SXNW (Brothers' Reserve Series) - Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

Not Rated.
SXNW (Brothers' Reserve Series)SXNW (Brothers' Reserve Series)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

216 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 216
Reviews: 45
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 12.18%
Wants: 11
Gots: 36 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Widmer Brothers Brewing Company visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  9.30% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: shand on 09-07-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
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Ratings: 216 | Reviews: 45
Reviews by DonDirkA:
Photo of DonDirkA
4.21/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brewed with chilies, cocoa nibs, cinnamon and toasted pecans. Pours pitch brown (like a deep black/brown) with a rich brown head that dissipates to about 1 cm. Nose is cinnamon, a hint of chilies, those toasted pecans definitely come through and a bit of dark chocolate. There are also some notes of coffee, rich caramel and just a bit of dark fruit like plums. The
taste is heavier on the coffee than the smell. Coffee, caramel, dark malts with only hints of chilies, cinnamon and some sweet, nutty flavors. The aftertaste reflects the spice notes from the chilies and cinnamon and some of the dark chocolate. This is definitely one of the best Widmer Brother's Reserve brews I have had. I have generally been disappointed but they always sound so good that I can't resist. Love it, but it could be more flavorful up front. All the spice notes come in well after on the back end.

More User Reviews:
Photo of kylehay2004
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Half finger head with nice lacing on a deep amber clear body. Aroma of dark fruits, candied sugar, caramel and milk chocolate although this is a minor note. Flavors flow well but is more chcoolate dominat with very nice degree of sweetness with dark fruit taking a back seat on a bready and caramel malt base. Medium body and light to moderate carbonation. I really liked this one. Widmer keeps surprising me with their brews. Certainly not as talked about as deserved.

Photo of oberon
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was looking forward to trying this Widmer offering,a little off the cuff for them I think.Poured into a tulip glass a deep mahogany with amber tinge a 1/2 finger quick to fade off white head atop.Chocolate and raisin aromas with those toasted pecans underneath,the subtle spice that the label promotes is there and compliments everything well.Chocolate flavors at the onset but not very sweet,just enough sweetness,a little roast, earth,black licorice,and cinnamon melds into a great chili finish that lingers in the throat.I love complex and "different" beers like this,there are layers of flavor here that come at each sip.Great job here Widmer,this is probably one of their better beers in their profile,great to savor a Detroit Tiger victory with this one.

Photo of JHS123
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aroma is cocoa with hints of spices and pepper. Malt is clearly dark chocolate with hints of roastiness.

Appearance is Jet Black black, black, black, black, cloudy, frothy, Its got a stout appearance but taste of a dark ale.

Taste is unique: Strong pepper brought on by the chilis coupled with chocolate. Can not taste the pecans but there is limited hoppiness its mostly a malty ale so really limited to no bitterness.

Palate: This is a full bodied beer with some alcohol undertones and a long chocolate finish.

I really have enjoyed this beer and this was the first time I have tried it on tap. Normally able to find it in 22% Bottle (Nicely boxed).

Photo of Sammy
3.97/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Whole Foods, Santa Rosa taproom. I am a chile fan so I enjoyed this.chocolate nibs, cinnamon, toasted pecans, and green chilies, chocolate malts. Lots of heat in the finish. Creamy. Roasty aroma. I will try this again in the bottle to try the complexity later but the balance featured on tap was nice.

Photo of tdm168
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Wine 101 in Wake Forest.

A - black with a soft, brownish head that has good retention

S - sweet, nutty, caramel

T - cinnamon, nutty, caramel, chocolate, very faint cayenne heat in the finish

M - medium bodied, smooth, well carbonated

This was an intriguing beer. It tasted like mole, and drank like a unique big bodied, full flavored brown ale. The spices were inviting and warming. This beer has notes of stout, brown ale, strong ale, winter warmer, etc. This beer refuses to be pigeon-holed. If I can find it, I will definitely have it again.

Photo of HalfFull
3.4/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Clear deep mahogany pour with a thin tan cap of foam. Brief retention, leaving a light surface ring. Deep brown and mahogany in the light.

