Dark Intrigue - Victory Brewing Company
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Ratings: 689 | Reviews: 294 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by jondeelee:
4.5/5 rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Dark Intrigue pours almost pure black, with barely a hint of translucency even near the edges, and opens with a surprisingly hop-forward aroma, at least at the bottle's cracking. Once the opening layer of hops fades, the nose delves into darker notes, including, first and foremost, a lovely slab of dark fruit esters such as fig, black cherry, prune, and raisin. Large streams of vanilla and caramel support these fruit slabs, and the bourbon barrel aging brings not only these latter two aromas, but solid bourbon tones. Some chocolate and dark malts linger in the background, but are hard-noticed against the dark sugar onslaught. As a whole, the nose is intoxicating, and while it may need just a touch more grain and ash flavors to help offset the sugars, the result is still stunning, and begs to be imbibed.
On the tongue, the beer proves far darker and more ashen than the nose let on. Good layers of chocolate malt, coffee, and tobacco rest thickly on the tongue, as well as faint touches of ash and black malt. The bourbon barrel aging likely contributes to the charcoal notes, as well as brings a solid vanilla bourbon undertone to the brew. There are still a fair bit of sugars here, and the fig and raisin fruit esters come through strongly. There's also a good bit of dark cacao, as in 85% cacao chocolate bars. The 9.2% ABV does come through more strongly than I would have expected, and while the bourbon flavors mix well with the beer, there are remnants of a vodka-like tinge from the alcohol vapors. Hops are barely noticeable in the main mouthful--mainly providing bitterness--but do come through in the aftertaste, providing pine and plant stem flavors. Otherwise the aftertaste is a long-lingering continuation of the darker flavors found in the main mouthful, many of the sugars having died off. Mouthfeel is medium-heavy, and carbonation is medium.
Overall, there's a lot going on inside this beer, and in less capable hands it could prove an utter mess. But Victory blends the many layers and flavors together with such skill that they catalyze each other, building in a lovely generative swirl. The beer does have a bit of a strong alcohol bite, but this marks one of its few weaknesses. Excellent fare, and I hope Victory decides to crank out another few batches of this in upcoming years.
Serving type: bottle
02-03-2012 21:41:05 | More by jondeelee
More User Reviews:
4.1/5 rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4
Bottled on Nov. 9, 2011
Ap - Fluffy, khaki head that comes back to life after a quick swirl.there is very minimal lace. Deep space black body.
Ar - Oak, dark chocolate, notes of bourbon. Vanilla cones through as it opens up.
T - Very similar to nose. It's very simple, yet complex. I think the flavors are all blended together. Roast/Char malty character is present, too.
M - Thick, viscous, near perfect for a stout!
O - Bitter, bourbon, oaky, chocolate bomb. A great RIS. This one just seems to have too much of a good thing for me. (Is that possible?)
Serving type: bottle
02-14-2014 15:31:11 | More by KVNBGRY
2.95/5 rDev -23.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.25
Thanks to Duff27 for the bottle. "Bottled On: Nov 10 2011." 750ml brown glass bottle with unbranded gold hood-and-wire cap over a branded cork and appealing label art served into a Guinness stem-goblet in me parents' gaff in high altitude Castle Rock, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given the brewery and the fact that this is a bourbon barrel aged version of Storm King - a beer I dug.
Served cold - straight from the fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.
A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.
Pours a 2.5 finger wide head of khaki-tan colour. Not the rich dark tan colour that I love in an imperial stout, but is still appealing. Nice creaminess and thickness. Smooth even consistency. Complexion could be softer. Uneven inconsistent lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes. Head retention is good - about 5 minutes.
Body colour is an opaque solid black. No floating yeast particles are visible. Appears overcarbonated judging by the abundant cola-esque bubbles crowding the underside of the goblet.
Overall, it's appealing, but unremarkable - especially for a bourbon barrel aged imperial stout. I'd like it creamier, fuller, and darker. A better head would be helpful as well. I'm looking forward to trying it, but it's far from unique or special. There are no egregious flaws.
Sm: Dominant bourbon is the first thing I notice. It's aggressive without overwhelming the other notes. Light vanilla evokes neither true vanilla bean on the high end nor artificial vanillicin on the low end. Noticeable oak, but no toasty character or refined soaky wood notes. Obligatory dark malts and chocolate malts. Unfortunately, I'm not finding any roasted barley character, which is essential in a great imperial stout. Cocoa powder. Plenty of malty sweetness. A hint of insipid coffee. A very faint burnt character is detectable as well.
Certainly not a hoppy imperial stout. I don't get any yeast character or alcohol from the aroma. Frankly, it just isn't all that evocative; each note feels very shallow and surface. It's a bit reticent overall, but I'm optimistic given the base beer. It's a pleasant aroma of below average strength.
T: Hm. Unfortunately, the taste is as shallow as the aroma suggested. Very surface notes of dark malts and chocolate malts provide the body, with complementary notes of cocoa powder, light ash/burnt character, and some malty sweetness. The bourbon is well-integrated but fairly artificial; I wonder about the quality of the bourbon used. There are one-dimensional notes of artificial vanilla and reticent-as-hell oak (with no toasty or refined qualities).
Somehow though, there's no booziness or alcohol presence. I'm not finding any coffee either. There's also no yeast or hop character.
On the sweeter side overall, though the slight burnt character does curb that a bit.
It's damned simple. I'm a bit surprised; the base beer was pretty complex. Could age have muted the flavour profile? This beer lacks complexity, subtlety, nuance, and intricacy. It's balanced, sure, but there's not that much going on to balance. I wonder how this drank fresh. It's cohesive, but far from gestalt. I'm really disappointed. Painfully shallow for the style. Below average intensity of flavour. Average duration of flavour.
The key to a great bourbon barrel stout is using the bourbon notes to develop the natural nuances of the base beer. This is uncommon in that it isn't the bourbon overwhelming the base that is the issue, it's the fact that the base beer is nowhere to be found. This level of simplicity is staggering.
Mf: Chalky, with a strange muted presence on the palate. Smooth and wet. Too airy and light. It needs more body, weight, and thickness. Lacks punch. I feel like the texture doesn't fully facilitate each note from the flavour profile. Where's the oomph, victory? Sure, it's not boozy or hot, but an imperial stout needs to be more bold and assertive. It's a clean mouthfeel with no yeasty sediment, gushed quality, or harshness, but it comes off weak. Almost Guinness-esque.
The texture does not complement the taste well.
Dr: I'll finish the bottle with relative ease. The mouthfeel enhances drinkability because it's so silky and light, but the beer loses power and presence as a trade-off. The mouthfeel and simplicity of this beer really hold it back. I prefer regular Storm King and can see why they retired this brew. I'd like to see Victory re-try a barrel aged Storm King in the future, preferably with a superior bourbon and more care regarding the mouthfeel. I wouldn't recommend this to friends, but I'm glad I got to try it. Thanks, Duff27!
Bottom line: Serious missed potential from Victory, Dark Intrigue fails to use bourbon barrel notes to develop or enhance the notes of the base beer, and really commits a faux pas with the light airy texture.
Serving type: bottle
12-21-2013 07:23:29 | More by kojevergas
Dark Intrigue from Victory Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 689 ratings.