Kill Devil Brown Ale (Brothers' Reserve Series) | Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

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Kill Devil Brown Ale (Brothers' Reserve Series)Kill Devil Brown Ale (Brothers' Reserve Series)

Brewed by:
Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
Oregon, United States

Style: American Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Imperial Brown Ale with black strap molasses and palm sugar aged for four months in Puerto Rico rum barrels.

Added by msubulldog25 on 04-27-2012

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Reviews: 51 | Ratings: 216
Photo of q33jeff
2.28/5  rDev -37%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

On tap at killarneys.
L: light brown, small off white head.
A: weak, veggie
Taste: burnt toast, malt.
Feel: medium body, but flat.

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Photo of heresy22
1.53/5  rDev -57.7%
look: 3 | smell: 1.25 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured from a wax-capped bomber into a tulip. Pretty reddish-brown, no head. It went downhill from there.

Sickeningly sweet. Smelled of booze and soy sauce. The boozy smell got stronger as it warmed. I got through about a third of the bottle and could stomach no more. Drain pour.

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Photo of thirstyturtle
1.67/5  rDev -53.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

First beer I have ever had to pour out after only a few sips. Maybe it gets better with age but the Rum was so overbearing I didn't even taste a brown ale, just booze.

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Photo of Tone
3.25/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours a cloudy, brown color. 1/3 inch head of an off-white color. Good retention and slight lacing. Smells of alcohol, strong sweet malt, sugar, hint of hops, and hint of nut. Fits the style of an American Brown Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. There is also a strong dryness. Tastes of alcohol, strong sweet malt, hint of yeast, hint of hop, slight metallic notes, and a sugar. Overall, decent beer, strong body and aroma, but the metallic and sugar flavors hurt.

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Photo of jokelahoma
3.74/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a shaker. Not a ton of head, fades to just a skiff. Laces well, though.

Aroma is sweet chocolate and malt. Not a big hop presence.

Flavor is big and rich, without the crappy country songs. Sweet, molasses flavors. Again almost no hop presence, with just enough bitterness to keep the brew from hanging around in the aftertaste. Not bad, and easy to drink for a big brew. Probably a tad too sweet for more than one, though.

Mouthfeel is big, rich, oily, clingy... In short, it screams "big alcohol beer here!" Yet for all that, it isn't work to drink it.

Not bad. It's unapologetically big and sweet. I've had better big browns, but I've had worse too wouldn't drink it often, and it'd probably work better in the fall, but it's worth trying.

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Photo of welldigger888
3.78/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 2013 bottle with a dense creamy fantastic head leaving blankets of lace. A crystal clear tawny brown garnet hued elixer. Wonderful!!!

Sadly I am hit right in the nose holes with oxidized hops.

Extremely creamy smooth malt goodness with a touch of vanilla and barrel goodness. A hint of the sweet rum comes through on deep thought and sadly some oxidized hops.

This brown drinks like a wonderful dense barleywine, man this is full bodied easy drinking BIG brew!

I feel that while this drinks great it is not a brown but a really nice barleywine!!!!

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Photo of cjgiant
3.72/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

A: pours a caramel amber; the beer seems pretty clear for its darkness. Little head, barely sustaining.
S: rich sweetness, molasses and brown sugar.
T/M: starts with a creamy malt feel, which is quickly backed by the molasses from the nose. The alcohol adds a little burn early that fades and you can notice the rum-barrel aging as the maltiness fades, but it's understated. I also feels there is a little smokiness in there, without conviction. The ending feel is a little alcohol/carbonation burn/tingle.
O: wasn't exactly sure what I expected, but it does tend toward the sweet side for a beer, more of a "dessert" beer than a brown ale. It has some depth beyond the sweetness, but one should go into it knowing to expect more of a sipping off-norm beer.

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Photo of Thads324
3.77/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Kill devil 2013
A: sexy gold wax on the top is a messy open, wax chips flying everywhere. Pours a copper not brown. Thin fizzy and loud popping tan head. Low level of lacing.
S : sugary sweet syrup aroma with hints of oaky wood and alcohol. A smidgen of vanilla and plum. Very nice smell reminiscent of big brews.
T : flavor starts with a big hit of sweetness. Caramel and toffee with candied sugar. A hop bitterness in the middle is pleasant. Good hop flavor of pear, apple meat and follows with hints of grape flavor. Finish is a big oaky, with hints of vanilla and almost but not quite a birch tree sprig flavor. Sweet, finish.
M: higher side of medium bodied, well carbonated but not overly so. Slightly slick with a zippy bitterness that lingers. Well hidden booze

Weird color, as I figured it would be darker brown. Fantastic flavor with a really nice hop flavor that is a different type of fruity than most. Grape and apple abound with the wood and vanilla oak on top is very nice. I think a bit of the zippiness is from the rum. Better than I thought from widmer.

