Kill Devil Brown Ale (Brothers' Reserve Series) - Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Kill Devil Brown Ale (Brothers' Reserve Series)Kill Devil Brown Ale (Brothers' Reserve Series)

Educational use only; do not reuse.

207 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 207
Reviews: 50
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 13.86%
Wants: 6
Gots: 31 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Widmer Brothers Brewing Company visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Brown Ale |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: msubulldog25 on 04-27-2012

Imperial Brown Ale with black strap molasses and palm sugar aged for four months in Puerto Rico rum barrels.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 207 | Reviews: 50
Reviews by swungomonkey:
More User Reviews:
Photo of ehammond1
2.94/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle (2012)

Thanks for the gift, Alucard4!

Dark amber, nearly completely brown, with a very small light brown head. Leaves dots and irregular webs of stick down the glass.

The weakest aspect of this beer is its aroma. It's not particularly powerful, and what's here isn't particularly pleasant. It's got some sweetness, big grain notes, aroma of metals, and lots of burnt toast elements. Nothing special.

The flavor is better than the aroma, though the flavor too is nothing special. Sweet molasses, grain, mild nut character, and a little bit of booze. It's fairly simple and straightforward, while remaining generally sweet. I don't think this saw the barrel for too long.

Thin to medium bodied with low-moderate carbonation.

Nothing exciting; nothing good; nothing bad. A boring barrel-aged brown ale.

Photo of TheSixthRing
3.78/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had on-tap at Final Gravity in Roseville, CA

Appearance - Pours a relatively clear, brilliant amber brown served to me in an 11.5 ounce snifter with no room for head. A mostly flat surface, with only a thin gathering of bubbles of around the edge of the glass. Lacing is spotty with good stick.

Smell - Moderate aroma. Sweet, sugary and slightly boozy. Light roastiness; remeniscent of sugar-glazed roasted walnuts.

Taste - Sweet brown sugar and a bit of booze upfront. Light molasses. Earthy nuttiness. Light roast quality. Turns slightly metallic near the finish.

Mouthfeel - Full-bodied; near syrupy. Moderate carbonation. Dry finish.

Overall - This is a good beer, but no way in hell would I pay $12 for a bomber. Glad I got this at a special on-tap price of $4. It's too bad; it looks like a phenomenal brew on paper, but the end result doesn't justify the price.

Photo of tdm168
4.16/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A - dark brownish amber with a big, white, brownish head that has good retention

S - huge caramel aroma and some bready notes

T - molasses, caramel, brown sugar

M - sticky, medium to full bodied, well carbonated

This was a nice beer. It truly was a big, bold, double brown ale. The maltiness was deep and complex, rich and sticky. The ABV was also very well hidden. This was a solid beer that I wouldn't mind having again.

Photo of Fatehunter
3.78/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured a finger of tan head on a dark brown body. Looks great.
The aroma is wonderful: molasses, dark chocolate, coffee and brown sugar.
The taste starts off lighter: vanilla and nuts. Then moves to a sweet profile: brown sugar, malty and a black licorice and alcohol heat finish.
The texture is a little sticky with low carbonation.
It's a great beer and interesting... but at quite a price.

Photo of DonDirkA
3.78/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nose is very oakey, vanilla, molasses, burnt sugar and papaya. Taste is kind of disappointing. Sweet, slightly fruity (tropical), slight oak notes, alcohol burn (more of a feeling than a taste), burnt toffee and some slightly stale background tastes. I have had 3 or 4 of Widmer's Reserve series and I feel like I'm generally disappointed. They just aren't that great. I'm hoping that Raspberry Russian Imperial Stout I have put away is better. This isn't terrible, or even bad, but just disappointing. Not bad though, I don't remember the price but I think it was around $6.99 so not too crazy.

Photo of Gmann
3.12/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a chocolate brown color with a short wispy tan head that settled into a light ring. Meh

The aroma is of brown bread, slightly nutty. Some brown sugar sweetness. Raisin pops through as well as an extremely subtle rum note. Decent but not super strong.

The taste is of a standard brown. Lightly toasted bread, caramel, and tea like flavors. The barrel aging tastes of cheap rum, mostly boozy without a good rum's deep sugary flavors. Really just no good depth of flavor here. The flavor is thin.

The feel is light, almost watery. The carbonation is prickly. Despite being light, the beer has a sticky finish. The ABV is a tad harsh.

There is some flavor here and nothing is gross so it is hard to kill this beer. However, for a rum barrel aged brew, it is quite lacking. Lacks major depth.

Photo of bum732
3.14/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

S: A very raw mollases and earthy grassiness. A little wood in the finish.

