Red Thunder | Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown

very good
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Red ThunderRed Thunder

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

Style: Baltic Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Aged in Wente Vineyards red wine barrels.

Added by confer on 11-23-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 121 | Ratings: 590
Photo of ONUMello
3.77/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750mL bottle poured into a pint glass, bottled 8/7/13
A: Translucent reddish brown with a one-finger tan creamy head that lingers
S: Chocolate, red wine, cream/vanilla, chocolate malt
T: Matches the nose in the same order
M: Full-bodied, a bit smooth but doesn't feel fresh
O: A good lesson to check freshness dates before taking the bottle home. I'm sure the aromas/flavors pretty much match what they were when fresh and it hasn't aged poorly, but it does taste tired

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Photo of Davepoolesque
3.72/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Chocolate, red wine, tannins and malt. Dry and oaky. Little to no sweetness. Not much flavor but it's ok. Not the worst. This is definitely past it's prime.

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Photo of TH28
4.02/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle. No apparent bottle date. Appearance: Dark brown and opaque with a light khaki head that dissipates. Aroma: Complex blend that starts with strong red wine and charred oak, with an underlying chocolate, roast, and vanilla. Wonderful aroma. Taste: Rich malt sweetness upfront that quickly hits a tannic red wine and light oak flavor that dominates the taste profile. Roast and chocolate show up on the back end at the swallow. Mouthfeel: Medium to heavy body with some viscosity and low carbonation. Finish: Roast and chocolate malt character linger from the swallow thru the finish. A touch of oak and toffee as well. Overall: An interesting beer here. Starts with an amazing complex aroma that blends the characters of the red wine barrel, chocolate, and roasted malt beautifully. The taste doesn’t quite back it up though. The wine barrel charter really dominates, and it’s not until the swallow and finish that the true Porter malt characteristics come thru. Perhaps a little less barrel exposure would provide better balance.

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Photo of bushbeer75
3.82/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

poured from a 25.4 fl. oz. brown bottle

Red Thunder has a very dark auburn almost black body producing a 1 1/2-finger bubbly tan head that dissipated to a collar of foam. The aroma is of roasted malt and some coffee and chocolate. The taste begins sweet, with flavors of dark fruit and a little chocolate followed by some hops. Then a good amount of malt is present helping to balance the hops. Mouth feel is smooth, with a medium body and carbonation. A nice alcohol warming at the finish.

Red Thunder is flavorful and not too filling.

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Photo of matt_duthie
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottled Aug 07 2013, drank tonight.
A: Pours pretty thin and a little lighter brown/dark amber than expected, but in the glass it's nearly black with just hints of ruby coming through the light. Sticky webs of lacing. Pretty good.

S: Red wine just dominates here, but not in a bad way. Faint hint of roasted malt and a chocolate tone are present, but only once you get past the in-your-face grape, oak, and tannins.

T: Tart and fruity (grapes, cherries), but not overly so. Definitely reminiscent of wine, not sure if that's attributable to the ago on this one. The middle allows some of the base porter roasty malt and a bit of cocoa to come through, then it's oak on the finish, lingering slightly but basically dry. Delicious. Aftertaste of some sweet malt as well; damn, better than I remember the other bottles tasting, though I've always enjoyed this beer.

F: A little slick, but with some creamy qualities. Carbonation is pretty right-on (i.e. a little, but not spritzy) especially considering the age. No complaints.

O: This has always been a go-to for wine-barrel-aged beers for me, and as I stumbled across a 2.5 year old bottle today I figured it was time for a review. Solid as ever, maybe even better with age (not that I paid attention to how old the others were...). Maybe not representative of the baltic porter style, but it certainly fits in there and would be a treat for anyone who appreciates a good stout/porter/red wine.

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

"First brewed in England in the 18th century, porter-style beers were transported to Baltic maritime cities in oak casks. As the style roamed through Europe, it picked up flavor influences along the way. We guessed that this drifting, vagabond style would enjoy a bit of downtime, so we gave it a new home for a few months. We filled oak barrels that previously held red wine with our Baltic Thunder and waited patiently for results. Subtle and seductive, the burnished cocoa creaminess of this beer is now accented with the tannic dryness that the wood imparts. Like our Baltic Thunder, Red Thunder honors the Baltic god of heavenly rumblings, as the ever-changing porter is as unpredictable, yet romantic, as an evening storm." Brewed in the style of a Baltic Porter, aged in Red Wine Barrels. Available in 750ml. bottles and on limited draft.

Poured from a 750ml. bottle to a snifter glass.

