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

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1,327 Reviews
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,327
Ratings:
6,443
Avg:
4.35
pDev:
19.77%
 
 
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1,055
Gots:
2,021
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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial PorterVictory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by radshoesbro on 03-17-2009

User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,327 | Ratings: 6,443
Photo of match1112
4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a: pitch black body, two finger thick and sticky mocha colored head, tons of patchy lacing.

s: vanilla, roasted coffee, chocolate.

t: big vanilla and chocolate up front, like chocolate milk. then it turns to roasted malts and coffee.

m: big full body, creamy, sticky, great carbonation, coffee bitter on the end.

o: one of the best uses of vanilla in a beer i have had.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Port Carlsbad
Poured a deep, deep brown with a tannish head. Nose is sweet, lots of vanilla and chocolate but the coffee plays a backseat and it worked well. Taste is vanilla, cocoa, roasted malt, chewy, a tad nutty with coffee in the background. Mouthfeel is creamy and rich in the mouth. Tasty, well balanced, the ABV is well hidden and this is a great brew in every area. Ballast Point is becoming one of my fav breweries for great beers like this.

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Photo of brewdude1982
4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a bomber poured into a snifter

A: 4.5 deep rich pour into my snifter with a deep dark rich head that dissipated quickly
S: 4.0 slight hop smell and then roasted malts
T: 4.5 such a warm pallet pleasing taste that turns into chocolate and coffee
MF: 4.5 good on the carbonation and very full body
O: 4.5 great beer that I would recommend to anyone. This brewery is really stepping up in my book and I want to try anything that they make in the imperial format.

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Photo of WorldWideStout
4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: A fairly dark, chocolately brown body with a one-finger light mocha head. I find the colors of the head and body to go together very well. The head is smooth and stays around for a few minutes until I begin to sip.

S: Dark chocolate, coffee, oats, and a little bit of heat. Can't really smell any vanilla.

T: The chocolate comes in first. There there is a bit of coffee with the chocolate, and then out comes the vanilla. I find this vanilla better than what I've had in other porters, mostly because it does not carry an artificial aftertaste with it. The coffee then comes in, a rich, roasty kind, and pervades through the aftertaste.

M: Silky and smooth and not too heavy.

D: Quite drinkable. The coffee is rich, but not as intense as in the Founders brews, and it is balanced out by the chocolate and vanilla.

Quite tasty, indeed.

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Photo of MDDMD
4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-dark brown black with a nice tan head and decent lacing

S-vanilla, dark malt, coffee, chocolate, hint of sweetness

T-dark roasted malt, chocolate, vanilla, coffee, light caramel, mild bitterness in the finish

F-medium to full body with mild to moderate carbonation, smooth and creamy

O-a great sipping beer, would make a great dessert beer, the flavors blend very well together

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Photo of KYGunner
4.39/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Holy hell this is pretty with a deep ebony glow and a thick crown of dense brown foam that laced so well.

The nose is so nice and varied. I catch a smoke and tobacco out front by than it settles in with a dry chocolate, coffee and vanilla.

The flavors are smoky and spicy with a pepper and chili pepper like body. The complexities continue with smoke, tobacco, cocoa, vanilla and roasted coffee. This becomes even more interesting as a strong of vanilla ties through all phases but never intrudes.

The feel is dry but silky, dry with a touch of warmth.

This was a touch hyped before I tried it but it lived up to that pomp. This has superb taste and tremendous variance.

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Photo of Ri0
4.39/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

poured 22oz bottle into snifter

A - A beautiful deep, dark coffee fudge color with an impressive 2 finger mocha colored head. A nice collar stays on my glass and there is a plethora of lacing.

S - Tons of roasted coffee and bakers chocolate. Nice smooth hints of French Vanilla and dabs of milk chocolate.