Touch of muddled spices on the nose likely belie the intent of this beer as it seem to be about three years old. This wasn't known to me as of a recent purchase. More malted cinnamon up front which seques to a chili spice. Still subdued a bit.

Spices pop on the tongue much more than the aroma. An initial splash of chili spice subsides as the palate accustoms to it, then some light hints of cinnamon and chocolate. Later comes some nutty cocoa with a chili pepper charcter. Not spicy but evident on the chili. Again all components and subtle and a bit reaching. Still there is never any evidence of the ABV on the smell or taste.

Offers a pleasant feel with no real detectable sweetness and drinks easily with no real bitterness either. With warming there is a more lingering chili character. Overall an older beer than expected but still quite interesting and still relevant though I'm now intrigued how it was when fresh.

Photo of nimrod979
3.74/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On-tap from awhile ago at the Axe. Taken from notes. Served in a pint glass.

Appearance: Dark cola like color. Not quite black. Produces a thicker off white head than I got out of a bottle. Almost no retention and no lacing to speak of though. Bummer.

Aroma: Big on the cinnamon and spice. Chocolate is also a big player. A touch of smoke and toasted pecans.

Taste: The big flavor is the cinnamon spice with several pleasant nuances adding a little complexity. The cocoa nibs add a nice dry powdered chocolate flavor. Toasted pecans show up more in the finish. The chilies, however aren't so much detectable in the taste but add a welcome heat on the back end and mouthfeel.

Mouthfeel: Rich medium full body, but almost no carbonation. The heat the chili adds is nice but not enough to make up for the other short comings on the mouthfeel.

Overall, Widmer has a winner here, wish they could fix the carbonation though. Bottle was the same with the carb. Wish the other flavors would stand up against the cinnamon too. It just takes up too much of the flavor of what could be an excellent beer.

Photo of TofuDC5
3.02/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: 1-finger, white frothy head after pour; settled to nothing after a minute or so. Maroon color; about 80% opaque.

S: Faint; chocolate, molasses, licorice. Something tickles the nose, but I can't put a finger on what it might be; bourbon and spices?

T: A bit weird and not to my liking; bitter and musty. Qualities of the aroma became less noticeable, and I'm left with an interesting oaky/earthy aftertaste.

M: Creamy and bitter. Quite carbonated.

O: I tried to appreciate this, but couldn't. Strikes me as such an average beer with no outstanding qualities. Lacks depth in flavor and smell and perhaps what really threw me off was the awkward imbalance of oak/earthy flavor and the rest, which was faint.

Photo of bluejacket74
3.81/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

22 ounce bottle, bottled on 8/8/2012. Served in a nonic pint glass, the beer pours very dark brown with about a half inch off-white head that fizzled away quickly. Not much lacing. Aroma is nice, it smells like chocolate, sweet spices, nuts, and some chilies. The brew tastes like nuts, chocolate, dark fruit, sweet spices, chilies, and some dark bread. The chili spice does linger and get stronger as the beer warms up. Mouthfeel/body is light/medium, it's a bit slick, but also thin as well. Wish it was thicker. Overall, I liked this brew. There was more heat in it than I expected, it's a nice, flavorful beer. $11.49 a bottle.

Photo of TruePerception
3.99/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Widmer's SXNW, ale brewed with pecans, spices, cocoa nibs, and green chilies. 9.3% ABV

A: Very, very dark red, almost black. Honeyed brown in the dimple. Almost no head.

S: Raw cocoa, pecans, and sweetness from the chilies swirl together nicely, neither seeming to overbalance the others.

T/MF: Lot of sweet, dark cocoa flavor. Pecans highly present, but secondary. Just a hint of spice from the chilies. Well balanced. Quite smooth, texturally.

This would make a very nice barrel-aged beer. Rum, perhaps?

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle, into a Belgian tulip glass.

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Seattle Beer Week pint glass. Pours a dark reddish brown with a thin off-white head that dissipated immediately to a hint of foam around the glass. Aroma of nuts, roasted malt, chocolate and a hint of sharp chile. Flavor follows with mellow nuts, light chocolate, dark malt and light chile spicing, slightly earthy. Medium bodied with little carbonation. An interesting flavor combination that is perfect for the fall season. The dominant pecan and chile flavor is seems more southwest by southeast to me, but whatever.

