Widow Maker Black Ale - Keweenaw Brewing Company

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Widow Maker Black AleWidow Maker Black Ale

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BA SCORE
80
good

241 Ratings
THE BROS
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 241
Reviews: 70
rAvg: 3.5
pDev: 15.71%
Wants: 8
Gots: 35 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Keweenaw Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  5.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: association330 on 06-13-2009

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 241 | Reviews: 70
Photo of HopHunter19
3.68/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - 4 - Dark almost black beer with a nice medium head that sticks, but is kinda thin. Minimal lacing.
S - 3.5 - Little bit roasty, bread, corn, light coffee.
T - 3.75 - Bread. Some hop bitterness balances it well. Light coffee, roasty.
M - 3.5 - Medium. Alc covered. Aftertaste is like a dark lager or dunkelweisen. Not much just a tiny bit of roastiness.
O - 3.75 - solid beer

Photo of Mikus
3.24/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Black with a slight mahogany hue in the light. Finger and a half down to nothing right quick. Still a jet black beauty. Some smoky aromas, maybe a bit of molasses. Not a big nose overall. Taste is a bit more prominent. Good smoky, roasty presence, but little to no bitterness or hop flavors (also, no date on can). Medium to meh on the mouthfeel... smooth, but a slight off aftertaste. Drinkable, but not right up my alley style-wise. Wouldn't seek this out in particular.

Photo of BrianZeeland
4.34/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Overall smooth rich flavor and solid color.

Photo of pawnee
5/5  rDev +42.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

very very good beer,better on tap but enjoy it very much

Photo of Redrover
3.65/5  rDev +4.3%

This was my second offering from this brewery,

From a can, it pours a black/very dark brown with a sticky brown head.

It has a decent aroma of roasted malts.

Slightly smoky roasted malts backed with a bit of a hop bite. I like how this one also has a bit of toffee and a hint of coffee and coco.

The mouth is nice with s bit of heft that still manages to be easy to session.

Well done!!

Photo of perrycraigg
5/5  rDev +42.9%

Favorite kbc beer, best served on tap into a mason jar, nice smoky flavor easy drinking for such a dark beer.

Photo of GTSeabolt
4.25/5  rDev +21.4%

Favorite of the Keweenaw beers and my go-to anytime I am in MI. Smooth and full of flavor.

Photo of TheBrewo
3.61/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This brew was served from the tap at Diablo’s in Royal Oak, Michigan. The round arrived in generic pint glasses, showing the ruby-hued blackness of cola. It held a gentle, cakey light brown colored head that retained well. Lacing was patterned and crystalline. No haze or sediment was noted, and carbonation appeared to be light. The nose offered notes of mildly roasted caramel and black maltiness, vanilla metallics, printer paper, white sugar sweetness, corn and starchy adjuncts, light black coffee roast, hazelnuts, faint dried grassy hops, and mineral water. Our first impression was that this was a pretty standard black ale, all around, with an airy and watery flavoring that was more dilute than robust. As we sipped, the taste began with clean brown, black, and distant coffee maltiness, decent roast and smoke of grain, bitter ale yeastiness, white chalk, honey, and icy metallics. The middle came to a peak with continued black and brown maltiness, but with a cheapness of glass, lightly citric and grassy hops, confectioner’s sugar, and corny, wheaty adjuncts. The end washed through with corn syrups, that same dull black maltiness, white sugar cloy, salt water taffy, soy sauce, chalk, and old dollar bills. The aftertaste breathed of corn husk and planty chew, burnt tobacco leafiness, roasty and metallic black and adjuncty graininess, wheat crackers, white and cooked brown sugars, and pervasive chalky yeastiness. The body was lightly medium, and carbonation was medium. Each sip gave pleasant slurp, smack, cream, and froth, all leading to a wet and satisfying finishing pop. The mouth was left cooled and with tannic puck. The abv is appropriate, and the beer glugs back easily.

Overall, the best thing about this beer was its ease of drinkability. While the aroma and taste weren’t necessarily bad, they just lacked a certain vigor that other black ales possess. You will find bits and pieces of the desired components here, but none of them are there in full. Perhaps if they bolstered the grain bill with more roast, or dry-hopped the hell out of it they could build something a bit more robust and savory, but the product at present is just not fully up to speed with some of its competitors. That said, this is a great beer for relaxing with some buddies at the bar if you’re looking to throw a few back, or to ease someone into the craft beer scene with.

