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KGB Imperial Stout - Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

Not Rated.
KGB Imperial StoutKGB Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

281 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 281
Reviews: 163
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 13.93%
Wants: 6
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:
Formerly a rotating release, "KGB" is being re-released as "W'11" in late 2010 - with seasonal winter/spring availability.

(Beer added by: Mitchster on 06-21-2003)
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Ratings: 281 | Reviews: 163 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Overlord
3.18/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark wood-sy brown. Weird cola-like bubbling consistency, like the bubbles are too big .. or something.

Smells like charred malt, some chocolate, a bit of ... booze? ... and an earthy nuttiness.

Smells better than it tastes, unfortunately. There's an off-note of rotting alcohol in the background that destroys what the beer is trying to accomplish. Charred malt also becomes a little too dominating. Some chocolate, a bit of coffee ... maybe even a hint, just a hint, of burnt caramel.

Too much going on, off-notes abound. Mouthfeel is okay.

Photo of Schmittymack
3.88/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured at cellar temperature into the trusty shaker glass. Poured a pretty dark black with a small head that lasted for a couple minutes; minimal lacing. Aroma of booze, coffee, and a touch of chocolate. Taste was nice: coffee, malt goodness, a bit of dark chocolate, and a bit of booziness. I like this one; definitely do it again, especially after a day on the slopes in Jan/Feb.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.56/5  rDev -2.7%
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 stakem
3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Joe for the extra. Poured from a 12oz bottle dated Dec 21, 2010 into a snifter. This brew appears a very dark brown to black color with a finger of dark tan head that fades leaving spots and patches of lace about the glass. When held to the light, it displays some browner shades and clarity around the edges. A light swirl revives a fingers worth of froth.

The aroma is fresh coffee with chocolate malt and citrus hops. The hoppiness is pungent and bold yet a pleasant addition to the backend of this brew's smell. A pleasant fresh grain character lingers with a contrasting sweetness to the nose.

The taste is roasty grain and pleasantly bitter. Lasting strong coffee flavor coupled with citrus and herbal hops that are quite bold. The alcohol presents a faint fruity flavor and warmth. The roasted bitter aspect is bold and lingers inside the mouth. Not a bad brew, there is a linger lingering almost spiced aspect that adds some additional complexity to this bees flavor.

This is a medium bodied offering with a modest level of carbonation. For more than 9% it is hidden quite well. All together well rounded with a forward coffee flavoring. A fairly decent representation of the style and worth checking out. Based on my initial experience I think this is one that would be best enjoyed fresh, I'm uncertain what aging and melding to this brew would do. It lacks a little in it's robust character I look for in a solid RIS.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.73/5  rDev +1.9%
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 superdavex
3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

An extremely drinkable beer for the style. A pretty thin mouthfeel with an excellent taste. The ABV is extremely high with leads to a very unsessionable beer. Three of these and I was very toasty. I found this on sale for 6.99 for a sixer which is an unbelievable deal. I've got half of my six pack ready for my next weekend and I'm really looking forward to it.

Photo of katybee
3.9/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deadly! 9% abv hits you quickly, but doesn't disguise the inherent flavor which is the real draw.

Opaque chocolate brown body, lightly resonant carbonation, topped by a lovely but quickly dissipating brownish head leaving light tracings.

No smell to speak of, which I like. If there is, it is a lightly medicinal hoppiness, like mentholatum or mothballs--not citrusy, not soy, not smokey. Dry.

Taste was more complex than I've had in recent stouts including Guiness. There was a hint of fig sweetness, balanced by the immediate dry medicinal bite of hops (or wheat?) backed up by predominant roasted malts, with a definite smooth mouthfeel that made it more than an average lager. None of the soy character, or off green dryness of Guinness. Just bold, lightly bitter, semi-sweet, stout!

Definitely smooth character, medium-light body.

Powerful beverage polished off quickly...yum!

Photo of ForWhatAlesYou
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass

A: Oily black in color and appearance. Deep caramel head pours thick, stay thick. Lacing is great.

S: Alcohol carries notes of blueberry, port, charcoal, deep malt, and leather.

T: Heavy and deep. Big leather, smoke, and alcohol bring along dark fruit and strong aged rum. Ends in a very mixed bitter. Finish is long and a little abrasive.

M: Very creamy and rich, syrupy. A bit too dry at the end.

D: Like most of this style, one and done. One, though, is very good.

Photo of coastiefish
3.13/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into tulip glass.
Bottle says brewed late Feb 2011, and I am drinking it late March 2011.

