Preface: This 12 oz. bottle of Widmer Kill Devil Brown Ale was sent to me by the folks at the Widmer Brothers Brewing Co. It arrived 14 June 2012 and has been refrigerated since then. The bottle was allowed to slowly warm to just under cellar temperature prior to pouring and tasting.
The information on this bottle tells me that it’s “90% ale brewed with palm sugar and molasses and aged in rum barrels and 10% ale.” On the bottle it says “9.5% alcohol by volume” and “Limited edition #6”. Additional information on the back of the bottle says “Sweet Barbados and blackstrap molasses provide touches of toasted sugar, black licorice and blackened coffee to this brown ale while the palm sugars invite notes subtle sweetness. Conditioned in Puerto Rican rum barrels, the vanilla and oak flavors and aromas integrate with the Calypso hop’s soft tropical and stone fruit aromas.”
Let me also note the use of a particular style of glassware. This glass was provided by the folks at Widmer Brothers Brewing Co. and is their preferred style of beer glass for this brew, as illustrated on the bottle label. Of particular interest with the beer this high in alcohol content the glass is marked to show a 6 ounce pour and a 10 ounce pour… Everything in moderation.
The taste receptors were refreshed prior to tasting this brew with a rinsing with seltzer water.
The following are my tasting notes:
Appearance: This is a deep almost Garnet-red colored brew with a less than obvious carbonation that nevertheless builds a respectable head of light brown color composed of tiny bubbles that quickly dissipate.
Aroma: The first impression is of a roasted caramel sugar. A second visit finds hints of prune and plumb. The third nosedive finds a continuation of the previous impressions.
Mouth feel: At 9.5% abv this is a big bruising heavyweight.
Flavor: After the first physical impression of chill there is not a great deal of upfront flavor with the first sip. The first “flavor impression” is that this is a very thick beer. Second sip reveals a rather complex combination of flavors that are hard to identify specifically. There is a bit of this, perhaps molasses, perhaps prune, but not bold enough to stand up and say this is what I am. But there is a good sense of alcoholic warmth hidden beneath the thick body of this beer.
Finish: There a surprising short finish to this beer. Neither tart nor sweet, it is much like the pleasant relief that you feel when a large person gets off your lap.
Comments: This is a relatively high alcohol brew that has going through a lengthy process to produce. The combination of ingredients makes this an interesting beer intellectually. It is also a good thing that the glass is marked to encourage moderation. Served in a pint glass, I can only imagine results on mind and body.
Food & Beer: This is a nut and fruit at the end of meal beer… you might even share it in smaller glasses.
The Brewery: Widmer Brothers Brewing Co.