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

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97
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1,346 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 | website

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:
1,346
Ratings:
6,548
Avg:
4.35
pDev:
19.77%
 
 
Wants:
1,069
Gots:
2,072
For Trade:
94
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,346 | Ratings: 6,548
Photo of JBogan
3.74/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

This pours a very dark brown, in fact if you don't look closely it might even appear black. A one finger tan head caps it off, which soon turns into a thin film which remains and leaves moderate lacing. Nice looking but nothing extraordinary for this style beer.

Smells like a whole lot of coffee dashed with a hint of chocolate. Not very complex but pleasing nonetheless.

Taste is of roasted coffee, a hint of vanilla, and more coffee. No sign of the caramel that is supposed to be in there, and no sign of alcohol despite it's high ABV. Oh, and more coffee. Once again, not especially complex.

Mouthfeel was excellent. Very slick and smooth, almost oily in fact, with a medium/thick body.

When all is said and done, if you like coffee you'll like this one. I would have preferred a lot less coffee and a lot more of the caramel and vanilla which are supposedly in there. You've heard of hop bombs? This one's a coffee bomb.

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Photo of CrazyDavros
3.75/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours black with a large tan head.
Aroma of vanilla, roasted malt and very soft coffee.
Flavours include more vanilla and a fair bit of sweet malt. A fair whack of coffee too.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.75/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

When I went to Washington state, one of my main goals was to pick up this beer. Touted on the forums, I figured I had to try it. Apparently it was out of season because all I could find were the giant bottles, no six packs. So, poured out of a giant bottle into a snifter...

Dark coffee black; 100% opaque; 2 fingers of beige head; hills and splashes of generous lace.

Smell is mostly of coffee grounds and black pepper, trailing with vanilla, rum, nuts, malts. Overall it comes across a bit burnt.

For a porter this one sure packs a punch. Taste is of roast coffee, alcohol, coffee beans, cream, vanilla, a touch of banana, and a burnt finish. The burnt flavor sort of takes away from the overall profile, but it is complex and full.

Definitely thicker in body, in fact I've had more watery stouts. I love it, though. Dry parch on the finish. I get a bit of heartburn from the alcohol as well.

Overall impressions : I can see why people go nuts over this beer. It's huge, robust, and delivers buzz quickly. After half a snifter I'm done with it, though. A super exhausting porter that makes you beg for mercy after just a handful of slow sips. Get your money's worth? Sure. That coffee is like a wall of destruction. I'd much rather take it in 8 oz portions though.

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Photo of Zonk
3.75/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Deep brown color. Nice aroma of coffee and really significant vanilla. Mouthfeel was fairly rich and creamy. My problem with this beer was that the vanilla came off as really artificial which kind of ruined it for me.

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Photo of mxchap
3.75/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.75

Overall: More on the roasty / coffee side than I remember. Vanilla very much takes a back seat. Not a bad beer overall, but I remember it being more balanced and nuanced previously. [3.75]

Look: Minimal head and dark brown in color. Minimal lacing [3.75]

Smell: Follows the taste, except the vanilla is somewhat noticeable [3.75]

Taste: Extreme coffee flavor. The debittered dark malts come in second. A smidge of bready sweetness and heat on the back end. Vanilla? [4]

Feel: Feels a litte strong on the carbonation, and a bit thin overall. Warming [2.75]

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Photo of SmashAdams
3.75/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The smell is faint nutty coffee. For such a light smell the flavor packs a punch. Smooth coffee and nutty vanilla over a toasty and slightly bitter background. This is a tasty beer for sure. nb

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
3.76/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Pours a super-dark brown with just a hair of light creeping around the edges as it rests in my pint glass. The head is a frothy and delicious lumpy tan that leaves some good lace.

Smells of metal with hints of maple syrup and vanilla. I think this will smell better as it warms.

There's a lot going on in the flavor as everything seems to pounce out at the same time. There's a smooth, solid porter base here that's a little on the thin and dry side, but that's OK as it makes for a subtle foundation for the coffee and vanilla. This would have been a disaster had this not been the case. Finishes surprisingly clean with little hints of coffee and a touch of sticky barley. Edit: I did a double take when I caught the abv. 10%? I never would have guessed.

