Oak Aged Widdershins | Left Hand Brewing Company

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Oak Aged WiddershinsOak Aged Widdershins

Brewed by:
Left Hand Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.70%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Gueuzedude on 02-09-2008

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Reviews: 84 | Ratings: 192
Photo of Pegasus
4.18/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Clear reddish-orange, with a modest tan-colored head, which fades to a scattering of foam on the surface. Thin, fine-beaded lacing lies scattered across the glass wall.

Aroma: Citric hops and abundant caramel vie with sweet, vinous alcohol, nuts and dark fruit are present as well, offering a beguilingly complex aroma.

Taste: Opens with strong caramel and dark fruit, Sweet alcohol is also present, with a mild warming sensation. There is also an undercurrent of toasted malt and nuts. Later in the taste, there are hints of bourbon and oak. Finishes with a mild, lingering note of oak and slightly earthy hops.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft, and velvety, exceptionally full.

Drinkability/notes: A quite exceptional example of the style, gracious and pleasant, well-suited to a feast or a winter's night.

Presentation: Packaged in a Belgian style 750 ml brown glass "bomber" bottle with cork and cage, served in a New Belgium Brewing chalice.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.54/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

2013 edition, so this has had some time to mellow. i have never had the unoaked edition, nor have i had the beer fresh, so any comparison will be impossible. sometimes i forget these guys have been around awhile. this was probably groundbreaking in 2008 when it was added here on BA, i feel like the american made barleywine game has evolved very quickly, with everyone getting in on it. this beer may be left behind a little bit, but i still think it represents a pretty classic example of the style, even if it has a few flaws. its got a nice rich looking caramel color and more clarity than expected for a beer thats been in oak. not much head, but thats to be anticipated. nose definitely shows a bit of oxidation, but if that can work anywhere, its here in a big english style barleywine. i still do get some hops in the nose though, kind of cool, and i definitely smell the yeast, a high gravity burton type, robust at a time, but now dormant. the grain flavor is a little one dimensional for me, sweet caramel malt, middle of the spectrum, with little support from anywhere else. notes of molasses and golden raisin come out, and its not diabetic, but there is plenty of leftover sugar. the oak doesnt seem to bring a lot of flavor in. it serves more in a mellowing capacity it must be, because the alcohol is pretty tame for its strength. an easy glass of beer to sip on and enjoy, but i suspect this peaks at about a year in the cellar. i would like to try the unoaked, it didnt seem like that aspect made much of an impact...

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 12/3/2013. Pours fairly hazy/cloudy deep orange/copper color with a 2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with some light streaming carbonation. Aromas of big raisin, apricot, plum, fig, pear, apple, orange zest, caramel, toffee, toast, biscuit, oak, herbal, grass, light pine, light vanilla, and herbal/yeast/oak earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, earthy hops, and oak barrel notes; with great strength. Taste of big raisin, apricot, plum, fig, pear, apple, orange zest, caramel, toffee, toast, biscuit, oak, herbal, grass, light pine, light vanilla, and herbal/yeast/oak earthiness. Light herbal/pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of raisin, apricot, plum, fig, pear, apple, orange zest, caramel, toffee, toast, biscuit, oak, light pine, light vanilla, and herbal/yeast/oak earthiness on the finish for a while. Damn nice robustness and complexity of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, earthy hops, and oak barrel flavors; with a great malt/yeast/hop/oak balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy, and lightly slick/bready mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a small warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent oak aged English barelywine style. All around great robustness, complexity, and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, earthy hops, and oak barrel flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of MarkQ617
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

I had this on tap at the Pint Room in Carmel on Left Hand night. Pretty good barleywine. Orange-copper color, surprisingly translucent. Taste has fruit, some malt, and pucker. The mouthfeel is a bit harsh, but not too bad.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

Amber / copper body with a small khaki head. Aromas of alcohol, malt, candied fruit. Sweet and boozy. Cotton candy, hard candies. A hint of bitterness in the finish. This is ok. A small sample is plenty.

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Photo of metter98
3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is relatively clear orange amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high off white head that quickly died down, leaving only delicate lacing covering the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of toasted oak are present in the nose along with notes of smoked malts and hints of alcohol.
T: The taste has flavors of smoky peat malts along with notes of caramel malts and some toasted oak from the barrel aging. Unlike the smell, no flavors of alcohol are noticeable. There is a light amount of bitterness.
M: It feels a bit more than medium-bodied on the palate and has a bit of warming from the alcohol.
O: I found this beer to be very drinkable considering its strength as it hides its alcohol very well. There is also just enough in the way of malts to help cut through the maltiness, somewhat lightening up the mouthfeel and preventing any stickiness.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of Vierenner
4/5  rDev +9.9%

Smooth. Been awhile since I've had a barleywine and this one hits the spot. It's not overpowering in any way ... just crisp, smooth, and satisfying. I doesn't rock my world but I'm sure glad I gave it a try.

