Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

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

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
51 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 51 | Ratings: 216
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.

 281 characters

Photo of harrymel
1.64/5  rDev -54.7%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Bottled 05APR12

From the box: Kill Devil Brown Ale's flavor comes from the use of ingredients traditionally used by the Caribbean distillers. Sweet Barbados and blackstrap molasses provide touches of toasted sugar, black licorice and blackened toffee while the palm sugars invite notes of subtle sweetness. As the beer conditions in Puerto Rican Rum Barrels, the vanilla and subtle oak flavors and aromas develop and integrate themselves with the Calypso hop's soft tropical and stone fruit aromas.

Look: Brown ale, excellent clarity and a quickly dissipating light coconut foam.

Smell: initially of copper. Then I dive back in trying to get something to justify the $13 price point; getting some licorice, and grape nuts (the cereal kids don't want). Hints of warm cola. Very disappointed with the nose here. Maybe a hint of molasses/brown sugar toward the end of the beer, maybe.

Flavor: metal, hot dog water, raisin, cardboard. This is a really simple beer. I am starting to get the feeling that maybe by "aged" they meant "ran through" the rum barrels. The oak is evident as well, but in the raw, cheap red wine way - not the aged in quality barrels way. It's really tannic to me.

Feel: Among the thinnest "barrel aged" beers I've had, really thin. Moderated carb, semi dry finish (being generous as the tannic character makes the beer linger).

Overall: I'm disappointed in this beer. I've been duped before, and I'm beginning to feel like Widmer must have the best fucking marketing team out there, because I keep buying their spendy beers hoping their IPA experimental quality will spill into their more adventurous products - alas, this is not the case.

 1,668 characters

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.

 167 characters

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.

 163 characters

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.

 812 characters

Photo of ATLbeerDog
3/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark amber/copper color that appears to be a tad flat. Hardly no head or lacing whatsoever. Smells of medium roasted malts and a small splash of booze. First sip is surprisingly dull as all the stuff that is supposed to be in this beer are only slightly present. There are some rum notes present in the finish but I shouldn’t have to hunt for the flavor. There are slight flavors that are rather sweet from the molasses and a bit of oak but seriously folks this tastes more like an average base beer with a few hints of pecans slipping thru.

 551 characters

Photo of Gmann
3.12/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a chocolate brown color with a short wispy tan head that settled into a light ring. Meh

The aroma is of brown bread, slightly nutty. Some brown sugar sweetness. Raisin pops through as well as an extremely subtle rum note. Decent but not super strong.

The taste is of a standard brown. Lightly toasted bread, caramel, and tea like flavors. The barrel aging tastes of cheap rum, mostly boozy without a good rum's deep sugary flavors. Really just no good depth of flavor here. The flavor is thin.

The feel is light, almost watery. The carbonation is prickly. Despite being light, the beer has a sticky finish. The ABV is a tad harsh.

There is some flavor here and nothing is gross so it is hard to kill this beer. However, for a rum barrel aged brew, it is quite lacking. Lacks major depth.

 797 characters

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.12/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Picked up at Bier Thirty at least a week ago... Poured tonight into my slim tulip... thin tannish head .. the brew is the expected deep brown..

Nose is oaky with plenty of dry molasses notes and sorta raisin elements... a bit of nutty maltiness with warmth.

Pretty oaky.. some rummy notes when it is colder that dissipate as it warms..

Thick and malty.. the molasses punctuates the flavor with a bit of sulfur.. again a bit too much rum for my liking.. malty flavors are thick enough to pull from a deck of descriptors... toast, nutty, dark caramel, "brown malt".. etc. In the end, this is too sweet for me.. the residual sugars combine with the malty essences to just go overboard.

Palate is pretty heavy with a decent carbonation but not enough bubbles to help strip the lingering flavors away for even a second.

?? If I buy another, it will be to forget about it in the cellar for at least a year... I doubt it will do any good, but maybe the sugars die back a bit and the barrels come out.


 1,013 characters

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

 486 characters

Photo of bum732
3.14/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

S: A very raw mollases and earthy grassiness. A little wood in the finish.

L: Fairly clear brown, some ruby highlights. Not much head, some clear carbonation.

T: Toasty malt with an earthy sugary note. Low bitterness with some sugar like qualities finishing semi-dry and quick.

M: Medium full body, medium low carbonation. Alcohol detectable.

Interesting beer, don't really get the rum. I really wanted to like this beer since i love rum so much. That and i wanted to make a homebrew similar to this, good to know it doesn't really work.