T - I get a wave of bitterness and coffee right away that gives way to a creamy dark chocolate and mild vanilla flavor. Even some sweet caramel in the middle. Very roasty and bitter on the finish. This is like a hopped up RIS!

M - Big, rich, and smooth body and very nice carbonation. It's a sipper, but goes down so easy with a linger of bitterness.

O - Very nice Porter that reminds of Espresso Oak Aged Yeti and Stone Espresso RIS, but with subtle vanilla and caramel. One of the best Imperial Porters I have had. And I've had some nice ones from Tyranena.

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Photo of cjoc83
4.39/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

No bottled on date to be found, just an enjoy by 11/06/13 (which I found a little strange, I would think this beer would be good for aging?). $9.99 at Wegmans in Downingtown, PA. Pours motor oil black and quite viscous into a tulip with chestnut hues at the edges of the glass when held up to the light. An aggressive pour leaves a little over 2 fingers of tan head that hangs around for a little while before receding to a cap. Leaves a patch of lace here and there.

Smell is a wonderful amalgamation of fresh coffee, vanilla, and roasted malts with just a touch of earthy hops and a little sweetness.

Starts out with some bitter espresso in the front, then segues nicely into roasted malts, sweet vanilla, milk chocolate, and black coffee. Some earthy hops come in mid-palette and into the finish, along with some roasted malts, coffee and a touch of vanilla bean to cut the bitter/roasted flavors. A little alcohol warmth in the chest as well. Really nice stuff.

Rich and slightly chewy with low carbonation. Smooth, but a bit of a sipper that packs a little heat. The vanilla really pops as the beer warms and adds great complexity and sweetness, especially in the finish.

Truly a remarkable imperial porter. Big roasted malts and bold coffee with just the right amount of vanilla sweetness to balance it out. Quite possibly my favorite porter. Definitely recommended!

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Photo of mobrado
4.39/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A delicious coffee-vanilla bomb that hides 10% dangerously well. Only drawback, if you even want to call it that, is a fairly thin mouth feel, but if it was any thicker, they'd call it a stout and charge twice the price, so I'm okay with it.

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Photo of abeeronthebeach
4.39/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Ballast Point – Victory At Sea: Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter, from the bottle. Enjoy by: 12/10/13, drank: 01/17/14.

A – Charcoal-brown body with an evenly distributed and smooth head. You could shine a laser through this thing and it wouldn’t come out the other side.

S – Strong. Picking up a bracing hit of roasted malts. Milky coffee with a sweetness to it which you realise is the vanilla once you taste it. Much more pronounced than on Harviestoun’s Old Engine Oil which is the last porter I tasted (and which incidentally I loved.) Reassured me that my nose still functions. Three quarters of the way through this beer the nose continues to improve, to the point where it may be my favourite thing about this beer, excepting the first sip. This demands particular attention for, as a rule, most beer loses fragrance as it sits, whereas here it continues to emanate.

T- This just tastes absolutely phenomenal. I mean seriously, seriously good. The way the vanilla mellows out all the roasty-toasty flavours is literally something I’ve never tasted before. And it is so, so good. Few things are more annoying than using sounds and adjectives - so I’ve edited my original entries - but I was quite literally left wondering aloud as this washed over my tongue for the first time. Particularly as having read the reviews, it seemed I ought to be in for something a little bit special. Perhaps tellingly, prolific reviewer UCLABrewN84 reviews this in his top 20 beers out of 5052 beers. That first sip has left me reeling as is reflected in my scattered entry. This is great stuff.

M – Nice and creamy. If the mouthfeel here is whole milk, personally I’d love to see this as jersey milk; nevertheless it’s silky as a silk spider. Excellent.

