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 UCLABrewN84
3.29/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours an almost opaque black with a nice 2 inch dark khaki head. Very pronounced rings on lace on the drink down. A very nice looking beer in the glass. Smell is pretty weak overall. I get some roasted malt and subdued cocoa powder. Tastes of deep roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate, and alcohol. The flavors are somewhat jarring on the palate. Very thick and creamy in the mouth. A bit of an alcohol burn down the throat. Overall, a decent RIS but nothing too great. I wonder if getting some age on one of these will help smooth things out.

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Photo of metter98
3.73/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a finger high tan head that died down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface and the sides of the glass.
S: Light aromas of dark roasted malts are present in the nose; these become a little stronger as the beer warms up.
T: The taste has flavors of dark roasted malts along with notes of coffee beans and faint hints of raisins. It has a light amount of bitterness.
M: It feels a little more than medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. The roasted malts leave some dryness in the finish.
O: This Russian Imperial Stout is really easy to drink compared to other beers in the style because it's not overly full-bodied, bitter or roasty and hides its alcohol very well.

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Photo of brentk56
3.55/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 12/10.12

Appearance: An impressive wall of mocha colored foam builds above the black liquid; the lacing was smattering

Smell: Ashy roast, licorice and tobacco

Taste: Opens with a lot of ashy roast, with the licorice flavors building in short order; just a hint of dark fruit, in the middle, with the fruit, tobacco and roast flavors bringing up the rear

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: Rather underwhelmed by this beer as it lacks the layered depth of flavor and full body that I look for in the style

Thanks, kemoarps, for the opportunity

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Photo of LXIXME
4.33/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big rich light brown head slowly dies leaving a pretty decent lacing atop a clear dark brown or black colored stout.

Roasted malts with a dark fruit backbone aroma, almost like roasted cherries or apricots.

Taste warm and roasted malts with dark chocolate hints and a light dark fruitiness in the background, rather enjoyable.

A light dark chocolate roasted lightly dry aftertaste.

I rather enjoyed this imperial stout, when I poured it I could smell the alcohol but that seems to disappear as I drank it.

Not the heaviest stout I've tried but a pretty darn good one.

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Photo of chinchill
3.8/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz, 2012 bottle of KGB Russian Imperial Stout.

Black and opaque in the glass, with a semi-durable head. Limited lacing.

Aroma: rich dark and sweet malts and aged alcohol esters.

Flavor: rich and fairly complex, with a hint of whisky that comes with the obviously high, but not harsh, ABV. Lingering flavor of very dark roasted grains.

Feel: full, thick and smooth with some warming. Good, light carbonation.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.76/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Pours an opaque yet clear jet black in color with some light amounts of gentle visible carbonation near the surface of the beer and some very dark amber + cola brown highlights. The beer has a two finger tall dense foamy dark tan head that slowly reduces to a thin film covering the majority of the surface of the beer with a couple of small slightly thicker patches and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light to moderate aromas of dark roasted malts that slightly intensifies as the beer warms up.

T: Upfront there are moderate flavors of dark roasted malts along with some light amounts of coffee beans. There are some very light hints of dark fruits (raisin) that contribute a little bit of initial sweetness. The beer has a light to moderate amounts of bitterness that lingers for quite a while.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth. Light amounts of dryness in the finish.

O: Fairly easy to drink with very well hidden alcohol and not as intense flavors/aromas - not overly roasted or bitter.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.48/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle labeled as W '11 KGB.

A: The pour is just about black with a finger of tan head that leaves spiderweb type lacing on the glass.

S: Quite heavy on the roasted malt with a bit of ash/char aroma to it as well. A little bit of dark chocolate, coffee, and some hints of dark fruit. Very mild sweetness, perhaps some licorice.

T: Roasted malt dominates the flavor. A bit of a burnt sugar flavor, molasses, and licorice. There is a moderate bitterness on the back end and a slight ash flavor. Overly roasted coffee is also present.

M: Medium to full in body with a moderate level of carbonation.

