Widow Maker Black Ale - Keweenaw Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Widow Maker Black AleWidow Maker Black Ale

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BA SCORE
78
okay

69 Reviews
THE BROS
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(Send Samples)
Reviews: 69
Hads: 253
rAvg: 3.38
pDev: 14.5%
Wants: 9
Gots: 41 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 69 | Hads: 253
Photo of woodychandler
4.6/5  rDev +36.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

CAN you believe that my CANQuest has become so well-known that some places WANT me to review their beers? At the GTMW, I mentioned my mission and said that I had just copped two of their beers in sixes and they asked which ones and handed me one each of the other two as I left the park. Keweenaw, this review's for you!

I got a finger od mocha-tan head with good retention. I have to agree with calling it an American Brown Ale. It looked like a Schwartzbier in my glass, but it was an ale, not a lager. Fair dinkum! Color was a deep, dark brown/black. I would have said black outright were it not for the traces of brown at the edges when held up to the light. Nose was very roasty and I could certainly buy into the "smoky molasses" of the label. Mouthfeel was medium with a lot of smoke on the tongue. Hell, this was approaching a Rauchbier and in a CAN! I began to weep at this point. I may have to become a Yooper ... It was incredibly smooth and eminently drinkable, even on a hot day. Still, I wish that I had had some smoked oysters, salmon, and cheese to go with it. This would be a welcome addition to Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em Night at RichWood Manor. Mmmmm. Finish was malty, sure, but by that time, I was enraptured by the smokiness. Yow!

In other, unrelated news, from the CAN: "The Keweenaw Brewing Company, located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, was founded with the goal of turning beer drinkers into craft-beer lovers. Don't let its looks deceive you. Clean and smooth, easy on the hops and easy on the palate, this light bodied ale has a surprising depth of malt flavors with pleasant hints of a smoky molasses. The 'Widowmaker', a pneumatic drill that operated without benefit of water to lubricate the bit and cut the dust, was introduced to Copper County mining in the 1890's. While greatly improving productivity, the drill became known as the 'Widowmaker', killing many of the miners who used it from illnesses related to prolonged dust inhalation. Don't be afraid of the dark! From a Family of Fine Ales" (2,036 characters)

Photo of Yoopermk
4.3/5  rDev +27.2%
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. (708 characters)

Photo of tavernjef
4.06/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Darkest of crimson red with an overall deep black cast. Hefty and thick tan cap of foam sits loftly with might and sticks a musty thick skim always present. Droppy globs of lacing graze the glass in medium amounts.

Soft tangy aroma of dark cherry, cocoa, molasses, black tea, and a touch of smoke.

Taste is tad more sweet and dark, from the aroma the flavors insist with a milding of cocoa and molasses dusted dark cherryness. A bit of vanilla in there as well. Herbal black tea highlights and a light puff of smokey bacon.

Nice frothy medium texture and body with an overll tame and mild sweetness thats well handled and easy going.

A nice little surprise of an ale from Keweenaw. (686 characters)

Photo of CRichardsMN
4.02/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance:
Deep dark brown with a creamy white head similar to whipped cream. Head cascades to a distinct line and is retained throughout the entire drink. Heavy lacing on the glass.

Smell:
Light scent but very nutty. Slightly bitter, tart note.

Taste:
Roasty, toasty delicious. No tartness (from scent) to be mentioned and finishes with a mild bitterness. Reminds me very much of a dry stout.

Mouthfeel:
Much more carbonation than expected and you can feel the beer move all of the way from the lips to the back of the throat. Fills the mouth completely but does not coat.

Drinkability:
Served cold but did not diminish as it warmed up. Incredibly easy to drink and I could nurse these all night.

Comment:
Purchased this beer on a recent trip to the UP of Michigan after visiting the Keweenaw Brewing Company bar in Houghton. Tried the sampler platter while I was there and this beer is almost as good from a can as it is from the tap. Well Done! (954 characters)

Photo of degerbah
4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours very dark brown, almost black with plenty of head. Head sticks around for a little time before dissapearing completely. The smell is is mostly coffee with some sweet malt. Taste is mostly coffee up front with a malty aftertaste. The body is pretty light and very drinkable. Still goes down easy as it warms up. (316 characters)

Photo of mwa423
4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours jet black, closer to a stout then any brown I have ever seen. The only thing brown here is the dark tan head that stayed through every inch of the glass. If every stout looked this good, I would be happy about it.

S - Sweet and malty with light hints of roasted malts. Great smell for a brown ale.

T - Some roasted malt, sweet caramel, closer to a stout or a dry stout then any brown, but it has all the drinkability of a brown.

M - The mouthfeel on this beer is truly exceptional. It fills the mouth but goes down as smooth as possible.

