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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

151 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 151
Reviews: 39
rAvg: 4.43
pDev: 8.8%
Wants: 126
Gots: 14 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: scottoale on 01-29-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 151 | Reviews: 39 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DefenCorps
3.83/5  rDev -13.5%
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.

DefenCorps, Jun 12, 2011
Photo of Thorpe429
4.28/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

Thorpe429, Jun 12, 2011
Photo of philbe311
4.33/5  rDev -2.3%
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...

philbe311, Jun 12, 2011
Photo of alexhahn82
3.75/5  rDev -15.3%
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!

alexhahn82, May 16, 2011
Photo of scottfrie
4.47/5  rDev +0.9%
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.

scottfrie, May 16, 2011
Photo of beagle75
3.93/5  rDev -11.3%
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.

beagle75, Dec 30, 2010
Photo of juhl31
4.35/5  rDev -1.8%
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

juhl31, Nov 29, 2010
Photo of mulder1010
3.78/5  rDev -14.7%
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.

mulder1010, Nov 14, 2010
Photo of jamex
3.63/5  rDev -18.1%
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.

jamex, Nov 09, 2010
Photo of womencantsail
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

womencantsail, Apr 21, 2010
Photo of Kaiser81
4.3/5  rDev -2.9%
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.

Kaiser81, Mar 06, 2010
Photo of jneiswender
4.8/5  rDev +8.4%
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.

jneiswender, Mar 05, 2010
Photo of HopHead84
4.55/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2/18/2010

Consumed in celebration of my vanquishment of BEC. Another barrel aged version of a Ballast Point beer aged in a different barrel for a variable amount of time called the same thing. Oh well. This particular beer was on tap at the Old Grove location and was aged for 99 days in Heaven Hill Bourbon Barrels.

It appears impenetrable black in my snifter, crowned with a one finger light brown head. It looks like beer.

The aroma is of dark chocolate cake and brown sugar cookies with notes of molasses. Oak is evident, and vanilla, while less apparent here than in the regular version, is more noticeable than the last two barrel aged versions I tried at Beer Meets Wood at the Homebrew Mart during San Diego Beer Week 2009 and Ballast Point's Anniversary Fest in 2009. Bourbon is apparent and well integrated. Dark chocolate is very powerful and a little caramel is evident. Coffee has backed off a bit after the beer's sojourn in the barrels, and I prefer it at this lower level. Anyway, this smells great.

The flavor is a combination of dark chocolate cake, coffee, roasted malt, and vanilla, with an excellent and well integrated bourbon presence. Coffee influence increases midpalate and a light astringency can be perceived. I'm really digging the bourbon influence here. Notes of brown sugar are present, and a little alcohol is noticeable in the flavor. Bourbon presence is strongest in the warming dark chocolate roasted brown sugar vanilla finish. Yes, those attributes are all there. The mouthfeel is full and creamy and carbonation is at a low moderate level. This is excellent.

HopHead84, Feb 19, 2010
Photo of Kegatron
4.28/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

Kegatron, Nov 30, 2009
Photo of largadeer
4.13/5  rDev -6.8%
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.

largadeer, Nov 11, 2009
Photo of paytoplay
4.65/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Amazing beer. Ballast Pt's 13th anny, regular keg of this was also great, fresher coffee vanilla flavor compared to this barrel aged version, plus the mellowing nitro action. Super complex, winter warmer feel. Bourbon was very balanced, great texture and a super long finish. I believe this was also cask conditioned so they threw everything at this beer. Damn it was good.

paytoplay, Oct 26, 2009
Photo of Slatetank
4.75/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had this at Teresa's Next Door for the Ballast Point Brunch. Served chilled in a tulip.

A - Murky dark brown w/ an inch band of alabaster. A practically opaque shade w/ spotty lace collecting. The bead is fine.

