Discover the Dark Intrigue
A Review of Dark Intrigue by Victory Brewing Co.
Posted on 2/19/2014 by Chops
                   
Exquisite
Hunting down precious gems in the craft beer world is a lot like you see in the movies. You know the scene. An unscrupulous looking customer wearing sunglasses approaches a dingy shop counter. A cigar-smoking shop keeper looks him up and down. The customer is looking for an unusually specific item. Something rare. Something... in the back. Moments pass, no words exchanged, only calculating stares. They trade generic pleasantries as well as a pass phrase unbeknownst to the viewer. The shop keeper nods and escorts the customer to a secret room full of scarce treasures. And there finds it, his coveted prize, gleaming on a rickety shelf. Victory is his.

This is how I felt when I acquired a bottle of Victory's Dark Intrigue. It's a rare and special brew, a prized find in the craft beer world. This is their delectable Storm King Imperial Stout aged in Kentucky bourbon oak barrels and then blended to perfection. It's not a regular or seasonal offering, just an occasional one-off release. In fact, the brewery has stopped making it all together. Finding one of these bottles gets harder and more expensive as times goes on. But for the lucky few that manage to get their hands on one, it's a heavenly treat. I held onto my bottle for a full three years before I opened it. I found it lurking in a dark corner of my beer pantry, that ''leave it and forget it'' aging area. Yes, its time had come.

In the glass, this beer had a jet black coloration. It came with a creamy coppery tan head that had really nice retention. This was very surprising for the style, especially for a further aged version. I was amazed that Victory managed to retain such an impressive amount of carbonation. Well done my friends. On the nose, I found a strong coffee roast along with plenty of dark chocolate. The boozy bourbon note was present, but not nearly as overpowering as most other versions. It balanced out very well with the dominant aromatic notes. Resting underneath were notes of oak, vanilla, dark fruits, and molasses. Mmm, sheer beer ecstasy, I could not wait to dive in for a taste.

Wow, this beer requires some Barry White playing in the background. All of those delectable aromatic notes translated perfectly into a beautifully balanced flavor profile. Coffee roast, dark chocolates, oak, vanilla, dark fruits, molasses, and a strong bourbon presence. All were prominent, all played politely. I also found notes of caramel, raisins, anise, and a hint of smokiness. It was very complex and very rewarding. The beer had a big bold body and drank decently smooth. It did have a slight roasted grit that reminded me a lot of cold black coffee. The hop profile was understandably muted, but easily detectable and complimentary. The beer finished a tad gritty and exited with a strong roasted malty aftertaste.

Overall, Victory's Dark Intrigue is a flag planting brew. What I mean by that is when you reach the snowy summit, you jam a flag of victory into the soil. For you have seen the top of the mountain, and it is good. This is one of the rare and highly accessible big beers that I can technically recommend to novices, but I won't. I have to draw a line in the sand here. Dark Intrigue is a reward for those who have paid their dues, those who have strapped on their climbing boots and befriended a Sherpa. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying to pass one up if you are lucky enough to find it. I'm just saying that you should respect the nectar. Squirrel it away for a few years and come back to it with a honed imperial palate. Trust me, it will be beyond worth the wait.

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Dark Intrigue by Victory Brewing Co.
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