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Widdershins - Left Hand Brewing Company

Not Rated.
WiddershinsWiddershins

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

217 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 217
Reviews: 107
rAvg: 3.73
pDev: 12.33%
Wants: 11
Gots: 24 | FT: 2
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:
Beer added by: Jarod on 09-22-2003

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 217 | Reviews: 107
Reviews by Steamer:
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.1/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I have had sampled this a few times in the past but I drank the bottle last night I was holding for awhile.Poured into an oversized wine glass a deep slight hazed golden with a touch of amber hue,a thinner white head atop.Smoky notes in the nose wich is a bit different along with some burnt fruit and deep brown sugar-like sweetness.Big malt driven flavors with that smokiness coming thru,dark fruit and caramel flavors round out the flavor profile.Good complexity but it does pack a punch,a very nice malt driven American barleywine.

Photo of wesbrownyeah
3.9/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

Photo of merlin48
2.69/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

1 pint, 9.36oz green bottle, caged and corked. Blurb says that Widdershins means, "Contrary or counterclockwise direction". Indeed, there is a reverse clock in the center of the silkscreened label art. Pours a clear apricot body with a creamy ecru head that retains well and leaves some patchy, decorative lace. A few small "floaties" are suspended in the body.
Aroma is subdued, which is my first surprise. Only a hint of caramel malt and some grassy and earthy hops are picked up from the olfactory standpoint. Disappointing bouquet.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, highly charged with carbonation, and has an alcohol bite.
Taste is dry and earthy all the way through. Carbonation is higher than needed. Pine needle hop bitterness is present throughout. Alcohol presence is not hidden, and wavers between burning and warming. Yeasty bitterness is noted in the middle. Some dark fruits(raisins and prunes) make an effort to emerge toward the finish, but never become a significant factor. Finishes bitter, with earthy hops and an unpleasant yeast note.
This is a barleywine that I could barely finish. Way out of balance, toward the bitter and yeasty side. Hops remained earthy and grassy, without any citrus edge. No real hints of sweetness here, at all. Bring on the Beast!

Photo of warriorsoul
3.85/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2003 bottle thanks to BeerBeing...really appreciate this one.
Pours a semi-cloudy orange with a half finger of bright white head...a thin layer remains and produces some thin lacing.
Inviting aromas filled with cherries, raisins, oranges, some alcohol and piney hops.
Sweet malt up front with a bitterness that balances out this one nicely...the alcohol is apparent but not distracting. This may have been your typical American BW at one point, but is less agressive with the hops leaning it closer to an English style IMO.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied and the carbonation is a touch high for me...either way, a solid sipper and very enjoyable.

Photo of tigg924
3.97/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: 1/3 inch head, dark brown in color, clear

Smell: caramel and dark fruit

Taste: caramel, citrus hops, licorice, dark fruit

Mouthfeel: sweet with a bitter backbone, low carbonation, medium bodied

Drinkability: While not the best I have had, this is certainly a good barleywine. I would love to find this on tap again. I could sip a couple of these.

Photo of jondeelee
4.2/5  rDev +12.6%
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.

Photo of ADR
3.9/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2004 edition, oak aged. Its hell on wheels trying to get the cork out. Globs of pitched yeast in this one. Dark apricot brown color, yellowish high quality head rises to a good 1/2 an inch and glistens in the light. Laces thickly in fat bands around the glass. Aromatic, notes of sherry, coconut, pineapple, and allspice. Thick mouthfeel, viscous and opaque beer with low silky carbonation. Starts out like a slug of molasses with prune tones. Hops are potent but lingering as more of background players than some -- not burning hot. Lacks a complexity, oak flavors seem minimal, and for over eleven bucks a bottle, it could use some more things going on. Nevertheless, there's good drinkability here, just slight raw alcohol.

