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

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial PorterVictory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,192 Reviews
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Reviews: 1,192
Hads: 5,804
Avg: 4.36
pDev: 19.5%
Wants: 981
Gots: 1,652 | FT: 98
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.
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Reviews: 1,192 | Hads: 5,804
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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Photo of Cylinsier
4.32/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Pours jet black with an inch of coffee-and-cream head, pretty decent retention.

Smells of roasted coffee, smokey flavors, caramel and vanilla.

Tastes bitterly smokey with roasted coffee at the forefront, followed by hints of vanilla and caramel.

Feels full and creamy with smooth carbonation on the back of the tongue.

Delicious, avoids the sometimes too-acidic flavor of some coffee porters and remains smooth and mellow. The smoked notes are a nice touch. Hides its abv pretty well though there may be a hint of warmth at the end. All in all, a really enjoyable brew.

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

Poured a dark chocolate brown with a half finger of brown head that left good sticky lacing on the glass. Roasted malts, coffee, and vanilla dominate the nose which also had chocolate slight nutty, and a little sweet lacto notes. Like the nose the roasted malts seem to pop more but the chocolate is a bit stonger on taste that had vanilla and coffee accents. There is was also a little underlying booze and nutty flavors. The beer was medium body with a good amount of carbonation that had a sweet roasty creamy finish. Overall it drank very good and was even better when paired with chocolate brownies. I will definitely try to get more of this tasty brew.

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

The resin left on glass from this thick, darkest brown, opaque elixir is worthy of a stout. A thin, dark beige head relaxes gradually to a skim that swirls as if upon syrup.

What an aroma, full of vanilla, with a less roasty coffee flavor, really smooth notes of fine dark caramel, but it's the vanilla that takes it here, sweet, and inviting.

Not a stout at all, perfectly described, this baby is all porter on the palate, BIGtime. Talk about delicious, the vanilla and sweet caramel start, then some chocolate into a medium roast coffee flavor. A lot going on here, but alcohol is absent (this can't be 10%). It seems a simple, winning combination, but there are subtle roasty notes, really clean and tasty, some floral hints, some fruitiness (cherry?) in there. None of these flavors want to dominate the taste, and at times all of them do. Quite sweet, but there's enough going on to make it an asset, and the finish has an edge of herbal bitter and roast to balance.
Wonderful taste!

Mouthfeel is on the stout side of modern porter sensibility, quite viscous, lasting resins, low carb., a slow sipper, wonderful finish. Too thick for style? I just don't know.

Drinkability is good for a big beer. It's one to sip and savor.

Impression: Another Stellar beer from BP. Thank you to them. Get this if you see it, it's a must try.

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

Pours a black color with a nice one finger mocha head on it. Nose is freshly pressed coffee with loads of vanilla. Taste is similar. Lots of coffee and chocolates dominate the front and back. A lot of vanilla is in th middle. Pretty solid, really enjoys the taste profile on this. Solid mouthfeel taboot. Really good vanilla coffee porter here. Loved it and will seek out again.

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

Undated bottle served in a goblet. Beer is black and forms a thin brown head. Carbonation is low and so is lacing.

There is a nice coffee aroma with a slight hint of vanilla. As the beer warms closer to room temperature the aroma develops more and there is more of a vanilla character to it, also more sweetness.

There is a strong coffee flavor and bitterness in the back palate. The front palate detects a mild sweetness. The beer is smooth, no carbonation on the palate. Beer is lighter in body than expected overall. The bitterness lingers but there is no aftertaste, just a flavor that holds on. Overall, pretty enjoyable and a good porter for sure.

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

A-A very dark brown with a milk chocolate, one finger head that fades fast leaving little spots of lacing.
S-The roasted coffee comes on strong and I also get a bit of licorice. As it warms there is a release of alcohol that isn't there in the initial pour.
T-This has a powerful punch right from the beginning. The coffee flavor is most intense followed later by a smaller amount of the vanilla. I still get some licorice flavor hanging around at the end. There was a little bitterness in the beginning but that isn't noticeable as it warms.
M-Not thick, more medium in feel but still full and smooth.
D- It's tasty and drinkable, the bomber is the right size fo those who enjoy this beer.

This is no standard Am. Porter. It's intense and interesting. Maybe a little overpowering but very good.

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

I've been wanting to try this beer for awhile and my good buddy gtreid hooked me up last night.

P: Very dark pour with a thick caramel colored head.

S: Coffee was the strongest smell I got from this beer, along with the hints of vanilla, caramel and licorice maybe.

T: I really enjoyed the taste of this beer, big coffee, very creamy with the vanilla and caramel mixing in perfectly.

M: Great carbonation, very silky creamy thick and smooth in the mouth.

D: Drinkability is good, not too much of an alcohol presence, but maybe a little too creamy to drink too much of it.

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Photo of 100floods
4.32/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a fizzy pitch black, you can't see through it when put up to light. It's followed by a thick yet bubbly mocha head that after the first sip goes away.

Smells of vanilla, espresso creme, and dark chocolate covered coffee beans. You can almost taste the texture of the beans, but that's more memory than anything.

Thick and full bodied texture.

That's espresso bean flavor comes strong, before the beer fully touches your lips, then it's mostly sweet and gentle roasted notes with a roasted strong finish that lingers in your mouth. Definitely a few things going on, yet nothing is hidden. This beer has sweet notes to it, but not the kind that make this beer too sweet. This beer provides a lot of balance for what it has to offer. Yes, it's that good.

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Photo of slasher007
4.32/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Mora2000 for sharing this bottle.

Pours a very dark brown color with medium tan head and pretty good lace. Smells of coffee, vanilla, and some creamy malts. Taste is more balanced with flavors of coffee, vanilla, chocolate, and somewhat espresso. Nice creamy mouthfeel with low carbonation. I was very suprised with how big this was and how good it was as well. Excellent beer from Ballast Point Brewing Company

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

poured into a snifter, pretty dark. slight ruby hues, but more or less black with a tan head. decent lacing and head retention.

roasted coffee, mocha, caramel, touch of dark fruit in the nose.

big coffee flavor upfront, fades into a creme brulee like richness, burnt sugar, just a hint of acidity in the finish. not overly sweet, just enough to balance out the roasted malt/coffee flavor.

mouthfeel is a tough thin, but this is a porter so i find that fairly acceptable. overall this is way too drinkable. not overly boozy and deceptively smooth,

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,192 ratings.