Dark Intrigue | Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Dark IntrigueDark Intrigue
Very Good
738 Ratings
Dark IntrigueDark Intrigue

Brewed by:
Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.10%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 738 |  Reviews: 304
Reviews by MrHirschybar:
Photo of MrHirschybar
3/5  rDev -22.5%

More User Reviews:
Photo of AgentMunky
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 750mL bottle into a St Bernardus goblet. Bottled 10 November 2011. Best by November 2016.
A: Light cream-colored head with cola-black body.
S: Intoxicating. Boozy and ensorcelling. Whisky, licorice, a whiff of oxidation.
T: Comes in roasted and sweet, heavy on the malted barley, toothsome with molasses and bourbon. Spicy, and very oaky. Aggressively woody and tannic.
M: Not as thin as feared. Actually quite robust.
O: A solid whisky-aged stout. I'm still not sold on cellaring, but this isn't hot at all. Quite nice.

 551 characters

Photo of TCHopCraver
3.97/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Third beer in a tasting party on 12-11-10 with TCGoalie, BuckyFresh, and zoso1967, the bearer of the bottle. Thanks for a great time, boys.

Dark Intrigue pours intriguingly dark black with a light brown, subtle head. The lacing left on the glass is parabolic, sticky, and blobby. It is not very substantial, though, as I have noticed with other bourbon aged beers. The carbonation near the top of the beer appears to be rollicking.

The smell makes me think of a bourbon chocolate truffle. Raisin and fig make a strong entrance in the aroma and roastiness from the malt is very nice and complementary to the other aromas. Fresh wood lends a rather tannic scent. Other smells I can pick out are vanilla, toffee, cream, caramel, and some mustiness. However, the bourbon trumps all. The bouquet of this beer is definitely the strongest aspect.

At first taste, bourbon just leaks all over my mouth. This flavor tumbles into subtle dark chocolate, roasted malts, and a noticeable hop character. The finish consists of a bitter coffee acidity that combines with the hops and a faint alcohol burn. The bourbon is very heavy throughout the sip and masks the other flavors to a certain extent.

The mouthfeel is biting and bitter from the bourbon, hops, coffee flavor, and the fresh wood barrels. The body of the beer is light to medium for an Imperial Stout. I cannot emphasize how much of a liquor bite that the bourbon contributes to the mouthfeel.

I do not think Dark Intrigue is as drinkable now as it would be with some significant time in the bottle. The bourbon presence feels very virginal... older barrels and more bottle time would likely help this. Overall, it is a good beer, but not as complex as other bourbon barrel-aged beers that I have had.

 1,756 characters

Photo of Someguy1989
1.5/5  rDev -61.2%

Photo of SkiBum22
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #48 (Jan 2011):

Storm King meets bourbon barrel. This black beauty gives off a towering brown-colored head. Lots going on in the aroma: subtle fusel-booze, hint of vanilla, toasted wood, burnt sugar, cooked raisins and chicory. Full-bodied and very smooth with a creamy slickness on the palate. Faint bourbon note quickly fades to let more of the wood side of the barrel aging through. Big roastiness from the malt marries with the barrel char for an intense burnt flavor that does not go overboard. Blackstrap molasses. The hops have been tamed with the aging yet still provide a balancing bitter- ness. Bitter-burnt-sweet finish. A job well done in transforming their Impy Stout into a barrel-aged sipper.

 749 characters

Photo of daveshawley
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled Nov 10, 2011

Ebony black color with a medium-sized cocoa colored head.

Average aroma. Chocolate, coffee, and oak.

A lot more nuanced in the taste. Dark chocolate led the way, followed by an espresso taste. Some oak. Alcohol (whiskey) throughout, but complementary and not intrusive.

A smooth, creamy beer. Very enjoyable.

 333 characters

Photo of warnerry
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of marvin213
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of Beaver13
3.09/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750ml bottle, bottled on 11/10/11. Pours black-brown with a medium creamy brown head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is sweet dark fruits, chocolate malts, some alcoholic bourbon and a bit of cardboard.

The flavor is sweet dark fruits with a lot of roasted malt and a strong alcohol finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with smooth carbonation.

Overall, it seems a bit young and harsh. It's not very well balanced - overly sweet and alcoholic.

 465 characters

Photo of codysjb
3.56/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 bottle from 2011 release poured into my Duval Tulip.
A: Big double to triple knuckle head that takes a while to dissipate. Black viscous body.
S: Bourbon and roasted stout flavors. The bourbon is really overpowering, lots of alcohol.
T:Hey wow that’s a lot of Bourbon, too much imo. Tastes malty and there’s some alcohol but can’t get much besides that.
M: A little bit of chocolate creeps in here but again, too much booze and bourbon to taste much, defiantly thick.
O: Decent, would be a lot better in 2 years once the flavors round out. It’s not bad just really unbalanced where there’s a lot of hot alcohol and not a lot of flavor right now.

 662 characters

Photo of Mora2000
3.58/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a black color with a tan head. The aroma is full pf piney hops with some roasted malt. Not surprisingly, the beer smells a lot like Storm King, or in other words, like a hoppy Black IPA. The flavor is where the barrel aging is very apparent. I get a lot of bourbon notes, as well as some chocolate. The hops are present and add some pine to the flavor, but they are much more hidden than in the aroma. Medium to thick mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

 466 characters

Photo of jburchett
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of jondeelee
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark Intrigue pours almost pure black, with barely a hint of translucency even near the edges, and opens with a surprisingly hop-forward aroma, at least at the bottle's cracking. Once the opening layer of hops fades, the nose delves into darker notes, including, first and foremost, a lovely slab of dark fruit esters such as fig, black cherry, prune, and raisin. Large streams of vanilla and caramel support these fruit slabs, and the bourbon barrel aging brings not only these latter two aromas, but solid bourbon tones. Some chocolate and dark malts linger in the background, but are hard-noticed against the dark sugar onslaught. As a whole, the nose is intoxicating, and while it may need just a touch more grain and ash flavors to help offset the sugars, the result is still stunning, and begs to be imbibed.

