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 →

Widow Maker Black Ale - Keweenaw Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Widow Maker Black AleWidow Maker Black Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

72 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 72
Hads: 270
Avg: 3.41
pDev: 31.09%
Wants: 9
Gots: 51 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 72 | Hads: 270
Photo of mikesgroove
3.83/5  rDev +12.3%
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 womencantsail
2.73/5  rDev -19.9%
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 RblWthACoz
3.08/5  rDev -9.7%
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 superspak
3.28/5  rDev -3.8%
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 chinchill
3.48/5  rDev +2.1%
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."

 665 characters

Photo of mdaschaf
3.15/5  rDev -7.6%
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 woodychandler
4.6/5  rDev +34.9%
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 Stinkypuss
3.3/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Keweenaw widowmaker

Pours a dark blackish brown color. Aroma is of roasted malts. In the taste, a solid roasted flavor, mild coffee with a little tang. Pretty one dimensional, but not bad. Little bitterness, more roast flavor, then a clean finish. Medium bodied, and somewhat smooth. Overall, not a bad dark beer in a can.

 323 characters

Photo of tone77
3.35/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to woodychandler who continues to unearth more canned beers. Poured from a 12 oz. can. Has a black color with 1.5 inches of head and considerable lacing. Smell is of roasted malts. Taste has roasted malts, up front, then a bit of sourness I can not quite describe, sour fruit and a touch of metallic flavor. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a decent beer.

 377 characters

Photo of THECPJ
3.5/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes:

appearance: dark brown with a reddish hue and 1 finger off white head.

smell: roast, patent, coffee, malts,

taste: roasted malts,

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, thin to medium body,

overall: a nice brown ale almost porter like with the roast characteristics. glad I got to try it.


 324 characters

Photo of tavernjef
4.06/5  rDev +19.1%
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 morimech
3.2/5  rDev -6.2%
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 EgadBananas
2.36/5  rDev -30.8%
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 StoutHunter
3.13/5  rDev -8.2%
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 buschbeer
3.79/5  rDev +11.1%
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.


 309 characters

Photo of GbVDave
3.51/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz can into an imperial pint.

A: Pours an impressive black that shows off some garnet highlights at the edges. Initial pour yields a creamy light brown head that quickly falls to a thin ring that leaves no lace.

S: A strange combination of tasty smelling roasted malt and metallic copper penny. Aside from that, not much else going on. Small amounts of lemon and toffee, too.

T: Mostly roasted malt in the forefront with the metallic flavor fading and being surpassed by bright citrus. Subtle hints of nuts, caramel, and toffee.

M: A tad on the thin side, but smooth. Finishes slightly dry.

D: Excellent session beer. Not the best, but certainly not the worst brown ale I've ever had. Great, inexpensive campfire beer.

 739 characters

Photo of Beaver13
1.8/5  rDev -47.2%
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 Redrover
3.65/5  rDev +7%

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 jampics2
2.83/5  rDev -17%
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 david131
3.75/5  rDev +10%
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 TheBrewo
3.61/5  rDev +5.9%
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

Photo of schoolboy
3.46/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This little can was an afterthought of a Saveon shop. It is black, surprise, __. The aroma is slightly hoppy, slightly funky. Not bad.

The taste is a light, excuse-me, black ale. Just a little roasty, a little sweet, and no bite or harshness. The aftertaste is creamy and bitter. Not bad.

Overall, this is a ho-him, simple brew. It might be a decent gateway for someone new to craft beer or who does not want to spend a little more for better products.

 454 characters

Photo of crossovert
3.74/5  rDev +9.7%
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 brewcrew76
3.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Deep brown, blackish, crimson depending how the light is reflecting off it. This tan head the disappears quickly.

S - Light aroma, sweet malts, lightly roasted grain and a touch nutty.

T - Sweet malt, fresh baked bread, hint of chocolate and nuttiness.

M - Light body with a bit of prickly carbonation. Slightly watery.

D - A great gateway beer. Just enough flavors to satisfy but lacking any real character.

 417 characters

Photo of Ozzylizard
3.73/5  rDev +9.4%
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

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Widow Maker Black Ale from Keweenaw Brewing Company
79 out of 100 based on 72 ratings.