WITH SUCH A NAME as Hop Devil, one might expect Victory’s flagship IPA to throw down a green gauntlet in an immoderate splash of bitter resins. And to be sure, it is a fairly aggressive effort—the recipe has even received a 15% boost in hops since its debut in ’96 to keep up with America’s shifting tastes. But its IBU rating is still reportedly around 50, hardly outrageous, and its aroma is unexpectedly malty and very nearly sweet.
Harking to Victory’s European focus, Hop Devil is built on a broad and entirely German base; Vienna, perhaps, as the deep coppery color is certainly rich enough and the flavors correspondingly full. The hops, probably including Cascade and Centennial and maybe milder UK cultivars, are spicy and piney with a citric twist around the middle of the palate. The initial sweetness is balanced out here rather well, but the blend then develops a little soapiness on its way to the mineralic and slightly dry finish. Some bitterness is left on the back of the throat along with a little of its 6.7% ABV. Altogether the Hop Devil is a touch too spread out, but still an interesting combination of flavors and better than a pure hop fist in the face—with or without its armor.
Served: 12 oz bottle