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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

1,280 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,280
Hads: 6,213
Avg: 4.35
pDev: 8.97%
Wants: 1,031
Gots: 1,877 | FT: 91
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: 1,280 | Hads: 6,213
Photo of starrdogg
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beer pours a thick black with a thin tan head - looks kinda imposingly dark. Smell is all roast and coffee, smells like it's going to be heavy on the roast. Fortunately the taste isn't nearly as roast-heavy as the smell would indicate. There's certainly a good amount of roast and coffee here, but it's balanced out nicely by a little bit of sweetness and vanilla. It manages to keep from being too sweet or too roasty - honestly the flavor is more of a 4.25 than a 4.5, but I'm balancing it out by giving it a 4 overall. Mouthfeel is full-bodied, but with nice carbonation. Overall, this is a really tasty beer that I'm excited to have access to regularly now that Ballast Point is distributing to DC. It's extremely drinkable despite the higher ABV.

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Photo of Rau71
4.66/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz Bomber into a tumbler Pint Glass.

Pour a creamy Black with a 2 finger tan head.

Smell to me is mild and muted, some coffee and that is about it.

Taste and mouthfeel are what set this apart. The feel in your mouth is velvety smooth, and the taste is a fantastic mix of vanilla, coffee, and malt. This is now the Porter that I will gauge others by. At 10% ABV I couldn't detect any hotness, or boozyness which is fantastic. This beer is a must buy for me from now on.

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Photo of InstinctDecay
4.92/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this at Hamilton's Tavern during San Diego Beer Week, poured into a tulip glass.

Poured black with a small residual head, tan.

Aroma was phenomenal. Vanilla character, strong roasted malts, coffee. Much more refined and pungent than from the bottle.

Taste followed aroma rather closely. A near-perfect blend of coffee, toasted malt, chocolate, vanilla, with a warming but smooth presence brought on by the alcohol. Sweetness done right.

Mouthfeel was creamy, sticky, warming, with moderate carbonation. Compliments the taste well.

Overall: I've had this beer several times, and it is undoubtedly my favorite Porter. I couldn't pass down the opportunity to try it from the cask. This was a real treasure to try out.

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Photo of larryi86
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle poured into a tulip

A- Black with a two finger light tan head.

S- Roasted coffee, vanilla, some dark chocolate.

T- Roasted coffee, bitter finish, some dark chocolate, vanilla adds a nice sweetness, kind of boozy.

M- Smooth, light to medium body.

O- A tasty coffee beer, but a little boozy. Vanilla adds a nice touch to the beer. Good, but not sure if I would pick it up again. Gets better as it warms.

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

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into an Allagash goblet.

Pours black-black with no light showing through anywhere, and a two fingered light brown head (about the color of brown egges) that dwindles down to a thin cap. This is the blackest beer I've ever seen

The smell is robust dark roasted coffee, with a mild vanilla and faint dark chocolate. Smells fantastic

The taste starts with dark chocolate and vanilla beans, then strong dark coffee in the middle ending with more vanilla and some alcohol burn. A little more alcohol burn than I like, and less vanilla than I expected. Still great none the less.

Consistency is heavy with moderate carbonation and a nice juicy finish.

This is a huge beer with tons of flavor and character. If you love dark and heavy, this beer is for you

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Photo of harrymel
3.42/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Black with light tan foam. Smells of coffee and vanilla, very strong and decadent. Flavor is overpowering coffee and burnt malts. Full bodied with moderate carb and an off dry finish. Decent beer, nose>flavor

Original review on 19FEB11: 3/2.5/2.5/3.5/3- 2.73
A: Pours a dark, brown ale. single finger latte head falls quickly leaving a fine velvet sheet. Little lacing.
S: Plenty of coffee. Sharp alcoholic nose. A little overbearing with the coffee and alcohol.
T: Once the beer hits the mouth, it's all vanilla. Such a severe transition from coffee to vanilla, man I don't really dig this. Okay, a little bit later and the coffee is starting to balance out the vanilla sweetness a bit. Roasty background.
M: Thick with low carbonation. Sticky.
D: This is a big beer. I will finish the bottle, but I will never seek this out again.

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Photo of Dope
4.18/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Last year's batch.

A: Black as night pour. Big, dense mocha-colored head. Fades at a moderate pace. Nice spiderwebs of lacing left behind.

S: Lots of coffee (naturally). A bit of sharp alcohol. Get a touch of vanilla and... cherry, oddly enough.

T: Coffee and a bit of char up front, but not overpowering. It's mellow and sweet with hints of dark fruit. Nice wave of vanilla follows that into the middle with some milk chocolate. More char and coffee (bitter now instead of smooth like up front) in the finish. Long lingering bitter coffee and baker's chocolate in the aftertaste.