S - A crisp sweet coffee aroma w/ a fruity nose, roasted bean notes and huge vanilla odor from the barrel. Tthe sweet bread and caramel w/ lots of bittersweet cocoa in the nose are very rich w/ a scent like espresso liqueur

M - creamy feel w/ sweet notes of wood relax into chewy malt and coffee acidity w/ luxurious soft cream vanilla and toasted elments w/ a texture that is strong but yet doesn't feel like a beer that is over 10%

T - Bourbon taste at first is delicious yet restrained, it doesn't punch you. The effect on the palate of booze and mild pine hops follow sweet notes of dark roasted malt, coffee and cocoa. The taste has a mild sweet cherry and cinnamon flavor w/ tinges of toffee and bourbon soaked coffee beans. The taste has a silky vanilla quality from the oak which also gives a nutty effect.

D - A beer that few rival in drinkabiliy it is rare to find anything over 11% that is so smooth. The coffee bourbon and porter all blend together and the experience is so satisfying. The ale was hard to let go of, but went great with the steak and eggs I ordered for brunch.

Slatetank, Jul 03, 2009
Photo of AltBock
4.7/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I was excited to see (you would be too) that on 6/28/2009, Teresa's Next Door was going to tap the Bourbon Barrel Aged Victory at Sea. I just recently had the regular Victory at Sea and I thought that was a great beer. On that day, I couldn't wait to see if the barrel aged version was going to be worse or better than the regular version. Let's find out if this beer was better or worse than the regular bottled version.

When poured into a large stemmed Tulip, I found out that this version was the same color as the regular version. That means that this beer was a thick pitch black colored beer with absolutely no sign of any kind of highlight. To create a highlight, that means light would have shine through the beer and that's physically impossible for any kind of light source to do. On top of this thick oil colored beer was a ¾ of an inch dark mocha head of foam. This creamy mocha head of foam had great retention that left behind a large foamy string of rings and a few blots of lace. Great dark appearance! If you want to stare into pure darkness, you can either put your head in a box or pour this beer into the glass. I suggest the second option.

The bottled version of this beer was just bursting out of the glass with dark roasted coffee beans. The Barrel Aged version was mellower and there were more aromas than just roasted coffee beans. The aroma was mellow with a touch of bourbon, a hint of oak, a pinch of dark chocolate, a few dark fruits, and then these aromas will then give way to a strong whiff of roasted coffee beans. This scent of roasted coffee beans was strong, but it was nowhere as strong as the same scent that can be found in the regular bottle version. I'm happy to say that the aroma wasn't done just yet. After the strong scent of roasted coffee beans, the aroma then finishes up with a subtle whiff of French vanilla. This is the aroma I look for when it comes to a Barrel Aged Coffee Porter. You get plenty of coffee as well as bourbon, oak, and even French vanilla. A pleasure to smell!

I originally thought that maybe the bourbon and oak would calm down the powerful taste of roasted coffee beans, but that wasn't the case. The taste was thick and dark with a super strong taste of bitter roasted coffee beans. This was the same taste that can be found in the regular bottled version, but there was more to this beer than just roasted coffee beans. The taste was also strong with the taste of bourbon, a hint of charred oak, a hint of dark chocolate, and a gentle touch of French vanilla at the finish line. Like I stated before, I honestly thought that the bourbon and oak would settle down the strong taste of roasted coffee beans, but the bourbon and oak let this beer keep its strong taste of coffee beans and just added their own little touch. If you've never had coffee beans with some bourbon and oak mixed into it, then you missing a treat.

Take your time with this beer because this is clearly a full bodied beer that just after a few sips, you'll feel this beer go to work on your body. The strong initial taste gave way to an everlasting thick strong aftertaste of roasted coffee beans, a touch of bourbon and charred oak, a splash of dark chocolate, and a gentle touch of French vanilla. Make sure you have a glass of water nearby because that might counter the effects of this beer and it will help clean off the strong taste of roasted coffee beans off of your taste buds.

Man, what a great Barrel Aged Coffee Porter! I mean, not only did I get a strong taste of roasted coffee beans, but also a taste of bourbon, oak, and even a subtle taste of vanilla. If this beer is on tap at your local bar, count your lucky stars and go get a glass or two.

