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

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97
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1,326 Reviews
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,326
Ratings:
6,439
Avg:
4.35
pDev:
19.77%
 
 
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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: 1,326 | Ratings: 6,439
Photo of joshbhs04
3.88/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A- Jet Black with 1/4 in of nice creamy head
S- Roast, can def smell the Vanilla.
T- Lots of Coffee with just a hint of the Vanilla. Lots of roasted malt flavors.
M- Med-Heavy Body with a slightly lingering mouthfeel.
O- Was looking forward to more Vanilla but was still a great Coffee porter. Might bring out some more Vanilla with age.

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Photo of RoninTK3
4.32/5  rDev -0.7%
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 05Harley
3.92/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoy by 11/16/13
Estimated calories - 300/12oz

Purchased through Let's pour

Price - $15.00/bomber

Pours midnight black with a two fingered creamy tan head, damn this is frothy. Pretty clingy too with thick lacing all around. A sexy looking beer which is easy on the eyes.

The smell is a full on assault of sweet vanilla followed by coffee beans, caramel and roasted malt. The vanilla is definitely dominant in this example and reminds me of a fine liquor scent.

The taste is boozy to say the least. Flavors of coffee, nuts and unsweetened chocolate are all but muted by the rich vanilla and alcohol aftertaste. A disappointment in this category.

The body is medium to thick with a slight syrupy feel. Starts off smooth and quickly changes hot due to the alcohol. The finish is bitter and dry. Usually I'm not bothered by this but here it seems more bitter and dry due to alcohol rather than fresh hops.

Overall the taste was a bit of a let down. The vanilla and alcohol just overpowered this for me. The nose however was awesome and the appearance led the way. I know it's high in octane but in the end it's just too hot for me.

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Photo of coreyfmcdonald
3.68/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle into a snifter

A: Pours a shade from pitch black with three fingers of thick tan head. The head slowly subsides with nice lacing and a thick film atop the beer.

S: Lots of smooth earthy coffee in here with some dark chocolate and a hint of vanilla and caramel sweetness - kind of like coffee and cream. Fairly straight-forward, but nice.

T: The coffee is still very present, but now dark chocolate comes out quite strong along with nice roast. The roast and coffee meet somewhere that almost makes them indistinguishable between the two, though the coffee remains very obviously there. Vanilla comes in fairly strong as well, but there is an acidic twang in the aftertaste. Without this acidity, this beer would be very good.

M: Medium thickness with fairly strong carbonation.

O: The coffee is very, very strong with this one, though it goes well with the beer. The beer remains fairly dry, though the vanilla sweetness is a nice touch. A bit acidic. A good coffee porter.

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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 jrenihan
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On-tap at Ginger Man.

Beer is black with a small tan head,

Vanilla is the strongest smell. it is actually somewhat overpowering, though nice. Some chocolate as well.

Tonnes of vanilla and chocolate in the taste. Roast malt and a bit of anise. The coffee is quite muted in comparison to the vanilla, which is very strong. Quite balanced, with a notable bitterness despite the inherent sweetness of some of the flavours. Very nice- truly a dessert beer.

Full bodied, moderately carbonated. Fairly thick. A bit creamy.

Overall, very enjoyable indeed. Reminiscent of DDC's Aphrodite, which I suppose is not surprising.

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Photo of socon67
4.49/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at The Good Life, Massapequa NY

A - Dark brown pour with a brown foam. Lacing on this is very nice streaks along the glass. Foam retention is pretty solid. This appears to be a thick beer.

S - Okay I love vanilla scents so this was simply awesome. The vanilla aroma was promounced, consistent, and gave a sweet, bakery cake smell. There is also a distinct smell of ground coffee. The malt profile on this smells sweet. This is a dessert beer.

T - A very sweet flavor that has sugar and vanilla frosting flavor. The is a slight bitterness of coffee that has an ever so slight anisette flavor of licorice. The complexity of sweet malts and these flavors makes this an enticing beer.

M - A bit heavier than most porters. Has a syrupy thickness as this hits the mouth. While I throughly loved this beer, it is not sessionable and I'd say it certianbly reuqires resetting your palate to taste more beer, or other foods for that matter.

O - A well crafted big porter that once again blurs the porterstout lines. For vanilla beer lovers this is a must try. Easily my favorite from Ballast Point and that includes Sculpin.

