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

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial PorterVictory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States
ballastpoint.com

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,354
Ratings:
6,605
Avg:
4.35
pDev:
19.77%
 
 
Wants:
1,081
Gots:
2,095
For Trade:
92
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,354 | Ratings: 6,605
Photo of mtvolkens
4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Absolutely delicious. Poured into CCB snifter. It poured absolutely beautifully. Slow pour that developed a nice 2in head that retained well. The most lacking part for me was honestly the aroma. I had faint smells of vanilla and light coffee, but not as much as I was expecting. A tad dull. However, I then tasted it. Boom. Normally a dull aroma leads to a dull beer. Not this one. Packed with delicious aroma. Super wonderfully complex yet drinkable. Tastes delicious vanilla bean up front, with a nice caramelly malt, followed up with the cold brew bite on the end. Super drinkable yet complex. Hides the 10% very well.

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Photo of ajramirez1
4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Tried on tap at brewery was really good. Stoked that Ballast Point entered pdx market. Picked up in WA...

beer is pretty solid. Has good taste. Decent try. Smelt great, pretty good flavor to beer. Wasnt overpowering pretty balanced.

worth the rank where its at on BA.

A-

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Photo of Glanzman
4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce bottle served in a pint glass.

Pours a jet black color with 1 finger tan head. Nice lacing.

Smells of dark roasted (burnt really, but in a good way) malts and STRONG coffee aroma.

Taste like a bold, dark roasted coffee with beer bitterness from the hops, a bit of chocolate malt and vanilla bean to boot.

If you like dark roasted coffee, this is your beer! Not awesome but well done.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I love the skeleton parrot on the shoulder of the skeleton pirate. Opaque black, large chunky tan head leaves lumpy gravy retention. Could look better only if it came in a glow in the dark bottle.

Dark roast coffee + dark roast malt = dark and rich with smooth vanilla all over. Subtle hop burst at the end. Smells like it tastes.

I would never guess this to be such a high abv as the alcohol is expertly hidden. My new favorite dessert beer.

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Photo of OneEye78
4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a wide mouth pint glass. Black body with a hint of light brown at the edges and a 1.4 inch white/brown head. The nose was true to its name with heavy coffee and vanilla scents, and a bit of tart fruitiness, maybe cranberry. Taste was very complex, with a blast of coffee up front, followed by a soft caramel, vanilla flavor and fruit that fades into a bit of bitterness. This is a substantial beer that coats the mouth and leaves behind a lingering flavor,. It really drinks more like a stout than a traditional porter. Overall, I would say that this is a very strong beer, definitely one of my favorites.

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Photo of steve8robin
4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Glad I found this one at the local beer store...

A: Perfect. Black with no light shining through. Thick 1 and 1/2" mocha colored head that slowly thins, but never completely fades.

S: Smells of heavy vanilla with hints of coffee and an oaky / matly backend. Smells good. Not an extremely strong scent, but not hidden either.

T: Very hoppy upfront with vanilla notes followed by subtle coffee. I like this one. Very tasty. The more I drink it, the more the coffee takes front and center and the vanilla takes a back seat.

M: Very good carbonation with a nice smoothness that lingers on the tastebuds.

D: Goes down exceptionally easy. Very easy to drink despite the ABV %.

All in all, this is a porter that is on the stout borderline, which most good porters are anyways. This is a great brew if you're looking for a good blend of flavor, hoppiness, and smooth drinkability. Awesome brew!

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Photo of Resuin
4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a Bomber into a Chimay chalice. This year's edition, so not much age on this one.

Appearance: Pours a pitch-black and leaves maybe half a finger of light brown head. I'm a fan of the darkness of this pour, and it looks to have a very nice consistency to it.

Smell: A light coffee and vanilla scent dominates the initial smell. Some hints of chocolate accompany; definitely a pleasant smell.

Taste: The taste matches the smell pretty well - a very well balanced flavor of coffee, vanilla and malts. This beer is absolutely delicious and the alcohol is extremely well balanced within the beer, this feels substantially lighter than a 10% ABV brew. This is a great sipper.

Mouth-feel: I would call this a perfect balance for a stout/porter. Definitely not too thin, but not thick or syrupy - the perfect balance. Still a good level of carbonation too - this beer has a lovely feel to it.

Overall: This is a porter to judge all porters by. Absolutely delicious and extremely well balanced. Neither the coffee or vanilla are overpowering, but they both add terrific aspects to this beer. I highly recommend this beer to everyone.