O – Still have almost all the most highly-rated dark, potent and mythic-status beers ahead of me (Abyss, Marshall Zhukov, Dark Lord, Abraxas, BCBCS, Parabola, Darkness, Founder’s, etc.) but this offering only intensifies the excitement tenfold. As I sample more of the finest offerings perhaps this will downgrade but you can only go off what you know. The nose is so wonderfully balanced. The taste follows suit. I’d have sworn this was at 8%; that it’s actually one of the more boozy beers I have had (at 10%) takes me clean by surprise. Want to give it more than a 4.5 but my second sampling leaves me seeking a sweeter finish. Can conceive a creamier and more intensely flavoured beer but this is still glorious. I want that second bottle.

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Photo of GehenHerzog
4.39/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber poured into a Dogfish Head Snifter.

A- Pours a dark black with not much head at all

S- Smells of straight up vanilla. A slight hint of chocolate and coffee in the back end but the vanilla dominates the smell.

T- Again, vanilla dominates it but the chocolate and coffee come in nicely in the end to balance this brew out very nicely.

M- Medium to full bodied. Decent carbonation.

D- Doesn't drink anywhere close to a 10% beer. The alcohol isn't noticeable and it it goes down smooth.

I had it both on draft and out of the bottle and they both tasted identical (from my experience).

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Photo of stewfnrocker
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I got myself a growler of Ballast Point Victory at Sea Imperial Porter. I poured the beer from the growler into a pint glass. It poured a dark dark brownish maybe black and has a very nice tan head. The smell is of roasted coffee, toffee, maybe caramel and a little vanilla. Lots of sweet smells. When I got that first mouthful you got the taste of the roasted coffee and some malts and is rounded off with that vanilla and a bit of alcohol at the end. Its hard to hide 10% but it really isn't overpowering. There is about an average carbonation, and it has a medium to thick body beer. This beer is a great beer to have with something sweet or after dinner. It has all those sweet flavors of coffee and vanilla and toffee.

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Photo of BubalooBrewMaster
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle

A: its like a cascade of molasses ,rich and dark.

S:obvious smell of coffee,toasted malts and a hint of chocalate.

T:a beautiful balance of coffee and vanilla.although not a strong taste of vanilla you can taste it if you wait for it.A bitter finish but not overwhelming.

M:very smooth.

O:Best porter I've had till now.A balance of quality flavors that you can expect from your favorite coffee house with the added bonus of alcohol.Need I say more.Highly recommend for 7.99$ for a 22oz.

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Photo of TKEbeerman
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured into my pint glass, this brew pours a very dark brown with a medium tan, 3 inch head that is super impressive. Leaving a little lacing after every sip, this is about to be the best porter I've ever had.

S: The aroma is nearly perfection. Rich notes of chocolate, espresso beans, and vanilla. Deep roasted malt. and a slight hop tingle.

T: The flavor is phenomenal. It's a blast of roasted malt, and the perfect mix of vanilla, coffee beans, and notes of chocolate. The slightest hops is evident on the rear of the pallet, along with a little alcohol burn that is almost unnoticeable due to the complexity of the flavors.

MF: Mouthfeel is smooth and cream. Flavor notes were easily blended to make a balanced beer.

D: Drinkability at 10% is not bad.

Overall, this is one hell of a porter. Ballast Point has taken a style (one of my favorites) that not to many brewers spend enough time on, and blew it out of the water. Seek this one out. You wont be disappointed.

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Photo of PirateUlf73
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle, poured into a large mug.

A: Rich black color with a substantial chocolate-tan head.

S: Lots of chocolate and coffee on the nose. Some pleasant dark roast notes as well. Perhaps a smidgen of vanilla sweetness. Quite rich and soft. Very nice.

T: A VERY strong roasted coffee character is tempered slightly by soft vanilla and chocolate tastes. Almost like biting into a bar of bitter, dark chocolate. Hugely sweet and pretty tasty.

M: Massive, chewy feel for and already full-bodied beer. Feels slick yet silky. Lower-than-average carbonation.

D: Slow is the way to go with this one. Would make an excellent after-dinner brew.

