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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

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States

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

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Reviews: 1,359 | Ratings: 6,620
Photo of AnotherImperial
4.71/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I had been holding off on this beer, as porters are usually a bit light and thin for my tastes. Big mistake. This is, by far, the best porter I've ever had. The coffee is definitely the predominant flavor/aroma, but the subtle hints of vanilla perfectly compliment the beer. And, it has a thicker mouthfeel than I was expecting from a porter. This is a phenomenal example of the style, and simply a wonderful overall beer.

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Photo of tectactoe
4.34/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Shared with Mike - thanks to GetMeAnIPA for sending this one my way. Pours a deep and dark obsidian-like color; very, very little brown on the edges with a solid, fine-bubbled tan head that fades much too fast. A quick swirl of the glass can coax it back, but only for a few moments.

The aroma on this one is very tantalizing; heavy, HEAVY roasted coffee beans - I'm talking burnt, scorched, charred, ashy. These beans smell super roasted and super bitter. This plays off of a delicate sweetness induced from the vanilla aromas that hang in the balance. Might be a tiny bit of cocoa somewhere deep in the abyss, but any attempt to further sniff it out is just met with more and more heaps of coffee beans, roasted malts, and light vanilla. I've always been partial to bitter porters rather than overly sweet ones. The nose on this beer tells me that my bias may be in effect.

...and right I was - the aroma is a perfect indication of the malt assessment in Victory At Sea. From the moment the beer hits your tongue, your palate is pile-driven with an enormous roasted, charred, and borderline burnt flavor. Coffee beans, coffee beans, coffee beans. Imaging taking a hand full of French Roast coffee beans, scorching them in a skillet, then shoving them in your face. A little overboard? Maybe.... but you get the idea. The alcohol is also noticeable from the first sip to the last, but at 10% ABV, I have no complaints. Some lightly sweet vanilla coats each and every sip also, providing a tiny bit of balance to the bitter-roasted brigade. Some chocolate definitely comes out more upon warming, although it was nearly absent in the aroma. The aftertaste is a compilation of mild charcoal flavors with some ashy and dry bitterness - a "balls to the walls", unadulterated coffee bean roast. Medium-thick body with a decent amount of carbonation; mildly creamy and smooth.

Hell yes. Victory at Sea gives the roasty bitterness lovers more of what they crave. Such a roasted, charred, and bitter stout with lovely little sweetness interruptions to keep things interesting. Very pleasantly surprised by this one - great way to end the night.

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Photo of falc0n2600
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very very dark in appearance with a smooth brown head. A nice coffee smell with much less of a coffee taste, which is my favorite kind of coffee beer. In fact, you are immediately shocked at how smooth an imperial porter can be before you're overwhelmed by perfectly sweet vanilla. I had this along with Flying Dog Barrel-Aged Gonzo Porter and this was definitely the winner, although the Double Gonzo was the second-best imperial porter I've had. A lot of carbonation that makes the thickness of the beer stand out, with the sweetness balancing the thickness nicely. As the beer warmed up I really began to notice the hops, more so than any other porter I've had. As I finished all I could think of was the brilliant hoppiness.

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Photo of sukwonee
4.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Scott for this bottle!

This is probably my favorite "imperial" American porter I have ever had. The only thing is I am not sure what makes this a "porter" as opposed to a stout. Regardless, it's awesome.

A: Black body with half a finger of mocha tan head. Not much lacing.

S: Roasty malt, coffee, some sweetness. To be honest, it smells pretty straightforward. Coffee, dark chocolate. Not much vanilla noted.

T: Starts off bitter espresso, dark chocolate, some toasted nuts, some hops. Again not much vanilla. It's bold, lingering.

M: Thick. Perhaps it's even thicker than most imperial stouts.

O: I would described this as an imperial coffee/dark chocolate stout that is on the drier side. It's quite awesome. Highly recommended if you like espresso coffee.

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Photo of Pinknuggets
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

bottle to HFS sniffer

A: very dark but not quite black though completely opaque with a thick mocha head that dissipates into a thick lacing.

S: So the first thing that hits you in the face is massive vanilla scent it is nice and roasty, but almost overpowering all the other smells. I can definitely detect the coffee and a few hints of malt but thats about it. Good, but not great.

T: follows the nose with the vanilla but not as strong as in the nose there is definitely a lot more coffee flavor i can almost taste the ground beans great combination of flavors very strong and extremely robust RIS taste in a porter.

M: Very thick but also extremely smooth and creamy which seems to be caused by the vanilla. Milkshake status for sure and the alcohol is well hidden

O: This is probably second only to everett in terms of porters for me this is smooth with tons of strong coffee and vanilla flavor exactly what I want from a porter especially an imperial one I highly recommend this beer

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Photo of ThickNStout
4.09/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22oz bottle from Halftime.com. 8.99. Enjoy by 11/07/13, which I believe is one year after bottling. Served in a Burnt Hickory snifter.

