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

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
97
world-class
1,342 Reviews
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,342
Ratings:
6,523
Avg:
4.35
pDev:
19.77%
 
 
Wants:
1,071
Gots:
2,072
For Trade:
92
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: 1,342 | Ratings: 6,523
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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Photo of azorie
4.13/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Its a black strong stout /porter, with some lacing, and a tan tall head.

Its very strong boozy coffee vanilla, as you figured it would be. it basically takes over any hops or malt taste. Since this is one of my favorite ways to make my own porter I have to say well done here.

taste is pure pleasure, malty, no hops, strong booze flavor, strong coffee, and vanilla bean but it blends so nice together its very good combo.

strong body of course, med carb. thick but not so much its like a shake.

its a stout of course, if your into history any. great coffee stout.
10% is nice but its not to bad in 1 bomber.

only thing I hate is the price. 9.99 is too much for this beer IMHO period. So while I love it its one and done for me.

I bet its 8oz at the brewery for 6 to 7 bucks, rip off land.

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Photo of oline73
4.17/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a snifter.

Appearance: Pours an opaque dark brown color with a little light coming through at the edges. There is a half finger of tan head that dissipates fairly quickly.

Smell: Definitely getting the coffee along with some vanilla. There are some dark fruit notes along with a roast. I'm getting the alcohol burn as well.

Taste: Coffee and roasted malts dominate the flavor right off the bat. I'm getting some dark fruit and vanilla notes as well. As the sip progresses, you get some bitterness along with a burn from the alcohol. The finish is roasty and a bit boozy. Not overly sweet, especially considering the ABV.

Mouthfeel: The body is on the thicker side with lots of carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: A very good coffee beer. The flavor was quite full and there was a lot going on. I actually wish this beer was a bit sweeter, but I still enjoyed it.

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

Poured from bottle into Russian River goblet

A - Pours black ink in color with an inch of foam that lingers for the entire time. Heavy lacing.

S - Smells of rich vanilla, roasted malts, caramel, toffee, warm alcohol and coffee.

T - Coffee, vanilla, roasted malt, rummy raisins, dark chocolate

M - Very smooth. Very subtle carbonation in terms of mouth feel. Ends dry with a subtle vanilla/coffee sweetness.

O - Delicious beer. This is the second time I have had this beer. I had one of these several months ago and it has taken me some time to find it again. Definitely worth the wait. Excellent balance of flavors. This would make an excellent float with vanilla ice cream.

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

22 oz. bottle.

Very dark brown. Inky and murky. Thick, full, frothy, dark tan head that slathers the sides of the glass. Beautiful. Big, complex nose of roasted barley, dark-roasted coffee, vanilla beans, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, licorice, earthy tobacco, and even some herbal hops.

Roasted coffee and dark chocolate bitterness up front. Luscious caramel and milk chocolate sweetness fill in the palate. Notes of vanilla, licorice, oak, whiskey, and tobacco add to the deep, rich, malty mix. Woody, oaky, herbal, tannic, roasted bitterness helps balance the malty goodness. Full-bodied, thick, chewy feel. An utterly terrific beer!

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Photo of Lordquackingstic
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From a 32oz growler found in Davey Jone's locker.

A: Dark as the abyssal plain with a muddy-shoreline colored head that sticks to the sides of the glass like relentless barnacles.

S: Sweet and bitter coffee and freshly pillaged vanilla dominate the nose.

T: Avast! The vanilla and coffee tones come through as heavy as the ocean itself as a slight saltiness washes over the palette. Very sweet, but not overly sweet. The alcohol is not masked all that well and is as harsh as a sea-storm at night. This fucker lets you know you're drinking a big beer and to slow down and enjoy it.

M: Thick, but not too thick. Leaves a slight alcohol burn in the back of the throat.

O: Would like the sweetness to be a little bit more in check, but other than that this is an amazing beer. Not sure if a 32oz growler is the best way to enjoy it, would have liked a smaller bottle, but alas, Davey Jones only had a 32oz bottle.

