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Red Thunder - Victory Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Red ThunderRed Thunder

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

115 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 115
Hads: 573
Avg: 3.92
pDev: 26.02%
Wants: 18
Gots: 80 | FT: 7
Brewed by:
Victory Brewing Company visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
Baltic Porter |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: confer on 11-23-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Aged in Wente Vineyards red wine barrels.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 115 | Hads: 573
Photo of CMUbrew
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown-black pouring into the glass and black when the glass is full. Small head doesn't stick around long.

S: Definitely a red wine aroma with some roasted malt in the background.

T: Red wine flavors that are slightly acidic. Porter flavors are also evident and blend nicely with what the barrel is providing.

M: Smooth porter body with an appropriate fullness.

O: A really nice offering and a nice change in the barrel aged department.

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Photo of brutusmuktuk
4.07/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown porter with a nice off-white head. Smells oaky, and gives off hints of the wine whose barrels it’s been aged in. Oak is the strongest flavor I could detect. The fruits of the wine were more subtle for me. This is a very smooth, very tasty beer.

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Photo of cjgiant
3.87/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I'm not much of a porter fan, really, and I'm not sure if this fits on the category well with the wine barrel aging, but this beer worked for me. I wouldn't choose it over the styles I enjoy, but I enjoyed the flavors in this beer, especially the notes from the barrel aging.

The beer poured dark auburn tending towards black, with decent retaining head. In the nose it get the woodiness of the barrels (oak I guess), fronting an underlying nuttiness.

The taste had a little more smokiness, but otherwise followed the nose. There was a little bite of alcohol in there as well. The taste also included a molasses sweetness and a hint if the wine. The ending was a little dry completing the barrel-aged feel.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
2.63/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Caged undated bottle at 42 degrees into goblet; cork firm and intact.
Weak aroma of cheap red wine
Head small (1 cm), fizzy, light brown, rapidly diminishing to a broken 1 mm ring.
No lacing
Body dark brown/black with ruby highlights, clear
Flavor begins badly, distinctly bitter, with no redeeming maltiness, no hoppiness, no chocolate overtones, just bitterness. Ends with afterburn which lasts one – two minutes. Not pleasant.
Palate thin and watery, flat

Not what I’ve come to expect from Victory: a blatant attempt to cash in on the popularity of barrel ageing. A shame this is not half as good as unbarreled Baltic Thunder. Perhaps a bad bottle? Then so were the first two. Drain pour time.

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Photo of champ103
3.59/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a dark brown, nearly black with a bit of ruby highlights. A two finger tan head forms, and recedes in a minute. Light lace is left behind.
S: Light wine, tart fruits, and chocolate all intermingle. Nothing wants to take over, which makes it balanced in a sense, but not sure if I really dig it?
T: Like the nose, everything intermingles. Slightly tart fruits like cherries, and a vinous, grape flavor. Mixed with the roasted malt and chocolate. Interesting, and certainly not bad. Just missing something IMO.
M/D: A medium body with moderate carbonation. Fairly smooth. Not hard to drink at all. Enjoyable for the most part.

This is unique and interesting. Though nothing really jumps out as being exceptional. The tart fruit/wine character with the roasted malt are balanced, just not something I particularly think is a good combo. Worth a try, but probably a one time purchase for me.

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Photo of maximum12
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle after having this on tap at a place we were not nearly cool enough to be in, & paying a massive premium for it. 750 ML skeet-shot split with my wife.

C&C comes off handily enough, with a foof gentle enough for a wine bottle. Looks like dark, thin blood just exposed to the air, with roughly the same amount of carbonation. I end up with a wet face before I get much off the surface - not much aroma at all, vague wine & oak, but that could be just because I read the label.

Red Thunder might hit about sixty decibels, but not much more. Wine is nice up front, good red kick with a ton of burnt, oaky tannins running all the way through the beer. Middle consists of mild smokiness, water-softened malts, unvarnished quarterstaff, Very dry. So easy to drink, I'm mulching it down like crazy.

This almost seems like a wine without the alcohol & acetic bite to it. A gentle beer that seems to spit in the face of the over-the-top crowd, this grew on me as my expectations took a break. Enjoyable, & a good beer.

