Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Victory Storm King Russian Imperial Stout - Is Victory Storm King the King of All Imperial Stouts?

Every microbrew or craft beer enthusiast is always and forever on the hunt for that elusive "holy grail" of all libations. I've been seeking the be-all, end-all in russian imperial stouts in particular for quite some time now (years in fact). I think now that maybe, just maybe I've finally found it, and right in my own backyard to boot!. The microbrew of mention goes by the name of Victory Storm King Russian Imperial Stout and "imperial" it certainly is, fit for microbrew kings (and queens).

This is a super thick, rich and frothy brew that even your grandfather would love (or maybe even tried brewing himself in his basement back in the days of Prohibition). Produced by Victory Brewing Company, which is a microbrewery founded in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, I sampled this wondrously crafted creation from a 12 ounce bottle ("enjoy by" date of 1/12/2012) directly into my trusty Stoudt's Brewery 16 ounce pint glass, completely clean and completely unchilled.

Right off the bat the appearance is thick, really darn thick and deep and black as the darkest of dark nights! There is no transparency to speak of even held up to a 100 watt bulb. This is a foamy syrupy concoction I'm dealing with here. A very nice two-finger mocha/tan head aggressively clawed its way up the side of my slippery glass, reaching all the way to the brim in an only slighty failed jailbreak from this capably containing 16 ounce vessel before finally succumbing to it's lone limitation and settling down into a manageable fog of froth glazing the surface.

High tones of roasty, toasty malts eminate from the glass as I draw it only inches from my nose. This baby looks gorgeous and almost too good to drink. Almost. But I'm a warrior, and eye candy like this is not going to deter me, no way. The first sip shouts out that familiar thick toasted malts effect. Roasted coffee, a little back hint of licorice and surprisingly not quite as chocolatey as I would have guessed in my uneducated microbrew disposition I suppose. How gullible and jaded am I? Low and behold, right at the end, just right before the first swallow though, I sense it. Yes...hops, in a Russian nonetheless. What the heck is this? An RIS or an IPA?

This beauty does itself, and the microbrew community, proud with the absolute perfect balance of roasted malts and hops. I didn't think it could be done, in fact I never even fathomed it. I've always loved Russian Imperial Stouts, but I've always viewed them in general terms of being thick, rich, chocolately and very sweet. Victory Storm King Russian Imperial Stout is a whole 'nother dog in this kennel though. This is nothing like I've ever seen or tasted before.

The hoppy bitterness of the whole flower American hops kicking forcefully back at the malty sweetness almost puts me in the frame of mind that I wouldn't mind cracking a few of these imperial refreshments after a long day of mowing the lawn and mulching the wife's flowerbeds this summer. Yes it's an imperial stout, it is thick, it is rich's even refreshing. Almost a meal and a beverage altogether in itself!

I will caution you (and also take heed myself) that the only drawback I can find in this lovely liquid nirvana, is that it's posted on the bottle label at 9.1% abv which is just a little more than you want to go up against in a microbrew this darn good. It certainly should, conceivably limit anyone's responsible intake to one or two at a single sitting. I refuse to be held responsible if anyone should fail to yield to Victory Storm King's power. This is a microbrew king that deserves to be respected and bowed down to.

In summary:
Yes, you read it here. Victory Storm King Russian Imperial Stout IS the king of all russian imperial stouts. This is simply the best I've tried to date (and will be trying again repeatedly for dates and dates to come!) If you have tried and enjoyed stouts and if you appreciate the Russian Imperial Stouts in particular, Victory Storm King Imperial Stout is a you should climb mountains for to get it into your fridge for your next sit down with your beer afficianado friends (or just by yourself in the den with a good cigar). Victory Storm King is a category 5 microbrew in my book as of right now. Go out there...and get it, while you can! It's a 10.00 out of 10.00 on my microbrew rating scale.

You can check out more reviews of new microbrews and fun microbrew and craft beer related info at Microbrew Review or My Squidoo Lens. Check out Summer Microbrew too!

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