Widow Maker Black Ale - Keweenaw Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Widow Maker Black AleWidow Maker Black Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
78
okay

69 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(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 Beaver13
1.8/5  rDev -46.7%
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?). (332 characters)

Photo of beerhan
2.33/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

When I think black ale I expect the beer to be black. This is a brown beer that shoulda just be called bud light dark. It tastes like would chips soaked in mollases. The smell is metalic sugar. Overall a real undrinkable disappointment. Drinking it fast does make it taste much better though. (292 characters)

Photo of EgadBananas
2.36/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

2007 vintage.

Dark brown, nearly black pour, 2 fingers of head that stuck around with bubbles streaming.

Aroma was ok, though faint. Some roasted malts and a hint of sweetness and chocolate. It all went south from here...

Taste slightly malty, and then lime. Finish was lime.

Light, and carbonation was kicking too much. The feel was sharp.

Age has not done this one well. Not an easy one to put away in the end. (420 characters)

Photo of jt31914
2.42/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Black with next to no head. Not anything special.

S: Smells like dark malts with faint chocolate.

T: Weak, watery, not very good honestly. Their other brown was much better with its earthy mossy flavor. This is just boring, some dark malt, but not much really.

M/D: Drinkable, but why bother? (298 characters)

Photo of weizenbob
2.54/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12 ounce can Purchased at Tom's in Acme (6.99/6-pack). Canned June 27, 2011. Poured into a nonic pint glass. The pour yields half a finger of tan head that disappears in a flash of bubbles. Lacing? Forget about it. What's left is a glass of beer that is not black, but cola colored. It is nothing for the eyes to behold.

The aroma is sweet with strong licorice notes and roasted maltiness that is somewhat akin to espresso. It smells a little thin but the aromatics that are there are mostly pleasant.

The flavor is really something to behold. Wet cardboard? Check. Cooked vegetables? Check. Still, there is some subtle but pleasant roasted malt action going on in the background. As far as balance, the brew leans sweet and malty with strong implications of vanilla. It seems they skipped the hops for this one. My mouth is a little confused, but I can roll with it.

The mouthfeel is thin. The body is light. The carbonation is a bit stinging. On the positive, the alcohol is completely hidden.

What a train wreck of a beer this is. It has the look and feel of a cola with a deliberately sweet flavor to boot. Keweenaw's cans all boast the goal of "turning beer drinkers into craft beer lovers," and I see what they're trying to do with Widow Maker. But that doesn't atone for the fact that this is just excruciatingly bad beer. Recently the price point of Keweenaw's canned beers has fallen drastically, to the point that they are a pretty decent value now. Still, I can recommend Widow Maker to neither the initiated nor the uninitiated. Blah.

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The Two-Schlitz Scale: (reference my profile for an explanation)
I do not give a Schlitz for Widow Maker Black Ale. In fact, after this, I feel the need to wash my mouth out with an ice cold Schlitz Tallboy. (1,765 characters)

Photo of shivtim
2.54/5  rDev -24.9%
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. (445 characters)

Photo of Ineedabeerhere
2.56/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Dave for this can. Had it on 10/26, from notes.

Pours near black with an oddly light tan head. The cap is creamy, 2 fingers high and surprisingly good retention and no lacing.

Smells kind of lame, I'm sorry. Weird, tainted roasted malts, stale cereal grains. Macro vegetable thing going on here. I didn't want to keep my nose in the glass much longer, but the aroma was light overall.

Taste begins with a malt sweetness, no complexity. Some tarred malt flavor, but its subtle. Not too much going on here, and what is going on isn't that great.

Mouthfeel is on the thin side, properly carbonated but a higher FG might help the flavors and body. Tolerable drinkability considering the lack of substance and flavor going on here, but I wouldn't want to have it again. (782 characters)

Photo of KickInTheChalice
2.69/5  rDev -20.4%
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. (750 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
2.73/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to Bobby for sharing this one.

A: The pour is a dark brown color with a short lived tan head.

S: Not a very appealing nose on this beer. Burnt malts and a definite acidity, presumably from the dark grains. A bit of a butter aroma, too.

T: A mild, mellow roast flavor along with some almost pleasant notes of creamy milk chocolate. Unfortunately, a fair amount of acidity and some metallic notes, especially on the finish.

M: The body is light to medium with a fairly light carbonation.

