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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:
1,368
Ratings:
6,680
Avg:
4.35
pDev:
19.77%
 
 
Wants:
1,078
Gots:
2,137
For Trade:
90
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,368 | Ratings: 6,680
Photo of seaoflament
4.12/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

There are two profiles for this beer but I'm putting this one with the most accurate alc %.

Coke colored with an inch of foam, good rention and lacing.

Coffee burst at first with notes of vanilla, roasted malts, dark chocolate, and some alcohol heat in the background. Espresso and nutty malt notes. Coffee, sugar cookie....seems to go good with chips ahoy. Black patent malt and caramel aromas. More soft sugar cookie aroma as it warms up.

Coffee and espresso with dark chocolate and roasted malts. Hints of vanilla, brown sugar, and slightly burnt malts. Strong alcohol presence in the background.

Low carbonation at first and a bit syrupy in the finish.

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Photo of aorloski
3.76/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Drank at 9:30 am paired with vanilla yogurt and pomegranate granola

Appearance - incredibly viscous motor oil out of the bottle. Looks better than mosts stouts. this one poured vigoursly gave me a 2 finger mocha head that was fluffy.

Smell - Boozy, booze right up front that hides really great notes of coffee, vanilla and roasted malts.

Taste - Again, this one is a little hot and pretty booze forward. Incredibly sweet with not a ton of vanilla or coffee shining through but they are there. I was expecting more robust qualities of a porter mingled with vanilla and coffee, sounds better than executed.

Mouthfeel - Creamy as hell, silky and chewy.

Overall - A tad of a disappointment for me, wanted it to be more than it was probably, but still a very fine crafted brew regardless.

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Photo of GreatStoutman
4.51/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This beer has very strong characteristics, even for a novice like me its pretty easy to break down.

Pours black with tan head, aroma hits you as soon as the bottle opens. Coffee and vanilla, as advertised. Full bodied and feels great on the tongue, finishes smooth. Its a little sweet and I might not be finish the entire 6-pack tonight, but thats probably a good thing since its a very, very sneaky 10% abv.

Overall, this is a very sweet and enjoyable dessert type porter. I've had this over the course of a couple months now, and while the vanilla and coffee flavors hang around, they do degrade and start to leave somewhat of a metallic aftertaste.

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Photo of DaveHS
4/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours jet black with nearly 2 inches of coffee colored head. Leaves intermittent streaks of soapy lacing.

S-Nose is phenolic at first. After letting it sit for a minute or two, deep, lush aromas of roasted coffee bean and caramel/toffee malt sweetness become apparent.

T/M-This is a big, roasty, complex beer. Big flavors of vanilla bean up front. The roasted flavor of the coffee adds a pleasant bitterness that butts up against the otherwise smooth body towards the finish. It's pretty boozy, but I don't mind it so much. The warming quality grew on me after a few sips.

D-One that I look forward to every year. If you can find it, grab it! And cellar it.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
4.74/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2013 vintage 22 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a pretty, opaque, black color, with a quarter of a finger of caramel-colored head that quickly dissolved away into a thin lacing of foam that completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Very complex. Very roasty, like freshly baked roasted coffee beans, but also very malty like freshly baked dark bread. I also get a lot of vanilla and brown sugar. Not much in the way of hops however.

Taste: Great! Very roasty up front, with a lot of coffee flavor, followed by a lot of vanilla and caramel-like sweetness, and then followed by strong hints of roasted malt and freshly baked bread. Finally, the beer finishes with some slightly bitter coffee flavors, and some nicely balanced hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied to slightly chewy and oh, so smooth. The beer has not carbonation to speak of, and is rather creamy. With an ABV of 10% alcohol, I’m surprised how little heat there is here. I was expecting much more of an alcohol is on the palate

Overall: This is another awesome porter, and now I see why it is in such high regard. I love the creamy mouthfeel as well as the great balance between the vanilla/caramel-like sweetness and the roasted coffee bitterness. Absolutely delicious! I’m definitely having my West Coast contacts get me a few more bottles next year!

