Dec 16, 2013

Victory Brewing Red Thunder

Victory Brewing’s Baltic Thunder has been one of my favorite American-crafted baltic porters. I’ve enjoyed many bottles of this tasty brew through the years. Well, that is, except for 2013, that is — I haven’t seen the beer on any shelves anywhere in quite some time. So, you can imagine my excitement when I finally crossed paths with the brewery’s Red Thunder, a wine-barrel aged version of one of my favorite brews.

Red Thunder is the result of taking an already solid baltic porter and letting it mature in retired red wine barrels from Wente Vineyards. I’m not sure how long the beer rested in these barrels, but the impact of the aging is certainly present immediately upon cracking open the bottle.


Near opaque, reddish brown in color with a smallish cap of light brown foam, the beer looks pretty darn good.

Victory Red Thunder photo


Plenty of vinous grape and woody notes rise off the surface of the beer as a distant tobacco and roast malt linger. There’s a touch of cocoa in the mix as well. It smells interesting.


This is an interesting beer. Each sip brings a different element to the forefront. At times, the roastiness and cocoa of the baltic porter base dominates. At others, the red win barrel influence of dry vinous fruit and wood arrive the strongest. It makes for an interesting character and level of complexity. The beer is full bodied with a fairly soft mouthfeel and gentle warming in the slightly drying finish.


Red Thunder is an interesting variation on Baltic Thunder. There are aspects of it that I like and others that I don’t think quite line up 100%. It’s not a bad beer, but I’d much rather just sit back with a bottle of their standard baltic porter any day of the week.

Rating: 3.5/5

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