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Vortex II - Pisgah Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Vortex IIVortex II

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

240 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 240
Reviews: 145
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 12.9%
Wants: 130
Gots: 32 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Pisgah Brewing Co. visit their website
North Carolina, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  11.70% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: mikesgroove on 06-25-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 240 | Reviews: 145 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of akorsak
akorsak

Pennsylvania

4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 650 mL bottle graciously shared by Deuane.

A: The stout is oily black, dark and opaque. The head measured less than a finger with a tan color that recedes over the first third of the glass.

S: The nose is boozy, warm with alcohol, full of coffee and roasted grains. Intense without pushing the boundaries too far.

T: The imperial stout brings a lot of chocolate and roasted grains to the table. The flavors are acrid and burnt, bitter with a choclatey ssweetness. Coffee adds a sweet smoothness that never quite overtakes the stout profile but adds much needed flavor. We tried this side-by-side with Speedway and it blew AleSmith out of the water.

M: Full, filling with lots of chocolate, coffee and burnt toast. Complex but very approachable but just a hint of coffee (it could use a bit more).

D: Intense and strong, the boozy heat is unavoidable. If someone were to offer me a bottle of this tomorrow, I'd jump at it.

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2008 17:50:24 | More by akorsak
Photo of CrellMoset
CrellMoset

Virginia

4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of a non-BA friend, Tim, at a tasting. Thanks! Poured into a Watou chalice.

A: Deep, deep brown with ruby hues, great tan head, lacing is weak, streaky, runny, but that's to be expected.

A: Peppercorn steak - lots of deep, well-done steak notes, actually - with plenty of other interesting coffee/chocolate/roasty malt notes, as well as a few lighter ones. Hints of high alcohols. Very strong.

T: Coffee, chocolate, earthy grass. Some nuts, molasses, brown sugar, but mostly the darker roasted stuff here. This is all organic? Hot damn. A very interesting and complex malt profile in this one.

M: A little less "full" than you'd expect, but still very creamy and even.

D: Dangerously so, with its high abv%, but this is definitely an interesting and complex beer. Recommended, if you can get your hands on it.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2008 23:00:47 | More by CrellMoset
Photo of BeerTruth
BeerTruth

Connecticut

4.47/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another one of those beers that I would never have the opportunity to try if it wasn't for the generous BA trading community. The man himself, mikesgroove, hooked me up with this rare treat. Valdez blew me away, let's see how this one rates.

22 oz. bomber allowed to warm up a bit and then poured into a nonic.

"We all drink downstream"

Pours an onyx black with a one finger dark tan head that dies down to a thin frothy layer. Some webbing is left behind on the sides of the glass, but not as much as I was hoping for. Smell is rich brownie batter, grandma's molasses cookies, and a hint of alcohol. Rich dark fruits and coffee grinds find their way in the nose as well. Complex malt backbone, such a delight to whiff. The fact that this beer is organic and smells this good just amazes me. Sweet brown sugar and roasted grains up front with a smooth molasses middle. Raisins and smoked nuts on the tongue with a boozy dark cocoa powder aftertaste. Not as full in the mouth as most RIS, but still pretty big. A creamy warming feel as well. The alcohol is present, but I still can't believe it's 11.7%. I would take Valdez over this in a heartbeat, but Vortex II is still one hell of a beer...AND IT'S ORGANIC!! We need more breweries like Pisgah in this country. Thanks again Mike, two more are still waiting for me :)

edit: coffee flavors really came out as it warmed.

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2008 00:11:46 | More by BeerTruth
Photo of Gueuzedude
Gueuzedude

Arizona

3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This has a really deep malt character that is quite noticeable as I pour; concentrated malt notes leaning towards umami-like richness. The beer pours with a frothy, initial three-finger thick, lightly browned, tan colored head. The beer is almost perfectly black and does not allow any light through no matter how close to the light I hold it. Heady alcohol aromatics mix with aromas of chocolate & coffee liquors. A significant burnt fruit character reminds me of a mix of prunes, figs and brown sugar encrusted raisins that have been left for too long under a broiler. Chalky cocoa aromatics, then well toasted bread, which then moves to a soft, deeply burnt, sharp roast malt character that is only really noticed if you really dig for it. I like how rich this beer is, but without being driven by the over-the top, sharp, acidic roasted grain notes that dominate so many American interpretations of this style. At times the mix of alcohol and fruit suggest an up front note of nail polish and methanol; luckily this is not too dominant.

