Downward Spiral | Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

very good
20 Reviews
Downward SpiralDownward Spiral

Brewed by:
Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
Oregon, United States

Style: American Pale Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Downward Spiral is an imperial version of our Hopside Down India style pale lager that was aged on new oak spirals. This bold wood-aged beer is an aggressively hopped, cold-fermented brew that brings together the clean, crisp finish of a lager with the hop character of Anipa, balanced by distinct oak flavors and aromas.

Added by JohnGalt1 on 10-10-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 20 | Ratings: 70
Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from tasting notes. L: Pours brilliant gold with a 1” off-white foam cap that is very lacy. S: malt, some hints of hop, but not big. T: The beer is rich and malty with some spice flavors. F: Clean and smooth with medium body and carbonation. O: a very interesting and flavorful lager.

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Photo of scotorum
4.42/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Found a fourpack on a trip to New Hampshire. Only later discovered it was brewed in November 2013!

12oz. bottle emptied into a stemmed tulip.

a: Translucent deep orange with an inch plus thick offwhite head which receded to thick surface foam and patchy lacing

s: Tangerine and smoky wood.

t: Sweet citrus over a heavy bready malt base, medium hop bite, slight lingering bitterness, wood notes in the aftertaste.

m: Medium, fine body and good carbonation tingle.

o: A tasty IIPA, lower in hop bitterness perhaps because of the age on it. The sweet citrus, bready malt and wood notes make for a rewarding sipper.

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Photo of humlet_oel_elsker
4.48/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Why did I wait so long to open this? (Sep 23, 2013 on label) It's been in my beer fridge since purchasing, whenever that was.
I guess this rainy Sunday in California was a special enough occasion to pop the top, and I'm so glad I did!
Look: Lovely cloudy amber. Lacing's hang on the tulip.
Smell: I really don't sniff my beer much, I mean, ITS NOT WINE....smells like...bananas?
Taste: OH YUM, hops are present but subdued and there is just the loveliest hint of oak that rests on my palate long after the sip (or gulp) has gone done.
Feel: just right.
So, wish I'd have opened this sooner, I'd have gotten more while it was available!

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.76/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Type: 22-oz. bottle
Glass: Polygamy Porter pint glass
From: 55 Degree Wine in Glendale, Calif.
Price: $5.99
Purchased: March 28, 2014
Consumed: March 29, 2014
Misc.: Born on date of Sept. 23, 2013

Poured a caramel, orange, murky color with two fingers of frothy white head. Some bubbles coming up from the bottom. Minimal lacing along the sides of the glass. Below average retention from the bottom.

Smelled a pleasant mix on the nose. Got citrus hops first, followed by pine, soap, lime and some floral hops, immediately followed by oak, vanilla and Jack Daniels. Very boozy, but probably matches nine percent ABV.

Tasted similar to the nose, which was all over the place. Got citrus hops, soapy pine, then dominated by boozy oak. Also bourbon, vanilla and bitter nickel.

Light body. Oily texture. Average-to-soft carbonation. Long, boozy finish.

A really good attempt but I thought it could have been better overall.

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Photo of pkalix
4.34/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

nice bright yellow-orange color with little to no effervescent bubbles and a lighter, creamy-looking head.
candy-sweet aroma, biscuit-y malt and fruit (orange?).
taste is sweet up front, with little bitterness on the side of the tongue. candy-orange flavor but without the novelty. taste of vanilla, for sure, and... is that the oak it's referring to? a very decent IPL, and although i'm not a fan of the IPL, I can appreciate this quite a bit. nice abv too!
overall, a decent brew. the bitterness at the finish is interesting.

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Photo of mactrail
4.28/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Beautiful amber-tinged golden color in the Affligem chalice with an ample foam. Crisp with a substantial mouthfeel as the malt flows over the tongue. Aroma of toast and vanilla.

Sweet and tangy. I don't really taste too much besides the oak and the bitterness, but what a great flavor. Flowery and pleasantly sweet with a big sudsy mouthfeel. Tastes strong but not overly alcoholic. More aromatic than hot in the mouth. Huge fruity, zingy taste of ripe pears and pineapple.

If you're going to oak up a beer, this is the way to do it. Another nice surprise from Widmer. From the 22 oz bottle purchased at Baron's Marketplace in San Diego.

