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 BirdFlu
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review of an approx. 2 year aged bottle:
I was expecting a ton of sweetness with this for some reason. I'm not sure if I noticed that its listed as an American Barleywine but I was expecting much more in line with English. The aroma hints at this, as well. A lot of malt, much more than anything, with raisin and a fig-like character that was reminiscient of doppelbocks. The pour is very nice, a somewhat-cloudy red-orange (the red was surprisingly nice). The flavor is much more bitter than expected, not that theres a tno of hop, but its definitely not just all malt. The wood character is also quite-present and even imparts sort of a dry feeling to the mouth, which is otherwise moderately-bodied. Overall its certainly decent, not the most incredible and I almost wish the flavor would tilt a little more in either direction, either more hop or more malt. The balance between the two allows the oak to take over a little too much.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.12/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

09/07/09- Purchased at Sun Devil Liquors in Mesa, AZ.

Presentation- 750ml bottle, caged and corked, vintage 2007. Poured into my St. Bernardus chalice.

Appearance- Deep mid range caramel-copper colored pour. Fluffy 3/4 inch white head, hangs around for a while leaving a nice rim for the duration. Some pretty good lace markings left behind.

Smell- As it warms the caramel really comes out in full force. Some really light hops mingle around as well as some light fruity notes and a touch of oak.

Taste- Drinks much better at room temp than straight out of the 50 degree cellar. Lots of caramel goodness, but not too sweet. The tropical fruits they talk about on the label (apricot and orange), finally come out long after the beer has had time to breathe. Hops play a decent role, but it by no means a hophead barleywine. Oak is very subtle and rounds out the beer nicely.

Mouthfeel- Medium to a bit lower on the carbonation level with a slight bitter bite in the aftertaste.

Drinkability- A really easy drinking barleywine as well as a nice change of pace beer. Not your tradtional barleywine.

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Photo of NCSUdo
3.64/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle, 2007 bottle

A: Clear brown body under a big slightly off white head. Excellent retention and lace.

S: Nice hops that held up well, oak character is easily found. Malt that I get is mostly toasted, not a lot caramel or other sweet aromas.

T: A lot of oak up front, a bit off balance in fact. The finish is a huge hops, earthy. Boozy in the finish. Still not get a lot of malt character. What is there is toasted, but I really wish there was more sweet character to round out the oak and hops.

M/D: Medium to full body, carbonation is slightly prickly on the tongue. Drinkability is fair. Overall a solid beer, but I could really use some more malt character.

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Photo of Deus1138
4.2/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard pint glass. Very hazy, cloudy deep, dark orange color. I see some yeast floating around. No complaints.

Smell is mild, hoppy and yeasty.

Taste is nice. I've been on a Barleywine kick this weekend. This is not as hoppy as the rest (Rogue and Sweetwater). Solid malts backbone, mostly sweet caramel. Somewhat bready. Hops and bitterness are there. Mostly grassy in piney hops. The oak aging really comes through in this one. Quite nice.

Mouthfeel is medium to medium-full bodied. Very light carbonation.

Drinkability is good. It's on the milder end of the spectrum as far as hops and bitterness go. It's not an all out assault on your palate, but there's just enough of all the good stuff to make this quite enjoyable. I'd buy this again!

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Photo of Buebie
4.2/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 pour Courtasy of Boner Gibbs.

Reviewing based on notes, from yesterday.

Poured from a bomber into my 8 ounce sample glass. Head forming appx an inch of tan. Soft spotty lace that eventually drops back into the beer. Hazy golden amber color, glowing bright when held to light, still showing haze.

Aroma of biscuity malt, sweet maple brown sugar, toasted oak, summer sausage, well balanced aroma.

Taste is super rich and moderatly sweet, with a fresh buscuits flavor, brown sugar, honey butter. Bitter pine, just a touch of citrussy orange peel. Toasted oak at the swallow, mixing with cereal grains and a mild warming.

Mouthfeel is a bit more thick and creamy, mild carbonation. Very good beer,

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Photo of charlesw
2.9/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2004 bottle. Glad I got it with a few years on it - I bet this is really harsh when young given how much bitterness and hop flavor is left after 5 years!

It's too pale in color and has no head. Bummer. Still, there is carbonation - the cork shot right off! Kind of weird that there's no head AT ALL.

Smells like old foghorn - underattenuated extract homebrew. And, wtf, is that right? Is this 8% ABV? GTFOOH! Barleywine? At 8%? No, I don't think so.

