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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:
6,678
Avg:
4.35
pDev:
19.77%
 
 
Wants:
1,078
Gots:
2,135
For Trade:
90
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,368 | Ratings: 6,678
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 mobrado
4.39/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A delicious coffee-vanilla bomb that hides 10% dangerously well. Only drawback, if you even want to call it that, is a fairly thin mouth feel, but if it was any thicker, they'd call it a stout and charge twice the price, so I'm okay with it.

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Photo of abeeronthebeach
4.39/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Ballast Point – Victory At Sea: Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter, from the bottle. Enjoy by: 12/10/13, drank: 01/17/14.

A – Charcoal-brown body with an evenly distributed and smooth head. You could shine a laser through this thing and it wouldn’t come out the other side.

S – Strong. Picking up a bracing hit of roasted malts. Milky coffee with a sweetness to it which you realise is the vanilla once you taste it. Much more pronounced than on Harviestoun’s Old Engine Oil which is the last porter I tasted (and which incidentally I loved.) Reassured me that my nose still functions. Three quarters of the way through this beer the nose continues to improve, to the point where it may be my favourite thing about this beer, excepting the first sip. This demands particular attention for, as a rule, most beer loses fragrance as it sits, whereas here it continues to emanate.

T- This just tastes absolutely phenomenal. I mean seriously, seriously good. The way the vanilla mellows out all the roasty-toasty flavours is literally something I’ve never tasted before. And it is so, so good. Few things are more annoying than using sounds and adjectives - so I’ve edited my original entries - but I was quite literally left wondering aloud as this washed over my tongue for the first time. Particularly as having read the reviews, it seemed I ought to be in for something a little bit special. Perhaps tellingly, prolific reviewer UCLABrewN84 reviews this in his top 20 beers out of 5052 beers. That first sip has left me reeling as is reflected in my scattered entry. This is great stuff.

M – Nice and creamy. If the mouthfeel here is whole milk, personally I’d love to see this as jersey milk; nevertheless it’s silky as a silk spider. Excellent.

O – Still have almost all the most highly-rated dark, potent and mythic-status beers ahead of me (Abyss, Marshall Zhukov, Dark Lord, Abraxas, BCBCS, Parabola, Darkness, Founder’s, etc.) but this offering only intensifies the excitement tenfold. As I sample more of the finest offerings perhaps this will downgrade but you can only go off what you know. The nose is so wonderfully balanced. The taste follows suit. I’d have sworn this was at 8%; that it’s actually one of the more boozy beers I have had (at 10%) takes me clean by surprise. Want to give it more than a 4.5 but my second sampling leaves me seeking a sweeter finish. Can conceive a creamier and more intensely flavoured beer but this is still glorious. I want that second bottle.

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Photo of GehenHerzog
4.39/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber poured into a Dogfish Head Snifter.

A- Pours a dark black with not much head at all

S- Smells of straight up vanilla. A slight hint of chocolate and coffee in the back end but the vanilla dominates the smell.

T- Again, vanilla dominates it but the chocolate and coffee come in nicely in the end to balance this brew out very nicely.

M- Medium to full bodied. Decent carbonation.

D- Doesn't drink anywhere close to a 10% beer. The alcohol isn't noticeable and it it goes down smooth.

I had it both on draft and out of the bottle and they both tasted identical (from my experience).

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Photo of Shippy
4.39/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle. Pours black with a tan head. Smell is great and develops as the beer warms. Started with mostly roasty coffee aromas, followed by vanilla sweetness and some warmth, then more smokiness. Flavor has coffee notes throughout with some light sweetness that border on vanilla. Finish has some dark chocolatey bitterness. The ABV doesn't come through in the flavor. Mouth feel is lighter than I thought, but medium-heavy with low carbonation. Overall an excellent porter that develops nicely as it warms.

Update: 5/2016 - Doing a vertical tasting with 7 and 15 month old bottles. The younger has more of a chocolate, coffee, mocha aroma; while the older hits more of the vanilla and oaky notes. The younger has a little brighter flavor and has a lighter feel. Flavors of coffee and chocolate are prevalent. The older one has more depth of feel, is a little heavier, and the tastes of vanilla and wood come through much more, like in the aroma.

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

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

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

Poured from a 22oz bottle

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

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

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

M:very smooth.

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

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

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

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

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

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

D: Drinkability at 10% is not bad.

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

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

22 oz bottle, poured into a large mug.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This was one delicious porter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A - Dark, wispy mocha head.

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

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

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

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

A must try well done !!!

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

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

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

Served in my trusty Devil's Backbone willibecher.

Big thanks to Brundo4 for this bottle!

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of TubaManJack
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

22 oz bottle, big thanks to dyan and DRINKNDRIVE for the hookup.

Pours a deep and opaque black, some ruby red highlights, thick tan head forms, drops down to a thin ring around the glass, some lacing sticks, and great retention. Smell is real nice, vanilla and chocolate, caramel, burnt sugar, dark fruit, milk, lactose sweetness, honey/nougat, touch of coffee roast, really rich. Taste is similar, very nice, vanilla up front, toffee, lactose sweetness, burnt brown sugar, chocolate and some coffee roast, dark fruit/raisins, very malty, nougat finish, touch more roast in the back. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, low to medium carbonation, some warmth going down but ABV is well hidden. Awesome beer, reminds me of an imperial version of Aphrodisiaque from DDC. Thanks guys!

