Dark Intrigue | Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown

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Dark IntrigueDark Intrigue
Very Good
739 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:
No notes at this time.

Added by stakem on 11-25-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 739 |  Reviews: 304
Photo of Sammy
3.65/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not as good as straight out Storm King. Bourbon corn taste is stage front and centre and offset the more tasty Storm King, though still getting some coffee. Chalky finish. Average mouthfeel.OK Drinkability. Black bodied. This was intriguing, thanks John.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.45/5  rDev +15%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: three finger milk chocolate head, some retention and nice lacing on a jet black body.

S: lots of chocolate and bourbon, chili pepper, black pepper and some roasted malt.

T: chocolate, roasted malt up front with bourbon dominating the finish. Pepper notes.

M: very thick and smooth, moderate carbonation.

Overall: Very drinkable for what it is. not too boozy, complex aroma with a fairly simple taste.

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Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to DarthKostrizer for sharing this one at NoSignsOfPain's birthday bottleshare hosted by mrbubbler.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a thin cap on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, herbal hops, wood, and slight bourbon aromas. Taste is much the same with an alcohol kick and woody finish. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but nothing all that great in my opinion.

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

a bottle from last year. are they even still making this? in any event, it pours a coffee black color with a bold tan head that slowly dies. it smells a lot like whiskey, maybe even too much so. its trumping the dark smokey malt profile and the subtle dark chocolate notes almost completely. the flavor is good, but again, its dominated by the whiskey character. charcoal and vanilla and booze are what i taste here, hardly any room left for the chocolately storm king to be recognized. i like this beer, but the proportions are off a little bit. the storm king is a huge complex beer and its being totally covered up by the whiskey. the beer has a nice feel though, with a full but not too thick body, and a gentle bubbly vibe. the alcohol is intense in this one, especially as it gets warmer. an impressive brew all up, but id like to see it maybe spend a little less time in the barrels so as to retain more of the storm king's best features.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured out as a dark black color much like the regular Storm King. The head was brown and had a light amount of retention. the smell of the beer had some minimal aromas of the bourbon barrels but had mostly roasted malts on the nose. The taste of the beer was sweet, with some vanilla bourbon like flavors in there with a roasted bitterness in the finish with some vanilla remaining on the tongue as well. The mouthfeel of the beer was good, it had a good amount of body to it and I still thought that it was highly drinkable. Overall this brew is quite good, I'm glad that Victory did it... This is probably one of their best beers in my opinion.

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Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
2.5/5  rDev -35.4%

Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of t0rin0
3/5  rDev -22.5%

Photo of metter98
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a half finger high light mocha head that slowly died down, leaving a ring of bubbles on the surface around the edge of the glass.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of bourbon in the nose along with hints of roasted malts and chocolate; the smell becomes stronger as the beer warms up.
T: The taste has flavors of vanilla and oak with notes of bourbon and hints of chocolate and roasted malts. The complexities imparted by the barrel aging become even more apparent as the beer warms up, and leaves flavors of bourbon lingering in the aftertaste.
M: It feels medium-bodied and very smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. There is some warming from the alcohol in the finish. It seems like it should have a little more of a fuller bodied for a beer of this strength.
O: The beer goes down smoothly and is very easy to drink because the alcohol is well hidden to the taste. There is a good flavor between the flavors from the stout and the barrel aging.

Note: Bottled 11/10/2011

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

The ever-delicious Victory Storm King undergoes a bourbon barreled face lift. It seems that every time that a world class Imperial Stout meets a bourbon barrel that the end result is miraculously better than the original. Does Storm King yield the same benefits?

Pouring a volumnous froathy pour of dark, dark brown (maybe black) and with a foamy tan head, the beer nearly billows with assertive carbonation. Stubborn carbonation and confident lace are hallmarks of a well made Stout.

Sharp aromas of grain and hops deliver an aggressive attack on the nose in the forms of burnt grain, coffee grounds, weedy hops, scorched caramel, and booze. The balance is superb as to never allow one element command the others.

Roasted malts demand early attention to the taste buds as the flavors of strong coffee, cocoa powder, scorched toffee, and burnt embers. Low lying sweetness keeps the beer's flavor focused on roasty elements. The counter of hops deliver a sharp and spicy flavor of grasses, weeds, and pine sap. Without the bridge of malt sweetness to connect the roast to the hops, the beer's roast and hop flavors seem to battle for attention in much conflicting demeanor.

