Widdershins - Oak-Aged - Brandy Barrel-Aged | Left Hand Brewing Company

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Widdershins - Oak-Aged - Brandy Barrel-AgedWiddershins - Oak-Aged - Brandy Barrel-Aged
Very Good
24 Ratings
Widdershins - Oak-Aged - Brandy Barrel-AgedWiddershins - Oak-Aged - Brandy Barrel-Aged

Brewed by:
Left Hand Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.80%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by klewis on 03-21-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 24 |  Reviews: 16
Reviews by 1Adam12:
Photo of 1Adam12
3/5  rDev -21.5%

More User Reviews:
Photo of zaphodchak
3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009, mysteriously found on a shelf just a few weeks ago.

Half finger of light khaki head on a hazy golden amber body.

Nose is quite sweet, apricot and raisin dominate.

Taste is biting at first, still sweet with powerful banana ester. This has also clearly picked up some of the brandy sweetness from aging, though this gives it an unusually acrid edge for something this old, almost piney.

Mouthfeel is fine but quite bright considering the age.

It's a decent barleywine, and aging in brandy casks has indeed done something interesting to it. It's almost a bit of a clash though, since the brandy is such a disparate taste.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber, split and paired with ncaa tournament action

from notes

appearance: served in a small chalice, dirty ruby body, light beige film

smell: earthy, boozy, dark fruits

taste: difficult to place the brandy in this one but there is a very earthy/smoky effect from the aging that was a little interesting. i think the base barleywine here is below average and the barrel aging can't compensate for that.

mouthfeel: medium body, a touch spicy, alcohol warming

drinkability: ok

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Photo of Magery
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of TexIndy
3.73/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 edition. Looks like a new version in the database for this year with Brandy barrel being the differentiator. Poured from a 750ml bottle into a snifter. It was a somewhat hazy amber color with a big carb fountain in the center. It had a massive 3 finger beige head that slowly settled into a constant foam cap. Good lacing.

The aroma was hard to pin down until it really warmed up and even then it was full of multiple elements. Oak, malt and brandy overtones for sure with good dose of hops and darker fruit. Lot of parts but didn't blend as well as I'd like. The taste was malty with heavy accents of oak and brandy with less of the fruit coming thru. The hops were there but more of a bit player. It's still young so aging might help bring out the flavors more. Mouthfeel was thick and chewy with good carb and after-taste.

Overall, a good barleywine but not one of my favorites. As stated, it's young so aging might help. Good one to cellar so will revisit and adjust if needed next year. Still do recommend. Rotation - only avail here on draft so had ummagum ship my a couple bottles. Will see how it cellars before deciding rotation in bottles. Definite on-tap when I go to the brewery next month.

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Photo of Flashsp2
3.92/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Left Hand oak aged Widdershins 09 into snifter

Hazy grapefruit red with an two finger ivory head that leaves chunky lace webs.

Fruity, vinous, booze, oak, brandy macerated apricots, sweet citrus.
Intensely fruity and boozy, smells tasty.

Brandy, pears, apricots, brandy again, tannic oak, bitter hops,
mandarins, booze.

Body is, as I usually find for Left Hand brews, to be a bit on the
thin side. Carbonation is low, fitting an English style barleywine.

This is boozy and fruity, leaning more toward an English barleywine
than a hop forward American version. It drinks OK, but seems hotter
than the 9ish percent suggests. Still, quite tasty.

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Photo of Proteus93
4.12/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was an odd one to review here, as the 2009 Oak-Aged Widdershins is listed as being 75% Ale & 25% Ale Aged in Oak Brandy Casks. This seemed the more suitable place.

A: Penny copper colour, but quite cloudy... head is a bit fo a shimmering off-white, sporting some nice patches of bubbles that collapse into rolling foam, and laces quite nicely in threads

S: Rich malts, and though it is only stating that 25% was aged in the casks, the vanilla-like aromas of the oak come out quite strongly along with a rather intense citrus scent - like sweet orange, though there's another fruity smell that I pick up on. I presume that is merely esters coming from the Belgian yeast strain being used, but it's quite nice and suits the beer.

T: Oak is a strong flavour, just like it's a predominant aroma. Rich malts go hand-in-hand with alcohol for a nicely balanced flavour in that regard. It comes across as having a more hoppy profile than most barleywines that I've come across, but it adds a pleasant element to the brew.

M + D: A bit chewy, I can almost feel it sticking to my teeth, but by no means is it 'sticky.' A nice, full body without being too weighty and giving it that heavy feeling. This makes for an appropriate brew to sip at before packing it in for the night. Quite nice.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.65/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter. 2009 vintage, which I just bought a few days ago. Where the hell did this come from?

4.0 A: Ruddy brownish plum color. Two and a half fingers of frothy beige head. Retention is good with a healthy sized ring of lacing left.