Pours flat black with a finger and a half of fluffy vanilla head that leaves large sheets of lace.

Smells of charred malts, creamed coffee and sweet vanilla.

Bold coffee leads the taste followed by roasty malts, earthy bark, cherry skins, vanilla and resinous pine. A bit of an alcohol bite but it is blended in well enough to make this pretty easy to drink.

Medium body with fairly sharp carbonation. Long, dry bitter piney hop and coffee aftertaste.

This is a great imperial porter and great coffee beer in general. I've had this a few times and I actually think I prefer it after a year or two once the coffee has faded to let the vanilla through a little more. All in all, it's a worthy brew at any age.

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Photo of BMMillsy
4.34/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours darkdark brown to blak with a very small mocha colored head. Earthy peppery coffe on the nose, some roast with a tad of vanilla and molasses. Biye up front that soothes into lots of chocolate on the palate. Second sip is a bit more earthy coffee. Don’t get a lot of vanilla, but it lingers in the aftertaste just a hint. Pretty prickly carbonation, but not too much. Medium mouthfeel but very drinkable (one of the lighter imperial porters i have had). Very nice beer.

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours thick and black into my Founders snifter. A small, 1 finger head forms with the pour and retains well, dwindling down to a moderately thin film on the top. Lacing is tremendous as expected. Looks like a big stout in the glass.

S- Lots of dark, dark coffee here. Coffee is strong and slightly bitter on the nose. Sweet notes of the vanilla are also present, but definitely secondary to the coffee. Also maybe a hint of dark chocolate in there.

T- Wow. Dark, bitter coffee right off the bat. Probably the strongest coffee flavor I've had, whether in a beer or cup of joe. Coffee is dominant and bitter throughout, drowning out most to all of the sweeter vanilla flavor. As it warms, the coffee become more balanced with the dark malts. Ends with a coffee bitterness bite and aftertaste.

M- Thick and smooth going down. No detectable alcohol. Kinda heavy across the palate. Sits heavy in the stomach. Definitely a sipping beer.

Overall, this is a coffee bomb. A very good beer, but I find the coffee to be a little overpowering. Between the alcohol and heavy flavor profile, sipping is a must for this beer. Not as good as I had hoped, but still a very good beer.

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Photo of Brad007
4.63/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

She pours a pitch black, reminiscent 'o dark nights on a foamin' mad sea. thar's no woe fer them seekin' th' light here.

Vanilla bean, cream 'n cocoa greet th' nose. As it warms up, th' flavors increase in intensity. Mmm.

Vanilla compliments th' cocoa 'n coffee notes apparent here.

Despite bein' a baltic porter, it beats out a few imperial stouts bin had latel. extra spit shine finish. Lin'erin' vanilla, cream 'n cocoa flavors. It rivals Stone's Vanilla Porter in strength 'n despite th' fact that it has more alcohol, it never hits ye over th' head wit' it.

Easily one 'o me favorite baltic porters. th' use 'o vanilla adds to th' complexity.

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Photo of evanforbeer
4.64/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75


Smell: wow. Vanilla, oily coffee bean, caramel,

Taste: wow. Follows with lots of rich fresh coffee bean and vanilla bean. A little caramel and some earthy/citrusy hops. Cocoa, a touch of cola, and finishes with some coffee and hop bitterness. Almost a subdued peach note from the hops under the layering of robust roasty coffee flavors. A real nice hop bite throughout underneath the fantastic coffee/vanilla.

Mouthfeel: thick, lightly syrupy with some carbonation and bite, very nice. A nice sipper but not a meal. Lighter than an imperial stout.

Overall: this is a phenomenal beer. Gotta have it.

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Photo of Ranz
4.84/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Obsidian-black, this porter has it going on. In my stemless wine glass, it didn't create too much head, but the bubbles cling to the sides like the skeleton clutching its heart on the bottle. Speaking of which: great design.

S: Vanilla and Guatemalan coffee beans, both roasted, hit first. There's a slight alcohol pungency here, too. Spicy malt is just present enough as well. This thing is a winner.

T: My God this thing is fantastic. The roasted malt and coffee beans invite the alcohol singe which follows, and it ends so smoothly with the vanilla bean and caramel profile. If I didn't read the label, I would this this were a stout, maybe even imperial.

M: Creamy, lush, decadent; the syrupy quality still has some nice carbonation to balance it out.

O: It's so good that I can't decide to sip and enjoy or pound it and go buy another. I will certainly make another trip to the store and buy a few for storage. This has easily placed itself as a new all-time favorite.