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Photo of dbossman
3.94/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Clear, copper hue with a big cream-colored head and okay lacing

S: Lots of oak and citrus and dates; also, a bready, malty backbone

T: Not as complex and intricate as I would've thought from the aromas but this is six years old and I think the age has been pretty good on this beer: so smooth and fruity and woody

F: A touch thin--pretty good mouth feel

O: Like I said, this is a six-year-old bottle, and man, is it smooth and oaky and fruity and malty; I like this a lot more than I did when I tried the fresher version

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Photo of ThickNStout
3.21/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

22oz bottle from Sprayberry Bottle Shop (Marietta, GA). 7.99. 2013 vintage, best by 12/3/18- bottled 12/3/13? Served in a Microbrasserie Charlevoix goblet.

Pours a nice garnet russet hue with about one finger of pale head. A thin cap remains and leaves a decent bit of lace.

Smells of alcohol, burnt caramel, a vague spice nite and malted barley.

The booze hits early and unabashedly followed by burnt caramel, vanilla tinged oak, cheap toffee, bitter berries, a little pine, cereal grains and some soft floral notes. Tastes strong but disjointed. Every now and then I'd start to get some nice oaky or caramel notes but the unblended alcohol and ocassional off notes quickly lead the flavors in a different direction. Lacking the hop bite of an American barleywine and the rich toffee of an English barleywine, this comes across more like some kind of vague high octane strong ale.

Syrupy full body with fairly mild carbonation. Burnt sugar, malted barley and fusel alcohol finish.

Oak Aged Widdershins isn't bad at all but doesn't quite come together. I'm surprised by how harsh the alcohol seems given that I drink stronger brews on a regular basis. Perhaps some age would do this good but I didn't detect enough of what I look for in either American or English barleywines to spend any more money here.

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Photo of snaotheus
3.77/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle poured at fridge temp (41 F) into large snifters. Bottle Vintage 2013 319:09:03, best by 11/15/18 28-29.

Pours slightly cloudy, orange, small head, slow fine carbonation. Looks thick. Smell is musty, oaky, slight floral undertones.

Taste is slightly lemony, oaky, slightly smokey, somewhat musty. Alcohol is noticeable, strong source of bitterness, but there's a nice fruity sweetness, too.

Mouthfeel is thick, a little sticky, not unpleasant. This is pretty good.

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Photo of TheBullsHorn
3.28/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

This beer starts in England and ends with an American finish. In the nose, peat overwhelms the senses with dried fruits and burnt sugar lingering behind. The palate is similar with flavors akin to that of an English barley wine, only with overtones of peat. It finishes abruptly with a sharp drying bitterness. Overall this beer has allot of bold flavors but just doesn't seem to harmonize maybe some age would help.

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Photo of Craigory
3.23/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

22oz bottle, 2013 release, poured into a Stone Old Guardian glass.

A: Pours a fairly clear, golden-orange body, forming barely a bit of beige head. Not much to look at.

S: A bit of citrusy hops, a hint of caramel malt, and alcohol. Not much to speak of.

T: Alcohol, orange juice, grapefruit, toffee, alcohol, maybe a bit of vanillin. There's not much to the flavor, really. Certainly not much of an oak character, and closer overall to an English Strong Ale than I would expect from an American Barleywine.

M: The beer comes and goes pretty quickly--thin for the style.

O: There's just not a lot to the beer on any level, except for the high alcohol content. This would be a decent beer for drinking with a heavy meal--an "easy drinking" barleywine, if you will.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
3.65/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a balloon glass.

Look: Hazy burnt copper body. A quickly receding cream colored head. A wisp of film left over with no lacing.

Aroma: A bit thin, but the oaky, woody bourbon notes come through. Also, sweet buttered bread.

Taste: Just like the aroma, only more of a cinnamon spice presence. A very alcoholic finish.

Mouthfeel: Very thin for a 10.7% beer.

Overall: Not really into this style of beer, but this was good. That little but of cinnamon in the taste profile made a huge difference.

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Photo of Jim_Benz
3.94/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vigorous pour into a snifter at cellar temp.

A: Rich copper/amber color, very clear, two-finger off-white head that dissipates quickly leaving a small ring at the edge with minimal lacing.

