Let me be clear about my feelings towards Victory Brewing Company: they brew really terrific beers in all sorts of styles and I think they are one of the most consistent breweries in the country. On many occasions I have grabbed a Victory 12-pack sampler from the store and enjoyed every sip of their various offerings. And I know I am not the only one that feels this way. Our roommates consistently pack our beer fridge with Victory products and I know a bunch of people who easily put them in their top 5 breweries in the US.
Anyways, I stumbled upon one of their beers the other day that I had never tried before and knew that it would be perfect for a new beer post. Not only do I get to highlight a great Pennsylvanian brewery but I get to review a style of beer that has yet to grace this blog…an Imperial Stout. Typically I don’t seek out or crave Imperial Stouts, but Victory’s Storm King Stout has made me reconsider my future beer-buying habits.
-appearance: opaque, black, dark. A small deep tan head forms on the top of the stout that quickly disappears. There is a bit of lacing on the glass, but the jet black color of the beer is what most catches the eye.
-smell: roasted coffee and bitter dark chocolate on the nose. There is definitely a slightly smoky aspect to the smell and there also is a bit of floral hop aromas coming detectable. Hints of earthiness and dirt with traces of sweet malt and alcohol.
-taste: surprisingly the first thing I noticed was the flavor of the hops – piney and floral. Quickly accompanied by dark chocolate and roasted coffee, a hint of deep/dark malt sweetness and oak flavor. I definitely got a feel for the high alcohol content (9.1%) but the other flavors smooth it out and make it a very enjoyable beer.
-overall: as I mentioned above, Victory never fails to satisfy me and this beer certainly did not change things. I really enjoyed the hoppy character they brought to the roasted malt inherent in a stout, and I think it gave it a different dimension that some other stouts may be lacking. It is easy for breweries to get carried away with the coffee/chocolate/malt flavors, and I think Victory did a great job to balance it out with the hops. Definitely a very smooth drinking beer and one that I would gladly drink again.