L: Fairly clear brown, some ruby highlights. Not much head, some clear carbonation.

T: Toasty malt with an earthy sugary note. Low bitterness with some sugar like qualities finishing semi-dry and quick.

M: Medium full body, medium low carbonation. Alcohol detectable.

Interesting beer, don't really get the rum. I really wanted to like this beer since i love rum so much. That and i wanted to make a homebrew similar to this, good to know it doesn't really work.

Photo of bluejacket74
3.54/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle, bottled on April 5, 2012. Served in a chalice, the beer pours a reddish/brown color with a half inch light tan head. The head fizzled away quickly, and there wasn't much lacing. Aroma is sweet and malty, it smells like molasses, brown sugar, caramel, nuts, vanilla and some rum. It tastes like molasses, burnt sugar, rum, vanilla, and a bit of chocolate. However, the taste isn't quite as nice as the aroma is. Mouthfeel/body is light/medium, it's thinner than I thought it would be. It also has low/moderate carbonation. I think it's a decent brew overall, but at $12.99 a bottle I probably wouldn't buy it again at that price. With that being said, it's worth trying.

Photo of TruePerception
3.81/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

(Previous review, transferred from beer journal)

Widmer's Kill Devil Brown Ale: 90% ale brewed with palm sugar and molasses, aged in rum barrels, 10% ale, 9.5% ABV; almost a finger's worth of head; Appearance: deep brownish-red; Smell: rum, oak, sap, palm leaves; Taste/Mouthfeel: very dark flavor, some burnt toast, a little molasses sweetness, light black licorice, char-like sweetness on back of tongue, faint toffee; pretty good.

Poured into a pint glass.

Photo of Docer
3.79/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: (3.5)

- Pours a clear dark mahogany brown with a subtle finger of off-white head. Settles to a thin island and medium ring in the glass. Overall a rich and sleeper-like looking brew.

Smell: (4.5)

- Rich roasted grains, brown sugars, caramel, big toffee aromas, vanilla, and light rum. Somewhat earthy and grassy. Overall smells like desert. Super good smell.

Taste: (3.5)

-Caramel sweet, candy rum, vanilla oak, and nice tart grain and hop balancing notes. Just a touch earthy and grassy, light esters, big vanilla and overall dark roasty sweetness. Just a bit of an off flavor of tartness from what must be the house ale yeast. Perhaps a different yeast and some bottle conditioning might have done this one better.

Mouth Feel: (4.0)

- Nice medium body, quite creamy and smooth. Bit cloying and chewy, and finishes a bit dry. I like dry. Certainly some serious bittering in this one. Not bad.

Overall: (3.5)

- This brew has some nice barrel character, and is quite tasty. It only lacks a little in overall uniqueness with the flavor and feel. Perhaps even too large of a production for the style? Yeast? It hits some wonderful aroma marks, flavor is a little average, but I like where the brew is going. I like what Widmer is doing. Kudo's for that at least. But not my favorite in the reserve series. I still think I like the first special brew better. The Double Alt (which was the 25th Anniversary beer prior to the first Brothers Reserve Series release).

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.12/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Picked up at Bier Thirty at least a week ago... Poured tonight into my slim tulip... thin tannish head .. the brew is the expected deep brown..

Nose is oaky with plenty of dry molasses notes and sorta raisin elements... a bit of nutty maltiness with warmth.

Pretty oaky.. some rummy notes when it is colder that dissipate as it warms..

Thick and malty.. the molasses punctuates the flavor with a bit of sulfur.. again a bit too much rum for my liking.. malty flavors are thick enough to pull from a deck of descriptors... toast, nutty, dark caramel, "brown malt".. etc. In the end, this is too sweet for me.. the residual sugars combine with the malty essences to just go overboard.

Palate is pretty heavy with a decent carbonation but not enough bubbles to help strip the lingering flavors away for even a second.

?? If I buy another, it will be to forget about it in the cellar for at least a year... I doubt it will do any good, but maybe the sugars die back a bit and the barrels come out.


Photo of Greywulfken
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: amber brown with beige head; motes and lacing after head quickly settles into thinness

S: a little woody, some of the molasses and rum slips out - didn't pack much of an aromatic punch

T: get the rum barrels early, sweet, with some molasses and vanilla in the background; hints of toffee; warming improved the taste and brought out some dark fruity undertones and blended the molasses sweetness with the dry woodsiness nicely

M: medium to thin, sweet and dry compete for the finish; slight tacky aftertaste

O: I've only had a couple of brown ales, and I've only had a couple of Widmer Bros' beers... A good beer, but maybe it's the style that leaves me a little flat, however, had to come back to this as I finished the bomber - a better beer in closing than I gauged initially - reminiscent of a BSDA without the Belgian yeasts; really grew to enjoy the molasses meets dry rum flavors. Definitely worth a buy, definitely better as it warms.

