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Witchshark | Bellwoods Brewery

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BA SCORE
90
outstanding
40 Reviews
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WitchsharkWitchshark
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Bellwoods Brewery
Ontario, Canada
bellwoodsbrewery.com

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

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.

Added by jrenihan on 04-15-2012

BEER STATS
Reviews:
40
Ratings:
167
Avg:
4.11
pDev:
17.27%
 
 
Wants:
19
Gots:
24
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 40 | Ratings: 167
Photo of Jeffo
2.97/5  rDev -27.7%
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!

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Photo of DaveBar
3.58/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at the Bellwoods bottle shop for $6.50 for a 500ml bottle. Served at 6deg C in a draught glass

A- Opens well and pours a small white head that is gone in a few seconds. Medium gold color and nothing special.

S- Goodly amount of hops here. Like a DIPA. C hops o plenty

T- Pretty mild for a DIPA. Actually disappointing. So many better examples of an IPA let alone a high ABV IPA like this one. Sweet

M- Flat. Plain and simple it's flat and sticky

O- Ok at best. The scent is incredible but the flavor and mouth not so good. Will not buy again unless it's $3.00/ea

Food Pairing

This ok brew went well with..... Roasted pork sandwich

Enjoy

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Photo of heebes
3.7/5  rDev -10%
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.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.73/5  rDev -9.2%
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.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.73/5  rDev -9.2%
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.

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Photo of bylerteck
3.81/5  rDev -7.3%
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.

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Photo of swillmeister
3.81/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: poured into a pint glass. Slightly cloudy, light copper color with a creamy head that dissolves fairly quickly

S: tons of floral scent with a whiff of dried orange peel

T: slight bitterness and tang up front but mellows out. Strong flavours of citrus. Close your eyes and you could believe you were drinking a tart grapefruit juice

M: mouthful is on the flat side. Very minimal carbonization

O: this is a quirky beer that may not be for everyone, but if you like a beer with tons of up front floral hops flavour, this is the one for you.

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Photo of Sammy
3.87/5  rDev -5.8%
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.

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Photo of erha2
3.98/5  rDev -3.2%
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)

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Photo of pksauce
3.98/5  rDev -3.2%
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.

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Photo of SSS
3.98/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A-Hazy Golden yellow with a white head that lingers around the edge.
S-I get Columbus and Citra aromas, quite herbal and piney though.
M-Peppery carbonation and medium resinous mouthfeel.
T-Bitter upfront and aftertaste as well. The pepper feel stays throughout and somewhat distracts from the hop flavours. Earthy and herbal.
O-A nice IIPA, lacking a little sweetness for me.

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Photo of hopsolutely
4/5  rDev -2.7%
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!

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Photo of safaricook
4.01/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Yes this is a good double IPA. If I could get this at home, I would look no further to make this my standard. However, it does not play on the same level as the big boys. The same can be said about all the beers that I had on this late spring night at the Bellwoods brewpub. Their beers are excellent representations of the respective styles. However, the do lack this extra special something to be extraordinary. If you are in Toronto you should definitely seek them out.

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Photo of Amalak
4.04/5  rDev -1.7%
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.

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Photo of korguy123
4.04/5  rDev -1.7%
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.

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Photo of mtomlins
4.09/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a stemmed tulip glass and shared with friends.

Pours an orangey, amber color with a creamy white head leaving nice lacing. The nose is a beautiful balance of malt and hops. The malts roll in with sweet caramel and doughy, bready notes. The hops hit with lots of citrus (grapefruit and orange), lemon and pine. The palate follows suit with the nose in flavors, but with a bit of a woodsy, musty hop resin. The body is medium-high with nice about of carbonation. This is a solid DIPA with a great nose and mouthfeel; the finish on the palate through me a bit, but this is a personal preference.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a Bellwoods globe glass.

Creamy off white colored and three finger tall head on the pour. Nice golden orange body, with a slight haze but also a real nice glow. Very nice light amounts of carbonation keeping things repopulated and good ringed lacing. Real nice looking beer.

Pineapple to grassy aroma with some small dank earthy tones and pine. Quite a bit diverse, slightly juicy sensing character, with mild malt sweetness.

First taste brings a real nice creamy feeling palate. Slight vanilla flavors but with excellent rushing bitterness of earth, touch of pine and minimal sweetness. Sweet sensing light caramel, some tropical flavors slightly of pineapple on the aftertaste which works well with the creamy texture and flavors.

Excellent palate feel, goes for a bit more on the nose than the tastebuds, but sticks to the basics real nicely. Very solid brew.

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Photo of Digimaika2
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
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!

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Photo of MtnSoup
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Interesting, delicious take on IIPA. Canadian version, perhaps? Resinous and piney, but very balanced (like each of the beers I tried at Bellwoods). I enjoyed this original version much more than the mango variety. Floral qualities are big - if you like a West Coast DIPA then this is a beer for you...

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Photo of WeedKing4
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to a buddy for picking this up from the brewery. This bomber pours a clear, light amber on the first glass, and a golden hazy amber on the second glass. Definately can pick up the tropical fruit flavours in this, with a nice bitterness with the malty finish. The 9.0% alc is well masked and it drinks down very smooth. This is quite a good beer from Ontario. An imperial IIPA!

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Photo of wordemupg
4.14/5  rDev +0.7%
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

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.15/5  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.

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Photo of peensteen
4.15/5  rDev +1%
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.

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Photo of FondueVoodoo
4.18/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

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Photo of avalon07
4.21/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

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Witchshark from Bellwoods Brewery
4.11 out of 5 based on 167 ratings.
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