By Andy Phelps

Never touched on Victory for Original Gravity, but I guess a Brettanomyces-infused IPA is a good place to start! Enter Wild Devil, a "wild" version of its popular Hop Devil ale! The original beer is a rather Germanic-via-American style beer with a lot of Munich and darker specialty malt influence, but the whole flower hops make it punchy, spicy and, of course, bitter with a lot of floral notes. It's very much an East Coast IPA in demeanor, and Wild Devil takes this approach and goes rather experimental with it. Brett refermentation isn't really a new idea, but it's definitely not as popular as many other options and styles, so I was excited to pick this up, especially for under $10 for a 750 mL bottle! Victory always prices very competitively, though, so it's no real surprise. I'm expecting a quality product here, as well, of course, so without further ado, let's pour this sucker!

The color is a darker amber/mahogany with a beautiful slightly-off-white/beige-ish head that retains fairly well and doesn't fall into the trappings of explosive carbonation that a lot of Brett beers can have. Just a solid, fairly retentive foamy cap here with solid legs and lacing thus far. The body is surprisingly clear, as well, with a decent translucence that looks attractive sitting in the glass. Nice looking stuff here, but the smell draws me in a lot more. There's an elusive mystery to this beer in the nose; light pineapple and citrus, some barnyard-y funk, burnt biscuit maltiness... but it's not as sharp and enticing as expected from other reviews I've read.


I can tell it's very complex, though, especially as more yeast remnants are poured into my glass over the course of the bottle! Taste is very sticky, lightly sweet and a good bit bitter with a lot of floral and spicy hops all over the tongue, but that dry and earthy, slightly tangy funk from Brett is certainly present. I feel like the dosing is right on the mark here, actually; any more and this would be more funky than is appropriate for an IPA, which is what this is really supposed to be at its core. After a few years, this would almost certainly develop a much drier and more intense flavor, but right now, I'm really enjoying the balance it displays. The maltiness is pushed heavily; there's some brown bread, toasted rye crust and light cereal grain notes, but there's also some interesting hints of lemon oil, musky barn stall and touches of pine that embolden the entire offering and bring it all together. This is still a mysterious beer to me; I need to go back to the store (Craft Beer Cellar Westford) and grab some to age for at least six months to see how much sugar the Brett can really pick up. Apparently, this was 100 percent fermented with that yeast, which is surprising to me considering the lack of gushing carbonation and relatively malty/sugary flavor, at first, anyway. Poured a bit of sediment in and now I'm getting some red apple skin, nutmeg and candied orange peel in there as well; nice evolution of flavor. Very interesting on what is essentially a hoppy, continental European-style pale ale base!

As I've said, this probably needs to be aged to really bring out more of the wild funkiness it claims to have. It's certainly there, don't get me wrong, but it could be drier and more aggressive. As it stands, however, it's certainly a well-balanced approach to something that could easily get out of hand, and that's a victory for Victory! I am loving the complex and interesting flavor on this one, in addition to the fact that it's super drinkable and goes down easy for such an ostensibly-bizarre beer. Would be great to do some verticals with this one, for sure. Guess I'll pick up a couple more, and I urge you to check it out, too, before it disappears!

The official breakdown:

Style: American IPA (fermented with Brettanomyces yeast)

ABV: 6.7%

Appearance: Nice burnished mahogany/orange/amber with spectacular initial head that dies down to a retentive couple fingers of sticky off-white foam

Scent: A bit of tropical and citrus fruit character with some malty and funky notes; brown bread, caramel, pineapple, orange, horse blanket, dry hay and lemon

Taste: More malty than expected with some burnt bread crust, cereal grain, rye; earthy notes from the Brett yeast; some spicy and lemony hop aspects

Mouthfeel: Beautifully cascading carbonation and, while the beer is medium-heavy bodied, it flows nicely along the palate, coating it with different flavors

Drinkability: This was a really fun drink to do alone, as it evolves decently over the course of the bottle. Share if you can, but buy several to age as well!