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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.

1,220 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,220
Hads: 5,929
Avg: 4.36
pDev: 19.5%
Wants: 1,006
Gots: 1,723 | FT: 91
Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

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: 1,220 | Hads: 5,929
Photo of birchstick
4.32/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a black color with a nice one finger mocha head on it. Nose is freshly pressed coffee with loads of vanilla. Taste is similar. Lots of coffee and chocolates dominate the front and back. A lot of vanilla is in th middle. Pretty solid, really enjoys the taste profile on this. Solid mouthfeel taboot. Really good vanilla coffee porter here. Loved it and will seek out again.

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Photo of natemort13
4.42/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A heavy pour into my sculpin pint glass yields a slightly frothy mocha colored head that fades into a solid ring with a pocked uneven cap. The beer is viscous, nearly opaque with just the slightest highlights of ruby. The nose is smooth coffee with sweet vanilla tones. I also get milk chocolate and cocoa with the slightest hint of tobacco. The first taste brings a somewhat more abrasive coffee taste than the nose suggested that soon is mellowed out by chocolate milk and a finish with hints of cherry. The vanilla bean totally smooths the coffee out. The mouthfeel is carbonated chocolate milk, super smooth and just slightly oily.

Overall this is a massive coffee porter that somehow holds onto enough balance. The coffee is huge but palatable and not cloying at all. There is not any lingering old coffee finish like a lot of coffee porters/stouts. A real treat, great dessert/breakfast stout. Glad I have another bottle.

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Photo of warnerry
4.45/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a impenetrable deep brown/black with over two fingers of creamy tan head with great retention. The glass is covered with lacing.

S - Strong coffee aroma with lots of vanilla and cocoa. Also a hint of cola and a bit of cream in the aroma.

T - Taste starts out creamy and slightly sweet, quickly transitioning to slightly acidic coffee, with cocoa and vanilla. Finish is dry, somewhat earthy and bitter with some noticeable alcohol. Overall coffee is the most prominent flavor.

M - Medium/full creamy mouthfeel that turns bitter midway through and stays bitter through the finish.

O - Excellent imperial porter. Huge coffee presence with nice cocoa and vanilla. Bitterness comes close to being too much, but doesn't cross that line. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of nimrod979
4.48/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber with a pretty sweet label I might add. Pours a thick syrupy brown that looks near black when its all said and done. Massive two finger tan foamy head. Perfect looking porter.

Aroma is big on the coffee and vanilla notes. Rich and malty. Even picking up some maple syrup aromas.

Taste is on point here. Strong vanilla and coffee flavors here. Lots of roasted malts. Some chocholate. Great balance of coffee bitterness and vanilla sweetness.

It's medium bodied. A little thinner than I would have expected. Light carbonation. Lingering coffee finish. ABV hidden VERY well. Not even a trace.

I'm really enjoying this. Not a beer you can easily find in the area. But I'd def. seek out again. One of my favorite porters now.

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Photo of BoatsSinkBro
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fresh bottle.
-Pours like oil (a good thing)
-Pitch black appearance with chocolate milk head.
-Aroma of coffee, a bit of toast and chocolate, and a lingering presence of vanilla.
-Drinks a pretty full mouth feel with well done carbonation.
-Tastes of coffee, roast chocolate body, and a good hint of vanilla in there to round it out. Almost creamy-like.
One of my go-to American porters.

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Photo of unclejazz
4.02/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Manny in Chander,AZ for turning me on to this. Talk about meeting and exceeding expectations, check out this review!

A-a nice pour with a 1 finger head that slowly dissipated leaving a thin foam that laced a bit.

S-yum, the vanilla and coffee combine with the roasted malt to create a wonderful bouquet. This smell really jumps up and attacks your nose, with pleasure.

T-spot on, vanilla hits first follow by roasted malts, cocoa, and coffee. You can barely taste the alcohol. As I take a sip, I savor it like its the last, until its all gone. Now I am sad.

M-just heavy enough for not be watery, and a pleasant pop of carbonation I was not expecting by really enjoyed.

O-damn that is one tasty beverage, I wish I would have popped this one sooner, so I would have known how delicious it is. Founders Porter has some competition. Look out!

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Photo of zac16125
4.42/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Victory at Sea Imperial Porter
22 oz bomber poured into a pint glass
no born on date or other identifying numbers
written from notes taken months ago

A: Pours a thick very dark brown, almost but not quite black, with just over 2 fingers of dense mocha colored head that takes a good while to dissipate down. Leaves some mild patchy lacing.

S: Heaviest aromas are roasted malt and chocolate, along with some coffee and a significant vanilla character as well. Really quite an awesome aroma.

