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KGB Imperial Stout | Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

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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: 293
Photo of donkeyrunner
3.61/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Forgot what color it was when I poured it but KGB sits black in my big ol' goblet o' RIS. Dark beige head fades to a lazy skim and leaves a few polka dots of foam.

Smells like brown sugar, charcoal and molasses.

Roasty caramel chocolate nougat desert sweet stout. Dried dark fruit in back. Flavors dull and muddle as it warms which is a shame because it starts great. Hearty, smooth mouthfeel.

Brewed with "Midnight Wheat" which is trademarked so don't try and steal that great name. I didn't know one could trademark wheat.

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Photo of htomsirveaux
3.2/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle tried 5 Mar 2011. Served in the (512) One snifter.

Large thick brown head. Well carbonated. Very dark brown, opaque. Aroma is roasty, smokey, burnt coffee, and sweet dark sugars. Starts much the same. Well roasted coffee bitterness. Touch of tobacco. Some chocolate milk sweetness. Medium body, ethanol is warming. Lingering roasted/burnt bitterness.

Overall, not bad but towards the middle of the pack for this style.

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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 Scotchboy
4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz long neck bottled on 20 Dec 2010, poured into my CBS snifter.

A: Opaque black as you would expect, practically no head in this expansive glass; splotches of tannish/brown lacing and alcohol lacing stick to the glass.

S: I like it, sweetness and hops meet the nose; molasses and hints of chocolate, oily herbal hops, perhaps a bit of tangy wheat as well? Dark dank malts and hints of coffee, roasted notes.

T: Taste follows the nose, there is a good amount of chocolate, the molasses and sweetness of burnt caramel mix with roast and coffee and charred wood, herbal hops are still here, between those and the wheat there is the slightest hint of the presence of a citrus rind.

MF: Oily medium feel, with lower carbonation and a hint of alcohol still.

O: Still a good drinker after a year+, and a great value. Recommended.

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Photo of ehammond1
3.62/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On Tap

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

Dark black throughout with a thin brown head that leaves spiderwebs of lace down the glass, though the beer looks a bit thin.

Bold and complete aroma of roasted malts, a touch of chocolate, and a bit of tangy licorice.

The flavor is simple, with the roasted malts dominating most of everything else. There's a bit of sweetness, though this is a simple, but complete stout.

Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation.

Decent enough big stout, but there are better options available practically anytime, anywhere.

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

My man Erik hooked up a bottle of this - thanks man!

Poured to a pint glass.

A - The beer pours very dark, not quite pitch black, but dark with reddish brown edges and a a 1/2 finger brown head. Not much retention or lacing.

S - Aroma is that of a lot of roasted malts: chocolate malts, black patent, etc. A light hop aroma barely detectable and a bit of alcohol.

T/M - Just where the nose left off the flavor starts: A good amount of roasted malts on the tongue. In addition to the chocolate malts and patent malts there are hints of coffee and espresso. A very mild bitterness throughout and a noticeable alcohol warmth. The beer doesn't finish as smooth as I would prefer though fairly balanced. There is a sting of alcohol and malt that I can't quite describe, not terrible, but noticeable and deters from the enjoyment of the beer. Full bodied with decent carbonation.

D - It's better than average.

Overall, I was disappointed slightly in this beer and likely won't be back for the price. Too many other Russian Imperials out there that are far superior.

Note: This review was a re-post from my former account, jmkratt, which was hacked and I lost all my reviews...sorry for the redundancy.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 03-10-2011 13:50:12

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Photo of army01
3.6/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Black Gold. This pours like used Pennzoil. Light tan head that disappears quickly to light lacing around the rim of the glass

S: bold coffee and dark chocolate scents

T: The chocolate flavor is first on the tongue, but lighter than expected, followed by the much bolder burnt coffee taste. A decent amount of bitterness

M: Not nearly as heavy as one would expect by the appearance, but seems to lack something.

Overall: This is a decent imperial stout. I would drink another if someone were to bring one to me, but would not race out in search of another bottle.

Serving type: 1 year aged bottle

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Photo of zoolzoo
3.65/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pitch black, motor oil pour. Head is slow to form, never really amounts to much. Big coffee and bitter dark chocolate nose. Taste basically follows suit, bitter dark chocolate, coffee, not too roasty. Hops linger beneath, and unfortunately throw in a dash of soy sauce.

