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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: 11.73%
Wants: 18
Gots: 79 | 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 DavoleBomb
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

Poured into a snifter.

3.25 A: Pours a deep brown color. One and a half fingers of frothy/creamy tan head. Retention is below average and a few wisps of lacing are left.

3.75 S: Wow does the wine barrel come through. The nose is surely centered around it. Vinous grape, big vanilla and oak, and moderate supple tannins. The base beer almost gets lost in there, but it does bring forth the barrel elements. Roasty malts, cocoa, tangy caramel, molasses. Again I'll emphasize that this is heavy on the barrel, which isn't such a bad thing.

3.75 T: Like the nose, the barrel stands strong, but the base beer does come through better. The same barrel elements and grape as in the nose. Roasty malts, big caramel, molasses, dark fruitiness underneath. Quite tasty.

4.0 M: Lighter heavy body. Good moderate carbonation. Good creaminess and super smooth. Good here.

3.75 D: Seems like everything gets better when Victory puts their beers into barrels. Pick this one up, it's good.

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Photo of Shroud0fdoom
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

25.4 oz. bottle corked and caged.

Let me break it down. I've seen this brew for a year now, just chilling on the shelf. I bit the bullet the other day. Im glad I did. I'm going to inform those who might be thinking of picking this up. I popped this baby's cork, but no paazaz it just made a subtle "clock" sound. Well, that part doesn't matter, what is inside the bottle is what counts. Red Thunder pours gorgeous per Porter style. Dark brown body thats opaque with very dark red hues that shines as an aura for this beer. Very nice light khaki head thats made up of tight fizzy bubbles. Looks outstanding to me!

How can a beer at 8.5% be this full of depth? This aroma is very rich, almost intoxicating to the senses. The first waves of aromas from this brew can be described as very vinous with a slight vinaigrette edge. Behind the scenes there's a roasted malt sweetness that is full of chocolate and toasted nuts. Almost roast coffee airiness that fills in for your enjoyment. Fantastic smelling brew!

Continuing with the flavor is going to be a chore, I see. The brew first hits the palate with milk chocolate sweetness that quickly followed by a nice blast of roasted almonds and coffee. The barrel notes closes the deal right before the brew is swallowed.Slight vinegar touches the sides of the palate giving through with some tart vinous quality. Red Thunder finishes dry, fruity with very low bitterness making you want to consume a next sip. Lingering roasted malts giving notes of toasted bread and toasted almonds. Very delicious. The way the brew feels on the palate is light with some very active carbonation. The carbonation feels like its massaging the palate and keeping the beer alive.

Overall: Why haven't I bought this brew before now? This brew is very intriguing and simply put, Delcious. This was 2013's vintage I'm going to have to see how this year's holds up. The vinegar tartness is a refreshing factor to this brew, IMO. It adds a depth that makes this malt beer not too cloying nor syrupy on the tastebuds. Back to basics, this brew is Recommended!

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Photo of buzzarooski
3.4/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

LOOK: Brown to Rusty Red in Color, Not much of a foamy head

SMELL: Fruity Plum and Chocolate Scents

TASTE: Smooth Mild Porter Taste with definite hints of Red Wine, there is the Subtle Sweetness similar to Prunes in every Smokey Sip

FEEL: Smooth with Mild Carbonation

OVERALL: Another Solid Effort by Victory Brewery...Well Made but.....Not My Type of Porter

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

Aug '13 bottling. Pours a brown tinted clear dark red with thick fluffy light brown head. Thick sheet for a few inches. Smell: ripe plum, grapeskin... oaky red wine, tart peach, dark chocolate, light roast. Taste: mildly tart peach, mild tannic bitterness, chocolate brownie batter... moving into the finish some toasted brown bread and plum. The wine barrel certainly adds a lot with the tart stone fruit and oaky vinous notes cutting through the chocolaty sweetness. This is well done.

