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

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1,328 Reviews
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,328
Ratings:
6,444
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: 1,328 | Ratings: 6,444
Photo of csmiley
4.2/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to prototypic for the chance to try this one out.

A - Pours a dark brown and borders on black in some areas. The bottom of the glass shows some ruby highlights that turn a cola brown towards the top. Tan head comes to almost one finger and disappears after a minute or two. Ends up a cap that nearly covers the top of the brew. Lacing starts out pretty sticky and ends on an average note.

S - Comes through big with a dry roasted malt aroma. Some bittersweet chocolate quickly follows. A nice espresso layer comes in around midway mixed with a little vanilla. The vanilla is much lighter than expected. Still not bad though. Alcohol is always present yet always under control.

T - The taste in this one is powerful. Loads of chocolate and cocoa stand at the forefront. Alcohol is more noticeable in the flavor but still easily managed. It comes across as warm an spicy but still feels under 10%. Fresh ground coffee and vanilla pretty much dominate the middle. Vanilla is light in the flavor just like the aroma. This beer could pass for a stout any day in my book.

M - Fuller bodied with a light carbonation of fine bubbles. Finish is bone-dry and smokey. Like chewing on a charcoal briquette.

D - Drinkability is good. It's pretty big for a porter, even an imperial. The 10% makes it go down slow. That's not a bad thing for this beer though. Tons of flavor makes you wnat to sip and savor every bit. Might be tough to dink 22 ounces so splitting this works will for me. I could have used a touch more vanilla but that is a very minor issue in the grand scheme of things.

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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 twillingthenoz
4.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a tulip glass. Frothy tan head. Diminishes into a one finger height head that stays as you drink. Thick fluffy lacing. Opaque dark brown.

Smells of roasted coffee beans. Some vanilla scent coming through.

Might very well be my new favorite coffee stout. mmmm coffee taste up front. Nice sweetness... then a well balanced bitterness at the end.

Very smooth and creamy. Light carbonation. Coats your mouth and sticks around for a while after you swallow.

This one gives you everything you want in a coffee porter. Not too thick, not too sweet, nice hoppy coffee bitterness.

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Photo of erushing
4.66/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this fairly fresh and I've aged it to about 9 months to tone down the coffee. Fresh, it's a really above average porter that is very coffee forward. This review is more for the one that was about 9 months old where I thought it was incredibly complex and the coffee didn't dominate everything so much (for me). With a bit of age on it, it became one of best porter/stouts I've had.

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Photo of mooseo
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into snifter.

A - Pitch black with a creamy khaki head.

S - Smoked dark malt, fresh black coffee, hints of vanilla and milk chocolate.

T - A delightful blend of black coffee, vanilla bean, chocolate, and sweet roasted malt. The vanilla becomes most prominent, especially as it warms. Finishes with a slight alcohol burn and light coffee bitterness.

M - Full, thick, creamy. Dry finish, warming alcohol.

O - Delicious. The flavor is bold, balanced, and complex. Dangerously drinkable at 10% ABV.

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Photo of MadCat
3/5  rDev -31%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a nice dark black color with dark tan head, leaves good lacing

Smell: Strong medium roast coffee, some hints of roasted malts and earthy hops

Taste: Strong medium roast coffee dominates the taste. The faintest hints of vanilla, along with a little stronger hints of roasted malts and earthy hops. Good bitterness

Mouthfeel: Full body, good level of carbonation for the style

Overall: Disappointing. Severely. Even without all the hype it gets, picking up a bottle from a good brewery that says "Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter" you would expect something different. This tastes like you brewed a batch of beer replacing the water purely with coffee, and not a coffee with the kind of notes I prefer. If this didn't say vanilla on the label, I would have no idea it was there. And, you have to really know what you're looking for to tell that it is based on a porter. Now, maybe I had it too fresh? Maybe a little age will tone the coffee down? But still, where's the vanilla? I know its there, but it is so over powered by the coffee. I haven't had a ton of coffee beers, but what I have had is a bit more balance, a bit more toned down, and a bit more enjoyable. At $10 a bottle, I'm not going to try to figure out if I got a bad bottle. Still, this isn't a drain pour, but I can think of plenty of 4 pack or 6 pack beers I would rather have.

