Velvet Hammer
Peticolas Brewing Company

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Strong Ale - American
Ranked #30
Ranked #3,383
4.13 | pDev: 13.08%
Peticolas Brewing Company
Texas, United States
Notes: A tribute to our favorite Brewmaster, Greg Matthews, the Velvet Hammer appears as a dark, ruby reddish-brown ale beneath a sheath of protective off-white foam. It is malt-forward with elements of caramel and the sweetness of light brown sugar, balanced nicely by a combination of floral hops and a noticeable alcohol bite. It's a sturdy brew with a smooth character which belies both an inner strength and a slightly full body, along with a moderate bitterness to round out the taste.
Reviews: 33 | Ratings: 361 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of rodbeermunch
rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.6/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to Heather for picking this up on her last layover in Dallas.

Red ale pours a dark reddish brown color. Oh wait, they call it a 'strong' ale here. Look, its an imperial red ale ok? 1/2" off white head. Aroma of reddish maltiness, bittering Nugget like hop influence.

Had a bit of everything a decent red ale should have, a light brown malt influence, light brown sugar like sweetness, respectable amount of hops and bitterness, but not something you would say was made to be a massive hop red ipa like end result. Requisite amounts of caramel, toffee kind of stuff that manages to not get heavy or sticky without resorting to lactose or heavy carbonation. I didn't think it had much if any of an alcohol bite.

So check this out, I really didn't like any of the ipas I had from Peticolas. Strangely enough, the styles I am not the biggest fan of, I dug, like this beer, the kolsch and their "light" beer. If you're a red ale fan, I definitely think you should check this one out, but even if you aren't, this one is pretty good still.

Sep 19, 2020
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TBoneJones from Texas

4.19/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours with a mahogany body and retains a firm & fluffy off-white head. Moderate lacing, and the liquid appears medium-light with very little visible carbonation.
Smells very bready, but in the best possible way. Not sweet, but full-on malty (caramel and toffee notes are deep within) yet nothing deeply roasted hits my nose.
The taste brings full flavor of those malts but they’re paired with a big earthy hop presence, paired and balanced superbly. The bitter bite it ends with keeps the palate wet and wanting more to sip.
The first part of the brew’s name is accurate. Feels that way, and medium-full, WITH stickiness & low carbonation feel. Hearty.
This is one I heard of once but never tried because it’s only on tap apparently, and I rarely try that route since I’m usually trying bottled stuff. The neighborhood acquaintance who tipped me off on this, the few times I’ve hung out he drank canned macro, yet as he knew I was about all the “other” beers said to me “Velvet Hammer is the best beer out there period.”...or something to that extravagant effect. A couple months later I recalled that statement and tracked a growler fill about 15 minutes away from me. Now this guy might not care what he USUALLY drinks, but I fully believe him that it's the best beer he ever had. In my opinion it embodies a strong ale, and seems to be a benchmark example of a smoooth version that comes off stronger than the 9% abv. that it is. It’s all there, and it’s nothing complex, but what’s there is done like an artisan. The commercial description on BA here above is spot-on, and the latter part of the beer’s name is what could happen if you keep enjoying it.

Jul 15, 2018
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Radcpa from Washington

4.27/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Very pleasant red appearance with white head. Aroma is a slightly sweet aroma. Taste is a slightly sweet with a little bitterness without any alcohol taste. Very pleasant

May 10, 2018
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WoodBrew from Ohio

3.78/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I tried this beer at 54th street restaurant and drafthouse outside of Frisco. It poured a dark amber with off white head that is leaving a spotty lace. The scent had hints of floral hop. The taste was nicely balanced and easy to drink. The mouthfeel is medium in body with good carbonation. Overall it's a solid beer.

Feb 18, 2018
Photo of puck1225
puck1225 from Texas

4.44/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I did not realize I have never reviewed this beer! It is my favorite from a Dallas based brewery. Since it does not make it to my part of Texas, I always indulge when in Big D (had three pints today!).

Beautiful color, head and lacing. Rich smell and taste. Beautifully malty. Great with food. Looking forward to my next pint!

Nov 05, 2017
Photo of TannerRobinson
TannerRobinson from Texas

5/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

FAVORITE beer. Period. A beer-lover's beer. Big. Bold. In your face with hops. In your mouth with smooth, not sickening, maltiness. In your nose with crispy butter-bitter-sweetness. INCREDIBLY WELL BALANCED.