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Photo of Dicers
3.13/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Was looking forward to this beer. Tried to enjoy this during Game 2 of the World Series. Poured out a bit lighter than expected. A nice 2 finger head formed so I forgave the pour colour. Smell is a bit absent A trend of underwhelm is happening with this beer.
The taste was off. This is a blend of barrel aged beer but all I get is metallic taste.

Overall I'm not as impressed with this beer as I had hoped. This isn't terrible just not the best representation of what I had expected

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Photo of Cheshire_Crew_Al
3.74/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Interesting beer

A: dark amber, 1-2 cm head (poured into a pint glass)

S: burnt toffee

T/M: Definitely a little boozy I felt, caramel/smokiness on initial taste - carbonation is not heavy at all but moreso than I anticipated, as it warms, it has a sort of syrupy sense to it that makes me feel like I'm drinking a liqueur at times. Overall, it is very enjoyable and the good mix of bitterness with a touch of sweet is nicely balanced, not a sessionable beer, this is a had-a-bad-day beer where you need to sit and savor one for a bit

O: Solid beer, enjoyed it thoroughly, the ABV is well-represented in the taste moreso than anticipated

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Photo of TruePerception
3.81/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

(Previous review, transferred from beer journal)

Widmer's Kill Devil Brown Ale: 90% ale brewed with palm sugar and molasses, aged in rum barrels, 10% ale, 9.5% ABV; almost a finger's worth of head; Appearance: deep brownish-red; Smell: rum, oak, sap, palm leaves; Taste/Mouthfeel: very dark flavor, some burnt toast, a little molasses sweetness, light black licorice, char-like sweetness on back of tongue, faint toffee; pretty good.

Poured into a pint glass.

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Photo of Pencible
3.93/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: This poured a hazy dark copper with almost no head.
S: It smelled like faint copper with sweet raisins and some toffee and oak.
T: It tasted like copper hops and sweet raisin and and vanilla, with some earthy toffee and oak. It had a sweet aftertaste with alcohol warming.
M: It was oily with moderate carbonation. Nice slick body.
D: This was a nice rum barrel beer. Rum is a tough liquor to mix with beer, but the scent and taste of this one were quite enjoyable. The body was solid and the finish was smooth. But there was a notable burn, so it was better to sip. Not sure it would age well, but I enjoyed it fresh. Yum.

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Photo of metter98
3.71/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is quite hazy brownish red in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high off white head that died down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light aromas of rum are present in the nose and become slightly stronger as the beer warms up along with hints of molasses.
T: Like the smell, the taste has flavors of rum but these are more subdued with notes of caramel and nutty malts, brown sugar and molasses along with some hints of tropical fruits. No bitterness is perceptible, although there are just enough hops to keep the taste from becoming sweet.
M: It feels nearly medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. Surprisingly, there isn't much in the way of alcohol heat given its strength and the rum barrel aging.
O: This is a nice beer to sip as the rum barrel aging adds a little more in the way of complexity to a rather drinkable imperial brown ale.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.78/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured a finger of tan head on a dark brown body. Looks great.
The aroma is wonderful: molasses, dark chocolate, coffee and brown sugar.
The taste starts off lighter: vanilla and nuts. Then moves to a sweet profile: brown sugar, malty and a black licorice and alcohol heat finish.
The texture is a little sticky with low carbonation.
It's a great beer and interesting... but at quite a price.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.09/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle - $12.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a medium reddish-brown body, a bit garnet-hued, with a less-than-clear clarity. Medium-small, off-white head.

Smell: Toasty, caramel malts, a bit sweetish in scent, with faint, faint hints of chocolate. Also, varied, rum-dipped fruit (albeit light) hints of cherry, fig, and plum.

Taste: Brown sugar and darkened caramel, a resounding dark toasted malt with slight shards of chocolate, of roast. Medium sweetness. As with the aroma, there's a good, pleasing fruitiness. Lightly herbal, earthy hops with a modest bitterness. Veins of rum, molasses noted. Sweetish, malty, smooth finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-light carbonation. Smooth mouthfeel.

