KGB Imperial Stout | Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

167 Reviews
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KGB Imperial StoutKGB Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
Oregon, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.30%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Formerly a rotating release, "KGB" is being re-released as "W'11" in late 2010 - with seasonal winter/spring availability.

Added by Mitchster on 06-21-2003

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Reviews: 167 | Ratings: 294
Photo of harrymel
1.4/5  rDev -61.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

Bottled: 2/3/11

A: Pours a dark brown ale, little to no head formation. Able to agitate a decent quilt of latte head. This dissipates quickly. Spotty lacing.

S: Phenols, banana ester. Not sure why they released this beer. It's a mess. Comes out way too hot. Hints of anise.

T: Astringent, alcoholic. Wow, on first taste, I'm considering pouring this one. Bitter, sharp, chemical. Not good at all.

M: Thin for the style with medium carbonation. Slicks palate with thick coat. Not a bad feel, but out of place nonetheless.

D: Very, very poor. I just poured this out. Horrible example. The brewer's should have their wages cut for this one. Embarrassing for Widmer.

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Photo of imagese
1.98/5  rDev -45.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Bottled 12/28/10 poured into IRS tulip

A- dark brown with a slight lightness at the edges. Heavy pour produced a half finger head that leaves light spotty lacing

S- used coffee grounds, bitter chocolate, metallic hops, and a slight booze sweetness

T- very metallic with not much else. The combination of the hops and malts is so far from balanced. Tastes like a weak dry stout that is past it's prime

M- thin and carbonated. In no way does this come across as any sort of imperial stout. The metallic taste just coats your whole mouth, and makes each sip harsher and harsher...

D- cringed my way through 4oz, and poured the rest

I searched for this for a while based on forum posts, and really regret it. Thankfully the sixer was only $7. For $6, I can get a 4 pack of Old Rasputin, so no reason to get this ever again. I'm going to let a bottle age and see if that helps, but not seeing any hope for this beer

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Photo of 100floods
2.17/5  rDev -39.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Bottle date of 1/27/2011

very deep, murky cola brown, almost copper in the more clear spots, with a bubbly bronze head. Roasted, brown sugar aromas. Kind of sweet. Nice roasted punch, but a gentle punch, a kick. Small hints of milk chocolate There are some hops trying to come through the malty wall, but throw the flavor off. Kind of a hoppy brow sugar finish that is pretty awful. The roasted and sweet flavors are totally off balanced with whatever else I am tasting, I'm assuming the hops. Definitely some charred or burnt flavors, but not a good smoked or roasty flavor in the batch that I can hang on to The only thing really enjoyable about this is the texture. It's pretty smooth with a little carbonation to help the finish. I feel bad for tossing this beer. I'm glad it's only a 12oz.

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Photo of hardy008
2.2/5  rDev -39.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Black color with a small light tan head, which reduces to a small disc of foam. An average appearance. The aroma is not very strong. Light roasted malt and a little bit of chocolate.

The flavor is also not very strong. Light roasted malt and even lighter chocolate. There is also a light amount of hop flavor This is pretty bland.

The mouthfeel is odd. It is thin for the style, somewhat watered down, but also slightly creamy. Sort of like the canned version of Guinness, but not as good. Overall, I think this is a weak attempt at a RIS.

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Photo of Jmoore50
2.27/5  rDev -37.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

One of the worst Imperial Stouts I have ever come across. This was an embarrassing attempt at an Imperial Stout. Consumed this at my local Brew Ha ha, what a nightmare.

Got this beer and looked at it and then back at the volunteer that poured it for me. What a joke. It looks like an Imperial Stout that was severely watered down, probably a one part stout, two parts water ratio. This beer as a whole reminds me of a Black IPA.

Smells like extreme bittering hops with a light cocoa. Some roasted grain in there as well, but the overwhelming smell is hops.

With an incredibly thin mouthfeel and the amount of hops in this, calling this a Black IPA would still be offensive. It owns light roasted grain character and massive amounts of bitter hops. I have some hoppy imperial stouts, but this is terrible.

Such a thin mouthfeel and a pretty bad flavor made me pour this out before I finished my glass. Yuck.

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Photo of chumba526
2.4/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

It appears black with a thin brown like head.

It smells like caramel, metal. There is a bitter smell and a bit of a burnt coffee smell as well. The smell is a bit odd and off balanced.

It tastes of burnt malts, coffee, and metal. Though it has some strong flavor they seem a bit watered down and a bit off balance. There is bitterness to the beer but it is not a complex or interesting bitterness. This is one dimensional and kind of odd tasting.

