In the interest of being a bit more honest this writer has another confession to make, I love Imperial Stouts & Imperial Porters. Whether its the elements of mocha, dark cocoa, chocolate, or the richness of coffee or espresso, there is something about Imp. Stouts & Porters that makes me smile. Because of this I was actually stoked the idea of seeing a Imp. Stout from the Widmer Brothers. Not since Redhook Ale's Double Black Stout has there been a beer from an established brewery that I was enthusiastically looking to try.
But unlike many Imperial Stout and Porter enthusiast out there, we weren't expecting something in the same level of hype and appreciation as say a Deschutes Abyss, Three Floyds Dark Lord, or even Kate the Great. Instead we approached this release with more appreciation that a brewery the size of Widmer's would take the time to brew something as huge as this for the masses.
Brewers Association Suggested Guidelines
Black in color. American-style imperial stouts typically have a high alcohol content. Generally characterized as very robust. The extremely rich malty flavor and aroma are balanced with assertive hopping and fruity-ester characteristics. Bitterness should be moderately high to very high and balanced with full sweet malt character . Roasted malt astringency and bitterness can be moderately perceived but should not overwhelm the overall character. Hop aroma is usually moderately-high to overwhelmingly hop-floral, -citrus or -herbal. Diacetyl (butterscotch) levels should be absent
KGB W'11 is a strong, dark, ale, that when reviewed appears devoid of light. As the beer settles into it's 12oz vessel a strong initial mocha-colored foamy head forms a dense blanket, before slowly receding leaving a chaotic trail of lace inside the glass.
With each sniff we detect new aromas such as dark cocoa, bits of earth, dark fruits (fig), and coffee.
Right at the point of contact with our tongue we pick up slight citrus and earth notes, before bits of herbal tobacco and ash appear midway through the swallow. As the beer makes it final descent down our throat we pick up strong toffee and roasted barley. Overall this beer has a strong weight to it and definitely sticks around long after you have swallowed it.
This long-time favorite brewers' choice beer was created to help us challenge expectations and keep us true. We now expose it to you.
Using roasted barley, chocolate malt, and Midnight Wheat, KGB has a color that is as dark as a torrid past, a body as full as a well kept dossier, and a taste as complex as a conspiracy theory. KGB boasts a deep, opaque black color. It has tremendous body and mouthfeel, achieved by the use of roasted barley and other specialty malts. A spicy hop character helps balance the beer out to create a rich and complex
AVAILABILITY JANUARY – APRIL
BITTERNESS 65 IBU
ALCOHOL BY VOLUME 9.3%
ORIGINAL GRAVITY 21.5° PLATO
MALTS PALE, ROAST, C-60L, CHOCOLATE, MIDNIGHT WHEAT
HOPS BITTERING: ALCHEMY AROMA: ZEUS, CASCADE, WILLAMETTE
GOES WELL WITH AGED GOUDA, STRONG BLUE CHEESE, FRUIT CHUTNEYS, SMOKED & CURED MEATS, DARK
You Should Try This. To compare this to some of the top 10 Imp. Stouts out there would be a mistake, mostly because of the rarity of those others. Instead I invite you to ask yourself, when is the last time you had a high gravity beer from a brewery known for their American Wheat Ale? If we had only one concern regarding this beer it would be the lingering bitterness, which as of this sentence is still being felt. If you felt the need to grab something from the store we would definitely say stick with sharp or funky (dairy) otherwise, it might not be a bad idea to start out with dessert.
About the photo’s author
Paul “Fruit Trees” Orchard, is an amateur craft beer enthusiast and amateur photographer. Throughout the many years in craft beer he is always carrying a camera (smartphone, digital, traditional) and is invites you to see that beer can also be exciting even if you can’t drink the photo.
In accordance with new FTC regulations regarding bloggers and endorsements, the aforementioned company has provided me a free sample that was used for research prior to writing this review.