Black Widow
The Tin Whistle Brewing Company

Black WidowBlack Widow
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Brown Ale - American
Ranked #632
Ranked #42,213
3.52 | pDev: 13.35%
The Tin Whistle Brewing Company
British Columbia, Canada
Black WidowBlack Widow
Reviews: 17 | Ratings: 27 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of flagmantho
flagmantho from Washington

3.8/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 650mL bomber into a pint glass. The bottle calls this a "mild ale", but it also says 5% on the label, so ...

Appearance: very dark amber/brown hue, definitely within the color story of an American brown or a particularly dark mild. Head is minimal, though, and retention isn't great either. Color and clarity are great, though.

Smell: nutty and caramelly with a little bit of bread and biscuit; the perfect balance of malt character for me when it comes to brown ales. Great!

Taste: toasty, nutty, caramelly and a little bit biscuity. Hops are not particularly present, although there is a mild bitterness at the end. I would agree that this is somewhere between a brown and a mild; I quite like it, although I could do with a little less biscuit.

Mouthfeel: medium-light body with a decent carbonation and creaminess. Not perfect, but good enough for me!

Overall: this is a pretty drinkable beer, however you want to classify it. Other than that dollop of biscuity malt character, I could find myself liking this beer quite a lot.

May 22, 2014
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zachloveshisbeer from Canada (AB)

3.82/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I had this beer on-tap at Zia's Stonehouse in Summerland, BC. I tried to ask the server if she knew the style of beer, but she just knew it was "dark and tasty" - hell, sign me up! I suspected it would be a Cascadian dark ale as the style is quite common right across BC and the U.S. Northwest, but to my surprise, it was a dark brown Ale. The smell was great with a hint of smokiness and charcoal even, with the underlying American brown ale caramel and chocolate malts. It tasted really good too and paired nicely with my plate of pork, beef, salmon and shrimp, and it had a a nice effect on the Thai curry on the plate as well.
I liked the beer so much that I went to the brewery in Penticton and picked up a nice mixer. Brewer Jeff is a really cool guy and he was definitely open to chatting about all things beer, and he even gave me a few posters to throw into my beer room. Being that they're a brewery about the size of a house and just off the main road in Penticton, in wine country, they make a lot of damn fine ales. They incorporate a lot of local produce and ingredients from local farmers, which helps everyone out.

Jan 09, 2013
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LampertLand from Canada (BC)

3.15/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Gonna give Tin Whistle "Black Widow" @ 5% a review , tried at GCBF recently
A-served cold , poured into a stein , a dark cola brown with a thin head and lacing
S-woodsy , roasted nuts
T-mild with a hints of cocoa , roasted malts nutty flavor almost chewy
MF-mild carbonation , not smooth
Ov-this beer is lacking something , tasted better when served from a cask at GCBF

cheers LampertLand

Mar 01, 2012
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maclean25 from Canada (BC)

3.79/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Drank two bottles from a liquor store in northern BC. Got one for christmas and the other I bought for fun.

This has a fantastic first impression. It looks and smells great. It has a very dark body like rootbeer. While its brown head looks great initially, it also looks soapy and disappears quickly. Its smell starts with chocolate raspberries and fresh roasted coffee beans. There is also malty milk chocolate and hops in the smell.

It also has a good first impression on the taste. I tastes like an imperial stout with a high, sharp note of hops. I also get thick old coffee. However, it starts to fall apart on the mouthfeel. The further into the bottle I get the more I notice how low the carbonation is and consequently how thin it feels.

Overall, I find it is a fantastic looking and smelling beer but gets more and more average the further into the bottle I get as I start noticing the low carbonation and thinness. Also, the "mild ale" label is a bit of a misnomer, alcohol content and taste wise, there is nothing mild about this.

Jan 10, 2012
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wordemupg from Canada (AB)

3.42/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

ml bottle poured into pint glass 25/10/11

A dark reddish cola with a cola like fizzy head that's gone before I noticed a color, no lace

S not milk chocolate but chocolate milk with a little herbal nutty chocolate

T some cold coffee on top of what I smell, a little smokey char and just a hint of dark fruits but there just a little sour

M a little watery but enough carbonation to keep it average

O not bad but nothing really sticking out to set it apart

I'm not overly impressed by this one, I was board by the bottom of the bomber

Oct 26, 2011
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Offa from California

4.05/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep brown with a medium tan head steadily shrinking to a foamy ring.