Overall: It's good. I mean, everyone likes a nice, big, malty brown, right? Everyone likes a brown ale.

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Photo of Wrigfen
4.22/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle Limited Edition No. 10 Spring 2013. Pours nicely with a good full head. Very dark amber. Nice taste, not as full body as I expected based on appearance but a fine smooth beverage. I liked the nice mild aftertaste the best. At 9.5 ABV this is a very good beer and would recommend although a little pricey. Slight update, just had my second 22 ounce bottle from the Spring 2013 stock I purchased that was date coded March 2013. Drank the second one today July 1 2013 from same stock that I purchased in April 2013. This second beer aged in our house in a comfortable environment. Even better than the high rating I gave before, but will not alter my ranking since it was already high and the beer is still pricey. BUT GET SOME AT LEAST IT IS GREAT!

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.78/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had on-tap at Final Gravity in Roseville, CA

Appearance - Pours a relatively clear, brilliant amber brown served to me in an 11.5 ounce snifter with no room for head. A mostly flat surface, with only a thin gathering of bubbles of around the edge of the glass. Lacing is spotty with good stick.

Smell - Moderate aroma. Sweet, sugary and slightly boozy. Light roastiness; remeniscent of sugar-glazed roasted walnuts.

Taste - Sweet brown sugar and a bit of booze upfront. Light molasses. Earthy nuttiness. Light roast quality. Turns slightly metallic near the finish.

Mouthfeel - Full-bodied; near syrupy. Moderate carbonation. Dry finish.

Overall - This is a good beer, but no way in hell would I pay $12 for a bomber. Glad I got this at a special on-tap price of $4. It's too bad; it looks like a phenomenal brew on paper, but the end result doesn't justify the price.

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Photo of SHODriver
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: pours a dark brown that glows red where the light shines through into a snifter with a small off white head that fades quickly to a collar around the glass
S: smells of molasses, brown sugar and spice from the rum barrels
T: tastes of molasses, brown sugar and some spice with a few hints of lightly roasted malt. swallow brings more molasses, a slight woodyness and spice with a bit of alcohol heat
M: a little less than full in the mouth with slightly prickly carbonation. It doesn't feel quite right on the tongue. it feels thick as you sip but as it sits in the mouth it feels much lighter. slightly drying finish
O: a good idea with less than optimal execution. It's close but it can't quite tie everything together or strike a good balance of flavors. The concept always got my interest because the flavors sounded like they should lend well to each other but the price kept me back. I finally bit the bullet but wish I would have left this one on the shelf.

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Photo of tdm168
4.16/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A - dark brownish amber with a big, white, brownish head that has good retention

S - huge caramel aroma and some bready notes

T - molasses, caramel, brown sugar

M - sticky, medium to full bodied, well carbonated

This was a nice beer. It truly was a big, bold, double brown ale. The maltiness was deep and complex, rich and sticky. The ABV was also very well hidden. This was a solid beer that I wouldn't mind having again.

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Photo of Uncle_Jimmy
3.95/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- ruddy orangish brown very little head that doesn't linger light lacing.

Aroma- strong rum molasses cinnamon yams carmel and vanilla

taste- Slightly metallic, carmel rum oak tobacco prune. Its a little buttery not as deep and rich as some of the special offerings from firestone, but tasty the ale gets a bit more nutty as it warms and it finishes with slightly herbal hops.

Mouthfeel- full bodied despite a lighter color for a brown ale IMO. some warmth from the alcohol and a little lighter on the carbonation.

Over all- like I said this is a tasty brew but it lacks the depth of some of firestone's offerings. of course i am much more of a whisky guy than a rum guy. I would order another on ebut i would pare this with turkey mashed potatoes and gravy.

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Photo of Daniellobo
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice rum barreled brown ale.

Presentation: Post recycled cardboard box with a brown and gold band noting name, main characteristics and intent of the brew, as well as a general overview of the brewery, and the scope of the Reserve series. Contains a 22 oz brown capped bottle. Screen printed label with gold framing and typography designed around the descriptive text of the brewery and this beer release. Notes Oregon pride, main description, and limited release #6. Displays 9.5% Alc. by Vol. Poured into a snifter.

A - Clear deep amber/brown pour, with a frothy short lived head that leaves a fair surface memory ring, with minimal splashes of lacing.