Roasty dry and full bodied, the abundance of carbonation gives a fuller-than-expected and airy feel. The beer makes quick work of its champagne-like carbonation and quickly ushers in an arid and ashy-dry finish of astringency derived from both grain and vegetation. The boozy burn extends from warmth and into harshness in the finish. A linger of coffee and pine lasts deep into aftertaste.

In the end, the bourbon barrel aging attributes more harshness than benefit. The tannin and woody vegetation causes too much astringency, and the added alcohol fails to deliver the more gentlemanly caramel, vanilla, and mature oak flavors that make bourbon so wonderful.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.95/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.25

Thanks to Duff27 for the bottle. "Bottled On: Nov 10 2011." 750ml brown glass bottle with unbranded gold hood-and-wire cap over a branded cork and appealing label art served into a Guinness stem-goblet in me parents' gaff in high altitude Castle Rock, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given the brewery and the fact that this is a bourbon barrel aged version of Storm King - a beer I dug.

Served cold - straight from the fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a 2.5 finger wide head of khaki-tan colour. Not the rich dark tan colour that I love in an imperial stout, but is still appealing. Nice creaminess and thickness. Smooth even consistency. Complexion could be softer. Uneven inconsistent lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes. Head retention is good - about 5 minutes.

Body colour is an opaque solid black. No floating yeast particles are visible. Appears overcarbonated judging by the abundant cola-esque bubbles crowding the underside of the goblet.

Overall, it's appealing, but unremarkable - especially for a bourbon barrel aged imperial stout. I'd like it creamier, fuller, and darker. A better head would be helpful as well. I'm looking forward to trying it, but it's far from unique or special. There are no egregious flaws.

Sm: Dominant bourbon is the first thing I notice. It's aggressive without overwhelming the other notes. Light vanilla evokes neither true vanilla bean on the high end nor artificial vanillicin on the low end. Noticeable oak, but no toasty character or refined soaky wood notes. Obligatory dark malts and chocolate malts. Unfortunately, I'm not finding any roasted barley character, which is essential in a great imperial stout. Cocoa powder. Plenty of malty sweetness. A hint of insipid coffee. A very faint burnt character is detectable as well.

Certainly not a hoppy imperial stout. I don't get any yeast character or alcohol from the aroma. Frankly, it just isn't all that evocative; each note feels very shallow and surface. It's a bit reticent overall, but I'm optimistic given the base beer. It's a pleasant aroma of below average strength.

T: Hm. Unfortunately, the taste is as shallow as the aroma suggested. Very surface notes of dark malts and chocolate malts provide the body, with complementary notes of cocoa powder, light ash/burnt character, and some malty sweetness. The bourbon is well-integrated but fairly artificial; I wonder about the quality of the bourbon used. There are one-dimensional notes of artificial vanilla and reticent-as-hell oak (with no toasty or refined qualities).

Somehow though, there's no booziness or alcohol presence. I'm not finding any coffee either. There's also no yeast or hop character.

On the sweeter side overall, though the slight burnt character does curb that a bit.

It's damned simple. I'm a bit surprised; the base beer was pretty complex. Could age have muted the flavour profile? This beer lacks complexity, subtlety, nuance, and intricacy. It's balanced, sure, but there's not that much going on to balance. I wonder how this drank fresh. It's cohesive, but far from gestalt. I'm really disappointed. Painfully shallow for the style. Below average intensity of flavour. Average duration of flavour.

The key to a great bourbon barrel stout is using the bourbon notes to develop the natural nuances of the base beer. This is uncommon in that it isn't the bourbon overwhelming the base that is the issue, it's the fact that the base beer is nowhere to be found. This level of simplicity is staggering.

Mf: Chalky, with a strange muted presence on the palate. Smooth and wet. Too airy and light. It needs more body, weight, and thickness. Lacks punch. I feel like the texture doesn't fully facilitate each note from the flavour profile. Where's the oomph, victory? Sure, it's not boozy or hot, but an imperial stout needs to be more bold and assertive. It's a clean mouthfeel with no yeasty sediment, gushed quality, or harshness, but it comes off weak. Almost Guinness-esque.

The texture does not complement the taste well.

Dr: I'll finish the bottle with relative ease. The mouthfeel enhances drinkability because it's so silky and light, but the beer loses power and presence as a trade-off. The mouthfeel and simplicity of this beer really hold it back. I prefer regular Storm King and can see why they retired this brew. I'd like to see Victory re-try a barrel aged Storm King in the future, preferably with a superior bourbon and more care regarding the mouthfeel. I wouldn't recommend this to friends, but I'm glad I got to try it. Thanks, Duff27!

