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 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.

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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 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.

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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 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 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 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 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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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.


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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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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 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 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 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 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.

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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 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 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 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.

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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.

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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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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.

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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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