Saturday, August 8, 2009

39. Victory WildDevil

WildDevil is from Victory Brewing Company in Downingtown, PA. WildDevil is an experiment with Victory’s HopDevil beer using Brettanomyces yeast instead of their normal yeast strain, making a much more distinctly Belgian beer out of HopDevil.

WildDevil was a bit over-carbonated to start—it overflowed the bottle when we first opened it, and filled a good portion of the glass with foam during the initial pour, reminding me of some of my own carbonation issues with home brewing. But then, that’s the joys of using Brettanomyces—it wants to and will eventually eat pretty much everything it can. WildDevil begins with a hard candy malt nose mixed with slight bubblegum notes and a hop finish. It is a cloudy soft copper color with, as noted, a large off-white lacy head. Starting with a spicy candy sweetness in the front, WildDevil moves into bitterness mixed with pine and citrus notes as the beer rounds out, closing with a lingering sourness typical of Brettanomyces beers. As is typical with Belgian style beers, WildDevil has a sharp but well-rounded mouthfeel. There was also some warmth in the mouthfeel that had nothing to do with alcohol or temperature, both from ester flavors and via the carbonation bite. Overall, an interesting variation, but not as exotic as we had been led to expect—the reports we heard from others vastly over-exaggerated the sourness of this beer. While we appreciate the experiment, we’re not really sure it is an improvement over the original.

From Victory’s website: “Bold, spicy, menacingly delicious HopDevil takes on an entirely new dimension when subjected to a ‘wild’ yeast fermentation. A sharp, tart edge has been added by this fermentation that plays into the caramel sweet malt deliciously and creates complex interplay with the citrus accented hops.”

Someone appears bored with beer

ABV: 6.8%
Malts: Imported, 2 row German malts
Hops: Whole flower American hops
Yeast: 100% laboratory grown Brettanomyces


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