lucklys (62) - Chandler, Arizona, USA - MAR 16, 2011
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Poured into a standard tumbler, Widmer’s W’11 KGB Russian Imperial Stout appeared an opaque tar black throughout most of the glass, but near the top, right under the head, a thin highlighted layer of burnt sepia with jeweled garnet tones glimmered in just the right light. A layer of caramel colored foam built quickly from the bottom with medium bubbles while fading just as fast off the creamy top, reaching about 2 fingers thick through the end of a vigorous pour. It eventually faded to a thin, velvety sheet that laid gingerly across the liquid and left evenly spaced lines of lace along the glass. * * *
Hints of a nutty coffee and roasted, smoky malts slathered in melted pieces of dark chocolate dominated the nose from the very first whiffs. As it slowly warmed, aromas of toasted caramel, burnt brown sugar, and toffee wafted from the beer, closely followed by some mild earthy citrus hops that were hardly noticeable. Something sweet was trying to push its way through the heavier fragrances, but I couldn’t quite grab a hold of it - I’ve heard others describe dark fruits and berries, but I just couldn’t pick them out over all of the roasted, toasted goodness. * * *
Segueing right into the flavor profile, I was met with an extremely deep and bitter roast coffee that smothered my entire tongue on the first sip and nipped my taste buds awake. Toasted grainy malts helped to smooth it out, and as I continued drinking, I found that it became more and more silky, eventually keeping the bitterness at a level where the other flavors could present themselves. I was a little surprised that the dark chocolate in my mouth was much less pronounced than it was in the nose, but it also seemed to taste sweeter than it smelled and added an extra bit of roundness to the beer. About a quarter of the way in, the alcohol started to peek through and offered a quick burst of warmth while pairing with the hops and medium carbonation to produce a peppery/spicy character. As the bitterness continued to fade (or as my tongue became more used to it), touches of caramel, brown sugar molasses, and toffee, all slightly burnt, aided in smoothing out the brew and gave me a few more dimensions to work with. Overall, I found the W’11 KGB held a fairly light and oily mouthfeel as well as flavor - especially for an imperial stout - hiding in a medium body, but it’s still quite drinkable despite the high alcohol content. In the end I feel like it could use that fruitiness that continues to evade me through both the nose and taste, even just to help wash down the smoky, biter aftertaste that lingered on the back of my tongue for the next 15 minutes after a drink. * * *
W’11 KGB Russian Imperial Stout is most definitely a winter beer, to be enjoyed as a heat source for the coldest days. So if you still have one in your fridge, I recommend drinking it now, before it gets too warm outside, or wait until next winter, because the weather where I am right now unfortunately does nothing to compliment the beverage.
cards04 (1599) - Steinbach, Manitoba, CANADA - MAY 19, 2014
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
A nice RIS. pours black with tan head. Aromas of dark chocolate, and burnt malts. Flavors are burnt malts and bitter chocolate. A solid stout.
arnold931 (398) - Iowa, USA - APR 2, 2014
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle. Dark dark ruby. Tan head with nice lacing. Chocolate in the taste with some alcohol.
kathouse (916) - Nevada, USA - FEB 16, 2014
3.6 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
2011 bottle version. Mostly a coffee aroma. Nice tan foam. Full creamy mouthful with coffee and black malt finish that remains well after the beer is gone
DocLock (7682) - Lower Pottsgrove, Pennsylvania, USA - JAN 7, 2014
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bomber from Wegman’s. Pours dark blackish brown with tan head. Nose was lactic dark malts, cacao, oats, hops. Tasted medium in palate heft, with roasty dark malt, cacao, and a dry finish.
DMLINAZ (282) - Mesa, Arizona, USA - DEC 25, 2013
3.3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 12/20
Split a large bottle with relatives on Christmas, in Nutcracker glasses. Aroma is relatively mild for the style but still a nice mix of malt, alcohol, light bitterness. Pours deep black with mild lacing; a quick swirl gives a nice espresso-like ring. Taste is malts, chocolate, some anise, booziness, bitter finish. Not the best of the style but still good. It’s no Stone.
harrymel (1477) - Spokane, Washington, USA - DEC 25, 2013
1 AROMA 1/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 1/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 1/20
A: Pours a dark brown ale, little to no head formation. Able to agitate a decent quilt of latte head. This dissipates quickly. Spotty lacing.
S: Phenols, banana ester. Not sure why they released this beer. It’s a mess. Comes out way too hot. Hints of anise.
T: Astringent, alcoholic. Wow, on first taste, I’m considering pouring this one. Bitter, sharp, chemical. Not good at all.
M: Thin for the style with medium carbonation. Slicks palate with thick coat. Not a bad feel, but out of place nonetheless.
D: Very, very poor. I just poured this out. Horrible example. The brewer’s should have their wages cut for this one. Embarrassing for Widmer.
Serving type: bottle
ravens_n_beer (18) - - DEC 22, 2013
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 15/20
Poured from a growler filled at Jason’s in Ellicott City, MD. I’m a huge IPA fan but this stout is special. Dark, rich, lots going on. From aroma, to feel to finish, nothing but satisfaction. Lingers a bit like IPA’s do. Love to savor the finish. Will need more filled for Christmas Day!
pdx77 (1191) - Oregon, USA - DEC 1, 2013
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 14/20
On draught at Oregon Public House. Deep black color. Aroma is dark chocolate, licorice, and roasted dark malts. Taste is dark chocolate, plum, licorice, and smoked roasted malts. Really smooth mouthfeel and semisweet chocolate finish.
gdubu493 (27) - New Jersey, USA - DEC 1, 2013
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Drank a bottle poured into imperial pint beer glass. Label said it was bottled Jan-2013 in WA. Drank in Dec-2013. Solid, dark pour. Medium head with consistency of boiling caramel. Strong nose; hints of coffee and dark chocolate, and alcohol. Bitter front end; more coffee, chocolate, and alcohol. Bitter back end. Paired surprisingly well with sweet potato pie.
puboflyons (2043) - Allenstown, New Hampshire, USA - NOV 30, 2013
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
From the W Series 650 ml. bottle stamped: 11:37-WA-DEC1012. It pours jet black with a modest tan head that settles back slowly and leaves a light lacing cling to the glass. The aroma is full of dark cocoa malts, dark grainy malts, rye, mild sweetness, and a touch of cherry. The body is full. The taste begins with dark malts and bitter almost boozy bite at the end. The 9.3% ABV shows through a little.