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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.
BA SCORE
97
world-class

1,281 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,281
Hads: 6,229
Avg: 4.35
pDev: 19.77%
Wants: 1,033
Gots: 1,893 | FT: 92
Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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: 1,281 | Hads: 6,229
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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Photo of Darkmagus82
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into a pint glass

Appearance – The beer pours a beautifully deep brown-nearly black color with a huge billowy brown colored head. The head just sits there and persists, very slowly fading over time to leave one fantastic level of streaky lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – Oh man there is a whole lotta coffee in this smell. A huge coffee aroma greets the nose with it being accompanied by tons of vanilla and caramel sweetness. Along with these aromas are some very nice roasted malt smells as well as a moderate presence of a cocoa smell. A little bit of a woody aroma and a decent showing of a boozy smell round out the aroma profile, creating a rather sweet, dark and warming smell overall. Quite delicious smelling.

Taste – The taste begins with tons of dark roasted malt and a sweeter coffee flavor. The sweeter nature of the brew is of a vanilla and caramel nature with just a hint of chocolate mixed within. The sweeter vanilla and caramel actually pick it up as the taste moves onto the end with the vanilla getting quite strong at the end. All the while the coffee also steps it up getting even stronger in flavor toward the end of the taste, and bringing with it a little bit of a more roasted and some more bitter flavors. While the nose displayed quite a boozy nature the taste did not display as much just giving some hints of alcohol. In the end with the mix of flavors one is left with a sweeter and rather coffee heavy roasted flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the average to slightly thinner side for a 10 % brew with a carbonation level that is on the average side. Overall the feel was rather fitting as it prevented both the boozy flavors and coffee flavors from becoming too overpowering, but while still providing the base for all the complex flavors to be appropriately appreciated.

Overall – This is a nice coffee lover’s imperial porter. Big on coffee with a nice blend of roast, coffee, sweet, and booze. A very nice one to try if you get a chance.

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

Poured into a tulip glass. Deep, dark color with a decently sized, frothy, tan head. Nice lacing.

Lots of chocolate and coffee on the nose. The chocolate and sweet malts are more dominant than the coffee smell, but the coffee beans are definitely there, along with some vanilla notes as well. Smells delicious.

Caramel, vanilla and chocolate come rushing through on the first sip, followed by a healthy addition of roasted, somewhat bitter, coffee bean. Warming alcohol lurks beneath, never interfering with the flavor, but letting you know this is a big beer. The overall flavor profile is quite sweet at first, but the bitterness from the coffee helps even things out. Behind all these flavors there seems to be just a little bit of bit of peppery hoppiness as well.

Mouthfeel is very smooth, rich and warming. Feels a little spicy at times from the hops, but overall it is quite smooth.

Drinkability is also very good. I'm really enjoying the glass I'm sipping from, but I probably wouldn't drink an entire 22oz by myself due to the richness and 10% ABV. A normal sized glass serving is just about right.

Overall, this beer is awesome. Lots of chocolate, caramel, vanilla and a good addition of coffee beans. This is probably more of a dessert beer, but a very good one. More than surpassed my expectations. If you can find this, I highly recommend you pick it up. I'm already wishing I had another to drink this week and another two to cellar.

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

On Cask at Surly Goat.

Pours black with low offwhite head, even a sparkler barley kicks up any foam on this.

Aroma is vanilla with low coffe undertones, roast comes through pretty strong as well.

Flavor follows the aroma pretty close, vanilla, coffee, chocolate, woody/nutty finish.

Always enjoy this beer, and out of the cask is no exception, the alcohol has a way of sneaking up on you in this, no real warming in the mouth, but my chest and stomach start feeling it a few sips in.

