Review: W'11 (KGB Russian Imperial Stout), Widmer Bros.

Widmer Bros. Brewing Co. — Portland, OR

  • Style:  Imperial Stout, Russian
  • Bitterness:  Not listed
  • ABV: 9.3%
  • Malts:  Roasted Barley, Chocolate Malt, Midnight Wheat.
  • Hops:  Not listed
  • Sampled: 12 oz. bottle

Description:  "This long-time favorite brewers' choice beer was created to help us challenge expectations and keep us true.  We now expose it to you.  Using roasted barley, chocolate malt, and Midnight Wheat, KGB has a color that is as dark as a torrid past, a body as full as a well kept dossier, and a taste as complex as a conspiracy theory." —Widmer Bros. Brewing Co.

Random thoughts:   To kick off 2011, I tasted Widmer's new "W" series installment.  Here's Widmer's
description about "W".  "A new beer every year. Built from the ground up by our hardworkin' brewmasters. Traditional, experimental, anything goes. Here's to trying new things."  This beer will only be available through April.  Last year Widmer's W'10 release was a Pitch Black IPA (or Cascadian Dark Ale). 

The tasting:  Very dark brown in color—near black with a dark tan head that dissipated slowly.   I could see reddish hues when I held it up to the light.  It showed nice legs on the glass when I swirled it around. Aroma of coffee, roasted malts, and alcohol.  Flavor of roasted malts, coffee (not as strong as in the aroma), with hints of licorice.  Very little bitterness.  I didn't get a lot of hops in aroma or flavor (which is acceptable for the style).  It was a bit one dimensional, and I didn't experience the layering of different flavors.

Medium bodied with medium carbonation.  It had a nice mouth feel.  This beer is very well balanced.  While I tasted some alcohol, it's not as strong as I would expect for a 9.3% ABV brew.  So if you drink W'11, be careful!

Rating:  4 star.  Really good!  I want this again!   I normally don't consider price, but W'11 was priced at $7.98 for a six pack.  I haven't seen such a low price point for this style of beer.  Considering the price point as well as the merits of this beer, W'11 is a must try in my opinion.  I plan to buy a six-pack to cellar.  I can't wait to see how this beer matures over time.  Great job by the Widmer crew in bringing this big beer style to the masses!  I can't help but wonder what's on the drawing boards for W'12?!?!

Have you tried W'11?  How did you like it?

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  1. No worries about the 9.3. If you were expecting a kick, as I was, It's not there. WTF??? They need to print new labels. 9.3 in someones dreams maybe?

  2. I think it's a well-made beer and they did a good job of concealing the alcohol taste. I don't know what the labeling law is, but if they say it's 9.3% ABV, I wouldn't doubt it.

  3. Trying the W'11 right now. Very nice flavor. I'll let you know about the 9.3 after I have a couple :)

  4. So how did the W'11s work out for you Mark? I bought a few extra bottles to cellar. Look forward to revisiting them when W'12 and W'13 come out.

  5. This is a good stout. Didn't taste the alcohol, but this is a big beer. I paid $7.69 for the six-pack, which I thought was a great bargain.

  6. i bought a sixer of it about 2 weeks ago. its pretty strong tasting for this guy weaned on factory pale beers! but ive been drinking one glass a night over the last two weekends. i'm such a lightweight! what happened to high school days, drinking olde english "800" just to get messed up! lol!

  7. Glad you like it. I imagine moving from the pale factory stuff to this is a pretty big leap. Enjoy!

  8. I picked up a 4-pack of Widmer Nelson Imperial IPA. Never heard of it before, but it looked interesting. I'll save it for next weekend and maybe take your suggestion and cellar one or two. Have you heard of this beer? It's of their Series 924, whatever that is.

  9. Saw it at a local liquor store for under six bucks and figured I would try it out. I really enjoyed this beer and will go back tomorrow for another six pack.


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