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Victory At Sea Imperial Porter - Barrel Aged - Ballast Point Brewing Company

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Victory At Sea Imperial Porter - Barrel Aged
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BA SCORE
97
world-class

194 Ratings
THE BROS
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 194
Reviews: 45
rAvg: 4.42
pDev: 9.5%
Wants: 152
Gots: 44 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  12.20% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: scottoale on 01-29-2007

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 194 | Reviews: 45
Reviews by Mantooth:
More User Reviews:
Photo of ehammond1
4.08/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On Tap (Nitro)

Blue Palms 3rd Anniversary Party
Blue Palms BrewHouse
Los Angeles, CA

Jet black, shiny, with a thin light brown cap. Sheets of lacing down the glass. Thick and menacing.

Bourbon, wood, and vanilla play the dominant roles within the aroma; the roast, coffee, and chocolate elements are somewhat hidden.

More bourbon and alcohol in the flavor, but balanced nicely with the typical chocolate and coffee flavors. This version seems a bit sharper, raw, and more astringent than the standard Victory at Sea.

Medium to thick mouthfeel. Incredible, especially on nitro.

A good version of a great beer, though the alcohol is a touch hot and sharp. I wish it was just a bit smoother and mellow.

Photo of JMA-DAD
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Beautiful tan lacing on the glass.

Photo of Kegatron
4.25/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On draft @ Ballast Point Linda Vista on 11/9/09 during their "Beer Meets Wood" event. Part of San Diego Beer Week. Single barrel Old Fitzgerald was used in the aging of this version.

Pours a VERY deep brown, just about near black, with a covering of creamy mocha colored head. Nice richness to the retention, that leaves a ton of frothy spotty lacing behind. The aroma is pretty much dominated here by whiskey and warmth, with the chocolate and coffee fighting nobly against it. Good bit of tannic wood notes in the back of this. Unfortunately, most of the delicious vanilla notes that I love in this beer are mostly covered up here.

Chocolate and coffee up front (I'm getting just a smidge of the vanilla here), but this is quickly muted as the barrel notes slam into it. The whiskey flavor is just very dominate here, giving off notes of woody char and intense dryness. The mouthfeel is fuller bodied, with a mellower creamy feel to the carbonation, and a sharp pang of alcohol to it (which is only intensified by the barrel). My palate does quickly adapt here, but man, is this strong.

I very much enjoyed this but the overall experience was still a bit too raw and young at this point. I bit of age and this will be beautiful.

Photo of mfunk9786
3.84/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Capone's during PBW.

Incredible pour, lacing like a glass of milk. This'll be a recurring theme. Victory at Sea has so much depth between coffee, vanilla, and chocolate that this -bal version is a disappointment by default. The smell and taste are hugely lactic, like drinking chocolate milk - which while not usually an issue when drinking chocolate milk, is a bit disconcerting when expecting a complex vanilla and coffee porter. Bourbon flavor is way in the back. Very smooth and creamy on the mouth. Something you don't need a review for - you'll drink it if it's on tap anyway - but it was weirdly disappointing for me.

Photo of NailtheAle
4.65/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great Porter, the only discouragement is its price. It's roughly a stronger breakfast stout.

Photo of jamex
3.65/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Toronado.

Very dark pour that produced a quickly fading head.

Nice smells of vanilla, mocha, malt and bourbon. Not as amazing as the standard VaS but good.

Taste was good. The bourbon with this porter didn't add anything special for me. I prefer the original VaS over this one.

A little light bodied, but drinkable. VERY strong at 12%. Watch out.

Photo of philbe311
4.31/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - A very slow to develop head... It rises post pour to a thin creamy medium brown head with some decent retention... This is arguably the thickest beer I have ever seen... The carbonation bubbles are the slowest I have ever encountered as they struggle to rise to the top... Motor oil black...

S - Surprisingly subdued... Not as potent as I would have expected... A bit of booze... A bit of vanilla... A bit of coffee... Some faint caramel notes...

T - Wholly booze... The bourbon is front and center in this one as it dominates from the get go... Down beneath the surface are the vanilla and coffee notes traditionally associated with Victory at Sea...

M - Beyond full bodied... Viscous... Thick... Chewy... Sludgie... Sleek... Velvety... Very subtle carbonation...

D - In my opinion, a great barrel aged beer is complemented by the additional flavors, not dominated by them... In this case the barrel again is omni-present and dominates... Even with that said, there is no denying this is an exceptionally well crafted brew...

