KGB Imperial Stout - Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

Not Rated.
KGB Imperial StoutKGB Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

288 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 288
Reviews: 166
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 13.66%
Wants: 7
Gots: 15 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Widmer Brothers Brewing Company visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  9.30% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Mitchster on 06-21-2003

Formerly a rotating release, "KGB" is being re-released as "W'11" in late 2010 - with seasonal winter/spring availability.
View: Beers (73) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 288 | Reviews: 166
Reviews by zdk9:
Photo of zdk9
4.22/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours dead black with a finger of head that's cream colored with a tint of brown. Looks like the possibility of some strong lacing with this one.

S- Smells like a delicious stout. There's coffee, bittersweet chocolate, burnt molasses, smoke. Definitely some bourbon going on as it warms up.

T- Tastes like a delicious stout. More mineral characteristic than I'd like but if you take out that it's fantastic. Very bittersweet chocolate, used coffee grounds, bourbon, vanilla, wood, ash (that's part of the mineralness that isn't so good). There some pine and grapefruit pith on the back corners of my mouth- it's like the hops have scurried to the sides of the stage, even though they're pretty powerful themselves.

M- Bitter- roast, ash, and hop bitterness. Though there's some sweetness it's not really a stick to your mouth syruppy beer.

O- I'm really enjoying this, a great delicous RIS, just as advertised.

More User Reviews:
Photo of tectactoe
3.37/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Kevin or Jeff for this one, not sure who it actually belonged to. It pours out nearly black with some very, very dark brown tints that stain the extremities. The khaki, almost half-inch head actually has decent retention (for a Russian Imperial Stout, anyway) and leaves a few spots of chunky lacing along the sides of the glass.

Straightforward and simple is the aroma, possibly almost to the point of being a little one-track minded. Heavy roasted malts, embarking on the modest trail of light ash and light char. Sprinkle something faintly reminiscent of cocoa powder over that, and you've pretty much summed up the aroma of this one. It's missing out on a lot of great, yet typical RIS elements, and that makes it seem kind of bland and boring.

After taking a few sips, it unfortunately doesn't seem like the flavor profile will end up being the redeeming factor of this beer. It's far from bad, offensive, or gross - it just happens to be far too stripped down and painfully average when other beers of the same style are considered. Some deeply roasted, almost charred and burnt malts scrape the palate along with a dark cocoa bean finish, and now I'm struggling to pick out anything else.

The one and basically only addition the flavor has that the aroma doesn't is a bit of alcohol. In retrospect, it really isn't good nor bad, it's just there. I guess it gives a bit of robustness to an otherwise basic and slightly wimpy RIS. Even the mouth feel is lacking a bit; it's medium bodied, but still thin within the style; more oily and wet than creamy or smooth. Carbonation is pretty good, and sadly, it looks like that may be the high-point.

A pretty big "meh" in regards to a style that's full of huge, robust, and complex beers. I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with lighter, simpler brews - hell, I love me a nice German Helles Lager... but when I pick up a Russian Imperial Stout, I have certain expectations and they just really weren't met here. Not bad, but uninteresting to say the least.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #49 (Feb 2011):

Tan lacing crowns this deep, sooty brew. Stewed dates, leather, hint of mace, carob, mild coffee and a watery charcoal fill the nos- trils. Smoothness is there, but the creaminess is over the top--sip after sip enjoyment. Choco-burnt character comes off a little bitter; burnt sugar and charcoal. Hops jump in there with their own bitterness to balance the malt, and the fruitiness struggles a bit to stay in the game. Inner warmth grows after each taste, with hints of vanilla or nougat and with a burnt black currant flavor in the charred semidry finish. Perhaps not of epic proportions, yet sized just right, it's a welcome surprise this winter.

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.18/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I gotta say, I really enjoyed this 2013 version.
In a tulip glass the beer was near black in color with a small tan head and a little bit of lace.

Roasted malt aroma. Coffee and chocolate; strong coffee and dark chocolate.

Taste of espresso and dark chocolate. Some tobacco.

Dry, appropriately bitter.

Nice beer.

Photo of Beaver13
2.79/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle W'11 version dated 1/4/11. Pours a dark brown-black with a big creamy tan head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is a bit subdued - chocolate malts and grains with a little roast and a touch of plastic.

The flavor is roasted chocolate malts, anise, and some tar with a big charred bitterness in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with smooth carbonation.

Overall, an interesting big beer from Widmer. But it's too much tar and charred bitterness for me.

