1. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Widow Maker Black Ale - Keweenaw Brewing Company

Widow Maker Black AleWidow Maker Black Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

166 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 166
Reviews: 64
rAvg: 3.45
pDev: 15.65%

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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: association330 on 06-13-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers
Ratings: 166 | Reviews: 64 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of mdaschaf


3.13/5  rDev -9.3%
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.

Serving type: can

08-03-2011 15:39:02 | More by mdaschaf
Photo of THECPJ


3.5/5  rDev +1.4%
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.


Serving type: can

07-27-2011 02:45:45 | More by THECPJ
Photo of tone77


3.3/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

Serving type: can

07-02-2011 14:10:15 | More by tone77
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

3.8/5  rDev +10.1%
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.

Serving type: can

05-30-2011 01:07:07 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of beerprovedwright


3.95/5  rDev +14.5%
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.

Serving type: can

04-11-2011 18:35:48 | More by beerprovedwright
Photo of zoso1967


3.43/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Keweenaw Black Widow pours a porter like dark brown with a frothy light tan head that has great lacing. The beer seems to have a bit of a murky pond water sort of quality to it, but luckily the fact that it is more black than brown makes the murkiness not such a big deal.

The aroma is quite malty with definite sweet bread sort of character. It has an interesting slightly tart cherry sort of acidity that melds with astringent roasted malts.

The flavor is quite interesting with more of the acidic tart cherry character. This mingles with the sweet malt, chocolate, tea and some very roasty malt flavors that seem downright smoky.

The mouthfeel is in the light side of medium with a bit of a watery feel to it. It has a nice smoothness though and the finish is fairly neutral leaving just a bit of roasty character on my palate.

Overall this was quite drinkable and a very unique beer. For some reason I liked it more when I had a sample at the TC winter brewfest, but I thought this is still a fairly serviceable and sessionable ale. My friend tells me that the beers they have on tap up in the U.P. are way better than what they can. Someday I will have to check it out myself.

Serving type: can

03-24-2011 15:45:01 | More by zoso1967
Photo of EgadBananas


2.3/5  rDev -33.3%
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.

Serving type: can

03-05-2011 03:35:45 | More by EgadBananas
Photo of indiapaleale


3.73/5  rDev +8.1%
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

Serving type: can

02-17-2011 02:02:16 | More by indiapaleale
Photo of SickGnar


3.45/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark, dark brown - pretty much opaque - with warm garnet highlights. Short off-white head that keeps a ring, but does not leave much lacing.

S: A mix of sweet/tart dark fruits and slightly burnt molasses with a whiff of cocoa and roasted malts underlying it all. Reasonably interesting and pungent.

T: Sweet/tart dark fruits with a metallic / acidic edge. Makes me think something is working on souring this beer. Probably not intended, especially as the brewer wants to "turn beer drinkers into craft-beer lovers." Molasses sweetness with dark roasted malts make up the backbone of this one with cocoa and almost burnt toffee showing up mostly in the finish. Hops are minimal, but come across as leafy/herbal with a bit of citrus character as well.

M: Just under medium body with just over average carbonation. Soft yet tongue caressing. Edging towards drying. Could stand to be a bit heftier.

D: Another single can from a small UP store that appears to be souring in the can. At the level present, it actually added a bit to the complexity of the beer. And it is a nice beer underneath. But more would be maybe not so nice, and I have to think it was not intended - which makes it a flaw and harder to rate this beer. As it was in the sample I tried this is still okay drinkable stuff. Even fine as a gateway brew. Without the souring thingy going on, it would be even more so.

Serving type: can

12-18-2010 21:03:57 | More by SickGnar
Photo of kzoobrew


2.98/5  rDev -13.6%
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.

Serving type: can

10-11-2010 00:48:52 | More by kzoobrew
Photo of beerhan


2.33/5  rDev -32.5%
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.

Serving type: can

10-10-2010 15:14:11 | More by beerhan
Photo of jampics2


2.8/5  rDev -18.8%
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.      