Aroma is strong toasty barley, while wheat bread crust, slightly caramelized, light leafy-tea earthy hop and some winey prune.

Taste is firm, nice toasty caramelized barley & bread crust, hints of chocolate, anise, leafy-woody-tea hops. It’s balanced with light sweetness and light zesty bitterness, some subtlety and light complexity, and a great feel that is firm but lively. This is very good, but seems more like an English rather than American brown ale, if a bit too strong for a true mild as the label says.

May 12, 2011
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andrenaline from Canada (ON)

3.57/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a nice dark copper brown with a red hue, solid thumb of head which dissipates rather quickly leaving no real lacing.

S - Chocolate malts dominate the scent on this one, some caramel and toffee also noticeable.

T - This one is quite nice, and I was surprised at the coffee flavours that dominated over top of the chocolate, yet were undetectable on the nose. The finish is rather bitter, and a little bit of a turn off, but it is still extremely flavourful, and much better than anticipated.

M - Light and fluffy, foams up quite a bit on the tongue, but goes down smooth. Bitterness also lends itself a bit of a dry finish, but it doesn't ruin the experience.

D - This one is quite tasty, much better than I had anticipated, and quite flavourful. Highly recommended to anyone seeking a flavourful brown ale, with coffee overtones and a chocolatey finish.

Aug 05, 2010
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biboergosum from Canada (AB)

3.89/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

650ml bottle. This has recently been denoted a 'mild ale', which is a sidestep from the dark ale we have known and loved when drinking (uh, I mean, vacationing) through the Okanagan.

This beer pours a clear, very dark reddish amber colour, with one finger of thinly foamy, fizzy beige head, which leaves very little persistent lace around the glass in its rather hasty wake.

It smells of rather smoky caramel malt, cold campfire coals, a hard water minerality, a fresh forest woodiness, and earthy, leafy hops. The taste is more BC flora and fauna in a glass - toasted pale and caramel malt, some wafting meaty charcoal, mineral salts, lake cabin wood, subtle dark chocolate, and floral, leafy hops.

The carbonation is on the mild side, but supportive enough, the body medium-light in weight, and generally smooth. It finishes off-dry, the thinning roasted malt holding on, while the mineral, tame smoke, and woody aspects of a BC camping trip linger on.

Wow - this had me at first sniff! The various elements here (and there are more than a few) all convince the disjointed neurons in my head to focus on nothing else beyond my many past visits to this brewery's province of origin. Smoky, sweet, woody, watery (in the best sense), and not to be forgotten - pleasantly mild, all.

Apr 09, 2010
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noeldundas from Canada (BC)

2.63/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

thin off white head. deep dark amber with a reddish copper tinge, with great clarity, kind of like coca cola. the head disappeared completely.

nose is malty sweet with honey and toffee, coffee. no discernible hop aroma.

lightly bodied. caramel sweetness and malty flavours, but it's rather one dimensional. the taste is acidic, but it's not fair to call it sour really. there is a smoothness to it despite this, as it's low on hop flavour.

not what I was expecting (it says "mild ale" on the label, although who knows if style was the goal since the alcohol is too high for a mild anyway)*

*note picture on BA is out of date, they have apparently listed it as a different style now - Mild vs. Dark Ale, and the label is much different. I never had it in the old bottle, but from the previous reviews I don't imagine the recipe has really changed.

drinkable with a few flaws. but i didn't really want to finish it.

May 06, 2009
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jwc215 from Arizona

3.1/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to Voonder for including this 22-ouncer in a trade.

Pours brown (with the name I expected a bit darker). I'll go with it, but the thin, bubbly, off-white head doesn't stay around long. Some traces of lacing stick.

The aroma is very "English" - nutty, woody, a touch of chocolate/cocoa and a hint of earthy spicing. Very subtle, though. There's a detracting sourness in the back that I'm not too fond of, but can look past.

The initial sweetness soon becomes backed by a sourness that is not as easy to look past as it was on the nose. Dark pumpernickel-ish breadiness balances the sweetness (as does a touch of sour). The bitterness is low to nil. The chocolate is in the way of cocoa powder. The dark fruitiness is of plum and dates, in a mild sort of way. There's some "wet cardboard" that is not too interfering. This has some potential if the maltiness were bigger, I suppose.

I feel that I would not dehydrate, as there is plenty of noticeable water here. An odd astringency, as if out of nowhere slows the drinkability down.

