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:
1,402
Ratings:
6,798
Avg:
4.35
pDev:
8.97%
 
 
Wants:
1,090
Gots:
2,185
For Trade:
91
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,402 | Ratings: 6,798
Photo of jrnyc
4.75/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I had this one last night for the first time for what will hopefully be a new annual Christmas tradition. Thanks to Jimmy for getting me one of these.

So, no formal review for me, but I liked this one so much that I need to at least review it and say something. It looked awesome in the glass and tasted delicious. Definitely a complex , quality beer. when it was all gone I wish I had more.

I am not even a really fan of porters, but both my brother-in-law and loved this beer. Well done Ballast Point!

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

Saw this by the counter of my local beer spot, asked the cashier what he thought of it, he said it was "Fucking Awesome", had to get some.
Looks like chocolate syrup as it is poured, smells like a typical porter. Great taste as it goes down, you really get the hint of vanilla at the end, very good. Could not believe it was 10%.
Ballast Point strikes again....

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Photo of HopHunter19
4.75/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A - dark black beer with nice mocha he ad that leaves nice lacing
S - hardcore coffee, cocoa, vanilla, roasty malts
T - same as aroma, coffee, cocoa, roasted malts, vanilla
M - medium to thick mouthfeel. Alc covered aftertaste bitter coffee/cocoa/roastiness
O - another great coffee beer

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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 LennyOvies
4.54/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

L- Jet black body, creamy and fluffy tan head with eternal retention, very long. Looks amazing. Leaves a thin crown of head.
S- Freshly poured espresso, cream, vanilla.
T- Espresso, craeamy vanilla, dark chocolate, hazelnuts. Bitter resinous hops and booze at the end.
F- Medium silky body.
O- Great porter, I could do with less booze at the taste but I cant count it as a flaw knowing this is a 10% brew. Amazing.

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Photo of Bone53
4.48/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pitch black, absolutely no light coming through when put up to the light, and a creamy one to two finger light brown head

Smell: Coffee, roasted malts, with a undertone of vanilla. Its all there, and from first whiff you can tell its of very high quality

Taste: Coffee and roasted malts upfront with subtle notes of vanilla, and caramel sweetness mid palate which carries throughout the aftertaste. Some bittering hops on the finish as well

Mouthfeel: Heavy medium body id say; Goes down smooth with a bitter, coffee-like finish

Overall: First class coffee porter without a doubt. Had this on tap a couple years back and still remember how much i enjoyed it. Well, i think i enjoyed it today as much as i did back then. The balance of coffee, vanilla, roasted malts, and bittering hops is fantastic. I get more roasted malt in the taste than nose which i really appreciate. It really rounds the beer out. This holds up to some of the better coffee stouts iv had. Get it while you can! Cheers!!

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Photo of ljbonadonna92
4.71/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pitch black with a thick off white head that doesn't dissappear at all. A strong coffee and hot pepper like aroma wafts out of my glass. Flavors of sweet vanilla and strong coffee coat my mouth with a moderatly chewy mouthfeel. Overall an excellent beer that dear to my heart.

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

Received 2011 Vintage in a recent trade.
Poured from 22oz bottle into Bordeaux glass.
Couldn't wait to try this one!

Aroma: Rich mocha plus a soft vanilla note work extremely well together. Molasses underneath, plus powdered cocoa. The vanilla comes through more and more over time.

Appearance: Pours like a porter with a dark, dark brown body. 1/2 finger light tan head thins to a layer of fine, splotchy patches of bubbles.

Flavor: Strong, yet smooth vanilla flavor up front. Sweet, roasty mocha maltiness with a touch of peppery alcohol. A slightly-acidic coffee note followed by a robust, bitter, espresso finish. Bitterness lingers, and vanilla then returns.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, medium carbonation, and light pepper in the mouth and throat afterward.

Overall: The combination of vanilla and coffee work exceptionally with what would be a delicious porter on its own. The only improvement I could see for this brew would be barrel aging. Give this one a try!

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Photo of TempeBeerMan
4.36/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A – Black as night, and pours with the appearance of used motor oil. An outstanding thick, three finger, brown head that lasted a VERY long time. Patchy lacing.

S – Medium strength aroma of roasted malts, chocolate, espresso, and vanilla.

T – Taste definitely matches the smell here, with coffee, vanilla, and milk chocolate being the predominant flavors. Intense in its flavor presentation. Some alcohol warming in the finish, but overall the 10% abv is remarkably well hidden. Very sweet upfront, but just when it would have a tendency to become cloying, a little bittering hops kick in bringing balance, and leaving an aftertaste closer to dark/bittersweet chocolate. Maybe lacking complexity, but it sure delivers what’s advertised with gusto.

