Velvet Hammer
Peticolas Brewing Company

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American Strong Ale
Ranked #31
Ranked #3,114
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: 32 | Ratings: 357 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of TBoneJones
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.

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Photo of Radcpa
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

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Photo of WoodBrew
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.

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Photo of puck1225
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!

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Photo of TannerRobinson
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.

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Photo of Thomas_Wikman
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.

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Photo of Tommo
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

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Photo of StonedTrippin
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...

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Photo of Airtejas
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.

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Photo of LXIXME
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!

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Photo of D9sus4
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.

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Photo of tempest
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.

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Photo of kemoarps
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!!

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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.

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Photo of Donfloridasmith
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.

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Photo of drdiesel9483
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.

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Photo of REVZEB
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.

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Photo of qcghost
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.

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Photo of stephens101
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.

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Photo of ranger7
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.

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Photo of doombuddha
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!

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Photo of Premo88
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

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Photo of StaveHooks
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.

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Photo of JGlitz87
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.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.07/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

My first review from my notes during my week in Texas. This was a part of a sampler flight at the Common Table in Dallas.

(A)- Pours a clear reddish amber hue. Some good froth and lacing left behind.

(S)- A lightly spicy rye/wheat profile. A good sweetness underlying it with caramel and a subtle smokiness.

(T)- Similar to the smell, only more/better showing in the hops area. A big and vibrant sweet rye-like caramel spiciness with a nice finish of citrus and pine.

(M)- A nice carbonation level and balance. A great showing of what an imperial amber can be like while still having a nice hop profile. Mildly bitter.

(O)- This is a big favorite down here since you see it everywhere. Definitely seems like an imperial red ale meets the catch-all style of an american strong. Definitely an enjoyable malty treat.

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Velvet Hammer from Peticolas Brewing Company
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 357 ratings