Small Victory

Brewery: Real Ale Brewing Co
Style:   Specialty IPA (21B)
Package: 12oz Can
Purchased: March, 2021
Best By:  June 10, 2021
Consumed Date: 2020

Details From the Brewer

ABV: 4.0%
IBU:  30
OG: 11P
Calories: 116

Piece by piece, through trial and error, we designed this beer to deliver on flavor from a number of areas, despite its lack of caloric fortitude. Brewed with repeatability in mind, this reduced-calorie IPA was purpose built to deliver layers of flavor, wrapped up in a nice sessionable bundle. Small Victory rewards you with rich tropical and citrus fruit notes (derived from a unique hop blend and special Norwegian yeast), all against the background of a simple, poundable malt bill.


Aroma – 10/12

Tangerine and grapefruit zest mix with fresh pineapple at a medium-high level.  There’s a whiff of diesel that I pick up briefly once poured, that dissipates quickly.  Apricot, blueberry and green grape fruit flavors add some complexity.  Fresh bread dough malt aromas with a touch of honey at a lower level.   No alcohol or off-flavors.

Appearance – 3/3

Pours a pale straw yellow liquid.  The beer  is quite hazy, almost like a berliner.  Pure white bubbles form a great head.  Retention is excellent leaving various sized bubbles to mingle on top of the beer. 

Flavor – 9/20

Fruity flavors are prominent like the aroma, but at a lesser level.  Orange peel and grapefruit up front with some mango.   Low amounts of malt character, coming across as wheat and graininess.  Low-medium bitterness and very dry.  The lack of sweetness is more noticeable on the backend with some subtle notes of guava and pineapple.  The finish is slow with some fruit flavors lingering. 

Mouthfeel – 3/5

Medium high carbonation hits the roof of the mouth.  The body seems moderate at the start of the taste, but quickly falls off and finishes thin.  A slight chalkiness lingers on the palate with a subtle astringency. 

Overall Impression – 6/10

The aroma of this beer is great.  Even out of the can, it wafts enticing fruity notes at you.  The disconnect to the flavor is pretty big.  Unfortunately, this leaves the back half of the taste really just tasting muted with some bitterness.  For such a light finish, the astringency and overly-drying character is more noticeable.  I’d like to see the recipe tweaked to improve the backend and finish.

Rating – 31/50

Stepping back and looking at what this delivers for the 116 calories, there’s a lot more flavor and aroma than a light American lager.  When you think about the 80cal coming from the 4% abv alone, that doesn’t leave a lot to work with in proteins and unfermented sugars.  When compared to a beer like All-Day IPA, it does have 30 fewer calories, but is much less of an “IPA”.  It’s still a crusher and could find its way to river trip coolers.