D: Nothing about this beer really did it for me. The nose was certainly not appealing and the flavor wasn't really any better. (624 characters)

Photo of jampics2
2.83/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz can into a snifter. Thanks to Paul for grabbing this at the brewery on a trip to the UP. 

Into the snifter this black ale goes.  Guess what?  It's black!  The dark liquid has brown edges. It features poor head retention as it quickly becomes a small film and ring. Spotty lace is left behind. Still looks appealing although flawed.   

The beer smells of caramel, a touch of roast and some sourness or acidity. The sourness is similar to what I encountered in the Lift Bridge brown ale, and it may be a sign of infection or just a house character.  It reminds me of the tartness typically encountered in a Belgian Witbier. This review is fair game since the cans were purchased at the brewery earlier this week.    

The beer has a disappointing taste - not so much to be undrinkable, but just not good.  Notes of dark fruit, cherry, mildly roasted malt, black patent malt, caramel and a sour/metallic tinge at the end.  Just not getting much in the way of a well crafted black ale, even without the major flaw.   

Some sparkly carbonation and medium to light body make this beer just very plain Jane in terms of mouthfeel.  Not a beer I'd want to try again unless it was on tap at the brewery. Too bad since Michigan is home to the fantastic Dark Horse Black Bier, which I highly recommend over this mediocre offering.       (1,350 characters)

Photo of groovemonster
2.9/5  rDev -14.2%
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! (1,275 characters)

Photo of kzoobrew
2.97/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Cherry cola like body. I suppose in a dimly lit room or away from any direct light this may appear black. When light is brought into the equation it is apparent this is not black. Crimson brown color with a fizzy khaki colored head. The head dissipates in short order leaving scattered splotches of lacing. The style which is list is an American Brown Ale, I do not believe it was the brewers intention to make a brown ale. I have to rate this to they style the brewer intended and not the style listed.

Light roastiness on the nose set in front of a complimentary caramel aroma. Slight and subtle molasses and smokiness. The aromas are largely subdued and predominately malt. Very little hop presence enters the equation.

To be honest, at first sip the cola reference became a little too accurate. A healthy does of caramel sweetness overwhelms the palate. The darker malts work their way into the picture but do not manage to fight off the overall sweetness.

The body is light with a prickly carbonation. This beer comes of a little to watered down. Medium finish.

Sure, this beer is certainly drinkable. The real question is how enjoyable is it. I can safely say I would chose this over a BMC product all day long but would struggle to pick this up at the store again. Rather unimpressive offering, not offensive but just not great. (1,341 characters)

Photo of bushbeer75
2.98/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz can poured into a mug

Keweenaw Brewing Widow Maker Black Ale poured very dark brown almost black with a slight red cast. The head produced was off-white and dissipated rather quickly.

The aroma was of rather weak roasted malts - not very impressive. The flavor was sweet malts, maybe molasses and little hops in the background.

Don't let the color fool you, this ale is an "easy drinker" [especially for the style].
For the price paid there are better Brown Ale values out there. (488 characters)

Photo of brdc
3/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From notes. Poured from a can into a pint glass.
Name is obviously black ale, style here states brown. The beer is definitely brown in color, if dark. Minimal head like everything else I had from Keweenaw. No lacing.
Aroma is malty as well, with some roasted notes, coffee.
Thin on the palate, with malty flavors that are quite delicate, and at times even hard to notice. Looking closely, you will find roasted notes, coffee, some caramel. Passable. (451 characters)

Photo of DabblinWiscCraft
3.05/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Picked up a six-pack of cans at a local gas station. The production dates states it's still well within the freshness window. Poured right from the fridge into an imperial pint glass.

L: Pours a deep cola brown--red-tinged at the edges--with about an inch-and-a-half of tan head that sticks around for a good bit and leaves minimal lacing on the glass. Healthy visible carbonation at the edges where the light shines through.

S: Very subtle, nondescript aroma. There are some faint roasted and toasty malt notes present. Just a bit of a biscuit and something slightly astringent, as well.

T: A bit of faint roasted malt and biscuit up front. This is followed by a slightly astringent flavor, hitting the sides of the tongue with a subdued tartness. The middle brings more of the biscuit/bread notes, though the roasted/toasty malts seem to subside with the building astringency. The close is about the same as the middle, with more biscuit and subtle roasted malt, along with the subtle tartness. There's really not a whole lot of flavor in this one.

