Victory Helios

Victory Brewing Company out of Downingtown, PA is unquestionably one of my favorite breweries. Making delicious hoppy ales such as HopDevil, Hop Wallop and even their Prima Pils (an assertively hopped Pilsner). Earlier last year they decided to bottle some unique ales including WildDevil, their HopDevil wort fermented with Brettanomyces and to re-bottle what was originally called V-Saison under the new name Helios and make it more widely available in 22oz bottles. I never got around to sampling their Saison when it was available in 750ml bottles so I can’t wait to see their interpretation of this complex Belgian inspired style. This bottle has been sitting in my fridge for many months, but I’m sure it will still be lovely. Upon opening this bottle I was hit with a release of carbonation. I almost expected the bottle to overflow, but it only went about half way up the neck. Once I started pouring it was clear that this beer would produce as much head as you allow. Even after pouring very slowly into the side of my tulip over four fingers of bright white head was quickly produced and just as quickly opens up into larger and larger bubbles settling with in less than two minutes leaving a very small amount of head on the surface of the brew and a tiny bit of lacing. A massive flow of small bubbles through the center of the glass shows that this is surely one carbonated ale. Color is a completely translucent golden hue with no notable sediment, but that is because it is still sitting at the bottom of the bottle (the 2nd pour from the bottle was quite hazy and had solid chunks of sediment making it barely translucent and giving it more of an apricot hue). Smells of lemony citrus, earthy esters and a gentle yeasty funkiness. Flavor is full of a tangy lemon grass like citrus, soft malty sweetness and a variety of earthy esters followed by additional tartness and and a gentle funkiness. Mouthfeel is nicely dry and smooth and the body is appropriately full but not overly heavy. The 7.5% ABV of this ale is plenty subtle with the contrasting sour and sweet notes yet provides a nice compliment to this easy drinking Saison. Upon my 2nd pour (full of sediment) I had left the bottle in the fridge for a while as the first pour was consumed very warm. At a colder temperature and full of sediment the flavors are still very similar but (obviously) contain many more earthy yeast esters which are pleasant though less funky than when consumed at closer to room temperature and a bit less distinct. I suppose I really should have gently swirled the bottle to make it more even, oh well I still find the differences in flavor profile intriguing. Definitely a tasty beverage but not particularly astounding for the style. If you not a fan of bitter beers this should be right up your alley. A nice smooth American interpenetration of a Belgian (some will argue French) inspired style. Those into citrus forward somewhat yeasty beers will likely dig this one. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Victory Helios Ale

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