On the morning of Thanksgiving Eve, November 24, as early as 7:30 am, beer fanatics flocked to Victory Brewing Company, in hopes to score a case of the brewery first-ever bourbon barrel-aged beer, Dark Intrigue.

Just one month ago, the brewery leaked, via their Facebook, that their upcoming release had made use of an attractive lineup of Heaven Hill Kentucky Bourbon oak barrels found in-house. Keeping up with the mystery of what one-off marvel would soon be available was an adventure in itself, and even more so, the excitement of only 80 cases available for purchase, at a limit of one case per customer—an amount that quickly sold-out in less than 45 minutes.

Recently accepting an invitation to sample the elusive brew aside the mad-scientist mastermind, Frank Iosue, a small beer-hungry crew and I became cozy in the brewery’s barrel-aging room, just hours after the sold-out mayhem.

Iosue, as he uncorked a bottle of the Dark Intrigue, his first-ever experimentation with aging that used the well-known Storm King Stout, detailed his wish to have Victory dance within the barrel-aging trend. Suggesting that brewing beer is “half art” and “half science,” the Quality Assurance Manger/Brewer of Victory was pleased to get a little creative with the already-established imperial stout and personally explore the plethora of flavors once its aging of 97 days concluded.

Dark Intrigue may have slightly varied from barrel to barrel, he says, but the entire batch came across pretty consistent. Well-balanced, and without a harsh bourbon punch, Dark Intrigue pours thick and ridiculously black, concluding with a toffee-colored head. Although first-impressions may suggest it is fuller in body, sips appear otherwise, even with its 9.10-percent ABV.

Subtle, while sailing through several gentle flavors of dark chocolates and roasted malts, this beer boomswith a pleasant vanilla nose. Even if you aren’t a hophead nor a seeker of bourbon barrel-aged brews, this beer may surprisingly be for you!

While I’m saddened to say that there is not any on tap in Downingtown’s brewpub or available through their store, you may be lucky enough to spot a bottle or two among your friends, at your local distributor or bar—and, if you do, don’t pass their special release up!

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