A- Deep dark opaque brown, a few seconds of settling into a rich one finger tan foamy, bubble filled head. Head dwindles down to a thin layer after a bit, lacing lingers.

S- Salty, roasty, bittersweet chocolate malts with balance of hop.

T- Smokey, big and bitter. The bitter is coming from chocolate and coffee perhaps, not so much the hops. Black coffee is strong. Leaves a bit of coffee grind aftertaste.

M- Slickish > Oily. Sticky on the lips.

D- If you dig black coffee, yes. Can't detect the 9.2, imperial it is. Flavors are bold.
While I like that the body is on the lighter side for a stout, I get the taste of coffee grinds at the end which just isn't resonating with me.
I am a loyal fan of oatmeal stouts which round out and bring depth to brews, I think I would choose those over this particular beer.
Also, with that said I do think I would try this on draught, especially after a dinner, night cap style.

Photo of katelovesbeer
3.73/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A 12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Bottle says brewed late Feb 2011, and I am drinking it late March 2011.

A: Very dark, opaque, and a 3/4" light tan head

S: Roasty, little bit of chocolate, a tiny bit of hops, definitely can smell the imperial bite

T: Bitter front followed by chocolate/coffee malts and dry roastiness at the very end. Sweet. Surprisingly very smooth. Well balanced.

Mouthfeel: Great. It's the weight you'd expect from a stout without being too heavy. Velvety.

Overall: Great drinkability. The bitter roastiness is strong enough to remind you you're drinking an imperial however I cannot taste the 9.2% abv. This beer is pretty solid

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.28/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours an almost opaque black with a nice 2 inch dark khaki head. Very pronounced rings on lace on the drink down. A very nice looking beer in the glass. Smell is pretty weak overall. I get some roasted malt and subdued cocoa powder. Tastes of deep roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate, and alcohol. The flavors are somewhat jarring on the palate. Very thick and creamy in the mouth. A bit of an alcohol burn down the throat. Overall, a decent RIS but nothing too great. I wonder if getting some age on one of these will help smooth things out.

Photo of tbern007
3.43/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brew date January 2011, consumed March 22, 2011.
Poured pretty black, dark brown edges, thick head, decent lace.
S - surprisingly hoppy. Pine, floral, earth. Light scent. Lighter than expected.
T - coffee, dark chocolate. However, the dark fruit that I expect in a RIS is missing. There is also a metallic taste. Hops are noticeable here as well.
M & D - for less than $2 per bottle, pretty good. However, not as much as RIS as it is a stout. Alaskan Stout is heavier and at about the same price point, which I would go for over this one. Not bad overall though.

Photo of Tballz420
3.6/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Jet black body, but more light penetrating than might be expected perhaps. Subtle tan head doesnt last too long but still leaves its mark on the glass. Thick chocolate malt scent, a bit of alcohol detected. Intense taste, im not sure if I like the blend right off the bat. The malts arent as thick as i might expect for this beer. Im not sure where the massive alcohol is coming from due to that, but there is definitely some of that stuff in there. Some bittering hops rounding it out. Fairly thick and wet mouth. Eh, Im just not all that sold on this. Its not horrible but i think there needs to be a heavier malt presence if its gonna roll with a 9.3 % content.

Photo of bradleyp
3.35/5  rDev -8.5%
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 industrialswill
4.38/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Found this while on a midnight run at the local Safeway supermarket for $6.99 / six pack.
Very dark brown, almost black color with a light brown head.
The smell is that of roasted malt.
I'm in love with the flavor. The malt predominates with it's chocolatey goodness, but there is adequate hop balance.
This beer is somewhat thick and warm, but the 9.3% ABV is very well hidden.
I'm very pleased with this "little discovery" of mine. I can't believe that any beer of this weight can be sold for what I paid for it, but I will not argue.
Very good beer.

Photo of hardy008
2.17/5  rDev -40.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Black color with a small light tan head, which reduces to a small disc of foam. An average appearance. The aroma is not very strong. Light roasted malt and a little bit of chocolate.

The flavor is also not very strong. Light roasted malt and even lighter chocolate. There is also a light amount of hop flavor This is pretty bland.

The mouthfeel is odd. It is thin for the style, somewhat watered down, but also slightly creamy. Sort of like the canned version of Guinness, but not as good. Overall, I think this is a weak attempt at a RIS.

Photo of velosuds
3.55/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a clear pint glass. Bottled Feb 16 11 per the label (thank you for dating). Paid $6.59 on sale for a six pack at local grocery chain store. Best price I have ever seen for RIS.

Under the cap: A PROST: To having a job that isn't work. I will drink to that.

