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Dark Intrigue - Victory Brewing Company

Dark IntrigueDark Intrigue

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

697 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 697
Reviews: 295
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 13.95%

Brewed by:
Victory Brewing Company visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  9.10% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: stakem on 11-25-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 697 | Reviews: 295 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of mikey711

New Jersey

1.75/5  rDev -54.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

A: Deep black with a mocha colored head that lingers at about a quarter inch. not much lace

S: heavy chocolate up front with some serious wood notes that have a very earthy tone. some bourbon notes and vanilla notes. some hints of coffee and roastiness. All the nots are somewhat subdued though

T: Very woody with hints of hoppiness and roastiness. some bourbon and vanilla notes and a heavy chocolate presence. oddly there is a bit of a metallic taste as well

M: Some what thin and slightly astringent.

D: This was a major disappointment for me. the bourbon characteristic was there but like drinking an extremely cheap and astringent bourbon. the woodiness is way to present and all of the flavors just seem to be muddled together. I dont think i had a bad bottle, i think this beer lacks a true identity as well as the typical qualities that i enjoy in more well put togther BA stouts. I dont think this has much aging potential because it seems to be poorly executed

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2010 01:28:34 | More by mikey711
Photo of mymrnngjckt


1.85/5  rDev -52.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Thanks to krisandajt for purchasing and sharing this bottle.

Pours a dark chocolate / black color with little to no head at all.

Smell is is very boozy with hints of molasses and chocolate.

The taste and mouthfeel is where this beer fails epically. The alcohol is way to overpowering on this brew and makes the beer very hot to point of it being undrinkable. Too much bourbon taste. No balance. The malt character that I love in the storm king has been completely removed by the bourbon.

I did not enjoy this at all.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2011 19:23:29 | More by mymrnngjckt
Photo of MONKandTUCK


1.93/5  rDev -50.1%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A - Deep black, void if color. Tan, frothy head.

S - Nutty, tanin-rich, prune juice, fresh asphalt, cinnamon, mint, mylanta, paint-thinner. The aroma is all over the place, yet had to place. Not pleasing.

T - what is this!? Experiments are fun, but I can see why Victory made this a one-and-done. Pass!

M Carries well. Substantial but not chewy.

O - Not worth the try, yet I feel grateful to have tried it, regardless. Victory needs to reorient themselves. Do they wanna try to keep up with everyone else. Or do they want to make great beer?

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2012 22:11:15 | More by MONKandTUCK
Photo of kzoobrew


2.4/5  rDev -38%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bottled 11/19/10 served at cellar temp.

Poured into Darkness snifter. Body is black and opaque, even when held directly in front of a lamp light fails to breaks the surface. Three finger cafe au lait head is perched atop. The head recedes slowly leaving a broken ring of lacing surrounding the glass. A modest cap is left floating for the duration.

As of the first pour the aroma comes off a bit muted. The bourbon is apparent but not as strong as I would have imagined. A combination of caramel and chocolate aromas are fairly strong. The hops provide a strong floral element which really does not mesh well with the beer as a whole. I had hopes the aroma would meld a bit more with warmth, this did not happen. While certain smells blended a bit, I can not walk away being anything but disappointed.

The flavor transition is very interesting with this one. Caramel and chocolate flavors are the first to roll across the tongue. Shortly after and astringent oakiness which moves into a strong hop floral flavor. The bourbon flavor becomes more apparent on the back of the palate, I am a bit surprised this did not present itself earlier. The flavors and their progression is just a bit odd.

Mouthfeel is not a strong point. The body is a bit thin, though in many -bal stouts this can be overcome. The carbonation is dialed up a bit too high. The astringency of the oak revealing itself at the end further embellishes the overly dry finish. This is not what the mouthfeel of an Imperial Stout should be.

I looked forward to this one. I wanted to like this one. Dark Intrigue was simply hard to drink. I will say I believe this may benefit with age, but as it sits right now it is flat out hard to enjoy. I should have probably held on to this one for a bit longer.

