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KGB Imperial Stout | Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

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KGB Imperial StoutKGB Imperial Stout
294 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 294 |  Reviews: 167
Photo of Fenris244
3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Widmer KGB

On tap at Opal Devine's 

Black in color thin tan head minimal retention.

Coffee and roasty aromas, licorice and some chocolate

Coffee comes through really well for me, bits of caramel and a good bit of more roasted flavors.

Heavier in body, keeps from being overly thick though, smooth, alcohol doesn't kick in till I have a hot stomach.

Overall not bad, I know there are better stouts around but for the price this one ain't bad

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Photo of StoneBrewFanatic
3.63/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours jet black into my snifter, big tan head with nice retention and pretty sticky lacing down the glass.

S - Roasted malts, coffee, dark chocolate, mild bitter hops, and some dark fruit.

T - Much like the nose, lots of roasted malts and coffee flavors, a bit of smoke, dark chocolate, piny hops, with faint notes of dark fruits.

M - Somewhat thin and dry for the style.

O - Not the best RIP, but definitely a good one! If it was regularly available in my area I would purchase it regularly for the value.

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Photo of billshmeinke
3.38/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a wine glass. Pitch black with a finger of off white head the dies down to a ring around the edge of the glass. Brown hues towards the edges when held to light. No lacing to speak of.

A nose of roasted malt, and a hint of vanilla wafers. Not really much else. Nose is pretty dull.

Taste is also fairly dull. Some roasted malt, hints of baker's chocolate, a light smokiness. Some fruity almost banana like sweetness hits mid palate, and the finish is bitter and roasty.

Mouthfeel is basically like a dry root beer. Full bodied with good carbonation.

It was interesting to try, but I see myself giving away most of the rest of the six pack I bought. A pretty bland and uninspired Russian Imperial Stout.

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Photo of colts9016
3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured the beer into a nonic at 51 degrees.

Appearance: A monster two finger head that has fair retention. The color of the head is tan and it is foamy and creamy with some lacing on the glass. The color of the beer is dark brown like used motor oil. There is no clarity in the beer it is opaque.

Nose: A nice mellow roasted malt, there is notes of of chocolate, espresso, toffee, caramel, bready, grains, fruity esters, and solvent.

Taste: A very dark roasted malt with chocolate, espresso, bready, grainy with some fruity esters. Other notes are toffee, caramel, a slight burnt character.

The mouth feel is dry, coating, chewy, and slightly astringent.

Overall: The body of the beer is thick and the finish is medium full. This is a solid RIS, I feel that the flavors are not as intense as some of the better ones. A very sold RIS, glad I have a few in the cellar.

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Photo of zdk9
4.22/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours dead black with a finger of head that's cream colored with a tint of brown. Looks like the possibility of some strong lacing with this one.

S- Smells like a delicious stout. There's coffee, bittersweet chocolate, burnt molasses, smoke. Definitely some bourbon going on as it warms up.

T- Tastes like a delicious stout. More mineral characteristic than I'd like but if you take out that it's fantastic. Very bittersweet chocolate, used coffee grounds, bourbon, vanilla, wood, ash (that's part of the mineralness that isn't so good). There some pine and grapefruit pith on the back corners of my mouth- it's like the hops have scurried to the sides of the stage, even though they're pretty powerful themselves.

M- Bitter- roast, ash, and hop bitterness. Though there's some sweetness it's not really a stick to your mouth syruppy beer.

O- I'm really enjoying this, a great delicous RIS, just as advertised.

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Photo of Haybeerman
3.49/5  rDev -4.6%
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 badboyrsl84
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black as a moonless night. No visual head but a minor mocha lacing around the top of the beer

Smell - I'm shocked at the aroma of this beer. I wasn't giving widmer enough credit on this one. Bakers chocolate and alcohol are dominant with a minor hint of sweetness from milk chocolate.

Taste - WOW!! amazed once again with this one. Tons of roasted chocolate with some almost oaky characteristics. It finish really strong with a chocolate coffee taste that only gets stronger after I swallow. Very well done

Very good!! I am blown away with this one. I would definitely have this one again.

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Photo of beagle75
3.82/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Opaque black with less than one finger of diminishing beige foam head. Moderate lacing remains on the glass. Transmission of light increases as the volume in the glass drops, showing clear, dark brown.

S: Black roasted malt is restrained in intensity, with an herbaceous accent. Coffee and toffee combine to make a sensation of unctuous mocha dessert. No alcohol is detected.