T: Initial it is tons of chocolate from the first sip all the way through to the aftertaste. The chocolate character is mostly milk chocolate but also some more subtle dark/bakers chocolate characters as well. As it warms other flavors start to come out including a significant vanilla presence, and a more subdued coffee flavor. There is also a slight roasted character and a touch of hop bitterness. This is really a damn good beer. Complex, well balanced, and very tasty.

M/D: Smooth with a low amount of carbonation. Full bodied with a sticky mouthfeel and a well masked ABV. Decent drinkability but definitely a sipper.

O: Overall, a very good beer. Complex and delicious flavor profile, awesome aroma, and a good smooth mouthfeel. Very well done and a beer I highly recommend.

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Photo of Etan
3.97/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a Brooklyn tulip.

A: Pours an opaque black with a light tan head. Nice retention and lacing.

S: Sweet coffee with hints of vanilla. Notes of marshmallow, lactic sugar, cinnamon, some chocolate. So good.

T: Big coffee hits the palate. Like the nose, the coffee starts out sweet and milky, with lots of vanilla. Slight alcohol in the back with a quick wave of roasty burnt coffee bitterness in the finish. A little sweetness and coffee lingering. As the glass is drained, the coffee bitterness coats the palate and doesn't go away.

M: Moderately thick. Could be a little thicker.

O: The alcohol is very well-hidden, but I'm missing the sweetness that usually comes from the alcohol and malt because of the coffee's dominance. If you love coffee, this is nice, but I think it causes a bit of an unbalance between the porter elements and the flavors from the beans.

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Photo of draheim
4.3/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle into a snifter. Pours a rich brown w/ a thick mocha head.

Aroma is rich chocolate, coffee, caramel, cocoa nibs. Smells great, like dessert.

Taste is good strong coffee up front, softened by the vanilla. A solid backbone of dark roasted malt holds it all together.

Mouthfeel is creamy smooth, balanced and moderately dry.

Overall this is about exactly what I was expecting/hoping for, and it's now one of my favorite porters.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.71/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber opened on 1-22-12.

A - Pours a dark brown with a dark tan head. Great retention with good lacing.

S - Nutty and lots or roasted malts.

T - Chocolate milk and roasted malts, lots of vanilla.

D - Good carbonation and medium body.

O - Bitter chocolate and lots of coffee and vanilla. Not quite what I was hoping for.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.68/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a snifter.

A- Pours a black color that's completely opaque with a 3/4 inch dark tan head that retains a bit before coming to an 1/8 inch ring around the edge of the glass and streaks of solid lacing following behind. Plentiful surface foam.

S- Lovely scents of milk chocolate intertwined with mocha in a sweet context.

T- Roasty, yet not bitter, notes of cocoa and some peanut butter. Coffee's definitely there and just as prevalent, but with a softer connotation than a full-on coffee beer. Alcohol is a bit on the imposing side, but its 10% ABV makes it justified.

M- Creamy and decadent. Especially pleasant at a lower serving temperature. Medium carbonation and a nice thick, chewy body.

O- Every time I have this, I love it more and more. I don't even seek out darker beers, but this is crazy good.

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Photo of muletrane
4.41/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

No bottle date :(

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a CBS snifter.

A: Pours a jet black colour with no light shining through. Huge three fingered creamy light tan head. Tight bubbles with great retention and lacing.

S: Coffee notes dominate the nose here. Some vanilla notes on the back end. Some alcohol as it warms.

T: Very nice balance between the coffee, vanilla and roasted malts. There is lingering bitterness and roastiness in the finish. Some warming alcohol.

M: Moderate body with light carbonation. Very smooth and easy to drink.

Overall this a very nice and unique porter. Nicely balanced and tasty. Very glad I got a chance to try this.

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Photo of jgagne
4.41/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- very dark, almost opaque body with a huge chocalate milk looking head.

S-huge chocalate and vanilla notes come woffing off this beer. With mild roasty coffee notes.

T-wow, this beer has a wonderful blend of coffee, dark chocalate and vanilla. The chocalate hits you at first then the vanilla really smoothes out the beer. And you end with nice roasty finish.

M-nice heavy body with low carbonation. Sits almost like an imperial stout.

O-what a truly wonderful beer. Great balance and flavor. Highly recommended.

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Photo of tjkinate
4.36/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What a great Imperial Porter!

A: Massive, light brown, frothy head that displayed great retention and loads of lacing that completely surrounds the glass above this black bodied brew.

S: Milk chocolate, coffee, subtle hints of vanilla and cocoa nibs. Far from being the most complex of beers, but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable.

T: Cocoa nibs followed by bitter coffee flavors that mix perfectly with the sweet vanilla undertones. Reminded me of drinking hot chocolate on a cold winter evening.