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Photo of greenmonstah
4.51/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle into tulip

A - Solid black with a solid finger of tan-brown head that sticks to the glass beautifully and lingers for ages. Really impressive.

S - Massive vanilla and coffee, plus a beautiful roasted malt base. Tiny hint of booze that doesn't detract. Some sweetness.

T - Oh my. The vanilla is magnificent. The coffee is dark and bitter but slightly sweet. There is a serious dark chocolate component that adds complexity. The deeply roasted coffee and the roasted malts work well together and are balanced by the sweetness and cocoa bean.

M - Medium-full body, smooth and fulfilling and with a slightly drying finish.

O - Overall a wonderful experience and one of the best beers I have had in a while. From teh first whiff I knew I'd love it, and it didn't let me down one bit.

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Photo of cjoc83
4.39/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

No bottled on date to be found, just an enjoy by 11/06/13 (which I found a little strange, I would think this beer would be good for aging?). $9.99 at Wegmans in Downingtown, PA. Pours motor oil black and quite viscous into a tulip with chestnut hues at the edges of the glass when held up to the light. An aggressive pour leaves a little over 2 fingers of tan head that hangs around for a little while before receding to a cap. Leaves a patch of lace here and there.

Smell is a wonderful amalgamation of fresh coffee, vanilla, and roasted malts with just a touch of earthy hops and a little sweetness.

Starts out with some bitter espresso in the front, then segues nicely into roasted malts, sweet vanilla, milk chocolate, and black coffee. Some earthy hops come in mid-palette and into the finish, along with some roasted malts, coffee and a touch of vanilla bean to cut the bitter/roasted flavors. A little alcohol warmth in the chest as well. Really nice stuff.

Rich and slightly chewy with low carbonation. Smooth, but a bit of a sipper that packs a little heat. The vanilla really pops as the beer warms and adds great complexity and sweetness, especially in the finish.

Truly a remarkable imperial porter. Big roasted malts and bold coffee with just the right amount of vanilla sweetness to balance it out. Quite possibly my favorite porter. Definitely recommended!

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

22oz-er, enjoyed at a recent tasting. Thanks again daryk77!

Poured into a nonic glass. Black, with a generous inch of tan head that settles into a thick ring with a thin layer of foam. Icicles and sheets of lacing. Great looking brew.

The nose on this is a bit one dimensional, but damn its a fine smelling dimension to be in. Sweet vanilla coffee and plenty of it. The coffee is particularly dark, bordering on espresso, and there's a sweetness to it which probably speaks to the brew's booze strength.

Wow, is this a bitter coffee porter. Holy mother that is some good roasted coffee. The vanilla and cream provides an excellent counterpoint to the bitterness of the coffee, which helps this brew go down incredibly well.

Great thickness to the brew, nice carbonation. Creamy and damn easy to drink.

Awesome coffee porter, highly recommend.

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Photo of kawilliams81
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2012 vintage. Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a 8 oz snifter.

A- Pours black with a 1 finger mocha head. Big trails and small blotches of lacing remain on the glass.

S- chocolate with very nice coffee aroma and some vanilla.

T- chocolate, roasted malts, big coffee blast with the vanilla shortly behind, with some bitter roast at the finish.

M- medium body and carbonation. Very smooth and lighter but in a good way. No clue this was/is 10%

O- great porter. Coffee and vanilla really make this beer and drinks very well for a 10% beer.

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Photo of KFBR392
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Texture was heavy but very much like a traditional porter. Dark brown head formed to about a finger but dissipated quickly. Very dark color and enjoyed out of a goblet shaped glass.

Smell: The coffee aromas take over here. Accents of dark chocolate and burnt oak play along very well. There is also some vanilla sweetness begging to burst through the other heavier players in the smell. Aroma is subdued, have to dig for it a little bit.

Taste: Best part right here. A roasted coffee taste greets the palette which then becomes a bold vanilla bean flavor. The vanilla goes along very well with the malt/caramel flavor of the porter. The coffee accents come back at the end with a heavier roasted flavor then on the front end. 10% abv is no where to be found.

Mouthfeel: A surprisingly clean smooth mouthfeel. I thought there would be a thicker mouthfeel similar to an imperial stout but I was wrong. The coffee flavors don't really stick around either. I just wish there was a little more going on here.

Overall: Awesome brew. Drank so much like a regular porter but with a few extra levels of complexity. Coffee and vanilla play their role without totally taking over this beer. Feels like a porter the whole way.

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Photo of Fatehunter
4.13/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured a thin tan head on a black body.
The aroma is all coffee with a little chocolate and vanilla. I am smelling a coffee.
It tastes like coffee, then it moves to a little sweet and quickly to bitter chocolate. Quite enjoyable and interesting.
The texture is almost perfect. It's thick with low carbonation.