Photo of Mora2000
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark brown to black color with an off-white head. The aroma is heavy on the coffee and chocolate with some roasted malt mixed in. The flavor is more of the same. I get a lot of bitter chocolate as well as some charred and heavily roasted malt. The alcohol is very well hidden and is not noticeable at all. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. A very nice imperial stout.

Photo of ehammond1
3.62/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On Tap

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

Dark black throughout with a thin brown head that leaves spiderwebs of lace down the glass, though the beer looks a bit thin.

Bold and complete aroma of roasted malts, a touch of chocolate, and a bit of tangy licorice.

The flavor is simple, with the roasted malts dominating most of everything else. There's a bit of sweetness, though this is a simple, but complete stout.

Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation.

Decent enough big stout, but there are better options available practically anytime, anywhere.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.54/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours jet black, small beige head, nothing out of the ordinary for style. Aroma was largely a deep burn of roast.

Taste, good, warming, heavily bitter, heavy on the heavy roast, slight hoppy feel to it. Hoppier than most in the style. A little bit too alcoholic to be excellent, but the price point on a 6 of this $9 works very nicely. A good beer, solid second tier option for the style, and nice to have it in 12 oz bottles.

Photo of chinchill
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz, 2012 bottle of KGB Russian Imperial Stout.

Black and opaque in the glass, with a semi-durable head. Limited lacing.

Aroma: rich dark and sweet malts and aged alcohol esters.

Flavor: rich and fairly complex, with a hint of whisky that comes with the obviously high, but not harsh, ABV. Lingering flavor of very dark roasted grains.

Feel: full, thick and smooth with some warming. Good, light carbonation.

Photo of LXIXME
4.33/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big rich light brown head slowly dies leaving a pretty decent lacing atop a clear dark brown or black colored stout.

Roasted malts with a dark fruit backbone aroma, almost like roasted cherries or apricots.

Taste warm and roasted malts with dark chocolate hints and a light dark fruitiness in the background, rather enjoyable.

A light dark chocolate roasted lightly dry aftertaste.

I rather enjoyed this imperial stout, when I poured it I could smell the alcohol but that seems to disappear as I drank it.

Not the heaviest stout I've tried but a pretty darn good one.

Photo of Brenden
3.67/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

While it doesn't appear to be especially viscous, there is a certain thickness to this beer. It's almost black with a tan cap of head that stays strong and gives up some rings of lacing where the beer settles and some spotting between.
Roasted malt is heavy and leads to some char in the smell. Dark fruits come in along with the usual roasted coffee and bittersweet cocoa. There's just a faint whiff of alcohol at the end.
There's lots of roast in the flavor as well, and this beer finds itself just short of tasting burnt. Cocoa powder, baking cocoa and coffee grounds add strength to it, but where it improves over the aroma is a little added sweetness of vanilla as it pulls some dark fruits and char into the finish.
As with many Widmer Brothers offerings, the body leans light for this huge style. It does have some heft, but thickness and richness are key to this style in particular. It almost makes it, but not quite.

Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
3.1/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottled Jan 27 - consumed 5/31

I'm seeing a lot of Sub-Par reviews and I'm disagreeing with them to a point. For a $8.99 six-pack RIS at 9.3% it's a solid brew and value...not to mention ageable!

A - Black - teetering on dark brown root beer cola. So-so.

S - Dark Fruits, vanilla, coffee and dark chocolate

T - Well...the dark fruits are there, almost a Belgian quad characteristic followed by vanilla, coffee, and chocolate. You'd guess by everything I mention, it has everything solid that a good RIS should. There's a smokey, almost ashy component that compliments all the above mentioned. Not quite offensive, but not happy it's there either. Will it mellow with age....I hope so. Don't mistake this with roasty...because it's ashy. As it warms, it gets more ashy...the price is keeping me from a 3 score.

M - No complaints at all. Oily, velvety slick. It paired extremely well with some moist father in law who HATES stouts loved it along with that desert and said he finally found a stout's place in the world. (For him at least)

O - at $8.99 why not pick one up? Good, but nothing to call home about. Mouthfeel was the best aspect of this brew...which is very important when it comes to RIS's.

*EDIT* I've now finished the 6er. Thin, ashy and subpar. Go with Green Flash Double Stout or Old raspy for the 4-pack over this 6er... best advise I could ever give.

Photo of TheSixthRing
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours an opaque black with a cocoa powder colored head that sits just over a finger thick. Fair retention. Streaky lacing with good stick.