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Photo of Celtics17
4.43/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

This was better then expected. I really didn't get the lager feel of this, but the oak I did get, with vanilla smack in the middle of this IPA. The bitter/sweet taste played well. This beer had a strong vanilla taste. I enjoyed. I didn't pick up much fruit in this IPA, but the sweet vanilla went well with the bitter pine taste.

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Photo of cjgiant
4.01/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Original rating is on-tap at Widmer brewpub. I have a bottle at home as well, which I intend to add an edit to this review on any differences, for fun.

A: golden amber with foamy edge head, including minimal surface head. Lacing is extensive in the tulip glass it was served in.
S: overall malty, but there are some floral undertones. The smell isn't strong, but caramel, light earth notes, and a mild lemon and berry-tart smell come to mind with some effort
T: more malt than bitter, even considering it's an imperial. The taste is carbonated, a little biting, before the malt sugars take over. The smooth sweetness is honey like in the beginning. When lingering, is surprisingly a little reminiscent of a fruit-filled chocolate truffle. That is not saying it's that sweet, because as with any good beer, there is a countering bitterness. This bitterness is orange or peach in nature, maintaining an overall sweetness to the beer.
M: not a whole lot there in mouth pull, mostly carbonated in nature, with the long term being a little oily grassy/piney.
O: if you enjoy a sweeter pale ale, this is likely a beer you'd enjoy. It is missing a nice bitter hop bite, as the bitter notes are largely subdued.

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Photo of budgood1
3.91/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

pours out a orange/amber hue...clouded with a half inch frothy head with some sticking power. juicy hop aroma of mangoe and pineapple with some woody undertones. the taste profile explodes with vanilla and oak, complimenting the tropical fruit flavours in the hop profile. straight laced base malt provides a solid foundation for some swirling sweetness on the tongue, and the back end bitterness tries its best to keep it in check. although it is a bit cloying. a warming alcohol punch settles in the belly after a few sips. there is a bit of crispness in the mouthfeel, and you definitley know this is a lager. full bodied for sure. drinkability is nice...i'm making sure i sip this so as not to let things get out of hand.

overall i'm digging this IPL. lots going on and an exposion for both belly and brain. i would revisit this.

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Photo of IAmAPenguin
4.6/5  rDev +15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

Aroma: Tropical fruits, vanilla, charred cinnamon, subtle maple and pineapple. Appearance: See-through copper orange with a half finger head. Taste: intense tropical fruits, mango, pineapple, toasted coconut flakes, wood, spices, vanilla, assertive hop presence. Overall: a massive beer with intense complexity.

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Photo of Jason
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle with a freshness date.

Hell yeah! Love the IPL style, very well hopped without being overwhelming and the wood character really sets this beer away from the rest. Keep on brewing beers like this Bros!!

LOOK: Dull pale amber hue, tiny bubbled lacing leaves a trail all the way down the glass.

SMELL: Fresh orange zest, faint oak, pineapple skin, pine sap, green tea, esters, bready, floral

TASTE: Slightly chewy body, big crispness, mild wood tannin, dried hay, exotic fruit, pungent hop bitterness, mint, mildly dank, rose water, stone fruit, linger hop, pulling woody dryness

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Photo of vkv822
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz : tulip

Pours a clear, bright copper with a thin, fizzy off white head that dissipates to leave a thin foam across the surface.

Citric hops upfront, with a definite oak presence, both in the nose and taste. In the flavor the oak adds a vanilla character in the finish as well.

Medium body, slightly oily, mild carbonation.

A very well done beer. The oak spiral aging compliments the base beer nicely.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.89/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottled 9/11/13.

Pours a clear orange with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, citrus zest, alcohol, and some buttery wood aromas. Taste is much the same with citrus zest, oak, and butter flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with a tasty wood presence that works well with the base beer.

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Photo of SawDog505
3.8/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a 13 oz tulip glass, bottled on 9/11/13. Pours clear bright orange with a half inch of white head that leaves plenty of lace behind. Smell is vanilla oak, grapefruit, candy apple, pine, and apricot. Taste is very pungent grapefruit, vanilla infused oak, and some apple infused brandy soaked candy apple, aggressive flavor. Body is medium large, great amount life, a little dry, and after you get used to unusual flavors it drinks easily and enjoyable. This is very odd, but a good and totally unique beer. Worth a try, especially if you appreciate Burton Baton.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.8/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a half finger of head on a clear medium straw colored body.
The aroma has some mango, orange, lemon and a little wood.
The taste has a lot going on at once: mild honey sweet to moderate grapefruit bitterness, then mild oak and earth, finishes with moderate lemon bitterness.
The texture is crisp with moderate carbonation.
It borders on doing too many things at once, but it pulls through with an enjoyable and unique drink.

