Java Cask
Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown

Java CaskJava Cask
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American Imperial Stout
Ranked #193
Ranked #841
4.31 | pDev: 7.19%
Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
Pennsylvania, United States
Java CaskJava Cask
Notes: Depth, complexity and richness occur when delicious ale ages in a barrel, just as a friendship grows over the years. This stout was created in collaboration with our friends from Philadelphia's Standard Tap and Johnny Brenda's restaurants. Using their delicious hand-roasted JB's coffee, our bourbon barrels deliver a bold and robust, chocolate malt-tinged stout. We invite you to toast the Victory of friendship and beer with Java Cask!

Rich aromas of coffee precede an inviting blend of sweet bourbon, oak and a hint of alcohol. A complex fusion of dark chocolate, roasted barley and vanilla is rounded out by robust coffee and a warming heat in this unique and very drinkable stout.
Reviews: 161 | Ratings: 580 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by sludgegnome:
Photo of sludgegnome
3.75/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

More User Reviews:
Photo of Donco
4.84/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

25.4 oz. bottle poured into my trusty tulip glass.
Look: Oily black with a tan line of foam near the top.
Smell: Amazing combination of bourbon, coffee and cocoa nibs.
Taste: Follows the smell. On the start at fridge temp, I get lots of chocolate and bourbon. As this brew warms towards room temp, more bourbon and bitter coffee/espresso come forward. Excellent coffee bitterness on the back end with great balance of flavors. Some warming from the 14.3% ABV, but pretty darn smooth anyway.
Feel: Coats the mouth with nice stickiness.
Overall: This is a GREAT BA coffee stout. May go under the radar but if you can find it, buy it! Every bit as good as BCBS...without the excessive sweetness. On par with other contemporaries: KBS, Big Bad Baptist, Sunday Morning Stout.
Glad I got two more bottles to cellar. Although, this drinks great fresh.

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Photo of Smakawhat
4.15/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass. BIt of a cork to budge, but makes a solid pop with some smoke.

Dark brown walnut body, hints of red clarity when held to the light and quite clear actually. Head creation is very minimal and has hardly any retention. Dissolves with a watery appearance quite quickly, and barely leaving a hint of a tan collar in a short moment.

Really nice coffee angles of fresh roast beans. Slight warmth and piping roast mixing in nicely, but there's a bit of cheap booze like heat. Some nice dark chocolate angles, even nearly hints at some cherry dark fruit as well. Smells though like a bit of flat thick body might be coming.

Palate manages some good surprises. The body is thick but is full and rich and definitely not flat or lifeless. There's an interesting tight carbonation tinge in the mid palate which really makes the flavors playful as well. Roasty coffee but a big large amount of dark cocoa powder, and a real interesting cinnamon and brown spice warmth. Has almost winter warmer qualities but goes to more dark roast in the finish, thicker fudge flavors, and mixing in with that really tight fine fizz to make the powders and spices really pop, particularly a real big cinnamon angle.

A real nice coffee imperial, strangely doesn't seem to pick up much barrel character or whiskey notes, but definitely the coffee, chocolate and cinnamon angle really hits impressively.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.49/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

quite possibly the best beer i have ever had from victory. i know they are much better known for their hoppy beer, but this thing is next level. as common as the coffee stout in a bourbon barrel thing is these days, this is entirely apart from the field, something extremely distinct, and its really incredible. muddy dark viscous brown color, shortish mocha head, not giving much away in the appearance. it smells way different than the usual sugar bomb with a slight coffee background. this is intense burnt wood right up front, dark and black char, high carbon, some smoke, and then a really intense espresso coffee aroma in with the booze. it seems so much less sweet than the norm, and the first sip confirms that. deep burnt malt and wood flavor up front, even in front of the usual roasted barley thing. the coffee is really earthy and big too, and the booze isnt half as hot as it smells like it should be. notes of molasses, raisin, licorice, and unlit cigar all swirl around. it seems less whiskey flavored than others, more about the barrel. i think the base beer is big enough to cover up the usual vanilla and honey notes, and certainly the alcohol. impressive for a beer of this strength. huge body but not sticky sweet, its got a great bitter finish from the burnt aspects and the coffee, and i think it really sets the bar higher for the style. one of the best examples of it i have ever had. top notch beer, one of the highlights of 2016 so far for me. apparently rather limited, so snatch one up if you see it out there!

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Photo of dlord16
4.92/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is a grade A big coffee stout. For 14% it drinks very smooth. The smell is bourbon, coffee, dark malts, and some sweetness. The taste is much the same. Somebody said that it has a chlorine flavor when it warms that I don't see at all. Overall a great stout. Up there in the styles top 50 for BA if you ask me. Buy for the price, percentage, and overall quality. I could see this aging way past the enjoy by date. (Only weird thing for this brew was an enjoy by date).