T: Begins almost dry, with roasted grain that is bitter and slightly scorched early. Earthiness makes an appearance in what is otherwise just a few simple flavors. Faint coffee emerges in the middle as the roasted malt is able to divorce itself from the bitterness somewhat. Moderate bitterness returns in the finish with herbaceous qualities and a hint of sweetness that lingers favorably on the palate. No alcohol is detected.

M: Medium to thick viscosity, smooth on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: This robust stout is not extreme by the standards of the style, but it is able to hold its own. It presents generally clean flavors with no chocolate and little to no fruitiness, with only some coffee notes present to make it comparable to another food. It demonstrates an unassuming approachability down the stretch, with less palate fatigue here than with some other, more highly regarded, American-brewed stouts of large displacement.

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Photo of beerandcycling88
3.43/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A Pours a deep brown almost black color, with a decent tan head.

S There are some notes of roasted coffee and chocolate, followed by a hint of alcohol.

T Again you get coffee, chocolate, and a little bit of alcohol. Also there is a bit of hop bitterness to balance it out.

M Its pretty thin for a RIS, with a decent amount of carbonation.

Overall this is a decent beer. There iis nothing about it that stands out other then the fact that it is a RIS that you can find in the stores for under $8.00.

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Photo of Azurescens
3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz W'11 bottle with bottled on date 3/3/11 poured into Maudite stemmed glass, reviewed on 4/17/11

A: Pours black with fluffy light brown head with good retention and leaves nice lacing around glass.

S: Roasted barley with some chocolate, no real hop aroma and a faint hint of alcohol. Standard stout aroma, nothing bad but nothing exceptional or very intriguing.

T: Similar to the smell, roasted barley, some chocolate and hints of coffee and alcohol. Nothing exceptional but nothing to really complain about either.

M: Prickly with carbonation when it is cold but the carbonation mellows out a bit as the beer warms up. Definitely a much better feel when drank above refrigerator temperature. Medium-full bodied, smooth, easy drinking RIS. I like it.

O: Decent RIS across the board, great bargain when you consider how few RIS's can you get for less than 8 bucks a 6-pack. Smooth and very easy drinker for a 9.3% ABV RIS. Good job with this Widmer.

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Photo of philbertk
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Widmer Brothers Brewing Company--W’11 Russian Imperial Stout. 9.30% ABV. 65 IBU’s. Dense lacy lasting 1/2" espresso head. Opaque dark black color. Smooth roasted chocolate mild hop front. Creamy smooth cloying mellow sweet rich roasted chocolate thick tasty rich Imperial Stout Body. Slightly dry mild hop no EtOH end. Delicious, not overpowering, & too easy to drink. (4.0 / 5.0) 14 oz Draft purchased at Astoria Golf Club, Astoria, Oregon for $4.99 on 4/11/2011.

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Photo of Chaz
3.89/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown in color, like a freshly spilled bottle of india ink, topped with a dark tan (closer to brown) head. Good duration on the head, drops after maybe five minutes to a thin uniform coating on the top, and some very good lacing exhibited as well.

Nose is quite rich, with roasted and dark malts all over the place, along with a lighter, fusel quality, and a hint of booziness. Light sweetness in the nose, along with a lighter astringent aspect.

Rich, sweet, and pungent on the first sip. Sweetness is tempered by the roast and bitter aspects of the malt and the hop character adds a satisfying bitterness, not as over the top as some of the more talked-about renditions of RIS I can think of. Lighter notes of milk chocolate emerge about midway through the drink, along with what tasted like a 'malted milk ball' candy. Nice aniseseed/licorice flavor emerges as this warms, really adding a nice complexity to it. The addition of wheat malt (Midnight Wheat) here adds a lightly spicy character here but it's really quite subtle.

The body almost seems a little too thin for the style, but the mouthfeel is just right, and there's definitely dangerous drinkability in this one considering its strength, so it's solidly above average altogether.

Definitely better than average for the style, and overall it's an offering that I'd like to see Widmer offer again sometime in the future -- 'til then I will have to add a case or two to the larder : )

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Photo of nsabo
2.57/5  rDev -29.8%
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 Overlord
3.2/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark wood-sy brown. Weird cola-like bubbling consistency, like the bubbles are too big .. or something.

Smells like charred malt, some chocolate, a bit of ... booze? ... and an earthy nuttiness.

Smells better than it tastes, unfortunately. There's an off-note of rotting alcohol in the background that destroys what the beer is trying to accomplish. Charred malt also becomes a little too dominating. Some chocolate, a bit of coffee ... maybe even a hint, just a hint, of burnt caramel.