Photo of metter98
3.96/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear reddish brown in color and has a light to moderate amount of carbonation. It poured with a thin off white head that quickly died down, leaving delicate lacing covering the surface and a thin collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of cocoa nibs and pecans are present in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell except that the pecans are a little more prominent and there are also some notes of green chilies, which aren't really spicy, but become stronger as the beer warms up and linger through the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is rather in interesting and has a good balance between all of the ingredients (cocoa nibs, green chilies and pecans) and hides its alcohol rather well.

Photo of KickbacksSteve
4.42/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Kickbacks in Jax. Poured into a small snifter. Beige head, moderate retention. Clear, resinous lacing sticks to the glass. Body of beer is dark, dark chocolaty brown. Aroma includes vanilla, chocolate, toasted malt and coffee. Not picking up the chilies or pecans (actually I'm getting more of an almond) but I'm sure they are just dominated by the other smells. Taste is mainly coffee and chocolate malt. Still not picking up chili but oh well, very tasty regardless. Alcohol very well hidden for a high gravity ale. Excellent. Edit, slight tingling in the mouth and tongue after the fact. Still didn't taste the chilies, but now I feel them. :-)

Photo of Kromes
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip glass. A black color with ruby edges. You can tell that the beer is clear as the ruby color is seen through the glass. A thin line of bubbles for a head.

Sweet roasted malts with some chocolate. There is also a smoky quality to the aroma. Almost like smoked peppers.

The initial flavor is of sweet smoky roasted malts and chocolate. No real bitterness in the beer, mostly sweet up front. There is a slight nutty flavor with some dark cherry. The finish is where this beer really shines. Lingering smoky malt, with chocolate, toffee and a spicy pepper feel left on the tongue with a slight pepper flavor. All of the flavors in the beer compliment one another. The flavors seem strange to be coupled together but in the end it's as if they belong together.

The beer is medium bodied, low carbonation, and sweet. I love spicy food and pour hot sauce on everything so the highlight for me is the lingering (but not over the top) hot pepper feel left on the tongue.

I've had a few chocolate pepper beers, but this one is better by far. If you see this, I would highly recommend picking it up.

Photo of AtrumAnimus
2.58/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This one pours seemingly flat at first then gives to a fast rising head that is weak, settles very fast and leaves zero lacing down the glass. The color is a cloudy dark brown that is nearly impenetrable to light.

The nose is sharply sweet with a lot of sugary alcohol and reminds me of a very strong barley win. In fact I think it smells exactly like a rich barley wine.

The taste is somewhat cloyingly sweet and very off balanced in the complexities. Instead of having the potential complexities of these ingredients presenting themselves over the time is takes to cross the palate they are fighting each other for dominance and just confuse the palate. Not that enjoyable to be perfectly honest.

The mouthfeel is mostly alcohol and watery.

Overall a real disappointment.

Photo of Zorro
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear dark brown colored ale with a tiny tan colored head. Looks remarkably like a glass of cola.

Smells lightly of chocolate and chili pepper. Slight sweetness and a definite pecan nut scent. That said you REALLY have to work to pick out the aroma, not a very aromatic beer.

Starts out mildly sweet with a fairly strong chilies and chocolate taste. Chili pepper is strong but not hot. Slight mint flavor. All that said it tastes better than the sum of its parts.

Mouthfeel is OK, not thick for the style.

Overall worth a try. Tastes much better than it smells.

Photo of shand
4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a snifter.

SXNW pours a brown color with a small capped head. The aroma is excellent, with rich roasted malts, chocolate, cinnamon, and a touch of chili heat. The taste is also very good, this is an obvious riff on the chocolate/cinnamon/chili thing that's been popularized by Hunahpu's, and this is one of the better riffs on it that I've had. This one is less malty than the imperial stout takes on the style, instead offering a great rich chocolate flavor along with just the right amount of cinnamon and chili flavor. A touch of nuttiness adds some uniqueness to the finish, along with a lingering chili heat. The mouthfeel is lighter and velvety, and the drinkability is outstanding. This is another great brew from Widmer, who are really making a name for themselves recently.