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Photo of BEERMILER12
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a pitch black color with 2 fingers of head that fairly quickly fade down to a cap that leaves decent lacing

S: Roasted malts and coffee up front, with the vanilla lingering a bit in the back. Some dark chocolate also comes through, providing a light bitterness to counteract the sweetness of the vanilla

T: Follows the nose. Roast, vanilla, and coffee all come through first which provides a nice mix of bitterness and sweetness. Dark chocolate in the back again. Finishes with more of the vanilla and hints of the roast and coffee

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Could definitely be a little smoother

O: A great porter that highlights both coffee and vanilla. All components go very well together (roast, coffee, vanilla, dark chocolate) and really make this a nice treat. Alcohol goes completely under the radar, which is impressive for 10%. Definitely worth picking some up if you're a fan of either coffee or vanilla beers

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Photo of Darkmagus82
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into a pint glass

Appearance – The beer pours a beautifully deep brown-nearly black color with a huge billowy brown colored head. The head just sits there and persists, very slowly fading over time to leave one fantastic level of streaky lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – Oh man there is a whole lotta coffee in this smell. A huge coffee aroma greets the nose with it being accompanied by tons of vanilla and caramel sweetness. Along with these aromas are some very nice roasted malt smells as well as a moderate presence of a cocoa smell. A little bit of a woody aroma and a decent showing of a boozy smell round out the aroma profile, creating a rather sweet, dark and warming smell overall. Quite delicious smelling.

Taste – The taste begins with tons of dark roasted malt and a sweeter coffee flavor. The sweeter nature of the brew is of a vanilla and caramel nature with just a hint of chocolate mixed within. The sweeter vanilla and caramel actually pick it up as the taste moves onto the end with the vanilla getting quite strong at the end. All the while the coffee also steps it up getting even stronger in flavor toward the end of the taste, and bringing with it a little bit of a more roasted and some more bitter flavors. While the nose displayed quite a boozy nature the taste did not display as much just giving some hints of alcohol. In the end with the mix of flavors one is left with a sweeter and rather coffee heavy roasted flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the average to slightly thinner side for a 10 % brew with a carbonation level that is on the average side. Overall the feel was rather fitting as it prevented both the boozy flavors and coffee flavors from becoming too overpowering, but while still providing the base for all the complex flavors to be appropriately appreciated.

Overall – This is a nice coffee lover’s imperial porter. Big on coffee with a nice blend of roast, coffee, sweet, and booze. A very nice one to try if you get a chance.

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

Poured into a tulip glass. Deep, dark color with a decently sized, frothy, tan head. Nice lacing.

Lots of chocolate and coffee on the nose. The chocolate and sweet malts are more dominant than the coffee smell, but the coffee beans are definitely there, along with some vanilla notes as well. Smells delicious.

Caramel, vanilla and chocolate come rushing through on the first sip, followed by a healthy addition of roasted, somewhat bitter, coffee bean. Warming alcohol lurks beneath, never interfering with the flavor, but letting you know this is a big beer. The overall flavor profile is quite sweet at first, but the bitterness from the coffee helps even things out. Behind all these flavors there seems to be just a little bit of bit of peppery hoppiness as well.

Mouthfeel is very smooth, rich and warming. Feels a little spicy at times from the hops, but overall it is quite smooth.

Drinkability is also very good. I'm really enjoying the glass I'm sipping from, but I probably wouldn't drink an entire 22oz by myself due to the richness and 10% ABV. A normal sized glass serving is just about right.

Overall, this beer is awesome. Lots of chocolate, caramel, vanilla and a good addition of coffee beans. This is probably more of a dessert beer, but a very good one. More than surpassed my expectations. If you can find this, I highly recommend you pick it up. I'm already wishing I had another to drink this week and another two to cellar.

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

On Cask at Surly Goat.

Pours black with low offwhite head, even a sparkler barley kicks up any foam on this.

Aroma is vanilla with low coffe undertones, roast comes through pretty strong as well.

Flavor follows the aroma pretty close, vanilla, coffee, chocolate, woody/nutty finish.

Always enjoy this beer, and out of the cask is no exception, the alcohol has a way of sneaking up on you in this, no real warming in the mouth, but my chest and stomach start feeling it a few sips in.

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Photo of stoutfiend27
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

bomber split in two...slightly chilled..

a-black...khaki colored frothy head...fades away quickly leaving some nice lacing...thick collar hangs around

s-coffee up front of the deep roasted kind...leads into some nice roasted barley and vanilla...vanilla then gets a little head strong in the middle before leaving a faint sweet smell lingering

t-sweet vanilla up front but the coffee rushes in to take over...roasty and grainy ....a little bitter in the mid palate..some nice piney hops break through towards the end to balance this out before it finishes dry and bitter..a slight bit tannic as well..

m-creamy and smooth as silk...lingers around for a while...the bitterness dries the mouth out between sips...not harsh at all...a tad oily but over bearing..the carbonation really does this one justice.

d-will absolutely have no problem putting awary a bomber of this...the complexities that present themselves as the beer warms really make this a great sipper

ive really been looking forward to this beer and glad i got to try it...i will pick up a couple more bottle to see how it progresses...a winner in my book

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Photo of ryanmextorf
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Phenomenal porter. A tad on the toasty side but the coffee and vanilla really really shine in this one, especially in the aftertaste. Perfect for a snow day!

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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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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
4.35 out of 5 based on 6,678 ratings.
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