I am very grateful to Biglobo8971 for sending this one my way. No matter if I enjoyed it or not, this was a very generous inclusion in this box.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2010 00:31:46 | More by kzoobrew
Photo of PDXHops

South Carolina

2.4/5  rDev -38%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

750ml bottle poured into an oversized snifter. An initial pour of 8 ounces or results in a huge puffy tan head. Kinda fizzy, though, and within a couple of minutes it's a dense skim. Good retention from that. Not much lacing.

A comparison with the notes from my Storm King review.

Storm King:
Pretty straightforward nose- dark roasted malt, tiny bit of chocolate, bit of hops. Smells good, just not too exciting.
Dark Intrigue:
The base beer can't keep up with the big boozy blast of the barrel aromas. On the positive side, some cookie dough and dark fruity notes are coaxed out.

Storm King:
Flavor is also on the bland side. Dark malts accompanied by a bit of chocolate, a bit of coffee, a bit of hops.
Dark Intrigue:
Again, the base beer isn't quite up to the challenge here. In the sea of booziness, the chief malty notes are tangy and bittersweet. Oddly, it's the surprisingly potent underlying bitterness that provides the most contrast to the booze.

Storm King:
Body is on the thinner side of medium, but the combination of creaminess and moderate carbonation hides it pretty well.
Dark Intrigue:
The thinness really hurts things. Seems a tad watery at the swallow. Huge alcohol burn in the finish, and then some barrel notes creep in.

Storm King:
Smooth and about as sessionable as an RIS can be. Not sure if that's such a great thing, though, since there's none of the bold flavors I'm looking for in an RIS.
Dark Intrigue:
Certainly neither smooth nor sessionable. The base beer simply isn't robust enough to stand up to barrel-aging. I reckon some cellar time would smooth it out a bit, but I'm not inclinded to spend my limited cellar dollars on that particular experiment.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2012 01:41:34 | More by PDXHops
Photo of womencantsail


2.48/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

"Thanks" to Bobby for sharing this. I suppose it's my fault too since I pushed the issue on opening it.

A: Pours essentially black with a finger or so of tan colored head.

S: Roast, roast, and more roast. This has a big time burnt/charred/ash thing going on and the acidity isn't helping anything. I smell some oak, but not really any bourbon. And there is definitely some chlorine.

T: Licorice, booze, and raisins seem to describe the front end of this well. The harsh roast/ash and alcohol continue the fun. There's a bit of vanilla toward the finish, but nowhere near pleasing enough to salvage this beer.

M: The body is medium with a moderate level of carbonation.

D: I was never the hugest Storm King fan, and I'm even less of a barrel aged Storm King fan.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2011 01:34:55 | More by womencantsail
Photo of RodneyX


2.6/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This beer looks like a big stout with a tan head that no light comes through. You can smell a lot of vanilla and bourbon on it, it smells a little hot, but good. It tastes good initially, also a little hot as well, but finishes pretty horribly, with some astringent, bitter taste. These beer ended up being pretty bad, I don't like it.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2011 19:43:31 | More by RodneyX
Photo of mothman

United Kingdom (Wales)

2.63/5  rDev -32%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours ½ finger of beige head. Color is pretty much black.

Aroma: Big oak, caramel, chocolate, vanilla, grassy hops, bourbon, some dark fruits. Nothing special.

Taste: Molasses, smoke, tannins, dried fruits, chocolate, oak, light bourbon. Not very good.

Mouthfeel: Warm and hot. Full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends really dry.

Overall, this wasn't too good for a bourbon -bal aged beer. Ok aroma, but all downhill from there. Not worth it. Get some BCS and save yourself the hassle.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2011 23:47:25 | More by mothman
Photo of BikeChef

District of Columbia

2.65/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Burnt-oak, chocoate nose. A warming sip brings more oak and chocolate, with a very abrupt finish.

I love Storm King, so was pretty excited about this. However, this isn't an improvement, unfortunately. I hope Victory will try more barrel-ageing experiments, though.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2012 02:15:50 | More by BikeChef
Photo of largadeer


2.7/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Thanks, Barry!