 541 characters

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.

 424 characters

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.

 502 characters

Photo of beertunes
3.33/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in tulip. Poured a medium walnut color with less than 1/4 inch of light khaki head that had moderate retention and good lacing.

The aroma, aside from a noticeable sweetness, was fairly neutral. Nothing really stood out, either good or bad. On the tongue, the beer did have a bit of a biscuit flavor and a hint of nuttiness, otherwise it was also fairly benign.

The body was mostly about what you would expect from the style, although the finish was a bit stickier than I would have liked. Drinkability was OK, the went down smoothly and easily enough. Overall, I think your enjoyment will depend on your sweet tooth. If you like the sweet stuff, you'll probably enjoy this beer. Worth trying if you see it, probably not worth seeking out.

 747 characters

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!

 1,117 characters

Photo of DavoleBomb
3.42/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a perfect pint. I love brown ales and rum barrel aged beers, so I had to buy this. I was a little disappointed to see the mediocre scores on this, but hopefully everyone is wrong.

3.0 A: Not very brown for a brown ale. Clear, dark orange amber color. Two fingers of frothy tan head. Retention is average for the ABV, I suppose and clouds of lacing are left sporadically.

3.5 S: Loads of dry toasty maltiness and nuttiness. Molasses and burnt sugar underneath. Earthy rum notes with oak and vanilla, but no booziness. It's not bad, but it desperately needs some more power.

3.5 T: Again lots of toastiness and nuttiness followed by molasses and burnt sugar. The rum is more aggressive in the taste and it's appreciated. It gives notes of earth, caramel, toffee, and toast. Oak and light vanilla. Soft citrusy fruitiness. The booze is well hidden again. The taste is better than the nose, but not enough to bump up the score.

3.0 M: Lighter medium body. Good moderate carbonation, but lacking creaminess. Could also use some more body. I was expecting a rich mouthfeel on this beer and I didn't get one.

3.5 D: It's decent all around, but it just leaves me wanting more. I wanted bolder flavors with more depth and more viscosity. Worth a try, but not a second buy.

 1,281 characters

Photo of Knapp85
3.42/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This poured out as a reddish brown color with a thin white head on top. The head settles and doesn't leave much behind on the glass. The smell of the beer is loaded with wood-like aromas from the barrel aging. There is a sweetness on the nose and hints of spice too. The taste of the beer gives off some elements of rum, there is a sweetness to this beer for sure. Not major bitterness at all here. The flavors of spiced caramel come to mind a little bit. The mouthfeel was moderate, just about medium bodied and carbonated enough to keep it alive on tongue. Overall this beer was average to me, kind of glad I didn't buy a whole bottle though.

 644 characters

Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.45/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Kill Devil, bottle bought at Super Buy-Rite Jersey City for $11.99.

Appearance: Served in my Duvel art glass, almost the whole bomber. Viscous-but-not-quite pour, brown-auburn color. Standard head, very fizzy and nervous. Doesn't last, leaving a bubbly mantle behind. No lacing.

Smell: Hazelnut, oxidation. Brown sugar, coconut. Coffee with two creams, one sugar. Mild hops, some farm funk. Chocolate powder.

Taste: There is a mighty oxidation taste right away, then booze/rum in a non-subtle way, or barreling done not-quite-right. Astringent finish. Some chocolate and spice around the mouth. Hearts of palm, soy glaze and ebony booty. Weird. Lacks body/flavor.

Mouthfeel: It works well enough. Medium body and flavor and carbonation. Unremarkable all around but not unpleasant. Nice booze/rum finish.

Overall: Alright, but far from great. Drinks fine, but damn, just boring and not up to par.

 905 characters

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.

 967 characters

Photo of maximum12
3.53/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another Widmer bomber. 22 oz. bottle split with my wife during an unGodly hot stretch of Minnesota weather. 101 today. Isn't this MinneSnowta? WTF?

Pour is that peculiar brown with red peeking around the rounded edges of the beer. Nose isn't anything special, light malts, bits of rum. Have to suck plenty of oxygen to even get that.

Kill Devil. Brown. Rum. It's clear on the label & there are no roller-coaster twists here. Moderately rum-forward but also strangely rum-quiet; it's there, but prevalent only due to the absence of any other strong flavors. Light malts come through. Little candiedness, nice chunk of caramel. Actually grows on me as it warms, & the strength of this brew is the drinkability. The base brown is quiet & inoffensive & the rum is nice, so it just slips into silence. My belly is very quiet.