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.72/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Dogfish Head pint glass. Pours a red mahogany amber with a thin light tan head that dissipated quickly to a ring around the glass and patchy foam. Nice aroma of sweet caramel malt, vanilla, oak and nuts. Flavor follows, caramel malt, brown sugar, light vanilla and a hint of rum. A bit boozy and warming. Medium bodied, slightly syrupy. Flavors are pleasant and well integrated, but not intense enough to cover the alcohol, so it finishes a bit on the hot side. Enjoyable rum flavor, but high ABV could use more intensity in the supporting flavors.

Photo of thirstyturtle
1.67/5  rDev -54.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

First beer I have ever had to pour out after only a few sips. Maybe it gets better with age but the Rum was so overbearing I didn't even taste a brown ale, just booze.

Photo of metter98
3.71/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is quite hazy brownish red in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high off white head that died down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light aromas of rum are present in the nose and become slightly stronger as the beer warms up along with hints of molasses.
T: Like the smell, the taste has flavors of rum but these are more subdued with notes of caramel and nutty malts, brown sugar and molasses along with some hints of tropical fruits. No bitterness is perceptible, although there are just enough hops to keep the taste from becoming sweet.
M: It feels nearly medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. Surprisingly, there isn't much in the way of alcohol heat given its strength and the rum barrel aging.
O: This is a nice beer to sip as the rum barrel aging adds a little more in the way of complexity to a rather drinkable imperial brown ale.

Photo of SHODriver
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: pours a dark brown that glows red where the light shines through into a snifter with a small off white head that fades quickly to a collar around the glass
S: smells of molasses, brown sugar and spice from the rum barrels
T: tastes of molasses, brown sugar and some spice with a few hints of lightly roasted malt. swallow brings more molasses, a slight woodyness and spice with a bit of alcohol heat
M: a little less than full in the mouth with slightly prickly carbonation. It doesn't feel quite right on the tongue. it feels thick as you sip but as it sits in the mouth it feels much lighter. slightly drying finish
O: a good idea with less than optimal execution. It's close but it can't quite tie everything together or strike a good balance of flavors. The concept always got my interest because the flavors sounded like they should lend well to each other but the price kept me back. I finally bit the bullet but wish I would have left this one on the shelf.

Photo of ThickNStout
4.02/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle from Total Wine (Kennesaw, GA). 11.99. Served in a Terrapin snifter. 

Pours an opaque brown, thin and light around the edges with a half finger pale head. Spotty lacing.

Smell is very sweet with strong booze, vanilla, oak, brown sugar and obvious molasses.

Even sweeter than the smell is the taste. Molasses plays a starring role with vanilla/rum, woody, sugar and toffee flavors. The alcohol is well hidden. 

Medium body and well carbonated. Sticky feel. Long, sweet finish.

Overall I enjoyed this one. I'm glad I split the bottle because it's a whole lot of sweet. It worth a try but not sure if the cost is worth a repeat investment. 

Photo of DavoleBomb
3.42/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a perfect pint. I love brown ales and rum barrel aged beers, so I had to buy this. I was a little disappointed to see the mediocre scores on this, but hopefully everyone is wrong.

3.0 A: Not very brown for a brown ale. Clear, dark orange amber color. Two fingers of frothy tan head. Retention is average for the ABV, I suppose and clouds of lacing are left sporadically.

3.5 S: Loads of dry toasty maltiness and nuttiness. Molasses and burnt sugar underneath. Earthy rum notes with oak and vanilla, but no booziness. It's not bad, but it desperately needs some more power.

3.5 T: Again lots of toastiness and nuttiness followed by molasses and burnt sugar. The rum is more aggressive in the taste and it's appreciated. It gives notes of earth, caramel, toffee, and toast. Oak and light vanilla. Soft citrusy fruitiness. The booze is well hidden again. The taste is better than the nose, but not enough to bump up the score.

3.0 M: Lighter medium body. Good moderate carbonation, but lacking creaminess. Could also use some more body. I was expecting a rich mouthfeel on this beer and I didn't get one.

3.5 D: It's decent all around, but it just leaves me wanting more. I wanted bolder flavors with more depth and more viscosity. Worth a try, but not a second buy.

Photo of Zorro
3.17/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Clear brown colored ale with a small yellowish head.

Smells a little sweet with a syrup on toast aroma. Molasses and rum are in this. Caramel and vanilla also detected. Still this isn't that aromatic a beer.

