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The Beer Circle » Beer, Cellar, Russian Imperial Stout, Victory Brewing Co. » Cellar: Victory Storm King 2011-2013

Cellar: Victory Storm King 2011-2013

Storm King 2011

Storm King 2011

Back in 2011, when I was fresh into beer, I decided that Victory’s Storm King Stout would be a nice beer to start my cellar. When I lived in Pennsylvania, it was a local beer that was relatively easy to find, so it all came together. A lot has happened since then, including the decision by Victory to sell Storm King in four packs, instead of six packs. I was so taken aback by the decision, that I promptly bought one. That’ll show them.

The 2011 version, which I’d guess I picked up at Zeno’s bottle shop and aged in my parent’s basement, is identifiable because it has a “best enjoyed by 2016” stamp on the label. Victory removed that from the label in 2012, suggesting they believe the beer can age for longer than five years. Eventually, I’ll be the judge of that. The oldest version that I have reeks of dark fruits and molasses. So much so, that I can smell it while sitting five feet away from the glass. The taste, however, brings the roast, but is slightly watery. The beer is nicely carbonated, as evidenced by the robust, thick brown head. I’d say this beer has a year or two left on it, but it isn’t as good as I remember fresh batches to be.

Storm King 2012

Storm King 2012

One hour later, I travelled a year in time to the 2012 edition. Strangely, the head is not as robust as it was in the 2011, dissipating almost as quickly as the beer was poured. In terms of aroma, it’s much more balanced. Mists of dead hops and dark fruits dominate, but it isn’t as sweet as its predecessor. The taste is also more balanced, but definitely heavier on the roast. Chocolate is intermingled with the roast, which coats the entire mouth and lasts for a good while. The body is thick, but the drinkability remains high. The immediate takeaway is that this beer is better the fresher it gets. I guess the 2013 will be the judge of that.

The fresh four pack (still grumbling) was procured at a Total Wine and More in Virginia. It pours without as robust of a head as any of its brothers, and I’m amazed that the oldest beer had the best head retention. The freshness of the hops in the fresh version is apparent from the first whiffs to the last sips. Citrusy on the aroma, the hops really dominate the finish of the beer, giving it a bitterly fresh kick that the older Storm Kings lacked. The citrus throughout the body is far more apparent now, adding depth to the beer. The body isn’t great, as it comes off as the thinnest of the bunch, but the drinkability is on point. I do prefer this beer fresh, despite wishing it was a bit thicker. The hops are on point for a Russian Imperial Stout and you only lose them as the beer rests in your cellar. I’ll probably hold on to the bottles currently in my cellar, but the rest…I’ll enjoy fresh.

Victory Storm King 2013

Storm King 2013

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Written by Russ Beck

Russ can trace his beginnings in craft beer to sitting in Zeno’s Pub in State College drinking various craft beer options from across Pennsylvania. Since then, he has never faltered in finding new brews, whether they’re rare, delicious, or hopefully both. Russ will be writing on a large variety of subjects, including but not limited to: reviews, homebrewing, and how to take labels off of beer bottles. He’ll drink just about anything, but prefers a nice Stout, IPA, or Weizenbock. Find Russ Beck on Google Plus

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