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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial PorterVictory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,215 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,215
Hads: 5,906
Avg: 4.36
pDev: 19.5%
Wants: 1,005
Gots: 1,715 | FT: 92
Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: radshoesbro on 03-17-2009

Our Victory at Sea Imperial Porter is a bold, smooth brew with just the right amount of sweetness. We infused this robust porter with whole vanilla beans and San Diego’s own Caffe Calabria coffee beans. The subtle roasted notes and minimal acidity of the cold brewed coffee, balances perfectly with the sweet caramel undertones of the malt, creating a winning combination for your palate.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,215 | Hads: 5,906
Photo of smcolw
4.33/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Great ring lace on the glass from the substantive tan head. Dark, dark brown color where no lace passes.

Lots of coffee and a little bit of cream. Basically, mocha in aroma. Low level of sweetness...reminiscent of good cocoa.

Lots of powdered chocolate in the flavor. Sweet and bitter from the malt. Rich body with a relatively low level of carbonation. Almost chewy. The aftertaste is complicated: Notable hop bitterness with some dark chocolate malt and sweet milky flavor. Deceptively high in alcohol.

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Photo of PhxHorn
4.33/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this one by mail order and couldn't wait to try it. This is the 10% version, part of the Robust series. It pours a dark dark brown, almost black, with two fingers of light brown lumpy head. Plenty of tan lacing. Smells strongly of coffee, roasted malt, a touch of smoke, and a touch of vanilla. Tastes pretty much as it smells: coffee, roasted malt, a touch of smoke, and a hint of vanilla. A bit more smoke than vanilla, actually, but that's not a criticism. This is a damn tasty porter with a lot of complexity going on. Carbonation was just a touch low for my tastes, but it was silky smooth and that's not a bad thing, either. Really, there's nothing to complain about and lots to praise with this beer. A real keeper.

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Photo of stxSS07
4.33/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber into a Duvel tulip. Split with lookitsmp

A- Pours a near-black with a 1 finger espresso-colored head that hangs around forever. Leaves great lacing and nice alcohol legs.

S- Sweet vanilla notes and a huge coffee background. Some roasted malts in there as well with a hint of booze.

T- Starts with huge waves of vanilla and coffee followed up by a roasted malt note and a small tinge a booze at the end. Fantastic.

M- Medium bodied with a nice amount of carbonation that lets the flavors linger just long enough.

O- The second best porter I've had behind Black Butte XXI. Amazing depth of flavors made possible by the contrasting vanilla/chocolate/coffee.

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Photo of mcallister
4.33/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Honestly a porter or many stouts for that matter don't look better than this. Viscous deep mahagonny bordering on black with an awesome thick molten mocha colored head of 2 fingers. Thick and chunky with very good retention and when it finally fades the lace is thick sticky and quite sexy.

Great nose. Vanilla stands out and wafts from the glass and is noticable in a three foot circumfrence. Fresh ground coffee and espresso aromas lead into dark chocolate and cocoa. Some dark fruit esters linger at the back.

Damn fine monster beer here. Could really be considered a dessert beer with a slightly cloying sweetness on the long finish and very tannic from the coffee and acidic as well. Rich vanilla and bitter cocoa, dark chocolate, espresso, more vanilla, black berry, plum and a good amount of earthy hops and hop bitterness. Finish is long. Mouth spudders slightly hence the sweet tannic end. Otherwise a very worthy beer.

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Photo of brureview
4.33/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured in a Stone Imperial Pint glass. Dark coffee color with a 2F head.

Coffee, vanilla, and lemon wafting from the head.

The mouth feel is moderate.

The balance of coffee-vanilla-lemon in the taste is impressive. The
coffee and vanilla don't overwhelm as in other beers- they are blended well
into the taste profile.

Overall an excellent Imperial Porter: fresh with an Enjoy By Date

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Photo of Thingus
4.33/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Live tasting, bomber into Duvel tulip...

Appearance; pours black with two fingers of bubbly mocha colored head... Retention is decent with the head hanging around for a couple minutes before falling to a thin film... Lacing is good, with blotches and spiderwebs all over the glass.

