Widmer Kill Devil Brown Ale
Alcohol by Volume: 9.5% ABV
Look for this beer and more at Full Throttle Bottles in Georgetown.
Beer #6 in Widmer’s Brothers Reserve series is the Kill Devil Brown Ale. These Reserve beers are limited runs that are intended to be one-time releases; if you like it you had better stock up. The Kill Devil is an imperial brown ale brewed with molasses and aged in dark rum barrels.
Pours a hazy light brown with a thin layer of foam that doesn’t stick around. A brown sugar, sweet malt aroma with some fig and vanilla comes through loud and clear. My ability to pick up aromas is my definite weak spot in evaluating beers, but I had no issues with this one. The taste is a mixture of caramel, brown sugar and dark fruit with a good dose of alcohol coming through towards the finish. While I don’t taste pure blackstrap molasses very often (okay, never), I have enjoyed several Dark ‘n Stormy cocktails made with blackstrap rum, and this beer has very similar flavors from the use of that molasses. The beer is medium-bodied, and could probably use a little more beef to it. The warming alcohol in the finish is at just the right level. From the description it sounded like it could be a pretty sweet, syrupy beer, but that is not at all the case.
Kill Devil is interesting without knocking you over the head with over-the-top flavors, and the components have melded together quite well. Don’t expect this to scream “I’M A BARREL-AGED BEER”, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t enjoyable. No additional aging required, but you could get interesting results if you tried.
At a suggested retail price of $13.99/22oz bottle, this is an expensive proposition and close to the top range of what I’m willing to spend these days. But, do understand that these are expensive beers to make from both a time and resource perspective. I’d be willing to throw down $6 for a snifter of this at a bar, but I’m not sure I’d reach into my wallet to buy this at the bottle shop. If the $ isn’t a big deciding factor for you, then this is definitely worth buying.
Verdict: Worth A Try
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Commercial Description/Press Release:
KILL DEVIL BROWN ALE’S FLAVOR COME FROM THE USE OF INGREDIENTS TRADITIONALLY USED BY 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 WITH THE CALYPSO HOPS’ SOFT TROPICAL AND STONE FRUIT AROMAS.
In the interest of full disclosure to satisfy the FTC’s law, this review was of a sample bottle received from the brewery.