Photo of JamesMN
3.09/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Date on the can of 13/11/05... not sure if that's canned on or drink by but either way it's backwards.

Appearance: Black with effervescence stuck to the sides of the glass. Thin cap of light tan foam.

Aroma: Toasty and sweet roasty malt. Very similar in the nose to a brown ale.

Taste: Very light on flavor but not watery, which is a bit of a feat in itself. Starts with some grassy/club soda bitterness paired with underlying dark malt and molasses. The malt doesn't contribute any bitterness, or much flavor for that matter, but is still does its part to enhance the experience. The 5.3% ABV is very believable here. Finish is nearly crisp and the aftertaste is club soda with a hint of something dark.

Mouthfeel: Thin in body with carbonation like pop. Easy drinkability. You could session this, but it'd get boring pretty quick.

Final Thoughts: I expected the name Widow Maker to be on the label of a big imperial stout or triple IPA, so its a bit of a let down to find it on a beer that so lacking in body and flavor. Would I drink it again? Unlikely.

Photo of ISmith87
3.68/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - 4 - Dark almost black beer with a nice medium head that sticks, but is kinda thin. Minimal lacing.
S - 3.5 - Little bit roasty, bread, corn, light coffee.
T - 3.75 - Light coffee, roasty. Bread. Some hop bitterness balances it well.
M - 3.5 - Medium. Alc covered. Aftertaste is like a dark lager or dunkelweisen. Not much just a tiny bit of roastiness.
O - 3.75 - It's pretty good. I'm kinda biased because it's from Michigan's UP.

Photo of chinchill
3.48/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

From an undated 12 oz can purchased in MI last month. Served in a snifter. Pours clear, dark red-brown color, but nearly black in the glass. The medium-size tan head soon reduces to a ring but leaves a coat lacing upon tilting.

S: Lightly sweet with medium roast malts and minimal dark roasted grains. Improves with warming.

T: Sweet upfront but more balanced by the finish. Less dark roasted malt flavor than expected, and probably less than any schwarzbier I've come across. Very lightly smoky with a hint of spicy hops.

M: Light carbonation; medium-light body.

O: Somewhat light American Schwarzbier. As the brewer says, "Don't let its looks deceive you."

Photo of CFHMagnet
3.43/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Date on can partially gone: ?/01/14.

The head I got was a bit over a half finger, and fizzed away on me in seconds. The body is a deep cola color with lacing not quite clinging to the glass.

I smell roasty malt and smoke.

Up front you get sweet molasses and malt, with a smokiness running the transition into a light hop flavor with grain.

Mouthfeel is light-medium bodied. Leaves a thin coating near the back of the tongue and finishes slightly dry.

Photo of Alextricity
3.68/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from can into 4oz sampler mug at World Expo of Beer in Frankenmuth, Michigan.

Appearance: A dark brown, basically black. Not much of a head, and patchy lacing.

Smell: Dark malts with maybe some hints of chocolate and coffee giving some character.

Taste: See: Smell. Tastes almost like a brown ale... the only reason I could see why it's not is because of the color, for one thing, and that there's a bit more of a stout character to this one. I actually really enjoy it... really just drinks like a brown ale mixed with a stout, to me. That's not a bad thing. Very drinkable, and a low ABV.

I actually really like this beer. Tasty. Drinkable. It's not a super complex beer by any means, but it's a great option to have, especially coming out of a can.

Photo of Beaver13
1.8/5  rDev -48.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

12 oz can. Pours brown with a fizzy tan head that quickly goes to a thin film.

The aroma is sweet cola-ey roasted malts.

The flavor is sweet dark fruits with a bit of a sour twang with a little grainy roast. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation.

Overall, a cola like dark ale with a touch of sourness (infection?).

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.08/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Hmmm. Kind of a malty sweet bready thing going on here with a toasted caramel thing as well. Pretty quickly into things, the caramel is really hijacking the experience. And I use the word hijacking in a not so positive light. It's kind of out of wack really. Could be a lot smoother. Nice to try another beer in a can, but, moving on...

Photo of superspak
3.28/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 ounce can into pint glass, no canning date. Pours crystal clear dark reddish brown color with a fairly dense 1-2 finger light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Some slight spotty lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of roasted malt, chocolate, raisin, toast, biscuit, herbal, and light coffee. Pretty nice and pleasant aromas with decent strength. Taste of roasted malt, toast, caramel, raisin, brady grains, and light chocolate. Pretty dry on the finish; with lingering notes of roasted malt, caramel, chocolate, and toast on the finish for a short bit. Hardly any flavor presence as you drink; but the light flavors that are there are pretty balanced. Medium carbonation and body; with a lightly creamy and smooth mouthfeel. Alcohol is very well hidden with pretty much no warming noticed at all after the finish. Overall this is a pretty decent black ale. There isn’t much robustness in flavor; but it is very pleasant and easy to drink.