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Photo of anteater
4.14/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle

A: rich super dark brown, almost entirely black with medium tan head and relatively high carbonation

S: vanilla hits the nose first followed by hints of coffee, the sweetness of the malt is rich and chocolately

T: the balance between vanilla and chocolate comes first and is the most striking aspect of this beer. the coffee flavor combined with slight bitterness and a tiny yet appropriate burn of alcohol takes over as the initial sweetness fades.

M: medium-high thickness, but offset by higher than average carbonation in this type of beer. i really like the mouthfeel

O: an excellent imperial porter, would recommend to anyone with the opportunity to try. it would be comparable to other imperial porters of this caliber without the addition of vanilla but i think the vanilla is what sets it apart.

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Photo of Qwest_35
4.82/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

My first Victory! Pours a dark brown, almost black. The vanilla aroma on this beer is right up front, with a dark roasted cappuccino notes close behind. The flavor and mouthfeel of this beer is insane! Rich coffee with a sweet vanilla backbone, light hint of caramel, the hops are definitely present on the tongue as well, a really great porter! I can't say enough good things about this stuff! the alcohol is really well hidden and I am getting no bad aftertaste to boot. Overall a supremely tasty brew from Ballast Point, a bit pricey for a bomber, but I am not disappointed at all!

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Photo of yamar68
4.54/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Been looking to try this beer forever, just never actively sought it out. But guess what? Hessian257 sent one my way in a mystery box recently!

Dark, dark, dark... nice half finger of creamy pale brown head. Great slick lace and cloudy beading beneath. Good looking stuff for sure.

Aroma doesn't wait for me to find it... mocha, oily coffee bean and bitter chocolate, mellow vanilla, some hazelnut and other nutty aromas. Loves it.

Big, bold blend of coffee, caramel, smooth vanilla, fudge... a bit sticky, bittersweet, maybe some berry notes buried in here somewhere. Delicious in every way.

Thanks Dave! Permanently ISO.

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Photo of PicoPapa
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at The Ginger Man. Pours a pitch black color with a thin layer of light brown head. Some lacing. Smells great. The aroma is sweet coffee and vanilla with some smokey roasted malts and chocolate. The taste is a nice boozey mix of the coffee and sweet vanilla. Dark chocolate and roasted malts. More of the coffee and vanilla comes out at the end along with a nice warming alcohol presence. There's a lot going on here but it all blends well together. Slick mouthfeel. Overall, fantastic Imperial Porter that I need to have again.

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Photo of DM1293
4.79/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Let's be real here; this is essentially a stout. It might SAY Porter, and it might be BREWED like a Porter...but this beer is pretty darn thick in mouthfeel, more than any other porter I've had.

The taste is phenomenal. It's very prominently sweet chocolate, hints of dark fruit, balanced out by a firm but unimposing coffee bitterness. It's like drinking dark chocolate really, with even hints of vanilla coming through. Fairly thick, but this is an Imperial-style so I expect it to be so.

For all the praise I give it, I'd probably still just drink it just as a "Dessert Beer" due to its 10% ABV. Regardless, it's definitely worth tracking down while you can.

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Photo of MacQ32
4.48/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a thick, but damn near black into my over sized goblet glass with a solid finger of molasses colored head that dissipates within a few minutes to only a thin layer across the entire surface of the beer. Strong lacing.

S - Lots of sweet vanilla and roasty chocolate. Enough bitterness to balance out the sweet armoa.

T - Bitter sweet chocolate and quite roasty up front, which relatively quickly transitions into plentiful sweet vanilla and lots of bitter dark chocolate. Finish is mostly sweet chocolate and roasty/bitter coffee and slightly spicy hops. Fairly dry/boozy, hoppy bitter aftertaste.

ONCE I ALLOW IT TO WARM UP to 55-60 its much smoother, and has less roasty/bitter astringency.

M - Medium-full bodied, the bitterness makes this very drinkable for me, not overly syrupy sweet. On the more carbonated end of the spectrum for the style. The carb+bitter make its fairly easy to throw back.

