy, red-amber with a fine sediment. Lots of sticky lace and two fingers worth of beige head that settles slowly.

Up front, there's a sort of phenolic aroma, blended with a faint citrus that reminds me a little of modeling glue. Some wood and smoke come out alongside a caramel malt as the beer warms.

The flavor is full of nice, bready malt tempered by a delicious oakiness. Faint notes of brandy are notable on the finish.

This one is medium bodied with adequate carbonation. It leaves a slightly astringent, feeling as well as an alcohol-warmth behind after each sip.

Definitely not your typical american barleywine, Left Hand's Widdershins is a welcome departure and this particular bottle seems to have a nice sweetness, maybe due to its two years of aging.

Serving type: bottle

08-29-2011 04:00:35 | More by endincolorado
Photo of jondeelee


4.22/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Widdershins is a barleywine-style ale, but with 50% of the malt aged in oak casks, and this aging process brings about wonderful and unexpected changes to the brew. The initial taste is much like a well-crafted barleywine: hoppy, with strong apricot and fruit nectar notes, but from there the palate descends almost immediately into deep caramels and chocolates, with a decided oaky, perhaps peat finish, all more reminiscent of either a chocolate stout or a port wine. Some reviewers have criticized the beverage for the latter elements of this palate, claiming it out of balance, but I thought the result genius.

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2011 16:14:46 | More by jondeelee
Photo of OldIronLungs


3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 bottle into a deep tulip.

Pours hazy amber red with minimal lingering head, pretty on point for a barley wine.

Nose of bready raisins, light cider and caramel. Very sweet.

Prickly carbonation and medium body unveils lots of sweet darker fruits - definitely getting fig - and a lighter hop bite at the end.

I think it's fine for a barley wine, maybe a tad sweet, but middle of the road as far as I'm concerned. I never really got any of the notes one might expect from a barrel aging - perhaps she was still too young.

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2011 02:10:30 | More by OldIronLungs
Photo of stimulus

New Jersey

3.73/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz red wax sealed bomber into a snifter glass.
2003 is imprinted in the wax over the cap.

A: Pours a hazy orange with few white bubbles, to be expected of a beer its age.
S: Caramel and sugary molasses, a hint of citrus as it warms, and no trace of alcohol.
T: Very sweet, but not much else going on here, tastes like an aged English Barleywine should without any bite, which is nice.
M: Medium bodied, somewhat watery and spritzy. Perhaps this was too old or just not stored well.
O: It's not as great as I had expected an 8 year old barleywine to be, but I wasn't even legal when it was bottled, so I have no idea how well it was stored by the time I came across it.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2011 04:45:16 | More by stimulus
Photo of claspada

New Jersey

3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 Vintage.
Aromas initially begin with apple cider and a white wine vinous and earthy/floral character. Caramels and brown sugar as well with some extremely subtle woody notes. No hop aroma is detectable but that is expected after 4 years.
The taste follows the nose but backwards; begins with caramel and toffee maltiness, then you get some white grape vinous fruit/cider flavors but this finishes quite dry with woody notes. The barrel characteristics are the last flavor you are presented with.
Despite the extremely full body and lack of much carbonation this doesn't finish cloying or syrupy; I just realized why. There is a slight almost mistakable bitterness throughout that I just finally detected on my last couple sips. An English barleywine indeed; still up to form after 4 years, good show! Overall this 2007 Eng Barleywine is unfortunately past it's prime in my opinion. It's still extremely tasty, just not a "great" barleywine anymore, definitely tastes more like an Old Ale that was aged on wood.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2011 23:24:29 | More by claspada
Photo of Urbancaver


4.33/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 vintage poured generously by Mike at the Cincy winter beer fest.

Pours a murky orange with lots of head. Great lacing and a pretty beer overall. Smells phenomenal. Lots of hops still despite the age. Hops hit hard first but it is followed up by a lot of oak both on th enose and tongue. Some slight lighter malts behind but they are overshadowed by oak. Very smooth and highly drinkable

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2011 04:58:07 | More by Urbancaver
Photo of JAXSON


4.13/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2003 red waxed bomber. Pours a glowing, mostly clear orange guava with a sopay head. Nose is rich pine sap, maple, quite woodsy. Very American in style and quite nice. Sweet, caramel in the front, bittering forces sweep through the palate. Brown sugar, more pine sap. This clearly has quite a bit of age on it as the flavor profile is pretty calm and short. I'd like a bit more expression, but it's very balanced, refined, and good at what it does. A pleasant surprise.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2011 01:33:43 | More by JAXSON
Photo of ncfrey

New Mexico

4.6/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Transcribed from notes taken 15 June, 2010 at the LHBC tasting room.

a - hazy, deep amber-red, thin but lasting whiteish head.

s - dark candied fruits, citrus and spicy hops, caramel and toffee.

t - BIG dark fuits, some molasses, booze, hops in the finish, hints of vanilla and burnt sugar (almost bourbon-like).

m - med-heavy body and creamy, adequate carb

d - Almost seems closer to an English than an American-style BW. I could probably have 2-3 glasses, but the sweetness would get to me.