D - The great taste and exceptional mouthfeel make this an exceptionally drinkable beer. Good job Keweenaw! (659 characters)

Photo of beerprovedwright
3.95/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My sister from Marquette, MI brought me this beer. Four plus finger head of light brown foam, the thick clinging lace. Color is black, tar black, a 38 on the SRM beer color chart. Smell is thick smoke, caramel, black cherry, malt, and pepper. Taste is intense, with flavors of dark cherry, caramel, coco, grapefruit peel, and pine. The flavor is bold and full, and tart. There are tastes of coco, black cherry, caramel, grapefruit, smoke, and hops. Mouthfeel is full and rich, but sort of sticky and has a drying effect on my upper palate. Not a beer I can get around here, but when I travel to Michigan again, I will look this beer up. (636 characters)

Photo of GitcheGumee
3.93/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a can into a pint glass.

Appearance: This beer has a nice appearance. It is very dark/black, with a dark amber color when held to light. There is a nice light colored head, but it dissipates very quickly. There is some nice lacing present.

Smell: Strong scent of roasted malts. There also seems to be some sweetness/caramel scents as well.

Taste: The strong roasted scent translates directly into the flavor. The initial part of the sip is mild sweetness. This beer is kind of hard to describe...really mellow, yet flavorful. The end of the sip features the strong roasted taste. Little to no hops scent or flavor.

Mouthfeel: It feels very thin. This is partly due to the very low carbonation. It almost feels watery, which is surprising from a beer so dark. No problems here, but it seems slightly "off".

Drinkability: This beer has a great level of drinkability. Like the can says, "don't be afraid of the dark." There's no reason to be afraid of this beer...it's fairly tame; which seems to be both good and bad for this beer. I wouldn't call this a great beer, but I am a repeat customer because it's so easy to drink. I enjoy grilling steaks and drinking a few of these. The price is also a nice feature...and of course, it's from da UP! (1,261 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
3.83/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

caramel color brown with just enough light getting through to give it a sort of off reddish tint. The smallish tan head quickly faded and left behind only traces of itself. The aroma itself was lightly smoked almost, full of roasted malts and a touch of caramel. The flavor was light bodied but nicely roasted with a touch of a bittering finish and a flavor full of earthy grain like tones. A nice subtle bread like base was quaintly masked underneath.

Overall this was a decent brown ale. It was nothing spectacular, but I do not think it was designed to be, but rather it was a very nice interpretation of the style. I could see myself drinking this on a session basis as it was very nice and very full of flavor without being too heavy or filling. A quality sessionable brown ale is what it should be and it definitely succeeds at that. (841 characters)

Photo of MIMicrobrews
3.8/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This black ale, as you would expect, pours dark, but does let a little light shine through. With a slight head, it pours clean and smells amazing. At first waft, I got a VERY pleasant roasted malt aroma. One of those aromas that had me smelling it 2-3 times between sips... As the description on the can mentions, this beer drinks very smooth, surprisingly smooth. I thoroughly enjoyed the malt flavors as they pleased my tastebuds. The aftertaste was very clean, almost sweet. This left me wanting more...

Unassuming - as the name and appearance would lead you to believe this is going to be a massive drinker... It was unbelievably refreshing and one I will continue to enjoy as long as they continue to produce it. Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed this brew. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a quality ale. Cheers to the yoopers! (848 characters)

Photo of buschbeer
3.79/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I poured into a pint glass to two inches of mocha head. It is dark brown in color. It smells sweet and malty. It tastes pretty much the same. As dark as this beer is I expected some roasted flavors, but I did not detect any. It has a creamy feel to it, kind of nice. It is a very easy drinking beer.

Cheers! (309 characters)

Photo of david131
3.75/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- A very dark brown with some light getting through at the edges. The off white head is thin and splotchy.

S- Honey, roasted malt, toffee, chocolate, and a hint of earth.

T- Sweet roasted malt, toffee, oats, and honey. Pretty mild, smooth, and enjoyable.

M- Smooth with a nice carbonation bite. Just right.

D- Not too shabby. Goes down nicely. Nicely balanced. (365 characters)

Photo of indiapaleale
3.75/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pour - dark, dark brown with a big fluffy tan head. The head on this actually fades fairly quickly but the dark, dark color of this beer isn't going anywhere.

Aroma - dark roast coffee grounds, bitter chocolate, molasses, some dark fruits as well some faint hints of earthy hops.

Taste - roasty and tangy. There are a lot of the bold flavors that come with the dark malt but also a tangy zip of a finish that is dry and reminds me a bit of red wine. Its a nice balance between the roasty coffee ground and caramel flavors and this sort of vinous, earthy flavors. Very drinkable and certainly a nice beer to have with a meal or with dessert.

