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 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 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 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 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 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.

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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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

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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 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 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 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.

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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 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 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.

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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 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 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 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 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.

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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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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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