The mouth-feel is awful it is watery and fizzy. The carbonation is way too high for the style.

The drinkability is limited as I feel this is a flawed and dumbed down RIS.

Overall this is cheap but it tastes cheap and is not a good example of the style.

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Photo of Arbitrator
2.49/5  rDev -31%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

On tap at East Burn in Portland. Thanks to ramnuts for the suggestion, the drive, and hell, buying it for me.

This beer is listed as 9.5% on the menu though, significantly higher than the BA listing.

A: Pours a semi-dark black-looking body that reveals rubyesque clarity as the beer disappears in the glass. Not totally opaque.

S: Roast, coffee, chocolate, and something fruity in there -- but a light fruit.

T: Roast-forward with a heavy coffee component. Coffee came next, with smoke and... cherry? Something like maraschino cherry actually. Kind of off-putting. ramnuts got way more chocolate out of this, and he also detected a waxy nature that I finally picked up in the finish. Something artificial and one-dimensional as it draws to a close.

M: Medium-heavy body. Soft carbonation on the palate.

D: Kind of reinforces my poor impressions of Widmer... They may have done a lot for the industry, but they're kind of conservative and mediocre in what they try now.

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Photo of nsabo
2.57/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I've had this beer a few times now and I'm decided that this just doesn't match my expectation of an imperial stout. The first time I tried this it drank like a plain (albeit boozier) stout. Now it tastes like a heavier, boozier cream stout or a very thin RIS. This feels smooth but thin, though the mellow bitterness of the chocolate and the hops go nicely together. I like my stout grains burnt, but here the creaminess awkwardly contrasts that burntness and
I just can't find much going on here.
I know, at $7/6pk it's a deal, but in terms of style this beer is a bit conceited.

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Photo of warbird07
2.67/5  rDev -26%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Trying this thanks to BigE90..poured into my 6oz snifter...

Appearence is real nice..pretty black, nice tan head that fades into whisps...minimal lacing...good looking brew...

smell is stout-like..but it seems off..lopsided..not real pleasant..seems a bit heavy on the molasass, too much bitter chocolate..a bit of a sacrin odor to it...I was disappointed...

I found the same thing when I tasted this beer..unbalance..very bitter chocolate..there is a slight astringent element to it...not much else..

mouthfeel, well without one there is no other..sort of a non-starter..medium wieght, thin feeling finish..adds nothing to the experience..

The look of this beer is the only thing it has going for's as if it was brewed merely to be filmed in a tv commercial...looks good..not much else to it..I found it a bit hard to finish...

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Photo of Beaver13
2.79/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle W'11 version dated 1/4/11. Pours a dark brown-black with a big creamy tan head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is a bit subdued - chocolate malts and grains with a little roast and a touch of plastic.

The flavor is roasted chocolate malts, anise, and some tar with a big charred bitterness in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with smooth carbonation.

Overall, an interesting big beer from Widmer. But it's too much tar and charred bitterness for me.

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Photo of accordselux
2.88/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dark, but not black, with very good carbonation.

It smelled astringent, burnt and bitter chocolate.

A hint of coffee and bitter chocolate in the beginning. Very harsh aftertaste. Burnt flavor not really pleasant, the hops don't add character, just more bitterness.

Lighter body, but still what I feel fits within the style.

The bitterness made it not very drinkable.

I couldn't drink much of this and ended up drainpouring it. I'm a RIS fan, but this doesn't really fit the bill for me.

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Photo of SirChugsAlot
2.9/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

Picked up a 6 pack of this for $8.99... that should have been my first tip off

Poured into a snifter because i figured "Hey it's an RIS..." except i can see throught it.. Mocha colored 1 figer head, no lacing

smells of burnt chocolate and a hint of ash

taste is slightly hoppy with chocolate, coffee and a metalic flavor towards the end

mouthfeel is wayyyy to light to be a RIS

overall drinkability is okay.. i just need to forget that it's supposed to be a RIS.. and i'll give a bottle or two away as gifts.

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Photo of smm
2.95/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Fitting for the style, pours pitch black with a dark brown head ~1/4 in thick.

S- Big coffee and chocolate notes. Sweet and roasty.

T- Bitter and bitter. Not really getting anything beside bitter coffee. I was hoping for something with more of a chocolate boost, but there is only a slight twist mid sip. Aftertaste is abrasive, like biting a chunk of coal.

M- Medium body, which I kind of like for a RIS, not so syrupy like some of the big-boys.