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

Had this on-tap at 'The Hopping Pig' in San Diego.
Pitch black with half a fingers worth of dark tan colored head that dissipated to a thin film.
Lots of roasted malt, coffee, vanilla and some cocoa notes coming through.
Aroma is translated almost completely to the taste. Lots of roasted malt, coffee notes. However, the vanilla comes through more in the taste than the aroma. There is a very good balance between the coffee and vanilla.
Very good mouthfeel and damn tasty beer.
Definitely worth a try and comes highly recommended.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared a bomber of this with a friend. Pours a rich, dark black. Smells of roastiness and coffee. Taste is full bodied, great mouthfeel. The vanilla adds a great taste and complexity to this overall delicious tasting brew. Smooth and well hidden alcohol, this was a fantastic beer with the sips going down way too quickly and easily. Highly recommended, this brewery has yet to let me down in the least bit.

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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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Photo of vfgccp
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Tan finely bubbled head. Fantastic retention and lace. Bowling ball black with cola highlights.

S - Mocha, coffee, soft vanilla, and fantastic roast.

T - Soft balance on a profile loaded with flavor. Vanilla and coffee into dry roast and warm booze. Rich mocha finish.

M - Smooth, full bodied frame.

O - Thick profile, almost more stout than porter, but still delicious.

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

A- Hard pour puts up a towering, dense ash/light brown colored head. Lasts for quite some time and settles at about 2 1/2 fingers. Lacing all over the glass on this. Brew is a very dark brown, no light getting through.

S- Strong, delicious brown roast coffee up front. Blends with a good bit of regular mocha actually. The vanilla is there underneath the coffee, and the coffee comes in again in aftertaste. The malts are dark but take a backseat to the wonderful smelling coffee and vanilla, it's almost like an iced coffee with creamer. So good.

T- The taste is this amazing coffee, you San Diegan's are lucky for this "Caffe Colabria". Taste is much like the nose really. Mocha follows the coffee, then followed by vanilla beans. My only complaint is the 10% is felt on the backend with heat and some boozy taste.

M- Mouth is fully bodied, silky smooth with mid to high carbonation. As coffee does this appears to coat your mouth and teeth.

O- So often does a coffee stout/porter overpower you with burnt bitter roasted malt, this does not. This is a world class brew. This profiles the coffee and vanilla without killing you with roast. This is my favorite coffee stout/porter thus far. I will look for this always.

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

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a snifter.

A: Pours a deep, jet black with a 2 finger khaki head that settles quickly into a ring of carbonation bubbles. Nice legs and beautiful lacing streaks the glass.

Sm: Lots of roasty sweetness upfront, cut through by a strong vanilla presence. Coffee and dark cherries follow towards the mid, with a finish of chocolate.

T: The vanilla comes through the most in this beer, almost exactly like the smell. There's just enough roasted/burnt bitterness to break up the sweetness of the malts and vanilla. Some slight burnt toffee/caramel in the finish. The alcohol is warming on the way down.

Mf: Full bodied with the right amount of carbonation.

O: I haven't had too many porters (or imperial porters for that matter), but this thing is delicious. The burnt qualities are paired perfectly with the vanilla for an overall outstanding porter. Top of my list for sure.

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Photo of pants678
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very dark brown with a surprisingly thin head, perhaps due to my pour.

Alcohol creeps in with the malty smell of chocolate and sweet like caramel or fruit.

Despite being a rich genre, doesn't quite mask the booze on it but still a full bodied chocolate beer with less of a coffee edge than I'd figure. Very up-front brew as you'd imagine, vanilla is perfect compliment to this. Toasty and warm, not too much hop bite.

Heavy, carbonation is welcomed as a porter and not a stout making it easier to handle.

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

22oz. bottle, poured into a snifter.

A-deep, dark brown/black, with a nice dense, tight tan head. Head dissipates quick due to the high alcohol content.

S- coffee, dark chocolate, brown sugar, and white pepper with some boozy notes.

T- some dark chocolate and smooth coffee, transition to a nice roasty middle, with vanilla coming into the mix, and a warming booze on the finish. The bitterness of the coffee is also very apparent middle to end. Very nice.

M- Pretty thick for a porter, but it's a big beer. The taste doesn't linger too long on the finish as well. Carbonation is spot on, as in light.

O- certainly a sipper, but a delicious sipper at that. Really like the dominating coffee presence, so if that is your thing, this should tickle your fancy.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,342 ratings.