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Photo of utopiajane
3.81/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a coppery brown, not quite opaque and will show you some ruby if you look deeply. The head was not as fat or as persistent as it should have been but it was tan and creamy . There was a large stream of bubbles coming up from the bottom and perfect clarity on this not quite black beer.

Nose is malty rich sweetness. Complex malt. It spots aromas of caramel, chocolate that is light and sweet and a smooth coffee. Dark fruits are raisin and dried fig. As it warms it begins to show a nutty quality. There is no hop presence on the nose at all. The alcohol is estery and a bit sweet. it has a wine scent from the barrel and there is nothing burnt here although it is very roasty.

Taste is smooth and the mouthfeel is full bodied even though a moderate carbonation keeps it light on the tongue. The beer starts sweet with malty richness and the sweet dried fruits. Then the dryness of the toasted grain and a bit of alcohol takes the middle and really allows all the complex malt flavors to show themselves. Smooth roasted coffee, light sweet touch of chocolate, caramel, dried fruit that is not heavy and a little bit nutty. Finishes dry, bitter and with a lingering aftertaste that shows a touch of hop spice. Perfect.

Smooth and perfectly composed, this beer is light on the palate and rich and very debonair. Wonderful balance.

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Photo of SportsandJorts
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a nice brown color with some reddish hues where the light comes through. pretty near opaque. huge three finger bubbly head of a tan color that fades almost instantly to nothing.

Smell: smooth and sweet chocolate. wood. and wine

Taste: opens up with a sweet and decadent chocolate, which is quickly overcome by other flavors. a very strong wooden flavor and a slightly sour wine taste.

Mouthfeel: pretty heavy. very dry but smooth throughout the sip.

Overall: an interesting beer. ends up being quite tasty and complex.

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Photo of Gryphon69
4.39/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

750 bomber

A- Pours a dark brown with a deep red hue, has a off white head that fades fast but leaves a ring around the glass, light lacing up the sides. Visible small bubbles up the sides.

S- When I brought it out of the 18degree truck it was mostly Oak, smoke and wine. After it warmed to room temp - Dark roasted malts, strong oak, burnt sugar, some smoke, some vanillas. Much better warm.

T- Much like the nose but strong oak up front with a nice earthiness at the finish, taste is pretty damn good, all sorts off stuff going on. Not much alcohol presence.

M- Very easy to drink, medium to full body with a soft smooth feel that borders creamy. Not as much bubbles as was seen in the glass imo.

O- Victory is still keeping my interest, and this beer is wonderful. From the deep oak aromas to the full body taste, they have put out a damn good drink with this one. I plan on going and getting a few more for my shelf and would suggest you do the same lol.

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Photo of KFBR392
3.45/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours with a dark red brown color and sits black in the glass. Off white head of about half a finger was present on the pour and was present on the edges of the glass while drinking. Above average active carbonation in glass.

Smell: The tannic sour grapes from the barrel character really dominate the aroma. An oaky, slightly smokey malt pops up toward the back end. Not overly complex but is interesting.

Taste: The front is willed with cherries, oak, sour grapes, and soapy crayon like texture. Mossy oak continues to pick up in the body with some roasted chocolate, coffee, and vanilla beans. The finish picks up with some more sour grapes and semi sweet malt character.

Mouthfeel: Easy drinking, barrel character definitely dominates with a lasting sourness left behind.

Overall: An okay brew. I was certainly hoping for something more complex here. Really surprised at how much the wine characteristics take over. Not bad for the price though, a solid brew from Victory.

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Photo of dar482
3.79/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The beer comes in a brown Coca Cola color.

The aroma has roasty malt, some cocoa powder, and then this red wine barrel character of oak and red wine.

The flavor has lots of wine character. There's a good melding of the lightly roasted malt and cocoa notes. Lots of toffee sweetness. A bit of alcohol drying on the end.

This is not a robust porter, but the sweetness balances well with the medium amount of wine barrel character.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.34/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Served on tap at Morris Tap and Grill on 10/12.

Pours Really dark red. Light malt bread nose. Sweet caramel taste. Sweet trumps the bitter, which backs the flavor, but not enough. Could use more bite. Light carbonation mouthfeel. Good but not outstanding. 35 325 35 3 325

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Photo of stephens101
4.24/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A tawny head floats solid across this black brew. Some crimson streaks are seen at the edges.