MF is pretty thick, carbonation is higher than the head indicates. Not a bad impy, solid offering from Widmer.

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Photo of yemenmocha
4.2/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bitter dark chocolate monster! Wow this is one of the better dark/bitter chocolatey beers I've sampled. Pours near black, tan head, and a modest nose of roasty aromas. Palate is unambiguous with bitter chocolate and roasty flavors. Such a full flavored beer. Same flavors extend into the long finish.

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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 stabzmcgee
3.82/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Aroma is chocolaty with a bit of malt and nut. Appearance is black with a healthy stable brown leather colored head. Taste is nutty, chocolate with a sweet bitterness. palate is tingly with a huge amount of creaminess. Wish I had cellar stock of this.

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Photo of SWMeyer4141
3.55/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Snifter

Appearance-Black, but not that thick body you want in a big stout. Two finger tan head that dissipates quickly and leaves some pretty nice lacing.

Smell-Huge roasted malts, tons. Some coffee and dark chocolate. Very light hop still in the smell after 6+ months.

Taste-Roasted malts up front all the way. Lots of it, even some smokiness. Middle get some dark fruits and some coffee. Finish is just straight dark chocolate bitterness. Not sure if it's coming from the malt or the faded hops, but it really lingers on the tongue. Alcohol is no where to be found.

Mouthfeel-Medium bodied, compared to other big stouts I had it's a little thin, but still nice. Carbonation is pretty moderate.

Overall-A very easy to drink RIS. ABV is almost non-existent. With what else is out there this is lacking some depth, but still a good beer.

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Photo of BeerNutz324
3.49/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into an oversized wine glass.

Ap- VERY dark brown, almost black, nice cinnamon colored head about 1 inch high. Retention good, looks creamy.

Ar- Choc, alcohol, sweet roasted malts.

T- The roasted malts hit first, then the chocolate and a wee bit of coffee. The alcohol hits in you in the back end and is definitely present. Maybe more than it should be for 9.3%

M- normal body for a stout, good carbonation for this style. Alcohol warms the mouth a bit.

O- A good beer, not awesome though. A really good price for this "big" of a beer. I would probably buy this stuff again, especially as it gets colder and all ya wanna do is sit inside all day.

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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 kevosbob
3.33/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

It’s finally available: Widmer Brothers Brewing Company’s KGB Russian Imperial Stout as part of their “W” Brewmasters’ Release Series. The W’ Series is the brothers yearly attempt to brew a new beer from the ground up. KGB has been in the Widmer tap system but rarely ever seen outside of Portland, Oregon. Now it is available in bottles across the country and can currently be found within the Widmer Brothers variety 12-pack. KGB has a 9.3% alcohol by volume and will only be available for a limited time. Our bottle cap says, “A Prost: To the Unwritten Rules.”

This beer pours a one shade off from being pitch black. The head is a sandy cream color and is very thin but never seems to diminish entirely. The beer smells as expected, dark and roasted with hints of chocolate and coffee malts. It also smells a little sweet with no signs of being a high alcohol stout.

Tasted like a big stout or a small imperial stout. Tastes a little thin for a imperial stout and a little too sweet for a Russian imperial stout. KGB has the proper amount of carbonation to give itself a creamy texture and drinks nicely with no alcohol burn, surprisingly nice for a big beer. The chocolate and coffee tones are bitter and dry at first but quickly become tolerable and less abrasive. This drinks easy which may be disappointing if you are looking for a powerful beer to sip on, but on the other had this may be a perfect beer to try if you typically don’t like big, roasted, stouts.

This is a great beer for the price and current availability. I would suggest finding a 6-pack or buying the Widmer variety 12-pack and enjoying KGB along with Widmer’s hefeweizen and pale ale. With that said, the KGB is not all terribly impressive. I would not suggest going out of your way for this beer but if you find one, drink and enjoy.

My Beer Rating: 3.5

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

This isn't the greatest RIS on the market, but it's hard to beat a beer this good for the price.
Nice malty aroma with mild to moderate roast, a little coffee, some chocolate and sweet caramel/toffee. I've been sitting on this for a bit, so maybe there was more hops when fresh, but not too much now.
Very dark black with little hints of light on the edges. Smallish dark head that leaves some lacing and doesn't know when to leave.
Nicely balanced flavors for style. The hops are here pretty big and bold and preventing any excess on the sweetness. More roast here and the dryness bitterness from that with the bitterness from the hops make quite a finish. I like the hop flavors along with the bitterness.
Very nicely carbonated beer with soft, yet full bubbles that soften the moderately heavy drink very nicely.
This beer drinks dangerously easily. I repeat the sentiment of my first line.