O: There just isn't much to this other than the roast, which I don't find all that appealing.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.22/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Served in a Lagunitas mason jar.

2013 edition. Has it really taken this long for a Russian imperial stout to be named in honor of the KGB? Regardless, this stuff pours a murky black-brown topped by a finger of khaki foam. The nose comprises mild roasted malts, light chocolate powder, and a dash of blackened pretzel. The taste brings in more of the same, with a strong roasty bitterness pervading the second half of things, along with a hint of nondescript booze. The body is a stolid medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and a thickly smooth feel. Overall, a middling RIS, one that just doesn't bring the proper amount of robustness or control necessary to communicate the style.

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Photo of stakem
3.68/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Joe for the extra. Poured from a 12oz bottle dated Dec 21, 2010 into a snifter. This brew appears a very dark brown to black color with a finger of dark tan head that fades leaving spots and patches of lace about the glass. When held to the light, it displays some browner shades and clarity around the edges. A light swirl revives a fingers worth of froth.

The aroma is fresh coffee with chocolate malt and citrus hops. The hoppiness is pungent and bold yet a pleasant addition to the backend of this brew's smell. A pleasant fresh grain character lingers with a contrasting sweetness to the nose.

The taste is roasty grain and pleasantly bitter. Lasting strong coffee flavor coupled with citrus and herbal hops that are quite bold. The alcohol presents a faint fruity flavor and warmth. The roasted bitter aspect is bold and lingers inside the mouth. Not a bad brew, there is a linger lingering almost spiced aspect that adds some additional complexity to this bees flavor.

This is a medium bodied offering with a modest level of carbonation. For more than 9% it is hidden quite well. All together well rounded with a forward coffee flavoring. A fairly decent representation of the style and worth checking out. Based on my initial experience I think this is one that would be best enjoyed fresh, I'm uncertain what aging and melding to this brew would do. It lacks a little in it's robust character I look for in a solid RIS.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.66/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Well now, this is a nice looking beer. Black and rich. Bright brown head, thick. Chocolate malt-shake looking...and it just keeps coming. Frothy. Damn, son

Sharp chocolate aroma, a bit faded on the end. Roasted malt and burnt caramel. Black coffee end notes.

This beer is thicker than I had imagined. At 9.3 abv, though, it's kinda smooth. Coffee notes dominate the flavors. Dark chocolate and anise come through as well. Dark fruit, plum.

Easy drinking, this thing is. A bit surprised. At %5.50 a glass downtown Denver, it's a good choice

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Photo of Mora2000
3.75/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark brown to black color with an off-white head. The aroma is heavy on the coffee and chocolate with some roasted malt mixed in. The flavor is more of the same. I get a lot of bitter chocolate as well as some charred and heavily roasted malt. The alcohol is very well hidden and is not noticeable at all. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. A very nice imperial stout.

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Photo of flagmantho
4.03/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Bottle is labeled March 3, 2011.

Appearance: solid black body which lets no light through at all. Head is a good finger of creamy tan foam. It's just a great-looking stout.

Smell: rich, roasty aroma with a light fruity character. Alcohol is quite noticeable, and there is a touch of tanniny wood aroma indicating this beer may have been oaked (although the bottle doesn't say it was). I quite like it, though there is room for added complexity.

Taste: starts off with bitter roasted malt flavors then transitions to a slightly sweeter, slightly fruitier end note. It's not as complex as I tend to like my imperial stouts, but I find it quite tasty.

Mouthfeel: nice, silky, somewhat creamy body; there's not a lot of carbonation here but it works quite well nonetheless. I like it.

Overall: this is a pretty standard imperial stout. I think it has a good complexity and a good roasty component, although there is room for more fruity complexity here. Pretty good.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.33/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Part of a 6'er picked up at the COOP on NYE. Poured into my small goblet.... descent enough dark tan head with good lacing... the brew is black with subtle ruby near the stem.

Nose is pretty standard RIS aromas albeit light and not very "rich" .... good dark malts and pretty pronounced coffee notes... not alot of dark fruits, but what are there show as minor plum.