Smell - Not much, to be honest. Earthy, with mild hints of chocolate and roasted malt.

Taste - Moderate notes of deep roastiness. Darkened caramel. Earthy. Mild bitter chocolate tones. Finishes with a lingering coffee bitterness.

Mouthfeel - Medium to full body. Moderate carbonation. Super smooth and creamy. Entirely drinkable; near quaffable. That's not nearly the case with most imperial stouts.

Overall - Pretty tame by RIS standards. Might be a good intro brew for the style. Even near room temps this thing didn't have much kick to it. In a way, trades a punchy flavor for a smooth, drinkable experience. Old Rasputin's doppelganger, if you will. Certainly nothing that's going to satisfy the hardened Imperial Stout drinker, but I wouldn't call it unpalatable, either. Just a bit safe, is all.

Photo of GilGarp
3.3/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle stamped 1/4/11.

Served cold into a pint glass, KGB is a very dark brown stout. The head is short but creamy smooth and has good longevity. Some small lacing is left behind.

Aroma is rich and roasty with a nice coffee character. There even seems to be a solid late hop addition.

Flavor is where this imperial stout starts to disappoint. It has a nice strong roasty quality to it but it doesn't have the depth to make it really interesting. A little hoppy, a little sweet, but that's about the extent of it's bag of tricks. If you're looking for complexity, this won't do it.

Mouthfeel is medium-plus in body and a little over carbonated. The alcohol comes through a little strong but it would probably be better after a few months to a year.

It is a fair strong stout but certainly not going to complete with the TenFidys, Storm Kings, or Old Rasputins of the world. Then again, it's considerably less expensive. If you consider it a budget RIS, then it's probably worth what you paid.

Photo of Magpie14
3.3/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I found some old notes on this one...

A: liquid black. Soap bubbles sit atop a thin dirty yellow foam, lace is meager (understandable due to ABV). Presentation is lacking overall, it just doesn't catch my eye

S: smell is of roasted grains and malts with a rather strong wafting of spicy alcohol. Sweetness has some chocolate, licorice, and a tinge of fruitiness. Interestingly it reminds me of bananas

T: this beer blends its roasted character with alcohol. Nothing is cloying sweet nor is it sweet enough to stick around. I find a soft toffee and caramel flavor with some crushed coffee beans. These few flavors sound nice but are a mishmash of insecurity. Nothing is flowing well and if something tries to make a stand on the tongue, the peppery alcohol knocks it over. This beer gained some strength as it warmed both in flavor and alcohol, with more of the latter

M: a soft snap of carbonation and a hearty medium to heavy body. Mouthfeel is rather slick but when the flavors are awry the feel suffers as well

D: the menu mentions "notable alcohol content." Not sure if I have ever seen that before as a selling point. In any event this is a good winter warmer and I was able to snag a fading out of season glass. Plenty of other RIS's to reach before this one, although I am glad I was able to sample it

Photo of ElGordo
3.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pored from the 12oz sniffer into a Maudite sniffer. Body is a deep dark brown - almiost black - topped by a thin layer of creamy, khaki-colored head. Aroma is big on roasted dark malt, with notes of mocha and dark cocoa nibs. A hint of floral hops and a touch of lactose sweetness round things out.
Palate is big on roasted dark malt, with big notes of bittersweet chocolate and mocha. A good dose of floral, bitter hops, bourbon, and some bitter dark chocolate linger on the finish. While some rough, boozy edges still remain, the base of the beer is still quite tasty.
Body is full, slightly creamy, but not as thick or rich as other vintages of this beer. It's still very tasty, but nit as finely crafted as it could be. I don't know if it's the scaling-up of the batch or a different recipe, but they've lost a bit of the edge here.

Photo of bradleyp
3.4/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Got a six pack of this at the local gas station.

A: Very black in color, with a nice dark khaki head at the end of the pour.

S: Smells of coffee, and light chocolate aroma. Very nice malt overtones that also does not smell very boozy at all.

T: The taste is a little more boozier. At 9% this beer does taste like a great stout. Coffee, some chocolate, dominate the taste.

M: This is a nice thick stout. Goes down nice and smooth, and no nasty aftertaste.

O: I would probably drink this again on tap, but I don't think I would buy another 6 pack again.

Photo of Glibber
3.18/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark coffee color with a small tan colored froth. Heavy lacing on the glass. Not much of a detectable smell. Smooth on the front end, but some bitter coffee and nutty flavors on the back end. It tastes pretty good to me for a 9.3% alcohol beer. The more I drink, the better it is. Left some bitterness in my mouth, but that has dissipated as I am 1/3 into the beer.
I like it for a Stout. It is pretty filling and I would have troubles drinking to many.

