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
94
outstanding

40 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 40
Hads: 202
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 3.68%
Wants: 165
Gots: 47 | 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

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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 40 | Hads: 202
Photo of jneiswender
4.77/5  rDev +9.7%
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. (345 characters)

Photo of HopHead84
4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
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. (1,602 characters)

Photo of Kegatron
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
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. (1,235 characters)

Photo of largadeer
4.15/5  rDev -4.6%
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. (1,203 characters)

Photo of paytoplay
4.67/5  rDev +7.4%
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. (373 characters)

Photo of Slatetank
4.77/5  rDev +9.7%
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. (1,307 characters)

Photo of AltBock
4.72/5  rDev +8.5%
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. (3,710 characters)

Photo of ffejherb
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
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. (1,148 characters)

Photo of BARFLYB
4.64/5  rDev +6.7%
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. (1,204 characters)

Photo of NittanyBeerFan
4.58/5  rDev +5.3%
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. (1,120 characters)

Photo of MisterClean
4.68/5  rDev +7.6%
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. (455 characters)

Photo of urwatuh8
4.76/5  rDev +9.4%
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. (908 characters)

Photo of Deuane
4.95/5  rDev +13.8%
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! (1,356 characters)

Photo of drewzline
4.9/5  rDev +12.6%
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. (1,407 characters)

Photo of scottoale
5/5  rDev +14.9%
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!!! (1,625 characters)

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Victory At Sea Imperial Porter - Barrel Aged from Ballast Point Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 40 ratings.