We’re fortunate to offer this very special BrewView to you. In special collaboration with our friend and guest BrewViewer Alan Koziol, (read his bio at the bottom of this BrewView) We are reviewing Victory Brewing Company’s VTwelve Quadrupel- 2007 & 2014 vintages. Yes, we said “vintages!” Our opinion is, wine should not be the only drink that can have vintages- we’re just saying… The VTwelve is already a massively complex beer, but when you add one that’s been properly cellared by Alan for 7 years, some very interesting and wonderful flavors develop! Read on…
ABOUT VICTORY BREWING COMPANY
The story of Victory Brewing Company starts on a school bus in 1973 when fifth-graders Ron Barchet and Bill Covaleski stepped aboard, on their way to a new school. The two became fast friends and remained so, even as they grew up and went to college on opposite coasts.
Just months out of college, Bill’s appreciation of good beer and access to his father’s home brewing equipment inspired him to explore the hobby. That same year (1985), Bill gave Ron a home brewing kit as a Christmas gift. With that, both Bill and Ron developed their love of the craft, and a friendly rivalry grew between the two. The good-natured competition pushed Bill and Ron to become accomplished home brewers, and as they both grew disillusioned with their jobs in the corporate world they realized their combined skill and love of brewing could pave the path to successful careers as brewers.
Ron left his job as a financial analyst and started an apprenticeship at Baltimore Brewing Company (BBC), working under a Dutch-born and German-trained brewer named Theo DeGroen. After working there for nearly a year, Ron had the necessary prerequisites to move on to study at the Technical University of Munich at Weihenstephan.
Immediately upon Ron’s departure, Bill took over his emptied role in Baltimore. While Ron was enhancing his German brewing knowledge, Bill was expanding the line of beers produced at the BBC to include several German specialty beers, many of which went on to win multiple awards at the Great American Beer Festival. After his time at BBC, Bill completed his brewing studies by traveling to Munich, Germany to attend Doemens Institute.
After Ron’s year of education in Munich, he returned stateside and took a role at Old Dominion Brewing Company in Virginia. Over the course of four year as the brewmaster there, he helped to increase production from 1,500 barrels annually to nearly 15,000.
With knowledge, experience and a love of quality beer in place, Bill and Ron decided they were ready to open their own brewery near where they first met in Pennsylvania.
Victory Brewing Company opened its doors to the public on Feb. 15, 1996. What was once a Pepperidge Farm factory became home to a 144-seat restaurant, 70-foot-long bar and a full-scale brewery. In its first year, Victory Brewing Company brewed 1,725 barrels of beer.
Since then, Victory has increased the size of the restaurant to 300 seats. The brewery has also expanded, producing 93,196 barrels of beer in 2012. As loyal craft beer drinkers continue to show their dedication to flavorful, quality beer, Victory plans to continue its own growth. Onward to Victory!
BEER STYLE AND COMMERICAL DESCRIPTION VICTORY BREWING COMPANY
Style category: Belgian Abbey Quadrupel
If you follow Victory closely you’ll remember that there was a V Ten in this series. V Twelve put that creation away for good. Essentially what might be called a Belgian quadruple (the natural step beyond tripel), V Twelve features Belgian ale yeast and fruit flavors galore in the perfect expression of what the series is meant to be, gloriously unique.
Taste: A sensation in subtlety. Heady with an aromatic fruity start and taste, this amber ale features hints of pear and apricot in its well-nuanced flavor. The initial impression of fruitiness concludes in a refreshing dryness that begs another sip.
OUR REVIEW OF VICTORY BREWING COMPANY’S VTWELVE (2007 & 2014 VINATGES)
APPEARANCE / THE POUR (2007):
12% ABV. Poured into a tulip shaped glass, and served at 60°F. Poured a garnet / mahogany with a golden rim variation color; the SRM value being around 18. Poured a 2-finger height slightly off-white colored head; dense, rocky, with small and large bubbles. The meniscus was MURKY slow rising. It was bottle conditioned, and of course we poured the yeast sediment into the glass- (we ensured this was a “Beer Clean” glass). As the head collapses, there is even-sheeted Brussels lacing in the glass. After 8-9 minutes, there was still an 1/8″ head remaining.
APPEARANCE / THE POUR (2014):
12% ABV. Poured into a tulip shaped glass, and served at 60°F. Pours a medium-golden amber with a golden rim variation color; the SRM value being around a 10-12. Poured a 3-finger height white-colored head; dense, rocky, with small and large bubbles. The meniscus is very slow rising. It is bottle conditioned, and as well we poured the yeast sediment into the glass- (we ensured this was a “Beer Clean” glass). As the head collapses, there is even-sheeted Brussels lacing in the glass. After 8-9 minutes, there was still an 1/8″ head remaining.