S: Caramel malt, piney hops, a touch of oak.

T: Same as the smell with the addition of fig, appricot, and alcohol.

M: Medium body with just enough carbonation to cut the sweetness on my tongue.

O: I really like this barleywine--not too sweet or cloying, with a light bitterness at the end to round things off. This was a 2013 bottle (22 oz) and I have two more in the cellar. I'll look forward to trying another in about a year

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A two year vertical of a 2007 cork and caged Widdershins, properly cellared all these many years and a brand new 2013 crown capped bomber.

2007: Poured into an Elysian snifter. Pours a slightly hazy medium coppery amber with a fine one finger ivory head with great retention and lots of lacing. Aroma is classic barleywine; fresh and dried dark stone fruit, caramel malt and moderate cardboard from aging. Flavor follows with caramel malt, fresh and dried plums, a bit of butterscotch and butter, and the expected moderate cardboard, although the latter is covered pretty well by the flavors. Flavor drops off fairly quickly to a slightly over the hill caramel malt and cork flavor, but an unexpected lingering hop bitterness. I probably aged this one a bit too long, but it held up pretty well. Not the best balanced or well preserved barleywine I've aged, but still a quite satisfactory, warming aged ale with good barleywine character. Would have liked a bit more oak than the light butteriness, but enjoying it as it is.

Poured into a Reuben's Brew snifter. Pours a clear medium coppery amber with a thin film of ivory head dissipates to a ring around the glass and light lacing. . Aroma is fresh caramel malt; fresh dark and light stone fruit, slightly sweet and floral; a hint of oak. Flavor is caramel malt, toffee, dark dried fruit, particularly figs and dates, a nice balance of fruit and caramel. Flavor drops off a bit in the finish, exposing a moderate lingering floral hop finish and bitterness. Medium bodied with mild creaminess. This is more of an English barleywine profile to my taste, but the hoppy finish is definitely American. I liked the balanced malt and fruit flavor of this much more than I expected and will get this barleywine again. The oak is almost undetectable in this, which is the only element that was less than expected.

I think the 2007 is over the hill, but I do think the 2013 could well improve well with a few years on it. It drinks quite well right now. An unexpectedly enjoyable barleywine. Review rating is for the fresh Widdershins; the aged one would grade about a half point lower on taste because of the thin finish and effects of oxidation. The appearance gets a few decimals extra because the aged one has such a creamy, good looking head.

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Photo of Etan
3.39/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25


A: Pours a clear amber with a small off-white head.

S: Aroma brings light maple and peach characteristics. Somewhat hoppy.

T: Taste brings heavy peated malt, somewhat spicy oak, a hint of tannic vanilla, earthy grain, remnant citrus hop notes, a little maple.

M: Thick-bodied with light carbonation.

O: While this isn't horrible, the proportion of peated malt is much too high and obscures the other elements of the beer.

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Photo of Thorpe429
2.49/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

On tap at Pizza Paradiso in Dupont Circle. Served in a snifter.

Pours a moderate copper color with a very thin off-white head and not much in the way of lacing. The nose carries oak, oak, and more oak. As it warms, I get a bit more oak. Other than that, a touch of semi-sweet malt. It's not terrible, just horribly one-dimensional. Other than the oak, there was a touch of caramel and sweetness. I'd rather not have this again.

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Photo of nmann08
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

On draft, pours a bright amber orange, good carbonation and lacing on the glass.

The nose is heavy citrus up front, grapefruit, orange, lots of sugar and malt too. A little woody, with bourbon notes tying together with the malt sweetness, you can smell the alcohol. The flavor is a little spice, citrus hops, bourbon and vanilla, honey and caramel. Very sticky and a bit all over the place. This may get better with age, but right now a bit too boozy for the flavors.

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Photo of barczar
3.78/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear reddish copper color with a small whitish head that dissipates rather quickly in the tulip. No lacing, but could be due to the generous pour.

Aroma is sweet caramel malt, dates, figs, nuts. Vanilla and plum surface as it warms.

The oak presence is well represented in the flavor profile, harkening memories of bourbon. Alcohol is present, but balanced fairly well by the caramel sweetness of malt, and the raisin and fig flavors. An oaky dryness and peppery bitter hop punch dry out the taste for an ending that begs for more sips.

Body is medium full, with a light carbonation. Coats the tongue with sweetness.

Overall, a very nice offering. Not as complex as some similar brews, but still a beer that I would revisit. The bitter finish could probably withstand a year or two of aging, but it would be a loss to age too long and lose that.