Photo of megahurts4
3.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Keweenaw Widow Maker Black Ale
On tap

Appearance: dark brown, good lacing, and a small head.

Smell: malty molasses.

Taste: rich roasted malts, slight molasses sweetness, and a smokiness.

Mouthfeel: medium-light.

Overall:
This is an ok brew. Seems to be brewed well, but the flavor is slightly watery.

Photo of StoutHunter
3.13/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I picked up a can of Keweenaw's Widow Maker Black Ale last week for $1.19 at The Lager Mill. I wasn't impressed with their Brown Ale that I had last night, so I hope this beer turns out better, lets see how it goes. No visible freshness date. Poured from a 12oz can into a imperial pint glass.

A- The can looks pretty good and it's pretty eye catching. It poured a nice looking black color that only let a little light through giving it a slight ruby red hue when held to the light. It had two and half fingers worth of tan head that died down to a thin ring that stayed till the end and didn't leave any lacing behind. This beer looks like a proper American Black Ale.

S- The aroma starts out with a good amount of roasted malts that have a pretty high amount of sweetness and impart a roasted and dark malt aroma with a slight bit of chocolate coming through along with some more roasted grains. Towards the end I get real light smokey aroma followed by some faded earthy and grassy hops and a slight metallic aroma. Pretty standard for an American Black Ale, it;s not that interesting compared to others.

T- The flavor seems to be similar to the aroma. It starts off with a good amount of medium roasted malts that have a much lower amount of sweetness then the aroma did and they impart some mild milk chocolate flavors and some mild roasty flavors. After that I get a slight metallic taste that is followed by a light amount of grassy hops. The flavor wasn't too interesting and it was pretty mellow, average at best, I wish it was bolder.

M- Really Smooth, slightly sweet, creamy, on the lighter side of being medium bodied and it had a good amount of medium carbonation. I have no complaints with the mouthfeel, it seems to work well with this beer and is on par for the style.

Overall I wasn't too impressed by this beer and I thought it was a pretty average American Black Ale, it wasn't bad, but it was was pretty mild and the flavors felt subdued, it wasn't memorable. It did have good drinkability and it went down really smooth, but the flavors can't hold my attention so one is enough for me. What I liked most about the beer was the mouthfeel and the appearance, they were both good and true to style. What I liked least about this beer was the aroma and the taste, they were just too mild for my liking with only a mild amount of roasted malts and grassy hops sticking out, pretty bland if you ask me. I wouldn't buy this beer again, even though it is cheap I can't say that I enjoyed it enough to want to purchase it again. I wouldn't recommend this beer, it doesn't do justice to the style. This was another unimpressive beer from Keweenaw Brewing company, it wasn't a bad beer, just average in most categories with nothing about it that really sticks out or is memorable, so far I find them to be a pretty average Brewing company, I am still down to try more of their brews but with how lackluster their first two brews that I tried were I don't think I will be in a hurry to try some of their other beers anytime soon, better luck next time guys.

Photo of Yoopermk
4.3/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Good beer. Pours black with a light head. Smells slightly roasty and a hint of bitterness. Tastes and feels a lot lighter than one would expect considering the color and appearance. Actually quite refreshing. Normally wouldn't drink a dark beer on hot days but this one is quite good. Probably my favorite KBC brew so far.

side note, I don't think widowmaker is a reference to the potency of the beer. Rather, like all KBC's brews, the beer name is a historical reference to the mining industry that has played such a big part of the Keweenaw's history. This one is named after a type of drill that was used in the copper mines that was dubbed the widowmaker due to the dangers associated with operating it.

Photo of morimech
3.2/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

More of a dark brown than black color. Two fingers of head forms and has excellant retention before settling to a thin cap. Just a little sticky lacing is left on the glass.

Smell of dark malt with a little roast and smoke.

Tastes more like a schwarzbier and an underinteresting one at that. It lacks any ale yeast or hop qualities. Just has a light, roasted malt flavor and slight smoke.

Light body with good carbonation. Carbonation is just a step below lively. Nice texture.

