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KGB Imperial Stout - Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

Not Rated.
KGB Imperial StoutKGB Imperial Stout

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282 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 282
Reviews: 164
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 13.93%
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 (75) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 282 | Reviews: 164 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of drpimento
4.32/5  rDev +18%
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.

Photo of jkdrummer
4.06/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's alive and frothy! Wonderful head, beautiful jet black color. Taste is smokey, coffee overtones, current berry like sweetness that's not too sweet. Heavy mouth-feel but also a little bitter on the back of the tongue. Some alcohol overtones as well, you treat this as a dessert very filling ale. Kinda tame for an Imperial, but still a good brew.

Photo of beertaster13
4.15/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, dark coal black with an inviting mocha/tan head. The smell is of roasted barley and a slight marshmellow character. A subtle hint of chocolate in the nose. The taste was very light for an imperial stout. Not as strong as most imperials i've had. I liked it, went well with dessert. The taste was managable despite the alcohol content, usually when the alcohol content is high the alcohol is almost unbearable for me. Slight burnt aftertaste, but went great with vanilla ice cream. Feels heavy in the mouth but like I said lighter than most imperials. Very drinkable in my opinion, this could sneak up on you fast. Very good and very well priced at $5.99 for a 6 pack.

Photo of Chyren
3.03/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours very dark with thick foamy 3 finger head. The scent is mostly roasty with alcohol kick and hops are present, not especially complex though. It also has a certain tannic bitter to it. Sticky, syrupy, molasses, could probably use some aging. Flavor is bitter, dark and burnt and boozy. Has a thinner than expected body but sticky mouthfeel. Probably couldn't drink too much of this one.

Photo of DaveAnderson
3.83/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another solid - but not stellar - offering from Widmer. Hard to call this a RIS, though.

A - Nice dark pour with a creamy, dark head. Good retention and lacing.

S - Smells like a stout, but missing something -- fruit, maybe? Deep roastiness, plenty of piney (and a little citrus) hop aroma. Slightly boozy.

T - Definitely missing some fruit. I expect a RIS to be a little raisiny, but I am only catching malt, roast, chocolate, and hops. Well, those and the booze. This one is a little hot.

M - Pretty good. Creamy and full. Sticks with you. Not as boozy as it initially smells.

D - I kind of like this. I want a second. Then a third and a cab.

I just can't call it a RIS. It's definitely a strong, intense stout. But a RIS should be a kaleidescope of flavors and smells, and this is one or two dimensions short.

Photo of Bfarr
3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Black and medium brown foamy head with good retention and nice lacing. Floral, roasted malt aroma. Light chocolate and heavier roasted and hop bitterness. Light alcohol and a little fruit in the finish. Moderate coffee bitter finish. Medium body and smoothness with a relatively sharp bite.

A pretty hoppy RIS reminiscent of Ol' Rasputin though not as bold or complex. Roasted flavors dominate though a little chocolate sweetness comes through at the end although the bitterness still lingers on. Alcohol is well masked and makes for a pretty easy drinking big beer.

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

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours black with a medium off-white head, good retention, spotty lace.

S: Quite hoppy, grassy with roasted malt. The nose reminds me a lot of Storm King.

T: Strong roasted malt flavours, dark chocolate. Definitely a hoppy RIS, there is a piney undercurrent, but I think it works well with the base beer.

M: Full-bodied, smooth, well structured, light carbonation.

D: For $1.77 a bottle this is an outstanding value. Not the best RIS in the world, but for my palate this is just as good as Storm King (a classic mind you) and is a great inexpensive entry into the world of Imperial Stouts. Well done Widmer.

Photo of grittybrews
3.81/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a dense cola black into a tulip with a finger of deep mocha head. Slightly charred and smoky aroma dominated by coffee and hints of bitter chocolate.

Moderate carbonation and a full, creamy mouthfeel. Taste started with a surprising cocoa sweetness, hints of toffee and vanilla, and a strong espresso character on the finish that grew quite bitter.

