Monday, May 23, 2011

Review #15 - Victory Hop Wallop

Posted by: Tyler Rippeteau

May 25, 2011

Courtesy of A Microbrew Review Blog
The final quarter of The List is going to be a tail of five beers.  Not so poetic, but they will be split into two categories; beers that have already been purchased and are currently sitting in my fridge and beers that I will have to wait for. 

Today’s beer, Victory Hop Wallop, of course, comes from the former category.  I picked up a 6-pack along with the Southern Tier Unearthly Imperial IPA and shortly afterwards I tracked down Flying Dog’s Double Dog Double Pale Ale.  The remaining beers are going to simply be a waiting game.  Founders Devil Dancer is due out in July, the Dogfish 120 Minute IPA seems to be anyone’s guess at this point and the AleSmith YuleSmith (Summer) is going to be a combination of a waiting game and a trade.  That said, given that by the end of the summer I will be living in Boulder, Colorado, so it shouldn’t be too tough to find some good trade bait.  Anyhow, back to the Hop Wallop:

ABV: 8.5%
IBUs: 70 (Needs Confirmation)
Brewery Location: Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Style: American Double/Imperial India Pale Ale
Average Beer Advocate Rating: A-/4.06
My Beer Advocate Rating: B/3.68
Current Number of Reviews/Rank in the Top 20 on Beer Advocate: 1,694/5th
Brewery Description: Victory Hop Wallop
Bottled On: March 16, 2012

APPEARANCE:  (4.5 out of 5) Great color and great head on the Hop Wallop.  It poured a pristine, bright orange and had a gorgeous inch-thick head that stuck around from the time I began this post until now (about 5 minutes).  The lacing is skimpy, but consistent throughout the glass and very pretty and arch-like.

SMELL:  (3.5 out of 5) The aroma is not strong, but it isn’t weak either.  Orange and grapefruit dominate with a hint of hops lurking in the background.  At this point I could see this beer going either way, sweet and citrusy or a complete hopslap.

TASTE:  (4 out of 5) The latter it is.  Grapefruit and a nice, bitter hop flavor dominate almost all the way through the sip, but particularly at the tail end.  The grapefruit provides one last punch of bitterness just at the tail end leaving a dry and (oddly) a slightly smoky aftertaste.  Backtracking, there is a quick blast of sweeter orange right up front, but it lasts just for a moment or two.  As it warmed it also became a touch sweeter. 

MOUTHFEEL:  (2.5 out of 5) This one is a palate scraper.  The dry bitter aftertaste sits on the tongue for what seems to be an eternity and is only cleared by the next sip.  In an odd way, the Hop Wallop has a dry mouthcoating feel to it, which is OK at first, but becomes a bit tough to deal with towards the end of the glass.

OVERALL:  (3.5 out of 5) I enjoyed this beer with some good, spicy, southern cooking; red beans and rice, chicken and crab cakes all smothered in hot sauce.  It was an excellent pairing with this hop-bomb, or Hop Wallop.  That said the bitterness was not pure and perfected in the same sense as Stone’s Ruination.  It went just a bit too far on the bitter side without much balance, somewhere between the Ruination and the Hopsickle from Moylan’s. 

DRAWBACKS:  In addition to going just a tad too far on the bitter side, I also felt that what little balance there was lacked any subtlety.  It wasn’t a slow transition from sweet to bitter, rather it was sweet for a second and then, BAM! all of a sudden, just as the palate realizes what is happening, the bitterness explodes on the palate.  It can be a jarring experience and I would expect this to solely be for the hop heads.  Regular beer drinkers need not apply.  I don't normally like a massive malt character in my beers, but at least some indication that it exists would have been nice.

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