M: Full bodied, fairly heavy. Smooth and creamy vanilla coats the mouth.

O: A nice heavy imperial porter with some big coffee notes and just enough vanilla to smooth it out. Tasty with a really nice mouthfeel that helps it go down easily despite the 10% ABV. I'm normally not a fan of coffee beers but this is one of the best.

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Photo of Hopstuff
4.18/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Good lord Mary Joseph, this one strikes the knickers like a lacy momma ready to pounce on a unborn tadpole. I am dripping with amazement. Ballast Point's best effort to date. Something tells me I might OD on greatness. But seriously this beer hits home for me. A Porter born to sail the night, without fear, without wavering from the very foundation of why I love the west coast set. Its like surfing in a sea of mocha foam born from the depths of a dark sea, married to the sky. I can't imagine a darker sailor to share the night with. It like two passionate mates are meeting in my mouth to shag!

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Photo of tut2528
4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

had this one on 2 separate occasions, and I feel that this brew is extremely time sensitive because there was such drastic differences. I condensed both reviews. My review is based off the first time I tried this brew.

thanks to matttyce for helping me get my hands on these!

1st Review

A: poured into a GI tulip, it is jet black with about 2 fingers worth of mocha colored head. phenomenal lacing that is long lasting

S: big sweet vanilla, chocolate, dark fruits that are terrifically balanced. I also pick up on coffee and roasted malt.

T: similar to the nose, big chocolate and dark fruits up front, coffee and slight roasted malt in the middle with a terrific vanilla finish. alcohol is slightly present but is felt more during the mouthfeel than in the taste

M: perfect for this brew IMO. full bodied, leaves a nice light roasted coffee and dark chocolate character with a slight touch of alcohol heat

O: just a damn good all around brew. very well balanced and all the characters intermingle nicely together

2nd Review

S: huge coffee, dark chocolat,e dark fruits and roasted malt have come forward, and the vanilla is lying way in the back (4.0)

T: big coffee up front with a roasted malt backbone. dark fruits are present along with dark chocolate. the vanilla has really fallen off from what I remember. (4.0) No alcohol whatsoever

M: mostly the same as before, but a bit lighter than I remember and the alcohol is nowhere to be found. It has a more roasted malt character as well. (4.0)

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Photo of sleuthdog
4.06/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoy by 11/13. Poured into Ballast Point tulip.

Appearance: This poured as black as night with three fingers of head that is light brown in color. Lacing is all over the place and I'm still waiting for the head to recede. Rocky head mixed with large bubbles too.

Smell: Big time bitter coffee in this with notes of vanilla and dark chocolate. Heavy roast and some char.

Taste: Again coffee takes center stage with some vanilla and dark chocolate in the background. The roast is a fairly dominating aspect in the taste. Coffee is quite bitter and alcohol leaves a slight burn.

Mouthfeel: From the appearance I would think this would have been a more full feel. It is surprisingly thin for the look but one that seems to fit the beer very well. I am not picking up much carbonation and this has a creamy mouthfeel. Alcohol does burn the gums some.

Overall: If you are a coffee drinker this would be up your alley. A big beer that is one that is best shared.

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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 thedoubler55
4.32/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a very dark black, has a nice 2 finger off white head that leaves a nice lacing around the glass.

S: Strong roasty notes up front, hints of coffee, and strong smell of dark chocolate and some cherries.

T: The vanillas presence is obvious with both the nose and taste on this brew, very roasty and nice subtleness.

M: Heavy mouthfeel, and sticky, perfect amount of carbonation.

O: This was a very good beer, I felt as if the warmer it got the better it tasted. Nice warming effect to this beer as well, Great job!

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

Poured from bomber bottle into hf tulip. Ive been sitting/aging this beer for about 9 months or so.
Pours a deep black chocolate with aggressive tan head and sticky lacing. This just looks fantastic. Smell is crazy good coffee and chocolate with slight booze. Taste is sweet chocolate with bitter coffee. There is a slight vanilla finish and nicely bitter.
Wow super easy to drink and full of intense flavors. An amazing brew.

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

Review No. 550

22oz bomber split into tulips with the brother. Wow did this beer blow me away...

A: Viscous opaque pour with plenty of dark khaki head that retains well and laces the glass quite decently...

S: Great nose, impressive balance between coffee notes and vanilla sweetness...these aromas really pop to the front with notes of roasty bitterness and subtle creamy sweetness.

T: Smooth, moderate vanilla balanced with a great coffee presence, medium to light roast, with notes of chocolate and mocha interwoven throughout...as it warms there is an impression of dark caramel and hints of espresso.