This is a "different" brown ale. It has some classic English traits of a brown ale, if taken up a notch or three (with the exception of abv, and they can ease up on the sour notes). To be honest, it surprised me to see it listed as "American" Brown Ale here - If that's what they were going for...I won't change my score, but I would think they were even further off. Glad I had the chance to try it, but I don't know that I would get it again if it were locally available.

Nov 02, 2008
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GrimmReaper from Canada (BC)

3.68/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured out of a 700 ml bottle,very dark brownish almost black looking,like a Coke but with a rocky bubbly tan head,some nice lacing down the glass.Nose had that distinct coffee smell with a hint of chocolate and a lite smokey smell in there too.Taste had a sweetness to it with a touch of bitterness,the coffee coming through along with the chocolate,but also some sweet prunes and molasses hitting at ya too.Kinda medium body to it despite the heavy look to it,not a bad beer at all,something i'll have again when in the mood,not something i'll drink regularly,well worth a try.

Jul 18, 2008
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Shadman from Canada (AB)

3.08/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

HTried this one before..but was so sour I felt it must have been a bad bottle so i refrained from submitting a review. Tried another...

WEll..over-powering sourness is certainly not here..replaced by some roasted malt and slight hop bitterness.

looked alot like Coca-Cola in a gless except Coke doesn't leave a head, nice ring, and some decent lacing.

Taste is mostly roasted malt with enough hop bitterness to keep things interesting.

Mouthfell is medium/light..maybe a touch on the watery end

i have had two so far and the hit/miss ratio is 50%...would make certain to check the freshness date stamp on the sid eof the bottle before buying this one...if new..a good bet..if not..buyer beware

Jan 05, 2008
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BigBry from Canada (AB)

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

650 ml brown bottle, as in picture above.
Pours the color of cola, chunky and frothy tan head, left some thin chunks of lacing. Toasted malt smell, light coffee with some bitterness. The flavour is good for the style, mix of sweet and bitter. Couldn't quite get used to the sour aftertaste. The mouthfeel is a bit thin and watery. Overall a pretty generic representation. Good, but nothing to make it shine. I would search out some of Tin Whistle's other offerings before having this again.

Oct 25, 2006
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Goldorak from Canada (QC)

2.18/5  rDev -38.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance: Dark brown, with a bubbly, grey head.

Smell: Roasted nuts, obvious diacetyl, with a light sweetness that mixed with the butterscotch made me think of a butterfinger bar dipped in honey.

Taste: High carbonation bordering on fizzy, very, very thin, barely any nutty flavor, this one was hard to finish. I'm not a huge fan of the style, yet I try them all...

Nov 11, 2005
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IronDjinn from Canada (AB)

3.2/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Came in a 650 ml brown bottle. Pours out an opaque cola hue, chunky one-finger tan frothy head, small chunks of lacing. Biscuity toasted malt on the nose, some slight bitterness of mild coffee, along with almost a milky sweetness. The flavour is standard for the style, both sweet and mildly bitter from the malts, combining to create a bit of a sour aftertaste. Wait long enough and it turns into a sweet chewy flavour once again. Somewhat one-dimensional in its overall profile. The mouthfeel is also quite thin and watery at times, then thick and full on other sips, depending on how aggressively you pour it into your glass it seems. Overall it's an average, if not generic take on a dark ale, no name, no face, just part of the crowd, blends in and disappears with most of the rest. A step up from Sleeman, but not something I'd go back for. Cool name, but it's been used so many times before as well, part of the crowd.

Oct 29, 2005
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BDTyre from Canada (BC)

3.73/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My first experience with Tin Whistle, and I'm pretty happy.

This ale pour a deep brown-ruby colour, bordering on black. Decent of white head that lingers for quite awhile. Smell is decent maltiness with a good hop balance, but seems a bit sour.

Taste is typical of a brown ale, and very similar to Mt. Begbie's. Not quite as sweet as Mt. Begbie or Spinnakers, but it still presents a good nutty malt flavour with a decent hop presence.

Feels a bit tingly, but it is still drinkable enough. A decent brown ale worth purchasing again.

May 08, 2005
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canucklehead from Canada (BC)

3.8/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The bottle says don't be afraid of the dark and this is a good introduction to dark ales with enough malts and complexity for the educated drinker but easy going enough for the novice. These guys continue to impress with their well made and flavourful beers.

Dec 25, 2004
Black Widow from The Tin Whistle Brewing Company
Beer rating: 82 out of 100 with 27 ratings