Fairly average beer. Nothing like the hopped up versions that categorized in this style. If the can did not say black ale, I would of said it was a schwarzbier.

Photo of WYVYRN527
3.7/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce can, poured into a New Belgium globe glass.

A: Extremely dark brown, almost black in color with little light shining through. Light tan head quickly settles to a thin crown on the surface.

S: Some roasted malt character, with chocolate and some coffee and grassy hop notes.

T: Dark malt gives flavors of bitter chocolate, molasses, and a touch of coffee, along with some dried fruits. Grassy hop tinge rounds out the finish, making this a well-balanced brew.

Notes: Light in body, yet with good flavor and great balance. Low in alcohol from what I can tell, making this beer very sessionable. American black ale is an inadequate description for the style of this beer. To me it screams English dark mild, and this would be a fine example of one.

Photo of shivtim
2.54/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Found a can of this in Kalamazoo while visiting relatives.
What the heck is she holding on the can? Some kind of future weapon with a light saber and stripper pole?

Anyway, poured out into a large tasting glass.
Black, but thin. Cola. Small off-white head.

Nose is burnt corn. Ashy malts. Slight grainy sweetness.

Taste is very mild malt/hop balance. Slight cereal grains and almost rice-like flavors. Overall very mild.

Very thin mouthfeel.

Photo of groovemonster
2.9/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Ok let me say this, I hate giving poor reviews. especially for a michigan brewed beer. being a michigander i wish everything brewed here would be awesome but that isn't so.

I like the can idea and i wish more micro-breweries would do it. I also like black ales so i was hopeful for this one. I thought this beer was quite malty with a emphasis on sweetness. virtually no bitterness and a somewhat sour aftertaste. whu=ile this may be a good beer to some a thought it lacked the robustness i seek out. You can get all fancy about your impression of a beer and that fine but when it comes right down to it you either like it or you don't...and with this beer I didn't. I may try some of their other varieties in the hopes they appeal to my tastes, but i won't be drinking this unless it free!

Disclaimer: I cant smell but it hasnt curbed my ability to enjoy fine brews. it has only curbed my ability to tell you what it smells like
i ALWAYS drink from the bottle...i almost never know what the beer looks like...not even sure why thats important.
i dont know the difference between a growler and a snifter, and i dont think anything shaped like a tulip should have beer in it!

mouthfeel? that just sound offensive...:) is this a serious thing?

i am an irreverent beer snob!

Photo of KickInTheChalice
2.69/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Served on tap in a pint glass at Lockhart's BBQ.

Appearance: The beer is a dark brown color with a ruby tint in the edges. A small off-white film is all that exists for a head.

Smell: Light roasted malts, slightly bitter with some caramel sweetness. The aroma is very light.

Taste: The flavor is mellow roasted malt with some milky sweet chocolate. Metallic and a bit of citrus toward the end. Fairly flat flavor with not much hop presence at the end.

Mouthfeel: This has crisp carbonation but a mild flavor, resulting in a watery sensation. The body is on the light side.

Overall: I ordered this because I am a fan of American Black Ales, but this barely qualifies for the category. It tastes like a boring over-carbonated porter or something.

Photo of lurpy1
3.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ah, the power of marketing. I've seen Keweenaw cans in Michigan stores a kajillion times and never bought one. I've had good canned beer (Surly, Tallgrass), but the Keweenaw cans just look old and unappealing...they look like they could contain Schmidt or some defunct malt liquor. But on tap, where Keweenaw doesn't compete with those sleek bottles, they are in even ground. The venue: Reno's West. The battle: Man vs. Widow Maker Black Ale.

The pour is dark, dark, dark, with little sheen, like a matte paint. Not bad, not a ton of head.

The smell, if anything, is relentlessly balanced. I pick up some hop profile, not a ton, balanced by some roast and malt, again, not a ton. This is all crosscut by a bit of a yeast/barley aroma.

The taste is a combination of all of the above. Refreshing, tasty, but not horribly distinct, and clearly not a big beer.

Mouthfeel is very smooth, with good carbonation. Alcohol is not real present....at all.

Widow Maker is not an apt name. This beer will kill no one, it's just not a big, knock you on keister drink. But that doesn't not mean it's not a very good beer worth trying. Keweenaw may not be my first choice, but I will definitely return to them...just not in those damned rusty looking cans.

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Widow Maker Black Ale from Keweenaw Brewing Company
80 out of 100 based on 241 ratings.