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Photo of JamieDuncan
4.43/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Split a bottle with my beer guru, could not remember where I had picked it up. Outstanding appearance, very interesting to the nose, kinda of a mix of the porter with the wine which is very interesting. Very good taste, the same mix of porter with the wine sweetness and chocolate, plus there is not bitter aftertaste. Plus bonus points overall for the drinkability with the ABV. Surprisingly tasty, Victory has done it for me again, hope to buy more of this little surprise.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle, with no apparent bottled on date present, but I am going to assume that this is a 2013 vintage. A new beer to me, and my first big bottle from Victory Brewing Co. I have not yet tried the base beer Victory Baltic Thunder, so I can't comment on how the two compare.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter.

A - Pours a dark cola brown colored body; nearly opaque in the glass with one finger of creamy tan head. Leaves behind good spotty lacing. Looks very nice.

S - The smell is very nice - the dry wine-like notes are noticeable first, but then they sort of fade off into the background. Oaky barrel character, chocolate, vanilla, cherry, & some band-aid. Smells like it has some sort of herbal holiday spice rack notes in there also, but I'm not sure which ones.

T - Taste follows the nose - there is the initial puckering red wine tartness / dryness, mild alcohol warmth, chocolate, mild roastiness, some tart cherry, silky vanilla, and oaky barrel notes. There is really a lot going on here, and all the flavors are in good harmony with one another. Delicious.

M - Feel is smooth and creamy. Medium-full bodied with wonderful carbonation. Nice red wine tartness / tannins, and a dry finish.

Overall, a wonderful wine barrel aged effort from Victory, probably one of the best that I have had from these guys in recent memory, and they have been cranking out some real winners lately. Highly recommended.

Victory Red Thunder ---4/5.

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Photo of brureview
4.06/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark coffee color with a 1F head in a snifter. Serving temp about 50°F.

The aroma: strong oak and wine-unusual in a Baltic Porter.

The mouth feel is quite different for the style- a wine consistency which I taste on the back of my tongue.

The aroma is also unusual- wine and chocolate.

I am a fan of this style. This approach is different- I prefer Baltic Porters aged in Bourbon Barrels such as the Framinghammer from Jack's Abby. However, this beer is worth checking out- especially for a different approach to the style.

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

Interesting beer. To some it might be a case of even if you can barrel-age something it doesn't mean that you should. Has the Baltic porter twang to it. And with the combo of the barrel aging, an even higher level of it than is typical. Woody fruit thing going on. Smooth feel. Easy to drink. There are aspects of this beer that I think are interesting. But I'm not sure if Baltic Thunder is the best beer to be aging.

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Photo of yuenglingfan101
4.68/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Very unique beer. Poured into pint glass. Dark black color with medium thick head. Smells like a porter and taste like Porter mixed with a sweet red wine. Not a bad combination Easy drinkability. Overall an above average beer. Worth trying for both Porter and sweet red wine fans

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Photo of kaufmaal
3.79/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown with some deep amber highlights. The head's a solid, dark tan that fades quickly. Ripe fruit, very subtle, and some hints of chocolate and smoke on the nose. The initial taste is more intense ripe fruit: cherries, plums, especially; some vanilla and chocolate. And then it tastes like sweet vermouth and the heeltap of a Manhattan. If you like that, well, this one's a winner. I do like it, but in small quantities, so a whole bottle may be best divided amongst like minded friends. The feel is perfect - they really have the carbonation just right. It's not sticky, not too watery, either.

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Photo of Fcolle2
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark cloudy brown with some deep crimson color coming out near the bottom of the snifter. Head is a thin tan film over te top that fades to a ring around the edges.

Aroma has lots of oaky barrel aromas forward. Wood is the first to hot followed by some vanilla tannins from the barrel. Very faint tart smelling dark fruit is hard to miss before a big chocolate malt presence finishes with a mild earthiness.

Taste follows the aroma. There is a solid oaky barrel presence forward followed by a much more mellow vanilla tannin and good amount of acidity from the dark fruit. chocolate malt is on the finishes with a good cocoa flavor, mild amounts of detectable alcohol and more acidity from wine.

