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Dark Intrigue | Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown

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Dark IntrigueDark Intrigue
Very Good
735 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: 735 |  Reviews: 302
Photo of sideshowe
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of PittBeerGirl
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of Exiled
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of brandoman63
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of AgentZero
3.25/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - Appropriate looking big stout. Opaque, black colored beer with a decent tan head that rose up about a half a finger and disappeared shortly.

S - Pretty nice smelling beer. Has some good vanilla, bit of chocolate, touch of roast. There's a good bit of bourbon in here, smells a touch hot, but not necessarily a bad thing.

T - Doesn't taste as good as the nose. In fact, it's not all that good period. Not bad on the front, with some chocolate and a bit of roast. Bourbon makes it a bit boozy, could do with some time to cool down. Finish is really bitter and astringent, really not working here.

M - A bit on the thin side, lower carbonation. One more example of something that didn't quite go right with this beer.

O - Not really a beer I cared for. Sticking it in a barrel didn't seem to help a lot. Maybe this will get a bit better with some age, but it doesn't have great balance, so I'm not optimistic.

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Photo of imperialking
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of BeerThursdays
3/5  rDev -22.5%

Photo of shufon
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of chcfan
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of victory4me
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of pwoody11
3/5  rDev -22.5%

Photo of london1o1
3/5  rDev -22.5%

Photo of JMRSN
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of Kaydogg
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Lunch. Thanks Paul.

The beer appears dark brown, nearing black. Dense, oily beige head with a fair amount of lacing. The aroma is hoppy (interesting), roasty...smells like Storm King with bourbon...shocker. Drinking this alongside Czar Jack (which is superior). A fun comparison of barrel aged stouts. I like this one. A little smoother than Storm King. Perhaps an abundance of hop character, as aggressive hops interfere with bourbon barrel qualities. Lingering bitterness in the finish. A good beer.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.53/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to jdiddy for sharing this one. 2010 vintage. Pours one shade shy of black with an 1/8th inch head that dissipates into skim and a thin band around the shoulders. Nose expresses dark malts, a buttery/diacetyl quality, a suggestion of the barrel and some tart vinous notes. Taste follows nose with the addition of a slight bitterness. That said, a weird medicinal aftertaste lingers between quaffs. Mouthfeel is light-medium in consistency with a slightly acidic tinge. Carbonation is even and balanced. I have to say that I had a little difficulty with this beer - it started out good, but then fell apart for me towards the finish in both flavor and mouthfeel. Not something I feel the need to revisit again.

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Photo of maximum12
4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to the generous trader dfclav (I mean, who sends an extra Parabola in a trade for 3 Parabola?) for this bottle in a springtime trade. 750 ML bottle split into two snifters before watching the final episode of House, Season 6.

Cork & cage pops with the gentle removal of the cork, & the brew pours card table chair black. The owl frowns at me. Bourbon is evident from several feet away; wife identified it before the glass crossed the room. Gargantuan roast plucks at the nose hairs, wow. This is a brute-smelling beast of a beer.

Dark Intrigue ain't no summer patio swiller. Taste tailgates the nose: huge bourbon notes loiters with hearty roasts, crossing into ashy. Powdered chocolate, vanilla are strong, but slip into the background beneath the dominators. Vanishingly small pieces of sweet malt. Light, slightly grimy hops surprise in the aftertaste, even after a good time in the bottle. Charoal & bourbon seize the tongue on the downhill slide & stick to everything they touch. Sticky. Full. Heavy. Yet not tough to drink, because, dammit, it's tasty.

This is a far cry better than the base beer. Didn't seek this one out actively because I find Storm King mediocre at best, but this the barrels really make this one shine. Excellent beer, & possibly the biggest positive delta between the base/barrel-aged beer for me to date.

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Photo of Pahn
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle into Duvel tulip. Bottled November 19, 2010.

Note: This beer is bourbon barrel aged Storm King Stout. I reviewed the base beer a few days ago. I didn't like it very much.

Appearance: Free pour yields a one inch tan head that dissipates slowly and lacelessly. Pours a slick black with red brown highlights. It's Storm King minus all the beautiful lacing.

Smell: Popping the cork fills the room with the smell of grapes and raspberries--what the hell? In the glass, there's mild bourbon and lots of hops. Quickly gets oakier, with some grape coming out with lots of oaky vanilla. Some fruity hops (pineapple-y) and dankness underneath, but very subdued (that these aromas survive both the barrel aging process and a year in my cellar tells me that Victory really hops the shit out of Storm King).

