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 PhatAtUT
3.5/5  rDev -3%

Photo of hilgart1
4/5  rDev +10.8%

Photo of mikerieder
3.5/5  rDev -3%

Photo of einman
3.84/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.75/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Years ago, I had the Widmer Brothers Hefeweizen and thought that it was one of the more enjoyable beers that I ever tasted. Although my preferences have changed quite a bit, I wanted to give this a go when I saw it at Top Hops a few weeks back. I hoped that it would be a bit more easygoing than other Russian Imperial Stouts that I've had and even though the alcohol was strong enough here, that did turn out to be the case. Whether this was categorized properly was another matter, however...

Of course, the pour was dark and reminded me of a thick soda. Not a lot of head here but the lacing more than made up for it, as it left near-perfect rings after each sip that I took. Quite a burnt aroma to this that was repeated in the taste. Burnt coffee, burnt oats, burnt the point where this felt a lot like an Irish Dry Stout taken up a notch of two. Some vanilla and cream for good measure gave this a it of depth but the warmth that other beers of this style have just wasn't here. The carbonation was light and so was the body, giving this a consistency of espresso without the caffeine. Certainly not a "motor oil" beer like so many other examples of this style.

Yes, this was strong but not enough that I felt like I was tasting alcohol as has been the case with so many other RIS's. This should have been categorized as an Imperial IDS and on it's own this was about as easygoing as a Stout could be. A bit more body and warmth and less of a burnt and smoky mouthfeel would have made this grade but if I hadn't ever tried anything this dark before, this would be the beer that I'd begin with. One in a sitting would probably be enough for most people.

 1,670 characters

Photo of RangnaR
4/5  rDev +10.8%

Photo of zeff80
4/5  rDev +10.8%

Photo of fountainofyouth
3.24/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into a Guinness pint glass.

Appearance: My god it is dark. Essentially black. The head is decent-sized, maintains well, and sticks to the glass.

Smell: Good and strong. Sweet dark fruit and smoke. Almost bock-like.

Taste: A little shallow. There's some spicy hops and blackened grain that are good, but not too much else. The rich malt in the nose isn't in the flavor enough. Only at the end does it creep in, and by then it's too late.

Mouthfeel: It's pretty light-bodied for an imperial. The end is very, very dry, almost metallic. Not pleasant. Standard carb.

Overall: Could've been done better. Had worse, but I've had much better, too.

 673 characters

Photo of Durge
4/5  rDev +10.8%

Photo of EyePeeAyBryan
4/5  rDev +10.8%

Photo of smartassboiler
3/5  rDev -16.9%

Photo of Bustersuess
3.75/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of TKEbeerman
3.5/5  rDev -3%

Photo of Jameswoody
3.5/5  rDev -3%

Photo of Oelschlager
3/5  rDev -16.9%

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

 579 characters

Photo of vette2006c5r
3.71/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Kgb pours a black color with a nice lacing tan head. Their is a a strong roasted malty aroma. The taste has a sharp almost sour malty bite, black licorice flavors and a strong boozy tast. Full flavor bu more of a sipper. Overall an interesting sourish russian stout.

 266 characters

Photo of SawDog505
4.25/5  rDev +17.7%

Photo of arizcards
3.86/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber at the end of April from Total Wine for 4.79. Bottled on 12-10-12.

Beer poured black as night with a very nice brown head.

Nose has hints of roasted malts and mocha.

Taste is nicely balanced. Roasted malts, chocolate, mocha, and a decent amount of hops keep the sweetness at bay.

Mouthfeel is medium to heavy and satisfying.

Overall I like this brew, not to boozy and very balanced and the office is nice. Give it a shot if you have the opportunity.

 473 characters

Photo of DeschutesFan
3.25/5  rDev -10%

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.

 1,100 characters

Photo of WritersBlock
4/5  rDev +10.8%

Photo of Topher78
3.75/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of tectactoe
3.37/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Kevin or Jeff for this one, not sure who it actually belonged to. It pours out nearly black with some very, very dark brown tints that stain the extremities. The khaki, almost half-inch head actually has decent retention (for a Russian Imperial Stout, anyway) and leaves a few spots of chunky lacing along the sides of the glass.

Straightforward and simple is the aroma, possibly almost to the point of being a little one-track minded. Heavy roasted malts, embarking on the modest trail of light ash and light char. Sprinkle something faintly reminiscent of cocoa powder over that, and you've pretty much summed up the aroma of this one. It's missing out on a lot of great, yet typical RIS elements, and that makes it seem kind of bland and boring.

After taking a few sips, it unfortunately doesn't seem like the flavor profile will end up being the redeeming factor of this beer. It's far from bad, offensive, or gross - it just happens to be far too stripped down and painfully average when other beers of the same style are considered. Some deeply roasted, almost charred and burnt malts scrape the palate along with a dark cocoa bean finish, and now I'm struggling to pick out anything else.

The one and basically only addition the flavor has that the aroma doesn't is a bit of alcohol. In retrospect, it really isn't good nor bad, it's just there. I guess it gives a bit of robustness to an otherwise basic and slightly wimpy RIS. Even the mouth feel is lacking a bit; it's medium bodied, but still thin within the style; more oily and wet than creamy or smooth. Carbonation is pretty good, and sadly, it looks like that may be the high-point.

A pretty big "meh" in regards to a style that's full of huge, robust, and complex beers. I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with lighter, simpler brews - hell, I love me a nice German Helles Lager... but when I pick up a Russian Imperial Stout, I have certain expectations and they just really weren't met here. Not bad, but uninteresting to say the least.

 2,027 characters

Photo of SmellsofMahagony
3.75/5  rDev +3.9%

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