Starts out very sweet. Molasses and hops with a touch of rum. Brown sugar and a woody hop flavor. Strangely alcohol doesn't standout at all despite the rum flavors.

Mouthfeel is good.

Overall it is a boring beer.

Photo of JustinQ
3.67/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12.99 for 22 oz Bottle

Serving Type: 22 oz Bottle poured into snifter

Appearence: nice off white head, ruby red/brown color, alot clearer then expected.

Aroma: Slightly boozy, sweet, caramel. No hops or Diacetyl.

Taste: Dried fruits, Bitter but balanced very well with the sweetness. The brown ale character is somewhat over shadowed by the rum flavors.

Mouthfeel: Thick and dry, Warming.

Overall: Great beer but not quite worth the money. Glad I Got a bottle when it was fresh.

Photo of Thads324
3.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Kill devil 2013
A: sexy gold wax on the top is a messy open, wax chips flying everywhere. Pours a copper not brown. Thin fizzy and loud popping tan head. Low level of lacing.
S : sugary sweet syrup aroma with hints of oaky wood and alcohol. A smidgen of vanilla and plum. Very nice smell reminiscent of big brews.
T : flavor starts with a big hit of sweetness. Caramel and toffee with candied sugar. A hop bitterness in the middle is pleasant. Good hop flavor of pear, apple meat and follows with hints of grape flavor. Finish is a big oaky, with hints of vanilla and almost but not quite a birch tree sprig flavor. Sweet, finish.
M: higher side of medium bodied, well carbonated but not overly so. Slightly slick with a zippy bitterness that lingers. Well hidden booze

Weird color, as I figured it would be darker brown. Fantastic flavor with a really nice hop flavor that is a different type of fruity than most. Grape and apple abound with the wood and vanilla oak on top is very nice. I think a bit of the zippiness is from the rum. Better than I thought from widmer.

Photo of jokelahoma
3.74/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a shaker. Not a ton of head, fades to just a skiff. Laces well, though.

Aroma is sweet chocolate and malt. Not a big hop presence.

Flavor is big and rich, without the crappy country songs. Sweet, molasses flavors. Again almost no hop presence, with just enough bitterness to keep the brew from hanging around in the aftertaste. Not bad, and easy to drink for a big brew. Probably a tad too sweet for more than one, though.

Mouthfeel is big, rich, oily, clingy... In short, it screams "big alcohol beer here!" Yet for all that, it isn't work to drink it.

Not bad. It's unapologetically big and sweet. I've had better big browns, but I've had worse too wouldn't drink it often, and it'd probably work better in the fall, but it's worth trying.

Photo of Tone
3.25/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours a cloudy, brown color. 1/3 inch head of an off-white color. Good retention and slight lacing. Smells of alcohol, strong sweet malt, sugar, hint of hops, and hint of nut. Fits the style of an American Brown Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. There is also a strong dryness. Tastes of alcohol, strong sweet malt, hint of yeast, hint of hop, slight metallic notes, and a sugar. Overall, decent beer, strong body and aroma, but the metallic and sugar flavors hurt.

Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.45/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Kill Devil, bottle bought at Super Buy-Rite Jersey City for $11.99.

Appearance: Served in my Duvel art glass, almost the whole bomber. Viscous-but-not-quite pour, brown-auburn color. Standard head, very fizzy and nervous. Doesn't last, leaving a bubbly mantle behind. No lacing.

Smell: Hazelnut, oxidation. Brown sugar, coconut. Coffee with two creams, one sugar. Mild hops, some farm funk. Chocolate powder.

Taste: There is a mighty oxidation taste right away, then booze/rum in a non-subtle way, or barreling done not-quite-right. Astringent finish. Some chocolate and spice around the mouth. Hearts of palm, soy glaze and ebony booty. Weird. Lacks body/flavor.

Mouthfeel: It works well enough. Medium body and flavor and carbonation. Unremarkable all around but not unpleasant. Nice booze/rum finish.

Overall: Alright, but far from great. Drinks fine, but damn, just boring and not up to par.

Photo of cosmicevan
4.12/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another one from the 7/27 Top Hops mini tasting! thanks to jim for sharing (and hosting us)!

a - watery brown with a thin foamy cream colored head.

s - nutmeg sweet malts. The way a brown ale should smell. Really balanced. Everything in it's right place.

t - Wow...diggin it! just a great brown ale. the 10% rum barrel is a perfect compliment for the beer.

m - easy drinker...a bit watery.

o - very impressive. one of the better browns I've had. everything is in check here.

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Kill Devil Brown Ale (Brothers' Reserve Series) from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 207 ratings.