Photo of scottoale
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ballast Point's: "Victory at Sea (Barrel Aged) Imperial Porter", name corrected.

WOW! Amazing Porter here. Special Barrel Aged version of the normally 11.0% ABV imperial porter. This stuff is bed and breakfast...seriously.

Sampled at the source today, this brew is limited to one taster per person, per day! Growler fill...YES please. Poured into a 13.5oz. tulip was damn-near black ass brown with a finger of froth-creamy cocoa fluffy topper. The head dies eventually to a ring around the glass and some fancy cling-lace...awesome black beer.

The smell is best described as one of the finest Kentucky Breakfast Stouts I have ever laid nostrils upon...big and bold to say the least. Sweet, strong and earthy with a mega dark roast, dark-ass premium coffee aroma dominating, with undertones of rich, dark bakers cocoa (chocolate),vanilla, oak, oak and a bit more of the same, followed by a wavering and warming alcohol of fair magnitude. Damn beautiful fragrance for a beer?

As for flavor...let me just say...this is the tastiest porter I have ever tasted, and I've tasted many. Tops the scale of porters and this is also one of my favorite styles. As it smells, it tastes __ (fill in the blank) times better than whatever (anything)...it unfolds more as it warms, rich and full with satisfaction in each sip and swallow.

Smooth and creamy with some zip...this brew is dangerously drinkable. I truly don't think they can improve this recipe and can only imagine how this stuff would age if it were bottled...I am fully impressed with Ballast Point's efforts here, long may they brew and succeed...Well Done!!!

Photo of largadeer
4.15/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nitro-tap at Ballast Point. This beer is black in the glass, with slight translucency around the edges. The nitro head is thick and creamy, lasting until the final sip.

The aroma is heavy with bourbon, coffee and cream, sort of like an Irish coffee. The barrel is pretty overwhelming in this one, completely overpowering the subtle vanilla character that I enjoyed in the regular version of this beer. There's some caramel and some heat as it warms. Despite smelling nothing like the non-bal-aged Victory at Sea, this is very nice.

Huge bourbon and coffee flavor, backed by quite a bit of heat and roastiness. Moderately sweet, the coffee and wood do a lot to dry this one out. The nitro pour gives the beer a creamy but low carbonation mouthfeel. I get little to no vanilla, the bourbon barrel is incredibly pervasive here. While it's enjoyable and I do like a bold barrel character, I feel like the a lot of the flavors I liked in the base beer are lost here. Taken for what it is, it's quite good but not quite world-class in the -bal aged dark beer category. The finish is sharp and hot, but that doesn't prevent it from going down easily. Tasty stuff, but I prefer the regular old Victory at Sea.

Photo of NittanyBeerFan
4.58/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Teresa's during their Ballast Point event this morning!

A: The description says pitch black, and I was skeptical. But wow. This is easily the darkest beer I have ever seen. 1/2 cm of head dark creamy head sits on top of this beer for an eternity. Some carbonation clings to the inside of the glass, looking like it can't push through the thick texture of the beer to make it to the top.

S: Strong coffee dominates, with muted boubon notes in the wings, adding character.

T: Alcohol is completely non-evident, as it is hidden well by roasted coffee and dark, chocolate malts. Bourbon taste does little more than linger in the background. Vanilla comes through in the middle. Intense coffee flavors, augmented by some bourbon notes fill the palate for the aftertaste.

M/D: Smooth as water, with a medium to heavy texture. Slightly different flavor than I had expected, as the bourbon was not nearly a focal point in the beer, but just added to enhance the character. Complexity is top notch. ABV is too high to have too many, but if I hadn't had to leave, I would have kicked back another one in a heartbeat.

Photo of Kaiser81
4.28/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had a pint in the Old Grove tasting room on 2/18.

A - It pours pitch black, with about a finger width of mocha colored head. It settles fairly quickly to a nice ring, and great lacing is left on the glass. I might have wanted just a touch more head, but it is barrel aged.

S - Bourbon! There is some roast and oak present mixed with a bit of coffee. It's delightful, though the bourbon dominates and the vanilla gets drowned out compared to the original.

T - I did not expect this, but the vanilla jumps out initially, and then fades fast to coffee and then a bourbon aftertaste. Really all around awesome. As the beer opens up a bit, the bourbon begins to dominate.

M - Heavy body, with the right amount of carbonation. It's got a creamy mouthfeel to it too. Just about right.

D - Too easy to drink...at first. You can feel and taste the bourbon once it warms and opens a bit, and then it becomes just a tad bit of a struggle to drink. But, I wouldn't turn this down...ever.