Too much going on, off-notes abound. Mouthfeel is okay.

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Photo of Schmittymack
3.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured at cellar temperature into the trusty shaker glass. Poured a pretty dark black with a small head that lasted for a couple minutes; minimal lacing. Aroma of booze, coffee, and a touch of chocolate. Taste was nice: coffee, malt goodness, a bit of dark chocolate, and a bit of booziness. I like this one; definitely do it again, especially after a day on the slopes in Jan/Feb.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.54/5  rDev -3.3%
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 stakem
3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
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 BeerAdvocate
3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #49 (Feb 2011):

Tan lacing crowns this deep, sooty brew. Stewed dates, leather, hint of mace, carob, mild coffee and a watery charcoal fill the nos- trils. Smoothness is there, but the creaminess is over the top--sip after sip enjoyment. Choco-burnt character comes off a little bitter; burnt sugar and charcoal. Hops jump in there with their own bitterness to balance the malt, and the fruitiness struggles a bit to stay in the game. Inner warmth grows after each taste, with hints of vanilla or nougat and with a burnt black currant flavor in the charred semidry finish. Perhaps not of epic proportions, yet sized just right, it's a welcome surprise this winter.

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Photo of superdavex
3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

An extremely drinkable beer for the style. A pretty thin mouthfeel with an excellent taste. The ABV is extremely high with leads to a very unsessionable beer. Three of these and I was very toasty. I found this on sale for 6.99 for a sixer which is an unbelievable deal. I've got half of my six pack ready for my next weekend and I'm really looking forward to it.

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Photo of katybee
3.88/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deadly! 9% abv hits you quickly, but doesn't disguise the inherent flavor which is the real draw.

Opaque chocolate brown body, lightly resonant carbonation, topped by a lovely but quickly dissipating brownish head leaving light tracings.

No smell to speak of, which I like. If there is, it is a lightly medicinal hoppiness, like mentholatum or mothballs--not citrusy, not soy, not smokey. Dry.

Taste was more complex than I've had in recent stouts including Guiness. There was a hint of fig sweetness, balanced by the immediate dry medicinal bite of hops (or wheat?) backed up by predominant roasted malts, with a definite smooth mouthfeel that made it more than an average lager. None of the soy character, or off green dryness of Guinness. Just bold, lightly bitter, semi-sweet, stout!

Definitely smooth character, medium-light body.

Powerful beverage polished off quickly...yum!

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Photo of ForWhatAlesYou
4.03/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass

A: Oily black in color and appearance. Deep caramel head pours thick, stay thick. Lacing is great.

S: Alcohol carries notes of blueberry, port, charcoal, deep malt, and leather.

T: Heavy and deep. Big leather, smoke, and alcohol bring along dark fruit and strong aged rum. Ends in a very mixed bitter. Finish is long and a little abrasive.

M: Very creamy and rich, syrupy. A bit too dry at the end.

D: Like most of this style, one and done. One, though, is very good.

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Photo of coastiefish
3.15/5  rDev -13.9%
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 katelovesbeer
3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A 12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Bottle says brewed late Feb 2011, and I am drinking it late March 2011.

A: Very dark, opaque, and a 3/4" light tan head

S: Roasty, little bit of chocolate, a tiny bit of hops, definitely can smell the imperial bite

T: Bitter front followed by chocolate/coffee malts and dry roastiness at the very end. Sweet. Surprisingly very smooth. Well balanced.

Mouthfeel: Great. It's the weight you'd expect from a stout without being too heavy. Velvety.

Overall: Great drinkability. The bitter roastiness is strong enough to remind you you're drinking an imperial however I cannot taste the 9.2% abv. This beer is pretty solid

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.29/5  rDev -10.1%
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 tbern007
3.41/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brew date January 2011, consumed March 22, 2011.
Poured pretty black, dark brown edges, thick head, decent lace.
S - surprisingly hoppy. Pine, floral, earth. Light scent. Lighter than expected.
T - coffee, dark chocolate. However, the dark fruit that I expect in a RIS is missing. There is also a metallic taste. Hops are noticeable here as well.
M & D - for less than $2 per bottle, pretty good. However, not as much as RIS as it is a stout. Alaskan Stout is heavier and at about the same price point, which I would go for over this one. Not bad overall though.

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KGB Imperial Stout from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.66 out of 5 with 294 ratings
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