A panoply of dark fruits including cherry, plum and raisin float up to the nose. Underneath lies oak and slightly vinous notes. Burnt sugar, caramel and toffee are also noticed. Very complex and promising.

Burnt sugar, toffee, slivers of oak and ripened dark fruits lay down thick across the tongue followed by cocoa, vanilla and spice. Bitterness is there, but as warranted.

A big bodied sipper that goes down fairly smooth and viscous. The perfect start to a snow day.

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Photo of KYGunner
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Just underneath a mounting head of off white fizz lay a deep brown coloring with the shadows of Cabernet red.

The scent is filled with the wine barrel aromas like cabernet wine, red grapes, vanilla, wood and cork.

The taste holds many of the same properties of the nose, like the vanilla, wood and cabernet wine but then there is some nice chocolatey malt, some creamy sweetness and then oakey barrel wood.

The feel is a bit astringent and though I didn't detect any hop flavors or aromas I did get some of the tinny metallic hop sensation. There was also a light warmth and a tinge of fizzy soda.

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Photo of plaid75
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On draft at Tap and Barrel, Smithtown, NY.

Poured a deep brown hue with a one finger off white head.

The smell featured a vinous sweetness from the red wine barrels with the accompanying vanilla and butterscotch.

The taste offered an upfront vanilla and butterscotch with a drying roasted malt.

The mouthfeel was toward the drier side of the style and finished a bit too dry.

Overall a tasty barrel aged porter.

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Photo of MadScientist
3.82/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: A very dark brown beer with a deep garnet hue. The persistent head is made of fine brown bubbles.

S: Moderately-strong cocoa and oak aromas with the oak bringing cinnamon and a bit of vanilla along with a bit of the red wine aromas of dark stone fruit. There is subtle alcohol sweetness.

T: There is a moderately light malt sweetness with a medium cocoa flavor. The oak is moderately strong but doesn't overwhelm. There is only a light hops bitterness but the balance is about even although the the oak and alcohol assist in countering the sweetness. The finish is medium with an aftertaste of oak an stone fruit.

O: A creamy beer with moderate cocoa flavor and an unmistakable red wine oak character supporting the porter with notes of currants, cherry, oak and cinnamon. I was really impressed with this on tap, it hold up well in the bottle but well worth finding on tap.

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Photo of hagbergl
4.21/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I had Red Thunder on draft at Washington, DC's Smoke & Barrel, a barbeque, beer, and bourbon joint in the Adams Morgan neighborhood. A red wine barrel-aged imperial porter? Yes, please!

Appearance (4/5): Dark black body and a thin, light tan head. Completely opaque.

Smell (4.25/5): Red Thunder may look innocent enough, but one whiff and you know you're in for a very interesting drinking experience. On smelling the beer, you're hit with an interesting melange of black cherry, oak tannins, and the typical roasty, malty porter notes. No booziness to speak of.

Taste (4.25/5): The taste follows the smell. The first taste on the tip of the tongue is oak, sherry, and black cherry notes mixed with a high purity, dry dark chocolate flavor. The wine barrel and dark fruit flavors end up fading towards the end, giving way to the typical dry and roasty porter flavors. Well-balanced, the sweet and roasty elements are in good equilibrium; neither dominates the other. Again, as with the nose, Red Thunder is remarkably un-boozy despite the high ABV. Unexpectedly good with a nice bit of complexity.

Mouthfeel (4/5): Full-bodied, medium carbonation, and creamy. A beer that, despite its richness and complexity, is easy drinking. I could probably drink a full 750 mL bottle of this.

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Photo of farrago
3.62/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Mediocre head of about half a finger, lots of larger bubbles which diminish its staying power and it’s all quickly gone, lacing likewise on the weak side. Clean black liquid of full opacity, no real orange or yellow tints, just some brown around the edges, no real way to visually gauge the carbonation. Malty nose with cocoa, mocha, coconut, butterscotch and vanilla bean, maybe a hint of sour red wine but no real “vinous” presence, at the same time no real hoppy bite either, dries out the longer it lingers in the nostrils, seems like a straight up porter. Medium-bodied, slightly creamy during the attack then gets quite dry and close to dusty in texture. Chocolate, vanilla, caramel, a light dose of black licorice and coconut as well as scone bread. The carbonation is weak and it moves at a sluggish pace. Glimmer of cherry to plum fruit, not a lot of lactose or milky qualities. While it’s posture is nice, still wish it moved more gracefully. Still not sure what the wine barrels contribute, except some sour notes through the finish. By no means a bad beer, just unsure of what makes it “unusual” versus a basic rendition of a traditional style.