Smell; coffee and vanilla!! And not much else... Try as I might, I can't get any more aroma from this brew...

Taste; holy moly, this is a vanilla latte lovers dream brew!! Tons of coffee and vanilla... Smoothly roasted and not overly bitter or burnt tasting, great flavors of vanilla bean... As the coffee and vanilla fades out with hints of malt and chocolate sneaking in...

Mouthfeel; on lighter side of full bodied, with good carbonation... Slightly bitter finish..

Overall; a damn good beer all around, the vanilla and coffee work exceptionally well together!! I'll definitely track this one down again, absolutely worth the effort to obtain!

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Photo of WYVYRN527
4.33/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours pitch black, with a thick tan head that settles to about a finger thick. Lacong is excellent.

S: Smell consists of coffee, vanilla, chocolate, and dark fruits. Hops are noticeable in the backround, but not much of a factor.

T: Coffee is most noticeable at first, followed by vanilla, dark chocolate, and some caramel. There is only a slight booziness to this beer. The finish is relatively dry, with some floral hop tones.

M: Full bodied, but the silkiness of this beer is short lived, as the finish doesn't last as long as I would have expected.

D: Excellent beer, although it's a sipper. For it's intense flavor and high ABV, it's very easy to drink. It does not need age, as it is showing brilliantly right now.

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Photo of Bendurgin
4.33/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of Alec. Thanks homey! Poured into a tulip. This one pours black with a thick cap of beige foam that leaves some thick gobs of lace.

The aroma has a heavy vanilla aroma right up front with a robust coffee aroma lingering in the background. Seems to have notes of bitter chocolate in the background.n The pallet gives more of what the the aroma indicates. A little more subtle on the vanilla with more of an emphasis on the coffee. This one is rich and delicious.

The body is full and smooth with soft carbonation. A little bit of a lingering finish would I attribute to the coffee. Overall this one is real solid. Would love to end up with more of these guys anytime.

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Photo of ckeegan04
4.33/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A - Black as night with a medium brown tight foamy cap, about two fingers thick. Slowly fades to about an inch of foam and lingers through most of the drink. Thick rings of foam left on the glass.

S - Lot sof fresh roasted coffee bean in the nose with a faint hint of vanilla. Big bitter roasty malt aroma as well.

T - Strong bitter roasted cofee bean taste initially. A light sweetness with a hint of fresh vanilla bean lingers in the background but this is very much a coffee intensive beer. Roasted malts provide the backbone. Almost no hops whatsoever other than a faint floralness in the finish.

M/D - Full bodied and very creamy. Lively carbonation carries the beer through your mouth. Very easy drinking. One of the better coffee beers I have had in a long time and the vanilla provides a very nice sweet match.

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Photo of uturn
4.33/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz capped bomber poured into a Petrus glass.

A: Beer poured a very dark brown to black with a nice 1 finger fluffy dark tan head.

S: The nose is just about all iced coffee and a damn good iced coffee, with hints of vanilla and maybe some cocoa.

T: The taste is coffee and chocolate (mocha), I didn't get much of the vanilla, it was there, but only mildly for me and some roasted malts. Not to sweet, not to bitter, just right.

M: The mouthfeel was big and very smooth.

D: The 10% was very well hidden. This is one heck of an amazing porter.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.33/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I drank this from a 22oz bottle into my Rochefort chalice.

The beer pours black with a medium tan head. There is nice carbonation as it rises about 3 fingers of creamy head. It lasts a couple minutes and has great lacing that sticks from the top of the glass to the beer.

The aroma is medium, mostly roasted coffee, but not overpowering. In the middle you get the glimpse of vanilla, lake a cappucino. Wish it was a little more dominant.

The taste is good, but way to overpowered with coffee from start to finish with a bitter roast finish. I want the vanilla to come out to play more, along with some other complexity please?

The feel is good, very lasting, but limited drinkability because of the overwhelming coffee.

Overall, this is pretty good but if they toned down the coffee a bit it could be world class.

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Photo of tmoneyba
4.33/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by alexsdad06.