Overall - solid, dark yet light-bodied beer. What is a black ale anyways? What we've been calling a Black IPA is technically now called an American Black Ale yet this one is classified as a American Brown Ale. Anyways, regardless of what its called and what color it is, this is worthy of your glass.

Would I buy more of it? - sure thing. Do they do a mixed pack (1,007 characters)

Photo of crossovert
3.74/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Another experience with craft beer in a can which sadly can't be recycled for homebrewing.

Pours into my pinta dark brown/black. It looks mega stout like. It also has a small foamy tannish/off-white head tat leaves some lacing.

Smell is a mix of dark malts and sugar, namely brown sugar. There is a hint of nuttiness and not much hops.

Tastes roasty, nutty, dark, with some can taste in the first few sips and hints of chocolate and coffee. The mouthfeel is pretty good, it is light, but not watery, it helps this beer to go down really smooth. That being said, it is a bit too light, seems like a good summer session beer but nothing too amazing flavor wise.

Overall it is a highly drinkable brew, nothing I would grab again probably, but worth a try at least. (765 characters)

Photo of Ozzylizard
3.73/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Can marked ?1/30/31 at 44 degrees into SA perfect pint
$ 1.59/12 oz can at Lager Mill
Aroma of citrus and malt, some licorice
Head large (five cm, aggressive pour), light brown, creamy, diminishing to two mm ring and partial layer
Lacing poor – few small islands and branches from drag, all tiny bubbles
Body dark amber, clear
Flavor predominantly malty but not excessively sweet. No hop flavor, no alcohol, no diacetyl.
Palate medium, borders on creamy, soft carbonation

Appearance 4, Aroma 4, Flavor 3.5, Palate 3.75, Overall 3.75 (537 characters)

Photo of shadow1961
3.72/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Keweenaw Widowmaker Black Ale pours a thin head over an opaque cola-colored brew. Carbonation is sedate- nose is a bit of sharp burnt espresso. Flavor is more of that smoky espresso flavor- maybe some dark bread. Can't really detect much of a hop presence- but those burnt flavors do just fine keeping this from being too sweet. Mouthfeel is light yet round and semi-dry- a bare hint of some kind of herbal hops does show up in the aftertaste. Like everything else of theirs I've tried, this is a modest, but good solid session brew. (533 characters)

Photo of WYVYRN527
3.7/5  rDev +9.5%
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. (759 characters)

Photo of HopHunter19
3.68/5  rDev +8.9%
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 (381 characters)

Photo of ISmith87
3.68/5  rDev +8.9%
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. (439 characters)

Photo of SerialTicker
3.68/5  rDev +8.9%
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. (762 characters)

Photo of megahurts4
3.65/5  rDev +8%
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. (308 characters)

Photo of Redrover
3.65/5  rDev +8%

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!! (393 characters)

Photo of drizzam
3.63/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the can into a clear pint glass. The can shows a busty woman holding a drill that killed many miners with it's production of fine dust inhaled by miners. Let's hope this has a better ending...

A - Poured a deep dark brown with ruby highlights when held to a bright light. Nice thick and fluffy two finger light tan head that leaves spotty lacing.

S - Sweet caramel malt aroma, molasses and maybe just a hint of smoke.

T & M - The taste basically mimics the aroma. Roasted malt carries a slight sweet caramel flavor followed by a smoky finish. .The smoke is more prevalent in the taste than in the nose. There also seems to be a bit of a metallic twang. Medium bodied, finishes crisp and fairly clean.

D - Not a bad brew, but I have had better examples of this style. It seems like there is a lot of room for variation in American Browns so what you get varies from brewery to brewery. I could buy a 6'er of this for a warm Summer day. Decent beer. (963 characters)

Photo of nicksta
3.61/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

By my count this brewery hasn't made a bad beer yet. I need to make it into the brewery sometime.

The beer pours a solid black down to the bottom of the glass where it gets slightly translucent. The color turns mixtures of brown, ruby and gold at this point. The head was a tan brown. It expanded quickly and thinly and receded almost as quickly with no lacing.

The smell had hints of brown sugar that reminded me of Pepsi. There was also the barely-sweet scent of dark chocolate as well as iced coffee. The taste is lighter than you would expect. It's a chocolate/coffee brew - a bag of coffee that comes in a 6 or 7 dollar bag. Dark cocoa rolls over the tounge into hints of bittersweet roast.

The mouthfeel isn't to thick, but it does have a smooth creamy quality and the drinkability is excellent. (805 characters)

Photo of TheBrewo
3.61/5  rDev +6.8%
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. (2,390 characters)

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Widow Maker Black Ale from Keweenaw Brewing Company
78 out of 100 based on 69 ratings.