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

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BA SCORE
97
world-class
1,327 Reviews
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,327
Ratings:
6,442
Avg:
4.35
pDev:
19.77%
 
 
Wants:
1,055
Gots:
2,017
For Trade:
91
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: 1,327 | Ratings: 6,442
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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Photo of nickfl
4.03/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours with one and a half fingers of medium tan foam on top of an opaque, black body. The head settles slowly and leaves nice, thick lace on the glass.

S - Coffee, chocolate, dark sugar, and some vaguely spicy notes of pepper and chicory.

T - Sweet malt and dark sugar up front with notes of caramel, nutty toffee, and dark bread. Smoky coffee and chocolate in the middle with a hint of vanilla. The vanilla really comes out in the finish with more smoky coffee and spicy notes of clove and cinnamon.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a sweet finish.

D - Thick and sweet, there is a lot going on here. The vanilla works well with the dark sugar and coffee flavors though it becomes a bit excessive in the finish. The finish is a bit too sweet for my taste and that, combined with the vanilla, puts it in the same category as Southern Tier's sweet stouts; it is a dessert beer and works well for one glass, but finishing a full bottle is a bit of a challenge.

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Photo of rodkin
3.98/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour is extremely dark. Color barely comes through at the edges when held directly to the light. Half finger head, which dissipates pretty quickly and leaves a small lacing and some bubbles at the top.

Smell's great. Coffee, vanilla, a little sweet caramel, kind of a chocolate brownie smell.

Taste is really strong on the coffee. The sweet vanilla, caramel, and chocolate smells really don't come through as well. Still tasty, but kind of disappointing.

Mouthfeel is fine. Medium thick, good carb. A little thinner than I'd like.

Overall a decent beer, but there wasn't as much going on as I'd like. There was no freshness date on the bottle, so maybe it was old? Would like to try it again knowing it was fresh to see if the vanilla was more prominent.

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Photo of BostonHops
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

bomber served in a snifter glass.

pours an opaque, motor oil black with a creamy khaki toned head that slowly recedes into a collar around the glass; nice walls of lacing. all around great looking imperial st- ah, porter.

nose opens with an unmistakable coffee presence, followed by roasted malts and chocolate, some vanilla. reminds me a little of founders breakfast stout. aroma characters largely pull through in the taste with plenty of coffee and roasted malts, but the vanilla is a bigger player here... coffee and a touch of caramel... slight bitterness to the finish. overall, a really tasty, dare i say delicious brew. well done.

smooth, velvety moutfeel... medium bodied, though a bit lighter than most similar-styled beers; appropriate carbonation. 10% ABV but it drinks so smooth, makes this one dangerously good.

originally reviewed: 11-26-2010

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

22 oz bottle I bought at that beer/wine store on Wade Ave by Wellspring. $7.99. Poured into a snifter.

Appearance: Its black, basically opaque, but not the darkest black. Light brown head that faded quickly at first, but a little bit remained. Very nice lacing.

Smell: Big time mocha aroma. Rich cold coffee, caramel, vanilla, cocoa, a tiny hint of a smoky roastiness. Complex, fantastic.

Taste: Again, very much like a Starbucks iced mocha. Bitter, roasty coffee, vanilla, caramel, and chocolate. A bit of heat (just a bit) and bitterness from ethanol near the end.

Mouthfeel: This thing is big, soft,and unbelievably creamy. Incredible.

Overall: What a beer! I had one a few months ago on draft that was really good, but this is amazing.

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Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.97/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22 oz. bomber that's been aged about 18 months; poured into a Duvel Tulip Style Glass. Liquid comes out very dark brown, pretty close to black in fact. There are brown highlights and edges. A darker than tan colored head that sticks around for a decent amount of time. The head and liquid itself produces a decent amount of lacing.

Wow does this beer smell great, every swirl makes the aromas dance and scream all the way to your nose. Nice malt backbone (as every porter should have). Huge waves of natural vanilla blended with dark roasted coffee. Smells sweet and big all around.

Taste is 100% truly outstanding in every aspect. I'll certainly put a disclaimer here, I was in the mood for something sweet and this totally hit the spot. As sweet as it is, there is a good balance. The name "Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter" is truly the perfect description. There may even been the slightest bit of chocolate flavor as well. If you were to wonder what that would taste like, this is exactly it. If this were ice coffee, imagine a dark fresh roasted cup and you're sipping it through a vanilla skewer straw. This is truly the best vanilla flavor in a beer that I've had in something that wasn't barrel aged.

Mouthfeel hit the nail on the head again. Full flavored, but only on the heavier end of medium bodied. Perfect carbonation level, and a great balance of bitter and sweet from the coffee and vanilla. Absolutely no detection of the alcohol, I would have never guessed 10% on this bad boy. Great drinkability here too. Worth sharing, but one person could easily polish it off in a night. Great value too, totally worth the purchase.

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Photo of Bendurgin
4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of Alec. Thanks homey! Poured into a tulip. This one pours black with a thick cap of beige foam that leaves some thick gobs of lace.

The aroma has a heavy vanilla aroma right up front with a robust coffee aroma lingering in the background. Seems to have notes of bitter chocolate in the background.n The pallet gives more of what the the aroma indicates. A little more subtle on the vanilla with more of an emphasis on the coffee. This one is rich and delicious.

The body is full and smooth with soft carbonation. A little bit of a lingering finish would I attribute to the coffee. Overall this one is real solid. Would love to end up with more of these guys anytime.

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Photo of andrewinski1
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Bendurgin! Poured into a tulip. There is a large tan head atop a pitch black body. Nice stickyness.

The aroma has lots of sweet vanilla and chocolate with hints of sweet coffee.

While the aroma emphasizes the vanilla most, the coffee component dominates the flavor. There is a nice sweet vanilla finish that ends creamy.