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Photo of stoutfiend27
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

bomber split in two...slightly chilled..

a-black...khaki colored frothy head...fades away quickly leaving some nice lacing...thick collar hangs around

s-coffee up front of the deep roasted kind...leads into some nice roasted barley and vanilla...vanilla then gets a little head strong in the middle before leaving a faint sweet smell lingering

t-sweet vanilla up front but the coffee rushes in to take over...roasty and grainy ....a little bitter in the mid palate..some nice piney hops break through towards the end to balance this out before it finishes dry and bitter..a slight bit tannic as well..

m-creamy and smooth as silk...lingers around for a while...the bitterness dries the mouth out between sips...not harsh at all...a tad oily but over bearing..the carbonation really does this one justice.

d-will absolutely have no problem putting awary a bomber of this...the complexities that present themselves as the beer warms really make this a great sipper

ive really been looking forward to this beer and glad i got to try it...i will pick up a couple more bottle to see how it progresses...a winner in my book

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Photo of ryanmextorf
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Phenomenal porter. A tad on the toasty side but the coffee and vanilla really really shine in this one, especially in the aftertaste. Perfect for a snow day!

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Photo of biboergosum
4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

22oz bottle, thanks anew to doktorzee for garnering this, among others, from a Total Wine store in Las Vegas. I've watched the WWII naval battle documentary 'Victory at Sea', so I guess I'm qualified to tuck into this one.

This beer pours a rather solid, abyssal black, with the barest of basal cherry cola highlights, and three fingers of puffy, shiny, and thickly foamy tan head, which leaves some decent patchy Swiss cheese lace around the glass as it evenly subsides.

It smells of acrid dry-roast coffee, dried vanilla pods, once they've been infused in a bottle of vodka (been there, I have), bittersweet chocolate, and a bit of toasted white bread. The taste is a better blend of bitter coffee and sweet vanilla cream, chocolate-ensconced caramel, roasted, but not quite charred or ashy wood, a threatening, but too timid to follow through boozy warmth, and some faint earthy, herbal hops.

The carbonation is understated, but still well supportive of all that stuff going on above it, the body a decent medium-full weight for the style, actually rather smooth, and a bit creamy, even with that anvil with the frayed rope (here played by the equally slick 20-proof alcohol) hanging over it. The finish is on the sweet side, sure, but with more than enough moderating coffee and hop notes to keep things as sane as they can be.

Wow - I'm sort of vacillating on this one, in the vein of one Stephen Colbert - is this a great vanilla coffee imperial porter, or the greatest vanilla coffee imperial porter? Hard to say, as I've not yet had them all, but up to now, this one might fall into the latter's singular camp, what with the well integrated bitter coffee (not usually my favourite thing), pleasant vanilla-prodded creaminess, and yes, nearly masked big ABV. Get your hands on this particular Victory (at all Costs)!

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Photo of mtvolkens
4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Absolutely delicious. Poured into CCB snifter. It poured absolutely beautifully. Slow pour that developed a nice 2in head that retained well. The most lacking part for me was honestly the aroma. I had faint smells of vanilla and light coffee, but not as much as I was expecting. A tad dull. However, I then tasted it. Boom. Normally a dull aroma leads to a dull beer. Not this one. Packed with delicious aroma. Super wonderfully complex yet drinkable. Tastes delicious vanilla bean up front, with a nice caramelly malt, followed up with the cold brew bite on the end. Super drinkable yet complex. Hides the 10% very well.

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Photo of ajramirez1
4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Tried on tap at brewery was really good. Stoked that Ballast Point entered pdx market. Picked up in WA...

beer is pretty solid. Has good taste. Decent try. Smelt great, pretty good flavor to beer. Wasnt overpowering pretty balanced.

worth the rank where its at on BA.

A-

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Photo of Glanzman
4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce bottle served in a pint glass.

Pours a jet black color with 1 finger tan head. Nice lacing.

Smells of dark roasted (burnt really, but in a good way) malts and STRONG coffee aroma.

Taste like a bold, dark roasted coffee with beer bitterness from the hops, a bit of chocolate malt and vanilla bean to boot.

If you like dark roasted coffee, this is your beer! Not awesome but well done.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I love the skeleton parrot on the shoulder of the skeleton pirate. Opaque black, large chunky tan head leaves lumpy gravy retention. Could look better only if it came in a glow in the dark bottle.

Dark roast coffee + dark roast malt = dark and rich with smooth vanilla all over. Subtle hop burst at the end. Smells like it tastes.