The smell eventually ends up as lots of oak, with some caramel and chocolate-covered raisin, and slight medicinal hops and booze.

Taste: First sip hits me with the same outrageous hop attack as in the base beer, but quickly rounded out by decadent chocolate and vanilla bourbon and oak. The richness is cut by maximal hop bitterness leading to a lingering oak-flavored finish. My first thoughts are "This is Storm King alright," and "This is really good." Subsequent sips are the same, but the oak and bourbon help to bring out some of the subtler malt flavors, and give nice vanilla and pastry-like notes of their own. Aftertaste has some heat, and occasionally the oakiness goes a little overboard, but even then works as a pleasant counterpoint to the hops.

This beer tastes like what it is: an egregiously unbalanced Russian Imperial Stout that's been aged in bourbon barrels. It turns out that the barrel aging rectifies the problems I had with the base beer.

The resulting liveliness you get from such ridiculous hopping and heavy oak influence is unlike the usual barrel aged beer; it's decadent, sure, but it's punchy and active. The strong bitterness and somewhat herbal hop flavor sort of lift up the vanilla oak flavors, and the smoothness of the oak brings out the scant-but-good malt depth of the base beer. Each sip has a nice complexity... it's not "everything all the time," it's a couple smooth vanilla and chocolate covered raisin notes here, a couple caramel and almond liqueur notes there, all held up by maximum IBUs and a strong oak flavor.

Tempted to go higher with the "Taste" score... if this were a barrel aged "black IPA / American dark ale" I would, but compared to things like Parabola, this is a 4.0. It's really good, but it's a full notch below top tier.

Mouthfeel: Full side of medium bodied. Moderate carbonation. Heavy (but not "sharp") bitterness. Time and barrels have been good to the feel of this beer.

Overall: Great effort by Victory. This beer should be a real treat for fans of Storm King Stout (there's no question about what the base beer is here; it shines through brightly, not even close to being lost to the barrel influence), but it's also good for people like me who find the base beer a bit too hoppy and simplistic. It's a perfect use of barrel aging: the boldest aspects of the base beer have been reined in and balanced, and the oak flavors not only enrich but help showcase the underlying beer.

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Photo of bonkers
4.07/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I poured from a bomber into a snifter, jet black pour, nice 2 finger white head, decent lacing. Big bourbon notes upon opening the bottle, notes of chocolate. The first sip is boozy, chocoalte notes and then more booze. There are also some vanilla notes and lots of roasted malt. The body is medium, good carbonation. A solid BA stout.

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

Poured into a sniffer, thanks to BeerZack for sharing this one

Appearance: Black with a thin lacing of tan colored head which doesn't last long and fades to a ring around the side of the glass.

Aroma: Chocolate, roasted grains, a touch of whiskey, oak, vanilla, and alcohol. You can tell the hops have faded from this guy.

Taste: Surprisingly not that complex, I expected more. A little sweet, dark fruits mixed with whiskey+alcohol and roasted grains.

Mouthfeel: Unusually thin for an RIS with low medium-low carbonation and a relatively strong alcoholic finish, even with its age.

Overall: I was excited when they announced the release of this beer, but was ultimately disappointed by it. Sad since I really like Victory, they just need to work with barrel aging a little bit longer.

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Photo of Bonis
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Review from notes. This has been a while, 8/18 if I am not mistaken. Bottle shared with Liquidcucumber for his 100th review! Drank this side by side with original Storm King.

A - Black in the glass with a light mocha head sitting generously, settling after a few minutes. A bit of lacing but nothing notable.

S - Roasted malts, chocolate, dark fruits, toasted coconut, bourbon, oak and a bit of nuttiness. Nice and complex on the nose.

T - A bit thin in the mouth, surprising. Oak, vanilla, bourbon, and fruits shine through in the taste. A little bit of roast is there, but this is different tasting, and definitely not as "stout like" as I would expect. There is a slight dry lingering finish. Not a large hop presence. The barrel aging has changed the original beer greatly. The hop presence is now less than prevalent, but this beer is still pretty good overall.

M - A big thin and lighter bodied than I prefer, but a decent smooth and easy drink. Alcohol and bourbon coat the mouth with each sip.