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Photo of Roose13
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz bomber poured into a pint glass

A: Black with a thick foam one-finger head. The head drops to a half finger and lingers.

S: Roasted coffee, a bit smoke porter, subtle vanilla

T: Very boozy. The coffee is incredibly strong and roasted. Don't really taste any vanilla, which doesn't bother me. Very strong though. I love the hops in it.

M: Very creamy. Little carbonation. Pretty dry.

Overall: Helluva porter. Very boozy, full of robust flavors and it's definitely something to sip and enjoy for a period of time. It's my first BP beer and certainly won't be my last.

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Photo of Michael_D
3.73/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours black with a minimal khaki head. Smells heavy on coffee and roasted malts. Vanilla and booze in the background. Tastes sweet up front, some hops to balance, and lots of coffee. Vanilla isn’t as heavy in the flavor as I’d hope it was going to be, but it’s there. A little bitter in the aftertaste, where most of the vanilla is. Thick, mouth coating. Good stuff.

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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 TwelveOunces
4.27/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 Oz bomber poured into a snifter

A- Pitch black with a one finger of a tan colored head. Quick dissipation

S- Super roasty at first. Almost smokey. A strong coffee presence as well. A bit of alcohol as well. some wood as well. A very desert smelling beer.

T- A big roastynness hits at first. There is a nice refreshing hop bitterness that follows and balances it out. The roastyness carries thought the mouth till the end. The coffee is strong in this beer and also has lingering effects that dry out the palate. A touch of alcohol in this beer give it a bit of a sting. There is some vanilla if you look for it as well. A big roasty monster.

M- A thick and dry beer. Good alcohol feel. Bitter for a porter but drinkable.

O- This is a beastly brew. I would like to have a little less alcohol taste and a little more vanilla. Its fairly well balanced and quite drinkable and overall. Delicious.

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Photo of travisdiener32
4.56/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

To my surprise poured into a pint glass on tap at new world brewing in Tampa. Not on the same level as wide awake it's morning but still an impressive imperial porter. Think an imperial Breckenridge vanilla porter. Looking forward to more from ballast point now that they're distributing in florida

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Photo of StArnoldFan
4.63/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

What a great beer by Ballast Point. Poured from a bottle into a DC Brau snifter. Black pour with a thick mocha head that recedes quickly. Good lacing on the glass as this ine goes down. Strong coffee smell, something I'm growing to absolutely love. 10% masked very well on this one. Once again, what a great beer, so very thankful Ballast Point finally made its presence in Texas. Will buy this one over and over again despite the $9.99 price tag per 22

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

Appearance: Utter obsidian in color, with a large dark tan head, which retains rather well. Thick, glass-coating lace adorns the glass walls.

Aroma: Strong notes of cold coffee, bitter chocolate, roasted malt, vanilla, earth, and vinous alcohol. While the coffee/espresso notes are strongest, the vanilla is notable.

Taste: Opens with a massive cold coffee flavor, with a strong undercurrent of bitter cocoa and vanilla. As the taste progresses, a brief moment of sweet chocolate appears, then vinous alcohol, and dark roasted malt. Late in the taste, earthy flavors appear, along with a burst of herbal hops. The 10% ABV is very gracefully concealed. Finishes with a lingering note of cold coffee and bitter cocoa.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft, and velvety.

Drinkability/notes: An absolutely superb example, an order of magnitude (or two) beyond ordinary beer.

Presentation: Packaged in a twenty-two ounce brown glass bomber with a pry-off crown, served in a New Belgium Brewing chalice.

Sourcing: Purchased at Spec's in Austin, Texas for $9.99 plus tax.

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Photo of kell50
4.48/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Had this one on draft many times at Duckworth's in Charlotte, NC. Time for a review!

A: Very dark black with a nice 2 finger off white creamy head that seems to completely attach itself to the glass. Looks similar to a Guinness as it flows from the tap.

S: MMMM. There's so much going on here. I first detect some roasted coffee notes up front; followed by hints tobacco, vanilla beans, caramel, and dark chocolate.

T: Tastes just like it smells. Fresh brewed coffee, vanilla, chocolaty sweetness and with a touch of a smoke as well. Probably the most full flavored porter I've ever had. Victory at Sea clocks in at 10% abv, but drinks more like 5%. Scary.

M: This beer definitely has a heavier, full-bodied mouthfeel. It's sticky, viscous, and has a low amount of carbonation.

O: Very impressed by this beer! It's an excellent pairing with cold temperatures. The beer's flavors and richness became more pronounced as the beer reached room temperature.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
4.35 out of 5 based on 6,620 ratings.
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