I would never guess this to be such a high abv as the alcohol is expertly hidden. My new favorite dessert beer.

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Photo of OneEye78
4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a wide mouth pint glass. Black body with a hint of light brown at the edges and a 1.4 inch white/brown head. The nose was true to its name with heavy coffee and vanilla scents, and a bit of tart fruitiness, maybe cranberry. Taste was very complex, with a blast of coffee up front, followed by a soft caramel, vanilla flavor and fruit that fades into a bit of bitterness. This is a substantial beer that coats the mouth and leaves behind a lingering flavor,. It really drinks more like a stout than a traditional porter. Overall, I would say that this is a very strong beer, definitely one of my favorites.

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Photo of steve8robin
4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Glad I found this one at the local beer store...

A: Perfect. Black with no light shining through. Thick 1 and 1/2" mocha colored head that slowly thins, but never completely fades.

S: Smells of heavy vanilla with hints of coffee and an oaky / matly backend. Smells good. Not an extremely strong scent, but not hidden either.

T: Very hoppy upfront with vanilla notes followed by subtle coffee. I like this one. Very tasty. The more I drink it, the more the coffee takes front and center and the vanilla takes a back seat.

M: Very good carbonation with a nice smoothness that lingers on the tastebuds.

D: Goes down exceptionally easy. Very easy to drink despite the ABV %.

All in all, this is a porter that is on the stout borderline, which most good porters are anyways. This is a great brew if you're looking for a good blend of flavor, hoppiness, and smooth drinkability. Awesome brew!

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Photo of Resuin
4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a Bomber into a Chimay chalice. This year's edition, so not much age on this one.

Appearance: Pours a pitch-black and leaves maybe half a finger of light brown head. I'm a fan of the darkness of this pour, and it looks to have a very nice consistency to it.

Smell: A light coffee and vanilla scent dominates the initial smell. Some hints of chocolate accompany; definitely a pleasant smell.

Taste: The taste matches the smell pretty well - a very well balanced flavor of coffee, vanilla and malts. This beer is absolutely delicious and the alcohol is extremely well balanced within the beer, this feels substantially lighter than a 10% ABV brew. This is a great sipper.

Mouth-feel: I would call this a perfect balance for a stout/porter. Definitely not too thin, but not thick or syrupy - the perfect balance. Still a good level of carbonation too - this beer has a lovely feel to it.

Overall: This is a porter to judge all porters by. Absolutely delicious and extremely well balanced. Neither the coffee or vanilla are overpowering, but they both add terrific aspects to this beer. I highly recommend this beer to everyone.

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Photo of perrymarcus
4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

bomber served in a snifter glass.

pours an opaque, motor oil black with a creamy khaki toned head that slowly recedes into a collar around the glass; nice walls of lacing. all around great looking beer. exactly what i look for.

nose opens with an unmistakable coffee presence, followed by roasted malts and chocolate. reminds me somewhat of founders breakfast stout.

aroma characters largely pull through in the taste with plenty of coffee and roasted malts, but there's a vanilla note i missed in the nose, albeit a muted one... some bitterness to the finish, with vanilla showing up a bit more in the aftetaste. overall, a really tasty, dare i say delicious beer. well done.

smooth, velvety moutfeel... medium bodied, though a bit lighter than most similar-styled beers; appropriate carbonation. 10% ABV makes its high drinkability rather dangerous.

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Photo of Tucquan
4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on 2013-06-23 at the Fridge in Lancaster, PA

A - Opaque dark browe with a 1-finger tan head and great lacing.

S - Rich dark roasted malt, dark chocolate, expresso, vanilla.

T - Much like the smell with the addition of char, light molasses, lots of dark chocolate. The vanilla is present but in check. There's some sweetness for balance. Roasted and hop bitterness.

M - Thick body and light medium carbonation. Prickly and creamy.

O - This is a very fine imperial porter. Reminds me of a Founders Imperial Stout.

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Photo of billshmeinke
4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. poured into a pint glass.

