Victory Wild Devil

Victory Brewing Co. – Downingtown, PA

Wild Devil – 6.7% ABV, 25.4 oz.

“…What has made him truly wild is a change of yeast…Brettanomyces…”

Bottled 6/11/2009, purchased 9/2010, enjoyed 3/27/2011

Wild Devil pours a hazy, honey color with a large, chunky head.  It was 2 inches high, and the bubbles were noticeably larger than normal.

The aroma is musty, sour and fruity with a good amount of hops and malt.  Definitely a funky smelling beer.  Funk is a characteristic that I’m still getting used to observing, but Wild Devil has it.  I can also smell the ‘Brett’ wild yeast.

Flavor resembles the aroma.  It is funky with some pleasant sourness; distinctly tangy.  It’s not an official sour beer, but the wild yeast brings some of the same flavor notes: fruity, funky and tart.  Malt is certainly present and it’s bready with a very floral hop flavor profile.  The hops are citrusy, yet floral.

There is a small bit of unwanted alcohol or phenol flavors that detract from this beer.  It’s not a deal-breaker, but I would have hoped they weren’t there.  It’s possible that they are only present from the extra aging.

The mouth feel is light to medium bodied.  Carbonation is aggressive and seems to foam up with each sip.

The drinkability isn’t too bad.  I’m sure I could have a couple of these, but one is what I’m going to recommend.  I shared this bottle with my wife and she really liked it.

Another cool offering from Victory, even cooler being almost 2 years old from the bottling date.

Overall – B

Published in: on March 27, 2011 at 7:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

Victory Brewing Dark Intrigue

Victory Brewing Co – Downingtown, PA

Dark Intrigue – 9% + ABV – 25.4 oz.

Bottled on 11/19/2010

“Storm King aged in oak barrels that once matured Kentucky Bourbon”

It’s pretty amazing to have a bottle of this in my hand.  It was released today and purchased by a friend who waited in line for 2 ½ hours with 45 other people all looking to purchase some of the 70 odd cases sold from the Victory Brewpub.  Rumor has it the brewpub sold through their allotment in just about an hour.

Upon pouring, Dark Intrigue resembles the Storm King it evolved from with the exception of the head.  Now, it’s darker brown and appears much creamier.  The head also faded quicker, but returned with a quick swirl of the glass.  The consistency looks just a bit thicker.

The aroma is heavy with the sweet Bourbon.  I often swirl a beer in the glass when discussing the aroma because the agitation really brings out many subtle aromas.  The bourbon is in the forefront.  Other notes include vanilla beans, caramel, brown sugar and a small touch of molasses.  The aroma is awesome.

The first sip brings full-on Bourbon which assaults the tongue, but then fades to sweet balanced flavors that resemble various sugars as the ones noted above: caramel and brown sugar.  The vanilla is present in the flavor, but it leans more toward vanilla extract rather than the beans.  The difference is probably from the booziness of the bourbon plus the higher ABV.  There is a small background flavor of hops with a tiny bitter aftertaste that resembles a dark chocolate bar with around 90% cocoa.  It’s a good bitterness.

Most importantly, the Bourbon isn’t too strong or overpowering.  The first sip was a bit much, but each subsequent sip was great.  Other notes include that early booziness from the bourbon noted above and an earthy finish.  Storm King is 9.1% ABV, but Dark Intrigue does not have the alcohol content on the bottle.  I would probably peg it around 10%, or so.

I think temperature is the key here.  I wouldn’t serve this at or anywhere near refrigerator temperature.  I probably wouldn’t even go below 50%.  The cooler flavors would definitely take away from the subtleties of the Bourbon and vanilla.

As I drink this, there are two things that happen: first, the flavors become more complex as it gets warmer.  Second, an empty stomach isn’t the best thing to bring to a tasting where the beer is around 10%.  I’m not even through 10 ounces and I can tell there’s a nice amount of alcohol here.  If you know what I mean…

The mouth feel is thinner than expected, but that’s not a problem.  I like the texture.  It’s silky without being syrupy.  Now, I happen to enjoy thick beers, this just isn’t quite that thick.

Drinkability is surprisingly high.  A full 12 ounce glass was totally enjoyable and easy to drink.  The full 750 ml. bottle was shared between 3 people.

One negative is that the beer is a bit young.  Keep in mind, it’s great to be having this today, but it was just bottled on 11/19/2010.  That was 5 days ago!  I would bet some time in a beer cellar (or any cellar) would benefit it even more.  It’s currently a one note song, but it sure is an awesome song!

On a quick note, I’m sure people will try to compare Dark Intrigue to other popular Limited Release Bourbon aged stouts like K.B. and B.C.  At this point, I choose not to make any comparisons or comments on that issue.  Victory deserves their moment in the sun and today Dark Intrigue will stand alone.

I am really happy for Victory to get this level of success from their first barrel “experiment”.  It really attests to the skill of their brewers.  Of course, their other brews are pretty great too, but this brand new, so it gets extra attention.

If only my case didn’t have to be divided between so many people.  I want more for myself, and would like to crack one open now, then every couple of years.  Well, at least it lets more people get a taste.  Share the love, right? 

Great job, guys.  Thanks!

Overall: A


Published in: on November 24, 2010 at 7:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

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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