(Appearance) Pours a foamy frothed head of a medium tan color over a dense, dark brown body. Retention is above average and lacing is light and patchy. 3.75

(Smell) Potent aromas of tangy red grape juice and barrel tannins over smooth notes of lightly roasted grain, caramel malts, smooth cocoa and dark fruit. The barrel treatment in this body certainly influences the aroma of this beer, as the base beer is far more transparent beneath it all. Potency is moderate. 3.75

(Taste) Tangy fruit character comes forward up front, but quickly subsides as the beer transitions to the expectations of a Baltic Porter style, with roasted barley, chocolate malts and toasted caramel bread taking the lead in the second half of each sip, with a trailing hint of grape skins after the finish. Very enjoyable and a surprisingly welcome and unexpected transition for a Baltic Porter. Despite not picking up on much barrel aging character, the red wine does clearly leave an impact on this beer. 4

(Mouthfeel) Texture is slick, lightly chewy, smooth, medium dry. Carbonation is medium, generating a medium frothiness and a moderately crisp finish. Body is medium for the style, medium/heavy overall. Balance is slightly tangy and acidic over grainy and sweet. Alcohol presence is light and there are no off characters. 3.5

(Overall) A surprisingly pleasant delivery for an unusual combination of style and barrel treatment, I did not expect the results to be as enjoyable as they are, to my delight. The red wine barrel aging brings an incredible amount of fruit to this beer to make the flavor much more complex than just a Baltic Porter. The increased acidity and tanginess is welcome as a compliment to this beer. I wouldn't mind revisiting this one in the future as I enjoyed it quite a bit. 3.75

Victory Brewing Company's
Red Thunder Malt Beverage Aged In Wine Barrels

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Photo of madelfonatree
4.4/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled August 6, 2013 and enjoyed September 14, 2015 in a Hopslam tulip/snifter.

Look - Dark reddish brown. Very thin tan head. No lacing. Bubbles are large the ones that form. Tasty for a beer I expected to be light.

Smell - Heavy booze smell, more like bourbon as opposed to wine. Weeds (not the kind you light and smoke). Sweet. Dark fruits.

Taste - Sweet and boozy but subdued. I really wish I had a fresh one to compare this to. It is good. I will not lie and say there is no skunked taste, but only slightly in the finish.

Feel - Very smooth. Heavier than water with no harsh carbonation. Fluffy.

Overall - I opened this as a $3 or so discount special expecting to pour it down the drain. This held up well. Label says malt beverage but is a baltic porter!

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Photo of pat61
4.75/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

From tasting notes. L: It pours brilliant red highlighted chestnut under a 1” quickly receding white foam collar. S: Raisin and wine aromas rise from the glass. T: The attack starts with wine and fruit flavors, primarily plum and then it goes through an array of flavors such as light coffee and chocolate to the finish where the hops are in the background. F: The body is medium to full carbonation is a little below medium. O: A big, bold Baltic Porter.

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

A: Boring bottle art, but sexy lace. Dark mahogany body.

S & T: The nose is primarily molasses and grape skin with a background of sour dark red fruit. Outright oak also makes an appearance. The flavor switches things up and puts the faintly sour/tart fruit notes in the front, punctuated abruptly by the molasses/roasted husk porter characteristics. Moderately dark chocolate is thrown in there, too. Tannic finish.

M: Light-medium body, slightly filmy, restrained weak carbonation. Exactly what I would seek in a barrel-aged Baltic porter.

O: The flavors are individually great, but end up clashing. There were some glimpses of genius but weren't integrated well with each other, and it ended up being a confusing beer. I'm impressed, howoever, with the patience they must have shown when aging this; the wine characteristics were not an afterthought. Commendable.

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Photo of mlockman
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Very interesting aroma and flavor, doesn't taste much like a porter at all. Rather, it tastes exactly like a red wine but without the unpleasant tannin aftertaste.

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Photo of ClavisAurea
4.37/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2013 vintage bottle served in a tulip glass at cellar temps.

Appearance: Nice bottle artwork. The beer poured pretty thin and didn't appear to have my ch body to it. There was a nice dark tan head that disappeared quickly. Bubbles are rising to the surface so there is still a fait bit of carbonation in there. Deep brown with hints of red gleaning through.

Nose: alcohol, fruity, cherries, raisins, coconut, oak, fresh cut lumber

Taste: thin, very little body, no alcohol presence, fruity, balanced, dominant red wine acidity and tannins.

Overall: This is a great beer. I really like the wine notes with the Baltic porter base. I wish it had more body but it is to be expected from a beer that is 2 years old. I'm surprised I found some of the oaky notes in there as well; especially ones that I would expect from a fresh barrel. Great find and another winner from Victory.