M: Well carbonated, heavy bodied, yet slightly chalky.

O: Fantastic, best beer you can get for the price. Enough said!

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Photo of dogfishandi
3.98/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to LaChupacabra for this awesome extra!

22oz bottle at about fridge temp poured into my darkness snifter. "VAS12" stamped on the neck?

pours out pretty much opaque black with a huge 2-3 fingers worth of light mocha/ biege colored head off the pour. settles to a thick frothy layer with tons thick sticky lacing.

lots of a creamy vanilla bean aroma. then comes a blend of deep roasted coffee and roasted, burnt malts. nothing really espresso like. bits of dark fruits and maybe a little fruity esters. as it warms some dark chocolate is noticable and smells just slightly warming.

the taste is a little more enjoyable than the aroma. the vanilla bean is again at the forefront. but close behind is some nice roasted coffee, a little more expresso like than in the aroma, and roasted malts. dark chocolate and some mild dark fruits. a bit sweet and the slightest bit of sweet toasted malt. warming going down, but no real taste of alcohol.

comes off just a touch thin and a bit overcarbonated for the style. maybe even the slightest bit acidic from the coffee. becomes more warming as the beer warms up which makes the body feel a bit bigger.

a very enjoyable beer, my only compliants are it could use a touch more body and a little more coffee character. i understand its an imperial porter, but the line between impy porter and impy stout is a little blurred IMO. still a stand up beer as is, but not something i would trade for again. definatly glad i got a chance to try it and id definatly drink again if readily available.

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Photo of Rifugium
4.2/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Pinocchio's, Media, PA

Poured oily black with a small tannish head that receded quite a bit and left little to no lacing. Aroma of roasted dark malts, vanilla, chocolate, coffee. The aroma carried over well in to the taste, with practically all the same elements in a good balance; flavors came out more as the beer was allowed to get closer to room temperature. On the fuller side of medium-bodied, smooth, lower carbonation, and a bit of alcohol warmth that really didn't affect the flavor. Very good overall.

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Photo of coldriver
4.48/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber pours an opaque black with slow forming fantastic looking cascading tannish head. Aroma is as advertised - coffee and vanilla, dark roast malt, a little bacon, and a hint of the 10% alcohol. The taste is the same - smokey coffee and vanilla with great hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is a bit harsh (really my only quibble with this wonderful brew) but creamy and dry finish. Great beer, the vanilla and coffee flavors fit in well with the traditional (but extra strong) porter flavors. Would easily put this up with some of the better imperial stouts.

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Photo of WillCarrera
4.45/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle, no date, poured into a snifter.

A- Pours black with some brown tinges, topped with a finger and a half of creamy tan head, leaves good lacing.

S- Huge roasted coffee aroma, burnt grains, some vanilla sweetness, but the roasted aroma is dominant.

T- Damn, loads of coffee flavor and absolutely charred, like burnt-to-a-crisp malt. Caramel and vanilla sweetness become prominent towards the finish. Roastedness actually produces a pretty considerable bitterness. Has a bit of cream flavor that lingers on the palate.

M- Medium-bodied, creamy, smooth feel, roastedness provides slight astringency.

O- A really nice beer, it's very drinkable, the 10% ABV doesn't make itself felt at all, definitely try this if you like real roasted beers.

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Photo of kevanb
4.48/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is always a treat to enjoy and could be my favorite offering from Ballast Point. It pours a viscous jet black color, minimal browns appear when held to the light. A nice thick caramel colored head sits atop the glass, that has great retention and yields some fantastic lacing. The aroma is exceptionally complex, roasted coffee with toasted malts make a big impression right off the bat. Coconut and vanilla add some sweetness with something almost like dairy cream lending a hand to cut down the stronger burnt and roasty elements to soften the nose. Big robust flavors, roasted coffee is again a big player, some dark fruits come in, perhaps plum or cherry sweeten the beer a bit, some toasted coconut is also present. Some dark chocolate elements are also present, that play well with the malty flavors, but the most prominent flavor is the vanilla, it really takes the beer to the next level, it blends so well with many of the other qualities of the beer and sort of draws them all together in a really nice harmony, the only drawback is that is does have a bit of acidic astringency to it. The body is nice, big, full, silky at first with a nice bitter finish, again, a bit astringent at the finale.

Verdict: Masterful porter from Ballast Point. The flavor profile is wonderfully complex with a fantastic aroma, perfect for a meal or for desert that can be quaffed or sipped.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.45/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass. Been trying to get this beer for ages! Thank you NYC!