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Photo of ChrisCage
4.82/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A- Love the artwork of the label! The brew is more of a heavy dark brown than the traditional blackish tones I'm used to seeing....and it appears to be thick in nature. The head is meringue like a creamy espresso foam like color...the retention is most excellent, and eventullly looks like sponge toffee! The carbonation is much too hard to see and lacing is superb! A lovely looking porter!!

S- Super heavy cocoa power aromas upfront, with background smells of high cocoa content dark chocolate, very fresh dark roast coffee, vanilla sweetness, charred black malts, burnt nuttiness and Earth...super balanced and smooth aromas...Wow!!

T- This is awesome!!! Highly regulated smooth balancing flavors such as cocoa bean, blended dark chocolate, cold press espresso, burnt almond nuttiness, fresh vanilla bean to sweeten things up slightly, hints of toffee/caramel/molasses and the finish is dry, robust and bold, with mellow hopped bitterness....simply amazing!!

M/O- This is one of the most delicate beers I've ever experienced on the palate....the body gently tickles the tongue with wee tight bubbles that explode with a smooth vigor....enhancing the overall flavors/character. I refuse to believe that this is 10% alcohol...that's how well hidden the booze is within this brew! A very highly drinkable porter that is spot on for the style and I am afraid of what will happen the next time I purchase this, as it will be more than one bottle!! OUTSTANDING!!

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Photo of keithmurray
4.74/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance - dark brown nearly black beer with dark khaki head

Smell - coffee, vanilla, dark chocolate

Taste - much the same as the aroma, coffee, vanilla, dark chocolate, roasted malts, molasses

Mouthfeel - full bodied, medium carbonation, sweetness upfront from the vanilla, coffee makes its presence known, hint of bitterness to try and balance things, flavors linger a good amount

Overall - this is a top notch imperial porter, very sweet upfront, teeters on the edge of cloying without ever going there. Porter and stout fans should be sure to try this

Price Point - $2.99/12 oz single

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Photo of WYVYRN527
4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours pitch black, with a thick tan head that settles to about a finger thick. Lacong is excellent.

S: Smell consists of coffee, vanilla, chocolate, and dark fruits. Hops are noticeable in the backround, but not much of a factor.

T: Coffee is most noticeable at first, followed by vanilla, dark chocolate, and some caramel. There is only a slight booziness to this beer. The finish is relatively dry, with some floral hop tones.

M: Full bodied, but the silkiness of this beer is short lived, as the finish doesn't last as long as I would have expected.

D: Excellent beer, although it's a sipper. For it's intense flavor and high ABV, it's very easy to drink. It does not need age, as it is showing brilliantly right now.

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

Two reasons I cracked this tonight. One, I've already had two from the box I recieved this morning from kmurray8621 so why stop there? And two, I'm watching Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Mans Chest so it kind of fits (specifically the label).

Pours a deep black color with a generous light brown head sitting on top. Retention is great, and it leaves excellent lacing, sometimes milimeters thick.

The nose starts out smokey, with coffee and milk chocolate notes, along with vanilla. A soft roasted malt character rounds it out. Pretty much just as advertised, with a more prominant roasted malt/smoked malt character.

The taste starts out with a strong smoked malt flavor, with coffee overtones. I also get a sweet chocolate and vanilla taste about mid-palate. It's pretty complex and definitely tasty.

Mouthfeel is medium to heavy, with a creamy and smooth texture. Low carbonation adds to the creamyness. Drinkability is dangerous. This doesn't taste 10% at all, and I will easily finish this bomber myself.

Overall, Ballast Point doesn't disappoint. Excellent brew I wish I had regular access too. Thanks Kevin for the chance to try this!

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Photo of Murchmac
4.1/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Been wanting to drink this beer for a while, thankfully got a chance.

Pours a 2 finger mocha head, dark beer. Carbonated bubbles travel upward while this beer looks creamy, interesting mix.

Great smells of Vanilla, coffee, caramel, roasted malts, chocolate, beautiful, cant wait to drink it.

Complex taste, very complex. Vanilla, citrus hops, coffee, chocolates, caramel.

Bitter, dry finish, carbonated yet smooth again, a little boozy, but great great beer.

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Photo of JamesMN
4.15/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoy by 12/19/13. Bought it about a year ago and its been sitting in the fridge ever since.

Appearance: Black and opaque with carbonation bubbles stuck to the bottom of the glass. One finger tan head of froth.