Not as heavy bodied as I expected, though it is still pretty rich and chewy. Incredibly rich chocolate flavors are found in this brew; these chocolate notes are a mix of Dutch cocoa, chocolate extract and milk chocolate. A distinct fruitiness is noticeable here in the flavor, while not as burnt as the aroma might have suggested I get notes of prunes and figs. The finish is sweet from both the fruit-like malt and a touch of alcohol. There is also a dusty, slightly husky, toasted grain character in the finish that lingers for quite some time. A touch of dark-roast coffee notes are noticeable just a bit in the finish, but this note plays a lesser and lesser role as the beer warms up. The prune flavors get a bit more amplified as the beer warms up and it even picks up a bit of saltiness.

This is a pretty mellow beer for such a big imperial stout. Strangely the umami-like character I noticed initially in the aroma did not show up again in this beer really, including the aroma. I really like that it is focused more on the rich malt and chocolate character than the overly roasted, burnt character that is so often found in the style. Not a bad brew, somehow it is a bit too mellow. Said another way, this brew seems to work much better near 50°F / 10°C, as it gets much warmer & loses the carbonation texture it becomes a bit boring. So my recommendation is to share this with at least four other people so you get the best of this brew (don't serve too cold though).

Serving type: bottle

02-29-2008 05:23:49 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of kirok1999
kirok1999

Ohio

4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dense, dark black with slight ruby edges and almost no head. Smells really nice, sweet dark fruit, chocolate, and mild coffee.
Taste is much like the smell, just a bit milder. Nice chocolate notes, slight coffee, some spicy licorice maybe from the hops, smooth dark fruit. It was a little milder than I had hoped it would be. The mouthfeel was just a little thin. Good level of carbonation, meaning it wasn't overly bubbly.
Pretty darn good beer, too bad they don't make more, it would sell real well.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2008 22:09:38 | More by kirok1999
Photo of SPLITGRIN
SPLITGRIN

Kentucky

4.65/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks go out to mikesgrooge for this fine brew.

Midnight black as this brew crawls out of the bottle settling in the glass letting absolutely no light through when held to light. Head is a quick fading inch and a half of carmel brown colored foam. Nose is wonderful with lots of rich coco, electric carmalixed malt and alchol soaked dark chocolate covered cherries. Smokey, creamy chocolate notes drinc the taste buds completely. As the beer warms more of a dark fruit complex develops. Along with the fruit a nice hop character is present on the backside of the palate adding balance to the smokey sweetness. Mouthfeel is rich, slightly thick and screams for the next mouthfull. This is an exceptional Imperial stout, well made all around. It is a shame more people cant try this one. A very sippable, drinkable brew.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2008 21:58:14 | More by SPLITGRIN
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a pitch black color with a rocky head that sticks well and leaves a few shards of lace

Smell: Espresso, dark chocolate, tobacco and licorice

Taste: Opens with an incredibly dense, licorice and dark fruit filled chocolate flavor that builds, in a fruity direction, by mid-palate; after the swallow, the dark fruit intensity is joined by some hoppy bitterness that lingers for quite some time

Mouthfeel: Thick and viscous; withe moderate carbonation; considerable warmth in the gullet on the way down

Drinkability: Still a bit young (drink by 2018!) but the alcoholic warmth should fade somewhat as it ages; nevertheless, quite an accomplishment

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2008 00:53:52 | More by brentk56
Photo of IntriqKen
IntriqKen

California

4.72/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is an amazing RIS.
Poured black as used motor oil with that dark amber glow that used motor oil will have. Very, very thin head that disappears very quickly.

Aromas of dark roasted malt, dark bakers chocolate, dark vinous fruits with maybe some dark cherries. Alcohol isn't noticeable in the nose.