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Photo of Rutager
4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance. Pours black and a little viscous. Half a finger of dark tan head that leaves a little lacing.

Smell. Earthy hops and roasty malts. Some burnt sugar and a little fruit and alcohol.

Taste. Roasty malts and dark chocolate, a little dried dark fruits. Coffee comes through in the end along with some grassy hops. Pretty dry finish.

Mouthfeel. Medium body with smooth medium carbonation.

Overall. Nice imperial stout but nothing stands out to set it apart.

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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 it..it'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 bennetj17
3.93/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled 3-3-11. Dark black, but not overly viscous looking. It pours leaving a decent tan foam head which settles slowly into a sudsy ring. Smells like there were some spices added to this brew. I get a dominant anise aroma, with moderate hopppiness, and light chocolate notes. Very faint alcohols also.

On the lighter side for the taste of a Russian Imperial, the intial sip has a semi-sweetness with a drying, lightly roasted finish. It's chocolatey but I also notice some butterscotch notes, and the licorice is more toned down compared to the aroma. The body is only moderately thick, and with decent carbonation it actually goes down pretty easy for the style. The alcohols are not very noticible either so I believe it doesn't require any further aging.

Overall I'm pleasantly suprised with the quality of this Imperial Stout. I had to check the tag again, and yep it was only a buck-thirty which I think is unmatched. Perhaps I will have to pick up a couple more of these if they are still around...

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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 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 woemad
3.39/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle from a 6-pack purchased at a local grocery store for $6.99.

Pours a very dark brown that looks virtually black, only letting a little brownness show when held directly up to light. Huge, creamy tan head that took quite some time to dissipate, leaving lots of lace on the sides of an English-style pintglass.

This smells like a mild attempt at an imperial stout. There’s dark fruit and mollasses, but it’s neither as strong nor as rich as most attempts at the style.

Better tasting than the smell led me to believe, this starts out with a mollassey flavor that is immediately paired with a balancing bitterness. There’s some raisiny things going on in the background, and it all ends with a hoppy zap to the palate.

Somewhat thin-bodied, for the style, with a coating, sticky mouthfeel.

Props to Widmer for doing something different, and for doing an imperial stout at this price point. If you’ve got the funds for something better, however, you’ll be happier to move beyond this.

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Photo of Diesel76
4.53/5  rDev +25.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

By far my favorite bre to come out from the Kurt and Rob's mega micro brewery in some time. I have been a huge fan of Widmer for many many years... (some of their beers I wish they would bring back)... it saddends to think this will be gone next year... so I did stock up on some...

This is a fantastic version of a Russian Imperial Stout. Widmer really has a winner with this one, hopefully they will relize it is a quality beer and keep brewing it rather than worry about making the sales numbers their Hefeweizen pulls in.

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Photo of InebriatedJoker
4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this as an extra from shrek806 - Thanks Kevin.

Poured from 12oz bottle into pint goblet - bottle date March 08 /11.

A: Poured a deep black with half finger head that dissipated into a thin toffee colored lacing, moderate carbonation.

S: Roasted Barley, slight chocolate ,toffee.

T: Deep raosted barley , chocolate malt,some slight toffee and coffee hints.

O: Overall this was a smooth and creamy good tasting RIS, The flavors really opened up as it got closer to room temp...Would definitly have another one.

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Photo of karait95
3.65/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hard to try style, really well done as we will see with the review but even not the preferred personal one.

A: Very attached to the style, almost black color really dark brown color that doesn't let the light pass, the head is not impressive but it is present and formed with small to medium size bubbles the dissipation is not fast and leaves a lot of traces stick to the glass, carbonation exists because the permanent layer on top of the beer even so it cannot be seen due to the dark color of the liquid.

S: Intense toasted malts and alcohol aromas are sensed not bad, due to the style that can be expected, unfortunately nothing else can be detected clearly. Maybe some coffee is present.

T: Full toasted malts, hops and also the alcohol are tasted not to rare and all of these attached to the style.

M: Really creamy, thick and intense body, the sensations is bitter almost since the beginning little complexity.

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KGB Imperial Stout from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
3.61 out of 5 based on 293 ratings.
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