KGB Imperial Stout | Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

294 Ratings
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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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Ratings: 294 |  Reviews: 167
Photo of Tballz420
3.6/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Jet black body, but more light penetrating than might be expected perhaps. Subtle tan head doesnt last too long but still leaves its mark on the glass. Thick chocolate malt scent, a bit of alcohol detected. Intense taste, im not sure if I like the blend right off the bat. The malts arent as thick as i might expect for this beer. Im not sure where the massive alcohol is coming from due to that, but there is definitely some of that stuff in there. Some bittering hops rounding it out. Fairly thick and wet mouth. Eh, Im just not all that sold on this. Its not horrible but i think there needs to be a heavier malt presence if its gonna roll with a 9.3 % content.

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Photo of bradleyp
3.4/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Got a six pack of this at the local gas station.

A: Very black in color, with a nice dark khaki head at the end of the pour.

S: Smells of coffee, and light chocolate aroma. Very nice malt overtones that also does not smell very boozy at all.

T: The taste is a little more boozier. At 9% this beer does taste like a great stout. Coffee, some chocolate, dominate the taste.

M: This is a nice thick stout. Goes down nice and smooth, and no nasty aftertaste.

O: I would probably drink this again on tap, but I don't think I would buy another 6 pack again.

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Photo of industrialswill
4.35/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Found this while on a midnight run at the local Safeway supermarket for $6.99 / six pack.
Very dark brown, almost black color with a light brown head.
The smell is that of roasted malt.
I'm in love with the flavor. The malt predominates with it's chocolatey goodness, but there is adequate hop balance.
This beer is somewhat thick and warm, but the 9.3% ABV is very well hidden.
I'm very pleased with this "little discovery" of mine. I can't believe that any beer of this weight can be sold for what I paid for it, but I will not argue.
Very good beer.

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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 velosuds
3.56/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a clear pint glass. Bottled Feb 16 11 per the label (thank you for dating). Paid $6.59 on sale for a six pack at local grocery chain store. Best price I have ever seen for RIS.

Under the cap: A PROST: To having a job that isn't work. I will drink to that.

Name is intriguing. Not sure if it refers to the contemporary State Security Agency of the Republic of Belarus, or the former Soviet Union. Mysterious. This beer might pair well with a Robert Ludlum novel.

A-Pours a deep, dark brown almost black hue with a two finger tan head with decent retention and lacing.

S-Roasted barley, vague dark dried fruits, chocolate, alcohol, and a hint of licorice, all of which were too faint for style (except for the alcohol). Improved as it warmed. May be better with aging.

T-Taste is predominantly bitter, alcohol, and roasted barley. This is underdeveloped and no where near complex enough for this great, rich style. Some chocolate, coffee, and caramel malt are present but no where near robust enough. Improved as it warmed, but surprisingly good cold, which is uncharacteristic for style. May be too hoppy.

M-Too thin for style. Carbonation is okay. No where near rich and creamy enough.

O-Mediocre for style. Since I bought a six pack I will be having this again, but won't buy any more. Price was excellent. I also like to be able get RIS in 12 oz. bottles. Overall, not enough depth. I have to give it a 3.5 since not good enough for 4.0, but really is somewhere in between.

Bottled with the oxygen absorbing caps so I think I will age this to see if the aroma, taste, and mouthfeel improve with time.

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Photo of Lucklys
3.53/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a standard tumbler, Widmer's W'11 KGB Russian Imperial Stout appeared an opaque tar black throughout most of the glass, but near the top, right under the head, a thin highlighted layer of burnt sepia with jeweled garnet tones glimmered in just the right light. A layer of caramel colored foam built quickly from the bottom with medium bubbles while fading just as fast off the creamy top, reaching about 2 fingers thick through the end of a vigorous pour. It eventually faded to a thin, velvety sheet that laid gingerly across the liquid and left evenly spaced lines of lace along the glass.

Hints of a nutty coffee and roasted, smoky malts slathered in melted pieces of dark chocolate dominated the nose from the very first whiffs. As it slowly warmed, aromas of toasted caramel, burnt brown sugar, and toffee wafted from the beer, closely followed by some mild earthy citrus hops that were hardly noticeable. Something sweet was trying to push its way through the heavier fragrances, but I couldn't quite grab a hold of it - I've heard others describe dark fruits and berries, but I just couldn't pick them out over all of the roasted, toasted goodness.