O - Not one of the better BA stouts I've had, but definitely a good beer, and one that is worth trying if you are into stouts. I preferred the regular Storm King over this, just because I am now really into hoppy imperial stouts. Looks like it'll soon be time to revisit my less than friendly Storm King review.

 1,318 characters

Photo of LiquidCucumber
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

100th, y'all!

A - Dark as the stoutiest of stouts with a tan head. This head dissipates rather quickly after pouring; but it was quite large.

S - Dark roast, oak and bourbon. Comes with a suggestion of strongs fruits; figs, raisins and the coffee bean.

T - Layers of fruit and malt. There in an intense presence of bourbon, oak and vanilla. Chocolate and a bit of coffee bitterness is present as well. Some kind of astringent taste comes through that isn't pleasant.

M - Slightly thinner than expected; but still smooth and creamy.
The dryness this beer exhibits is what I like.

O - Very tasty and complex. Not really what I expected as I think this brew could rival Bourbon County. I've had Nightstalker and Big John and feel that Storm King can produce a better -bal-ed beer. I very much enjoy this one but feel it could be a bit less harsh.

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Photo of akorsak
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to foofaa for the bottle. Shared with Mike, Jen, and ksak.

A: The stout is imperial, a dark enveloping color that absorbs every other hue. Opaque, the ale supports a tan head (lighter though than the Acer Quercus head).

S: The nose has oaken strength, not much in the way of sweet bourbon aromas though. Storm King base is undeniable, dark and well-roasted with a surprising hop presence that I didn't expect to encounter. The Storm King aromas alone warrant a high rating, offset partially by odd barrel notes.

T: More Storm King paired with decadent bourbon. I'm not seeing anything wrong with a beer that imparts bourbon flavors on Storm King. Dark roasted malts and a still-strong hop profile mesh nicely with sweet bourbon flavors, never getting too boozy. Nuttiness, coffee and chocolate all spring forth from the morass of the imperial stout. Bourbon adds sweet vanilla to the otherwise stark beer. I like that the bourbon is more prominent taste-wise than it was aroma-wise.

M: A big mouthfeel, one of the best stouts aged in a barrel. What's not to like? The bite of the stout and sweetness of the bourbon are nice together.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.52/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours with a rich, dark black color that sits underneath a nicely browned head that starts out two-fingers thick and even leaves some thin lacing on the sides of my Lost Abbey Teku glass. The beer smells of toasted coconut, soft Bourbon alcohol notes, spicy oak and some soft woody notes. The alcohol gets a bit more hot towards the finish of the aroma. While a bit harder to notice, there is some dark, roasted malt character to the nose that contributes a solid burnt whole-grain toast aroma as well as a roasted, noticeably quite burnt nutty note. The beer is quite aromatic, and I like that the Bourbon contributes lots of smooth coconut rather than the really spicy Bourbon alcohol spiciness; the long finish can “burn” the insides of my nose sometimes though.

Somewhat sweet tasting, though not overly so for an Imperial Stout, but it has a rich nutty character as well as a bright coconut note that are accentuated and accentuate the malt sweetness. There is a roasted, toasted malt character to this beer up front that contributes flavors reminiscent of burnt chocolate, darkly roasted espresso and toasted whole grain bread. The finish has a toasted roasted whole grain character to it that is somehow distinct from what you get from bread. The finish also sees a lingering, almost sweet, toasted coconut flavor that ultimately succumbs to a bitter roast character and some warming alcohol notes. The body of this beer definitely has a lightness to it; as does the base beer, at least for an Imperial Stout, but seems even further lightened up by the time spent in the barrel. The bourbon provides a fruitiness of some sort to the flavor that melds into the coconut character. The carbonation accentuates a cola like flavor in this beer in my second pour.

This could use some more malt and body to stand up to the Bourbon character, which can be a little hot at times. This is still tasty enough for a Bourbon Barrel aged Imperial Stout though.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.06/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a SAVOR snifter. Reviewed from notes.

Pours a very, very dark brown color with a thin tan head and a few spots of lacing as it goes down to a thin collar. The nose brings loads of bourbon that overpowers most everything, save for the roasted malt, which is highly present. The two combine and basically shape the entire nose of the beer, and not a super-favorable way. The same can be said for the flavor, which is overly bourbonized (that's a word, right?) with too much roast. Faint coffee in the background. Medium, dry body with some heat. Decent, but I would have expected better from Victory.

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Dark Intrigue from Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
Beer rating: 3.87 out of 5 with 735 ratings
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