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

203 Ratings
THE BROS
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 203
Reviews: 46
rAvg: 4.42
pDev: 9.28%
Wants: 165
Gots: 46 | 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: 203 | Reviews: 46
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 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 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 DefenCorps
3.81/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap, 12.2%ABV

Black with brown highlights, there's a creamy brown head with great retention and lacing. The reverse-cascading head thanks to the nitro pour is especially nice. Nose is thin and tannic with bourbon when cold, mildly tart and fruity even. The vanilla does grow as it warms up, completely dominating the nose. Not much malt is present.Chocolate is milky and sweet, and seems a little tame when compared to the Plead the Fifth. The coffee's faded as well.

The palate opens with boozy hot chocolate with a harsh barrel character, overly tannic and mildly astringent. Strangely, it does tame down a lot as i let it warm up and breathe. Vanilla and chocolate dominate, and the simpler flavors don't stand up to the barrel as well. Medium light in body with silky feel, this does improve with temperature but it is a little disjointed. While good stuff, I passed on finishing my 5.5oz pour simply so I could drink the rest of my BA Plead the Fifth and Pliny.

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 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 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 pmarlowe
3.95/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at O'Brien's. 10oz thin pint-like glass

A: Pours black with a cap of sand colored head, nice retention and lots of lacing. Impressive for the style.

S: Loads of sweet bourbon and vanilla, oak, and some dark chocolate. Medium roast coffee as it warms.

T: Again, tons of bourbon, almost overpowering the other flavors. Pretty hot with the alcohol. Some cocoa, and some medium roast coffee comes out as it warms.

M: Rich with medium-full body and mild carbonation.

O: Overall, while I loved the regular Victory at Sea, this has too much bourbon presence and is too hot.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.99/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On nitro tap for the first anniversary party at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach, CA.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy khaki head that settles to a small cap on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cookie dough, cocoa, vanilla, wood, and bourbon.Taste is much the same with a very woody aftertaste and an alcohol kick on the finish. There is a mild amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a low level of carbonation with an almost flat and somewhat thick mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that smells better than it tastes. I really don't think the nitro presentation is helping this beer out very much either.

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 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 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 BMMillsy
4.13/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

HOB Gainesville on tap. Just says "barrel aged", so I will assume bourbon barrel. Poured in a Florida Beer snifter. Pours black with a super creamy mocha head. Smells of creamy vanilla and coffee. Flavor is bitter coffe up front, some burn from the bourbon, and a beautiful sweet creamy vanilla finish. Prickly carbonation goes well with the bitter coffee notes. Medium to heavy mouthfeel. Overall I don’t know that the bourbon did much for this except give it more alcohol bite. Good beer though.

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 DoubleJ
4.16/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Following one San Diego winner (Barrel Aged Speedway) to another (Barrel Aged victory At Sea), I was lucky to enjoy a pour on-tap at 38 Degrees. On to the beer:

A touch of lace surrounds the top of this ink black liquid. A few spots of lace even stick around as the beer is consumed. The aroma has many of the standard Victory At Sea notes with the infusion of wood. Coffee and vanilla come standard, bits of oak and booze are extra,

The barrel aged version of Victory At Sea leans heavier with the booze than it does with the beer. If you are a passionate lover of whiskey, you have a winner right here. I enjoy it as well, albeit in a smaller ratio to the beer. What I have here seems to be about two parts booze and one part coffee vanilla imperial porter. It's a full bodied beer, no question about that.

It's nice, but my sky-high expectations were not met. Honestly, I prefer the standard Victory At Sea, but I was still happy to try this exclusive version.

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

On tap at Teresa's Next Door on 6/28/09.

A - Pitch black body with dark brown accents around the bottom and about half a finger of creamy tan head that retained well but left only a bit of spotty lace around the rim of the tulip.

S - Vanilla and coffee notes up front with only a hint of bourbon. Surprisingly, the aroma is quite subtle overall. The sweet vanilla bean character really dominates. However, the coffee becomes more apparent as the liquid warmed up a bit.

T - Wonderful balance of sweet vanilla and rich, roasty coffee notes with a bit of caramel sweetness and mild earthy notes. Again, the bourbon presence is rather subtle overall. Finishes with a huge roasty coffee character and plenty of earthy hop bitterness.

M - Medium bodied with a smooth, creamy texture, though it's just a tad thin overall. Alcohol? Really? At 12.2%, it's nowhere to be found. Finish is fairly bitter with a touch of residual sweetness on the palate.

D - Very good bourbon barrel aged porter, though this wasn't as heavy on the bourbon as I had anticipated. The flavor of this brew is excellent, and it drinks like a champ for such a high ABV beer.

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 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 juhl31
4.33/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

thanks toronado SD for the '08 vintage!

-black with a tan/brown head with some good retention, especially for an '08

-choco syrup taste. the chocolate is very strong which makes it very hard to pull other notes out of it

-that artificial chocolate is in there which makes sense. some coffee, and the vanilla rolls in through the back end. a lot like a candy drink

-would like it to be thicker, but it does work for the taste

-very drinkable. definitely a dessert style stout. also not too heavy like a lot of imperials are

Photo of sholland119
4.33/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Teresa's Next Door, 6/6/11.

A-Pours a deep dark black with a thin creamy tan head. Great retention, no lacing (not expected with nitro pour).

S-A bit light but some nice sweet caramel and chocolate.

T-Sweet caramel and mocha, lots of boozy warmth in the finish, good vanilla, toffee and bourbon notes.

M-Creamy, heavy, rich and warm, velvety.

O-Delicious beer. Creamy, rich flavors with an appropriate amount of warmth and heat. Excellent.

HV

Photo of Kramerwtmf
4.46/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Rye whiskey barrel version. Very tasty

Photo of scottfrie
4.48/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nitro-tap served at room temperature.

A: Pours a near-black dark brown with a typical dense, creamy, thick, and long lasting nitro head that left sheets of lacing down the glass.
S: Extremely huge notes of vanilla and well integrated bourbon along with some woody, oaky notes.
T: Sweet notes of caramel and vanilla with warm notes of bourbon coming through near the finish. Vanilla is potent all around. Coffee is subtle and creamy in the aftertaste like a latte. Bourbon adds some spicy warmth. I get a touch of caramel and raisin as well, along with a subtle sort of fruit or sherry flavor that I can't quite place.
M: Creamy nitro body that tapers a bit at the end. Low carbonation, smooth. Alcohol and bourbon add flavor but not really a lot of warmth. Nice.
O: Incredibly drinkable and smooth. This was the highlight of my day to drink.

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Victory At Sea Imperial Porter - Barrel Aged from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 203 ratings.