Victory Storm King Imperial Stout

Victory Brewing Co. – Downingtown, PA

Storm King Imperial Stout – 9.1% ABV – 12 oz.

In honor of tomorrow’s November 24th release of Dark Intrigue, I thought it  appropriate to taste and write some words about Storm King.  As noted in yesterday’s post, Storm King is the starting stout that is aged in Bourbon barrels to result in Dark Intrigue.

As I pour this into my tulip glass, I realize it is one of the darkest stouts I’ve sampled.  This beer is black.  The espresso-colored head is thick and tall; an inch and a half, at least.  There is zero visible carbonation.  I can’t tell if there’s no carbonation present or if I just can’t see the bubbles through the blackness.

The aroma is classic imperial stout, including coffee grounds and dark chocolate, but there is an extra layer of roasted smokiness that isn’t usually present.  It’s very inviting.  It’s funny, but this beer actually smells “thick”.  There are some sugary aromas present like molasses and brown sugar.  I decided to wait a few minutes for the beer to move away from refrigerator temperature.  As the beer warms, the hop aromas make their presence known.  It’s interesting to smell the fruity-vegetal notes under so much molasses-like malt.  It ends up having a pretty well rounded nose.

The flavor is surprisingly hoppy.  But I can actually notice how well-rounded it is.  There are lots of hop flavors alongside the tons of malt flavors.  The major players in the flavor include roasted coffee beans from the malt and that fruitiness from the hops.  The beer isn’t nearly as sweet as the aroma led me to believe.  The hops bring a nice level of bitterness along with the black coffee that are both tempered by the sweet molasses and malt flavors.  The mild smokiness enhances the flavor even more.  As I said with the aroma, the flavor is also very well-rounded.

The mouth feel is thinner than I would have liked.  It looked thicker while I was pouring it into the glass.  There is also a bitter aftertaste that lingered a little longer than I would have liked.  That problem was easily solved by taking another fresh sip.

This stout is surprisingly drinkable for hitting 9% alcohol.  I could go through more than one of these on a cold night.  It also goes exceptionally well with chocolate cake. (tested and confirmed)

I’m glad I have an extra bottle in my beer cellar waiting to be opened on a later date.  Hopefully, it will age gracefully.  There is a lot of potential with this one.  I don’t think I’ll wait until 1/8/2015, the best by date on the bottle, but I’ll definitely let this one ride a few years.

Storm King is a great stout. The flavor is so balanced with a bit more hop flavor than I’ve usually tasted.  The coffee notes of the roasted malts are delicious.  The slight smokiness I tasted was also a high point.  I am really looking forward to how Storm King tastes after lounging in those Bourbon barrels for 6 months.

Overall:  A-

Published in: on November 23, 2010 at 8:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

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