The vanilla in this beer is amazing, better than any other vanilla beer I've tasted...its sweet, but not overly so (i.e. ST Creme Brulee) but is a creamy smooth sweetness and not an off flavor (Stone Vanilla Smoked Porter) and this beer is not boozy at all (any vanilla-forward BA beer). Just fantastic balance of aroma/flavor profiles.

MF: Creamy smooth with just a touch of alcohol on the back of the throat. Moderate-to-full body with a semi-viscous feel and a light dryness.

O: Awesome. Will be searching this one out the rest of my beer drinking life I think. Will, thanks so much! Cheers!

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Photo of elgiacomo
4.19/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle, best by October 17, 2013. Served at around 45F and allowed to warm.

Pours thick black with a small light brown head that leaves some spotty lacing behind and recedes to a light cap and ring.

Aroma is big and bold vanilla and coffee, in fact those two are so strong I’m having a hard time picking up much else, maybe some underlying notes of roasted malts, chocolate and caramel. Excellent strength.

Flavor starts with a big wave of vanilla, moving towards some dark baker’s chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, a little dark fruit, very little hop presence, moderate sweetness, some alcohol but well integrated at this level of ABV. Really tasty.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, rich, creamy, somewhat sticky, good carbonation.

Man, this stuff is delicious! A vanilla bomb! Such a treat to get to try this. One of my customers brought me a bottle after a trip to the West Coast, so a big shout-out to Mark for this one!

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

650 ml poured into a snifter and a tulip. I ordered two of these bottles from Holiday Wine Cellar, excellent selection; they will definitely get my business again when I need certain California brews.

A - very black, very little brown on the periphery. Huge head recedes very slowly. I'm reminded starkly of Guiness.

S - Definitely the worst aspect of the beer, but it's still pretty good. The alcohol content is a little overwhelming in the snifter, but the coffee plays a role.

T - very tasty. Chocolate, alcohol, coffee, and only a slight hint of vanilla. This reminds me quite a bit of ST's imperial stouts, like Choklat and Mokah. It isn't quite as up front and personal with its flavors, but that might be a good thing. A little too carbonated and a little too much alcohol are the only points off it gets.

M - very good, the alcohol and carbonation hug the mouth in a good way. Very drinkable.

O - excellent beer. I don't want to pay for shipping from California every time I buy this beer, so it may be a while before I get it again. I certainly will next time I'm on the west coast.

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

Huge thanks to CheapBeerBuzz for giving me this one as an extra!

A: the beer is deep and thick looking with a one finger brownish head that clings to the glass.

S: dominated by rich coffee smell with some roasted malt and sweetness, but it blends so well with the mocha smell.

T: coffee, then roasted notes, then a huge flavor of chocolate comes through. Some decent bitterness to balance the slight sweetness. Flavor hangs around in my mouth forever.

M: seems pretty thick, but the carbonation cuts that pretty well.

O: didn't really blow me away, but it's still incredible for a well distributed beer. Not too much vanilla, but that's good. Seems well balanced and fairly drinkable.

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Photo of Murrhey
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured on-tap in a mug at Hollingshead's in Orange, Calif. Reviewed from notes.

A- Two finger mocha head. Great retention and lacing. Dark brown color, very little light goes through.

S- Chocolaty, vanilla, oak, brandy smell.

T- Vanilla and roast malts. Very bitter and some sourness. Boozy. Quite nice.

M- Very thick and smooth. Dry linger.

O- This beer isn't even one of my favorite styles and I admit it is phenomenal.

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

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a Dogfish Head Snifter.

A: Pitch black color. Center glug-glug pour leads to a slowly rising chocolate colored head the builds for about 10 seconds after I finished pouring. Head dissipates ever so slowly and leaves sticky slug-trail like lacing on down the glass.

S: Big time smells of coffee, toasted malts, cocoa, vanilla and at the end a touch of the alcohol. This is a big boy porter and it lets you know right away in the nose.

T: Toasted chocolate malts come through first with the coffee hitting hard just after. Faint flavors of bakers chocolate, vanilla, toasted oak and dark fruits come next. The fruits shine at the end of the sip with figs and dates being the most prevalent. What a flavor.

M: Big creamy finish. No alcohol burn. Perfectly carbonated.

O: This bad ass beer drinks like an Imperial Stout and it's tough to tell the difference. Regardless, this is a phenomenal beer. One that I would gladly buy in quantity.

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Photo of Morey
4.52/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into an over-sized wine glass.

Appearance: Pours black in color, although you can definitely see some brownish highlights when you hold your glass to the light. There was initially about two fingers of light-brown foam sitting on top of the beer, but it's settled to a thin spotty layer covering only parts of the beer.

