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Dark Intrigue - Victory Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Dark IntrigueDark Intrigue

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

723 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 723
Reviews: 297
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 13.7%
Wants: 65
Gots: 292 | FT: 10
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:
Beer added by: stakem on 11-25-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 723 | Reviews: 297 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of nhindian
2.97/5  rDev -23.3%
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.

Photo of Jayli
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL caged and corked
Poured in to my Brooklyn snifter

A: This beer pours a thick, deep, dark brown almost opaque black with a three finger of crazy foamy brown head. Head recedes to 1/4 inch film that maintains and leaves sticky clumps of lacing on the glass.

S: Nose is - whoa bourbon and vanilla fill the nostrils. After a few moments, some caramel, roast, and chocolate notes come through.

T: Taste starts with a hefty dose of vanilla. followed by a nice roastiness mingled with caramel toffee and bitter chocolate. Finish becomes... a bit light, watery mixed with bourbon and charred notes. Alcohol stringecy lingers in the finish.

M: Medium bodied, lower carbonation, light on the tongue at first, but then a rich feel that is a touch sticky and chewy in the finish.

D: Goes down easily, pretty tasty, filling, good kick and nice representation of style. Most bourbon barrel beers need a bit of time to knock some heat off, this beer doesn't. It's very drinkable now even though there is an alcohol presence in the finish.

Photo of GregSVT
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml corked and caged bottle into a snifter - courtesy of jyoungsbcp

A: Pours deep black with a nice dark brown head that fades to a ring and leaves a lot of lacing on the glass. Very nice for a barrel aged RIS.

S: The nose is vanilla, molasses, cocoa, and charred oak with a slightly bitter hop aroma in the background.

T: The taste is bitter burnt malt, dark chocolate, and hops with vanilla and a touch of molasses on the finish. All the tastes of Storm King with a nice subtle barrel quality.

M: The feel is creamy but a bit thin...much like the original as well.

D: While I'm not a fan of the regular Storm King due to the bitter aftertaste it seems like the barrel aging has rounded off the sharp corners of this brew. Pretty tasty and I would love to try it again after a year or so to see if the barrel flavors come forward a bit more.

Photo of deskim
3.91/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

completely black. poured into a snifter, and shared with mmercede. was very excited for this one as I love storm king. overall this is a very good -bal beer. Not too sweet, perfect amount of malts. all the best parts of storm king, with a great whiskey taste.

Photo of younger35
3.12/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Received this brew from my main man out in Philly Gibby. I'm a big fan of the regular version so well see if barrel aging improves it or hurts it. As far as I'm aware barrel aging only makes beer better on the west coast. Drank from my Surly Darkness snifter.

Appearance- Pours a jet oil black with a teeny tiny little dark brown head. A lily pad head sticks around along with a fairly thin little collar.
Smell- Very roasted with an almost charcoal like burn and a fair amount of booze. A touch of caramel sneaks in along with the usual wooden suspects of vanilla and bourbon. Plenty of brownie batter as the chocolate smells fairly rich with a touch of cream. The only thing not 'normal' is a touch of a sharp tartness. Almost as if there are tart cherries or raspberries in there.
Taste- Wow, such a 180 from the smell. The beer is about the booziest thing I've ever tasted. It's hot as hell with an acrid coffee thing that really dominates the beer. A touch of tannic woodiness and that is about it.
Mouthfeel- Really thin and hot with a watery feel and really aggressive carbonation.
Drinkability- Not that great of a beer at this point in its short life but who knows what the future will bring. The smell is fantastic though... so it was a really shocking letdown after my first sip. Hopefully it gets better with some time but I wouldn't hold out hope. Thanks for the opportunity Jeff!

Photo of womencantsail
2.49/5  rDev -35.7%
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.

Photo of nkersten
2.91/5  rDev -24.8%
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.

Photo of Overlord
2.76/5  rDev -28.7%
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.