O- I was hoping to enjoy this more than I did. Nice price point but thats about it. The aroma leaves much to be desired, taste doesn't follow the nose.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
2.98/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle pours a pretty dark shade of black with a squat, brown head. Some spotty lacing and retention is decent.

Nose is roasty chocolate, little bit of sweetness. Some fruit pops through, but overall is a pretty clean smelling stout.

Roasty malt on the taste, followed by some alcohol astringency. The malt depth just isnt there, not overly smooth to say the least. Plenty of bittering hops, but not much in the way of flavoring. Pretty sub-standard Imperial Stout in a well-stocked style category. That said though, it is not all bad, there is value to be had here for a 6-pack under 8 dollars.

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Photo of jbakajust1
3/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured from a cellared 12oz bottle into SN Tulip

A - Pours thick as oil and black as night, no light shows through at all, tan 1/4" head fades quick.

S - Smells of coffee, dark chocolate, lightly burned toast, cherries, and hot alcohol

T - Tastes like burned toast, Starbuck coffee w/ the grounds (burnt), light dark fruits, dirt, very astringent.

M - Quite astringent, even though it coats the tongue and pours thick, it has a thin body. No real carb to speak of, alcohol burn prevelant. Enough bitterness to balance the malts.

O - Not too impressed. I remember enjoying it fresh (which is why I bought a 6er to cellar), but this is quite a let down. No carb, pours promising but then fails, way too thin, too astringent, too burnt.

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Photo of Chyren
3.03/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours very dark with thick foamy 3 finger head. The scent is mostly roasty with alcohol kick and hops are present, not especially complex though. It also has a certain tannic bitter to it. Sticky, syrupy, molasses, could probably use some aging. Flavor is bitter, dark and burnt and boozy. Has a thinner than expected body but sticky mouthfeel. Probably couldn't drink too much of this one.

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Photo of bridgetowhophead
3.09/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4.5

Looky here, the repurposed KGB has hit the shelves. Let me preface this review by noting that this purchase was almost entirely due to the eyebrow-raising price of $7.00/six-pack of a 9.3% ABV imperial stout. I suppose it also helps that widmer's other "w" beer, the w'10 pitch black ipa, was one of the only widmer beers i've found to be better than mediocre.

Pours quite dark but not black, leaving a nice mocha head with good lacing for the ABV. Smell has a bit of coffee and malt, but understated for an RIS. Taste is a more aggressive, with burnt malts dominating and some espresso notes, and a lingering roasty finish. Feel is subpar for an RIS--thin and bubbly instead of thick and viscous. Alcohol is well hidden, but warms the throat a bit as it goes down. Is it a true-to-style RIS? Hell no, but it's got more taste than most $7 six packs. I guess it pays to buy local.

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Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
3.1/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottled Jan 27 - consumed 5/31

I'm seeing a lot of Sub-Par reviews and I'm disagreeing with them to a point. For a $8.99 six-pack RIS at 9.3% it's a solid brew and value...not to mention ageable!

A - Black - teetering on dark brown root beer cola. So-so.

S - Dark Fruits, vanilla, coffee and dark chocolate

T - Well...the dark fruits are there, almost a Belgian quad characteristic followed by vanilla, coffee, and chocolate. You'd guess by everything I mention, it has everything solid that a good RIS should. There's a smokey, almost ashy component that compliments all the above mentioned. Not quite offensive, but not happy it's there either. Will it mellow with age....I hope so. Don't mistake this with roasty...because it's ashy. As it warms, it gets more ashy...the price is keeping me from a 3 score.

M - No complaints at all. Oily, velvety slick. It paired extremely well with some moist father in law who HATES stouts loved it along with that desert and said he finally found a stout's place in the world. (For him at least)

O - at $8.99 why not pick one up? Good, but nothing to call home about. Mouthfeel was the best aspect of this brew...which is very important when it comes to RIS's.

*EDIT* I've now finished the 6er. Thin, ashy and subpar. Go with Green Flash Double Stout or Old raspy for the 4-pack over this 6er... best advise I could ever give.

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Photo of screamking
3.12/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into snifter.

Pours pitch black with a thin tan head that disappears very very quickly. Lacing from side to side. The aroma in this is quite faint, for such a strong style there is just not a lot here. Dark fruits are present but just barely. That's all.

The taste leaves me wanting more also, there's a nice bitter rasian quality but that turns to a bad old coffe flavor. Worse than that its watered down bad coffee. I would be completely disappointed with this beer if I had any indication of its quality. This was a complete shot in the dark and it missed badly.

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Photo of RJLarse
3.13/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I bought a six-pack of W'11 in a grocery store. $6.99. Poured in to a pint glass.