Photo of rand
4.31/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From 22 oz bomber to snifter

A: Copper-brown in color with a ruby hue, a liberal pour yields virtually no head to speak of. No lacing either.

S: Sweet bouquet, bold. Toffee-malts anchor the aromas, with notes of oak and chalky yeast at the edge. Distinct molasses and cocoa, warming booze lingers.

T: Malty sweetness at the front of the sip, toffee-like and creamy. Caramel notes are easily parsed and very sweet, but the brew is nicely balanced by oak, booze and a touch of bittering hops. Suggestions of chalky cocoa and cherry phenols come through toward the finish, along with the added cinnamon. Closes long and sweet.

M: Strangely thin for the style and all of the flavors bouncing around your palate. It's not off-putting, but a little more viscosity might've driven home the nuances of the flavor profile.

By far the best beer I've had from Widmer. There's virtually no hype surrounding this beer, and it's a bit underrated - I wonder if the ubiquitous, and rather lame, Hefeweizen (which is really just a pale wheat ale) has damaged the brand among beer geeks. But if anyone gets a chance to sample it's worth a try - easy to drink and full of caramelly, full-flavored goodness.

Note: I just noticed that the last entry was 2012 - this brew is about 2 years old, and aging may have done a beer good, based on other reviews. Some of the nuanced aspects of the added ingredients may have waned, but the flavors are singular and tasty.

Photo of OWSLEY069
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber to black in color with a small light tan head. In the aroma, a caramel roast and a small presence of alcohol. In the taste, dry licorice and boozy, with a small spice presence. A spice like bite and a medium to bigger bodied mouthfeel, with a small dry spice and licorice in the aftertaste. Spicy, roasty, and licorice, ok, but about average.

Photo of Samuel906
3.43/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance:

Poured very dark, nearly opaque. Very deep, rich red with no sediment or bubbles when held to light. Moderate, white head that quickly dissipates to a ring.

Aroma:

Sweet aroma, strong hits of cocoa/chocolate and toffee, as well as toasted nuts. Not as "spicy" as the label suggests.

Palate:

Good mouth feel, soft and smooth. Carbonation is perfect, slowly fading into the mild chili heat that sticks to the back of your tongue. Did leave my mouth feeling a touch sticky.

Taste:

Lots of nice little flavors to pick out here. Starts with the nice smooth chocolaty sweetness followed quickly by some spice; this transitions to a subtle roasted malt flavor, and finally the last little lingering taste of chili spice. The aftertaste is very nutty and pleasant.

Verdict:

Overall, I was pleased with the taste which offered some complexity, and a nice transition through flavors. While there are a lot of things here I like,it is not something I will go out of my way to have again; it is a tad overpriced, and nothing really stands out as exceptional.

Photo of TheBrewo
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beverage was served from the tap at The Ginger Man in Greenwich, CT. It arrived in a stemmed chalice, glowing a deep chestnut brown, with ruby hues around the edges. It held a one finger head of tan bubbles, showing okay retention, and only spots of lacing. No haze or sediment was noted, and carbonation appeared active. The aroma gave roasty coffee malts, syrupy fig, fiery booze, dried chocolate nibs, clovey phenols, nutmeg, sassafras, metallics, licorice bitterness, and the vegetable sheen of green bell peppers. Our first impression was that there was nice syrupy sweetness to it, with a thorough robustness of authentic chocolate. The flavoring opened with dark roasted chocolate and coffee malts, smooth milkiness, dark cherry, fig, and independent dark chocolate dryness. The middle of the swallow peaked with more of this bittered raw chocolate, rich roasty malts, continued light cherry fruitiness, and a cutting flash of brown sugar sweetness. The finish came with the peppery spiciness of booze, chocolate malted milk balls, smooth toffee sweetness, bittered molasses spice, drying aromatic nutmeg, and the warmth of pecan pie. The aftertaste breathed of dark chocolate syrups, booze, lightly charred smokiness, tootsie roll darkness, and a flash of cayenne pepper spiciness. The body was full, and the carbonation was medium. A thick, syrupy coating followed initial coolness around the mouth, with a final astringent pucker of raw chocolate. The drying bite was quite prominent. There was nice slurp and sip, but no real froth of cream to the lip. The abv was appropriate, and warming, and while this guy was more of a slow sipper, it was easy.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this beer was the depth of flavoring. There was great complexity throughout the entire tasting, with heavy sweetness giving way to darker grain and that final flash of hot pepper spice. The latter actually left a palpable heat on the tongue, which went nicely with the warming character of the booze. The nose was equally as warming, spicy, and inviting, but just didn’t punch as much as the flavoring. The heavy feel contributed nicely to the hearty warmth of the experience, helping to keep things exciting and flavorful to the last drop.