Photo of TCgoalie
4.07/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Notes from 12/11/10

Thank you to zoso1967 for bringing this rare treat to our tasting party.

Pours black with a tan head. Some lacing that fades after a few moments.

The smell is very oaky with bourbon that stings the nostrils. There is a spicy note against some sour unamed fruit. There is also an essence of vanilla.

Bourbon greets dark chocolate in the taste with a coffee like bitterness near the end. Vanilla is a player with all kinds of oak. The hops are subdued compared to the base Storm King.

I am somewhat disappointed by the mouthfeel as it is thinner than what I expected. For what it does have, it is smooth.

This is drinkable and enjoyable. I am glad I got to try it.

Photo of TheFightfan1
4.28/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

After being a little aggravated that I probably wasn't going to get one. I checked the bottle list at the Hulmeville Inn.Long and behold there were 3 left. I thought it would be a bit greedy to take all three so I got two.

Poured into a snifter. Opague black, thick brown heading with about a two inch head. Left tremendous lacing all throughout the tasting.

Smell is very feint. Bourbon notes mostly dominant.Some subtle heavier malts and a very brief aroma of bitter hops

Taste is great. The bourbon flexes it's muscle in the very begining coating the palate and kind of dies out which paves the way for the vanilla-oak taste. A sweeter almost lactose like touching that quickly turns into coffee and blends with a bitter chocolate. Ties everything up with a hotter alcohol finish.

Mouth is full bodied. Slight chew and a very creamy texture.

Amazing to say that both Storm King and Dark Intrigue are the same beer only Intrigue is aged in whiskey barrels. It tastes so different.

Photo of corby112
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black and completely opaque with faint hints of mahogany edges when held to a light source and a 2.5 finger frothy, pillowy mocha head. Excellent retention, only slowly fading into a lasting cap that leaves chunks of soapy lacing behind.

Complex aroma with lots of sweet boozy bourbon along with earthy oak, vanilla and silky chocolate malt. Slightly roasty with hints of oatmeal, toffee and coffee bean.

Chewy medium body with a lot of silky chocolate and roasted malt. As expected, there is a blast of bourbon which is slightly hot but more sweet really. The oak barrel aging adds an earthy quality as well as a good amount of bourbon and vanilla. The vanilla presence smooths things out a bit. Lots of roasted malt with hints of caramel, oatmeal, burnt toast and dark fruit. Very complex but a bit too hot at this stage. I'm excited to see how it develops.

Photo of mattgreger
4.28/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Split a bottle of this with a buddy of mine at the Craft Ale House in Limerick. Bottle that wasn't on the list, great pick up.

This brew poured nearly black. As the name of this brew is clear in the apperance alone, no light is shining threw the dark intriguing, oil black brew. It poured with a small tan head, that didn't leave lacing except a small ring around the edge of the glass.

The aroma on this brew is filled with a huge array of things. There is a sure aroma of dark chocolate, bourbon, raisins, and there is a nice aroma of vanilla in there as well, that come out in the front part of this brew. As this brew sits a little bit, you begin to get the strong alcohol and musty like aromas, you come to expect from a bourbon barrel aged brew.

The taste on this brew is amazing. It has a wonderfully, creamy texture. The smokey bourbon flavor, along with the bitter chocolates, make this brew just that much better. The aroma of alcohol is high, but its hidden very well behind the toasted malts. This brew takes the great flavors of the Storm King brew and just give it a richer, smoother bite.

The mouthful on is pretty good. This is a medium - heavy brew. Very little carbonation, with a nice silky, smooth drink. It goes down very easy.

This brew has a great drinkability, for such a high ABV. The aromas and flavor are incredible. There is a bit of a boozy finish, that might be a bit much for those who don't normally drink RIS, but its still a great brew none the less. I would love to get more bottles, to age. I bet this brew over time will get even better.