O - Big combination of sweet vanilla and bitter chocolate/coffee flavors, wonderful balance of the two

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Photo of BB1313
4.13/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Enjoy by 11/26/13. 22oz bottle poured into a snifter. Pours pitch black with a khaki-mocha head that sticks out and leaves nice lacing. The aromas are solid and full of roasted black coffee and caramel malts. The vanilla seems to take a backseat in the aromas, but are in full force in the flavor department. Flavors are extremely bold and robust. The bitterness from the coffee dominates. There's a sweet cream like quality which really gives this beer a nice complexity. Chocolate syrup and coconut is in the mix. Hops are present, but subtle. There are hints of grapefruit every now and then in the nose and flavors. Bitter and there's a kiss of heat, but not boozy one bit. Mouthfeel is very creamy and fluffy, but extremely thick. It really works for the style and makes for an easy drinking beer. This is dangerously drinkable, it's very easy to drink and has enough complexity to keep you interested. It also gets better the more you get into it and as it warms up. Alcohol goes unnoticed.

Impressive beer right here. Second time having it. It has enough qualities that remind me of a porter, but stout lovers would obviously love this beer. Well crafted beer. Recommended.

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Photo of liamt07
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Premier Gourmet, 650ml into a tulip. Best by November 26, 2013.

Black body, lofty mocha head. Great retention and lacing. Beautiful vanilla, brown sugar and medium-dark coffee roast on the nose. A creamy quality to this as well. Heavy roast and dark chocolate on the palate, a creamy vanilla quality contributes a moderate amount of balance. Carbonation a tad high to begin with, but this is easily remedied. Medium full feel. Delicious, might have wet dreams thinking about this on nitro or hand pump.

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Photo of hosehead83
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from "bomber" bottle into a wine goblet.
Opaque black in color with a thick cap of tan foam.
Aroma-Dark roast coffee, subtle vanilla note;
Taste-Black patent malt, roasted coffee, vanilla ice cream, tobacco, black coffee/charred meat finish. Well-balanced, full of character, and very flavorfull. Highly recommended.

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Photo of fredmugs
4.68/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

With the possible exception of Marshall Zhukov this is the best non barrel aged stout I've ever had. Huge coffee and vanilla. The only thing missing is toffee notes.

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Photo of AnotherImperial
4.71/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I had been holding off on this beer, as porters are usually a bit light and thin for my tastes. Big mistake. This is, by far, the best porter I've ever had. The coffee is definitely the predominant flavor/aroma, but the subtle hints of vanilla perfectly compliment the beer. And, it has a thicker mouthfeel than I was expecting from a porter. This is a phenomenal example of the style, and simply a wonderful overall beer.

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Photo of tectactoe
4.34/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Shared with Mike - thanks to GetMeAnIPA for sending this one my way. Pours a deep and dark obsidian-like color; very, very little brown on the edges with a solid, fine-bubbled tan head that fades much too fast. A quick swirl of the glass can coax it back, but only for a few moments.

The aroma on this one is very tantalizing; heavy, HEAVY roasted coffee beans - I'm talking burnt, scorched, charred, ashy. These beans smell super roasted and super bitter. This plays off of a delicate sweetness induced from the vanilla aromas that hang in the balance. Might be a tiny bit of cocoa somewhere deep in the abyss, but any attempt to further sniff it out is just met with more and more heaps of coffee beans, roasted malts, and light vanilla. I've always been partial to bitter porters rather than overly sweet ones. The nose on this beer tells me that my bias may be in effect.

...and right I was - the aroma is a perfect indication of the malt assessment in Victory At Sea. From the moment the beer hits your tongue, your palate is pile-driven with an enormous roasted, charred, and borderline burnt flavor. Coffee beans, coffee beans, coffee beans. Imaging taking a hand full of French Roast coffee beans, scorching them in a skillet, then shoving them in your face. A little overboard? Maybe.... but you get the idea. The alcohol is also noticeable from the first sip to the last, but at 10% ABV, I have no complaints. Some lightly sweet vanilla coats each and every sip also, providing a tiny bit of balance to the bitter-roasted brigade. Some chocolate definitely comes out more upon warming, although it was nearly absent in the aroma. The aftertaste is a compilation of mild charcoal flavors with some ashy and dry bitterness - a "balls to the walls", unadulterated coffee bean roast. Medium-thick body with a decent amount of carbonation; mildly creamy and smooth.

Hell yes. Victory at Sea gives the roasty bitterness lovers more of what they crave. Such a roasted, charred, and bitter stout with lovely little sweetness interruptions to keep things interesting. Very pleasantly surprised by this one - great way to end the night.