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Photo of perrymarcus
4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | 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 beer. exactly what i look for.

nose opens with an unmistakable coffee presence, followed by roasted malts and chocolate. reminds me somewhat of founders breakfast stout.

aroma characters largely pull through in the taste with plenty of coffee and roasted malts, but there's a vanilla note i missed in the nose, albeit a muted one... some bitterness to the finish, with vanilla showing up a bit more in the aftetaste. overall, a really tasty, dare i say delicious beer. well done.

smooth, velvety moutfeel... medium bodied, though a bit lighter than most similar-styled beers; appropriate carbonation. 10% ABV makes its high drinkability rather dangerous.

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Photo of Tucquan
4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on 2013-06-23 at the Fridge in Lancaster, PA

A - Opaque dark browe with a 1-finger tan head and great lacing.

S - Rich dark roasted malt, dark chocolate, expresso, vanilla.

T - Much like the smell with the addition of char, light molasses, lots of dark chocolate. The vanilla is present but in check. There's some sweetness for balance. Roasted and hop bitterness.

M - Thick body and light medium carbonation. Prickly and creamy.

O - This is a very fine imperial porter. Reminds me of a Founders Imperial Stout.

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Photo of billshmeinke
4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. poured into a pint glass.

Black as midnight. Finger and a half pillowy khaki head with a couple larger bubbles in there. Resides to a nice thin layer of foam on top that leaves plenty of lacing that vehemently adheres to the glass.

Tons of coffee, roasted and smokey scents. A nice vanilla and caramel sweetness.

The taste burst with smokey, roasted coffee flavors. Tons of caramel, chocolate and vanilla flavor comes in there too. A subtle hint of dark fruits as well (raisins). Very bitter and smoky from the coffee, not much hop presence to speak of. It is balanced with tons of sweetness from the vanilla and the chocolate and caramel maltiness.

The mouthfeel is surprisingly only medium bodied, but slightly sticky at the same time (not exactly viscous but sticky, probably due to the vanilla). Medium carbonation, not incredibly bubbly. A nice velvety creaminess as well. I read another review that the body of the mouthfeel makes this beer true to its roots as a porter and keeps it from being confused with a stout which I totally agree with.

Good drinkability. There's a lot going on here that keeps you coming back for more, but the coffee starts to interfere a bit with the other flavors about half way through. Still the alcohol is very well hidden, and it's a very drinkable brew.

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Photo of muletrane
4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
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 +1.4%
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 McStagger
4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoy by 11/26/13. Whoops! Hope the vanilla hasn't faded too much.

A: Might as well be a stout. Pours out thick and inky. Dark. Dark dark dark. Put up to the light and you can get some small tiny bits of garnet on the edges. Head was half a finger that evaporated. A vigorous swirl brings us a touch more than a finger of dark, espresso creme colored foam. Still fades pretty quickly. Good lacing on the glass.

S: Deep roasted malts. Candied sugar in there. Toasted sugar in there as well. Think of toffee that's been brulee'd. Vanilla is still very present. As is the coffee. Coffee is a rich, full bodied roast. Super dark fruit under there. Dried black cherry, maybe some currant or casis. Back end has a woody/smoky characteristic with just a touch of alcohol heat.

T: Hell's bells. Flavors just explode! Entrance is sweet milk chocolate with big notes of vanilla! This is overtaken by a rush of dark fruit. dark fruit. Figs, dates, more of the dried black cherry. The malt bitterness picks up in the end, hitting you with huge notes of roasted and torched grain. Heat begins to show up in the finish, but it works so well with the vanilla sweetness. Very little coffee in this one. Just getting a tiny bit on the finish.

M: A little north of medium bodied. I understand that this is an Imperial Porter, but for with flavors that go pretty much toe to toe with an RIS, I guess I just expect the body of the beer to behave like an RIS.

O: Dunno why it took me so long to pick one of these up. The ten dollar price tag probably had something to do with it. Still, this one is defintely worth the money. An absolutely stellar beer for the chill winter nights.