Photo of silentjay
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

black pour with a dark tan head that raises up to 4 fingers, retains well and leaves tons of lacing.

aroma is of bourbon, molasses, brown sugar, soy sauce, dark cacao, vanilla, and plenty of licorice that reminds me of the base beer.

more chocolatey than the aroma with a touch of charred malts and a bit more subtle bourbon. licorice, molasses, dark fruits (raisins especially), and vanilla are evident as well. tasty. maybe a touch too strong in the licorice flavors, and could use a bit more cacao, though thats being nitpicky.

a touch lighter bodied than ideal with subtle carbonation which suits the style nicely and a significant burn on the swallow.

drinks pretty well. the first few sips blew me away. each subsequent sip was a bit of a letdown. It seems stronger than the stated ABV. Its a wonderful beer, but falls just shy of the epitome of the style.

Photo of BuckyFresh
4.07/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed at a tasting party with TCHopCraver, TCgoalie, and zoso1967. Thanks to zoso1967 for supplying the brew!

Appearance: Pours nearly black. Barely any light is able to penetrate this intriguing abyss. Got about a one-finger dark tan head out of this one, but the lacing wasn't much more than a ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell: Dark chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, and raisin are the scents that first jump out at me. There is also some nice mustiness there and an assertive alcohol presence that stings the nostrils.

Taste: Very lovely creamy texture and some nice bitter chocolate notes, but there is not as much bite as I was anticipating. The bourbon is also a bit subdued and the alcohol is not as prominent as the smell might suggest.

Mouthfeel: There is some nice bitterness and some pleasant bourbon to the finish, but I'd say this one was a bit thin.

Drinkability: Pretty drinkable for a beer of this variety, but it probably could use a bit more time for the elements to meld together a bit.

Photo of DNICE555
4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Took a trip up to Whole Foods in MA for this one. Split with R Moe Nay

A - Black body with a tan head. Damn this is a good lookin beer.

S - Booze, bourbon, malt.

T - All the goodness of the storm king but the bourbon is a bit overwhelming for me. Still a good beer just not on the level of the great bourbon BA stouts.

M - Full body, rich, creamy, very nice feel to it.

D - The bourbon is a bit harsh and the malt is somewhat overwhelming for me. I'll take a regular storm king over this bourbon BA version. Still very glad I got to try this. I had a second bottle I plan on sitting on for a year.

Photo of Sean9689
3.1/5  rDev -19.9%
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.

Photo of devilben02
3.72/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This one starts out as expected, with a standard opaque brown imperial stout color and a thinnest beige head. The aroma is nice but again expected, with a deeply roasted malt bitterness and an earthy combination of hops and wood. The flavor shines a bit more, with the deep, rich, roasty malt backbone meshing well with an earthy, herbal, and sometimes almost spicy hop character. Instead of just adding a whiskey flavor on top of this profile, the barrel aging imparts a nice woodiness that again meshes well with the base beer's characteristics. The taste of the alcohol is there, but without much of the straight alcohol burn, which makes this one drink relatively easy. Overall, this still isn't one that I could tolerate drinking for extended periods, but I was quite enjoyable as a brief experience.

Photo of MasterSki
3.02/5  rDev -22%
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.

Photo of jrallen34
3.1/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 1 | overall: 3

Bottle provided by the now defunct Agentzero, poured into a perfect pint glass...Dark brown pour with amber on the fringes. A big, medium tan head, good retention. The head is interesting to look as it bubbles fiercely and the the bubbles are light tan at the bottom and much darker as it rises...The aroma gets this off to a great start, sweet bourbon, lots of oak, vanilla, maple syrup, lactic accent...The taste starts off pretty nice with a combo of oak, vanilla and chocolate, its tastey. Then all of a sudden everything comes crashing down and makes this a borderline bad beer. The carbonation is totally off, way to high, your palate is attacked by bubbles, it feels as off their are pop rocks in my mouth. Then as you swallow seconds later you get huge amounts of bitter chocolate that is not how this should finish. Very unbalanced and the carbonation are huge problems.

A good start, but this is nothing special, can't believe the hype.