Good beer. I'd like the base beer to bring more to the party, & that might catapult this into the castle.

 931 characters

Photo of bluejacket74
3.54/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle, bottled on April 5, 2012. Served in a chalice, the beer pours a reddish/brown color with a half inch light tan head. The head fizzled away quickly, and there wasn't much lacing. Aroma is sweet and malty, it smells like molasses, brown sugar, caramel, nuts, vanilla and some rum. It tastes like molasses, burnt sugar, rum, vanilla, and a bit of chocolate. However, the taste isn't quite as nice as the aroma is. Mouthfeel/body is light/medium, it's thinner than I thought it would be. It also has low/moderate carbonation. I think it's a decent brew overall, but at $12.99 a bottle I probably wouldn't buy it again at that price. With that being said, it's worth trying.

 686 characters

Photo of Scotchboy
3.62/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Passed on this one may times in the bottle store @ ~ $13/bomber. $4.99 on-tap @ Brewforia got me to bite. Served in a chalice.

A: Very dark brown with a small light khaki head and decent lacing/legs. Many people have commented that this beer is lighter red and transparent but this was not my experience out of the tap.

S: Interesting that there is a roast quality to this thing right off the bat...definitely some notes of coffee in there, as well as hints of brown sugar, cocoa, molasses, and dry nutty sweetness. Alcohol seems fairly well hidden.

T: Moderate suggestions of coffee here too...faint roasted bitterness, cocoa and mocha, graham cracker, hints of molasses and brown sugar, light spirit-like presence on the finish, but the barrel presence is really very light, and the sweetness is very subtle.

MF: Medium thinner mouthfeel, there is a light alcohol presence, cleaner finish.

O: I wanted to like this one but it left me wanting more. A brown ale brewed with molasses and date sugars and aged in rum barrels should have more vanilla qualities and a more well-rounded aroma and flavor profile. I didn't think it was bad, but I thought it could be better.

 1,173 characters

Photo of mactrail
3.65/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber chestnut color in the Ommegang chalice. Pleasantly sudsy with a coarser, prickly carbonation on the tongue. Medium mouthfeel; while malty, it's not really thick. The caramel and gingerbread scent is rather nice.

I think this has more molasses flavor than any beer I've tasted. Dark and a little sulphury, the blackstrap less-refined kind. The barrel contributes a subtle boozy flavor, it definitely tastes like rum. Actually more like rum and Coke with a spoonful of molasses. The sweetness is more in passing and the finish is certainly dry. A deep fruity note of dried plums with some licorice adds to the weirdness. A dry candy flavor, if that makes sense. Powerful but doesn't taste particularly of alcohol.

Lots of hops contribute to the dark and bitter tang. Not my favorite barrel-aged beer by a long shot, but it's an intriguing brew. If you like the dark, rich sweet flavors with a hoppy bite, this should do it. From the 22 oz bottle in a box from Liticker's in Ocean Beach.

 997 characters

Photo of JustinQ
3.67/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12.99 for 22 oz Bottle

Serving Type: 22 oz Bottle poured into snifter

Appearence: nice off white head, ruby red/brown color, alot clearer then expected.

Aroma: Slightly boozy, sweet, caramel. No hops or Diacetyl.

Taste: Dried fruits, Bitter but balanced very well with the sweetness. The brown ale character is somewhat over shadowed by the rum flavors.

Mouthfeel: Thick and dry, Warming.

Overall: Great beer but not quite worth the money. Glad I Got a bottle when it was fresh.

 487 characters

Photo of theblackgate
3.67/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Just tried this at the tail end of some work research.

Not as outstanding as I might have wished for, but a decent beer.

Pours a dark brown (as suggested) color into a large snifter. The head dissipated fairly quickly.

Aromas of roasted nuts, molasses, raisinated fruit with some baking spices.

Palate was a mix of some of the aromas along with an upfront sweetness that fades to roasted dark malty grains and molasses.

Body was lighter than expected, but still rich. For a brown ale, I would say a medium/medium + body.

Overall, slightly disappointing. I thought the nose was more interesting than the palate. My drinking partner enjoyed it more than I did, but he likes sweeter styles. I feel like the beer was a bit muddled in delivering some of the components. All in all, a slightly above average offering from Widmer.

Serving type 22oz.

 849 characters

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.

 1,006 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Kill Devil Brown Ale (Brothers' Reserve Series) from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
3.62 out of 5 based on 216 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!