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Photo of Extol
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - black in color, with a foamy brown head. Smell - mostly coffee and something else I can't put my finger on. Taste - blast of coffee with a subtle vanilla to smooth out the bitterness. Overall - this is good, can't wait to see as it warms a bit.

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Photo of fscottkey
3.95/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: [4.75] Pours a pitch black. Forms a 2 finger head of dense khaki bubbles. The head is really rich and creamy looking. The head leaves nice lacing on the glass and does not dissipate quickly. The bottle lists the ABV (10.0%) and date code for born on 2/20/15.

S: [4.00] Very coffee forward. That is the prominent feature of the nose.

T: [4.00] The taste is roasted malts and chocolate. It is bitter chocolate. As I continue to drink I get more of the coffee taste in each sip. The finish is also coffee with roasted malts.

M: [3.50] There is a little more tingle feel than I expected. The body wasn't as thic as I expected either (given the rich looking head). There is a long lingering coffee and roasted malt taste at the end.

O: [3.75] I know the distinction between porter and stout can be academic - but I agree that this is a 10% porter. It didn't have the thick body I'd expect in a stout. Visually it is a great beer. The nose is also really nice. It has a good taste and is well balanced. The mouthfeel was a little weak - but like I said maybe that is more of a porter experience. Overall this is a good beer that I would drink again. It is not my favorite coffee porter/stout.

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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 theghost3
4.44/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep mahogany with a 3-finger fallow-colored head. A ring stays throughout with moderate lacing.

The smell is robust coffee and vanilla with toasted malts & slightly boozy scent. The taste is bitter, quality coffee with some caramel and burnt malts. Coffee gets more intense as the temperature rises. Mouthfeel is carbonated, medium-bodied. Just below a stout in terms of thickness.

This is a drinkable imperial porter. Expect an intense coffee character and an ABV that wields quite a punch. I really enjoyed it.

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Photo of ShadesOfGray
4.6/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Portsmouth snifter/tulip glass. Pours an almost solid black and fills the glass completely night black! Looks pretty thick for a porter, closer to a RIS by appearance. Head is decent size of a toffee color...VERY frothy/creamy. Tons of sticky non-sliding lacing, lasts nearly the entirety of the drink. Wonderful looking beer.

Aroma is pleasant, and strong. Tons of coffee, slight(very slight) bitter mid...and a very sweet vanilla backbone. Due to the HUGE coffee smell, booze doesn't really hit the nose...even though it's 10%...so...well hidden.

Wow, outstanding. Hits you quick with a slight kick/bitter hop...very creamy semi-thick mouthfeel and follows with tons of sweetness. Carbonation is strong, but no where near noticable to distract from the huge flavor of this beer! Again, booze is well hidden. Lot's of coffee and vanilla flavors mixing great together. The aftertaste is also outstanding. A few minutes after each mouthful, there's a great vanilla aroma still attacking the nostrils and coffee penetrating the taste buds. What a great tasting beer! Again though, this is a porter!? haha.

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Photo of WJVII
3.68/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2/23/11 review session hosted by Cdkrenz reviewed from notes- cdkrenz sample:
Poured into a pint glass this brew has a thick oil like black color with a nice 3 finger chocolate head. There is a strong aroma of burnt malts, coffee and caramel. The flavor is more mild than expected and not until a few sips do you notice the subtle but delicious vanilla that matches perfectly with the chocolate flavor. The coffee that is advertised is not very noticeable. This had a smooth milky body and was good but not the best we had that night. Strong brew and definitely recommend.

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Photo of DesMoinesMike
4.73/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Date night with the wife at Flix and this is an amazing brew. The nose is mostly coffee with a bit of cocoa. Taste is amazing! Nice mix of coffee, cocoa, toffee. Super smooth and gets me all relaxed.

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Photo of Popp24
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I just picked this up at the brewery last weekend. I really enjoyed this porter.

A - Dark; almost black with about a 1 finger khaki head.

S - I get a lot of vanilla and some coffee and cocoa.