On the tongue, the beer proves far darker and more ashen than the nose let on. Good layers of chocolate malt, coffee, and tobacco rest thickly on the tongue, as well as faint touches of ash and black malt. The bourbon barrel aging likely contributes to the charcoal notes, as well as brings a solid vanilla bourbon undertone to the brew. There are still a fair bit of sugars here, and the fig and raisin fruit esters come through strongly. There's also a good bit of dark cacao, as in 85% cacao chocolate bars. The 9.2% ABV does come through more strongly than I would have expected, and while the bourbon flavors mix well with the beer, there are remnants of a vodka-like tinge from the alcohol vapors. Hops are barely noticeable in the main mouthful--mainly providing bitterness--but do come through in the aftertaste, providing pine and plant stem flavors. Otherwise the aftertaste is a long-lingering continuation of the darker flavors found in the main mouthful, many of the sugars having died off. Mouthfeel is medium-heavy, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, there's a lot going on inside this beer, and in less capable hands it could prove an utter mess. But Victory blends the many layers and flavors together with such skill that they catalyze each other, building in a lovely generative swirl. The beer does have a bit of a strong alcohol bite, but this marks one of its few weaknesses. Excellent fare, and I hope Victory decides to crank out another few batches of this in upcoming years.

 2,318 characters

Photo of dogfishandi
3.35/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

750ml cork and caged bottle at fridge temp poured into a snifter. Bottled on NOV 10, 2011 (almost 2 years of age)

Nice appearance. Completely opaque black with a nice 3 fingers or so of beige head off the pour. Eventually fades to a thin but retentive layer. Spotty lacing.

Initially smells just a touch faded and oxidized. Also some dark chocolate, deep roasted malt, a touch of dark fruits and a little booze, but more solvent like than bourbon. A bit of oak and bourbon as it warms.

Tastes a bit oxidized, but not as much as the aroma, also the slightest bit tart. Bourbon, caramel, dark chocolate, some dark fruits. Finishes with a roasted malt/ hop bitterness. As it warms some sweet sugars and raisiny fruits come out.

Smooth and creamy with minimal carbonation. Could use a bit more body, but not bad.

Maybe this was better fresher...maybe not....

 859 characters

Photo of ehammond1
3.2/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle (2011)

Thanks for opening this with me, DarthKostrizer!

(Aged for 6+ months)

Nearly black throughout with a small brown head that leaves spots of lace down the glass. Unremarkable, though appropriate.

The aroma is somewhat hoppy for the style, with some pine aromas pushing through the bourbon, oak, and big roast character. Appropriate enough, but there are much, much better smelling bourbon barrel-aged imperial stouts.

The flavor is more reminiscent of a woody black IPA than a big, barrel-aged stout. There's decent amount of pine hop flavors, along with wood, roast, moderate bitterness, and some mild bourbon. The flavors don't come together particularly well.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

One of the poorer (non-infected) barrel-aged stouts I've had, though by no means a bad beer.

 815 characters

Photo of RyanPS
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

Photo of TKEbeerman
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of doremite
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of mondegreen
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml poured into a Founders tulip. 2011 Vintage, purchased for 11.49 @ The Cellar in Athens, Ga.

Pours a midnight black with a frothy tan head. Nice lacing for a barrel aged stout.

Nose is similar to Storm King - slight dark chocolate, roasted notes, and a HUGE American hop aroma. The barrels add a extra element of oak and bourbon sweetness to the nose. The aroma is inviting, but I'd like to see the barrel character more pronounced.

Taste is huge on hop bitterness with everything else taking a back seat. I've always thought Storm King walked a thin line between Imperial Black IPA and RIS, and Dark Intrigue drives that point home convincingly. It's a really tasty beer, with a good deal of complexity and a bit of barrel aged character, but it leaves me wanting a bit more.

Mouth is very nice. Moderately full, carbonation is spot on for the style.

Overall, I'm a little torn on this one. Victory did a fantastic job of getting their barrel aged imperial stout into wide distribution at a respectable price point. And it is a really nice beer, especially if you are already familiar with Storm King. However, as BA Stouts go, it doesn't hold up to more expensive (and less available) offerings from around the country. In the end, it's absolutely worth a try, and I hope Victory reconsiders abandoning this beer, as I think they could do some special things if they keep hammering away at the barrel program.

 1,426 characters

Photo of WVbeergeek
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark black abyss stout barrel aged, it's one of our favorite houselhold name Storm King stouts aged on whiskey barrels. Dark tan mocha head forms thick with fine even layered lacing around my chalice. Aroma has whiskey barrel hints of charred oak, vanilla, and hot whiskey nose. Soft fruit coffee and chocolate follow close behind the whiskey barrel notes. Flavor explodes with layers of intense, barrel effects, including vanilla, charred oak, and hints of leather. Mouthfeel is warming throughout with dark roasted malt bitterness and big harsh layers of charred oak and whiskey booze, definitely lacks the creamy textures that Founders has in the KBS. Overall I'm not a huge whiskey fan especially when it doesn't do much for the base beer, I love the regular Storm King Stout and I can't say that the whiskey barrel has done anything that makes the barrel aged version superior to the base beer.

 899 characters

Photo of brooklynbrews
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of shadytony
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%

Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Dark Intrigue from Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
Beer rating: 3.87 out of 5 with 738 ratings