M – Thick and creamy, like a chocolate malt. Carbonation is extremely minimal and suits the flavors well, lending to a very “heavy feel” in the mouth. Sort of coats and hangs there. Just a tiny bit syrupy. Clearly a sipper.

O – I found this brew to be delicious, although with such strong coffee/roast flavors is closer to a stout than a porter. In fact, this rivals many a coffee stout that I have sampled!

As much as I enjoyed it, I could not have more than one of these in an evening. Took me the better part of an hour to finish it, and had me not even wanting another beer afterwards, it's flavors were that strong. Would be a fantastic dessert beer. Would be interested to try the barrel aged/oaked versions to see if they bring a little more depth and complexity.

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Photo of BigBarley
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black, like an imperial stout, with a respectable thick khaki foam head, with a hint of brown. Smells like a bourbon barrel painted with vanilla extract. Hints of coconut, vanilla, bourbon, roasted chocolate, french coffee. Tastes damn near like the perfect porter, smooth chocolate, bitter dark coffee, vanilla and bourbon, and just the slightest hint of coconut. This flavor can stand up to many BA imperial stouts out there. Amazing. Mouthfeel is thick and velvety, relative to a foreign stout but the sweetness could ave you believing you were drinking an imperial stout. An all around beautifully brewed beer that touches on a wide range of flavors that many beer geeks go nuts for. A must-have brew in the craft community.

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Photo of dmgeng
4.94/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Everything about this beer intrigued me and beer trading allowed me to get one of these. I was very pleased with this imperial porter.

A - Deep dark brown, that basically black but is very clear. It pours great with light brown creamy head and very strong lacing. Very much like a mocha-chino.

S - Initially the signature dark, black malt "porter" smell is the most predominant. After the beer warms to room temperature the rich dark roasted coffee and the deep vanilla tones come through beautifully. No discernible hops but the elixir sucks you in.

T - The first sip there is a very smooth but full flavored taste with all of the flavors that you would expect: dark roasted coffee, natural vanilla bean, chocolate, black malt, and sweet malt. No discernible alcohol or hops with the full flavor and smooth character that represents this great beer. The roasted bitterness is strong too allowing the balance of vanilla/cocoa sweetness. Complex and roasty but very smooth and flavorful.

M - High mouth-feel with moderate carbonation. A thick beer with much to offer. Not as thick as some but basically perfect in terms of the ABV and style.

Overall, this is one of the best beers that I've ever tasted. Great flavor with tremendous smoothness and full flavor. Definitely a porter with a distinct black malt flavor with less of the traditional burnt, roasted character of roasted malt stouts. I love the great coffee, vanilla, and chocolate flavor that comes through. Really a perfect example of taking a vanilla mocha and blending it with a full flavored porter. I strongly recommend this flavored imperial porter especially since it is less bitter, less harsh, and less alcoholic than many RIS's.

Glass- Snifter

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Photo of zshaft
4.58/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

this beer was a little easier for me to review. pours black with no light able to penetrate glass. minimal head but good lacing as beer gets consumed. smells like coffee and vanilla. tastes the same. great mouthfeel maybe slightly less thick than a stout would be. this is one great porter. could be a stout far as I am concerned. one of the best out there imo. seek and consume! beware the 10 percent. can't taste it.

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Photo of blakelive784
3.8/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

1 pt 6 fl oz brown glass bottle served in a snifter, reviewed live (2011 Vintage):

A - Pours a deep shade of brown/black with a thin, tan, one finger head. Retention is awful, though forgivable for the high ABV. Pretty standard.

S - Strong vanilla notes and cream. Strong roast throughout. Nicely roasted coffee. Moderate strength aroma. Very inviting given the heavy vanilla.

T - Malts are layered extremely well. Roasted, toasted, and sweet base malts all present. Muted coffee present throughout. The roasted malts are the star in this beer. A bit sweet. Delicious.

M - A bit too slick and smooth. Medium bodied. Could be more coarse.

D - A tasty beverage. I've not had it fresh, but it's definitely still highly drinkable. I'd definitely have it again.

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Photo of flayedandskinned
4.44/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 Vintage
Poured into a Duvel tulip

Appearance: (4.5)
Pours a pitch black with a thick and creamy 2.5 finger tall, dark tan head. The head has fantastic retention and leaves a multitude of sticky lacing behind as it recedes.

Aroma: (4.25)
As soon as you raise the glass to your lips, you're struck by waves and waves freshly roasted coffee beans and rich milk chocolate. As the beer warms, some aromas of marshmallow cream and sweet vanilla emerge alongside notes of baker's chocolate and roasted malts. For 10% the alcohol is very masked.

