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 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 ngeunit1
4.2/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a cloudy brownish-red with a finger of frothy off-white head. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of sweet caramel malts, toasted coconut, brown and residual sugars, oak, vanilla, molasses, with a touch of dark fruit and booze.

T - Starts off with a mix of rich sweet caramel malts, brown sugar, toasted coconut, and vanilla. Through the middle, some oak and rum comes through with some more residual sugars, molasses, and a hint of dark fruit. The finish is a mix of sweet caramelized malts, brown sugar, toasted coconut, oak, vanilla, rum, and a bit of booze.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a sweet and warming finish.

D - Very drinkable. Nice imperial brown ale with some great balance and complexity from the rum barrel aging.

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Photo of ryanonline
4.2/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a very clear darkish brown with lighter brown highlights thick foamy head, very light lacing.

smooth and spicy, lil bit of cinnamon and sweet candied sugar. not much else.

taste is much more roasty, and somewhat clean. still has a sweetness to it, but much more subdued. faintly getting some piney hops in the background. Not super amazing but great for what it is.

mouthfeel is quite excellent. smooth and light and lightly bitter. dryish finish and a bit of slickness to it.

super drinkable.

awesome beer, a bit too expensive for a more or less simple beer. Still really good.

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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 cosmicevan
4.12/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another one from the 7/27 Top Hops mini tasting! thanks to jim for sharing (and hosting us)!

a - watery brown with a thin foamy cream colored head.

s - nutmeg sweet malts. The way a brown ale should smell. Really balanced. Everything in it's right place.

t - Wow...diggin it! just a great brown ale. the 10% rum barrel is a perfect compliment for the beer.

m - easy drinker...a bit watery.

o - very impressive. one of the better browns I've had. everything is in check here.

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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 ThickNStout
4.02/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle from Total Wine (Kennesaw, GA). 11.99. Served in a Terrapin snifter. 

Pours an opaque brown, thin and light around the edges with a half finger pale head. Spotty lacing.

Smell is very sweet with strong booze, vanilla, oak, brown sugar and obvious molasses.

Even sweeter than the smell is the taste. Molasses plays a starring role with vanilla/rum, woody, sugar and toffee flavors. The alcohol is well hidden. 

Medium body and well carbonated. Sticky feel. Long, sweet finish.

Overall I enjoyed this one. I'm glad I split the bottle because it's a whole lot of sweet. It worth a try but not sure if the cost is worth a repeat investment. 

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

A: amber brown with beige head; motes and lacing after head quickly settles into thinness

S: a little woody, some of the molasses and rum slips out - didn't pack much of an aromatic punch

T: get the rum barrels early, sweet, with some molasses and vanilla in the background; hints of toffee; warming improved the taste and brought out some dark fruity undertones and blended the molasses sweetness with the dry woodsiness nicely

M: medium to thin, sweet and dry compete for the finish; slight tacky aftertaste

O: I've only had a couple of brown ales, and I've only had a couple of Widmer Bros' beers... A good beer, but maybe it's the style that leaves me a little flat, however, had to come back to this as I finished the bomber - a better beer in closing than I gauged initially - reminiscent of a BSDA without the Belgian yeasts; really grew to enjoy the molasses meets dry rum flavors. Definitely worth a buy, definitely better as it warms.

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

right away, the box got me. why does a beer need a box? except to call attention to itself? well, i bit. i brought it home and chilled it. (i'm gullible that way)
small head, no retention, very minimal lacing. in my tall, thin ERDINGER glass it most definitely is a beautiful dark orange color as a previous reviewer wrote. maybe it would be a 'brown' ale if i had used a wider glass?
dark malty smell, burned-a-little something, and the taste goes with it. a little sweet, can taste the alcohol a bit, but overall, it's a decent flavor that hides the 9.5% abv quite well. as it warms, the abv seems to come up in the taste. others hit this right on the head when they said there was a rum taste as it leaves.
it was worth a try but i wont have it again. the box just set the sarcasm reactor in motion and obviously tried to validate the price. well, maybe the high alcohol content validates the price(?).
on a side note, while shopping for interesting and untried beers today, i couldnt help but wonder why all these american brewed beers are so much more expensive than the great brews from germany, on an ounce for ounce basis? those beers have travelled nearly half-way around the world and are verified classics in the beer world (yes, i'm aware it's a commercial beer). this one came all the way from oregon to my little county (of Orange) with only 4 million people. ive actually not really found a widmer i like yet. and this one was an extreme one at $13.99 for the 22oz at Bevmo. the 6'er of paulaner oktoberfest was only $6.99.... that's 72 oz (66?) of some fine, proven nectar. but i'll back off my rant now . . . .