Jun 29, 2017
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Thomas_Wikman from Texas

4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I drank this beer at the bar at the Texas Theater, where JFK's assassin Harvey Oswald was captured in 1963. It is a historic and pretty exciting ambiance, which adds to the pleasure of drinking this great strong ale.

Look: semi-clear reddish brown hue with a thin white head.

Aroma: sweet caramel and pine

Taste: caramel and piney hops, some orange/grapefruit, very tasty.

Feel: medium body and carbonation, very smooth, and velvety, but strong.

Dec 02, 2016
Photo of Tommo
Tommo from Texas

3.67/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Really more of an imperial red ale rather than an american strong ale, whatever. Pours a very dark red brown and doesnt particularly smell inviting, not a ton of hop character. Strongly bitter, but smooth enough for 9%. Overall decent

Jun 19, 2016
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

3.83/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

another neat and innovative beer from these guys, somewhere between an american barleywine and a belgian dubbel, although leaning a little heavier towards the former there. its a light brown to dark red color, mostly clear with a tall and expressive khaki foam head on it. ring laces as i sip on it. smells boozy, fusel alcohol and brown sugar right away, this is a bold one to say the least. some bright hops in here, malt driven and robust on the grain front though, and less yeast character than anticipated. sweet up front in the flavor, molasses or brown sugar there, vegetal hops, not quite bitter enough to balance, a whole bunch of booze, almost has a dark rum quality about it, some burnt sugars, maybe raisin or prune or something in there too. lots happening, mostly all from the grain. in the end though, as much as i like the flavors and how unique it is, it ends up being a touch sweet and a touch hot for me to want more than one of them. looks like these guys do quite a few creative brews, and this is definitely one of them. doesnt remind me of anything i have ever had before. for those that like them bigger...

May 14, 2016
Photo of Airtejas
Airtejas from Texas

4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Really flavorful beer. To me it had a real nutty feel initially with a smokey after taste. I probably wouldn't recommend it to a newby but all of you craft-beer lovers should appreciate it.

Nov 16, 2015
Photo of LXIXME
LXIXME from New Mexico

4.16/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Nice light brown to tan head that leaves a decent lacing. Nice deep amber reddish color. Solid taste of richly roasted caramel malts layered nicely with the hops. What's not to like!

Oct 03, 2015
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D9sus4 from Missouri

4.06/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tried today for the first time on draft in Addison, Texas. Good body, creamy but head dissipated quickly. Toffee, brown sugar, orange peel, with a big malt backbone. Not too hoppy, like a good Imperial IPA should taste.

Sep 22, 2015
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tempest from New York

4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

What a fun beer, reminds me of Middle Ages' Wailing Wench a bit. The aroma matches floral, citrus juice hops with sweet toffee malts and bread crust. On your tongue, biting grapefruit and orange rind hit first, but then the barley rolls through with dry toasty bread, sweet toffee candy, and a light smoky roast. It doesn't feel as thick as most imperial reds or barleywines, but the malt flavor is fantastic. Get a pint next time you're in Texas.

Jul 29, 2015
Photo of kemoarps
kemoarps from Washington

4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hazy copper/mahogany body topped off with a crisp, velvety tan head. Beautiful from above.
Caramel malts come in big up front with some spicy hops. Sweetness that I can't quite tag, hints of raisin and chocolate, but really more the caramel/spicy/piney hops.

Flavour is an interesting blend that comes in waves. Starts out soft with some rye-like spice and the caramel. Waves of tobacco and brown sugar come through and escort you to the finish which emerges from behind the curtain with a definite pine bitterness that gathers and carries through the finish.
Medium body, like a comforter. Appropriate carbonation, The alcohol blends into the other flavours well, and the finish is long and bitter.
Another tasty Texas brew from @Bulldoza, thanks Nick!!

Jun 28, 2015
Photo of ATM_BMB

4.93/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a bond no molecule could break, a bond so strong, the mighty zeus couldn't muster up the strength to hit you this hard after 1 let alone 2. 3 beers and goodbye.

May 23, 2015
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Donfloridasmith from Florida

4.72/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Name is appropriate. Goes down really smooth and after a couple pints, it hits you like A hammer. Great finish. An outstanding beer that I suggest everyone try.

Apr 26, 2015
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drdiesel9483 from Ohio

4.18/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look - cloudy dark auburn with a white head
Smell - sweet Carmel malt w piney hop
Taste - similar to the smell but much more hop forward
Feel - crisp carbonation and a full body
Overall - strong but not over bearing string ale, really good.