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Photo of videofrog
3.76/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 750ml cork & caged bottle into a tulip. Allowed to warm outside of the fridge before serving. Bottled on date of 8/8/13.

A: Really dark reddish brown. Opaque with a thin khaki head that fades to a thin wisp.

S: Mostly barrel here, with the vinuous notes at the forefront. Oak and vanilla there as well. Sweet chcocolate malt there to balnce things out.

T: Getting more of the chocolate and roasty notes of the base beer here, but the barrel characteristics are still pretty strong.

M: Weakest aspect of the beer for me as it is a bit thin bodied. Low carb. Dry, oaky finish.

O: I like how the barrel flavors and base beer worked together on this one. May buy another to cellar to see where this one goes over time.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On-tap 10/31/2013 at Doherty’s East Ave Irish Pub, in Pawtucket, RI served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a dark reddish brown color, with a medium off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick on the glass.

S: The aroma contains dark fruit, roasted malts, some hops, some coffee and some chocolate.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of dark fruit and some chocolate. Then a strong hops presence for the style comes in. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and a little crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, good variation of style, this is a solid beer to drink for a while.

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass.

Appearance: Very dark brown with a reddish/amber tint to it. Bubbles seem to be medium with a tan head rising to just about one third of an inch.

Smell: Smells like malts and wine, little awkward but still good.

Taste: Complex tastes of wine and fruits with a nice smooth malt hit. It is a tad overwhelming and one of the reasons why I can't rate it any higher.

Mouth: Super sticky, and a slight dry at the end. Hardcore grape finish.

Overall: I'm not sure who's idea was it to take a porter yet alone a Baltic porter and age it in wine barrels but I think Victory has themselves a hit. It's not for everyone, but most porter fans would like. Salud!

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Photo of spointon
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I poured this one from a 750ml brown corked and caged bottle into a stemmed tulip glass.

A= This ale poured a deep reddish brown color with a 1/4" cream colored head. The head dropped to a skim fairly quickly.

S= Little of the base beer comes through in the nose, but the barrel character (wine, oak, coconut, vanilla) comes through nicely.

T= Starts off with some nutty malt and dark fruit notes but is pretty clean, per the Baltic porter style. Some nice alcohol complexity. Not much in the way of hop character. Finishes with lots of barrel flavors similar to the nose (wine, oak, coconut, vanilla) with the coconut character intriguing me the most.

MF= Disappointingly thin mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style.

D= Drinkability bolstered by the very pleasant flavor profile. That almost makes me forget about the thin and disappointing mouthfeel.

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Photo of DillanWeems
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Dark with a bit of red on the edges. Minimal head and lacing.

S: Red wine, sweet fruit, cherry, vanilla. Slightly savory smell, and a bit woody.

T: Follows smell. More wine and savory flavor than in the smell. Great wood aged flavor as well.

M: Just enough carb. A bit light, but not too much so for the style.

Overall a really tasty beer. The wine barrel flavor is excellent and not too overpowering. Nice complexity and hints of fruit and wine, but not enough to take away from the flavor a Baltic Porter should have. Well balanced all around. I'm usually not a big Victory fan, but they made a great beer in this case.

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Photo of Atlas1
4.04/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The weather finally got a little cooler in SA today (high in the 60s), so I figured I could start breaking out some of the proper seasonal drinks. It's just a bit hard to drink a Baltic Porter when it's 90 degrees outside.

Poured into a snifter, it's a nice dark brown color. Looks like a proper porter should. Not much head or lace. The nose is strong and all over the place. Dark fruit, molasses, cocoa, chocolate, various spices. I love this aroma. Really pleasant. Complex without being overbearing. The taste is nice as well. Cocoa again, with some faint vanilla. Cherries. With the distinct hint of wine in the finish and aftertaste. Mouthfeel is thinner than expected, but doesn't detract too much.

