Beer

Victory Wild Devil

2,403 Comments By Blake December 10, 2009

Victory Wild Devil

The Belgian IPA seems to be the cutting edge of craft brewing today. In a strange reversal of fate Belgian breweries started brewing hoppy pale ales with their traditional yeast strains that seem to have been inspired by the use of hops in progressive American microbreweries.

The style is not that old. It probably didn’t exist for more than a few months before the guys at Case and Keg talked me into an Urthel Hop-It a few years back. I have to tell you, I didn’t really like it. I can remember thinking the style would never catch on… it shows you what I know.

American craft brewers have picked up on the style.  Stone, Allagash and Great Divide all have beers in the style this year and Victory just released Wild Devil, their Hop Devil IPA fermented completely with brettanomyces, a belgian wild yeast strain.

It pours a cloudy amber into the pint glass… one of my problems with this beer is that I have no idea what glass to put it in. Do I put it in a pint glass like an IPA? A Goblet like a Belgian Golden ale? In the end I decided that the alcohol content should determine the glass. This one is 6.7% which classifies it as a pretty standard IPA so I decided on a pint glass. I generally upgrade to a snifter when an IPA breaks 10%.

The foam on this thing is out of control. Refills threaten to overflow the pint glass after its warmed a bit. Its hard to pour a glass that isn’t half foam. I’m wondering if this means I should have used the goblet… anyway, its not a problem. The head sticks to the glass and seems like it will last indefinitely, an impressive feat that only a brewer could love.

The nose has a sweetened citrus flavor along with a hop smell like pine trees. It’s sweet and malty and has a little more body than I anticipated. The fruit and spice notes in the yeast combine with the hops to make it almost tart in the finish. The finish is not nearly as dry as the Belgian breweries take on this style and I think it helps the beer. The yeast is there but the hops dominate the flavor that lingers after the sip has gone down.

I think Victory made a wise choice converting Hop Devil and not Hop Wallop to this style. I think it’s better than the others of this style for the very reason that the hops and yeast don’t step all over each other as with most I have tried.

4/5 I’m still not sold that this style is the next big thing in craft beer, but Victory has done a nice job here. I think it might go nicely with a good blue cheese.

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