Photo of RodneyX
2.7/5  rDev -30.2%
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.

Photo of Axic10
4.42/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed this at the Victory Holiday Dinner paired with dessert.

Appearance: Pitch black with a thin mocha head.

Smell: Heavy bourbon flavor, oak, vanilla, coffee and chocolate.

Taste: Bourbon, vanilla, chocolaty fudge brownie, coffee.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and smooth.

Drinkability: Very enjoyable version of Storm King which I think is a really great stout. The bourbon barrels add some more complexity to this beer.

Photo of dborginis
4.4/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a bottle missing the cage, a bit tough to get the cork out, but once poured there was no lack of carbonation. Really pretty 3/4 inch of tan bubbly head on top of pitch black...even in light, it's opaque. Smell is very sweet, roasty and I can catch some of the bourbon.

Intense flavors, a ton of coffee bitterness from the roasted malt. Heavy on the chocolate and on the tail end, can get the vanilla from the bourbon. Very thick, even with an appropriate amount of carbonation. Bitterness lingers. Although I'm not a big chocolate/coffee guy, I can very much appreciate what is going on here, as well as the transformation from Storm King to this. Mouthfeel is appropriate for the style. I appreciate that even with the bourbon barrel aging (and starting with Storm King) that the ABV is still single digit!

Photo of weeare138
4.17/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appears a rich, black with a dark brown edge. A thick tan head slowly fades into a gentle 1/8" head and an intense collar. Scattered lacing is webbed around the entire glass.
Smell is of roast, oak, vanilla, bourbon, caramel, butterscotch, and cocoa.
Taste is of the aromas with bourbon and vanilla standing out with cocoa, roasted nuts, and creme brule sweetness highlighted with vanilla, cream, and burnt sugar.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, sweet, sticky, and mildly boozy yet balanced.

Photo of kbanks13
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter with a pitch black body that shows no light and has a cascading, dense, 2-finger brown/chocolate head. Smells like vanilla, chocolate, molasses, floral hops and earthy oak. Taste is dominant vanilla and dark cocoa followed by rich coffee and caramel flavors and a bitter floral hop characteristic. Warms with a bit of alcohol bite/burn. Mouth is very heavy and thick with mid to low carbonation, coating and full. Drinks easy for a bourbon aged stout and has great flavor and aroma. Not quite world-class yet, but I think that in a year or so it will be absolutely perfect and I'm eagerly waiting for graduation to open my other bottle. Another great job by Victory

Photo of Bmoyer0301
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Appearance:

Another beer where I decided to pull out my craftsman "cork remover" since it was clearly giving me problems when I used my hands. Once out there was a generous pop and healthy amount of carbonation gases seeping out of the neck. Poured straight on in my Mad Elf snifter and upon coming out this baby pours a jet black like 10W-30 motor oil. I was greeted with a one finger thick cocoa powder colored head that hung around. I gave a generous swirl and noticed there was a medium amount of lacing, not overly syrupy.

Smell:

Right out of the gate there is a bouquet of vanilla, bourbon, sweet caramel and oak tannin notes. There is a lot of aromas going on here but they do seem to work well together becuase nothing takes dominance. Also, I am noticing black cherries, plums, and of course heat alcohol. Lets not forget roast and coffee.

Taste:

Ahh the hoppy reminiscent of the regular storm king but with a whole new twist. Huge amounts of oak and vanilla are on the tip of the tongue as well as burnt coffee and bourbon. One thing that I wish victory would have done was leave the beer in the barrel longer becuase don't get me wrong the bourbon is there but I prefer the flavors much stronger. Also, I wish they would have dubbed the early addition hops down a bit becuase they are trying to fight the barrel flavors. In the finish there is milk chocolate, nougat and of course heat alcohol.

Mothfeel:

A little thinner than I like but still a really great beer to sit back and sip on. No need to nit pick here, very enjoyable

Dark Intrigue from Victory Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 723 ratings.