Feels big and present without being too much to handle. Leaves a bit of a film in the mouth though.

A bomber shared with friends seems like a good call. I'm not too excited about finishing this one solo though. Not sure what's going on with the smell, but the metallic twang kinda wrecks things a bit.

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

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

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

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

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

Mouthfeel - Creamy as hell, silky and chewy.

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

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Photo of WhiteOak
3.76/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Dark coffee brown color with a cola edge. The expansive, foamy head is light brown.

S- From a bottle, there was a short-lived but wonderfully seductive initial aroma of espresso layer cake with caramel and creme brulee´, but unfortunately this aroma blew-off within mere minutes of the first pour. After this, the nose became muted and offered only a whiff of one-dimensional roasted malt. There were hints of some very nice aromatic notes here, but since they were so fragile, I had to score accordingly.

T- Flavors of roasted, slightly chocolatey malt attack the palate first, followed by a mid palate of bitter dark roasted coffee. The lingering finish is dominated by a bit too much coffee bitterness, but it is not unpleasant. A moderate amount of smokiness is present as well. The hops are restrained, as they should be with these added flavors.

M- The feel is creamy and moderately viscous; very pleasant.

D- ABV is masked behind its richness and structure, with only a warming touch. Certainly quite drinkable, and a nice interpretaion of a Porter.

Comment: Nice brew, and might have made a great candidate to spend some time in oak.

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Photo of NewGlarusFan
3.76/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

poured into a pint glass

A) black, but light comes through not like motor oil as i was expecting, with a light chocolate colored head which faded in leaving lace around the glass.

S) Very fragrant, cappuccino, vanilla bean ice cream, milk chocolate, roasted oat

T) Interesting because I simply tasted cappuccino, vanilla and a fusel alcohol burn at the end. I did not expect that at all.

M) Medium thickness, burns the mouth not a fan of that.

O) I am a little disappointed in this one. I expected something more. I'd like to try fresh on tap, but i doubt I'll buy it again. I still enjoy Sculpin better.

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Photo of morimech
3.77/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark chocolate color with two fingers of mocha colored head that had good retention before settling to a thin cap. Moderate amount of sticky lacing is left on the glass.

Intriguing aroma of coffee, chocolate, vanilla, and a slight hint of alcohol.

Unfortunately the alchol that was detected in the aroma comes out fully in the flavor. A little hot. Other flavors include bitter coffee and chocolate. A lot of dark malt flavor.

The alcohol hurts the body by making it seem thinner than it really is. Nicely carbonated.

Did not quite live up to my expectations. Just too much booziness.

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Photo of K-Dog
3.78/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

With ballast point new to michigan just this week I was so excited for this with all the great reviews. Let me tell u I was highly dissapointed. Smell is of bitter coffee and not enough vanilla. Just way to bitter. It's not bad but highly over rated. If you ask me evil twins little b is by far a much better imperial porter. Maybe with some age the bitter coffee flavor will mellow out and more of the vanilla will come though. Will be interested to try again in about a year. Not bad but over hyped.

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Photo of 2ellas
3.79/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Look: beautifully dark, no light can pass through! With a thin tan head and minimal lacing
smell: amazing roasty, maybe a bit of the coffee. I don't think I get any vanilla but I might not be sure what vanilla smells like
taste: opens up as it warms. I get what I believe to be vanilla, a bit of coffee and even chocolate. Though it seems a bit muddled and didn't follow the roasty smell that I got from the nose.
mf: coats the tongue nicely, just about average for the style
overall: a good beer. Not sure I'd seek it out but if it were readily available, I'd definitely drink it often.

 593 characters

Photo of JRed
3.79/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown with coffee head. Aroma of vanilla bean, rum, light coffee, cocoa. Tastes of vanilla bean, rum, light coffee, cocoa. Heavy body with medium carbonation.

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

Really excited for this one; I reviewed this on-draught last year and fell in love with it. Saw it on the shelf and had to revisit it. Enjoy by 11/08/13. 22 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a New Belgium stem-goblet in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Cost was $7.99; I also saw it tonight at Sunset Beer Co. for $8.99 10% ABV confirmed.

Served straight from the fridge but allowed to warm considerably over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Presentation: I dig the label, which bears a skeleton manning the wheel of a ship. Cool art, and more inventive than Ballast Point's usual uninspired fish.