Initially I wasn't impressed by the aroma or the slightly acrid finish, but this brew actually had some really nice flavors going on and a very pleasant mouthfeel. Not overly complex and probably not approaching the top tier of imperial stouts, but it was tasty enough and quite the bargain for under two bucks a bottle.

Photo of champ103
3.9/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark brown, nearly black color. A two finger tan head forms that gently recedes to a ring. Light lace is left behind.
S: Roasted malt up front. Toffee, chocolate, and light coffee. Simple, but enjoyable.
T: Plenty of roasted flavors, but not over barring at all. Toasted/roasted malts. Chocolate and toffee. Baked bread as well. A light hop bitterness lingers on. I like this.
M/D: A medium to full body. Creamy and so velvety smooth. Easy to drink. The alcohol is not noticeable, and very easy to sip on.

This is a very enjoyable Imperial Stout. Nothing is over the top, but very well incorporated. Something I would recommend.

Photo of MaltsOfGlory
3.33/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a big two finger head. The body is pitch black, I mean PITCH black. You cannot see through this one bit. The head is light brown, like chocolate milk. Huge robust smell on the nose, really hits you. Smells sweet and malty, maybe some chocolate malts on the nose. It smells really great, but at the same time it kinda smells average. You can taste the alcohol in this one. You get the alcohol, you get the stout flavor, and you get a sour taste in the finish. Unfortunately it's not a good sour taste, it's not a hop bite or anything, it's just sour. I don't know if it's from the alcohol or what, but the sour is there. Taste is average overall. Even though you pick up the alcohol, the drinkability is still pretty high on this one, mouthfeel is average.

Photo of quisatzhaderach
3.91/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

The color is deep and dark, showing a slight translucence only at the very edges of the glass. This rich darkness is topped by a creamy but short-lived tan head.

The aroma suggests both the expected sweetness and multi-dimensional grain characteristics, and a smoky note accompanied by a slight acridity.

The taste is dominated by a large, blunt bitterness at the back of the tongue. Surrounding this are smoky, sweet, and wheat-like flavors, finishing with a dry creaminess.

The thick, syrupy consistency of this brew is first demonstrated during the pour. Upon drinking, the liquid fills the mouth voluminously with a rich thickness.

This beer is a fine example of this loud style. However, it may be lacking in the subtle fruit found in others of its kind. It is drinkable in limited quantity, due to its overwhelming richness.

Photo of johntp
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

a: black. cannot see through even at the edges of the glass. 3 finger khaki to brown thick head that laces the sides all the way down to the bottom of the glass.

s: licorice, date, raisin, cherry, and roasted malts come to mind. the roasted malt stays in the backround while the dark fruits linger up front.

t: smokey malts domitate the tounge, then dark fruits appear midway through, and then quickly vanish as a dry and roasted malt bitterness sets in at the end with slight hop notes. alchohol is there, but not as much as would be expected at 9.3%.

m: this beer coats the inside of the mouth like syrup, with just enough carbonation to wash away the body, and quite dry on the back end.

d: for me, the high abv, and full robust body lend themselves to a low drinkablity. it is a joy to drink, but not in large quantities!

This is a big, heavy beer. Its delightful to sip on. While not the most complex RIS i've had, it is delicious nontheless. Its got sweet smoked malts, dark fruits, dry bitter finish, which all come in at different phases of the swallow and are all combined into a thick robust body. I liked it.

Photo of imagese
1.98/5  rDev -45.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Bottled 12/28/10 poured into IRS tulip

A- dark brown with a slight lightness at the edges. Heavy pour produced a half finger head that leaves light spotty lacing

S- used coffee grounds, bitter chocolate, metallic hops, and a slight booze sweetness

T- very metallic with not much else. The combination of the hops and malts is so far from balanced. Tastes like a weak dry stout that is past it's prime

M- thin and carbonated. In no way does this come across as any sort of imperial stout. The metallic taste just coats your whole mouth, and makes each sip harsher and harsher...