Name is intriguing. Not sure if it refers to the contemporary State Security Agency of the Republic of Belarus, or the former Soviet Union. Mysterious. This beer might pair well with a Robert Ludlum novel.

A-Pours a deep, dark brown almost black hue with a two finger tan head with decent retention and lacing.

S-Roasted barley, vague dark dried fruits, chocolate, alcohol, and a hint of licorice, all of which were too faint for style (except for the alcohol). Improved as it warmed. May be better with aging.

T-Taste is predominantly bitter, alcohol, and roasted barley. This is underdeveloped and no where near complex enough for this great, rich style. Some chocolate, coffee, and caramel malt are present but no where near robust enough. Improved as it warmed, but surprisingly good cold, which is uncharacteristic for style. May be too hoppy.

M-Too thin for style. Carbonation is okay. No where near rich and creamy enough.

O-Mediocre for style. Since I bought a six pack I will be having this again, but won't buy any more. Price was excellent. I also like to be able get RIS in 12 oz. bottles. Overall, not enough depth. I have to give it a 3.5 since not good enough for 4.0, but really is somewhere in between.

Bottled with the oxygen absorbing caps so I think I will age this to see if the aroma, taste, and mouthfeel improve with time.

Photo of Lucklys
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of GreenCard
3.83/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark mahogany-black, opaque, thick layer of dark-brown foam, good head retention

Aroma: chocolate cake (maybe even Guinness cake?), grain, hint of coffee and wafts of alcohol

Flavor: malty sweetness upfront with roast coming in on the back of the peppery alcohol; hints of burnt sugar and citrus rind hop bitterness in the semisweet finish

Mouthfeel: full body, pert carbonation, alcohol warmth, smooth texture

Other comments: I loved Widmer's W'10 (the Black IPA or Cascadia IPA as it should be called) and this one is just as good. Keep 'em coming!

Photo of harrymel
1.38/5  rDev -62.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

Bottled: 2/3/11

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.

Photo of wstuart
4.43/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

bitter as hell, and for a good price. if you want to get a nice buzz for a good price, kick back a six and get ready to hit the floor! a very nice dark brown, with a medium brown top. most definetly a winter beer, best enjoyed outside and in the cold. when i camp in the cascades or at shasta, this is what i bring.

Photo of SolomonGrundy
3.55/5  rDev -3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Keeping in line with the darkness...remember that band The Darkness? I loved their album "Permission to Land"...I know, totally not my style, but hey...

Not as dark as last night's ale (Dark Sky), but still an inky black. The red at the edges is more pronounced here, so it has that going for it...

Decent yet short head is very creamy and smooth. Not a lot of lacing...

Aromas are typical for the style: some roasty chocolate malt, but very little else. A slight disappointment.

Flavor4 makes up for it, though. Super huge and robust. TONS of dark chocolate and espresso in this-a-here ale. The "TANG!!" of the malt hits you straight away. This is big and in your face, kind of like Chris Farley was....The texture of this ale isn't as smooth as some of the premiere in the style, and that chunks it down a notch. Finish is super long and bitter in a good way. This ale has just enough sweetness to balance out the bitter...Great price at $9.99/sixer and 9.3% ABV to boot makes this a bit more drinkable than the rarer versions. A touch below the top tier or two, but good beer.

What I like most: The vast, enormous flavor profile.

What I like least: The lack of originality overall.

Verdict: Good beer, well-priced, but not for special occasions. Worth buying if you see it.

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

This is a great stout dark black nice head never fades
solid nutty coffee, chocolate malty smell
taste smooth this beer is really well hidden alcohol wise maybe not as complex as other stouts but this does what is needed even a bit of hops
Nice carbonation nice coating easy to chug hard to sip stout

I think this one of most drinkable RIS I have had ever. so nice I might have two

Photo of BigB415
4.47/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Pours a pitch black with a dark brown head. Light lacing.
S: Chocolate and Alcohol.
T: More chocolate and alcohol.
M: very subtle. Not one to stick around and hang on you're tongue.
D: this is a nice stout because it's not too complex with flavors. It's simple.

I really enjoyed this and I'm glad I found a new stout to try. I recommend it to anyone looking for something new to try.

Photo of drpimento
4.35/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Da, this is a beer for the proletariat, not the court. lenin would make it so. Poured with a medium sized tan head and some lace. Color is an almost opaque brown black. Aroma is malt, roast, toffee, cocoa, leather, earth, a little dark ripe fruit and coffee. Flavor is similar and balanced. Body is full round and has excellent carbonation. Finish is like flavor and ends with a smooth bitterness. Session beer even with the strength.

KGB Imperial Stout from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 281 ratings.