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Photo of ShanePB
4.69/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

750 ml bottle. Deep black body, brown highlights around the edges. Mocha colored head. Great lacing and retention. Aromas of fresh roasted coffee beans, bourbon, oak, fudge and vanilla. Flavors up front are big hit of cold brewed coffee, with a nice blending and minor heat from the bourbon barrel. Notes of chocolate and smooth vanilla round out the back-end. Victory absolutely killed it with this one. Consider their barrel program redeemed.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.31/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From a brewery that boasts a sensible collection of beers that exude quality and respect, every now and the remarkable-ness happens. And when those Victory brewers set their sights on the taste of stout, bourbon and coffee, the beer world takes notice.

Java Cask opens with the viscous visual creaminess of rich and silky espresso, equipped with a rich latte-like froth. With a pass of the nose, its coffee and bourbon quickly entice the nose. Its first sip slathers onto the palate with that creamy espresso roast, fudge and candied walnuts.

As the flavors unfold on the tongue, the taste morphs from early caramel, toffee and molasses and into bittersweet chocolate, espresso and delicate smoldering embers. Its late charge of the barrel brings trailing caramels, vanillans, coconut and toasted oak. Strong alcohol heat offers hints of black cherry and black currant to rise is as much of a brandy-like fashion as it does of bourbon.

Lavishly full, rich and creamy, the beer yields shy of cloying while its slowly simmering alcohols warm the throat and numb the palate slightly. Its long and savory aftertaste is of bourbon liquor and espresso-heavy latte to suggest not a dessert pairing but a replacement for dessert altogether.

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Photo of thampel09
4.84/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Great barrel aged offering from victory. They've really stepped their game up to match weyerbacher and their Sunday morning stout. Drank from a 25oz caged and corked bottle for $16. Poured pitch black with a little brown head. Great coffee nose with some oaky wood tones. Taste was amazing. Great barrel and coffee characteristics that blended perfectly. Drank extremely well too for a 14.3% beer! Great beer and definitely worth the try.

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Photo of philly224
4.98/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Had this today at the brewery. Was so good I had to get a growler filled! One of the better Bourbon stouts I have had. Up there with kbs and bourbon County in my opinion. It's a shame the were sold out of bottles or I would have got a few. Can't wait to share the growler on thanksgiving though!!

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Photo of OGShotzy
4.23/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On draft at the source in Downingtown, Pennsylvania served into a tulip glass. Looks great. Dark brown to black with a a 1" khaki head. Smell is straight boozy chocolate. Taste is sweet, chocolate syrup with alcohol and vanilla on the finish. Not much coffee at all. Mouthfeel is a little thin for a 14.3% stout but this is still an excellent beer.

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Photo of Cmcgeehan151
3.8/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

On tap at DTown brewery. Brass tax: it gets better as it warms (why serving a beer like this at that temp?) but fir the ABV, competition within the style and overall price point ( closing on $200 for a case!!) I was looking for way more complexity.

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Photo of EdwardAbbey
4.54/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was really impressed by this one. Not everyone will agree, of course, but I personally found it better than the BCBCS and KBS bottles I've recently had. The coffee was much more pronounced and delicious, for one thing. And the chocolate notes were, too, which made this taste almost like a BBA *mocha* stout. I thoroughly enjoyed it, from the first sip to the last. Beer is more than just pedigree and hype.

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Photo of ilikebeer03
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a great, thick tan head. Great retention and lacing. Especially for a 14% beer. Nose is coffee, light bourbon, oak, and a touch of vanilla. Taste is roasted malts, coffee, chocolate, soft bourbon, vanilla, a touch of oak. All flavors blend nicely, nothing dominates. Definite alcohol heat, but not in an off putting way at all. Thick, creamy body. Over all an very excellent beer.

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Photo of brentk56
4.12/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2016 Release

Appearance: After the bubble show the beer is half foam, half liquid with the beige head forming on the fudge brown pour; the head fades down, leaving a few shards behind

Smell: Chocolate and Bourbon dominate, with the coffee, vanilla, oak, toasted coconut and walnut tones adding complexity

Taste: As with the aroma, the chocolate and Bourbon leap to the forefront, with boozy chocolate tones taking up most of the oxygen in the room; all the other flavors (vanilla, oak, toasted coconut and walnuts) are there but it is hard for them to break through; certainly, there is plenty of coffee in the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation; surprisingly light for the ABV; a lot of heat in the gullet

Overall: A treat for those who like high ABV stouts, even though the mouthfeel is lacking; still, with all the subtle flavors I can detect, I wonder if this beer would have been more to my liking if the ABV were closer to 10 or 11%

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Photo of Vidblain
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Firstly: I am exceptionally pleased by the 12 oz format of Java Cask. Excellent move, Victory! This is what I love about this year's Deth's Tar, as well as the always-reliable Central Waters barrel-aged beers.