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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 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 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 GregSVT
3.88/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into a snifter

A: Pours a clear brown with a nice light tan head that fades to a ring and leaves some lacing on the glass.

S: The nose starts with notes of a regular imperial brown like light chocolate malt. As it warms I get the molasses, vanilla, and rum. There's also a slight banana aroma that's very interesting and must be from the rum.

T: The taste starts with vanilla, malt, slight molasses, and rum and the finish has that crazy banana from the nose. It's not overly barrel or overly base but a decent combo of the two.

M: The feel is on the lighter side of medium but it has a nice creamy feel.

O: This was a decent attempt but I would have liked to see them use a heavier beer like an Imperial Stout. It's still tasty and I would recommend it for anyone that likes rum barrel aged beers.

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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 Docer
3.79/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: (3.5)

- Pours a clear dark mahogany brown with a subtle finger of off-white head. Settles to a thin island and medium ring in the glass. Overall a rich and sleeper-like looking brew.

Smell: (4.5)

- Rich roasted grains, brown sugars, caramel, big toffee aromas, vanilla, and light rum. Somewhat earthy and grassy. Overall smells like desert. Super good smell.

Taste: (3.5)

-Caramel sweet, candy rum, vanilla oak, and nice tart grain and hop balancing notes. Just a touch earthy and grassy, light esters, big vanilla and overall dark roasty sweetness. Just a bit of an off flavor of tartness from what must be the house ale yeast. Perhaps a different yeast and some bottle conditioning might have done this one better.

Mouth Feel: (4.0)

- Nice medium body, quite creamy and smooth. Bit cloying and chewy, and finishes a bit dry. I like dry. Certainly some serious bittering in this one. Not bad.

Overall: (3.5)

- This brew has some nice barrel character, and is quite tasty. It only lacks a little in overall uniqueness with the flavor and feel. Perhaps even too large of a production for the style? Yeast? It hits some wonderful aroma marks, flavor is a little average, but I like where the brew is going. I like what Widmer is doing. Kudo's for that at least. But not my favorite in the reserve series. I still think I like the first special brew better. The Double Alt (which was the 25th Anniversary beer prior to the first Brothers Reserve Series release).

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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 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 DonDirkA
3.78/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nose is very oakey, vanilla, molasses, burnt sugar and papaya. Taste is kind of disappointing. Sweet, slightly fruity (tropical), slight oak notes, alcohol burn (more of a feeling than a taste), burnt toffee and some slightly stale background tastes. I have had 3 or 4 of Widmer's Reserve series and I feel like I'm generally disappointed. They just aren't that great. I'm hoping that Raspberry Russian Imperial Stout I have put away is better. This isn't terrible, or even bad, but just disappointing. Not bad though, I don't remember the price but I think it was around $6.99 so not too crazy.

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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 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 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 Cyberkedi
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Strong aroma has a malty core and nutty, caramel, horehound and earthy notes. It pours a dark, slightly hazy mahogany; thick, fluffy, tan head, however, doesn't stick around for long. Delectable flavor has notes of lightly roasted malt, caramel and molasses with hints of horehound and oak. Smooth texture has firm body and a fair amount of tingle. A lip-smacking ale worth catching during its limited release. If it's not Widmer Brothers' best, it is still worthy.

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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 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 LiquidAmber
3.72/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Dogfish Head pint glass. Pours a red mahogany amber with a thin light tan head that dissipated quickly to a ring around the glass and patchy foam. Nice aroma of sweet caramel malt, vanilla, oak and nuts. Flavor follows, caramel malt, brown sugar, light vanilla and a hint of rum. A bit boozy and warming. Medium bodied, slightly syrupy. Flavors are pleasant and well integrated, but not intense enough to cover the alcohol, so it finishes a bit on the hot side. Enjoyable rum flavor, but high ABV could use more intensity in the supporting flavors.

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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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