Flavor is intensely RIS. Dark sweetly roasted malts, deep, rich, Belgium chocolates, again, vinous fruits, black cherry and then finishing to black liquorice.

Aftertaste of liquorice and unsweetened chocolate with a definite chocolate warming as you swallow.

Absolutely delicious.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2007 01:49:16 | More by IntriqKen
Photo of Bierguy5
Bierguy5

Ohio

3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle, 11.7% ABV, best before 2/2018. Thanks to mcallister for sharing during an impromptu Wednesday evening tasting.

Pitch black in color, with a vert thin tan head. Very little retention, but considering the size of this beast, not unusual. A few spots of lace were eventually left clinging to the sides of the glass.

Dark chocolate in the nose. Next, dark fruits move in, black cherry, plum, etc.

A lot of sweetness up front, dark chocolate, and then vinous fruits. Alcohol can be felt a bit.

Seems a bit thin. Could be because it leaked a bit during the journey. Good amount of bitterness. Pretty nice.

Serving type: bottle

10-02-2007 17:02:48 | More by Bierguy5
Photo of mcallister
mcallister

Ohio

4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer leaked in route to my house, hoping it has held up which I'm assuming it will.

Not quite black. Very deep brown however with plenty of scarlet shining through. Head is hardly there but what does appear is a mocha colored wonder sparse and light.

Thick with dark chocolate and fudge yet not as rich as I would have hoped. Gooey caramel with a dose of fresh ground coffee. Dark fruits mainly with black currant and black cherry.

Nicely malted with rich sweet chocolatey flavors. A bit of hop bitterness on the finish. Finish is long and savoring. Black currant and blackberry with slight anise and earthy barnyardy renderings. Full of sweet vanilla, and roasted coffee, with coffee tannin. A very nice beer with an oily viscous mouthfeel that lacks some depth. Very drinkable but I'm wondering what this beer may have lost in the accident.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2007 00:01:58 | More by mcallister
Photo of ncvbc
ncvbc

North Carolina

4.88/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a special moment for me. Not only because I'm drinking away the sorrows of Georgia losing to South Carolina this evening but because on a good note this is an amazing brew from my home state. I feel this balances my emotions between sorrow and triumph. The victory of defeat. Yep, Georgia lost tonight. They probably won't take down the SEC and my buddy from high school Ryan Succop put a dagger in our backs but what the hell, I just opened the Vortex II from Pisgah. I've read the reviews, I've seen the hype, and I'm ready to see if this brew lives up to it.

The pour. Black as night. A somewhat thin and tan head. Medium carbonation at first but lowering. I believe this beer is excited to get in my mouth.

First, though...the smell. Hmm, this one has similarities with a fellow in-state RIS, the Duck-Rabbit Rabid Duck. The distinctive quality that relates the two being the licorice that is abundant. Big roasted malts are also here in the smell. I pick up a nice dark coffee aroma and sweet, dark chocolate. Yummy.

Taste is exceptional. Mostly big and roasted coffee flavors with the dark chocolate again. Sweet and dark flavors abound here. The licorice is present again but on a smaller scale. This is great stuff. It's honestly a (big) step above Expedition Stout, which is (was) my present (past) favorite within the style. I'm truly amazed by this beer. Needless to say, it's ORGANIC!

Ideal mouthfeel. Holy crap. Pretty full. Creamy. Velvet. Silk. Slick. Slightest alcohol burn. Unbelievable.

WTF...this is 11.7%? Most drinkable RIS I've had to date with ease. Bear Republic's RIS was my former most drinkable, though after drinking this, even though it's about 3% more content, it's more drinkable.

My second and last bottle...I'm still in shock with this beer. Not an in-state bias or anything but this could be the greatest beer I've ever had along with Speedway Stout, regardless of score. It does an amazing job of concealing it's high ABV while providing an unbelievable amount of complexity. I could have three bombers of this in one evening if the supply was larger. Pisgah, you guys are amazing! I just listened to a recent PodCast with you guys and I can only pray that you start the can/bottle line soon enough. Cans from Pisgah? That would be the greatest miracle over here (and anywhere else that can grab some) for quite some time!

