Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter - Ballast Point Brewing Company
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Ratings: 3,690 | Reviews: 918 | Display Reviews Only:
4.38/5 rDev -0.2%
Reviewed from notes after enjoying on 1/18/14. Served out of a 22 oz brown bomber with an enjoy by date of 01/03/14, although this style should be fine with some age. Poured into a large 22 oz. snifter that looks sort of like a Teku glass without the flared lip.
Appearance - Body is midnight black--no light getting through capped with a half-finger mocha-tan head of predominantly tiny bubbles with a few medium-sized suds interspersed. Retention is moderate, with the foam fading to a line around the edge of the glass and a thin sparse film across the top of the glass. No lacing whatsoever.
Smell - At first, I was disappointed, thinking that I had left this in the back of my fridge a tad too long. Initially, there was very little coffee or vanilla, with the predominant notes being dark chocolate and dark-roasted malt and buckwheat. However, upon letting it warm a bit, the coffee and vanilla became a bit more present on the nose, even if subdued. The coffee element evokes roasted beans, before any grinding or brewing, just waiting to be unleashed.
Taste - I'm happy to report that the the marquee elements of the porter held up much better on the tongue than they did on the nose. Big, french roast coffee and bold bitterness that finishes with a pleasant vanilla sweetness, like the wonderful innards of a freshly-scored dried vanilla bean. Bittersweet, burnt caramel and waffle cone all add their voices to the mix as well in a complimentary role. It's situations like this where the advantages of a larger format bottle become clear. The first glass was good, but the second glass was great due to some patience and increased temperature.
Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied (which is a surprise for a non-BA porter with coffee and vanilla that clocks in at 10% abv), with low carbonation on this just-past-the-best-by-date bottle. In spite of the body being a bit lighter than expected, there is a viscous element that leaves a lingering bittersweet finish that is wonderfully complex.
Overall, a great offering from Ballast Point, and even though I've had a limited number of brews from them, this one is a clear favorite of mine. I have one more bottle that I will likely be opening sooner than later, to see just how much difference that best by date really makes.
01-28-2014 07:45:50 | More by LambicPentameter
4.78/5 rDev +8.9%
Beautiful deep brown pour, with a tall, three finger thick, brown head. The smell of coffee and vanilla hit he nose from an arms length, and bringing the glass closer revealed chocolate and caramel. The taste was full of dark coffee followed by some rich vanilla and sweet chocolate, and a surprising high amount of hops. The finish was very grainy and hops and coffee lingered long. The mouthfeel was silky, and satisfyingly thick. This is a fantastic beer.
01-26-2014 05:51:13 | More by rajendra82
4.43/5 rDev +0.9%
A-Deep black with a great, tan colored head. Mild carbonation can be seen.
S-Almost pure coffee for me. The vanilla is there, but takes a definite back seat to the coffee and chocolate flavors.
T-Tons of coffee right up front. Bitter, dark chocolate followed by a mellow and sweet vanilla aftertaste. This beer has one of the most perfect balances of coffee flavors in a beer that I've ever had. It tastes balanced and like quite a bit of work went into it.
M-Light to medium carbonation. Given the flavors I thought it would have a slightly heavier mouthfeel. I definitely would not call it watery, but would have appreciated a thicker body to this.
O-A beer that should not be passed up. The coffee in this beer makes it exceptional and although I wish it had a thicker body, I'd be hard pressed to insult this beer.
01-26-2014 05:35:11 | More by Elprico
Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 3,690 ratings.