Aroma: BIG BAD VANILLA up front. Oh yeah, and there's also suggestions of coffee, dark chocolate, roasted malts, and faint butterscotch underneath.

Taste: I'm getting the vanilla up front for sure. There's a nice sweetness that follows it up balance by some roasted flavors towards the middle. I'm definitely picking up some chocolate notes as this beer nears room temperature. There's some sweetness and bitterness on the back end making for a balanced and flavorful finish.

Mouthfeel: 5 out of 5. Extremely creamy and full bodied with huge vanilla flavor exploding on the palate. Carbonation is pretty low, but just right for the style.

Morey's Bottom Line: Hands down the BEST non-barrel aged coffee beer that I've had. I'd reach for this over Breakfast Stout, Beer Geek Breakfast, and Wake & Bake...and that's saying something! Cheers.

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Photo of dasenebler
4.18/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ballast Point Victory at Sea
8/29/12
22oz. best before 5/11/12

Pours a dark brown hue, pretty much black until you hold it to the light. Towering tan head is very attractive, leaving great lacing on the way down. (4.5)

Aroma has a strong but pleasant vanilla note, along with a hefty dose of chocolate and a wee bit of dark fruit. A hint of oxidation, but otherwise nice and clean. (4)

Flavor is bold, malty and hugely chocolatey. The vanilla is readily apparent, making this brew seem more like a piece of liquid chocolate cake than a beer. Mild roast leaves some tang on the finish, and the coffee character builds as the drink wears on. More rich than sweet. Alcohol is as well masked as anything I've had for the style. The mouthfeel is thick and chewy with creamy, medium-low carbonation. (4, 4)

This is a very nice beer and would make for a great dessert when shared between two beer lovers. (4.5)

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

Appearance: Dark, chocolate brown in color with a creamy, dark tan head that dissipates down to a solid ring.

Smell: Very inviting. Dark malt aroma with strong coffee smell and a good dose of vanilla in the background.

Taste: Lots of complexity and well-balanced. Sweet yet not cloying. Coffee, vanilla, dark malt character. Hops give just the right amount of bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Just the right amount of body for a porter. Far from light but not too heavy. Very good amount of carbonation.

Overall: I am not a huge drinker of dark beers and tend to stick with IPAs and DIPAs but this is by far the best and most complex porter I have ever had. Very impressive offering from Ballast Point.

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Photo of jaasen64
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle thanks chase2634. Poured into Founders snifter, bottle split 3 ways. No date visible on bottle, but I believe it's a 2010.

A- Pours a dark black with a very thin mocha brown head that quickly recedes and leaves very nice lacing that clings to the side of the glass. About average carbonation.

S- Coffee, vanilla, some roasted malts, a little bit of booze. A little bit above average aroma strength.

T- Coffee, quite a bit of vanilla (even more then the aroma), some booze that's nicely hidden by the coffee/vanilla, finishes with a nice vanilla taste that lingers. If this is a '10 then the vanilla and coffee held up very well. A lot more vanilla then I was expecting.

M- Smooth, lightly creamy that supports the vanilla taste very well, goes down easily, nice carbonation.

O- This was a very nice porter. A very nice vanilla coffee flavor that is very well balanced and hides the 10% abv very well. I'm pretty sure chase2634 told me this was an '10 however I'm not sure if that's definitely true due to the date. If it is true I'm very impressed by how well the vanilla and coffee held up. I definitely recommend trying this beer out.

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Photo of siege06nd
4.75/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A. Rich, decadent brownish black. Three quarter finger medium brown head with outstanding lacing. Impeccable porter here.

S. Chocolate, coffee, vanilla, some roasty character. Delicious. Perfect blend of savory, pleasing scents.

T. Chocolate, coffee, vanilla. Good amount of roast and some pleasing dryness a la baking chocolate. Very nicely done, though very slight booze character and vanilla isnt quite as rounded as I would like. Still, it is excellent.

M. Balanced, medium carbonation, perhaps too much. Flavors evidence such great balance and integration. Really nice.

O. I am going to go ahead and call this one of the best porters I have had. Near perfection.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.62/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a very dark brown with a finger of frothy chocolate colored head. The head fades down fairly slowly leaving behind some nice lacing.

S - Aroma is full of roasted chocolate and coffee with some dark fruits, vanilla, and a bit of booze.

T - Starts off with some roasted dark chocolate and coffee beans with some vanilla, raisin, and other dark fruits. Through the middle, some more roasted and lightly bitter coffee comes through with some stronger vanilla. The finish is a mix of roasted bittersweet chocolate with some coffee, vanilla, dark fruits, and booze.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a roasted, dry, and warming finish.

D - Very drinkable. Bold but perfectly balanced. The coffee, chocolate, and vanilla flavors go very well together.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,280 ratings.