Widdershins | Left Hand Brewing Company

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235 Ratings

Brewed by:
Left Hand Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Jarod on 09-22-2003

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 235 |  Reviews: 110
Reviews by StoneTSR:
Photo of StoneTSR
4.65/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

APPEARANCE: Slightly lighter than some Barleywines, more of an dark orange/copper color than the deep mahogany usually seen for the style. A quarter-inch head gently sits on top of the hazy beer for about 45 seconds before slowly beginning to fade into a couple of smell mounds of foam left on top.

SMELL: I could smell this all day. It has an intense molasses smell with figs, dates and cherries dancing around the edges. Some clove and cinnamon smells sneak their way in as well as a very faint hop aroma and a touch of peat. Highly complex, spectacular aroma.

TASTE: The peat comes through much more on the palate than on the nose and is just magnificent up against an earthy hop flavor and some citrus. The molasses is still present, but subdued compared to the nose. The spiciness, caramel, oak and dark fruit from the nose all comes through as well, adding even more layers to this complex beer.

MOUTHFEEL: Not as huge as I expected, but still medium to big. The carbonation provides a surprisingly large sparkle considering this a 10% beer. It goes down silky and smooth and a nice bitter, dry bite on the end keeps the palate thirsting for the sweeter start of that next sip every time. Very nice.

OVERALL: Of course it wouldn’t be such a treat if Left Hand made this beer every year, but I would certainly grab my few bottles every year if they did. As a Barleywine fanatic this has pretty much everything I’m looking for; complex, rich, malty flavors balanced by large doses of hops…plus that peat. Even though this beer is about a year and a half old the hop character still shines through. As it fades, as that incredible malt bill blossoms and the balance changes this will still be a fantastic beer for years to come. I’ve been lucky enough to drink vintages as old as ten years and it stands up beautifully. Can’t wait for this batch to develop into its own beauty.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of JakerLou
3.75/5  rDev +0.5%

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!

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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.

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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.

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Photo of ImFlyerThanYou
3.5/5  rDev -6.2%

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.

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Photo of pat61
4.13/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L: Pours hazy amber with a 1” off-white foam cap that provides good lace.
S: Fruit and malt aromas with orange, citrus.
T: The fruit is bigger on the palate than with some barleywines and it is more than moderately sweet. Malt driven with moderate to a less less on the hops.
F: Medium body and medium to medium high carbonation. A little alcohol warming.
O: A good barley wine but somewhat subdued with a little more sweetness and a little less body and bitterness than I would prefer.

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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.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
4.85/5  rDev +30%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

22 oz bottle, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, almost opaque, golden amber color, speckled with reddish and orange highlights and a quarter of a finger of white head that quickly dissolved away into a thin lacing of foam that completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Very nice aromas of toasted malt, imparting notes of freshly baked French baguettes and biscuits, as well as tons of toffee and brown sugar. I also get aromas of stone fruit, such as peaches, nectarines, apricots, as well as a touch of black pepper and saffron, and finally, a touch of floral, grassy, hops.

Taste: Delicious ! Tons of bready, toasted malt up front, followed by tons of toffee and brown sugar. I also get flavors of stone fruit, such as peaches, nectarines, apricots, as well as a touch of black pepper and saffron, and finally, a touch of floral, grassy, hops, at the finish. Quite the delicious American-style barleywine.

Mouthfeel: Slightly chewy and very smooth, as there’s very little in the way of carbonation; just a hint really. Even with an ABV of 10.7%, there is surprisingly little alcohol on the palate. It’s extremely well masked.

Overall: This is another amazingly delicious American-style barleywine, and another amazingly delicious beer from Left Hand which is quickly becoming not only one of my favorite breweries from Colorado, but one of my favorite American breweries, period! Highly recommended!

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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.

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Photo of Djenx
2.75/5  rDev -26.3%

Photo of seavercm
4/5  rDev +7.2%

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.

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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.

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Photo of Sammy
3.5/5  rDev -6.2%

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.

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Photo of whatname
3.75/5  rDev +0.5%

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.

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Photo of McMatt7
3.39/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

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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.

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Photo of 40ontarget
3/5  rDev -19.6%

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Widdershins from Left Hand Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.73 out of 5 with 235 ratings