Aroma: Dark roasted malts with a hint of vanilla. Some black coffee just detectable. Smells like a run-of-the-mill imperial stout with added sweetness.

Taste: Based on the aroma I was not prepared for how delicious this would be. The coffee and vanilla may not be very aromatic but they are definitely pulling no punches when it comes to flavor. Interestingly it starts off kind of mundane. Just clean dark malt with a touch of sweetness to balance things out. Then, right before the finish, the coffee lends a good flavor and bitterness that is evened out by the vanilla and a touch of confectionary sweetness. For a beautiful moment the flavor is reminiscent of a vanilla frapuccino. The finish is smooth and well-rounded. A combination of dark malt, roast coffee, and hop bitterness lingers in the aftertaste, making it quite dry. The 10% ABV is completely believable due to the depth of flavor but the actual alcohol never shows itself apart from a slight warmth in the throat after several sips. Really well done.

Mouthfeel: Upper medium to full in body with a lot of small effervescent bubbles that somehow don't interfere with the chocolate milk-like softness of the beer. Good drinkability but definitely not a session option due to the big ABV. Great size to split a with a like-minded friend though.

Final Thoughts: I love it when a beer blows past my expectations like this. I've never been a huge fan of porters and an imperial version of any style I'm not fond of is usually a bad bet for my palate. However, Ballast Point Victory at Sea imperial porter is off the charts. Although it walks a fine line between porter and stout, the flavor speaks for itself. If you're a stout fan or even a hop head (like myself) who enjoys full flavored beers, definitely pick this one up if you're in the mood for a robust brew. Would I drink it again? Yes, I will be seeking out a nitro-tap version...

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Photo of Dragginballs76
4.49/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pour jet black with thick tan head that stays around for several minutes, a quick swish of the glass bring it back. Great lacing.

Smell - Right off the bat I get plenty of coffee it is amazing smells just like a cup of joe.

Taste - Amazing coffee flavors also getting the smooth vanilla and roasted flavors.

Feel - full bodied very creamy and smooth excellent feel.

Overall - One of the best beers I have had i will continue to buy this!!

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Photo of mlockman
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Definitely not overpowered by the coffee and vanilla flavors, it reminded me of some an imperial stout with just barely more roast flavor. Deceptively smooth, it was easy drinking; no perceived alcohol presence.

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Photo of mjpolzin
4.15/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I love coffee beers. I think it is because of that then that I don't rank some of them very high because I have such big expectations.

After Ballast Point started showing up in Wisconsin, I found myself liking them a little more after each new beer I had. Victory at Sea helped raise my love for Ballast Point as this was one of the better coffee beers I have ever had.

The coffee was very strong and front and center without being overpowering. The vanilla added a nice sweet compliment as sometimes coffee beers will taste like nothing but coffee. The booze was noticeable but smooth. I look forward to drinking this again.

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Photo of Googs
4.31/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark, dark brown. Not seeing through this one. Looks almost like a cola. About 3/4 of an inch head when poured which faded quickly into a small layer of bubbles. Alcohol legs lingering on this, and not surprising at all for the the !0% ABV. A very nice lookin' imperial porter.

S: Not a very strong aroma on this one. Dark chocolate roasted malts upfront. A bit of coffee and vanilla. Not an intense smelling brew but pleasant.

T: Malty sweetness that is quickly covered up by the roasted coffee, hops and a touch of vanilla. Very good imperial coffee porter.

M: Perfect mouthfeel for this style of beer. Smooth and just the right amount of carbonation. 10%? this one goes down easy. It's creeping up on me.

O: Pretty awesome Imperial Coffee Porter and one of the best I've had. If you like that roasted coffee flavor and your Imperial porters on the bitter side, you'll love this. I've heard they last years batch was a bit sweet. This year's is fairly bitter when fresh. I'd prefer a little bit more sweetness in it so I'm going to grab a bottle to age for a year and re-visit. Delicious brew, I'd get this if you can.

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

Bottle received in a trade with Jophish. Thanks Joe!

A: Black with brown highlights and a thick white head that dissipates quickly.

S: Thick roasted malts, with some coffee and a little chocolate showing through. Nice dark chocolate cake effect. Not as sweet or vanilla-heavy as expected.

