Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Victory Moonglow Weizenbock

3.3
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (597) - Albany, USA - APR 30, 2010
I like a spicy beer, but is it possible for a beer to be too spicy? Victory Moonglow Weizenbock makes a case for just that since it’s a beer that’s literally bursting with so much flavor that it’s a challenge to drink.

POUR, COLOR AND AROMA

I have never had so much trouble pouring a beer as with Victory Moonglow. When my first bottle poured with an exuberant head I chalked this up to simple pourer error. But when the second bottle, intentionally poured carefully, produced an ever worse head I knew it wasn’t me - it was the beer.

Now, I like a big head on my beer but when the glass is more head than beer there’s a problem. All that gas could’ve been liquid! At least this beer has a pretty attractive copper-colored body which is mostly clear with a slight haze. The aroma was reminiscent of an authentic German hefeweizen or oktoberfestbier with a strong, spicy nose of clove and vanilla.

TASTE

Upon my first tasting of Victory Moonglow I had a weird feeling of déjà vu. It’s as if I had just drunk this beer recently, and I have. Paulaner’s Hefeweizen and Erdinger’s Oktoberfest Hefeweizen immediately came to mind since this is a beer brewed in a similar style to those two. What’s interesting is that as much as this tastes like an authentic German brew, it’s actually the product of an American microbrewery (which imports malts and hops from Germany, according to their website).

Moonglow has a very strong, spicy palate with banana, clove and vanilla being the most noticeable ingredients. Because this is such as strongly-flavored beer it’s initially difficult to distinguish between the three, since the overall taste is a spicy bite on your tongue. In fact, the beer has something of a dry taste and finish because it’s so strongly-flavored.

FINISH

I like a beer with some bite, but not to the point where it’s difficult to drink. I’ve had much harsher beers than Victory Moonglow, but for a craft beer in the unfiltered wheat beer style, it’s surprisingly coarse. It finishes much drier than it starts out and leaves a dry, cough syrup-like aftertaste in my mouth.

BODY

Neither the box nor the bottle itself indicated the potency to Victory Moonglow, but I had a feeling it was higher than normal about halfway through my first bottle when I felt very inundated. Once I visited the brewer’s website and learned it was 8.7% ABV I realized there was a reason I felt so weighed-down. Why this beer is brewed with such a high potency without using the “Imperial” sub-title is a bit of a mystery.

That helps explain why Victory Moonglow is such a seemingly heavy brew. I had one after dinner and chalked up my feeling bloated to drinking it too close to a meal. But after waiting a significant time to start on my second, I was surprised I felt as equally full as the first.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Despite all my criticisms of Victory Moonglow Weizenbock, I have to admit it’s a very tasty beer and I did enjoy drinking it at the time. It’s very rare I encounter a beer that is so strongly flavored it actually puts me off, but I would gladly take a beer of this type over a watered-down mass-market lager any day. It’s very rare to find an American microbrew come so close to its original German style, so at the very least it’s worth trying once.

Grade: 6/10