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

Not Rated.
Victory At Sea Imperial Porter - Barrel Aged
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44 Reviews
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Reviews: 44
Hads: 215
Avg: 4.36
pDev: 20.87%
Wants: 170
Gots: 57 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 44 | Hads: 215
Photo of mulder1010
3.75/5  rDev -14%
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.

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Photo of TheMarkE
4.28/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Smooth and delicious. Great complimentary flavor from the rye whiskey. Coffee, vanilla, and bourbon... what a great combination. Goes down easy for such a high ABV.

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Photo of brew3crew
4.65/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at ballast point during sdbw! What a treat!

A- dark body with a nice tan lacing head!

S-sweet bourbon notes but enough malt to hold it up

T-follows the nose. Very sweet and smooth bourbon with a little bit of vanilla.

M-excellent. Smooth and silky mouth feel.

O-phenominal brew. Absolutely.

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Photo of jneiswender
4.77/5  rDev +9.4%
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.

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Photo of seedyone
4.75/5  rDev +8.9%

02/24/13 On cask at Beer Authority, NYC. Surprisingly at just the right temperature. The coffee & vanilla notes in this well made brew are just that notes. They remain at a polite distance. Could drink his all night but for the 10% ABV. If it's a choice for you, choose it.

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Photo of NittanyBeerFan
4.58/5  rDev +5%
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.

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Photo of juhl31
4.33/5  rDev -0.7%
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

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Photo of Cavery
4.1/5  rDev -6%
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.

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Photo of shangwang
4.7/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

tried this at Khyber Pass during their Philly Beer Week BP event.

Beautiful looking pour- dark viscous appearance with a creamy finger of head that lingered for a while. The smell was very potent- notes of chocolate, coffee, vanilla, toasted almond and wood. It was such a pleasant aroma that I continued to go back to the smell throughout drinking this. The taste mirrored the smell- very sweet at the beginning with some roasty bitterness at the end, but extremely balanced and smooth. It was like drinking a dessert, but it wasn't overwhelmingly sweet. This might be one of the best beers I've ever tasted. Great mouthfeel- not overly heavy but a solid consistency. Finished smoothly and was very easy to drink. I could have easily had a few more if not for the other BP selections I wanted to try. Awesome beer.

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Photo of mfunk9786
3.84/5  rDev -11.9%
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.

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Photo of Kaiser81
4.28/5  rDev -1.8%
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.

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Photo of paytoplay
4.67/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

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Photo of alexhahn82
3.71/5  rDev -14.9%
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!

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Photo of jamex
3.65/5  rDev -16.3%
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.

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Photo of urwatuh8
4.76/5  rDev +9.2%
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.

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Photo of BoatsSinkBro
3.88/5  rDev -11%
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.

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Photo of Sir_Whats-his-face
4.11/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The normal Victory at Sea is so in-your-face, so you might assume that the barrel aged version would be akin to giant, brick-to-the-face intensity of beers like Tweak, Parabola or Bourbon County. Oddly enough, that isn't the case. Instead, the bourbon character smooths out a lot of the beer's rough edges, making for an altogether subtler experience. I have to admit this kind of took me aback, given how huge the normal version tastes, but thinking back on it, I might prefer it.

Bottom line, if you thought that the original was too in-your-face, you'll likely be pleasantly surprised by the barrel aged version. But if you expect something as big and burly, you might be a little disappointed.

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Photo of wethead
4.56/5  rDev +4.6%
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 :))

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Photo of drewzline
4.9/5  rDev +12.4%
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.

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Victory At Sea Imperial Porter - Barrel Aged from Ballast Point Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 44 ratings.