A great dark coffee brown head forms so nicely and evenly foamy, rich looking, and dense. Body color is a classic dark brown walnut and doesn't even look like light gets through this thing at all. Aggressive looking, big. Looks wonderful.

Nose is coffee and cream with a nice balance. Some dark rolling malts and a hint of piped smoke. Smells like a great coffee beer is coming.

Palate hits with the wonder of the nose, but there's a catch. Rolling coffee notes mix with a nice light body and dark malts, but even a catch of fizz. Vanilla comes in a bit, but it comes off as a bit acidic and even slightly sour vanilla. Finish leaves a nice mix of all flavors, very VERY well balanced and not even hot or boozy for 10%.

Overall the palate is quite good, with just a slight minor flaw. But it drinks so well, great brew.

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Photo of iadler
4.03/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a deep brown with a two finger dark mocha head that dissipates into a nice cap. Webs of lacing are left behind.

S- Roasted malt is prominent upfront with coffee beans, dark chocolate, black cherry, vanilla and caramel malt.

T- Dark chocolate covered espresso beans, heavy dose of roasted malt, char, burnt caramel, light cream, and a hint of dark fruit.

M- Medium carbonation and body with a dry roasted finish.

O- While the coffee was quite upfront and robust, I didn't get too much vanilla in the taste. The heavy roast presence got a bit too overwhelming, but certainly a nice offering from Ballast Point and one I would like to try fresh.

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Photo of ColForbinBC
4.45/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into my CBS snifter

Thanks to Jebus3513 for the gift

Pours a deep chestnut, near black, with a frothy dark mocha cap. Great staying power with some prominent sip lines. Oily body as it sticks to the glass when swirled.

Vanilla knocks you back first. Roasted coffee, rolled oats, and some milk chocolate round out the nose. Sweetness overall with some bitterness from the roast. Pleasing.

The flavor profile follows the nose. Prominent vanilla with roast coffee and dry, flaky oats. The chocolate flavor mixes with everything else and gives a fudge-like flavor.

Fill body with low carbonation. This guy is smooth and drinks really easy. Little mixture of sweet and roast that lingers.

This is a damn fine porter. Full, well-realized flavor without being overly bold. One of the best I have had. Seek this out.

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.67/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a snifter. Supplemented by a review from notes on 4 February 2012.

A: A nice finger or two of mocha head fades quickly. Black-dark with excellent lacing.

S: One of the most excellent scents in beerdom. Strong coffee. Vanilla beans. A touch of cream. Powerful and amazing.

T: Sweet, creamy, and very substantial. Loads of vanilla, matched only by coffee beans. Slight bitterness on the endtaste (to which hops contribute). Coffee is prominent on the aftertaste, which is not quite dry, but clean superlative, with just a trace of vanilla. Rich, enticing, and excellent. Damned tasty.

M: Creamy-full with balancing and astringent hops.

O: A truly fantastic beer. Most highly recommended! I would (and will) drink again. Balanced and excellent with significant vanilla/coffee notes -- it lives up to its self-styled genre of a 'Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter.'

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Photo of TheSixthRing
4.26/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Pours as black as beer gets. I went so far as to hold a 150-watt reflector bulb to it... no light came through. The head is a creamy tan, about a finger width, before dying into a fine lace.

Smell - Earthy aromas. Very earthy. Coffee comes through, also a bit of vanilla, but it's buried. A bit of alcohol tinges the nostril.

Taste - Intense coffee, then vanilla notes and chocolate dance on the tongue. The tail end of the aftertaste is reminiscent of vanilla ice cream topped with chocolate syrup. Again, a bit of alcohol comes through, but not more than expected for a 10 percenter.

Mouthfeel - Creamy, medium body. Decent carbonation. Goes down easy enough.

Overall - This is a great beer. I'll certainly be on the lookout for other Ballast Point offerings in the near future.

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Photo of Thingus
4.33/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Live tasting, bomber into Duvel tulip...

Appearance; pours black with two fingers of bubbly mocha colored head... Retention is decent with the head hanging around for a couple minutes before falling to a thin film... Lacing is good, with blotches and spiderwebs all over the glass.

Smell; coffee and vanilla!! And not much else... Try as I might, I can't get any more aroma from this brew...

Taste; holy moly, this is a vanilla latte lovers dream brew!! Tons of coffee and vanilla... Smoothly roasted and not overly bitter or burnt tasting, great flavors of vanilla bean... As the coffee and vanilla fades out with hints of malt and chocolate sneaking in...

Mouthfeel; on lighter side of full bodied, with good carbonation... Slightly bitter finish..

Overall; a damn good beer all around, the vanilla and coffee work exceptionally well together!! I'll definitely track this one down again, absolutely worth the effort to obtain!

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,220 ratings.