AROMA / BOUQUET (2007):
This has much more of a fruitier bouquet than the 2014- heavier in the white raisins (Sultanas), dates, currants, rum cake.
AROMA / BOUQUET (2014):
Molasses, bread pudding, heavy raisins, treacle toffee, figs, almost rummy.
There is a deeper integration of fruitier spices, less of the white pepper. It is integration with cinnamon, and other baking spices that are all balanced out really well. Think of mulled wine (Glühwein). Mulling spices, specifically cardamom. The spice level is soft, not overwhelming.
Rummy, boozy, classic bread pudding with raisins, caramel, molasses, definitive fresh Belgian yeast flavors. Stewed fruit compote- baked apples and figs, with a hint of cinnamon and a good dose of white pepper.
MOUTHFEEL / PALATE (2007):
Where did the alcohol go? Very smooth, it rounded out and aged nicely. Less viscous in the mouth, drinkability is greater, much softer on the palate… but the alcohol content is still there!
MOUTHFEEL / PALATE (2014):
This beer does not hide it’s alcohol at all! Warming, full bodied, creamy. The alcohol is hot, almost in a white pepper finish. Definite spicy phenols going on. It coats the entire mouth with it’s richness. The finish is very alcoholic, very warming, but not too astringent, surprisingly. Definitely viscous. Treacle toffee flavors linger.
FOOD PAIRING SUGGESTIONS (2007):
APPETIZERS: A nice ploughman’s board with spicier sausages, Passendale cheese, and slices of honey ham.
ENTRÉES: Flemish hare, Pork Chops in Creamy VTwelve sauce with Mascarpone and Pears.
DESSERTS: Rum cake, high quality fruit cake, Sirop de Liège spread over warm cinnamon raisin bread.
FOOD PAIRING SUGGESTIONS (2014):
APPETIZERS: Bold cheeses- triple cream brie, Trappist or Abbey cheeses, Camembert.
ENTRÉES: Grilled chicken in a VTwelve glaze, Flemish style pork chops, or pork tenderloin slow cooked in VTwelve 2014.
DESSERTS: Crème brulee, Fig newtons, Speculoos, Smoutebollen, Liege waffles.
OVERALL IMPRESSIONS (2007 & 2014):
The 2007 version of VTwelve is a textbook example of what a high-gravity beer will develop into, when aging the 2014. If you have the patience, cellar the 2014 in a cool dark place for at least 10 years. The yeast strain in the 2014 is such that rounder, more fruity complex flavors and esters will develop, as attested above in our BrewView. The 2014 has more of a liquerish nose and feel, where the 2007 had more of a softer, fruiter taste and palate.
Both beers are extreme world class quality, the 2014 is brewed year-round by Victory Brewing Company, and is a must have. It can easily stand head-to-head with the Quads from Belgium, for sure. We picked up our 2014 bottle at Liquor Barn in Redding, California, at an excellent price. Seek the 2014 version out without a doubt. If you are fortunate enough to have cellared one from at least 5 years ago, we would implore you to wait a few more years. If you have connections to a collector who has a 10-year old bottle and is will to sell it, get it! We were fortunate to enjoy the 2007 VTwelve- it was unlike any Quad we’ve ever had. Magnificent.
VICTORY BREWING COMPANY:
Our guest BrewViewer, Alan Koziol, started his “Beverage Tasting Adventures” as a waiter at a local Holiday Inn in 1979. Studying more at a local wine shop through reading Decanter Magazines and books there, asking questions of the proprietor, began purchasing bottles of Bordeaux Rouge (Graves & Margeaux mostly), and things sort of evolved from there. Being in Washington State where Merchant du Vin had just started up, many imported beers became available at local markets as well, so great beer also became a passion.
He taught three Oenology courses through an extension program of Central Washington University from 1997 to 2002, where he brought wine makers and grape growers from the Yakima Valley region as guest speakers.
He worked for three years as wine steward/beverage manager for Cost Plus – World Market in Redding, California from 2007-2010. Alan studied a great deal in several great, well-respected reference books to successfully pass the 1st Level of certification through the Court of Master Sommeliers in January of 2012.
He offered catered dinners and events since the mid 90’s and continues to do so. Planning meals and beverages, employing recipe development and pairing techniques to bring a high level of satisfaction to his clients.
Alan is currently forming a deductive tasting wine class in the Northern California region.