D- cringed my way through 4oz, and poured the rest

I searched for this for a while based on forum posts, and really regret it. Thankfully the sixer was only $7. For $6, I can get a 4 pack of Old Rasputin, so no reason to get this ever again. I'm going to let a bottle age and see if that helps, but not seeing any hope for this beer

Photo of OakedCanuck
3.4/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into cervoise

A - Black with brown edging against light. Tannish head with decent lacing

S - Roasty coffee and chocolate. Minor bittering hops and toffee

T - Very roasted coffee and chocolate, just like the nose. The hops do come through as pine, but just are not balanced very well against the smoke and roast

M - Thinner than you would expect out of a Russian Imperial. Some burning from alcohol and dry

D - Not too bad to drink, just not what you'd expect from a RIS.

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 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 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.

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 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 SirChugsAlot
2.9/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

Picked up a 6 pack of this for $8.99... that should have been my first tip off

Poured into a snifter because i figured "Hey it's an RIS..." except i can see throught it.. Mocha colored 1 figer head, no lacing

smells of burnt chocolate and a hint of ash

taste is slightly hoppy with chocolate, coffee and a metalic flavor towards the end

mouthfeel is wayyyy to light to be a RIS

overall drinkability is okay.. i just need to forget that it's supposed to be a RIS.. and i'll give a bottle or two away as gifts.

Photo of accordselux
2.88/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dark, but not black, with very good carbonation.

It smelled astringent, burnt and bitter chocolate.

A hint of coffee and bitter chocolate in the beginning. Very harsh aftertaste. Burnt flavor not really pleasant, the hops don't add character, just more bitterness.

Lighter body, but still what I feel fits within the style.

The bitterness made it not very drinkable.

I couldn't drink much of this and ended up drainpouring it. I'm a RIS fan, but this doesn't really fit the bill for me.

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 msubulldog25
3.48/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A 12 oz. bottle ('JAN 18 11' dated), poured to a pint glass. Beneath the cap: 'A Prost: To Pretending To Listen'. Ouch.

This is a weird one, because I recall having KGB (an occasional 'one-off' Widmer brew) many, many moons ago at an Oregon Brewers Festival (could it be 2005? 2006?) and having been absolutely blown away by it...

A: Plenty dark enough, although not quite 'black' ( I see the shine of ruby/mahogany glow through). Very good head: a finger+ of sandy/khaki cream, dense and holding. As it diminishes a thick sheen of creamy film and a bubbled covering of film.

S: A good bit smokier/more charred than expected. Dry/burnt ash and the darkest of chocolate; plenty of coffee, too, but something faintly sweet at the finish. Good strength.

T: Much more harsh/bitter than I recalled. Acrid coffee and sooty cacao... but you know what? Likable. The coffee tones become less abrasive and the chocolate grew on me more and more as sipping progressed and warming occurred. Moments of vanilla sweetness. I would call this an 'American Imperial Stout' now, because 'Russian' implies a sweetness that I don't find anymore.

M: For a 9%+ beer, starts on the 'thin' side. Modest carbonation, creamier texture, somewhat watered-down feel overall.

D: What's remarkable to me is that Widmer chose this as their annual 'W' series beer, because - wow- this isn't gonna please everybody. Me? I like it, don't love it like I'd hoped to. It's too brash on both hop oils and bitterness to be really enjoyed right now. Strong flavors, good look and, frankly, some lore will make me return a time or two this spring, but ultimately I don't find this among the better examples of the style I've found in my 5+ years since my first try. Too bad. But at $9/6-pack, my budget is happy.

Photo of chumba526
2.4/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

It appears black with a thin brown like head.

It smells like caramel, metal. There is a bitter smell and a bit of a burnt coffee smell as well. The smell is a bit odd and off balanced.

It tastes of burnt malts, coffee, and metal. Though it has some strong flavor they seem a bit watered down and a bit off balance. There is bitterness to the beer but it is not a complex or interesting bitterness. This is one dimensional and kind of odd tasting.

The mouth-feel is awful it is watery and fizzy. The carbonation is way too high for the style.

The drinkability is limited as I feel this is a flawed and dumbed down RIS.

Overall this is cheap but it tastes cheap and is not a good example of the style.

KGB Imperial Stout from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 282 ratings.