F: On heavier side of light-bodied/lighter side of medium-bodied. This one drinks quite thin and watery. Not much creaminess/effervescence to speak of. Again, there's a bit of astringency but no bitter.

O: I had heard some good things about this brew, so my experience was pretty disappointing. An almost nonexistent bouquet coupled with muted flavors and thin body make this a beer that I cannot recommend for anyone who enjoys flavorful brews. I could possibly see this as an adequate entry point for someone wanting to move from macro to micro, but that's about it. (1,624 characters)

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.08/5  rDev -8.9%
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... (336 characters)

Photo of JamesMN
3.09/5  rDev -8.6%
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. (1,061 characters)

Photo of StoutHunter
3.13/5  rDev -7.4%
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. (3,071 characters)

Photo of mdaschaf
3.15/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Review from notes. Thanks to Marc for this one!

A: Poured a dark brown with a slight reddish hue. A small tan head formed on top with decent retention and minimal lacing.

S: Very roasty with a hint of smoke.There was also a bit of coffee and a slight metallic note.

T: Extremely roasty. There is a little bit of caramel and coffee, but the roasted malt flavor dominates everything here.

M: Light to medium bodied, seemed a touch thin to me. Carbonation was a little more active than I am used to for style.

O: Not bad, the name confused me, as I thought it was going to be a black ipa, and the flavor profile reminds me more of a porter than a brown. (659 characters)

Photo of association330
3.16/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Seeing as this one just went into the canning lineup, I figured I'd add it to the site. Had to classify this one myself, but I think it's a take on brown ale.

A - Pours dark brown/borderline black with a slight reddish hue. Off-white head settles to a good cap with some lacing.

S - Mostly the generic malt of the KBC's regular lineup. Just hints of molasses and fruitiness. Not exciting, memorable, or dominant in any way.

T - Sweet malts and a smack of molasses in the finish which somehow does lend a touch of smokiness, as the can's text indicates. A grazing of hops as well. Very little in the way of lingering flavors.

M - Can describes the beer as "light-bodied", but I'd say it's closer to medium, which would be more appropriate. Carbonation is moderate to create a creamy feel and a fairly smooth swallow.

D - An easy-drinking ale that is typical of the KBC's regular lineup. Neither offensive nor exceptional in any manner, and straddles the ground between a brown ale and a schwarzbier. This and the Amber are the best of their 'usual four', though that's not saying much. (1,099 characters)

Photo of morimech
3.2/5  rDev -5.3%
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. (642 characters)

Photo of ribby
3.23/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

[Review edited. I have had three more cans since the one I reviewed. None tasted like the first, the overwhelming bitterness was gone. The taste of these was mild and on the malty side, but not a lot of hoppiness. ]

The color is very good, a nearly opaque deep red. Unfortunately, the appearance is undermined by a small half inch head.

The smell is rather bland.

The biggest problem with this beer is the taste. It is just too bitter. It's not that I don't like bitter, but this is the wrong bitter, too much overcharred malt. It needs either some sweeter dark malt or a better type of bitter from the hops, probably both. I really hate to criticize beers like this, because they are difficult to make and I want to encourage brewers to be ambitious and try these kinds of beers.

The small head is accompanied by low carbonation, thus a rather unexciting mouthfeel. Overall, I call this average for the excellent appearance and the ambition to go for this style. I think this would be best accompanied by cheese
or bourbon. (1,031 characters)

Photo of Mikus
3.24/5  rDev -4.1%
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. (472 characters)

Photo of superspak
3.28/5  rDev -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. (982 characters)

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

My buddy Mike's wife picked up a few growlers of different brews from Keweenaw and this was the style I received-Thanks Mike and Ranee!

Poured into a pint glass from a growler, this brew has the thickness and color of used oil. There is little carbonation due to it being in a growler for about 5 days, but with an aggressive pour I got a decent light brown head that settled into a thin cap. The aroma is strong of burnt malts, some coffee, slight breadiness, and a little nuttiness. The taste is as expected. Heavy, dark coffee, with burnt sugars, and a mild hop presence in the finish. Nothing over the top about this brew. It is solid, but not "special". Have had these flavors before. Worth a try, the growler will be finished today, but nothing extra-ordinary. (767 characters)

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