Flavor is dark malts with the same coffee element... I swear I get some brewers licorice.. a little metallic.. sorta copper...

Body is light compared to the Big Boys, but certainly within style..

Okay across the board... Fantastic for the price.. but I am gonna put the other 4 bottles down in the cellar for future enjoyment... I may even buy another 6'er.. but do not buy this expecting Dark Lord or Abyss... instead think other RIS in 12 oz bottles :-)


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Photo of Zorro
3.25/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Clear deeply brown colored beer with a small brown head.

Smells strongly of burned malt with a smoke and medicine scent. Frankly this smells more like a Rauchbier than a RIS. Smell a little bit of carrot but mostly this is smoke.

Starts out bittersweet and smoky. Mildly sweet and smoky, the Patent Malts really take over in this brew. Not much more than that going on here, basic flavor with no surprises.

Mouthfeel is good.

An OK beer, but with so many great RIS available now this just is an also ran.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.07/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From the W Series 650 ml. bottle stamped: 11:37-WA-DEC1012. Sampled on November 30, 2013 less than two weeks from its expiration date.

The pour is black as a starless night with a moderate pillowy mocha head that eventually settles down and leaves lacing in its wake.

The aroma has dark malts, rye, and the slightest touch of cherry. A little booze too.

The body is medium to full.

The taste begins with dark malts and rye like the aroma suggests but there is a boozy character that filters its way in at the end and that's what lingers on the palate. If the boozy quality could have been more muted I expect this would have been a dynamite beer. That's not to say it is a bad one.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.9/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours black with a medium off-white head, good retention, spotty lace.

S: Quite hoppy, grassy with roasted malt. The nose reminds me a lot of Storm King.

T: Strong roasted malt flavours, dark chocolate. Definitely a hoppy RIS, there is a piney undercurrent, but I think it works well with the base beer.

M: Full-bodied, smooth, well structured, light carbonation.

D: For $1.77 a bottle this is an outstanding value. Not the best RIS in the world, but for my palate this is just as good as Storm King (a classic mind you) and is a great inexpensive entry into the world of Imperial Stouts. Well done Widmer.

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Photo of HopHead84
3.64/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


On tap at URGE. I wish Widmer distributed their German pretzels around here instead of their beer. Those are really good pretzels, especially with their fondue and stone-ground mustard.

A: Very dark brown, not quite black, with a small tan head.

S: Lots of coffee and roasted malt with a touch of licorice and evident molasses. Hops are buried beneath dark chocolate and the aforementioned roast, emitting a feeble earthy note.

T: Burnt malt with a little coffee and an unexpected nutty character accompanying dark chocolate. Chocolate, coffee, and a nuttiness linger in the finish. There's a moderate bitterness. That burnt note is a touch acrid near the end, and there's some alcohol flavor with molasses.

M: Lower full in body with upper moderate carbonation. The mouthfeel is chewy and sticky.

Overall: A solid RIS, though I'd still prefer a pretzel with fondue. Chance would be a fine thing.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.5/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on-tap at Bailey's Taproom in Portland, OR.

Pours a solid black-brown, with a fine and full, but relatively bubbly head of caramel brown. Great lacing as it subsides. Solid body to it with a firm bead. Looks great.

Robust nose with big, smooth roasted characters coming through, giving caramel and a touch of light coffee. Creamy chocolate noticeable too. It's so smooth. Wonderful stuff.

Taste is smooth and clean, but with lingering complexities on the back. More sweet caramel, dark more brusque roasted coffee beans, and chocolate in a silky high-cacao way. All is layered with the smoothness of character which seems to epitomise it. Awesome.

Lovely drop. It's smooth, round, clean and complex. Everythign you want in an imperial stout. Love it.

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Photo of Haybeerman
3.49/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Black, no light; a thin ruby sliver along the edge when held to the light. Poured a 1 finger chocolate head that dissipated to a skim. Lace sheeted the glass.

