Thursday, December 22, 2011

Victory: Storm King (Imperial Stout) – Espresso never tasted so good

Located in Downingtown, Pennsylvania – about a 30 minute’s drive to the west of Philadelphia, Victory Brewing Company has about a dozen regular beers, another ten or so seasonal beers, and an excellent brewpub that I look forward to revisiting the next time I’m in the area. Storm King was my first encounter with Victory products – introduced to me at a local New Years Eve party a few years back. Since then, I’ve tried to sample everything they put out. To this day, I have yet to come across a Victory product that is anything less than superb. But, for me at least, Storm King is their flagship brew.

Life outside the bottle begins with a night black color, culminating in a medium-sized and resilient dark tan head. The lacing is tight and sticky, clinging to the sides of the glass long after the beer is consumed. The nose is roasted malts:  caramel, espresso galore, chocolate, and not a hint of alcohol, which is impressive considering its 9.1 percent ABV. A hop note is clearly present, but it’s definitely subdued by the malt. 

While the mouth feel is a bit less creamy than I might have hoped, the taste is brilliant: roasted malts, caramel, dark chocolate, and more. Storm King seems to be hopped more aggressively than other comparable stouts, but the hop bitterness does well in supporting the malt flavors. The espresso flavor rushes in about half-way to the finish and lingers on for a minute or so afterwards. But espresso never tasted so good! Again, not a hint of alcohol can be found, which certainly satisfies my tastes, but probably weakens its loyalty to imperial stouts as a genre.


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