Poured dark brown color with an average frothy brown head that mostly lasted with excellent lacing. Moderate roasted malty, vanilla and chocolate aroma. Medium to full body with a smooth texture and flat carbonation. Medium to heavy dark roasted coffee sweet flavor with medium to heavy sweet finish of moderate to long duration.

Solid complex beer.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.33/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

"It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell."


Impenetrable onyx with the faintest hint of lightening along the bottom edge of the glass. A large chunk of caramel milkshake colored foam was created on the pour and looks to be in it for the long haul. When the crown finally starts to melt, barely broken sheets of lace appear on all available surfaces.

The aroma is an enjoyable mixture of roasted dark malts and roasted java beans. Vanilla gets lost in the shuffle, which is a shame and is the main reason why the score isn't one notch higher. Even so, I could just as easily have gone with the 4.5.

The flavor leaves no room for that sort of wishy-washiness. VASCVIP is outfreakinstanding beer from the very first mouthful. If warming makes things even bolder and deeper... look out! One of my initial impressions is how expertly the alcohol is buried. This beauty drinks like the ABV is 7.0%. No lie.

There are so many coffee-added stouts (and a few porters) out there in craft beer land that they tend to run together. This one stands out for its sheer quality and because the brewers decided to add vanilla to the mix. I'm happy to report that all ingredients listed in the name are now present and accounted for. As expected, time and warming are turning a great beer into... an even greater beer.

The balance between bittersweet chocolate, black coffee and vanilla beans is pretty much perfect. Although little hop flavor is appreciated (which is probably a good thing), there's a modest amount of bitterness that closes each mouthful (make that 'eager gulp') in tighter than expected fashion. This bottle isn't even history yet and I'm already thinking about how to get more.

The mouthfeel is a little lighter than it should be, especially considering the ABV. The beer is smooth enough, but it isn't crushed velvet plush and heavily creamy. This characteristic might be something for the brewer(s) to work on in future releases. Please tell me that there will be future releases.

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter is my second favorite Ballast Point offering, behind the outrageously delicious hop bomb known as Sculpin IPA. I will do whatever it takes to acquire additional bombers. When I do, they won't be taken away from me by angels or by demons, heaven or hell. Highly recommended.

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Photo of StoutItOutLoud
4.32/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22-oz bomber to tulip, shared on 1-11-2014. Kept at room temperature for approximately 5 hours before consumption. Best by date of 1-3-2014.

dark appearance, but not opaque. there is an obvious red tint at the edges. large, very pleasant tan head, eventually settling to nothing in my glass, although there was spotty lacing in the other glass.

there is a lot going on in the aroma. at first, the roasted malts / coffee dominates, despite the year of aging. there is milk chocolate as well. with time, i got a vanilla creme scent, but only when placing my nose a few inches away. with deep inhalation, i continue to get the coffee scent.

less complex taste - there is a vegetal hop bitterness at first, a roast coffee bitterness in the back half. more alcohol burn (but not astringent or metallic) as the beer opens up. i would not drink this too cold or too warm.

thin body at first, yet fairly high carbonation. more slick residual

Hard to compare this one to more standard porters, due to the high ABV, but it is complex and solid.

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Photo of HalfFull
4.32/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber bottle poured into a wine glass. The 2010 Victory returns to its former glory from my view. The pour is dark and velvety, and offers a resilient cap of foam and light dapples of lace.

Chocolate notes initiate, followed by an abundance of coffee and some roasted malts, and with a pleasantly subtle(read, not fake) vanilla influence. Not being a big coffee fan, I nonetheless find this brew intriguing, and well balanced with some dried fruit notes as well. Robust hop notes reveal themselves with warming AND some agitation.

Taste is equally complex, with coffee up front and followed by a bit of cherry and alcohol. Vanilla is less evident here as coffee and chocolate lead the way and continue through the finish, yet every sip is enjoyable and elicits a rather enjoyable reflex. Feel might be construed as a bit thin at times but this is well an illusion. A rather profound brew.. I offer a rare recommendation for this seaborne chaos..