T - What I got from the nose transfered over to the taste. Nice vanilla favors with some mild cocoa as well. The coffee is there but not too much which I like. The porter is so easy to drink for 10 percent; the alcohol is barley their at the finish.

M - Nice and creamy.

O - I really enjoyed this porter and it really had a lot of nice flavors to it. The vanilla and cocoa flavors give it sweetness and the coffee kinda balances that out so it's not too sweet. Was sad when my bomber was empty.

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Photo of Ford
4.79/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

On tap at Nobi Public House in Webster, Texas.. served in a 9oz snifter.

First.. thanks Ballast Point for finally coming to Texas... howdy and welcome.

I love porters and stouts... I especially love them with big coffee smells and flavors.. I also like vanilla...

This one stands with the best I have had... so good... lots of coffee flavor.. a touch of vanilla is there also.. smells so dang good.

I don't know if this is year round.. the website doesn't show it, so I'm guessing it is seasonal.. I would love to see this year round...it's a great beer.

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Photo of joeseppy
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours black as I can get it with a continual amount of mocha frothiness.

Aromas of of dark cocoa, coffee, hops, roasty grain and milk sweetness.

Straight forward in your face-no doubt about it-Hello coffee! May I have some dark cocoa, vanilla bean, piney hop and alcohol put in there please.

Medium to heavy on the mouthfeel with alcohol resonating in the cranium with bitter coffee on the tongue and vanilla ringing on the palate.

Delivers as advertised with no frills or artificial ingredients. Pleasure to have tried and will get better with some time on it. Buyer beware, there is strong black coffee here in the mix. Plain outstanding!

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Photo of Axic10
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours pitch black with two fingers of mocha foam that settles after a few minutes.

Smell: Bold coffee, dark chocolate, vanilla and some boozy notes at the end.

Taste: Coffee, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, vanilla. Tasty!

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and smooth.

Drinkability: Probably a neck and neck tie for my favorite beer from Ballast Point (Sculpin being the other). I've had this beer on tap and out of the bottle and it is really really good. Definitely one I order whenever I see it.

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Photo of Teleweizen2
3.38/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - pours pitch black with a bubbly mocha head of foam. Two fingers worth. It dissipated rather quickly. Leaves streaks of lacing.

S - lots of oily espresso on first sniff along with varying degrees of roasted malt and a bit of milk chocolate. Some mild spice notes along with hints of vanilla and toasted coconut.

T - vaguely sweet on the front of the tongue. The roasty bitter flavors enter mid palate to balance the sweetness. There are hints of vanilla as well but it seems to be providing a counter notand e to the strong esprosso bean roasty flavors.

M - full bodied. medium carbonation. Creamy texture.

O - an interesting ale. I was expecting a little more desert beer
from this with the vanilla playing a larger role. But still flavorful and well produced.

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Photo of bifrost17
4.36/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into a CBS snifter

A: Pretty much what you'd expect. Very dark, but I can't quite decide if I'd say it's black, or just a very dark brown...maybe like mahogany, or ebony. Nice light brown, cinnamon colored head that sticks around. Moderate lacing.

S: Smells like dessert. Vanilla, and coffee obviously, but also chocolate, cherries, and maybe like a woody...earthiness....? Smells amazing.

T: Tastes even better than it smells! Wow, so much going on, bitter coffee up front, followed by a chocolate/vanilla sweetness, and then finishes with a lingering coffee espresso type of bitterness. Really amazing how sweet the beer tastes but how bitter it finishes. Props to the brewers, this is crazy. Almost tastes like multiple different beers all rolled into one. The 10% abv is totally hidden.

M: Moderate carbonation, suuuper creamy. Feels nice. My only complaint is it's a tad thin, but I guess maybe that's how you can differentiate between an "imperial stout" and an "imperial porter." This is definitely not thick enough to be confused with an imperial stout.

O: Easily my favorite Ballast Point beer. I've had Sculpin numerous times, and I enjoy it, but I really don't understand the hype behind it. Victory at Sea on the other hand...A W E S O M E. Seek this beer out. I've always been skeptical of the "Imperial Porter" style, but this beer clearly defines it. Not as heavy and robust as an Imperial Stout...almost hard to describe, but if you want to know what an Impy Porter is just drink this and you'll know. Thank you Ballast Point.