The taste is pretty good. Sweet, a bit of citrus and a lot of citrus bitterness. Prolly a decent I2PA. Actually, OKish, at this point, as an American bwine but... But the color and smell are just so wrong.

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Photo of thryn
3.7/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice looking brew. A little pale compared to most BWs I've had. Cloudy amber, nice finger of creamy looking white head. Excellent lacing.

Strong citrusy and piney hops in the nose. Malt backbone is detectable, but this is clearly gonna be on the hoppy side. Don't really pick up the oak here.

This is pretty good. The piney hops are there, the sweet malt foundation is there. The oak's in the finish, a bit musty. Alcohol's not all that noticeable. Nicely balanced. Not sure about the mustiness, though.

The mouthfeel is good if the tiniest bit thin. Plenty slick from the hop oils. Carbonation is subdued.

Drinkability is moderate. I'll finish the 750, but not quickly (good, I guess, what with the 10% abv ...)

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Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
3.82/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Courtesy of Gillard. 2007 vintage poured hazy copper with gold edges and thin white head. The aroma is peach and tangelo followed by some chewy malt sweetness, wood notes and just a bit of booze. The taste has bold notes of oak but not too much. Next to the wood are chewy sticky malts, solid pine hop flavor and pine hop bitterness. Yum. The varied notes are well matched creating a pleasing experience. This should only get better with age.

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Photo of klewis
3.77/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

2004 bottle

A: Pours an opaque and cloudy rust color with no head - just a few bubbles. Very light lacing.

S: Very sweet smelling with a strong maple aroma; others of toffee and vanilla.

T: A very sweet maple sugar taste. Earthy vanilla flavors from the barrels are also prominent.

M: Full-bodied with very little carbonation. Super silky and smooth. Nice.

D: Tasty, but a bit to cloying to drink a lot of. Worth trying and sharing.

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Photo of paco1029384756
3.83/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light ruby color with two fingers of off white head.

Scent of caramel, citrus, yeast, honey, and bready malts. Fairly robust, but not entirely deep or complex.

Taste of caramel, oak, hints of raspberry, yeast, and some alcohol. Good, but there are other Barleywines I would prefer to spend my money on.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with good carbonation.

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Photo of zeff80
3.87/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a cloudy, light orange color with a very small, somewhat fizzy, white head. It left no lace.

S - It smelled a little sweet and of dried fruit - mostly raisin.

T - It tasted of vanilla, bourbon and sweet malt. The dried fruit flavor is subtle and understated.

M - It was sharp and fairly crisp. A medium to full bodied beer with a chewy mouthfeel.

D - This is a good tasting barleywine, but is a bit much to handle in terms of drinkability.

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Photo of JayQue
4.23/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Corked and caged bottle. Served in a pint glass. This beer is a murky and dense orange/brown color with a medium size off white head. Head retention is good for this level of alcohol content. Lacing is thick and ladder-like.

Smell is pronounced - smoky and malty. Flavor is good and strong. There is a smoky element, flavor of the oak and strong malt presence, not caramel sweet malt like aged Bigfoot, just malt. The experience finishes off with some good bitterness.

Mouthfeel is rich as you would expect with a Barleywine. The alcohol provides a little bite but is not annoying or uncomfortable.

Drinkability is good for a beer of this strength and strong taste.

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Photo of ccrida
1.9/5  rDev -47.8%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

750ml bottle that I've cellared for about 6 months, 2007 vintage. Poured into my Delirium snifter, Oak Aged Widdershins is a clear orangish bronze with a tight, fluffy off-white head that is dense and long lasting, leaving heavy lace. Great glow to it and very impressive head for an aged barleywine! From an incredible start to a total meltdown...I scored the appearance before I even took a sniff, so this wasn't an attempt to help even out the score. It earned the 5 here, like it earned the low scores everywhere else...

Smell is rich spicy malt, herbal, resinous hops, some very light smoke and orange brandy. From the first whiff, I thought I wouldn't like it - but I didn't realize how much!

Taste is very intense and super oaky. It actually tastes really smoky, but is clearly just extreme oak tannins rather then smoked malt or peat. Very light fruity ester struggle to break through, but really, it's all about the oak. Way too much for me actually, which I've never encountered before. Lingering, spicy finish. Now I know what they mean why they say a beer is over-oaked. No vanilla or nuance, just sawdust and tannins. It's funny the label cites that it's only 50% oak-aged, if they're trying to convince me their blend worked, they failed!