Photo of HalfFull
3.3/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Widmer logo 12 oz. brown bottle poured into a wine glass. Shows a clear dark brownish black in color with a distant hint of ruby in the light. Half an inch of tan foam settles out to offer some random lacing, flattening out a bit quicker than I had hoped.

Nose is malty and a bit still, with caramel malts somewhat prominent. Agitation brings out some woody hop notes and some dark chocolate along with a more roasted smoky character after some air.

Flavor follows as predicted from the nose with creamy caramel up front, somewhat slick in the middle and a short lived finish of roasted grain. Carbonation is a bit light and the feel is quite thin as well, being somewhat lacking in body and texture for the style. About average drinkability given all the factors, but this beer doesn't really cause one to linger. Slight improvements with warming.

Bottled: Jan. 14, 2011

Photo of ddahlen
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out with little to no carbonation and a thin off-white head. Not as tan of a head as I would expect from an Imperial Stout. The nose comes off with a bit of raisin, chocolate, and I almost get some herbs on the nose, I can't really pinpoint one single herb. The taste hits me with with a load of malty chocolate and coffee, definitely what you'd expect from an Imperial Stout. The mouthfeel is smooth with a great finish. Nice and slightly dry which keeps you coming back for more. Overall, this brew doesn't quite make it into the upper echelon of Russian Imperial Stouts, but for the price, it is one amazing brew.

Photo of trappistlover
3.22/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

(12oz bottle). Pours dark brown with khaki head. Aroma of tobacco, alcohol, dark chocolate and dark fruit. Taste is bitter with some sweetness underneath. Thin bodied with slick texture. Finish is roasty bitter. Not the flavor profile I prefer in a RIS.

Photo of puboflyons
4.07/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From the W Series 650 ml. bottle stamped: 11:37-WA-DEC1012. Sampled on November 30, 2013 less than two weeks from its expiration date.

The pour is black as a starless night with a moderate pillowy mocha head that eventually settles down and leaves lacing in its wake.

The aroma has dark malts, rye, and the slightest touch of cherry. A little booze too.

The body is medium to full.

The taste begins with dark malts and rye like the aroma suggests but there is a boozy character that filters its way in at the end and that's what lingers on the palate. If the boozy quality could have been more muted I expect this would have been a dynamite beer. That's not to say it is a bad one.

Photo of Rutager
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance. Pours black and a little viscous. Half a finger of dark tan head that leaves a little lacing.

Smell. Earthy hops and roasty malts. Some burnt sugar and a little fruit and alcohol.

Taste. Roasty malts and dark chocolate, a little dried dark fruits. Coffee comes through in the end along with some grassy hops. Pretty dry finish.

Mouthfeel. Medium body with smooth medium carbonation.

Overall. Nice imperial stout but nothing stands out to set it apart.

Photo of Docer
4.18/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Just grabbed a bottle to try. The 6-pack price was amazing for the beer. Best price I have ever seen for an RIS.

- Nice rich solid black with some slight ruby glow around the bottom of my pint glass. Finger and a half of light mocha head quickly down to a thin spotting of foam.. large lace ring..

- Hides its aroma a bit.. hot medicinal alcohol is present. Deep dark grain and oats lye in the background.. bitter grass present.

- Grainy oats and smooth sailing malts. Chocolate, oatmeal, bitter hop.. extremely smooth and hides any sort of alcohol extremely well. Nice hop in the belch.. citrus and floral way in the back. Not super sweet which I like... more drying bitter.

- Medium bodied, slightly creamy, and chalky drying... not bad at all.

- Extremely good drinkable brew... alcohol is dangerously hidden and this is far more balanced than most RIS brews I have had. Smooth as can be. Price doesn't affect my score here... but this was extremely cheap too! Good job Widmer for this bottle release of an old favorite!

Photo of ocelot2500
3.22/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a jet black with a small, off-white head that leaves a decent amount of lacing.

Smells of some coffee notes and chocolate.

Tastes of a decent amount of roasted notes, with some dark fruits. Roasted notes give a chocolate flavored coffee feel. Dark fruits have notes of plum and figs. Mostly sweet. Some metallic notes also come out.

Mouthfeel is medium with a smooth amount of carbonation. Gives a slick feel.

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KGB Imperial Stout from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 288 ratings.