Victory Wild Devil Review

Victory Wild Devil

Victory Wild Devil

Having been in Brooklyn for over a month now, I find myself frequently traveling around scoping out what is available on local shelves peppered with brands not available on the West Coast. From what I can tell, bottle shops come in two flavors. The high-end boutique shops (like Bierkraft) that I’ve become accustomed to in Seattle and the more utilitarian beer distributors whose storefronts are the public face of their broader distribution business. This bottle was purchased at the latter, New Beer Distributors in Manhattan. These distributors tend to have warm, dark warehouses with massive variety and minimal service. Because of this, things sometimes get lost on the shelves or simply forgotten in the back somewhere.

Browsing through the cavernous interior at New Beer Distributors, this bottle of Victory Wild Devil caught my eye. Somehow I had remembered that this particular beer hadn’t been produced for a least a couple years. How it ended up on this shelf at the bargain price of $6 is a mystery, but with so little invested, it was worth a shot.

Beer Data:

Purchased: 8/29/12 at New Beer Distributors for $6.
Format: 750ml corked and caged bottle
Bottle Date: 4/22/2009
Alcohol: 6.7% ABV

Commercial Description from Bottle:

It’s arguable that our menacingly delicious HopDevil has always been ‘wild’. Though the India Pale Ale style that he represents was born in Great Britain, we approached the style with German malts and whole flower American hops, making a unique ale of him, indeed. But what has made him truly wild is change of yeast. Brettanomyces yeast has given many a Belgian ale its soulful character of sharp tang and deep funk. Fermented completely with brettanomyces, WildDevil features the greatest flavors of Europe and America combined. Floral, aromatic hops still leap from this amber ale, but a whole host of new flavors are intertwined with the citrus and pine flavors of these hops, making WildDevil a sensation that is wild, worldly and wonderful!

Tasting Notes:

Aroma: Earthy notes of Brett are the initial impression with strong components of leather and tobacco. After the first punch of Brett additional aromas of prune and light tart cherry become evident. There also appears to be some piney hop notes which seem a little out of place.  10 / 12

Appearance: Hazy copper hues become muddied by obvious floating particles that were kicked up by a very active level of carbonation. A dramatic head forms with even the gentlest pour resulting in large bubbles that settle into a billowy latte colored head. 2 / 3

Flavor: There are some initial flavors of light caramel and light toasty crackers. There is a big bitterness bordering on astringency that beats up on the subtle malt flavors. Peppery phenolics are evident and seem a bit harsh. Very light paper notes from oxidation.  10 / 20

Mouthfeel: In-spite of a very high level of carbonation this beer manages to retain a nice medium body. The peppery phenolic notes are drying on the palate and tend to linger.  Slightly boozy finish.  3 / 5

Overall Impression: This beer is amazing on the nose with the oxidized malt aromas of prunes combining nicely with some of the more earthy Brett flavors. Unfortunately, the flavors is dominated by a harsh phenol which really make the experience less than optimal. I would have loved to taste this beer with less age as it seems like it probably was an outstanding beer earlier in its life. 6 / 10

Score: 31/50 (Very Good)

Note: Evaluation done according to BJCP Scoring System.  This beer was reviewed as a Category 16 Belgian Specialty Ale (Belgian IPA with Brett).

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