Wild DevilJuly 1, 2009 Downington, PA
Victory Brewing Co.
Available: PA, NJ, NY, CT, MA, RI, NH, ME, OH, IL, IN, MI, MN, WA, OR, CA, TX, CO, TN, GA, SC, NC, VA, MD, DE
This beer begins as Victory’s Hop Devil Ale—itself a marriage of British tradition, German malt and American hops—then the base beer is fermented entirely with Brettanomyces (wild-type) yeast.
Original gravity: 1064
Hop Devil with a little Belgian funk. Caramel, toffee, pinecones and walnut shells on the nose, ransacked by suggestions of scrumpy, earthen cellar and horse barn (sans the droppings). Sharper and more challenging on the palate, with tactile dry leather supported by light toffee, citrus zest and soap bubbles (!?). Damp wood, white pepper and pine needles add intrigue to an already intriguing beer. Who poured some of their gueuze in my IPA?
- John Hansell
It seems I’ve been tasting a lot of Brettanomyces-influenced hoppy ales these days, including this 100% Brett-fermented version of Victory’s popular HopDevil. The nose announces the beer’s sour component loudly, with aromas of horse blanket and sour cherry and plum blending with nutty and citrusy hop notes. The Brett plays out well in the body, too, producing a tart bitterness that I find vaguely reminiscent of Orval, but with a grapefuity base hop character. There’s also some choco-caramel malt playing nicely with the others, and a long, slow, slightly tongue-curling finish. I’m really beginning to like this trend.
- Stephen Beaumont
John Hansell is an equal-opportunity drinker. He writes about beer, wine and spirits. He is the creator, publisher & editor of Malt Advocate, a magazine for the whisky enthusiast.
Stephen Beaumont boarded his first plane at the age of 15 and hasn’t looked back since, obsessing about travel to the point that he gets nervous if he doesn’t have a ticket or two stacked on the corner of his desk. When he’s not running around in search of new taste experiences, he makes his home in Toronto, where a new cultural experience is only as far away as the next neighborhood.
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