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

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1,368 Reviews
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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:
6,679
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: 6,679
Photo of Slack
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Black, opaque, and a small light brown head. Significant lacing.

Coffee, coffee, and more coffee accented by bittersweet dark chocolate. No vanilla discernible.

Roast coffee and chocolate up front with vanilla and some oak in the middle.

Mouthful is medium and smooth with low carbonation. Finish is a little bitter but dry.

This is a big coffee porter. Aroma is there. Taste is there. The minor criticism is the somewhat bitter finish but don’t let that dissuade you. Give it a try.

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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 barnzy78
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz. Poured near-black with a light brown head that left decent lacing on the glass. Aromas were of bold coffee, roasted grains, vanilla, chocolate, and maybe some oak. Mouth-feel was medium bodied. Tastes were bold up-front coffee and roasted malts with notes of dark chocolate and vanilla. Also some hints of fruity esters - maybe some ripe dark fruits, although fairly faint. Alcohol was present, but balanced well with the flavors. Finished sweet with a lingering of sweet cocoa and espresso. Basically, this was a good interpretation of going with something different and thinking outside of the box. Worth the try if you can find it.

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Photo of SLeffler27
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Light chestnut in color with a rocky head that reaches one-quarter inch before dissipating to form rings of lace in a Dogfish Head snifter. SRM 31-34 with dark brown highlights and a viscous film.

Strong, sweet espresso with vanilla is no surprise here. Deep roasted malt with pumpernickel and Jewish rye is also present. Warming accentuates the vanilla and adds a light baker’s chocolate note. Some wood ash is also discernible. The aroma from this glass fills the room.

Luscious with a mix of sweet and bitterness. Espresso bitterness wins hands down while smoked peat and burnt molasses are also present. Very dark chocolate lingers throughout middle to finish.

The body is fuller than expected of a Porter, with silky smoothness and alcohol as anticipated.

This beer fits squarely within the expectations one would have for a sipping or contemplative beer.

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

Pours a glistening, deep black with three inviting fingers of dark, sudsy eggshell head. I can't ask for much more when it comes to making a beer pretty.

The nose. Forgoing the cloying flavours of vanilla essence, genuine vanilla pods fill the nostrils, swirling with creamy coffee to grant the impression of a quality tiramisu. Yes, this is a fabulous desert beer.

Having had Victory at Sea a good few times, I would note that, on the tongue, some batches lean substantially more toward coffee than vanilla, and vice versa. I sampled one from a friend's six-pack that was so packed with sweet vanilla that it gave me 20 year-old deja vu of Cadbury's Dairy Milk chocolate. Likewise, some batches have much more roasty bitterness than others, occasionally masking the vanilla.

This temperamentality doesn't carry over to the feel, however. This always brilliantly masks the ABV as pleasant warmth in the throat, and goes down with a thick, creamy finish, and a smile. This is a welcome mainstay in my fridge.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

22oz bottle, thanks anew to doktorzee for garnering this, among others, from a Total Wine store in Las Vegas. I've watched the WWII naval battle documentary 'Victory at Sea', so I guess I'm qualified to tuck into this one.

This beer pours a rather solid, abyssal black, with the barest of basal cherry cola highlights, and three fingers of puffy, shiny, and thickly foamy tan head, which leaves some decent patchy Swiss cheese lace around the glass as it evenly subsides.

It smells of acrid dry-roast coffee, dried vanilla pods, once they've been infused in a bottle of vodka (been there, I have), bittersweet chocolate, and a bit of toasted white bread. The taste is a better blend of bitter coffee and sweet vanilla cream, chocolate-ensconced caramel, roasted, but not quite charred or ashy wood, a threatening, but too timid to follow through boozy warmth, and some faint earthy, herbal hops.

The carbonation is understated, but still well supportive of all that stuff going on above it, the body a decent medium-full weight for the style, actually rather smooth, and a bit creamy, even with that anvil with the frayed rope (here played by the equally slick 20-proof alcohol) hanging over it. The finish is on the sweet side, sure, but with more than enough moderating coffee and hop notes to keep things as sane as they can be.

Wow - I'm sort of vacillating on this one, in the vein of one Stephen Colbert - is this a great vanilla coffee imperial porter, or the greatest vanilla coffee imperial porter? Hard to say, as I've not yet had them all, but up to now, this one might fall into the latter's singular camp, what with the well integrated bitter coffee (not usually my favourite thing), pleasant vanilla-prodded creaminess, and yes, nearly masked big ABV. Get your hands on this particular Victory (at all Costs)!

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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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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
4.35 out of 5 based on 6,679 ratings.
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