4.0 S: Surprisingly the first thing I noticed was the candi sugar. Plum and prune fruitiness. Big toastiness and caramel. Brandy is quite detectable and gives a vinous character to the brew. Oak with a touch of vanilla.

3.5 T: Caramel, toastiness, and toffee foremost. Herbal hoppiness is still detectable. Plum, fig, prune, and light tobacco. Brandy again adds a vinous component. Slightly tannic. Yeasty breadiness. Tasty.

3.5 M: Medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Lacking creaminess though.

3.5 D: Decent beer. I'm glad I could try it. I wonder what it was like years ago.

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Photo of SickNukes
5/5  rDev +30.9%

Photo of BMoney575
3.47/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sampled on 2-5-11
Bottled in 2009

Pours a clear, deep amber color with a thin white head that fades quickly. Lacing is just a single thin ring a white bubbles.

Smell is fruity with lots of light malt, slight aromas of clove and alcohol spiciness. Sweet, but well balanced, with lots of sharp citrus hops at the end.

Taste is sharp and very bitter, the brandy character is more pronounced than I expected. The booze is strong, and the hop kick does not fade. Hard to place, and a little hard to get down. The finish and aftertaste is all cloves and spice.

Mouthfeel is thick, but with lots of carbonation to enhance the already heavy bitterness.

Drinkability is decent, just an intense beer from start to finish.

Overall, different and worth trying if you can find it.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.13/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - five fingers of beer and five fingers of foam. The beer is an amber/orange color, the head comes in off-white, manila, very stiff and sticky, leaving plenty of artwork on the glass. Noticeably murkier on the bomber's second glass pour.

Aroma - figs, wood, raisins smoky oak. There's a good bready graininess under it all but it takes a minute to get to it. No indication of a sweet barleywine affair, the barrel must be covering any of that. A nice start, though tends to be registering on the lighter side.

Taste - solid, bready graininess, has some chew to it. Oak and fruit start to contend for dominance. The barrel, though outgunned three to one in volume, gains the upper hand with the woody notes sitting atop the tasty but distant fruitiness of the ale. The mix is delicious, keeping this particular barleywine on the less-sweet side was a good idea. The barrel plays off of it well, giving the mild abv flavor some good support and backbone. The swallow has a restrained bite of bitterness and a smooth oaky segue into a warm finish. Ultimately a little light on barleywine influence but I dig the oak.

Mouthfeel - some decent smoothness and average carbonation. The body is full and well-done.

Drinkability - pretty drinkable for a barleywine. Not sure how strong it is but it's not a head-snapper; I could see having another bomber to sip fireside.

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Photo of mikeincharleston
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of mcorwin
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of RedneckBeerz
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of thebouch01
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of cpetrone84
3.21/5  rDev -16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2009 edition, bottle reads Oak Aged Widdershins 75% Ale and 25% aged in Oak Brandy Casks

A-pours a deep cloudy copper orange color. The head is off white, quite dense and creamy, and has very solid retention. This lingers for quite some time and leaves a huge lacing all over the glass

S-the nose is very pleasant and smells of sweet slightly alcohol soaked dark fruits and sugar. It is however slightly weak especially for a big beer. The brown sugar hits the nose first then a light note of dark cherries with hints of booze. Ripe plum helps to sweeten the deal.

T-the taste is much more harsh than the sweet nose. Medicinal phenolic taste with burnt brown sugar give a somewhat unpleasant start to this beer. Hints of sweet dark fruits come in next, plum some cherry. The booziness is higher in the taste with a metallic taste and some bitterness that lingers at the finish.

M-smooth and creamy, somewhat syrupy, lighter end of full body and slick on the back of the throat.

D-some nice aspects in the taste but also some stuff that just seems way off. Not something I would recommend but something that I would drink if it was in front of me.

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Photo of Exiled
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of beergoot
3.58/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hazy, honey-colored body; thick, sticky head. Strong caramel aroma infused with suggestion of brandy. Malty sweetness and boozy edge with the flavor; phenolic. Heavy body with a fizzy quality.

I picked this up this year and am surprised to see its bottle conditioned in 2009! Perhaps this was a leftover gathering dust somewhere. So, in one respect, I could almost say this is a cellared beer, yet who knows how and where it was stored. Regardless, the beer is drinkable enough yet has a stinging, biting roughness to it in both taste and mouthfeel. It hasn't aged too well. There's no mention of the ABV on the bottle label, but I'm guessing we're somewhere around the 10% level. The label does state 25% of the ale was aged in oak brandy casks and some of that character is noticeable in the nose. I almost think there is some woody flavor in there, too, yet the alcohol and phenol notes make that a fuzzy call.

As mentioned earlier, this ain't too bad. It would have been nice to try this years earlier or even on tap to compare with this evening's tasting, but no such luck. As such, after six-to-seven years of bottle conditioning, this is only so-so for a barleywine.

