Each and every microbrew and craft beer enthusiast truly is (or at least should be) always and forever on the search for that elusive “holy grail” of all barley and hop libations. I, personally have been seeking the be -all, end-all in russian imperial stouts in particular for a substantial length of time now (years in fact). Finally, maybe, just maybe I’ve finally discovered it, and right in my own Pennsylvania backyard of all places !. The microbrew of mention goes by the name of Victory Storm King Russian Imperial Stout and “imperial” it certainly is. Here’s a russian imperial stout fit for microbrew kings and queens alike!
Victory Storm King is a superlatively thick, rich and frothy brew that even your grandfather would love (or perhaps even attempted brewing on his own down in his basement back in the days of Prohibition). Proudly produced by the reputive 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) deposited directly into my steadfast Stoudt’s Brewery 16 ounce pint glass, meticulously clean and completely unchilled.
Right from the get-go, the appearance is thick, really darned thick and deep and black as the darkest of dark nights! No transparency to speak of here even when holding my glass directly 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 slightly failed jailbreak attempt from this capably containing 16 ounce vessel before finally succumbing to its lone limitation and settling down into a manageable fog of froth glazing lazily on the surface.
High tones of roasted, toasty malts emanate 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 Imperial Stout 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 did not 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, chocolatey 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 punching forcefully back at all of the malty sweetness almost puts me into the frame of belief that I would not mind cracking open 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 but … it’s even quite 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.
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 microbrew you should climb mountains for to get it into your fridge for your next sit down with your beer aficionado 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.