Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter - Ballast Point Brewing Company
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Ratings: 3,634 | Reviews: 918 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by IBUnit63:
4.45/5 rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
I haven't had too much bad luck with Ballast Point stuff so let's give this Porter stuff a go. Seems like this bomber's a good candidate for the Portsmouth snifter, so that's what we'll do once I give it a few minutes to warm up.
Pours a slightly translucent Coke/espresso brown. Head is peanut colored but fades very quickly. Lacing is sparse, carbonation is...well, this is more opaque than I thought, so I can't really see squat for carbonation in the body. Not exceptionally viscous.
First thought of comparables? Founder's Breakfast Stout or Porter. This has a great coffee component here. The vanilla element is thankfully a little understated but it works very nicely - a little bitter alcoholic sting to it which is good. Copious, HUGE quantities of smooth roasted malt with little evidence of patent tannins. Hops seem to make a nice complement in their grassiness with maybe a dash of pine. This shows a hell of a lot of promise.
BOOM! The coffee is powerful as the smell at Starbucks. Malt is huge; patent tannins come about but only sparingly; the mellow dark-roasted malts carry the day. Vanilla is understated but shows up more on the slightly boozy finish. Slight dryness - not so much slate but maybe a hint of charcoal dust. Did I mention this was powerful? Slightly peanutty taste, too. Grassy hops cut the alcohol and coffee just enough to balance this and dry it out a bit. This still has warming to do but it's rich and borderline incredible.
Maybe it's the sweetness of the vanilla, the alcohol and the non-tannic dark malts imparting more of a bittersweet chocolate flavor, but this is a very smooth porter. None of that clamminess and slight metal that I get from so many porters that have a real "stout envy" complex. This is the real deal. Rolls smooth on the palate and down the hatch with a slight peanut saltiness and finishes strong and very creamy...especially for something lacking a huge viscosity. There is balance in abundance, which is some of my favorite kinds of balance. As it warms, the saltiness, booze and dark slate give it an additional kick that's not unpleasant but gives a not-so-gentle reminder of the strength of this beast.
Wow - this is a great example of both the style and the imperial nature of a big beer. It's strong enough to show all its colors but not so over-the-top that it hits like a sledgehammer. Having said that, it's a big pour and I will probably savor it over a couple of hours in a self-preservation move, 'cause this horse kicks wicked hard (Edit: I changed my mind. Warm this up and it drinks wayyy too quickly for its weight class.). Very well-constructed effort from the crew that brought us Sculpin.
Serving type: bottle
05-18-2009 22:19:54 | More by IBUnit63
More User Reviews:
4.48/5 rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
This poured the color of midnight at a bottom of a well, with an espresso-crema cap of foam.
The aroma held layers of dark chocolate and roasted coffee, roasted malts, a hint of vanilla. It’s a sipper, with a smoothly warming flavor of a sweetly bitter espresso with cacao and vanilla, and just a touch of booziness at the end. This is a big beer but so enjoyable!
Serving type: on-tap
07-27-2014 03:05:18 | More by elNopalero
Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 3,634 ratings.