Dark Intrigue appears a near-opaque black, capped by a tall tan head. The nose has a lot of charred malt, cigar smoke and coffee bean, along with a milder note of vanilla. Palate is decent; burnt toast, bittersweet chocolate and burnt coffee, a touch of vanilla and caramel from the barrel. The body is a little thin for the style, and the finish dry, tannic, moderately roasted. There isn't a ton of complexity here, but it's not completely awful; just all-around mediocre.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2010 04:29:16 | More by largadeer
Photo of Overlord


2.73/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Huge thanks to Jerz for hosting an awesome tasting, and for so many generous beer connoisseurs who made the event possible.

Black, brown edges. One inch of light tan foam.

Smells lightly of malt, heavily of sherry and ... sad to say, cardboard. Heavily oxidized.

Taste is all over the place. There's some chocolate, a bit of ... bourbon? Or is that just alcohol? ... coming through. BUt, sadly, a bit of wet hair and cardboard. Prefer the regular version.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2011 06:56:34 | More by Overlord
Photo of Jeffo


2.75/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

In a recent trade with G311. Thanks again man!

From a 750ml bottle into a snifter.
Note: Drunk right after Storm King Stout for comparative purposes.

APPEARANCE: Pours out dark brown, almost black, and slightly transparent. Slightly thicker than Storm King. Pour yields a small, medium looking, beige head with decent retention. Black body with zero carbonation evident. Head quickly fades to a ring only. A minimal ring remains for a while, but looks flat by the end with no lacing down the glass. Eventually just looks like flat coke. Disappointing.

SMELL: Some oak and bourbon up front. Roasted malts and oaky vanilla notes as well. Some milk chocolate too, but mostly barrel on this one. A really mild nose that’s washed away most of the base beer, but still pleasant.

TASTE: Oak and bourbon up front, with some roasted malts and vanilla there as well. Slight milk chocolate though the middle, then quite a strong alcohol burst comes though at the swallow. Oak, bourbon, and boozy aftertaste is bold but relatively short lived. Flavor profile is alright, but it’s just too mild to be memorable and too heavy on the boozy qualities as well.

PALATE: Definitely light on the palate, perhaps even lighter than the base beer, with higher levels of carbonation. Slightly creamy on the palate, goes down with a bit of a burn and finishes slightly dry on the palate. Too light, overly boozy, and certainly lack-luster for the style. Not off putting, but below average for sure.

OVERALL: Well, there it is. A decent effort at a BA imperial stout, but I don’t think the base beer is good enough to really give a BA version the strong foundation it needs. The look and especially the feel were well below average for the style, and the taste profile simply too lack-luster to be memorable. Certainly glad I had the chance to try this one out, but will not need to seek out another bottle. Thanks again for the opportunity G311.

Serving type: bottle

05-02-2011 13:36:04 | More by Jeffo
Photo of adamette


2.75/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Live review. Poured from the corked and caged 750ml bottle that I bought at Save-On Tobacco & Beverage in Mentor for $10.99 a few weeks ago into a clean, clear pint glass. “Bottled on Nov 10 2011” stamped very lightly near the bottom left of the label. This is apparently Storm King Stout aged in Bourbon barrels. Count me in!

A At least a 3 inch medium to dark brown head over an absolute oil black body that lets no light in, even in front of direct light. Great look for the style. Can it look any better? 5.0

S Extremely dark roast malt with bourbon notes. A smell that I know well after sampling many in this style but also a smell that still interests me. I love the sweetness of the bourbon notes as they play off of the big, heavy background of the dark roast malt. Repeated smells result in continued desire to drink this beer! 4.5

T The dark roast malt is harsh and bitter. The bourbon influence does not soften it enough for my taste. I found regular Storm King Stout to be harsh and so I find this to be the same way. The bourbon taste is certainly there but the nearly burnt (let alone roasted) malt taste still comes through. I am not impressed. I have have MANY other bourbon barrel aged stouts that were more pleasing because they delivered on the dark roast malt, the bourbon notes but were also very smooth and not harsh. 2.0