T: Roasted coffee, light chocolate, and vanilla. As it warms, vanilla becomes more prominent with a little sweetness, bringing chocolate tort to mind. There's a slight alcohol bite, but for the most part, it's pretty well covered. Finishes with a lengthy coffee bitterness and roasted malt combination.

M: Medium to thick with moderate carbonation. Finishes quite dry.

I received this beer late 2009, so am guessing that it has dried out a bit from what it started as. But as far as I can tell, time hasn't hurt it much as the coffee and vanilla are still very evident. This is a great beer and I'll definitely jump at the chance to grab it should I come across it in the future.

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

Had at 10oz draft at Closed for Business...

A: Black. Dark brown, dense head is formed on the pour; rings and sheets of lace get left on the sides of the glass.

S: Piney hops??! Not expecting that to be the first thing I noticed... Coffee and roasted malt; a dark chocolate sweetness; vanilla.

T: Starts with a short blast of vanilla; then transitions to roasted malts and a hoppy bitter; surprisingly bitter finish given the sweetness from the vanilla and chocolate malt.

M: Near full; creamy and slightly viscous; higher carbonation than expected.

D: Fairly drinkable considering the 10% abv (I had no idea... wow!); a lot of flavor going on (especially the sweetness) might wear out the ol' taste buds.

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Photo of kzoobrew
4.32/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to SpdKilz for hooking me up with this bottle. Cheers Carleton!

Poured into unbranded 12oz snifter. Deep walnut color from the bottle though settles into the glass an opaque black. One finger Cafe Au Lait head works its way back in short order. A nice ring is left around the perimeter, heavy lacing clings to the glass.

There are some beers that you find yourself admiring the aroma to a point that you have to remind yourself to take a sip, this is one of them. Medium roasted coffee bean with a bit of cinnamon up front. Fudgy dark chocolate wedges itself smack dab in the middle. Caramel vanilla cream lays underneath be delicately weaves its way into each sniff.

The aroma is an excellent indicator of things to come. The flavor is very reminiscent of the aroma but much more even. The java flavor is very clean, providing a nearly perfect level of roastiness. Molten chocolate is intertwined with the bean though moves towards a dry cocoa flavor towards the back of the palate. Sweet caramel creme provides a lighter sweetness to compliment the darker flavors. The vanilla is not overly obvious, the flavor smooths and blends the other flavors together.

Full bodied porter. The carbonation is a bit too lively, so far that is the only fault I can find in this beer. Very smooth and nearly creamy texture. The finish is moderately long, the flavors do not dig in to the tongue as much as I expected.

Quite the impressive beer. Flavors are very well integrated and smooth. Remarkably easy to drink for a 10% beer. Alcohol is well hidden. Drinking several servings may not be the best idea though it would be remarkably easy to accomplish. Well done Ballast Point!

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Photo of spacecake9
4.8/5  rDev +10.3%

Very happy so see this at my local liquor store.
A - Pours almost black with a nice foamy head.
S - All I can smell is coffee. Smells just like one of those big tins of ground coffee where you'd rip off the lid and all that coffee aroma would hit you in the face.
T - Coffee and vanilla flavors dominate.
M - Another reviewer thought this was thin but it strikes me as a solid medium body beer.
O - I'm not a huge fan of porters - I prefer stouts - but this one tastes great. Probably helps that I really like coffee. And the vanilla lends a little sweetness that rounds off the bitterness of the coffee (or the porter for that matter). I really like this beer and look forward to getting my hands on another bomber.

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Photo of vickersspitfire
4.85/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance:
Dark brown body, almost black and sealed with a dark tan head that’s three fingers thick, foamy and just looks like a nice place to rest on. Thick lacing marks every sip you take.
Smell:
Dark roasted malts and coffee and a mild semi sweet odor of dark chocolate, brown sugar and butter with a touch of caramel.
Taste:
Strong roasted malts and coffee at first followed by the bitterness of dark chocolate. The aftertaste is a milder version of the taste itself minus the bitterness.
Mouthfeel:
Light bodied.
Overall:
This is a great tasting porter with plenty of malts to go around.