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Photo of jjboesen
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Having allowed the finely corked bottle to sit for about 20 minutes, it began with a quick rush and slowly settled into a dark ruby body capped with a heavy foam crown. There is a nose heavy on spice and wood. The palate receives an intense miasma of black cherry, malt and nut, supplemented by a boozy finish that suggests a tanic red wine. The balance could be better and the mouthfeel more weighty. Add a plate of Irish cheddar and ..... yes! All in all, a nice quaff to while away a snowy March afternoon.

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Photo of SierraFlight
3.39/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Bottle poured dark brown with thin head and small bubbles. A floral aroma with vanilla and coconut. Flavors were coconut, hazelnut, onion, and caramel. Did not get the barrel or wine flavors that others are noting. Maybe need a second try as I was 10 beers into a tasting. Mouthfeel was nice with light body and a dry finish.

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Photo of stortore
3.84/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

750 ml into a snifter.

Lighter color than expected, kind of thin looking. Small head, some lacing. Smells a bit winey with a little tang. Getting a kind of sulpher smell- and damn, it kind of grows on ya. Tastes of a lot of malts, some chocolate. The wine barrel aging is noticeable, a very nice highlight. Nicely carbonated. A little thin, but has a good mouthfeel.

This is a decent beer, but really not as good as I was hoping for. I thought the wine barrel aging was good, but not as forward as it could be. I think my real issue is that the base Baltic porter just is not that great.

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Photo of StArnoldFan
3.02/5  rDev -23%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I was sent this as an extra, even though I can go buy it at my local bottle shop tomorrow if I wanted. Went in with low expectations and the beer didn't change my mind.

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into snifter, bottled on 8/8/2013. Pours nearly pitch black color with a 2 finger dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a good amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toast, brown bread, tannic red wine, oak, raisin, plum, fig, vanilla, light char, and roast/oaky earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of roast/bready malt, wine barrel, and yeast ester notes; with good strength. Taste of chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toast, brown bread, tannic red wine, oak, raisin, plum, fig, vanilla, light char, and roast/oaky earthiness. Slight roast/oak bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toast, brown bread, red wine, oak, raisin, plum, fig, vanilla, light char, and roast/oaky earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice complexity and robustness of roast/bready malt, wine barrel, and yeast ester flavors; with a great malt/barrel balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a very smooth, moderately creamy, and lightly chalky/tannic mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent wine barrel aged Baltic porter. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of roast/bready malt, wine barrel, and yeast ester flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

Poured into a snifter.

3.25 A: Pours a deep brown color. One and a half fingers of frothy/creamy tan head. Retention is below average and a few wisps of lacing are left.

3.75 S: Wow does the wine barrel come through. The nose is surely centered around it. Vinous grape, big vanilla and oak, and moderate supple tannins. The base beer almost gets lost in there, but it does bring forth the barrel elements. Roasty malts, cocoa, tangy caramel, molasses. Again I'll emphasize that this is heavy on the barrel, which isn't such a bad thing.

3.75 T: Like the nose, the barrel stands strong, but the base beer does come through better. The same barrel elements and grape as in the nose. Roasty malts, big caramel, molasses, dark fruitiness underneath. Quite tasty.

4.0 M: Lighter heavy body. Good moderate carbonation. Good creaminess and super smooth. Good here.

3.75 D: Seems like everything gets better when Victory puts their beers into barrels. Pick this one up, it's good.

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Photo of Shroud0fdoom
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

25.4 oz. bottle corked and caged.

Let me break it down. I've seen this brew for a year now, just chilling on the shelf. I bit the bullet the other day. Im glad I did. I'm going to inform those who might be thinking of picking this up. I popped this baby's cork, but no paazaz it just made a subtle "clock" sound. Well, that part doesn't matter, what is inside the bottle is what counts. Red Thunder pours gorgeous per Porter style. Dark brown body thats opaque with very dark red hues that shines as an aura for this beer. Very nice light khaki head thats made up of tight fizzy bubbles. Looks outstanding to me!

How can a beer at 8.5% be this full of depth? This aroma is very rich, almost intoxicating to the senses. The first waves of aromas from this brew can be described as very vinous with a slight vinaigrette edge. Behind the scenes there's a roasted malt sweetness that is full of chocolate and toasted nuts. Almost roast coffee airiness that fills in for your enjoyment. Fantastic smelling brew!