Black as midnight. Finger and a half pillowy khaki head with a couple larger bubbles in there. Resides to a nice thin layer of foam on top that leaves plenty of lacing that vehemently adheres to the glass.

Tons of coffee, roasted and smokey scents. A nice vanilla and caramel sweetness.

The taste burst with smokey, roasted coffee flavors. Tons of caramel, chocolate and vanilla flavor comes in there too. A subtle hint of dark fruits as well (raisins). Very bitter and smoky from the coffee, not much hop presence to speak of. It is balanced with tons of sweetness from the vanilla and the chocolate and caramel maltiness.

The mouthfeel is surprisingly only medium bodied, but slightly sticky at the same time (not exactly viscous but sticky, probably due to the vanilla). Medium carbonation, not incredibly bubbly. A nice velvety creaminess as well. I read another review that the body of the mouthfeel makes this beer true to its roots as a porter and keeps it from being confused with a stout which I totally agree with.

Good drinkability. There's a lot going on here that keeps you coming back for more, but the coffee starts to interfere a bit with the other flavors about half way through. Still the alcohol is very well hidden, and it's a very drinkable brew.

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Photo of muletrane
4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

No bottle date :(

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a CBS snifter.

A: Pours a jet black colour with no light shining through. Huge three fingered creamy light tan head. Tight bubbles with great retention and lacing.

S: Coffee notes dominate the nose here. Some vanilla notes on the back end. Some alcohol as it warms.

T: Very nice balance between the coffee, vanilla and roasted malts. There is lingering bitterness and roastiness in the finish. Some warming alcohol.

M: Moderate body with light carbonation. Very smooth and easy to drink.

Overall this a very nice and unique porter. Nicely balanced and tasty. Very glad I got a chance to try this.

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Photo of jgagne
4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- very dark, almost opaque body with a huge chocalate milk looking head.

S-huge chocalate and vanilla notes come woffing off this beer. With mild roasty coffee notes.

T-wow, this beer has a wonderful blend of coffee, dark chocalate and vanilla. The chocalate hits you at first then the vanilla really smoothes out the beer. And you end with nice roasty finish.

M-nice heavy body with low carbonation. Sits almost like an imperial stout.

O-what a truly wonderful beer. Great balance and flavor. Highly recommended.

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Photo of McStagger
4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoy by 11/26/13. Whoops! Hope the vanilla hasn't faded too much.

A: Might as well be a stout. Pours out thick and inky. Dark. Dark dark dark. Put up to the light and you can get some small tiny bits of garnet on the edges. Head was half a finger that evaporated. A vigorous swirl brings us a touch more than a finger of dark, espresso creme colored foam. Still fades pretty quickly. Good lacing on the glass.

S: Deep roasted malts. Candied sugar in there. Toasted sugar in there as well. Think of toffee that's been brulee'd. Vanilla is still very present. As is the coffee. Coffee is a rich, full bodied roast. Super dark fruit under there. Dried black cherry, maybe some currant or casis. Back end has a woody/smoky characteristic with just a touch of alcohol heat.

T: Hell's bells. Flavors just explode! Entrance is sweet milk chocolate with big notes of vanilla! This is overtaken by a rush of dark fruit. dark fruit. Figs, dates, more of the dried black cherry. The malt bitterness picks up in the end, hitting you with huge notes of roasted and torched grain. Heat begins to show up in the finish, but it works so well with the vanilla sweetness. Very little coffee in this one. Just getting a tiny bit on the finish.

M: A little north of medium bodied. I understand that this is an Imperial Porter, but for with flavors that go pretty much toe to toe with an RIS, I guess I just expect the body of the beer to behave like an RIS.

O: Dunno why it took me so long to pick one of these up. The ten dollar price tag probably had something to do with it. Still, this one is defintely worth the money. An absolutely stellar beer for the chill winter nights.

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Photo of aquazr1
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle served in a tulip. Pours a chocolate brown with a khaki head. Taste is chocolate, vanilla and coffee. Taste is even better with the coffee, chocolate and vanilla joined with some toffee and a bit of hops.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,281 ratings.