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Photo of Reidrover
4.13/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle from S.Salem Fred Meyer $4.17 Pours a nice deep golden colour with a nice sized bubbly off white head. Slightly boozy,caramel,toffee, aroma,slight floral perfume . Surprisingly balanced taste..getting some spicy hop and a touch of what i take to be oak wood.There is some alcohol in the after taste but its pleasant and almost wine like. Nice really Mouth feel is fine..dry finish . Unusual beer here from Widmer..quite nice on a cold evening.

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Photo of agreenman19
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at Tullycross in Manchester, CT.

A - 3.50: Nothing too out of the ordinary, but it did the whole "crystal clear medium brown" thing fairly well Decent lacing.

S - 4.00: I could smell the bite from here. At 9.4%, the alcohol was definitely there and helped the fruity undertones pop out.

T - 4.25: I wasn't expecting much from a "pale lager", but this one packed some serious flavor. That tangy bite I detected in the nose was there in full force. Thick and sweet with some oak in the background. Lots of nice, sharp, distinct fruity flavors spackled throughout. The taste was more of a shock than anything, but I thought it worked well.

M - 3.75: Nothing special; just your typical syrupy, heavy-duty, malty IPA sort of mouthfeel. I'm a sucker for those so it gets an extra 0.25 from me.

O - 4.00: Like I said in the Taste section, I really had no idea what I was getting into with a 10% pale lager, but I'm glad I did. Some really interesting flavors and sensations poking about in my mouth, but nothing truly overwhelming. Lots to dissect and enjoy!

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Photo of shand
4.19/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Everyone knows Widmer and Cigar City got together for Gentleman's Club, right? Well, Cigar City obviously dropped off some of their trademark white oak spirals used to make White Oak Jai Alai and Widmer applied them in a similar manner to this Imperial Pale Lager, because this tastes remarkably like White Oak Jai Alai. I drink a lot of White Oak Jai Alai, and these are damn close. The difference in scores so far can almost be completely accounted for the fact that Cigar City has tons of hype and Widmer doesn't. The aroma and mouthfeel on the Widmer aren't quite as good as White Oak's, and the finish is a tad astringent, but a surprising amount of the flavor is there.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

A: Poured a dark yellowish-golden color with good carbonation, lingering white one finger head, spotty lacing present

S: Oak and vanilla with a bold citrus and piney notes. It smells pretty sweet.

T: A big blast of citrus and piney hops initially, then lots of oak and vanilla. There is a moderate bitterness and cloying like sweetness I can taste and feel. The finish is sweet, syrupy and sticky.

M: Medium bodied, well carbonated with a sticky, sweet cloying feel with lots of oak tannins. It tastes great but in no way feels like a lager.

O: Big, bold IPL, got it. However, the lager base was obliterated by mounds of hops, sweetness, oak tannins. It really was not clean nor crisp, tasty, yes, not really refreshing though.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.51/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Downward Spiral is an imperial version of our Hopside Down India-style Pale Lager that was aged on new oak spirals. This bold wood-aged beer is an aggressively hopped, cold-fermented brew that brings together the clean, crisp finish of a lager with the hop character of an IPA, balanced by distinct oak flavors and aromas. Wood is good. Prost!

Malts: 2-Row Pale, Munich, Caramel 80L, Dextrapils
Hops: Alchemy Hop Blend, Cascade, Dry-Hopped with Cascade
Original Gravity: 17.65 P
ABV: 9.4%
IBU: 84

Foamy 2 finger off white head... decent lacing... the brew is polished dark golden.

Citrusy/light pine on the nose... hints of oak.... smells pretty clean.

Bigger bitterness on the palate and the oak really shines midpalate to the finish.. the oak also accentuates the bigger malt presence.

Medium body and carbonation... the oak makes this seem IMO a bit aggressive... not sure if it translates well in a big hoppy lager.


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Downward Spiral from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
4 out of 5 based on 70 ratings.
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