Brewery: Southern Star Brewing Company
Style: Double/Imperial IPA
Character: 100 IBUs, copious amounts of Simcoe & Centennial hops
Metal Connection: THE VISION BLEAK – The Valkyrie
Here we are again with yet another great offering from Southern Star Brewing Company out of Conroe, TX. These guys seem to do no wrong, in my opinion. Since the opening of the brewery, they have had a Pro-Am competition, and the winner in 2011 was a double IPA, which was renamed Valkyrie, which in Norse mythology, means one of a host of female figures who choose those who may die in battle and those who may live. Selecting among half of those who die in battle, the valkyries bring their chosen to the afterlife hall of the slain, Valhalla, ruled over by the god Odin. Now this Double IPA is part of their year round beer line-up. This beer is released in 12 oz cans now, but at first it was sold in 1 pint, 0.9 fluid oz sized bottle, which is the version featured here in this review.
Poured in a glass designed specifically for IPAs, Valkyrie’s appearance was a thick, hazy auburn color topped with an inch wide slightly off-white colored bubbly head. There was awesome head retention, leaving a sticky sheet of web-like lacing down the glass.
The aroma of the beer is real hop heavy. They used Simcoe and Centennial hops in this beer, which they both produce totally different aromas. Each whiff of this beer, a different hop smell comes forth. It is mostly citrus, but there are traces of pine, earthy, danky resinous hops as well. The Simcoe hop is said to produce a passion fruit aroma, which to me, is kind of danky. There is a well balanced aroma coming through with hints of caramel, and toasted bread.
Valkyrie is as good as a Double IPA should be. The taste is exactly how I imagined it to be, hop driven. Mostly flavors of citrus fruits, orange and grapefruit characters are up front, with subtle notes of pine, earthy, resinous hops. This beer is not only a hop bomb, but is well rounded with a caramel undertone, a little brown sugar sweetness, and a nice slightly toasted bread taste. Valkyrie packs a good bitter punch on the palate. The 9.2% ABV really shines through as well with a good boozy presence.
The body is a bit over the medium hump, leaning towards a heavy thickness. The mouthfeel is oily and syrupy with a dry, bitter finish. Good carbonation. Nice presence of the high ABV.
Overall, I will say that Southern Star hit another long ball here with Valkyrie. It was complex in both the aroma and taste, combining all the elements of the different hops used, the grains and malts, and the yeast used. This is a good example of the Double IPA style.
Metal Connection: When I see or hear the word Valkyrie, I want to hear a battle song being played. I could have gone in so many directions to choose a good battle song, but I wanted a song about the Valkyrie, so I found this band called The Vision Bleak from Germany who happen to have a song appropriately titled “The Valkyrie.” They call their music Horror Metal, and have been producing this style since 2000 with 5 full length album releases. This song comes from their latest offering, Witching Hour, which was released in September 2013 on Prophecy Productions. In all honestly, this was my first encounter wit this band, but after hearing a few tracks from this same album, I can say that I am a fan of their music, and I’m sure I will be after their entire discography soon. I hear a lot of different influences in their music, ranging from later Paradise Lost, Tiamat, later Sentenced, and Pain. Their lyrics are a perfect fit to what I wanted for the Metal Connection for Valkyrie.
The grim Madness of the Battlefields…
…of Violence, Bloodshed and Death.
Crushed Bodies and broken Shields.
Brave Man take their last Breath.
Thither was called the Valkyrie.
Death Angel, A Saviour in Guise.
But grim, so cold and wintery.
Armored with desired Demise.
Over the Mountains.
The glorious Ride.
Out of the Darkness.
Into the Light.