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Photo of falc0n2600
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very very dark in appearance with a smooth brown head. A nice coffee smell with much less of a coffee taste, which is my favorite kind of coffee beer. In fact, you are immediately shocked at how smooth an imperial porter can be before you're overwhelmed by perfectly sweet vanilla. I had this along with Flying Dog Barrel-Aged Gonzo Porter and this was definitely the winner, although the Double Gonzo was the second-best imperial porter I've had. A lot of carbonation that makes the thickness of the beer stand out, with the sweetness balancing the thickness nicely. As the beer warmed up I really began to notice the hops, more so than any other porter I've had. As I finished all I could think of was the brilliant hoppiness.

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Photo of sukwonee
4.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Scott for this bottle!

This is probably my favorite "imperial" American porter I have ever had. The only thing is I am not sure what makes this a "porter" as opposed to a stout. Regardless, it's awesome.

A: Black body with half a finger of mocha tan head. Not much lacing.

S: Roasty malt, coffee, some sweetness. To be honest, it smells pretty straightforward. Coffee, dark chocolate. Not much vanilla noted.

T: Starts off bitter espresso, dark chocolate, some toasted nuts, some hops. Again not much vanilla. It's bold, lingering.

M: Thick. Perhaps it's even thicker than most imperial stouts.

O: I would described this as an imperial coffee/dark chocolate stout that is on the drier side. It's quite awesome. Highly recommended if you like espresso coffee.

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Photo of Pinknuggets
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

bottle to HFS sniffer

A: very dark but not quite black though completely opaque with a thick mocha head that dissipates into a thick lacing.

S: So the first thing that hits you in the face is massive vanilla scent it is nice and roasty, but almost overpowering all the other smells. I can definitely detect the coffee and a few hints of malt but thats about it. Good, but not great.

T: follows the nose with the vanilla but not as strong as in the nose there is definitely a lot more coffee flavor i can almost taste the ground beans great combination of flavors very strong and extremely robust RIS taste in a porter.

M: Very thick but also extremely smooth and creamy which seems to be caused by the vanilla. Milkshake status for sure and the alcohol is well hidden

O: This is probably second only to everett in terms of porters for me this is smooth with tons of strong coffee and vanilla flavor exactly what I want from a porter especially an imperial one I highly recommend this beer

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Photo of ThickNStout
4.09/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22oz bottle from Halftime.com. 8.99. Enjoy by 11/07/13, which I believe is one year after bottling. Served in a Burnt Hickory snifter.

Pours flat black with a finger and a half of fluffy vanilla head that leaves large sheets of lace.

Smells of charred malts, creamed coffee and sweet vanilla.

Bold coffee leads the taste followed by roasty malts, earthy bark, cherry skins, vanilla and resinous pine. A bit of an alcohol bite but it is blended in well enough to make this pretty easy to drink.

Medium body with fairly sharp carbonation. Long, dry bitter piney hop and coffee aftertaste.

This is a great imperial porter and great coffee beer in general. I've had this a few times and I actually think I prefer it after a year or two once the coffee has faded to let the vanilla through a little more. All in all, it's a worthy brew at any age.

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Photo of BMMillsy
4.34/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours darkdark brown to blak with a very small mocha colored head. Earthy peppery coffe on the nose, some roast with a tad of vanilla and molasses. Biye up front that soothes into lots of chocolate on the palate. Second sip is a bit more earthy coffee. Don’t get a lot of vanilla, but it lingers in the aftertaste just a hint. Pretty prickly carbonation, but not too much. Medium mouthfeel but very drinkable (one of the lighter imperial porters i have had). Very nice beer.

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

A- Pours thick and black into my Founders snifter. A small, 1 finger head forms with the pour and retains well, dwindling down to a moderately thin film on the top. Lacing is tremendous as expected. Looks like a big stout in the glass.

S- Lots of dark, dark coffee here. Coffee is strong and slightly bitter on the nose. Sweet notes of the vanilla are also present, but definitely secondary to the coffee. Also maybe a hint of dark chocolate in there.

T- Wow. Dark, bitter coffee right off the bat. Probably the strongest coffee flavor I've had, whether in a beer or cup of joe. Coffee is dominant and bitter throughout, drowning out most to all of the sweeter vanilla flavor. As it warms, the coffee become more balanced with the dark malts. Ends with a coffee bitterness bite and aftertaste.

M- Thick and smooth going down. No detectable alcohol. Kinda heavy across the palate. Sits heavy in the stomach. Definitely a sipping beer.

Overall, this is a coffee bomb. A very good beer, but I find the coffee to be a little overpowering. Between the alcohol and heavy flavor profile, sipping is a must for this beer. Not as good as I had hoped, but still a very good beer.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,326 ratings.