Segueing right into the flavor profile, I was met with an extremely deep and bitter roast coffee that smothered my entire tongue on the first sip and nipped my taste buds awake. Toasted grainy malts helped to smooth it out, and as I continued drinking, I found that it became more and more silky, eventually keeping the bitterness at a level where the other flavors could present themselves. I was a little surprised that the dark chocolate in my mouth was much less pronounced than it was in the nose, but it also seemed to taste sweeter than it smelled and added an extra bit of roundness to the beer. About a quarter of the way in, the alcohol started to peek through and offered a quick burst of warmth while pairing with the hops and medium carbonation to produce a peppery/spicy character. As the bitterness continued to fade (or as my tongue became more used to it), touches of caramel, brown sugar molasses, and toffee, all slightly burnt, aided in smoothing out the brew and gave me a few more dimensions to work with. Overall, I found the W'11 KGB held a fairly light and oily mouthfeel as well as flavor - especially for an imperial stout - hiding in a medium body, but it's still quite drinkable despite the high alcohol content. In the end I feel like it could use that fruitiness that continues to evade me through both the nose and taste, even just to help wash down the smoky, biter aftertaste that lingered on the back of my tongue for the next 15 minutes after a drink.

W'11 KGB Russian Imperial Stout is most definitely a winter beer, to be enjoyed as a heat source for the coldest days. So if you still have one in your fridge, I recommend drinking it now, before it gets too warm outside, or wait until next winter, because the weather where I am right now unfortunately does nothing to compliment the beverage.

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

Appearance: dark mahogany-black, opaque, thick layer of dark-brown foam, good head retention

Aroma: chocolate cake (maybe even Guinness cake?), grain, hint of coffee and wafts of alcohol

Flavor: malty sweetness upfront with roast coming in on the back of the peppery alcohol; hints of burnt sugar and citrus rind hop bitterness in the semisweet finish

Mouthfeel: full body, pert carbonation, alcohol warmth, smooth texture

Other comments: I loved Widmer's W'10 (the Black IPA or Cascadia IPA as it should be called) and this one is just as good. Keep 'em coming!

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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 wstuart
4.42/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

bitter as hell, and for a good price. if you want to get a nice buzz for a good price, kick back a six and get ready to hit the floor! a very nice dark brown, with a medium brown top. most definetly a winter beer, best enjoyed outside and in the cold. when i camp in the cascades or at shasta, this is what i bring.

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Photo of SolomonGrundy
3.48/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Keeping in line with the darkness...remember that band The Darkness? I loved their album "Permission to Land"...I know, totally not my style, but hey...

Not as dark as last night's ale (Dark Sky), but still an inky black. The red at the edges is more pronounced here, so it has that going for it...

Decent yet short head is very creamy and smooth. Not a lot of lacing...

Aromas are typical for the style: some roasty chocolate malt, but very little else. A slight disappointment.

Flavor4 makes up for it, though. Super huge and robust. TONS of dark chocolate and espresso in this-a-here ale. The "TANG!!" of the malt hits you straight away. This is big and in your face, kind of like Chris Farley was....The texture of this ale isn't as smooth as some of the premiere in the style, and that chunks it down a notch. Finish is super long and bitter in a good way. This ale has just enough sweetness to balance out the bitter...Great price at $9.99/sixer and 9.3% ABV to boot makes this a bit more drinkable than the rarer versions. A touch below the top tier or two, but good beer.

What I like most: The vast, enormous flavor profile.

What I like least: The lack of originality overall.

Verdict: Good beer, well-priced, but not for special occasions. Worth buying if you see it.

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Photo of exonthebottle
4.18/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a great stout dark black nice head never fades
solid nutty coffee, chocolate malty smell
taste smooth this beer is really well hidden alcohol wise maybe not as complex as other stouts but this does what is needed even a bit of hops
Nice carbonation nice coating easy to chug hard to sip stout

I think this one of most drinkable RIS I have had ever. so nice I might have two

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Photo of BigB415
4.46/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Pours a pitch black with a dark brown head. Light lacing.
S: Chocolate and Alcohol.
T: More chocolate and alcohol.
M: very subtle. Not one to stick around and hang on you're tongue.
D: this is a nice stout because it's not too complex with flavors. It's simple.

I really enjoyed this and I'm glad I found a new stout to try. I recommend it to anyone looking for something new to try.

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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 jkdrummer
4.06/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's alive and frothy! Wonderful head, beautiful jet black color. Taste is smokey, coffee overtones, current berry like sweetness that's not too sweet. Heavy mouth-feel but also a little bitter on the back of the tongue. Some alcohol overtones as well, you treat this as a dessert very filling ale. Kinda tame for an Imperial, but still a good brew.

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Photo of beertaster13
4.15/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, dark coal black with an inviting mocha/tan head. The smell is of roasted barley and a slight marshmellow character. A subtle hint of chocolate in the nose. The taste was very light for an imperial stout. Not as strong as most imperials i've had. I liked it, went well with dessert. The taste was managable despite the alcohol content, usually when the alcohol content is high the alcohol is almost unbearable for me. Slight burnt aftertaste, but went great with vanilla ice cream. Feels heavy in the mouth but like I said lighter than most imperials. Very drinkable in my opinion, this could sneak up on you fast. Very good and very well priced at $5.99 for a 6 pack.

