Jun 26 2009

Victory Wild Devil Ale Review

I was pretty excited to hear about Victory Brewing Company’s  WildDevil Ale.  Victory makes a lot of great beers, and what they did with this one was brew up a batch of their HopDevil, a hophead’s dream of an IPA, and then ferment it out with 100% brettanomyces.  This sounded like a very interesting idea and a bold experiment.


I bought two big bottles of WildDevil and brought one to a party to share, and stowed one away for myself to review when I could give it my undivided attention.  When I tried it at the party, and shared it with friends, it was a letdown.  It was getting towards the end of the evening, after a good bit of Oberon and some of my homebrewed lambic, but it can across as strangely both dull and prickly.  I was hoping that tasting it under optimum conditions would change my opinion. 

No such luck. 

It was in a 750-ml bomber that was corked and caged.  The bottling date was April 22, 2009, and I poured it into a tulip glass.

Victory Wild Devil -

The beer was a glossy, stained wood brown with bold orange highlights.  The head was thick, but wispy sea foam in composition (not the color).  Each bubble was apparent and separate, and did not meld together into a creamy top.

The nose of this was a perfumey sourness, with citrus and lemon zest.  A mild brett character slid through occasionally.

The taste was all over the place.  There was little of the barnyard character, but it was mired in an unfortunate amount of dryness that drags the off-flavors to the forefront.  There was a soapiness delivered on a dry aspirin platter than made this one hard to get through.  Sometimes a beer is undrinkable, or you just want to call it a day and walk away.  This one wasn’t quite that bad, but every time I put it down, it was easily forgotten.  It wasn’t that I didn’t want to drink it, but rather than there was nothing in it to make me want more.  It was an absent-minded chore to get through this bottle.

I cannot recommend this one, and I’ve having a hard time believing that laying this one down for a few months will help improve it. 

The mouthfeel made the Victory WildDevil unsessionable (because I have to make up at least two or three words in every review).  It is nice experiment gone awry.  A potentially cute girl with lots of pointy elbows.  Spooning a porcupine.  But I digress.

I look forward to Victory’s next brett experiment.  I believe in you, but let’s put this one behind us.


Apr 16 2009

Brainstorming the Next Few Homebrew Batches

I’m scheming the next two batches, and I’m circling around a hoppy IPA and sour ale.

IPAs used to live in my wheelhouse. That was the one style I could nail all the time and every time. But the last two I’ve made just haven’t lived up to my expectations. That shit needs to change right freaking now.

This IPA is will be a hoppy affair. Hoptimization at its best. Jamil recently a did show where they were cloning Green Flash’s West Coast IPA. I’m looking that over and I might riff off that and make something along those lines. Maybe tweak the color a little. Maybe lead a bit more with simcoe.

Sour ales take forever to mature (I feel a name coming out of that. Maybe a Peter Pan reference….), so I just need to get that going so I can leave it alone and let it age. I’m thinking about a big sour like a Flanders Brown/oud bruin and then aging it on French wood that has been soaked in a darker wine. This is a good time to be thinking about it, too, since Wyeast is busting out the Brett strains from April to June. They are releasing Roeselare (the Godzilla of brettanomyces), their Trappist blend (an Orval strain) and the brettanomyces claussenii (low-intensity brett. character cultured from English stock ales.)

After that……I’m not sure. Definitely a saison, but those are best brewed warm (80+ degrees) and I will let the warmth of the summer help me with that. I’ve talked about making an Premium American Lager, too. Despite the fact I really, really dislike almost all commercial examples of that, I want to do it just for the difficulty of it. Honestly, brewing something like that seems *less* insane to me than the Coconut Curry Hefe.

Welcome to my world.