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Photo of BrewUSA
4.59/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ballast Point Victory at Sea

Look 9/10
Smell 19/20
Taste 40/40
Feel 9/10
Drinkability 19/20

Overall 96/100


Everything about this is excellent, its the best porter on the market. The fact that its really more of a stout helps it. Such massive Chocolate, Vanilla and Coffee... It finishes extremely smooth and drinkable smooth at 10.5. One of my all time fave beers ever, top 10 for sure~

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Photo of MacMalt
4.48/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this on draft so it was colder than I would serve it at home. Very dark brown with creamy head. I was disappointed by the lack of smell (perhaps due to the temperature) but this is a delicious porter. Coffee forward but with enough vanilla to justify its reputation. Nice medium body. Overall, an excellent beer. I wish it were easier to find in bottles here in New Jersey.

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Photo of TheCuriograph
4.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

From a bomber, poured into a pint glass.

A - Pitch black, with a two-finger tan frothy head. Head aerates slightly, leaving nice spiderweb lacing.

S - Coffee and vanilla dominate with a sugary sweetness that masks any booze or bitterness.

T - The rich vanilla really rises to the top, leaving the coffee-malt body to follow. There's a sharp espresso bitterness the subsides nice and gentle. Behind all of it is a tangy alcohol, almost like dark cherry intermingling with caramel.

M - Mealy, oil mouthfeel. Substantial and heavy, a perfect desert-course unto itself.

O - One of the better coffee-focused beers I've had. The sweetness and bitterness are perfectly balanced, and it's full and quietly boozy. A great dessert beer.

***

Politics, Art, Beer. A Compendium of Worldly Facts
The Curiograph
www.thecuriograph.com
Twitter: @TheCuriograph

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Photo of Retsinis
4.05/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a Bruery Tulip glass.

Pours a deep, rich black, with brown highlights when held to the light. Less than an inch of head, that fades to a light lacing that sits on top, and sticks to the side of the glass.

Smell is of vanilla, roasted coffee, burnt brown sugar, and a tinge of bitter hops, but comes across more as bitter coffee.

Taste follows the nose, coffee, vanilla, some tobacco, dark chocolate ( like 70% dark chocolate)

Mouth feel is a bit creamy, but doesn't linger on the palate. Heat of the 10% is well masked, but comes through more once it warms up.

Overall, one of the top coffee porters. The 2010 seems a bit too balanced in contrast to previous years, with the flavors melding to a point of masking what is a complex beer. Having sampled various variety's, the barrel aged tap version is delicious, as was last year's fresh, (Also aged last years for a year, vanialla comes through a lot, coffee fades quite a bit, was still present though) but last years cask version with Rum chips takes the prize.

Recommended in any variant though, great seasonal.

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Photo of johlac66
4.56/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark brown with a light beige head that stayed in port for a short visit, leaving a few dots and streaks of lacing.
Roasted cocoa vanilla up my nostrils. Taste follows. Hint of dark fruit.
Nicely carbonated. A bit more than medium mouthfeel. Slightly bitter roasty finish.
The coffee and malt are wonderfully balanced.

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Photo of Philousa
4.44/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours very black, but has a tinge of coffee color against the light. takes some effort to produce head and what's there dissipates to leave very little on top of the drink. Aroma starts out with lots of caramel and a hint o licorice/anise. The Porter malt is strong with this one. Some chocolate and vanilla notes with a hint of oak. Sweet vanilla flavor fades quickly to bitter dark roast coffee. Dark chocolate follows and finishes bitter. Vanilla is in there the whole while, lingering. I got some tobacco in there too. Amazingly smooth for the ABV, the finish is dry.

This is one of my favorite porters. Complex and flavorful, I thought this was surely barrel aged at first. Adding chocolate and vanilla is a delicate process, which is why I like BA beers more. All this is to say that the flavors blend well together and are not overbearing. The ABV is very deceiving, too. You notice it when you stand up, not when you drink it.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,328 ratings.