S: Cocoa, coffee and burnt toffee. Earthy. Some alcohol.

T:Dark-toasted grains; mainly burnt chocolate and toffee - bitter and dry. Coffee flavor in the middle transitions to a more mild, building bitterness in the finish. Warming alcohol and a little sweetness linger.

M: Medium body. Low-to-moderate carbonation. Smooth and rich; sharply bitter in the middle to mild, building bitter finish.

O: Very drinkable for the style. Disguises the alcohol better than most. Not say its not a robust stout; just not to the extreme.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.41/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Jet oily black, tan head, 2/5" deep. Aroma was heavy roast, dark fruit bitterness.

The taste was like the aroma, except the alcohol was prominent. Big bitter, big roast, big boozy. Affordable in this format 12/6. Hoppy and burnt makes for a bitter experience, dropping those dark fruit times all over you.

A decent beer, especially in limited amounts, gets tiresome those after too much.

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Photo of beertunes
3.3/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Served in bubble pint glass. Poured black, as expected, with 1/4 inch of light brown head that had OK retention and lacing.

The beer had a nice roasted aroma, some sweet malt and a bit of a sharp tang in the background. On the tongue the beer wasn't as roasty and malty as in the nose. The flavors, sweet on most of the tongue, some roast on the finish, were a bit harsh and unfocused. For a brew of this strength, there wasn't a noticeable alcohol taste. The beer was a bit bland for the style.

The beer was a quite a bit lighter in body than is typical for the style, was mostly smooth but did have a bit of a sharp bite on the finish. Drinkability was decent, it went down a lot easier than most of the style and wasn't as filling.

Overall, a decent if not great take on this style. Worth a shot if you see it, not worth seekingout.

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Photo of maximum12
3.65/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

$7.99 for a six of Imperial Stout? Sign me up. Picked up while browsing liquor stores & popped one open hours later.

Pours black while watching my resurgent Twins pummel the Giants. Smells of huge roasted malts & a dropcloth of chocoalte. Nice start.

W'll KGB (I like the reference to the Cold War, it tickles the History Minor in me) is bully on the roast; big roast notes come out of the woodwork. Bitter, jilted chocolate stands opposed & isn't far behind the roast. Earthy hops round out the play bill. Chocolate lends a lovely, creamy, full mouthfeel to the brew, & there's no hint of alcohol at all.

Good brew, which is a good thing, since I have five more staring at me with big round eyes from the cellar. Might be drinking a few & laying a few aside for a few months to see what happens to them.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.54/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours jet black, small beige head, nothing out of the ordinary for style. Aroma was largely a deep burn of roast.

Taste, good, warming, heavily bitter, heavy on the heavy roast, slight hoppy feel to it. Hoppier than most in the style. A little bit too alcoholic to be excellent, but the price point on a 6 of this $9 works very nicely. A good beer, solid second tier option for the style, and nice to have it in 12 oz bottles.

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Photo of drpimento
4.32/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Da, this is a beer for the proletariat, not the court. lenin would make it so. Poured with a medium sized tan head and some lace. Color is an almost opaque brown black. Aroma is malt, roast, toffee, cocoa, leather, earth, a little dark ripe fruit and coffee. Flavor is similar and balanced. Body is full round and has excellent carbonation. Finish is like flavor and ends with a smooth bitterness. Session beer even with the strength.

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Photo of champ103
3.9/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark brown, nearly black color. A two finger tan head forms that gently recedes to a ring. Light lace is left behind.
S: Roasted malt up front. Toffee, chocolate, and light coffee. Simple, but enjoyable.
T: Plenty of roasted flavors, but not over barring at all. Toasted/roasted malts. Chocolate and toffee. Baked bread as well. A light hop bitterness lingers on. I like this.
M/D: A medium to full body. Creamy and so velvety smooth. Easy to drink. The alcohol is not noticeable, and very easy to sip on.

This is a very enjoyable Imperial Stout. Nothing is over the top, but very well incorporated. Something I would recommend.

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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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