Mouthfeel is very creamily carbonated but dry, medium body. Did I mention tannic??

Drinkability is low, way to oaky and astringent, it makes it seem like it's about 4% stronger. I'm not really sure though why the oak aged version would actually be weaker then the orginal. This was a real struggle to work through, and generally unpleasant. Warming up made no difference. I wasn't really concerned with drinking beer tonight, so I patiently powered through the first 1/2 for a few hours. I got used to it, sort of, but it just wasn't worth the pain, and I dumped the rest. One of the worst made brews I've had in a long time, I don't think I've liked any of the beers I've had from Left Hand.

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Photo of thekevlarkid
4.3/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Found several bottles of the 2004 Vintage stocked in Albuquerque, NM for $3.99 each. This happened on 12/18/08 so that $1 per year- what a deal! Out of the caged bottle this beer was a very cloudy copper color with a tan head. Retained as a skim and laced quite well. The aroma was incredibly pungent and notably sweet, lots of ripe peaches, pears and figs, alcohol esters and heat, hints of wood, and lots of caramel malt. The flavors were smooth, complex and well rounded. It started with a biscuity malt flavor before becoming more rich and sweet, caramel malt, ripened fruit, hints of spices, a slight citrus tanginess and a warming alcohol pleasantness towards the end. The sugars had been well tempered by the wood and age. The carbonation was very soft, partly the age again, the body medium/full and the mouthfeel smooth but a little watery. The years had truly done this one well, it was balanced, smooth, quaffable and rewarding with the punchy alcohol well blended in. Bravo!

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Photo of HomebrewPgh
3.27/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A drinkable and very average barley wine. Aroma was so so. Hints of vanilla, oak and sweet malt. Pour was a nice deep murky brown with a thin tan ring for a head. Taste was subdued for a barley wine. Sweet hot malt, with just a hint of oak and a moderate alcohol burn. Decent carbonation. As it warmed a little caramel and toffee came out with the alcohol dominating. Average at best.

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Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.31/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

thanks to beerbeagle for the chance to try this great oak aged beer. 2004 vintage

A - crystal clear golden amber brown beer with a nice white head.
S - honey biscuit sweet malt notes with a light hint of oak
T - light caramel sweet malts, honey, biscuit malts, oak and a muted citric hop flavor and light residual hop bite.
M - medium full bodied, smooth carbonation, light sipping with a slight bitter note and a warm mouthfeel.
D - golden warmth. smooth sipping, mellow and sublime. This is a great example of what an aged barleywine can be!

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Photo of tpd975
4.35/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

07 Version

Thanks to Cigar City Brew for this one.

A: Pours a wonderful cloudy golden hue with a big foaming head. Retention is good with lace being noted.

S: Lots of fresh summer fruit like peaches and apricots. Hints of oak, vanilla, and booze come next. A bit of bitter orange zest as well.

T: Nice smokey flavor with the oak really coming out. The booze is there but not overthetop. Hints of caramel, roasted malt and a touch of fruit sweetness. No real hops noted in flavor, but very tasty.

M: Full in body, rich and smooth. The smoke plays well with this one.

D: Very for the style.

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Photo of cvstrickland
3.6/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2007 Edition

750 ml cork-in-cage bottle opened with a soft pop!, poured into a large tulip glass yields an orange-amber body with a tint of crimson at the center , capped with a thick layer of soft ivory tinted ecru foam. The head recedes slowly, leaving patchy lacing on the glass.

The smell of the drink is sweetly pale-malty with spicy herbal hops and a bit of pepper. A bit of oak lingers in the background, and becomes more prominent as the drink warms a bit.

The taste is somewhat fruity and malty-sweet with slippery, boozy, caramel-drizzled canteloupe and a watery oak note. There is little hop flavor, if any, and the finish is quinine-bitter, earthy dry, with a lingering hint of overripe fruit and warming alcohol.

The drink is medium in body and light on the carbonation, light on oak, light on flavor, and light on my drinkability scale. Pretty disappointing; skip it.

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Photo of GbVDave
4.03/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a corked and caged 750ml bottle into two pint glasses. Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist.

Vintage 2007

A: Pours a lovely looking opaque, burnt-orange/copper color with a meringue-like light-orange colored head. Lots of droopy rings of lace left behind.