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Photo of weeare138
4.32/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Josh for this one...
Appears a dark brown, nearing black with a dark tan head that slowly fades into a mild cap. Spotty bits of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of vanilla, coffee, cream, and warmed barbados sugar.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with a coffe and sugary whipped cream mixed together as the main focus of flavors.
Mouthfeel is viscuous, heavy, chewy, with mild bitterness found in the swallow.

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Photo of gthornton
4.32/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Was at the brewery for some of their special releases when they started pulling these straight from the bottling line to fill their coolers, so I had to grab a few and drink them as soo as possible.

This pours a dark, thick black with a creamy vanilla colored head that lingers throughout the whole drink, and leaves plenty of sticky lacing on the glass.

The rich vanilla, coffee, and chocolate are present in the smell and the taste. A lingering booziness on the tongue, but it is accompanied by so much coffee and chocolate that I do not mind at all.

This is a thick and creamy beer through and through, the mouthfeel is a bit sticky, and it certainly leaves its mark on the palate. Try it with a steak, or something similar, but I would avoid spices of any kind really, because this beer demands your full attention.

At 10% one of these is great for a very effective nightcap, but I would not want to waste the experience by having any more than two in one night, before moving on to other choices.

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Photo of RoninTK3
4.32/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Jet black with half a finger of mocha head.

S - Sweet with lots of vanilla and chocolate. Roasted malts and coffee are also heavy in the smell.

T - Heavy coffee on this one with a surprisingly bitter finish. Sweet chocolate and vanilla hints, but they don't come through the coffee flavor as much as others have said. A lot of roasted malts as the smell suggested.

M - Medium body with medium-high carbonation. Smooth finish.

A surprisingly bitter, coffee forward porter. Others have mentioned a ton of vanilla in this one, but I didn't get it. Would have liked a bit more vanilla and chocolate, but a great beer nonetheless.

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Photo of DrinkingDrake
4.32/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a 1 finger coffee colored head. Laces out evenly across the top and clinging to the sides.

Smells like I just brewed a cup of joe and tossed in a white chocolate bar. A little nutty like candied roasted nuts.

Tastes of roasted french vanilla. A lot of deep malty undertones. A slight bitterness of chocolate. Also the malts have a faint smokey character.

The 10% is not that noticeable but you can tell there is a good amount of alcohol in this one.

Split a bomber with a friend and was satisfied with my half.

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Photo of AleWatcher
4.32/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this as a surprise in a "just send me some good stuff" box from my buddy Sideswipe.
Poured into a standard pint glass.

This is deep black and viscous. This looks like a big old impy stout, not any kind of porter. The toffee colored head rose up two fingers and had amazing retention. The lacing is thicker than a girl in a rap video!

This is such a great smelling bouquet of sweet darkness that I actually went to blow my nose to further enjoy it. Dark fresh roasted coffee with some definite chocolate from the malts mixes it up with a boozy bourbon bite. The vanilla is not to be out done though, like Jimmy Page cranking it to 10, all the flavors come forth to have their turn in the spotlight. They each get their excessive 8 minutes solo and return to jamming out the kickass goodness we all have come to expect.

The chocolate and toffee malt backbone is John Bonham-- just keeping the time and keeping it level. The coffee is screaming and wailing about some sort of breakdown in communication like Robert Plant in tight jeans while the vanilla wants your attention just as much with it's intricate and delicate strumming of your tastebuds. Plucking each one with such furiosity and at the same time, such tenderness, that you don't know if you should shed a tear or put your lighter up the air. Let's not forget John Paul Jones assisting with the steady and well timed boozey sting that, let's face it, isn't the most important part in terms of your personal enjoyment, and yet, without it, something incredible would be lacking. It's hard to put your finger right on it, but all things coming together to jam out 180 decibels of flavor on the private stage of your palate, is just goddamn awesome.

What just happened there... I kinda blacked out.

This has a an amazingly full body and a little grittiness that suits the intense flavors. Great amount of carbonation that helps the whole thing along-- like a good guitar tech.

