Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter - Ballast Point Brewing Company
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Ratings: 3,708 | Reviews: 917 | Display Reviews Only:
3/5 rDev -31.7%
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.
02-01-2014 04:39:16 | More by MadCat
4.79/5 rDev +9.1%
A: Deep black oil with a healthy espresso creama colored head.
S: Roasted wood, vanilla, and a subtle spice.
T: Starts with a strong vanilla flavor then gives way to a wave of thick coffee. After that comes the coffee bitterness which then yields to the hop bitterness. The finishing note is roasted malts more reminiscent of a stout than a typical porter.
M: Quite thick, almost espresso-like.
O: Far more impressive than I anticipated. The vanilla is a touch strong but the rest is near perfect for the style. I'd love to try this again after some aging.
02-01-2014 00:21:36 | More by 01001111
4.96/5 rDev +13%
General: This is from the 2013 release, when I went to the bar they still happened to have some so I picked last years and this years up.
Appearance: Beautiful tan head that diminishes pretty quickly. The color is jet black, I can barely see a light through this. Amazing looking beer.
Aroma: You can tell that this is a coffee vanilla porter right off the bat. The aroma is amazing. It has the expected aroma but there is a great maltiness with a touch of chocolate in it. Great!
Mouthfeel: This coats the mouth the way that you would expect. It's top notch for sure!
Taste: This is the definition of a coffee vanilla imperial porter to me. That's all I can say about it.
Overall: If you see this, but it. It is worth every penny even if you don't normally like an imperial porter. Buy this beer, not sure if the newest version is exactly the same but I will review that one soon.
01-30-2014 04:25:43 | More by BeerEngineer
4.55/5 rDev +3.6%
Ballast Point – Victory At Sea: Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter, from the bottle. Enjoy by: 12/10/13, drank: 01/17/14.
A – Charcoal-brown body with an evenly distributed and smooth head. You could shine a laser through this thing and it wouldn’t come out the other side.
S – Strong. Picking up a bracing hit of roasted malts. Milky coffee with a sweetness to it which you realise is the vanilla once you taste it. Much more pronounced than on Harviestoun’s Old Engine Oil which is the last porter I tasted (and which incidentally I loved.) Reassured me that my nose still functions. Three quarters of the way through this beer the nose continues to improve, to the point where it may be my favourite thing about this beer, excepting the first sip. This demands particular attention for, as a rule, most beer loses fragrance as it sits, whereas here it continues to emanate.
T- This just tastes absolutely phenomenal. I mean seriously, seriously good. The way the vanilla mellows out all the roasty-toasty flavours is literally something I’ve never tasted before. And it is so, so good. Few things are more annoying than using sounds and adjectives - so I’ve edited my original entries - but I was quite literally left wondering aloud as this washed over my tongue for the first time. Particularly as having read the reviews, it seemed I ought to be in for something a little bit special. Perhaps tellingly, prolific reviewer UCLABrewN84 reviews this in his top 20 beers out of 5052 beers. That first sip has left me reeling as is reflected in my scattered entry. This is great stuff.
M – Nice and creamy. If the mouthfeel here is whole milk, personally I’d love to see this as jersey milk; nevertheless it’s silky as a silk spider. Excellent.
O – Still have almost all the most highly-rated dark, potent and mythic-status beers ahead of me (Abyss, Marshall Zhukov, Dark Lord, Abraxas, BCBCS, Parabola, Darkness, Founder’s, etc.) but this offering only intensifies the excitement tenfold. As I sample more of the finest offerings perhaps this will downgrade but you can only go off what you know. The nose is so wonderfully balanced. The taste follows suit. I’d have sworn this was at 8%; that it’s actually one of the more boozy beers I have had (at 10%) takes me clean by surprise. Want to give it more than a 4.5 but my second sampling leaves me seeking a sweeter finish. Can conceive a creamier and more intensely flavoured beer but this is still glorious. I want that second bottle.
01-29-2014 06:53:58 | More by abeeronthebeach
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
Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 3,708 ratings.