Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine and select auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

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

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

45 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 45
Hads: 219
Avg: 3.87
pDev: 12.14%
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.
View: Beers (81) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Reviews: 45 | Hads: 219
Photo of Sammy
3.97/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

 311 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.4/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle I brought to share at Skuter's UCLA vs. USC viewing party.

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, nuts, cocoa, and alcohol. Taste is much the same with a mild chile flavor and very minor heat with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but I think it tastes better than it smells.

 535 characters

Photo of kylehay2004
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
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 metter98
3.96/5  rDev +2.3%
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 Knapp85
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
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

Photo of BEERchitect
3.45/5  rDev -10.9%
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 oberon
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
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.

 762 characters

Photo of mactrail
3.39/5  rDev -12.4%
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 superspak
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
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 tdm168
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

 559 characters

Photo of Lare453
3.46/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Large format bottle into a dfh snifter

A nice jet black with a small light tan fast dissipating head. Light lacing

S light cocoa, sweet, tin,

T malt, fresh ground grain, light cocoa, tiniest bit of green pepper and a bit of Cayenne, little cinnamon, little bit of nuttiness

M thick, creamy, soft, smooth

O not bad, but nothing I would drink frequently... Probably wouldn't buy another.

 391 characters

Photo of Zorro
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
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 LiquidAmber
3.92/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

 533 characters

Photo of bluejacket74
3.81/5  rDev -1.6%
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 Cyberkedi
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
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 drpimento
3.27/5  rDev -15.5%
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 maximum12
3.53/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another Widmer bottle pulled off the shelf. 22 oz. bomber split with my wife.

Pour is very dark with red highlights. Send out a search party for the nose, just about had to snort some to pick up anything, faint spices, chocolate.

SXNW is unmistakably a beer with chiles. The chile heat is the defining characteristic, but the heat is passing rather than of the buildings/sticking/hot varietal. Chocolate rides side saddle, but, well, that's about it. Simple. Growing on me as I sip. As is the warmth of the chiles, which finally begins to adhere to the walls of my oral cavity.

Not much complexity in the DNA of this organism, but hey, I don't want War & Peace in a glass every night. Good beer.

 701 characters

Photo of OWSLEY069
4.02/5  rDev +3.9%
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 Pencible
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
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 ngeunit1
4.32/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark black color with a bit of brown mixed in and a finger of frothy khaki colored head. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some lacing.

S - Aroma is dark caramel malts, with some dark fruit, cocoa, cinnamon, clove, and other spices, pecans, chilies, a bit of coffee and some booze.

T - Starts off with a mix of dark caramel malts, dark fruit, cinnamon, other spices, and a bit of chili heat. Through the middle, the pecans come through with some cocoa, more spices, and some coffee. The finish is a mix of dark caramel malts, spices, pecans, cocoa, chilies, dark fruit, and a bit of booze.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a sweet, warming, and lightly spicy finish.

D - Very drinkable. Nice overall balance and complexity. The pecans, spices, and cocoa are a nice touch.

 840 characters

Photo of arizcards
4.02/5  rDev +3.9%
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 HardTarget
4/5  rDev +3.4%
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 TheBrewo
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
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 HalfFull
3.4/5  rDev -12.1%
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 shand
4.47/5  rDev +15.5%
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.

 816 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
SXNW (Brothers' Reserve Series) from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 45 ratings.