A: Pours a one finger rich tan colour head of gorgeous cream and thickness, and good retention for the high ABV (~2 minutes). Lacing is decent. Body colour is a solid jet black. Nontransparent and opaque. Looks precisely as it should for the style. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Complex and subtle vanilla notes are unquestionable dominant. Heavy coffee/java also comes through alongside a delightful roasted character - both from the coffee itself as well as from the barley. Cocoa powder on the backend. Coffee emerges more and more as it warms. Some clean malty sweetness. The vanilla has depth, as though from vanilla bean rather than vanilla extract or some of the artificial crap they use in poorer vanilla beers (see Tanilla). No yeast or alcohol is detectable. A moderately strong aroma, and certainly an inviting one.

T: Heavy vanilla throughout, coalescing with the malty sweetness right on the finish. The coffee is more buried in the body, layered between dark malts, but it lends a pleasant character that helps balance the vanilla. What's sorely missing is the roasted barley character from the nose. God, the ABV is nowhere in sight. Unfortunately, I get a somewhat metallic note about the climax that rings artificial next to the vanilla. I don't remember that being a problem with the draught version. No yeast character at all.

Mf: Smooth and wet, with adequate body. Not too thick. Carbonation is good, if slightly high - though I imagine this'll suit it well for aging. Good presence on the palate. She slides down easy enough.

Dr: Extremely drinkable for the high ABV. I'll have no trouble killing this bomber by myself. I think fresh maybe the vanilla is a bit too sweet; I'd give this a good three weeks to mellow out a bit. I've got a bottle aging from last year in my cellar and will post notes on that as soon as I get around to it. Another great beer from Ballast Point. One of my favourite porters, and quite possibly my favourite vanilla beer so far. A great dessert treat.

Low B+

Please, serve it slightly chilled. It's best once as it warms to room temperature.

Would pair well with sweets.

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

Sampled April 2009
A vigorous pour into my 25cl tulip glass produces a dense, creamy, darkly browned crown of froth that rises three fingers in height. The head leaves copious amounts of dense lace on the sides of my glass as it slowly subsides. The beer is almost pure black in color, but does have a touch of brown to it. When held up to the light the beer shows just a touch of an amber hue to it around the edges, but I wouldn't really say that it is passing any light through. The aroma has the coffee leading off along with roasted malt notes, but it has a soft backdrop of vanilla that becomes more noticeable the longer I spend smelling the aroma (though it never goes beyond subtle). The vanilla accentuates a solid dark chocolate aromatic note here and it also helps to soften the sharp, roasted grain and coffee notes. The nose has quite a rich, satisfying, even satiating quality to it.

As the beer hits my tongue I notice that it has a rich, satisfying heft to it, though it is not quite as heavy as the nose might have suggested; it is still a sipping beer though. Vanilla flavors accentuate a malt sweetness as well as a dark chocolate flavor. Bitter, roasted coffee flavors are found in the finish and can get a touch acrid at times. The bitterness from the dark malt and coffee flavors really lingers on in the finish.

This beer has a nice balance to it, between the vanilla notes and sweetness up front and the roasted, biting notes towards the finish, but it can seem a little simplistic at times. The vanilla really helps this beer shine; the roast malt and coffee notes would be too aggressive, too acrid and too bitter without the vanilla. This is definitely a nice after dinner sipping brew and I find that I am quite enjoying it.

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

A - Dark brown with minimal head that quickly recedes.

S - Roasted coffee, burnt chocolate, rummy, and a shitload of vanilla

T - Vanilla, coffee, chocolate, roasted malts.

M - More thinner and carbonated than i expected.

O - Great porter. I say great PR/marketing by the Ballast Point team not to call this a RIS because as a RIS this beer would be just ok. Don't you love the BJCP categories??

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Photo of yourefragile
3.8/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle shared with 321Jeff

I was fairly excited to try this but I'll cut to the chase and say I found this a little too sweet, rich and artificial tasting so I was happy this was being shared. Pours a dark, sludgy near black chocolate with a tan head which barely moves and covers the inside of the glass in sheets. Aroma is actually very pleasant, with little vanilla presence. Primarily a roasted malt, typical porter aroma with a pleasant punch of coffee beans. Unlike the aroma, the flavor begins with a potent vanilla sweetness. Body is very creamy and smooth, low carbonation and chewy finish. The vanilla slowly blends into a strong roast coffee flavor which lingers into a slightly bitter, hoppy burnt finish. Not much porter presence here, or alcohol presence. Not a bad beer, certainly unique, but too sweet and artificial for me to rate this much higher.