I've never head a wine barrel-aged porter before, but this was a solid beer. I doubt many other examples of this aged Baltic porter exist, but I'd be happy to try others to compare. Cheers to the folks at Victory for experimenting.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.45/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

750ml brown glass bottle with understated label art and hood-and-wire cap (aka cage) over a cork acquired at me local bottle shop and served into an Independence Brewing pilsner glass in me gaff in low altitude Austin, Texas. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given the brewery and style. 8.5% ABV confirmed. Reviewed as a Baltic Porter because the label identifies it as a porter and notes that this is the red wine barrel aged version of Blatic Thunder. I don't notice a bottle date on the label, but I do find it curious that this is a winter seasonal and I was able to purchase it in early October...

Served cold, straight from me 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 I pour.

Pours a one finger wide head of khaki colour. Nice creaminess and thickness. Nice soft complexion. Head retention is pretty decent for the highish ABV - about 3 minutes. Little lacing clings to the sides of the glass when I tilt the glass, and none really sticks.

Body colour is an extremely dark auburn, bordering on black. Opaque. No yeast particles are visible. It's an interesting colour for a baltic porter.

Within style conventions. Overall, it's pretty standard fare for a baltic porter and I'm looking forward to trying it. Not unique or special, but there are no obvious flaws.

Sm: Faded red wine with accompanying tannic character. A kiss of lactic sourness, but it doesn't seem infected. Slightly acetic. A biteen vinous. Restrained oak lacks the toasty/vanilla notes I've come to expect from a good oak-aged beer. Cocoa. Chocolate malts. Dark malts. Some vague dark fruit - maybe prunes or dates. Cinnamon. Raisin.

No hop character, yeast character, or alcohol is detectable. You wouldn't know it was a baltic porter just off the aroma; there's no evidence of lager yeast per se.

An appealing aroma of mild strength. I'm looking forward to trying it.

T/Mf: I do get a hint of red wine up front, but it's far from pronounced. Surprisingly, there's a pleasant acetic and lightly acidic character on the open, with even a hint of lactobacillus sourness - and no evidence at all of infection. I'm a bit taken aback, but it's a nice introduction to an interesting beer. The body is comprised mainly of dark malts, chocolate malt, cocoa dust, and some minor spicing - primarily cinnamon. A biteen vinous and raisiny, but neither is overpowering and never affects the mouthfeel detrimentally. Some very buried cherry skin; I'd like much more of that in particular.

It's got a powdery, smooth, and wet texture with enough coarseness to coax out some nuance from the flavour profile. Unrefreshing. Good body and thickness, supporting the flavour profile well. Good presence on the palate. Lightly soft feel. It complements the flavour profile quite well. Good execution. A biteen overcarbonated, though.

The chocolate is interesting, but isn't as rich or evocative as it could be; I don't get any deep chocolate notes like you'd find in some of the best baltic porters. The oak is also lacking; I hardly pick up on it at all, and then only via the tannic wine qualities. No vanilla, roast, or toasty character here. I do think the barrel aging is complementing and adding to the base beer, which is more than I can say about many barrel aged beers. I really have to dig deep to find any dark fruit notes, but I do pick up on some timid prune.

It's got interesting complexity as well as some limited subtlety; the buried red wine character plays well against the more conventional dark baltic porter base. Well balanced but not gestalt. It's got good cohesion; the barrel definitely blends with the base and they never feel separate. I like it.

There is some alcohol presence, but there are no other off-notes. No real hop presence is noticeable.

Not oily, harsh, astringent, gushed, hot, or boozy. Could be softer on the palate.

I dig the cocoa powder; that's a highlight for me. I also like the subtle acetic character.

Dr: Quite drinkable for the high ABV, though it is something of a sipper. This wasn't exactly what I expected when I opened it, and in some ways it's better. A very interesting winter seasonal that seems to have developed with age. I'd be interested in trying a bottle with even more age on it in the future (~2-3 years of age seems ideal). Definitely worth trying. Victory is quickly rising in my mental ranking of breweries. I'll have to seek out more of their other offerings. I'd recommend it to friends provided the price isn't ridiculous. A well-executed Baltic Porter with worthwhile barrel aging; there are relatively few breweries currently attempting this premise.

I doubt the pilsner glass is doing this justice; I'd recommend a snifter, goblet, or teku.

High B-

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Red Thunder from Victory Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 115 ratings.