Taste: (4.5)
Just like in the nose, right away you're greeted by intense coffee and rich, creamy milk chocolate. These milk chocolate tones are overtaken by bittersweet dark roasted grains and a herbal hop edge. As the beer finishes dry, you're left notes of bitter baker's chocolate, coffee, caramel, vanilla and a toasted nuttiness left lingering on your palate. Just as in the nose, the alcohol is very well masked.

Mouthfeel:(4.5)
Heavy and creamy body with moderate to high carbonation. Very velvety and drinkable for 10%

Overall: (4.5)
Ballast Point does a fantastic job with this beer by delicately balancing the acidic, bitter tones of fresh coffee with the sweet notes of chocolate malt and vanilla, while still adhering to the structure of an "Imperial" Porter. This beer has garnered a cult-like following over the years and it is well deserved. Highly recommended.

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Photo of rrock44
5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Picked up a growler. This is tasty. Creamy, chocolaty, with a nice finish of vanilla. Goes down real smooth. Alcohol is well hidden. Just screams dessert to me. May have to pick up a German chocolate cake or some vanilla bean ice cream. Definitely would buy a case of the sixers if they ever came to town.

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

Appearance: A gentle pour from the bottle, the beer is black, dark and viscous. There is virtually no head atop this brew, only a thin ring of coffee colored foam where the beer meets the glass.

Smell: Nice roasted quality with some chocolate and coffee mixed in. I've been sitting on this one for a while, I get the impression the coffee has faded somewhat. Still, smells very good.

Taste: Some nice hints of vanilla, I really didn't get much of it in the nose so it's a bit of a surprise. The roasted quality isn't as pronounced as it was in the nose. Sweet, milk chocolate. Everything is pretty well balanced. Not getting much coffee, but again I think that's the result of the beer sitting down in my cellar.

Mouthfeel: Nice medium body, good carbonation. Very easy drinking beer given its potency.

Drinkability: A fine drinking porter perfect for a cold night like tonight. My one gripe is that I should have opened this one up sooner. I'd like to try it fresher and see if the coffee comes through more. Still, I'm enjoying it and I would recommend it to anybody.

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Photo of CommanderOfAwesome
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 2012 Bomber into a snifter glass. Second time having this awesome beer.

A: Pours extremely dark brown, very opaque. Very little light getting through this. Almost non exist dark khaki head. Does provide some nice lacing and alcohol legs.

S: This is where this beer shines the most IMO. Air freshener. Could smell this all day, esp once it warms up. Getting strong vanilla and coffee aromas along coco powder. Some of the roasted malts shinning through as well. Great aroma, really opens once it warms up a bit.

T: Taste strong in the categories advertised. Vanilla Coffee with a hint of what I can only describe as chalky chocolate (in a good way). Smooth as hell and delicious. Some slight alcohol taste pokes through.

M: Full bodied, and sweet on the tongue. Bit of a alcohol burn on the finish.

O: Fantastic beer. Loving every sip and a must try for any stout/coffee fan.

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Photo of Pete_IV
4.8/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

22oz bomber poured into tulip

Pours a nice black with a tan head around an inch high. Smell dark chocolate at first mixed with coffee. Taste starts with a nice roasty flavor with a bitter background. Chocolate sits on the tongue when you let your mouth sit empty a few seconds. Nice and smooth in the mouth.

All around I think a very nice smooth beer with a bit of bite for the price. Would buy again.

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Photo of Jmikepow
4.72/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

THe sweet smell of vanilla beans and the wonderful taste of this makes this one of the best porters out there! Try it in a beer float and you will not be disappointed!

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Photo of HorseheadsHopHead
4.14/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into a wine goblet.

Pours an almost pitch black with a half finger of brown head that lingers for a few minutes and leaves a decent patchwork of lacing.
Smells rich and sweet, the coffee being most prominent to me, with the vanilla beans just behind it lending some creamy and spicy sweetness. Like dessert. Delicious.
The taste is of the same. Perhaps not as complex as I thought, but that doesn't matter when this nails what it has. Sweet, rich, and roasty; delicious coffee and vanilla, like a vanilla latte.
The mouthfeel is the heavier side of medium, borderline full-bodied. The roast and sweetness lend it plenty of character, and the carbonation level is about perfect.
Overall, this is a great beer, and it damn near lives up to the expectations I had for it. I will definitely not miss an opportunity to buy it again in the future!

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Photo of SolomonGrundy
3.67/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Go Ducks! Since I'm a CAL alum, I gotta pull for the PAC-10!!!