Photo of BoatsSinkBro
3.88/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap during SF Beerweek 2012, at Public House.

It's everything like the normal Victory at Sea, except 2 things that I noticed personally;

-Bourbon/oak barrel flavor is strong and a noticeable aroma of it.
-Delicate Vanilla aroma and taste got smothered by the Bourbon/oak.

It's really up to personal state at this point, some people can taste vanilla out of barrel aged stuff, but when I had this, it seems the vanilla was pretty much "smothered" with that strong barrel flavor. Still was a good porter, but I wasn't tasting much of the more delicate vanilla flavors throughout the whole tulip and the barrel flavor (a rich off-dry smoky flavor) sort of overpowered the other flavors, which I felt took a bit away from the complexity.

Photo of DarthKostrizer
4.06/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: Black with a perfect 1/4 foam head like Guinness with great retention and lacing

Smell: Bitter chocolate coffee and vanilla

Taste: Bourbon right upfront which brings a bit of an alcohol burn and the beer finishes with a trace of vanilla but lots of chocolate

Mouthfeel: Full body with lots of alcohol burn and low carbonation

Overall: I love the regular version of this beer but I am not crazy about the BA version. Still a great beer highly recommended

Photo of jneiswender
4.77/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had as part of a tasting at the Ballast Point Brewing Company. Served on tap in a tasting glass.

A-tar black body, mocha brown head.

S-chocolate smell with some grain

T-coffee front, chocolate middle and a nice bitter finish

M-heavy mouthfeel

D-Such a complex beer. Exceptional on all counts. High alcohol is well hidden. Get it if you can.

Photo of Millsh
4.33/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

One of the great California dark beers

Photo of Thorpe429
4.3/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On nitro-tap at Capone's. Served in a mini snifter.

Pours near black with a really nice head that goes from light tan to nearly white at the top. Beautiful nitro head. Some spotty lacing on the way down. The nose immediately carries a ton of vanilla with some nice chocolate notes in the background. As it warms, a nice bourbon character and mild oak presence take hold.

The flavor isn't quite as complex or integrated as the nose -- and doesn't contain nearly as much vanilla -- but it's still quite nice. The bourbon takes on the dominant role with some chocolate and light vanilla backing. Mouthfeel is uber-creamy and nicely carbonated. Really solid effort, and I'm glad I finally got to try this one, which has been on my radar for quite some time.

Photo of alexhahn82
3.71/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On cask/nitro at the 15th Annual Booneville Beer festival.

A. Wow, crazy slow chased of nitrogen after the pour. Dark rich color, creamy head.

Smell. Smell is slightly tame, but hints at the rich creamy bourbon that is in store for you.

T/M Taste is creamy with medium viscosity, frothy for being an American Porter, moderately light tones of bourbon the end.

Overall. Very nice, I am not a huge porter fan, but am a huge bourbon barrel fan. This is a very unique blend of the both. I would definitely give it a shot. Does not disappoint!

Photo of bgold86
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Partook from a bar in D.C. and damn it was FANTASTIC, wish this was bottled because it's right up there with the greats.

Photo of meals00
4.73/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

After letting it warm up a bit, the booziness subsided and the flavor and aroma came fully through!

Photo of mulder1010
3.75/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

on tap at Ballast Point

A-- Black as heck with no head at all. Just a bit of film

S-- Bourbon, coffee,Vanilla and a lot of vanilla

T-- Sweet Vanilla. Really overpowering vanilla.

M-- Excellent carbonation and good mouth feel. More coffee and bourbon in the mouth as opposed to the taste.

D-- Good but not outstanding. Too much vanilla for me. Needed more to round it out. What I had was 10% ABV Was very alcoholic.

Photo of womencantsail
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The pour is just about black as night with a finger's worth of mocha colored foam on top.

S: The vanilla aroma is even more pronounced and intense than the regular version (I didn't realize that was possible). Though the coffee is a bit subdued, the bourbon, oak, roast, and chocolate notes really give this a great nose.

T: Once again, the vanilla is incredibly intense and really defines this beer. The bourbon, oak, and subdued coffee are nice compliments to it and there is a sweet chocolately flavor as well. The bourbon really comes through as this one warms up.

M: A very full bodied beer with a soft, smooth, and creamy carbonation.

D: I suppose my only complaint about this beer is that the coffee has died out a bit too much for me. I only say this because it's one of the things that defines Victory at Sea. That said, I wouldn't turn down a taste of this.

Photo of beagle75
3.94/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Draft pour into a shaker pint glass at the Old Grove tasting room.

