Michael: As Easter nears its close and the beautiful sunshine starts to disappear behind luminous clouds, I felt the Victory Storm King Stout an ironically fitting choice. As I’ve noted before, this brewery has impressed me and I have actually found myself downing more of their fine brews than almost any other American craft brewery. As the bottle hissed open, a mixture of smells stirred forth. Cherries, brown sugar, molasses and roasted notes blended together to create the perfect storm. As the deep, very dark brown foamed into my glass, a tan head bubbled up and settled there until streaming down the glass, like rain-stained windows.

With a stout, I always hope for a mind-shattering smoothness. One that if you were to close your eyes you would think you’re drinking down a hop and malt infused Frappaccino. Storm King was more sprightly than that, the carbonation splattering across my tongue and lightly stinging the back of my throat, but still smooth enough to know it was a stout. The linger was the most notable of tastes. It was incredibly dry, bitter and full of burnt, roasted malts, like a rich, dark coffee, brewed with a few more beans than usual. The alcohol was nearly absent, absorbed by the overwhelming espresso. It was a straight forward stout, seemingly focused solely on the espresso and burnt malt flavors, but doing so in a pleasing manner, making it an excellent after dinner drink, a great substitute for a coffee-based beverage. Grade: B+

John: I went on a mission for this beer. I crossed over the river between Minnesota to Wisconsin to pick up a mixed six pack of craft beers. Three of the six were Victory Storm King Stout. I wish I would have picked up three more. This is a wonderful stout. Everything about this brew is pleasing. Color, head, fragrance, mouthfeel, taste and finish! This is a totally satisfying stout. So balanced in every way. It poured black as night with a big tan, foamy head. Then the coffee and chocolate and florals came. The malts and hops were wonderful. I love coffee and define the best coffee is the one that tastes the most like dirt! This stout brings me back to my dark french roast coffee days experience. Then florals, hops and espresso. WOW! The mouthfeel was creamy and lightly carbonated. As the beer warmed (please let it warm as well) the flavors were enhanced. Only the effervescence lessened. It is a stand alone drink that if I was stuck on an island this is the one I’d want with me. I did have some dark chocolate with the last few sips. A perfect pairing. This is one of my favorites. Looks like I need to make a run across the river soon. Grade: A

John: I waited a year to review this beer again. Literally. I put in on a shelf in the “cellar” and tried to forget about it. I drank the first 5 of a six pack quickly because I so loved this stout. Dark, rich, strong almost “muscly”. So when a year went by I couldn’t wait for the review tasting. It poured dark brown, almost black. Then the aroma. This baby starts with slight hops but quickly shifts to malts and roasts. All very heavy. The taste was marked by deep, rich coffee and very complex malts. Some licorice and prunes snuck in there. I didn’t notice either a year ago (see above review) and some of the chocolate was lessened. Mmmmm. Mmm as in manly! I wanted the mouthfeel to be more than it was but hey you can’t have it all in one brew. Another feature was the nice alcohol bite that kept things interesting to the very end. Talk about keeping you warm on a cold day. This beer will do it. Buy at least 2 and keep one for a year and you’ll not regret it. In fact if you liked it the first time you’ll love it later. What a Victory even after a year! Grade: A

Overall Grade: A-