M Well, this is the area where I have my biggest complaint, as described above. The feel and the taste categories are difficult for me to separate when I comes to this beer. 2.0

D/O Drinkability is driven down considerably by the harsh, burnt malt taste and feel. Overall I am dissapointed in this beer whose look and smell held so much promise to me. 2.5

I would direct the reader with access to great lakes/midwestern region beers to other excellent bourbon barrel aged Russian Imperial Stouts: Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS), Hoppin' Frog BA B.O.R.I.S. and Great Lakes BA Blackout Stout.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2012 03:04:19 | More by adamette
Photo of yeahnatenelson


2.8/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Appearance -- Pours a dark brown with a slim mocha head.

Smell -- Gentle bourbon, cocoa sweetness, roast malt, licorice/anise fermentation-derived herbal character. Not much in terms of oaky character, and the bourbon is really underplayed.

Taste -- Up front is black malt overkill: burnt malt, smoke, and ash. Chocolate malt lends some balancing sweetness. Barrel character is not terribly evident safe for some gentle bourbon sweetness. Anise is present, as is licorice to a lesser degree.

Mouthfeel -- Medium-full in body with high carbonation and a hot finish. Meh.

Drinkability -- This was a letdown. The mouthfeel was harsh, the barrel character was nearly non-existent safe for some mild bourbon sweetness and stinging alcohol heat. The smoky/ashy flavors were also distracting. All in all, I prefer Storm King.

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2011 02:08:47 | More by yeahnatenelson
Photo of TheSevenDuffs

Ontario (Canada)

2.8/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottled on November 10/2011. Poured in to CBS snifter.

A - Black. Half a finger of mocha coloured head.

S- Huge roast aroma up front. Milk chocolate and light coffee present as well as the base beer dominates the nose with the barrel notes very much secondary. Some bourbon and vanilla are present in the background.

T - Very big alcohol presence up front that is very distracting throughout. Roast is dominant with some chocolate and dark caramel. Barrel qualities are present as well but very much secondary as the nose indicated - lighter charred oak and bourbon notes come through. The various flavours are nice but are very poorly integrated: the base beer and the barrel don't come together at all. Throw in the massive alcohol presence and this one is very rough overall.

M - Medium body. Light carbonation.

O - This has some potential but it didn't come together well at all.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2012 15:58:40 | More by TheSevenDuffs
Photo of KickInTheChalice


2.83/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Dark Intrigue has a mahogany color throughout and is a little bit lighter around the edges. Not much head, although a bit of lace is left around the glass.

Smell: Bourbon, anise, raisins, some oak, vanilla, and a bit of milk chocolate.

Taste: The roasted malt is noticeable up front, along with some sweet raisin, fig, and chocolate notes, but the bourbon escalates very quickly. The woody oak and vanilla flavors ar mostly lost, as are any hoppiness or end flavors as bourbon dominates. The aftertaste is all bourbon.

Mouthfeel: The body is full, but it dries out toward the end leaving my mouth full of bourbon residue. Medium to full carbonation, I would probably like it a bit lighter.

Drinkability: This was disappointing. Not terrible, but the bourbon was overwhelming. Maybe it would be better with some time on it, after all, I did like Storm King better with a year of age.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2011 21:49:36 | More by KickInTheChalice
Photo of nkersten


2.88/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle shared by Mike, thanks! Reviewed from notes. Poured into a Lost Abbey tumbler, pitch black liquid with a mocha head that fades fast to a collar, no lacing. Smell is strong oak, black licorice, some alcohol, chocolate malts. Its hard to get past the massive oak presence. Taste starts off pretty good, lots of bourbon barrel vanilla, some marshmallow, chocolate and roasted malt, but then finishes with a boozey astringent, harsh wood medicinal quality. A heavy body and light carbonation. Not much of the base beer is present in this one, definitley not an improvement on the original. The finish and aftertaste are pretty terrible on this beer and absolutely kills the drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2011 21:50:14 | More by nkersten
Photo of jethrodium