AltBock, Jul 02, 2009
Photo of ffejherb
4.33/5  rDev -2.3%
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.

ffejherb, Jul 01, 2009
Photo of BARFLYB
4.63/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap at Teresa's Next Door in a Tulip. I would of kicked myself if I passed this up.

A- BA Victory at Sea is black, even behind some light this one is still black. Some off white/tan foam was on top forming a cap and than fading. Some swirls brang it back while lacing was very light.

S- The smell is great with signs of a balanced barrel aged beer. It opened my eyes up. Big smells of sweet vanilla and coffee with top notch bourbon. Also behind that some roast and malt.

T- A wonderful porter with robust malts taking the spotlight with the Kentucky bourbon. Good bourbon too not that cheap crap at the company parties. Vanilla (which I love in my beer) is also up front giving a different swetness. Chocolate and coffee. This one has it all, even a nice hop addition in the back.

M- Above medium bodied, hell it might as well be full bodied with some heat from the 12.2%, wow that's high. The alcohol is well hidden though. Robust malts vanilla giving this one a somewhat creamy feel. Light in carbonation.

D- This one is a sipper but I wanted to gulp it. delicious and well balanced plus not to hot. Really cant complain with this one. Now I just need to track down the regular version.

BARFLYB, Jun 29, 2009
Photo of NittanyBeerFan
4.58/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

NittanyBeerFan, Jun 29, 2009
Photo of MisterClean
4.68/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Nitroed at Boonville.

A - Poured dark brown with a 2 fingered brown head. Doesn't really dissipate and leaves beautiful lacing.

S/T - Vanilla, notes of chocolate and hints of grass. The bourbon barrel is mellow and not overpowering.

M - Full-bodied and well-balanced. Shocked at how little alcohol flavor there is. The bourbon barrel really masks the alcohol sensation.

D - Wow! How can they improve on this? It's a complex, and yet outstanding beer.

MisterClean, May 10, 2009
Photo of urwatuh8
4.8/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had three samples of this at the Boonville beer fest, all pretty earlier. Probably the best beer I had at the fest. The folks at the Ballast Point booth were calling them half pours, but my tasting glass was probably 3/4 full each time. The beer was served on nitro tap, which seemed a little odd, but worked well.

The beer was black with a thin tan/brown head. Huge blast of vanilla. Coffee, chocolate, roasty. Of course this beer was thick, but it was very smooth and creamy. I think the nitro helped to make this beer ridiculously smooth, but the aromas were probably dulled a bit.

Aside from some alcohol warming, I had no idea how big this beer was. The alcohol was really well hidden. Just from being a big imperial porter, I was thinking maybe 8-9% or so, but well masked even at this level. Surprised to see it as high as 12% ! If you get a chance to try this beer, don't pass up the opportunity.

urwatuh8, May 04, 2009
Photo of Deuane
4.95/5  rDev +11.7%
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!

Deuane, Sep 13, 2008
Photo of drewzline
4.9/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This has to be one of the finest beers I have had, Porter or otherwise. I had it on tap at the Stone Bistro and from the minute they sat it in front of me I was in for a treat.

It wasn't so much the color of the beer (almost pitch black) as it was the rich, creamy head that lingered until the glass was finished.

First the smell, ah sweet jesus the smell. I drink strong, black coffee in the morning and the depth of this coffee scent was incredible. It wasn't forced or intrusive but just the perfect level of roasted smoothness.

The taste was off the charts. I didn't expect such a strong taste of chocolate because I didn't smell it initially, but it was a great balance to the coffee flavor, which again was not Starbucksian (new word which means crappy due to burning the coffee to make people think it's of higher quality) in anyway. Absolutely wonderful.

This brew avoided being sludgy which was quite remarkable. At first glance you're expecting to feel like your sucking down motor oil but it went down perfectly while lingering on the tongue just long enough.

I only dinged this beer (slightly) on the drinkability for the simple fact that at 12+% you probably can't drink too much. However, it went down as good as anything I've ever had.

In summation, if you find this beer, buy it, drink it, and then drink more and then tell your friends about one of the greatest beers you've ever had.

drewzline, Jan 29, 2008
Victory At Sea Imperial Porter - Barrel Aged from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 151 ratings.