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Photo of stewfnrocker
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I got myself a growler of Ballast Point Victory at Sea Imperial Porter. I poured the beer from the growler into a pint glass. It poured a dark dark brownish maybe black and has a very nice tan head. The smell is of roasted coffee, toffee, maybe caramel and a little vanilla. Lots of sweet smells. When I got that first mouthful you got the taste of the roasted coffee and some malts and is rounded off with that vanilla and a bit of alcohol at the end. Its hard to hide 10% but it really isn't overpowering. There is about an average carbonation, and it has a medium to thick body beer. This beer is a great beer to have with something sweet or after dinner. It has all those sweet flavors of coffee and vanilla and toffee.

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Photo of BubalooBrewMaster
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle

A: its like a cascade of molasses ,rich and dark.

S:obvious smell of coffee,toasted malts and a hint of chocalate.

T:a beautiful balance of coffee and vanilla.although not a strong taste of vanilla you can taste it if you wait for it.A bitter finish but not overwhelming.

M:very smooth.

O:Best porter I've had till now.A balance of quality flavors that you can expect from your favorite coffee house with the added bonus of alcohol.Need I say more.Highly recommend for 7.99$ for a 22oz.

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Photo of TKEbeerman
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured into my pint glass, this brew pours a very dark brown with a medium tan, 3 inch head that is super impressive. Leaving a little lacing after every sip, this is about to be the best porter I've ever had.

S: The aroma is nearly perfection. Rich notes of chocolate, espresso beans, and vanilla. Deep roasted malt. and a slight hop tingle.

T: The flavor is phenomenal. It's a blast of roasted malt, and the perfect mix of vanilla, coffee beans, and notes of chocolate. The slightest hops is evident on the rear of the pallet, along with a little alcohol burn that is almost unnoticeable due to the complexity of the flavors.

MF: Mouthfeel is smooth and cream. Flavor notes were easily blended to make a balanced beer.

D: Drinkability at 10% is not bad.

Overall, this is one hell of a porter. Ballast Point has taken a style (one of my favorites) that not to many brewers spend enough time on, and blew it out of the water. Seek this one out. You wont be disappointed.

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Photo of PirateUlf73
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle, poured into a large mug.

A: Rich black color with a substantial chocolate-tan head.

S: Lots of chocolate and coffee on the nose. Some pleasant dark roast notes as well. Perhaps a smidgen of vanilla sweetness. Quite rich and soft. Very nice.

T: A VERY strong roasted coffee character is tempered slightly by soft vanilla and chocolate tastes. Almost like biting into a bar of bitter, dark chocolate. Hugely sweet and pretty tasty.

M: Massive, chewy feel for and already full-bodied beer. Feels slick yet silky. Lower-than-average carbonation.

D: Slow is the way to go with this one. Would make an excellent after-dinner brew.

Man, oh man! This beer claims to be robust and it delivers. The immense coffee and chocolate flavors make me almost forget that I'm drinking a beer. My only real knock against this brew is that the thick body took away from the drinkability, ever so slightly. All in all though, if you like sweet beers, get this if you can find it!

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Photo of Vonerichs
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was one delicious porter.

It has a very dark brown, opaque body. This had a surprisingly large head for a porter that was cinnamon in color and dissipated quickly.

The smell is very vivid. The smooth vanilla is in the forefront, backed by typical porter characteristics of chocolate and coffee.

The flavor is well rounded. The vanilla adds a nice sweetness to smooth out the light bitterness of the coffe and chocolate. Tons of vanilla bean.

Smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Thick, but not too thick. There's a slight alcoholic burn that makes this a sipper, but very drinkable.

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Photo of Dijeriduster
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

WOW. Ballast makes wonderful brews, but this is in a class all its own. Sampled at Green Flash 7th Anniversary Festival...then again, and again, and again at Home Brew Mart.

A - Striking. Unlike most stouts you really get the coffee notes, especially in the head which has obvious notes of freshly pressed French Roast. Its a thick looking brew too - even a 2oz sample looks robust.

S - Amazing. Again lots of coffee notes - thanks to Cafe Calabria (local coffee shoppe that is the collaborator here). Melds well with the roasty smells coming from an aggressive grain bill.

T - You get hit by the roasted coffee flavor first, this really is like a good cup of coffee. That yields to the roasted flavors fairly quickly, then slowly you realize this has a massive amount of vanilla bean in it. Starts like a robust coffee, finishes on the sweet notes you'd expect from a vanilla latte.

M - Wonderful mouthfeel, very true to style as a coffee stout. To me there is nothing worse then a stout with a great roasty flavour ruined by a syrupy, thin mouthfeel. This is not the case here - its almost light and airy giving plenty of room to pick up on the nuances.