Bottom line: Serious missed potential from Victory, Dark Intrigue fails to use bourbon barrel notes to develop or enhance the notes of the base beer, and really commits a faux pas with the light airy texture.


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Photo of oline73
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of superspak
3.78/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Review 2400! 750 ml bottle into snifter, bottled on 11/10/2011. Pours pitch black color with a 2 finger dense and rocky tan head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lists. Nice dense soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a good amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, raisin, prune, vanilla, toast, toffee, oak, bourbon, pine, grass, and bourbon/oak earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt, bourbon barrel, and light-moderate hop notes; with solid strength. Taste of dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, raisin, prune, vanilla, toast, toffee, oak, bourbon, pine, grass, and bourbon/oak earthiness. Fair amount of pine/grassy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, roast, raisin, prune, vanilla, toffee, toast, oak, bourbon, pine, and bourbon/oak earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roasted malt, bourbon barrel, and moderate hop flavors; with a very nice malt/barrel balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium-high carbonation and medium bodied; with a very smooth, moderately creamy, and lightly sticky/chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very good barrel aged imperial stout. All around good complexity and balance of dark/roasted malt, bourbon barrel, and moderate hop flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A nicely enjoyable offering.

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Photo of brentk56
3.78/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottled in Nov 2011

Appearance: Pours a fudge brown color with a rather modest head that quickly fades to a ringlet leaving some squiggles of lace behind

Smell: Fudge and Bourbon, with undertones of oak

Taste: Fudge, up front, with the Bourbon developing mid-palate along with a rather harsh bitter quality from what is left of the hops; a touch of fusel alcohol appears, after the swallow, though the finish brings back the chocolate and Bourbon tones

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with low to moderate carbonation

Overall: I was surprised to find this at Once Upon a Vine South (there is another bottle I left behind in case anybody wants it) so long after its release date; I truly expected more from Victory but having read the reviews I can now see why they retired this beer - it didn't start out great and while it may have mellowed out somewhat by now, it hasn't matured into anything to write home about either

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Photo of mothman
2.67/5  rDev -31%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours ½ finger of beige head. Color is pretty much black.

Aroma: Big oak, caramel, chocolate, vanilla, grassy hops, bourbon, some dark fruits. Nothing special.

Taste: Molasses, smoke, tannins, dried fruits, chocolate, oak, light bourbon. Not very good.

Mouthfeel: Warm and hot. Full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends really dry.

Overall, this wasn't too good for a bourbon -bal aged beer. Ok aroma, but all downhill from there. Not worth it. Get some BCS and save yourself the hassle.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.99/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottled November 10, 2011

A: Pours an opaque yet clear jet black in color with light to moderate amounts of visible carbonation and some very dark amber highlights. The beer has a half finger tall dark tan head that quickly reduces to a medium sized patch of very thin film and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of oak, bourbon, vanilla, and dark roasted malts. Lighter amounts of chocolate are also present - the overall aroma strengthens as the beer warms.

T: Upfront there are moderate flavors of roasted malts with some lighter notes of dark chocolate. That is followed by some light to moderate flavors of vanilla, bourbon, and oak. Light to moderate amounts of bitterness that fades slowly.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth with light amounts of alcohol heat in the finish.

O: Over time with the aging, the booziness of this beer has really mellowed and the bourbon/barrel flavors have improved. I think this beer is actually better with a little age on it than it was when it was first released.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.47/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Victory "Dark Intrigue"
750 ml bottle, corked and caged
Bottled on Nov. 10, 2011
$10.99 @ Wine Legend in Cherry Hill, NJ

As it was the only beer available (beyond a few of my regulars), I pulled this out of my fridge without really looking at the label. "Dark Intrigue"? Hmmm.

I wasn't sure of what glass to use so I went for a large Belgian tulip. That turned out to be an excellent choice as an Imperial pint (my usual glass) of Imperial stout is sometimes not a good idea, but also because it actually fits the beer quite nicely - Dark Intrigue is more of a sipper than anything else, and the bowl of the glass helps to collect the aromas for you. But I actually chose it initially because I was expecting a Belgian influenced dark ale - how wrong I was!).