Continuing with the flavor is going to be a chore, I see. The brew first hits the palate with milk chocolate sweetness that quickly followed by a nice blast of roasted almonds and coffee. The barrel notes closes the deal right before the brew is swallowed.Slight vinegar touches the sides of the palate giving through with some tart vinous quality. Red Thunder finishes dry, fruity with very low bitterness making you want to consume a next sip. Lingering roasted malts giving notes of toasted bread and toasted almonds. Very delicious. The way the brew feels on the palate is light with some very active carbonation. The carbonation feels like its massaging the palate and keeping the beer alive.

Overall: Why haven't I bought this brew before now? This brew is very intriguing and simply put, Delcious. This was 2013's vintage I'm going to have to see how this year's holds up. The vinegar tartness is a refreshing factor to this brew, IMO. It adds a depth that makes this malt beer not too cloying nor syrupy on the tastebuds. Back to basics, this brew is Recommended!

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Photo of buzzarooski
3.4/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

LOOK: Brown to Rusty Red in Color, Not much of a foamy head

SMELL: Fruity Plum and Chocolate Scents

TASTE: Smooth Mild Porter Taste with definite hints of Red Wine, there is the Subtle Sweetness similar to Prunes in every Smokey Sip

FEEL: Smooth with Mild Carbonation

OVERALL: Another Solid Effort by Victory Brewery...Well Made but.....Not My Type of Porter

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Photo of babaracas
4.21/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Aug '13 bottling. Pours a brown tinted clear dark red with thick fluffy light brown head. Thick sheet for a few inches. Smell: ripe plum, grapeskin... oaky red wine, tart peach, dark chocolate, light roast. Taste: mildly tart peach, mild tannic bitterness, chocolate brownie batter... moving into the finish some toasted brown bread and plum. The wine barrel certainly adds a lot with the tart stone fruit and oaky vinous notes cutting through the chocolaty sweetness. This is well done.

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Photo of JamieDuncan
4.43/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Split a bottle with my beer guru, could not remember where I had picked it up. Outstanding appearance, very interesting to the nose, kinda of a mix of the porter with the wine which is very interesting. Very good taste, the same mix of porter with the wine sweetness and chocolate, plus there is not bitter aftertaste. Plus bonus points overall for the drinkability with the ABV. Surprisingly tasty, Victory has done it for me again, hope to buy more of this little surprise.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle, with no apparent bottled on date present, but I am going to assume that this is a 2013 vintage. A new beer to me, and my first big bottle from Victory Brewing Co. I have not yet tried the base beer Victory Baltic Thunder, so I can't comment on how the two compare.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter.

A - Pours a dark cola brown colored body; nearly opaque in the glass with one finger of creamy tan head. Leaves behind good spotty lacing. Looks very nice.

S - The smell is very nice - the dry wine-like notes are noticeable first, but then they sort of fade off into the background. Oaky barrel character, chocolate, vanilla, cherry, & some band-aid. Smells like it has some sort of herbal holiday spice rack notes in there also, but I'm not sure which ones.

T - Taste follows the nose - there is the initial puckering red wine tartness / dryness, mild alcohol warmth, chocolate, mild roastiness, some tart cherry, silky vanilla, and oaky barrel notes. There is really a lot going on here, and all the flavors are in good harmony with one another. Delicious.

M - Feel is smooth and creamy. Medium-full bodied with wonderful carbonation. Nice red wine tartness / tannins, and a dry finish.

Overall, a wonderful wine barrel aged effort from Victory, probably one of the best that I have had from these guys in recent memory, and they have been cranking out some real winners lately. Highly recommended.

Victory Red Thunder ---4/5.

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Photo of brureview
4.06/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark coffee color with a 1F head in a snifter. Serving temp about 50°F.

The aroma: strong oak and wine-unusual in a Baltic Porter.

The mouth feel is quite different for the style- a wine consistency which I taste on the back of my tongue.

The aroma is also unusual- wine and chocolate.

I am a fan of this style. This approach is different- I prefer Baltic Porters aged in Bourbon Barrels such as the Framinghammer from Jack's Abby. However, this beer is worth checking out- especially for a different approach to the style.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Interesting beer. To some it might be a case of even if you can barrel-age something it doesn't mean that you should. Has the Baltic porter twang to it. And with the combo of the barrel aging, an even higher level of it than is typical. Woody fruit thing going on. Smooth feel. Easy to drink. There are aspects of this beer that I think are interesting. But I'm not sure if Baltic Thunder is the best beer to be aging.

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Photo of yuenglingfan101
4.68/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Very unique beer. Poured into pint glass. Dark black color with medium thick head. Smells like a porter and taste like Porter mixed with a sweet red wine. Not a bad combination Easy drinkability. Overall an above average beer. Worth trying for both Porter and sweet red wine fans

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Red Thunder from Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
3.92 out of 5 based on 590 ratings.
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