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Photo of jmalex
3.81/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Ballast Point has really exploded onto the scene in the past 6 months or so and I was excited for the chance to buy this limited release bomber of my favorite style.

APPEARANCE: Pours into a Duvel tulip a deep black with a one-finger, tan head. It's tightly-bubbled and eventually shrinks to a full coating of foam covering the surface of the beer. Lacing is spotty and abundant the full height of the glass.

SMELL: I haven't even picked up the glass yet and I can smell the intense aroma of coffee. It really dominates the nose and doesn't let much else through. Some roasted malt and a strong hint of vanilla show through, but that's about it. Not that it's entirely a bad thing because what's here smells awesome, if just a bit overwhelming. As the beer warms though, some distinct hop aroma adds some much-needed complexity to the beer.

TASTE: The coffee gives way much more in the taste but still dominates. Chocolate and caramel make their way through initially with the coffee coming up to meet it then passing it by. A roast barley flavor comes on toward the finish giving the beer a very stout-like quality. The roastiness continues on through the finish and takes on a bittering role in conjunction with the coffee. Again as the beer warms, hops show themselves and aid in both bittering and depth of flavor.

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-full body with a lower than average carbonation. Seems just about right for style with a minor syrupiness.

DRINKABILITY: The flavors individually are all really nice, but rather than creating depth, they seem to just muddle each other up. That coupled with the fact that it's impossible to get past the coffee flavor no matter how good it is makes this more of an amalgam of tastes rather than a finely-tuned, interconnected blend. It is worth noting however that the 10% ABV is really hard to find.

I like this beer. I really did. It's really all over the place though, and I feel like I can find much more cohesive restrained examples of the style that drink much better. Worth trying for sure.

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Photo of Tone
3.81/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a black color. 3/4 inch head of a tan color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of strong coffee, vanilla, strong sweet malt, and slight roasted malt. Fits the style of an American Porter. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of strong coffee, vanilla, strong sweet malt, and slight roasted malt, hint of caramel malt, and a hint of hop. Overall, great appearance, good aroma, body, and blend.

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Photo of beertooth
3.82/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Wendell and his brother for bringing this to a tasting the other day. Review is from notes written on my phone.

Poured a couple of big pours from a 22oz bottle in a taster glass.

Black slick body with a finger of light mocha head.

Smell is rich with vanilla ice cream and coffee, chocolates, roasted malts. Very sweet and roasty. It's very promising.

The first taste follows the nose, but with way more vanilla that I had hoped. There is a lot of coffee and dark malts, but the vanilla overpowers it a bit. It's borderline cloying. It reminds me of a sweeter KBS.

Mouthfeel is soft and slick with medium carbonation

I'm really happy I finally tried this beer, but I don't think I could drink more than a pint or two. The sweet vanilla really gets to me.

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Photo of phrimplepoot
3.82/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This is good. But not $13.49 a six pack good. The Big Eye IPA was is so very, very good (and cheaper here in Kansas) I was disappointed with this. The vanilla is subtle as any non-hops/malt flavor in a beer should be. It's quite pleasing. I was just put off with the value.

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Photo of sinstaineddemon
3.82/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - this beer pours a typical porter dark with two full fingers of caramel colored head

S - coffee, big and upfront, no surprise there, the coffee aroma is tempered by a sweeter aroma, cant distinguish it as vanilla, but its that type of sweet, had i not known this was a coffee/vanilla porter, i wouldve said toffee/vanilla/lactic type sweetness

T - coffee is big and upfront in the taste as well, big and alone, the aftertaste is where the vanilla sweetness comes out and becomes distinguishable as vanilla beans, not modified/candy vanilla, the gap between the front and back has a bit of a metallic twang, there, but not big enough to be offputting

M&D - the sweetness lends a decent smoothness, its an easily drinkable beer, hides a double digit ABV as well, nice brew

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,346 ratings.
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