The bottle depicts a skeleton clutching the helm of a seemingly sunken ship... Yet the name is in stark contrast-- "Victory at Sea." I think this is best visual description of "Stairway to Heaven" I've ever seen. You can't always get what you want, and sometimes you don't always want what you get... And just sometimes, well, sometimes, you just might get what you need. I need another one of these!

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.32/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Coffee? Vanilla? What's there not to love in a larger than life Porter? Throw in a completely intimidating label and we have ourselves an instant winner!

The beer pours a thick, viscous, nearly black color with a creamy lace of carbonation that retains well and clings to the sides of the glass in moderate fashion. Legging shows barley-stained liquids crawling just beyond the lace. Complete opaqueness makes this beer rival the biggest of Stouts.

Strongly Porter-like in aroma: not as roasty as a Stout, but heavy toast, dry toffee, bitter cocoa, and deep espresso notes peppered all over the scent. Vanilla softness helps to temper the aggression from coffee and toast but it leaves me wanting much more.

Even stronger flavors of heavy, heavy toast, espresso, and a charred flavor that makes me think ash. Still, the toffee and vanilla do little to balance the stronger darker flavors. They have some melding together to do.

Very bitter and strong bite from the roasted grains create a harsh feel that the sweetness cannot round out. Bitterness is aggrevated by high grassy hops, coffee oils, and alcohols making the beer a bit of a chore late.

The beer seems to have a lot of 'young' characteristics that may come together better with age. Regardless, a heavier vanilla taste and feel could improve the beer.

Thanks kmurray8621!

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Photo of thedoubler55
4.32/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a very dark black, has a nice 2 finger off white head that leaves a nice lacing around the glass.

S: Strong roasty notes up front, hints of coffee, and strong smell of dark chocolate and some cherries.

T: The vanillas presence is obvious with both the nose and taste on this brew, very roasty and nice subtleness.

M: Heavy mouthfeel, and sticky, perfect amount of carbonation.

O: This was a very good beer, I felt as if the warmer it got the better it tasted. Nice warming effect to this beer as well, Great job!

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Photo of superspak
4.32/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into snifter, best before 12/10/2013. Pours dense pitch black color with a 1 finger dense dark tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big vanilla, cream, milk chocolate, caramel, toffee, coffee, light roasted malt, and dark bread. Incredible aromas with great balance and complexity of dark malt and sweet vanilla notes. Taste of milk chocolate, vanilla, cream, roasted malt, caramel, coffee, light char, toast, floral, and light pine. Lingering notes of vanilla, milk chocolate, cream, roasted malt, caramel, coffee, light char, toast, dark bread, floral, and light pine on the finish for a while. Fantastic balance and complexity of roasted and sweet creamy vanilla malty flavor; with a good malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying sweetness present after the finish. Medium carbonation and full bodied; with a very creamy, slick, and slightly syrupy mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a small warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a fantastic imperial vanilla porter! Great balance and complexity of roasted and sweet malty flavors; and extremely smooth to sip on for 10%. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of Zach136
4.32/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pitch black, deep brown head, excellent lacing.

Aroma: Blend of sharp coffee and specialty malt roast.

Flavor: Smooth coffee bean flavor, vanilla comes across as almost cake like. Coffee cake and a sip of black coffee.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, coffee finish is a little bitter. Also a bit fuller bodied and velvety than a porter should be IMO.

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Photo of Beerenauslese
4.32/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a large snifter, it easily produces a half inch head. Body is jet black, with a tan foamy head that quickly dissipates to a ring, leaving small soap clouds of lace on the glass.

Rich aroma of roasted malt, coffee, vanilla, and alcohol.

Tastes of charred malt and dark chocolate up front, with coffee and vanilla mid-palate, and ends with a burning dry finish on the tongue, mostly of bitter char and roasted coffee, and just a hint of smoke. Overall, it is a pleasant and well-balanced Porter.

Body is on the lighter side for a Porter, and carbonation is low, but it is enough to give this a slightly creamy mouthfeel.

This is a nice version of an Imperial Porter, very flavorful, and quite drinkable. The alcohol is slightly warming, but is matched by the great flavors.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,215 ratings.