Photo of quirkzoo
3.83/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

Photo of cokes
4.31/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Apple jelly in color, adorned with a soiled ivory stack of impressive size and duration. Some particles are suspended.
Nose is much drier than expectation predicts. Whispers of brittle toffee and even quieter honeyed tropical fruit. Hopcentric nose (and even that is quiet), full of metal tipped pine needles.
Begins softly malted, in a dry toffee and mango rind sense. Reminiscent of Fuller's Vintage in this respect. More fruit ekes out as this warms, but still dry and mostly rinds of pear, apple, and tangerine. An interlude of spiciness appears midway, bringing notions of pepper, thyme and balsam. Hopping controls the later half, in a resinous pine pitch manner. Bitterness is relatively low, but hop flavor is not. General greenness takes over, full of chlorophyll and algae, and living, blossoming flora. Alcohol is cleverly masked, with only a lone, stray gin fume towards the close. Underneath it all, a subtle tartness lurks, perhaps as an accompaniment of the tropical fruits, but it carries some oaky nuance as well, making me wonder is this wasn't barrel-aged like their similarly packed 10 Anniversary Stout (and I don't think it was...but the suggestion is there).
Perky with its carbonation and light for the style. This is a unique creation. It takes the malt structure of an English Strong Ale and feeds it raw US hop nuggets.
There is an absolute balance here, but it's not the balance you're accustomed with.

Photo of RockyTopHeel
4.32/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. wax-sealed bomber.

Glowing amber in color with a large beige head that quickly reduces to a thin layer of foam, plus a fair amount of suspended sediment. Big aroma of hops, alcohol, malts. Flavor is more of the same--big time hops flavor well-balanced by a beautiful malt profile.

Very good all around.

Photo of fairdinkum2
3.54/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep copper color with an impressive, creamy head. Great retention and lacing.

Hoppy nose with burnt citrus, smokey oak and clove notes. A little restrained, but stll decent.

Nice flavor. Hoppy bitterness balanced by a pleasing richness. Palate also displays burnt fruit components, but again, nicely balanced. Some residual sweetness on the middle palate with a pretty dry, long finish.

The head on this beer just keeps on going. Could well have been poured on tap. One of the better bottled beer pours I've had.

Photo of tdm168
4/5  rDev +7.2%
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.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.27/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2003, 22 oz. bottle. What a beautiful presentation this bottle has with it's waxed cap red cap that has the year pressed into it (except that I had to fight to get it open! ;)

It pours a hazy golden orange body beneath a short head of ivory that quickly settles into an average collar and leaves little more than small dots of lace about the glass. (That's OK, however, in a bottle-conditioned beer with 10% alcohol by volume).

The nose is piney, but soft in its character, over a delicately sweet, bready (and even sugar-cookie dough) malt.

The body is medium-headed-towards-full, and it's delicate, bottle-conditioned carbonation softly bristles the tongue before it warms to become more dextrinous.

The flavor is kind of surprising, although the color does lead you to believe that it won't be very caramelish... It's a really nicely balanced blend of sweet, honeyish, doughy/bready malt and superbly restrained sappy, piney, lightly resinous hops backed by a solid (but very backstage - supporting role) bitterness and some intriguing, mysterious tropical fruits (pineapple, coconut, orange, mango). Alcohol is clearly present, but also shadowy (like the shark that circles beneath you for 15 minutes before you see a fin! - You somehow know it's there, but you just can't find it until it reveals itself).

It finishes much as it began, with a flash of tropical fruitiness (and some alcohol - the fin!); some lingering, glazed-donut maltiness; a rub of resinous pine; and then a dull, drawn-out bitterness.

It's interesting in that it's not what's normally expected (and maybe that has something to do with the name), but it's still somewhat complex, and surprisingly drinkable.

Photo of ncfrey
4.57/5  rDev +22.5%
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.

Photo of morimech
2.95/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

2004 Vintage

Pours a cloudy copper with minimal head settling to a ring after a couple of minutes. I smell sweet malt and alcohol with a hint of piney hops. The taste is exactly the same, malt, alcohol, and pine. It is medium body that finishes dry and leaves a warming feeling as it goes down. A bit hard to drink and I will have a hard time coming back for a second serving

Photo of OldIronLungs
3.7/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

Photo of fuchebu
4.12/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was unsure what to expect with this one. Left Hand defines Widdershins as "running contrary or counterclockwise". So I figured this might be an unusual barley wine. One thing that struck me immediately was a fruity, hop aroma. The nose had hints of IPA. It was a pleasing, spicy fragrance.

The beer had a dark golden hue. It struck me as being a bit lighter than most barley wines. The taste is also pretty mellow. I couldn't find a date to know when it was brewed but it lacked the sharpness of a young barley wine. There was a nice bitter finish to the beer. The 10% abv is well hidden. I didn't really have the sense of drinking a strong beer. It was overall a very good beer although not yet a classic.

