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Widow Maker Black Ale | Keweenaw Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
79
okay
77 Reviews
THE BROS
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
77
Ratings:
281
Avg:
3.42
pDev:
30.7%
 
 
Wants:
8
Gots:
54
For Trade:
0
Widow Maker Black AleWidow Maker Black Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Keweenaw Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by association330 on 06-13-2009

User Reviews
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Reviews: 77 | Ratings: 281
Photo of Yoopermk
4.3/5  rDev +25.7%
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 Rather, like all KBC's brews, the beer name is a historical reference to the mining industry that has played such a big part of the Keweenaw's history.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.

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Photo of morimech
3.2/5  rDev -6.4%
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.

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Photo of WYVYRN527
3.7/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

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Photo of shivtim
2.54/5  rDev -25.7%
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.

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Photo of groovemonster
2.9/5  rDev -15.2%
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!

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
2.69/5  rDev -21.3%
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.

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Photo of lurpy1
3.5/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of bigbeerbrett
3.48/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured well into a standard pint glass. Dark brown-red looked interesting. Roasted malty smell with just a touch of hops. The mouthfeel matched the style, but the first taste didn't match the appearance or aroma. It felt like the basics were there, but not much wow. The flavor quickly left the tongue and had me longing for more sips to get something more which never appeared. This is more like a session type beer with not a lot of substance. The 10$ price tag for a sixes seems high. Perhaps they should market these as 12 packs.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.3/5  rDev -3.5%
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.

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Photo of whatthehull
3.48/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Tulip

A - Opaque black/brown, one finger tan head and

S - Lots of toasted maltiness, a bit sweet, lots of earth, a sour note, slight hops and a very crisp German/Belgian lager yeast smell

T - Yeast, sweet, earth, tons of grains, wheat, barley, lots of malts, slight sour, slight hops and toastiness

M - Medium plus body, low acidity, medium balance, nice complexity and medium plus finish

D - Drinks like a dark lager and a light stout. Flavor, not much bitterness and goes down silky smooth

Final thought - This one isn't as good as the lift bridge, but I am still a fan

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Photo of ribby
3.23/5  rDev -5.6%
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.

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Photo of weizenbob
2.54/5  rDev -25.7%
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.

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Photo of brdc
3/5  rDev -12.3%
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.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.15/5  rDev -7.9%
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.

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Photo of THECPJ
3.5/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

Cheers,l
The CPJ

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Photo of tone77
3.35/5  rDev -2%
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.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.83/5  rDev +12%
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.

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Photo of beerprovedwright
3.95/5  rDev +15.5%
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.

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Photo of zoso1967
3.41/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

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Photo of EgadBananas
2.36/5  rDev -31%
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.

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Photo of indiapaleale
3.75/5  rDev +9.6%
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

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Photo of SickGnar
3.45/5  rDev +0.9%
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.

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Photo of kzoobrew
2.97/5  rDev -13.2%
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.

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Photo of beerhan
2.33/5  rDev -31.9%
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.

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Photo of jampics2
2.83/5  rDev -17.3%
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.      

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Widow Maker Black Ale from Keweenaw Brewing Company
79 out of 100 based on 77 ratings.