Java Cask Gold | Victory Brewing
Score: 88/100 - Very good
From a 500ml bottle served warm at 16 degrees Celsius into a TeKu glass. No date information on the packaging and it's not straight forward to find information about the beer online - shame on you Victory. This beer was picked up at Buffalo's Village Beer Merchant last summer (2019) so I've had it for a while. It was meant for a tasting, but since we're still in the midst of the shitty pandemic, I'm breviewing dis bish. When there's no clear date information on the bottle - my gloves come off ;) I will note that it was a fresh delivery at VBM when it was picked up. My expectations are pretty high, even if I'm not a huge fan of the style. This is my first Victory breview on record.
The beer pours a brilliant medium amber with 4.5cm of frothy, cream-coloured head which dissipates into a solid cap within 3+ minutes. No lacing with good head retention. Effervescent. Beautiful colour and clarity.
Medium-strong with sweet-ish balance. The aroma is appealing, layered, and slightly off-kilter. Strong, rewarding barrel-character with loads of woody oak, vanilla, and some spice. What follows is prominent coffee along with toffee, and candied dried fruit. Perfumy ethanol which makes no real attempt to hide. No apparent hop aroma. The dry nose is filled with brown sugar pushing over to toffee.
Strong intensity with sweet-ish balance and assertive perceived bitterness. The palate opens up with strong whisky notes and coffee along with sugary sweetness making way for a pleasing center with notes of alcohol-soaked dried fruit, raw sugar, wet coffee grounds, and butterscotch. The long finish is balanced and of moderate strength with notes of pronounced whisky (vanilla + oak), brown sugar, coffee, ethanol, and candied dried fruit.
Medium-full body with moderate carbonation. The mouthfeel is slightly prickly with lots of creaminess, some chewiness, and a mouth-coating quality. Noticeable alcohol warming and a sweet finish. No astringency or harshness on the palate. Excellent.
Victory Brewing's Java Cask Gold is an excellent white stout. It has a great appearance which is comprised of beautiful colour and clarity along with quickly rising bubbles which certainly provide candy for the eyes. The aroma is surprisingly punchy and filled with impressive barrel character and well-incorporated coffee. However, the overall flavour has some rough edges: the raw sugary quality paired with considerable ethanol come across a little cheap. Don't get me wrong - there's a lot of great flavour here - I'm talking about the nuances. In order for this to stand out, those edges need to be rounded out. I know, it's probably been a while since this was bottled and I can't talk about it as if it was fresh, but if there's no clear date information on the bottle, how is the consumer supposed to know? At any rate, Java Cask Gold is an excellent beer and it respectfully represents the style of white stouts. It's worth giving a try at least once. My expectations were met, yet not exceeded.