A: Opaque black color, dark brown light showing at the edges, with a ring of beige foam. No lacing remains on the glass.

S: Burnt sugar, dark dried fruit (plums, figs, and cherries), pipe tobacco, and restrained bourbon. Aside from the obvious smell of the bourbon, no other alcohol is detected.

T: Begins off-dry, with big dark-roasted grain flavors and faint dark chocolate. Flavors expand in the middle, with dark fruit, licorice, and bourbon that never becomes overpowering or off-putting. The finish is moderately bitter, with some herbal and citrus hop aromatics emerging late. The flavor of alcohol is frequently present but carefully disguised or managed, never becoming obnoxious.

M: Light to medium viscosity, briefly coating the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D: This variant of Victory at Sea does not hit the highs of the original, nor does it stoop to the same lows in certain areas. The smell of this beer is more balanced, despite the bourbon presence, featuring much less chocolate. Too bad! The intensity of the original's chocolate smell was so enveloping and comforting. On the other hand, acidity does not stand out here, making the front end of the taste as well as the sensation on the palate much more pleasant than in the original. Compared to Caldera's Mogli barrel-aged imperial porter, this is overall a much bigger beer--with more intense sensory qualities--but not necessarily better, lagging behind the Mogli in overall appeal.

Photo of Cavery
4.1/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

had on nitro-tap @ Blue Palms 3rd Anniversary party, another great offering!

review from notes 8/13/11.

A: Raven feather black with a thick vanilla coulis bubble head. Such a micro-- nay, nano-knit head that sits like milk fat. Super thick fatty creams sit atop the glass like snow that will never melt. I love your work nitro.

S: Barrel aged vanillas that dance with bourbon residues. Creamy murangs hang out for a bit deep in the nose. Light almond butter oils make it in the mix. Extremely whipped mousses are deeply embedded. It all comes to a close with an egg white whipped lightness.

T: The taste is surprisingly clear with iced coffees ruling. Vanilla adds to the theme of airy creams. Kashew milks give a nutty cream element to the flavor. It remains consistent in the nose with being a very whipped buttery milk chocolate treat. Though chilled coffee bean flavors really come forward for me. Along with a rather forward syrupy alcohol.

M: A very silty medium bodied mouth that coats with a thick unpasteurized nitro-cream sensation. The nitro silk blanket is a great match for the cream theme. Vanilla shows up as a flavoring of the creams in every form: froths, murangs, coulis, and mousses are experienced in the mouth sequentially.

O: This is really pretty good, but also very much a sipper. Every possible form of vanilla flavoring comes into play, but it actually doesn't become bludgeoning. Carmelized sugars do well to give an authentic yet light seasoning of sweetness. This comes off very balanced, with only some minor peaking from syrupy sweet alcohols. This is a lot like a good spiked cup of chilled coco. Worth a try for sure.

Photo of wethead
4.56/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Huge Coffee Taste with super silky trace feel.

This beer is a must with fish, pork or salad.

Not a good beer for read meat dinning.

You will feel the head rush within the first few sips

I have tried over 800 beers and this one is on my top 20.

I also uploaded a picture for you :))

Photo of Deuane
4.95/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

After reading the previous two glowing reviews and my own tasting notes of this brew I noticed a bit of wetness in the corner of my eye. A tear it was. This due to the wonderful memory of drinking this fantastic brew. If only I could track it down again someday!

A-Deep, dark light absorbing black with a fluffy, creamy dark tan head that lasted forever and a day! No lacing left, it was more like caking. A truly gorgeous looking beverage.

S-OH MY! Like a chocolate covered coffee bar. This is awesome. If they could only solidify this and package it. I think it would be a HUGE hit! Hints of vanilla and oak and just a subtle notion of sour cherry?

T-Chocolate and coffee with the oh so sweet, touched by an angel, bourbon flavours of indulgent vanilla and astringent oak. Tart, sour twangs of cherry in the finish. This is seriously complex stuff.

M-Medium to medium-heavy body with a nice, round smoothness courtesy of the bourbon barrel aging. Luscious and velvety.

D-Well, I simply cannot give this anything but a 5. At 12+% ABV I would fall into a stupor trying to drink as much as I could! This stuff was like liquid crack! Not only was this one of the best BBA beers I have ever had it was one of the best BEERS I have ver had, period. I only wish I could have enjoyed more, and more and more! As the end line in my notes read...What a beer!

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Victory At Sea Imperial Porter - Barrel Aged from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 194 ratings.