Pours a black walnut color, with translucent red hues. A foamy tan head caps the beer and has a lot of resiliency. Curtains of lace coat the sides of the glass.

Smell is a coffee and dark fruit aroma. with a sharp acerbic presence.

The taste is like sweet black licorice. There are coffee notes along side, but the licorice flavor dominates, along with a bitter aftertaste and a hint of alcohol heat.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and slightly cloying.

Not the most drinkable brew. The flavor is a bit one dimensional, and the ABV is too high to be sessionable. I might grab another six-pack and cellar it until next winter, but I don't see myself having this in the coming spring or summer seasons.

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Photo of coastiefish
3.15/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into tulip glass.
Bottle says brewed late Feb 2011, and I am drinking it late March 2011.

A- Deep dark opaque brown, a few seconds of settling into a rich one finger tan foamy, bubble filled head. Head dwindles down to a thin layer after a bit, lacing lingers.

S- Salty, roasty, bittersweet chocolate malts with balance of hop.

T- Smokey, big and bitter. The bitter is coming from chocolate and coffee perhaps, not so much the hops. Black coffee is strong. Leaves a bit of coffee grind aftertaste.

M- Slickish > Oily. Sticky on the lips.

D- If you dig black coffee, yes. Can't detect the 9.2, imperial it is. Flavors are bold.
While I like that the body is on the lighter side for a stout, I get the taste of coffee grinds at the end which just isn't resonating with me.
I am a loyal fan of oatmeal stouts which round out and bring depth to brews, I think I would choose those over this particular beer.
Also, with that said I do think I would try this on draught, especially after a dinner, night cap style.

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Photo of Elimination
3.15/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I have heard for quite a while about a imperial stout made by widmer that really stood apart from other widmer brews in terms of wow factor.

So this is it?

It pours a obviously thinish black, but a slight visibility, no head, very tame carb look.

Smell is slight roast, old coffee, licorice, and thats about it

Taste is the biggest let down, it really is all over the place, way to strong of coffee, pretty sharp alcohol, has a twang of chocolate, a bit of metallicness, really doesnt stack up against almost any ris Ive ever had

Moiuthfeel is very thin, to thin, it is about as thick as a lager really, a bit of carb, but leaves a very dryness afterwards

Overall, I really hope this is just a dumb'd down for the masses version of from what I heard was a great beer. Maybe with age this could improve but I cant see it really turning that true to style.

But dont get me to wrong here, I may still buy another six pack because it is still a 9.3 abv stout for 7 bucks. But once its gone, I wont cry about it.

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Photo of bagpiper2005
3.15/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pour: Dark brown upon pour, and upon holding it up to the light it's a very dark maroon color. One finger of cream-colored head that had average retention and lacing.

Smell: Aromas of roasted malt and burnt sugar. Hints of chocolate and hops.

Taste: Here's what killed it for me. Strong, but unbalanced flavor, with the lack of balance favoring a very bitter burnt sugar and pine hop bitter back end. Slightly sweet up front, but not enough, with a small hint of coffee in the middle.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, but light for the style. Also carbonation is unusually high, but has a certain aspect of creaminess.

Drinkability: Goes down OK, kind of a challenge to drink. It's an OK beer.

Final Notes: I wasn't very impressed with this one. It's not a "bad" beer, but overall not malty enough for the style (the hoppy character is no big deal, just wish it was more balanced). I won't be looking to buy this one again, and there are better ones out there for a comparable price point.

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Photo of SHODriver
3.16/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A: pours black into a snifter with a fingr and a half of dense and deep tan head that slowly fades to a small mat
S: my nose is trashed from cleaning my bathroom but I get a bit of hop bitterness(or cleaning agent astringency) some roast malt and a bit of chocolate
T: surprising hop bitterness up front with a bit of roasted malt and some dark chocolate. swallow brings more roastyness, piney hops and some chocolate
M: seems a bit thin for the style but still feels smooth and a bit creamy in the mouth. carb is a bit too high as well
O: it isn't terrible but it isn't great.

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Photo of vkv822
3.16/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into tulip snifter.

Pours black with a milk chocolate head that leaves decent lacing.

The aroma is quite roasty, with some cocoa, and a light hop backing.

The taste is again of strong roasted malts, with bitter coffee and cocoa backing. There is a slight unpleasant finish, that I want to describe as "ashy".

The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied.

This was a decent beer, but the roasted/bitterness it a bit more than I would like, combined with the "ashy" finish I was getting make this something I probably won't get again.

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KGB Imperial Stout from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
3.61 out of 5 based on 294 ratings.
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