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Photo of GregSVT
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber into a snifter

A: Pours a deep dark cola with a big tan head that fades leaving lots of lacing on the glass.

S: The nose has tons of coffee aromas with a creamy vanilla and malty smell there as well.

T: The taste starts with coffee but soon after the vanilla and roasty malt flavors take over and leave a wonderful finish on the tongue.

M: The feel is creamy from the carbonation but it's a bit thin for an "Imperial" porter.

D: High ABV yet tasty profile puts this on the medium end of drinkability.

Very tasty and I wish I had access to this without having to trade for it. This along with Terrapin Wake N Bake are the best coffee beers I've ever had.

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Photo of rjd722
4.58/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my Ommegang wide flute glass, a beautiful black coloring with big, frothy brown head which dissipates slowly and laces the entire way down. A burst of vanilla greets you and is accompanied by some nice roasted chocolate notes. Smoked toffee and chocolate (with hints of vanilla) dominate the experience and overall this brew has a bitterness slightly more intense then coffee. Considering it's a 10% ABV, it has a pleasant texture and is easy to drink. Really great weekend beer, what else can I say about another exceptional Ballast Point offering?

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Photo of vacax
3.85/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Black as coffee with a creamy mocha head. Looks well carbonated for a big beer, head calms down but retains a nice skin of foam that leaves some lacing.

S: Cookie, marshmallows, coffee, vanilla syrup. Nose is quite on the sweet side, no doubt that coffee and vanilla combo drive it.

T: Bittersweet chocolatey malts with a healthy dose of cold coffee. Not as cloying as the nose came across, but quite sweet with the vanilla/marshmallow. Some alcohol flavors in the middle. Roasted and coffee in a long finish. Despite a clear abundance of flavors it is not terribly complex

M: Medium to thick and silky with moderate-low carbonation. With the intense coffee and vanilla flavors I think I would appreciate this more with more body and less carbonation. This beer is intense.

D: Definitely a night cap type of beer here, a bomber is plenty and probably best shared. Could be a nice dessert beer, perhaps with something to help match its cloying coffee and vanilla. Interesting porter worth checking out.

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Photo of jbphoto88
4.23/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark brown beer that closely approaches black. There are some ruby highlights that barely give away the actual color. The head is a sponge of bubbles, sticking to everything it touches and is the color of espresso crema with a hint of cherry wood red. Impressive start.

Mmmmm there are loads of chocolate malts and coffee punch in the nose. And I mean punch! The coffee notes all but dominate with charred malts coming in way behind the thick cloud of cafe musk. All of those heavy scents have a bit of an acidic tart smell to them but in my experience that can be masked in flavor.

Speaking of which this is a huge flavor bomb. The coffee and chocolate carry over but not the tartness. The coffee is diminished and replaced by the vanilla roasted caramel malt and a baked nuttiness. Heavy duty with waves and layers of big porter flavor. Super delicious.

The mouthfeel is full bodied like you'd guess from a beer of this nature. The acrid notes perk up here and seem to wash off a layer of enamel from your teeth and leaves you with a chocolate bile aftertaste. Not my favorite finish but not so bad to make me rate it below a 4. So even with that negative this is still a bad ass brew.

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Photo of horshack7
4.99/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: I'm not sure if this one could be any darker it might very well absorb light it's an abyss crossed with a black hole in space. The head is dark beige quite thick and leaves good lacing behind.

Aroma: Massive amounts of vanilla bean. Chocolate malts with traces of milk sugar. The hops are roasted quite dark but quite a ways from being burnt. Dark roasted coffee with some espresso mixed in. Traces of ripe banana towards the back.

Taste: An absolute tidal wave of chocolate malts. Vanilla bean is borderline astronomical. Dark fruits roam all over. There are traces of bourbon. Although this an American porter milk sugar is all through it. The mouthfeel is better than smooth it's like drinking fresh heavy cream. It makes silk look like sand paper.

Notes: This one is an absolute beast but what a gentile giant. It's great for a cool night anytime of year. Great for an after dinner beer. An amazing sipper dangerously drinkable and utter perfection for the coldest of winter nights. My fellow beer advocates this one is an absolute masterpiece. Cheers to all.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
4.35 out of 5 based on 6,680 ratings.
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