We’re well into winter, so that means I start gravitating to more barrel-aged beers. While I love the traditional dark, malty stout with a healthy dose of bourbon barrel, I’m always up for something different in the category, and Victory’s Java Cask Gold certainly fits that bill. It’s a blonde coffee stout made with cascade hops, packed with One Village Coffee’s “Legend” dark roast, cut with oats, cocoa, milk, and brown sugar, and aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels for a respectable 7 months. It’s clearly not your average barrel-aged stout. Let’s give it a whirl!
The beer pours a honey gold with a generous, snowy head. The nose shows minimal alcohol. It’s pretty much all coffee at first, but with time some vanilla and caramel candy notes emerge. The palate isn’t rich or toasty the way most stouts are, owing to the lack of roasted malt in the blonde style. It’s altogether light and crisp and not overly sweet. But there’s still traces of roast here that are distinctly coffee-based, dark and almost fruity. There’s plenty of coffee influence, but I’m left wondering where the bourbon barrel went. It’s clearly there in the abv, but I get only trace signs of vanilla and a slight creaminess on a somewhat short finish. An interesting beer, but not quite what I was looking for this winter.
B / $8 per 500ml bottle / victorybeer.com