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
86
very good

45 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 45
Hads: 217
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 4.66%
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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Reviews: 45 | Hads: 217
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. (1,080 characters)

Photo of drpimento
3.27/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

A bit of a disappointment. Small short lived head, no lace. Aroma's cocoa, a bit of spice. Flavor's like nose, a little sweet and nutmeat (which don't really work that well- off tastes) . Kind of forgettable for all the hoopla. (227 characters)

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. (781 characters)

Photo of Cyberkedi
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Strong aroma has a malty core and notes of - each whiff seems different. I get cocoa, cinnamon, nuts, and even hints of chili peppers and caramel. Gets the old salivary glands in action. Pours a barely translucent chocolate brown with a good light tan head that doesn’t stick around too long. Flavor has malty, chocolaty, nutty, sweet syrupy, and earthy tones, plus a sharp chili pepper note. I like hot foods in the right circumstances, but I really don’t care for hot pepper in my beer. However, it is subtle enough that it doesn’t detract much from the rest of the taste. I get a firm undercurrent of hoppy bitterness as well. Texture is smooth, syrupy, and not too tingly, though the pepper provides a little "pins and needles" feeling. Overall, distinctive, delicious, interesting. (792 characters)

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. (1,466 characters)

Photo of DaryleEverett
3.69/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Smooth dark in appearance. Deep strong oak smell that is rich. Smooth chocolate taste that compliments the smell. No after taste and not bitter. Serve colder than usual. This beer has the obvious hint of using chilies in the brewing which gives it the feel of bourbon base (272 characters)

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. (1,566 characters)

Photo of arizcards
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Received this from a friend back in late October. Bottled on 8-8-12.

Beer poured dark brown, rather flat, with a off white head.

Nose is dominated by cocoa.

Taste is eclectic but very good.This is a well crafted blend of cocoa, chilies, pecans, northwest hops. It works very well.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and pretty smooth.

Overall this was very fun to try...too bad i did not have it a year earlier! (409 characters)

Photo of ONUMello
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a pint glass
A: Dark brown with a 1/2-finger head
S: Sweet, nutty, earthy
T: Dried than it smells. Fairly earthy/herbal which is nice. I can distinctly pick out the pecans, cocoa and chili mentioned on the bottle
M: Medium-bodied, smooth, well integrated alcohol
O: I would have loved to try this a bit closer to its release but just stumbled across the bottle tucked away in the back corner of a retailer's fridge. Overall though I enjoyed it quite a bit (479 characters)

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. (567 characters)

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. (2,053 characters)

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. (631 characters)

Photo of HardTarget
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Very cola like appearance, brown glass with reddish hue, a quick bubbly head that dies back to nothing. I blame pecans (oils kill head).

Smell: The cocoa nibs come through with a very chocolatey roasted barley smell that works. A whiff of heat which is odd, either the alcohol or the chile note.

Taste: A lot of flavors give a lot of complexity. The spices are strong but don't overwhelm everything else going on, mostly a pumpkin pie spice. There is a chocolate note in the sweetness, no real hop notes but it doesn't get cloyingly sweet. I get a bit of pepper heat which I assume is the green chile, and even a bit of pecan shell dryness at the end. Kudos for actually showing off 4 different flavors in one beer.

Mouthfeel: A bit toward the flat end, medium heavy body is slick and oily but manages to dry out encouraging the next sip.

Overall: A complex, flavorful beer. Expensive (about $12 for the bomber) so not something I would do often, but glad to have tried it out. Recommended. (1,006 characters)

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. (711 characters)

Photo of AlTrombley
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I sell this beer. I have waited for a long time for a case to break so I could take one out of the breakage room. It never sounded very good (pecans with Chili's sounds bad) but I figured for free I would give it a try. I was REAL surprised how good it was. Just a hint of heat on the back end.... Very nice!!! (310 characters)

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. (812 characters)

Photo of Pencible
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: This poured a clear black ruby with quickly dissipating light tan head.
S: It smelled like earthy chocolate and nutty malt, with some chili pepper and pumpernickel bread.
T: It tasted like earthy bittersweet chocolate and nutty malt, with some pumpernickel bread and chili pepper. It had a clean and bittersweet aftertaste with a bit of heat.
M: It was watery with a little carbonation. Thin body.
D: The concept sounded better than this beer ended up. The scent and body were ok but not delicious. The body was weak, and the finish wasn't super smooth. The alcohol was hidden decently by the spicy character, but it wasn't the easiest to drink. I doubt age would improve it. Simply not a good show of brewing skill. Not a bad drink, but not recommended. (757 characters)

Photo of mactrail
3.39/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A handsome brown-tinged red in the tall tulip. The head, alas, doesn't seem to last so well, but the lacing renews itself when you swirl the glass. A little oily in the mouth, but not so syrupy.

This brew has a fair amount of heat with just a twinge of chile flavor. It's sweet but sharp, hot and spicy. Overall, it's a nice blend of flavors without any of them standing out too much. The Mexican chocolate-cinnamon combination is not one of my favorites, but it merges with the dark caramel, roasted malt, and what tastes like dried red chiles rather than the fresh green ones. Between the alcohol and the heat, it's a slow sipping affair.

From the 22 oz bottle bought at Barons Marketplace on Point Loma Blvd. (713 characters)

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. (2,245 characters)

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. (1,098 characters)

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. (565 characters)

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. (361 characters)

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. (469 characters)

Photo of outdoor7or24
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle poured into sniffer glass.
A: one finger khaki foam head, little lacing, some carbonation, dark reddish brown
S: sweet chocolate is really strong, toasted hazelnuts, booze
M: medium thick, coats the tongue
T: chocolate up front is very strong, hops, roasted nuts, toffee, chilie spice lingers at the end and warms up the tongue
O: impressive brew, profile gets more heat as brew warms from Chiles. (410 characters)

Photo of Knapp85
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured out as a nice looking brown color with a thin white head on top. The lacing and retention were minimal. The smell of the beer has a mixture of cocoa and malt with some spice on the nose as well. The taste of the beer has nice levels of complexity to it. The chocolate notes come up strong in the beginning then in the finish there is a moderate heat from the peppers. The flavors blend pretty well together in my opinion. The mouthfeel of the beer is medium bodied. There is a nice amount of carbonation and even with the heat of the peppers it remains very drinkable. Overall I like this beer a lot, I wouldn't mind drinking this one again. (648 characters)

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SXNW (Brothers' Reserve Series) from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 45 ratings.