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2007 03:00:57 | More by ncvbc
Photo of hoppymeal
hoppymeal

Michigan

4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black, clear, with a nice, small coffee and cream colored head that dissipates quickly to a ring. Aroma is nice dark roasted coffee, slightly nutty, also some dark chocolate, lactose, and a decent amount of booziness. Nice roastiness in the taste blends with a sweet cola flavor up front. Some chocolate mid taste blends into a large tangy booziness. Good dry roasty and nutty aftertaste lingers on the tongue. Mouthfeel is more on the heavy side, but cut nicely by some carbonation. Very tasty beer, nice roasty and nutty coffee characteristics, would like to age one of these and see how it develops.

Serving type: bottle

08-10-2007 03:15:39 | More by hoppymeal
Photo of ATLbeerDog
ATLbeerDog

Georgia

4.55/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a pitch black beautiful pint of this truly awesome treat. A rich dark brown ½ inch head with heavy lacing filled my pint glass. Strong smells of rich coffee and deep roasted malt.

Tastes like heaven with a mouth feel that can only be described as a coffee-mocha milk shake. This beer tastes so good you just want to leave it in you mouth. The 11.7% is very well hidden by the God like taste. It is not until the second beer that you realize...wow, that beer has a punch. What a punch it is!

I have not had the opportunity to try FFF Dark Lord, but RIS is my favorite style and this is beyond a doubt the best RIS I have ever had. And for someone who has LOVED beer since the 7th grade, this maybe the best beer I have ever had!

Serving type: on-tap

07-17-2007 23:44:42 | More by ATLbeerDog
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ChainGangGuy

Georgia

4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Nearly opague, black body with a thin, fizzy tan head.

Smell: Roasty, creamy aroma of dark malts, bittersweet chocolate, and even some licorice root.

Taste: Strong, flavorful espresso with sweet, dark toffee and hunks of bakers chocolate. Its really got a raw, earthy naunce to it, especially as hints of licorice and chicory emerge on the smooth, roasty finish. I gotta say I didn't notice the alcohol and had no idea it was supposed to be dramatic 11.7%. I'm blown away!

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Low carbonation. Luscious, creamy mouthfeel.

Drinkability: I know, I have within me the power to just say "no thanks, I don't think I'll have that second helping of Pisgah Vortex II", but I mean, when you're in this person's house for as long as I am, with no real breaks, and you can't go home to spend time with loved ones, and you can't play Super Castlevania for the SNES, it is awfully hard to simply turn away from the only available source of pleasure.

Serving type: growler

07-01-2007 05:06:55 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of mikesgroove
mikesgroove

South Carolina

4.9/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ahh, was finally able to get myself a bottle of the 2nd Vortex release. So thrilled to get this. Pisgah has to be my favorite localbrewery by far and they never seem to disapoint. Was able to get one of the misfit bottles with the upseide down label,LOL. Now onto the beer.

Poured a deep dark as night, engine oil black with a thick tan head that relinquished its grip on the glass only to be replaced by sticky gooey brown lace for the remainder of the session. Aroma was very pleasant, albeit I thought it would have been a bit more overpowering. Lots of chocolate and carmel tones with a hint of roasted coffee were reasily apparent, and even more so as it warmed.
First impresion on taste, was wow this was smooth. Coming at me at 11.7% if I did not know that coming in I never would have picked up on it. Lots of caramel and choclate were noticable, and the slight warming from the alcohol did manage to sneak up on me, but a hot one this was definatly not. Not the thickest feeling RIS but it really wasnt necassary as the flavor profile was big enough. Nice dry finish left me looking for more.
Overall this was excellent, and easily my second favorite offering from the boys, only outdone by Vortex 1, but thats only cause I am a hophed by hert. This is a fine brew and I can only hope the release some more as it could be the one that puts them on the map for sure!

Serving type: bottle

06-25-2007 01:28:25 | More by mikesgroove
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Vortex II from Pisgah Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 240 ratings.