I love the notes of semi-sweet cocoa nibs and java. The barrel notes are present - slightly dry - and the bourbon is quite good.

Java Cask doesn't blow me away, but I'd happily drink it just about any day - it's very accessible and quite good for what it is. I'd love to see what rye barrels do to it!

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Photo of Slatetank
4.39/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I tried this on tap at the beginning of the blizzard of 2016, enjoyed chilled in a snifter.

The color is dark -black like an 8ball with thick creamy head of dark beige with fine bead and spots of lace stick. The smell is very bourbon heavy -lots of lovely whiskey in the smell with a light vanilla from barrel aging and mild coffee with sweet dark malt smell with light cocoa and mild dried fruit in the nose with woody and fruity coffee with a moderately boozy aroma. The feel is strong with good body and moderately high alcohol warmth with moderately sweet texture and light spice with gentle coffee bitterness and slight creamy feel with warming in the boozy finish.

The taste begins with dark malt and bourbon with dominant whiskey in the taste right off the bat with slight oaky flavor and light coffee coming second with more of a cococa-like flavor with mix of dried fruit with an almost prune-like taste and subtle roast with a vanilla accent and sweet toffee in the back with lingering raisin-like sweet flavor. There is plenty of bourbon after the swallow as the taste is bourbon rich. I consdier this a good beer not world class, but practically there -the intense amounts of bourbon and nice coffee accent -it could probably use a little age but it is nice to enjoy fresh with a pretty smooth outcome for 14%!

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Photo of cjgiant
3.71/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

(Revisited 2017 release, and more or less the same. The nose had a little more booze on it, and the feel wasn't quite as hot. This one still isn't one for me. I'll cellar the remaining 2 bottles for a revisit in a year or two)

Pour an inky black with perhaps some murkiness. Tan to light brown head bubbles up, but fades at a moderate pace to nothing - leaving a flat cola look.

Nose is nice, though bourbon-centered. Bourbon with its vanilla/coconut scents, and a decent mocha coffee note from underneath. This combination is quite nice, but I wish the coffee seemed the main player accented by bourbon, as picky as that seems. Later I get some molasses soaked raisin, as well.

The taste has most of the nose in it, but the unfortunate missing piece is the coffee notes. It's also quite hot to me, and I think the alcohol heat, perhaps combined with the bourbon tastes hurt the feel. There is a decent thickness to the liquid, and a light coating as it passes over the tongue.

Warmth mellows out the heat a bit, but also dulls all the flavors. The barrel starts to come out a little, and there is finally a faint impression of coffee.

Overall, just a little too powerful, and perhaps it doesn't need to be. The coffee seems lost to me for the most part, and for a BBA Stout, it's ok to decent.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours pitch black, opaque in the glass with a half finger light brown head that was fizzy at first, but still had good retention and light lacing. Coffee aroma on pouring, but in the glass as an aroma of dark toasted malt, coffee, chicory, cocoa and vanilla. Flavor is semisweet dark malt, coffee, chocolate, vanilla, oak, bourbon, a bit boozy. Finishes with very nice charred dark malt, bourbon, oak and a light hop bitterness that blends with the coffee well. Medium bodied with a light creaminess. I wish coffee stouts held their coffee flavor better, because this needs some mellowing of the bourbon barrel flavors. That being said, although initially quite hot, the finish and aftertaste are excellent. Good balance between chocolate, malt char and coffee, which meld together nicely. Quite enjoyable and to big to finish in one sitting. Another top tier beer from this great brewery. This does not seem well distributed in my area and I'm glad to get a chance to try. It.

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Photo of ichorNet
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Split with friends, as is required if intending to not get acute alcohol poisoning. At 14.3%, this beer does not mess around! Pours an obscenely black color with tannish head that sits at a finger and a half and retains very well. Lace is moderate and sudsy. Good looking but not out of the ordinary by any means. I definitely don't mind as much when it comes to stouts of this nature that they look rather generic, as it's less about that and more how they present in the nose and on the palate.

Speaking of, the nose of this is pretty outstanding, redolent of vanillins extracted from the bourbon barrels with a heavy dose of chocolate maltiness and some medium-roast coffee kicking around. Well-balanced with some tobacco-like aspects and a bright ethanol note.