Photo of BEERchitect
3.45/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bright, bold and going in a lot of directions- Widmer Brothers' latest Brother's Reserve offering reveals everything from pecans, spices and chili for an ultra-complex taste upon a sweet and malty perch.

Very dark brown, the ale stops short of black showing that its something more porter-like than stout. A strong ivory-white head climbs up the snifter but then fizzles out rather quickly, regenerating only slightly with a swirl of the glass. With no real lace and terse retention, its a testament to the chili oils that impede its foam character.

Robustly sweet aromas of maple, peanuts, and toffee round out for a hearty scent of brittle with a slightly burnt sweetness in scent. Candy-like and spicy, the Strong Ale begins to take on cola and root beer proportions. With no real chili character, only a slim vegetal note exists with grass and green beans.

Its flavor is heavy with toast, molasses, brown sugar, and a hint of maple. Quite nutty, everything from cashew, peanut and pecan gives a taste similar to "Cracker Jacks" ballpark candies. But the finish is spices similar to cola with peps of cinnamon, black pepper, nutmeg, and chicory. All the while, a spiciness builds to meet the intensity of alcohol. But unlike alcohol flavor, the capsacin resists fading and continues to intensify. Its fruit flesh still comes across as much like cooked green beans as it does chili peppers.

Its early texture gives the impression that the beer will be full and sturdy, but it lightens considerably in the middle for something that favors drinkability over sipping. But as the ale falls flat, it the creaminess retreats and leaves the brunt of candy-like sweetness for which the middle and late palates must contend. This causes the ale to seem of flat cola toward the end before the chili and spice saves it.

Its understandable to take the experimental flavors of the Pacific Northwest ales and reel in the Mexican cocoa and chili combinations. But the ale really needs a more boisterous body to prop up all of what's going on with the additions.

Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 8/8/2012. Pours slightly hazy very dark reddish brown color with a 2 finger fairly dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin lace cap that lingers. Slight spotty lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of milk chocolate, cocoa, toast, light roast, chile pepper, clove, cinnamon, herbal, brown bread, light nuttiness, and toasted earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt, cocoa, and spice notes; with good strength. Taste of milk chocolate, cocoa, toast, brown bread, light roast, clove, light chile, light nuttiness, light cinnamon, herbal, and toasted earthiness. Zero bitterness and minimal pepper heat on the finish; with lingering notes of milk chocolate, cocoa, toast, light roast, brown bread, light nuttiness, light chile, light cinnamon, and toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice robustness and balance of dark/bready malt flavors with moderate cocoa and light spice/chile notes; with zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a moderately creamy, smooth, and slightly chalky mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very nice spiced strong ale. Good balance and robustness of dark/bready malts, cocoa nib, and light spice/chile flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. Would have liked more spice presence in the taste, but they have obviously faded due to age. Still a very enjoyable offering overall.

Photo of Brewery1337
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark Amber.
S - Nutty, with hints of chocolate and chilies. Cinnamon notes are hidden a bit in the background.
T - Nutty and slightly sweet. Spicy after note.
M - Decent carbonation. A bit thick.
O - A little boring. Certainly not worth the price. Won't be buying again.

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SXNW (Brothers' Reserve Series) from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 216 ratings.