Victory Storm King Imperial StoutBy
Since I’ve had three strong stouts this week, I decided to make it an even number with Victory Bewing Company’s Storm King Imperial Stout.
This yearlong challenge has introduced me to some great craft breweries, and Downingtown, PA’s Victory has emerged as one of my favorites. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed their HopDevil, Prima Pils, Golden Monkey, and Moonglow Weizenbock. And tonight, I’m adding Storm King to that list.
The 9.1% ABV beer demonstrated a near-oily pour as it splashed into my Duvel tulip glass. Storm King created a phenomenally huge head. The mocha-colored foam sat stubbornly atop the stout, slowly bubbling down, determined not to go quietly into the night.
Not much aroma at first. I feared the beer was too chilled, so I left it to rest for several minutes without much improvement. Gradually, delicate hops emerged, wrapped around espresso-scented roasted barley malt. After I was halfway through the beer, I gave the glass a vigorous swirl and the agitation released a sweet smelling caramel malt, piney hops, and piercing alcohol awe.
Sweet malt had a brief moment during my first sip, stretching daintily through the beer’s almost silky mouthfeel before being trampled by roasted malt and bitter hops. The charred malt quickly gives ground to the piney, oily hops. The hops cling first to the back of your tongue, but march forward to claim the rest of your tongue. Syrupy-sweet flourishes mark a few sips, chocolaty and rich, but as you drink the hops seem to control two-thirds of the experience. The finish is long and bitter, punctuated by that piney-green hop taste.
Victory’s website describes Storm King as follows:
With a huge, Pacific Northwest hop aroma & character upfront, Storm King subsides into massive, roast malt complexity. More flavor than mere words can adequately describe. Rich and substantial, it will warm your heart.
The “more flavor than mere words can adequately describe” is quite the cop-out, as the description on the label confirms. The poetic label reads:
Emerging from the deepest shades of darkness, a rolling crescendo of flavors burst forth from this robust stout. The thundering, hoppy appeal of Storm King subsides into the mellow subtleties of roasted malt, exhibiting an espresso-like depth of character in its finish. An exquisite blend of imported malts and whole flower American hops merge harmoniously in this complex ale. Discover the dark intrigue of Storm King, as it reveals the rich, substantial flavors that it holds within. Cheers!
I liked this beer — there’s a tremendous about happening with the flavor — but I wouldn’t use the word “balanced” to describe Victory’s Imperial Stout. There’s a bit of King Lear present in the Storm King; powerful but growing crazier at every turn.
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