Flavor is chewy and full of roasty malts mingling with lots of bourbon and coffee. Very well-balanced with a huge malt-forward palate. Earthy/soil aspects with notes of Latakia/smoky tobacco intertwining with chalky yeast. Coffee hits on the end of the palate very solidly, landing squarely after the chocolate maltiness and light smoke to balance everything with a mild acidity. Great flavor balance here, some ethanol notes poke out, enough to let you know this is 14% ABV.

Feel is huge, heavy and rounded; bourbon tends to dominate a bit when this gets warm but otherwise it's perfectly carbonated with a rather low level of bubbles and velvety smooth, palate-coating slickness. Great!

Overall, this is a great beer at a difficult price point and with a bizarre format. 750 mL C&C at 14+% at $17 is pushing the realms of "affordable" for the style. I hate to bring it up, but this beer invites inevitable comparisons to Weyerbacher's Sunday Morning Stout, which is available in a much more agreeable format, and is also a pretty damn good beer. This is worth it for a one-time drink, but also seems better fresh than SMS. I much prefer smaller formats with better price-per-ounce because you can drink one, split one, age one for whatever amount of time and another for longer if you want to see how things develop. That said, this is still awesome and that aside from above doesn't really affect my score but it definitely plays into my future purchases. That said, thanks Pat for sharing!

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Photo of larryi86
4.71/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

750 ml bottle poured into a tulip

A- Black with a three finger mocha head

S- Rich coffee, espresso, chocolate, oak, bourbon, some vanilla.

T- Smooth roasted coffee with a great bitter finish, creamy chocolate, faint oak, all brought together is great bourbon character that isn't overwhelming.

M- Smooth, medium to full body, creamy, nice carbonation.

O- Victory knocked it out of the park with this one. It is has been years since I've had KBS and BCBCS, but I feel this is at the same level. Definitely will be stocking up! Very drinkable at 14.3%.

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Photo of dd43
4.34/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

The best beer I've had from Victory, hands down. Eerily reminiscent of bourbon county coffee stout. Are you salivating yet? You should be. From what I understand this is made in relatively small batches, so I feel pretty fortunate to have been able to get some on draft.

Fairly deep brown in color, with a dark khaki head that lasts. Big roasted coffee hits you immediately when you inhale, along with malted milk chocolate, light vanilla, and a woody barrel note that of course makes sense given the aging process for this beer. Boozy both in the aroma and the flavor, especially. A warming character that makes this perfect on a cold night. This is a beer worth trading for.

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Photo of thebeers
4.26/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black with a finger of dark tan head that leaves modest lacing.

Layered mix of big breakfast-roast coffee, chocolate, vanilla and sweet bourbon in the aroma.

Nice medium-roast coffee up front in the taste. Chocolate and some additional roasted malts and slight almond nuttiness mid-palate. Big bourbon flavor, with caramel, vanilla and marshmallow on the backend, with a little alcohol burn. Moderate coffee bitterness competes with the caramel and chocolate in the lingering aftertaste. Really well-integrated, yet strong, barrel character in this one.

Relatively light bodied for the style, with just enough creaminess and carbonation to make it work.

I'm loving this. One of the more "balanced," not-too-dark BA coffee stouts out there, with each of the elements you'd normally expect working together in harmony.

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Photo of HorseheadsHophead
4.59/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Pours out pitch black, looks pretty much like motor oil in the glass. Pitch black, save for a tinge of dark brown on the outermost edges. There was a thin foamy brown head that quickly fizzed away into non-existence.

S: HUGE bourbon and booze that rips away at your nostrils. Sweet caramel; burnt, black coffee/espresso roast, toasted coconut, charred oak, dark chocolate galore. Just very boozy and bourbon-forward.

S: Absolutely massive bourbon character. Huge vanilla extract, toasted coconut, caramel, and toffee. Dark chocolate, bitter cocoa, burnt bread. Some acrid, dark roast coffee flavor. There's some spice like chili pepper and cinnamon. But before a massive sweetness sets in, it cuts away quickly into a brief, dry finish pungent tannins and bourbon heat, making is dangerously drinkable for this strength. Yes, it's a sipper for sure, but I keep reaching for sips constantly.

F: Like motor oil. Not super chewy and milkshake-like, but full-bodied, oily, and grimy. The carbonation is moderate, though, and helps contribute to its dangerous drinkability.

O: An incredible BBA stout. Perhaps not quite as flavorful as BCBS or some others I've had, but stronger than most and still dangerously drinkable. It's a world class beer.

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Photo of tjmiller718
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Jeff412pgh
4.34/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Java Cask from Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 580 ratings