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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 DaveAnderson
3.83/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another solid - but not stellar - offering from Widmer. Hard to call this a RIS, though.

A - Nice dark pour with a creamy, dark head. Good retention and lacing.

S - Smells like a stout, but missing something -- fruit, maybe? Deep roastiness, plenty of piney (and a little citrus) hop aroma. Slightly boozy.

T - Definitely missing some fruit. I expect a RIS to be a little raisiny, but I am only catching malt, roast, chocolate, and hops. Well, those and the booze. This one is a little hot.

M - Pretty good. Creamy and full. Sticks with you. Not as boozy as it initially smells.

D - I kind of like this. I want a second. Then a third and a cab.

I just can't call it a RIS. It's definitely a strong, intense stout. But a RIS should be a kaleidescope of flavors and smells, and this is one or two dimensions short.

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Photo of Briken
3.58/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Black and medium brown foamy head with good retention and nice lacing. Floral, roasted malt aroma. Light chocolate and heavier roasted and hop bitterness. Light alcohol and a little fruit in the finish. Moderate coffee bitter finish. Medium body and smoothness with a relatively sharp bite.

A pretty hoppy RIS reminiscent of Ol' Rasputin though not as bold or complex. Roasted flavors dominate though a little chocolate sweetness comes through at the end although the bitterness still lingers on. Alcohol is well masked and makes for a pretty easy drinking big beer.

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

(12oz bottle). Pours dark brown with khaki head. Aroma of tobacco, alcohol, dark chocolate and dark fruit. Taste is bitter with some sweetness underneath. Thin bodied with slick texture. Finish is roasty bitter. Not the flavor profile I prefer in a RIS.

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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 grittybrews
3.81/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a dense cola black into a tulip with a finger of deep mocha head. Slightly charred and smoky aroma dominated by coffee and hints of bitter chocolate.

Moderate carbonation and a full, creamy mouthfeel. Taste started with a surprising cocoa sweetness, hints of toffee and vanilla, and a strong espresso character on the finish that grew quite bitter.

Initially I wasn't impressed by the aroma or the slightly acrid finish, but this brew actually had some really nice flavors going on and a very pleasant mouthfeel. Not overly complex and probably not approaching the top tier of imperial stouts, but it was tasty enough and quite the bargain for under two bucks a bottle.

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

Pours a big two finger head. The body is pitch black, I mean PITCH black. You cannot see through this one bit. The head is light brown, like chocolate milk. Huge robust smell on the nose, really hits you. Smells sweet and malty, maybe some chocolate malts on the nose. It smells really great, but at the same time it kinda smells average. You can taste the alcohol in this one. You get the alcohol, you get the stout flavor, and you get a sour taste in the finish. Unfortunately it's not a good sour taste, it's not a hop bite or anything, it's just sour. I don't know if it's from the alcohol or what, but the sour is there. Taste is average overall. Even though you pick up the alcohol, the drinkability is still pretty high on this one, mouthfeel is average.

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Photo of quisatzhaderach
3.91/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

The color is deep and dark, showing a slight translucence only at the very edges of the glass. This rich darkness is topped by a creamy but short-lived tan head.

The aroma suggests both the expected sweetness and multi-dimensional grain characteristics, and a smoky note accompanied by a slight acridity.

The taste is dominated by a large, blunt bitterness at the back of the tongue. Surrounding this are smoky, sweet, and wheat-like flavors, finishing with a dry creaminess.

The thick, syrupy consistency of this brew is first demonstrated during the pour. Upon drinking, the liquid fills the mouth voluminously with a rich thickness.

This beer is a fine example of this loud style. However, it may be lacking in the subtle fruit found in others of its kind. It is drinkable in limited quantity, due to its overwhelming richness.

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Photo of johntp
3.8/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

a: black. cannot see through even at the edges of the glass. 3 finger khaki to brown thick head that laces the sides all the way down to the bottom of the glass.

s: licorice, date, raisin, cherry, and roasted malts come to mind. the roasted malt stays in the backround while the dark fruits linger up front.

t: smokey malts domitate the tounge, then dark fruits appear midway through, and then quickly vanish as a dry and roasted malt bitterness sets in at the end with slight hop notes. alchohol is there, but not as much as would be expected at 9.3%.

m: this beer coats the inside of the mouth like syrup, with just enough carbonation to wash away the body, and quite dry on the back end.

d: for me, the high abv, and full robust body lend themselves to a low drinkablity. it is a joy to drink, but not in large quantities!

This is a big, heavy beer. Its delightful to sip on. While not the most complex RIS i've had, it is delicious nontheless. Its got sweet smoked malts, dark fruits, dry bitter finish, which all come in at different phases of the swallow and are all combined into a thick robust body. I liked it.

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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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