I poured it carefully, noting that it was quite dark and rich, all the while smelling notes of chocolate and roastiness - this was not a simple dark Belgian! I let it sit for a few minutes while I got some work done, and then returned to take a sip. I thought, 'well this beats Kentucky Breakfast Stout as a breakfast beer', followed by 'but it tastes like Storm King. Why would they duplicate one of their own beers?'. At that point I had to know more, so I retrieved the bottle and read the back label, learning that this is, indeed, Storm King matured in used Bourbon barrels. It all makes sense. And with that said, the only questions are, how much does the Bourbon barrel aging affect the beer, and does it improve of detract from the original Storm King?

The two questions actually intertwine. The Bourbon flavor is quite solid. It's not to the point that it overtakes the beer, but it's very clearly there - you can't miss it. Sometimes in these beers the Bourbon is a little hard to find, and sometimes it's over the top, but this is perfect. As to the second question then, the Bourbon is so distinct that the question it's really negated. You can't determine whether or not it improves or detracts from the original because it becomes a completely different beer in its own right. Apples and oranges, so to say.

There's also a bit of oak to it... a nice, woody dryness. It's smoothing, but also a little touch raspy, and drying. And it's surprising that so much came through given the intensity of the Storm King. I guess it's surprising that so much Bourbon was able to come through as well. And there's some vanilla to boot! Wow! There's so much added to its complexity, and it seems even more polished and rounded.

So, I was impressed with the Storm King, but I'm even more impressed by the Dark Intrigue. The one thing that I found unusual about the Storm King, stylistically, was that it was so hoppy - which was good in a way, because it was unique, and it became it's own beer, it certainly stood out from the pack. With the Dark Intrigue, the hops are much more subdued. It's more of what I think of as and Imperial stout as far as the base beer goes, but now there's added complexity from the Bourbon barrel aging. And let's face it, you can't combine the fresh hoppiness with the Bourbon barrel aging - it just doesn't work, physically or taste-wise.

On the other hand, the alcohol shows clearly here, whereas the Storm King cloaked it pretty nicely; and I think it hurts the head retention and lacing. That's a drawback.

Still, it's very nicely done, and certainly worth seeking out!

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Photo of largadeer
2.69/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Thanks, Barry!

Dark Intrigue appears a near-opaque black, capped by a tall tan head. The nose has a lot of charred malt, cigar smoke and coffee bean, along with a milder note of vanilla. Palate is decent; burnt toast, bittersweet chocolate and burnt coffee, a touch of vanilla and caramel from the barrel. The body is a little thin for the style, and the finish dry, tannic, moderately roasted. There isn't a ton of complexity here, but it's not completely awful; just all-around mediocre.

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Photo of DrBier
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of jlindros
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours super dark and rich and thick, a darker colored 1 finger fluffy head fades at a medium pace with a bit of lacing, and the beer is pitch black with some decent legs as well.

Nose rolls out some light roast, dark chocolate, fluffy nougat, and some caramel as the main bodies of aroma. The roast is light adding a touch of coffee, some nice fluffy nougat and chocolate with a bit of baker's chocolate and powdered chocolate milk, plenty of caramel, hints of vanilla and earthy hops.

Taste starts fairly rich and fluffy, nougat again with a slight chocolate candy bar, again chocolate with some baker's and mild chocolate, the hops come on strong this time, spicy and earthy hops add some bitterness and lots of chewy hop flavors, a bit of roast and hint of coffee, again more caramel, a bit of vanilla, fairly creamy. Finishes with a bit more bitterness again with some spicy and earthy bitter hops, almost like chewing on hop pellets, and some bitterness from the roasted malts, slightly dry but a bit sweet, and lingering dark malts and caramel.

Mouth is heavier bodied, decent carbonation, very slight booze.

Overall pretty good, the hops are pretty big compared to the malt flavor but nice, a bit more roast would have helped it balance and come through with the malts more. A nice rich body though.

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Photo of zestar
3.25/5  rDev -16%

Photo of smithj4
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.84/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 750ml bottle into an imperial pint glass. Bottled on date of 11/10/2011.

A: The beer is a very deep black color with a short dense brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains bourbon, chocolate, roasted malts, licorice and a faint touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with strong bite of bourbon and alcohol. Then some flavors of chocolate, licorice and coffee come in along with a hearty roasted malt character and a faint touch of smokiness. The hops presence is very mild as you would expect but it provides a decent balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, medium-to-heavy body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Flavorful, goes down ok, slightly filling, strong kick, good representation of style, it’s a decent beer but definitely not as good as the regular version of Storm King.

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Dark Intrigue from Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
Beer rating: 3.87 out of 5 with 739 ratings