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Photo of THORN
3.38/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1 Pint 6 Fl. Oz. 2009 Oak-Aged Widdershins 75% Ale & 25% Ale Aged in Oak Brandy Casks. Poured into pint glass. Served around 50 F.
A: Reddish brown. Pours and retains thin white head.
S: Brown sugar, fruity hops, and kind of a toasty aroma.
T: Sweet malts, robust oak body, and strong bitterness. Slight phenol character.
M: Medium on tongue and slightly warming.
D: I think a year in the cellar would bring out more flavor. Oak taste was a little over abundant.

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Photo of argock
3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz brown bomber into a clear glass snifter. 2009 vintage. Purchased at Market Street Wine Shop (Charlottesville, VA) for $8.49.

A: Peach-apricot hue with lots of particulate yeast suspended. 1/2-finger off-white head with good retention leaving a wispy layer with nice random lace patterns.

S: Very leathery and oaky with spicy, floral hops notes, vanilla, and a distinctive Belgian yeastiness. Malts are not that assertive in the nose.

T: Malts are much more prominent in the flavor, but they are not overly sweet despite the candi sugar addition. Vanilla oakiness is pretty upfront. Esters are still pretty strong with floral hops and nutty Belgian yeastiness. Alcohol is readily detectable but adds to the overall fruity profile of the maltiness.

M: The body is bit light for a barleywine, but still chewy, with more-than-average carbonation. Aftertaste is yeasty, nutty, and fruity with nice floral hoppiness.

D: Pretty drinkable but not as flavorful as I would have imagined. A year in the dark may help even out the flavors I think.

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Photo of klewis
4.23/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On Cask at the Left Hand Tap Room 3/20/09

A: Pours a cloudy bronze with a frothy head. Heavy lace.

S: Caramel malt with a strong brandy character. Boozy.

T: Strong burnt oak character with a caramel malt backbone. Rich and complex with nutmeg and spice flavors and a bit of heat.

M: Full and creamy. Obviously, little carbonation.

D: Solid, complex, and tasty. Dangerously drinkable.

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Photo of mlazzaro
4.35/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I got this 22 oz bottle on discount because it was old. I assumed it had a good amount of alcohol and was still good.

a- cloudy dark amber, white head. nice lookin' beer.
s- smells of oak and American hops.
t- I am typically afraid of this style (Barrel aged beers). Usually obnoxiously bourbon-brandy flavored, and overly oaked. This is an amazingly balanced beer. A lot of unique flavors actually working well together. Spicy hop aftertaste, really interesting, and well made beer.
One of the better brews from this company, really delicious. I can't express how surprised I was to like this beer so much.

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Photo of Gehrig
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

According to the bottle, the ABV is 8.25 %.

After a brief confab near the display island at the tremendous Neil St. Piccadilly, during which the great manager JD and I discussed what about barleywine we like, I grabbed this, scampered home, and laid a solid chill on Oak Aged Widdershins before sampling it. Two dense soda-like fingers of rich tan head top a deep amber body with ruby trim; decent retention and lacing, a fine start.

The smell disappoints, honestly. The bottle reads oak and brandy barrel-soaked, but the beer barely smells of the advertised wood/brandy cask. Instead, it emits nice dried fruit aromas (date, fig), a decent citrus scent (orange peel), and some sweet fruit (cherry, apple). But the oak and brandy are faint at best, passing fancies at worst--especially for what is advertised. Yet the aroma base is well rounded enough to atone for this.

The taste is thankfully an improvement, with the brandy at least emerging to take charge of Widdershins--candied cherry, a bit of alcoholic heat, mild molasses, and dried fruit make this good barleywine--assuredly not great, but good, and complex in subtle ways. Letting it warm nudges it along. Smooth texture, but jeez could Widdershins use a heaping helping of hops! Some grit for balance would do wonders here.

In all, nice beer, though not necessarily worth $8.49 a bomber bottle, and definitely not living up to the oak-brandy billing on the front of the bottle. A nice barleyine, but one, like some other Left Hand wares, that leaves one wanting.

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Photo of StaveHooks
4.19/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 on the label.

A - Pours a murky dark amber, ruby brown. 2 finger off-white head that leaves thick sheets of lacing.

S - Sweet woody malt, bright cherries, vanilla, apricots, oranges, brown sugar, raspberries soaked in brandy. The smell has a very sharp sweet, but is not heavy. Very nice for a barley wine.

T - Follows the nose. Toasted caramel malt, salty wood, toffee, cooked cherries, caramelized brown sugar, orange/grapefruit hop bitterness round out the sweetness.

M - Full bodied. Perfect carbonation. Smooth and creamy

It taste like an cherry dipped in caramel from an oak barrel with oranges in it. Very nice take on the style. The brandy casks adds wonderful flavor and the oak blends in without overpowering.

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Widdershins - Oak-Aged - Brandy Barrel-Aged from Left Hand Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.82 out of 5 with 24 ratings