S: Big nose of caramel, tart apple, fruit laced tobacco, oak, cocoa, toasted malt, citrus, and a touch of alcohol.

T: Spicy oak, tart fruit, and sweet juicy caramel are the big players here. Also noticed were tobacco, cherry, lemon, charred wood, vanilla, alcohol, and prickly hops. Toasted malt and fruit loom large in the finish.

M: Big, sweet, and sticky with an interesting bit of earthy dryness/bitterness. Perhaps due to the massive oakiness?

D: i expected this to be a chore to drink but was rewarded with a smooth and easy drinking barleywine that's big on flavor. The alcohol flavor, while noticable, was relatively well contained.

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Photo of Tilley4
3.8/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer looks and smells wonderful in my Duvel tulip...glorious burnt orange color with a head that's at least 3 inches and persistent as hell...

Aroma reminds me of a syrupy sweet DIPA with loads of citrusy hops blended with a touch of sweet malts...pineappley...

Where did all those hops go? I wonder if the oak aging killed them... There's a touch of them present but pretty much all I can taste is an overwhelming earthy oak flavor and some sweet malts... The hops seem to have mellowed a bit too much for my liking... Fresh, this was probably delicious but as is, it doesn't really stand out from loads of the other barleywines out there..

Oh, its good but not unique...

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Photo of jjayjaye
4.12/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy orange amber color with a HUGE stiff light yellow head that resists fading. A reasonable amount of lacing left behind. The smell has a really nice complexity to it. Initially I got an earthiness that i wanted to equate to smoky, but as it warms up there is a unique fragrant fruity apricot nature. Visibly effervescent, the mouth feel is medium-full bodied with a very dry finish. Full flavored, the sweet malty caramel character is secondary to the piny resin hoppiness which lingers on with an earthy smoky texture. An interesting drink with a lot to consider. Recommended.

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Photo of boston2bburg
4.52/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at Union Brewhouse in Weymouth, Ma. Being the only tap offering served in a 10 ounce (tulip) glass, and it being my birthday, I of course had to try this one out.

This beer was fairly light for a barleywine and until looking it up I couldn't tell if it was a barleywine or just a strong ale of some sort.

The aroma was amazing and completely unexpected. The first thing that came to mind was opium; a very dense, floral, perfume scent, with malts providing a candy backbone. Superb.

Taste was similar, floral and malty with a spiciness. I probably could have stuck with these all night, but they would have been peeling me off the bathroom floor. Very intriguing and unique brew, hope to find it again.

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

Had on tap at the Union Brewhouse. Great surprise to find on tap! Poured into a 10 tumbler- hazy orange/amber color with an extremely fluffy white head. Very aromatic for a barleywine- I get some smoke flavor, oak, and alcohol. Tastes as it smells- you get a lot of the oaky flavor. Very sweet malt presence. Slick mouthfeel. You have to watch out drinkin these bombs!

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Photo of kindacold
4.23/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Like most of Left Hand's brews, I enjoyed this beer quite a bit.

The appearance was light and the head was quick to dissipate.

It smelled like a barleywine, but without the overpowering hops that some other breweries use.

I tasted this beer twice, once a bit above recommended temperature and once at about the right temperature.

When colder, the beer is quite refreshing and tasty. However, when the beer warmed up, the complexity could be truly experienced. Both have advantages. I loved the way the colder beer felt. I could drink it cold all night, and it was great for a hot day. The warmer beer tasted much more complex and interesting, but I could not drink much more than a glass this way.

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Photo of BeerSox
4.03/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into 8oz snifter.

Hazy orange-red hue with a thick and fluffy light tan head that slowly settles to a thick rim along the glass. Rings of solid lace are present.

This is a very aromatic beer with plenty of light fruit notes swirling around. Some coffee and a little bit of chocolate are in there, along with hints of vanilla and alcohol.

The malts are tame but sweet, mostly allowing the hops to come though. They aren't as bitter as expected, mostly because of the blending with the aged version of the beer, so you get a good mix of flavorful hops with fresh bitter flavors. There is a touch of vanilla in there. The alcohol is somewhat well perceived. Thick and smooth in the mouth with a mild amount of carbonation. The hops linger for a while after each sip.

These barleywine blends are interesting because you get the sharp hops that develop up front along with the duller hops that have been around for a while. This isn't a vanilla bomb since it's a blend. Some of the more complex notes you find in an aged beer are in there as well. It's a pretty solid and interesting beer. Recommended.

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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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