Never let it be said that Victory Brewing Company ever did anything by half measures. If you’ve tasted their Old Horizontal Barleywine, Storm King Imperial Stout, or even the legendary Hop Devil, you know what I mean. And such, too, is the case with their Hop Wallop Ale, Victory’s attempt at an Imperial IPA. Imperial IPAs, by the way, are an American invention, an attempt at a bigger badder IPA with more malt and hops than your average IPA. Everything is bigger in Texas, as they say, and sometimes in Downington, PA, too.
Victory, located in Downington, may well be one of the hardest to find breweries in America, well ensconced as it is in the rear of an old industrial park. You won’t have nay trouble finding the hops in Hop Wallop, though. They truly permeate the beer. One of my criticisms of Imperial IPAs is that they tend to almost become barleywines, but Victory avoids that by toning down slightly on the malt. In my opinion, they may have held back a bit too much; I think a little more malt body is in order here. Am I seeming impossible to please?
At 8.5% alcohol by volume the hops aren’t the only thing that can wallop you here. A few too many of these bad boys and your head might feel like it got walloped the next day, so be careful. The price might well wallop your wallet, as well: I paid $9.99 for a six pack here in Atlanta.
Victory Hop Wallop pours to a coppery golden amber color with a light creamy head formation and a spicy citric hop nose. A sip reveals a beer surprisingly light in palate, or at least lighter than what I expected anyway. You can taste the chewy caramel malt up front though again it’s lighter than I expected, but it’s soon overwhelmed by the brightly citric and floral hops. They suggest fresh squeezed orange and bitter grapefruit, the latter more so than the former. If you close your eyes, in fact, it’s not hard to imagine you’re drinking a glass of grapefruit juice.
The Earthy, floral nature of the hops is hard to miss too. And in the finish, the intense bitterness is peppery, long and drying. You might even get a little alcohol warmth, too. But overall, Hop Wallop is just that, a wallop of hops that hits you like a brick.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.