Photo of fitzy84
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Moan and Dove. It was pretty bright, almost bloody amber colors. Their was practically no head to it either. The general smell was definitive malt, at least to my senses. It was good, but that was most of what I could sense. The taste was wonderfully delicious: almost syrupy sweet with a bitter aftertaste. The drink had a sharp, medium body, allowing it to be pretty refreshing and not as heavy as other barley wines I have personally tasted. Overall, a really good drink for what it has but pretty steadily average.

Photo of CRJMellor
3.55/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a neon orange with brown highlights and a veneer of dark white head with tons of effervescent bubbles bursting to the surface.
Aroma of light toffee and aromatic hops. Very light aroma.
Flavor is orange and malt start followed by some bready tones and a resin and floral hop note.
Mouthfeel is sweet to start with a grainy and bready middle and finishing with a phenolic acidic and sharpness with floral bittering.
Drinkability is above average but nothing special. too light and effervescent to be a classic barleywine.

Photo of lou91
3.88/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I’m a sucker for barley wines and this one looked promising from a great brewer, nice packaging and priced for a serious drinker at $11.99. There was no date on this as far as I could tell but it poured very alive and a rich glowing amber color. It also had a nice nose of a alcohol, rum and a malty sweetness. The taste was a surprising malty, almost salty barley wine with minimum hop flavors. Crisp, soft, creamy and malty with a salty dryness – a unique profile but not outstanding given the price.

Photo of PEBKAC
3.35/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Twelve ounce tulip at the Blind Tiger for their VSK night; '07 stuff.

The color & clarity of gold rum, with an inch plus of unexpected off-white spritzy head.

Powerful notes of bark & leather, piercing through my nostrils like wood stain. The alcohol was potent, & saturating, fuming up vanilla & reminding me of something like harsh scotch.

Aside from everything I smelled, actually tasting it brought out moments of charcoal & cigarette smoke, a grassy bitterness, along with some notion of fruit(like unripe cherries), & sharp malt. Rigid alcohol in every sip that helps accentuate the mild fruitiness, but it hurts just a little too much for what is/was a supposed 10%ABV.

Body was more in line with what I expected. Slightly syrupy with mild carbonation, it coats & lingers.

Stiff & a little difficult for something aged, it still wasn't half bad. Maybe not worth repeating anytime soon with so much else out there. A half pour would of done me just fine.

Photo of Traquairlover
2.42/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

750ml bottle poured into snifters.

A = Mostly clear amber liquid (had heavy yeast in bottom of bottle and there is a slight haze in the glass, but not much. Formed a good off white head on pour which slowly dissipated to some medium lacing on surface.

S = There is a funky predominantly plastic smell, once you get past that, there is fresh cut but dry grass and chocolate malt.

T = Unpleasant level of plastic carries over from the smell into the taste, this is really unpleasant, on top of that there is tobacco, maple syrup and some bitterness.

M = Medium-heavy bodied, good smooth foamy carbonation on swish, good mouthcoating.

D = Depends on whether you like the taste. I found a strong smell and taste of fresh plastic to be very undesireable.

Photo of bignick
4.25/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bottle from 2003 courtesy of Sephiroth. Poured into an Ommegang glass.

This was a huge pain in the butt to open due to the wax on the top of the bottle. Once I did manage to get it open, it was very much worth it. The beer pours a hazy orange color with a supple head. It smells a little sweet, accented by a nice caramel/toffee sweetness. The taste is nicely sweet/malty, with a little bit of spice to compliment. There is minimal hop presence, although just enough to balance the sweetness. It is supremely drinkable. It is warm without being boozy, and a very nice barleywine.

Photo of endincolorado
3.73/5  rDev 0%
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.

Photo of Gusler
4.04/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer after extracting the stubborn cork pours from the 750ml green bottle a transpicuous orange-copper color with a portly head that is semi-creamy in texture and a toothsome light tan color, the lace forms a thin curtain to drape the glass. The aroma of fusel alcohol is right in your face, the sweet malt backs up this fresh and crisp nose, also seems to be some orange peel with the start sweet and nicely malted, the top is fair to middling in its feel. Finish is unsparing in its acidity, the hops personable in their spiciness, with the aftertaste tart and very dry, a definite belly warming sensation from the 10 percent ABV, a good representative to the style.

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Widdershins from Left Hand Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 217 ratings.