2.88/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

750 ml bottle. 2011 release. Pours a dark black with a small light tan head that has good retention and leaves a decent amount of lacing on the glass. The aroma is bourbon, vanilla, and decent amount of floral hops. Also some light oak, a decent amount of char present, some roasted coffee, and a light mineral note. The taste has a light sweetness with some roasted notes and some char. There is also some vanilla, bourbon, more char, some oak, and some floral notes. The finish is roasted coffee with some bitterness. A bit astringent. Leaves a lingering char aftertaste. Medium body. Medium carbonation. Not terrible, but not that good. Way too much char present in the taste.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2011 21:31:22 | More by jethrodium
Photo of Alieniloquium


2.9/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

750 mL bottle poured into a CBS snifter. Bottled on 11/9/2011. Consumed immediately after a similarly-aged Storm King.

Appearance - Better khaki head than Storm King. Better retention and nicer lacing. It's still a bit light, but it's a very nice looking beer.

Smell - Hops more subdued. Huge oak aroma. Not a lot of bourbon or other barrel notes. Boozy.

Taste - Ok here's where it falls flat. Oak is tremendous. Bourbon is light. Lots of coffee. A strong medicinal flavor. Very bitter hop finish.

Mouthfeel - Boozy. Bitter. Medicinal. Doesn't deliver enough good flavors to justify its difficulty to drink.

Overall - I'm contemplating a drainpour. It's not terrible, but I'm having difficulty finishing my half of the bottle.

Serving type: bottle

08-09-2012 02:18:12 | More by Alieniloquium
Photo of MasterSki


2.93/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Thanks to AgentZero for this one. Served in a Sam Adam's Perfect Pint glass.

A - Big light mocha foam that has great retention and solid lacing. Body is near-black with some transparency at the fringes - could stand to be a little darker.

S - Big earthy bourbon, wood, chocolate cake, cherry cordials, some faint residual hop character from the base beer, and a mild alcohol. Quite good!

T - The taste starts of promising, with some nice marshmallow and vanilla, roasted malt, wood, and smooth bourbon. However, the finish is among the worst I've encountered - stale espresso and hop bitterness, solvent and fusel alcohol is just a weird combination and becomes totally off-putting. I'm averaged an initial taste score of 4.0 with an aftertaste score of 1.0

M - Body is a bit thin, but still manages to clock in at medium. Very smooth, with zesty carbonation. Finishes harsh, overly tannic, and astringent. The barrel really thinned this already lower ABV beer out.

D - I was really excited, especially after the delicious aroma, but things went south in a hurry. The finish and aftertaste was so bad I couldn't finish my pour. Either be ready to chase this with a superior stout, or don't bother.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2011 18:30:14 | More by MasterSki
Photo of nhindian


2.93/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

750ml bottle generously shared by russwbeck, thanks Russ! Poured into a Victory tulip.

This beer is interesting, indeed. It is Victory's normal Russian Imperial Stout offering, Storm King, aged in bourbon barrels for a few months. While it's not an entirely new concept, it is a first for me for a RIS that is as hoppy as Storm King is.

A - It looks strikingly similar to Storm King, not surprising, but a bit softer around the edges. The body is still completely opaque blackness, but the head is creamier but also more wispy. The head is also less generous, only garnering about a finger's worth of the tan head on top and disappears rapidly. This affects the lacing as well, as there is almost none to be seen.

S - The nose is actually quite a bit more tame than I would've expected. I'm not sure exactly how long this beer has been in the bourbon barrels, but I can't imagine it being more than just a few months. Besides the bourbon, there are also faint traces of the vanilla and oak barrels. Much more sweet than Storm King that complements it's light roast.

T - The moment of truth. After first sip, I taste... nothing? It's strange, just got a ton of creamy smoothness but not much flavor at all. This isn't a by-product of being served too cold, either, as it was served just a bit chilled. The backend of the first taste is the signature Storm King hoppiness mixed with just a bit of bourbon. Try again...as the short-lived head finally succumbs, it's possible to salvage some flavor out of this. Slightly roasted, vanilla, oak. Not much and a bit watery. Disappointing.