This is very delicious. Want moar!

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Photo of Auracom
2.87/5  rDev -34%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Extra from John, thanks man! 22 oz. bottle poured into a Jester King snifter on April 21st, 2012.

A - Deep brown coloring, a bit thin for a large porter. Medium khaki head with quick reduction and marginal lacing.

S - Big coffee bean and espresso as anticipated. Touches of roasted malts and vanilla underneath. Definitely more in the realm of an RIS than a porter in terms of aroma size and intensity.

T - Lots front palate carbonation followed by vanilla bean sweetness and honey. Mid to rear palate of stale coffee beans with cocoa bitterness. Some brown sugar sweetness blended into the mix, but it doesn't offset the poor coffee character.

M - Bizarre, and unfortunately lacking, for a porter. High carbonation, not at all smooth, medium body, dry bitter finish with a hefty espresso aftertaste.

D - I can't really forgive the taste and mouthfeel here. Huge disappointment. Bottle variation? I don't know that I'd revisit, but the hype on this one suggests I need to try it again.

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Photo of pigc
4.23/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours pitch black with three finger brown sugar colored head with good retention.

S - Toasted malts, chocolate, caramel, coffee, vanilla.

T - Starts out with smooth, rich, dark coffee followed by a wave of chocolate, vanilla and iced coffee bitterness with a touch of the alcohol heat in the end.

M - Medium body with plenty of carbonation to go around.

O - Definitely a world class imperial porter here. Very complex with all the notes. Just a tad bit hot on the alcohol. This one could benefit to be put away for a year or so and would certainly smooth out even more with age.

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

A: stout black, rich full head that leaves lotsa lace

S: roasted malt, espresso, some mocha and vanilla

T: very nice roasted malt with a vanilla syrupiness through it; burnt bitter back to the creamy sweetness gave it nice depth

M: crisp for a beer this rich; viscous body masks the abv

O: I was not as floored by this beer as some others - the beer started off with sweet vanilla flavors, and then dried into roasted espresso notes - a well-crafted beer for sure

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

The awaited review of VaS. Finally able to locate 2 bombers and have been waiting to crack this for quite some time. Poured from bomber into DFH snifter. Beautiful motor oil black pour with a bit of light making it through. Nice 2 finger mocca head, with excellent retention and great lacing throughout. Smell was spectacular. Vanilla with chocolate and coffee. Some burnt fruits notes and dark malts. Complex and inviting. Couldn't stop smelling it! Taste followed the nose with huge coffee on the front that fades to subtle bitter and vanilla finish. A great blend that is almost perfect. Hides the 10% well, but a definite sipper. Feel is very strong. Full bodied and great carbonation. Creamy and smooth. Overall- One of the best beers I have ever had. A great blend of coffee, dark fruits, hops and a touch of vanilla. Smell is outstanding and mouthfeel is spectacular. Top notch effort from Ballast Point. In my top 10 for sure-

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Photo of Falcon91Wolvrn03
4.65/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – A super dark brown or black color that lets no light through. A thick, creamy head that sticks around for quite some time. Lots of lacing on the glass.

Smell – A wonderful sweet chocolate malt scent with coffee. Also some smokiness and a touch of vanilla.

Taste – Coffee, roasted chocolate malt, with a touch of hops.

Mouthfeel – Smooth, and creamy; fairly light on the carbonation in spite of its massive head.

Drinkability – Very nice; just a slightly bitter bite to an otherwise exceptional porter.

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Photo of beer2day
4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark black pour, 1-fingeer of dense rich chocolate head. Not much in the way of retention. Decent, but sparse, lace.

Rich, decadent nose. Strong with roast coffee, vanilla bean, chocolate syrup, and cream. Really invites you in.

The taste doesn't fail the nose. Lots of roast coffee, but really strong vanilla flavor. Coffee bitters in the finish are very strong for a porter. Pretty nice chocolate malt balance, too, with roast flavors.

Feel is lighter than the rich flavor suggests, but this is porter not stout so that is quite welcome.

I'd get this again ... and again ...

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

Poured from a 22oz/650ml bottle into a growler, thanks to Deeblo for packing this in his case and shifting it 6,000 miles for me!!!

Looks a real treat - pours a rich black with a decent beige/tan head after a straight glass/vigourous pour into a Belgian snifter. Head thins after a minute but retains. Lots of lacing above the beer line.

Served at room temperature.

Great smelling beer - coffee hits you immediately and when you withdraw your nose and savour the full spectrum you get the vanilla breaching through, sweet chocolate and malts.

Everything I want from an Imperial Porter in the taste! Chocolate, coffee, sweet and roasted malts and a decent hunk of vanilla in there. I've had a few vanilla porters where you just don't get that 'V' hit, but here you have no choice !!! A well balanced beer packing flavours and strength but disguising them all well.

The mouthfeel is perfection for a beer of this ilk. Full bodied with a little carbonation, every mouthful makes you return.

Overall - this beer is right up there for me, one of the best I've had !!!

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Photo of DSlim71
4.17/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Bomber pours pitch black with a dark tan head that hangs around for a few minutes. Some nice, spotty lacing is left behind after the head is gone.

S - Coffee right away with vanilla coming through pretty strongly. A little char, roastiness, and dark chocolate.

T - Same thing with the taste, you get the coffee up front but the vanilla takes over, maybe a little too much. The dark chocolate is there, and it's a little boozy, especially as it warms. Finishes with a roasted bitterness.

M - Creamy, medium bodied with a low to mid level of carbonation.

I picked this up in a bottle shop in PA, and I'm glad I did. It was a nice sipper to finish off the weekend, but the heavy vanilla kept it from being great in my opinion.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,327 ratings.