Man, oh man! This beer claims to be robust and it delivers. The immense coffee and chocolate flavors make me almost forget that I'm drinking a beer. My only real knock against this brew is that the thick body took away from the drinkability, ever so slightly. All in all though, if you like sweet beers, get this if you can find it!

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Photo of Vonerichs
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was one delicious porter.

It has a very dark brown, opaque body. This had a surprisingly large head for a porter that was cinnamon in color and dissipated quickly.

The smell is very vivid. The smooth vanilla is in the forefront, backed by typical porter characteristics of chocolate and coffee.

The flavor is well rounded. The vanilla adds a nice sweetness to smooth out the light bitterness of the coffe and chocolate. Tons of vanilla bean.

Smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Thick, but not too thick. There's a slight alcoholic burn that makes this a sipper, but very drinkable.

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Photo of Dijeriduster
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

WOW. Ballast makes wonderful brews, but this is in a class all its own. Sampled at Green Flash 7th Anniversary Festival...then again, and again, and again at Home Brew Mart.

A - Striking. Unlike most stouts you really get the coffee notes, especially in the head which has obvious notes of freshly pressed French Roast. Its a thick looking brew too - even a 2oz sample looks robust.

S - Amazing. Again lots of coffee notes - thanks to Cafe Calabria (local coffee shoppe that is the collaborator here). Melds well with the roasty smells coming from an aggressive grain bill.

T - You get hit by the roasted coffee flavor first, this really is like a good cup of coffee. That yields to the roasted flavors fairly quickly, then slowly you realize this has a massive amount of vanilla bean in it. Starts like a robust coffee, finishes on the sweet notes you'd expect from a vanilla latte.

M - Wonderful mouthfeel, very true to style as a coffee stout. To me there is nothing worse then a stout with a great roasty flavour ruined by a syrupy, thin mouthfeel. This is not the case here - its almost light and airy giving plenty of room to pick up on the nuances.

D - Very good. Not sure I'd get a growler fill, but this is amazing as a 22 to sample with friends. Think beer dinner here. Very unique due to the massive coffee flavours, but also finishes sweet enough to get the ladies into it as well. If you are lucky enough to find a bottle of this BUY 2. Also the best label around :)

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Photo of Casey10
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wow a great beer given to me as a "extra" from SwillinBrew thanks Gil this one is really nice.

Wow what flavor this one really stands out for what it is shooting for the coffee flavor really stands out and is so nice.

A - Dark, wispy mocha head.

S - chocolate is prominate I can not really tell about the vanilla but this smells nice.

T - Lovely, so good smooth similar to southern tier chokolat but yet different. Not able to pick up the vanilla but most likely there whatever I like this.

M - smooth again leaves almost a feel after you have had just drunk a chocolate milk and the contents are slipping down the back of your throught.

D - I want another I gave a lower score because of the ABV and if I quickly drank another well lets just say I might not enjoy this beer the way I have.

A must try well done !!!

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Photo of rfgetz
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep rich brown, almost black. Minimal ring of brown head, leaving some lacing. Smell is of medium roast malts with hints of coffee, vanilla, dark fruit and an underlying sweetness. Vanilla scent improves as it warms. Taste is of fresh roasted coffee with a creamy, milky sweetness backed by a nice presence of vanilla. Hints of fruit, chocolate and oak present. As the drink warms, the taste takes on a somewhat vanilla extract type taste, which is one of my few knocks. Nice full body for a porter, encroaching on stout territory with its creamyness and smoothness. Excellent beer which changes drastically as is approaches room temperature. To experience is, I recomended serving below recommended temp and tasting as it warms up.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in my trusty Devil's Backbone willibecher.

Big thanks to Brundo4 for this bottle!