S - Lightly boozy nose, touches of molasses and malt… rummy notes emerging in the finish...

T - Nice complex sweetness, soft rummy notes over sugar, dash of spice and a distant nutty hint.

M - Medium body, medium/low carbonation with a nice creamy feel over a light warmth.

O - This was a nice sipper, not overtly complex but with a good range and long flow.

Notes: Certainly nice, and it is stimulating to see this rum barrel aging trend emerging. Worth the exploration if one if intrigued by these flavors. Socially as an after meal sipper it worked pretty well.

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
3.36/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours a semi transparent brownish amber, the head with a vigorous pour about half a 1/3" in size in an off-white color with slight yellow tint to it. Settles with even lacing.

Smell: Light light maple scent right off the nostrils it feels sweet. Light rum as well but keep in mind this is awfully light I mean light.

Taste: This beer has a strong maple finish right off the bat that make you think it more well suited to have with dessert. Rum is evident in this brew with a sweetness that comes pretty quite appetizing.

Mouth: It's tough to decide what is the weakest property of this beer. It's either the mouth or the scent not that is that bad but it comes off with a light carbonation and feels a touch flat. Another thing I didn't like is that the after-taste dissipates f'n quick.

Overall: This beer is good, but at what it's priced you must either love Widmer Brothers brewery or love brown ales. I would have taken my fourteen dollars and spent it on one of my regular favorites. I will not tell you to avoid this but proceed with the right head in mind. Salud!

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Photo of Zorro
3.17/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Clear brown colored ale with a small yellowish head.

Smells a little sweet with a syrup on toast aroma. Molasses and rum are in this. Caramel and vanilla also detected. Still this isn't that aromatic a beer.

Starts out very sweet. Molasses and hops with a touch of rum. Brown sugar and a woody hop flavor. Strangely alcohol doesn't standout at all despite the rum flavors.

Mouthfeel is good.

Overall it is a boring beer.

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Photo of Apostlebrews
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Despite my best efforts to stay objective, I approached this beer with fairly low expectations. Every review I have seen or heard has been sub-par; most bloggers' reviews have cited disappointment and letdown. And then I tasted Kill Devil for myself and remembered an important fact about craft beer: like art, beer speaks to each person differently based one's palate and personal preference.

But in case you still don't trust your own palate, I'll lend you mine for the moment.

I picked up a bottle of Kill Devil from Beer:30 in Jacksonville. The aroma is incredibly sweet. There's definitely a hint of rum, but the sweetness is pretty overpowering.

Like the aroma, the taste is very sweet. I was actually a bit surprised at how sugar-forward this is on the tongue. Reminds me of sugar cane juice I drank in Egypt. Beyond the sugar-forward introduction in your mouth, there are heavy amounts of molasses and caramel flavors that are followed by an unmistakable rum profile, which is my favorite part about this beer. The rum comes through even more as the beer warms and the low-moderate carbonation also helps create a solid rum finish. I recommend letting this one sit for about 10 minutes after you've taken it out of the fridge.

This is a sugar-rum-molasses-malt-bomb in a glass. It's really quite enjoyable and really serves as a nice winter warmer. The 9.5% ABV brings a good amount of heat that picks up as the glass warms. The biggest problem I have with this beer is the amount of sugar that comes through. Although I really enjoyed the taste, I'm not sure I could drink more than a glass due to its sweetness.

If you like rum, brown ales, fun dip, or rock candy, this beer is right up your alley.

You can read more of my reviews on my beer blog:


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Photo of ehammond1
2.94/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle (2012)

Thanks for the gift, Alucard4!

Dark amber, nearly completely brown, with a very small light brown head. Leaves dots and irregular webs of stick down the glass.

The weakest aspect of this beer is its aroma. It's not particularly powerful, and what's here isn't particularly pleasant. It's got some sweetness, big grain notes, aroma of metals, and lots of burnt toast elements. Nothing special.

The flavor is better than the aroma, though the flavor too is nothing special. Sweet molasses, grain, mild nut character, and a little bit of booze. It's fairly simple and straightforward, while remaining generally sweet. I don't think this saw the barrel for too long.

Thin to medium bodied with low-moderate carbonation.

Nothing exciting; nothing good; nothing bad. A boring barrel-aged brown ale.

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Kill Devil Brown Ale (Brothers' Reserve Series) from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
3.62 out of 5 based on 216 ratings.
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