I believe I've tried this from a bottle and not been overwhelmed, but this is fantastic. Sort of a game for the palate, complex and flavorful, almost elusive.

Serving type: on-tap

01-04-2011 22:45:11 | More by ncfrey
Photo of wesbrownyeah


3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Widdershins (2009) Barleywine style by Left Hand Brewing Company 10% alcohol. 22 oz. bomber poured into St. Feuillien oversized wine glass.

A- Pours a dark brown fluid with small off white head that falls to a decent ring and froth around the glass. Excellent sticky lacing leaves lines on every sip.

S- Dark roasted malts, candied sugar, figs, and alcohol fumes upfront. Secondary raisens and over ripe fruit.

T-M- Its hard to judge a Barleywine style without comparing to all other contrasts of earlier samples that i've had but with an open mind to style here i go. The front load of this beer is strictly malt and barley in the form of a sweet rum raisen type of flavor that taints the palete with a thick lightly carbonated film. With the other light but there flavors of tangy hops (not bitter), notes of caramel, brown sugar, mild oak, and alcohol heat. That order. Mouthfeel is not bad for the content of alcohol in the aspect of its exceptional smoothness followed by low carbonation makes it very easy to drink.

D- Wow is all I can say. Easy drinking 10% beer is one way for a good time or one hell of a head ache in the morning but what ever the situation its a easy drinking flavorfull beer with all the making of a passaround session.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2011 06:29:07 | More by wesbrownyeah
Photo of aasher


3.83/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured a bottle from 2007. It poured a murky reddish brown. It didn't feature much of anything as far as aromas are concerned. I think they fell out over the years. The taste is a different story. It's very woody, like a subtle oak...but not. It tastes like some other kind of wood. It drinks very smoothly. It's pretty drinkable. I was very surprised like this. It's like drinking a barrel aged barleywine in some strange type of wood barrel. It was interesting and worth trying.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2010 05:47:08 | More by aasher
Photo of doubleipa


3.38/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a bottle labeled 2009
Appearance - nothing special, Aroma - alcohol and oak, a little malt and sherry notes. Not as strong with the oak as I would have expected, still pretty mellow. Mouthfell is syrupy, with a not very long finish, but some alcohol warmth. Nice oak flavor lingers on the tongue.
Overall, just OK.

Serving type: bottle

09-23-2010 22:53:05 | More by doubleipa
Photo of clayrock81


4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clearish nut brown with good head that leaves some lace. A fruity and malty smell but the thing that strikes me the most is the smell of butterscotch...odd. More of the same in the taste as it has a butterscotch/toffee-esque sweet malt taste that balances with some dry, roasted malts for a crisp finish. Some citric and sour fruits are also in this smooth medium body, and w/ a well-hidden ABV this is quite the enjoyable barleywine to sip on...although I don't really think of it as a barleywine.

Serving type: on-tap

05-30-2010 00:46:53 | More by clayrock81
Photo of emmasdad


3.48/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22 oz. bomber, 2009 batch. Pours a nice hazy amber color, with maybe a finger of ecru head. Seems to me that this one would fall into the English style barley wine category, with aromas of caramel, chocolate malt and a little bit of citrusy hops. I didn't get a whole lot of oak out of this one, which was a little disappointing. Dark fruit, brown sugar and caramel dominate on the palate. Ok, but a bit of a letdown.

Serving type: bottle

05-20-2010 03:40:57 | More by emmasdad
Photo of jwc215


4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle - 2009 vintage - poured into snifter:

Pours orange amber with a thin white head that becomes patchy.

The smell is of candied/dried apricot with a floral scent and a vanilla backing. While it doesn't quite have a classic Barleywine aroma, it is pleasant and "different".

The taste is citrusy - orange and apricot. Vanilla and caramel are strong, giving it a sweet character overall. Alcohol is well-incorporated.

It has a smooth, full body, without being syrupy or sticky.

Easy to drink. Has some hop flavor, though sweet in character. A nice nightcap for a chilly spring night.

Serving type: bottle

05-07-2010 00:39:35 | More by jwc215
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Widdershins from Left Hand Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 173 ratings.