Does the skeleton really indicate a victory? Anyway... It pours an opaque black brown topped by over a finger of very light tan foam. The nose comprises coffee, chocolate syrup, molasses, roasted malts, vanilla ice cream, and some sprinkles o' cinnamon. The taste follows the chocolate path to enlightenment, accompanied by some light coffee, roasted malts, maple syrup, brown sugar, and a nice subtle burst o' vanilla bean. Damn, this be some tasty shit! The body is a solid medium, with a light carbonation and a silky feel, baby. Believe the hype, people, this shit tastes damn good! Get some!

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Photo of MissSmisje
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

S: vanilla, coffee, cocoa. F: strong vanilla, cocoa nibs, coffee. F: medium heavy, but not syrupy. Light sweetness to start, pleasant bitter finish with vanilla as the strongest flavor. Could drink this as a house beer.

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Photo of Budlum
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep black color with a tan head. Aromas of strong dark-roasted coffee dominate. Caramel overshadowed by strong flavors of fresh coffee blend with faint vanilla. The flavors remain long after giving way to a pleasant coffee bitterness. Excellent.

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Photo of TubaManJack
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%

22oz bomber 10 days after bottling poured into a sniffer and enjoyed over a period of 2 hours.

Appearance - A traditional black bodied porter with a bit of milk chocolate head. There is precious little carbonation or head retention.

Smell - Wet damp coffee grounds with some harsh roasted notes. However as the beer comes up in temperature this gives way to the world class beer I expected. Deep medium roast coffee crashes against milk chocolate and heavy unsweetened vanilla. It is amazing and the roasted notes fade into the background. Very pleasant and worth the time to bring down and subsequently wash my sniffer glass.

Taste - A stronger and deeper version of nose, The deep medium roast coffee crashes against milk chocolate and heavy unsweetened vanilla which are quite chewy. But you need to let this beer warm up a little more than you would expect.

Mouthfeel - Thinner than I expected for an Imperial Porter in part to the balanced warmth of the ABV and lacking an oily feel from the coffee chocolate interplay. I liked it given the nice amount of carbonation.

Overall Impressions -
Wow, it was quite impressive, despite the hype and mystique, the beer lives up to most of its reputation. This beer really needs to warm up and time to unfold. Much like the sails of a clipper ship, you can't expect to unfurl the sail instantly. The beer in its first hour or so wasn't as impressive as the initial damp roasted coffee with vanilla extract, however once it came up to just below room temp, there wasn't any stopping to it. I would seek it out.

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Photo of Viggo
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle, big thanks to dyan and DRINKNDRIVE for the hookup.

Pours a deep and opaque black, some ruby red highlights, thick tan head forms, drops down to a thin ring around the glass, some lacing sticks, and great retention. Smell is real nice, vanilla and chocolate, caramel, burnt sugar, dark fruit, milk, lactose sweetness, honey/nougat, touch of coffee roast, really rich. Taste is similar, very nice, vanilla up front, toffee, lactose sweetness, burnt brown sugar, chocolate and some coffee roast, dark fruit/raisins, very malty, nougat finish, touch more roast in the back. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, low to medium carbonation, some warmth going down but ABV is well hidden. Awesome beer, reminds me of an imperial version of Aphrodisiaque from DDC. Thanks guys!

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Photo of BEERMILER12
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a pitch black color with 2 fingers of head that fairly quickly fade down to a cap that leaves decent lacing

S: Roasted malts and coffee up front, with the vanilla lingering a bit in the back. Some dark chocolate also comes through, providing a light bitterness to counteract the sweetness of the vanilla

T: Follows the nose. Roast, vanilla, and coffee all come through first which provides a nice mix of bitterness and sweetness. Dark chocolate in the back again. Finishes with more of the vanilla and hints of the roast and coffee

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Could definitely be a little smoother

O: A great porter that highlights both coffee and vanilla. All components go very well together (roast, coffee, vanilla, dark chocolate) and really make this a nice treat. Alcohol goes completely under the radar, which is impressive for 10%. Definitely worth picking some up if you're a fan of either coffee or vanilla beers

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,327 ratings.