Apr 08, 2015
Photo of REVZEB
REVZEB from Illinois

4.36/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This beer does well to have a heavy body while supporting flavors that are sweet, smooth and nicely balanced. The afore mentioned flavors include caramel, booze, molasses, brown sugar, earthy tones and bready malts. Smell almost has a coffee influence with boozy caramel.

Mar 17, 2015
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qcghost from North Carolina

3.13/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at The Holy Grail in Frisco. Tasted like cough medicine. Maybe it had gone bad but whatever it was, this was not at all what I had expected.

Mar 10, 2015
Photo of stephens101
stephens101 from Oklahoma

3.7/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Growler fill from Taps & Caps.

Color is a pristine burgundy. The tan froth leaves a few veins of lace. Has an understated aroma consisting of fruit juice and candied sugar. Tastes of grape and prune juice, grain, allspice and taffy with a slightly floral background and piney aftertaste. Medium-bodied and mostly lifeless.

One of those beers that has nothing particularly wrong with it, but doesn't have anything particularly right with it either.

Mar 02, 2015
Photo of ranger7
ranger7 from Texas

4.29/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Very nice. Somewhat hoppy, but nice malt notes too, similar to a amber/red ale in that respect. Medium bodied. Nice taste. Terrific with my fish and chips. One of the best offerings in Texas.

Jan 21, 2015
Photo of doombuddha
doombuddha from Texas

4.71/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This beer is delicious. I mean absolutely, positively a go-top beer. This beer is the first beer I think about when I am out and about. Do yourself a favor and get this beer.

It is a flavorful beer with quite a lot going for it. The flavor definitely is a good one, but in a way that it changes as you drink it. Some beers have only one note. This is an exception. Enjoy!

Aug 09, 2014
Photo of Premo88
Premo88 from Texas

4.17/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

32 oz. growler poured into tulip
(from Whole Fords west Fort Worth)

L: dark red/copper, murky to start with but it clears up to virtually crystal clear; pushes up thick head of beige/offwhite foam that has that "craft" foamy look, like thick meringue or whipped cream; some lacing and some sticking and it keeps a decent collar; beautiful

S: big malt up front ... brown sugar, even pinch of licorice and raisin, a little "darker" thank caramel/toffee; a second wave of aroma hits and it's very floral, American-hop floral ... gosh ... it's nice and complex, like a hoppy American brown ale

T: that first sip is almost all velvet, caramel/toffee malt so sweet it's like a doppelbock; the hammer of bitter hops hits in the aftertaste and then starts building and building and building, and it's piney and earthy, tastes like a mix of American and fuggle or some other kind of Old World hops

F: ale soft, decent carbonation but it's got a bit of heft and a slight slickness to it; very drinkable for a beer this big, for all of the ale qualities (soft, heavy, slick), it's lightened up quite a bit by the carbonation

O: fantastic brew; it's got enough malt presence to keep it from tasting like a mislabeled IPA/DIPA ... and it's strong, both strong in flavor and strong in ABV -- the 9% is completely hidden in the flavor but completely there

Apr 25, 2014
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StaveHooks from Oklahoma

3.63/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Oak St. Pub in Denton TX
Review from notes:

A - Dark reddish brown with ruby hues on the edges, hazy with a small sudsy cap. Good lacing.

S - Strong caramel malt, tangy dark fruit, earthy hops, pine mostly.

T - Follows the nose with dark caramel malt, fruity alcohol, the fruit is generic and hard to pick out, earthy rugged flavors, pine/herbal hops. Finishes semi-dry with some alcohol and pine.

M - Medium full body, medium carbonation, alcohol shows up a bit, sweet semi-dry finish.

A malty strong ale the has enough hops to balance it out. Plenty of alcohol showing but works well with all components. Glad I had a chance to try this.

Nov 10, 2013
Photo of JGlitz87
JGlitz87 from Texas

3.92/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at the Old Monk in Dallas.

A: deep amber, relatively translucent. Two finger cream colored head that hold well for first few sips.

S: Malts come through strong. Hints of chocolate and nuts.

T: Creamy. Lots of malt. Very flavorful. Hides the high alcohol content very well.

F: Medium Body and Carbonation. Lives up to the name velvet.

O: Strong offering from a local brewery. Creamy/smooth nature is very nice for the strong ale/stout category.

Sep 02, 2013
Velvet Hammer from Peticolas Brewing Company
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 361 ratings