Serving type: can

10-08-2010 02:19:32 | More by jampics2
Photo of brewcrew76


3.58/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

Serving type: can

10-04-2010 23:07:48 | More by brewcrew76
Photo of EricCioe


3.58/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Before the review, a quick story. I had this in a can at a place called the Hardwood near Sidnaw in the UP. I ordered a 7&7 right when I got there when I saw Busch Light and Miller Light as the only tap handles. A waiter came up to the bar and asked the bartender Michelle (Mee-shell, my bell ...) if they had any Bells beer. She said, "oh no, not another one of those 'what kind of microbrews do you have' guys. NONE." Like it was some awful thing. But then we're pretty far from any big town, so whatever. But then I saw a Keweenaw Brewing sign on the wall, $3 a can, so I asked if they had any. She gave me a can, asked if I wanted a glass. Then I: "thanks. It's cool that each area is getting back to having its own brewery like before Prohibition." She: "yeah, that is kind of nice." Long story longer: some craft beer people are obnoxious about it. But if you put it in a way that's more about the local guys vs. the big guys, I think anyone can understand the appeal.

It pours a dark brown, maybe black. Good head, slight lacing. A nice looking beer. I really like the cans instead of bottles, too. It smells a little roasty, but it's a bit thin on the nose. On the tongue it's dry, nutty, slightly roasted, but in the mouth it's a bit too thin. It's a beer that one could drink several of and not get tired of, and the price was right at the bar, too. I was shocked that there was a beer this good at a place that out of the way. A decent beer.

Serving type: can

10-03-2010 22:06:56 | More by EricCioe
Photo of womencantsail


2.75/5  rDev -20.3%
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.

Serving type: can

09-25-2010 23:45:02 | More by womencantsail
Photo of tavernjef


4.05/5  rDev +17.4%
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.

Serving type: can

09-13-2010 18:26:09 | More by tavernjef
Photo of number1bum


3.35/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to BeerTruth for this 12oz can.

Pours very dark brown, but not quite black, with a fizzy inch of beige head. Lacing is minimal, with a rimjob around the edge and only a patchy lace other than that.

Smell is pretty bland, with some caramel and a very feint roasted malt ntoe. Slightly earthy too, but overall the nose is pretty weak and what's there is not all that enticing.

There is more robustness to the flavor than there was the aroma, but barely. Caramel is the dominant flavor, with a buttery, toffee like flavor toward the finish. Subtle roasted and chocolate notes as well.

Mouthfeel is pretty fizzy, moreso than I'd like. Carbonation is a bit too active in my opinion. It's also a tad too thin, leaving it feeling a bit sprtizy and watery. I know they were going for light body here but a touch more would be nice.

This beer is not bad, but it's not particularly good either. It's pretty boring frankly. Not much to it really. Not particularly memorable.

Serving type: can

09-13-2010 00:23:57 | More by number1bum
Photo of nicksta


3.63/5  rDev +5.2%
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.

Serving type: can

08-16-2010 00:41:32 | More by nicksta
Photo of jt31914


2.4/5  rDev -30.4%
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?

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2010 01:45:46 | More by jt31914
Photo of MIMicrobrews


3.83/5  rDev +11%
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!

Serving type: can

05-08-2010 23:54:25 | More by MIMicrobrews
Photo of drizzam


3.63/5  rDev +5.2%
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.

Serving type: can

04-13-2010 23:26:44 | More by drizzam
Photo of BierFan


3.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce can into a pint glass.

Appearance: Two fingers of tan head. Dark brown body. Almost black. Decent head retention and lacing.

Smell: Leaves a bit to be desired. Practically no smell. Reminds me of Guiness Draught.

Taste: Roasty at first than some molasses sweetness sets in. Finishes kinda bland. Could use more hops to make it more interesting.

Serving type: can

03-30-2010 00:27:34 | More by BierFan
Photo of david131


3.78/5  rDev +9.6%
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.

Serving type: can

02-11-2010 04:17:18 | More by david131
Photo of buschbeer


3.8/5  rDev +10.1%
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.


Serving type: can

01-10-2010 19:09:38 | More by buschbeer
Photo of crossovert


3.75/5  rDev +8.7%
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.

Serving type: can

01-07-2010 23:26:26 | More by crossovert
Widow Maker Black Ale from Keweenaw Brewing Company
79 out of 100 based on 166 ratings.