This beer is crazy already. Pours an inky black, with a dark tan head that basically fills the glass. It's a slowly billowing thing, too. Kinda like watching the Titanic sink in that lame movie starring that girl's boobs. It just keeps expanding until it reaches the pinnacle and then, ever more slowly, crumbles into a finger of marshmallow like beauty. Lacing is coating the galss like toffee. Amazing so far. Some nice, albeit not super robust aromas in here. Some coffee for sure, some vanilla, like a vanilla cappuccino in a way. Some sweetness, but it's really subdued. Something else I can't quite place. Like cinnamon roll...Holy mackerel, the flavor is crazy. It's certainly a porter, and it's certainly robust. The vanilla lends a bizarre character - it makes the middle and finish taste like burned coffee. Or, mayhaps, coffee w/Baileys, but unsweetened...The coffee notes don't really dominate until the end, where it blasts into you a little too forcefully. The finish is super bitter, and I'm not sure they wanted that. It's a mixture of hop bitterness and that coffee flavor. This beer is expensive at $7.49/bomber, 10% ABV so it's a sipping beer. The flavors get less punchy as it warms, but this is still really a beer for Imperial Stout lovers and their ilk...

What I like most: The crazy beautiful (like Kirsten's chest in that movie) pour

What I like least: The overpowering bitterness and price point...

Verdict: Good, albeit not fantastic, and unique. Worth trying if you see it but probably too crazy for most folks to enjoy..

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Photo of AApparel
4.67/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Aggressively poured into a  snifter. Head poured to a two-fingered thickness with a very creamy head that resembled a coffee with cream. Looked amazing to begin, but subsided quickly. Had good lacing down the side. The color is a deep stark black, even when held to sunlight.

Smell: The aroma is powerful. A friend about 5 feet from me immediately could smell the coffee aroma.  Smells like a rich coffee, with some sweet vanilla notes. The coffee hits first and then vanilla, with roasted chocolate underneath. As the brew warms, it opens so much, it's shocking. 

Taste: First sip is beyond what I even thought it would be. I could taste chocolatey vanilla at the start. Roasty flavor comes throughout, with bitterness at the end from the coffee, but not a heavy alcohol burn, which I like. So glad that the porter taste is throughout and not lost in all the flavors. Definitely get a constantly changing flavor throughout. What lingers is the roast coffee and chocolatey malts.

Mouthfeel: Really creamy, with little to no carbonation. Definitely makes you think your drinking a great coffee. Coats the mouth very well, and does not have an overwhelming alcohol feel or burn. So subtle, I couldn't believe it was 10% abv.

Overall: I had very high hopes for this, and not only did it live up to it, it exceeded it by far. I went out and bought another 6 to enjoy for the coming months. Lately brews have been falling short in expectations. It's good to see this exceed it and surprise me in how complex and wonderful a brew could be. 

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Photo of trappistlover
3.8/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(22oz bottle). Pours thick and black with a nice caramel colored head. Aroma of darkly roasted coffee beans. Burnt coffee flavor with vanilla undercurrent that gets sweeter as it warms. I'm really enjoying this more as it warms because it balances out the heavy roast flavor.

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Photo of kiddynamite920
4.22/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this one on tap at the Blue Dog pub in Lansdale.

A: Poured a pitch black, wasn't too surprised here. The bar was a bit dark but not much light was going to get through this one anyway. About a fingers worth of tan head slumped down to a thin ring around the glass.

S: Huge roasty aroma, heavy on the coffee and a bit bitter smelling. Had a very nice sweet aroma as well of a sweetened coffee. The vanilla was noticeable but not overwhelming. Very nice. Good sweet malt profile.

T: Chocolate and coffee mingling well, mocha. The coffee tastes like a very dark roast and adds a very mild astringency. Good bitter flavors balanced with some sweet malts. One big, bad porter for sure.

M: Went down very smoothly with no burn from the alcohol content noticed at all. Good full bodied porter.

D: This one falls into the dangerous category. May be hard for some to stomach more than one of these, but I'm a fan of huge dark beers. Very drinkable and glad I had the opportunity to taste this on tap.

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Photo of IKR
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Very dark brown, initially appears black but held towards a light you see it as dark brown. Has a modest medium beige head.

Smell: The coffee is upfront , with the vanilla following. As it warms the vanilla steps more towards the forefront.

Taste: Coffee, vanilla, and some roasted malt notes.
The beer finishes fairly dry with some slight hop and roasted malt notes. The alcohol presence is very subtle for the ABV.

Mouth-feel: Fairly thin bodied for an Imperial Porter with a generous level of carbonation for the style.

Overall: In the past I would have said the Deschutes Imperial Black Buttes were my favorite for the style, but I feel I would choose this over the latest incarnation (XXIII). Very tasty porter.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
4.35 out of 5 based on 6,798 ratings.
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