Mouthfeel is good. Medium bodied, medium carbonation and some bitterness from the charred malt are all balanced nicely.

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Photo of DIM
4.02/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

a: Deep ruby tinted chestnut color; poured with a small fizzy head.

s: Fairly muted; vinous oakiness, a trace of vanilla, and tart sort of cocoa.

t: Lots more going on flavor wise. Some vinous fruit from the barrel, but cherry from the original beer as well. Oaky cocoa at the finish and a lingering dry tartness. Grew on me as the bottle dwindled.

m: Smooth and gently carbonated.

o: Barrel treatment worked extremely well, much better than the original.

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

Bought 2 corked & caged bottles from Victory 's retail shop at the brewpub. Roughly $10 a piece. Poured into a snifter for review. Light pop of the cork. Bottled on date reads August 06, 2013. Pours a very dark garnet red, almost brown in complexion. Nice foamy head after a generous pour. Smells of dark malts with very noticeable tannin character from the wood. Red wine is there - very subtle but appears more as it warms. Seems like a complex nose of chocolate malt, red wine,and wood. Tastes of dark malts with oaky tannins and a very light red wine presence. Slight burn in the back of the throat from alcohol. Feels medium full with nice carbonation and an even bitterness. Overall, a nicely subtle foray into a used red wine barrel program. Red wine isnn't in your face, and that's fine. This one seems to be about more quieter complexities rather than a tongue punch full of flavors. Will be curious what another few years do to the other bottle. Will likely save for another 2-3 years.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
4.34/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from corked 750 ml bottle into a snifter

Appearance – The beer pours an almost deep brown, bordering on black color with a one finger of tan colored head. The head has a decent level of retention, fading to leave a light level of bubbly lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma of the beer is quite heavy of a roasted malt smell as well as some other darker aromas of cocoa and some sweet buttery toffee. Along with the these smells are some notes darker fruits mixed with a big red wine smell and a little bit of a woody aroma which with the roasted, dark and sweeter smells produces a nice warming aroma overall.

Taste – The taste begins with a roasted malt flavor with some bready flavors and a rather strong caramel and toffee taste. Upfront there is also a nice chocolate flavor that is soon nicely complemented by some flavors of vanilla and some darker fruit flavors of raisin, plum, and prune. The red wine that was detected in the nose starts coming to the tongue more toward the middle of the taste, with it growing stronger as the flavor moves on to the end of the taste. The red wine flavor never gets too strong through and hence just adds nice subtle grapey notes all while not adding the off tannin flavors that are experienced with a higher level of red wine flavor. The grape red wine taste complements wonderfully the roasted flavors, the other darker fruit flavors, as well as the chocolate flavors of the brew. A little bit of a woody flavor develops right at the end of the taste and when mixed with all the wonderfully robust porter and nice subtle red wine flavors, it leaves one with a very robust and warming flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the thicker and creamier side with a carbonation level that is on the lower side. The lower carbonation and thicker body are wonderful for the roasted and sweeter dark flavors of the brew, allowing all the tastes to linger on the tongue all while bringing out the more subtle wine flavors and accentuating them nicely, allowing them to meld in a very nice fashion with the big Baltic flavors.

Overall – Fantastic!! I quite liked Baltic Thunder by Victory, and after the aging in the wine barrels, it only gets better. The combination of the big robust porter flavors with that of a subtle but pleasant red wine flavor really creates a wonderfully tasty and enjoyable drink.

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

750ml bottle: This one pours a fairly opaque, dark mahogany brown color. There was just a wisp of head on it. It has a nice nose. I definitely can smell a bit of oak and red wine. I get some cocoa too, as well as some faint roasted malts. The taste is very good. Just a bit bitter. Taste is some cocoa, roasted malts and a bit of a dry red wine. A touch of the oakiness comes thru too. This is a very nice brew.

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