M - One of the best things about this beer is its mouthfeel, unfortunately. It's incredibly smooth with a creamy texture that had me looking in the bottle for a Guinness widget. Not much carbonation. However, the mid-to-backend suffers from the watery notes from the flavor.

D - Drinkability is moderately low. I am surprised to say that this was a big disappointment for me and I greatly prefer regular Storm King. The smell is faint, the taste is barely there, and besides the mouthfeel, this doesn't have much going for it. Glad I didn't try to make a blockbuster trade for this.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2011 22:43:38 | More by nhindian
Photo of kojevergas


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
Photo of callmescraps


3/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Finally cracking my bottle of this guy. Held on to it mostly because I forgot it in Boston with the folks, so finally returned to retrieve it. Pretty stoked.

Appearance- Pours a deep, deep brown. Ah hell, let's call it black, because it looks pretty black to me. The head is a thick, frothy mocha colored one. Almost two inches. Settles into a thin cap, with nice lacing. Looks as it should, for sure.

Smell- Getting a little nervous off the top. It comes through with a lot of cherry. And not even chocolate covered cherry, but cherry cherry. Unexpected. But then I get a lot of vanilla, certainly from the bourbon. Then some chocolate powder as well. Some stone fruit, but the cherry is still there. The bourbon is coming through a lot, and it's lovely.

Taste- Hmmm. A hint of raisin up front. There is still a bunch of roast, and it finishes a little ashy. The vanilla does not come through as strongly in the taste, unfortunately. There is some of the cherry, but it gets covered by the ash. Just plenty of roast on this one, but less coffee. The bitterness lingers on the tongue, and not pleasantly to my mind. There is a real booziness as well, which is unexpected, but not really the smooth bourbon kind, more fusel. Plenty of wood and not a lot of bourbon. The char, roast, wood, bitterness is just out of balance for me. Did I mention it's ashy, and full of char? It's like they got all the worst parts of the bourbon barrels, and none of the best. Just disappointing all around. This is not a good.

Mouthfeel- Perfectly fine. Nice carbonation. Not too thick and chewy.

Overall- Very, very disappointing. The first time I've had a stout where a bourbon barrel made it worse. Add to the fact that it's almost 18 months old and I expected some real smooth stuff.

This beer simply doesn't cut it. I'm not the world's biggest stout fan, but I actually quite enjoy Storm King. I also love bourbon barrel aged pretty much anything (other than sours, generally). So I thought this could be a homerun, and at worst a triple (I think Storm King on its own is a double). Sadly, it's a strike out. I could not be more surprised. I like the base beer. I love bourbon. I respect the brewery. I have no idea what went wrong here.

Serving type: bottle

06-09-2011 23:19:51 | More by callmescraps
Photo of Duff27


3/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- over an inch tall tan head, dark. Very nice head retention and lacing.

Faint smell, fruity.

"Medicinal" taste to the barrel. Dark fruit, generally. Hoppy just like Storm King.

Medium mouthfeel, highly carbonated.

Very underwhelmed. Not a lot of flavor overall. Not worth seeking out.

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2011 03:57:38 | More by Duff27
Photo of Sean9689


3.03/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Thank you, Mike! Poured into tulip.

A - Pours black as night, tan/mocha head, some spotty lacing and a thin cap on top. Comparable to other -bals and right on for the style, if not a bit better.

S - Lots of booze, oak, coffee, some burnt sugars.

T - Initially, the wood and bourbon are very good, but after the initial sip, the finish isn't so good. Some harsh wood/bitterness that keeps with you until you drink some water or drink something else. Ugh, not good. The booze is there, but hidden pretty well. I guess I forgot about it after the finish was so horrible.

M - Full bodied, rich, oaky finish.

D - Meh, not a very good -bal and pretty much overhyped. The look and nose are good, but the finish is hard to get over. Try if it's around, otherwise, I'd just drink a different -bal.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2011 03:08:13 | More by Sean9689
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Dark Intrigue from Victory Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 697 ratings.