D - Very good. Not sure I'd get a growler fill, but this is amazing as a 22 to sample with friends. Think beer dinner here. Very unique due to the massive coffee flavours, but also finishes sweet enough to get the ladies into it as well. If you are lucky enough to find a bottle of this BUY 2. Also the best label around :)

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Photo of Casey10
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wow a great beer given to me as a "extra" from SwillinBrew thanks Gil this one is really nice.

Wow what flavor this one really stands out for what it is shooting for the coffee flavor really stands out and is so nice.

A - Dark, wispy mocha head.

S - chocolate is prominate I can not really tell about the vanilla but this smells nice.

T - Lovely, so good smooth similar to southern tier chokolat but yet different. Not able to pick up the vanilla but most likely there whatever I like this.

M - smooth again leaves almost a feel after you have had just drunk a chocolate milk and the contents are slipping down the back of your throught.

D - I want another I gave a lower score because of the ABV and if I quickly drank another well lets just say I might not enjoy this beer the way I have.

A must try well done !!!

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Photo of rfgetz
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep rich brown, almost black. Minimal ring of brown head, leaving some lacing. Smell is of medium roast malts with hints of coffee, vanilla, dark fruit and an underlying sweetness. Vanilla scent improves as it warms. Taste is of fresh roasted coffee with a creamy, milky sweetness backed by a nice presence of vanilla. Hints of fruit, chocolate and oak present. As the drink warms, the taste takes on a somewhat vanilla extract type taste, which is one of my few knocks. Nice full body for a porter, encroaching on stout territory with its creamyness and smoothness. Excellent beer which changes drastically as is approaches room temperature. To experience is, I recomended serving below recommended temp and tasting as it warms up.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in my trusty Devil's Backbone willibecher.

Big thanks to Brundo4 for this bottle!

Does the skeleton really indicate a victory? Anyway... It pours an opaque black brown topped by over a finger of very light tan foam. The nose comprises coffee, chocolate syrup, molasses, roasted malts, vanilla ice cream, and some sprinkles o' cinnamon. The taste follows the chocolate path to enlightenment, accompanied by some light coffee, roasted malts, maple syrup, brown sugar, and a nice subtle burst o' vanilla bean. Damn, this be some tasty shit! The body is a solid medium, with a light carbonation and a silky feel, baby. Believe the hype, people, this shit tastes damn good! Get some!

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Photo of MissSmisje
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

S: vanilla, coffee, cocoa. F: strong vanilla, cocoa nibs, coffee. F: medium heavy, but not syrupy. Light sweetness to start, pleasant bitter finish with vanilla as the strongest flavor. Could drink this as a house beer.

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Photo of Budlum
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep black color with a tan head. Aromas of strong dark-roasted coffee dominate. Caramel overshadowed by strong flavors of fresh coffee blend with faint vanilla. The flavors remain long after giving way to a pleasant coffee bitterness. Excellent.

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Photo of TubaManJack
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%

22oz bomber 10 days after bottling poured into a sniffer and enjoyed over a period of 2 hours.

Appearance - A traditional black bodied porter with a bit of milk chocolate head. There is precious little carbonation or head retention.

Smell - Wet damp coffee grounds with some harsh roasted notes. However as the beer comes up in temperature this gives way to the world class beer I expected. Deep medium roast coffee crashes against milk chocolate and heavy unsweetened vanilla. It is amazing and the roasted notes fade into the background. Very pleasant and worth the time to bring down and subsequently wash my sniffer glass.

Taste - A stronger and deeper version of nose, The deep medium roast coffee crashes against milk chocolate and heavy unsweetened vanilla which are quite chewy. But you need to let this beer warm up a little more than you would expect.

Mouthfeel - Thinner than I expected for an Imperial Porter in part to the balanced warmth of the ABV and lacking an oily feel from the coffee chocolate interplay. I liked it given the nice amount of carbonation.

Overall Impressions -
Wow, it was quite impressive, despite the hype and mystique, the beer lives up to most of its reputation. This beer really needs to warm up and time to unfold. Much like the sails of a clipper ship, you can't expect to unfurl the sail instantly. The beer in its first hour or so wasn't as impressive as the initial damp roasted coffee with vanilla extract, however once it came up to just below room temp, there wasn't any stopping to it. I would seek it out.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
4.35 out of 5 based on 6,605 ratings.
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