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Photo of claytong
3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage

appearance - oak orange in color. small head, great lacing...honeycomb style.

smell - caramel malt, brown sugar, oak, apricot/melon

taste - follows the nose to the tee. simple but good

mouthfeel - carbonation is great for an aged barleywine thats been thru some tough cellaring. body is thick but not too thick. no cloying

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Photo of joefuzz
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Caged and corked 750ml bottle 2007 vintage.

Pours a orangeish brown with a small head.

Smells of caramel malts and some sweet apricot with a hint of oak, no hop presence.

Tastes is a little lack luster the usual sweet barleywine taste is there but seems dumbed down, like barleywine light..

Mouthfeel and carbonation are pretty spot on for a 4 year old barleywine.

Overall pretty good beer but I don't see it going anywhere with more time in the cellar.

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Photo of YouSkeete
2.98/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Amber-like with a deeper orange hue. Very cloudy. Short white head with moderate lacing.

S: Apples, caramel, and some smooth malted barley. Hints of bananas, citrus fruits and some kitchen spices. Mild hints of oak and wood.

T/M: Apple and caramel combination along with the banana and citrus flavors are big on the initial sip. Lots of subtle spice, light fruits and fresh malted barley in the overall body. Hints of dill weed and hops. Oakey, boozy and very dry finish.

D: Alright. Really dry and watery yet boozy body.

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Photo of Florida9
3.53/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tasted for Blind Beers BIF #5:
2007 Vintage

A: Poured into a snifter. Beer is a leathery orange brown in color. Forms about an inch of creamy off-white colored head and, while there is not much retention, it does leave a good, thick sheet of lacing. 4.0

S: A blend of fruity and earthy malts, caramel and yeasty phenols. 3.5-4.0

T: Starts with a strong maltiness, lightly sweet, that moves to a range of malty fruit flavors. Earthy. Sweetness becomes sticky and cloying on the tongue. Mild bitterness. Raisin, dark bread, and a bit of alcohol on the finish. 3.5

M: Medium in weight, but feels full bodied. Softer carbonation level. A somewhat sticky feeling beer. 3.5

O: A decent beer, well rounded and balanced while offering a range of flavors and warming the tongue. However something is off with this beer. The hops are all gone and the characteristic barleywine heat is missing. As for the oak aging, I’m getting some “wood” out of it, but not that tell-tale vanilla-oakiness. 3.5

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Photo of bobhits
3.74/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Hazy and dense body, clearly full of protein and yeast which is acceptable for the style but certainly many do this style without it. I somewhat enjoy that look so I’m pretty happy. Reasonable head but the lacing I’m getting is only ok. Poured in a stone old guardian glass, which may not be ideal for lacing or retention.

Straight up caramel barely wine here and American has it can be. 2009 bottle so some hops have faded, but they are still here and noticeable. I don’t really pick up any characteristics from the oak, but I’m not overly surprised.

Citrus hops and caramel malt are really drowning out most of the other flavors. The back brings in some tannins possibly from the oak and a somewhat grape peel finish leaves me a touch unsure where this one is trying to go. There are some subtle notes that make me think of Thomas Hardy at time here when I ignore the hops presence which is pretty interesting. A slight nutty notes making me think for a moment about a somewhat fruity brown ale as well.

Alcohol is still present here and while cold is a bit off putting but as the flavors rise from warming that falls back. Well carbonated and rather dense beer. An extremely good feel for an American barley wine.

I was getting ready to knock this beer for a lot of flaws when I was sampling it fresh out of the fridge, but I have to say warming it up has really let a rather good beer come out. The oak impact is minimal and I believe it is mellowing the hops a bit and possibly fusing the flavors together a bit while adding some tannins and a light but of nutty/earthy over tones in the back ground. Or I’m just crazy and read that in another review and stole it. I’m honestly not sure as this beer has me somewhat perplexed. I saw some Arrogant Bastard like comments, and I have to say I get that. This beer getting near or past 2 years (I just have a 2009 year on here, no month that I see) the hops most likely have faded from sight so this isn’t Bastard, but the malt profile and the presence of the hops certainly does remind me of it in ways though certainly different experiences to drink.

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Photo of csiewert
3.9/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a hazy orange amber color with a finger if off white head with a bit of lacing and decent head retention. The aroma is amazing... Big bits of matly caramel and some earthy hops are apparent. The taste is slighty off however... It starts with some roasted malt and strong caramel and then hits you strong with cardboard. The mouthfeel is velvety and slightly carbonated and finishes smooth. Overall worth a try and it has a Tom of potential.

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Oak Aged Widdershins from Left Hand Brewing Company
3.64 out of 5 based on 192 ratings.
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